Just a little blog about me and mine.

It’s a Boy! September 30, 2008

Filed under: family,pets — Katie @ 12:27 pm

We are proud to announce that about 3 years ago, before we lived in Atlanta again, before we bought a house, and before O’Malley was born, became a stray, and ended up at our house….another really cute dog was born. Fast forward 3 years, and he ended up a stray and at the same shelter as O’Malley. Do you see where this is headed?

As a preface to what’s coming next, I want to say that we absolutely adore O’Malley and he’s the perfect dog for us. We started thinking about getting a dog last February. We were thinking that by June we’d be ready for all that a dog entails (lots of vet bills, late night potty trips, potential furniture soiling and destruction) and would have the time to fence in the yard. We wanted a girl dog. We wanted a really small dog. We wanted a dog that was friendly and lively, but one that did not need a ton of exercise. And I probably don’t even need to mention that we didn’t want a dog to sleep in our bed.

While we were still in the planning stages, we went to Fulton County’s shelter one night, a Thursday to be exact, (for research of course) and we met this scared, shaking, tiny dog whose fur was matted, and put our name on the list for her. Someone else was in line before us and adopted her. We have enough to handle with a scared, matted, neurotic cat, so it’s probably good we didn’t get her.

Just because it was close to the house, PL went to DeKalb Animal Control the next day (Friday) while I was at work. While all of the giant pitt/lab mixes were barking and jumping, she saw this fluffy dog curled up in “her” kennel. She asked to take the dog outside to play. I’m unclear of all of the details, but at some point PL realized she wasn’t a girl dog at all. She somehow convinced me to go look at the stupid boy dog the first thing the next morning.

I fell in love immediately. We didn’t know a darn thing about him other than that he seemed to have fun running around the yard and he was cute. Oh, and that he had been neutered the very morning PL met him for the first time, which probably explained the calm.

We thought we weren’t ready for a dog and wanted time to prepare and plan–instead we just did what felt right and ended up with an amazing dog. With dogs, houses, cars, and now bikes, I tend to do obsessive research, looking at tons of pictures and websites, and then act with lightening speed as if I never did the research at all. O’Malley turned out to not need any assistance with house training, and although he’s bigger and more hyper than we thought we wanted, and also a boy, he’s amazingly cute, goofy and well-behaved…oh, and he sleeps in the bed.

Almost 7 months to the day later (O’Malley came home on March 1)…

I log into Myspace for the first time in ages, and see that DeKalb Animal Control (who has a myspace page) posted pictures of new dogs. I like looking at pictures of dogs up for adoption, especially the funny looking ones of indeterminate heritage–if they happen to have 3 legs, I’m a goner. As I flip through the photos, I see a dog that looks so much like O’Malley I can’t believe it. It’s his long lost twin brother, except that kind of twins who aren’t the same age. Maybe it’s his dad! I email the picture to PL. I sent it to another friend too, who agrees the resemblance is uncanny. PL gets home, and says that yes, he’s cute and looks like O’Malley, but that we can’t get another dog.

The next day, I look at the dog’s picture again, this time on Petfinder, and they describe him as being calm-very calm-and a sweet boy. I do my best to convince PL that O’Malley is lonely during the day and that we can afford it. She’s halfway buying it. I start a facebook lobbying campaign and put something about the dog on my status and post his picture for the world to see. I promise that we can train him to sleep on a dog bed and not with us.

While PL is working, O’Malley and I go to meet the dog. They get along beautifully–they play, but not so much that we can’t get O’Malley to focus on anything else, like he sometimes is around other dogs…ahem, Keira. And they look adorable together. O’Malley looks like a bleached version of the other dog who is more cream than white (although some of it is probably dirt). The other dog is slightly taller and a wee bit longer, but they are a matched set. When PL comes home, and before she’s even in the door all the way, I tell her that I had to confess to something I did while she was gone. She puts her stuff down and goes into the family room to see if I got the dog. So little trust! I wouldn’t actually bring home a dog without full family agreement (except for the cat, she votes a resounding NO but we get veto power over her). I only put my name on a list, no commitment involved, just in case he was going to be put down. Seriously, that’s what they said! No pressure. She agrees to go meet him, but the shelter was already closed for the day and is also closed on Sundays.

