Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reconnecting part 3

November started with a bang.  I took my vacation (Thursday was my last vacation day...) and have watched cooler weather change our late Texas leaves.  

Vacation days = breakfast with friends!

If you look closely, you can see what Arwen is focused on - the ducks that fly in every fall to take refuge!

We participated in our first local craft show.  While not lucrative, it was a learning experience and now we have 1 show under our belts!  WooT!  Next stop, City Lights in Dallas in another week or so.  

Our 1st craft show!  Want to sign our guestbook?

The same night of our craft show, we attended the Vetro GlassBlowing Studio's Glass on the Tracks annual art auction in Grapevine, TX.  Each year, they select certain pieces of glass art to be put under a massive, wooden, glass-obliterating  guillotine.  The studio's owner then calls out names of attendees and asks them questions about the studio, their process and some of their more famous pieces.  If the person can answer the question correctly, they can take home the piece for free!  If they are wrong, the piece goes up for a 30 second auction.  If the reserve isn't met, they smash the piece!  It's heart-wrenching, for sure.  Matt was called up and having been on the Vetro Glass website a few weeks prior, answered his question correctly.  We are now the proud owners of a very beautiful glass rondelle!   He has since wanted to be called "The Winner" at all family gatherings.  **hanging head in embarrassment **

Picture doesn't do this Nebula justice!

While on vacation, I decided I'd try a little change and dyed my hair!  This way, if it was a horrible train-wreck, I could fix it without added embarrassment.  This was my first ever attempt at hair-dying and actually kind of loved it!  Matt has decided that we should dye Arwen and Fenway black also, so that our neighbors would think we have 1 dog that looks smaller and fuzzier at times.  I've vetoed this suggestion.  
You've lost this battle, Winner...

A whole new world of coloring fun has been opened to me - where have I been all these years?!

At least now everyone can see that Nyxie is my daughter!

"You look like me now, Mom!"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reconnecting part 2

In October, we worked really, really hard to be ready for our 1st craft show.  Making glasses, tea lights, sanding, wrapping and boxing more glassware than you can imagine.  Much of our October was spent working on things like this:

This is a champagne bottle glass 1/2 done.  Next stop: hand-sanding!

Meanwhile, we couldn't let the month get past us without at least some Halloween fun.  T likes to dress up Fenway in his many, many outfits.  His most recent addition is his Batdog costume, which she bought just for him.  This was the culmination to the Batdog ensemble of a handmade collar with a handmade Batman symbol she made many months ago - you guessed it, just for him.  He wears this on a fairly regular basis.  You never know who's going to show up around here...

T calls this "Casual Sunday" - no cape and suit required

Then there are business formal days - crime never takes a vacation!

Part 3 tomorrow...

Reconnecting part 1

Holy cow.
It's been over 3 months since I last posted!
Do you still remember us?

I'm happy to tell you nothing horrible has happened.  We've been humming along quietly, steadily and without catastrophic incident for the past 3 months.  Phew!  With that said, we have been insanely busy, so this will be a 3 part post:  

Our little online recycled bottle-crafting shop, Conversation Glass, has been growing and we've been working our little fingers to the bone.  My full time job has been understaffed lately and work has continued busy there, although I'm on vacation right now (1 more day left).  Our 14 year old daughter has been sharing her 9th grade growing pains with more fervor than a Tea Party conservative.  While nothing catastrophic has happened, we haven't had many spare seconds.  All except for the dogs, who are constantly snoopervising.

Notice Arwen ignoring the overflowing toy box and trying instead to fit into her brother's tiny bed.

So what have we been up to?

In September, T started at special math/engineering high school that she actually loves.  Yes, folks - our kid loves her school.  If you've been paying attention, this is a first for her.  She's also started JROTC and loves this, too.
**climbs back into chair after passing out**
I can't even type this without being in shock.  We've had some ups and downs, and have learned that 9th grade sucks.  Again.

