Monday, April 30, 2012

Boom Boom Pow

Last Friday afternoon, as usual, I was driving on the expressway. After picking up one of my daughters in Seattle, my two youngest and I were heading north on Interstate 5. If you don't live on the west coast, I'll explain that it's a major expressway that typically runs between four and six lanes of traffic in each direction. It's busy and crowded pretty much all the time.

Anyway, we were almost home. Ranger was quietly sleeping in the back seat, with his head on my daughter's lap, we were chatting about this and that, and I had just started the series of merges to take me from the far left lane to my upcoming exit on the right. Traffic was heavy but not stop-and-go. We were cruising along about 50 to 60 miles per hour.


A bomb exploded in the back of my car. Or so it seemed.

The car swerved into the next lane, the dashboard lit up with warning lights, smoke obscured my vision, the accelerator was unresponsive as my speed dropped to almost nothing, I smelled burning rubber, and I felt a huge dragging sensation and a sharp pain in my lower back. 

My first thoughts: Keep the car in the lane, carefully merge back that one lane to the left, find a safe place to pull over.

My second thought: Is anyone hurt??

My third thought: What the !@#$%^& just happened???!

It took me several full seconds to realize I'd been rear-ended. It was my first major accident. Hope it was my last.

Thank goodness, the rest of the story is all good.

No one was hurt.

Wait. Isn't there supposed to be glass back here?

Side note: Check out the gore point I found. Thank you, WSDOT emergency guy who taught me about the safety of the gore zone last summer. You are my hero.

I found a really great place to pull over. Thankfully, I learned about gore points last summer and now know that they are prime locations for troubled expressway motorists. I'm strangely proud of the fact that I managed to land my completely messed-up car out of the flow of traffic and prevented a major back-up during Friday afternoon rush hour.

It wasn't my fault. A witness with a dashboard camera caught the whole accident as it happened, and clearly, the guy who hit me just wasn't paying attention. It could happen to any of us who drive on crowded expressways. Still, glad it wasn't me.

The guy who hit me - around 30 years old, driving a brown 1992 Ford pickup - was apologetic and just the right amount of mad at himself. I was nice to him. Really, it could happen to any of us.

The tow truck guy came in record time; he was a roadside angel and my hero. I love people who are calm and helpful in a crisis.

Sadly, my Toyota Yaris took a terrible beating.

The rear wheels were locked up, the emergency brake was activated. Somehow, the front wheels managed to drag the rest of the car several hundred yards to safety after the impact.
Glass from the rear window was blown all through the car. My daughters' headbands and eyeglasses went flying around, a little plastic vent cover from the hatchback was lying at my feet in front of the driver's seat. 
The force of the impact jammed the back door up against the driver's door; I was pinned in the car.  The tow truck guy managed to yank the doors this way and that until I was freed; then he looked me in the eye and said, "Good thing you weren't hurt." Yes, Mr. TT Man, amen to that.
Tow Truck Man noticed that, given the height of the 1992 Ford pickup's front grill, and the obvious point of impact on the Yaris, the other driver must have been braking hard when he hit me. TT Man also observed that if the driver had not been braking, the point of impact would have likely been centered on the rear window rather than the rear frame, and the passengers would have probably suffered greater injury. Chills ran through me when he told me that.
A final look at the poor mutilated car from the safety of my Sienna. 

More good news:

We can survive on one car for the next few weeks. I'll be doing a lot of extra driving, but it will all work out.

The accident scared poor Ranger out of his wits. He's been jumpy and extra sensitive all weekend, but he'll be alright.

My daughters and I have a new Fear Bond

Accidents put life into perspective. This one reminded me of the invaluable kindness of strangers, of the relative unimportance of material possessions, of the importance of telling your loved ones what they mean to you. 

I'm very thankful that my accident has such a happy ending. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Glad You Came Back

I'm glad you came back to see the second installment of my inspiration journal. 

You may recall that this was a project I designed to get my students inspired to write and make art; along the way, I inspired myself to make a journal with them.

If you like, you may go here to see the first part of the journal, which focuses on the seasons. 

Now I'll show you the second half, which is all about holidays.

See? Here we are at the pine cone photo that signals the end of the section on seasons, and we find another watercolored half-page, announcing the new topic. 

