Miscellaneous Monday (and more Mindy to come)


It’s Monday.  And we’re launching another week’s worth of less-than-brilliant (but often, above-average) blogging here at Reinventing the Event Horizon. 

And, in honor of the week’s beginning, I bring you an “inspiring” (at least I’m trying) laundry list of updates:

1.  First, thanks to all of you for your kind and supportive comments in response to last week’s news that I wanted to begin moving my blog in the direction of memoir, not that I would discontinue writing about the event horizon that is Haiti, but that I would also address event horizons from my personal past:  namely my father’s organized crime connections and the black hole that is my battle with bipolar disorder.  (To read these posts click here and here.)

I believe the best writing is inevitably the most honest writing and my not addressing these issues was becoming a form of compositional dishonesty—a way of avoiding the shame associated with my father and the sigma connected to my illness.

One way to lessen stigma is to stop hiding, or, in my case, to boldly address my demons in the blogosphere’s bright light, to share my struggle, to tell my story, both the pain of the past and the hope that is recovery.

2.  Secondly, I’d like to announce an upcoming series of posts from my friend and fellow writer Mindy Shannon Phelps.  (I introduced Mindy last week.  To read her first post click here.)   As she finds time, Mindy will write pieces that address our sometimes serious, sometimes silly misadventures in being human. 

3.  Finally, an update on my dog Lucy’s adventures in Vietnam—her Maltese march, North to South, South to North. 

In last Monday’s post (click here to read) I forgot to include a few of the funniest photos—namely Lucy in Halong Bay . 

(Some of you may have heard of a recent accident in Halong Bay.  A tour boat sank.  12 were killed.  To read about this February 17th incident click here.)

In case you’re not up on the geography of Vietnam, Halong Bay is an UNESCO World Heritage site and hugely popular tourist attraction in northern Vietnam.  According to legend, the Vietnamese were being invaded by the Chinese when the gods sent a family of dragons to protect the bay.  The dragons were said to spit jewels into the water, to build a wall against the invaders, what is, in fact, a series of nearly 2,000 limestone islands that decorate the bay:

   http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ha_Long_Bay_with_boats.jpg

In fact, a highlight of Lucy’s adventure in Vietnam included a swim with me in Halong Bay:

And last but not least, a photo of Lucy dressing for her outing on the bay:

The bottom line is this, a lesson I learned from Lucy:

Sometimes the most over-whelming of crises can be ovecome with the most obvoius of answers.

Indeed, sometimes the biggest of problems can be conquered by the smallest of canines in the most amazing of hats.

Hats off to our struggles. 

Hats off to hope.

Canines in Conical Hats: Lucy Does Vietnam


Lucy is a dog with wanderlust.  She loves to go just about anywhere.  And though she looks the part of precious pup–

My seven pound “princess,” in fact, behaves badly anywhere other than her black, backpack carrier—

Very badly!

Lucy does not possess anything remotely resembling a sweet disposition.  Her bark–loud, high-decibeled, and persistent–is her best weapon in an arsenal of ways to get what she wants.

But John Grogan, author of Marley & Me, insists that all dogs are great, and bad dogs–“the greatest of them all.”

And Lucy is indeed a great traveler—

Lucy is such a perfect companion on the road, that Sara and I have trotted the globe with her in tow—if for no other reason than she’s at her best, her most charming and well-behaved in planes, trains, and automobiles.

And on our world-wide odyssey to find canine obedience and tail-wagging good manners, our first stop with Lucy was Vietnam—a country Lucy traveled top to bottom, bottom to top.

Lucy behaved beautifully during our grueling 24 hour trans-global trip to Saigon.  Honestly, I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome. 

However, day-to-day living with Lucy in Vietnam proved more challenging, since, for the first several days, I couldn’t locate a blade of grass within a 10 block radius of our apartment.   There was a park a 15 minute walk away, but it was so far that even getting there involved rehydration stops along the way:

And once we finally arrived, it turned out dogs were not allowed on the lawn.  I kid you not! 

One morning, a security a guard reprimanded me, “Not dog on grass!  Not dog on grass!”  When I showed him the pink poop bag with which I intended to pick up any excrement, pink poop bag I had brought purposefully all the way from the US—biodegradable and environmentally friendly—he seemed not the least impressed and repeated his demand with all the more irritation, “Not dog on grass!  Not dog on grass!”  But Lucy refused to pee or poop on pavement.  What was an environmentally conscious, dog-toting-to-the-Far-East American to do?

What I did was find this lonely square of grass in front of the Indonesian Consulate:

But once she adjusted to only a tiny turf, Lucy was off to places like the Reunification Palace:

She visited famous fountains:

She even participated in a student survey:

She insisted on praying at Notre-Dame Basilica:

Lucy traveled the 1,100 miles from Saigon to Hanoi by train—a nearly 30 hour trip:

She loved lounging in our compartment and mooching meals from Sara:

In Hanoi she visited the Temple of Literature by back pack:

She enjoyed Sunday brunch at the world-famous Metropole Hotel:   

Lucy took us shopping in the Old Quarter:

There she bought the smallest conical hat in all of Southeast Asia:

Lucy continues to turn heads even now that we live in Haiti,  but she still insists no well-mannered Maltese would do Vietnam without a millinery consultation. 

Hats off to Hanoi!