T actually DOES have a face, but she is under covert assignment at present.
Stay tuned for Part 2

P.S.  Congrats to President Obama - now let's get to work!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

No More Stink Eyes

These hot, summer days mean shorter walks, less outdoor snooping and more laying about waiting.  Just woefully waiting, for fun.  I know this because here are the "stink eyes" I've been getting:  

Do something to amuse us! We're bored and it's all your fault!

I was in big trouble, folks.  Too many more stink eyes like this and I would turn into a permissive, ice-dispensing, treat pinata.  So it was time for a trip to the dog toy store.  Please note that anywhere you look in the house, there's at least one dog toy gathering dust.  The Nylabones of a few months ago have been chewed down to nubs:

See that little nub of a bone?  Used to be about 9 inches long...Nyxie has thrown herself onto the ground in protest!

We came home with 3 shiny, new Nylabones, and this is what we saw:  

No more dirty looks!!  So in honor of good times and playing doggies, we made these:  

Play, Dog!  Number 2 in the Stick Dog Collection for Conversation Glass

Thanks for stopping by Arwen's Pack and our shop, Conversation Glass.  We've had some questions about shipping to Canada - we've actually sent quite a few bundles up north to Canada and all the glasses and vases have made it there just fine!  Also, the paw prints and "Play Dog" collection stick dogs can be etched on any glassware in the shop (it just needs to be a clear surface).  We can also etch letters for personalization!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Dog Days of Summer

I've been on vacation!
Which means... fun, sun and I've actually worked really hard on our online store, Conversation Glass.  I guess you could say I'm a bit of a workaholic, but you do what you have to so everything keeps humming along.  This vacation was spent preparing for (gasp!) the holiday rush when shoppers will need presents for everyone on their lists.

You know, when I was a kid I thought the adults around me were crazy to even be thinking about the holidays before December 15th.
Damn.  Now I'm a crazy adult.

Regardless, the 3 Puparoos have been spending their days enjoying time with Mom, time chewing on bones and learning to get along.  I'm always stunned at how tough dogs play with one another.  This is a rough and rowdy crew, see for yourself:

Yes, she ALWAYS wins
We brought home a new memory foam bed for Arwen.  You might remember that my oldest has spinal arthritis (although at playtime you'd never know it) and I've been trying to find her a nice, supportive bed for some time.  I brought it home, tossed her old bed out into the living room, put the huge new one on our bed so I could vacuum the bedroom, turned to pull it down to her spot, and...

"Watcha doin, Mom?"  
The 2 youngsters were giving the new bed a try.  Is it me, or is one of Nyxie's devil wings showing?  (They're awfully small - think Heimlich in A Bug's Life)   Arwen did eventually get to enjoy her bed, but I had to run a couple of Nosy McNosertons off of it first.

Synchronized bone-chewing with help from Dad
Then there are some perfect, vacation days like this one.  Happy Dog Days of summer!

Saturday, June 30, 2012


A weekend off from the vet hospital means 2 days of Conversation Glass work time!  We're taking bottle labels off of new bottles, then cutting and sanding them, all to restock the store.  And making room for the new, means saying goodbye to the old.  Yup, there's a sale on.  What a flurry of activity!  At least from the 2-legged members of the pack.  

These were a large order of tea light hurricane lamps we sent last week

Our coffee machine is getting nervous..."they're making a army!"

Here is what the other 3 are up to: snoopervising between siestas...


Always sleeping with one eye open

"Keep that racket down!  I'm recharging!"

If you aren't too tuckered out, come see our SALE in progress at Conversation Glass.  You just might find something special.  Happy weekend, Snoopervisors and Snoopervisees!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fenway gets Tutored. "Please, No Pictures"

Fenway's big day came last week.  Yes, he was neutered.  There was much talk of him going under the knife in the days leading up to his surgery day.  Even though I assist with this surgery almost every day, it feels so  different when it's your own kiddo.  That morning, he bounced about happily as I clasped his collar around his well-muscled neck in preparation for "school".  Little did he know what lay ahead.

