September 05, 2007

Nope, nothing to see here.

No pictures or anything!

Which is probably okay. The new job has continued to take up a goodly portion of the day and I kinda like that, especially since the stuff I've been doing is stuff I know how to do.

It's not like it's particularly fun, like playing tickle'n'slap with Miss Reba, or people-watching at Wal-Mart, but it's also definitely not like slowly trying to strangle yourself to death with a spaghetti noodle. It's engaging and requires actual thought and junk like that, but even with having to be thoughty and all, it doesn't make my head hurt. It's been more than a week since I had my afternoon dose of Stanback and Diet Coke. (I've managed to cut out the Stanback part.) And so, I don't dislike it, even though it's work.

'Nother nice thing is that I get out of the office more. Got to go this morning with my old supervisor and watch him hammer on some bricks, and it was nice to just be the guy standing back and observing things with slight bemusement, rather than looking goofy hammering on the corner of a building. Then when we got back, I got to drag a carpet guy through the building looking at our pitiful carpeting. Remember one of my Rules of Architecture? The one that says, "put on a hard hat and carry a clipboard, and you can go anywhere in the world." Well, most of the time, you really don't need either one--just tell folks you're with the architect's office and you're showing the carpet guy around, and you pretty much have the run of the joint. Obviously, it helps not to be swarthy and shouting "Allah Akbar!" and the like (or a balding wide-stanced Idahoan with a liking for sparkly clean restroom floors), but still, I've found that it's nice to be able to wander around again acting like I'm supposed to be able to wander around wherever I want.

As for the update from the Home Front, we're supposed to be getting our new backyard fence this week. Got the utilities marked, the property lines staked, and everything approved by the pretty police. Left the drawing for the fence guy yesterday, and when I got home it was gone, so I guess he picked it up and took it to get his permit. I hope. Maybe I should call him...

Anyway, this is in preparation for the arrival of a puppy in the coming weeks. We haven't picked one out yet, aside from me telling everyone in the family we were going to get what I've always called an Eskimo spitz, but that Google now informs me is called the American Eskimo Dog.

When I was growing up, these were the only dogs we ever had, and I've always had an affection for them. They're smart and tough and outdoor-hardy, and pretty little dogs, and don't leave giant honkin' piles of crap everywhere.

The biggest thing we're doing differently is that I've gotten Cesar Millan's book about dog rearing. When I was a kid, dogs were dogs, sort of the way they were for Millan when he was growing up in Mexico. Dogs stayed outside, and they minded what they were told, and that was it. They weren't anyone's baby or brother, and they weren't little humans. (Even if they had lots of common sense, like our dogs Phyllis and Wendy had.)

But I'm sorta concerned about my kids, who've been exposed their whole life to this weird, media-driven celebrity culture thing where people such as Paris Hilton lug around odd little animals as accessories, or where the animal rights idjits treat dogs as people-equivalents, and I want them to understand before we even get a puppy that they are going to have to treat it like a dog if they want to ever be able to control it. Spitzes aren't particularly aggressive-natured, but they are active and intelligent (or wolfishly cunning), and so need calm leadership to be great fun dogs.

But my kids haven't been exposed to that idea--they've been fed this thing about dogs being like little people for so long, I was concerned that we'd have problems, especially with Catherine, who is still young enough that she anthropomorphizes everything, stuffed toy animals as well as living ones. Poor Lightning gets lugged around like a Beanie Baby, but he's a cat. Doing that with a dog has the potential to reinforce some bad behaviors such as jumping up on people and what we used to call "whiffliness," that constant nervous agitation some dogs have around people.

SO, the book has been a nice way for me to learn what I knew all along, and be able to explain it to the kids in a way that makes sense to them. I was talking to Catherine this morning when she got up about what all I'd read, and after a few minutes, she began to understand some things, and asked me if the retriever next door sees itself as the pack leader, and if that's why it's nearly impossible for his owner to take him on a walk or otherwise control him. (The answer is 'yes.') She also understands that the shih tzu who lives on the OTHER side of us ALSO thinks she's the pack leader. All that jumping up and down on Catherine isn't because she likes Catherine, it's that she is attempting to show dominance. And she gets rewarded for it by getting petted and cooed over.

