June 27, 2012

It's All About the Ears... And the Meatballs

Abby has a go at Barney
Today, Rita got some very special mail. Remember when we hosted Barney last summer? Boy, there was a lot of blog fodder there! Well, just like Barney is meant to spread joy (and a desire to kill the stinky purple beast) amongst Tripawds, "Monkey Me" Elmo is on a mission to spread joy (and sometimes meatballs) to Monkeydogs (aka: Monkeybutts, Monkeybunnies, or Monkeybutt Bunnies), the often beleaguered four-legged siblings of Tripawds.

Elmo began his tour, officially the World Tour of Monkey Me Elmo – It's All About the Ears!, last year in Sin City.  He didn't just start there cuz it's a hip and happenin' place for a party animal like Elmo, but because the leader of the Monkeydogs, Rocket - the MBBVP himself, lives there. MBBVP (the MonkeyButt Bunny Vampire Pirate) appears here in this video of Elmo kicking off his world tour.

[Let me just interject here... I know it might seem like Tripawds people have a little too much time on our hands, but when you are going through the loss of your pup's leg - especially if it is due to cancer - it helps to have a lot of silly folks around making you laugh!]

"For me??!"
Anyway, Elmo mysteriously disappeared for a while in the Windy City, only to later reappear in East Tennessee, sans one eyeball. I'm not sure what happened, but maybe he wanted to have some empathy for Tripawds. (Unlikely, since Monkeydogs are all about having no empathy and tolerating no special treatment of Tripawds!) Luckily, after some reconstructive surgery in E.T., he's back on the road, with his pirate scarf over his missing eye.

Even though Rita doesn't live with a Tripawd and therefore doesn't have to compete with one for treats and car rides (translation: pills and trips to the vet), she does sometimes seem to tire of hearing about how great, wonderful, pawesome, beautiful, amazing, etc. her angel Tripawd sister Abby was. So, she was pretty excited to get some mail that was all her very own today.

Even better than a stinky Monkey Me Elmo and his traveling companion, Curious George (or is it Bi-Curious George... They were alone in that box together for a long time...), the box came with MEATBALLS!
"Forget the dolls, give me the meatballs!"
Elmo & George chilling after their journey

"Seriously, I'm outta here. Can someone open this for me??"

"Please give me the meatball!"

"I NEED it! I need it NOW!"
 Yup, this Tour is All About the Ears for Monkeybutt Bunnies. 

"Yes, I'll wear the ears. Just give me another one of those."

"Um, a little help here!"

Stay tuned for more of Elmo's adventures in San Diego!

In other book-related news...
The print version of What the Dog Ate is progressing! I spent the last two days obsessing about fonts (for the text, the title page, even for the page numbers!), but I think the formatting is all set and ready to rock and roll. So, on to the next step - submitting to Amazon's CreateSpace print on demand service and making sure it looks okay. I'll keep you posted!

Also, thanks to everyone who voiced/typed/posted their opinion on which "author shot" I should use on the back cover of the book. The winner, by far, was the black and white of Rita and me together, so I sent it off today to the book cover designer!

Finally, I got interviewed on the Manga Maniac Cafe blog the other day. My favorite question was "What are three things Kona would never eat?" You can check the link if you want to know the answer! 

Thanks for reading!

June 21, 2012

Best Birthday Evar!

I'm 1!
Hi everypawdy, it's me, Rita! I thought I would write today's blog and tell you about my pawesome best birthday ever. Oh wait, I'm only 1, so this was also my worst birthday ever.

My pawrents decided my bday is June 16, but they said we'd celebrate all weekend long. Well, the weekend didn't start out all that great cuz they were gone a REALLY long time on Friday night. And then when they came home late, they wanted to go to bed. I wanted to play! At least Daddy said I could sleep in the bed the whole night. :)

Let's get these things open, Momma!
On Saturday morning, I got to have a pancake! Then I got to open PRESENTS! I got an eel and a bag of yummy stuff.

You gotta go for the vulnerable parts first!

The eel is a little unwieldy (unweeldy?)...but I love him.
Then we went to Fiesta Island! I love it there. But it was embarrassing that day cuz my Momma brought her camera along and she was taking, like, tons of pictures. None of the other dogs' Mommas were taking pictures! She can be sooooo embarrassing.
I ran and played like crazy!

I was princess of the beach!

"HAPPY BDAY, RITA!" "Thanks. You don't have to shout."
I love to go in the water there!
This is why Momma calls me Bunny Rita...
...I hop when I run. I know, I'm cute!

After Fiesta Island, we went to visit my cousin, Nick, and Tee who took all the pretty pictures of me, and their dog, Lucy. We got treats. Whoohoo!
Ohhh, yeah. Keep 'em comin'!
Finally, the ... wait ... {Momma, what's that phrase again?? "Pièce de résistance." Um... okay.} So, finally, the peas - they resist ants was when we went to In-N-Out on Sunday night and I got to have a Flying Dutchman!
I am transfixed by the power of the burger!
It was a totally pawesome birthday - except for that home alone all Friday night stuff! There's room for improvement next year. Oh, one more thing...
Thanks angel sister Abby for fixin' it so I could come here!