"YEAH!  We're going to school!!"

His day took a curious turn when breakfast never came.  Then there were the premedication injections to prep him for surgery.  He looked so worried, even for Fenway with his perpetual furrowed brow.  I know he wondered why I was allowing all this to happen.  I had to be stoic and strong.  The last thing he needed was to pick up on my own anxiety.  I think I pulled it off like a ninja.  I bet my coworkers would disagree...

Prepping for surgery

His surgery went well, thanks to his brilliant Doctor!  It's a strange feeling to put something you value so much in someone else's hands.  I guess that's why they call it "trust".  My coworkers were great, laying out a special rest and recovery area for my Fenny-Fenny-Foo-Foo (just one of his many aliases).

Try as I might to keep him warm, he wanted to turn onto his back  - his favorite position!

He was a bit "lowdog' for the rest of the evening, but eventually ended up finding his place by the window, my Happy Sundog.  Most likely trying to find his lost huevos and dignity.

"Please.  No pictures"

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Missing Pack

The last time Arwen's Pack published a blog post was April 12th.

That was over a month and a half ago!  Do you all still remember us?  Let me give you some reminders of who we are in case some of you forgot.  First we have Arwen, our Iron Fist Curtain Diva, who is still very much in charge of her pack.
Spring picture, "cheese?"

 Then we have Nyxie, our resident Chicken-Heart Guardian, loyal minion of Arwen:
And finally, we have Fenway, the Little Brother of the pack and resident snuggler, paper towel & sock connoisseur, and sister tormentor.  (other aliases include:  FennyFennyFooFoo, Runtabull, and T's favorite, Butt-holio):
"Cheese?  WHERE!!??"
So where have we been?  Where should I start...
After much practice, sore knees and sweaty hours on the treadmill and trails, I ran a 5K!!  I ran the 2012 Fort Worth Zoo Run with T, and 3 other friends at the end of April.  It was exciting, fulfilling, and a huge fitness milestone for me.  This was a hard-fought battle but I did it!  I was so very proud of T for running with me - she beat my time with only a few practice runs under her belt.  Ahh, the glory of youth!

May ushered in several evening events for the final days of T as a middle schooler.  I can hardly believe she's headed to high school.  Neither can she, really, so there were many hours of convincing, cajoling and promising that high school will not be a living horror show.  Not a word, folks.  Not one word!

We had a busy several weekends.  We attended the Texas Frightmare convention, where cast members of one of our favorite TV shows, The Walking Dead were in attendance to answer questions and be drooled over. (I did mention that Norman Reedus was there, right?) 

I like to imagine that in this pic he was reaching past the security lady to give me a big hug...
Matt and I opened a second online store, Conversation Glass on Etsy.  We take glass bottles destined for landfills and create hand-cut, hand-sanded & polished glassware.  Sustainable goods, repurposed to make something beautiful.  It's a win-win situation.  And it's pretty fun to do, actually.  I hope you'll have a look at our glassware - we're pretty proud of it!!  Please follow us on Facebook (Conversation Glass) or Twitter (@ConvoGlass) and Pinterest (Conversation Glass).  There will be giveaways coming soon :)  Here are some samples:
Tall Wine Bottle Tumblers:

Blue Beer Bottle Juice Glasses:

Green Perrier Bottle Tumblers:

Finally, this past week brought us the last official week of school for T.  And her summer visit to her grandparents' house.  It's been quiet at home today.  And now that I can put up the stepmom hat for a short while, I can get back to blogging!  

All of this has absolutely nothing to do with dogs, but they've been a part of everything we do and I just didn't feel right jumping back in to Blogville without letting you know why I've had no time to blog.  I've missed you all and can't wait to catch up!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Top Ten Reasons Why Dog Teens Dogs are Better Than Human Teens

What adults see...

10.  Dogs grow up faster - learning the ropes and falling into line takes far less time for dogs than the learning curve we have for humans.  You'd think with those enormous brains, the human teen rate of learning should far exceed that of the family dog.  If you don't believe me, teach your dog to put away his toys.  Then tell your teenager to clean his room.  See who follows through faster, and with better reliability.

