Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life with dogs

A few years ago, my dogs figured out that there might be something for them in the bags I bring home. I tend to do my grocery shopping on weekends but whenever I have to go during the week (meaning they've had to be stuck inside for an extra hour or so), I try to bring them home a special treat. It's gotten to the point where I can't leave a bag (paper or plastic) on the floor without one of them sticking her head into it. Usually Maggie, usually after she's loaded up her flews with water.

So, whenever I bring home bags they follow me closely, hoping for treats. I in fact tell them that I have brought them treats, as I am apologizing for leaving them in the house so long without a potty break.

The rule in the house is that only good dogs who eat all their dinner will get treats. The dogs understand this phrase.

Last night, I had Maggie underfoot as I was trying to unload the groceries. She was in no mood to wait for me to unload the groceries and then feed them dinner before they got their treats. For fun (because I am evil), I started showing everything I was unpacking from the bags. A bunch of bananas. Grapes. A four pack of yogurt. A gallon of milk. With each item, she'd bounce as I held it out to her. Then she'd sniff it very carefully. After a few sniffs, she would back away and shake her head. This went on through two bags of groceries, at least 25 different items. Ginger was watching, but not really sniffing (she's a herding dog, all about conserving energy).

Finally, I got down to it. A box of dog biscuits. Maggie sniffed -- and then shook her head. No? I held them out to Ginger. Ginger was much more interested. The box was sealed, but she clearly knew there may be something good about these.

Then I pulled out the big chewy dog bones. Maggie bounced and bounced and bounced and sniffed....

And shook her head again.

My dog is not very bright.

She did know, though, that I did get them a treat, because I had told them so. And I never lie to my dogs. Hardly ever. Okay, occasionally I tell them the truth.

I fed them, reminded them of the good dogs rule. Ginger ate hers right down, but Maggie was holding out for the treats. A fifteen minute battle of wills later, she finally ate her food. And they got their treats. And all was silent in the CilleyHouse for at least a quarter of an hour. Then Maggie finished hers, gargoyled over Ginger for a while trying to steal her bone, then came and tried to convince me that I in fact had another treat hidden away just for her. I did not, but she didn't believe me.

Because I lie to my dogs. It's fun. You should try it.

And one of these days I'll tell you how they are with Christmas presents.

--the CilleyGirl

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I love CilleyLand

Because of stuff like this and this.

In other news (cause it is all about me), the CilleyGirl joined a bowling league and our first match was this past week. We got our asses kicked, but that's okay because we got our team motto out of it: We Suck. It goes well with our team name, Woody's Peckers. Say it together with me -- Woody's Peckers: We Suck. I'm hoping to put together a graphic of Woody Woodpecker with a strategically placed bowling pin and two balls. Blue, of course. I'll post it here if I manage to swing it (no pun intended. oh, who am I kidding?)

Luckily, however, out of the six teams in our league, two others suck as well and so far even worse than we do. Updates to come!

- the CilleyGirl

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Everybody needs a hobby

I don't know why this article amuses me so much. But it does.

And so does this one.

This one too. Second place on the backhoe! Woo hoo!

Just one more. I hope. Note that he broke his own record.

I wonder if you have to plant those daffodils along Oleson or you can take them home to plant them. Because I love daffodils. I've been to a festival and everything.

-the CG

P.S. On a related note, thank god they finally finished that damn road.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Summer memories

I was thinking a lot today about Camp Sealth. Every summer, between the ages of 6 and 17, I went off to Camp Sealth. I think I started with three days and by my years at a CIT (counselor in training) I was there for three weeks (with a one week break in there to go home and do laundry, have caffeine, etc.).

Seems kind of odd now that my mom sent me off for three days as a six year old, although that first year I did go with a buddy (was it Tanna? I think it was Tanna). I, of course, always wanted to go to camp for longer, but mom was either smarter than me or we couldn't afford it. Probably a combination of the two: I always couldn't wait to go to camp each summer, but until the summer before 9th grade I was always pretty miserable while I was there. See, I was a big ol' crybaby for a good part of my childhood. Unfortunately, I'd have to say my childhood lasted until was about 24. I know now that it's a chemical thing -- I had my first bout of clinical depression at age 7 plus my ovaries don't work properly -- but that's a whole 'nother blog. I was also effectively an only child and therefore very much into getting my own way. Plus I had an emotionally and verbally abusive stepfather and.... well, a whole 'nother blog.

Anyhow, I can say with confidence that it was a chemical thing, as evidence by about half the problems going away when I was 24 thanks to one medication and the other half going away when I was about 30 thanks to another medication. But that didn't help much when I was a whiny, crying, bossy little bitch of a child that most other kids really didn't like all that much. Let's just say I've burned a lot of bridges in my time. I came to expect other kids not to like me (a problem that does still exist to this day) and it was generally a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Moving on, as a consequence I both loved and hated camp until my 9th grade year at which time I had an epiphany. Nobody at camp knew I was a whiny, crying, bossy little bitch. I could pretend I was really a cool and awesome kid with the fabulously crazy ideas, the one that was stuck behind all the bad moods and overreactions. And you know what? It worked.