The first assignment was to think of as many holidays as you possibly can, and write them all down in a list. This was to be a no-holds-barred, all-inclusive list; any family-invented holidays, traditional outings, or ideas for future holidays were allowed. 

I made a little book for my list, and wrote them all down inside. I came up with 37.

The next page spread includes two of my favorite projects that I dreamed up for this journal. On the left, you see Holidays in a Box. Using the lists of all the different holidays, our challenge was to choose a favorite holiday for each of the four seasons, and create a drawing, collage, poem or short story about each one, and hide it under a flap.

Now that you have seen the closed flaps, I'll lift each one and give you a peek at what I created.

For winter, I chose Valentine's Day, and drew a little grid full of hearts.

Next I chose the First Day of Spring as my favorite spring holiday, and make a tiny collage that shows tulips blooming. I used a cross-section perspective, so you can see the tiny bulbs growing underground, and I even fashioned little roots out of white thread.

The summer box celebrates Beach Day. I made that holiday up, and I drew a classic beach ball to commemorate the day. Although I am a huge fan of spending the day at the beach, I don't think I have ever taken one of those balls along. 

Columbus Day commemorates the day that Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America, and it is a holiday has fallen from favor lately. He wasn't very nice to the people who already lived here, so I wrote a poem to him and kinda told him off. Do I have mixed feelings about being a European transplant to America? Yes, I do.

That covers the left page of the spread; over here on the right, we have a little holiday poll going on.

As you can see, this assignment covered a three-step process; each step is described on one of these tiny envelopes that I made out of graph paper.

Inside each of the envelopes is a card where I wrote the results of the corresponding step.

Final result: between Valentine's Day, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, my ten voters were split between Fourth of July and Thanksgiving as their favorite of those three holidays. Poor Valentine's Day didn't stand a chance. Interesting.

Well, we have now come to the place in my journal where I got distracted. I created several other holiday assignments for my students but I never got around to completing them myself. 

Instead, I caught a fever for circles. For some reason, I started drawing, painting and making collages that involve circles.

See what I mean?

I do love circles though, and I'm perfectly happy to give them their own section in my journal. But I want to wrap up the other assignments as well. I've got a serious case of delayed gratification.

So here is my work plan for finishing this unfinished project:

1. Complete the remaining holiday assignments. (Don't worry; since my students did these projects at home, I wrote descriptions for each assignment and I still have those on hand to remind me of what to do.

2. Make a half-page watercolor divider that says 'circles,' just like the ones that say 'seasons' and 'holidays.'

3. Add to this new section a few other circle-related drawings that I have on hand.

Give me a few days to finish up and I'll show you when I get 'er done. I hope you'll come back AGAIN!

I Wonder

When I went to college, I lived in an off-campus apartment that looked like this:

Americana Apartments, East Lansing, Michigan

Nothing says home like a little Soviet-style architecture, does it.

The years have flown by, and now one of my daughters is living off-campus at her own college and her home-away-from-home looks like this:

This house is a fairy tale, isn't it? I find it charming and quaint and magical. I want to walk up those steps, sit right down on the stoop, and drink a tall, cool glass of lemonade. I want to peep into that black metal mailbox and pull out an envelope with a long, handwritten letter inside. I want to open that big wooden front door (I hope it creaks), tiptoe into the kitchen, and whip up a homemade banana cream pie for the lucky girls who live here. 

But the other day when I stopped by the Manor, which is what the girls call their fairy-tale home, I didn't get nearly that far. I never even reached the steps. For right now, in this glorious Seattle spring, the Manor's front garden has come alive with bloom. 

I parked my car and then I took a beeline from the street to the flowers, yanking my phone out of my pocket as I strode across the grass, and started snapping pics left and right. Let me show you just a few of the photos I took.

As I feast my eyes on these pictures, I wonder about some things.

I wonder if anyone driving by the Manor last Friday afternoon saw me bending, twisting and contorting myself to get the best angle on these beauties.

I wonder if I will always have an undying passion for pink flowers.

I wonder if the Manor girls, with their heads full of thoughts about classwork and deadlines and grades and boys, pause as they run up their front steps to notice these precious flowers.

I wonder if, in the many springtimes still to come in their lives, the girls will see fresh pink spring flowers and fondly recall their magical year at the Manor.