9.  Chew toys - I can order elk antler chews for all three dogs for under $30.  Teens want video games, iPads (not gonna happen), make-up, new clothes, iTunes cards, etc.  I can feel the cash being sucked from my wallet even now.  I remember the toddling days when the cardboard box holding the toy was far more fun than the actual toy could ever be.

**crickets chirping**

8. Quiet - Teen dogs don't chatter.  Never have, never will.  Oh, the quiet hours spent enjoying my dogs - puppies, teens, adults or seniors - all of which have been chatter-free!  Not a full minute can be spent with a teen without hearing blah, blah, blah about some kid at school, or some new incident.  And let's not forget about those one-sided phone conversations we're lucky enough to experience from the other room.  Squeals of disbelief and statements peppered with "like", "oh my God",  "I know", and "that's disgusting!"...

7. No lies - If a dog poops on the carpet, he doesn't pretend it didn't happen.  If he eats a full bag of pita bread, he'll bring you the empty, half-chewed bag.  If a teen does something wrong, he'll tell you it wasn't him, or the teacher didn't require that assignment to be turned in, or even that someone stole his binder at school.  The best one yet - that she didn't cut her own bangs, while they've clearly been butchered right down the middle.  She actually said someone must've cut them while she was sleeping!

6. Responsibility - If my dogs never earn the right to be left unattended at home, or to run off leash, it's really OK.  There's always the crate and the leash.  If my teen can't be trusted to stay home alone and not get into mischief, I can't watch her forever.  And when she's old enough to go into the world on her own, I can't leash her.  The leash is just too short...

5. Back talk - Dogs don't back talk.  They don't have attitudes.  They don't pout.  They don't slam doors.  Now God forbid my teen back talks or slams doors, but there's no shortage of attitudes or pouting around here.  Yuk.  If the dogs are unhappy, they just find something new to do, or take a nap.  I've never received a haiku about how unfair something is from my dog.  I can't say the same for my teen.  See reason #2.

So full of woe!

4. Behavioral consequences - When a teen dog misbehaves, you have a few options.  You can crate her, you can redirect her away from something undesirable, you can distract her with training.  I've never once been able to redirect my teenager away from being passive aggressive with a shiny new squeaker toy, or stopped her from leaving dirty laundry on the floor with a few pieces of salmon jerky and a "sit, stay".  And she just won't shut up when I put her in the crate...

3. No break-ups - Dogs don't date.  Sometimes they pine, sometimes they hump, but they simply don't date.  There's nothing sweeter than a dog following after the object of his affection, just trying to play bow his way into her heart.  The same cannot be said for human teens.  Seeing boys' names enshrined in red hearts drawn all over binders and notebooks just makes me nauseous.  And the long phone chats analyzing something "he" said meant, drives me to drink.  If you don't go anywhere, are you really "going out"?!

Double shot, please...

2. No drama - For anyone who's ever lived with a teenage girl, there's no creature more dramatic or theatrical. A dog in her teens doesn't know the meaning of drama (except of course if you have a Sibe and are trying to trim her nails or give her a bath) but human teens live and breath by the beat of soap opera music.  They ride each emotional wave like surfers on crack, crashing hard on the rocks of each jagged emotion.  (Thought I'd give you a little taste of the daily drama with that last line...pretty awful, I know.)

1Spaying and Neutering - enough said.

Poor Arwen - even teen dogs can be annoying!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

No More Cooties!

Have you ever had that AHA! moment when you realize someone is your friend?  That person might be in your life, but you never really clicked just right, or you never really had the opportunity to get to know them?  This just played out with our dogs.

Arwen and Fenway get along great - she is the matriarch, he is the scrappy little pup.  They've liked each other from the start and have similar full-contact play styles.  But Nyxie and Fenway have had their differences.  Nyxie would rather chases and play with toys than be mouthed and wrestled with.  Fenway tries the chase games, but they eventually lead to his entire throat inside her jaws.

