I'm not sure if it's an aging thing or the fact that almost every minute of a modern day is spent occupied. I commend those of you who take more time than I do to relax, zone out, go off the grid, get bored. Often I'm not doing something productive or a task that I should be taking on (waves at the basket of laundry waiting to be folded), but I always seem to be doing.*
More and more, I'm stopping to appreciate the things I get to do and make time for other things that I need, want, and have promised to do. Recently, I've been to a couple of fantastic concerts, watched two amazing fireworks shows within the span of a week, partied with the lead singer of one of my favorite bands, at his house, with his dogs (!), gone to Disneyland twice, attended my second taping of The Big Bang Theory, and chatted with Jabba the Hutt's chief puppeteer (who also did some sculpting and puppeteering of Yoda). Some of it was surreal.
By no means less exciting, I've also gotten to celebrate my dog Cosette's 17th birthday, take another hiking class with Rusty, learn to pan for gold, get to know some of my neighbors better, go to a brunch with co-workers, spend quality time with E, and take part in a small book club.
The question isn't "What are we going to do?," the question is "What aren't we going to do?"
I did treat myself to this lovely, tooth-rotting confection:
Now for the embarrassing part. I got to the front of the sweets line and very proudly ordered my "Tiger Tail." This is what followed:
"Excuse me," said the cast member working the counter, "don't you mean TIGGER Tail?"
Me: "Oops! I'm sorry! Yes! TIGGER Tail! Am I going to get kicked out of Disneyland?"
C.M.: "Well, no, but I don't think Tigger would be very happy to hear you say that."
Me: "I think you're right. I'm sorry."
Hello Kitty recently came to town to celebrate her 35th birthday. For three weeks, the Royal/T café/store/gallery hosted an amazing event that included displays of past and present merchandise, works by over 80 contemporary artists, special menus, and various affairs to showcase different aspects of that kawaii little cartoon cat-with-no-mouth that many of us have loved for years.
We moved across the country with Cosette when she was not quite two years old. She reluctantly let Little Guy join the clan several years later (once she put him in his place) and became a mom to Rusty when we adopted him later. Cosette has survived mammary cancer nearly five years ago and came through a bought of Old Dog Vestibular Disease a year and a half ago.
There's no denying that Cosette is OLD. Among other things, she's deaf, has arthritis, sleeps a lot, is very skinny under her fur coat, and is not quite as sharp as she once was. If you go by the old standard 1 dog year=7 human years, she'd be the equivalent of 119 years old! However, veterinary research has shown that the correlation can be related to the size of the dog. Going by the standards I've found, she is more like a 92-97 year old human. Okay, so that's still pretty geriatric!
I have no idea how much longer she'll live, but I'm not going to dwell on that. I appreciate every day we have with her and let her know that the best I can. Tonight, she and her brothers will have cake and ice cream and if they tolerate it, wear party hats to celebrate a long, beautiful life!
When the Scion brand first hit the market in '03, they campaigned as being the cars ideal for personlization. Again, that was never really my thing, but I enjoyed looking at the stuff other folks did to theirs whenever we attended gatherings. There used to be a lot of nifty events, but things changed. There were design changes in '08 that I'm not overly fond of and just looked at the 2010 xB, which is not attractive at all. But, I still love my xA and E's first generation xB.
In some ways, I can't believe
I could probably dedicate a stand-alone post to many of our activities, but no. Perhaps I'll expound on one or two in the near future, but not now.
Music. We got to hear some pretty cool live music. Fountains of Wayne and Aimee Mann at the Wiltern. I love, love, love those boys and my only complaint is that they were not the headliner and had a shorter set. I'm not sure any of my three readers are fans, but if you are check out this video of a 70's medley version of "Radiation Vibe" they've been doing on the road. Aimee was also wonderful and performed a nearly all-request show that last two and a half hours! Highlight: She sang my favorite 'Til Tuesday song "Coming Up Close." I cried.
