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I’m terrible at making friends. Today:

Plans to meet an acquaintance and a group of her work friends. It was her dog’s birthday, which is as good enough a reason as any. I load up my dog, Shelby, orange and overweight, perennial floor-licker and cuddlepants, and we walk the kilometer in ping-pong tandem, her darting ahead to sniff a yellowing bush and me dragging her behind as she plants her feet like a sumo wrestler. She’s a Japanese breed so the comparison seems apt. It takes us thirty minutes to cover ground that should require ten.

We circle the park, search for the party, follow our feet to a dry fountain ringed by sunbathers enjoying the first beautiful day of spring. In a little knot, three people recline on a Union Jack blanket, hipster colors of red, white, and blue before America made it cool. I sit. I make awkward small talk. A woman with pink hair coos over the dog for which I am grateful. Shelby is an ambassador, and a safe topic for conversation. The others talk about how much they hate dogs. Food gets pulled from little fabric grocery bags, a bottle of wine gets proffered. The other dog, the birthday girl, flips her shit at the sight of salad with an optional bacon topping. She’s a dog. I don’t blame her. The dog-hating talk continues. Shelby, panting, lays on the blanket. I ask her if she’s ready to go. I take her silence for acquiescence and we stand and we leave. Home in 15 minutes. The whole process takes about an hour.

I’m terrible at making friends.

It’s been a while since I’ve shown my face on yatdiaspora.com. In January I had a spike in viewership, 15 or 20 hits, but when I checked from where they’d come, the faded red dot hovered somewhere near Smolensk, on the Dnieper River, and the accompanying comments were all Cyrillic spam, the only recognizable symbol a dollar sign. It bummed me out. I took a break and my book reading goal broke down. I’m almost caught up again. I need suggestions for novellas.

Other news:
Our due date has come and gone. The baby has yet to emerge from her uterine hidey-hole. When she does, I hope she doesn’t see her shadow. No more winter, please. We’re at 40 weeks and counting.

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