Thursday, April 30, 2009

We've Got a Winner!

And Sister's Got a Beautiful Smile!

Survey says that picture B is the big winner.

EDITED TO ADD:
Little Mac has officially been entered in the "Show Us Your Pet's Healthy Smile Contest" (gee, what a catchy name). The organization is crappy and there is some crazy delay on postings. Yesterday, there were 7 pages of animal pictures. Today there are 232. Little Mac's picture was on page 187 of 232 AFTER I chose to organize by "Most Recent" and then started working backwards.

Hmm. The sheer ridiculousness of the lack of a search function and the apparent malfunction of the "sort by pet's name" option seem to suggest that voting will be a RIDICULOUS pain in the ass not even worth the free Greenies.

But she IS posted at:
http://www.greenies.com/en_us/showusyoursmile/gallery.aspx

If you can find her. And she is the CUTEST SMILE POSTED!

Do not be distracted by other cute smiles! Little Mac is the only one who gets your vote! Or hers will go medieval on your ass. (srsly).

And guess what! You can vote EVERYDAY! Voting continues through the end of June (hmm... your attention span is not that long?). I suggest you bookmark the gallery so you can vote for her. Make it a daily habit... check e-mail, browse etsy, update fantasy baseball team, read this blog, vote for Little Mac! (I have conveniently installed a link in the top right corner. Where it says "Click Me!")

The prize is a year's worth of Greenies chews (worth $480). Also some publicity usage of her picture (um, let's all hope they don't want to actually meet her, right?). She will be FAMOUS! And we can all chuckle over the irony of Little Mac winning a smile contest. Especially those of you whose blood she has tasted (I can count the people she's bitten on one hand, but they do take up the whole hand.)

So... let's make SISTER a WINNER! Vote now and vote often! Assuming you have a lifetime to waste scrolling through pictures of other people's pets, that is.

She's Got A Smile that Lights Up the World

I am going to enter Little Mac in a smile contest. First I will ask everyone I know to log on and vote for Mac. Then the finalists will be judged by a dental veterinary expert. The winner gets a year's supply of Greenies. I am not sure if Mac's teeth will work for or against her, but please help me choose which of these pictures I should use! Vote on the sidebar or in the comments.

A

B
C

D

E
F

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener...

...in the Duckworths' yard.

Kind of makes you want to play baseball, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Neurotic

I have a recurring nightmare about driving off a bridge in my car. Sometimes I'm driving, sometimes someone else is, but always we crash into water and sink and I have to figure out how to get myself and everyone else out of the car as it fills up with water. About a week ago, I had this dream and woke up screaming and gasping for air. Someone told me that it probably indicates that I feel like something in my life is out of my control.

But the truth is that lots of things in life are out of our control. And we waste time worrying about things that are either statistically improbable or generally unavoidable. And even though I am as guilty as anyone about thinking through worst-case scenarios or worrying needlessly about small details, it is obvious that our energy would be better spent on other things.

Which made me think of this poem by Jorge Luis Borges, which I have hanging over my desk. Reading, gardening, playing chess, being generous. These are all things we can control.

THE JUST
A man who cultivates his garden, as Voltaire wished.
He who is grateful for the existence of music.
He who takes pleasure in tracing an etymology.
Two workmen playing, in a cafe in the South, a silent game of chess.
The potter, contemplating a color and a form.
The typographer who sets this page well though it may not please him.
A woman and a man, who read the last tercets of a certain canto.
He who strokes a sleeping animal.
He who justifies, or wishes to, a wrong done him.
He who is grateful for the existence of Stevenson.
He who prefers others to be right.
These people, unaware, are saving the world.

(translated by Alastair Reid)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Sam

My friend, college roommate, and favorite Brazilian had her baby!

Congratulations Carol and Aaron!

We were thrilled to meet Samuel Saldanha Coburn, who was born at 1:43pm on Friday, April 17, 2009. He weighed 9lbs. 4oz. and is perfectly charming.

***

Dear Sam,

You are the first day-old-baby I have ever held. (Hmm. Except for my brother, I guess.) I like you already. I think you look more like your dad than your mom but I am hoping that you will get your mom's eyelashes. I think it's awesome that you will grow up as a bilingual baby, learning about two cultures and getting to experience the best of both worlds.

Your parents are Aaron and Carol and they are madly in love with you. The hospital gave your mom a special bracelet and you have one that matches. Her bracelet plays a little song when she holds you so everyone knows you belong together. Your mom thinks she could kill someone who tried to take her from you. (I know because I asked.)

