Day whatever: having abandoned ship, HRH Pants begs your forgiveness.

You understand, right? You understand about my deep, dog-pain-related depression, right? Don't be all judgmental because I dropped out so early in the race - I had big plans, man. I just didn't count on the vet making me all sad.

Astrid is actually getting better. She uses her leg most of the time now, and after she's had her Rimadel or Remadil or whatever (I believe its generic name is "Holy crap I'm going to grind this up and snort it off a mirror") she bounces around like a little rabbit. This, however, is not permitted by the vet, who gave me quite a laundry list of things the dog should not do. Jumping, running, walking more than 100 yards or so, bouncing, and keeping up those Arthur Murray classes - there'll be none of that. If this is what it's like to manage her pain, it's not that bad... those of you who made outlandish offers (you know who you are) are much loved and appreciated, but officially off the hook.

So. Two upcoming shoots, can you imagine? I'm actually getting somewhere with this photog thing! I put together a catalog of all my samples and such - the photo DVDs, the sample book from the publishing house where I'm getting my photobooks done, etc. etc. - and OH YEAH my speedlite and my easy-to-transport mono kit came today. All these new toys! My mom is responsible for these ones - she said Christmas could come early if I got my act together and really worked at this. I feel like I've just been given the shiniest gold star in the sticker book, like somehow all the crap I put up with is being rewarded.

I almost feel like today should be Thanksgiving. That's rather Hallmark card-y, isn't it? Barf.

Here, this'll get my hipster points back: I'm going to play paparazzi next Friday, when I go see my family in Savannah, including my cousin Jeff, who has a pretty sexy celeb-type job. How fun is this going to be? (Assuming he doesn't run over me with his car or something.)

Day 10: on which I learn that my dog has a secret other life as an international soccer star.

And when it raineth, boys and girls, it poureth.

Astrid the hound has a torn cranial cruciate ligament, the dog version of the ACL. This little problem is only really fixable with surgery, and since she weighs more than 50 pounds, she's not eligible for the little fix, a $1300 band around her femur/tibia area that'll keep her bones from grinding into doggy-bone dust. Noo, MY dog, my elephantine dog, is only eligible for the super grande mother of all dog leg surgeries, the Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. I feel like there should be a row of identically-dressed, tights-wearing midgets with bugles, bugling out a tibial leveling fanfare, because YA-DA-DA-DAAAAA! this particular surgery is going to cost more than $3000.

I talked to the vet at great length (after I finished sobbing uncontrollably) about what happens if we don't get the surgery, and whether or not I was a horrible person for not selling parts of my liver on the black market to pay for it. She said that several weeks of almost complete rest, combined with painkillers, should ease Astrid back to a semblance of herself; however, not doing the surgery will pretty much guarantee some vicious arthritis in a few years, which will lead to daily painkillers for the rest of her life. It's manageable, but her hiking days are over, so to speak.

I have never felt the guilt I felt when I heard that number and thought, "Weeping Jesus, we don't have that! No one I know has that! Surgery is out!" How could I sit there and put a price on what I'm willing to do for the one creature on the planet who has never asked me for anything? How can I say, "Oh, sorry, Toots, you're just going to have to be cripped up for life, and it's because I have nothing to sell, nothing to pawn, no way to get the money for you. You, who would jump in front of a team of rabid hyenas to save my baby."

I can't afford it, and we're just going to have to learn how to make her days as easy as possible. That's all there is to it. What a complete butthole of a day.

Day nine: well, here I go again... on my own.

Okay, this is from yesterday, but I have a really, really good excuse. Someone who shall remain nameless (let's call him "Bob," shall we?) went all computer commando last night, so I had to sit idly by and paint my toenails and say, "Are you done yet? How about now? Now? In five minutes? Is that now?" By the time he abandoned this particular ship, I was ankle-deep in CSI, and by the time I thought, "Hey, I'm supposed to blog something, wait wait waaaaaaaaSNORK." I was utterly unconscious.

