Step Five: Split Up a Whole Day into Two Posts and See if Anyone Notices.

Standard

As we made our way back to Harajuko station, my cousin and I were greeted along our path by a beautiful display of luminaries and projected light.

I am stealing this idea for my Pinterest board.

I am stealing this idea for my Pinterest board.

There was a number of flower light projections all down the path.

There was a number of flower light projections all down the path.

 

Warning: Luminaries may be able to see into the depths of your soul.

Warning: Luminaries may be able to see into the depths of your soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of which lead us to a spectacular performance of Kabuki Theater.

Even without knowing what was going on, it was pretty cool to watch.

Even without knowing what was going on, it was pretty cool to watch.

Some of the traditional performers from Tōhoku region.

Some of the traditional performers from Tōhoku region.

As we marveled at the production in front of us, wondering at what cultural heritage event we had stumbled upon, an older gentleman behind us took pity on these two clueless Americans. In halting English, and with many hand gestures, he explained that these performers were actually from Fukushima. All in all, the whole production appeared to be a very big “To Do”, with many people enjoying the rare chance to see the Meiji Shrine and its park after dark.

Oh! Candid Shot!

Oh! Candid Shot!

And why, you ask, was this entire event going on? Well, it wasn’t until after the fact that we realized we’d stumbled into the beginnings of the 100th anniversary of the Empress Shoken’s passing.

But we had made dinner plans already, and we needed to scurry on to Shinjuku and the tasty yakiniku hiding there.
As you can see, there was much tastiness to be had.

The meat- It was plentiful.

The meat- It was plentiful.

I even tried my hand at manning the grill!

Actually we did almost smoke the place out, but not while I was manning the grill.

On this edition of Cooking with Kate, there is the possibility of everything catching on fire.

Once stuffed full of tasty meaty goodness, we ventured out to find a nightcap. I now regret to say that we did not have the time or inclination to wait for a spot in the Robot Restaurant, but we can all at least sleep happier knowing that a place like this exists in the world. Instead we found a small, hole-in-the-wall cigar bar, where the main table actually wrapped around the piano, and everything was served in crystal.

That's a 12 year McClelland single malt there, in case anyone cares.

That’s a 12 year McClelland single malt there, in case anyone cares.

It was pretty fantastic.

I had spent a wonderful day, out and about, but the most surreal moment had yet to occur. As we took our train home, I experienced the crush of the late night crowd, and maneuvered my way to grab a much-coveted seat. I may have even joined my fellow commuters in fighting off the inevitable urge to doze off once sitting. Once exiting the train, I immediately found myself naturally heading up the left side of the stairs with the rest of the crowd, without even being prompted. With them, I watched in a detached state, as two inebriated salary men began shoving and punching each other on the stair landing.

I continued on my way out of the station and into the slight drizzle; a realization finally starting to bloom in the back of my mind:

“Huh. I’m in Japan.”

The trains are pretty wonderful to watch.

The trains are pretty wonderful to watch.

Advertisements

An Introspective Moment About an Elephant

Standard

Saying goodbye to objects from our past is a difficult and emotional event we all experience. It can be a small object with a closet of sentimentality attached, or a large item that carries only a handbag of memories. Either way, we grow attached to them, and to let them go can feel like burying a part of our past. Some people are never able to let go, and each room becomes a shrine to these attachments, no matter how insignificant.

Today I decided to let something go from my past; from my way, way back past. Growing up, we had a canary yellow ceramic elephant planter. And while I am sure at some point in its life prior to my memories, it had served the intended purpose of holding a plant; this is not how I learned to love it.

You see, my mom possessed the experience of teaching both first and third grades, and so when I came around, she already had a pretty good handle on entertaining young children. (Admittedly, she had to wait a few years for me to catch up to that age, but she did a bang-up job winging it until then.) Anyway, as a precocious young lady of 4, it was in the household’s interest that I be given some direction on a rainy day, lest I create a book tower from everyone’s books in the living room or attempt to disassemble the furniture. Enter the Yellow Elephant.

My mom’s solution was to write down a bunch of different activities (which I got to add to as well) on little slips of paper. These slips would then go into the Yellow Elephant’s back. On a rainy day, the Yellow Elephant would come out, and the papers mixed about. I would then reach my little hand into the hole and pull out my activity for the day. (Looking back on it now, I am pretty sure that mom would make a tactical decisions as to which papers were available to choose from each time.) If memory serves me right, I could draw again if I did not want to do that particular choice, but I could only draw once more. Then I could choose between the two. That was the deal.