We think of potential names. We decided naming a dog O’Reiley or O’Brien would be so cute it’s embarrasing and disgusting. We did our best to come up with pretentious names, like those that end in “ton.” Since this dog is a lazy bum, we also thought of names that sound like a good-natured, but lazy old man since that best describes this dog’s personality. We like the “O” theme but aren’t tied to it.

On Monday PL has class all day and won’t get done until after the shelter closes for the day. I assure her that if she meets him and doesn’t think he’s the right dog for us, we don’t have to get him. Nice touch, I thought. I continued the lobbying campaign anyway, and emailed her a list of names:


That brings us to today. We plan to meet at 11am (it’s close enough for me to leave work for a bit) to meet the dog as a family. The dogs run and play, tails wagging at exactly the same rate. O’Malley picks up a stick. The other dog, hesistant at first, finds another stick and looks pleased with his efforts. O’Malley runs off to smell something. The other dog comes and sits in front of us (he sits, genius dog!) and wants some attention. He’s loving but not pushy. Affectionate but not slobbery.

We sign the papers. Pay the fee. Sign other forms saying we agree that we know nothing about his background or behavior and won’t hold DeKalb County liable. He goes back to his kennel and prepares to be be neutered. Now we wait 2-3 days to bring the handsome fellow home. Home, where he won’t sleep on the bed.


New Wheels September 27, 2008

Filed under: family,fitness — Katie @ 11:28 pm

While our fellow Atlantans were waiting in long lines to get gas, PL and I invested (and by invest, I mean spent a crap load of money at Target) in alternative transportation today.  Check out my new ride, a retro looking 18 speed Schwinn:

PL got a Schwinn mountain bike since the height of this one was a little better:

Both bikes are not quite as pastel in person, but mine did come with that cool rack.  I like that it’s a little retro looking since I like the old cruiser bikes (they fit right into my black Chuck Taylor obession) and PL’s is Duke blue so she’s happy.  If you haven’t noticed, I buy green things and she buys blue things, if given a choice.

I somehow made it to adulthood without wearing a bike helmet and by jumping on trampolines with their springs exposed, but we decided we needed helmets anyway. I apparently have the same size head as a 10 year old, and the youth helmets fit me better than adult ones.  I resisted the urge to get the teenage boy helmet that said “Rock” on it and had a skull picture, but it was a hard choice.  I ended up with a light blue one with a cool graphic of birds on a wire–I would not be surprised to find fabric at Ikea that looks like my helmet.  PL got an awesome blue one with a flower graphic.

Once we went home we had to put more air in the tires (luckily I already had a pump from a flat wheelbarrow tire, so that was one less thing we had to buy).  It was about 6pm at this point, so we decided we would take a quick ride around the neighborhood.  About 2 miles later, I was laying in the grass in our front yard, gasping for breath, dripping with sweat and wondering why Atlanta is so damn hilly.  We’ve been running fairly regularly since April and going to the gym for more than a year before that, and I thought I was in halfway decent shape.  PL handled the ride a little better than I did (if there is any justice in the world, her legs will be sore tomorrow too), and I think she has a better grasp of changing gears and going uphill.

Tomorrow I will attempt to ride 1.7 miles to the library to return a book and pick up my Nicholas Sparks book (see previous post) and my Yoga for Dummies and Living Room Yoga DVDs that are waiting for me.  My plan to go to the Farmer’s Market (3.2 miles) and feel smug for carrying my organic vegetables home on a bike will have to wait until I’m in a little better shape since the trek there is a bit hilly and on busier streets.

