Tag Archives: dogs

photo friday: melting

3 Feb

Was keeping watch. Got tired. 

I was worried that when we brought Baby McSwedolish home the dog wouldn’t like him.

I needn’t have worried.

She loves him very much, and shows said love by thoroughly cleaning his face and hands and nose holes, and, when he’s kicked off his socks, his toes, though there is no denying that she also is terribly sad that she is no longer the baby.

But still.

She knows that she must protect Baby McSwedolish no matter what.

Or at least for as long as she can keep her eyes open.


photo friday: lean in

6 Jan

The holidays are a hectic time for everyone, but I’m pretty sure it was hardest on the dog. Poor Juniper–so many people coming and going and she was shuttled around from house to house as we made merry and bright. She was all sorts of tuckered out after our first stop at Swede’s parents’ house on Christmas Day, hence her using Baby McSwedolish’s car seat to prop up her block head. We weren’t sure how she was going to make it through the rest of the afternoon, especially since stop #2 included playtime with her lab-mix cousin, Olive. And she can’t not play, amirite? 20161225_115001

zooooommmggg, Maaaaahhhmmm…I’m so tired I couldn’t play another inch, I just need to…wait, I’m okay. I’m okay! Zoooooooom!

She soldiered on. Never underestimate the play power of a pitbull.

I’m guessing the turkey and other bits of foodstuffs people gave her probably helped.


photo friday: patience

12 Feb


The only thing these two agree on is that Ham is Delicious and Yes, We Will Sit Nicely Until The Big Man Hands It Over.


25 Nov

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we have quite a bit we can be thankful for as we wrap ourselves in a mashed potato and pork sausage stuffing haze. There’s a lot the McPolish-Swede household has going for it, and we are grateful, don’t get me wrong.

But still.

There’s a lot of shit out there that I’m just not thankful for. I’m just not. It’s kind of fitting, really, when you think about the disastrous and tumultuous state the world is in these days. So much happy! With an intense amount of grief and strife hot on its heels. So much joy! And then a lot of Fuck You, Humans!

So to best capture the circuitous feelings of this season, may I present to you my Thankful/Not Thankful list of 2015? Yes. Yes, I may.

  1. I am thankful for Juniper, because of the unadulterated love she brings to our lives. (Except for the cats. They feel she brings no love to their lives.) There is nothing so awesome as coming home from wherever you’ve been and if a dog’s face could light up, that would be the expression on hers. She is purely and wholly excited to see me, even if I’ve been gone five minutes.I am not thankful for the times I use Juniper as a pillow and she farts in my face. It’s amazing I’m still alive, and that my sense of smell is still in tact after some of the bombs she’s dropped.


    Super cute, but deceptively atrocious toots.

  1. I am thankful for living in the city of Chicago, because A) It’s gorgeous, 2) I like winter, III) it’s home.I am not thankful for living in the city of Chicago because A) rats in the alley, 2) Rats in the garbage, and III) Rats anywhere near me. Gross, you guys. Rats are gross. Even the ones from NIMH.
  1. I am thankful for Fat Ass and Lady Gaga Halloween Cat. No, I’m serious, I really am. They unwittingly provide hours of entertainment (mingled with exasperation, of course), and recently Fat Ass and I have declared a truce. It lasted all of five minutes, but it’s a step in the right direction, no?Proof that I am not heartless all the time.I am not thankful for the murderous look in their eyes that never seems to diminish. Ever.


    The show How to Get Away With Murder is based on their life’s quest.