As I got a little older and started going to school on a daily basis, the Yellow Elephant took on a new role, one of Weekend Coordinator. If there was a day where there was nothing previously planned (birthday party, out-of-town trip, visitors, etc.) an adventure would get pulled from inside. Sometimes it was the park, or the pool; later, when we lived in D.C. it was often going to a museum or a monument. And because it was the Yellow Elephant suggesting the adventure, I was less likely to be stubborn about the whole thing.

Eventually, I stopped drawing slips of paper out of its back, and the Yellow Elephant was repurposed once again. After I moved out, it came with me, and I used it for various things (mostly to hold my kitchen utensils.) Every time I moved, the Yellow Elephant was carefully packed away, and just as carefully unpacked in its new home. Every time, that was, until this most recent move.

Last May, I packed up my house in Alabama, and moved up to North Carolina to be with my fiancé. Eventually, we bought a house and started the process of shifting all the boxes from my storage unit to their new home. Every day I would pull some of the boxes stacked in the garage and start unpacking, tasked with the difficult job of finding everything a new home. I finally made my way to the box labeled “Yellow Elephant”, and excitedly opened it up, knowing exactly where I would put it.

Except my Yellow Elephant was not there. In its place were broken shards of ceramics; yellow on one side and white on the other.

This was last September.

Almost a year later, I have finally been able to face the contents of that box again. I laid out the pieces that I could find (some of the smaller pieces had been lost in the shredded paper and packing material) and I started to glue them back together. At this point, I don’t see myself keeping the final product. I know that even though it holds its shape again, it can never be the same. But I felt I owed it to my memories to at least try putting it back together, before I said goodbye.

The Yellow Elephant

The Yellow Elephant

I know that even though the object that gave me all those good memories is no longer what it was, I can still carry on the spirit of what that object meant to me.

Who knows what my children will draw paper slips from on a rainy day….

Perhaps an Orange Hippo.

Step Four: I Wonder if I Should Continue to Title These Posts With Progressive Step Numbers

Standard

Once again the sun rose, as it usually does, over Ōme. Let us take a small break from my narrative to show you a quick view of the neighborhood.

Early Morning Tokyo Suburbia

Early Morning Tokyo Suburbia

 

Yes, the streets are about one car width wide.

Yes, the streets are about one and 1/2 car widths wide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, now that we have gotten ourselves a bit more oriented, let us continue.

Today’s first outing involved (SURPRISE!) food. (If you are not sensing a theme in these posts, then I’m guessing you have just been looking at the pictures.) We cruised on down to Sukiya for gyūdon, which is basically a beef rice bowl: Cheap, tasty, filling.

Drive By Gyūdon!

Drive By Gyūdon!

I continued to notice throughout my venture that many of the menus remind me of the back of a Waffle House menu; there are lots of colorful pictures, and all you have to do is point and smile to order.

Fortified with rice, beef, and another cup of endless tea (it’s like I’m in Japan or something, geez!) Nathan and I set off to board the Chūō line, connecting with the Yamanote line for Harajuku station. Putting the Harajuku spectacles for a later date, we ventured over to Meiji Shrine for some “culture and learning”. According to the internet, Meiji Shrine is a Shinto Shrine originally completed in the 1920’s, and reconstructed in the late 1950’s after suffering damage in WWII.

What I saw was a whole bunch of really awesome nature, some cool old buildings, and a whole bunch of people “really feeling it all.”

Feel the Awe and Glory and Various Other Things that this image inspires.

Feel the Awe and Glory and Various Other Things that this image inspires.

And a GIANT wall of sake barrels

I may have contemplated how long it would take a normal human being to consume all the sake that could fill these barrels.

I may have contemplated how long it would take a normal human being to consume all the sake that could fill these barrels.

As we wandered the paths and checked out the courtyard of the shrine, I had hoped to have the big, bubbly, excited reaction to the realization that I was ACTUALLY IN JAPAN finally kick in.

Everyone setting up for something.... Wonder what it could be?

Appears they are setting up for something…. Wonder what it could be?

So many prayers, in so many languages.

So many prayers, in so many languages.

Here I was surrounded by all of these culturally significant examples, and instead I was feeling very calm and at peace. Which looking back at it all, I WAS at a temple, so perhaps that reaction was appropriate after all.

Purification fountain, if you are into that sort of thing.

Purification fountain, if you are into that sort of thing.