It was quite nice to see Catherine think all this through and begin to understand what a puppy is going to require. Maybe if I can get her with the program, Mom and the rest of the siblings will take to it better. (He said, with much trepidation.)

Anyway, other things continue as they always have at the house--school, church, band, cheerleading, a certain teenager who thinks she's leader of the pack, a sudden infestation of ants, laundry, and hey! It's getting to be autumn! Here it is lunchtime, and it's only 87 degrees! And with autumn, there's FOOTBALL! Hate to say it, but my beloved Auburn Tigers stank up the joint last week against the Kansas State Miscreants. Yes, a win's a win, but one more such victory would utterly undo them. At least according to Coach Phyrrus.

Let's see...anything else?

Eh, probably, but I've got to go get a bite to eat.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at September 5, 2007 12:36 PM

Glad to hear you're enjoying your new assignment.

Posted by: BillW at September 5, 2007 02:17 PM

Thanks, Bill. It certainly does make it easier to get up every morning.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 5, 2007 02:34 PM

How old is the retriever? My guess is he is just so beside himself when he does get attention he goes crazy.
Also why do you bang on old buildings with hamers-- other than the obvious reasons.

Posted by: jim at September 5, 2007 07:49 PM

Congratulations on the new job.

Posted by: charles austin at September 5, 2007 09:14 PM

Jim, he's probably about three or four years old. But you're right--he gets so little interaction and exercise (he's in a small fenced patio area) that he get's hyper, and his owners won't control him.

As for hammering on buildings, my old boss was trying to see if the bricks on the buildings (which are about to be demolished) were solid. If they were, he was going to have them saved as pavers for another project. They had hollow cores, though, so they won't work. Although they'll be perfect to help clog up the landfill.

And thanks, Charles!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 6, 2007 10:07 AM

Now that we have a retriever we are finding out they must have attention. This dog is two and is the neediest dog we have ever had. We can go to feed him and if he hasnít been played with that day he will walk away from the food to get petted. But a few minutes of petting or brushing a day and he is very clam. Also we have a pretty big back yard and another dog so he isnít alone.

Reallythat brink bashing sounds cool-- we don't get to do anything like that.

Posted by: jim at September 6, 2007 11:35 AM

brink is the new spelling for brick.

Posted by: jim at September 6, 2007 11:35 AM

Jim - you have a clam dog? That would come in handy for walks on the beach, as it could dig up lunch for you. Kind of like those dogs who sniff out truffles.

Sounds like you're still in the "honeymoon" phase of your new job. I hope you are beginning to develop a good working relationship with your new manager, as it sounds like you had a pretty good one with your old manager. People can take it for granted, but when the stuff hits the fan and you don't have a strong working relationship with your boss, then things can get ugly in a hurry, particularly if a scapegoat is needed.

Does "lunch blogging" look like a possibility, or is it still too early to tell or is your schedule is to hectic/unpredictable?

Posted by: Marc V at September 6, 2007 12:07 PM

Ooops, that end should be "... or is your schedule too hectic/unpredictable?"

Posted by: Spud at September 6, 2007 01:12 PM

Geez - Terry stops blogging for a while and none of us can rememver how to type.


Posted by: Diane at September 6, 2007 01:52 PM

Two big pieces of advice:

crate training and obedience lessons.

Crate training because it's nice to have a dog that is happy to go in a crate. Even if you don't crate at home, it's great for car rides and safer too.

Classes aren't so much to train the dog, but to teach you how to train the dog.

I could go on ad nauseum, but I'll spare you. But if you have questions about anything doggy drop me a line.

Oh, and eskies are super cute, very smart and all round great dogs. Just don't go to a pet store.

Good luck!

Posted by: Sarah G. at September 6, 2007 02:37 PM

Oh, Diane, what's a few typos among fiends?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 6, 2007 02:41 PM

What is this "calm leadership" of which you speak?

Posted by: skinnydan at September 6, 2007 03:47 PM

I'm confused: is it calm leadership or clam leadership???

