Saturday, November 29, 2008

He is the Very Model of a Modern . . . Golden Doodle

The new puppy, Kairos, has settled right in and is quickly proving himself a member of the family: He's very fond of gadgets and gizmos, particularly if they have lights, make noise or--most importantly--have cords. He's also taken a liking to my computer and even offered to help out with work while I'm sick, the licking and pawing of the keyboard a lovely, modern twist on "the dog ate my homework."

(My apologies for the poor quality photo--it's from my iPhone. Not bad for a phone, but not great for publishing.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Thomas recently had an on-camera interview for a short documentary about urban chicken farming. Due to a misunderstanding on my part, Hannah and Charlotte were told that they might be interviewed as well. And because Hannah has yet to meet the camera unworthy of her adoration, she was very excited.

So when a friend asked Hannah how the interview had gone, she replied:

“Really it was boring. Charlotte and I had nothing to do. It was all about my dad. You know he used to be a magician, so why couldn’t they be doing that? That's way more exciting.”

On hearing that Thomas was going to get his hair cut short:

“Now he’ll look like a normal dad!”

Our school's PTA sponsored an art contest as part of a program run by the CA PTA. I had mentioned it to Hannah several times, but she was uninterested—until the night before the piece had to be turned in. She spent seven minutes whipping out a portrait—not bad for seven minutes, but not really suitable for submission, even to a contest with the ridiculously ambiguous “Wow!” theme. So I asked . . .

“What about this will make someone think “Wow!”?

(Exasperated sigh.)

“Um, my talent?”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Even My First Grader Gets It

From one of the books that Hannah made in class. The teacher didn't even have to tell her how to spell "Obama" or "President."

It's from my phone, so it's not the best image, but the text is: "America is Obama is our 44 President."

Moving On

I found Argus' collar this weekend. I was cleaning the plant room and didn't see it right away. I should have because it's red. And yes, it has lots of shiny tags on it. Yes, it jingled when I picked it up. Yes, that sound made me weep.

It seems ridiculous to me that I obviously haven't moved past this. I don't cry about my mother, and haven't since she died. But someone on the outer reaches of our neighborhood has a Great Dane. She was walking him down the street. I was cooking dinner. I heard that bark and my first thought was, "Oh no! I left the dog outside!" In the same moment I realized that it couldn't possibly be Argus, I snapped off the stove, threw down the potholder and dashed out the door.

She must have thought me a little crazy, running barefoot across the street as I did. Trying to hide the tears as I touched my forehead to his; as I dug my hands into his fur--that spot right behind the ear that always worked for Argus, and probably every other dog. She and I talked a bit. The dog was a rescue she'd had for a year. He was taller than Argus and a Blue. Sweet, with the classic Great Dane temperament. His eyes were green, which I wasn't expecting, and from his lines and the way he carried himself, I would guess he was a purebred.

But I found myself, well, finding fault. He wasn't as handsome as Argus. He was too tall. He was too thin. His eyes were too close together.

The truth is, he wasn't Argus.

More than a month passed and there I was. Sitting in a flowered chair surrounded by rescued poinsettias, overgrown aloe, scraggly ivy, the Christmas cactus that always blooms at Easter and Thanksgiving and a few other plants whose names I forget. Staring at the collar in my hand, the doggy smell slightly sour and faded. Turning the tags through my fingers, noticing that we never updated his address from Campbell to Redwood City. Wondering if I’d had his lo-jak deactivated. Wondering why this silly dog can still turn me into a puddle of tears.

We’re going to pick up our new puppy on Saturday, a Golden Doodle. Thomas didn’t think another Great Dane was a good idea since they’re not really what you’d call “portable.” The girls are really excited and have made a Puppy Countdown calendar. Thomas has already re-read all of the puppy books—there’s so much you forget in eight years. Me? I’m still crying over Argus and wondering how in the world I’m ever going to love another dog that much.

I know I will. I’m just not convinced that this is the right time. Which is completely beside the point because 1) I’m outnumbered, and 2) they’re pretty darn cute puppies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time to Think About Other Things

Between Argus dying, my mother dying five days later, the school year starting, work, the election and pretending to work on my book, I never got around to posting any photos from our trip to Canada this summer. This is one of my favorites--Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Joe-the-Jackass, Update

No. No they did not. No one told Joe that his 15 minutes were up. No one told him that he needed to go home, pay his taxes and do something about the fact that he is not a licensed plumber. Nor did they remind him that he is not a foreign--or domestic--policy expert, either.

Rather, someone convinced him that his was an excellent story. That he should write a book. That he should say he was going with a small publishing house out of the goodness of his heart and not because the medium, larger and probably most of the smaller houses, are still laughing at the very idea.

Joe emerged from obscurity during the middle of the third presidential debate, on October 15, 2008. His book is going to be released December 1. Yes, that's December 1 of 2008. Apparently Joe and his publisher are putting as much effort into the writing, fact checking and editing as the McCain campaign put into vetting the Palin and Joe himself.

I wish I could say that it would flop; that it would hit the remainders table ten minutes after it reached the stores. But other than the absolute right guy being elected, nothing seems to makes sense this year. So all I can do is applaud any and every publishing house who turned them down and weep with shame for the one who didn't.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Keith Olbermann "Gay Marriage is a Question of Love"

Keith Olbermann tonight on California's Prop 8. Very moving. Very Surprising. Please watch it, share it with your friends and hope this isn't over yet.

A Little Something About Rahm Emanuel

In case you were wondering what all the fuss was about:

HT: DailyKos

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Random Shout and Question of the Week

If I see one more pundit pull out their list of probable candidates for 2012 I am going to throw something.

Given the likelihood that a boot will, in fact, be smacked into a talking head, is the television covered by homeowners' insurance?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I Am a Dork

I've cried three times already today:
  1. My friend Barry waited in line for two hours to vote this morning, as have thousands upon thousands of others.
  2. 35,000 people were at an Obama rally in Leesburg, VA two weeks ago. Yesterday there were 90,000 at a rally in Manassas, VA and huge rallies in Richmond and Virginia Beach. If you grew up in Virginia you understand how truly amazing this is. Not exactly your typical Democrat strongholds. I grew up near Charlottesville, VA in a town that was 90 percent segregated. One side was literally called "Browntown."
  3. There were many, many people out protesting California's Prop 8 today.

The hope I've been strangling for months is seeping out and I'm almost ready to stop fighting it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Complacency kills.

One would think that a couple of tight elections would make people realize that, yes, their vote actually does count. Think you live in a solidly red or solidly blue state? Look at the polls right now. Even if you don't follow these things, you have to at least notice the shock that Montana is in play! That Arizona is close! That Virginia is contested!

And yet still we hear "I'm not going to vote. It doesn't matter. My state is a done deal."

Really? What if everyone woke up on Tuesday and decided, somewhere between coffee, getting the kids to school and going to work, that they really didn't need to vote, either. Too much trouble. Lines too long. It's raining. No one will notice one little ballot, right?

Imagine that one little* ballot. Feel how light it is. Barely worth the mention. Now imagine another 50 or 72 or 167 or 502 stacked on top of that one little ballot. Still think it doesn't matter?

A couple of months ago I announced Operation Wake Up Call and it's time for a reminder:

On Tuesday, please get up early. Call everyone in your address book. Email them. Text or Tweet them. Poke them through Facebook. Whoever you think might need a little nudge to get to the polls. Especially if they were already planning to vote for Obama.

* Little is, of course, a relative term :)