Life Unexpected

On Friday, we celebrated Franny’s 4th birthday and our first year together. It was a happy day, and we showered her with love and cuddles and a long walk. The next day, we knew we were going to BFF’s mom’s for dinner and that Franny would get to run around with other dogs in a backyard, so we didn’t feel too bad about leaving her home while we ran to the Apple Store and then to the gym for a run. She’d get plenty of time to run around and play, or at least her version of playing which is really just her telling the other two dogs to stay away from her moms, dammit.

I didn’t feel bad when we volunteered to run to the store for a few ingredients that we needed for dinner. Franny would get to run around! She would miss us like mad but then we’d be home and she could relax! I didn’t feel bad about any of these things. And I still don’t, not really. Because what happened on Saturday afternoon was so very unexpected but in so many ways so very good.

See, as we were leaving the parking lot of the grocery store, we saw this scraggly slip of a dog trotting down the sidewalk. It was clear she was starving and it was clear she had been nursing puppies recently, or at the very least had given birth. It was also clear that she was desperate, as she darted into a busy street to gobble up the crushed, dirty remains of someone’s discarded snack. We didn’t think. She was darting into the street. What else can you do but stop the car and GRAB HER?

Except she was also terrified and confused and weak, so she took off down the sidewalk with BFF following behind, trying to coax her out of the street, away from danger and the bit of food just in the gutter. I parked the car, grabbed a discarded milk bone from the floor of the car, and took off after them. BFF was a bit down the sidewalk, coming toward me. She didn’t look defeated or frantic that she hadn’t been able to grab the dog. Nope. That sad little dog was curled up in her arms, her big brown eyes so weary and dejected. She was tiny, like a bird, the hair all down her neck worn almost completely off. Her upper body was covered in thin, baby fine hair that looks more like a balding man’s head than a dog. Her lower half, covered in coarse, thinning hair. She had dandruff (or to us, some unknown skin condition) and was still bleeding a little from whelping. Her hip bones were prominent, as were each of her little ribs. Her skin, loose from dehydration and malnutrition, sagged over her pointy elbows and around her neck, and her toenails were an inch long.

We took her to the car, fed her the milk bone, and started making calls. BFF’s mom set up one of her crates in the garage and had food and water ready when we arrived. The dog gobbled up the food, sucked down the water, and we gave her a little more while calling for a vet in the area so we could scan her for a chip. It was almost five-thirty, so there was a sense of urgency as we piled back in the car and took off, Franny barking her head off back at the house.

The vet tech scanned the dog for a chip and found nothing. She estimated the dog was a year old, maybe a year and a half. Just a baby herself and already a mom. The collar she wore bore no tags, only the frayed remains of a leash, which looked to be cut, said the vet, and not chewed. We took the dog outside and on the short walk to the car, decided to drive to the SPCA to turn her in. Or at least file a report. Whatever it is that you do with a starving dog who needs attention immediately.

They scanned her again at the SPCA while we filed a found dog report. The woman who helped us gave us a lot of information about what to do with her for the next 30 days while we look for her owners. I was suddenly terrified: we were responsible for this dog for the foreseeable future. Was she sick? Was she going to get Franny sick? How much was Franny going to hate us? What in the hell are we thinking? Where are her puppies?


After the SPCA

Somehow, we named her Emerson on the ride back to BFF’s mom’s house. We tucked her into the crate while we ate dinner, and then we loaded everything – and everyone – into the car. Franny was strapped into the backseat as usual and BFF held Emerson (Em, Emmy). At home, Emmy got a bath, some more food and water, warm blankets and lots of encouragement. She was cautious and timid, but sweet and never really tried to get away. Franny was curious but not a bully. She stayed on the floor next to the crate when Emmy cried after we put her to bed.

photo 4


Since Saturday night, Emmy has been scanned a third time and briefly examined by a vet. She’s been fed and watered and walked and loved. She has a little sweater now to keep her warm because she has no meat on her bones. We turned on the heat today for her, a real sacrifice for us. We like the cold here, the three of us. Yesterday, and today especially, Emmy has begun showing signs of the puppy she truly is. She chases your hand, crawls after your hand as you move it over the floor, bats at your fingers when you dangle them in front of her face. She loves to have her belly rubbed and she prefers to cuddle on her schedule. She loves going on walks and she loves anything Franny does. When she yawns, she makes the most adorable little noise I’ve ever heard.

Clothes are a necessity

Clothes are a necessity

We’ll be her family for the month of November, something of a trial for all of us. Franny has begun showing her displeasure with the situation, grumbling when Emmy gets a cuddle or flopping herself dejectedly onto another part of the couch because we invited Emmy up to join the rest of us. Regardless of what happens this month, I’m going to enjoy this time with Emmy. If this were Franny, if someone had rescued her off the streets, I would hope they’d do the same for her while we looked for each other. I would want them to love her, to give her all the things she’d been missing.

