Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Doing lunch -- one of our very favorite things -- at Firecracker in Plaza Palomina.

My friend Marlene (from Rocky Point) was in town for a couple of days, so we ate and shopped and ate. You should see the jacket I got. You will see it, eventually.

I read something interesting. It seems a bunch of banks got together and raised $25 million to lobby for stricter legislation concerning bankruptcy. $25 million would buy a lot of lunches. Of course, that's not what they do these days. Lunch is old hat. Lobbyists make contributions to campaign funds. You vote for this legislation, we give you $500,000. $25 million buys 50 congressmen. Easy, huh?

So I'm thinking, how much would it cost to buy legislation that would allow restauranteurs use their own discretion as to whether or not to admit well-behaved dogs to their establishments? For the sake of argument, let's suppose X numbers of dog lovers got together and raised X dollars and then lobbied their state representatives. Say you've got 100 people who'll each donate $1000 to the cause -- hey, that's $100,000! How many state representatives could you buy for $100,000? Of course, you'd want to start with a smallish state.

But it's a thought.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

We were invited out, this year. Michel (my hairdresser) and Debbie created a feast for a dozen or so friends, and weren't we lucky to be included! Michel cooked, and dinner included the traditional turkey and accompaniments plus some interesting "specialties of the house" including red cabbage cooked with apples, homemade cannoli stuffed with chocolate chip custard, Napoleons and a jazzed-up pumpkin pie. Michel is a fabulous cook.

We all sat at one, long table and before we started eating, we held hands and -- going around the table one by one -- told everyone what we were most thankful for. Bao and being here, I said. Bao didn't say anything. He was hanging out for the turkey.

I ate too much. I always eat too much, this time of year. I meant to start working out on the treadmill today, but when I went out to get the newspaper this morning it was dark and I stubbed my toe (actually, I think I may have broken it) and all I can manage at the moment is a slow hobble. Black Friday for the merchants, black and blue Friday for me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Guess which member of this two-member household agreed to serve to the Board of our Home Owners' Association? And who also took on the job of Landscape Chairman?

No, it wasn't Bao.

It was the other one. The dumb one.

Geez! What was I thinking?

It has been a tumultuous week. First, I had to track down the backflow notifications. (A week ago, I didn't even know what a backflow was) Then I had to contact landscape contractors and ask them to submit bids for next year's landscape maintenance. We have 49 homes, so it's a pretty big job. Then I had to negotiate with the current landscape contractor, who didn't turn up until yesterday afternoon and swore that he and his team had been here all day. No, they hadn't. He told me I was crazy, old, and probably "losing it". I told him not to talk to me like that. He said, If you don't like it, fire me. So I did.

Can you imagine me actually firing someone? I can't, either. But I did. Sometimes, I scare myself.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Underpainting, the first step in creating a portrait.

You can see how Russell has incorporated details from other photographs, showing a bit more of Bao's lovely little tail and mercifully eliminating my large, colorful rump! As someone who loves paintings but can't paint, I find the process intriguing.

Meanwhile, 'tis the season to eat, and get fat. We attended a scrumptious party to celebrate the opening of Headlines, where I have my hair done. Yummy savory meatballs, little sandwiches, dips, cheese and a French custard-filled chocolate layer cake made with Kahlua. Irresistable.

The shops and grocery stores are already full of wonderful, holiday goodies. You know it's almost Christmas when caviar (at $38 per ounce) appears at Costco. I always thought "malossol" meant Russian, but it doesn't. It just means salted.
On to Trader Joe's, where I barely managed to drag myself away from the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake (on sale at just $1.99 and containing 450 calories per slice) only to succumb to the Chocolate Croissants in the next freezer case. These are almost as much fun to prepare as they are to eat. You have to put them out on a baking tray to rise the night before. And do they rise! By morning, each croissant is the size of a small loaf of bread. But light as a feather. Close your eyes, and you're in Paris.
There's an Art Walk tonight, featuring wine and food from a new bistro, but I have to go to my HOA's Annual General Meeting. Probably just as well.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bao is having his portrait painted.

I've wanted to do this for years, but I wanted it to be a proper portrait, an oil painting worthy of someday hanging in the AKC Museum of the Dog. Not just a likeness from a photograph, but a real portrait, something that captured the soul and quintessence of Bao. The trick was to find the right artist. I talked to a lot of people, but nothing "clicked". Then last spring I met Russell Recchion, a portrait painter who is endlessly fascinated -- as I am -- with light and texture.

We spent some time talking about the project. Russell has never done dogs, although he's done lots of horses. But he liked the idea, and Bao approved.

So here we are at our first sitting, for which Russell has procured a dark red velvet pillow, with tassles. The trick was getting Bao to actually sit on it. People sit for their portraits. Dogs don't. Russell took over 200 photographs, as Bao wriggled, sniffed, scratched and did doggy things for the camera.

It took over an hour, but we finally got a pose we liked. I think it's perfect. Now, Russell is working on the undersketching. I can hardly wait.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Isn't this a splendid sunset?

Sitting here on the balcony with Bao and Johnny (neither of whom share my appreciation of celestial events, but both of whom are important parts of my life) I'm thinking about how seldom most of us pay any attention at all to the sky, or the weather -- except, of course, to complain about it.

My husband used to say that we are the first advanced civilization that does not look to the sky. (We read our horoscopes, but that's as far as it goes for most of us) Here, people still pay attention to the sky, and the tides. Right now, the tide is full and the first fishing boats are setting off from the port. It doesn't matter that it's dusk. Fishermen don't punch time clocks. They fish when the schools of fish feed, and the fish feed at high tide. What must it be like, I wonder, to live according to the rhythms of the planet?

Now that we're moving towards the shortest day of the year, I tend to wake up before sunrise. I don't turn on the lights. Instead, I come out here, and look up at the stars. Millions and billions and trillions of them, twinkling against the velvet night sky. Like Tucson, Puerto Penasco has few street lights.

The sun, the stars, the sea. Superb.