That year, I was the one everyone in the cabin looked to for fun and for guidance (by that time, I'd been coming to Sealth for eight years and I knew everything about that place; I eventually became a "lifer" which means you've been coming for ten years and you get a ceremony and a plaque and everything). I was the instigator of nude Jane Fonda. I was the one who pointed out that the ice cream we were making really did need eggs (unfortunately, they didn't listen and we ended up with soft serve ice cream). I was the one who knew every camp song they did, better than the gal whose job it was to lead us in songs after meals (she was like Julie, our Cruise Director). They pulled me up onto the stairs to lead songs while we were waiting for meals. I was a star. I have a friend from that year whom I am still in touch with. I kept the mindset in later years and each year got better and better. My last two years, I was a CIT, discovered I prefer little boys to little girls (not in that way, you dirty people), and kept some of those friendships alive for years (another blog on that one some day). And of course I gathered a billion happy memories to me that I pull out on days when I'm feeling blue.

There was nude Jane Fonda, as I've mentioned. Okay, not nude -- we were wearing bras. I don't think they really had sports bras in the mainstream yet. I was the only one who would've even been close to needing one anyhow (C cup by end of high school, baybee). Unfortunately, our aerobics coincided with the spotting of someone on camp grounds who didn't belong. I'm pretty sure he was skulking around before all this, but apparently we could be seen to some extent from the orchard below. Party poopers.

Oh, and in the nude Jane Fonda year we girls were so disappointed because instead of having one cabin of girls and one cabin of boys in our session, the other cabin was chock full of Japanese exchange students. Granted, they were all boys and one girl (she was so traumatized by us, I'm sure) but hmm, not the summer experience we were looking for. Did learn how to say "air raid" in Japanese (no PC in 1984, folks) and we were extremely amused by one guy we dubbed the Japanese Billy Idol. It was the hair. Those guys used more hair products than Elvis. Or Brad Pitt. Or Vidal Sassoon.

There were all the times I've looked back at the camp counselors and realized that I really have no gaydar. I'm sure one of my first counselors was a lesbian. Or heavily into the feminist movement where you don't shave. Then there were the camps we visited as CITs. Apparently after Sealth became co-ed in the mid-70s all the lesbians went to work at the Girl Scouts camp. There is a disturbing incident that comes to mind where we visiting CITs had to run the gauntlet of welcome through many cheering Girl Scout campers and counselors. Many bottoms were swatted and not one of them belonged to the two very cute male CITs or the very cute male driver (Chark! Tweet tweet, get out of the water!) we had with us that year. Nothing wrong with anyone's persuasion, whichever way they lean. The moral of the story is just that I have no gaydar and I never have. I'm still convinced Barry Manilow is straight.

There was the time I ended up at second base with another very cute male CIT in a squeaky camp bunk while five other CITs slept around us. Good kisser that guy. Another Scorpio. We stayed in touch for several years. I still have a piece of his pants on my camp tie from that summer.

Then there was the time I did a live-in as a CIT with one of the boys' cabins. A live-in was part of being a second year CIT where you spent a whole session (five days for this one, I think) shadowing a counselor with their cabin. I had started out with a girls' cabin (cause I thought I preferred working with girls) but some of the campers didn't show up and they disbanded my cabin so they moved me over to one of the boys' cabins. I became the darling of the Milky Way unit (four boys' cabins, at least 40 boys that session). All the Village girls (7th and 8th grade) were in love with my boys. I was the only girl allowed (by the boys) in any of their cabins in the unit. As part of the live-in, we did an overnight in the woods. It was me (couple months shy of my 17th birthday), two male counselors (probably about 19 or 20 years old), and 20 little boys age 6 to 12 in the woods. Somehow, practically every counselor in camp found a reason to do a walk through at our site (a few counselors, usually the leaders of a unit, were assigned to walk through each of the sites being occupied for an overnight to see how they were doing, if they needed anything -- kind of like a performance review combined with a what-did-you-forget-to-pack). We found it fairly amusing, the two counselors and I, mostly because this particular site was set up so that the sleeping shelter was some distance away from the main fire area. In other words, me and two guys are in sleeping bags hanging out by the fire and gossiping about counselors while all our campers are out of our (and their) sight, although we could still hear them if they needed us. So a counselor comes strolling up, sees we're off by ourselves and chats us up as long as they possibly can. They leave, then about 15 minutes later here comes another counselor. I think at least five of them came by our site that night. Really funny part, as I found out later, was that one of the counselors in that unit -- although not on the overnight with us -- was very interested in me. Wonder what ever happened to him?

I learned a lot of things at Camp Sealth. I started to learn that I could be who I was, not who anyone else expected me to be (or tried to force me to be). I learned to cook just about damn thing you could imagine on a camp fire. We're talking five course chinese meals here, people. Dinners cooked in foil. Dinners cooked in mailboxes. Cakes. This stuff was fantastic that we cooked. I learned to eat salad at summer camp (you always had to take at least three bluebird bites of anything before saying no). I learned how to sucker punch a guy. I learned you can smoke the leaves of some random bush in the woods wrapped up in toilet paper (aka "Shippy's Retreat"). I learned that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I learned that fairies are real. I learned that singing songs from the movie Grease 2 on a 45 minute hike through the woods will not endear you to anyone. I learned that the secret to a really fabulous camp fire is to use a plate. We nearly set the woods on fire one night. But it was a really fabulous camp fire.

