Thursday, January 31, 2008


I just received some very sad news that one of my coworkers, Mark Schwed was found dead in his home this morning. It was strange to read the words. Strange how one's brain processes information. I could feel my mental wheels turning.

I reread the email, registered his face in my head. I hadn't worked with him much but I remember him vividly. I think that's because he had such a friendly way about him. When I worked with him, I knew he was interested in his subject. He seemed to like what he did, enjoyed talking to people, too. I actually haven't worked with many who are that way, oddly enough.

I illustrated a story about six generations of a Riviera Beach family that still all lived area. He helped corral everyone into one room for a giant group shot, and I can see him now, this one white guy in the back of the room full of blacks. The family was warm and jovial, and they laughed when I told Mark he stood out in the back there (and needed to move).

Years ago, we were sent to the weather headquarters in Miami following a hurricane. I remember it was his birthday, because the assignment was taking so long, he was concerned about meeting up with his family for his birthday dinner. Years later, I passed him in the hall around the same time, maybe even the same date. I wished him happy birthday because, for some reason, I'd remembered. It must have been the hurricane anniversary that triggered my memory.

"How did you know?!" he asked, surprised. I reminded him of our assignment years ago.

I didn't really know him, but I'm very sad he's gone. I keep wondering to myself if it's that fraction of middle schooler that still exists within all of us, that leads me to be sad about it. That adolescent drama streak. But, no, now that I think about it, he was just a very cool person with a big smile and I liked him. And that's that.

Capa's Cache

I especially like that there was a woman shooting with Capa and some of her images are with his. Interesting as I've never heard of her.

Click here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blue as in Blah

Here's the thing about being Diabetic. It sucks! I met with my endocrinologist today. She's great, but me gaining a few pounds since my last visit? Not great. Me not eating terribly healthy? Also not great. I mentioned to her that I have been feeling a bit mediocre and that I'm working on that. She said that yes, depression was common in diabetics because...

"Because it completely blows?!" I wanted to finish her sentence but managed to refrain.

Does anyone else eat more than necessary when they are feeling slightly depressed? We're not talking lying in fetal position depressed, I'm talking blue with a shot of bored added in for good measure. Well, I do, and I have a small spare tire made of cheesecake to prove it.

Get a hobby, you say? Well, I'm on it. I am now taking a guitar class through the Community Education program here and hopefully, it will help me keep my hands on the strings of my guitar and off the string cheese. We'll see. I am collecting audio of my progress so you will have the pleasure of being exposed to my (lack of) skill at some point in the coming weeks. I promise to edit tightly.

Taking classes is a funny thing. I take them because I am interested to learn, but at the same time, isn't it just passing the time? Sometimes I feel like I am biding my time til I meet someone who's wonderful and great in every way and then they can entertain me and I can finally take a break because I'm getting bored of myself, for crying out loud!

Does anyone else buy things they don't really need when they are feeling depressed? Well, I do. Fortunately, I'm finding some good buys, like $21 on three sweaters I bought at Old Navy last week. I live in Florida? Where it's warm all the time? You don't say! I don't care. I liked them. I bought them. Get over it. It's my closet and I'll cram shit in it if I want to. 'Cause buying stuff totally makes a person feel better. Or...not. At least I don't have terribly expensive taste. I can be grateful for that.

I'm also finding it nearly impossible to find some replacement loafer/oxford type shoes for work. Crickey, how hard can this be, people! I've been ordering shoes online which is really a drag. Can't I just find the shoes I want at the local DSW? No. Apparently size 9.5s are about as rare as an albino frog in a bathing suit.

By the way, I would be totally stoked to find an albino frog in a bathing suit!

Yesterday I got two pairs of shoes in the mail. One pair was fine. I'll keep them. I went to send the other pair, of course they were the cheaper ones, back today. It cost me $10.50 to return a pair of $30 shoes. Where's the GD justice, I ask you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Before Bath and After Bath

I don't even know what this expression is aside from hilarious!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cutest Trio Ever!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Dirty Dog

Not since the Great Poop Indecent of 2006 has my dog been as dirty as he is this evening (the above photo may not do it justice. Trust me, he's grubby). Why not bathe him, you ask? Well, because A. I am presently lazy, and B. It's actually kind of cold here and in addition to being lazy I've become a temperature wimp (I bathe him with the hose outside).