Posted by: Stan at September 6, 2007 04:59 PM

Good to see you having fun Terry. Sure does make a weeks work worth doing. BTW them ijots over at put the wrong kinda tiger in their catalog, I mean it's widely know the LSU Tigers are the finest kind. *grin*

PS: Goux Tigers!

Posted by: Chef Tony at September 6, 2007 08:15 PM

I shall clamly ignore your tiger-related jibes, Chef Tony.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 7, 2007 09:14 AM

Ummm, so your calmly clamming up, eh? Well I do have a recipe for that yah know:

A clam chowder recipe made with milk and half-and-half and clam juice.

* 3 slices bacon, diced
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 3 cups diced potatoes
* 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 2 cans (approximately 7 ounces each) minced clams
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 2 cups half-and-half
* 1 cup milk

Cook bacon until crisp in a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucpan. Remove bacon to paper towels with slotted spoon; drain. Add onion to bacon drippings; sautť until softened. Add potatoes and clam juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Add minced clams with their liquid. Whisk flour into milk; add to chowder with half-and-half. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until clam chowder thickens and bubbles, or about 3 minutes.
Clam chowder recipe serves 4.

Posted by: Chef Tony at September 7, 2007 12:32 PM

If I can find the large clams (quahogs), then I would start with steaming a dozen of them in 1/2 cup wh. wine and 1/2 cup water. When they've all opened, mince the clams and reserve the juice from the pot for later. Then start the recipe above (I consider the milk products optional--in RI and nearby clear chowder is popular)

Only problem--I live in Baltimore--the only way to get these huge clams is to go to the wholesale market and get a bag of 100.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at September 7, 2007 12:53 PM

I sense that the Inaugural Axis of Weevil Clamtacular is taking shape. Please remember to use kosher clams and bacon so Skinnydan and Sarah and Meryl can have some.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at September 7, 2007 01:25 PM

Steevil, it's even worse for me. Living in M/StP means flown in seafood & quahogs are never found. So I use cherrystones and feel not too sorry for my self. I know they're fresh water clams around here but have never tried them, has anyone? I agree BTW on the wine/water and also add in a clove of minced garlic but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible and still make a good easy recipe. This is a great meal matched w/a good french or sourdough bread and a crisp or buckle made w/apples and cranberries.

Posted by: Chef Tony at September 7, 2007 01:51 PM


If you can find a recipe to make zebra mussels popular, your fortune's made.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at September 7, 2007 02:51 PM

Lyman doesn't like clam chowder, simpering, chauvinistic punk that he is.

If you could find clams in Louisiana, it would be on the table once a month.

Posted by: Janis Gore at September 7, 2007 05:33 PM

Miss Janis the man eats crawdads, oysters and shrimp. So why not clams?

Steevil, seeing what and where the durn things live and feed is a real turnoff. Bletch! I know they're kinda edible but even if farm raised I think not.

Posted by: Chef Tony at September 8, 2007 12:12 PM

Don't forget crabs. But because they aren't raised in Louisiana, silly.

And to tell the truth, I don't think he's had a lot of opportunity to eat them.

Posted by: Janis Gore at September 8, 2007 12:32 PM

Miss Janis, I'm sorry. I just didn't think. On other news my soooooper secret (shish, don't tell anyone!) vender did his first of the fall drives up here to NOLANorth. The shrimp & the fresh fish sure are tasty. Mix that in with all the end of summer produce and happy tummies are here again.

Posted by: Chef Tony at September 10, 2007 06:07 PM

After all that discussion of clams, in turned out that Miss Kathie had seen an ad for New England clambakes at McCormick & Schmick at the Inner Harbor We went on Sunday, and it was a pretty good approximation of the real thing:

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at September 10, 2007 08:44 PM

Steevil, I'm almost jealous of you, but for health reasons I can no longer enjoy shellfish. The only thing that would have topped your outing would have been following it up with an Elvis viewing (it's only 40 years old)!

Posted by: Marc V at September 11, 2007 08:33 AM

That was an Elvis movie I didn't know existed. I like the IMDB plot synopsis--seems to be beyond improvement.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at September 11, 2007 11:40 AM