Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Garden Guard

Garden Guard

This is a picture of me on guard duty. I am guarding our back patio garden from rodent invaders.

Last night while I was sleeping, a dastardly squirrel infiltrated our garden and stole several jalapeño peppers and one crimson hot pepper. He chewed right through the crimson hot too, leaving only a small bit of flesh behind. I hope that squirrel's insides are a burning!

As you can see in the window beside me, we have to keep most of our plants inside to protect them from the squirrels,

Herb Garden

but Laura figured hot peppers, of all things, would be safe outside. I guess the rodents in these parts are made of stronger metal than we'd given them credit for.

That plant you can see down in front (in the top picture) in its own pot is a habañero.


It doesn't have any fruit on it yet, but Laura says to give it a few more weeks. Then we'll see if those dastardly squirrels dare do battle with our habañero.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lost in Translation

Laura is always telling me how smart I am -- and I think she's right. I am smart. I know this because I know a lot of human words. For instance:

I know what "breakfast time" means.

TRANSLATION: Jump on the bed and rub your face in the blankets, and if your human doesn't get the hint, stick your bum up in the air real high. (It's important to start your day with a good bum massage when you are a princess.)

And I know what "dinner time" means.

TRANSLATION: Do the happy dance:

Doing the Happy Dance

then run into the kitchen real fast before your human gets distracted with something else:

Dinner Time!

(Humans have short attention spans. You do not want to let them get side-tracked with email or some other computer thing when it is dinner time.)

I know what "come here" means.

TRANSLATION: Crack one eye open just a sliver to see if the prize being offered is worth the effort:

peeking through just a slit

And I know what "let's go for a walk" means.

TRANSLATION: Run away and hide!

towel games

I even understand "it's not time yet, Princess Kendal."

TRANSLATION: Try harder.

Compare all of that to how poorly Laura understands puppy dog.

Laura is really smart, but sometimes, when I tell her it is dinner time, she fills my water bowl, and when I tell her my water bowl is empty, she tries to make me go outside in the yard!

Sometimes I let Laura sit on my throne, because I know it makes her feel important to sit there, but when I say to her, "Laura, it's my turn now please,"

It's My Turn Please Laura

she slaps her leg and says, "Come on then," like she thinks I'm going to climb up and sit on top of her lumpy body! Some days I have a devil of a time getting her to move so I can have my throne back.

Me on My Throne

Some nights, when I tell Laura it is bed time, she just says, "Kendal, stop licking me." Then she turns back to her computer. If I persist, she looks at me again and says, "Kendal, I have no idea what you want." After all the time we have been together, Laura still doesn't understand a simple thing like bed time.

So, like I said, I think all of the human vocabulary I have picked up over the years is pretty impressive in comparison.

There's still some human speech that eludes me, however. Sometimes Laura opens her mouth and words come out and I have no idea what she's talking about. I perk up my ears and look right at her.

better listen up

Still no clue.

Now, being a smart Princess, I know some tricks to help me figure out what Laura is saying, even when she uses words I don't know. Watching her body language often gives me clues, especially if she gets up and starts walking about the house.

If Laura walks to the front door, I know to be wary.

which way is she walking?

That's not such a good direction. When Laura walks that way, she's usually going out someplace and telling me how long I'm going to be left home alone -- or worse: Sometimes she wants me to go outside with her.

If Laura walks towards the back of our house, however, I perk up.

food is in that direction!

Food is in that direction!

Laura doesn't always move around when she's talking, however. Sometimes she just sits at her computer and says strange things. When she does this, I tip my head to one side.


I've seen Laura do this when she is puzzled by something. It's supposed to help you understand things better.

If the held-tipping trick doesn't work, then I squint my eyes and peer at Laura through tiny slits.


Squinting is supposed to help with understanding too -- but sometimes it just makes me fall asleep!


For all of my smarts, however, there are still times when all of the head-tipping, eye-squinting, and paying-attention-to-body-language in the world doesn't help me. Like when I give Laura my very best "I'm so cute you cannot possibly deny me," grin:

I'm So Cute

and she just smiles and says, "Princess Kendal, I admire your perseverance."

