Archive for the ‘Franny’ Category

Francine turns two
September 26, 2012

Things spiraled from we definitely don’t need a color scheme (it’s a dog’s birthday party, for fuck’s sake) to what about yellow? (so fresh, so modern, so cheerful yet understated) to  PINK EXPLOSION in a matter of minutes.

But then again, you probably saw that coming anyway. 




Around the time we put her in her princess crown and Dave lifted her up and we all sang to her, I started to feel like this could possibly be the most pathetic spectacle I’ve ever orchestrated. So, um, there’s no photos of the actual party.

But suffice it to say, everyone enjoyed the pink lady cake.

God help us all if I ever have an actual daughter.

and again with the honesty
August 18, 2012

I’ve been feeling a little bit down recently.

I’m confident it will pass soon.

Occasionally, I get these moments – zooming home in a cab through the lights of the city, laughing at a great joke over dinner in Brooklyn, lapsing into gossip with Meg, feeling Dave’s hand on my back after a few glasses of wine – where it feels like I’m coming up for air.

I’m confident you’d rather hear about those than the ones where I feel like I’m drowning. (From what I gather from Dave and my mother, I get kind of annoying when I’m sad.)

Fortunately, I have some photographic proof from today’s traipse through Central Park, which fell squarely into the Very Happy To Be Here category.


Life really can’t be that awful with that blonde around.

heavy on the party, light on the slumber
July 16, 2012

I insisted on having a slumber party for my seventh birthday.

It seems a bit young to me, looking back on it, and I do recall my parents initially (entirely? always?) vowing to staunchly oppose the pitch with all their adult powers. But eventually my incessant whining broke them down, or maybe they thought that if they gave in this once, my strange desire to always act a little older than I was would somehow fade with the closing of 1992.

(Note: it did not.)

I remember two things from that birthday party, one specific and one general.

The specific, unsurprisingly, is the food. I insisted on serving a breakfast that included both cinnabons, carted in from the mall that very morning, and bagels and lox, so as to please any carb-loving palate, sweet or savory. (Or, actually, to please my palate, which was simply unending. I had one of each.)

The general memory is that the whole thing was a disaster.

Maybe girls had to go home? Definitely girls were crying. Maybe girls wouldn’t go to sleep? Definitely certain girls had to moved into another room down the hall, for some as of now unidentified reason. I can’t recall what actually transpired, but I am still, to this day, left with a very sharp, very distinct feeling that I attach to that occasion, and the theme of that feeling, is: disaster!

Which, as it so happens, is the very same feeling I experienced on Saturday night when we hosted Francine’s first sleepover.

Madeline, a poodle who lives upstairs and is Francine’s closest non-lesbian buddy (they’re just friends guys!), was staying with us while her parents enjoyed a much-deserved wedding anniversary weekend away in Boston. (Five years; it boggles the mind…I mean, forever isn’t long enough with you, D!)

Everything was going fine, great even – we left them alone in the apartment together for the first time ever and came back to a building that was still standing. They both were well-behaved on their walks.

Then came bedtime.

Somehow, after hours of play, they were still jumping, biting, doing all those other things that dogs do during the day at a play date, but at 11:30 p.m. We positioned their respective beds in opposite corners of the room. We turned off the light. We lay in our bed, quietly, unmoving. They would not follow suit.

“They’ll stop soon, I’m sure,” I said to Dave, giggling.

They did not.

We moved them to the other room, still giggling, ok with the idea of giving them a night alone, to do whatever two dogs do when unsupervised. (Again, just two spayed friends, so no pregnancy or even UTI worries here. Francine already has one lesbian lover, thankyouverymuch.)

Madeline started howling at the door every time someone stepped off the elevator and walked past our apartment door.

We stopped giggling.

She did not stop howling.

We ushered Maddy into our room and left Francine in the living room.

A few hours later, we awoke to the sound of Francine crying on one side of the door, Maddy standing up by the other side, trying to communicate in some sort of weird puppy Morse code with her paws.

At that point, Dave, who was on his one day off this week, had had enough. He insisted Maddy couldn’t stay the rest of the night.

He grabbed the dog and her bed – an old blue comforter she loves – and marched her out of the apartment.

It looked just like he was carrying a sleeping bag.

My heart broke.

But, you know, I like sleep too.

The next morning, Dave retrieved her, safe and sound. I ate leftover buttermilk cupcakes at the kitchen table.