I took Oliver for nice walk on Palm Beach this late afternoon and then we went to the dog park. He was very playful with the other dogs which was nice. Generally, he's what psychologists would refer to as a "parallel player". He'll say hello to the other dogs then wander off to look for lizards, ignoring the other dogs for the remainder of the park visit.

Maybe it's too chilly out now and he knows all the lizards are gone so he might as well get along with the other four-legged hairy ones already.

I do wish I'd brought my little video camera because his body language on a few occasions was different than I've seen. Head and front legs low to the ground, butt way up in the air, waving back and forth with the frenzy and inertia of his tail. C'mon, play! I dare you! His head would gesture dramatically, all the while staying in this playing pose, his ears flapping with his nodding head.

He got into the dirt with his friends and I brought him home with a grey Pigpen cloud mingling around him, like a real dog. Not the prissy self-cleaning one I know, own and love.

The visit was not without it's humping however. At one point, I almost said out-loud, (but didn't because I didn't want to offend the dog owner with my bias) "Oliver, let's not hump the 120 pound rotweiler who can bite your head off like an impatient toostie pop lover!"

One girl, who looked familiar, turned to me after she heard me say to my humping boy "Oliver, you don't make friends that way!".

"I knew I remembered that dog!" she laughed and turned to another dog owner, "I knew the minute I saw him doing that that I knew him!" she said, adding genuinely "He's such a sweet dog!"

Yup, I'm proud.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Love It To Death handbag


I've been feeling very blah today. No plans with friends as of yet. I went with Mr. Oliver to the green market this morning but my mood and energy were dragging so much that I just managed to buy myself some strawberries before trudging back to the car in a fog. 'Ever feel like your feet are giant lead marshmallows?

I stayed up late last night cleaning the apartment in hopes it would help me feel better to not have crap all over the place. After being up for about an hour this morning, it seems the mess is all back. I feel like invisible elves dump my shit out when I turn my back. Turns out I'm the elf. I tidies some more, did some laundry, flipped the matress. Perhaps I'll go get the car washed later.

I am trying to motivate to do some sewing. Sometimes being productive in that way helps. As I set up my stuff and clear some sewing space, I listen to my answering machine turn on over and over. Automated messsages asking me to hold, that I'm a very important customer and they want to talk to me, are recorded over and over. I listen while some annoying telelmarketer comes over the line, speaking to no one, "Hello, may I speak with Cydney Scott?".

Uh, no.

The dog whimpers whenever the machine comes on and he hears my voice on it, again, "Hi, I'm not hear right now, please leave a message".

I just got this email from a friend though, and it made me chuckle, so I thought I'd make you chuckle, because maybe your feet feel like lead marshmallows, too.

Green Market Visit

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

San Fran aftermath

san fran video, debby

Buttonholed to the Point of Impotence

I was going to write about my hellish feature hunting incident yesterday, but realized that writing about it just stresses me out. Plus, I'm not sure how appropriate it would be, professionally, to write about it. Let's just say I innocently wanted to take some photos of fairgoers enjoying a display and the maker of the display refused to stop talking to me, explaining the history of each section of the model, how the model was made, why it exists, who made it, what its blood type would be if it were human. And, oh by the way, did did he tell me about the model maker who recently passed away? No? He'll just go get the memorial photos they put together for him in his memory.

Seriously, dude, I just want to take some pretty pictures. Please shut your pie hole.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

San Francisco, Day 2

Sunday, Day two. Debby, Jarett and I rise and shine and head off to Scharffen Berger Chocolate factory in Berkeley. In all her chocolate appreciating wisdom, Debby made a brunch reservation for us at the factory's cafe. After we share a meal of chocolate pancakes (how can you not?) and incredible scrambled eggs with salmon, guyer cheese and scallions, we join a tour group to check out the factory and learn about the small company's history.

Michael, Debby's brother, joins us at this point and we sit looking at photos, smelling and passing around cacao beans in their various stages in the farming and chocolate making process, and are taught the proper way to taste test chocolate. Basically, you act like a wine snob while you take small bits from the little rectangular pieces.

The factory itself, we are surprised to see, is quite
small. They have two roasters, the woman tells us, but only one is used, really. The factory does not run on the week-ends, so it's quite quiet, but seeing what the insides of such a place is like is still so interesting. There is a tiny room with one table at which labelers put the chocolate company's mark on one of their few different flavors/varieties.