I really hate not being good at something (shocking right?), and thought riding a bike would be a bit easier.  I rode my bike a lot when I was a kid, driving through mud and jumping off of dangerous things with the neighbor kids, but 3rd grade was 20 years ago.  I felt that age again though when I sped downhill feeling the wind on my face.


The Great Library Experiment, Results Edition Part II September 24, 2008

Filed under: books,family — Katie @ 9:06 am

Breaking News–I just received an email from the DeKalb Library letting me know that a second (out of five) books is available for me at the Covington Branch.  Take that Decatur yuppies in the 30030 zip code.  We might not be able to afford to live near the Decatur library and your little community garden, but our neighborhood library is faster than yours.  A check of PL’s account shows that there is still nothing waiting under her name. 

With this recent development in mind, I am now faced with two ethical dilemmas to resolve.  One, is it ok to be logging into PL’s email to check for library notices?  And two, should I tell you what book I reserved?

Do other couples know each other’s email passwords?  We both have a standard password we use for most online accounts, unsafe I know, but we’re forgetful.  Anytime we want to, we could read each other’s email or facebook messages.  We share checking, savings, and credit card accounts so nothing is secret there.  PL doesn’t even check her own email all that often, so she probably doesn’t bother to check mine–although it wouldn’t bother me if she did.  She mostly gets junk mail and she certainly doesn’t have time as a 1L to be cheating on me, so I don’t check hers either.  But, I can log in if I feel like it.  There have been times when we needed to call each other to look up an address or phone number in our email when we were not at a computer (I’m morally opposed to the Blackberry and my hatred of ATT is great that my lust for an iPhone).  I’ve also logged into her email to print things on our copier at work (shhhh) for her, saving her the trouble of forwarding it and remembering that she needs to print it. 

The second ethical dilemma is that I’m embarrassedto confess what bookI put on my library list.  If I confess that I reserved a Nicholas Sparks book you’ll be ok with that, right?  I know you secretly watch Oprah sometimes and I won’t tell.  I saw a commercial for the new movie “Nights in Rodanthe,” and since Diane Lane is my #1 Hollywood girlfriend, I was intrigued and put the book on my list.  I like to think, and certainly like people to believe, that I’m the kind of person who would think Nicholas Sparks is beneath me.  I could tell even without reading it or watching that movie that A Walk To Remember was way too cheesy for me, but The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, and True Believer were all good stories.  Wait, I’m just making it worse.  I have read 6/13 of Nicholas Spark’s books.  That is 46.2% for those keeping score.  I’ve read 41.6% of Barbara Kingsolver’s books, 80% of Michael Pollan’s, and 50% of Thomas Friedman’s, which hopefully will keep my intellect intact, at least until Danielle Steele has a new release.


What’s For Dinner? September 19, 2008

Filed under: family,food — Katie @ 9:52 pm

Our recipe file has finally reached an unmanageable state of chaos.  Even calling it a file implies a certain basic level or organization that we are lacking.  Spread throughout the house–a bookshelf in the living room, a microwave cart in the dining room (classy right?–it’s being used as a china cabinet which is even better), in the magazine rack, on the kitchen counter and even by the bed, we have recipes everywhere.  Somehow we’ve been able to remember whether to look for a taped down recipe in a composition book (a long-ago failed attempt at recipe wrangling), find the brown sugar or olive oil speckled piece of paper and check for the post-it book mark in a certain Cooking Light. How we manage to locate anything is somewhat of a mystery, but it’s time to do something better.

I’d like to introduce you to the Olliff-O’Connor family recipe blog.  I’ve set up the categories of Main Dish, Side Dish, Salad, Dessert, Bread and Drink and will also use more specific tags (like “chicken”) to organize things and make it easily searchable.