You are a baby who is wanted and welcomed. Your parents have decorated your nursery and it is ready and waiting and adorable. Your grandparents are bursting with pride. Even your dog-sister Lola will probably like you eventually. You have a way of winning people over. Your parents' friends hold you and pass you around and take pictures with the flash right in your face and you don't cry and you make this baby thing seem easy.

You have a round face with chubby chub cheeks and little pink lips. You have quite a lot of dark hair. You have a post-it note on your bed that says "I am spitty" so the nurses know to keep extra watch over you. You already smell like a baby.

You did start to cry at one point while I was holding you. Your mom and dad did not rush to take you from me (like I hoped they would) so I bounced you around (carefully of course) and tried to make you stop crying. They threw out some ideas so I wouldn't take your wailing personally -- maybe he's hungry, well he's just waking up -- and it occurred to me that there were six adults in the room and not one of us really knew what you wanted or how the hell to make you stop crying. But then your dad took you (as I started to look panicky, I'm sure) and your mom suggested your pacifier (she used the Portuguese word for it) and it worked! It seems like your mom and dad have got this thing figured out after all. You stopped crying. You hung out with us while we talked and I swear that you even rolled your eyes once when Jamie was talking.

You are an awesome little man and I am glad that our circle of friends has expanded to include you.

Love,
Brooke

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Fairy Tale for the Un-Princesses

Just in case you're the only person on earth who hasn't seen this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

I cried. Even D admitted that it was amazing. Score one for the nerds and the dweebs and the never-been-kissed. Score one for anybody who has ever felt shy and insecure and unattractive. Minus one for the smirking jerkfaces. Score one for the good guys.

And here's what happened next...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/arts/television/18boyle.html

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Take Creepy Voyeurism to a Whole New Level

So it's easy to be an online voyeur what with Facebook and MySpace and blogs and everybody putting their stuff out there for anybody to see (side-butt, anyone?). But just in case you are looking for a way to take online voyeurism above and beyond, you might want to check this out:

http://www.zappos.com/map/

(website provided courtesy of my Uncle Dean who somehow knew I would be delighted with a world map of people buying shoes in real time)

Ooh! Someone in South America just bought some really cute sandals.

(Confidential to N.D. -- somehow I imagine you being as intrigued by this as I am. Not so sure about any of my other readers...)

We've come a long way, baby

When I hung out with the Richeys on Saturday, I showed them my burn scar. Not having seen it before, they were pretty horrified and worried about me. So I thought it might be useful to see how far we've come... My wrist is wrapped up in this one because I had a small (much less severe) burn on that arm as well. I have no explanation for why my face looks like that. I think I am trying to look pitiful and smile at the same time.


Up close on the blisters. Looks like arm herpes, you say? The grossness is just beginning.


The blisters popped. Yeah, that shit hurt.


These aren't great pictures but they should offer some idea of how huge and gross the great festering wound was at one time. Makes today's arm look much cuter by comparison, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Burns and Blood

I went back to Barnes today for a follow-up appointment for my burn.

I saw the very nice doctor who was delighted by the way the burn is healing and flattening. She told me to keep the silicone gel sheeting on it for another month and see how it looks. If it is still lumpy and gross, she will refer me to Plastics to get a shot of some kind of steroid that will melt the scar tissue and smooth it out. If I'm ok with the way it looks, I can just cancel my appointment and go along my merry way.

So here is an update:
It's hard to tell in the picture but even though it is still pink and wicked looking, it is not as raised up and 3-dimensional. I am not sure why I have to stare at the burn while taking the photo with my other hand but evidently I like to show off my profile, my bra straps, and my burn simultaneously.

And here is the silcone gel sheeting. Exciting, isn't it? (I look as though I am in love with it in this picture. Which I am. As long as it keeps shrinking the scar.) It's an $88 rectangle of silicone. This is 1/3 of it. Which I guess makes it a $29.33 rectangle in this picture. I wasn't sure how long it would last, so I threw away my first 1/3 after a week and a half. Idiot. I am going to keep this one on at least another couple of weeks. It is still stretchy and flexible. It will eventually get stiff and crusty and then I use the final piece.

And that is the stretchy tubing that I pull on over the silicone gel sheet so it will stay in place. The only time I have any trouble with it is when I'm working out and the tubing likes to roll down and then the silicone will fold back which is annoying. Otherwise it pretty well stays put. And looks awesome. Like a white fishnet arm band.

