Friday, August 20, 2010

Crabby Soup

There were some crabs left over after the massive feast at my grandmom's house, so she let my dad take them home.  My mom and dad made crab cakes with most of the crab meat, and then decided to make some soup.
Soup, please?
 The soup smelled really yummy, so I tried my best to see if I could get a taste.  I was so patient the entire time they were cooking the soup.  I tried my cute "sit on the floor without making a peep" trick.  I tried "moving closer without making a peep" trick.  I tried my "little ears."  I tried showing my mom my tricks:  spin, sit, stand, hind-legs, down, around.  Anything, anything for a taste of that deliciousness that I was smelling...

And then I had my chance.  My dad was in the kitchen getting water, and my mom ran upstairs to get something.  The soup was unsupervised on the dining room table.

I popped up on my mom's chair to take a look, and...
What is that thing in the soup?
Aiiee!!!  Alien!!!!!!
Oh my dog!!!!!  Run away!  Run away!!  There is a monster claw in your soup!!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crab Happy

I love visiting my human grandparents' house.  They always have food that they are willing to share, and I, of course, am always willing to try whatever they are cooking.  Their dogs don't always like me, but that is a minor issue compared to the glorious food and pets that I get from everyone.  Bring on the loving!

Two weeks ago, my human grandmom called to ask us if we wanted to come down to visit.  My mom's aunt, uncle, and cousins were visiting from Pennsylvania.  We already had a really packed weekend:  a Vizsla Meetup, a wedding, plus my mom had just finished her bar exam on Friday.  So, my mom told my grandmom that we were really sorry, but it was just a little too much for one weekend.  

But my human grandmom is a smart cookie.  She knows that if she mentions crabs, my dad will get up out of a bed, pack up the car in the dead of night, drive the two hours down to Southern Maryland before the sun comes up, sing the alphabet backwards, juggle hula hoops, and generally do just about anything for Maryland crabs.  He loves eating them that much.  So, she did what every good grandmother does: 

"Oh, that's a shame.  We were thinking of having crabs."
They look scary, but my dad says they taste delicious.
Then I heard my mom whisper to my dad:  "They are going to have crabs."

My Dad:  "Crabs?  Crabs???  Of course we'll be there.  Tell her we're coming."

So, my mom made sure to take it easy so that she didn't get any migraines, and we jumped in the car on Sunday morning and headed South for the day.
The first thing I did when I got to their house was greet everyone with licks and wiggles. The second thing was to burst through the back door to the back yard to play ball.  The third thing was to play volleyball in the backyard by myself (fling the ball in the air with my front paws, bounce on nose, repeat).  The fourth thing was to leap into the swimming pool while my mom was asking my grandpa permission (sorry grandpa, I didn't want to wait).  The fifth thing was to play frisbee with my Uncle Mark.  The sixth thing was to play football with the kids, trying to make interceptions and tackle the other players to get to the ball.  After each interception, I ran a victory lap around the field before dropping it back in front of the quarterback so that we could do it again. 

Then, the crabs arrived, and it was time for dinner.
Beer and crabs -- the true Maryland past-time.
I had to have a "time out" inside while everyone was eating crabs so that I didn't accidentally eat a broken shell if it fell on the ground, but I was so exhausted from all of the ball playing, frisbee catching, and swimming that I didn't care.
After they were done eating, I was allowed to come outside again.  It was awesome because all of the best food was still out.
"Puh-lease, can I have some watermelon?"
I worked hard for my food, too.  I did lots of tricks:  sit, stand, twirl, down, through the legs, around, up on my hind legs... you get the idea.  The more stubborn people got "little ears" until they gave in and shared some of their yummies.  And before I knew it, my belly was full of watermelon, strawberries, carrot sticks, potato chips, hamburger, and all of the Charlee Bear dog treats that my mom had brought to keep me on my best behavior.  Ahhh...

What a great day!  Mom, when can we visit again?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Planet of the Giant Squash

My mom and dad brought home some vegetables from Pop's garden, including this big guy:
The squash was 16 inches tall -- almost taller than I was! 
Looks kind-of weird.  My mom said that I couldn't nibble it, but I wanted to see how heavy it was.
Ughh... so heavy!
I think the squash weighed like five billion pounds.  Mom, you can have it back so that you can bake your zucchini bread now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chapter Two: Pawprints and Memories

We parked the car, got all of our stuff together, and headed to the beach.  I was really excited.  I hadn't been to a real beach since our trip to North Carolina two years ago. 
My mom said that Assateague Island has 37 miles of pristine beaches.

As we were walking towards the beach...
Ew.  Really?  Those horses have no etiquette.
Hello???  Horses?  Are you coming back to clean that up?  If a puppy left a pile like that in Baltimore City, we would be fined a ka-jillion dollars.

My mom wasn't lying about the beach, though...
 It was big, and wide, and beautiful, and wonderful!

And it was teeming with all sorts of wildlife,
Like this little froggy that I rolled on,
and birdies.
Here, birdie, birdie, birdie...
Hunting birdies is hard when you're still attached to a walking leash.

