May 2009


Despite yesterday’s posting (which I had set to autopost because I anticipated being gone all day yesterday – which didn’t end up happening, but I wasn’t really up for posting), there were not a lot of extra positive vibes to be had around the fifi household yesterday. 

Sadly, our beloved dog, B, passed away yesterday afternoon. 

B

B was a great dog. An awesome dog. A top-10 dog (seriously, the Vet put B is her top-10 dogs ever and I don’t think she was just saying that – everyone LOVED B). She had a great (and HUGE) personality and you only had to spend five minutes with her to know how smart (I swear, she could roll her eyes when she thought the Bro or I was being stupid. Let me tell you, she always took my mom’s side) and loving she was. B had her favorite places to sit and if you took one, she would come and sit next to you and stare at you (with the occasional bark thrown in for good measure) until you wised up and got out of HER spot. She was happiest when you were petting her and would often come over and sit in front of you (and bark) until you pet her (okay – she was a bit of a barker, but that’s the breed. She just had a lot to say). 

B came to live with us when I was 14 so she had just turned 12 this past February. Which I know is a long time for a dog and I do know that she had a very happy life up until the end, but it’s still hard. Thursday she was still begging for little treats in the kitchen (we spoiled her a bit – she never really begged per se, but she would sit next to you with these sad eyes, just looking at you until she gave in) and running down the driveway to warn off those wandering little dachshunds from across the street (B was a ferocious watchdog and would totally bark you to death if she thought you were a threat to her family. Until, of course, you pet her and told her how pretty she was).

Quite possibly one of the greatest days of her life was the day C, a cocker spaniel, moved in next door. Shelties are herding dogs by nature and when C came over to play that day, B knew immediately what to do. She herded C home. C came back to play. B took C home. Over and over and over again. We’re pretty sure that, having never actually seen a sheep, B was convinced that C was, in fact, her long-lost sheep. 

B loved to play – her favorite toy in the entire world was Bear, who is still with her now. Up until a few years ago, she still loved to play basketball (she would rush in at the ball and try and knock it away – she was a great defender) and “catch” (we had a soft nerf ball that she loved to headbutt (nosebutt?) back to you). At the same time, she was the Princess. She always enjoyed going to the Vet because she associated them with her monthly “spa” visits (grooming) and LOVED having her picture taken and being told how pretty she was. 

B had had some health problems over the past few years, including arthritis, but she still seemed very happy and full of life, which made Saturday that much harder because it seemed to come out of nowhere. She started acting strange Friday night – picking at her food and ignoring her pre-bedtime treat and then starting throwing up bile in the middle of the night. The Madre called the Vet and they said the soonest we could bring her in was 1:30, which ended up being a good thing because she got to spend the morning doing the things she loved – “helping” my dad in the yard, laying by the pool, and then us just spending time with her. By the time we brought her in from the pool, we knew how bad things were – she wouldn’t walk, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t drink and just wanted to lay down. We sat with her and talked with her and remembered all the good things and looked at some pictures with her (if you are not a pet person, you probably won’t get this. The boyfriend doesn’t). When it was time to go, my dad, mom, and I took her to the Vet (unfortunately, the Bro was down at Ohio State for the weekend) and then sat in the car talking to her until they were ready for us inside. When we showed her we had brought Bear, she perked up a little and wagged her tail.

She seemed to perk up even more once we got inside and was standing on the table by herself while the Vet looked at her. The Vet said that she didn’t think this was it for B and that she wanted to run some tests and get and IV in B, but she wasn’t too worried. We have a long and extensive relationship with the Vet (another story for another day, but suffice it to say that my dad jokes that since he probably funded the recent addition to the clinic, it should be named after him) and she knows B very well (top-10 dogs!). So we said goodbye with hugs and kisses to B, but not GOODBYE, and the Vet carried her out. B could smile – it’s a Sheltie/Collie thing – and she smiled and wagged her tail. The Vet told us we should go home because it would be a few hours before they would know anything and that she would call then.

We live about 10 minutes from the Vet so we got home and put B’s bed back together because the Madre had washed it and then, about five minutes later, the phone rang. It was the Vet and she said that B had passed suddenly of what they thought was a heart attack. They were putting the IV in her when she just fell over. We think she wanted it this way and was sparing us a horrible decision. 

They think it was a pancreas infection. Apparently, these infections just hit without warning in older female dogs and there’s not much the Vet can do. It was probably better this way – these infections are horribly painful and dogs can suffer from them for days before passing. 

We are all incredibly sad to have lost B and we miss her very much even though we know she’s in a better place. She was a friend and a very important part of our family. I think it’s hardest for the Madre – in many ways, B was her best friend.  

The Madre and I went out today and found a rock for her (B is being cremated and we will bury her in our woods next to our house). It’s rose quartz so it’s pink and sparkly and above all PRETTY. I think it’s exactly what she would want.

