Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No Poop

Every year we get together with the Wall family for Christmas. The
Wall's home and our home stand back to back to one another in
Wakefield. Maureen and Jen are the children of the Wall family.
Maureen is two years older than me and Jen is about six years older
than me. We have known them since they moved there in 1980. There is a
stone walkway connecting the back doors of the two homes. Throughout
the years, there have been countless walks through the backyard to
each other's homes for various holiday or birthday celebrations.

They are my extended family.

Every year, we get together for Christmas dinner. This year, for
scheduling reasons, we did things a little differently. We went Jen's
home in Peabody where she now lives with her husband Pat and their two
little ones Lilly, 7, and Owen, 1. It was a wonderful evening of
perfect food and company. And lovely gift exchanging, too.

Towards the end of the evening, Lilly sat at the dinning room table,
writing a note to leave for Santa. After she went to bed, Jen told me
about last year's note to Santa. Apparently, when Lilly began to come
downstairs while Jen and Pat were still setting up on Christmas
morning two years ago, Pat did some fast thinking to stop her. The
reindeer had pooped all over the living room and they had to clean it
up before she could come down!

The following year, she left a note for Santa, which read something like this...

Dear Santa,
 I have been a good girl this year. Owen is a good brother and he has
been a good boy, too. I have left you some cookies.
Merry Christmas!
No Poop!!
XOXO Lilly

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Eventful Morning

Oliver was attacked by the neighbor's dog this morning.

I was getting ready to take him to the vet for his Bordatella
treatment. I went outside to check to make sure the upstairs neighbor,
who's afraid of Oliver, wasn't in the yard or doing laundry or
anything. The yard was clear so I let Oliver wander while I
collected-up the newspaper. I heard the dogs fighting and rushed
around to the backyard. The dog, which is a pit lab mix of some kind,
has Oliver by the neck. His owner was there before me and ran right in
there and grabbed his dog. When he lifted his dog into the air, Oliver
went with him, dangling from the teeth of the bigger dog.  "Let Go!"
yelled the neighbor in a panic.

He let go and the neighbor rushed inside with his dog.

Oliver was shaken up but looked fine. As I checked-him out some more,
I found a small cut in his neck. The neighbor came out, understandably
feeling really terrible about it. I told him not to worry, that I was
just on my way to the vet anyway and I'll have them check him. The
poor neighbor felt terrible.

He will probably feel worse when I politely go back to him,
eventually, and ask him to pay for whatever the insurance won't cover
of the $317 vet visit.

At the vet they found multiple punctures on him. The vet said he was
lucky. Oliver could have been killed because pitt's often won't let
go. The also found a few punctures in his ear, which fortunately
didn't go all the way through.

So, it's more antibiotics for pooch over here for a while.  He seems
fine though. I bought him a harness so his collar wasn't irritating
where he's healing.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Sweet Little Girl

I haven't been blogging much these days. If you care, sorry about
that. I told my Dad the other day that I try to avoid blogging if all
that's going to be typed is negative or some sort of complaining.
That's not interesting to read. Annoying, yes, but not interesting.

A few days ago I was sent to photograph a little event for some local
Headstart program kids. The children, between 3 and 5 generally, were
bused in with their classmates to a local country club where
representatives from a local charity had filled a room with toys and
plopped Santa and Mrs. Claus (Mrs. Claus my foot - that Mistress Claus
had clearly come straight from the Sexy Claus Costume Emporium) in the
middle. I've shot this event before and it's always stressful. It's
like herding cats and then trying to get their names. Did I mention
the spastic over-excited cats are all wearing matching school
t-shirts? This makes remembering who's who very tricky. Precise note
taking, like "cross-eyed, leg warmers, missing three fingers on right
hand" is essential.

This thing is like a smash and grab event. The kids come streaming in,
they pick a toy for themselves, slap Santa a high-five and hit the
road before the next class comes pouring in.

There are toys of all kinds here and some of them aren't really toys.
The Rudolf Red Nosed Reindeer classic made for TV movie action figures
for example - those are really for 30-year-old kids who like to
collect nostalgic stuff. Who doesn't want a collection of figurines
from the Land of Misfit Toys? There were weird things too. I think my
favorite was the little baby doll in a box with the words "It's Just
Baby Fat!" right on there underneath the little cellophane window out
from which the fat ass baby stares at you, begging for a cheeseburger.

