A Day in the Life


Me in my starry-eyed youth writing (actually, I was drawing turbots, but for the sake of this post, let’s pretend I was writing). (Photo by Monica Waterston)

I think most people know that I have a master’s degree in English, but only the people who have known me the longest know that I pursued that degree because I had dreams of writing the next great American novel.  I haven’t given up on those dreams, really, though I’ve pursued other things in the meantime.  Nevertheless, even as I’ve been working away at another master’s in library and information science, getting a job, being a librarian, and all of that, I’ve still been working in my spare time on what I would like to be my debut novel (I have ideas/drafts for at least two others, but this is the one I’d want to start with).

I had the idea for this novel and started working on it years ago, and I’ve gone through so many drafts, but I feel like this might actually be the one.  I’m serious enough about it now that I feel like I might be ready to start looking for an agent.  Sometimes I even wonder if it might be possible for me to make me living as a writer.  Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love my job…but part of me still can’t stop thinking about how nice it would be to be able to make my living as a writer.

So I’ve decided to give it a test run.  Try it out to see what it would be like.  Tomorrow, I have the day off work for Cesar Chavez Day, but instead of sleeping in and lazing around watching movies or something, I’ve decided that I’m going to experience a day in the life of a writer.  Starting when I wake up tomorrow morning, I’m going to spend the day as I’d spend it if I were a full-time, professional, working writer.  For tomorrow, instead of thinking of writing as a hobby, I’m going to think of it as a job, and actually get down to the real business of it.

Writing this way – as a serious job, actually working on it for a full 8-hour day – is not something I’ve done since I finished my master’s thesis (a collection of really awful short stories – it was never my genre, but my adviser talked my out of writing a novel and I stupidly listened).  I don’t anticipate it will be all fun and games, but I’d like to give it a shot and see how it feels.  Maybe I’ll hate it and by noon I’ll be back on the couch watching movies. But hopefully, it will feel good, and it will be extra inspiration to finish the novel and seriously pursue publication so that I’ll have the time and resources to go on to write another one.  And another one after that.

So what about you, dear Internet people?  What’s your dream?  I think we all get so stuck in the goings-on of our everyday lives that would lose sight of the dreams that once mattered to us, but making those dreams a reality is probably not as hard as we might think, if we only work up the nerve to try.  So I challenge you to try it out.  Set aside a single day this month to live a day in the life of your dreams.  What would it be like?  And more importantly, what would it take to make it your life, not just one day, but every day?

Oh, the Things You’ll Chomp!

Ophelia loves to learn. Here she is excited to work on jumping through the hoop. (Photo by Monica Waterston)

Last night, Ophelia “graduated” from her Shy Dog class at the Hollywood Zoom Room last night, and I couldn’t be more proud of her and all the progress she’s made.  Going to her class at the Zoom Room, plus the work we’ve done with our personal trainer, the fantastic Rebecca Setler, has made such a huge difference for her.  When I first got Ophelia, I read that it takes about 3 months for a rescue dog to really settle in and get comfortable enough to let their true personality show.  We’re about 5 months in now, and I feel like I’m only just now starting to see the true (and awesome) Ophelia.

Of course there’s an adjustment phase for any dog, but I think for Ophelia, it’s not just that she’s getting to know me and be more comfortable here at my place, but that she’s getting to know herself, in some ways.  I have no idea what her life was like when she lived in Taiwan, except that she was abused pretty badly.  It makes me so sad to think about the picture of her on the day that her old owner broke her femur so badly it required a metal plate that is still in there to this day.  The image is forever burned in my mind, and it just breaks my heart to think of some horrible person treating such a beautiful, intelligent, and special animal like that.  I feel so lucky every morning when she wakes me up (even if it is an ungodly early hour), or when I get home and she makes turkey noises because she’s so happy to see me, or when she gets excited and chomps.  I can’t comprehend how someone could have such an incredible dog and not feel so honored that they have the best, smartest, sweetest dog, much less beat the shit her.

