Heather at It’s So Suburban had one of the funniest tweets I’ve read in a long time a few weeks ago: “Holiday I made up: Pink Peony Day on Pinterest. It’s today.” If you’re on Pinterest, you know why this is particularly accurate, but definitely apropos recently. It’s peony season! It’s here again! I’m making it my mission to track some of these gorgeous blooms down and fill my house with them. The petals are so soft and fluttery they almost look like fine pieces of silk. Peonies are one of my favorites, and truthfully every day should be Pink Peony Day. What do you say?
This post is incredibly difficult to write, and I never expected to have to write it so soon, or that it would be so hard when the time came. That’s the thing about pets, though, they find the spaces in our hearts that are too small for humans, and they curl themselves up there and fill our lives with goofiness and sweetness for the time they’re with us. This week, my mom’s dog Mahlai had to be put down. She was (only) nine, and one of the cutest, most wonderful pups I’ve ever known. She was also one of the littlest; seriously, we didn’t call her a peanut for nothing. But it’s like Shakespeare wrote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” She was 10lbs soaking wet, but she kept everybody in line (Fitz was too much of a wildcard for her). When my old pug would barrel into her, she’d grab his neck fact with her teeny little crooked teeth and yank. She’d perch on the sofa and scowl at the shenanigans my mom’s other dog, Sookie, would get up to (I don’t call her “Sookie Monster” for nothing). She had the shortest legs, so when Sookie would inevitably beat her to whatever toy someone threw for them to retrieve, Mahlai would growl to back her up and, deciding her work here was finished, leave the toy and walk away. She was far too dignified for nonsense.
My mom got her as a puppy the summer before my senior year of high school, after my childhood Shih Tzu, Chelsea, passed away. Knowing I’d be going off to college, my mom wanted to make sure she had a companion. Enter Mahlai (pronounced like the “Dahlai Lama” but with an ‘m’, so basically “Molly,” but not, and don’t let my mom hear you say that that’s an acceptable way to spell it). She was the perfect lap dog and was never required to do anything but be adorable and tiny. She never learned a single trick besides how to “sing”: she’d throw her tiny head back and howl this beautiful, raspy little sonata. Oh, well I guess there’s also the weird trick she only did with me, too: If she was sitting on my lap facing me, I could tilt my head back, then bring it back down and look at her, and she’d tilt her head back. We could do this for hours. I don’t know how we even figured that one out, but it cracked me up every time.
She sneezed a bunch, was afraid of fast-moving objects, the opening of trash bags, and she hated those damn squirrels that kept running on the power lines in our backyard. She liked low-fat American cheese slices, neck scratches, snoring, loved her Valentine’s Day Garfield toy with heart-shaped wings the most, and wouldn’t eat her food if it was over a day old. She was happiest being loved and doted on, but sometimes she wanted you to just leave her alone already, didn’t you see she was trying to sleep?
Did I mention she was freaking adorable? Because she was!
Look at her, tolerating her bully of a younger sister so calmly!
Every Christmas, I received a present “from Mahlai.” I’m sad she won’t be signing my cards this year, or wearing her little Hanukkah sweater, or generally being cute and tiny the rest of the year through. She isn’t hurting anymore, though, and that’s making it bearable. For me. Less so for my mom or for Sookie, who surprisingly (un-surprisingly?) has been so, so sad over losing her best friend. I like to think Mahlai is busy getting to know Chelsea, and that the two of them are happily annoying my dad by breathing on him (his official party stance was that he hated dogs, but we knew better). That’s what they do, right? They go to a better place, without pain, and with all the American cheese they could ever want.
Rest in peace, sweet girl. We all miss you and love you very much.
I’ve said it before but it deserves repeating: the friends I’ve made through blogging are some of the most generous and incredibly kind people I can imagine having in my life. And not just because they send me stuff in the mail (see here and here). But that’s what this post is about, so who am I kidding.
A week or two ago I came home to an Amazon package from Lauren. No occasion, she just figured I needed this book, and had set a calendar reminder for herself to send it to me when it came out. In true Lauren fashion, it was the week of her birthday, and here she is, sending other people presents. That girl…
It combines all things French with gorgeously styled interiors. Come on.
