May, 2011 Archive

A Furry First Love

by Alison Friedman in Tails from Princeton

May 25 is the anniversary of our marriage, yes, but also the anniversary of something very important and life-changing. A conception. It was the day I found out that I would be having something little to cuddle and take care of. A new generation for Bryan and me to raise and watch grow. A bundle of joy that would provide us a lifetime of laughter and love. Yes, May 25, 2008 was the day we conceived.


I wrote this “tail” to document the “conception” and “birth” of our first “child” (yes, we’re those people who refer to their dog like that) shortly after we rescued him. We thought it would be appropriate to re-blog this little story on our third wedding anniversary. Enjoy!

DOR (Date of Rescue): June 29, 2008

10 pounds

About 18 inches long

The parents are proud and happy, though a little sleepless.

Yes, that’s right, we have a new baby in the house and it’s our 8 to 12-month-old bundle of furry joy. We’d been looking for a dog pretty much since the wedding. Well, scratch that, I’VE been looking for a dog pretty much since my first dog passed away 10 years ago, but the time was never right; my parents didn’t want a new one, I went off to college, I moved into my friend’s house where she already had a dog and then I moved into my fiancee’s house and he hates dogs. Hated dogs.

B knew how much a little doggie in my life would warm my heart but vowed never to assist in the parenting. He never grew up with a dog and didn’t understand why they are wonderful additions to an already-happy life. This had been a point of contention for us during our courtship and engagement time and I finally realized, reluctantly, that he could never be a changed man and if I ever had a dog, it would be mine and not ours. That made me sad, but a girl’s gotta chase her dreams like a dog chases his tail.

Fast forward to the wedding day. It came time for our Best of Honor to deliver the bride and groom gifts to the bride and groom. When the best man brought me a black velvet necklace box that appeared to have housed the pearl necklace I so wanted to wear on the wedding day, I was in for a bigger surprise.

The best man handed me the box.

And I quickly opened it expecting to put on the pearls my dress was screaming to be friends with.

But instead, strewn along the inside of the box, was a silver choke chain that would complement a motorcycle bride much better than a country club bride. Was I supposed to WEAR this?! On the silver chain was a silver bone. Seriously? A BONE? My almost-husband thinks I’m a dog? Oh wait, the bone has an engraving… “Our First Puppy” What? We don’t HAVE a puppy, smarty!

Oh, but look! The lid of the box says something! There’s a note!

It says: Alison, my love. Will you get a dog with me? I’m ready when you are.


The waterworks started! I cried like a baby. My almost-husband, the love of my life, the stubborn, stubborn man who convinced himself he’d never be a pet owner, the handsome loving man who thought I was crazy for adoring 4-legged fur balls, MY almost-husband had changed. He thought deep down inside of himself and did some soul searching to realize that we could create a very special home together with a dog’s company.

I melted.


During our honeymoon, we frolicked along the beaches of Hawaii, brainstorming names for our pooch. No, we hadn’t gotten him yet, but we wanted to fantasize about all the joy he’d bring. We decided we would definitely rescue a dog (no pet stores or breeders for us!) and it would not shed or drool, so that ruled out really big dogs. A small, lap dog that just wants to walk and be held would be perfect for us.

We started the search when we got back to the mainland and found a lot of promising pups online, but the websites hadn’t been updated so they’d already been adopted – GREAT! (no really, that makes me so happy for them!!!) We found Beethoven online who was 7 weeks old a a terrier-lhasapoo mix. We met him and he was absolutely adorable. I could have taken him home that very night. We both enjoyed him so much but we had an appointment with another dog named Kiko who was 7 or 8 months old. We decided to meet Kiko first and then decide. Plus, we weren’t totally confident about raising something so fresh like Beethoven.

We met the foster mom in Cerritos since she was coming from Anaheim and we were coming from Venice. Kiko was shy at first but he was really cute and seemed to have a nice personality. We spent three hours with him and basically grilled the foster mom about all the details of his temperament and lifestyle. I could see that B was bonding with him and seemed to be more excited about Kiko than he was when he met Beethoven. We ultimately decided that raising a 7-week old would not be as easy as raising an 8-month old so I took out the checkbook and Kiko nervously trotted to our car, unsure about what his new life would be.

