Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Papa's holiday hijinx

Papa has been providing material for "Oh no, Papa!" to the point that I can barely keep up. So here's a summary instead.

1. She tried to eat these resin bones that I made.

2. She opened a jar of peanut butter (how?) and ate half of it. I'm surprised she didn't jam her paw in to scoop out the rest.

3. Last night, she ate half a pan of lasagna (no photo of this one — we were in a hurry to clean it up). Yukie and I had stopped at Walgreens and not realized that we left Pops unattended in the car with a delicious pan of lasagna. We'd have done the same thing. Oops.

Luckily I have survived this trio of terror. And Papa has enjoyed having Yukie home for the holidays. Yukie and I baked doggie treats for her (the mix came in a jar, courtesy of Cathy).

Good dog, Pops.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Okay Papa, you can open your own gifts.

Whenever our family gets together for the holidays, the same question always pops up. On Christmas Eve, Dad and Yukie insist on opening gifts, while Mom and I prefer to wait till Christmas day. The compromise: we each open one gift.

That includes Papa.

For a creature without opposable thumbs, she did a better than competent job tonight.

First, she tore through a box that had dog treats inside — fairly easy for someone who can open spice jars and sealed Ziplocs.

Then she attacked the tissue paper on a Frisbee. After doing the moonwalk and puncturing the hard plastic, she moved on to her next gift: a nylon flying disc. She dragged that around the room, too, leaving bits of paper in her wake.

So Christmas Eve was fun (and also overstimulating).

Tomorrow we’ll celebrate the way Mom and I like: over waffles and gifts. I hope you’re enjoying some traditions of your own. Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Major haircut

Matt has been cutting my hair for about eight years. He’s an awesome stylist and is honest about what looks I can wear. Bangs? No. A sweep of layers around my face? Sure.

So I went for my Big Chop today.

Here I am (mere moments before my haircut) with Tammi, another stylist at Erik of Norway. She was wearing her hair in a really simple but cute ponytail (a look that became impossible for me to achieve as my hair got superlong).

I like Matt's approach — measure twice and cut once. Though, he didn’t actually measure this time. He put my hair in pigtails and pulled the elastics down.

He adjusted, he compared, he chopped.

After putting my pigtails in Ziplocs, he washed, dried, and flat-ironed my hair. Then he cut and shaped it into a “long, lean bob.” Quotes are not necessary here, but I’m having a hard time seeing my new style in quite those terms. It’s been over a decade since my hair was this short. (And it had never been that long.)

My long hair had really become a habit. Not that I hid behind it, but when you have long hair, that's often the first thing people notice. Now I feel lighter but also more exposed.

My next move: sending my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. They use the hair to make wigs for women with cancer. Their website also has “before” and “after” photos of the community of people who have donated their hair.

Two years ago, UCLA hosted a Locks of Love event. I happened upon it when I was walking through the Alumni Center — and I remember wishing that I could do it.

Later, Erin and I really tried to recruit the BeadStyle staff to donate their hair, but each of us had our own hair imperatives: Cathy and Jane both love short hair, Kelsey has long hair (and no interest in hacking it off), and Stacy is just starting to grow hers out for her wedding.

But I'd like to think that this story will go on. So let's hope that Erin will keep us updated about her progress. And in a few short months, my hair will be long(ish) again.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh no, Papa, not the mail!

On Friday, after feeding and watering Papa, I went to get my Christmas tree. I was gone about half an hour.

When I got home, she had knocked all of the magazines, catalogs, papers, etc. from my kitchen table.

This reminds me of the garbage incident from last Christmas. Papa seems to tolerate long stretches alone just fine, but if I change my routine, it makes her nuts. (More nuts than usual, I mean.) Also, my dad hasn't stopped by in the last few days because he's out of town, so that's another change in the routine.

I'd like to get a pet cam. Then I'd know if Pops was trying to get at her treat jar when she accidentally slipped on the table, or if she deliberately swiped the magazines to make a mess.

I know, I am getting paranoid.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stef Bartz and the alternative gift fair

On Sunday, I went to an alternative gift fair at Lakefront Brewery.

What is an alternative gift fair, you ask? On their “Tidbits” page, Outpost (one of the fair’s sponsors) explains:

“At an alternative gift fair, representatives of local non-profits get to tell their organizations’ stories. The groups offer a variety of ways that fair goers can contribute money to their cause. Visitors are encouraged to make donations to the groups of their choice in honor of loved ones for the holiday season. They’ll receive a gift card to record their donation they can then give to the people on their gift list.”

I visited a couple of booths and also stopped by to pick up a few dog-themed gifts from Stef Bartz. She shoots beautiful black-and-white portraits and makes cards, framed prints, and these cool viewfinders.

A few years ago, she came to my house to shoot Ginger in her various moods: chatty, playful, rabid. Stef even captured a few dignified yearbook-style poses. One of my favorite shots is of Gigi and I stretched out on the floor, her front paws entwined around my arm. It looks like we’re having a conversation. (I don’t think there’s an “adorable” photo in the bunch.)

Check out Stef’s portfolio on her website or visit her blog, Photo Mondays, to see the new projects she’s working on. Seeing her work will make you want professional photos of your dog. Or maybe even convince you to adopt a dog, so you can then get some professional photos.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Beer battered goodness

My friend Beth spends her Friday nights going to the gym and then a fish fry. She blogs about her weekly frys (fries?), sharing her thoughts about the food, service, and atmosphere. She also goes beyond the traditional beer-battered-cod-and-French-fries option.

I lack Beth’s methodological rigor but share her appreciation for the fry. With a fish fry and a beer, it’s hard to feel stressed about anything — even on a cold winter night. So this Friday, Ben and I went to O’Donoghue’s in Elm Grove.

I always get the beer-battered cod (though perch is also on the menu). It’s served piping hot — almost too hot to eat, which is fantastic. There’s nothing worse than soggy fried food (in the world of fish fry, I mean).

The crinkle-cut fries were also good (and ridiculously hot). But here’s the thing that just might elevate O’Donoghue’s above the rest: the bread.

Two marbled slices of rye, already buttered. We could not stop talking about it. Though it’s good manners to break off a small piece of bread and then butter it, wouldn’t the world be a better place if someone buttered our bread for us?

Being a creature of habit, I will likely forgo other respectable fish frys because I’m happy with O’Donoghue’s. But I’ll keep reading Beth’s blog, just in case.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh no Papa, not the strudel and the rolls.

My mom makes a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Brussel sprouts. (I brought some homemade cranberry sauce and a cranberry-pear pie.)

The bread is one of the highlights of the meal. Mom bakes these rolls that are the standard against which I measure other rolls: firm crust, fluffy insides, buttery goodness and a hint of sweetness. I always eat two rolls at dinner. Because if I slice one in half, I don’t know whether to eat the top or the bottom. (It never occurs to me to cut it vertically.)

I managed to eat another roll as an after-dinner snack. And I was looking forward to eating my other leftovers, too. Maybe I’d make a turkey sandwich on one of those rolls.

Except Papa outsmarted me. Again. Pulled the plastic bag from the counter, ripped it open, and ate the two rolls. I didn’t photograph her handiwork, but I do have these photos from a couple of weeks ago, when she busted into a sealed container for some strudel.

My dad gave captions to the three photos:

“I’m innocent!”
“I’m guilty!”
“I’m going to jail.”