Monday, June 22, 2009

The Dog Park

I got kicked out of the dog park yesterday.

And when I say I, I really mean Brooklyn.  

And when I say kicked out, I really mean so embarrassed I had to make hasty escape never to return.

Hmmm, maybe I was a tad dramatic.

Anyhoo, the boys and I discovered a new dog park that is perfectly situated between my house and my gym.  The point being we spend an hour playing fetch (or other dog get Mop's ball and Mop sniffs a tree) and then the boys pass out in the car while I box for a half hour.  

Day one was fine.  Until the end.  The boys were having  a blast playing with an array of interesting terriers while I listened to their owners talked about auras and letting the past go as to move free into themselves (the park in on the east side of Rainy City - so the energy is a bit different.  ie. kooky).  When it was time to leave, Brooklyn decided to play his fun game of run away from me even though I have a treat (and this time I did!) but went too far when he ran into the road.  He thought this was a great place to run in circles and bark.  Then he chased his new schnauzer puppy friend McGregor up the street.  McGregor's ownner just stood their looking at me like a freak telling Brooklyn to 'shoo'.  Ummm, help me out buddy?  Like bend down and stop my idiot dog.

Okay fine. 

Day two, we got out of the car.  I kept both dogs on their leash.  Then we ran into McGregor again.  His dad asked me if we were better behaved today. I wanted to kick him.  At this point, Brooklyn tears away so fast I lose my hold on his leash.  He runs after a woman and her big black dog.  She turns around and starts yelling at me to get my dog away from her (I can see why, as her dog starts snarling at Brooklyn - sheesh, what a drag to have a grumpy dog).  Brooklyn is ignoring me, runs into the street again, denies my treats, and McGregor's dad shakes his head and walks away.    The lady with the black dog shook her fist at us.  I shook more than that back.

We will not be returning to hippy park. I don't think our auras meshed well.

So the boys and I will stick to Charleston Park.  If you are in Rainy City, this is the BEST off-leash park ever.  It has a waterfall.  Enough said. 

Sometimes I fear we will be kicked out of this place too.  After all, the other day Mr. Mop spent a good twenty minutes mounting another Jack Russell.  Luckily, all the dog owners thought this quite entertaining and hilarious.  Our auras are like-minded obviously.  That, or their dogs are just as nutty as mine.  

And by the way, Brooklyn came to me THREE times in Charleston.  Maybe the training is starting to kick in?  Or maybe he just went nutty at the hippy park with all the extra patchouli oil in the air.  Muhahahhahahaaa 

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Untrainable Dog

Mr. Mop may have an attitude but at least he can understand commands.  He can sit, stay, down, and come.  In fact, he is awesome at recall.  He is motivated by both food and praise.  He learned his commands really quickly - as in maybe ten minutes or so.  He's practically a genius.

And then there is Brooklyn.

Brooklyn the sweet, blinking little Yorkie that looks up at me with his tail wagging.  The one who is afraid of umbrellas and mittens.  The one who is IMPOSSIBLE to train.

Part of me thinks that he is only nine pounds and therefore does he really need to be trained?  I mean really, if I want him to do something I can just make him do it.  Nah, that's irresponsible.  He really should understand at least the basics.  Like sit. 

I have been trying to get him to sit for about six months.  I kid you not.  Nothing works on this dog.  He gets way too excited for food.  One book says the way to get them to sit is to place food in front of their nose and then trace it over their head while saying 'sit'.  This makes them lift their head and their bum usually goes to the floor.  Over time, they connect the action and bob's your uncle!

Brooklyn?  I've tried that one.  He wiggles backwards, or dances around, or, just recently, rolled over and then ran in circles.  I've tried this method.  My cousin tried this method.  Even a random man at the park tried it, but with the food starting on the ground.  It was sort of funny because this man clearly had an ego and thought he would show the stupid blonde how it works.  But Brooklyn licked his nose, grabbed the treat, and ran for dear life.  Way to show 'em Brookie!

Then we tried the collar thing - not the choke but the one similar.  He doesn't even notice the pinch!  He just wags his tail.

I make him sit and then tell him how good he is.  Last week he just tooted.  

So if I can't make him sit, do you think I can get him to come?  Oh god.  It's a disaster.  For a while, I tricked him into thinking I had treats in my pocket.  He wised up to my game.  He'll only come about a foot away from me and then make a run for it.  Usually it isn't so bad.  A couple of chase games and I get him.  

But last night at the park there was a bit of a fiasco.

I put Mop in the car and then went after Brooklyn bribing him with mints as that was all I had (ummm, perhaps I should wise up here and start actually carrying treats?).  No fool here.  He ran in circles in the middle of the road. Then went into a neighboring yard and hid behind a pine tree, where he found a dead mouse. 

Pleased with his mouse, he made a break for the park with me hot on his tail.  At this point, a little old lady (wearing curlers in her hair and no teeth) with her Bernese Mountain dog and a family with two golden retrievers joined in the capture.  They too tried luring him with actual biscuits, but nada.  The dork had a dead mouse.  

At this point, he did actually drop the mouse because I think he thought we were playing.  He started to do this high pitch barking combined with running within inches of our treats, wagging his tail and then running in circles.  

Meanwhile, Mop is going nuts in the car scratching the window to get out and barking.  

I think Brooklyn tired out and lost his guard when he finally came in close for the biscuit.  I managed to get him and thank my fellow dog-catchers with high embarrassment painted on my cheeks.

Now Brooklyn not only thinks we were playing but he got rewarded in the end for being an idiot.