We enjoyed more music at W00tstock at Largo from the dynamic duo Paul and Storm, Hard and Phirm, Felicia Day and others. The night included a very amusing slideshow of 100 Things Mythbusters' Adam Savage would like to do/have. Sheer nerd brilliance and entertainment. I laughed a lot.
Other good October times included one of Johannes Grenzfurthner's outstanding lectures, a rant about failing, at Machine Project, a quick couple of hours at The Brewery's ArtWalk, finally posting my Comic-Con photos from July, a one-year old's birthday party, a couple of plays including Nevermore and Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds, a picnic in a lovely canyon park with lots of friends and dogs (and a few strangers), and an outdoor Laurel and Hardy movie at Heritage Square Museum. Our 3-D Club participated in Pasadena's ArtNight and hosted an evening of Halloween themed 3-D short films at the Downtown Independent. We went to the same venue the following night for Kogi BBQ and NoiseFeratu, which thanks to E, was also shown in 3-D. Tired yet? I am.
I was quite excited to finally make it to a live taping of The Big Bang Theory! It was a lot of fun to see the cast in action and yes, as they've said in panels I've attended, Jim Parsons definitely flubs the most lines! Katee Sackhoff was a special guest, but unfortunately, her scene was done the day before and we only saw it on playback. I have a one word mini-spoiler: bathtub. It was a really funny episode and I can't wait to see the final version.
Now is it any wonder why I never got around to coming up with a Halloween costume or make plans to celebrate? I often have at least 3 costumes for various happenings and places to go. I was kind of bummed, but realized Thursday and Friday downtown were geared toward the holiday, even if we didn't wear costumes. I did wear my Hamtaro hat, which I've never worn outside of Comic-Con, to work yesterday. In the spirit of doing something festive, we did ride the Ghost Train that was running at Live Steamers in Griffith Park. It was kind of like a Disneyland laugh-in-the-dark ride, but four times as long and a quarter of the wait! It was a nice way to cap off a hectic, but really fun month!
Sure eyes awake before the dancing is over, wise or naked in Secret Oktober...
If you were reading my tweets or Facebook updates, you saw lots of complaints. Overall, it was a great learning experience, one I think everyone should do if able, but there were a lot of inconveniences. There is a lot of "hurry up and wait," much like on a movie or tv set, but without the craft services, as a friend pointed out. It's completely understanding why so many people say the stupidest things to get out of it, especially if they don't get paid by their employer.
I get 5 days covered a year. I had to go for 6 days, but 2 of those were on Fridays, my day off (yay!?), so I only had to use 4 and no vacation time. You can insist that there is no way whatsoever that you can follow the law (defendant is innocent until the State proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt) and that "he HAS to be guilty since he was charged with three things" and ensure not being chosen for the jury. When your lunch buddy says the exact same thing during her questioning, you both just look like the frakking idiots you probably are.
So yeah, the traffic, the rain, the endless waiting and waiting were painful. But, the chance to sleep in some days, the time to read a book, and the chance to have lunch in the shadow of one of my favorite downtown landmarks (see above) every day made it more tolerable. Oh yeah, and seeing first hand how our justice system, no matter how inefficient, works was definitely valuable.
- 8 feature one or more hamsters
- 3 of the cards play "The Hampster Dance Song"
- 1 of the cards speaks when you pull a tab on the hamster's chin
Since I go to Disneyland in November every year, I get to experience the wondrous Christmas decor, but had never seen how they do it up for Halloween, which is actually my favorite holiday. It is AMAZING. If you know me at all, you know I love, love, love pumpkins and the color orange. Both were everywhere! I'm going to try to post more photos soon, very soon.
It was lovely spending time with Jenn until she had to go and pick up her kids. She was happy to ride a couple of things that she just can't do with the youngsters. Being a frequent visitor, she also had a lot of insider tips, like a good, shady place with lots of open tables for lunch and what gift shop had G-Force merchandise. I had to splurge on at least one gift for myself! : )
Once Jenn left, I spent several hours there alone, which I thought might be kind of weird. I actually had a great time, riding a couple of rides, such as my favorite Indiana Jones, again and walking around taking photos without making companions wait around for me to get the perfect shot. I stayed for the special Halloween theme pyrotechnics show, which was pretty much the standard high quality Disney fireworks, but with lots more, like projection, actual fire and Zero the ghost dog flying around near the Castle (you may have seen Tinkerbell there!). Amazing!