Venturing further , we came to Homotsuden, the Treasury Museum, and an open park area.

Rounded a turn in the path, only to be greeted with this sight.

Rounded a turn in the path, only to be greeted with this sight.

This was the view from the other side of the bridge.

This was the view from the other side of the bridge.

Alas, the Museum was closed

I guess I'll just have to put this on the "return trip" list.

I guess I’ll just have to put this on the “return trip” list.

So we headed back to our entrance by the Harajuku station, to our next destination (and future post), Shinjuku.

Something old and something new.

Something old and something new.

Step Three: I Make Everyone Wait Months to See What Happens Next!

Standard

The morning of my first full day in Japan broke in a colorful display of spring. My room faced a neighbor’s vegetable garden, and I cannot think of anything nicer to wake up to than a whole bunch of growing things.

This view made it impossible not to do my yoga in the mornings

This view made it impossible not to do my yoga in the mornings

Now, admittedly, “morning” is a relative term here, as I was still adjusting to the time difference. By the time movement towards the outdoors was achieved, it was lunchtime. Lunchtime, of course, being another opportunity to eat tasty, tasty things!

Now the sushi spot that Nathan had frequented for much of his time in Japan (“Within walking distance” has many advantages) had gone the way that it appears many things do there when change is imminent: Disappears, with no warning, in the middle of the night. Because of this a substitute sushi joint had to be located… and my first battle with Japanese Automatic Doors ensued.

http://www.designsojourn.com/automatic-door/

Except the one I confronted did not have handy-dandy English

This is the height of Japanese Door technology- because not only is it a door, it is also social entertainment in a schadenfreude way. On this day it was I who provided the entertainment. As a Southern Boy, my cousin stepped back to let me go though the door first, which would have been fine if it had been in the States. But this was not the States, and this particular door did not include the English as displayed in the above picture.

So I stood there, trying to figure out how the heck I’m supposed to work this door, until a nice gentleman inside took pity on this poor American, and opened the door for me. I like to imagine that Nathan had undergone a similar experience, and was therefore helping me fully transition into the Japanese world around me, but really I think he just wanted a good chuckle.

After the customary game of charades with the staff, we found ourselves seated in a booth of the most magical land of the world: The land of conveyer belt sushi.

I figured how to work the Sushi Spaceships much quicker than I did the "automatic" door.

I figured how to work the Sushi Spaceships much quicker than I did the “automatic” door.

Now, I have been to some of the conveyer belt places back home, but I’ve found nothing on par with what they have in Japan. First off, each plate was only ¥100, which is roughly $0.98 US Dollars. Second, everything just tasted much fresher.

Intermission before grabbing more of ALL OF THE FÜDS!

Intermission before grabbing more of ALL OF THE FÜDS!

Third on my list- See that little slot at the end of the table? You put your used plates down there and it uses that to total your bill, but it is also A GAME. Every few plates, a little game animation pops up on your table’s touch screen indicating that you MIGHT win something! (Ok, admittedly, I did not actually witness anyone win anything while I was there, but I was still entertained.) And fourthly (yes, FOURTHLY) above the rotating sushi-goodness is an express conveyer belt. EXPRESS FOOD TO YOUR BOOTH! Every so often, a plate of sushi would zip past, or a covered bowl of soup would zoom overhead. And the only human interaction to speak of was with the staff up front, when you received your booth number and when you went to pay afterwards.

After a successful stuffing of the gullet with raw fish, we proceeded to Yokota Air Base in Fussa. There are two things of particular note for this base:

1- You can get a good view of Fussa from the top of the commissary

Fussa 1

Dead-Center, you can see a ferris wheel. No lie.

Fussa 2

 

 

2- They have some spectacular sakura blossoms in the spring

sakura1

You want to look at me ALL DAY LONG!

Sakura2

Come! Stroll along my flowery path!

Like, REALLY spectacular.

 

sakura3

Time has frozen, and you are OK with this fact.

 

By this time Nathan thought I had had enough Zen, and that I was ready to experience the local rail transit, Japan Railways East, so we headed on to Fussa Station.

No, Really... it TOTALLY made sense. Eventually. At some point.

No, Really… it TOTALLY made sense. Eventually. At some point.

I can only let you imagine the looks that two rather tall Caucasian redheads got as they boarded the train to Tachikawa.

Tachikawa appeared to be a small downtown, with many tall buildings, designed to sell things to tourists and locals alike.

LOFT

Artistically crooked.

