I didn’t do my blog yesterday because my dog ate it.

Actually, it fell out of my notebook and got wet and the ink all ran and the paper fell apart and I didn’t have time to redo it.

What really happened is that my daughter stuffed it into her backpack because she thought it was her homework.

Actually, my husband wadded it up and used it with a bunch of newspaper as a pad under a hot casserole dish that he put in a cardboard box to take to a potluck because he didn’t want to burn the seat of his car.

Really what happened is I got a massage yesterday by Helga the Swiss dominatrix, a friend of a friend who came highly recommended and was giving a good deal – I’m too cheap to get a massage unless it’s nearly free or a gift.

Normal women should not have this much strength, especially if they have spears for elbows. She planted the point of her elbow at the beginning of each of my muscle groups and bore down with all she had until she was on the verge of skewering me, then very v..e..r..y slowly dragged the elbow across the entire muscle. Ligaments and tendons ducked for cover as she smashed them down like a steamroller until the elbow eventually reached the other side.

I took it like a man because I thought it was supposed to be “good” for me. But she was enthusiastically sadistic. I’d made the mistake of telling her that I had a knot in my neck – probably from blogging – and she gave that area extra special attention. She “stretched out” my neck by standing behind me why I lay on the torture rack and pushing my head forward until my chin was pressing down into my sternum. I thought at any second my head would snap off in her hands and she’d turn the severed head around and hold it at her eye level and say, “oops!” with a wicked grin.

When I left, I was at least 3 inches taller and throbbing so much from head to toe that, seriously, there was no way I could sit and write.

Besides, friends came over and we had appetizers and wine to tide us over for the fifteen-minute drive downtown to get dinner. I was pretty full by the time I left the house because eating distracted me from the pain, and the wine was the perfect medicinal vintage to dull the shooting pains spiking every few minutes.

The restaurant we wanted to try was Toro Bravo. If you’re ever in Portland, you HAVE to go there. But expect to wait an hour and a half to get a table if you go at the same time as everyone else because they don’t take reservations. We killed the time by going to Afrique Bistro – pronounced af– freek by us but who knows what it’s actually called. There we had more wine and appetizers which were really, really tasty (cucumber salad and cheese spinach). I was starting to wish for elastic-waist pants.

When we were done there, we decided to check out Russell Street Bar-B-Que (all of these are on NE Russell Street). There we had pints of IPA beer and two orders of hush puppies. These were the real deal – the hush puppy was about the size of a chopped-off finger and cooked through. They were delicious with butter, and each order had 12 hush puppies, so doing that math, that gave us a total of 24, which meant that, since there were 4 of us, I got 12 and everyone else got 4. We also nibbled two pralines there.

They called us from Toro Bravo to say our table was ready, and we waddled back there and ordered no fewer than 10 appetizers (or tapas) because we wanted to sample all the flavors. And another bottle of wine, which unfortunately had the unpleasant side effect of causing a pain in my forehead, although the rest of my body had long since ceased complaining. Except for my stomach. It was yelling and screaming, “Stop, you freaking idiot. DO NOT put that fork in your mouth again. DO NOT!!!!! You are the stupidest human being in the world. No one has ever continued eating like this when they are COMPLETELY FULL and not regretted it. You will have to run 10 miles tomorrow to burn all of this off. Please stop. I’m begging you. P..l..e..a..s..e.” My stomach’s voice continued like this as I stabbed another potato, pickled beet, and cheese bread slice. It had pretty much given up by the time Julie and I shared a lava cake with ice cream for dessert.

By the time we got home, it was very late, I was very miserable, and I had a headache. And that’s when the dog ate my blog.

ADDENDUM (for extra credit): Speaking of dogs, let me explain about hush puppies. I’m originally from the South so I know that, when people here in Portland make hush puppies big and round, it’s not right. True hush puppies are corn bread batter dropped into hot fat. They fry until they’re browned on the outside and cooked through – and each one of them is like a snowflake – no two are alike. The big round ones can have wet dough in the middle because the heat can’t get in there quick enough to cook the center without burning the outside. If you want a good batch of fried okra, go to Miss Delta (on NE Mississippi), but don’t order the hush puppies there. They are okay, but they’re round and they don’t taste like a real hush puppy and you dip them in gravy, which isn’t bad, but it’s not the real thing.