They were far too sweet of a breakfast for a 27-year old who should know better. But they were delicious.

And I hope they’re the exact detail that I remember years from now, even if the feeling tagged to the memory is altogether different.

reasons why we’re not having kids anytime soon
July 11, 2012

The long answer: Because I’m convinced that it’s kids, not marriage, that fundamentally changes absolutely everything. Because I still sleep until noon on Saturdays. (Yes, still.) Because I’m pretty sure I had postpartum anxiety just from getting a puppy, and I didn’t even give birth to her. Because I’m absolutely terrified of vomiting (both the idea of me doing it because of an alien being growing inside of me and the idea of that alien being eventually emerging from my body and doing it – gah!) Because I want to enjoy being married for a bit. Because I’m addicted to the spicy crunch tuna roll from the sushi place down the block. Because I’m terrified I’ll start deeming those absurdly mundane baby-related Facebook statuses cropping up on my Newsfeed socially acceptable, or, god forbid, start posting some myself. Because I really love my skinny white jeans and skinny neon blue jeans and short shorts that just fit around my only-hiding-that-breakfast-sandwich-I-ate-this-morning waistline. Because I hate the idea that people think they have the right to automatically ask you this question as soon as you have a proper husband. Because we have so little money in such an expensive city with such fantastic food that really, I believe, deserves the portion of my paychecks that I suppose would otherwise go to diapers. Because David’s still in training and I refuse to cop out from my career until I’ve tried at least a little bit longer, a little bit harder to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Because, wow, I’m so not ready.

The short answer: Because one is enough, thank you very much.

*No, we don’t routinely swaddle our goldendoodle. (She’s nearly two, after all!) She’s just 1- pretty obsessed with my best friend, Meg and 2- pretty obsessed with the the futon that Meg slept on while she was crashing here for a few weeks. Someone had a hard time letting go when we stripped the sheets and put the futon back up into its upright position.

the social scene
December 19, 2011

Oh look! That life-sized muppet we bought ourselves last year: still living with us.

Francine’s actually been having a bit of a rough time of it recently. She’s past her initial “you moved me to New York and now I shall destroy everything you hold dear” phase – thank god – but her best friend here, Madeleine, recently got sick, and Franny’s feeling the loss acutely. I tried to arrange a few other play dates, but nothing’s worked out, leaving her lunging at every dog on the street, trying to find someone, anyone to play with.

A few nights ago, she even tried to go at it with a five-pound dog…with no hind legs…that was in some kind of doggie wheelchair.

“Getting desperate,” Dave said, as soon as we were out of earshot.

I, on the other hand – and dude, I don’t want to jinx this – have been on social overdrive. When you live in a city where you actually know people, holiday season apparently becomes a marathon of parties. Last week we had my friend Bridget’s holiday soiree/high school reunion (she lives with our high school prom queen, for real) on Wednesday and then Dave’s internal medicine department holiday party at the Central Park boathouse, where I wore heels I couldn’t walk in and ate at a socially unacceptable pace, on Thursday.

Weeknights are fun again. Who knew?

Hopefully all members of our household will feel just as socially fulfilled very soon.

on expectations
August 8, 2011

Maybe it was because of his unfailingly sunny disposition. Or maybe his state school education really did lead him astray, advertising some version of Residency Lite simply not available at all those hospitals with the fancy names on his match list. Or maybe he just started to believe all those things his grandparents say about him.

Whatever the reason, David was pretty convinced this whole Intern Year thing was going to be a cakewalk.

My dad chuckled whenever Dave talked about it, weaving his “home every night by 7 p.m. tale,” and I, always the pessimist, gave him a hard time too.

But the truth was, even as I was making fun of Dave’s fantasy, spouting skepticism, I was secretly harboring my own personal set of New York-themed expectations. They went something like this:

I’ll be able to speak English, during the day, to other human beings! I’ll have lunch dates and happy hours – a filofax filled with scrawled symbols of my newfound social life. I’ll no longer have to rely on people being paid to tell me I look great in that top in order to judge whether I look great in that top. I’ll have a job that’s a better fit.

I”ll be happy.

And so here we are in August, on the other side of the expectations, knee-deep in the reality of residency and this new city. Here is what it really looks like: Dave’s working until 11 p.m. Franny’s gone totally nuts. And I’m doing the same job, except now next to a group of international translators.

