Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh no Papa, not the vet again.

Papa went to the vet this week. First, we had to have her paw checked out. Last week's broken toenail was still bothering her. (I think I’m not PediPawing her nails enough.) Second, the night of the cherry incident, I found out she had a cyst — pronounced “kissed” by the vet. So she needed to get that removed.

Her resilience amazes me: she’s back to playing Frisbee and seems to have suffered no decline in self-esteem though she’s got a huge patch of fur shaved off her back.

Oh Papa, I love you, but that’s enough visits to the vet for a while.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oh no Papa, not your toenail again.

I took a day off today to work on my story for East West, and I had a chance to enjoy certain little pleasures: fruit cobbler for breakfast, chatting on the phone with a friend in California, and going to the gym when it wasn’t busy. I also took a few Frisbee breaks, but Papa hurt her foot (her toenail, we think) a couple of days ago and was a bit hobbly. She always tries to play through it, though, limping and whimpering. I must need to keep her dewclaws trimmed shorter, as this happened a few months ago, too. Sorry, Papa.

She likes to snooze on the couch while I work on my laptop. It's nice; she is never naughty when she's sleeping or snuggling. Every so often, during Rockwellian moments like these, I think about getting a second dog — maybe another borador? Yes, a border collie/lab. Just like Papa. In fact, if you scroll down, don't Bear and Sweet Pea both remind you of her?

I also like Jim Bob, a Wisconsin Humane Society guest who looks like a black version of Papa.

Just last week, Christa, Denise, and I were at the Humane Society's Feasting for Fido event. While we wandered around sampling food, we also checked out the cats and dogs. Denise liked an orange tabby named Dr. Pepper; I liked a black and white border collie puppy that waddled out with a new owner later that night. But first things first: I need to get this story done and Papa's broken nail needs to heal — it's not all fun and cuddling.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"What the?"

A couple of months ago, my friend Bill put out a call for literary passages that he could interpret photographically. He just posted his interpretation of the excerpt I gave him. Check it out: he also included a video link of Jonathan Safran Foer talking about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Feel free to leave a comment, too; Bill welcomes the dialogue.

Incidentally, I love that he titled the photo “What the?” It reminds me of my friend Ruth, who says that a lot. Instead of saying, “That’s confusing,” or “How crazy!,” she says, “What the?” She can be a bit like Oskar that way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Oh no Papa, why the makeup brush?

With the exception of the cherry incident, Papa's antics have been dwindling in both frequency and severity. Who knows: I may have to end the "Oh no" series. Anyway, here is one of her smaller infractions: removing a makeup brush from a bowl on a shelf in my bedroom and bringing it to the living room.

My tennis friend Linda happened to give me this showercap as a jokey gift that very same night, so I made Papa pose with it. Oh, Papa, the price we pay for beauty.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Los Angeles, July 2009

I've spent a few days in L.A. — a combination of work and play.

On Friday, Gloria and I had lunch. We've known each other for over ten years (I used to tutor, back when I lived here). Even though it's old school, we've kept in touch primarily through writing letters. I love getting those letters. Not only do I get updates about her family and friends, she also responds to stuff I've written. Letters lack the immediacy of a phone call (or even email), but there's something so deliberate and focused about them. And how often do you get a chance to really think about what you're saying to someone?

After lunch, Yukie and I met up with Diane and Todd on the terrace of their loft downtown. We had a great conversation (parts of which I'll use for my upcoming story for East West magazine). They have a gorgeous food and photography blog, White on Rice Couple. As you can tell from this photo, they laugh a lot.

(Sidebar: Yukie shot the L.A. interviews and Bill Zuback shot the Milwaukee interviews. Thank you to both of them for their time and the excellent photos.)

Friday night, on to the Cheesecake Factory. Yes, I realize there's one in Milwaukee. But Linda and I needed a place to meet that was between Sherman Oaks and Torrance, and this was easy to find. We sat outside (another pleasure of being in a climate with mild weather) and noshed on the ungodly large appetizer platter.

