Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oh no, Sophie!

Papa has been really good lately, minus her screeching when I take too long to put biscuits in her treat ball. So no dog blog for a while.*

But my sister's friends Jamie and Mathias have a Chihuahua mix who is also naughty at times. Here are a few photos of Sophie, after some hijinx with garbage.

Quick profile of Sophie: she loves to snuggle like a cat, will be a year old on April 2nd, and growls at men with beards. But not in a menacing way.

About the hijinx: the messes look familiar, don't they?

Oh no, naughty doggies!

*By the way, if you have photos of dog adventures that you want to share, I'd be happy to post them. I enjoy seeing how other dogs shred, sprinkle, and scatter things.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lakefront Brewery fish fry

Doug, playing social director while Colleen was on vacation, organized a tour and fish fry at Lakefront Brewery.

I hadn’t been there for a fish fry since the mid 90’s, so I was excited to go back — for the experience as well as the food: communal tables, warm lighting, and a polka band with a bubble machine.

To celebrate Carol’s birthday, the band played Happy Birthday and we all sang along. Three times.

They also honored her with a waltz. Doug (who prepared by doing the chicken dance) was the first to take her for a spin. He added his own contemporary touch to the classic, placing her hand on his butt.

“This isn’t Dancing with the Stars,” the band leader commented. Fortunately Joe, Jess, Dan, and Kevin waltzed with Carol more traditionally.

Incidentally, I don’t know what it is that makes the tennis crowd love the fish fry so much. And it’s not only this group; Beth, a player from another tennis team, is a fish fry expert.

I love the fry. It's one of my favorite things about winter in Milwaukee. Even though it's spring now, it was really cold on Friday night — for the perfect fry ambiance.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Papa turned 10 years old today. I thought about getting her a bath. Or a fancy collar. Or a sweater (they had lots of adorable ones at PetSmart). But really, I knew she wouldn’t want any of those things, that they were more in the service of what I wanted.

So I got her Greenies and two Frisbees.

One thing I love about dogs: their moods and emotions are always transparent. Watching her shred the wrapping paper and do the moon walk, I could tell I'd found the perfect gifts.

We played outside (not because it was her birthday but because I'm home sick from work). We enjoyed the sunshine and also took a long walk. And a nap.

It was a good birthday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My first trophy

I was not born with athletic gifts. Having a large head and short legs doesn’t lend itself to excellence in most sports. Luckily I possess an analytical nature — an asset in tennis.

This weekend, Patrice and I played in a Mequon tournament.

My preparation started Friday night: a salmon dinner while watching Training Day. There’s nothing like rage at police corruption to spur a person on. (Actually, I just happened to have borrowed the movie from Ben. But maybe it made me play more aggressively than a romantic comedy might have?)

On Saturday, I followed my match-day ritual: Qdoba for lunch.

Our afternoon match started on time, which helped me stay focused. It’s mentally taxing to hang out waiting for a court, not knowing whether I’ll play in five minutes or an hour. Patrice and I won, then she ate popcorn at the Chancery while her husband, Tim, and his doubles partner, Mike, had appetizers and beer after their match.

In the meantime, I came home, showered, ate a little bit, and drove back to the club. Even though I was home for less than an hour, it was good to be away from the tennis energy at the tournament.

Patrice and I played again, won, and ate hamburger pizza at California Pizza Kitchen. Tim, who’s an excellent strategist, shared his thoughts on our competition. He also suggested (jokingly) that I get a headband with “Killer” on it. All of us lamented daylight savings time, as were due back to the club for 9 a.m. matches.

I was fine once I got on the court.

All of the teams were challenging: the courts felt like a sauna, and we didn’t have much down time between each match. Also, I’m not used to playing competitively three times in two days.

But we won! And each of us received a trophy. Tim and Mike also won their division, so we were all smiles.

Patrice was shy about having her photo taken with her trophy. Not me. She’s lucky I didn’t have someone shoot a photo of us on the court, hoisting the trophies above our heads. I would’ve asked Yukie to Photoshop a cheering crowd in the background as well.

We still had one match left: the winners of the women’s 3.0 division, Jennifer and Jacqui. It was a blast. Afterward, Jennifer and I talked while watching a couple of other matches. It turns out we’re both reading Winning Ugly and hate running for its own sake (and no, those are not related points). We also figured out that she and I have similar games, and Patrice and Jacqui have similar games.

Overall, I feel grateful for being able to play tennis. Not just for the workout or the challenge but for the excellent people I’ve gotten to know. Patrice does something really nice after a match: she thanks me. In that, there is respect, appreciation, and team spirit.

As good as a trophy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Outsmarted while sleeping

Pops has been really good lately. She rarely shreds, chews, or eats things she’s not supposed to. And she retires for the evening in her crate. She knows that sleeping on my bed is by invitation only.

Pops likes to snuggle while she sleeps. (Those are my legs on the couch.)

Two nights ago, at about 3 a.m., she jumped on my bed and licked my face and neck. I batted her away and she jumped down.

She jumped up and licked my face and neck again and then jumped down. I invited her up on the bed. I mean, if she’s going to wake me up and bug me until I invite her up, what else can I do?

Monday, March 8, 2010

In the air

"Spring is in the air" and "Love is in the air" are two horrible clich├ęs that I use to express my enthusiasm about the weather and romantic prospects.

To that end, I keep seeing flyers and getting reminders about a speed dating event that Highlander is hosting this Saturday. A bunch of years ago, Denise and I actually met at speed dating. Neither of us developed any romantic relationships from the event, but we did have some good stories to share.

Have you done speed dating lately? Or rather, can you fess up to having done it lately?

My friend Heather, speed dater extraordinaire, enjoyed the experience: "It gets you out of the house." Her advice? "Fish with a big net when it comes to dating. Why not?" She is very positive, our Heather, about dating for sport.

I also got an email from UrbanDaddy about the New York launch of How about we. It's a service where you type in your idea of a good date. Mine might say, "How about we play tennis, eat dinner, and then go to a basketball game?"

That might seem boring, but these are the activities that I truly enjoy. The only things missing are a nap, a game of Scrabble, and baking cookies. (That could be the second date; doing these things on a first date suggests that I'm wussy or listless.)

Anyway, this dating service looks revolutionary. Their website says, "We think people are at their best when they're free to say what they want to do and then do it, together."

It sounds so simple.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bento, brows, and a bulldozer

My last day in New York was a busy one. After the jewelry show, I had lunch with Leigh. Just like last year, she picked a great restaurant: Sushi Edo. Because we saw each other recently, we didn’t take too many walks down memory lane — we mostly caught up about family and friends, how work is going, and vacations we've been on. (Our marathon lunch was last year.)

After lunch, I went to get my brows done by Ramy. He did a terrific job and regaled me with stories about conditioner. As in, which ones he uses and which ones have been discontinued. He's an expert on pretty much anything beauty-related. Look at his beautiful smile!

It was hard not to be in a good mood today. The sun was shining and there was no sign of the snowstorm that hit a few days ago. Walking back to the hotel, I even had time for souvenir shopping and a snack: roasted almonds from a street vendor. I went back to buy more later. (I am trying to be more adventurous about my street-food experiences, but I have only managed nuts and pretzels so far.)

Then it was time for drinks and fried food with Bob, another friend from my Northwestern days. Bob didn’t want his likeness published on the web, but he allowed me to post this photo of the bulldozer he bought last year. “It can do the work of a thousand men,” he said.

We hadn’t talked in 10 years, so it was surprising that a fair amount of our conversation revolved around the bulldozer. Then again, you just never know how people will change after a decade. I definitely need to keep in better touch with friends.