Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Little Help?

When I come back from the store, pistachio ice cream in hand, the dog isn't where I left her in front of the TV in the living room.

Where could she have gone, though? It's not like she can get far, with her eyes wandering back and forth in her head, throwing her off balance and making her sick.

I hurry back to the bedroom only to find her, laid out flat in the hall, her ears back apologetically, as if to say, "I'm so sorry about this, but my legs don't seem to work properly at the moment."

Sick Puppy

After a long night at the emergency room, we pay the cab driver and walk the stairs to our apartment, carrying precious cargo. It's 5 in the morning, the birds are singing, and the dog that seven months ago we didn't even know existed is now the focus of our universe.

We carry her up the stairs, exhausted, and sleep a few hours. It's my birthday, and I'm 44 years old.

Monday, June 29, 2015


The dog sniffs at the cedar wood chips and the white stones someone has arranged around the base of this tree; she's clearly thinking about doing some of her business here.

I glance up to the building to see a man silhouetted in the window of the second floor watching me intently. I tentatively wave and he hesitates a moment before nodding in acknowledgement.

At that same moment, the dog decides she's found the perfect spot to cop a squat, and I hurriedly pull out a plastic bag to scoop up her waste in the event that the guy in the window was hoping to catch me in the act of defacing his small attempt at landscaping.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Obvious Measurement

The guy walking down his front steps watches while I inch the truck back as far as I think I can to get out of range of the fire hydrant.

"I'm cutting it pretty close," I say as I step from the car.

"Nay," he says. "You only have to to be, like, three squares away," he continues, pointing to the slabs of sidewalk. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Not Even the Best at That

The text from my sister was short and sweet.

I come in to where Katie is furiously working away at her sculptures, clutching my phone. "I missed my niece's birthday," I say, somewhat dramatically. "Do they give out awards for 'World's Worst Uncle?'"

She pauses and looks up contemplatively, "Well, maybe not the worst."

Kids Can Be Cruel

"Hi, my name's Stone, and I'll be your server tonight."

"Cool name," Katie and I both say almost simultaneously.

"Yeah, it's cool now, but when I was younger...," he trails off shaking his head ruefully.

"I was just thinking this morning," Katie says, "that there isn't a name, no matter how you say it, that kids won't find a way to make fun of it."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How's the Weather in Osgiliath?

When I was eight, after summer school, I would go stay at my mother's workplace. I had stolen a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers from my sister (because she said that it was "too old" for me) and was working my way through it, slowly, skipping the Elvish I couldn't pronounce, during the long, boring hours between two and six.

I would sit beneath a mesquite tree while the afternoon monsoon clouds rolled in, alternating between reading, examining three rusted nails hammered in about half-way up the tree in a small triangle, and staring at the sky, imagining I was a hobbit on a desperate quest to save the world.

Which is why, today, as Katie and I walked to the grocery store, I pointed at the unsettled sky and said, "It's Frodo going to Mordor weather."