So, if you do go, make sure you wear your birthday button proudly. All of the cast members say "Happy Birthday" to you (I'm pretty sure it's required of them), as well as lots of strangers, especially others celebrating the day too. There were TONS of October 1st babies in attendance, which makes sense. Count back to New Year's Eve. Uh huh.
- Tomorrow, October 1st, my precious Little Guy turns 13 (well, that's our best estimate anyway). I suppose we should be doing a Bark Mitzvah, now that he's a(n) (old) man-dog. However, I think that kind of thing goes along with the mother's background and I'm not Jewish. Not that any of that stopped me from dressing Cosette up like it was her quinceañera, or caninceañera, because apparently I'm Mexican. So, perhaps I will throw a yarmulke on his head and snap a photo. I imagine he will protest.
- This Friday marks the 15-year anniversary of our arrival in Los Angeles. E, Cosette, who was almost 2 at the time, and I were packed into the Honda Civic I had at the time and had spent four days driving across the county, with a brief little side trip to the Grand Canyon. To this day, when I drive west on the 134 and curve around the hillside while descending toward Glendale with downtown glimmering in the distance, I recall that day and doing the same drive. With nervous excitement, we checked out our Burbank apartment, which we hadn't even seen. I don't think I knew at the time how much I would fall in love this city*, the place I've lived far longer than any other in my lifetime, and that I'd be proud to call it "home."
- Next week, I will celebrate my 15-year anniversary at work (and a little over 17 in my career). It's difficult to comprehend, with some days feeling like I've been here forever and others still mistakenly thinking I'm one of the newer staff. While I'm not necessarily exactly where I'd hoped to be at this point professionally, I have accomplished quite a bit and am proud of the job I do. In these tough times, I am very lucky to have fairly stable employment. For various reasons, I don't discuss details of my work here, but I'll say I'm very happy and honored to affect young lives, in a positive way. What I do might be small in the grand scheme of things, but it often feels huge when taken down to the individual human level.
*We only lived in Burbank for a couple of years and now do live in the City of Los Angeles, for whatever that's worth.
I am planning to write something with a *little* substance soon. I hope. Anyway, in the meantime, enjoy this photo of Rusty and his therapy animal buddy, Oreo the rabbit. They visited some kids and families at the L.A. Ronald McDonald House this past weekend and had a great time.
Cosette and Little Guy have merely tolerated each other for the eight-plus years they have lived together. Cosette had been an only dog for about seven-and-a-half years and it was a big adjustment. Little Guy came into our home thinking he'd suddenly take over as alpha dog. This did not go over well with the true leader and he was soon put in his place. When Rusty became part of the family a year or so later he bonded immediately with both dogs. He and Little Guy became playmates and Rusty took on the role of the puppy Cosette never bore. Little Guy and Cosette haven't fought since the very beginning, but they simple coexist.
I think that's why I was a little surprised to see them lying so close together, which is something they just don't do. Cosette kept getting bopped in the face when Guy would wag his tail, but she'd simply move her head position and that was it. At first I thought it was a really sweet moment and perhaps it was. In reality though, I think it was more likely that nearly seventeen-year old Cosette and almost thirteen-year old Little Guy, who is still recovering very slowly from his knee surgery, have difficulty moving and can't be bothered to get up for such a trivial matter.
Winner will be chosen at random from correct entries.
You have until Sunday, September 6th, 12pm PDT. Go.
I don't know if you read any of my stuff, and if not, that's okay. I'm not fishing for readers. However, if you do and have ever been inspired to leave a comment (again, no worries if you haven't), but were turned off by the need to register, I have some good news. Along with a general redesign of the entire site, commenter registration was nixed. If you're local, I encourage you to check out the site for cool events, contests, rants, and more. You can also follow us on twitter for alerts on posts that pique your interest.
