Sunday, April 27, 2008

Not my Peeps

The ongoing search for the perfect living room continues, and we got a tip from friends to check out this boutique store in Cherry Creek - Djuna.

Great stuff. I walked into the store and immediately loved the sofa in the front window.

It's $13,000. THIRTEEN. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. Just let that sink in for a moment. 1-3-0-0-0.

Who on earth spends that much on a sofa? Not me, I can tell you that. THat's more than I spent for my first car. Add in a chair and it would be more than I paid for my current car!

We found a whole bunch of funky sofas, though, and we both really like another one from the same designer, which is only 8K. Still too much to pay for furniture, says my Minnesotan Conscience. Waaay to much.

So we bagged the sofa search and walked over to the mall to get some lunch. As we sat down to eat, the Adorable Husband leans over and says, "you know, I know that we make at least as much money as the people who are shopping here, you feel underdressed and out-of-place?"

Cherry Creek is a very high-end mall, and we spent the rest of lunch watching the people coming and going. Very well dressed, more as if shopping was an event to see and be seen. I definitely felt like we were dumpy and in the wrong place. These are definitely not "my peeps". The people who shop here own 47 pairs of shoes and put on Italian loafers to go shopping. They're coiffed. THey're fully made up. No one is walking around in sweatpants. Every baby carriage is the uber-SUV model.

So yeah, I do feel underdressed and out of place. It as distinctly uncomfortable. Weird.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Factoid for the Day

"At autopsy Napoleon was over 5 feet 6 inches tall -- the average height of adult men at that time. Thus, "the little corporal" was not that little. The popular misconception that Napoleon was short may derive from the fact that the French "foot" ("pied de roi") was 12.78 inches. Thus, when French sources gave his height as 5 feet 2 inches, the height in English feet would have been 5 feet 6 and a half inches."

Friday, April 25, 2008


Ok, I'm back dating a couple of these to fill everyone in with how life at Chez Phouka has been in the last week. I've been horrifically busy with work, so here goes:

We had a readjustments of the dogpack here over the weekend. Rowan has been subtly and not-to-subtly pushing to be "top dog" amongst the beasties for a while now. He's as big as Uulaq and seems to be a much pushier personality than she is. Up until now, Uulaq has been in charge just due to being the "old dog" and having been here the longest. As the puppies near a year old, though, Rowan is feeling his oats.

They've had a few scuffles in the last weeks -- nothing too serious, just snarking and biting and general noise-and-furor. We've separated them, and they both got scolded for that sort of behavior in the house. Sunday, though, they did it again and Uulaq backed down (well, backed down is probably not the right word -- hightailed it into my office and hid behind my desk is a better description) and Rowan was the de facto winner.

It went to his head. For the next two days, he was constantly picking on the other two -- demanding their toys, wanting to sleep in their beds, shouldering them out of position to eat, that sort of thing. Newly minted kingship made him a pain in the butt. He figured he was now very important, and lorded if over everyone. Uulaq and Berit seem to go along with this just fine, and the humans in the household reasserted our "we have thumbs" superiority easily enough.

But then...Rowan put on his "I'm So Damned Special Hat" and went to dog camp. When all the other dogs didn't immediately bow to his specialness, he apparently picked fights all day long, culiminating in a serial fight with three different dogs in the space of a few minutes. They had to turn the hose on him to get him to back off. No one was hurt at all -- just a lot of excitement and scared dogs. No one was worried that Rowan would bit a person, but he was out of control. We were informed of the "incident" and took him home -- he was all out of sorts and we figured either he didn't feel well, had been totally traumatized by the hose, or was sulking.

Most likely, he's just a teenager. He's hit that stupid stage where he is defiant, bratty, and just plain horrid while he figures out what th enew rules are now that he weighs 90 pounds and isn't a "puppy" anymore. Note that Berit is just fine through all of this. Sweet and loveable.