Looking Up

Oh the things you can buy!

Da Citay

I didn’t actually notice the KFC when I took this.

Although they had some rather interesting methods to do so.

Umm....

Umm….

After a long first day of exploring a new land, we headed back to home. Unfortunately we were too exhausted to check out the local evening events, but it had a definite dream-like feel in the warm spring air.

Maybe next Spring

Maybe next Spring

 

 

 

Step Two: I Finally Make It to My Adventure Destination

Standard

I woke up from my Texan respite, and started on the last leg of my journey to the land of the rising sun. Settling into my exit seat, I was excited about the extra legroom, but completely bummed by my lack of window (odd plane design) and the inconvenience of having to store everything in the overhead bins. I figured that with such a LONG (over 13hours) flight I was planning on doing ALL OF THE THINGS. I would work on my Japanese phrases (as in: Learn some.) I was going to start the rough draft of my first Adventure Blog post. I was going to plan out in detail all of the many things that I wanted to see and accomplish whilst in Tokyo.

Instead I enjoyed reading my books (the Divergent series), sleeping, and watching movies. It is very easy to convince yourself that you really do need to be watching movies all of the movies you’ve been putting off instead of being productive, especially when you are in a near sleep state and all of your words start to blend together. I think they would at least… Actually I wouldn’t know. My laptop hung out in the overhead bin for the whole flight.

Anyway, the nice thing about a long flight is that they give you wine. Not, “Would you like a tiny bottle of wine for the price of your first born?” but rather, it is right up there with a water or orange juice as a free choice to go with your meal. So I got to pretend I was a classy broad with my wine and (processed) cheese as I flew across a big ocean.

 

Keeping it classy while up in the air.

Keeping it classy while up in the air.

As my earlier post indicated, I eventually landed and pulled into the Narita International Terminal in one piece. Making it out of immigrations/customs soon became my travel trial #2.

Apparently my flight AND EVERY SINGLE OTHER INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT in that airport belched out their passengers at one time, causing a frustrating bureaucracy bottleneck. I liken the experience to waiting in line to get your badge for Dragon*Con (or any other conventions, I can bet.) There are some interesting characters waiting along side you. Everyone is a little bit excited, and a little bit nervous that they won’t get approval, and will miss all of the fun things that they had paid a lot of money to get to do. Also, not everyone smells his or her best. And the air conditioning appears to be broken (or possibly non-existent).

I finally make it to a numbered queue, with only 3 or 4 people in front of me. No sooner than I park my suitcase next to me, a smartly uniformed immigrations officer comes up and points to myself and two others. “You, you, you- come with me,” and motions to the ominous corner room labeled “ Waiting Room”.

I think this would be a good time to mention that at this point I am off the grid. I’ve no cell service, and I was not entirely trusting of the one rōmaji WiFi labeled “FREE WIFI!” and I neglected to get an actual phone number for my cousin (I never said I was a girl scout.) So as I make my way to what I can only imagine is going to involve rubber gloves and another 16 hours knocked off my trip, I begin to think of all the different strategies I could use to contact him were I detained for some reason. I am immediately relieved when the situation is finally made clear. The officials were trying to “speed up” the lines by opening up every available station…. And possibly terrorize incoming tourists in the process. (But that part was just a bonus, I am sure.) Admittedly, the officials were quite courteous throughout the whole process, a behavior I continued to notice throughout my whole trip. After about and hour or so of slogging though Immigration/Customs, I finally made it down to baggage claim where I quickly found my cousin (and the much needed coffee he brought with him.) For future travelers: Tall redheads make extremely efficient beacons when searching through Japanese crowds.

My first day in Japan was a drizzly one. By the time we pulled out of the parking deck, it was late afternoon and rush-hour traffic was starting to hit its peak. This meant that I got to experience the fun of Tokyo roads and traffic at their finest.

I don't know about you, but to me this sign makes driving down really fast hills look FUN!

I don’t know about you, but to me this sign makes driving down really fast hills look FUN!

Here I shall start my list of Some of the Things I Observed About Tokyo (Road Addition):

  • That previously mentioned courtesy stops the moment you are behind the wheel.
  • I have never seen a more elaborate setup of blinking LED lights on the road signs. If you are prone to epileptic seizures, you would be best to avoid the roads.
  • It takes a while to get used to driving on the left side of the road- even if you are just the passenger.
  • I saw these bumper stickers on a lot of trucks. They are a form of crime prevention/social shaming, with the sentiment roughly, “I see what you did there.” *

(* OK, so that is my generalized interpretation. A more accurate one can be found Here.)