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We have had terrible thunderstorms on and off here for the last few days. Normally, I would be a little upset about this since one of the lovely things about moving home was access to my parents’ pool and, by extension, lots of sunbathing and a golden glow. However, every year for Mother’s Day we get my mom lots of flowers and other plants and last Friday we planted everything. Guess who got nominated to give everything a good soaking every day for a week so the new additions could get settled in and put down nice, strong roots? That would be me. Guess who has been off the hook for the last few days because of aforementioned torrential downpours? Me again. It’s great.

I leave you with a picture of someone who is not enjoying said thunderstorms. This is a picture from Easter because thunderstorms generally find him hiding in a box or under a bed somewhere and those pictures aren’t nearly as cute. 

catOne of my parents’ three adorable cats – he would be extremely happy if these thunderstorms with their evil thunder and lightening would just go away permanently, thankyouverymuch. 

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So this weekend I started a follow up to the OMG post, writing about The Shot and how awesome it was to experience it surrounded by other Cavs fans and what a great moment it was. But I never finished it/posted it. I didn’t want to write about how it was a turning moment and how great it was for the team and then jinx them. So I skipped celebrating and just got stuck back in my Cleveland-teams-always-screw-things-up mindset. Which, if you’ve been watching the series, you know has been pervasive since Sunday night. Everyone here is melancholy and bummed and refusing to hope. Talk at bar class yesterday centered around how it’s time to just give up, Cleveland teams will never amount to anything, and how LeBron is obviously on the first plane out of here. 

But fifi, you say, you grew up in Cleveland. You know the score and you choose to keep being a fan. You saw the Indians in the late 90s throw away one chance after another to win the World Series. More recently, you watched the Indians shockingly beat the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs, get up three games on Boston in the second, only to hand the series over to the eventual world champions that year. You’ve seen the Browns choke year after year (“What? We’re winning? No, other team, please take the ball. We don’t like winning.”)

You’ve watched, peeking through your fingers, the disasters that were Ohio State and its last three bowl games. You’ve listened to people disparage your team and the Big 10 and call them overrated year in and year out. You felt the searing internal pain when Florida not only beat OSU football in the National Championship game, but then followed that up by beating OSU basketball to conclude March Madness (seriously, people, that SUCKED). All true, all true.

But here’s the thing: I’ve listened to people disparage my town and my teams and I’ve stood up for said teams every time because, at the risk of sounding sappy, I know in my heart that we will win someday (well, at least that’s what my Dad keeps telling me). And that’s what we do here – we keep hoping and we keep trying and the sign I saw on the way to bar class today reminded me of this, because I had clearly forgotten in my post-last 2 games Cavs funk.

“We’ve won three in a row before.”

That’s all it said. And it’s true. We’ve done it before and we will do it again. So I am making a conscious choice to be hopeful and be positive and do my very best to believe that we are going to win tonight and send those vibes out and see what happens (I know, I know. Vibes. Just remember that I have a little yoga chick in me and bear with me). 

And if we don’t? It will suck because of the promise of the season and the fact that the team future seems to hang in the balance, but (and I will speak for the city here), we will still be incredibly proud of the team and the season they’ve had and we will still love them for the season they gave us and the chances to celebrate they’ve already given us. And if we’re negative? It’s because we’re afraid – afraid that this is the end and that this will be the thing that pushes LeBron over the edge and sends him to New York. But, ultimately, we’re incredibly grateful for how much fun you’ve given us up until this point and how you’ve helped make it pretty cool to be from our city. 

I realize that this makes me a huge hypocrite since I am only briefly returning to Cleveland for the next few months before jumping ship to New York, but I do truly hope that LeBron stays in Cleveland. It’s completely selfish and obviously we as a city put way too much on his 24 year old shoulders, tying up our hopes and dreams as a city in what he does, but I do hope he stays here. 

So Friday night: I had just picked up my friend Jill,* who was visiting from DC for the weekend, from the airport. Her flight was delayed so by the time we got to the bar to grab a drink, it was the fourth quarter. If you watched the game, you know that at this point, we had given up a double-digit lead and were struggling to hang on. By the time Orlando went ahead with 1 second left, I was ready to go home – didn’t want to watch my Cavs lose, especially after Game 1. Everyone was pretty down at the bar and Jill was tired, so while she finished her beer, I went inside (it was a nice night so we sat outside on the patio) to pay our tab and get my credit card. I asked the bartender to close my tab and as she turned to the cash register, I saw The Shot. The Oh.My.God. shot. The one-second left, Hail Mary three-pointer to win the game. The bar EXPLODED. I know shots like this have been made before in similar circumstances, but it was amazing to see and to be surrounded by people reacting to something they hardly dared to believe would actually happen. 

Thanks in part to TNT, I’ve been hooked on this Kanye song. Even though it’s about Kanye (because what isn’t? 🙂 ) and being used by TNT/the NBA for all clips, when you listen to it, it’s all LeBron and the Cavs.

So I leave you with this: 

It’s amazing, I’m the reason
Everybody fired up this evening
I’m exhausted, barely breathing
Holding on to what I believe in

I’m a monster, I’m a maven
I know this world is changin’
Never gave in, never gave up
I’m the only thing I’m afraid of

No matter what you’ll never take that from me
My reign is as far as your eyes can see

I’m amazin’, yeah, I’m all that
If I ain’t on my grind then what you call that?
Victorious, yeah, we warriors
We make history, strive off victory

It’s amazing, so amazing.