It’s been an interesting summer.

It’s not all bad, not in the least. I think I’m kind of picking up Korean, for one. The Spanish translators are cheery, greeting each other each morning with a “Buenos Dias” so exuberant, it makes you feel like it really could be a good day.

And some days, in fact, are; they’re just like I thought they’d be. I’ve giggled with my cousins and downed house-mixed cherry cokes and taken in stunning art exhibits and zig-zagged many sweaty, happy miles on this giant, buzzing grid of a city.

But I’m learning the hard way that having lots of people you love anchored on the same island doesn’t insulate you from disappointment or frustration or very bad days. Plans get canceled, and friends change. Your puppy gets depressed and then angry and then eats your slippers, your fancy headphones, your new rug, your best-friend’s pony-tail. All those miles in flip-flops give you shin splints.

I’ve sat at my kitchen table, alone, over eggplant pasta, watching Dave continuously delay his hospital departure time via text, and felt like a 1950s housewife with a cheating husband, or like that 21-year old girl who once hitched her whole mood, her whole summer, her whole self to an ex-boyfriend who she just couldn’t let go of.

I’ve played the frazzled single mother, losing the parcels I was carrying and the leash I couldn’t get a grip on and the purse slung over my arm, in addition to my cool, in the process of trying to pry open my apartment door.

I’ve cried in oh so many public places.

These scenes and struggles are all part of life, I know. But I can’t help but think that a lot of it has to do with expectations. That if maybe I just didn’t expect Dave to be home by eight (because he won’t) or keep waiting for my dream job to magically appear (because it’s not), I’d feel a little bit freer, a little bit better.

The other day, my mother and I were talking about serious things like adulthood and money and success, and she mentioned how easy it was for her and my dad to feel like they had really made it, really started to build a wonderful life for themselves, even when they had mountains of graduate school debt and three screaming children and a house that was starting to look suspiciously like a money pit. The thing was, compared to the generation that came before them, to the way they grew up, as children of immigrants and plant workers and absentee parents, it was all better, it was all a step up. Every professional paycheck, every child who could kind of sort of pronounce his/her name before Kindergarten, was a victory.

Of course, their very victories are the reason that I wasn’t given that same lens in life. But that doesn’t mean, after 26 and a half years, that I can’t try to tweak my perspective.

It’s not just about aiming low – though, duh, that’s totally part of it. It’s really about just letting things happen and taking them for what they are, I think. Long days, work you didn’t think you were cut out for, early morning walks with a crazy puppy.

I was dreading that last one especially, spent days mourning the extra hour of sleep. But I’ve come to love our walks on the East river, eyes still a little blurry with sleep but vision clear enough to see the gray water moving on side, the cars whizzing by on the other, the puppy bobbing her head straight ahead. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day.

I wasn’t expecting that.

puppy roulette
July 12, 2011

We’re playing a fun new game in our house this week. It’s the product of circumstance really, as we lack both a- money for a dog walker and b – the foresight to know when it’s necessary to turn on the AC in the morning. Like, I’m actually incapable of comprehending’s takeaway before 8 a.m, which has led to me begging Dave to meet me at 68th & Lex with an umbrella (Friday) and neglecting to turn on the air for Francine during a heat advisory (today.)

The result is a situation we like to refer to as frugal love, even as we understand and acknowledge that some might see it more as “neglect” or even “child abuse.” (Glass half empty types, surely.)

Anyway, if we’re going to be hauled off by pet services sooner rather than later, I figure we might as well have some fun with it while it lasts! So here’s the game: -10 points if the dog pees herself in the kitchen; -20 points if the dog pees herself in the elevator, sans onlookers; -30 points if the dog pees herself in front of a crowd. And, um, everyone loses if the dog dies of heat stroke.

So far, we’ve actually (surprisingly? thankfully!) been kicking ass. Which means less time spent with paper towels and paramedics, and more time for long walks to the dog park.

Win. Here’s hoping the rest of the week is filled with high scores too.

kind of like that time you made out with your college roommate
July 11, 2011

It started out innocently, and adorably, enough. Two golden-hued puppies, once intent on each other’s demise, finally started warming up to the idea of being friends.



For the last few weeks, Franny has been vacationing at her country home in Connecticut with my parents’ golden retriever puppy, Millie, while we got settled in New York and zipped down to Philly for a wedding. My mother kept us abreast on their budding friendship.

