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?

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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.

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Curious

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.

garden

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

HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHI

HIHIHIHIHIHIHIHIHI

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.

HERE LIE C AND R. THEY DIED WITH A WHIMPER. AND A BANG. BECAUSE THEY EXPLODED.

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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”.

How about STOP TOUCHING STRANGERS ON THE FACE.

A collection of things

Things Franny Hates

Children

Bicycles

Being alone

Not getting the food she wants

Fireworks, gunshots, loud noises

Screaming children

Things Franny Loves

Our pillows

Our blankets

Our everythings

Walks

Sleeping

Cats

Tacos

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.

timfistbump

*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.

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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.

Superstitions

You don’t have to be a fan of baseball to know that baseball players, and in turn their fans, are incredibly superstitious. We’re right along there with hockey, in that respect. Now that the World Series is over, I thought I’d share some of my superstitions this postseason!

Clothing
I wore the same shirt, pants, and bra during the last 7 games of the postseason. I wore the same jeans during the day, if I was at work or if I had to run errands on the weekend, and changed as soon as I got home (sometimes running into the apartment at 5:50pm screaming GAME CLOTHES GAME CLOTHES GAME CLOTHES GAME CLOTHES). I stopped wearing Giants clothes of any kind after Game 2 of the NLDS, and stopped wearing my Giants hats after Game 1 of the NLCS.

Beverages
Probably the most serious undertaking this postseason, and it started during the NLDS. During Game 1, we opened a magnum bottle of Barefoot merlot, and we scored 4 runs in one inning. We didn’t drink it during Game 2. We drank it during Game 3. And 4. And 5. We drank A LOT of wine this postseason, so Giants, my liver thanks you for taking down Detroit in four games. We never bought the wine ahead of time, but instead bought it on an as-needed basis. We averaged around two games per bottle, unless one game was extra stressful. We plan to do something epic with these bottles eventually because this much consumption of wine that ended with a World Series title deserves to be memorialized.

#RallyLiverFailure

#RallyThisIsEmbarrassing

Rally hair
No shaving. Guess what the first thing was I did after the Giants won last night?

Seating
I had to sit on the floor, in front of the couch. I moved to the other side of the coffee table on Saturday, when BFF’s mom came over to watch the game. She sat on the couch, directly behind my regular spot on the floor, so the space was still appropriately occupied.

Panda Pillow Pet
Panda Pillow Pet was with me from the middle of the NLCS until the final out last night. I cycled between tossing him in the air and hiding my face behind him during all of the games. When things unraveled last night, I had no idea what to do with PPP, so he just sat next to me and didn’t complain when I squeezed him during one of my 8,000 freak outs.

Panda Pillow Pet!

Twitter
I participated in the #Rally hash tags, changed my Twitter and Facebook pictures to correspond to each starting pitcher, and tweeted the same message around 15-20 minutes before the first pitch (Play hard, work hard, and HAVE FUN!!! #RallyWhatever #SFGiants). Shout out to all my new Twitter friends! That was one hell of a ride; have a fantastic winter! If you’d like to follow me, just click here.

#RallyEnchiladas
Like I mentioned in my previous post, we had chicken enchiladas before Vogelsong’s NLCS start and again before his WS start. Seemed to do the trick and seriously, who doesn’t love enchiladas?

I knocked on a lot of wood this month. I even knocked on a tree trunk Saturday when someone told me the Giants would sweep Detroit. BFF and I routinely put our fingers in our ears and LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU every time someone started mentioning statistics on TV. That’s something I’ve had since the regular season. I don’t want to see records or statistics. I firmly believe it’s detrimental.

We both refused to say anything like “if we win” or “when we win”. It was always “in case something good happens”. And that was always followed by knocking on wood. I’m telling you guys, we’re some superstitious mother effers. It seemed to work, so be sure we’ll be doing a lot of this next season, too!

Stay tuned for my next post in which I talk incoherently about our players and probably post a lot of pictures that I didn’t take.

Recovery

Trigger warning: mental illness, depression

Recovery is a strange thing. It doesn’t really seem to matter what it is you’re recovering from – an illness, injury, or loss – the process is more or less the same. I suppose the five stages of grief would apply in a lot of cases, possibly even mine. Anyone who has dealt with the five stages knows that the stages aren’t linear, they aren’t predictable, and you spend a lot of time repeating them. Eventually you come out on the other side, some other side, be it a good one or a bad one, and you learn to live a changed life.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with chronic depression. It was neither surprising nor pleasant to hear. Depression is something that has lurked around my life for a very long time. I have several definitive moments in my life that are filed under I Will Never Forget This Moment:

1. The hell of 8th grade – something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy
2. The day I was walking to work in college and realized I was depressed
3. The past three months (give or take)

Having dealt with depression for so long has made it a grim sort of companion for me. It is always nearby and it has, for a majority of my life, ebbed and flowed quite gently. Some drops were more difficult than others but they always ended and I could get back to some sort of even keel.