  1. I am thankful for grocery shopping. It is my most favorite activity in the world, and I could spend hours, days, months!, grocery shopping and daydreaming about the food I would make. I’m grateful that we can put food on our table and we don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from.I am not thankful for kale chips. Who the fuck thought making chips out of kale was a good idea? Kale is fine the way it is unchipped. Jesus Christmas, people, come on.In all seriousness, I’m also not thankful for food waste. It’s become a pet peeve of mine over the past year, as I see so much in our refrigerator that goes bad and inedible before we can get to it or before we want to get to it. It’s horrendous, when you think about it, and just so patently smacks of privilege that it’s borderline embarrassing. I’m not proud of it, but I can change it, and believe you me, Interwebs, I’m working on it.
  1. I am thankful to be able to contribute to a retirement plan. In the past few years we’ve all dealt with, in one way or another, so much financial insecurity, and how many stories have you heard of people losing it all and starting over from scratch? Or people who never had it all to begin with, and are about done with the whole work thing, and have no idea how to live? So having a few pennies put aside for my golden years? Luxurious. My 80-year-old-self thanks me muchly.I am not thankful for the fact that I’ve had to learn the basics of investing the hard way (re: trial and error), and the lingo that swathes the industry makes my head spin like a tilt-a-whirl. Why was I never taught these things in school? And other life skills for that matter, like how to change a tire, balance a checkbook, run a household, create life-sized ice sculptures of forest animals? I know how to do some of these things, but for the love of all that is holy and decent, look around you, People Who Make Curriculum Decisions—what the shit are we going to do when we can’t Google our way out of trouble?
  1. I am thankful for you. Plain and simple.I am not thankful for…well, there is nothing about you for which I am not thankful—the good, the bad, the meh, the ugly, the beautiful. Even those times you don’t like me very much, I am still here, and I am forever grateful that I can share this little corner of the Interwebs with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, people.

What are you thankful/not thankful for this year? Share your thoughts in the comments!


photo friday: no. just, no.

4 Sep

Since the day we brought her home, Juniper’s greatest want in life is for the cats to be her friends.

Since the day we brought her home, the cats’ greatest wants in life is for Juniper to stop sniffing their butts. And then to go the hell away.

They are all currently at an impasse.

"Are you sure you don't want to be my friend?" "Go away."

“Are you sure you don’t want to be my friend?”
“Go away.”

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: august 2015

12 Aug


About a month ago, I and 5,692 other drivers in the express lanes were racing down the Dan Ryan like bats out of hell—as you do—when traffic started to slow down considerably for no apparent reason—as it does—until we got to a point where I realized there was, in fact, a reason we were all inching along the expressway. I looked to my right to see a car absolutely engulfed in flames on the shoulder of the local lanes.

Yes, Chicagoans. Great idea. Let’s all drive sloooooowly—nay, come to almost a complete stop—while passing a hulking, metal inferno that could very possibly explode at any moment. Well done. (golf clap)

A+ for you guys.


I can’t wear black pants and any kind of white top together. I just can’t. And it’s such a drag! There are oodles of cute white tops out there, and black and white is a classic color combination for a reason (it’s attractive), but I can’t bring myself to make it happen. I spent too many years as waitress, where black pants and a white shirt were requirements. There were entire summers when that’s pretty much all I lived in. So I’m sorry, you guys. I just can’t do it. And don’t even get me started on tuxedo vests.


In my Tuesday morning boot camp class at the gym, our trainer often likes to end the class with the “Superman” exercise, where you lay on your tum and raise your arms and legs in the air—like you’re flying, Superman-style, but sadly without the tights or cape. It’s a great exercise, apparently, for your back and core, but let me tell you something else: It has made me seriously reconsider what I would want my superpower to be, were I to choose.

I had generally always said flying as my superpower of choice, because just think of how much money you’d save on plane tickets! And how much time you’d save not sitting in, ahem, traffic jams going past cars engulfed in flames!

Sadly, I have very little core and upper body strength, and while doing the Superman exercise in class last week, I realized, “Mother shit, there’s no way I’d be able to fly five feet without falling from the sky from exhaustion.” I could maybe make it to the coffee shop around the corner from us. But I wouldn’t be able to hold my body like in the proper position for terribly long. I mean, I guess I could go with the Wonder Woman style of flying, because she’s more slanted rather than completely horizontal when she flies from what I’ve seen, but I don’t get the sense that she went very far with her flying—if you’re flying on an axis, you’re really going more up than you are over, right? And there’s nothing up that I want to get to. Over, yes. I want to get over there. So slanted flying doesn’t seem like the best course of action to take.