Now that my burn is healing nicely, it is about time for me to pull another stunt of breathtaking dumbness and general idiocy. Done, and done.

Let me preface this tale with two statements:

(1) If you do not want to see sort of my side-butt and my underwear, do not scroll down. (This is a private blog as in you only have the address if I gave it to you or you got it from someone I know so I have few qualms about putting my side-butt on the internet. If you don't want to see it, don't look at it.)
(2) This blog seems very interested in gross things: burns, dog-butt-stink, vomit. Today I proudly add: blood.

So I have been shaving my legs for 18 years. I started shaving my legs when I was 10 years old. I didn't need a training bra at age 10 but I did have some hairy little legs. I was complaining about them to my mom when I was in 5th grade: "My legs are hairy and grooooooss, Mom." So she suggested I shave them. Brilliant. This seemed like a great idea except I was freaked out about razors. So we decided I could Nair them. This was a bit of a fiasco. I sat in the bathroom on the edge of the tub in my underwear with my legs covered in Nair and I thought my skin was getting chemical burns. (It wasn't visibly harmed but it did burn like crazy.) So after that first Nair experiment, I just shaved my legs with the little plastic pastel Bic razors like all the other girls. I sliced the heck out of my knees all through middle school and finally got a real razor with changable blades in high school. I am sure I still cut myself a time or two, but for the most part, I figured out how to shave around bony knees and ankles and managed to avoid cutting open any major arteries.

Until today.

I am not even sure why I decided to shave my legs today. It is cold and rainy and I was going to wear pants. But something possessed me to grab my razor (a Venus with triple blades, as you will soon see) and do a quick shave. And somehow, despite 18 years of leg-shaving practice, I did some kind of weird wrist-twist as I raked the razor up my thigh and I sliced all the way up the side of my leg. I think I was pulling the razor away from my leg -- I am not usually in the practice of shaving my side-butt -- but instead of pulling away, I just twisted it and it stayed connected to my skin as I raked it back.

There was stinging.

There was blood.

There was cursing.

But it wasn't until I got out of the shower and was drying off that I realized exactly what I had done and why the one bandaid wasn't doing all that much to stop the bleeding.

Yes, that is my side-butt and some underwear. You were warned. That is also a triple-blade razor slice all the way up my thigh to my side-butt. Yes, it still hurts. And that is why I am currently wearing this instead of pants:
Note the hair clip holding my towel/bandage in place. I am resourceful. I was a Girl Scout.

Not sure how it will feel to put on pants today but I am sure it won't be especially pleasant. I guess I could wear a skirt. After all, I did shave my legs today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Jesus Christ, Superstar!

In honor of Easter, I blared that soundtrack on Friday and Saturday while putting around the house. This was the one weekend in April and May that D and I had no real plans and we made the most of our nothingness.

Friday: Veronica Mars Season II marathon. God Bless the friend whose name I promised never to mention in relation to this recommendation for recommending VM to me. I can only hope that my meager offering of Freaks and Geeks (the one short but beautiful season) gives you the same amount of TV viewing pleasure that Veronica brings to me.

Saturday: I did not have to tutor small privileged children so I slept in, walked the dogs, and then vacuumed and mopped to Jesus Christ, Superstar ("C'mon Jesus if you're so cool, walk across my swimming pool!"). A friend of mine came over for lunch so I took a break from the sing-a-long to make goat-cheese and roasted vegetable wraps. Nom nom. I love goat cheese. Then we went to Colors of Spring and chose flowers for my pots and flower boxes. At her suggestion, I am trying a little herb box-garden in which I am growing parsley, thyme, and basil. After planting flowers, D and I went and hung out with the Richey family and saw K.P.P. who is seriously cuteness personified even though he was feeling kind of puny.

That night I made homemade cinnamon rolls that were ready to pop into the oven on Easter morning (a nice alternative to the Easter basket of chocolate goodness) and a cake for Easter dinner.

Sunday: We did the church thing and the minister left out the scripture reading and the whole service was only about 50 minutes long. The most fun part was seeing all the cute little Easter dresses. Lots of polkadots. We went to lunch at a friend's house who invited a bunch of us from the English department. My cake was a hit and people kept asking what was in it and what it was called. Well, I'd gotten the recipe from the reading teacher at D's school and she called it "Better Than Almost Anything Cake" but then someone eating it said they'd had it before but their mom called it "Better Than Sex Cake." Which was not what he wanted to hear his mom say, but whatever. So I can only assume the reading teacher made a little edit before publishing the recipe in the elementary school cookbook.