The kids are allowed only one gift each. When the staff noticed a
little one holding a bath kit with soaps and shampoos and lotions and
whatnot in a basket, they asked her why she chose it, "It's for my
Mom" she told them.  They suggested she pick out a toy, but she
refused. She wanted her one item to be something she could give to her
Mommy. They had to convince her that they were permitting her to take
a toy for herself in addition to the bath kit, because she was so set
on not giving up the gift for her mom.

She beamed proudly as she left with a Barbie under one arm and a gift
for mom under the other.

I love my job.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

There's a Difference Between Listening and Hearing

I was listening to the radio while driving today when The Carpenters'
' Merry Christmas, Darlin' came on the radio.
What's with this line? -

The logs on the fire
Fill me with desire.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Feel Boring

May I write about my friend, Debby, and her adventures in Asia?
OK, thanks, I will.

Debby is my hero. She is currently touring various countries in Asia
with her brother Michael. Check them out here. I check their blog
frequently and am taken aback by the busyness of their schedule. We're
not talking about Hey, we checked out this market today. These two
have done a myriad of things including, running a 10K in Cambodia,
volunteering at an Elephant Refuge, sending lamps skyward in a
memorial festival, harvesting rice, and more.

While I am jealous, I must admit contentment in living vicariously
through these two on this one. My jealousy is not in the fact that
they are visiting the places they are visiting but rather, in the fact
that I am not compelled to do the same. I think it's the idea of
traveling somewhere where bugs are a delicacy. I know I'm a snob but I
like food I can identify, or can be identified to me. When I visit her
in San Francisco in January, maybe then she can tell me whether the
stereotype of funky foods true of false!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Golf Club

This morning, I opened the door to let Ollie out. During the day, I
often come out before him to ensure the gates in the yard are closed
and that no one else is in the yard at the moment. I do this because
Oliver will bark and run at anyone in the yard, friend or foe. This
morning I heard the laundry running, so I went out ahead of Oliver and
sure enough, the neighbor who is most scared of Oliver is in the
laundry room. I stay outside in hopes of easing the neighbor's fears.

He seems me and pulls the laundry door to him a bit. The dog then sees
him and charges. The neighbor slams the door shut (before it shuts - I
notice a GOLF CLUB in his hand).  I call the dog over to me a few
yards away and ask him to sit. He does. I tell the neighbor "I'm sorry
but if you act scared to a dog they will come at you."  And I do feel
really bad. I understand it's not this man's responsibility for having
to deal with my dog.

"I know, but I think it's just something about me. My roommate thinks
it's something about me because whenever I come home he barks at me
through the window".

Maybe it's because you still haven't returned my garbage disposal tool
to me after I loaned it to you weeks ago.

I stand next to the dog and ask him if he wants to come out and meet
the dog. He refuses.

Sometimes people will come into the yard after I've checked-it. I will
hear Oliver barking and come running to call him off. My one neighbor
just keeps on walking, doesn't make eye contact. I apologize profusely
and she says "Don't worry about it. It's fine"

Nellie, who was 84 when she lived here, used to get barked at all the
time. He'd charge at her too. And she'd just say, "Oh, Oliver, you're
such a tough guy!" and keep on walking, all the while the dog is
barking his head off. Both of these folks are dog owners. Over and
over I would try and train Oliver to not run at people in the yard. He
just won't not do it. Nellie, too, would tell me not to worry about
it, that it's just Ollie's thing.

I don't want someone to feel they can't use their own yard because of
a dog. I hate that someone would feel afraid. But, I also don't want
my dog hit with a golf club from someone who refuses to listen to my
recommendation on how to deal with a dog coming at him.

I guess from now on I will just have to avoid them meeting entirely
(rather than coming out with the dog when I know someone's in the
laundry room in hopes that the person will feel better with me there).

Anyone have any brilliant ideas? I often feel my perspective is off
because I'm the dog owner.