In any case, now that she’s in a safe and happy home, Ophelia is developing quite the personality.  Here are some of my favorite things about Ophelia:

  1. Ophelia is goofy.  She loves to play, and she even seems to have sort of a sense of humor.  For example, while I was in the process of changing my sheets awhile back, she came in and started to jump up on the bed.  I told her no and she seemed to get this devilish look in her eye.  She kept sneaking around the bed, pretending to jump up from a different side.  She totally knew I didn’t want her to jump up on the bed, and she was totally screwing with me.  It was hilarious.  Of course, being a science librarian, I did a quick lit search to see what I could find in terms of research on animals and humor, but I couldn’t find very much.  Perhaps something a UCLA researcher should look into!
  2. Ophelia is loyal.  While she’s not super into meeting strangers, once you make friends with Ophelia, she will love you and remember you even people that she doesn’t see all that often, like my parents (Turkey Grandpa!) or my Dallas friends.  She’s also very protective of me.  I live in a pretty safe neighborhood, but still, it’s a big city, and you never know – so at first the thought of having to walk her at night, in the dark, for potty breaks, seemed daunting to me.  However, if anyone even remotely looks like they might try something, Ophelia will bark and let them know they’d best keep away.  As a single woman in the city, I feel much safer knowing that my girl would protect me no matter what.
  3. Ophelia is wicked smart.  She’s got intelligent eyes.  I like watching her work stuff out.  This also makes training her a snap.  She loves to learn, and she picks things up so quickly.  Most commands, she’s been able to learn in five minutes or less.  It also helps that she really, really wants to please.  And on the rare occasions when she does something bad (honestly, I can really only think of a couple times she’s done anything bad – once she got into the trash, but that’s about it), she seems so upset with herself at disappointing me that I can hardly bring myself to discipline her much.
  4. Ophelia is athletic.  In spite of the plate in her femur, the dog loves to run, especially if she’s chasing a ball.  I’m sure my neighbors below me absolutely hate me for playing catch in the apartment, but Ophelia has so much fun doing it that I can’t NOT let her play (anyway, they play their music too loud, so I feel we’re even).  She also loves agility.  We’ve had a little agility instruction in our Shy Dog class and are going to continue going to the Zoom Room to learn more and hopefully compete in their tournaments.  Last night, she was getting so into it that she didn’t even really want to stop for treats.  I’d offer her a treat after she did something right, and she’d kind of look at it, like, “okay, yeah, that looks good, but let me run over this ramp first!”  I can’t wait to see how she’ll do when we actually start learning and doing it for real.
  5. Ophelia is a chomper, but of course I knew that from day one.  Everyone who sees this is greatly amused by it, including her trainers.  Last night, our trainer at the Zoom Room was determined to get a video of the chomping for YouTube because she thinks it would go viral and get millions of views.  Unfortunately, Ophelia was a little too amped up about training to really chomp properly, so her YouTube fame will have to wait.

Obviously, I love this dog, and I’m so happy we found each other.  I can’t believe it’s only been about five months since I got her, and I can’t wait to spend lots and lots more time together and find out what other little personality quirks will come out now that she is in a place where she can fully express herself and just be.

Four Things About Ophelia

Ophelia loves playing with her ball.

Yesterday marked four months of awesomeness with Ophelia.  In honor of that, I present four lists of four things about Ophelia.

Four Things Ophelia Likes

  1. Watching the toilet flush – she waits outside the bathroom and then I open the door for her and she rushes in to watch
  2. Hot dogs
  3. Sleeping deep in the closet, behind the laundry hamper
  4. “Burying” her treasures (bones, toys, balls) in my bed

Four Things Ophelia Hates

  1. Pugs
  2. Running and/or screaming children
  3. Fruit
  4. Getting a bath

Four Tricks Ophelia Can Do

  1. Shake
  2. High five
  3. Wave bye-bye
  4. Play dead

Four Favorite Ophelia Moments

  1. She used to hate my friend Ali (cause he’s a guy, and she’s afraid of men), but he took her for an hour-long walk, just the two of them, and now she loves him so much that she sometimes just sits there gazing at him longingly when he comes over.
  2. Ophelia likes to chase squirrels and will even try to climb trees to do so.  I don’t know how she did it, but once she managed to jump/climb about two feet up a tree – but she still didn’t even get close to catching a squirrel.
  3. The first time Ophelia met her cousin Harvey (my brother’s dog), who is a big goofy dog probably about twice her size, they “argued” over turkey and she scared him so much that he wet himself and now whenever he sees her, he turns around and runs the other way.
  4. We were working with the trainer outside at twilight and the trainer and I were talking about something.  We noticed that Ophelia was gazing intently up at the sky, and we both looked up at the same moment and saw that she was staring at the moon.

The Lane-splitter’s Guide to Cars

This is me on my scooter, with the helmet that makes me feel like a ninja. I am very sad to report that the shoes I was wearing in this picture were totally ruined a few months later in my first (and hopefully last) scooter accident (not my fault, and it had nothing to do with lane-splitting).