While this play hold is great for Alligaterrrr, Fenway isn't a big fan

Just the other weekend, I took Nyxie and Fenway to work with me to stretch their legs in the big yard where the boarders play.  They sniffed and ran a bit, but were more interested in running laps inside the clinic.  As they toured the long halls together, I saw a new spark.  Maybe it was Fenway's joy at having one of his sisters at "school" with him, or maybe it was that Arwen wasn't there to hijack Fenway into a wrestle match.  Whatever it was, they bonded that day.  Wild-eyed, and with tongues lolling sideways out of their panting heads, they found that missing piece.

Fenway loves going to school so much, I found his Kitty Head toy packed in the gym bag I use at lunch!

My decision to take them to work that weekend was made spur of the moment to kill some boredom, get some exercise and give Arwen a break from the high energy of youngsters. Dogs are masters at taking a spontaneous moment and making it a memory.  Here's how I found them later that night:

He's touching her and she's not yelling "COOTIES!!!""

Cuddling on the bed together!!  Unprecedented!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When the Student Surpasses the Teacher

Screw Up Fairies in progress...

So often, walking through our home makes me think the Screw-Up Fairy has detonated a grenade deep in the dog toy basket.  After big play days, the rooms are literally littered with the sad, squeaker-less forms of these war-torn toys.  The dog's lack of organization is rather impressive, really!

Nyxie, being the brilliant German Shepherd dog that she is, recognizes most of the silly names we give her toys - Dead Kitty (sorry feline fans, but the poor thing's head is hanging precariously to one side), Blue Bunny One Ear and MooCow, to name a few.  Feeling she'd be up to the challenge, I decide to teach her how to put her toys away.  But since I'm no trainer, I don't have the foggiest idea of where to start.

MooCow, Blue Bunny One Ear and Dead Kitty

YouTube to the rescue!  (At this point, I'm pretty sure I see Nyxie roll her eyes in disgust).

So I watch a couple of YouTube videos on how to do this trick, the trainer making it look so easy with her happy little background music and enthusiastic voice.  How hard can it be?  (Nyxie glances over at the clock on the cable box.  Did she just start tapping her paw?)

"tap, tap, tap"

The goal is to have the dog pick up each individual toy off the floor and drop it into the toy basket.  We've all seen it done and think "I wish my dog would do that!"  Each step is rewarded - pick up toy, bring toy, drop toy, eventually becomes drop toy in basket - the final progression looking seamless.  Clearly both trainer and dog are brilliant in every way!  It's not as easy as it looks, folks.  

Number One - The dog has to be interested in her toy.  I make the mistake of having treats on the table where Nyxie can see them, and since treats trump toys any day of the week, any toy interest goes the way of the Dodo bird.  I'll have to wait until she's in the middle of playing with her toys to reintroduce training.

Number Two - The toy basket must not be filled with a few gabillion toys (oops!).  Nyxie eyeballs this enormous basket of potential fun before her and thinks, "Ooooh!  I haven't played with this one in the past 3 minutes!"  I decide to take the toys out of the basket but I'm too late.  Nyxie follows me, my arms laden down with dog toys crunchy with old slobber.  I make a pile of these in the other room and she immediately plops down in the middle of the pile, happily chewing her old "buddies".  See Number One.

total distraction

Number Three - I discover that actually having a plan for this trick is crucial.  See, even after watching the chain exercise on YouTube, it's crucial to know how to make it work for your dog.  Also crucial to follow the steps in order and not try and skip ahead.  I don't have a plan yet and skip a few basic steps.

I feel so stupid looking into Nyxie's deep brown, almond eyes.  I can feel the intensity of her gaze, all the history and weight of her lineage dating back from 1889 when Capt. Max von Stephanitz began standardizing the breed in Germany.

I hear her sigh, her eyes saying,  "It's ok.  Why don't we start again tomorrow when you're more prepared."