Witness

*Not her real name. You know my rules, people!

Lest you all think that I am some crazy leadfoot over here, I’m not saying that speed limits are bad or that there aren’t very good reasons for having varying speed limits. My point was more that going 65-55-65-55-65-55 every couple of miles for over 100 miles for no real reason (construction is long complete) is not only annoying, but actually makes things less safe in the long run because you have people shock-breaking when they realize they are accidentally speeding and other people (the people who drive 80+ no matter what the speed limit) still speeding and you have an even bigger fail re: flow of traffic. Worse than the shock breakers are the people who see the police officer lurking and then take their foot off the gas, slowing down sans brake lights. Judging by the number of people I saw pulled over – some of whom I was pacing with – and the number reported by the Madre (driving my dad’s car) and my dad and the Bro in the rental truck, the PA state troopers must love these areas. It’s really not quite fair. 

I have no problem with 65 mph speed limits* – I think that’s fair – and I’m the first to admit that I don’t always follow those limits – I tend to hover around the 70, 75 if I’m feeling daring, mark. I also often feel like one of the slower cars on the road if I’m on a turnpike (I think people speed much more on turnpikes because they seem safer for some reason – maybe because you have to pay to get on them). I also don’t have a major problem with the police/speeding tickets** – knock wood, I’ve only gotten 1 speeding ticket*** in my life and that was before I turned 18 (I have gotten 3 tickets total – 1 for turning right on red and 1 for failure to yield – which are both actual very good stories for another day when I’m trying to think of something to tell you all. I will just tell you that I was totally in the right both times 🙂 ). I have, albeit grudgingly, paid probably hundreds of dollars in parking tickets (kind of related) to the city of DC during the 5 years I had a car there so I clearly respect (and fear) the law. So, in summary, consider this a valid (i.e. not coming from someone with paranoid tendencies) warning, PA. Time to change your ways. 

*I do think < 65 on major highways is ridiculous and doesn’t really make anything safer. The number of cars flying by me on the New Jersey turnpike has always been comparable or even greater than the number flying by me on 65 mph roads. 

**Although, interestingly enough, as I was on my way home from bar class this afternoon, I did get very annoyed with a police officer. There were no sirens involved, nor did he speed off after this incident (instead, he parked under the next bridge, likely to set up his radar gun), so I don’t think there was a pressing emergency he needed to address. Anyway, where I was getting on the highway, you don’t merge into real traffic – the first lane from the entrance is a fake lane – it just leads directly into the next exit which is a couple hundred feet down. So to get on the highway, you essentially have to get over 2 lanes. There was a ton of traffic here, so I turned on my blinker and inched forward, looking for an opening. I see an opening, but before I can go out, the jackass flies out into the spot, forcing me to essentially stop and wait until I could get out as well. I was first in line! Very annoying. 

***This is perhaps not entirely true. Although the last time I got pulled over, sirens blazing, for speeding was before I turned 18, I did get one of those stupid camera tickets in DC a couple of months ago. I don’t count it as a real ticket because these cameras are clearly money making devices for the city -a ticket generated by one costs the same as a parking ticket and if you pay it, it goes away – no points, no record, no nothing. I also was not really speeding. I was on a major 2 lane throughway (i.e. not through a residential area) in DC – MacArthur Blvd – and I was following the flow of traffic. Please note that it is also very difficult to find a speed limit sign in DC, fyi. Now I know as a graduate of law school and a future lawyer that it is my responsibility to educate myself about the laws of the place I am in, even if they are not as clearly posted as I would like. However, given the size of the road I was on, I think the assumption that the speed limit was 30 was not unreasonable. Turns out, the speed limit in DC, unless otherwise posted, is always 25. I was going 29 according to the camera. That is why I don’t count that ticket. I mean, really.

Also, since I am venting:

(I know this is a week overdue, but it needs to be said)

Dear Pennsylvania,

We’ve had a long relationship, stretching back these past 5 years (the amount of time I’ve had a car in DC), with me stimulating the PA economy with my toll money and you providing a safe (although a little extra shoulder never hurt anyone – anyone familiar with the PA turnpike knows the joys of driving concrete barrier-semi-you-concrete barrier) and quick path between Cleveland and DC. However, the fact that you’ve seen fit to turn the PA turnpike into one giant speedtrap?* Not cool. I understand this is a recession, etc. etc., but surely you can find better uses for your fleet of highway patrol rather than having them figure out new and better ways to hide** from unsuspecting and (somewhat) innocent drivers. 

xo, fifi

*The Breezewood-Ohio border stretch of the PA turnpike (a significant chunk) is no longer consistently a 65 mph zone. Instead the speed limit alternates between 55 and 65 the whole way, often with no warning and few signs. Obviously these are old work zones where the state hasn’t updated the signs, but the highway patrol certainly seem to be enforcing the old work zone speed limits. 

**I saw multiple officers in my rearview mirror move to better hide behind bridges and around corners. It’s hard to explain, but you know this kind of fishing when you see it. Trust me.

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