So speaking of CSI, don't you just want to take little Mr. Sanders and hug him? That poor guy, trying to save someone and he gets slapped with a wrongful death suit. And he just looks so rumpled and yummy the whole time. Someone CLEARLY needs a hug.


Adrienne bailed me out again, as she wants to know the hobby I'd take up if I had more free time. (Silly! I'm a stay-at-home mom! All I have is free time! Blargh!) I think I'd probably get all crafty and start making things, a la one of my favorite artsy Australians, LoobyLu. The wonders and magic of felt, for example, (not just for Jesus storyboards in Sunday School anymore!) - don't you feel like there's something cool to be made out of felt? If I had more time, I'd start making crafty little presents for people. Watch, one might end up in your mailbox someday.

On that note, actually, I have my own question for you guys. I am participating in this (click the incredibly cool photoshop ornament to see exactly what):

And the question is, if I AM going to get all crafty, what am I going to make? I'm fairly good with that sort of thing, even if I don't have the time to do it often, so any and all suggestions regardless of skill level would be MUCHO appreciated. I have until December 1... help!

Day eight: Mommydate!

Jasmine and I are going to see Talladega Nights at the dollar theater. We are not taking our kids. We are not taking our spouses. And we might go COMPLETELY nuts and get TWO bags of Reese's Pieces.


No one asked me anything else, so I have nothing else to say except BOOYA DEMOCRACY.

Day seven: because $4.98 is totally justifiable on my credit card.

I don't know about YOUR Target, but OUR Target has a magical Box o' Picture Frames that just happens to include 10 shiny black metal gallery frames, and it just happens to be $4.98. And I might have bought two, because that's the kind of sucker I am. I see it, it's on sale for some horrifically low price, and I MUST HAVE IT. Time to find a blank wall for a photo montage, I suppose. Again.

ANYWAY. Hi. Good day today, which included the abovementioned purchase and the delivery of my first photo CD to my first real paying client, who nearly wrapped her arms around my face with glee. I'm relieved that it's over, because I was panicking about her looking at the pictures and saying, "Hm. Well. You tried, anyway. FRAUD." But I'm also sad, because now I don't have any more gigs* lined up, and I really want to make more of my nifty CD labels. Oh well, the marketing stuff should be here soon, and if it's not cheap and scary-looking, I'll be dropping it in doctors' offices and Gymborees all over town.

* I like saying "gigs." It makes me feel like a rock star, albeit one with slightly wider hips than standard, and a slightly smaller cocaine problem.

On to the question of the day, as it is Question Week. Anne asked me these questions, as pertaining to one of the places I lived in college:

1) What was the best part?

Anne was my roommate twice, most recently in the Almighty Allston, which we shall not discuss because the bathroom ceiling collapsed on our third roommate, Lee, and nearly killed her, and I think the lawsuit might still be pending. Kidding! It just sucked, so any conversation about it would just be about it sucking, which is only interesting for the first four words or so. The first place we shared was in the Bradford, campus housing for the lucky few sophomores who could get in. I kind of liked it... our apartment was right next to the front door, which meant we could smuggle in both Naval Academy boys and alcohol with effortless ease. And being on the first floor was also handy, because when the RA busted us (in what has since been termed the Valentine's Day Lonely Hearts Massacre) several of our more enterprising party guests could attempt flying leaps out the window, leaving us to face the wrath of the self-righteous little toady who stole our beer AND reported us. I think we may still be on probation.

2) What was the funniest part?

The Massacre, you know it was. Those Navy boys we took up with were just ridiculous. And yet some genius in Washington is allowing them to protect our country. Feel safe, y'all, because the kid who threw up Goldschlager in our bathtub and then professed his love for everyone in the building is protecting the home front. And carrying weapons. AWESOME.

3) What was the most ghetto part?