The Great Library Experiment–Results Edition I

Filed under: books — Katie @ 8:24 am

The Magician’s Assistant  by Ann Patchett is now ready for me at the Covington Branch (my test branch), while the Decatur Branch has nothing for me.  This book had just a few requests for it since it’s a bit older (1997) than the other books I have on hold, but I look forward to stopping by the library on the way home and starting it soon.  My first introduction to Ann Patchett was Bel Canto, which I loved.  Last Spring I read her newest book Run–also terrific, also intense.


Shocking and Awful, Television Edition September 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 5:10 pm

I have watched very little tv over the past month, but this afternoon I found myself home alone with some time to kill (no dirty dishes, a dog that already had his run, me showered after our run) and I ended up watching tv for a while.  In less than 30 minutes, I saw some crazy things.  Other people maybe already knew this stuff was out in the universe because, seriously, I am the person who saw my first ever episode of The Office yesterday (it’s funny, but you probably knew that already).

Here’s the highlights of my short venture back into pop culture.

1.  Corn syrup is good for you now.  The commercial (called Sweet Surprise from, of course, the Corn Refiners Association) features a mom pouring red punch-like juice product for the neighborhood kids.  A damn hippy liberal mom comes up and says, “wait, that has corn syrup in it.”  The other mom then drills her to come up with some kind of legitimate fact she heard saying corn syrup was bad (you know that liberal media, full of fluff and no facts), but anti-corn syrup mom stutters and can’t come up with anything.  Then she is told corn syrup is no different than sugar (not the point really) and her kids are happy to get juice with corn syrup.  The End.

2.  Next was a commercial for a show coming soon on the Fine Living Network.  We don’t get that channel, but there will be a new show called “Whatever Martha” featuring Martha Stewart’s daughter and her daughter’s friend.  From the promo, it seems that her daughter and the friend sit and watch the Martha Stewart Show and make mean comments about Martha.  She’s probably has a lot of material–can you imagine the nightmare of being Martha Stewart’s daughter and trying to plan a wedding.  I’m guessing they aren’t on good terms.

3.  Finally, there was an ad for a new prescription medicine.  In the required legal info at the end about side effects, they said, “Ask your prescriber for more information.”  Did I hallucinate this, or didn’t they all used to say “Ask your doctor?”  Sadly, doctor’s are often just reduced to prescribers (as a side note, I read a great article recently about why a doctor would rather just give your kid antibiotics than listen to you bitch and whine in their office) but it’s one of those things that is more polite not to mention.  Saying it out loud makes it true.

Thus endeth my tv watching for the day.


The Great Library Experiment of 2008 September 16, 2008

Filed under: books — Katie @ 9:38 pm

I’m a huge fan of the DeKalb County Library’s online book request system–it’s like Amazon, but free.  I recently reserved some books at a very small branch (like smaller in size than our house, but with lots of folks smoking freakin’ right outside the front door) instead of at the main Decatur branch I normally visit.  I got a notification that the books were ready for me to pickup in just a few days.  In fact, one of these books, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, currently has 144 requests–yet I got it suspiciously quickly (and when I finished I did my civic duty to pass it under the table to a friend who was in line before me and still didn’t have it).  So, to solve this great mystery, today is day one of my great experiment to become a line-jumper at the DeKalb library book queue.

Question: Can you get books more quickly at a small DeKalb library branch than at the main Decatur library?

Hypothesis: Yes, you can get books more quickly by choosing a different branch, if you can survive the second-hand smoke entering the library.  My theory is that each library branch has a list of the books requested for pickup at its location, they request those books to be brought to their library, and when they get there, the queue for a certain book is shorter at the smaller branches.

Materials Needed: DeKalb library card.  Another DeKalb library card.

Procedure: I put 5 books on hold under my account with pickup at my secret test branch (I’ll call it the Covington Branch near Memorial and Covington Drive as an anonymous name for the experiment).  Then, I put the same 5 books on hold using PL’s account and chose the Decatur main library branch as the pickup location.

Recording Data and Testing Hypothesis: I will wait for notifications to come in to the two different accounts and report my results.