So... dad, when are you going to let me off this leash?  What?  What do you mean "not a chance"?!?  I know it is against the rules for me to be off-leash here, but don't you always break the rules?  Why do I have to stay on a leash when the horses get to roam free?  Can anyone say "species discrimination"?  So unfair!

According to my mom, she said that I had to stay on the leash for my own safety.  The wild horses might hurt me if I ran up to them, so it was best to keep me under lock and key.  Besides, we can still have fun even if I'm tethered.
I had lots of fun racing through the waves with my mom, and then my dad had an idea.
My dad suggested that we should go swimming.  I love swimming -- anywhere, anytime.  You want to swim?  I'm your girl!  But that morning, I just wasn't so sure.  It had been a few years since I swam in the ocean, so the waves were kind-of scary.  Plus, the water was really cold.  So, I decided that no, I most decidedly was not going in the water.  But, as soon as my dad ran into the water, I immediately changed my mind.  I started screaming, flailing, and spinning.  And, before my mom knew it, I flew so fast that I ripped the leash out of my mom's hands (it was looped around her arm), spun her around, and leaped "frog-like" through the waves until I got to my dad.

Then, almost as suddenly as I jumped in, I realized that I had left my mom on the shore (plus it was really, really cold), so I raced back out of the ocean and ran smack into my mom.
"cold, cold, cold"
 My mom was a little freaked out about my off-leash tryst because about a half-football field away from us were:
Five wild horses chilling out on the beach!

Sorry, Mom, I didn't mean to scare you, but I promise that they wouldn't eat me.  Once my mom calmed down and realized that, no, the horses are not interested in eating me, I took advantage of the opportunity and took some pictures with the ponies.
 Dad, make sure to get my good side!
See, Mom, the horses aren't scary at all!
All in all, it was a great day.
Making pawprints in the sand, making memories...

Isn't that what life is all about?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Some believe that the horses arrived on Assateague's shores when a Spanish galleon ship (with a cargo of horses) sank offshore.  Others believe the horses arrived by early colonial settlers that allowed them to graze there." - Assateague Island National Seashore
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chapter One: This Way to Assateague Island

On Friday night, my mom and dad realized that for the first time in years, they didn't have any work plans for the weekend.  So, they decided to take an impromptu day trip on Saturday. 

I wanted to know where this "trip" would take us, but my mom said, "We can't tell you.  It would ruin the surprise!"
I'm so excited!  But I'm a little nervous about the "surprise" part. The last time there was a "surprise" trip, we ended up getting lost, and our 1 hour trip turned into a 3 hour trip. 

I was trying to read the road signs to figure out where we were headed.
Berlin?  Are we going to Germany?
 Nope.  I was wrong.  We were going to Assateague Island!

This is a picture of the marshes as we were driving onto the island.  Such a pretty place full of birdies.  Anywhere that has wildlife gets an A+ in my book!

Further along the road, we came across this sign:
 Haha... I think someone forgot their Starbucks on the morning that they made that sign.  Horses aren't wildlife! 
Whoa, whoa, whoa...
Did I really see what I thought I saw?
I can't believe that I just saw wild horses hanging out on the side of the road!?!
There were more horses in the parking lot!  Wow!  Ok, maybe the sign was a "little bit" right.

I'm having a really weird case of deja vu.  Here I was dreaming of wild horses, and then we visit a place with wild horses.  Mom, are you sure we're in the right place?

Apparently, about 300 wild ponies wander the beaches, inland pine forest, and salt marshes of Assateague Island National Seashore.  The land and water boundaries of Assateague Island total over 48,000 acres in Maryland and Virginia. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So long, farewell, Bar Exam!

My mom took the Bar Exam last week.  She said it was the single most difficult and exhausting thing she has ever done in her life -- and I believe it.
Maybe if I put my head on your book, you'll have to take a break?
 Preparing for the exam was a full-time job.  She studied all the time.
This sock is not quite as fun as my mom.
  My mom had to "schedule" playtime with me every few hours. 
This is us sleeping on the couch in the office.
My dad and I barely saw her, and we often had to sleep alone because she would work so late.  By the fifth week of studying, I refused to go to bed without her.  I cried a lot.  I laid under her chair, or on the futon in the office, or sometimes just sprawled out in the hallway.  Either way, it equated to many sleepless nights for me and many lonely nights for my dad. We were a sad bunch, and all missed each other a LOT.

Then, one morning last week, no one else was in bed when I woke up. 

I came downstairs just in time to see my dad hand my mom a lunch bag and say, "Don't worry.  You've done everything you could possibly do to prepare.  You're ready for whatever they throw at you."  
My dad makes my mom the best lunches ever!
At that moment I realized the miraculous truth!  Game day!

And even though we were throwing my mom into the lion's den, all I could think was:  
Today is the day I get my mom back!!!! 
(dance a little jig)
Dear God in heaven, 
Thank you for helping me, my mom, and my dad survive the Bar Exam. 
Kisses, Laila