When people find out I ride a scooter, they usually ask me one of two things depending on where they’re from.  If they’re from anywhere outside of California, they ask if I wear a helmet (the answer to that is yes, of course – I’m very attached to my brain and skull).  If they’re from California, they ask if I lane split, or as most people say, “do that crazy thing where you drive between cars in traffic.”  California happens to be the only US state that I’m aware of where this is legal.  The answer to that question is yes as well.  If it’s done safely, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I know it really annoys some people that I essentially get to cut in line by riding past them while they have to sit there in the absolute misery that is LA traffic.  Having driven around LA in a car too, I can agree that I’ve felt a tinge of jealousy as a motorcycle whizzed by me where I’d been sitting on the freeway in the exact same spot for five minutes. But I figure, if you don’t like traffic, then you’re welcome to get a scooter or motorcycle too, and do the same as me!  (And frankly, cars do a lot of stuff that annoys me too, but I don’t freak out over it like some car drivers appear to do when I pass them on my scooter.)

I do, however, try to be polite about getting in front of people at a red light.  Once I get through a line of stopped cars waiting at the intersection, I either get in front of the car at the front of the line or slide in right behind it.  I usually go in front of it, and nine times out of ten, I’ll be through the intersection before the car driver even gets his or her foot on the gas pedal.  Of course that one time out of ten that the car actually wants to go faster than me, I feel bad about it and try to get out of their way as quickly as possible.

One of the ways that I try to avoid annoying drivers in this way is to try to decide if the car at the front is likely to want to go fast or not.  Here are some general rules I follow*:

  • Porsche: you drive a very expensive car, but you are either 80 years old or drive like you are 80 years old.  I will go in front of you.
  • BMW, Mercedes, or Audi: your car is lovely and you know it.  You will run me down, if necessary, to get past me in order to show how superior your fantastic German engine is to my 150cc Chinese scooter (and I freely admit I agree with you).  I will stay behind you.  However, I will later pass you when your outrage at my audacity has worn off and you go back to driving normally.
  • any sort of unusual or incredibly awesome car (Maserati, Lambo, Aston Martin, etc): it’s 50/50 whether you’ll actually know how to drive the thing properly, but I will stay behind you out of respect to the incredible machine you’ve got there, and also to ogle it.
  • Prius: it takes you approximately one year to go from 0 to 60. I will go in front of you.
  • open-top Hollywood van tour: I have often questioned whether it’s actually legal for you to drive 1 mile per hour down Santa Monica Boulevard in the midst of rush hour traffic.  I will go in front of you at all costs, even if I have to break minor traffic laws to do so.
  • student driver: this one’s 50/50 too.  I figure they ought to learn what it’s like to have motorcycles around them, as they’re definitely going to have to get used to that if they want to drive in LA.  On the other hand, I remember my own driving school experiences and how I had absolutely zero ability to judge the distance between my car and anything else on or near the road, like other cars, the curb, etc.  I prefer not to get hit by cars, so I will usually stay behind.
  • anyone with out-of-state plates: you do probably live in LA, but since there’s the possibility you may be a tourist, I will go in front of you.  I like to imagine this gives tourists stories to tell back home where this kind of thing doesn’t happen.  Even when you know it’s something that goes on here, it can still be kind of startling, I know, for a motorcycle to go whizzing past your window.  For a tourist who doesn’t know about this, I’m sure it must scare the crap out of them at first.
  • any car with loud music and bass: you seem like you will probably drive fast and/or have anger management issues.  I will go stay behind you.
  • pretty much anything else: I will go in front of you.

So there you go.  Don’t be offended if I said I’d get in front of you – my scooter weighs much, much less than your car, so even though its engine isn’t as powerful, the ratio of power to weight is in my favor.  It takes either a pretty good car or a very determined driver to beat me off the line.

* Of course this is all meant in fun – I’m definitely not promoting the practice of stereotyping people.

A Very Chomper Christmas

Ophelia is hoping for lots of balls for Christmas.

As usual, I’m spending Christmas in Dallas with my family.  This year, Ophelia will be joining us for the first time.  Although she’s probably around 3 years old, I imagine this is probably her first real Christmas, given her rather sketchy past.  Because I am a weird person who talks to dogs, I have been explaining to her what I’m doing as I wrap presents, and telling her about our family Christmas traditions.  So far, she seems like she’s on board with this, although sometimes she gets a little grumpy about being around some of the other family dogs.  Of course, the real test will be when everyone comes over for Christmas Eve dinner tonight and Christmas tomorrow.