Final News from K9 Kamp
Momma and I had a lot of fun doing K9 Kamp together. And... not only that... we won stuff!

First there were the awards. Whoo-hoo, we got Kamper Awards!

Yep, beach babe -- that's me. (Momma says that is just like my angel sister Abby.) And the gopher wrestling award was a brand new special award - just for us!

And then there was also the swag that we won!!!
  • Fugly Friends Stuffingless Dog Toy; I can't wait to get my lips on this!!
  • A whole set of paw-made, mixed fabric Squeaky Bone dog bone toys from Lars and Flint
  • AND a $20 Gift Certificates to Dogwise.com, courtesy of Pooch to 5k

Can you believe all that pawesome stuff?! I think I won cuz they knew it was my birthday. Momma says it was random - but I'm pretty sure she's wrong. I will do another post when I get all my swag. My tail is swagging with joy!! Thanks Kol's Notes and Peggy's Pet Place and all the swag sponsors!! You guys are totally pawesome!

June 17, 2012

Help Me Pick a Pic?

I got some author photos done the other day, with the fabulous Theresa Hayes. I was afraid I'd be scrambling to find one I like (I usually hate photos of myself - that's generally why I'm always wielding the camera at our house), but she took so many good ones, I can't decide which one I like best.

But First.... Rita's 1st Birthday!
"I got a stuffed eel!"
Before we get to the photos, I just want to give a shout-out to our sweet pup for her first birthday! We have no idea when her birthday actually is, but it's roughly somewhere in the month of June, so we decided it would be June 16. I'll do a full post on her bday later this week, once we have the complete b-day weekend fully documented with photos. (Flying Dutchman tonight will be the culmination of the celebrations!)

She got a stuffed eel, which she seems to enjoy.

Back to the photos...
I'm going to use these in a lot of places - my web site, Facebook, Twitter account, etc. - but the most important one to select is the one for the back of the print version of What the Dog Ate. Wanna help me pick which one goes on the book?

Some of you have already commented on my personal Facebook page, but if you want to help me decide, please leave a comment! (Note - these are not the full resolution versions, so they might look a little grainy here, but they are wonderfully clear in the "real" versions.)

So... we've got three of just me:
Me alone, option 1
Me alone, option2
Me alone, option3
And three with me and Rita:
Me & Rita, 1
Me & Rita,2

Me & Rita, 3
What do you think? I need your help, so please leave a comment with your fave. Which of these says, "This is a nice person. You'll like her book."??

June 13, 2012

Happy Kampers

The End of K9 Kamp!
"Rita, stop being a couch potato!"
K9 Kampers were left to their own devices this week -- it was Kamper's Choice for our final week. The four weeks have gone by fast. I decided to mix in a little of everything from K9 Kamp into this week:
  • Friday: I did weights and threw Rita's squeaky toys for her between sets
  • Saturday: We walked to the park, where we found a tennis ball and played Monkey in the Middle.
  • Sunday: We went for a nice long, fast walk at the beach
  • Monday: "Don't Be a Couch Potato Day" - stretched/rough-housed on the floor during the hockey (As you can see by the pics, Rita loves to watch TV.)
"But, Mom, it's Charles Osgood!"
  • Tuesday: "Make Up a Game Day" - we used to play a fun game at our old house with Abby that we called "Around the Island." We'd run around the stairwell/part of our kitchen and get her to chase us. So, I tried a similar thing that involved running through my office, out the sliding glass door, then back in the other door, and looping around again. It was fun, except that Rita (like Abby used to do) would cheat and just stop chasing and wait. I also tried to make up a game involving burpees, but the burpees were just Too. Damn. Hard. Plus I wish they had a nicer name. 
  • Wednesday: "Two-walks Wednesday" - planning to squeeze in a second walk tonight
  • Thursday: Tomorrow I'm planning to include a bit of running on our walk, which will be necessary because I'm going to the Del Mar Fair later in the day and want to be able to eat a deep-fried Girl Scout cookie (or three) without a lot of deep-fried guilt. 

I can't believe it's the end of K9 Kamp already. It's been fun, and hopefully Rita and I will keep up our extra-exercising ways. (Well, I know Rita will... so the "hopefully" really just refers to me.)
 Team Captain in his uniform

The End of Dodge Ball
Last week was also the end of the dodge ball tournament at Mike's work. I'm sorry to say that Dodgey Style did not in fact win the whole thing and bring home the big trophy. But...they did manage to come in 2nd! So at least he came home with a medal.
"Whaddya mean we didn't win?"
"Second place?? Aw, man. That sucks."

