Saturday, September 30, 2006

Schnauzer stand-off

The Poopy Wars may be over soon -- all praise to the doG of Antibiotics -- but the stand-off continues.

Friday, September 29, 2006

L. Charlton Heston

Here's L doing our very own Ben-Hur chariot race

HRH rules

Here she is claiming the highest spot on the couch -- the arm rest. The little squirt is on what we call the day bed -- properly, Queeni's day bed. She used to love lying in it and watching out of the full-length window. She doesn't like to do that any more ever since Rupert decided to sleep in it. I feel really bad for her.

However, today, she got her own back at Rupert. She humped him to show him who's HRH Boss. Then she used her paw to smack him in the head. The bitch is back.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Making himself at home

Spot the puppy -- like HRH, this guy is into couch cushion camouflage too. Well, that was yesterday. Today, he found the "day bed" that HRH's godma gave her and decided to blend into the soft toys. Her soft toys, I may add.

His first day manners are over now that he's making himself at home. Which means I have to rethink the plants on the lower level of the plant stand -- he has already used the money plant as a high-fibre supplement to his diet.

He has also found his voice. L called me at work so that I could hear him in the background. I heard him again today, barking at the neighbours who dared to enter their own home.

The only good thing is that if he's feeling comfortable enough to do all this, then the diarrhoea will stop. Please goD

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The great divide

The couch is like the Berlin Wall now. I feel for HRH, I really do. As reigning Queen, she should be in comfort on the couch and the young upstart should be taking the floor.

The washing machine got a break this morning. But that was because I took Rupert out at almost 3.30am last night, before I went to bed, and again at 7am. Then L took him out at 9am and again at 11am. Since he didn't have any water overnight, I don't know where the copious amounts of pee he produced at those outings came from. We may never again sleep for 8 hours at a stretch -- but at least it saved us from cleaning up.

We withheld food for 24 hours, so there's no diarrhoea either. His last poop at 7am was soft but at least not watery, enough consistency to hold its shape as poop. There you go, dog parents talk dirty like this all the time. I hope that's the end of the squirts.

L is now in a quandary. He will leave the house for a few hours to send me to work. The original plan for the times Rupert is unsupervised is for him to be in the ex pen. But L is deadly afraid of coming home to another shit-hit-the-fan clean-up and is toying with the idea of putting Rupert in the bathroom, just like G did.

Deep doo doo

Dear Queeni's subjects, Rupert fans and gentle readers, we are still here and have not drowned under a deluge of diarrhoea as suggested when we didn't post for a day. BlogSpot hiccuped on me. It let me upload pix, compose posts but right at the end, wouldn't publish. What a tease.

We've got a handle on waste management because L took Rupert out every two hours through the night last night. Poor man. He hardly slept. But at least the cleaning and laundry this morning was considerably less.

So we thought the poop situation seems a little more ah, solid. It was certainly better than Monday night when I came home to L cleaning poop from the ex pen. More hollow laughs. This evening, L put Rupert in the ex pen while he walked HRH. Whereupon Rupert not only went in his ex pen but kicked about what he discharged. When it was his turn to go out, he did his stuff but then came home to pee on the floor not 10 minutes after the walk. And left a few small patches of diarrhoea for good measure.

G is calling himself SuperPooperCleanMan and is contemplating a Tshirt with a P (as opposed to Superman's S) but I think L is going to want that Tshirt for himself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Full house

The row of hooks next to the door is very full now.

My friend's daughter and son-in-law have recently adopted a baby and SIL is tied up in municipal administrative red tape in trying to get the six weeks' adoption leave he is entitled to.

And this for a "normal" adoption. My company gives us adoption leave of 30 days. Whaddaya think will happen if I try and claim adoption leave for Rupert? He is my son, what. They didn't say my son have to have two legs.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Couch wars

I have not been able to get a good picture of the Queen and her new subject together yet. Here's why. Pix 1 was taken 24 hours before Rupert arrived. Pix 2 was taken 24 hours after he arrived. There is at least a similarity -- both siblings take snuggling into the couch cushions very seriously. Only they do so at separate moments. Pix 3 is the big picture that tells all -- she rules from one end of the couch and he's relegated to the other end.

A gangly fox terrier, apparently, can hold an infinite amount of waste products. This morning alone, we've had three clean-ups: two pee events and one diaorrhea episode. And the diaorrhea was *after* I took him outside at 6.30am when he dutifully did a watery dump. No need to clean up poop this morning, I triumphantly thought, as we went back to bed. How wrong.