Wednesday, he was not much better. No more fighting, but he was definitely not his normal self. No wagging, no nothing. He spend most of the day hiding in the living room by the chair or laying on the porch outside. Most definitely something wrong. We chalked it up to the Bad Day on Tuesday and decided to ignore it.

Yesterday, though, I htink I may have discovered the source of the problem. I locked myself in my office and went to work, and at some point during the day he apparently had some sort of distress and went into the corner of the dining room and left the biggest pile of poop that I have ever seen come out of one of our dogs. Seriously -- for a second, I was trying to figure out how all three dogs had managed to hit the exact same spot. I'm talking pounds here. Circus-shovel needed for cleanup. I only passed on taking a picture because would be just too gross, but I'll admit that it did occur to me.

I know it was him for several reasons: 1) Uulaq would never do that in the house. She's explode first, 2) Both Uulaq and Berit would whine or scratch at the door before that happened, 3) I saw both of them doing their own business outside that morning and 4) he slunk around like the guilty party when I discovered it.

Process of elimination (no pun intended) led to the culprit: Rowan.

And, lo-and-behold...he's back to his happy self again. Perky, wagging, bouncing around and wanting attention. Sweet Rowan has returned.

Well, I would have been a wee bit cranky too if I'd been that backed up! Poor guy! It's no excuse for going all Cujo at the puppy camp, but it definitely would be a factor in why he was so horrid.

Regardless of why it happened, we are still in trouble at Puppy Camp. Luckly, they have had the puppies there for almost eight months and are very familiar with them, and recognize that this was really out of character for him. So, while we've been asked not to come back for a couple of weeks while things settle out, we aren't banned or anything. The owner of the camp was very happy that I understood the reasons and not upset about it (well, I am a bit upset -- it's like being called from day care and told you can't bring your kid back because they are a shithead) but we'll try again in a week or two, to see if he has gotten over his Uber-Specialness attitude.

I think he has. I think it was a combination of not feeling well and being a snotty brat, and he's probably learned his lesson. But we'll see. It's only a big issue right now becuase I'm going to be out of town for a week and the Adorable Husband has to manage the weasels by himself while being on call -- which could mean a looong time locked in my office for them. We'll see if I have an office left when I return!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tech Geek Lust

I have an antique Royall typewriter on my desk. While I don't use it much, it makes me feel more in touch with "writing" than the plastic clack of a computer keyboard. There is something very satisfying about banging away on the old keys until the bell rings and you a have to manually return the platen to start another line.

Which is why I am lusting uncontrollably after this:

Yes, a fully functional "modern" keyboard for a computer, made from brass, copper, and original typewriter keys. I love the look of it. Don't check th FAQ for pricing unless you have a stout heart, though, these things are custom made and are works of art unto themselves.

I want one. Oh, I couldn't type on it all the time, of course (I like the soft action of a membrane-type keyboard, not the physical switches of the old IBM-type keyboards, not to mention I use a split keyboard exclusively because it hurt my hands less). But I'd just like ot have it sitting on my desk to admire it .

Schizophrenic weather

Just thought I'd let everyone know that yesterday, it was 83 degrees. Eighty-three. Hot. I turned the air conditioning on.


Right now, it's 31 degrees outside and SNOWING.

Spring in Colorado is fun, eh?

Tennis, anyone?

There is a reason that we don't have tennis balls around the house. Some dogs love them...ours just eat them.

This was a perfectly good tennis ball four minutes ago.


Plaaaaay with meeeeee

This is what I see during the day while working at my desk. Puppy snouts squeezed in between my monitor and speakers!

Obviously I'm not paying enough attention to the them!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zombie Puppies

The last two times we have dropped the weasels off at camp (Camp Bow Wow), they have had a ton of dogs -- 97 last week, 60 or so this week.