I wonder if the answer to all these questions is 'yes.' I hope so.

* * * * *

For more stories about late winter and early spring, try these:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Will Bake You A Pie

The only good pie is a homemade pie.

There. I said it.

Now, if you have ever served me store-bought pie or will do so in the future, please don't be offended. I value your hospitality and generosity much more than I do homemade pie. I'll love you just the same.

But for me, it's always worth the extra time and effort to make pie from scratch. And honestly, once you get the hang of it, putting together a homemade pie is fun and rewarding. I really enjoy it.

The basic recipe for pie crust could not be any simpler. Two cups of flour, two-thirds cup of Crisco, a little bit of cold water to hold it all together.

{A long time ago, I bought a copy of the New York Times Cookbook  and to date, the recipe for this basic pie crust is the only recipe I have used from it. And since I memorized that short list of ingredients long ago, I haven't touched the book in years. Still, I can't bring myself to get rid of it. I'm emotionally attached.}

Rolling out the dough can be a challenge for a novice but practice truly does make perfect. With a little experience, you get a strong instinct for how a properly balanced dough should feel, and rolling it out on a well-floured board becomes a joy.

Among pie-bakers, there are a number of different tips on how to get your beautifully rolled-out crust into your pie plate. When I was getting started, I experimented a bit but this has been my tried-and-true for many years:

Fold the pie crust in half, then in half again, making a sweet wedge that can be easily picked up and quickly transported to your awaiting pie plate. Center the point, unfold it, and voila! Perfect.

The only bad thing I will say about making pies's messy. Alas.

While I was putting together the crust, I was also making the filling. There are soooo many different kinds of pies to make:

Chocolate Pie
Pecan Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Mississippi Mud Pie
Banana Cream Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie
Mincemeat Pie
Key Lime Pie

and of course, Fruit Pie.

In my family, fruit pies are where it's at. 

Our favorites are apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, peach, and raspberry.

This was a blackberry pie. Since April is not blackberry season in Washington, I bought two bags of frozen blackberries, threw them in a saucepan and heated them through. Then I fished out all the berries, added sugar to the boiling juice, and thickened it up with a bit of cornstarch. Easy. Simple. Fun.

Next, it was a straightforward matter to pour the berries and the thickened sauce into the pie crust, and dot it with a bit of butter. Just to make it extra yummy. 

While I am making pies, I always think about my mother-in-law, June.

June is a pie baker extraordinaire. For many decades, at her table, Saturday night was pie night. After dinner, she always had a flawlessly executed pie on hand to serve with coffee and vanilla ice cream. My father-in-law, God rest his soul, always favored fruit pies too, and she paraded an endless array of seasonal fillings across his plate. Bless her gentle and generous heart, she would often fret about whether this crust wasn't a bit tough, or that filling was a bit too runny, but the truth is that her pies were always nearly perfect. I am honored to uphold her legacy, and I do my best to make her proud.

Plop! On goes the top crust. In this family, a fruit pie is synonymous with a two-crust pie, so I always add a top layer. Once it's in place, the edges of both layers are trimmed, folded, and tucked to make a smooth edge that will hold the delicious juices in.

Now comes fluting. My own mother was not so passionate about making pies but on unavoidable pie-eating holidays, such as Thanksgiving, she would suck it up and bake one. As a little girl, I remember that I was fascinated by the fluting process, which involves pinching the smooth edge of dough between index finger and thumb, with both hands at the same time, right next to each other on the dough. One hand pinches the edge up, the other hand pinches the edge down, and this happy ruffled effect is born. 

Isn't it so cute? A well-fluted pie crust warms my heart. 

But the fun is not over yet! Every two-crust pie requires a few slits in the top. I've been told that these vents are important because they allow steam to escape during the baking process, though I've never understood why that is necessary. Do un-vented pies explode?

A more easily-grasped purpose for venting is that when the juices start to bubble out through the vents, it's a sure sign that the pie is done baking. Now that makes perfect sense to me.

However, the best reason to make vents is that you can use them to personalize your pie. Oh sure, you can just make a few random slashes across the top of the crust and they will get the job done. 

But why not carve the initial or draw a picture of the fruit that's inside the pie?

Or commemorate the special event for which the pie was baked? 