Given that the day has already started, and the washing machine has already gone through two rounds of washing waste, I'm almost afraid how the day will end.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Kick start

Parenthood started off at 8am this morning with the smell of puppy poop. Rupert had diarrhoeaed in his crate and stepped all over it so it was a two-person clean-up job -- one to tackle the dog and the other the crate. And all without the benefit of morning caffeine. L didn't even have his glasses on. HRH watched in shock from the foot of the bed. It was too early for her too.

Father and daughter have since retired back to bed. It's only 10.30am after all. The son is on my lap as I type, his chin in the crook of my elbow. What a sweetie. Of course the diarrhoea and early start are forgiven.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

He's here!

And he's a very good boy. His irrepressibly energetic fox terrier moments give way to cuddles on the couch -- I'm quite surprised he's such a snuggler. HRH, of course, is thoroughly disgusted. She spent the evening guarding the couch and now she's too tuckered out to care so he's crept up and is snuggling next to his Daddy. He probably bonds better with men since he's been in an all-male household so far.

HRH is horrified by his meal time manners though. You should have seen the look on her face -- she eats daintily and never spills. He, however, put his paw into his dish and nosed out all his kibble, then he gobbled them off the floor. Then he nosed his dish all over and spilled more food. I think he needs to get the idea that he can eat off the dish, not spill out the food and then eat it.

No housetraining accidents so far. It's the weekend and we're home to talk him for potty walks every few hours, and L has got Monday and Tuesday off. So fingers crossed, we're off to a good housetraining start.

I've forgotten what it means to have a short-haired dog that sheds. Tomorrow, we're going to buy a hand-held DustBuster.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Matching set

OK, for P who wondered about the new Terry Prachett book I'd mentioned in yesterday's posting. It's 'Thud' and it's not really that new, it must have existed as a hardcover for oh, maybe nine months if not a whole year already. In fact, the opening chapter was already published in the last book. Prachett has become a tease.

I never pay the premium for a hardcover if I know it's going to come out as a paperback. I'm prepared to wait because I know it's going to be a good book. Of course this only applies to authors that you've established that you like.

The only hard covers I buy are the ones that I don't think will ever make it to paperback because they're not that commercial. 'Marley & Me' being one of them.

Besides, if I'd bought the Prachett as a hardcover, it wouldn't match the series of Disc World paperbacks on my shelf. I guess I do judge books by their covers after all.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Oh crikey

I didn't know that Steve Irwin's funeral was telecast live on TV until D told me but even if I did, I wasn't going to watch anyway. I'm not a big fan. I didn't even think he was so big in Oz, I thought it was American TV that made him.

No disrespect to the dead. My condolences go to his widow and especially his young children. I know he did a lot for conservation and was passionate about his animals but I'm just not enarmoured of his approach. It's so invasive. To the animals that he grappled and to the audience. I'm sure he really cared for the animals but I'm quite appalled by the way he manhandled them and I think that shows a lack of respect for them as individuals.

Watch, don't touch was a big mantra when I used to dive. And it goes for land animals too. At the back of my head, I have a mental image of a croc high-fiving a sting ray. Sorry but I'm with Germaine Greer on this one:,,1865124,00.html

A picture on the BBC News website shows his staff at Australia Zoo lined up in an honour guard. They were carrying koalas, and there was a croc among the line of koalas. The koalas next to the croc were eyeing it in consternation. If they'd respected the koalas, they wouldn't stick a croc in there amongst them. Even if it's a juvenile croc and the koalas had bigger claws. Just because an animal lets you carry it doesn't mean it's yours to do what you want with, you still need to respect its point of view even if you're in control of the situation.

Which is why I don't really like how HRH sometimes gets carried about like a little stuffed toy. Oh, she'll let you if she knows you well enough, she likes the attention. But just because she's cute and small doesn't mean she's a live cuddly toy. She's really boils down to a small wolf in our midst.

Which will undoubtedly surface this weekend. It's set. Rupert moves in on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Marley and me

So after months and months of steeling myself, I think I'm finally ready to read 'Marley & Me'. Can't be so hard to find a book that became an overnight success, right? Wrong.

Went to the bookstore. Looked for it on the Best Sellers shelf. Not there. Looked at New Titles. Not there. Looked at Most Popular. Also not there. Not in Non Fiction either. Nor in Biographies. So looked for the Pet Section. How else could you classify a book about a guy and his dog?Then could not find the Pet Section. It's not where it usually is. How could a whole section disappear? I so hate it when stores rearrange entire sections, it throws you out of kilter. So finally, had to queue up at Information.