However, I am very happy to say that Ophelia seems to be getting along with her Auntie Bella (ie my parents’ 2-year-old black Lab).  In the morning when we get up, Bella comes to greet us, and Ophelia wags her tail so hard she can’t walk straight.  Then they go outside and run in the yard together, and sometimes work on “projects,” like chasing squirrels or checking out random things in the yard that appear to be very interesting to them.  Ophelia even tried to get some crazy fun playtime going with Bella, who is herself a champion player, but unfortunately, Bella didn’t really get that Ophelia wanted to play.  Dogs are supposed to speak this universal language, but I don’t think chomping is part of that standard language.  Ophelia means it in fun, but it freaked Bella out, so thus far, no playing has been accomplished.

In any case, I’ve been very happy to see how much more comfortable Ophelia is here compared to when we came for Thanksgiving.  She still likes to spend most of her time in her crate, but she’s been coming out more and more to check out what’s going on with the family.  There are some gifts for her under the Christmas tree, so hopefully she will enjoy them.  So, from me and Ophelia, a very happy Christmas to you and yours!

Teaching a Chomper About Love

This is a pic from Saturday morning cuddle time.  Ophelia is as skeptical about
this activity as she looks in this picture, but she keeps jumping up on the bed
almost every day, so I believe in my heart that she will eventually get the hang of it. 🙂

This is Ophelia, my sweet Formosan Mountain Dog.  I call her The Chomper because, when she gets excited, she does this mouth-snapping thing that I can really only describe as, well, chomping. Anyone who knows the least about me is probably well aware that I am a dog lover.  I adore dogs.  I think they are awesome and I just can’t imagine life without them.

My best friend has said that when he dies, he would like to be reincarnated as a Federer dog.  To be sure, if you get adopted by a Federer, I think it’s fair to say you’ve won the dog lottery.  We know how to treat dogs right.  So when the time was right for me to get a dog, I wanted one that would appreciate the awesomeness of being a Federer dog.  I have extended family members (non-Federers, for the record) who have spent thousands of dollars on purebred dogs.  I guess if that’s your thing, go for it, but for me, I can’t imagine paying that kind of money on a dog when there are many, many dogs that have had a rough time and need some love.  Ophelia is definitely in that category.

My sweet girl is a refugee from Taiwan. She has a plate in her hip because her former owner abused her and broke her femur.  She also has a huge scar under her chin from god knows what abuse, and there is reason to believe she either had puppies or wasn’t spayed within an appropriate time frame.  This girl has been through some terrible things.  I hope I never hear all the details of what she went through, because it just breaks my heart to think of this beautiful, smart, sweet girl being subjected to abuse.

Not surprisingly, after this kind of treatment, my little girl is scarred, both physically and emotionally.  It’s been a tougher road than I expected.  She’s reserved, shy, and not the affectionate creature I’d become used to in a family with mostly Labrador Retrievers (aka the outgoing cheerleaders of the dog world).  There are some nights when she hides under my desk and doesn’t want to come out for anything.

But then there are other times when I can see that she is learning what it means to be loved, which is a feeling that I don’t think she’s probably had much of in her three years.  Although she had an awesome foster mom, she wasn’t the only dog in that house, and I think being with me is the first time Ophelia has ever had the undivided, loving attention of a human.  At first, I don’t think she knew quite what to do with that attention.  Now, I think she’s slowly learning what love is.

Starting recently, every night, I give Ophelia a long massage.  I don’t think she’s had much experience with loving touch.  At first, she seemed bewildered, but each night, I see her get more comfortable with this.  And in some strange way, I get more comfortable with it, too.  I’m not typically an emotional person, but having this girl around here has really changed me.  I feel kind of like a mom now, in a strange way.  🙂  I feel so happy when I come home and my little chomper is wagging her tail and making funny little noises to let me know how pleased she is.  To know that I can bring such joy to a beautiful, smart dog who had previously known nothing but violence and fear – well, I can’t think of anything better than that!  If any dog in LA was going to win the Federer dog lottery, I can’t think of one more deserving than my sweet Ophelia.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

I took this picture on the bus in Denver when I was there for a conference.
I’m not sure why, but the steps in the title made me think of these girls with their
matching shoes.  For the record, they were wearing matching shirts, too,
but it was too difficult to take that picture surreptitiously.

