Monday, July 14, 2008

On Dog Years, Dog Fish Head, and a Dog's Chest

On one hand, this was a terrific weekend, going down to Escondido for my father-in-law's 70th birthday party. A wonderful time, with him surrounded by his neighbors, family, and friends, hosting them to a terrific smoke-a-cue of pulled pork and brisket and chicken and 3 kegs (Apline Pale Ale, Alpine Mandarin, and Green Flash Hop Head Red). He threw quite a party.

On the other hand, my fantasy team has been nose-diving, even as the Mets get better, which, given I "own" Wright, Reyes, and Santana, you'd think would be good for me. (Note to Mike: since I own Reyes, I would have to give him away if you married him. I would, proudly). Alas, no one on my team pitches well right now. So I've dropped for 3rd to 4th, with 5th place closing in. The top 4 teams go to the play-offs. I have to get cracking, but when that means deciding whether it's worth rolling the dice on a mostly done Randy "Ugly Man" Johnson, you know it's going to be a long second half.

On the other hand, there was a terrific dinner the night prior to the party at Stone World Bistro and Gardens, which just gets better and better, finally living up to the brilliant beer. The site has always been amazing, an indoor-outdoor space with a stream through the indoor part, fire pits outside, the edge-of-the-dessert night air of Escondido keeping it all lovely. The food now matches the scenery, especially the Pancetta and Clams with clams sustainably farmed from Carlsbad Aquafarms. So tasty these briny little devils are, on their own and in the tomato-based but not too rich sauce (with grilled tomato chunks for extra tomato depth) that's laced with plenty of pancetta chunks, giving that pork bonus that lifts so many meals. Of course the beer was great, too, for the Bistro not only carries a wide range of Stone brews but another 24 taps of the best of the craft movement. This night I got to have the just released 12th Anniversary Stone Ale, which, due to the hops shortage, isn't hopping mad this year. Nope, it's a Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. And I'd like to have it for breakfast for the next few months. The chocolate is pronounced and ever-changing, sweet on the nose and first sip, growing bitter like a good real chocolate on the finish that lasts and holds. A lovely beer (and I've got a growler in my fridge, too!). Then I had Dog Fish Head's Palo Santo Marron, aged in a special Paragayuan wood (guess its name?) that leaves it full of mouth-bursting vanillas and roasty malts. A very singular, very strong beer. I finished with an old fave, Port Brewing's Hop 15, as a double IPA washes all other sins away.

On the last hand, well, if you've been counting you know I'm up to four, but it was a sort of Shiva kind of weekend, lots of ups and downs and you never know if it's the creator or destroyer guiding things. Mookie got a weird infection right behind his weird fat bump (he has this lipoma that isn't cancerous) on his chest. The lump ended up with fluid in it one time before and it wasn't anything major, so when it changed appearnace at first we just wanted to wait to get him back to his vet here in Santa Barbara who knows his whole complicated medical history. But by Sunday he looked bad, the bump looked worse, and we were all at the emergency vet. Much later in the day he has his procedure and now has a mass of sutures and a mess on his chest waiting to heal. It leaves him looking like this:

Well, Blogger sucks and won't let me post the picture, which would have broken the internets' collective greyhound-loving heart. Trust me.

So, for a bit posts might be odd, late, not at all. There's plenty of work to be done, a tthe real job, the half job, and the freelance job, and a sick dog to tend to (oh, the key upshot is he should be fine, but you hate messing with the health of a 10 year old greyhound). But I'll keep you posted.

If Blogger lets me.



Blogger Smitty said...

I wish I lived in California.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

I'm glad to hear Mookie is okay. I hope he heals quickly.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

Mookie is one lucky dog.
After all that beer, I don't think I would have noticed anything on my blurry, I'm mean FURRY, furry dogs... Happy Birthday, Larry!

11:07 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Glad to hear Mookie is doing well. Those mysterious greyhound bumps and lumps are too stressful.

6:31 AM  

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