Recognizing the rise in the dark chocolate trend and the popularity of specialty and organic chocolates, Hershey bought Scharffen Berger a few years ago. As part of the Hershey policy, there is a metal detector at the end of the little chocolate assembly line, checking to ensure that no loose screws have fallen into the chocolate and made their way into the final product by accident. If metal was found, a little arm would push the piece of chocolate into a large blue bin next to the conveyor belt.

Our tour guide tells us that when the device was first installed, it was calibrated incorrectly. Chocolate bars sans screws or any other type of metal were rejected regularly. Not only that, but the arm pushing the faulty chocolate off the belt was far too strong, and sent the chocolate flying clear over the bucket and into the window which gave us a view of the labeling room a few yards away. Once corrected, the flying chocolate ceased and, as our tour guide tells us, no metal toting chocolate has yet to be found.

At they end, we are funneled into the factory's gift shop. Full of delectable treats at exorbitant prices, I decide not to purchase anything, though the "Ganache for your Lips" lip balm was tempting. I did also waver on how much I needed a really cool shirt which read "(bitter) sweet" or "(ultra) bitter". Somehow, I feel like wearing such a shirt, though completely cool, might convey an aura of bitter spinster. Very approachable. Not so much. Who knows, maybe I will have lack-of-buying remorse. In this case, Debby has agreed to go back and pick one up for me should I suddenly decide that I made a mistake in not purchasing the fun shirt.

From here we head to Muir Woods and I am thrilled to get a chance to see some Redwoods up close. They are grande. The natural skyscrapers are beautiful and humbling. Michael, who owns his own media production company at the ripe old age of 25 (what an underachiever), wanders around us and the wilderness, shooting video with his HD Leica. Not too shabby. From the nice hiking conversations to the discovery of mushrooms and colonies of ladybugs, the visit there is deemed another perfect Debby idea!

Once we are hiked-out, we head back into San Francisco for some pizza. On our way back to the city, we drive over the Golden Gate bridge in all it's "golden hour" (late day/early evening light) glory. We drop off the boys at their homes and Debby and I stop at Trader Joe's grocery store for some treats to go along with our movie rental choice for the evenings wind-down entertainment.

We hang out at her place for our final evening. As we enjoy a cup of tea made from the new tea diffuser she purchased just the day before in Chinatown, we agree that four years between seeing one another is simply not acceptable and our mission from here on out is that it never happens again.

San Francisco, Day 1

Rise and shine in California where it is actually quite cold. Debby, groovy friend and tour guide extraordinaire and I head out for our day of adventure. First we head to Union Square where we park the car in an underground lot in good time - the crowds seem to really show up a little while after we've scored our parking spot.

We wander he streets of Union Square checking out which ever shops appeal to us. We are both on a mission to find the perfect work shoe. Well, ideally, we want two of them. One for each foot. Alas, our dreams of finding them are dashed by the shelves of ballerina style shoes. Nice for going out, not for working. We stop into the biggest Old Navy in creation - three stories, I believe - hoping to snag a jacket I saw in FL. No luck. They are a golden nugget says the Old Navy girl when I ask her where they might have the cool coats that look like they were made from genuine Grover pelt.

Next we head Chinatown where we wander the stores with wall-to-wall shoes, dresses, handbags, and figurines. We decide to try something new and grab ourselves a snack of black bean cakes in one of the bakeries. It's mild sweetness, flaky outside crust and soft, dark filling have a nice texture and do not disappoint. Experiment a success! After a recent trip to Asia, Debby is in search of a lemon-grass tea. We wander into a tea shop with the innocent intention of inquiring about the illusive tea.

This tea shop has an entire wall of tea and infusions. Many bearing names like Golden Turtle and Water Fairy (There was one about a monkey but I don't remember the specific name). The interior of the shop is wonderful with it's high ceilings, hanging lanterns and it's apothecary-esque wall of teas.

After Debby is told that there is no such thing as lemon-grass tea, we are invited to sit and sample some teas (that apparently DO exist). "I thought we were going to just sit there and try a few and they'd send us on our way" Debby said later. But, we sat for quite a while next to a couple visiting from Seattle, observing and learning from our tea man as he brewed us teas in a small ceramic cup and shares the flavors with us. Lavender, black, leechee white tea, ginseng. Debby and I agree that the one infused with milk is not a success.

He told us all about the various teas the small shop owns, some that run for $15,000 a pound! He doesn't own many of them and yes, one can insure teas. There are four of these tea shops owned by the same person, he tells us. One other is just a block a half away in Chinatown, one is in a another part of the city entirely, and one is in Seattle. They've been in existence for four years, the man tells us.