It’s basically book porn, but I’ve been trying to savor it in small doses so it’s still new and I can discover new delights within its pages. Lauren and I had one of our good-for-the-soul phone chats after I opened the package. Have you had one of those with her? They’re the best. Thank you, Lauren!
Nina has already proven she’s my personal Uniqlo delivery system once before, and she would’ve been off the hook for a while but that store has some amazing collaborations. They’re currently working with Ladurée (!!!) and selling t-shirts with their iconic macarons and logo on them, the proceeds of which go to charity. When she Instagrammed a picture of the line I knew I had to have one. Thankfully, Nina doesn’t mind playing personal shopper for me, and she graciously sent me this wonderfulness:
It’s this shirt, in white. Macarons, the Eiffel Tower, and the Ladurée logo on one shirt?? Are you kidding? It arrived yesterday and I’m wearing it today. Thank you so much, Nina! I promise to stop bugging you for a while :)
Did you know Theresa and I started a postal service book club? A few weeks ago I mailed her “Bird by Bird” with a note saying to send it back whenever she was finished. She did this week, and she included a book of her own for me to read. It’s “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and I can’t wait to read it.
How cute is the bird-themed card she sent with it? She has seriously amazing handwriting, too. I’m already planning what book to send back with this one when I finish it. Thank you, Theresa! Happy reading!
I love getting things in the mail, but I’m feeling very spoiled and one-sided recently. I need to start paying it forward and mailing you guys some goodies!
JAMAL has been traveling three or four days every week for the past, hm, five weeks? Mexico, Toronto, Maryland, Charlotte, St. Louis. I wouldn’t say you ever really get over it, but after almost three years of extensive traveling for work on his part, I’m definitely used to it. The same time zone makes it easier, and Skype does, too, when it’s international. Of course, little “just because” presents don’t hurt either. He’s always good about picking up goodies like Aero bars if he has a layover in the UK, silk scarves from India, a book from the airport bookstore, etc. This week he was in the airport and had time to kill before his flight home, and picked up a few little things at The Body Shop for no reason other than that he was there. Satsuma shower gel, Olive dry oil, and Hemp hand lotion. I’ve only used the dry oil so far and can’t wait to try it in other scents (chocolate!). Thanks, JAMAL!
This weekend we’re having brunch with some friends and their adorable baby, and then celebrating my niece’s 9th birthday. NINE! She’s going to be nine! I cannot handle that information, it makes me feel so supremely old. What are you up to? If you have a few minutes to spare, please enjoy this video of a woman in Ireland attempting to park (for over half an hour, but the video is only 14 minutes long). I’ve never laughed harder or cheered more victoriously when she finally makes it. The video is shot by a group of college kids, so the commentary is golden. Have a good one, kiddos!
Today I’m proudly guest-posting over at Yelle’s blog while she’s busy finalizing her upcoming wedding (!!!). I’m sharing JAMAL’s and my love story and a few never-before-seen photos of the two of us. Have I piqued your interest sufficiently? Go and check it out! Thank you for having me, Yelle!
More of my guest-posts:
Wear in the World: Paris at Inspiration Cooperative
My Love Affair with Philadelphia at Insideology
My Monday With… at Inspiration Cooperative
A Paris Inspired Gift Guide at Homestilo
Quiet Holiday Gift Guide at The Plumed Nest
This is the notebook where I’ve been scribbling and writing away on my book. The big chunk of it resides on my computer (and backed up on my Google Docs cloud drive, because if god forbid my computer crashes and I lose it, I’ll have to be committed), but I’ve found that keeping a notebook on my bedside table is helpful late at night, when the best bursts of inspiration appear. I got into the bad habit of saying, “I’ll remember that in the morning,” and inevitably I never did. So, enter Moleskine. I’ve had it for a few months and it’s been immensely comforting. Sometimes nothing beats pen & paper, despite all of the technological advances we have. I don’t always use my dad’s Mont Blanc I inherited (by stark contrast I mostly use a cheap ballpoint pen I took from the Hilton in Paris last year), but when I do the whole thing just feels reverential and, dare I be so bold, divinely inspired. I mean, it probably does nothing for my actual creativity, but it makes me feel fancy and connected to my dad a bit, so there’s that.
