I took Cooper to the vet today for his bimonthly worm pills, a nail-clipping, and to have a few scrapes looked at. (While he doesn’t have worms, it turns out that all puppies should have deworming pills every two months as a preventative measure; and nail-clipping is the only grooming that our short-haired dog needs.) However, Cooper associates his veterinarian visits with injections and poking and prodding, so he doesn’t cooperate, and he fought the vet’s assistant as she tried to clip his nails, and as a result she nicked his foot – twice – with the clippers. He cried, he bled, and I just had to try to control him while she went snip snip snip. It was a very unhappy visit for him and me. Plus he has some kind of minor infection in his eye, possibly caused by me swinging a stick while he was running past me one day in the park, possibly from tussling with his park friends, so now we’ll have to put cream on his eye every day. He doesn’t even like to be brushed, so this will not be easy.
Still, his situation is better than that of a dog I saw today by the Tirana Football Club stadium. The stadium is on a run-down, unkempt little field, and the dog was pretty run-down and unkempt himself, hobbling across the street. He stopped by me and peed on the grass, and I saw that he was hobbling because he was missing a hind leg. (He had so much hair that it was hard to tell at first.) There are lots of street dogs limping along on three legs around here, probably because of run-ins with motorbikes when they’re young, but they usually have all their legs; this is the first dog I’ve seen missing a limb. I suppose it’s easier to pee if you don’t have to lift your leg first – I can only imagine how much quicker things would be if we men didn’t have to undo our zippers before we let go – but with a missing leg, his balance was off, so he peed down the front leg heel, which had an open sore from the ureic acid. Yet on he went; dogs don’t ever seem to complain about their aches and pains. I wish I were more like a dog sometime, and Abby probably does as well.
The Giants won the Super Bowl over here, just like they did in the states. I was hoping that the Albanian version would turn out slightly differently, but apparently we get the same reality as you do in the U.S., just without the same commercials. We watched the game on the Armed Forces Network, which isn’t allowed to run paid commercials; instead, its commercials fall into seven categories:
- PSAs about different achievements of the various branches
- “America Supports You” booster ads, usually featuring Grand Ole’ Opry stars
- Admonitions to consult the Legal Office before signing power-of-attorney documents or marrying a local
- Warnings against drunk driving, driving without a seatbelt, smoking, smokeless tobacco, drinking, gambling, spousal abuse, sexual harassment, or baby shaking
- Advertisements for God, brought to you by the various Armed Services Chaplain corps
- Boosters for exercising and civic engagement
- Reminders about Operational Security
The OpSec ones are the most fun, since we often get to see Squeakers the Operations Security Mouse foil the Evil Spy Cat. Overall, however, the ads in categories 3-7 look like they were made by a high school AV lab and they’re kind of depressing. Our lesbian friends explain “Of course the ads look like crap. They kick all the homosexuals out of the Armed Services.” Bottom line was that we didn’t get to see the Bud Bowl this year.
The Ambassador invited the Foreign Service spouses to his home for lunch last week. There were 24 of us, and the Ambassador spoke at length about his own experience as a diplomatic spouse when he went with his wife to Slovenia, where she is the Deputy Chief of Mission, before coming to Tirana; and he made it clear that he considers us an important part of the Embassy community, and he wants us all to meet monthly; and so on. The Ambassador is truly one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
Finally, for those of you who’ve read this far, I’ve stopped going to the Academy of the Arts. I never actually got any lessons, since the teacher who invited me to work there never had (or made – not sure) time for me. I have gotten some tips from the students, who seem to regard me as a pleasant curiosity (I am painfully aware that I’m more than twice their age!), but the facilities aren’t the best and the model is a 16-year old boy who can’t stop fidgeting. So it’s back to working at home from books, which is no picnic either. However, I’ve been busy lately with editing, and have even been offered an internship with the U.N. Development Programme to work on a business development project. I’m interviewing the manager tomorrow – I got the offer based on the resume they had on file, so I have no idea whether I want this or not. I think that by working, I’ll actually get more artwork done too – it’s easier for me to be focused when I don’t have an empty day yawning in front of me …