Shopping List

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Here ya go, guys, My Dad’s doing stupid posts again.

Courtesy of our favorite Malt, here are a few tasty options to spice up your gustatory adventures.

 

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Always get the salted version. Plain squid guts are rather bland.
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Yeah, I thought it was suspicious, too.
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Truna is expensive. Arhhhhhh.
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They’d cost more if they were truna.

Okay, maybe the marketing has failed to sway you towards a seafood snack. Before we leave, perhaps you’d like to use the restroom. Fine, but follow the instructions.

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I wonder how often they have had folks try the other position.

So, where do you find this kind of stuff? Of course.

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Lunch in Tokyo

I could easily write a lot of stories extolling the pleasures of a trip to Japan. The culture, scenery, history, people and all that malarkey but really, come on, none of you actually expect such literary aspirations from this silly dog blog.

Burger
Burger with squid ink bun from Burger King Japan. (Not my photo.)

Nah, you’re here for the weird stuff and when you talk about Japan, there’s no shortage of things strange and wonderful. Just look at the AJF. Oh wait, that didn’t come out quite right.

Japan offers it all: Maid Cafes or love hotels, fancy toilets or “crying rooms” which you can rent by the hour for an uninterrupted cry, tissues included. I’m not joking about this stuff. But let’s keep to tamer fare…

Let’s talk food! Or, more precisely, the lunch menu we encountered on our recent trip.

Chicken & Joy
The chow halls on the Ginza are all white table cloth establishments. It’s certainly no place for an Itchy Butt franchise.

Japanese menus are probably works of art when presented in the native tongue but when translated into English, things go awry.

One wonders who does these abominable translations and what they might have been smoking at the time.

Case in point, the fine Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant Torattoria Romanza Ginza.  OK, the first part of the name is written as it is pronounced in Japan so we can easily forgive the spelling “Torattoria” instead of “Trattoria.”

 

Now, mind you, this is a restaurant on the Ginza, a frou-frou shopping street that rivals the Avenue Montaigne in Paris, Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, London’s Bond Street, Rodeo Drive in LA or Fifth Avenue, New York.

 

Check out the appetizers page of the menu:

Romanza 1

I don’t know where to start with this utter train wreck of a menu.

The “dish of brag” is enticing, especially the “temporary leather mousse brulee.” Be thankful it’s temporary.

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Ewwwwww…

Not to be missed is the “Sweet garlic and risotto of fortune wrapped in the scent of the island”.

But my favorite selection is the “Lipieno of small rhinoceros with Japanese-style rash.”

Delectable…it’s the rash that pulls out the true flavor of the rhino, doncha know!

No doubt you all have been hankering for some really good  “cow peeled carpaccio” or some tasty “chicken boned confections.”

Maybe we should turn our attention to the second page of the menu:

Romanza 2

It’s the sheer inconsistency of the translation that drives me crazy. Line 1 is a “Pasta Lunch.” Great, no problem. But then, on the very next line we have “Pizza Ranch” which is not a farm in Italy. Nope, it’s “Pizza Lunch” but with a Japanese accent (although purists will say it should be “Pizza Runch.”) The random capitalization is also conducive to good digestion.

And somebody explain to me why, IN JAPAN, a bowl of rice is only available in limited quantities and why said bowl costs so much more on weekends.

Ai yai yai. Maybe the final menu page will be redeeming:

Romanza 3

I give up. I just give up. I suppose I’ll have to call the sommelier to recommend an appropriate accompaniment to my lipieno of small rhinoceros.

In closing, and for absolutely no reason whatsoever except this is a silly dog blog, here is the oldest photo in existence of Max. Utah, 2007.

More about our favorite Malt coming soon.

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Even then he wasn’t 100% sure he should trust us not to abandon him and go eat lunch in Tokyo.

 

 

Max’s Upcoming Xmas in Jail

NOTE: The following post was written (duh, obviously) a long time ago but was never posted. I thought I’d toss this in just in case anybody still follows Max’s adventures.

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The Malt will be spending Xmas in jail.

Meanwhile, the Alpha Japanese Female (AJF) and I will be in Tokyo, supping on fine sushi, nibbling seasonal Japanese delicacies and quaffing decent sake.

Dog GIF Really

As you might imagine, Max thinks he is getting the short end of the fetching stick.

