As you can tell, Allie named the lil squirts (pun intended). She claims their personalities match their names. So far, I have yet to see any of them exhibit much more personality than "Hey, where's the milk bag?" and "OK, I'm all full. Time for a nap." But what do I know?
Anyway, they got names. And I am still resolved that none will be staying. So yez can all just shaddup about that. Ain't gonna happen.
Allison: So, you know how you see something and think you remember it, but later it turns out you didn't remember it well at all ...?
Me: (warily) Yeah ...?
Allison: So, the five puppies ...? Not so much five. Eight. But ohhhh ... so cute ...
Me: But ... eight.
Allison: But cute.
Me: But eight.
Allison: What, you were gonna say "Yes" to five, but "No" to eight?
Me: Well ...
Allison: Alright, then. But look ...
Me: It's a Pound Puppy. You know? Like the ones we gave you when you were kids.
Allison: No, like the real Pound Puppies. The ones you gave us were raggedy-ass knockoffs.
Me: Still. OK, what's the story on the mom?
Allison: Some assholes took her in to be euthanized because they " ... just didn't have time for a dog". The vet said "She's five weeks pregnant. I'm not euthanizing this animal." So they just walked away. How could you walk away from her? Look at her:
Me: So ... what now?
Allison: So, they grow. And you decide which of them is the cutest of the bunch and ...
Me: Don't even think it.
Allison: What am I, new? But hey, you want to fool yourself, go ahead. Anyway, I have to go out now. So ... good luck with them ...
22 years of pictures from the first day of school. Always on the doorstep - although the doorsteps have changed twice. Always dressed nicely (first impressions are lasting!); always carrying a backpack; and always with a bright smile filled with anticipation and excitement.
Two more years and Allison will graduate with a degree in Education. She'll go on to teach English in Middle School, most likely.
So, like her sister, she'll have many more First Days of School.
Saturday we took a short drive through the hills near our home, heading for the North Shore of Prince Edward Island.
Prince Edward Island is small - 120 miles long, 40 miles wide at its thickest point, but far less than that in most places. It's a tiny crescent nestled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just above where Nova Scotia and New Brunswick meet.
The North Shore is essentially 120 miles of the most incredible white sand beaches and dune systems you'll ever find. But beyond being a summer playground for thousands upon thousands of families, the North Shore is also home to Anne of Green Gables.
Some of you have read the book by Lucy Maud Montgomery - the story of a tiny red-headed waif who is adopted by a farmer and his sister and comes to live on this Island. If you haven't, you should; beyond being a lovely children's story, it's a very literate and articulate view of a society that existed around the turn of the last century.
As you will see if you visit the link above (and I wish you would), the Island's substantial tourism industry is largely built on two elements: golf (this place was recently named Canada's Number One Golf Destination) and Anne of Green Gables.
Anne is an icon here. There is a musical based on the book that has been playing to sold-out audiences every summer since (wait for it) 1965. I would have been 11 years old then (spare yourself the cypherin' - I'm 52).
There are Anne of Green Gables gift shops selling all manner of Anne tchotchkes, Anne of Green Gables tea rooms, and Anne of Green Gables cottages. Think Graceland, and replace Elvis with a red-headed girl in pigtails. That's what she means to Island tourism.
Much of the Anne idolatry comes from Japan - Anne of Green Gables was the first English novel translated into Japanese, and it became a school text. Millions of Japanese girls - living in a society that repressed their freedom and individuality - had their imagination swept away by this spirited, outspoken character, and "Red-Haired Anne" became their heroine. It is not at all uncommon to see a Japanese girl - sometimes a teenager, but often young or even middle-aged women - sitting on the lawn of Green Gables House in Cavendish, quietly weeping, overcome by the experience.
Not far from Cavendish, you'll find Avonlea Village, a "recreation" of the fictional village from the Anne stories. It's a great family attraction, offering lots for younger kids to do, including pig races, barnyard animals, activities, concerts, and what is essentially a day-long musical play performed by characters from the novel.
The actors stay in character throughout the day - if a kid tells Gilbert Blythe that she took a car from Maine to get there, he is baffled - he's heard of train travel and steamboats, but " ... what is this "car" you speak of? Must be something new - we never hear tell of 'em here. " They perform in concerts, pose for endless pictures with arms wrapped around kids from all over, and generally try to make the day a rewarding and memorable experience for the families who come to visit.
The past few summers Allison has been working up at Avonlea, often playing the part of Josie Pye, Anne's nemesis. She loves playing the malevolent Josie, although (true fact) she does get kicked a lot by kids who don't like her being mean to Anne.
But last week, the actor who played Anne all summer went back to University in Ontario, so there was a new red-head in town ...
... and how lucky were we that - as it turned out - Anne was celebrating a birthday the day we went to Avonlea.
And what a coincidence: later that night, we had a family dinner to celebrate Allison's birthday, too! 22 years old and she plays a 14 year-old. No wonder she still gets carded at pubs.
Yesterday, I was chasing my dog Roxy around my yard with a pie plate, trying to stuff it under her when she squatted to pee. (This is not some sort of new hobby - I was ordered to do this by the veterinarian)
On the first attempt, just as I got it under her, it made that crinkling, popping sound pie plates make when they bend, and she nearly broke my arm lunging at the leash to get away. Now, of course, she was terrified of the scary scary pie plate, and not only would she not pee, she wouldn't look at me because I held it in my hand and was evidently planning to use it to ... my God, I am speculating on what a dog might think. Shoot me now.
So we went back inside the house, and I gave her a cookie, which wipes her memory clean, and we tried again. This time I took a flat lid from a tupperware dish (no crinkly, no scary) and we went outside. Due to the memory-deleting qualities of the dog biscuits, Roxy seemed to think it was our first time out that day, so she was very happy.
She wandered around, looking for that one blade of grass on our lawn which she had not yet blessed with the holy water of her bladder, found it, and squatted. Smoothly, gracefully, as if I had done this hundreds of times before, I slid the tupperware lid under her just in time to have my dog pee on my hand.
Fortunately, enough got into the lid for me to pour a sample into a little cup, seal the cup, give it to Allison for delivery to the vet, then go in and dip my hands in bleach wash my hands for about ten minutes under scalding water.
So, yesterday, I let my dog pee on me. On purpose.
Today, I am going for a meeting with the Queen's Representative to the Province of Prince Edward Island, our Lieutenant-Governor. I expect I will be greeted by a military aide-de-camp, or perhaps a butler, and will be offered tea and possibly finger sandwiches.
I will look more or less like this:
... and I will try to remember not to eat with that left hand.