“Every time I walk into the kitchen, they’re cuddling!” she cooed via text message. “It’s so cute!”

But the messages quickly devolved.

“Ever time I walk in to the kitchen, they’re cudding,” she said, a few days later. “It’s getting creepy.”

Indeed, it was. At first it was like they were just being extra friendly, or maybe even experimenting the tiniest bit: a paw strategically placed here, a tail nestled on the other’s fur. But by the end, my mom would discover them completely intertwined, expressions half-guilty, half-annoyed, like, can you please shut the door behind you, lady? We’d appreciate some privacy.

It’s hard for me to admit this, but seeing our puppy swing that way was a little hard for me to swallow. And I felt terrible about my reaction. I mean, I really miss the gayborhood, our old home in Philly. I was elated when gay marriage was legalized in New York. What was wrong with me that I couldn’t just accept my puppy for who she was? What kind of bleeding heart liberal, East Coast journalist am I? Maybe I should just get back with that Republican who works at Goldman Sachs and call it a day.

I was starting to get pretty down on myself and my supposed Democratic values, until I looked at the above picture. For some reason, even though it wasn’t as lewd as some of the previous puppy porn, it really got me. Just look at Millie’s face. She looks so scared. So confused.

And that’s when it hit me: it wasn’t the fact that Franny was getting it on with another lady that was bothering me. It was the fact that she was getting it on with both a minor and a family member.

Like, that’s not just disturbing…it’s illegal. Chris Hanson could feature this puppy on his TV show. She’s essentially a canine sexual predator.

And her mother does not have to support this lifestyle, no matter how liberal she is or is not.

Which is why we were particularly happy to welcome little Franny to New York this past weekend. We know some people might bristle at the idea that we’re ushering our daughter into this hotbed of sin and sex with open arms, praying she might meet a new male/female/gay/straight/neutered/spayed lover – anyone who’s not her aunt and/or four months old.

But at this point, we have to aim low. Anything’s better than the illicit love affair she’s leaving behind in suburbia.

in which we continue our campaign for the worst parents ever award
June 15, 2011

Mother, after feeding puppy you’ve chosen to ignore in favor of an extra half hour of sleep: You know the scoop in Franny’s food is 1/3 cup right?

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: Say wha?

Mother: The scoop. It’s only 1/3 cup.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: But…that can’t be. We’ve been using it for months. And the puppy is…still extremely underweight.

Mother: (Blank stare.)

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: Oh shit.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1, Frantically Texting Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: We Did It Again.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: Say wha?

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: We’re under-feeding the puppy. The scoop is only 1/3 cup.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: No way. Not true.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: It definitely is. She’s always hungry. We’ve doubled her meal portions three times. Even [vet student friend] said she’s too skinny.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: Measure it! Fill it with water and pour it into another cup! I don’t believe it!

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: Oh shit.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: What?

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #1: We already did that. Remember? Because the label was kind of scratched off? We measured it against another 1/2 cup….and that 1/2 cup was, um, too big, in our dog-starving opinion. So we decided the bigger one was mis-marked? I…I don’t know why. That seems like the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

Not Fit To Raise A Puppy #2: Oh shit. Go apologize to Francine. And give her some more food, for chrissakes.

in which the puppy gets The Talk
February 16, 2011

Bad news: This is (yet another) story about the puppy. But this one involves sexual promiscuity and foul language and actions so legitimately illegal that I, the girl to whom self-censureship is essentially a foreign concept, honestly hesitated before putting it online.

Of course, being someone who feels strongly that fear of arrest is a key indicator of a solid blog post, I’ve decided just to go for it. (Please don’t call the police – my only experience on how to handle them derives directly from rap song references and that one time I was chased out of a party in high school.)

The trouble started on Monday, as we all recovered from an eventful birthday weekend: Rachel from a bit too much champagne and cupcakes, Dave from a bit too much girl talk and Franny from a bit too much attention. Seriously, being fawned over and petted and generally worshipped for 48 hours can be a little overwhelming, and it had apparently started to take its toll on the puppy. She spent most of Monday morning barking and crying and attempting to swat us with her paw.

“What a little attention whore,” we said to ourselves, convinced that she had been spoiled by all of her suitors and the presents they trucked up to Apartment 4. (Seriously, girlfriend got more presents than me. And she is very, very far from 26.)