With that many dogs showing up to camp each day, the puppies come home absolutely zombified. They are so tired they can barely walk, and collapse in heaps on the floor as soon as they are inside. Berit fell asleep in the hall, looking like she'd just fallen down and been unable to move. Both of them were inert lumps until the next morning (and even then, a bit groggy). Camp is goooood.

I laughed about this to my coworker, who nodded and once again confirmed that puppies are not that different from kids: her daughter (4) has been moved up to the "big kids" room at daycare and by the time she comes home at the end of the day, she's done. Look at her crosseyed and she'll completely fall apart and cry, she's so tired. She's too tired to eat. t takes a lot of work to keep up with the big kids!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Polish Tapas

Where some of these conversations come up, I have no idea. We were in the car talking about appetizers and the fact that I actually blogged a bacon-wrapped tater tot recipe because it sounded so good, and I pointed out that of course it would: I'm polish. Potatoes are my life.

Which morphed into a discussion of the perfect snack. We finally devised what we thought would be the perfect finger food for our household (Polish and Scandinavian):

White-cheddar mashed potatoes and bacon in fried wonton shells. Perhaps rolled up like tiny little potato burritos. I argued that they had to be bite-sized, so the mashed potatoes wouldn't ooze out when you tried to eat them, and the Adorable Husband proposed the little egg-roll skins instead of wontons.

Yes, we're weird. But now I have a strange craving for mashed-potato-bacon-wontons.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Brilliant Catalog

Got a link for this today -- -- click the link and just wait, don't select any products.

Someone had a blast with this site.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What's wrong with this Picture?

CNBC has a very nice photo series showing how tax dollars are allocated - 42% to the military, 4.4% to education, etc.

Looks like we should be allotting 42% to education. Then maybe we'll mak the grad.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pass me a beer

Saw a cute quote today:

"If television is a babysitter, then the internet is a drunk librarian that won't shut up." - unknown

I have a hard time remembering Life Without Google -- having so much information available at my fingertips, being able to look up almost everything (well, as long as you learn how to filter out the whackos, I guess) is a given nowadays. Remember when you had no options to research the best price for something? When you never saw a newspaper article from a different city? When, if you wanted to speak to a public forum, you probably could not?

Sure, the 'net is full of drivel (this blog is probably in that list!), but the ratio of good, useful information to worthless tripe is pretty good. Well, if you eliminate the porn, I guess (although I'm sure the ration of good: bad is probably the same in that genre, too).

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ultimate Geek Toys!

Ooh! I need one of these!

I was never a Doctor Who fan until the most recent incarnation -- but I am absolutely enamored of the nifty Dr. Who toys! This is a fully-functional 4-port USB hub.

It even makes noise.

Friday, April 04, 2008

New British Coin Design

Britain is issuing new coins, this year, and the redesign is a modern take on the Royal Arms. The coins look very avante garde, and they are quite attractive. (The design was chosen from a pool of proposed designs in an open 'contest' a few years ago. The winner was a London graphics designer who quite unusually treated the coins as a single entitly -- each coin contains part of the Royal Arms, and when arranged properly, they display the whole shield. It's really kind of cool). You can see the whole collection here.
The Royal Arms is divided into four parts: England being represented by the three lions passant guardant in the first and fourth quarters, the Scottish lion rampant in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third, with all four quarters spread over the six coins from the 1p to the 50p. Completing the new range of coins is the £1 coin featuring the shield of the Royal Arms in its entirety, uniting the six fragmented elements into one design.
It's only slightly unfortunate that two of the coins feature... lion butts.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Cat Charades

I can't find a video on youtube -- I think the ad is too new. But watch for the Tidy Cat commerical with the cat's playing charades, it cracked me up!

Cat owner arrives home, and starts talking to her cats about the new litter she has bought.

"Oh! Charades!" one of the cats 'says'.

"Yeah, yeah, three words..."

And they start guessing what the weird gestures are. It's absolutely hilarious, and they caught the "oh, I shall deign to notice you" attitude that cat's have perfectly.