The book was in the Pet Section after all. Only they've shifted the Pet Section way to the back, in a corner that can be reached only through an alley of shelves. Like where they keep the adult videos. If you could buy adult videos here. But you know what I mean.

All the shelves in the store are numbered and the clerk at Information kindly scribbled on a scrap of paper the shelf number where the book was. Only when I located the shelf, it was full of breed-specific dog books. Which weren't listed alphabetically by order. So I looked for the Labrador books. Marley was a Lab, that much I knew. Was trying to take some initiative there. Actually, I wasn't going all that way to the bookstore only to be thwarted by not being able to find the book I wanted. Wasn't there.

OK, so maybe I was given the wrong shelf number. But at least I knew I was in the right section. I looked on the surrounding shelves, with the general dog books. Wasn't next to James Herriot (Dog Fiction). Wasn't next to Elizabeth Marshall Thomas (Dog Non Fiction). Finally saw it next to Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan (Dog Training). I don't know how a book subtitled 'Life and love with the world's worst dog' ended up with the dog training titles. Or maybe that was precisely why it got shelved there. It was the only copy on the shelf and it had a 20% discount label -- the type they stick on the bin ends to finish the stock. Oh wait, bin ends are for wines. Remainders, that's it. (see, it does pay to read Dave Barry, you know what Rock-bottom Remainders are)

Went to Starbucks, got a coffee, sat down and read. OK, everybody knows that the dog dies. It would be like 'My Dog Skip' -- which had me crying so bad, I was actually afraid to watch the movie when it came out. I figured that as long as I didn't read the last chapter in public, I wouldn't be a basket case among strangers.

I didn't even get to the first chapter. I was already in tears at the preface. Where John Grogan's mother tells him that she's only ever seen his father cry twice -- when they lost his stillborn sister and when the dog of his childhood died. It was exactly like how my mother told me that she saw Dad bursting into tears for the first time after Spock died.

I had to close the book in a hurry and switch to the new Terry Prachett that I had also bought. As it was, I went into work with red eyes. I think I can only continue with Marley when I'm cocooned at home. And with HRH on my lap as some sort of guardian.

All of you who told me to read it -- why didn't you warn me about the preface?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Eternal rest

OK, too many text-only entries and we need some pix on this page.

What, you think I only upload pix of the dog? :)

The slogan on this hoarding for the construction of a condo really bothers me. I don't know about you but to me, it cuts pretty close to advertising for a burial plot.

People who think of condo names need help. There's one in Bishan called Rafflesia. It's next to Raffles Institution and probably takes its name from the esteemed school. Only thing is, the developer forgot that Rafflesia is a mutant-looking ugly stinky flower. It's not the sort of flower you'd put in a bouquet. Its scent has been described as a rotting corpse, I think it's supposed to attract flies or something, protein for the flower to feed on.

And there's Avalon in Stevens Road. Every time I pass it, I wonder if the residents encountered any undead English kings or faery folk wandering about the pool.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dreamy stuff

Picking up from where Compaunmeri left off ( -- still missing the hyperlink option on the Safari interface) about weird dreams.

On Saturday, dreamt that there was a concert at the auditorium at the office building. I paid no attention to it because they're always holding school band concerts there . But when strains of Midnight Oil's 'Beds are Burning' came pounding out, I had to go watch. Turned out that INXS was playing. And they were doing it sprawled across a sofa, except for Michael Hutchence on a bar stool at the footlights. I had my digicam with me and wanted to take pix but at first was too shy to, but then reasoned that they must be used to people taking pix of them, so elbowed my way down to the front of the auditorium. And took a pix of Michael Hutchence. And then even in my dream, I wondered, how is that possible? Michael Hutchence is dead. That must be JD Fortune singing. So I previewed the shots on the camera to check. Only the shots that I'd taken of Michael Hutchence all turned out to be close-up shots of the audience screaming.

dee-dee-deedy dee-dee-deedy (Twilight Zone theme)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ready for Rupert

I was at Ikea and saw this cheerful dog dish, and so bought it. In readiness for Rupert. I also bought a matching placemat for his feeding area. Actually, I bought two placemats -- I guess I'd be buying dog stuff in pairs now, so there wouldn't be any sibling rivalry, I told L later. He says I'm being a human parent. Ah, kids, two-legged, four-legged, what's the difference. Try tellling HRH she has to share her toys.