He teaches us about the goodness of loose tea and by the end of his casual and comfortable lecturing, we each buy something before leaving. Oh, yeah, this guy's good. Perhaps we are suckers, but we don't care. We are happy with our new tea purchases.

It was a lovely place to stumble into.

Next we head back to the car and brave the traffic so that Debby might humor me and take me to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch. We score again with a perfect metered parking spot just near the chosen restaurant. Boudin's is a bread factory. While we wait for a table, we wander through their clever little bread museum, where we take a test of our "bread type" by answering a series of questions pertaining to our personality.

On a Saturday night, would you be,
A. doing dinner and a movie
B. going to the theater, etc

Apparently, walnut bread was made for Debby and I am an olive bread type.

The museum overlooks the bread factory and we watch the hustle bustle below; the balls of dough running through the machines, bread makers dressed in all white running the machines and moving product from here to there. Down by the first floor window, we can see the bread artisans making dough animals in view of the passers-by, many of whom have stopped to watch the show. Once done, the fresh bread is moved from the baking area to the bread distributing area in charming baskets gliding above on a wire.

Lunch consists of perfectly gigantic bread bowls with chowder in them. I eat the weight of my own head in bread. Yum.

We take a stroll on the pier and smell the sea lions before we see them. They are funny characters with their lying about and sort-of bark/burping at each other. One dock on which a slew of them are lounging is half under water. It looks very uncomfortable, but none of them seem to care that they are all piled up on a dock that's slanting at a hard angle.

It is definitely a touristy place with Alcatraz themed shops and street performers battling one another for the affections (and dollars) of passers by. I always make a point of buying a fridge magnet whenever I visit someplace new, and while I fail to snap a picture of one of the city's famous cable cars, I still bring one home with me in the form of a magnet.

From here we head over to Jarett's place. Jarett is Debby's boyfriend and I meet him for the first time. After spending a bit of time with him, he is most decidedly a thumbs up. Yay, Debby! The three of us meet more friends in the Mission at Cha Cha Cha's for dinner. Over tapas and sangria, I get to know Debby's friends a bit, finally putting faces to names I have heard. We have a great time chatting and telling stories, talking movies and more over the platanos, chicken and potatoes in the loud, dark corner of the hip but unassuming restaurant.

After our meal, we head a few doors down, bellies full, to Doc's Clock bar. I am introduced to the game of shuffleboard. We all learn a bit about puck-on-sandy-table velocity during a game against a couple girls who recently moved to San Francisco from Boston. Wow, how ironic, I tell them, I'm from Boston! One of the girls worked at the De Cordova museum before her move. Wow, how ironic, I tell her, my brother's wedding reception was at the De Cordova!

Will wonders never cease?

A fine day all around. Debby is a wonderful hostess and I feel that meeting her friends helps give me an idea of what the people here are like. I joked with her, "Maybe your friends are just really nice and the rest of the people in this state are asses!" But, I doubt this. San Francisco proves itself to be a very cool place and I am quite content with my introduction to it!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Oakland Has An Airport?

Off to see my friend Debby in San Francisco this week-end, the Dallas Fort Worth Airport is my layover. My flight went fine but I was surprised to find that it's cold here. Why have I always thought Texas to be warm? Where did that come from? It also appears that it's ugly here. (See fig. 1)

The airport is quite a place. Once I take my shuttle to my connecting terminal and make my way through the streets of tile mosaics of all styles, I turn a corner and find myself in virtually complete mall. There's this skin product called ProActive. Maybe you've seen it on TV. They sell it here. In the airport. Out of vending machines. Weird. I have a lot of time between my flights so I wander around to find the pub of choice. For some reason, being in airports, large ones, make me crave potato skins. I think it became a tradition when I was in school at OU. I would take my hour and a half shuttle ride from Athens to Columbus, and with time to kill, I'd get a bite before getting on my plane headed to Boston. Potato skins apparently became the Columbus Airport tradition.

I find my pub, complete with full Dallas Cowboy interior, but choose to wander some more, as I do have much time to kill. I find the Star-bucks should procuring a delectable frappaccino become necessity. It is very likely. I later learn that just because it seems like a good idea to get a frappaccino doesn't mean one should. Especially in a chilly location. There's a PGA Shop. As in golf. I LIVE ten minutes from an actual PGA National golf club, it's weird see a shop in an airport. This gets me thinking; the PGA National we have in Palm Beach Gardens, is it the only one? Is it THE PGA National? I have no idea.