For those of you elsewhere, check the list to see if your geographical area is represented. I know I do have some readers based in Philly, Orlando, San Diego, and even New Zealand. Not all cities have as many authors as Los Angeles, but that may just mean that you need to apply and share tales of your own beloved hometown. Unless you hate where you live.
P.S. We're adding L.A.-based blogs to the reinstated blogroll. If you'd like yours put into the mix, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
All fires are bad. The Station Fire is really close to where several of my friends live. The fire is barely contained and, today alone, it has tripled in size and burned down some homes. This is the one season I hate in SoCal and the one time of year I really wish for rain.
A lot of our friends always say things like, "You guys do SO much." I often downplay it and insist that sometimes we do sit at home and drool in front of the tv, but come to think of it, that is more the exception. This past week leaves me defenseless as we did something every single night.*
Monday: Neil Finn @ Largo, who was joined by his son on the drums and Largo's favorite son, Jon Brion, on all sorts of instruments. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that the show was amazing.
Tuesday: As part of the Downtown Film Festival-Los Angeles, E and several members of the L.A. 3D Club , put on a special screening of independent 3-D short films at the Downtown Independent, a really cool, fairly new film and event center. We had a great turnout and a reception on the roof. (I had to go back to work from 11:30pm to 1:30am).
Wednesday: VisionFest is the annual Filmmakers Alliance (FA) event which gives an award to a prominent figure in the world of independent film (this year's recipient was producer Ted Hope), a presentation of short films, followed by a party with food, booze, and mingling. During the festivities, E ran a video theater to show other shorts by various FA members.
Friday: It was Avatar Day and by the time we remembered to request tickets, the only place left in the L.A. area to go was Long Beach. That was fine since some friends who are also into 3-D live there and joined us. We made the trip worth our while and had some Peruvian food with them after the sneak preview. We stopped at Scoops once back in L.A. & I got the last of the Brown Bread for the day! P.S. Avatar looks pretty effin' cool.
Saturday: After a long, exhausting day at work, we went to closing night of the DFFLA. We got a very rare glimpse at a dated, but fascinating, documentary called The Jackson 5 in Africa. The footage from 1974 had only screened once before in New York and it's unknown when or if it will ever be seen again. Unfortunately, the after-party was a bust, but we ended up going to Wurstküche, an exotic sausage restaurant in the Arts District. We'd heard wonderful things about the place and they were all true!
Sunday: After sleeping in a little, we decided to drive down to Laguna Beach to catch the soon-closing Sawdust Art Festival. We strolled around the art galleries along the ocean first and then took in the arts and crafts. There was also a lot of candy, but I don't want to talk about that.
*You may have heard me complain about being broke and that hasn't changed. We're very fortunate in that a lot of these fun things we do often cost very little to nothing, for a variety of reasons. We did pay full price for the sausage, though, and it was worth it.
When it comes to hearing Vick's name in the news whether he's going to court, leaving jail, getting a provisional reinstatement into the NFL, I just think of those dogs. Those innocent, tortured, indescribably mistreated dogs. The recent news has coincided with something in my life that lead to a lot of friends and colleagues ranting about how much they hate Pit Bulls and how evil they are by nature. My attempts to speak up on the unfair rap this breed have been ignored. I passive-aggressively printed out information from, well, the website called Bad Rap and posted them with photos of me being licked on the face by one of my best Pit friends. Obviously, not out to make friends, but if I could change one mind...
We all have our prejudices and might be easily influenced by the fear-mongering media. If you aren't sure about Pit Bulls yourself, take a couple of minutes to read up on the breed and the crazy myths surrounding them. Yes, dogs can hurt you. ANY dog of ANY breed of ANY size can hurt you or another dog. Certain breeds have some traits that might not be a good match for you and your family as a pet. That's why people should educate themselves, make well-informed decisions before obtaining a dog, and commit to training that will help your canine become a good citizen. This goes for any dog from a teacup Poodle to a Great Dane to the I-have-no-idea-what-kind-of-dog-this-is Mutt. My cute fluff ball of a dog, Little Guy, is often horrible around other dogs, in spite of training efforts, so I purposefully avoid precarious situations as much as I can.