Things got a little fishier on Monday evening when she proceeded to have two accidents on the living room carpet. This was weird for a few reasons: a) she’s supposedly potty trained (although it’s not hard to imagine we somehow fucked this process up to the extent that she would spontaneously start spraying urine across the apartment at 4.5 months) and b) more troubling, she didn’t seem to be pre-meditating said accidents; rather, she seemed to be really, truly losing control of her bladder. Like something out of an ad for old people diapers.

We murmured a bit to ourselves about it, throwing out possible causes, but eventually decided to table the topic (read: ignore and pretend it never happened.) Until this morning, at 4 a.m., when I was awoken by super pathetic cries and then totally creeped out to discover a certain dog sitting not far from my head.

Said scenario never would or could have happened even a few days ago, because Franny was still sleeping in her crate. But Friday brought the dawning of a new era, one marked by the arrival of her big girl bed, a perfectly preppy L.L. Bean round that harkened back to the beds of Toby that Franny had fallen in love with in Connecticut and Vermont. Admittedly, it was a little unclear if she actually enjoyed said beds or just enjoyed the look on the sad old man’s face (technically my dad, not Toby) when he saw that she had urinated on the fluffy thing that read “T-o-b-y.” Either way, we thought we’d give it a go.

And, lo and behold, the allure of the bed wasn’t just limited to the potential of pissing off Toby. When the new one came, with her name written in block lettering (we thought script might confuse her burgeoning knowledge of the English alphabet), she immediately sprawled out on it. Girlfriend was pleased, to say the least.

She did a good job on the big girl bed Sunday night, and Monday night too, but the crying on Tuesday night did not bode well for her ability to handle such a privilege. And, sure enough, when Dave and I went to examine the situation, we found yet another little present on the bed. Something was up.

I immediately turned to my trusty medical advisor (Google, obv., not the hundreds of medical professionals that surround me on a daily basis) and came up with a swift diagnosis: UTI. A UTI! Of course. I frequently (jokingly, lovingly) call Franny an ignorant slut (it’s from a classic SNL skit, don’t judge me) and here it was, my prophecy coming true. Girlfriend got a disease most common to high schoolers experimenting with their sexuality and making unsanitary decisions. Of course this would happen to my puppy. Classic.

A few hours later, I made Dave take her to the vet, where they proceeded to take our money and kind of throw their hands in the air, per usual. They wanted a urine sample before they made a diagnosis; Dave had a hard time wrapping his head around just how he would collect a clean sample from a puppy who either relieves herself sitting down on dirty snowbanks or has spontaneous releases on our carpet. The vet acknowledged that a week’s worth of amoxycilin wouldn’t hurt the precious pooch and would definitely clear things up if she indeed had a UTI. But would she like to prescribe said drug? No, not really. Instead, she gave us info on the recommended dosing and sent us off with the recommendation to call a people doctor who might be able to prescribe it for us.

Not that we know anyone like that, as the med school gang is still several years from that privilege and my dad is honestly more liberal with his administering of diamond jewelry than prescription drugs. Attempts to get antibiotics from him are notoriously futile: he wants proof that your mucus is harboring bacteria, stat. (In contrast, I was able to haggle a diamond pendant from him in exchange for attending our last family ski vacation.) Last year, when a friend at Harvard beseeched the good doctor for profilactiv swine flu meds after discovering his former hookup had come down with the ailment, my dad not only declined, but cited specific unmet criteria outlined in Harvard’s med school’s own guide to dealing with swine flu risk. The good doctor, he’s good.

Still, we decided it was worth a try. First, I called my dad, begging him to assist his precious granddaughter. When he inevitably shot down my request (“you want me to call in a script? for your dog? under Dave’s name? are you crazy?”), I passed the phone to the good-doctor-to-be, who babbled some stuff that sounded vaguely more legit. He hung up the phone, smirking a little. Voila, Dad was on board. He would call in the script now. Yay us for saving a few bucks and nursing our puppy back to health all on our own.

Of course, our metaphorical high five came a little too soon. Not two hours later, my father called back. He had just been contacted by the pharmacist, who informed him that David has a penicillin allergy, and was he really sure he ought to be prescribing an antibiotic of the same make?

The puppy, she may be a slut, but the med student, three months shy of having that sparkly title in front of his name: he’s an idiot.

Looks like we’re worse at this whole illegal drug ring thing than we thought.