Friday, December 19, 2008

In Vernon

I'm in Vernon until Monday having an early Christmas with my dad. Last December he had to have our beloved Symba put to sleep. She was my favorite of all the dogs and I miss her. Dad has been saying all year that he doesn't want any more dogs, this is it, just Candy, Keeper, and Tigger until it's all their time to go.

The other day I got an IM from my dad "Got a new dog. Named him Brandy. They said he was a (something something) mix, but he sure looks part pit bull to me." I met Brandy last night when I arrived and he looks like he's definitely part pit bull to me, too. He was a bit growly with me and I didn't care for it, but he's only been here a week and it was the first time a stranger has come in so he wasn't sure what to do. The other dogs all crowded around me to say hello so Brandy figured I must be okay. He even tried to sleep with me, but he was too big and restless so I kicked him out.

I wasn't sure what kind of reaction I'd get from him when I came out of my room this morning. Dad's not here, and he understands that Dad is the alpha in this house, so I was a little extra unsure. Now that I've slept here, he seems to have decided that I must be of the higher members of the pack and he wants to be best friends with me. The first thing he did when I got up was trot over and offer me what's left of dad's watch, which he'd chewed up yesterday. He's about 10 months old and wants to chew up everything. I haven't had to be so careful of my belongings here since Symba was that age. Also like Symba, Brandy thinks he's small enough to be a lap dog. He's wrong.

Monday, December 8, 2008

One year down

Among the many things going on, David planned an anniversary surprise for me. December 6 was the one year anniversary of our first date. We met for lunch at Ricky's, then we went out again that evening to the mall to browse some stores and have a late supper at Jungle Jim's. December 8 was our first big night out together. He picked me up, we had dinner at Tony Roma's (we shared the Kickin' Shrimp, which is when I started eating shrimp), went to see The Golden Compass, then drove around for a while until we found ourselves playing pool at Finnegan's pub.

Despite claiming that he wasn't going to make a big deal of our anniversary since it was right after my birthday and right before Christmas, he went ahead and planned a night out. I had no idea where we going, but I knew we were dressing up for it. David wore his suit and I wore my new black dress. We looked very classy. We stopped in for an hour at his office Christmas party, at which we were lavished with compliments. After we left and were on our way to the surprise I was given three clues to the evening's plan:

1) Elephants are indirectly related;
2) There might be someone named Sam there;
3) Tom Hanks would approve.

David said they were obscure clues and he'd be surprised if I figured it out. The second part of the clue game is to connect the clues once I find out where we're going. After the long drive to the west end, we ended up at West Edmonton Mall. As we were walking in through the Bourbon Street entrance, I asked if we'd gotten all dressed up to go to Jungle Jim's (which I maintain would have been funny). We ended up on a red carpet going into the The Red Piano, a Creole restaurant and dueling piano lounge. It didn't take me too long to associate the clues: 1) Ivory; 2) Casablanca; 3) Big.

We shared a nice meal, though David was spending a bit of time texting someone. I found out later he was texting his coworkers at the office party for suggestions on a romantic song to request. Later, when the piano portion of the evening started, he made his request along with a gratuity to the pianists. It took a while, and the less dominant of the two pianists kept pushing for our song but the one running the show kept shooting down. Eventually they played Can't Smile Without You dedicated to us on our first anniversary, with the apology that it wasn't the song he requested but hoped they picked one we'd like. I asked David what song he had picked, and the suggestion that had come from his coworkers was You're Beautiful by James Blunt. While it's not a bad song, it's really not a song to be judged by the title. It's a love song about as much Every Breath You Take is.

It was a really nice night and a wonderful surprise. I'd go back to The Red Piano again for the experience, though perhaps not to dine. The food was good, but there wasn't quite enough variety of things I like.