I pass a currency exchange counter and I feel a pang inside over traveling abroad. I would like to do it again relatively soon, but I don't know when it will happen. I haven't a plan at the moment.

I commit to potato skin location and once I finish my too large (they do make everything bigger in Texas) and not-tasty-enough skins, I wander some more and curse myself for my lack of thorough initial potato skin stake out when I spot TGI Fridays - maker of yummy skins.

For future reference, if you're ever in terminal D at DFW, seek out the TGIFriday's for the skins.

My flight to San Francisco is fine. The plane is huge which I'm taken aback by a bit. I call Debby once the eagle has landed and she waits for me in a cell phone lot until I call her again after I've gotten my bag and head out for a curbside pick-up.

The wait for my bag is a long one. As the flight was full and the plane large the bags just start accumulating on the belt. Piling up on one another, I couldn't help but notice that all the luggage have fallen in a way that makes it very difficult to get at their handles. I visualize the baggage handlers taking out their workplace discontent on us innocent travelers, "Hey Earl, I'm gonna put this purple one upside down AND wrong side up!" That'll show 'em.

A man, about in his 60s, stands next to me and calls someone on his cell, "Yeah, I'm just standing here watching the luggage go around and around. It's not as interesting as when we used to be high and watch them go around and around."

Toto's not in Florida anymore.

I am thrilled to see my friend. It has been four years since we first met and became friends when she was an intern at my paper and I was her mentor. She teases me a bit about getting a flight into San Francisco instead of Oakland, (apparently, when she told me she lives in Oakland, foolish girl assumed I knew there was an airport in Oakland) I enjoy the sight of a new city in a new state while she drives us to dinner.

After out tasty meal of sometimes mysterious dim sum delights in the Richmond District, we drive towards downtown past Union Square. There is far more traffic and people to see here and I find the hills almost a bit scary, I am now so used to flatness. I am so excited just to see someplace different and she has planned so much fun into two days that I actually returned my guidebook before leaving to come here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh What Oh What to Name the Mutt

I just got off the phone with Mom. We were chatting about names for the dog. She had come up with Muffy, which is a cross between Muffin, their first dog, and Tilly, their most recent. It's also pretty much another word for a woman's "nether regions".

I informed Mom of this and then realized how many cool names are now negated by slang. I think Cooter would be a really cool name, for example. Dinky? Also kind of fun, and yet, highly innapropriate. Poopy has a cute ring to it, but no. Pooper's even better. Tinkle? Nice. (I'm being very PG here I think, but it works quite nicely). Tata, Booby, BumBum, Hooha, Jugs, Vajajay, er, um.

You get the point.

Good Morning, Starshine!

Doggy bedhead.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meet the Somewhat Nameless New Family Member

After the loss of dear old Tilly over the summer, and months of searching for just the right puppy to become the new member of the family, my parents were thrilled to bring home (temporarily named) Holly, who they adopted through the Pocono Pet Rescue league.

They picked her up hours and hours from their MA home at a foster family and brought her back just yesterday. I spoke on the phone with each of them and listened while Mom narrated in a puppy voice while the little one explored the first floor of their queen victorian, "Oo, what's in here? No, that's kinda boring. I'll go over here. Oo, that looks tasty!" I can simultaneously visualize exactly what the puppy is doing in her exploratory state, and see my Mom as she was when I was a little girl, tucking me into bed and making my stuffed animals talk to me.

I get Dad on the phone because I want to hear the excitement in his voice, too. He is far more understated than my Mom with her periodically bursting out of, "Oh, my god, she's cute!" While discovering a new trait like crossing her front paws when she lies down.

Dad is still thrilled though, it's clear. Pleased and proud, he reports, "She's hiding behind my knees right now," before adding "We did good."

So, if anyone has any cool name ideas, you now have a photo of her to help. Add your name via the comments.

Not a Fiction Writer

OK, I did some more "writing" last night with my Writer's Toolbox, and while I know I will continue to use it because it's fun and a good exercise, I have determined that I am not, I repeat, not, a fiction writer! Hopefully, I can tell a good real story, but as for makin' stuff up? Not so good.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Candidate Quiz

A friend who writes this blog led her readers to this cool site where you can take a quiz to find out who you should consider voting for. Very cool.

Take the candidate quiz here.

Standing on a Chair

I've been listening to "Bad Dogs Have more Fun" by John Grogan, on CD. A Christmas gift from Mom. It's basically six CDs of columns about life that Grogan had written while with The Philadelphia Inquirer over the years.