At any rate, you bake a German chocolate cake from a mix, let it cool 15 minutes, poke holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon (I used a swizzle stick because my wooden spoon handle isn't round), pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole cake and wait for it to soak in, then pour a jar of butterscotch or caramel topping over the whole cake and wait for that to soak in. Refrigerate until chilled (I left it in the fridge overnight) and then frost with whipped cream and top with toffee pieces. It's enough to throw you into a sugar coma, particularly following a delicious potluck meal of asparagus, cheesy zucchini casserole, homemade mac & cheese, sweet-n-sour bbq tofu, rice with veggies, quiche, spinach salad with asian pears, and ham with pineapple for the meat eaters.

After lunch we dyed eggs which I hadn't done since I don't know when and it was actually super fun. With the help of a crayon, I made a Charlie Brown egg with his zig-zag sweater design but in pink.

This morning I am back to my real life, which means I worked out (it had been a week and a half due to barfing and then feeling puny and I will probably be sore tomorrow). I am on my way to library this afternoon for a Very Productive Work Day. Following a lunch of cinnamon rolls. Nom nom.

Oh -- here is another bag I'd like to have. This one is available through etsy:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

Just wanted to put our Easter greetings out there on the internet...

You can't really tell, but Cooper's bandana says "Happy Easter!" He looks very handsome in it. But also sort of awkward.

Oh look! The Easter bunny!
Hope somebunny brings you chocolate or liver-flavored treats. Whichever you prefer.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wishlist; or, Superficial Materialistic Brand-Name Consumerism, it's what I like

Another benefit to being Mrs. Duckworth. It allows me to justify my admittedly absurd yet still breathless and salivating desire for this bag:


Oh yes, my pretty, you shall be mine.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Last Name Debate

So I didn't take my husband's last name when we got married. There were a lot of reasons for this -- some that were really clear at the time and some that are still kind of vague.

All of my married friends except one have taken their husbands' last names. Even my friends in academia (that strange world where women are known to speak their minds and occasionally say intelligent things) have changed their names. I don't think that it is anti-feminist to change your name. But I also don't think that it means you love your husband more or it will make you a stronger family unit to have the same last name as your kids.

Some of my friends' husbands would been upset if they hadn't changed their names. I knew that D would have liked it if I had taken his name. I considered his feelings. But I also considered my feelings. And I knew that if he loved me, he'd get over it. It just didn't seem that important to me. Or maybe it was important to me to win that first battle.

Some girls I know were super excited to change their name. Either they liked their husband's name better than their maiden name, they had been raised in blended families and wanted a last name that made them feel part of the marital unit, or they saw taking their husband's name as one more sign of their commitment.

I liked my maiden name.

My parents and brother and I were all Taylors and I wasn't especially eager to completely disassociate myself from them (those of you who know them are shocked by this, I realize).

I had been in graduate school for a year and I liked the way Brooke Taylor looked in the corner of my papers. Brooke Duckworth seemed like a stranger. A stranger with a goofy last name.

I couldn't quite imagine myself standing up in front of a room of college students -- who were just a few years younger than myself at the time -- and calling myself Mrs. Duckworth. It sounded like a character in a Disney cartoon. A character with feathers and webbed feet and probably an apron and possibly a lisp. That just didn't feel like me.

But the real reason, I think, is something a little more complicated. Because, truth be told, I was ALREADY freaked out about the enormity of the commitment when we got married. Love, honor, cherish, co-sign a mortgage, make a budget, share a dog, wear a ring, clean the bathroom, never date anyone else again ever, holy crap. I mean, I just wore a huge white dress, made some crazy promises, exchanged rings, and attempted to waltz in front of all our family and friends as a sign of my love and fidelity. Did I really need to go to the social security office to make this MORE official?

At 24, I was one of the first of my friends to get married, and I was kind of freaked out by the whole thing. It just seemed so... real. And adult. And crazy. I bit my best friend's head off the day of my wedding because she kept saying, "I can't believe you're getting married!" and I was freaking sick of hearing it. Because I couldn't believe it either and it was stressing me out.

I think what she meant was "I don't know what happens after this but I don't want things to change just because you're getting married!" And I didn't want things to change either. I didn't want to lose my identity. I didn't want to be a boring old married person. I didn't want to be different from the person I was before I got married.