I'm starting to think it is I that is the idiot . . . .

Garlic Bombs and the Super Nerd

As I spend so much time in New York, I rarely do the tourist things anymore.  I've never been up the Empire State Building or even to the Statue of Liberty (well, I've seen her from the ferry) and usually in the few days leading to my departure I freak out and do all things touristy so that I don't feel guilty.

And I always do them alone.

But not this time.  This time my mother was in town AND the Engineer was done exams - so they had to come with me!  Not that I have to twist my mum's arm, but the Engineer always needs a bit of prodding. 

One such occasion was a walking tour of the LES (Lower East Side for you non-NYers or non-immigrants) which blended my two favorite things:  eating and history.  At first the Engineer moaned about having to come with us so it completely surprised me when our tour guide asked if we had any questions and his hand popped up.  I nearly dropped my friend banana (Dom. Republic stop #1) when he dared to speak out loud in front of people.  (Two minutes before when our guide asked if there were any first born sons the E refused to volunteer.  He informed me that he doesn't like talking in front of strangers in a snide whisper.)

The best part was, I knew the answer to his question!  I also knew the answer to the guides first question:  what immigrant group is currently the largest entering the States (Dom. Rep hence the bananas)?  My hand shot up like the super nerd I am.  In fact, the whole group of old ladies was impressed with my immigrant knowledge.  I felt like in Grade Seven again when I was still the smartest kid in class.

The tour was really interesting and I recommend anyone to do it via Big Onion tours or the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (my fav museum in New York).  I swear, I must have been a Jewish immigrant in my last life because I truly relish the history of this tiny pocket (like did you know one in four Americans can trace their history through Ellis Island and subsequently the LES?).

I quickly realized I was that person on the tour.  The one who knows all the answers.  The one who has lots of questions.  The one who keeps putting up her umbrella to get some shade and hitting the man from Texas.  

The E wasn't even embarrassed though, because even he was into the history.  Trust me, if he is, then so will you. 

Where was my mum?  Behind us taking pictures.  In fact, we kept losing her because she would be stuck somewhere taking pictures.  The E got mad at me when I wouldn't wait for her.  I hissed that she should listen to rules and that means keeping up with the group. 

I am that nerd aren't I?

I must also point out our favorite hot spot on the tour.  It's a must if you are going to NYC and love pickles.  Go down to Essex Street to 'The Pickle Guys'.  It's been there forever and they have barrels of pickled food from actual pickles to carrots.  You can get them 1/2 sour or full -which just means how long they sit in the brine.  Go full.  Go full and then eat them all.  It's like a delicious garlic bomb is going off in your mouth .  I kid you not, I am literally salivating as I sit at my MacBook right now just thinking of that dill kosher goodness.  

Aaaaaah (that's Homer-esque drool)

PS.  The Engineer can't wait until I come back because now all he wants to do is go on walking tours!!  muhahahahahaaaaaa

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Mom Translator

Alas, I must apologize for my lack of entries that I know you all look forward to eagerly (ha!) but I am back at the keyboard so fear no more!  Okay, enough of that.  Here we go . . . 

For my entire life, my mother has always said things wrong.  Cool things like celebrity names, designer brands, and mainstream stores.  For example, she calls 'La Senza' 'La Stenza' - even though I have been correcting her for 15 years.  I had a boyfriend named Russ and she always called him Ross.  But then called Ross on Friends Russ.  Go figure.

SNL did a HILARIOUS parody (I would link it but poor Canadians can't watch US TV online) called 'The Mom Translator".  Basically, it is a product similar to those Japanese computer translators where you enter the Japanese word to get the English translation (my saviour in Japan) except instead of 'oishi' (to get delicious) you type in the name your mom is giving you (Keith Ragu) and the random facts she knows about the celebrity (he's a man, in a fast movie) and you get Keanu Reeves.  That is a run-on sentence.

The Engineer and I lol'd for quite some time over this.  I said I needed that for my mom.  Then the Engineer said he needed it for me!  WHAT?  

Okay fine, I admit it.  I often use words wrong or sort of make them up hoping no one will notice my folly.  The Engineer always notices and then points it out.  Thanks.  But celebrity names?  Have I turned in to my mother?

And then this happened:

Mom:  That guy is going to be in a play. That old one.  You know.  He's old.  He's British?
Sarah:  Ian McKellen?
Mom:  Yes!  The wizard.
The Engineer:  How was the show last night?
Mom:  We saw Jane Fonda.  I talked to her after.  And then that guy was in it.  The son of that guy.  What's his name?
Sarah:  Tim Hanks's son
The Engineer:  Tim Hanks?
Sarah:  I didn't say Tim, I said Tom
The Engineer/Mom:  No, you said Tim

Oh god.  I have turned into my mother!  I need the mom translator!!  I also should note that I had just shown my mum SNL's skit and we both were laughing.  And then I turned into my mother while making fun of her.  GAH!

Meh, it was bound to happen at some point.  I used to be hip to all celebrity gossip and now I don't even know who starred in Twilight.  I watched the MTV movie awards and I didn't know half the people!  When did that happen?

Here are some more examples from my mum, and I am not this bad.  Yet.  (these are from yesterday)

- she wanted me to try on some Dolce and Gribbina glasses
- we were in a strip mall and she says, "this place has a cute name, like Monkey Banana or Banana monkeys or something like that"  The name?  Short Pants Mall.  "I said it was something like that".  Yeah, banana and pants are easy to mix up.