I thought I had the whole story down, with this great linear trajectory of New Year’s to New Year’s, and I mapped out the first six months of the year, developing side characters and story lines and beautiful (in my opinion) bits of dialogue…and then I ended up scrapping it. It’s for the best, the story makes more sense but it’s also pretty much drastically changed from what I thought it was at the beginning, and it’s jarring. Writing is weird. It’s like the story existed out there all along and I’m just a translator for it, an archeologist getting it down on paper, and I was shining my flashlight at only one part of the wall all this time. That might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written.
What are you guys up to this weekend? Tomorrow JAMAL and I are playing mini-golf and then taking my Mommom out for dinner for her birthday. She turned 88 on Tuesday! Sunday I want to throw the windows open and spend some quality time with that notebook. Have a great one, kiddos.
I meant to write about this sooner but I’ve been having problems processing it all, so traumatizing was the whole thing.
Last Friday night, Fitz ate both of JAMAL’s parents’ pill boxes, the kinds with the day-of-the-week compartments, while we were out to dinner. His parents were down visiting for the weekend and left them on the table, not realizing I guess that the dog is a lunatic and only days piror had managed to pull a brand new loaf of white bread off the kitchen counter, devour the whole thing, most of the plastic included, and then poop on our floor. Let me tell you, the blind panic that washes over you when you walk into the house and see two empty, mangled pill boxes on the floor is something I never want to experience again. I almost passed out.
Fitz didn’t even seem embarrassed, let alone sick, but we started carefully compiling a list of what he could have possibly ingested before we called our vet and animal poison control. Here’s what we came up with: 800mg of baby aspirin, 9000mg of fish oil, 6000mg of calcium supplements, 3000mg of CoQ10, blood pressure medication, multivitamins, and gummy vitamins. The animal poison control hotline (which definitely went up in price since the last time I called when Fitz ate a box of matches, from $35 to $65) recommended we go to the closest pet emergency room, and our vet said the same thing. So we got in the car at 10pm and drove over to University of Pennsylvania’s animal hospital, thankfully only a quick drive away. The place was packed. Packed! Someone saw us right when we came in and scooped Fitz out of our arms (we were carrying him not because he was sick, but because there were other dogs in the waiting room and he would spaz out) and took him to the back where they induced vomiting to get as much as they could out of his system. Thus began a three hour long waiting process.
We spoke with the attending vet several times throughout the night, and he kept us updated on what they were doing and what they had found. Fitz, meanwhile, was in the back howling his head off like he was on a hunt and had found a fox, thank you Beagle-genes. The crowd in the waiting room slowly started to dissolve around midnight, when it was just us and another couple who brought their Shih Tzu in after a dog bite. Fitz was given a dose of activated charcoal to bind whatever toxins were left in his body. Calcium in high doses can be lethal, apparently, but the vets never pushed anything on us and asked for our permission for everything they did. Like we were going to say no, or something? “This can save your dog but it’s about $40.” “Ew, no.”
Finally, at 1am Fitz was discharged with a prescription of Pepcid to help his stomach, and the funniest discharge paperwork I’ve ever seen.
“Fitz has a history of eating things which he should not eat.” That is going on my grave. Not his, mine, because this dog is surely going to be the death of me.
We went home and Fitz conked right out, exhausted from the long experience. We all slept until 10:15am the next morning, which has never, ever happened as long as I’ve known JAMAL or had Fitz. Neither of them are capable of sleeping past 8am. Fitz went out on his walk, and came back in and looked a little woozy. He plopped down on the rug by the front door and wouldn’t move, even when called or taunted with toys. Nothing. We finally got him into a sitting position and made him walk over to us, and that’s when we realized his back legs weren’t working. At all. He was walking like he was drunk. JAMAL scooped Fitz and set him on the sofa, where he proceeded to wheeze weirdly, until I hysterically called Penn Vet Hospital again and then told us to come back in. AGAIN. We had left a mere nine hours before, but we had to go back because something was clearly wrong with Fitz. I spend the whole ride crying, holding him on my lap as he shook.