The Lao-Tzu quote in my title is perhaps trite, but it’s true.  I have a lot of ideas, but a lot of them never really make it into reality.  I have good intentions, but translating that to the real world is often impractical or just more time-consuming than this working, single girl can commit to.  So it is with great pleasure that I can report back that I have been sticking to my challenge thus far.  Not only that, I am loving it.

Now, I admittedly got a slow start, although through no fault of my own.  I played host to some unexpected company this weekend, and I had to invoke exception number five: watching TV in a social setting is permitted. In other words, I can watch if I get invited to go to a movie, have a friend over and he or she would like to watch TV, or go to someone else’s house and he or she suggests we watch TV.  In those situations, I wouldn’t be reading a book anyway (I think the person I’m with might find that a bit rude).  It only makes sense to cut the TV when reading is the alternative activity.

So it really wasn’t until yesterday that I got a chance to begin my challenge.  As it happened, I was home sick yesterday, so it was both an opportunity and a test.  Sure, I wasn’t feeling so great, obviously, and there was my TV and my Netflix account and my DVD collection and whatnot, all right there and within easy reach.  However, to my credit, I did not give in.

Instead, I picked up the book I was reading at the time – The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience – and ended up finishing it before too long (I’ll report back on this later).  I did the crossword I still had left from Sunday’s paper.  Then I started another book I have checked out from the library – What a Blessing She Had Chloroform: The Medical and Social Response to the Pain of Childbirth from 1800 to the Present.  I got a little less than halfway through.  I kept thinking to myself, oh man, can I do it?  Can I finish this whole book today?  Ultimately I got too tired and realized I’d have to call it a night, but I felt the day had gone well.  I’d stuck to my plan.

As I was compulsively adding more books to my list of the books I want to check out, it occurred to me that I could probably get through them all in a not-unreasonable amount of time if I were to continue this challenge even after I finish all the books I have in my house.  I’ll never run out of books I want to read – I’m a librarian and a knowledge junkie.  There are probably a few movies I want to see now and then, a show I’d like to follow, but on the whole, I don’t have much use for TV.  It’s obviously very premature to say this, but maybe I’ll make this a permanent thing.  At the very least, I would like to commit to not wasting time on TV anymore, such as by watching stuff I’ve already seen.  Sorry, Arrested Development, but I’m looking at you, among others.  It’s time I spend a little more of my energy on something I consider actually worthwhile.

So, because some of you have asked, I’ve compiled a list of the books that are on my to-read list.  Again, these are the books that I have here in my home that I haven’t read yet.  There are a couple that I didn’t manage to put on there because I couldn’t find the link or I skimmed over them on the shelf by accident.  As it stands, there are now 45 on the list, but I think there are at least 5 more I don’t have on here.  So it’s a somewhat daunting task, but one I’m up for.

Fun fact: I didn’t put it on this list, because I’m not sure if I’m up for it, but one of the books I have in my collection that I haven’t read yet is the complete, unabridged edition of Les Miserables.  At least I’m not totally insane, and I got the English translation as opposed to the original French.  Even so, that puppy runs 1,222 pages.  And let me tell you, from what I’ve read so far, some of those pages include long, pointless, minute details about extremely minor characters.  When I started reading it the first time, I think I got about 80 pages in and all I’d read so far were details of the life of the priest who helps Jean Valjean the first time around.  If you know anything about the story, you will know that the childhood of this extremely minor character could not be less relevant to the plot on the whole.  So, what I’m trying to say here is, if I somehow manage to finish this tome in addition to the other 50-some odd books on my list, I think I deserve a cookie, at the very least. 🙂

Books Before TV: The Librarian’s Challenge

I had an interesting idea this evening. This probably will not come as a surprise to anyone, but I own tons of books I haven’t read yet.  Beyond the backlog of books I myself own, I also have four already checked out from the library and a list of 70 items that I intend to check out when I have a chance. Clearly, I’ve got a lot of reading to do, yet over and over again, I waste what free time I have on doing stupid things, like watching a bunch of so-so at best movies and TV shows.

The idea is simple: no more TV-watching until I finish every book in this house.

This is just part of my library, to give you a sense of the scale of what we’re talking
about here.  I don’t know how many books this is or how many of them are unread,
but I will count tomorrow and report back.