Purple Shirt Guy, the poor semi-homeless man who sat on the benches out front at all hours and ranted about ethnic groups, women, cab drivers, Labrador puppies, shower tiles - whatever struck him as offensive that day. And oh man, could he rant! I had never heard some of the words he came up with, especially when talking about the Asian girls Hopkins was stocked with. I believe he spends a fair amount of time in a certain hospital where another certain former roommate is working... And if he does, you tell him that the Tits-Up White Bitchsucker says hello.

4) What was the dirtiest part?

Weeelll, you'd have to define "dirty." As in, dirty like the crusty tuna salad container in the back of the fridge that we all patently refused to clean? Or dirty like hooking up with the NA quarterback, you badass? Because we were all kinds of dirty up in there, and this particular flashback? Has been WAY FUN. Next!

Day six: organization Monday

Today was a mostly misspent day, as we did nothing except for run around on the playground, eat, nap for exactly 47 minutes, and go over to Jasmine's, where I bossed her around and made her reorganize her dining room. She's been wanting to do this for a while, so it's not like I was just being an ass - I think she's in a funk similar to the one I was in when I didn't blog for a while. And since she is now fighting tooth and nail to get out of said funk, I say, YOU GO TEAM LEADER. (Are you reading this? Comment if you are, lurker.)

So! Adrienne was the first one to ask a question, so she gets hers answered first. See how this works? Adrienne wanted to know two things: one, have I completed the D Level Challenge? For those of you who didn't nerd out and go to Hopkins, D Level is the basement of the library. Actually, it's the super lowest lowdown basement, as the entire library except for the eternally important coffee bar level is built underground. You go up, recaffeinate, blink stupidly into the daylight, and go back down to your study carrel, which you had to kill eight grad students and a freshman to get into.

I'm assuming that Adrienne's D Level Challenge is the same one that the rest of us trashy creeps talked about, which is the one that takes place in one of the extra-secret study rooms when you're only studying with one other person (or more, which would probably get you mad extra points on the challenge meter). C'mon, guess what THAT's all about. And no, Picklehead, I have not... in so many words. FIGURE THAT ONE OUT, NOSY ROSY.

Adrienne also wanted to know if I would have joined a sorority, knowing now what I didn't know then. The answer to that one is probably no, and the reason for that (aside from the fact that it was WAY too expensive for a scholarship student) is that I would have said no to a lot more things, were I as brilliant then as I am now. I was a serious joiner, but then I became a slacker, because I became exhausted from trying to support a schedule with 84,000 extra-curriculars, and two jobs, and oh yeah, the curricular itself. But since I did join it, I can honestly say that I have no real regrets (if you don't count my introduction to Southern Comfort at the hands of a haze-crazy senior. I regret that with my entire BEING). I wish it had ended better,* but I don't regret anything else.

* I was, shall we say, dismissed for not paying my dues. That soured things for me a little, but it was okay, since at that point I was a senior who only really wanted to graduate and get a job. What was I THINKING?

End of Adrienne's question time... Anne's next, but there's still time to get yourself on the list. Come on, you know you want to (and I want you to, because I'm lazy and that way I don't have to think of stuff to write about. Help me out and I will give you many internet kisses!)

Day five: On which I get a massive headache and cop out with some (mad wicked fun) internet foofooisms

I killed my Tamagotchi in junior high (because who has time to be a responsible pet owner when there are Bonnie Belle lip glosses to be sampled? Dr Pepper to be consumed? Jeans to tight-roll, for heaven's sake?) so here, for our mutual animal pleasure, is the all new, no-kill virtual pet hedgehog!

adopt your own virtual pet!

Watch, I'll kill this one too because I'll forget I gave him bloglife. His odds of survival are good, though, because you can click on More and feed him strawberries. Because of my Tamagotchi guilt, I've given him enough strawberries to make an ocean of dacquiris; ergo, the little bugger will either live forever or die feeling like an overstuffed bag of wet cement.