Here’s our first family photo:

According to the rescue organization, Kiko was picked up by the animal shelter and was there for a while until the rescue organization saved him. He was in foster care for about 3 months until the day we met him.

We renamed Kiko after the lead puppet character from one of our favorite musicals, Avenue Q!

Princeton learned his name very quickly and has been responding quite well to it!

We gave him a bath when we got home and while he didn’t really love it, he didn’t fight me and he just kind of let me do it. He smelled so much better after!

Princeton is very sweet and really enjoys following us around the house and playing with us. He’s kind of a mama’s boy and follows my every move, which is cute, but I want him to be able to be independently happy since I won’t be here 24/7 with him.

He rides well in the car but doesn’t walk so great. He loves to sniff every blade of grass and is very curious about every element on the sidewalk. The terrier in him is so obvious on our walks. Apparently, his foster mom didn’t walk him much so he’s not used to being on a leash. Thankfully, I’ve gotten into watching the genius, Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer and I’m trying to train him that I’m the pack leader and he needs to not walk ahead of me. It’s tough, but sometimes he does a good job and nothing makes me happier than praising him for being a good boy!

Only problem is that Princeton isn’t eating and that worries me a little, but the vet said that it’s normal for a dog in a new environment to ignore his food. I wonder how long we should wait until it becomes a serious issue. Not to mention, it limits our opportunities to praise him for going potty outside (he’s done it 3 times and I’m surprised none of you readers could hear the potty party we threw on the spot!) since obviously he’s not producing, um, the “goods” for which to go potty since he’s not eating. Anyway, that’s our current challenge. That, and the fact that he keeps waking up at 6:30 a.m. and I immediately and groggily take him out for fear of him peeing and pooping in the house. Of course, he doesn’t actually GO on the way-too-early in the morning walk so … that’s that.

Life with Princeton is fun. B and I enjoy parenting him despite the challenges and hope that he grows into a good and mature doggie.

Oh, and p.s., my knight-in-shining armor almost-husband came through and also gifted me the pearls! After the dog excitement, the best man handed me another identical box and said quite casually in his witty way “oh, and you may want this, too.” I opened the box and sure enough, glistening in their glory, a stunning 16” strand of perfect pearls.

I love all the men in my life: Princeton, B – my now-husband, and even our best man because he obviously carries valuable and memorable items with him. 🙂

  1. Marilyn Hollander
    6/29/2016 9:43 PM

    I LOVED reading this! Somehow I never heard the complete story before. Easy to see why Princeton adores his fur-less parents. He was so wanted, he must have felt the love! Thank you for re-posting this. <3

Color Me Confused!

by Alison Friedman in Baby Land, Mommy's Musings

I’ve always loved interior design. I could watch home makeover shows or sift through decor magazines for hours. When I’m rich, I will spend money on dog rescue organizations, breast cancer philanthropies, and buy a few different homes to decorate. Hey, at least I listed the charitable work first!!

I’ve narrowed down the colors based on the crib bedding I picked out at Pottery Barn Baby. Looks like we’re going with a pink and green theme with splashes of creamy yellow. My decor taste tends to be feminine but not baby-ish (I know, I know, we’re having a baby, but no duckies or teddy bears for me). I like a more vintage and girly style so the odds and ends that fill up the room will probably be in that category.

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Anyway, I’ve been daydreaming about decorating the baby’s nursery since we found out about the pregnancy. And now that it’s finally happening, I’m frozen in my tracks.

We can’t do much until we paint first. I had an idea in my head that we would paint the walls a light, butter yellow and toss in an accent color on the crib’s wall and paint it light pink. Easy enough, right?

So imagine my panic attack when I walked into the Lowes paint department and hyperventilated over the zillions of swatches that lined the walls. Choosing few handfuls of paint samples was like choosing which baby to save in a fire: the furry one or the human one. Painful! But, somehow, with my husband’s help and the opinion of the tattooed paint dude who was probably so over me, I walked out with 2 kinds of yellows and 4 kinds of pinks.