All right, about Rupert. C&G, our friends who already have Toby, a wiry fox terrier, were ready for a second dog. C found a smooth fox terrier pup, made all the arrangements to get it and when he went to get it, could not get out of his head the image of the remaining pup, all dirty, sad and alone in a cage. So he went back for it. What's another pup, he thought?

Well, the problem as C&G later found out, puppy poop increases exponentially. And poor Toby, the perfectly housetrained gentleman who'd rather bust a bladder than pee inappropriately. Every time Rupert and Colin got disciplined for housetraining violations, Toby would hide under the bed.

And then things got hairier. C had to go back to Japan for a while. And once again, G had to deal with a Toby emergency by himself when he wrenched a leg. And then Colin started pooping blood and that's two sick dogs, two puppies grappling with housetraining and only one pair of hands.

So the pups are up for adoption. Not an open adoption though, C will only let it go to friends or friends of friends. While they initially took the two pups to remove them out of a bad situation, they clearly weren't equipped to handle three dogs.

We knew we'd have Dog No 2 sometime. But I was thinking sometime would be next year, after having settled down into the new flat and enjoyed our space. Now, we're rethinking. And rethinking fast before G has a breakdown cleaning puppy poop.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lazy, rainy day

This was supposed to be an easy week, as I only have four working days. I worked Sunday and Monday, then had a break on Tuesday, then worked another two days before a Friday to Sunday long weekend.

It wasn't even like four working days strung out one after another, I had a day's break in between. So I don't know why I came back home last night and collapsed. Went straight to bed. Didn't even brush my teeth. That's how drained I was. OK, I slept for four hours then got up, had a hot chocolate and then brushed my teeth and went back to bed.

Age must be catching up on me. It used to be that I'd stay up late on days off. Go clubbing till dawn. Stuff like that. Now, I look forward to days off because I can go to bed early.

Woke up to the sound of thunder this morning and decided there was no point getting up as I couldn't walk HRH in the rain. As long as I stayed in bed, so would she. So by the time we actually spilled out of bed, it was 3pm. There went all the plans of going downtown to the bookstore. I have a bit of a list and 'Marley & Me' is on it -- I figure I can deal with a book where the dog dies now that I have a prospective puppy coming to lift things up (more about the puppy later, it's another story for another time).

At least I made it to Ikea when I was off on Tuesday. I only needed one thing -- another shelf for the bathroom. It costs only $9 so I wasn't going to spend $20 on a taxi there to get it (getting a taxi back would be another thing, I'd be loaded down with stuff), $40 on transport for a $9 item didn't make sense. So I took a leisurely train ride down, strolled around, added stuff to my cart (how can you pass up $1 placemats, 50 cents dog dishes), more of the Swedish meatballs and the pear cider which I like from their food section, and lo and behold, I had spent $200. I have no idea how that happened.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Did you hear that, Mr Wolfowitz?

Last night, L called KFC/Pizza Hut delivery (they share the same delivery phone number) and got put on hold. For the first time. For a rather long time. When he finally got to speak to the operator, he joked that the IMF-World Bank meetings that taking place here now must be keeping them busy. To his surprise, the operator told him that it was indeed so, and that they were having quite a time fulfilling their orders.

Wow. You'd think that well-heeled bankers would be able to afford to dine at the many fancy restaurants around the convention centre and not have to call for pizza.

And even if they were feeling an economic pinch, financial institutions and businesses are jostling with each other to hold glitzy receptions for the delegates.

Some enterprising merchants are trying to get some dollars out of the 16,000 delegates in town for the meetings. Some restaurants are offering free coffee and tea, there's a clothes retailer offering a 10 per cent discount for delegates and one hospital is having a special on botox for them. (!)

But my favourite is the ad that urges them to "Take Advantage of Our Low Prices in Singapore..."

The company sells hearing aids.

I'm sure there's a subtle hint about the state of the global economy in this.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh poop
Barbie has a dog and it poops! It even come with a pooper scooper for Barbie to neatly and hygienically remove poochie's byproducts.

Well, thanks but I got the real poochie pooping stuff here.