I'm grateful to be in a a field that births so many interesting stories. Or rather, experiences that make me grateful for what I do.

I was updating and organizing some photo albums the other day when I came across a scrap book from my time in Cleveland so many summers ago, when I had an internship there. I recognized it right away, the photo copy of a poem
. With the poem, I wrote an explanation...

Wednesday, July 22, 1998
I had a very neat experience today. I was sent to the Community Reentry Headquarters on W25th Street in Cleveland to photograph a meeting that was taking place there. The Women's Re-Entry Writers Group. It was a group of formerly incarcerated women who write poetry and prose. There were five women. They all seemed like interesting people. I felt cautious. I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible. Some of the women spoke of very personal experiences and I felt like and intruder. It was just a meeting and although what was being said was interesting, they just at around a table. Not very visual. I used my strobe and self-consciously stood on chairs in an effort to make my p
ictures more interesting. I went to leave and apologized for being distracting and for interrupting in order to get names. Mary Strope had read a poem at the start of the meeting - she had a slow and deliberate delivery, like Maya Angelou. Before I left, she asked if she could read something she'd written since the start of the meeting. She read with the same power of delivery as she had done before. I wonder if she knows how much what she read meant to me. She let me photocopy the page for me from her journal....

Plain Dealer and Poetry Club
The Poetry Club

Didn't want to be here
Showin up
Wasn't excited

Knowing my spirit
needed to rise
Time's passin

Just sittin

Reading poems

Talking poems and poetry
The press is present
Cameras flashing

Risen by standing
on a chair
I'm like, ahhh

my spirit has risen

laughter, joy, smile
now fill my space

Somehow the press
standing on a chair
Made my spirit smile

Improper to be grateful
Thanking everyone

So I will just thank God

All is done

-Mary Slade


What I did on my week-end...

Sewed a curtain to block the new shelves I put in last week-end.

Got all my DVDs into their little storage books.

Organized most of my cook books. I put many of the recipes in a new box Mom made for me and the rest went into the little shelves I built years ago.

It was so dusty back behind there, man, I swear I vacuumed up a pack of dust bunnies in the middle of a Bridge tournament back behind there!

The Writers Toolbox

For Christmas, my cousin Susan got me "The Writer's Toolbox" off my amazon wish list. Not really being a writer I thought it would be a fun way to help me think differently about writing.

It's very cool. It basically has different exercises to get your brain going. The one I did tonight involved little sticks with sentences on them. You pick out one stick from a specific collection of sticks and start your story with that. After writing for a bit, you look at another randomly chosen stick from another collection. Then, you pick a third when you are ready to finish the story.

It was really fun but bizarre too. For example, I found my story was being narrated by a man as I got going. A man I didn't particularly care for, actually.

Here's what I ended up with. The sentences that were provided for me have been bolded.

I had this system for getting exactly what I wanted out of people. I have never been able to figure out where it started or how I learned it. All I know is that it is now second nature to me. I don't feel guilty about it necessarily, but I don't understand it either. I just use it.

I work harder to get things that I really want but for the most part, if I want it, the process of getting it is almost more fun than actually getting the thing itself; like that saying about traveling - the best part is getting to the destination...or something like that. For me, the traveler, getting someone else to give it to me is part of the fun. I'm so good at it at this point it's often not even work anymore.

Sometimes I aim for the challenge just to see if I can get it. Like that wife, for example. I actually wasn't really so into her, but she was so into him, I had to take on the challenge. See if I could get her. It would be an interesting trip, I thought.

He was skating on this ice - that's all I can say. I saw that. Heard it, too. Could hear the ice cracking beneath him, could smell the cold air around them, stinging and sharp, like her when she was around him. I could hear them through the wall, she was so pissed. Something about a missing urn. I knew it was the best time to give it a whirl. Step on in and see.

I couldn't handle it, really. I mean, I could handle it, but not her. She behaved like a single woman, a spinster. Set in her ways and independent despite not being single. She was bossy and difficult, but she was curious about the world around her and had a wit faster than a jackrabbit. She had a smart-ass comment for everything. There were aspects about her that I dug. Could I hide my distaste for her less admirable qualities and make her feel wanted? Make her want me? No problem.