Not that he will suffer; his accommodations will be at his Vet’s office where he’ll get tons of affection and attention.

That’s as it should be. His medical treatments over the past months have provided for a very prosperous year. He’s Santa Dog, the gift that keeps giving.

Here’s a quick doggie update for the unfortunate three of you who actually read this silly blog and don’t just skim the photos:

After a tough summer and autumn, the Pupski’s paws finally healed. Wow, was that an ordeal, more for him than us but along the way we all took a turn in the Pit ‘O Misery – dilly dilly.

The new Vet was brilliant in his diagnosis and treatment. Max was weaned from the debilitating steroids the former Vet used in lieu of discovering and addressing the real problem of demodex mites.

The new medicines killed all the little mite bastards and once their small, stinking, fecal-filled and rotted corpses (let me know if I’m getting too graphic) were flushed from his hair follicles, the Malt recovered slowly but surely.

Along with the elimination of the mites came a big increase in Max’s energy. Without those nasty drugs he has lost quite a bit of weight and is more active, playful and just generally more youthful than before.

Best of all is that his new anti-itchy medicine (Cytopoint injections) has worked spectacularly well at making him comfortable despite his allergies.

But then arose a new crisis. The Vet concluded that Max had several teeth that needed to be removed. Some of the problem toofers were likely congenital issues but some were due to cracked teeth which allowed small abscesses to form at the root level.

In full disclosure, some of Floofer’s dental problems were probably due to negligence on our part. We were rightfully scolded for not being the most diligent of dog tooth brushers. Although his teeth looked white there was evidence of periodontal disease which might have been avoided had we done a better job as owners.

The Fluff did not seem to be in pain but we learned that doggers will often mask mouth problems because showing any distress in that area would make them appear weak in the eyes of the pack, a bad thing back in the day.

Hippie Dog
Righteous drugs, man.

So our favorite white dog just underwent six extractions. As I write this he is on the floor under my desk, eyes crossed, groovin’ on the fine pharmaceuticals prescribed to him.

His prognosis is excellent and we hope that this resolves the last of Max’s outstanding health problems.

All told, this year we shelled out about $3k on the Pupperoni’s medical expenses.

Even as I write that it seems hard to believe and it stings more knowing a fair sum of that total came from chasing treatments that never had a chance of working.

Thanks a whole bunch Doctor I-Hope-You-Get-Demodex-Mites-in-Your-Armpits.

OK, so I’m a little bitter.

Some folks think we’re crazy to have laid out so much cash – what? on an animal! – but we don’t regret it in the least. He’s a family member.

We love the little dog (who we now call “Gummy”) and, fortunately, we are in a position that we can take care of him and, hey, those kids don’t need an inheritance anyway.

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Sorry kids, we spent it all on the dog.

We tried to tell Max how lucky he is but he keeps bringing up the Tokyo trip and moaning about being “abandoned” over Christmas.

Oh yeah, the Tokyo trip. Sorry, I digressed a bit.

It all started when a family squabble broke out about where to gather for Christmas dinner. Thanksgiving was a contested event but peace finally broke out. We weren’t thrilled at the idea of another bicker fest.

From our perspective, the only certainty was that the Big Feed would not be at our house – I mean, a major advantage of retired living is to freeload off the kids, amirite?

We envisioned sitting peacefully at one of the Chateau de la Spawn playing with the grandchildren, sipping wine, getting tipsy and nodding off during TV sports shows only to be gently woken in time for a fine dining experience.

In return, we promised to smile absent-mindedly from time to time, silently pass gas and forget the in-laws’ names like sweet old people are supposed to do during holiday gatherings.

When it appeared that no consensus was forming on a Christmas venue and the debate was devolving into an internicine battle of snipes, the AJF and I decided we’d simply eschew the tussle and, instead, treat ourselves to a jaunt to Japan. Take it from me, Christmas is a truly magical time of year in Tokyo.

Selfish? Of course. Neener, neener, neener. The kids will manage fine. We’ll dote on the grands at New Years and, besides, we’ll be leaving everyone some nice presents for Christmas morning. If we can’t earn their affection, we’ll buy it.

Sadly, we can not take Mr. Maxwell the Maltese along with us even though he would be an improvement over many of the typical passengers on that 12 hour flight. For one, his legs are too short to kick the seat back.

Anyway, he’s quite miffed about being boarded and it’s going to take a lot of apologies to regain his good graces when we return.