Say hello to Emerson.

Resting after a trip to the vet

Resting after a trip to the vet

Tiniest elbows

Tiniest elbows

She prefers the bed to a lap

She prefers the bed to a lap

Life’s about the little things

A lot has been going on at Chez LaughterInBetween. Between illness, injury, and LIFE IN GENERAL, I’ve been pretty busy lately. I started a garden on our balcony! It has things we can eat like green bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, and things we can use for multiple purposes like sage, and then things that I bought because they were pretty (blue salvia and Mexican heather). The garden almost wasn’t when our apartment complex hired a contractor to clean the gutters on all the buildings, and the contractor SUCKED AT HIS JOB. ¬†They blew a bunch of crap out of the gutters and onto everyone’s balcony/patio, including into MY BABY GARDEN. Well, I didn’t really clear out the tomato plant bucket and then it almost died from rot and over-watering. My poor baby tomato plant. But now it has about 6 tomatoes and my pepper plant, which seems to be suffering from a small aphid infestation, has a few lovely growing bell peppers poking out. The pepper is also home to an adorable spider named Burt, who is fat and sassy on his diet of aphids. And! We have a female hummingbird who loooves the blue salvia.


Have you guys met Franny yet? I can’t remember if I’ve ever really posted about her before. This is Franny!



We got Franny on November 1, 2013. Yes, the day after the Giants World Series parade. It wasn’t even planned that way! At all. We decided we wanted to start looking for a dog, and one came up that met our hypoallergenic requirement. He was even free! But lots of people wanted him, and so I set out to find a dog. Our dog. I spent one weekend going through hundreds of pages from online adoption and rescue sites, and eventually found this precious poodle mix about 45 minutes away. Her name was Angel Eyes. She had a sweet little face and we were in love. We made arrangements to meet her and then had to reschedule for another night. I don’t remember why. When we got to the foster’s house and were introduced to Angel Eyes, I was a little disappointed. She was bigger than they described and a little more aggressive. There were other dogs there, in the same big open-top pen as Angel Eyes. Then there was another dog, by herself, in a carrier. She was in there, the woman said, because she was a jumper. They’d just gotten her from the main rescue center that day and didn’t really know her. Angel Eyes was shy around us, and we sat down on the ground to get to know her. The foster let the jumper dog – a poodle mix – out of the carrier to see if it would loosen up Angel Eyes. It kind of did, if loosening up meant she decided this jumper dog was unacceptable and must be barked at and nipped. Ugh. Aggressive dog. We didn’t want an aggressive dog.

But then an amazing thing happened. This little jumper dog, a little white mop of a dog, walked over to BFF, crawled into her lap, and curled up. She stayed there while I tried to make a connection with Angel Eyes. She stayed there when we asked the woman if we could see this jumper dog’s file. She stayed there while I petted her. She stayed there when we decided she would come home with us. In fact, she stayed in BFF’s arms until we got home. We named her Francesca Wilson Lincepoodle, Franny for short. Except now Franny has become Frances, Fran, Fran-Fran, Frantastic, Frannydoodle, Franballs, I can’t remember what we did with our time before there was a Fran in our house.

She came up to see me while I was typing this post. Blurry!Fran

She came up to see me while I was typing this post.

Today has been a bit of an adventure. First of all, I’m a little hungover from the norco I took yesterday for my migraine. Everything’s kind of foggy (which explains this blog post). This morning while we were walking Franny, we saw one of our neighbors loading stuff into his van. Then we realized that he was taking stuff – good stuff! – that wouldn’t fit in the van and leaving it by the dumpsters. We scored a nice 6 drawer dresser, an office chair, an ironing board, and three lamps. For FREE. All in great shape. No shame, we just replaced/furnished stuff we’ve not been able to afford! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.

The worst thing that happened today was while we looked over the furniture. We heard a woman screaming at someone in an apartment as we walked by, and a few minutes later, she came outside and screamed something about you don’t hit a woman and if being upset makes me a bitch, then fuck you! She was sobbing as she walked past and we wanted to offer our help but..for some reason the moment passed. I felt horrible because should we call the cops? Is she okay? Does she need help or somewhere to stay? Fortunately, a few minutes later as we were walking back out to the dumpster, we saw her walking by and we checked on her. My heart is breaking for her. I hope she knows that our offer of a quiet space was sincere.

You have died of dysentery

Remember Oregon Trail? Of course you do. Pixelated horses and pixelated rivers and pixelated buffalo. It was the highlight of my day when I got some good Oregon Trail time in. We became experts at the right amount of food, right amount of bullets. We knew the risks of fording the river. We (I) hated hunting.

