Lisi’s plate is full this week with the holidays approaching and I’m Blah-gging today in lieu of her usual post. Deadline’s have been tight and time’s running out before Christmas and the New Year, so our noses have been to the grind on our respective projects. Then Lisi and I realized we hadn’t had a meeting in weeks and forgot what each other’s faces looked like. I have a general idea because I check out her Blah-g each week, but those little photos of her and Bee Bee at the bottom of the page just aren’t enough. I needed more. So the next day we got together for an extensive catch-up on everything going on with The Dirty Book Club (the novel Lisi’s currently writing).
I arrive at her office some time in the morning. Lisi meets me at the door with a hug and at her feet is bundle-of-love Bee Bee. She always makes meeting days kinda magical (something about the way she curls up on your lap is precious). Lisi and I sit down at her round conference table and immediately get down to business. The issue at hand for the day? New characterization for not one but TWO Dirty Book Club characters. The old concepts for them just weren’t working and we needed to reinvent, reignite and re-inspire them. That’s what the agenda ahead of us would entail. Awesome work day, right? So Lisi and I started brainstorming and throwing around somewhat good, but mostly bad ideas. We’re jotting down personality traits, reshaping and these two characters are completely getting new identities when out of nowhere, both our brains make an internal scrrrrrrrrrch sound and tap out. Lisi goes to the mini fridge and grabs a Diet Coke. I reach for my coffee and chug. Come on brains, let’s get creative here. We’re sitting there scribbling down new ideas and then immediately crossing them out for the next hour until we want to scream! I think I accidentally sort of do, which startles Bee Bee out of my lap. But it was perfect timing because with that she gives us our best idea yet. “Let’s just get out of here,” Lisi says.
“Yeah, let’s just get some fresh air and come back to this in a bit. I know the perfect place to kill another hour.”
So I follow Lisi out of her office with Bee Bee in tow, and we hop in the car. We drive up the coast until we hit Laguna Canyon Road. Guys, let me remind you that this is my work day, I’m still technically on the clock and getting paid for this. But I’m also in a car, with a cotton-fluff of a dog in my lap, listening to music with the windows down, and driving up a tree-lined road to an almost Instagram filtered, shamrock green field. We’re at the dog park. Yes!
Lisi, Bee Bee and I head up to the entrance and see that it’s set up with separate parks for large and small dogs. Then we read this sign:
Forgotten from the list is “NOT Bee Bee” because we got in there with two other teensy pups with zero personality and in 30 seconds all three of us look at each other and unanimously decide this is bor-ingggg.
As clearly instructed we use our better judgment and, to the large dog park it is.
But can Bee Bee hang with dogs eight times her size? I want to say she looks up at me with a sly wink, but that could just be my imagination. We all squeeze through the gate to the large dog park and immediately are greeted by dozens of potentially furry friends. A tall, athletic-looking, dappled grey dog with sharp ears runs over and is not happy Bee Bee’s here to play with the big kids. He huffs loudly and digs at the earth to show his disapproval. Next. Then there’s a small pack of medium-sized golden labs, who all seem to want to nuzzle Bee Bee with care. “Aw, that’s sweet,” Lisi says. “But not too much!” She scoops up Bee Bee when one dog is being a little too affectionate. The three of us start dog-watching and notice a rolly polly-looking dog that likes to “mark” all the people he likes in the park, instead of marking bushes and trees. “Stay clear of the chubby one.”
Another smaller dog can’t get enough of his human throwing a tennis ball with a ball launcher. Non-stop vertical jumping with excitement, non-stop drooling, non-stop retrieving. Only one thing can peel him away from fetching: ball, ball, ball, ball, SQUIRREL! And he’s off into the brush searching for a bushy-tailed target.
One look from Bee Bee tells us that she is not impressed. So for a while Bee Bee goes off and does her own thing, like any independent woman would do. A lot of the dogs seem to be male, but not too aggressive. Regardless, we keep a close eye on Bee Bee anyway and stay nearby.
I look away for, I swear, only a second, when it happens.
Bee Bee touches noses with a St. Bernard. They can’t officially meet in true dog fashion with a good old bum sniff since Bee Bee’s at this giant pooch’s ankles, but it seems not to matter. It’s best-friend love at first sight and they’re the odd couple award recipients of the day. Bee Bee’s running circles around the St. Bernard whose name is Donna, and it’s clear who wears the pants in this friendship. Donna is taking cues from Bee Bee and letting her lead the way from tree to tree. They jaunt together over to the corner and sample water from the bowls provided at the dog park. I think there was also a hug and, later, a high-five in there, but, again, I could just be imagining things.
This new-found friendship is unexpected and adorable, but it’s time to say good-bye. Lisi meets Donna’s human and they plan another dog play date at the park again sometime after things calm down post Christmas.
We clean off Bee Bee’s paws and all hop back in the car and head down the coast. Back in the office, nothing on the conference table has moved an inch and the characterization problem has definitely not solved itself. Drat. But Lisi sure does know what she’s talking about with this “let’s take a break” thing because right away Bee Bee falls back to sleep on the couch, and we’re again in the thick of a productive brainstorm. Five minutes later, the characters’ names have been swapped, personality traits are tweaked, physical descriptions are revamped, attire choices are changed and I’m Google imaging photos of Zooey Deschanel and Keri Russell for style inspiration for our new and improved Jules and Britt (just check out the Pinterest character boards to see).
All in all, another lovely day at the office. I probably can never say it enough but–geez, I’m lucky.
Lisi will be back next week with her regular Blah-g post. Thanks for reading!