--the CilleyCampingGirl

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Guess who's coming to dinner?

It's you!

I was bored tonight so I took out the camera while I was cooking my dinner. So you get to come along for the ride. Heh.

Tonight's menu is a small green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, steak, baked potato with sour cream, glazed carrots, and a whole wheat roll. Total calories: 614.

To cook tonight's steak extravaganzaa I had to fire up this big-ass grill....

To cook this itty bitty steak.....

Don't blame me. The grill belonged to my ex. He left it behind along with the dog.

I definitely got the better end of the deal. That's her waiting down below for a chance to lick the plate and maybe get a bite of steak. Speaking of which, let's see how it's doing, shall we?

Oooh, very pretty.

And very lonely here on this big grill with no one to keep it company but a roll (the baked potato was in the microwave.

All in all, it was a successful dinner. I love those glazed carrots.

I typically cook every night. My budget doesn't stretch to eating out every night, and neither do my jeans. Earlier this week there were turkey bacon burgers with roasted potatos and baked beans. Also some carrots. Did I mention I like glazed carrots? Tomorrow will again be steak, freshly grilled on the big-ass grill. After that, maybe turkey burgers, maybe chicken caesar salad. This weekend? I'm thinking salmon.

Hungry now? Good!

--the CilleyCookingGirl

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What's love got to do with it?

I was asked recently what I thought love was. It's not something I've really tried to formulate into words, so consequently I've been thinking a lot about it.

I think people are like pieces of a puzzle. We each have one of those pieces that pokes out and one of those places where another piece pops in. It doesn't mean we're incomplete on our own; the net effect is zero. But our own pieces don't fit together. For one thing, we don't bend that way. For another, the pieces are different sizes. So we look in others for the pieces that fit ours, and in turn fit theirs.

Some people never find another who fits. Maybe their pieces are too big for yours, or yours are too small; either way, the balance is tipped. You can go on like that; some people are willing to stay with a partner who meets most although not all of their needs. they believe, for whatever reason, that they should stay; close is good enough in light of the risk that they'll never find the piece that fits.

Some people believe it's worse to have a piece that doesn't fit. Again, we're not less without the other piece, but rather than with them we're more. If we find the other piece, it's the brass ring. If not, we get along.

There may be more than one perfect fit. And others are so close, you'd never notice. All of it depends on you and how you want to live your life and how you want to be a part of another's.

I've only lived with one person in my thirty-mumble years. He wasn't a good fit by any means. But it's all I have to gauge whether what I'd like to have in a relationship is really feasible. I think it is.

I want someone who complements me. I'm introverted, nearly socially phobic in certain situations. I have no problem striking up a conversation in an anonymous setting, like a department store. I'll chat about all sorts of things with the cashier ringing up my purchases. But put me in a setting where a relationship is supposed to result and on my own I can not do it. The other night I was at a mixer where people were there to meet their sports teams. As luck would have it, it turns out I was the only person there who didn't have a team. As I looked around at everyone else getting to know their teammates, I felt absolutely excluded. My approach to most social situations like this is, why would anyone want to talk to me? In this instance, where everyone had a reason to talk to everyone but me, I was frozen. I couldn't make myself go up to anyone. They were meeting their teammates, I wasn't a teammate, why would they want to talk to me? And I left, as soon as I could.

Anyone who doesn't have this problem is reading this and thinking I'm crazy. But a phobia isn't rational.

Now, in a relationship I'd want a partner who wouldn't push me out of my comfort zone but rather would lead me out of it. Take me by the hand, walk up to the nearest stranger or two and say "Hi! I'm blah, and this is my girlfriend/fiancee/wife." After that, I can do it. I can take it from there. It's that first step that I need someone to help me to take.

So, requirement one: Someone whose strengths are my weaknesses. And vice versa. Because, oddly, if he needed me to walk up with him to strangers and strike up a conversation? I could do that. Yes, I know it makes no sense. Again, phobia, no rational.

What else? Requirement two: Physically intimate. I need affection. I need to show affection. Not sex (or at least not just sex), but all the thousand little touches between two people. I've kind of been saving up.

Requirement three: Someone who wants to take care of me, and who wants and lets me take care of him. I'm a big nester. I've always wanted a home and someone to take care of. I've gotten used to taking care of myself, and it can be a little difficult to let someone take care of me but I'm willing to try.

Requirement four: Shared and separate interests. I want things we can do together, but also some things we can do apart. Again, big nester. I like to read. I like to watch TV. Go off and scale mountains or something while I do that. Then later we'll have things to talk about.

I'll put some more thought into this and see what else I come up. Such a serious topic for a CilleyGirl.

the Not-So-CilleyGirl

Thursday, September 04, 2008

What to say?

Hmm, I thought I'd figure out what to say when I started to write, but so far no dice. I guess I will try again later!

Still Cilley,
That Girl