Many of my pies are birthday pies, so I have been known to draw a picture of a lit candle or carve out the digits of the recipient's new age. In this case, I decided to honor the birthday boy's obsession with the ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs with a hockey stick and puck.

No offense, Sara Lee, but you just can't measure up.

So the offer I made on my Facebook status almost four years ago still stands. Anytime, anywhere, any flavor you like...just ask, and I will bake you a pie.

In return, I ask one simple favor. Please let me help you eat it.

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I like to write stories about pies. If you like to read stories about pies, try these:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Khairul Hezry Is MAD About Books

You already know that a good percentage of the world's population speaks English as a second language. And if you have read my stories about my Malysian friends, you've probably gathered that most of them speak my mother tongue well enough to make up for my gross inadequacies in Bahasa Melayu. But every now and then, I run across a Malaysian whose grasp of the English language is really quite extraordinary.

Khairul Hezry is one such person. He uses English with such skill, flexibility, precision and laser sharp wit that it drops my jaw. Honestly, I know few Americans who can entertain me with crisp, cohesive and clever prose as Khairul can.

Hopefully, the book in his back pocket was previously sealed in a waterproof plastic bag.

So how did this unassumingly modest and remarkably private economist-type from Malaysia pick up his mad English skillz?

Well, for one thing, he has a British education. He graduated from the University of Wales, so that tells me he is a) smart and b) used to being around other smart people who speak English.

Also, Khairul is an avid reader. As in, he reads pretty much anything he can get his hands on and keeps a book in his back pocket 24/7. More often than not, his reading material is in English. 

Thirdly, he writes about what he reads. Yes, our own Khairul is none other than the Malaysian Reader, and his blog is one of my favorites. I don't necessarily read the same books as Khariul reads, and he certainly sees the world differently than I do, but he spins a fine web of words and I always enjoy his point of view. 

Also, Kharul loves Star Wars. Not relevant to our story here, but always a sign of a superior human being.
This photo of some of the toys in his collection has served as his Facebook profile pic for as long as I can recall.

The other day, in his blog, he told the story of his budding career as an interviewee. Here's the bio he wrote for this recent interview, which will give you a taste of his writing style:

Khairul Hezry is in his late 30s and has been reading books for as long as he can remember. His first book was either a Spider-Man comic or a book on dinosaurs. Or maybe Spider-Man fighting a dinosaur. He resides in Petaling Jaya and shops for books either at MPH 1Utama or He also blogs about books and other stuff at

Sadly, for me, that was the high point of the interview. No offense to Khairul; as usual, he responded to the prompts with typical flair and style. But the questions posed to him struck me as off-target. Primarily focused on the Malaysian publishing scene, a subject he admittedly knows little about, the interviewer failed to tap into Khairul's undying passion for books and reading. 

After reading through the interview twice, a thought jumped into my opinionated and self-assured little brain.

"I could ask better questions than that."

A few Facebook messages later, my interview with Khairul was a done deal. Here is what the Malaysian Reader has to say for himself:

(The following was typed while fully clothed.)

[Editor's note. Ahem. In order for this intriguing intro to make sense, you need to see the last sentence of his interview post: Khairul H., available for email interviews because that way I can take my time and answer the questions anyway I want to. Usually while naked.]

How did I discover my passion for reading? I honestly don't remember. Whenever I'm asked about the first book that I read as a child, I always say that my first book was either a Spider-Man comic or a book on dinosaurs because those two were the books that I remember most from my childhood. The adventures of a costumed man with superpowers and giant lizards with sharp teeth biting each other like two rival gangs fighting over territory are the perfect subjects to a young boy. I'm pretty sure I had no idea what was going but the pictures and the color were enough to grab my attention.

Looks like the superhero gene has been passed on to his son.

My parents are not bookworms but they never discouraged me either. I was lucky in that they hardly ever forbade me from reading this book or that book. Whenever we went to the mall, I would only go to the bookshop. Other kids would probably head for Toys R Us or the arcade. Maybe that's why my parents tolerated my voracious book shopping appetite.

My maternal grandfather was a bookworm and I probably got the reading gene from him. Maybe it skipped a generation? I never visited him often enough because my mother was from Sabah (on the island of Borneo...look it up) and we lived, and still do, in Peninsular Malaysia so we had to fly across the South China Sea to visit her dad. Which kinda limited the amount of visits. You can't say, "Hey, let's go to Grampa's this weekend!" "Sure, do you have RM1000.00 for the plane ticket??"