What does that mean?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hunting for Satellites

Last night Laura said she was going out to look for the International Space Station. Then she went out our back door.

I wasn't really sure what an International Space Station was, and usually, when Laura goes out the back door, she doesn't go very far. She just goes to look at the plants in our backyard. They're mostly plants that produce spicy food. And I like food. But princesses aren't supposed to do their own gardening, so usually I just help Laura by sitting in the kitchen and keeping watch.

But last night, Laura walked right past our plants. She opened the gate, and she walked out of the yard and far away! I decided maybe I'd better not let Laura be that far away all by herself, so I went outside to help her.

It was dark outside, and I can't see very well in the dark -- but I can still smell things! Laura has better night vision than me, but I have a more sensitive sniffer. I still wasn't sure what we were looking for, but I figured anything that was so interesting it would entice Laura away from her computer to go and look for it must smell pretty good. So I put my nose to the ground and started sniffing for that space station.

But Laura said, "Come here Princess Kendal. Come and sit by me." Then she just lay down on the grass.

Well, I'm good at lying down too -- buy I like to lie down on my nice comfy bed, not on hard, prickly grass. This seemed like a funny way to go looking for something (whatever it was), but humans do get funny ideas sometimes. Sometimes Laura's funny ideas mean I have to do stuff that's hard, like walk really far, but so far nothing really bad has come of her ideas, so I decided to just go with the flow and lie down beside her.

I had almost found a spot that was semi-comfortable when Laura said, "There it is!" Then she jumped up and started walking across the grass, following this bright light in the sky.

Turns out that's what the International Space Station is. It's just this little light that flies across the sky. You can't smell it, and you certainly can't eat it!

"There's people up there," said Laura. "People from all over the world. There's a Canadian guy up there right now. They fly the whole way around the world in an hour and a half. Isn't that cool?"

I'm not really sure how big the world is. I'm just a puppy dog. I've never been outside of Ontario. But I know it takes more than an hour and a half just to get to my Mum and Dad's house -- and that's driving in a motor car. Motor cars are already pretty fast. So, if those space station people are going further than my Mum and Dad's house in only an hour and a half, they must be going super fast. I think that's more scary than cool. (But humans have these funny ideas, like I said.)

Then Laura started running. Running. After a light in the sky.

"Come on Princess Kendal," she said. She wanted to get someplace where we could see the space station disappear over the eastern horizon.

I tried to run as fast as I could, but my legs are little, and there's lots of tall buildings and trees where we live. We ran all the way around to the front of our house, but the space station still disappeared behind the next row of houses long before it ever got near the horizon. Then Laura and I had to walk all the way around back to our back door, because the front door was locked, and Laura hadn't brought a key.

After that, I got to sleep for almost and hour and a half before I had to follow Laura outside to look for that space station again.

This time, the grass wasn't just hard and prickly, it was cold and wet too! I love Laura, but she's not royalty like me. She has no appreciation for the finer comforts of life. At least she didn't try to make me run after the space station the second time. We just watched it disappear behind the houses to the north of us, then we went back inside...

... and Laura went straight to get my lead.

"Let's go for a walk, Princess Kendal," she said.

Hey. Wait a minute. I'd gone outside with Laura two times already that day. I got off my nice day bed to go walking in the cold wet grass to look for something that turned out not to be food. And now Laura wanted me to go for a walk too? Hmph!

Well, there's a game I play with Laura when she wants me to go for a walk with her and I don't want to go. I run away!

Running away works better in my Mum and Dad's house, because it's bigger, and there's more things to run around there. At my and Laura's house, there's only the coffee table and the dining room table -- and there's no use running into the kitchen or the bathroom at all. There's no escape from those rooms, so Laura always catches me if I go there. In our big party room though, I can evade Laura for longer.

Dining room tables are especially good for running away from people who are taller than you. Laura has great big long legs, which help her to run really fast out in the open, but my short little legs are faster for running underneath tables. So I run around and around the table, and make Laura chase me. Then, when she gets close, I run under the table and get away from her again!

I keep hoping that if I make Laura chase me for long enough, she will get tired and give up.

So far, that hasn't happened.
I Don't Want to Go for a Walk!