Here are the stipulations:

  1. This includes books I have not read that are  in the house as of this moment (and the books in my office that I checked out and haven’t brought home yet).  I wouldn’t be buying more books right now anyway, since Christmas is almost here, but if I am given books, they do not count in this challenge. Also, this only includes actual, physical books, not e-books or articles on my iPad.
  2. Both fiction and non-fiction count, but not books one would not normally read cover-to-cover, like a cookbook, dictionary, knitting pattern book, or the like.
  3. The sad fact is that there are some books on my shelf that I probably don’t want to read.  They sounded good at the time, but then I found I couldn’t get into them, so they went back on the shelf in hopes that I would enjoy them more at some later date.  Well, hopefully that date is now, because if not, those suckers are getting donated.  Each book will get two tries.  If I start a book and I’m really not able to get into it, it moves to the back of the line.  After I finish everything else, I try it again.  If I still don’t like it, it gets donated.
  4. There will be no TV-watching of any kind, including movies, TV shows, documentaries, or the like.  Short internet clips, like  Youtube videos under five minutes long or videos of my friends’ adorable children, are permitted.  Also, having the iTunes visualizer on the TV while I’m listening to music and doing the Sunday crossword or cooking is permitted.
  5. Watching TV in a social setting is permitted. In other words, I can watch if I get invited to go to a movie, have a friend over and he or she would like to watch TV, or go to someone else’s house and he or she suggests we watch TV.  In those situations, I wouldn’t be reading a book anyway (I think the person I’m with might find that a bit rude).  It only makes sense to cut the TV when reading is the alternative activity.
  6. There’s no time limit or deadline on this – I continue until I either finish or donate every unread book on my shelf (and return the ones checked out from the library) or I declare defeat, possibly risking having my Awesome Librarian badge revoked.
  7. To be clear, I’m still allowed to do other leisure activities – it doesn’t have to be all reading all the time.  I’m just not allowed to watch TV.

So that’s the challenge.  I was thinking I’d wait till after the holidays and consider this my New Year’s resolution, but you know, I’m thinking why wait?  Why waste another day boring myself with pointless TV?  Starting tomorrow, no more TV for me.

So how about you?  I imagine at least some of you reading this have a similar situation.  It may not be books and TV, but I challenge you to think about what you’d like to get around to doing and what you’ve been wasting your time on instead.  Set a finite goal and commit to avoid wasting time on the other thing.  Come on, you know you want to play along with me!  If you’re doing it, tell me about it in the comments!

By the way, in case you’re curious about my list of books to checkout, it’s saved as an Amazon Wishlist.  To be clear, I don’t want to actually own any of these – just check them out from the library.  So if you are a person who happens to be shopping for me and you stumble upon this, that’s very nice of you, but I don’t need to own these 🙂  It’s almost all non-fiction, but there’s a little fiction toward the end.

Life with Ophelia

This is my dog, Ophelia the Formosan Mountain Dog.  We’ve lived together for a little less than a month now, and we’re still getting to know each other.  I love her and think she’s awesome, but I think she’s still trying to figure out if I’m as crazy as I seem or if I’m cool.  I think she’s learning toward thinking I’m cool.

Here are some fun things Ophelia does.

  • When we go on a short walk, she can tell when I’m ready to head home, and she suddenly starts getting very interested in smelling any little thing.  It’s very obvious that she’s trying to drag it out!  I’ll be turning around to head back, and she’s like, “WAIT!  MOM!  I’ve got to smell this!” and then act obsessed with a weed.
  • Once when we were walking through the park, she tried to steal a kid’s tennis ball.  He’d left it sitting there, and his mom was yelling at him, “that dog is going to steal your ball.  You can’t leave your stuff like that.  Look, that dog is taking your ball.”  Of course, I wasn’t actually letting her take the ball, but with the mom going on and on like that, the kid started crying, which upset Ophelia, so we got out of there ASAP.  Hopefully that child learned the lesson that you can’t leave stuff unattended in the middle of LA.
  • Ophelia is a champion chicken bone spotter.  I think she should become a forensic dog or something.  One night, she stole a piece of chicken from a homeless guy who was asleep on the sidewalk.  I was mortified, and after the walk, I went back to take the guy some money, but he was gone.  The next day, I saw the chicken remains and was glad to see it had mostly been bone and it had probably been laying on the sidewalk because he’d discarded it.
  • Ophelia is a chomper.  When she gets excited, she does this weird thing with her mouth that I can only describe as chomping.  This might freak out some people who would think that she’s trying to bite them, but it’s actually a very good sign if she chomps at you, as it means she thinks you’re awesome and would like to play with you.  Chompity-chomp-chomp.