View Larger Map

Khairul's daughter is strolling along the shore of the South China Sea, rather than flying across it. 

But when we did visit him, I would spend most of my time reading his collection of books published by Reader's Digest like Book of Bizarre Facts, The World's Greatest Unsolved Mysteries and stuff like that. Again, the subject matter was what intrigued me the most. My grandfather was also interested in politics (especially local Sabah politics) and had many books on the subject but at the time I couldn't give a damn. Tell me about the Loch Ness Monster instead.

I think he and I were the only readers in the family.

Where do I find time to read? I bring a book almost everywhere I go. There's no guarantee I will have the time to read the book but I feel calm knowing there's a book within reach. If I don't have one, I start shaking like a junkie looking for a fix.

Khairul's caption for this photo: "I'm on holiday. If I wanna read Superman by the beach, I WILL read Superman by the beach, dammit."

I don't accept excuses like, "Oh, I don't have the time to read." There's always time even if it's only 5 minutes. People who say they have no time to read actually spend their free time doing stuff NOT reading. 

Bonus question: are you the kind of reader who falls into a book and pays no attention to those around you unless they are shouting in your ear?

Yes. I remember once I was reading something in a bookshop. I don't remember what it was but it must have been good because I totally did not hear the wheelchair-bound person saying, "Excuse me." She practically had to shout before I noticed her.

List five books you have read more than once. What makes them worth a re-read?

Most of the books I have re-read are my comics or if you prefer, graphic novels. TINTIN and ASTERIX are particular favourites. The Europeans begin and end their stories in the same graphic novel. None of that "To be continued next issue" tease that American comics love so much. I also have collections of comic strips that I flip through now and again. Today, there has been a boom in comic strips being collected in hardback so there's an excuse for me to upgrade from the paperbacks. My favourites are: PEANUTS, BLOOM COUNTY, CALVIN & HOBBES and I just bought POGO Volume 1 recently. Except for POGO, I've followed all the three strips when I used to read Malaysian newspapers.

Novels I have re-read are Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie and Pratchett's Discworld series of books.

If you could live inside the world of any book, which one would you choose and why?

Wonder Woman's. Because I'm a straight dude and there's a woman running around in a bustier and panties. Why wouldn't I want to live in that world? Of course that means I have to live in the DC Universe where aliens invade every other month but with WW there, it's all good.

Technically, I would call this more of a skirt than panties, but I see your point, Malaysian Reader.  Wikipedia

Say a few words about the pleasures of reading versus watching television or movies.

It forces you to use your imagination. When you read, parts of your brain light up (they've seen this in CAT scans) so reading is brain exercise! Movies and TV just spoon feed information to you.

Give us a quick summing-up of your favorite physical properties of a book.

The heft of a book. The smell. I used to sniff every book I read. I don't do that as often now but I swear I can tell the publisher of any particular book just by sniffing the pages. I should be in THAT'S INCREDIBLE or RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! God, I'm so 1980s.  

If you wanted to articulate the benefits of being a reader, what would you say?

I know more stuff than you, non-reader. Kneel before me!

Name a few books that have changed you as a person.

I don't think there is one. Changed me? No book has done that. They have entertained me, educated me but changed me...tough one. I suppose FAST FOOD NATION made me stop eating burgers (well, I wouldn't say "stop" but it was a few years after reading the book that I even had the need to taste a burger again).

What else should we know about you?

Everything I learned about America I learned from MAD magazine. Thank you, Bill Gaines.

Hmmm,  Khairul, have you read this new book from MAD on the subject of American politics? It's got pop-ups! Hope to see it covered in your blog soon. Amazon

Anatomy Of A Visit To The Vet

Today was a big day for Ranger; he had his annual check-up at the vet. 

{When he was two years old, Ranger got super sick. Basically, his swollen, bloody face looked like he was having the world's most extreme allergic reaction; his eyes looked like Rocky's eyes after a fight. Only worse. Eventually he was disagnosed with juvenile cellulitis, a disease of the immune system, and with the right treatment and antibiotics, we got his symptoms under control. Thank goodness. But the condition persists and he is still on medication, so every year, I take him to see a very nice man named Alan Mundell who is a veterinary dermatologist ($$$) just to be sure all is well.}

In the parking lot outside the vet's office is a friendly little patch of grass with some maple trees on it. As usual, Ranger was wildly enthusiastic about sniffing it out on our way inside. 