Don’t worry, he didn’t die, but it certainly felt like a possibility at the time. We spent another three hours at the hospital Saturday morning, where the vet determined Fitz had likely strained something in his lumbar during the “aggressive” vomiting from the night before, and that he wasn’t suffering from some neurological deficit caused by, and I believe the medical terminology is, Being an Asshole and Eating a Pharmacy. This time we were given more hilarious paperwork claiming Fitz was “an adorable patient!” and a scrip for Tramadol, with strict orders to rest him for two weeks. Tramadol is a hell of a drug, if you’ve ever taken it, and it’s made Fitz super sleepy and calm. I want to give it to him all the time.
So that’s the story of how we spent $300 on a stomach pump and both needed a stiff drink afterwards. The rest of the weekend passed without issue, though we’re back to crating Fitz anytime we’re not home (this must seem like the most “DUH” move of all, but whatever, we’re learning). The vet warned us Fitz could have wicked stomach upset over the whole thing, but the only adverse side effect we’ve noticed is that his royal highness will now only eat his dinner if we put the bowl on the sofa next to him. We did that the first two days because he was too achey to stand on the floor and eat normally, and now he scoffs at you unless you bring him his food. What a diva.
Just kidding. I love you, Fitzwater. You crackhead.
photo / quote by Willa Cather
My dad and I spent a week in Boston and Salem every summer for a number of years growing up. My dream college was there, my dad’s friends were there, it was like no other city in the country. Smaller and nicer than New York, and simultaneously foreign enough from and similar to Philly to be exciting and the perfect place to stretch my wings after high school. Not everything works out the way you planned, and I had to content myself with coming back to school here after the fall semester, but I never really let go of Boston, even though I haven’t been back since.
The bombing yesterday at the Boston marathon broke my heart. I left work early yesterday and got home a little before 4pm. I turned the tv on and it felt surreal. A senseless act upended what was supposed to be a joyous tradition and a celebration of human endurance, that despite the best efforts of those behind the terror, was still a celebration of human endurance. Watching marathoners and spectators run towards those injured to help, not knowing if there was a third bomb or more danger, proved more about the capacity for bravery and kindness than accomplishing 26.2 miles. I still don’t understand why someone would want to do this to innocent people, but we’ll never understand terrorists. I’m not focusing on them. I’m focusing on the light and overwhelming human spirit exhibiting by those who helped yesterday.
Hang in there, Boston.
“It is the end of the day. It is the end of the week. We managed to fill forty hours somehow. That’s not bad, is it?”
Even though I haven’t watched The Office since last season, I still keep a quote-a-day calendar on my desk at work. This one, above, particularly resonated with me this week. We moved offices over the weekend and it’s been an adjustment ever since (my desk got smaller, our group ended up in a hallway with no natural light and worse, no air flow. I’ve been threatening to wear a Breath-Right strip every day). But somehow, the days feel like they’re flying by, and I’m attributing it to the fact that this has been the busiest week of my 2+ years at my job. Seriously. I’ve never been so swamped. If I’ve seemed out of it around here the last few days, or on your blogs, you’ll have to forgive me. I’ve barely had time to do anything but go to work and then come home and go to sleep. I even took work home with me one night this week, a feat that has never before occurred and one that I swore I’d never do; I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who takes work home with them. Mostly because I don’t want to work, but that’s a story for another time.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, full of sleep and relaxation. What are you guys up to?
Theresa’s guest post over at Love Creative on “Living With a Boy” reminded me of this fantastic speech Dan Savage gave at a college about relationships, specifically the “price of admission.” With all of the changes that come with being engaged, one of them is the realization that you’re going to (hopefully) spend the rest of your life with this person, and that is (hopefully) a really, really long time. How do you keep from strangling each other? Speaking kindly and gently, as Theresa pointed out, is a good start.
Take is away Mr. Savage:
Hi! My name is Erin.
I like sleeping, Paris, gin, books, Oxford commas, and Gary Oldman. Read More→