I did end up rambling, but sometimes we have to speak up for those who can't for themselves. I understand that a lot of folks don't like or understand dogs period. Just because I'm a self-proclaimed "crazy dog lady," I really don't care if they aren't your thing and won't try to convince you otherwise. Talk to me about cats sometime. Or don't. Please don't. I just get really peeved that negative untruths being propagated by the ill-informed.
As with my other books, it appeals to a select audience. Hamster Haiku was the best seller for me this year, with one person telling me that she bought it a year or two ago and still uses it with her elementary school students. Aw. So, if you a guinea pig enthusiast, or happen to know one, you might want to check it out. Feel free to contact me as I do have copies on hand and will offer free shipping. Or you can order it directly through Lulu, the self-publishing site I use. Admittedly, it's silly, but cute!
I'm in a comic store lookin' for some mistakenly priced comic I could make a fortune on & in walks the Fantastic Four. I say...that last issue is cool
The Table: For the 4th year, Tired Girl Collective had a table in Small Press. For the 2nd time ever, we had a 4th Tired Girl, who happened to be a boy. For the 1st time ever, we had an honorary 5th Tired Girl who didn't sell any of her own merchandise, but was a great help to us (and fun to hang out with!) Every year, we've been lucky with neighbors on at least one side (and not so lucky....aw, never mind). Last year, both neighbors were excellent. This year we were on an end, so only had one chance and it worked out really well. I loved listening to Canadian accents all weekend!
The Friends: A huge aspect of Comic-Con for most people I know is getting to see friends. It's a little sad to say, but I see some of my L.A.-based friends more during the days of the convention than in the rest of the year before the next one. And then, of course, there are the out of town buddies, who make it a really extra special time.
The Panels: Thanks to some extra help (see The Table, above), I got to sneak away to a few more panels than I usually do. High points included the first-ever studio previews of upcoming in 3-D, including Q&A sessions with Robert Zemekis, Tim Burton, Joe Dante, and others, Caprica/Battlestar Galactica, Big Bang Theory, Chuck (complete with a performance by Jeffster!!!), Family Guy, and a cool TV Guide Sci-Fi hot list panel.
The Photos: Looking through the photos I took, I'm finding they are mostly of the panels and actually quite boring unless you are into those particular shows. It will be a while before they get uploaded anyway, as I'm still working on those from Maker Faire (which was in May!) and others between then and now. I'll make sure I link to friends' sets of the cool costumes, etc.
The Scavenger Hunt: One of the most fun things E and I did was a nighttime event to promote the upcoming Tron sequel, which had us running around the Gaslamp District with black lights and ending up in a replica of Flynn's arcade. Here's a great recap of the event.
The Celebrities: Comic-Con and celebrities go hand-in-hand. I'm generally not too star-struck, but was more amused by some of the folks who strolled, or were whisked by security, by our table. It seemed like more than in the past, which probably has to do with being located right by the back door. Adam West, Ron Jeremy, Richard Dreyfus, and Ray Bradbury passed through. In another part of the hall, I saw John Landis taking Matt Groening's photo. We saw Tania Raymonde (Alex on Lost) in an ice cream shop. Oh, and we saw Chuck Lorre and a few of the Big Bang Theory cast members in our hotel lobby (see below).
The Stalker: Okay, I just said I don't get star-struck. It's somewhat true, but I do tend to get really nervous, and sometimes just plain ridiculous, if I decide to approach someone and talk to them. Let's just say I *may* or *may not* have sort of stalked one of the people in the photo below:
I'll post something once I have photos up, hopefully no longer than two weeks from now. For now, I will sleep and dream of superheroes, standing in really long lines, Adam Baldwin, Hello Kitty Stormtroppers, giant hamsters, half-naked Pikachu, vintage 80's video games, and onions.