Now full disclaimer here. I am not one of those people who treats their dog like a human being. I don't share my food with Ranger, I don't dress him up, I don't kiss him on the lips. 

On his sweet little furry red head, of course. But not on the lips.

Even though he is not like a child to me, I love my dog very much and I do whatever I can to help him live a healthy, satisfying dog life. Which means that I spend a lot of time letting him sniff...

and sniff....

and sniff...

and sniff.

Ranger is a bird dog. He was born to sniff. He is a perpetual sniffing machine. If I let him, he would spend every minute of every day outside with his head down and his nose to the ground, deciphering great scent messages that are mere mystery to me. Lord knows I try to be patient with the little dear, and I wandered up and down the grassy bit for several minutes today, giving him a chance to drink up all those delicious scents. 

But eventually the time came to head inside to the vet's office.

Did I mention that Ranger does not like to go inside to the vet's office? 

Sadly, he does not.

Dr. Mundell is a very nice man. He talks kindly to Ranger, he asks me all sorts of concerned questions about Ranger's health. He gets down on the floor to examine Ranger and gives him lots of belly rubs. Once, he even presented Ranger's case at an international conference of veterinary dermatologists. If that isn't love, I don't know what is.

But the moment we cross the threshold into the vet's waiting room, Ranger's mood changes. At first, he has hope, because sometimes he comes in with me to pick up a batch of his pills.

Here, you can see by the perky and upright position of his adorable ears, that Ranger is assessing my behavior to see if this is a pill pick-up or a full-on physical exam. 

Once I take a seat in the waiting room, my actions confirm his worst fears. His ears droop, signalling that he now understands his fate and wordlessly begs me for sympathy.

Hoping to stave off his annual tantrum, I try to distract him with attention. I rub his ears, pat his back, croon to him in soothing tones. He allows me to fuss over him, but he turns around to orient himself toward the door and gazes toward freedom.  Uh-oh. Here it comes.

Like a tired toddler who can't quite keep himself together, Ranger came unglued. The next few minutes went like this:

Me: "Ranger, sit!"

He sits.

Me: "Good dog. Ranger, stay."

Ranger stays. He gazes wistfully out the door. He sighs. He looks up at me, gauging my behavior. 

I try to ignore him.

He sighs again and looks back out the door. He sees interesting things out there and his ears perk up. He squiggles around on the floor to try to improve his line of sight.

I notice this violation of the 'stay' command and make little warning sounds with my voice. 

He pleadingly looks back up at me, then out the window again. 

I can see his muscles twitching. He won't last much longer.

Suddenly, Ranger leaps to his feat, swats at the door (his way of saying "LET ME OUT,") and looks back at me to see if I am reading his oh-so-subtle clues.

Me: "Ranger, sit!" 

And the cycle repeats itself. 

We waited for a long time. After countless repetitions of this process, the assistant mercifully called us into the exam room. But today was not my day. We waited at least another fifteen minutes in there. The tantrum continued, with a few new twists.

This room did not have a glass door, but it did have a window with mini-blinds. Ranger discovered that by jumping up and putting his front paws on the windowsill, he could easily use his nose to adjust the angle on the blinds and successfully look outside. I did not approve.

Just once, Ranger experimented with adding a vocal component to the tantrum. His first pathetic whine earned such a withering glare from me that he abandoned the effort and went back to soundless drama.

When the vet finally walked through the door of that exam room, he was greeted by the sight of me sitting in his spindly little exam room chair with all eighty quivering pounds of Ranger lying across my lap, his long, gangly legs hanging down on opposite sides of the chair, and his trembling chin laid ever so gently on my shoulder.

Dr. Mundell is a very nice man, but at the sight of Ranger and me in that chair, he leaned against the door and burst out laughing.

Ranger is a very friendly dog, but at the sight of Dr. Mundell, he pressed even closer to me and hid his face in my lap.

I am a fairly patient dog mom, but at this point, the only thought in my head was, "A year between these visits is not nearly long enough."

* * * * *

More Anatomy Of posts for your dissection pleasure: