Monday, August 04, 2008

Kim, Robyn, Tina and Clifford the Big Red Dog...

A couple weeks ago, I ran over to the Say What convention that was being held in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love to meet Kim from Living With Questions, Robyn from The Ambling Rambler and Tina Childress, an audiologist with Advanced Bionics and a bilateral cochlear implant recipient. Kim and I were texting the day before we were going to meet and the last text before I fell asleep was that she wanted to go get another apple dumping. As I shuffled my feet towards the bedroom, I was staring at the screen of my blackberry, wondering the hell was an apple dumping. I made an executive decision to sleep on it.

The next morning, I was still just as puzzled about the apple dumping. I decided to ask my mom who is popular in the family for being a sponge of useless knowledge. I figure if anyone would know it would be she. Much to my surprise, she had no idea. With very limited knowledge of apple dumping, I forged ahead to Philadelphia.

Once I arrived at the hotel, I sent a text to Kim to let her know that I was standing guard at the door. :) A few moments later, Kim came out with open arms and a beautiful smile. We gave each other a big bone crushing hug. Her personality and cherubic giggle endeared her to me. We chatted back and forth until Robyn materialized next to us. The fair skinned Robyn came all the way from New Zealand for a month long vacation or holiday as she calls it. Since she came from abroad, she came with an accent, one that I never encountered before. I wasn't too worried, but I was surprised at how soft spoken she was but what really threw me for a loop was the lack of the enunciation of the R's. Apparently, New Zealanders does not pronounce their R's as we do here. Here is a sample conversation that we had.

Robyn: "....I'll meet you at the bah."
Kim : "The what?"
I thought she said back?
Robyn: "The baaah."
Kim and I focused on her lips.
Robyn: "The baaaaahr."

Ah hah, we figured it out. She said bar. :) Amazing how the subtle nuances of a language can present a wee bit of a challenge. :)

And off to the bar we went, which was more like a casual dining establishment. You didn't really think that we were going to throw a few back at eleven in the morning, did ya? We sat and chit chatted for a bit. Robyn joined us with moments to spare since she had brought tickets to go on a tour in the Museum of Art that was leaving shortly. I wasn't going to let her get away without posing for a couple pictures that was shot beautifully by Kim's friend, Lorne. Before she left, we made plans to meet up later on in the evening to spend a little more time together.

Shortly after Robyn left, Tina had arrived at once! We decided that lunch was a matter of utter importance. That is when Kim brought up the infamous apple dumping. This was my opening to make an inquiry to clarify the apple dumping. Kim enunciated her lips as she said, apple DUMPLING. I started to laugh as I told Tina and Kim that this entire time, I read her text as apple dumping. Tina started cracking up and made the most fitting comment, "Not only are you hearing impaired, you are visually impaired (brief pause) cognitively impaired." I was inclined to agree with everything she said! I whipped my blackberry out of my pocket and hunted down the text that Kim left to reread it and sure enough, it said apple dumpling.

However, I was right back to where I started, clueless. I asked Kim what was an apple dumpling. With signs of exuberance in her eyes, she told me that it was an apple baked in a pastry crust, drizzled with a cinnamon sugar sauce and it was served with ice cream or cream. After I gained five pounds just listening to her, I decided that we better get a move on to find the purple trolley otherwise known as the Phlash to go over to Reading Terminal Market. Armed with my handheld GPS (I have an innate fear of getting lost.)

We had no problem getting on the Phlash trolley. By the time, we got off the trolley I had visions of a cheesesteaks from Rick's Philly Steak, dancing in my head. I manage to get the cheesesteaks dancing in Tina's head. We had a bit of trouble finding Reading Terminal Market but my GPS got us there. Unbeknownst to us, it was the Ice Cream Festival that weekend there. It was a shame but my GPS couldn't find Rick's because we were nearly to slip into a diabetic coma if we didn't get a cheesesteak stat. We sacrificed by running to the first cheesesteak booth we saw. We managed to find a nice table in the back, away from most of the noise, which was very helpful for the lot of us.

After a wonderful lunch with the gals, we headed over to this little Amish booth to test drive an apple dumpling.. It was oh-so-delish. After the dumpling went down the hatch, Kim and I decided to head towards the loo for some bladder relief. Tina decided to gather some sweet stuff from the candy store. Right before I walked into the bathroom, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glance of this fuzzy red dog as big as a house playing with some kids.

I couldn't remember the name of the dog, I thought it was Spot but I was wrong. I thought how cool would it be if we all got a picture with the big red dog. Sooooo, while I was standing in line waiting for the next available stall, I sent a text to Tina, obviously not even thinking on how peculiar it must have sounded to her.

At the most, four minutes have elapsed since I saw the six-foot fuzzy red dog. Once we finished doing our lady things, we started walking out and I'm talking about this big red dog and Tina and Kim are looking at me as if my magnet were on too tight. Tina asked me whether I read her reply to my text, which I didn't. I'm trying to dig my blackberry from the deep depths of the rabbit hole otherwise known as my purse while I was leading the pack out of the bathroom in search of the big red dog, but there was no big red dog in sight.

I glanced over my shoulder at Tina and Kim and their face said it all, I was obviously elected as the queen of the monkey people. Mind you, I am dead serious about seeing this six-foot fuzzy red dog. Without missing a beat, I stop some woman walking by and ask her point blank, "Have you seen a big red dog in here?" As Tina started laughing out loud, the woman clutched her purse to her side, took a couple steps back and exhibited some signs of uncomfortableness as she said, "No." I could clearly see that I weirded her out. I thanked her for her time and went to the spot where I last saw the dog, hoping to see some red fuzz from the costume to prove that there was a six-foot fuzzy red dog standing there. Much to my dismay, there was no red fuzz anywhere. I had the nerve to stand there and think to myself how strange that was because dogs always shed. :)

I finally pulled my blackberry out of my purse but I just clutched it in my hands because I had important matters to attend to, like track down a six-foot fuzzy red dog. Tina asked me whether I saw any pink elephants flying around too. Now I am just finding this whole situation just plain funny because this is such a classic situation that I get myself into, I see something that no one else does and as usual, I end up looking like the leader of the village idiots. However, it became a matter of principle that I had to find this six-foot fuzzy red dog. I decided to ask a man this time. I scouted the area for a man that looked as though he was hanging around in the area for the past five minutes and I found one, right by the loo with his arms crossed. It looked to me that he might be waiting for his wife. So, I walked right up to him and asked if he saw the big red dog anywhere and he said nope. Things were not looking good if I had to go to court and prove that I was sane.

I finally open up Tina's reply to my text and it said, "Wtf?" My thoughts exactly, wtf is this dog!? I thought the reply was appropriate and I'm glad I didn't open it up earlier because it wouldn't have packed quite the same punch. The gals appeased my insane curiosity by looking up and down the aisles for this dog but no avail, there was no six-foot fuzzy red dog anywhere. Did it run away to the nearest fire hydrant or something? The six-foot fuzzy red dog didn't have a name until Tina mentioned the name Clifford the big red dog. She's a mom; it’s her job to know the name of popular children books. :) What do I know? I'm pushing 30 here, the last time I was a kid was... and lets not get into that.

Anyhoo, I didn't know what else to do, pass out flyers for a missing six-foot fuzzy red dog or walking around shouting CLIFFORD hoping he would come when he was called. We started walking towards the exit of the market when I had to ask one more person. It was just a matter of principle. I asked a woman that was a spitting image of Aunt Jemima if SHE had seen the six-foot fuzzy red dog. She said that she has in fact seen Clifford the big red dog and pointed towards the back, right where I spotted the damn dog in the first place! I lunged with such excitement at the girls and let out a "Ah hah! Did you hear that?! Aunt Jemima over there said Clifford the big red dog was here! Ah hah, told you!" However, I gathered that neither one of them felt that Aunt Jemima was a credible witness.

It wasn't until a week later when I got a comment on Facebook from Tina, with a link to a news article about the ice cream festival at Reading Terminal Market featuring...

Clifford the Big Red Dog. :)

I was telling them I'm not nuts :) but I am good for entertainment.

After the whole red dog ordeal, we did a little retail therapy and headed back to the convention by the way of the Phlash which took a little longer than we anticipated. Kim and Tina went to their rooms to get ready for their dinner and I jumped at the chance to spend some more time with Robyn. I'm so glad that I got a chance to spend some more time with her because she is just simply a delight to be around. When the dinner was about to start, it was time for me to bid adieu. It was sad to have to say goodbye since being around all of them was like a breath of fresh air.


mishkazena said...

You've never heard of apple dumplings? It's a great dish, isn't it?

Laughing about apple dumping, though :)

It sounds like you had a big blast

drmzz said...

You kinda freaked me out with that red dog. Don't do that again. It sounds, ahem, looks like you gals had fun. Happy apple dumping.

Anonymous said...

It was so good meeting you at the bah, and also just befoh the banquet as well. You aah a delight to be ahound. I wish I had had mohe time with you. You will just have to tavel to New Zealand and come and stay with me. I will personally assist you in any quest to find Cliffahd the big hed dog, or any other comic chahacters you may wish to meet heah in NZ.

Glad you enjoyed the apple dumpings. It's what happened to me after I ate two. Not at the same time though.

Wish I had had time to catch up with you in New Yohk but we only ended up with limited time unfohtunately.

Catch you soon :)

Love, hugs from Ohbyn :)

Valerie said...

I love Clifford.....He came to our Spring Reading Fair and had pictures with all the students. I was the lucky camera operator.

Now Abbie, I am catching a theme from you....everyone you meet, includes lunch or dinner :)

I can't wait for the day I get to meet everyone and you. Until then I must dine alone....

Anonymous said...

FINALLY! I have been waiting for this blog entry and if it is at all possible, it's even funnier reading it than LIVING it!!!! Probably because I didn't know if we would survive the afternoon after our search for the "Big Red Dog" while digesting the apple dumpLings and taking the loooooong way back to the hotel on the Phlash.

I think I'll be going through Abbie withdrawal because I have been spoiled with getting to see you at least once a month in person this summer. *sigh*

We'll just have to keep in touch via facebook chat, BB chat or perhaps videophone. As Valerie pointed out, this won't be as good as sharing a meal with you. :( (mmmm - sushi...)

Take care my friend and continue to enjoy the gas savings in your Incredible Eco-Egg! See you in cyberspace...

Your fellow geeky Bionic Babe,
~ tc ~

Anonymous said...

Wow great story! Lucky you get to meet them! Damn you, I startled a little by looking a pic of big red dog! That is going to give me serious nightmare tonight!

I am holding you some responsible if it happens, Abbie!

I look forward to one of your blogs one day AFTER we meet! :-)


Shari said...

Sill love they way you invent your own sayings. "Looked at me like I had my magnet on too tight." LOL. It's refreshing to read a story or recap and have all those sayings thrown in that are not clinche'.

Loved the read.

Shari said...

Well, here I am again. I have an award for you at my place. I thought you deserved this award. :)

Kim said...

I LOVED reading your recap. I'm smiling from ear to ear. I wrote something about our meeting last week, then took down my blog, so I don't know if you got a chance to read it. But I am so happy I met you too, dear. Lunch was definitely a highlight of my Philly trip. And it's true about Robyn's accent. We wrote back and forth quite a bit in our hotel room. She's trooper hanging out with all us Americans and our weird accents. We also sign the wrong way. I accidently told her I wanted sex several times in NZ sign-- then she'd give me this peculiar look.

Anyway-- I'm glad you were finally vindicated. So there really WAS a red dog there?! NAH!

Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

You guys are TOO funny!

I went to Mexico to study spanish and had a conversation with a young girl that kept calling me a whore. Turns out she was saying good morning.

Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

My Spanish may be bad....but she was using Mexican Sign Language. :-)

Abbie said...


I never heard of it before it my life! I was picturing a little place where they dump all the apples, incredibly naive I know :) I should state in my defense, I did a google search and there is recipes for Apple Dumping cakes. :)

Abbie said...


It doesn't bite dear :) and thank you for leaving a comment!

Abbie said...


My fair skinned lady, you are so funny! It might take me a while to work up the courage to book a transatlantic flight, considering that it took me 17 hours just to get to Reno, I estimate a week for NZ :) I'm glad you got back home and you had a wonderful time, I am definitely looking forward to seeing you again and hoping it won't involved me seeing Big Bird or the like :) Love you dear!

Abbie said...

Valle baby,

At least you got to see Clifford and got him caught on film! I think next time I'm going to have to walk around with my camera on just in case I see someone from Sesame Street. :)

I am looking forward to the day that we meet to dear, it is gonna be an extra meal :) I miss you!!

Abbie said...

Tina :)

Every time I think about the red dog fiasco, I can picture your face as clear as day looking at me like I was stoned off my ass. :) I was half expecting a stuffed Clifford toy when I went to New York LOL.

I'm totally going through Tina withdrawals, you are always a click away from me. I want to try out the videophone, I got the Ojo phone and so far it is sitting there collecting harmless little bits of fluff... So I would love to take it for a test drive with you :)

Godspeed my nerd girl :)

Abbie said...

SG my wittle ray of sunshine!

I hope you didn't get nightmares because the dog doesn't bite :) Or at least I don't think it does because no one else but moi saw it :) When are you coming over to the east coast by the way?

Anonymous said...

Hi Abbie,

I wish I know when for sure we will be coming to east coast not only to check out places like FL, NYC, etc and also to visit my mom and sister as well as to meet you and some others if we even go to NYC.

We will keep that in mind. I think things will be better once Jes is done with school since all our money goes to his tuition, ugh! :-)


Alex said...


I think I am done laughing. I so LOL and LOL some more.

Even I was thinking surely she meant to type Dumpling, Apple Dumpling I had heard of, but Dumping?! Got dumping on the brain ma'am?! :)

I hope you told Clifford hello for me! I always enjoyed reading about that damn, huge 6 foot dog!

I Laughed so hard about the going to court to prove you were sane, there are sometimes dear abbie when we chat I wonder if we both should head to the loony bin, I said bin dear, not loony tunes :)

Thanks for the laugh and always a great story!!!


Abbie said...


Thank you so much for the adward! It makes me feel unbelievably good when I read how much people appreciate my writing, thank you for making my day! :)

The Royers said...

You blog so often i can barely keep up with you

Unknown said...

I am back. Good to read your blog again. :)


Lisa C. said...

I'd like to have a Clifford costume for Christmas and show up at Seek Geo's door with it on. (chuckle)
Enjoyed reading your blog.