Teleportation it is.


A few weeks ago, Swede was in a rush to get out the door and forgot to put Juniper in her crate. When we came home later that afternoon, we found this:

Dead Pillow

Poor couch cushion. You never stood a chance.

 While it was a disappointment that the couch cushion was now scattered all over our living room in fluffy bits, it wasn’t a terribly big surprise—the dog has had a vendetta against this particular cushion for quite some time. That cushion? Had it coming. Sadly what it had done to incense the pibble we’ll never know, as the cushion took the reason behind the feud to its grave.

Now that the couch cushion is good and gone, Juniper has set her sights on ridding the household of ALL insolent and offensive soft surfaces, including, but not limited to: the pillow in her crate, the other couch cushion, and her biggest whale to date, our bed:


It’s only when the bed is stripped of all the sheets and mattress pad, when it is completely bare, that Juniper will attack what she thinks is the awful-terrible-no-good bed, and try and give it the what-for. Again, the reason for this new enmity between dog and bed is unknown.

But frankly I wish they would just reconcile because the bed is the only nice piece of furniture we own.

photo friday: animals, at peace. maybe.

31 Jul

We have a houseguest for the next few weeks. Her name is Emily and she’s come to help Swede with boat engines, and for that alone we give three cheers.

Hip! Hip! Horaaaaayyy!

Since Emily is originally from Canada and is going back to school for marine mechanics this fall, I’ve taken to referring to her as our foreign exchange student, a moniker she seems perfectly happy with.

With Emily comes Gigi, her at-least-7-years-old (possibly older, hard to say) cat.

For those keeping track, that brings our current tally to three cats, three humans, and one dog in a one bedroom condo.

No, trust me.

That’s the tally.

I’ve done the math several times.

Anyshoes, Gigi, unlike the jerks who live with us permanently, doesn’t seem to be too bothered by the dog. Or at the very least she doesn’t shoot eye-daggers at us anytime the dog breathes in her direction. Sure there’s the occasional hiss that could peel paint off the wall, and a bat at Juniper’s face when she gets too close for Gigi’s liking, but honestly, I did the same thing to a woman at Walgreen’s last week, so no judging on my end.*

In fact, here is proof that Gigi is more mature and tolerable of the dog’s presence than our own felines. Behold! The two animals are lounging within a couple dozen inches of each other on the same piece of furniture!

cat and dog in bed copy

Granted, Gigi looks mildly disgusted that the big jumpy white animal is gnawing away on God knows what, but let’s be honest—it wouldn’t be a day that ends in Y without every cat everywhere looking mildly disgusted at something at all times.

*Kidding. Maybe.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: july 2015

8 Jul

1) As with the “because cilantro” idiom, can we also stop with the incomplete, “That moment you [fill in the blank]”?

Example 1: “That moment you pee your pants.”

Example 2: “The moment your child smears chocolate pudding on the dog and then solves an equation that would make Will Hunting proud.”

Example 3: “That time you showed up at Mariano’s with your shirt on backwards.”

What ABOUT any of these moments am I supposed to care about? Are you trying to tell me you’re having an issue with incontinence? Was something funny? Are you concerned about the chocolate being bad for the dog? Are you concerned the chocolate is bad for your child? Doesn’t everyone show up at the grocery store with their clothes askew at some point in life?

I need context, people. If you’re not going to give your statement some context, I can’t even pretend to care about or relate to it. It’s an incomplete thought, and while I am a Pisces and a bit psychic, I cannot read your mind. I get that you HAD that moment, but how did it make you FEEL? Anxious? Afraid? Stabby? Overcome with manic gladness? What HAPPENED?

Unless you tell me, it’s entirely lost on me, and what we’re left with is the fact that you’re a horrible storyteller.

2) About six weeks ago I started getting allergy shots, because I am allergic to the entire planet, and I live in a very small space with beasts.