Mini Max, next to his pages in the Tripawd Heroes book

Our Latest Creation
My sister, Terry, and I needle-felted a Max. Max was a gorgeous Tripawd who, like Abby, was taken too soon by stupid osteosarcoma. I must say, he's been one of the hardest ones we've done - he had such a beautiful multi-colored coat and those piercing ice-blue eyes. Max's mom was one of the first folks on Tripawds to reach out to us during our cancer journey with Abby and both Max's parents were there for our Tribute to Abby day, so Mini Max was just a tiny thank you for all their support.

Writer/Book News
In What the Dog Ate news: first of all, I'm working on a print version. Hopefully it will be out soonish - maybe in a few weeks or so?? I'll keep you posted!

Also, I got another really nice review, this time from Roxanne Hawn on her Champion of My Heart blog. She's had a rough go of it lately with her mother-in-law passing away and her pup, Lilly, having a very bad reaction to her rabies vaccine, so I really appreciated her taking the time to read/review the book. She wrote that she started the book...

"...during our recent hospice vigil. The novel held my attention at a time of great upset and distraction, and, I think, that says a lot about What the Dog Ate."

I was happy to provide a distraction during a rough time. In other "makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside" news, I got an actual email from an actual reader saying how much she liked the book and is looking forward to the next one. So, that was fun! And... I got my first payment from Amazon. It was a small payment - but still, I got $$ in exchange for WORDS that came outta my wee little head! Whoohoo. Feeling like a real writer.

Better go do some work on my next book - can't keep up the "real writer" feeling if I don't write!

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June 6, 2012

Just a Doggone Minute!

This week's K9 Kamp challenge is: Just One Doggone Minute to Win It as described here and here. Basically the idea is to sneak extra bits of cardio or whatever into your daily routine - e.g. do jumping jacks during a commercial break, or run up and down the stairs with your pup, etc. Since I'm trying to build on the prior weeks' challenges, my legs have been a little more sore than usual, so I decided to use my spare minutes this week mainly for stretching.

That's right - stretching.
I know that doesn't sound like much of a challenge, but I'm pretty lazy about stretching (especially since I've fallen out of my yoga routine), and since I'm married to Mr. Gumby-man who loves to stretch, I knew it would make him happy if I stretched more.

[Breaking news: While looking for an image of Gumby to include, I found out that the man who voiced Gumby died just four days ago. Huh. I'm showing my age to say I remember watching that show... I must have watched reruns tough, because I sure don't remember 1968. The article says, "though his voice always retained the tenor of a 10-year-old, he was 85." I bet the chicks at the nursing home were all over him.] 

Anyway, my Mr. Gumby-man thinks the keys to health and happiness are drinking enough water and stretching. No matter what I say is wrong with me ("Honey, I have a headache/sore back/bleeding ulcer"), he will counter with "Did you drink enough water today and stretch?"

Mike at Rubio's. Yes, it's embarrassing.
And, even though he's pretty bad about the first one himself, he stretches any time he has a spare minute. In front of the TV? He lays on the floor and does hip/leg stretches. Waiting in line for his chile-lime salmon burrito at Rubios? He stretches his arms. Walking the dog and she stops to sniff? He stretches his calf on the curb.

Also, Rita starts off every day with a little downward-facing dog, so I figured if I can't beat them, I'll join them. So: I stretched more in front of the TV; when Rita stopped to sniff on a walk, I stretched my calves; at the animal shelter this week, while the dogs ran around in the field, I stretched my quads. (Okay, I know I'm using the word stretch entirely too much in this post, but "I elongated, lengthened, or extended my quads"?? Nope, none of that sounds right.)

I also threw in some jumping jacks and squats here and there, just cuz I wasn't sure the stretching thing was going to "count." I don't want the K9 Kamp police in here busting me on a technicality. I am nothing if not a rule follower! We look forward to the final week's challenge, to be announced this Friday. I mean, not cuz we are looking forward to it being done - but because we are up to the challenge!

Final Four!
In other news, I mentioned last week that Mike's work was having a dodge ball tournament. Well, I'm happy to report that his team, Dodgy Style, has made it to the Final Four by defeating first the Dodgin' Devilicious Divas and then the DNAs (it's a biotech company - but DNA in this case = Deadly Ninja Assassins). The finals are Friday, so tonight and Thursday we'll be carbo-loading and then massaging/icing his firing arm.

There's even a video on YouTube with "highlights" of some of the action. It's long, so certainly don't feel obligated to watch the whole thing, but it's funny to check out some of the costumes and hits. The Dodgy Style team are wearing the tuxedo t-shirts (cuz it's dodgy style. Get it?). (The hubster briefly appears in a couple of background shots.)
My fave team is the people in the Mexican wrestling masks. I can't believe they played with them on! Seems like a detriment. But, hey, they look good and that's what's important.

I know you'll be on the edge of your seats waiting to hear if Mike brings home the trophy like he did last summer with the badminton tournament. Fingers crossed! (Fingers doubly-crossed for no injuries!!)

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