Astrid the hound has suddenly developed a serious limp - and by serious, I mean, she doesn't even put her foot on the ground. Aside from making snide jokes about renaming her Tripod, what the hell should I do? I'm pretty sure all signs point to Vet, but I'm almost afraid to go... if it's something horrible, I don't know if I can stand it. We're trying heating pads, dog massage (you really CAN find directions for everything on the internet) and small doses of Tylenol for a couple of days, with the understanding that if she's not better by Wednesday we'll take 'er in. I'll keep you posted.

Because I'm a limp dishrag by the time evening rolls around these days (damn you, Daylight Savings!) I am uninspired and boring in my blog posts. Therefore, I am leaving it up to you guys to decide what I blog about this week. Ask me anything* and I'll answer it, one question at a time.

*I do, however, reserve the right to either ignore you or beat the stuffin's out of you if I don't like your question. This is not a democracy, this is a blogocracy, and I am the blogtator. Woohoo!

Day four: You're daaaaamn right

Oh man, was that fun - this is where I'm supposed to be, y'all. Thanks for your good-luck thoughts... clearly they worked their good-luck mojo, because I have 140 photos, 98 of which I would hang over a fireplace. I have a happy client, who plans to have pictures taken of at least the little girl EVERY SIX MONTHS until she turns 18. And I have a wedding in August.

I am so happy.

Day three: from kidney (beans) to spine.

I made chili for dinner today (because maybe no one cares what I had for lunch, but EVERYONE wants to know what was on for dinner, you know you do). It felt like the right time: cold all day, slightly windy, dead leaves competely filling our slowly molding jack o'lantern. It's fall, baby, let the spicy soup-like foods commence.

My first paying shoot is tomorrow. I have model release forms, invoices, fake home-printed business cards because the fancy-schmancies haven't arrived yet... Prop flowers, a new tripod to replace the old crippledy one, a box of alligator clips... An umbrella. My equipment. The only thing I have to find, polish up, and store away is my nerve.

This is kind of silly, I guess, but I talked to my grandmother about it today. She was a brave old broad, and it made me feel better to sit and look at her picture on my wall, and tell her about tomorrow, and being a big girl (read: non-babysitter) with a big girl job (read: non-babysitting). We had a long conversation a few days before she died, actually, about how excited I was about just the possibility of doing this, and in her thick Norwegian accent she told me to "go for it, lovey, because you simply MUST be what you believe you should be."

Well, here I am... and here I go. Talk to the cosmos for me if you get a minute, all right? This is going to be one big day.

Day 2.5: Crap.

I had a really long, great post about the meaning of life and all, and of course I left it open, and of course my clever spouse closed the window and lost it. Because he's good like that.

ANYWAY! A conversation I had last night, starring myself and the random lady behind me in line at Target:

Me: Yeah, I've been working on starting a photography biz, you know, nothing major yet.
Rando: So do you do weddings? Because we need someone to do ours, and...
Me: *blink. blink.*
Rando: I mean, do you ever photograph them?
Me: OHHHHH! THAT's what you meant!

I thought for a minute that she wanted me to be their minister or something, surely not a photographer! That's for professionals and grown-ups!

The idea of actually being a photographer is still sort of raw in my head, and when I think about it, I usually think in terms of "well, in the future, when I really DO this..." It's still hard to imagine that I could really do this RIGHT NOW, that I could start making money and actually having this job. Apparently, the rest of the world would like me to go ahead and get off my ass and start already. Good thing I slipped her a card before my brain started screaming in puerile (you like that word, don't you?) panic.

I need some advertising outlets that are cheap - who am I kidding, FREE. The brain says market, but the budget says sit down, kid, you ain't got no steenkin' money. You guys are smart cookies... any ideas?

Day One: on which I nearly goof ALREADY

I'm mid-Lost, and I have nothing to say, other than that if Dominic Monaghan showed up here and asked me for things that are illegal in many countries, I would ask him how to say handcuffs in Tagalog. I LOVES ME SOME HOBBIT.

Interesting things tomorrow, promise...