Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What to Say at Your Next Dinner Party

I've been to several dinner parties in my 31 - almost 32 - years on this earth. I regularly entertain clients, and even though most of the time the gatherings are held at a restaurant the conversations are usually the same, dry, boring topics and somehow it takes just a bit more wine each time to get through the night. Whether it is their kids, politics, their successful business, their slumping business, or their new marketing strategy, the conversation typically runs its course in about and hour and for the last two hours that you're trapped with these people, you start bringing up things that are either hit or miss to talk about.

I once had dinner with the former Iranian ambassador, who now owns an oil refinery business in Houston. We had a very interesting conversation about bass fishing one evening after I asked him every question I could think of that might relate to his former profession without letting on I knew very little about that time in history because I was only 5 years old (max). That was an unexpected hit of a conversation. The time I had dinner with an HR manager who filled the silence by going down the list of every store in Manhattan that she ever shopped at and suggested I could use fashion help, that was a miss.

But Saturday night was the best dinner party I've ever attended. Great food. Great atmosphere. And great greyhounds! Eight of them to be exact. Thanks to my friend Patti's gourmet cooking abilities, we enjoyed an evening of steaks, shrimp cocktail, and amazing homemade ice cream. Oh, and wine. I forgot to mention amazing wine. In attendance were Kim and Guy and their three daughters - Bella, Lindsay and Rosie; Kevin and myself with Seka and Roxy; and of course our hostess with the most-ess, Patti with Remi, Sugar and Lucy.

Dinner conversation included a debate about what we feed our dogs, have fed our dogs, why we switched, would we ever switch and under what circumstances would we change. Guy spilled the beans that Kim developed an entire memory stick of 500 photos once and not one of them had a human on it - something that none of the ladies blinked an eye at around the table. We talked about the differences in having three dogs vs only have two. And of course we had to laugh at how they were all sacked out on their beds with a couple of them coming over to the table to monitor our eating habits just in case we were having trouble finishing our meals.

It was amazing to see all eight girls hanging out together without a bark, whimper, yelp, or fuss between them. But that's a greyhound for you. They all found a bed or sofa and assumed the typical greyhound position. A few of them dug into the toys. And us human girls got silly towards the end of the night and dressed up Bella for a few photos. It was totally worth the two hour trip north to spend a fun night with friends. Our girls thought so too.

Lucy had some extra melatonin to make it through an afternoon storm, so she was very mellow and woke up with the munchies half way through our meal.

Bella abuse recorded on film. Her father didn't approve, but he didn't do anything to stop it!

Rosie is a flirt. She loves the men. She and Roxy became fast friends.

Maybe next time I'm hosting clients and I find out that they have a dog, I'll ask them what they feed their dog? It was fabulous conversation at this dinner party. Who knows?

P.S. This weekend is lure coursing. Fingers crossed Seka will certify on Saturday so she can run with the big dogs on Sunday. Wish us luck! We're so excited.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Mailman Cometh

I love to get mail. I always have. When I was a kid I couldn't wait to go to the mailbox to see what was inside. It was like a mini-Christmas everyday, especially when my name wasn't on any of those bills.

Catalogs. Magazines. Val-U-Pac coupon decks. Whether it's things that I've asked for or things that people think I might want, I welcome the afternoon trip to the mailbox to see what's inside our 13 x 9 black box. Even now, one of the most exciting parts of vacation is coming home and going through all the mail that piled up while we were gone. I guess you could say I have a bit of a mail fetish.

So, you can imagine my delight in receiving multiple packages this week that included several greyhound related treats for me and the girls.

First, for moi. I treated myself to a couple of pendants from my favorite greyhound artist, Sarah Regan Snavely. I've had my eye on her Etsy store for the moment she would post these new pendants, since they seem to always be gone by the time I find them. Not this time. The early bird gets the pendant.

Sarah's work truly captures the beauty, spirit and special essence of the greyhound. I'm saving my quarters to hopefully one day have one of her sculptures. I can't wait to wear these to all of the exciting greyhound outings on our calendar over the next two months.

Next, for the girls - personalized tag collars. I'm a believer in the double-collar method. One for the tags (non-martingale) and a martingale when they are on the leash. I do this out of convenience for myself since I have several collars for the girls, and like to change out their martingales whenever we leave the house. But I am a responsible greyhound owner and they must have their tags on them at all times, so they wear their tag collars around the house 24-7.

These personalized collars have their name and my cell number so if they ever escape, lose their tags or are too scared for someone to get close to them, they can easily see the number of who to call. Where someone can then release me from the mental hospital because I'm sure Kev will have me admitted if they were to ever go missing. I purchased these as a part of a fund raiser for SEGA, but these collars are really easy to find just about anywhere.

I don't expect any more surprises via the mailbox anytime soon. I've not reached the point where I order things online just to receive packages. I'm not on a first-name basis with my UPS man. Such behavior often leads to bad surprises in the mailbox. But that's the best part of getting the mail. You never know what might be inside - good or bad.

Seka Update: We got a great report from the vet yesterday. Seka's healing nicely and she's been given the all clear to participate in the May 3&4 coursing trial at Old Mill Farm in Cartersville, GA. Seka says thank you to everyone for all of the good thoughts and hair growth well wishes.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Shave and a Hair Cut

Kev made the decision at 15 to have lightening bolts shaved into both sides of his head. Awesome. Well, at least he thought so. The mother of the girl he took to the Junior prom probably didn't think it was quite so great. Thank goodness the shazam look is out of fashion, or is it?