 

Maybe we’ll bring Gummy a nice souvenir and some soft Japanese treats.

Stinx

The saga of the paws has yet to resolve. It has become Max’s version of the Never Ending Story.

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Come to think of it, Falcor from the Never Ending Story does look a bit like a Maltese. A Maltese that drinks too much.

The so-called new and improved treatment plan made little difference. Max’s feet are still inflamed and sensitive although somewhat less so than before.

We are losing confidence in Max’s veterinarian. That’s largely because we sense him shying away from possibly admitting that he just doesn’t know what the problem is.

keep-calm-and-i-don-t-know-38.pngAt our visit last week, after almost three weeks of different therapies focusing on bacterial infection as the likely culprit, the Vet proposed a time consuming and expensive new approach targeted at resolving a fungal infection. Say what?

If, at the outset, he wasn’t sure of the type of infection, shouldn’t there have been some skin test or scrapings or other diagnostics done before subjecting the Malt to bound feet, discomforts and all those antibiotics?

We are ignorant in these matters and it’s obviously presumptuous for us to make a judgment about the Vet’s competency. But the AJF is a mighty shrewd reader of people and her antenna (along with her hackles) have been raised.

Maybe it’s her long experience in grocery stores that lets her spot pure baloney at a glance. On the other hand, maybe it’s her long experience with me, but I digress.

Max Cone
Stinx is refusing to show his paws.

We elected to reject the fungus-among-us approach which would have mandated another 10 days of wrapped paws for the Fluffbutt. At this point we are going to focus on keeping his feet scrupulously clean, dry and protected whilst we secure a second opinion.

Have you guys had a similar experience with losing confidence in your pup’s Vet?

The first thing we did after returning from the Vet was give “Stinx” a bath. That’s what we started calling Max since his paw treatments have precluded us bathing him for some time.

See, when Maltese aren’t bathed regularly they start to smell like Fritos corn chips. Exactly like Fritos. That’s not bad provided you don’t have a ferocious case of the munchies.

After awhile, however, the Fritos fragrance starts to go rancid and Malts become smelly little doggos. Stinx had gotten to that point and beyond.

Shampoo 2
I’ve been known to drink wine that costs less per ounce than the Malt’s shampoo. A whole lot less. A whole, whole lot less.

Of course Stinx has his own special medicated shampoo. We get his shampoo through Amazon at about $2/ounce. It has chlorhexidine, climbazole, and phytophingosine whatever the hell those are.

Based on cost they are likely found on store shelves next to gold, frankincense and myrrh, whatever the hell that is.

On the other hand, my personal stand-by comes from WalMart at 23 cents/ounce. It has soap and some smell-good stuff. The label translates the selling features – “cleans and refreshes!” – into French so you know this is high quality product.

What you don’t know is just how tempted I’ve been to give Stinx a good scrub with a little Irish Spring.

Faith and begorrah, pup. shamrock-5

Max Visits a Dog Friendly Town

Folks have been living in the Cayucos area since about 11,000 BC which is approximately the last time the AJF admitted I was right during any argument.

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A great stop-off point along the coast between Southern and Northern California.

The early inhabitants were Chumash Indians. They were there for the fish, abalone and other critters in the lush kelp beds just offshore.

The Spanish explorers visited Cayucos in the mid-1700s and it became part of a Spanish land grant in the following century.

But it was a New England sailing captain who put the town on modern maps when he sailed around the Horn and landed there in 1867.

Captain James Cass quickly noted that Cayucos (the name comes from the Chumash language meaning kayak or canoe) was well-suited for growing fruit, dairying, berries, farming, alfalfa and beans and the topology of the area made it a good shipping port for cheese, hides, beef and fresh water.

But that’s not why the Malt was interested in visiting Cayucos. Nope, there was a more important reason. You see, among its many other delightful attributes Cayucos also boasts of being the most dog friendly town on the California coast.

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Downtown Cayucos. Guess what? I found a saloon!

It starts with a beach that is not only dog accessible but which is leash-free its entire length.

Then there are the many dog friendly motels, most of which have retained a throwback ambiance that resonates of the Old West or at least the 1960s.

Restaurants that allow dogs?

No…In Cayucos, the restaurants welcome dogs and compete for their trade with canine menus.