And it wasn't a problem until after the dinner party when I realized my extra curricular activity was being noticed. A group of us from the neighborhood got together with the yuppies a few doors down. The one's with the airedale and the front door shipped from India then painted "eggshell". Little did I know, the hosts had also invited her and her thin ice skater. Digging into the brie and standing at their contemporary bar while faux admiring their choice in wine, it wasn't hard to ignore that anything that was going on between us, pretend I didn't really know her. After all, I don't really know her. Or like her, really.

Two days later I met with a few friends for lunch, one of whom was there at the dinner party. She wondered what was up with the woman. You know, the one with the wit and the quiet husband, she said. She was onto me, for sure. Turning to her girlfriend, she reported, "She was standing behind the counter, giving him this root beer float kind of smile."

It was then that I knew we were done. I was out. Fortunately, I know how to get what I want, but I know how to un-get it too. Usually.

After the thing she did to the brakes on the Honda, my Honda, I moved to a new neighborhood, took a different route on my morning jog. I like brie as much as the next guy, but I have no interest in coming home to boiled bunnies.

Like I said though, I can usually get people to give me what I want. I got her. I also got thousands of dollars of damage to my brakes system, but at least I still have a perfect record.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Final Email

I had asked Glenn about Oliver's eating habits in my last email to him
and he responded with his thoughts on Oliver's "slow" learning ability
and the fact that he would let the dogs know when it was time to
devour their meal.

After returning last night from an outing for Nirvi's birthday, I
received one last email from Glenn, which read...

My wife just reminded me that he likes you to sit with him while he eats.

This morning, when I put his dish down, I looked at him and said
clearly, "Ok" like Glenn mentioned he would do.


Then, I got a stool and put it on the floor in the kitchen. I have no
intention of spending every meal form her on in sitting on the floor
so the dog has company, but I did want to see if it worked.


He bounced over to me, excited that I was on his level, Are we
playing? Whatarewedoing? Can I lick you? I'm gonna lick you! Wanna go
out? Why are you on the floor? I'm not hungry.

So much for that. This afternoon his bowl was still full of his kibble.

In brighter news, Mom and Dad were just approved to become the
adoptive parents of a cute puppy currently named Holly. The
organization adopting her out is in the south and will be driving her
north this weekend with a few other adopted dogs. I'm so excited for
my parents, I ran out and bought things for a care package. It was
difficult to not buy everything that came in pink and everything that
was labeled for puppies.

I'm looking forward to more crazy dog stories that only the Scott
family dogs can seem to provide.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Past Emails

Today I received this email via David, who fostered Oliver for about a
half day before I giving him over to me.

David – Hi, my name is Glenn.  About a year and a half ago (I think)
you found a home for our dog, Astro, who we had to part with.  As I
recall, you placed her with a woman who was a newspaper photographer
up in Palm Beach County.

 The reason I'm writing is that I've received a notice from Miami-Dade
County for failure to submit proof of rabies vaccine for Astro, and
even though I've told them I don't have him anymore, I need to appear
at a hearing in a couple of weeks.  Therefore, I would like to get a
letter from you or from Astro's new owner, confirming that I gave him
away and am no longer the owner.

Is this something you can help me with?


Until now, I never knew the name of Oliver's previous owner. Now, I
do. I emailed Glenn back…

HI, Glenn,

Sorry to hear you are being hassled.
Ironic timing. I just got Oliver (Astro) a new tag yesterday. He is up
on his rabies shots however, considering you got him a 3-year one two
years ago.
If you have any more problems or need to contact them, I take him to
Village Animal Clinic - 561.848.4349.

Question for you if you don't mind - do you know Oliver's birthday (roughly)?


Then, I got this response –

Thanks for getting back to me.  David also sent me the picture of
Astro/Ollie dressed up for Christmas…very cute…

 I don't know his birthday, as I had adopted him myself….When I got
him (late 2002 or early 2003), I think he was about 3 years old…but
that was just a guess by my vet at the time.

I hate to trouble you, but could you send me a letter (by email is
fine) stating that you adopted Astro from us in ______ (I think it was
the summer of 2006, but I really can't remember)…It would help me with
the administrative hearing.

Give him a hug for me.


So, apparently the go-between shared a photo with Glenn. I wanted to
send him one but wasn't sure he'd really want one. "Give him a hug for
me" he says. A stranger who once loved him, fed him, gave him a home,
adopted him himself at one time, clearly took very good care of him
and handed over oodles of organized medical records when he gave him
up, wants me to give him a hug for him. I'm happy to do that. I am
happy to be the one giving him a hug, even though the consequence will
be either him jamming his tongue stealthily up my nose or squirming
out of my arms, annoyed at my crushing adoration.

