Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh no Papa, you're back!

Last week, Linda and I took Montana (her black Lab) and Papa for a walk.

The bigger dog is Joe, our friend Sandy’s dog that Linda was dogsitting. A bit about Linda: she loves dogs. Really loves them. They know this and gravitate to her — in fact, just a couple of weeks ago, a stray beagle came to her back door, darted through the house, and waited for her to call his owners. (And no, he did not live in the neighborhood.)

Anyway, when I asked what kind of dog Joe was, Linda said, “Sir Pants A Lot is an elderly smooth collie. He looks sort of like Richard Gere. I think he has a touch of dementia but he's very sweet. Walks tend to take a long time, I have trouble downshifting to keep in step with him.”

Sir Pants was indeed a slow walker (but a lovely fellow) — so we took a second walk while he rested. Papa did great. And here she is kissing Joe. Good times.

And now on to the "Oh, no" portion of the post. Which, let me reassure you, has nothing to do with walking the dogs. I just wanted to post some pretty photos.

I know that two weeks ago, I said that “Oh no, Papa!” was going on hiatus. Well, Papa must have been upset with the lack of blogtastic attention, because yesterday I came home to find that she had peed on my bed.

Oh no, Papa!

At least I’m sparing all of you the photo. You'll just have to believe that it's true.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tradition, change, progress — and hair

I am bummed that BeadStyle’s assistant, Erin, is leaving tomorrow. We’ll miss her a lot.

Erin is the only person I've ever worked with who gave gifts at her farewell lunch. My favorite part of her thank-you note: “Please keep up with the 2–3pm snacking, even if you are trying to eat more fruit.” Does she know me or what?

We have something else in common: growing our hair out for Locks of Love. Here we are with the July and September issues of BeadStyle — perhaps an overly subtle way of marking the date of our progress.

At the Kalmbach jewelry titles, we're not the first to do this: Katie, the former assistant at Art Jewelry, is an expert. And Tea, one of the Bead&Button editors, not only grew out her hair, she gave herself the haircut. It was spectacular!

If you’ve never donated your tresses for charity, then know this: growing hair to ridiculous, unflattering lengths is no easy task. Yukie just got 13½ inches chopped off, so she and I have commiserated about how not fun the process is. And Christa has promised that she'll be the person who tells me when I have gotten too attached to (read: too old for) long hair.

But the hair growth process is yet another thing Erin’s being a good sport about. She doesn't even get split ends.

I suppose life is always changing. Even if it's only by a millimeter a day.

Erin has offered to be photographed for monthly updates. So that will be my new tradition — until a major haircut signals that it's time for a change, again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More about my fest-ive weekend

One of the difficulties of living in a digital age is that news starts to feel old quickly. But even though talking about my weekend on Wednesday is so three days ago, I just wanted to post a couple of photos.

On Saturday, Denise and I volunteered at Irish Fest. We’ve done other volunteer stuff, but this is my favorite, what with the fun crowd and fried food. Due to a mishap last year, we attended but didn't volunteer. Otherwise, it's something of a tradition.

The strength of tradition is hard to break: I ate shepherd’s pie. It was just okay, as it always is at the fest. But it wouldn’t be Irish Fest if I ate something else.

On Sunday, I went to Denise's bridal shower. I caught up with her high school friend Christine, who told a very nice story to all the guests about how Denise is one of the kindest people she knows. I’d agree. I still marvel that she handled the spritz debacle with such composure.

Alas, this brings an end to my fest-going season. It's hard to say goodbye to summer, but I've learned to really like fall. Maybe we can go out for some shepherd's pie when the weather cools down. I would enjoy that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The state (fair) I'm in

When Katy and I hopped into the minivan and cruised to State Fair, I wasn’t sure what kind of night it would be. She had broken her toe, and while we were walking to the Main Stage seating, I broke my shoe. As in, a chunk of the cork wedge just crumbled off. So we ambled to our seats with managed enthusiasm.

A few years ago, I saw Rick Springfield at the Waukesha County Fair and at an Admirals game. Both times, he seemed a trifle lethargic. I didn’t get to see him in his heyday — when I was in sixth grade. So you could say I still wanted to have that experience.

Thanks to my friend Dave (who scored us fifth-row seats), I was way close to Rick and his sculpted 59-year-old body (he’s going to be 60 next week). He rocked the classics: Affair of the Heart, I've Done Everything for You, Human Touch, I Get Excited, Love Somebody, and a shirtless Don’t Talk to Strangers. He closed with Jessie’s Girl, of course!

He didn't sing my favorite, State of the Heart. Maybe it’s too mellow for fairgoers. And he was all energy: Dr. Noah Drake doesn't have amnesia!

The best surprise of the night: Tyler Hilton, whom I Googled at work a couple of hours before the show (and who is not related to Paris). Back when I watched TV, I think I remember his character, Chris, encouraging Haley to leave Nathan in the dust to pursue her dream of singing.