Then the even keel disappeared. Any semblance of balance and rationality left with it. Then my concentration exited the building. All of it, anything I had inside, was then replaced by a very dark fog. I began having panic attacks. I stopped cleaning. Stopped cooking. Stopped caring. I pushed through the week just to get to the weekend, and then I spent the weekend crying on the couch, wrapped in my blankets, and wondering how I’d get through another week.

I stopped sleeping. I went to bed very late, woke up very early. I became obsessive. I listened to the same song for hours on end, all day and all night, for a week. It began affecting every corner of my life. Every single corner.

There was a breaking point, as there almost always is with stuff like this. I am fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and kind people who understand, who help when they can. And then I decided, after another Saturday spent terrified and panicked and fragile on my couch, that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I needed help.

There are many, many layers to this story. Many chapters I could write, many things I could tell you about all of these journeys and experiences, but that’s not my intention for this blog or this blog post. (And seriously, it’s just way too…what’s the word? Depressing.)

The short version: my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant and it’s working. I noticed a change within two days. I started humming one morning when I got to work. I was putting my things away and what? Why am I humming? Like, I don’t even want to stop! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

It was followed by quite possibly the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had in my life (and THIS, my friends, is finally the point of this blog post). I didn’t hate writing anymore. In fact, I was kind of infatuated with it. Well, not so much the IT of writing but the IDEA of writing, and that’s huge. The tummy tickle happiness and freedom that I used to feel when I thought about writing came back. I don’t know when it left. I don’t know when I turned that corner. I do know that it was like someone had severed one of my limbs. My identity has been, for the longest time, tied up in writing.

I know, it’s weird that I’m that way. The audience who gets to see anything I write is handpicked and even then, you kind of have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. And then there’s that whole I rarely even write anymore, I’ve never had anything published, and I have very little desire to even TRY to get something published thing. Everyone has her process, amirite?

Ah, yes. Writing. Writing! I’ve missed it over the past however many years it has been missing from my life. The void is not completely filled in yet and there is still so much more I need to do in terms of myself and my writing (and a million other things), but there is a spark of hope. A tiny blip of light, like a single firefly in a giant field.

It’s the first step of Recovery. That’s what I’ve taken to calling the gentle breaking in of my atrophied writing muscles: Recovery. It started on Sunday with something horrible and elementary and a moment of sheer frustration where I wanted to throw my laptop out the window, but I took a deep breath, reminded myself that a lot of crappy gunk is going to come out first and that later, down the road a bit, better and cleaner things will appear.

So baby steps into Recovery. It all starts here.

A lesson in patience

It’s now tradition for BFF and I to spend a glorious weekend at AT&T Park, watching the Giants take on the Dodgers. It never fails to be intense and grueling, and as fun as the games are, there is one huge downside: 98% of the Dodgers fans I encounter are mean. There are a few that aren’t, that enjoy baseball and want to have fun watching their team win. But the other 98%? Mean.

We were late getting to the game on Friday but once we settled into our seats, it went pretty well. We rallied and won and it was awesome. Except for the people sitting a few rows back who, every time Lincecum was at the plate, yelled for Beckett to “hit him in the right arm”. Lincecum, in case you don’t know, throw right and bats left, which exposes his pitching arm to potential hits. There isn’t a lot of logic to this request of hitting Lincecum’s arm and hopefully injuring him to the point where he can’t pitch. I mean, I love Tim a lot and he’s one of my favorite pitchers, but have you seen him pitch this year?

Yesterday was more of the same, but this was calls to bean players just to end ABs. I’m not sure of their thought process. For instance, Scutaro got walked in one of the late innings and the girl behind us, who had been yelling BEAN HIM!!! for most of the AB, said, “Ugh. He should’ve just hit him.” Like…what? He would’ve ended up on base that way, too. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS. She yelled BEAN HIM every time a Giant was in the batter’s box, no matter who it was. At the end of the game, she proudly announced that she hadn’t even had to boo any Giants fans during the game, so she was happy. Her father spent a good five minutes mocking our rally hats in the 9th inning, saying he didn’t have to look “doofy” to cheer for his team.

We’re not able to make today’s game because it has to be broadcast on ESPN, so the time was changed and we’re going to see DMB tonight. DMB. TONIGHT. OMG. But I’m kind of glad I don’t have to deal with potential Dodgers fan BS, and as BFF put it this morning, at DMB shows, you don’t lose. It is only win!

Also, the Giants have been taking early BP or something because on Labor Day, we only got to see the pitchers running sprints (and Clay Hensley running the warning track….for 15 minutes) and yesterday, we didn’t even get to see sprinting. I do have some pictures for you!

Monday, September 3

Madison and Javy

Javy signing autographs

Kontos practicing his delivery

Lovely day for baseball

Storm Troopers guarding the umps

Saturday, September 8

Willie Mays Plaza

Time Lord

His face though

Casilla

Hanley Ramirez

Matt & Buster

Sorry I’m not sorry

BEAT L.A.