Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob

Okay, I've been very lax about blogging lately. Too many other things to keep me occupied. My apologies to the two or three people who actually read this regularly.

Regarding my long stretch of writer's block, I decided to stop beating my head against the wall and put that story away. I'll get back to it someday, months or years from now. A few weeks ago, I started a new book, a fast and loose fantasy, and that's going very well so far. It's flowing nicely, and my writing quality is much improved. So I'm following my inspiration, and it's paying off. Writing is fun again. And so is drawing, which I've also started up again. Life is good.

I took a half day of vacation today to do some errands, and I had lunch at Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob in Dundee since one of my coworkers had recommended it so very highly. It's a little hole in the wall with a lot of charm. New, freshly painted walls and groovy light fixtures contrast with old brickwork, giving the joint a lot of character. They're too new to be in the phone book yet, and while they have a website, it doesn't have any content yet, so for those of you local here in Omaha, Nebraska, you can find the place just south of the intersection of 50th Street and Underwood.

There are only three things on the menu: falafel sandwich, Doner kabob, and curry fries. They are all cheap, and the quantity is enormous. I had the Doner kabob and curry fries. Get the curry fries if you've got a friend to share with--the basket is huge, way more than one person can handle. (Well, at least this one person.) They are very tasty, and mine were nice and crispy.

The Doner kabob was not what the word "kabob" makes me think (skewer), but instead a bread pocket stuffed with lamb and vegetables (most notably, fresh, crisp, thick-sliced cucumbers), with a really yummy spicy sauce. The taste and texture of the lamb reminded me of a gyro. The sandwich was far too thick for me to get my mouth around, and thus extremely messy. Dagwood Bumstead might have trouble with this one. It was absolutely delicious, with a very rich, savory mix of different flavors. I will definitely have it again, and I recommend it highly.

Now I can't wait to go back and try the falafel sandwich.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Good Dog

When I was younger, I was afraid of dogs. I'm told this was not always the case, and that when I was very young, I got along well with my uncle's dog Buddy, a white German shepherd, and rode him around like a horse. I've seen a picture, but I don't actually remember Buddy. My earliest recalls of dogs are all laced with fear. I don't know why or what happened, and ultimately it doesn't really matter. Emotions do not need reasons to be real. I was okay with small dogs, because I could kind of trick myself into regarding them as strangely-shaped cats. However, large dogs ("dog dogs") were always an object of fear.

After college, I dated then lived with a woman who had a golden retriever. (Yes, I moved in with her after we broke up. Don't ask.) Blaze was a good-natured if hyperactive dog, and living with him for two years got me over my fear of dogs. And I will always thank him for that. However, I never really liked him. And in general, even if I was no longer afraid, I still overall disliked dogs and preferred not to be around them. At best, with well-mannered dogs, I was indifferent, a definite step above repulsion. (This all, by the way, is very similar to the way I react to babies and toddlers--which is why I do not and will never have children.)

Well, last night, I actually met a dog I liked--genuinely liked. This was a strange, foreign emotion for me.

I went to a friend's birthday party, and this household--in addition to a having two permanent dogs and several cats--takes in foster dogs. These are rescued animals who need a temporary home until they can be adopted. My friend and her wife are superb with animals, and they can take in dogs with social and behavioral problems and through love, persistence, and careful training, teach them how to be good dogs, so that they can safely and happily go into a new home.

They currently have two six-month-old foster dogs, presumably littermates, Taffy and Snickers. I look at them and think their names are reversed, because Snickers is the light-colored one that makes me think of honey taffy, and Taffy is the dark one that makes me think of a Snickers candy bar. And I had my usual don't-care-much-for reaction to Taffy, but Snickers was different. It was love at first sight with those dark, dark eyes in that pale face, and the one ear that stuck up while the other flopped down. Several times when I was sitting down, he came and lay on my feet. He was very gentle and mellow, and I realized that I was truly enjoying his company and I missed him when he wandered off. I petted him, fed him pieces of my hamburger bun, and for a moment actually wished I had a house with a yard, so I could adopt him. Imagine me actually liking a dog enough to want to live with him! My friend called it a miracle. But Snickers was so sweet, and he kept coming back to me, so I think he liked me too.

Of course, the reality is that I have a one bedroom apartment and two cats, so adopting a dog is impossible. Also, it might not be wise because I doubt I would be a very good dog-mom. However, the thought was there and the desire was there, like a door being opened in my heart. I don't know if I will start liking dogs, or if Snickers will always be just the special exception.

If you have a house and a yard in need of dogs, Snickers and his sister need a good home.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I took a half day of vacation today. Since the weather was lovely, I ate lunch in a park, then sat and read for a while (current book: Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven). I came home and watched the very swift-moving, short-lived, tiny rainstorm, then took a nap, wrote a few pages on my new story, and finally went for a walk, whereupon I encountered a butterfly that let me get rather close. Here's a picture.

I don't know what kind of butterfly (or moth?) this is, but it's certainly beautiful. Check out the underside of its wing, with the lovely bright red spot near the leading edge.

Have a great weekend, everyone!