You can check out the Tired Girl Collective site for specifics on our location, etc. We'll be joined by our buddy Nathan Hamill, who will be selling his newly released vinyl toy, Boris. Of course there will be lots of other cool people I can vouch for that you should also check out including JustJenn and Paul Horn, as well as many others I'm sure I'm forgetting.
From the vault. Frank the Pug and Jodi
San Diego Comic-Con 2002
I've been neglecting this blog a lot lately. I don't have a lot to say at the moment, but in an effort to get back the groove of working on my many projects and interests, here's a glimpse of how we spent our 4th of July in a fairly non-traditional, but oh-so-fun way in Echo Park.
Click on photo to see a larger version
- Machine Project's members-only Freeze-B-Q. Everyone brought food and beverages and we experimented freezing them with liquid nitrogen. I now think I know how the marshmallows in Lucky Charms get their texture! Not everything worked, but a blended mix of fruits with a little rum thrown in seemed to turn out great.
- Machine Project from the street.
- In the evening, a group of musicians lead folks in a sing-a-long. Lots of traditional songs. It was bizarre and fun. People really go into it and I felt like I could sing out in my out of tune voice.
- Independent (*ahem*...illegal) fireworks over the Echo Park Lake. Downtown L.A. in the background. Every year, lots of people put on their own displays of fireworks in Echo Park for hours and hours. We walked down to the lake, which was interesting as we walked right by some fireworks being shot off. I'm a little twitchy about that sort of thing. It was lovely until the po-po kicked us out of the park for "trespassing." It was bogus because it was only 9:30 and the park is open until 10:30, but arguing with the LAPD never seems like a wise idea.
Gadgets. Gizmos. Guinea Pigs. In 3-D.
A collage of some of the ads I've snapped photos of around L.A.
I just had to ask myself a few questions.
Will it be stupid? Probably.
Will Tracy Morgan annoy the bejeezus out of me: Most likely.
Am I afraid kids will do really stupid, dangerous things with their guinea pigs after seeing it? Unfortunately, yes.
Will I bother seeing it? HELLS YEAH!
They had me at Guinea Pigs. 3-D is a nice, nice bonus.
In lieu of an actual post, I leave you with a photo that I took in Orange. Feel free to share your thoughts and/or title or caption suggestions.
I've played my role in this farce - a dying leader will guide the people to blah, blah, blah... frakking blah blah! I've been there, done that...
Mary McDonnell aka Battlestar Galactica's Laura Roslin
PaleyFest, March 2006
"...think about new & creative ways to engage young people in science & engineering, like science festivals, robotics competitions, & fairs..."
While Comic-Con is a haven for geeks, Maker Faire is all about the nerds. Hardcore nerds. One of my favorite things at the event is the t-shirts. And they're nerdy, not ironic. Since I had my own hectic craft exhibit last year and worked at E's even busier booth this year, I only have a photo (above) from 2007. I made a mental note though of a few of my favorites over the course of this past weekend. I really wish I'd taken snapshots of them.
The cutest was one that luckily E pointed out to me. I would have missed it. The shirt had a schematic of a turbine engine, which contained a hamster wheel. Next to it was a little hamster dressed like an aviator. Unfortunately, it was a Shirt.Woot exclusive.
Seen on a shirt somewhere in San Mateo:
SCIENCE. It works, bitches.
When I was your age, Pluto was a planet.
Every time you call tech support, God kills a kitten.
There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary and those who don't.
I'm trying to catch up on life after the blur of the weekend and get moving on the next things, on which I'm already behind. Sometime in the near future, I'll try to post a couple of the five or so 3D photos I took at the faire. I know at least a couple turned out fairly decent and I still have a few to download. In the meantime, grab your red/cyan glasses and check out E's blog where he posted a 3D video of Eepybird's Diet Coke & Mentos fountain.
