Thursday, September 28, 2006

Graham Avenue, You're ON NOTICE!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Travels With Chuck

Saturday morning, I finally got up the courage to go to BARC and volunteer my services as a dog walker. I had been wanting to do this for some time, but [this may shock many of you] I am actually quite shy when in comes to anything that seems like an audition or sitting at a table of strange girls in the cafeteria of a new school.

But this past Saturday, I got up, slathered on sunscreen, packed extra plastic bags, and walked all the way to North 1st and Wythe. I passed the dog park that Trey and I often visit, wondering which dog the shelter would assign me. Trey and I have been both dog crazy AND Dog Whisperer crazy: dreaming of a family of five demented mutt dogs: observing neighborhood dog owners’ facility or lack thereof with the leash. She watches Cesar we’d whisper to each other. Oh wow, he totally needs to watch Cesar. I thought of maintaining my calm, assertive energy.

At BARC, I filled out my paperwork and Vinny seemed to approve of me. He reviewed the list of dog walking rules: Do not bring the dog to the dog park, don’t try to “train” them, don’t talk on your phone, etc. I nodded, a responsible dog-walker to be and Dog Whisperer In Training.

“Okay, follow me,” he said and went around back. I waited, calmly and assertively, for my placid pit bull, who would immediately accept me as his pack leader.

But Vinny did not bring me an elderly pit bull — Vinny brought out a smallish black and white dog of indeterminate provenance who was so excited to be outside he kept barking and jumping up as high as my breast! Vinny put the leash in my hand and the dog grabbed part of the leash in his mouth, jumping and twirling.

“This is Chuck. He’s really high energy so he needs a good walk.”

I panicked! Chuck was too hyper! I wanted to blurt “Wait, can I have a different one?” But no, that would be wrong! I felt myself blushing and feeling completely incompetent. Chuck kept jumping and twirling. I figured I should just walk. I started walking up North 1st street, Chuck jumping alongside me. Everyone can see I have no fucking idea what I am doing, I thought.

We made it around the corner and Chuck pooped. I was afraid he would escape while I tried to pick it up, as I had never picked up dog poop in my life. But I got it!

Chuck sniffed everything and peed on so many things he ran out of pee within 2 blocks! I worried maybe he was dehydrated. He was also panting so much I didn’t know if he was choking. I kept slipping my fingers under his collar and checking to make sure he wasn’t garroting himself. He seemed fine. [The night before I had dreamt I walked my high school friend Martha’s dog, and in giving a correction on the leash I drew blood, and started to cry.]

Chuck and I began to fall into a rhythm. He was good about waiting with me to cross the street. I decided we should go to McCarren Park and do a couple of tours around there.

We entered the park and then it happened: the moment Chuck’s paws touched the grass he lay down flat, stretching his front and back paws as if to make sure that as much of his body was touching the grass and clover. My heart spilled open like an egg. All he wants to do is be a nice dog, laying on the cool grass. I sat down next to him and scratched him all over, and he rolled on his back, lolling his tongue. I found him a little stick and he gnawed on it, in the grass, being a dog. All my meta-bullshit fell away.

We went around the park a couple more times and since he kept trying to drink out of the rain puddles I thought I needed to get Chuck some water. But I couldn’t leave him alone, so I screwed up my courage and asked this random girl if she would run into the nearest bodega and buy me a water, and she did.

Outside the deli I bent down and gave Chuck his water and he seemed very thirsty indeed. After he drank he looked up and solemnly held my gaze. It was the first time he really looked at me.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Letter To The Editor, Age 11

I see I hadn't yet learned the effectiveness of ALL CAPS!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pray For Me. Pray For Us All.

I have begun knitting my very first sweater!

Seems like it was only yesterday when this started it all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

You Know What The Worst Thing Is, Though?

The fucking Discovery Institute is going to find a way to spin this!

FDA: E. coli linked to Natural Selection Foods

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Trey and I went on vacation for a week to my father's house in super rural Virginia.

It was wonderful. The power was out for the first three days due to Ernesto, but it didn't matter: we read and knitted and drank wine and visited with my family. We took lazy walks up the road to feed the horses and we saw bunnies and terns and the territorial heron. We slept in my sister's beautifully appointed guestroom on a five star mattress. We played with the dogs. We spooned on the solarium chaise lounge and looked at books about dogs and agreed to eventually have five. I knitted and listened to one of my sisters and her fiance read Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince aloud to each other and I cried several times even though I knew everything that was going to happen.

By the end of our time away I was so relaxed I was a different person. And I realized one thing that was probably the biggest contributing factor to this state.

No Internet Connection For A Week. Total news fast. I really need to do that more often.

My sister "La" is, hands down, the greatest hostess in the universe. She is not only the most practical woman to ever walk the earth [Were I ever President, she would be appointed head of FEMA yesterday] but so beautifully gracious in her practicality. She is the kind of person who always has extra toothbrushes for your and puts out Toblerone and fluffy bathrobes in your room but never even mentions it and does these things not from some sense of ego but because THAT IS JUST HOW THINGS SHOULD BE DONE. Although I know in her personal universe she finds dietary restrictions irrational, she went out of her way to accomodate Trey's and my veganism without saying one thing, without rolling an eye. She drinks Coke with breakfast because she likes it, and knows that if you have your vegan sister coming you just pick up some soymilk and portobellos from the Whole Foods and there you go. She is pure class and all heart and I love her.