Seka came home yesterday with her own take on her father's former fashion forward hairstyle. She was bright and happy to see us when the vet tech brought her out. From one side she looks completely normal and then from the other it looks like a sniper snagged her from 75 feet. It's almost as if she is wearing some sort of sick Halloween costume that drips goo and isn't very comfortable.

Just as with Kev's bad haircut, her fur will grow back and I'm sure it will cover over the spot where it will surely scar. Good thing she has a great coat and can grow hair like no other black greyhound I've ever seen. The thing I was most concerned about was her ear. I know it is superficial, but I loved the way her ears stood up. It was one of her defining characteristics and I was a bit heartbroken to think that there was a possibility that she wouldn't be able to perk them both up due to her injury. But thanks to Dr. Balkcom's handy work with the needle and thread, her ear is standing up beautifully. In fact, when she saw us in the exam room, both of her ears went right up.

The welcome home celebration was adorable. I'm mad I wasn't prepared with the camera to catch it all on tape. Seka ran down stairs to Roxy, who was whining and crying in her crate, and stuck her nose through the bars. They licked each other's noses until I let Roxy out. They were really happy to see each other. A couple of celebratory laps in the backyard by Roxy (Seka, followed in a trot) and then it was back inside for some cuddling together for the rest of the evening. Roxy hasn't let Seka out of her sight since she's been home.

So we're getting into a treatment routine around here, which I don't mind. I wish I had gone to vet school anyway (damn all that math). Flushing 2x a day, warm compresses 4x a day, antibiotics 2x a day and pain meds 1x a day. All of this at least for the next week. We wanted to go to the greyhound picnic tomorrow at Stone Mountain, but Seka can't wear a collar, so I don't think we can go. Bummer. We'll have to have our own picnic out back if the weather holds out. We have plenty to celebrate this weekend.

Now I have to go and hide the clippers from Kev so he doesn't try to make Seka feel better about her own haircut by reliving his teenage hair faux pas.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Missing GBD

Time passes slowly when you're waiting for something good to happen. Christmas. Your birthday (at least until you turn 30). An awesome trip to Jamaica. It seems to be never ending when you're waiting for someone you love to come home.

Seka has been at the vet since Saturday, after the biting incident and I had hoped to have her home with me today. Unfortunately, she must spend another night there. Her ear is very sore and the vet is worried she has developed a secondary infection despite the IV antibiotics she's been on. They've still got the drain in her neck, which they thought would come out Tuesday, but it is still draining tons of goo, so it needs to stay in and keep getting flushed regularly.

We are all having a competition around here as to who misses Seka more. Kevin claims it is he who is most heartbroken over her absence since he had to be here alone without both Seka and myself for three days while I was away on business. I on the other hand claim it has to be me since I have done nothing but think about her while I was away and wanted to have her here when I got home. But I think Roxy is winning the self-pity party. She just mopes around. She doesn't run in the backyard. She doesn't get excited about anything at all, including dinner time. It is clear that time is passing very slowly for her while she's waiting for her sister to return. She misses her buddy. We all miss her.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Top Dog

I guess there's a reason female dogs are called bitches. I guess there's a reason certain females in our society are referred to the same way. Teeth showing, throat growling, jaw snapping alpha biotches. Don't get in their way. They give off a vibe that lets you know that you wouldn't want to. It's an attitude. A confidence that they possess that makes the more submissive types dislike them a bit.

I wasn't sure that I had an alpha biotch. In fact, I like to think that I'm the alpha biotch around here. But after a week of vacationing and the girls staying with a friend who has two female greyhounds herself, I learned the hard way that I have an alpha biotch wana-be.

Leaving my girls, no matter who it's with, is always difficult for me. Seka usually cries, even when she's with other dogs. I usually cry when I leave them, no matter who it's with. They never stay in doggy jail (the kennel) and always stay with someone that loves them as much as I do. I guess you could say Seka and I both suffer from separation anxiety. Roxy on the other hand loves the new adventure.

All reports from the week of the greyhound sleepover were good while we were at the beach. They ran in the back yard, chewed on their kongs, learned how tasty Redi-Whip is and had a wonderful time. All was great, except for the last 15 minutes when I'm guessing Seka wanted one more chew on a bone and Charlie (the resident alpha biotch) had had enough of this wana-be at her house, chewing on her stuff, laying on her bed, and pooping in her yard. As Kev and I were on our way to pick them up, Charlie and Seka were playing Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield in the backyard. While Seka got Charlie in the face, the GBD ended up on the losing end (indicating she's really an alpha biotch wana-be) with a torn ear and what appeared to be a small gash in her neck.

After retrieving a bloody welcome from my first born, I spent most of the evening attempting to stop the bleeding on the ear. It was a pretty nasty rip, but as with most greyhound injuries, the blood is usually worse than the actual bite. Her neck stopped bleeding quickly so I didn't think much about it, but I did notice there was an air pocket forming. So every two hours last night, throughout the night, I put a warm compress on it to help avoid causing breathing problems or a pulmonary embolism (PE).

So off to the vet we go this morning. I wasn't prepared to leave her today. I thought they'd clean her up, maybe put a stitch in her neck and then we'd go home, but I was wrong and I'm home with Roxy and I are sitting on the sofa lonely for our GBD. She's getting a stitch or two in the ear (which I'm not sure how that's going to work, but I'm not a vet no matter how much I read on the Internet) and, the pièce de résistance, a drain in her neck. Lovely. She will stay at the vet until Monday or Tuesday and hopefully will do all of her "draining" there and then come home with some humiliating, but cute bandages.

I guess you have to learn at some point that we can't all be the alpha biotch. I guess some of us have to learn the hard way and sometimes it costs more than just our pride.