Before you can get allergy shots, you have to have scratch testing done to see what you’re allergic to and to what degree (as measured by how big the welts are on your forearms from the scratches).

Turns out I’m very allergic to everything, with the exception of mold and feathers.

Moldy chickens for everyone!

Anyway, like I said I’m six weeks into the shots (you have to go weekly for the first six to eight months), and I do think they’re helping. The amount of money I’ve spent on Claritin D has decreased tremendously (sorry, Bayer stockholders), and that alone is a good indicator that the shots have a fair chance at success.

I will say, though, it’s a little disconcerting that I have to carry an Epi pen with me to every appointment. I completely understand why—God forbid I go into anaphylactic shock—but it freaks me out a little nonetheless. It makes my environmental allergies seem so much more nefarious than they did before. It’s as if every dust mite is suddenly going to rise up against me and then join forces with the trees and grasses until they dominate the land, and me with only my Epi pen and Claritin D to fight them.

At least I’ve got the moldy chickens on my side.

3) All of my clothing pockets smell like dog treats.

(It makes me very popular at the dog park.)

(We’re training Juniper, you see.)

(She did great during the six weeks of formal training classes she had!)

(And she does great at home!)

(Not so much out in public, because she has the attention span of a gnat, and goes batshitcrackers when another dog walks by on a leash.)

Which means that every time I grab a Kleenex out of my pocket—see the arforementioned environmental allergy known to man—I get a strong whiff of “delicious duck.”

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.

I’m not saying it’s a good thing, either.

But if I had to choose, I’d say it’s definitely better than the roasted chicken. Duck is just so much more elegant.

4) There is a blind man who rides the same bus I do, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Every time I see him, no matter what time of day, people practically jump at the chance to help him, either guiding him by the arm, or letting him know which number bus is arriving, or if there is an obstacle that might pose a problem for him.

It makes me happy.

In this city that can be simultaneously so divisive and so self-absorbed, seeing people offer up help with absolutely no expectation of anything in return is beautiful.

We need more moments like that.

surprisingly, i am not perfect

24 Jun

Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do:

  1. Stay up past midnight on a school night to finish reading The Girl on the Train.
  2. Leave a brownie on the coffee table, thinking I can trust my dog not to eat it, because she doesn’t normally snatch things off the table. Lick them, yes. But eat them, no.
  3. Hide bacon in the refrigerator from Swede.
  4. Accidentally lock the cats on the balcony overnight.
  5. Frost a devil’s food cake less than two hours after I take it out of the oven.

Things I Can Do To Remedy the Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do Because I Most Likely Did Them Anyway:

  1. Stay up the entire night watching West Wing so as not to fall asleep and have a dream wherein Everyone Needs a Julie tells me while making her bed that she’s decided to become a serial killer and in response I try to talk her out of this by hitting her with a pillow.
  2. Give the dog a stern talking to and then dissolve into a cuddle puddle because HAVE YOU SEEN THAT FACE? LOOK AT THAT FACE. HERE, HAVE AS MANY FOODS AS YOU WANT I LOVE THAT FACE.


  1. Blurt out, “THERE’S BACON IN THE FRIDGE, YOU CAN EAT ALL OF IT BUT FOUR SLICES,” in the middle of a conversation about grilled cheese.
  2. To be fair, this one was NOT my fault, as Swede was the one to lock up that night. But to make up for it the poor little jerks got an insane amount of treats, and then more treats because we felt like, hell, we’ve already traumatized them, let’s trim their nails and cut the matted fur from around their butts! We’re on a roll!

    I'm never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

    I’m never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

  3. Shove the cake in the fridge for awhile and hope for the best, then drive an hour to my parents’ house with the cake on the floor of the car and the air conditioning fan on full blast, and then when I get there immediately run it out to the refrigerator in the garage yelling, “I made you a cake for Father’s Day, Dad! Hope you like it! I forgot to get you a card!” and pray that you’re not about to serve your dad cake soup.


photo friday: intruder

5 Jun


It’s all fun and games until the cat tries to butt in on your photo shoot. Again.