On Sunday, I braved the intimidation of painting the walls with the sample colors to see how they look in real life.





Verdict? I still dont know!! I kind of like them all in different ways. And it’s hard not to judge them based on their names. The first one that’s darker is called Pink Ruffle! I’m obsessed with both those words!! Pink is my favorite color and ruffle is how all my clothes should be adorned. And then there’s one called Baby Blush. I mean, isn’t that just too apropos?? How do I not read into the names and look at only the colors? It’s like going to the nail salon; I dare you to pick up an O.P.I. polish color and NOT read the punny name on the bottom of the bottle. Double dare you!

And Bryan and Princeton were of no help as I strategized the sample-paint job. They relaxed and made fun of me for agonizing over each hue.



No, no, I kid. Bryan was very helpful and gave his two cents for what worked and what didn’t. Princeton looked at me like, “What are you crazy? I’m colorblind, crazy, hormonal lady!”

For three of the walls, I think we’re going with Creamy Oat (again, reading into the name, but oats are gluten-free, so this is a healthy shade for a paint, right?), and the accent wall will be either Tea Rose or Baby Blush. I keep stressing about making the right choice and if it will look okay on such wide and high walls and if the bedding will match or will it be too matchy-matchy and will it go against the resale value of the house when we want to sell one day and then I start breathing heavily and breaking out into a sweat and wishing my unborn daughter could send me a sign about her color preference since, after all, it is her room…

…and then Bryan reminds me it’s just paint and it’s not permanent and we can always paint over it. True, yes, but then he’d probably want to kill me.

So, I think we’ll just go for it because apparently, when it comes to motherhood, that’s the name of the game.


  1. katrina
    6/6/2011 9:18 AM

    I spend so much time reading your blogs they are so funny. Did you look into those fumeless paints non toxic. They come out a little lighter then the it looks like in the can but makes it so you dont have to air out the room so much to get rid of that smell. Also there is great organic mattress.They say to take off the plastic off the mattress and air it out beofre baby comes home. Anyways i know the room is going to look great or already does

  2. George
    5/25/2011 10:06 AM

    I understand your panic when walking down the isles with all the paint swatches, but I love it. My two cents is to go with something with more contrast between the yellow and the pink. Since they both have a lot of white in them it could tend to get a bit Eastery. I would have loved to been watching you guys go thru this process, I’m sure it was quite entertaining

  3. Katy
    5/24/2011 10:42 PM

    Yours is my favorite blog in all the land of Blogville. Love it.

  4. Sharri
    5/24/2011 9:22 PM

    I like how it is in the last picture:) can’t decide? Go with all of them! Haha. Love reading your blog! Soo true about OPI colors!

  5. 5/24/2011 7:52 PM

    You are adorable with this whole thing. I am married to a house painter. I would paint the room a shade of a lovely green (you said you were worried about resale) Keep all the bedding, frames, throw rug in the shades of pink.
    Not that you really care what your florist has to say, but I just thought that I would give you my two cents.
    I am soooooooo excited for you.

Reflections from a Nursery Window

by Bryan Friedman in Daddy's Corner

Today marks the beginning of the 29th week and the baby has now gone from an eggplant to a squash. Alison has gone through a lot in the last month too (as you probably read about already). As for dear old dad though, aside from cleaning out closets and starting to get the room ready, I haven’t done much but try the best I can to provide some massages and comfort for my wife’s backaches and pains. Still, with only a little more than 10 weeks to go, I’m starting to finally think seriously about something I know Alison has already mulled over plenty — labor and delivery.

Tomorrow morning we embark on a “tour” of the materity ward, and in two weeks we start some “classes” to [probably more overwhelm than] prepare us for the big day. We happened to be in the hospital earlier this week as well and visited the happy second floor as a preview of what we’ll be seeing soon. I think we were probably there for 20 minutes just staring through the clear panes of the nursery at all the little newborns sleeping or squirming through a few moments of their first few days on this earth. Things started to feel so much more real as I pictured myself in that room with this tiny foreign object that I have no idea what to do with yet. I just kept hugging Alison and pulling her close as I got even more excited for the adventure we get to go on together. I think I’m starting to really feel the “I’m going to be a Dad” butterflies that I guess are supposed to come around this time.