And let me tell you, dog poop can cause heart attacks. Yesterday, we had heavy rain in the late afternoon and the grass was still damp when HRH Prissy Paws went out for her late-night constitutional. Which meant that she had one quick pee and then refused to do anything else so we thought she was done, especially as she doesn't always poop in the evenings. Only when we came back upstairs, she squatted on the corridor. Squarely in front of the Malay neighbours' doorway. They normally leave their front door open in the day time but this was late at night, close to midnight, so the door was closed, thank goD. But I could hear the TV on behind the closed door so they were still up. L quickly slipped the newspaper poop sheet under HRH as soon as she squatted but I was terrified that they'd hear rustling and open the door and catch this haram unislamic dog doing unspeakable things right on their threshold. I'm sure these infidel Chinese and their dog would be crucified for sure.

Bet this doesn't happen to Barbie.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Five years on, it's still very emotional. And I'm not even American.

The first anniversary of 9-11, I was in sleepy Maui. I'd just come out of a bookstore and there was a fire station down the road and the firefighters were lowering the flag and standing at attention to honour fallen comrades. Hawaii's part of the US, of course, but it's so different in spirit from the mainland, I didn't at first think there would be much to commemorate the anniversary. Nobody in the street actually paid much attention, only this tourist stopped (and took a photo), it was as if the Maui firefighters were in their own little world. But how wrong I was. That was when it hit me that it doesn't matter where you are, nobody forgets 9-11, its sheer magnitude reverberates worldwide. And today, we all remember.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I wonder if Moses would have liked fried rice

The stall at the Compass Point (the mall five minutes' walk from our flat) food court that does the fried noodles must have had a change in management. They've certainly had a change in crockery and a change in the the name of the stall. They used to be called Mini Wok, serving up their offering in well, mini woks -- tiny little steel woks that hold just one portion. It was really quite cute, eating off woks that clearly weren't meant to be used for cooking. Now they're Original Manna. Menu's still the same though -- all manner of fried noodles and fried rice. Which look so prosaic in food court melamine plates.

I don't care if they say it's original. But I'm pretty sure that Moses and the Children of Israel did not gather fried vermicelli with the dew every morning.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wet dog

It's amazing how much a Schnauzer can shrink when it gets a bath. :)

Looks like the ragamuffin needs a haircut soon.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Back to work

You wonder how everyone does it, trudging to work five days in a row, slogging it out and then trudging back in a state of near collapse. Week after week, year after year. It's enough to depress anybody, no matter how much you love your job.

It's harder when you've had a week off. Five working days hit hard when they come after a week of goofing off (and no, I didn't manage to go to Ikea, that's how switched off I was). A Saturday off that's filled with chores that piled up and back to work on Sunday.

Though I really shouldn't complain. The roster is good to me this month. Tomorrow is the only Sunday I have to work in September, the rest of the Sabbaths can be kept holy.

And this week was a good week going to work on the bus -- it's the one-week mid-semester break for the schoolchildren, so that meant that the bus was free of sweaty kids. It really makes a difference on a sunny afternoon when you need a motive to get out of the house and into work.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


A party that lasted almost 12 hours -- we started at 3pm so all those poor sods who were rostered to work on Saturday night could come and have some wine before trudging off to work, and the last lot didn't leave till 2.30am, people kindly came in three or four waves so we had restive lulls in between; four dogs in the house at one stage, with one "accident" and one deliberate marking -- and not a single photo to show for it.

Sorry, ES.

Or maybe this post-party pooped-out one will make up.

The beef rendang was excellent -- J, who lives down the street wanted to take the whole chafing dish load back -- the mee siam so-so and I don't much care if I don't eat another kueh till Christmas. Or anything with gula melaka and covered with coconut.

On Friday night, we went back to our old house to invite the old neighbours. HRH got really excited and strained at her leash. We unhooked the leash and when the lift doors opened on the 10th floor, she trotted left down the corridor and straight for our old flat and waited expectantly at the front door.

The old neighbours said they missed us but we're sure they really meant they missed HRH. We're just the proxy. Which also explains why half of the housewarming gifts were rawhide, dog biscuits and squeaky toys (oh dear lord, she has more now).

You know it was a good party when you end up with more wine and beer than you started out with. And a dog that will probably sleep till next week before she pesters you with the new squeaky toys. M said he "brought home a dead dog". Haha. Like I used to say in the Spock days, a tired Jack Russell is a good Jack Russell. I'm lucky now, Schnauzers take longer to recharge their batteries than Jack Russells.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Grass! For Sale! In Singapore!

Context is everything.

I should have gotten L to come along with me, and have him pose leaning against the sign and smoking.