The businesses up and down the short main drag set out water bowls on the sidewalks and allow pups to come in and browse.

Maybe that’s why that great travel tome Budget Travel dubbed Cayucos, “the coolest small town in America.”

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The Sea Shanty has pretty good fish and chowder and welcomes dogs on the outside decks and patios.

As you might expect, there are lots of dogs in Cayucos.

His Furriness visited Cayucos last month while we were driving the coast route north, ultimately to visit family in Sacramento. We planned the overnighter at Cayucos to break up the long drive and personally sample the dog friendly atmosphere.

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The little seaside town of Cayucos and the location of the Cayucos Motel not to be confused with the Georges V. The pier, originally built in the late 1800s,  is the hub of town activities.

Our lodgings were at the Cayucos Motel, a seven room facility straight out of a Gidget movie. Quick poll: who was the better Gidget? Sandra Dee or Sally Fields?

Vote now.

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The correct answer is, of course, Sandra Dee. I heard Sally felt so inadequate as Gidget that she ran away and joined a flying Nunnery.

The color scheme at the Cayucos Motel is turquoise and lots of it.

The owner adores dogs and her tiny office is festooned with dog posters, dog knick-knacks, and signs detailing the many reasons why dogs are better motel guests than humans.

(#3 They don’t smoke in bed.”)

When making reservations, which are mandatory as the place is always full, the desk asks your dog’s name and then uses that info to make a personalized water bowl chock full of toys and treats.

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Max’s welcoming gift. He ignored the giraffe, we gave away the ball but he was very grateful for the treats and water dish. Note turquoise dresser.

No check-in at the Cayucos Motel is complete without a lot of fussing over the four-legger, which Max absolutely loved.

Max’s digs were about 25 steps away from a wide sandy beach that stretched a mile or two in either direction.

The beach had a fair amount of flotsam and/or jetsam washed ashore including body parts of various sea creatures which were irresistible to the Malt.

The kelp floats, dead crabs and mystery sea corpses were enticing too and demanded an energetic roll-over and wallow. We knew we were in trouble when we first spotted an odoriferous, unidentifiable carcass in the distance.

  • Command: “Max, stay away from that!”
  • Warning: “Max, you better not get near that!”
  • Entreaty: “Come on, Max, don’t you dare roll in that!”
  • Discovery: “Oh jeezumcrow that stinks. What the hell is that thing?”
  • Acceptance: “Now what do we do with him?”
  • Bargaining: “He’s your dog, AJF. No, he’s not.”
  • Resolution: “Fine, I’ll take care of him.”

Suffice to say the Malt was disgusting. Fortunately, the motel had an outside pet shower and bath. I could swear he had a huge Maltese smile on his repellent little face the whole time we were scrubbing and scrubbing.

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Cayucos Beach where smelly dead sea creatures attract dogs and convince them to act disgusting.

After that long beach walk and the horror of the Malt’s beach roll, we sat on the motel’s lawn, sipped a couple of canned adult beverages and watched the sunset whilst the newly clean Fuzzbutt explored the landscaping and greeted other motel guests.

Then, it was off to dinner for all three of us.

California law restricts pets to outside eating areas but most of the restaurants in town have large patios, some with ocean views.

When we arrived, Max was given a bowl of water and a pad to sit on under the table. With an infrared propane heater nearby, the outside seating was very comfy. Fish dinner for three!

Later we strolled around the little town, stopped by the cookie store, and then retired expecting to hear barking since all seven motel rooms had at least one dog but we were surprised that the night was silent. Perhaps all the Furballs were exhausted from their beach romps.

The next morning we were up early and departed Cayucos wishing we could have had more time there and promising a return.

Max agreed wholeheartedly. Especially the part about rolling around in the sand and fish guts.

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Let’s do it again.

The Dog from Rancho Cucaracha

Dog on Hearth
Aloha…uh, I mean…Hello and Buenos Dias

Okay, it’s not really called Rancho Cucaracha.

That’s just a name the AJF (Alpha Japanese Female) made up. Max’s new home is really a town called Rancho Cucamonga which, come to think of it, is equally silly sounding.

“Rancho,” as it is called colloquially, is in Southern California, about 60 miles east of the Los Angeles Airport. No ocean views until the next big earthquake. It sits at the base of Mount San Antonio which everybody calls Mount Baldy. At 10,064 feet, Baldy is the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County, California.