Somebody asked me recently if I’d ever held a newborn baby, and I had to think for a moment, but it turns out I have. In fact, I remembered that that event was actually quite a turning point for me. You probably know that before I got married, I wasn’t exactly what you would call a dog person. However, on my wedding day, I surprised Alison by letting her know I was ready to get a dog, and so Princeton joined the family. What fewer people know about are the many events that led up to my revelation that I wanted a dog after all. Of course there were plenty of discussions and wrestling with my own thoughts, but I remember distinctly the event that took it from a “maybe” to a “definitely” for me.


We went to visit some friends at the hospital who had just given birth to their new baby boy. We were engaged but not married yet, so I knew we were still a few years away from getting to experience this for ourselves, and as much as I am in the dark about things even now, I was literally clueless at the time about anything baby-related. When we got in to see the happy proud parents, we talked a little, Alison held the baby for a bit, and then the brand new mom asked me the question I never expected to hear. “Bryan, do you want to hold him?” I don’t know exactly what I said, but whatever my answer was, I’m certain it was a tentative one. Still, I found myself holding this new little human being, not even days old, in my arms and looking down at him in complete amazement. And it wasn’t even my own kid! I would definitely say the experience changed me.

I know it sounds strange, but I left the hospital thinking, “I need a dog.” For some reason the whole experience gave me a very strong feeling of “life” that made me want to bring another one into ours. Since, like I said, we weren’t even married yet, we were hardly close to having-a-baby territory, so a dog seemed to be just the right answer. I remember thinking it would be good preparation for a real human baby. Laughable, I know, but remember, I was truly clueless at the time.

Anyway, here I am just a couple of months away from being on the other side of this experience, reflecting back a mere three years ago. Since getting married, Princeton has been such a fountain of joy for both Alison and me, I literally cannot even imagine how much joy our soon-to-be daughter will bring us.

Although our moment with them was deeply important for me, sadly, we don’t really talk anymore to those friends who so warmly welcomed us into their new world that day in the hospital. I’ve seen it before and I can understand it — I think parenting became pretty all-consuming for them and we both just more or less lost touch with each other. That’s something I think and worry about a little bit too these days. I hope we can maintain all of our adult friendships, but I also look forward to cultivating new relationships with young families like us. I think that’s a whole other post though.

  1. Paula Pfeifle
    5/22/2011 8:14 PM

    You two are going to be perfect parents. She’s going to have so much love surrounding her. I can’t wait to meet this beautiful little girl.

  2. Ryan
    5/22/2011 5:53 PM

    If you get the option at your hospital, you should have your newborn daughter stay with you in your maternity room, not in the nursery. I think that will be a better experience for you. We did that with both of our boys. The nurses did all of their tests and such in our room while we watched. Neither boy ever left our sights, except for the first few moments when they were being cleaned up after birthing.

    Unfortunately, we have lost touch with most of our adult friends who are not parents themselves. If you need someone to hang out with, babysit (when she’s older), ask questions or seek advice from, etc, we’re available 🙂 maybe our kids can play together when she is ready.

  3. Pattie
    5/20/2011 7:30 PM

    I can’t WAIT to see you hold YOUR baby girl. What a lucky little thing she is to have you two as parents!
    Now I’m gonna go dry my eyes.

  4. George
    5/20/2011 6:13 PM

    Holding a new born is a pretty tremendous experience. I can only imagine what it would be like to hold your own, knowing you created her. I’m jealous. I also hope you can hold on to your adult friendships. It will be a challenge as I’ve had it happen with most of mine. As long as we can still talk theatre, movies and everything pop-culture, we’ll be fine.

  5. Sara E
    5/20/2011 4:40 PM

    Insightful and heartwarming – I love this post. Add us to the “young families like us” list. 🙂

  6. Rachel
    5/20/2011 3:48 PM

    Great insight into a daddy-to-be’s mind. Us girls find it all so natural and we forget how alien of an experience it is for guys. I also love knowing how you went from “no dog” to “must have a dog.”