These glaring stickers are everywhere.

These glaring stickers are everywhere.

  • Pedestrians and cyclists really don’t care, and so you had better be ready to stop the car at a moment’s notice.
  • As long as you have your flashers on, the side of the road is your parking lot.
  • I am not sure how everyone is able to drive around so much because gas can get freaking expensive over there (average about $6 a gallon). Plus tolls average out about $15 one way
  • Despite some of these crazy road antics, there are relatively few accidents

 

We arrived safely into Ōme, my base of operation for the week. But before getting to the house, we go to fulfill my first (so coffee was technically my first) food request of the trip: RAMEN! And while I am sorry to say that I did not get a glorious food pic to make you all jealous over, I was so hungry and it tasted so good, that my regrets are rather small on that slight oversight.

As it was my very first day (half-day) EVER in Japan, I would like to say that after eating of the most delicious ramen, I was ready to go exploring and get in as many experiences in this amazing country as possible. That would be a really great thing for me to have done. Instead, I promptly fell asleep, overwhelmed by the collective exhaustion built up over the past couple of days.  Because that is how I roll.

But that meant I woke up to a beautiful start, rearing to go, for Day 2.

Step One: I Decide to Have an Adventure

Standard
Here's a hint regarding what this whole post (and subsequent posts) will be about. You've been warned.

Here’s a hint regarding what this whole post (and subsequent posts) will be about. You’ve been warned.

A few years ago my cousin found out he was to be stationed at the Yokota US Air Force base in Japan. His sister and I swore that we were going to take advantage of this fortuitous placement, and come visit him in Tokyo. Last year, his sister followed through on her threat, and had a wonderful time. This year, it is my turn. I decided a few months back that I needed to stop putting off this opportunity for an adventure. But telling yourself to, “step outside your comfort zone,” and actually following through with it can be a very daunting task. As luck would have it, I had already renewed my passport a while back, I had my funds in order, and my cousin was agreeable to having me come visit for a few days. I had run out of excuses. As the days counted down to my departure, the whole trip seemed rather surreal to me; was I actually getting on a series of flights by myself to a whole other country where I don’t read or speak the language? You Betcha!

While I was tempted to get these stylish American flag shades, I decided to err in a less "in your face" on my face approach.

While I was tempted to get these stylish American flag shades, I decided to err in a less “in your face” on my face approach.

One month quickly counted down to two weeks, then two days, then the night before, and suddenly Chris has dropped me off at the airport and I am boarding my first flight on my way to Japan. Everything seemed to go very smoothly for that first hop over to Dallas-Fort Worth. From check-in to gate I had no major issues, and I even had an entertaining (though not necessarily appropriate to repeat here) seatmate for the flight.

Plane #1 was rocking this in-flight entertainment dealio.

Plane #1 was rocking this in-flight entertainment dealio.

I really should have known that it was all too good to be true. As I eat my really tasty Tex-Mex late-lunch, I check to see how my connecting flight to San Francisco is doing. It is at this point that my luck seems to turn, and my first stabs of anxiety set in.

In my defense, I ordered the beer BEFORE finding out about the crazy delays that awaited me. Of course, then I was really glad I had ordered the beer.

In my defense, I ordered the beer BEFORE finding out about the crazy delays that awaited me. Of course, then I was really glad I had ordered the beer.

The flight from DFW to SFO was delayed. I knew going into this whole adventure, that I would be pushing my luck with a short (1 hour- OK, “short for me”) layover in an airport that I don’t know (and it is also pretty big), to catch the last leg of my international travel  part one- Getting There. As I watched the flight information, my hour layover gap shrank to 45minutes, and then 15 minutes… and then it became apparent that I would miss my flight all together. As I fretted over this realization to the check-in counter, they had “good news” – I would NOT be missing my flight into Japan… because it was canceled. Well, great. I had a nice big “All flights in and out of SFO have been delayed since last Saturday” wrench in my plans. (And it was a mighty big wrench. Bigger even than the really big ones that you can find at your local DIY improvement stores.) Calls were made, nails were bitten, and many a face-palm was had.

Eventually a plan was created that did not have me bouncing around to a whole bunch of other airports with further crazy delays and potential flights missed. I was lucky enough to interact with a very clever Customer Service Representative of the airline I was flying, who helped me not only avoid taking the now woefully delayed SFO flight with it’s subsequent crazy layovers and flight connections, but also managed to get me there earlier. (OK, not as early as my original cancelled flight, but still- a couple hours is something.)