Of late, some folks have taken to calling me Mount Baldy but without the Mount part, but I digress.

If you are of a certain age (and I know which ones of you are) you’ll remember Jack Benny who, from January 1945, had a running gag on his radio program in which Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, pretended to be a station agent who announced repeatedly, “Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga,” drawing out the name of Cuc…amonga longer and longer each time. That schtick is largely the reason there is a Jack Benny Street in Rancho Cucamonga and a bronze statute of the old time comedian is at the local playhouse.

The 1948 cartoon classic Daffy Duck Slept Here also had the wise- cracking, slobberin’  poultry saying the famous Jack Benny lines.  Part of the joke, for the Los Angeles audience, was that no such train route existed, although all three cities do exist.

If you were a 60s freak (and I know which ones of you are) you’ll be pleased to hear that Frank Zappa  did some of his best stuff here in Rancho Cucamonga. But there is no Zappa Street as far as I know.

And who, besides all of you, could forget Jan and Dean’s immortal 1964 paean to senior ladies and their muscle cars, “The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association.” Well, here ya go…and don’t miss the final tender lyrics: “Go granny, go granny, go granny go!”

 

Anyway, that’s enough Cucamonga lore for now. Rancho Cucamonga is indeed a funny sounding name for a town but Max calls it “home.” Let me catch you up a bit on the Malt…

Dog on Kitchen Mat
He likes his new home. Except the hardwood floors provide little traction for his mighty paws.

Our move from Hawaii in late November last year went rather smoothly, a result of superb planning and execution on my part sheer dumb luck. We were able to spend the holidays with family which was a delight for all. Initially, we rented a condo so we would have time to explore our new environs and decide where to settle. We expected it would take a while.

However,  we quickly found a little house that met our requirements, made an offer and were new home owners by December 29th.

Max had no problems with the transition from his beloved islands. He flew from Honolulu on Aloha Air Cargo and was delivered to us at midnight on our arrival date, his little cage having been carried across the airline warehouse on the 6-foot prongs of a huge forklift.  Later, he received so many surreptitious treats from everyone on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Years that we considered renting that forklift to move His Furriness around.

Dog on Bed
The struggle is real but he tries to cope.

Max settled into his new abode immediately. It’s a modest place but it’s almost 3x the size of our Hawaii condo and…drum roll…it has a fenced backyard and lawn which, to our knowledge, is virgin territory with respect to canine poop. It’s the kind of place a Malt can roll on his back and return covered with green stains and smelling only of grass.

Very close by our home is Central Park which is a lovely spot where we brazenly flaunt the local dog ordinances and let Max run free for as long as he likes which is usually about three minutes.

At Central Park
Max’s other backyard, Central Park with Mount Tom, er, Baldy in the background.

Of course, yours truly got himself a big old BBQ right off the bat and we built a patio and cover so we can enjoy the maximum time outside which is a carry over from our Hawaii days. We have a hot tub, too, that enables us to fully immerse (snorf, snorf) ourselves in the sybaritic California lifestyle, sans Speedo, and thereby assault our new neighbors’ eyeballs.

The Furface found a new veterinarian who was successful in prescribing a new medicine that has made a huge improvement in mitigating the itchies/scratchies which have afflicted the pup since birth. Happy, happy, dog, dog.

Fat Dog
Okay, a lot of this is fur…but some is dog fat. He’s slimmed some since this photo.

Max’s big challenge at the moment is to lose weight. Throughout the moves and new experiences he has been eating a little too well. He has always been a master at extracting treats from everyone and has added a “poor transplanted me” look to enhance his productivity when begging.

The AJF has taken to using a tape measure to check the distance between Fuzzbutt’s belly and the floor and she records the dimension weekly.

Max’s adventures so far have taken him up the California coast to a town that proclaims itself the most dog-friendly place in the State, to visit family in Sacramento, up to Lake Tahoe and along the eastern slope of the Sierra plus many shorter day trips. As in the islands, Max is always on the move, discovering new places to sniff and pee. I hope to report on these and other adventures in future posts.

In closing this post, I need to apologize to all of you for not staying better in touch over these past months. No excuses, and I hope to catch up on what’s happening with each of you. In the meantime, if you are of a mind to follow a gentle little white dog’s exploration of a new home, you know that you are most welcome on the journey.

 

 

 

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