Baby Got Back

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

I’ve had it super easy so far. Never barfed. All tests that should be negative are negative. Been enjoying keeping my hair full and long instead of the regular shed. But it finally happened — something went rotten in the state of Pregnant. No, I did not find out I’m giving birth to Hamlet. Rather, I am an old haggie woman with a broken, aching back.

It started about three weeks ago and has progressively gotten worse to a debilitating level. I have a constant soreness in my mid-back that radiates from dull buzzes to burning hot coals. No matter how I’m sitting, standing, or laying, my mid-back area is extremely uncomfortable. By the end of my day, I am on fiah. Makes driving, my day job as a teacher, and blogging in bed, super uncomfortable.

I also have what I think is sciatica that shoots down my tailbone. The quick sharp pains are tolerable — not fun, but tolerable because they’re quick — but what’s more concerning is that they’re literally paralyzing. Getting up from a chair, sitting up in bed, or getting out of the car are activities that spark this weak-in-the-back pain. It’s like my back gives out and I resemble the very old woman who shouts “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” What’s unfortunate is that I’m not a very old woman. Just a very pregnant one.

So at my last appointment with Dr. Fiiiiiine, I told her of my woes and expected her to laugh at me because I am a wimp (we have that kind of relationship), but my woe sparked a “Whoa!” and she prescribed me some physical therapy. So now, I am one of those pregnant PT patients.

I made my appointment, but had to wait a few days until the relief would be mine. Per the suggestion of other been-there-done-that moms, I finally decided I should seek happiness in the pool. Anyone who knows me knows that my athletic tendencies are, um, not at all. I was never a water baby and I am not a water mama. Something about ruining my hair or getting water in my eyes — waaahhhh. I prefer pools only when I can lay by them with a pretty pink umbrella drink. In a ski suit. Because, no, bathing suits are not my friend.

Luckily, my condo complex has a pool that is constantly dead so I sucked it up, squeezed into my maternity bathing suit, which, really, is a comedy of errors in itself, and brought Princeton the Lifeguard Dog with me (no dogs allowed, but really, no one is ever there and I live on the edge). I didn’t even shave my legs. I am such a rebel. I was really proud of myself just for being there.

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I look apprehensive. Well, I was. I got in the pool and whimpered because it was not 107 degrees, and then shrugged my shoulders like, “Um, now what?” I had no idea what to do. Laps would mean risking water on my good-hair-day hair. Walking around seemed stupid. So I did much less stupid things, like twirls and arm circles and wannabe-treading water. Princeton cocked his head and stared at me because his mother, who he thought he knew so well, was acting abnormally and behaving in a foreign manner. He probably wished for the pound. Anything would be better than watching his guardian participate in this charade.

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After 15 minutes, I got really bored. And heard the dings of Words with Friends updates calling from my iPhone at the edge of the pool, so, obviously I got out and toweled off. Princeton licked the water off my legs, welcoming me back to my senses.

But you know what? I didn’t hate the pool. And for those 15 minutes, my back didn’t hurt and I felt weightless. When I finally saw my PT a couple days later, she confirmed it was good for me and I should continue playing around in the pool. And then she gave me the best, hurts-so-good massage of my life and confirmed I’m a mess. She also said it will probably get worse over the next 11 weeks as I grow and baby grows, so it’s a good thing I’m starting to see her now (says the mother of three with two kids in college…). No, but really, she’s great and I can’t wait to go back.

And back into the pool.

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  1. 5/20/2011 12:03 AM

    Hehe… This was a good one. I too share your aversion to water, Alison, so my hat’s totally off to you for ditching the ski suit and going full-on bathing suit. Good for you!

    BTW, the ding from WWF is like my Achilles heal. I hear it and immediately stop functioning like a normal adult with a job and a relationship. Nope. Words With Friends calls… And I will answer it.

  2. 5/17/2011 11:13 PM

    bahahaha! i’m not athletic at all or a swimmer. i doggy paddle. and i ain’t ashamed to say it!!! but i do know how to enjoy a pool JAP style. and thats with a fun noodle my friend. pick one up at target or a walgreens! you will be hooked. no movement required…it’s like floaties for adults.