Back to real life: Before he performed Missing You, he dedicated it to the people in the crowd who broke up with someone and hoped they wouldn’t run into them at the Fair. I love this acoustic version — especially his 80s love for Everytime You Go Away.

Afterward, Katy and I waited in line to get our CDs signed. He asked us our names, said "I'm Tyler," and gave us autographs.

Then Katy said, “Naomi desperately wants —”
“Not desperately. Respectfully. Wants a photo.”
And he said, “Katy, stop embarrassing her,” and put his arm around me.


I love the Fair — childhood friends, baked potatoes, apple cider donuts, lemonade, an aging pop star who’s still got it, and a fresh-faced singer/songwriter, all in one place on a summer night.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No mas, Papa!

This is how I found the bed when I came home yesterday.

I know: Given Papa's imagination, wrinkling the comforter hardly qualifies as an offense. Which brings me to my next point.

It is with both triumph and sadness that I've decided to stop writing “Oh no, Papa!”

Papa has lived with me for less than a year but has committed enough craziness for over 40 posts. Some lowlights:

Worst mess: The paprika sprinkling.

Biggest scare: The cherry incident.

Cleverest ambush: Dumping all of the kitchen trash on the floor.

Rudest act: Bookmark removal. (Can dogs be passive-aggressive?)

But aside from chewing my bronzer brush and going through my tote bag, she has been better lately. Getting on the bed is something she’s done before. So I don't want to belabor the point.

This isn’t goodbye, though. I have a feeling that she will eventually do something blogworthy. And we’ll be back.

Oh yes, Papa, we'll be back.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stacy and Bill's wedding and the pickled egg

Friday night, I went to Stacy and Bill’s wedding at Piano Blu. It was a blast: I laughed, I cried, and I stayed ‘til the end.

Stacy and Bill both looked radiant — I don't think he'd mind if I used that word — and Mary, Jenn, and Katie made the evening fun.

Mary took all of these photos, plus a bunch more. As a photographer, she is unshy and very fast — there are shots of Stacy getting ready, people arriving, the ceremony, the families, the food, the dancing. Unfortunately, her enthusiasm precluded her from appearing in many photos.

While Mary flitted between shooting photos and dancing, Jenn and Katie and I ate shrimp and cheese and pita toasts and drank champagne. It was good times — effortlessly, just like last weekend. Mary said I was "lovely and amusing."

Full and happy and lovely and amusing, I should have gone home then — right after the last photo was snapped.

Instead, we went to the Pickled Egg, a bar a couple of blocks away. Katie had made it sound sort of fun, so I agreed to go for five minutes. Though we were all over-dressed for The Egg, Jenn saw the bright side, suggesting that we would give the whole bar whiplash with our collective hotness. (She might not have used the words "collective hotness," but you know what I mean.)

More than five minutes later, one of Bill’s friends thought it would be hilarious to hide pickled eggs in our purses. Mary and I disabused him of this notion. And yet, when I finally left, I found another egg.

Maybe "found" is not the right word. It was more that I jabbed it when reaching for my cell phone. The lining of my purse reeked (vinegar, eww!). And I got egg under my nails, on my car seat, and caked into my cell phone and makeup. I had no idea a cooked egg could break into so many small parts. It was a stinky end to an otherwise nice evening.

At least I did not end up with egg on my face, har har!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh no, Papa, you're supposed to figure that out yourself.

When I bought this treat ball, I was confident that Papa would spend lots of time manipulating, rolling, and chasing it. It seemed sufficiently challenging. I'd come home at the end of the day, and it would often be empty. I imagined her having hours of fun with it.

Sometimes she'd bring the ball to me and I’d roll it away. She’d look dispirited but I didn't really think anything of it.

Until my parents came over this weekend. Papa brought my dad the ball, and he shook it until the treats fell out. When he stopped, Papa brought my mom the ball, and Mom shook it until the treats fell out. The entire process took just a few minutes.

Oh Papa, you're supposed to manipulate the ball, not my parents! She has trained them well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Roots of it all

To help Stacy celebrate her last Saturday as a single girl, we went to dinner at Roots. (FYI, in the first photo, Stacy is sitting in the middle.)

We sat on the patio and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city. It doesn’t feel clichéd to say that, by the way, because eating outside in Milwaukee can be something of a crapshoot (try eating tacos on a windy day while trying to block out noise from Bluemound Road). But yesterday, the weather was perfect.

Somehow several hours passed as we talked about relationships, work, weddings, pets, reality TV, sleep, and all the other stuff that friends talk about. And Stacy mentioned how much she loves Milwaukee. She seems to have that sense that life is exactly as it should be, that she is where she wants to be. Maybe the theme of our get-together was nature: Aside from Roots' local food approach, it just felt like the night was really fun and easy. The way life should be — drinking lemon-cucumber water and sharing crème brulée, when the good times are effortless.

I'm looking forward to seeing her (and Jenn, Katie, and Mary) on Friday. Even though we're all happy for Stacy and Bill, Katie also thinks the Golden Girls had it right — that there could be worse things than growing old with your friends. So cheers to friendship as well!