Sometimes we died of dysentery. Like this week, when C and I died of dysentery from getting supplies at Fort Pizza Hut. It was Sunday evening, it was a thousand billion degrees outside, and we were starving after spending an afternoon at the pool. E doesn’t eat meat or dairy, so she got breadsticks and was spared the indignity that C and I suffered.

Oh yeah, Pizza Hut. Your pizza, which was delicious at the time, made us sick. Not right away. No, it waited like a freaking lion in the brush and then pounced like we were wounded gazelle. It has lasted three entire days. Boo, Pizza Hut! Boo for making us die of dysentery!

We did not make it to Oregon. We suffered quietly in the back of our wagon while E bumped us along the rocky, miserable road to wherever it is our sorry carcasses gave in to your cheesy, doughy toxins.



I didn’t do it!

Okay so. Today we went to the pool. I have such a different relationship with the pool as an adult in comparison to as a child. It’s still¬†irresistible. I love the smell of chlorine, the sound of wet feet on warm pavement, and floating on my back, staring up at a deep blue sky. But it’s not a place I play so much anymore as it is a place where I lounge.

We are kind of serious about lounging. We have huge plush towels, tons of sunscreen, books, beverages. Today at the store we realized that Sauza makes margaritas for lazy people. You literally twist the lid off a bottle and POUR. So what do two thirty-somethings do when faced with such a miraculous invention? They buy a 1 liter SUPER THERMOS and then dump the entire bottle of margarita inside and go to the pool for a few hours.

We roll hard, what can I say?

So this afternoon, after some sips of margarita and a dip in the pool, I was laying on my lounger, head on my arms and enjoying the day. All of a sudden, a small child (who had been following us around while her parents paid NO ATTENTION TO HER SWIMMING IN A POOL) poked me in the face and said, “BOO!” I ignored her for a second and then she poked me AGAIN. I may or may not have glared at this child and told her, “Do not touch me again.” To which she may or may not have responded, “I didn’t do it!” and then ran away when her mom told her to “get out of their faces”.


A collection of things

Things Franny Hates



Being alone

Not getting the food she wants

Fireworks, gunshots, loud noises

Screaming children

Things Franny Loves

Our pillows

Our blankets

Our everythings





Real lady talk

Gonna bust out some lady talk here, so if candid lady talk is too much for you, then skip down to the next section. So if you go for 3 years without having a period and then you suddenly start having them again, IT REALLY SUCKS. Like, my back was cranky this morning and I couldn’t figure out why and then BAM! Someone starts stabbing my uterus with an hor d’ouevres fork.

Please send chocolate and ibuprofin to my mouth, STAT.

Baseball Things

So exactly how ridiculous is Bryce Harper? There is not a human scale in existence for how ridiculous he is. Nine homers in the first what, 23 games? You know who else is ridiculous? Anyone who is a starting pitcher for the Dodgers. Nine seems to be the magic number this season because guess how many SPs the Dodgers have had in 23 games? Nine! Oh, Dodgers. We feel you.

How'd this get here?

How’d this get here?

Speaking of starting rotations, the Giants have been pretty unlucky with their pitching staff this season. The most consistent person has been Madison Bumgarner, followed closely by Zito and Lincecum (in my opinion). Matt Cain hasn’t been awful but the outcomes of his games make that hard to believe. Last night in San Diego, Tim Lincecum battled through a second quality start, going into the seventh and retiring 9. NINE. It’s the number of 2013.


*None of these gifs were made by me!

The fate of the bacongator

About a month ago, I discovered that Kong makes these crazy little edible dental chews shaped like…stuff. They have a turkey leg, a cow, a porcupine, and an alligator. I bought Franny an alligator because it was on sale, and she lost her mind over it. A few weeks later, I bought her another one. This one was a cow because they were all out of alligators. She ate that one in the time it took me to take a shower (have I mentioned that it’s a DENTAL CHEW) one morning.

A couple of nights ago, I got her another bacongator but didn’t give it to her until tonight, after our pointless trip to the dog park. (Seriously. There were so many mosquitos and NO OTHER DOGS, so we just walked around for a bit and then came home.)

I threw the bacongator for her to chase. Because she is completely not interested in playing, she’d run to it, try to pick it up (she can’t unless it’s flipped over, because of how it’s curved), and then run back to the couch when she couldn’t. We played this game until she flipped the bacongator and got it in her mouth.

That’s fine. She was happy and preoccupied and not crawling all over either of us, but then I realized that hey, she can’t eat the entire bacongator tonight. She needs to save some. So I took it away.


She’s been following me around, looking at me with these big, sad eyes and right now she’s in the living room, JUDGING ME.

Man, it’s tough being a dog mom.