  3. Pattie
    5/17/2011 5:19 PM

    Wow! I can relate! The weightlessness you feel in the water is such a relief! Weren’t we all in Hawaii once when all I did was float cuz my back was out! Ugh! So sorry Alison! That stinks!

  4. Rachel
    5/17/2011 4:22 PM

    You are so cute!

  5. SSS
    5/17/2011 5:33 AM

    Princeton rules!

Saved By The Bell…y

by Alison Friedman in Mommy's Musings, Pregnancy

The bump is making me bump into things, and it’s not easy to, um, stomach. After all, I’ve lived almost 28 years with the same — more or less — spacial reference in my abdominal area. I am noticing, though, that I am forgetting about the protruding basketball-like belly that’s making me much more 3 dimensional than I’m used to, and such routine things like washing dishes at the kitchen sink or opening doors to enter a room are no easy feat. Baby Girl must get poked a lot by the counter or the doorknob — oops! Sorry! — and I need to expand my movement bubble to accommodate her growing home.

That belly also serves as a wonderfully convenient shelf for anything from iPhones to water bottles to crumbs from each meal. Its protrusion into the atmosphere can be handy (“Gotta get something out of my purse but don’t want to set my keys down. Here, I’ll put them on this baby bump shelf!”), but it can also be expensive:

Dry Cleaner Lady: You’re here AGAIN?
Alison: YES! Every time I eat, I somehow spill/flick/drip/splatter/rub this nasty, messy, once-was-delicious oil-based sauce all over my brand new expensive Pea in the Pod maternity shirt! Any way you can get it out?
Dry Clean Lady: [Gives me the finger]

All those bibs I’m collecting? Yeah, it is ME who needs them.


As annoying as it sometimes is, the belly is also a life saver. People are just SO. MUCH. NICER to pregnant women! It really amazes me. If I drop something, someone else picks it up! (This is good; diminishes old lady grunts from bending over). If I enter a crowded room, someone offers a seat! (I rarely take it. It hurts my back to sit too long anyway). If I am in line for the potty, other ladies let me go ahead! (This wasn’t appreciated until recently when my daughter decided it would be awesome to use my bladder as a trampoline). Basically, most normal people with a soul are kind to pregnant women and I do thank them for this.

But why only pregnant gals? While I’m happy to oblige, I’ve definitely learned that people are friendlier when there’s a bump involved, but shouldn’t humankind be this pleasant all the time? After experiencing these nice interactions, it will be rather disappointing to go back to flat normal belly. And after having insight into the potential that strangers have in the nice category, I will be sad to know that they don’t carry over the same kindness and politeness for unpregnant people. I noticed this similar phenomenon when we adopted Princeton. Whether out for walks in the neighborhood or shlepping him to lunch at the outdoor mall, people always stop to schmooze and exchange pleasantries because of the dog. If we didn’t have that cute little ragamuffin mutt, I doubt they’d make eye contact, let alone say hello or salute with a head nod. Dogs and pregnant ladies. Hmmm.

I guess the silver lining is that even when the bump is less… bumpy… this mama kangaroo is going to have a baby outside the pouch in 3 months and babies have the same positive effect on people, too. And while it’s currently nice to be saved by the belly, my new mom wish is for everyone to just be nice all the time.

  1. Grandma Ellen
    5/6/2011 10:39 AM

    Glad to see times have changed…..there was the time (oh so many years ago) when no one would let me ahead in a a very long potty line at a Las Vegas hotel (right after a show in the BIG showroom), and I simply “leaked” all over the floor. I recall, vividly, the words of the women in line after I politely, and demurely asked if I could sneak ahead since I was really having trouble “holding it in”: “Yeah, you can wait like the rest of us!” I aimed the “leak” in their direction!

  2. Tiffany
    5/6/2011 7:51 AM

    When I was pregnant and doing dishes I would have a wet shirt. It seems like a great place for anything that gets dropped to land as well. I think people are nice because it’s the next generation and the hope for the future. I have enjoyed reading your blog. Your baby bump is beautiful!!