Glenn had adopted him, too. This means someone before Glenn actually
gave our sweet boy away. I am his third home. His THIRD home!

I'm not sure I could ever give him up. If I got larger medical bills
for treatment that would not effect his quality of life, I would save
more money and find ways to make some more on the side. If I met the
man of my dreams and he was allergic, he would have to buy stock in
Claritin-D and there will be no moving in until my dear Oliver left to
hangout with his late aunt Tilly in the giant Cape Cod in the sky.

I got a series of essays on cd from Mom for Christmas, which were all
written by John Grogan, author of Marley and Me. One essay talks about
saying goodbye to his dear lovable, clumsy dog, and I am squeezing my
tears in thinking about the day when I too will experience that. (I'm
so grateful that I failed to grow-out of my adolescent tendency
towards morbid thoughts.)

I arrive home after my long day and send along the info Glenn needs to
get Miami-Dade off his back, and he sends me this response...

I really appreciate it and am glad Oliver has such a good home.  (I
don't know if David told you, but when we adopted Astro, we already
had a dog, and no children. Once we had our 2 kids, the 2 dogs were
too much for my wife to handle when I was away on business trips.)

Thanks again.

Then, there was another email in response to my wondering about his
health, and also, had Glenn trained him so well?

Our other dog is very well-trained, but as much as I tried with
Astro/Oliver, he always seemed a bit "slow" (at least in comparison)…I
did teach him to heel but he was pretty inconsistent in actually
listening to me…the food thing we did insist on…he never was allowed
to grab food off a table or counter, and he even didn't eat from his
own bowl until I said "ok"….I would put the bowl on the floor and make
the dogs sit before saying ok, and then they'd make a mad dash for
their food.

So, now I know it all. He didn't really want to get rid of him, but
had to. Two kids and two dogs was understandably, too much. I know his
age for sure now, too. He's eight years old. He is a failed trainee in
Glenn's home compared to the smarty-pants dog, and a genius as far as
I'm concerned. I also know he is my favorite part of coming home every
day. Tonight, as I worked from home on some photos that needed to be
sent-in quickly, he jammed his nose under my arm, rested his paw on my
knee and his chin on his paw.

Once the photos were sent, I asked him, "Where's you toy?!"
His ears perked up and he squirmed delightedly before taking off in
search of his rope bone or mangled pig, whichever was found first.

Once he found it, he looked to me, alert, waiting for his next cue
which would have him running around the apartment, victim in his
mouth, with me close behind.
"IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII'm gonnnnna get it!"


We are experiencing record low temperatures today in Florida. The
Sunshine State. Standing in the cold wind in the open space of a
soccer field trying to get an action shot, I was reminded of what it's
like to shoot up north. You can buy a hat to keep your head and ears
warm, bundle up your body, and wear heavy shoes. But, there's no
complete solution for your fingers in that cold. Maybe there are
gloves out there that will allow you the dexterity required to operate
the camera but today, I was not wearing them. There were hours between
the two games I was shooting so I headed to Target to get a hat, a
scarf, and some gloves. I find the perfect pair of gloves. They are
comfy and made from some fleecy-gortex stuff, and Velcro closure at
the wrist. I look for a price tag and can find none. It takes me a
moment to realize these gloves aren't for sale. Some schmo left their
really nice gloves behind.

I pick out some alternatives which will do me just fine and head over
to the deli to get something small to eat. What? You mean me only
eating a few slices of roast beef and some M&Ms before leaving the
house this afternoon is the reason I feel like crap and I should be
eating better? No!

I am now home and my dear friend Rachel is sitting next to me and I'm
telling her about how after all the above happened, I went into this
wondering about germs part. I was basically wondering why people up
north get sick in the winter when germs actually can't thrive in cold
weather. She used to be a germ writer, or rather, a health reporter.
She explained that it's because people sneeze into their hands and
then touch things.

And they like doorknobs. That's a no-no.

The End.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Ringing In 2008

Nirvi and I went to dinner together at Rhythm Cafe in West Palm Beach
for New Year's Eve.  Then we went back to my place to pick up Rachel
who is back from her four month abandonment, I mean sabbatical, and is
staying with me until she finds a place. We headed down to Eliza's
where we rang in the New Year with a few friends and acquaintances. I
brought along party hats and noisemakers and we became quite the
obnoxious group. I was the captain of obnoxious, of course.