And, no, I don't think changing your name makes any of that happen. But I got married relatively young. I wasn't finished being Brooke Taylor yet. I'm still becoming the person I'm going to be. And I like to think that person is still Brooke Taylor. Who is also Brooke Taylor Duckworth.

My in-laws assume I changed my name. As did most people in my family.

Sometimes I'm still not entirely sure why I didn't. Sometimes I wish I had. Save the hassle and all that. Also people sometimes look at me weird when they find out I kept my married name. I just didn't feel like a Mrs. Duckworth. Now, I don't mind using my married name if my maiden name is attached. I don't mind using my maiden name by itself. People know how to spell "Taylor" and no one mentions the goddamn mighty ducks when they meet me. I don't want to hyphenate. I just want three names. Plus my middle name. Which makes four.

It seemed to be a bit of dilemma, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do about it. So I did... nothing. My name didn't change because of inertia. It seemed like a lot of paperwork for something I wasn't all that excited about.

I guess I often use D's last name socially. Most people who meet us assume I took his name. The lady at the bank changed my name without even asking me when we opened a joint checking and savings account, although my driver's license still has my maiden name. It's never been a problem. I sign whatever name I feel like, usually using all three names unless it is something for school, in which case I am always just Brooke Taylor. Sometimes I think that it would be a good idea to add his last name to mine (an afterthought, if you will, like Hillary Rodham, who added Clinton 5 years later) for legal/medical/travel/official political issues that might come up. Just so people would know we belong together. I like the idea of us being a pair. A set. A shared last name. I get that.

But while I love being part of "The Duckworths," I also like the idea of having my own name. One that does not invite quacking. Somehow have different last names still suggests to me that we're together because we want to be. Not because we are legally bound in some kind of formal ceremony.

Plus it was kind of awesome to fill out the passport application with my maiden name and then write "Duckworth" in the "Other Names or Aliases" section of the form. Mrs. Duckworth is totally my alias.

Monday, April 6, 2009

These pictures don't do it justice...



But it is snowing like crazy. Somebody needs to tell somebody that it is freaking April and we are tired of this!

Friday, April 3, 2009

And (somehow) the world keeps turning...

Yesterday I thought I was dying.

It started at 12:45am, to be precise. I woke up knowing I was going to barf. I will spare you all the gory details that involve the broccoli I had for dinner, but suffice it to say I barfed my guts out and was basically up every 45 minutes after that (except for the two hours between 3:45 and 5:45 when I slept on the floor in the hallway).

I can't remember the last time I was so sick to my stomach. It was brutal and disgusting. Usually throwing up makes me cry because it feels so gross but this time I did not cry very much only because I didn't have the energy and also crying sort of requires use of the abdominal muscles and my stomach was killing me.

I felt a little bit of relief each time I spewed so when I woke up at 7am and brushed my teeth, I figured the worst was over. I got a can of ginger ale and dragged my weak and shaky body to the couch. I also brought a barf bowl because you just never know. Sure enough, even though I was so freaking thirsty, my body suddenly decided that it hated ginger ale and there I was, unable to make it to the bathroom, hanging off the side of the couch and then slipping down onto the floor on my hands and knees barfing my guts out into the barf bowl.

Which I then had to go rinse out.
And which was tinged a certain color I will not mention (DAMN YOU BROCCOLI!!!).

It was horrifying. So I decided that if my body was on strike, I would go on strike. I would consume absolutely nothing because I DID. NOT. WANT. TO. BARF. AGAIN.

Meanwhile I am freezing and I finally dig out the thermometer and realize I'm running a fever of 100.1 and I have a raging headache that I thought was lack of caffeine but is quite possibly my brain imploding and my body aches all over and I am freaking miserable.

Of course now that my pity-party was in full swing, I had to invite some guests. So I called my mom and texted some friends so that they would sympathy text me back.

I am obviously slightly needy when I am sick. I think this is my mom's fault because she was a very good and attentive nurse when I was sick and she would bring soup and crackers to me in bed on my awesome Cabbage Patch Kid tray and sometimes she would even hook up the 4" black and white TV in my room and read books or play Barbies (I was uninterested in Barbies for the most part but when I was sick I sometimes felt like playing with them) and she would generally make a big deal over me and touch my forehead a lot and THIS IS THE KIND OF CARE I HAVE COME TO EXPECT. This is the kind of care I provide for D when he is sick. Well, not so much the Barbies. Judging by the kind of care D provides for ME, his childhood caregivers must have locked him in the basement and told him to get over it when he was a sick little kid.

