February 27, 2011

Puppy Love

Fiona recently went into heat for the first time (Cue music: I am Woman), so it was time to get her spayed.  The LAST thing I want to deal with is a litter of puppies who take after their sassy mama!  Before I could make her an appointment, we started noticing new things about her.  First, her, um... shall we say, doggy breastesses, were much bigger than I remembered (not that I actively check them out on a regular basis!).

In addition, her mood and demeanor changed in not-so-subtle ways.  All of a sudden, she was actually...  NICE, and more cuddly than she'd ever been before (read: she would actually deign to lick your nose if you tried to get her to snuggle on your lap - I'm told that's what lap dogs do - before turning up her little black nose at you and hightailing it on to something better, like digging under the couch for imaginary lint).

I did a little internet searching and came away with the sinking feeling that she might already be pregnant. Savannah and Tom immediately lapsed into cries of "Awww... they'll be so cute!!" but all I could picture were bizarre Shih Tzu/Cavalier/Yellow lab couplings, as the only dog that I'd seen loitering hopefully in the yard to see his love was a goofy but lovable yellow lab that regularly makes the rounds in our neighborhood.  Upon further studies with my buddy Google, I learned that large puppies in a small dog almost always create major medical problems.

Finally, even though Savannah laughed at my suggestion for a new made-for-MTV reality show, "Six Months and Pregnant," I learned how unhealthy it is for dogs under 2 years old to give birth.  I am normally anti-abortion, but this seemed like a no-brainer to me.  I called the vet and made an appointment for a week later, then gently broke the news to Tom.  Although not terribly happy, he eventually accepted the inevitable.

A few days before Fiona's appointment, Tom started worrying more and more.

"Are you sure she's going to be okay?" he anxiously asked.

"She'll be fine," I assured.

Later that same night he asked again, concern and worry leaking through his tough-guy demeanor.

"What are they going to do to her?"
"Where will they have to cut?"
"How sore is she going to be?"
"How long will it take her to recover?"

And my very favorite, asked often over the next few days: "Does she have to?!"

The day of the appointment finally arrived, and he was nearly beside himself with worry.  As I wrestled Fiona to get the leash on her, Tom scooped her into his arms, gently petting her while cooing sweet-nothings in her floppy ears.

Enough was enough!

"Geez!" I said, jokingly.

"You weren't near this concerned about my recuperation when I went in for my hysterectomy a few years ago.  I don't recall any anxious questioning, much less any petting or cooing!"

I never thought I'd be battling a seven pound, doe-eyed, standoffish bundle of ebony for my husband's affections!

It turned out that she wasn't actually pregnant, which made us all feel better, and now I'll never have to worry about it.

Both Fiona and Tom are doing fine... :o)

February 1, 2011

Modern AND Historical Fiction in One Great Book

I recently received another free book from the Blogging for Books program that I recently joined through Multnomah Press.

Lady in Waiting, written by author Susan Meissner, is the story of two Janes.

The first, Jane Lindsey, is an antiques dealer living in Manhattan.  She and her husband Brad have been comfortably married for 22 years, and they have a son who has just left for college.  As Jane settles into life as an empty-nester, her world suddenly falls apart when Brad leaves her and moves away, leaving her to deal with the shock of his leaving and trying to deal with her overbearing mother.  In the midst of these trials, she receives a new shipment of antiques from England.  Buried deep in the box she discovers an old ring that has been trapped in the spine of an ancient book.  Inside the ring she finds the name Jane delicately engraved.

From here the story begins its journey with the Lady Jane Grey, a young aristocrat from 16th century England.  This portion of the story is narrated by her dressmaker, Lucy, and details the story of her life with the joys and sorrows that came with being part of the aristocracy.  The ring, of course, belongs to her.

This story seamlessly weaves back and forth between the 16th and 21st centuries, the ring symbolically gliding through both strands. Although the story is set in two vastly different times and places, both Janes find themselves living and dealing with circumstances that seem to be beyond their control, but the emotions and heartaches and even the joys, are as old as time.  But are they really out of their control?

In each section of this book I found myself not wanting to leave that particular strand.  I fought not to skip ahead to the next section to see what happened.  However, as soon as I'd start, I was instantly captured again as the story moved to the other century.  Beautifully written, the story is filled with rich, wonderful details from history to make Lady Jane Grey come alive.  

I have always been a fan of historical fiction, and I was intrigued by the concept of having the old with the new.  This book definitely did not disappoint!  If anything, contrasting our current world with the old only made each story stronger, showing the timelessness of what each woman was going through.

This was the first book by Susan Meissner that I have read, but it definitely won't be the last!

Please stop by the Blogging for Books website and leave me a comment!