An excerpt from Ben Zimmer's essay at Visual Thesaurus proclaims:
"Many people feel quite strongly about moist — there's even a Facebook group called called "I HATE the word MOIST!" with more than 300 members." I think I know a member (or if not, a soon-to-be one).
I personally don't have a problem with the word and do, in fact, taunt my friend with it from time to time. Because I'm a little bit evil like that. One of my favorite characters in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is Moist, played by Simon Helberg. Too bad there's not a song about him.
I'm not sure how one goes about describing the perfect cupcake if they can't use the word "moist." Mushy? Soft and fluffy? (okay, maybe). Cloud-like?
I should stop now. I've probably just lost one of my three loyal readers who is, or was, a very good friend. I need to go water my vegetables anyway. Got keep that soil nice and moist! See? I can't quit and may get punched.
What word do you hate? I can't promise not to torture you with it.
Pepper and Pickle
The Insane Piggie Posse
*Not my pig, but an example of the sound. Mine are freaked out by the camera and freeze in silence. I need to try to sneak some video!
I've waited almost a week to publish this so I don't get melodramatic when describing an event that could have possible had a tragic and life-changing ending. I want to preface the story by stating that I am extremely thankful for and relieved by the end result. That said, I started last Wednesday by feeling like my heart might stop.
I was off to a good start that morning. As anyone who knows me is aware, I tend to run late most of the time. I was in sync with the clock though and got out the door at the exact right time. Depending on how things are going, I go one of two ways to exit my neighborhood. I briefly thought of turning my car around to go out the easier way. Thinking it would be okay since I was leaving right at 7am, I just went straight. I headed up the street, past the four houses between mine and an intersection. I looked further down the street, gasped, and slammed on my brakes so hard my car skidded.
Across the intersection, I saw Rusty, one of my dogs (which any reader probably knows already), trotting along side a woman and the yellow Lab she was walking. He had the biggest smile on his face and was obviously having a grand old time. WHAT THE...??? I jumped out of the car, screaming, and running toward him. He looked, but didn't come to me, which was probably okay considering he'd be going over a cross street. I ran up to him like a raving lunatic shouting, "What the hell???" I'm sure the lady thought I was insane. My heart is palpitating a little as I recount this.
I scooped him up and plopped him onto the passenger side floor and drove back to the house. I was reprimanding him, as if that was helping at all. He was clearly having a blast and had also rolled in something as his entire body was wet. I got him into the house and immediately checked that Cosette and Little Guy were still there. I then had to figure out how in the world this frakkin' happened. None of my dogs has ever gotten out.
My first thought was that I hadn't latched and locked the one side gate after bringing in the garbage cans the night before. Nope. Latched and locked. I went into the back yard and briefly had an absurd thought that somehow Rusty had climbed up our huge carob tree, which has a branch near the top of our 6-foot wall. Um, yeah, right. I was really shaken and clearly not thinking straight. I made my way over to the other side of the house, where our cinder block wall does not travel the full distance to the gate in the front, so there is a gate in the back. Well, lo and behold, the wooden gate had split down the middle and half was on the ground, opening a passage from the normally confined back yard. The gate was fairly rickety, but had been latched and secure last we checked.
Since Rusty was safe and I was now running late to work, I closed the back door and awoke E and barked out the story. He later repositioned the gate and blocked it so it's impossible to fall again before we repair it.
My mind raced on the drive, imagining the horrific possibilities from Rusty being run down by one of the huge SUVs that tend to speed down our street to him being kidnapped. He loves people, is a size that can be picked up, and would easily adjust to a new family. Although we live on a relatively quiet street, aside from the occasional speeders, we are a block away from an extremely busy, highly trafficked thoroughfare.
In retrospect, I kind of think the woman may have been herding Rusty toward home. He has tags with our address and I've never seen this woman in the neighborhood. I pretty much recognize all of the dogs taking a stroll, especially in the early morning. I feel like an ass because I didn't even talk to her, partially due to my car still being parked and running in the middle of the street and well, also due to general freak out.