Saturday, after another interview and photos, Yukie and I went to Rupen and Rebecca's wedding. Rupen and Yukie dated a jillion years ago, and they've stayed friends. Here we are with Rupen's high school friend, Ellie. And here's Rupen and Rebecca making their entrance at the reception.

Yesterday I went to lunch with Jim, another Tosa East grad. He rejected a restaurant photo-op, saying it was too touristy. Um, instead we got this photo — his idea, by the way.

So today is my last day in town. I think it will be fairly mellow. A little shopping, a little dinner. All in all, a good trip. See you soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oh no, Papa, not the cherries!

On Monday, life was the pits.

Papa pulled a sealed bag of cherries from my tote bag and ate them in the living room, her favorite place for her treasures. She tends to eat no-no food sloppily: while some dogs lick up every last crumb, Papa likes to leave a little something for you to clean up.

Some fruit can be toxic for dogs, so I thought I’d better check. Alas, cherries are on the list: the pits release cyanide when they're broken. The receptionist suggested I bring Papa in.

As she wrote "ate ten cherries" on the "reason for visit" line, she said, "I grew up with border collies. Aren't they great?" Um, yeah. Great.

Papa had a quick exam right away. Thalia, who had to do stuff like take Papa’s temperature in her bum, was very gentle and patient. On her way out, she said, “It’s nice you found another dog to give your love to.” She was very kind, just like she was last summer, when we had to put Ginger down.

Keith, who also helped me out last summer, accompanied me for Papa's adventure. This time, though, we were all pretty lighthearted. I think Papa liked having him there. In fact, doesn’t she look delighted to be hanging out with him in the cat room?

About an hour later, the vet came in. Papa seemed fine — and a couple of hours had passed since the cherry consumption — but the vet said she still wanted to induce vomiting. So she took Papa to another room. A little while later, she came back and said there were exactly ten cherry pits. Intact. Good girl, Papa!

Two hours and almost $200 later, I’m glad Papa was okay. But really, Papa, was all of that necessary?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Good times in Tosa

Steve and Jennifer and I met for coffee at Alterra — in Wauwatosa, where we grew up. Granted, Alterra didn't exist the last time we saw each other, 20 years ago.

When Steve and I got back in touch, he sent me a link to our preschool art teacher’s blog. In her most recent post, "Scoops", she reminisces about Friday visits to Leon’s. I can’t think about frozen custard without getting sentimental about the Midwest — and vice versa. I’ll be going to L.A. later this week, and whenever I’m away from home for more than a couple of days, I feel nostalgic for stuff like that. Nevermind that I don’t eat frozen custard that often; I just like to know that I can. Yesterday, in anticipation of my six-day absence, I stopped at Culver’s for a chocolate cone. I felt full about halfway through, but I was driving and didn’t have anyplace to put the cone down, so I just finished it. Such is the nature of frozen custard.

Anyway, things have been crazy busy with tennis and a new freelance assignment, but I really enjoyed reconnecting with old friends (and favorite foods). Next on the agenda: Jennifer has promised we'll meet for drinks at Sluggo's. Somehow, I suspect that that will be a few months down the road....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh no, Papa, not while we're tending the lawn.

A couple of weeks ago, my dad and I laid sod where Papa had destroyed the grass. (Though, I suppose she didn't do it alone. Last winter's heavy snow didn't help, either.)

My dad started digging, working around the parts of the lawn that I'd just mowed. His was a job made more difficult by frequent interruptions: Papa didn't have much success getting me to play with her, so instead she brought Dad her Frisbee. He'd say, "I can’t play with you!" Then she'd cry, and he'd throw the Frisbee. Over and over and over.

It was a hot day, so I brought her a bowl of ice water (and a Coke for Dad), which she sipped and then sat in. Good grief, Papa!

Here she is standing on our handiwork.