As the evening rolled around, and I started to catch up with a grad school friend who lived in the in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I hadn’t seen in years, I realized that this was a pretty good detour for my adventure to have. So while I would now be arriving in Tokyo 16 hours later than my original plan, maybe I had still somehow earned some good airport karma along the route. I don’t know, but I was not going to question it.

(Disclaimer: Don’t worry! Future posts of this adventure will contain more- and much prettier- pictures. I was just not terribly photo-happy for a chunk of this beginning part… OK?)

 

(Well- Except here- Here I was a bit snap-happy. Also slap-happy.)

(Well- Except here- Here I was a bit snap-happy. Also slap-happy.)

I Am Not Sure if I Would Have a Cat if I Knew It Would Grow to Be Over 55lbs.

Standard

A while back I wrote about my adventures in dog-sitting. In that post, I mentioned how I had never had a dog, and how, once-upon-a-time, big dogs even scared me a little. It now looks like I have signed myself up for a life-long version of immersion therapy.

Meet “Lina”.

Mrs Dog Dobalina

This is a false representation. She is rarely, if ever, this still.

Her full name is Mrs. Dog Dobalina, in homage to The Monkees’ song, “Zilch” (although my fiancé chooses to reference “Mistadobalina” by Del Tha Funkee Homosapian, which is clearly a homage to the ORIGINAL “Zilch” song- but whatever.) She is a Belgian Malinios, a breed very similar to the German Shepherd, but slightly is smaller in her final form. At this point she is 18wks and the heavy side of 30lbs. I have nicknamed her “Tank”, as her best descriptor would be “incredibly solid and oblivious to objects around her”. This includes people, furniture, cabinetry, walls, doors, the cats- pretty much anything in general. She bounces and shakes off the impact like it was nothing. Luckily walls do not bruise, and the cats are pretty good at holding their own.

Man Down

He didn’t stand a chance against “The Tank”.

Things that I have learned about having a puppy so far:

  1. They have to go to the bathroom- A LOT. And sometimes even they don’t realize that they need to go until the moment they do (on the oriental rug).
  2. You realize how much attachment you have for material things based on your reaction to the puppy chewing on it. (But I LOVED that toy that I don’t even remember where it came from or when the last time was that I even acknowledged its existence!)
  3. No matter how many toys she has within her reach, if you are not playing with her, she is BORED.
  4. It is rarely a good sign if she is Too Quiet (see #1)
  5. Similar to children and cats, the most favorite toy is often the packaging of something else.

    Box o Lina

    Yep- This is my dog, Folks.

  6. Dog farts are horrible, which can be good a good thing, as I have already adopted the practice of blaming any and all farts on the dog. So far, she has been OK with this.
  7. Awkward puppies are pretty much the best thing ever. Exhausted puppies are just below that.
  8. If you have a smart puppy, there is a very high chance that you also have a very (very) stubborn puppy.
  9. Puppy teeth are some of the sharpest objects on earth.
  10. If it is dead and decaying, a puppy will find it and try to eat it, or roll in it. Same thing goes for all poop. (Lina is becoming a connoisseur in that area. Currently she prefers duck and deer poop, but she will branch out as the situation dictates.)

The whole “training” thing has been an interesting process, as my cats more trained me than the other way around. First, I’ve had to butcher learn commands in a completely different language, as you wouldn’t want some stranger to be able to tell your dog to “roll-over” at the drop of a hat, would you? (Of course not. Those are family tricks!) Second, I’ve been trying to learn how to be the “alpha-dog” to her. I now have more empathy for parents with toddlers who are learning to push their boundaries. “If you didn’t see me do it, then you don’t KNOW that I did it, right?” (Cue the puppy-dog eyes, which, by the way, STILL do not work on me, so tough luck there, Lina.)

Puppy Dog Eyes

No matter how many versions she tries, I refuse to melt (usually).

I know that she has learned (and grown!) so much in the 6 weeks that we have had her, so I have to remind myself that despite of all her progress she is still a very energetic and distracted puppy. One whose first reaction is to give puppy kisses, and want you to play tug-of-war and get belly rubs, and contort herself in funny ways when she outruns the ball.

Tuckered out

There are occasions where I question if she actually has all her bones.

As long as she understands that I will always take the cat’s side, then I think we will get along OK.