Or, as he claims, teaching responsibilities, scheduling summer school teachers, planning a field trip event, rescheduling baseball games, and dealing with angry parents prevents one from texting/calling one's dying wife as often as she would like. (i.e. every 30-45 minutes. Which was at least how often I texted him to let him know I was dying. I was miserable. Cooper is hogging the couch. My fever had gone up. My fever had gone down. The dogs wanted to go out. I was thirsty. My head hurt. My whole body hurts. I hate the show Charmed but cannot find the remote control. Oh, Cooper was lying on it.) To his credit, he did hurry home from practice, fuss over me, and THEN clean the pukey bathroom and change the sheets. So I guess I will not hold an absence of text-message replies against him.

I refused to eat or drink anything but tiny sips of water until David got home at which time he convinced me to drink a little bit of ginger ale, eat some oyster crackers (God Bless oyster crackers, I think they saved my life), and take 2 tylenol. I was totally convinced it was all going to come back up, but by this time it was 5pm and my body decided to give me a break. So instead I fell asleep with my head on David's lap and woke up at 7:30 feeling like a whole new person. A weak and tired and cranky person, but still, much better now that the awful fever and body aches were gone.

This morning I feel... pretty good. I am drinking coffee (hallelujah!) and I ate a piece of toast. So things are looking good. I am definitely not moving at full speed but I am still planning to head for Memphis tonight and hope that I will be back in action for the Redbirds game tomorrow. I won't be eating any broccoli for a while, though.

P.S. If you would like to be on the guest list for my next pity party, please let me know. I will be happy to include you but am hoping it won't occur for a long, long time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dog Stories

I asked for some books for Christmas. I think my parents gave me The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and my brother gave me Murder of a Medici Princess (biography of Isabelle Medici). Both were specific titles on my wishlist. I really thought I wanted to read them.

I read Murder of a Medici Princess first. Obviously the title kind of gives away how the book is going to end but it was still very interesting. Isabelle Medici was a real person and a woman born ahead of her time, both privileged and vulnerable. Her life and death were both pretty fascinating.

Now I have started The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. It got great reviews and I heard about it on NPR before Oprah made it part of her cult (I have this theory that for as many people who read and appreciate some great books when they become part of Oprah's book club, there are nearly as many book snobs who disdain a paperback with that little "O" on the cover and who cringed when she announced that Anna Karenina was now on her list). So Edgar Sawtelle is about a boy and his family who breed a special kind of smart and hardworking Sawtelle dog. He has his own special pet dog and the plot thickens when his uncle shows up at their farm and a stray dog is seen lurking around. It's a nice fat book but I have come to a standstill on page 93.

Because we all know how dog stories end.

I find myself skimming ahead a few pages (or even to the end of chapters) to find the dog's name mentioned and once I can tell from a sentence or two that the dog is OK, I'll go back and actually read the pages I skipped. It is ridiculous. I mean, I knew Isabelle Medici was going to get it, and I had no problem reading her biography. But this fictional work about a fictional boy and his fictional dog; it has me paralyzed.

I read Marley and Me when it first came out. I finished it in bed one right and woke David up because I was crying and pulling Cooper up from the foot of the bed so he could fit in between us as I sobbed, "I don't want Cooper to die!!!". I refused to see the movie after a review in one newspaper I saw said it could be "traumatic" for kids. Today there's an article in NYT called "Life Lessons from the Family Dog" -- of course I read it and of course it made me cry.

In a variety of freak accidents and illnesses, my junior year of college my family's three cats all died within a month of each other. It was totally traumatizing. When our family dog, Rufus, died, his brother-dog Buster practically lost his mind and couldn't be left alone until my parents adopted Blackjack. It almost seemed like a rite of passage for my friends and me in college as each of us experienced the loss of the family pet. But knowing that other people were going through it didn't make it any less sad.

I think one of the wonderful things that humans get to do is live long enough to be owners of several different dogs and in theory that seems like a good plan. Certainly dogs have much to teach us about appreciating small things, taking advantage of the present, loving unconditionally, offering comfort by just being a warm and silent body, knowing that happiness is contagious and if you just jump around like an idiot you will make someone smile.

But as the author of this article write, "those of us who love dogs understand that all dog stories end the same way."

And that is why I don't know when or if I'll be able to finish The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Because I am afraid I already know how it ends. And Cooper and Little Mac and I are so not up for that. I think we will take a nice walk to the park instead.


Note:
if anyone has read it and can tell me that the dog does not die, that would definitely help. Do not worry about plot spoilers.