(not the teenage kind)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanks For Rudy Day

Today is a major holiday for me. It was seven years ago today that I was transformed from a dog fearer to a dog lover. Yes, it was seven years ago today that Rudy arrived on my doorstep (in the arms of don dokken) and my life happily changed (that is because luckily seven years of little sleep, a dirty house, and numerous trips to the emergency vet just happen to be the very things that fill me with happy...)

Rudy was 14 pounds of hyper and neurosis. But he was very well behaved (except for, you know, waking me up at 3am by eating my pajama tops and stuff like that.). The story has been told ad nauseum but I will memorialize it one more time. A friend of don dokken's was working on a construction site in Los Feliz and found Rudy tied to a cinder block near a half eaten hamburger. His fear of electrical cords and some other things led his trainer to believe he was probably abused.

So it was seven years ago today that I was given the name of a dog sitter named Michael who I called immediately. Michael was on his first trip in forever since starting the dog sitter business. He came straight from the airport the day after Thanksgiving to meet Rudy and has taken him to the dog park on a regular basis ever since. What would I have done without Michael? I might have to rename today "Thanks for Michael Day." Although since I have probably paid more for Rudy's day care than most people pay for their children's daycare, nevermind.

People always ask how Rudy got his name. Rudy was temporarily in foster care with another friend of don dokken's and they had named him Glen. I had read that dogs respond better to names that end with the "e" sound. My sister came over the night after Rudy arrived (aka Thanksgiving) and we were watching TV and bandying about names. A commercial for Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer came on. Sister said "Rudolph." Then we both said "Rudy." And so it came to pass. He was later given the middle name of "Pancake" because I brought him to my work and two people commented that he smelled like pancakes.

Now I like to celebrate Thanks for Rudy Day with a nice meal for me and don dokken and maybe a pig's ear or two for Mr. Rudy Pancake. Rudy seems to like to celebrate his anniversary by gettting injured. I have looked back at his vet records (and proof right here from last year) and he has had something going on during the holiday season for the last three years, this one included. Yes, we were at the emergency vet just last Sunday because he got a big old scratch under his eye. Lucky for us he just missed his eye. And stitches were only necessary for cosmetic reasons and so he will now have a tough looking scar to go with his tough sounding bark.

When I was at the vet there was a chart on the wall that calculates the age of your pet based on their years and size. I realized that once I have my birthday in February, Rudy and I will be the exact same age. The vet said that it is time to switch him to senior food. Ouch!

When I first got Rudy I would look at other dogs and their owners and see how bonded they were and think that Rudy was too aloof and I was too aloof and we just would never have that Lassie/Timmie thing. But that is not the case. Rudy and I have our own language. I can recognize what he wants just by the way he barks. And he can recognize what I want just by the tone of my voice. And most nights he sleeps with his head on my stomach. We are our own little pack.

So, Rudy, thank you so much. You are excited to see me even when I am just returning from taking out the trash. You are playful and funny. You take your job of protecting me and the house very seriously. You don't get mad or do damage when I am away for a long time and leave you locked up inside. You make me laugh, you make me cry....you have helped me become more patient and nurturing and forgiving than I ever thought I could be. I am so thankful for you.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Me and My Boyfriend Nano

I have a new boyfriend and his name is Nano. I LOVE bf Nano and I also realize that I neglected to keep you all current on a very important development. In this post here, I was complaining that I had won a digital camera when all I really wanted was an iPod Nano. I will confess that the complaining done on this blog was mild in comparison to the constant and annoying complaining that I did in real life. And then I got to the office that Monday and on my machine was a message from a vendor saying I had indeed won an iPod Nano. The screams that came from my office brought people running in concern. I am not kidding.

Things did not go so smoothly at first between me and bf Nano. For one, I had talked myself out of wanting to win one because friends had mentioned that they were buggy and there were lawsuits and this and that. So then when it arrived and the only song I was able to load was Elliott Smith's Wouldn't Mama Be Proud? and I couldn't figure out the volume control I was ready to join the class action. But with some very minor help from don dokken I got it all straightened out.

Bf Nano is now the proud holder of twenty-seven tunes. I am very carefully choosing the songs because his main use will be to alter my life dramatically by motivating me to exercise faster and more often through the magic of music.

This past weekend bf Nano had his trial run. I dropped my car off early at the car dealership and then set out on the 2+ mile walk home. And here is the thing...bf Nano makes me want to sing and sing loudly and offkey (well, I don't actually WANT to sing offkey, I'm just dealing with the voice the good Lord or Darwin or whoever gave me.) So, people of Van Nuys and Sherman Oaks, I just want to tell you that the crazy lady singing "I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon and another girl to take the pain away" at the top of her lungs was not an escapee from rehab/the psych ward but just me and bf Nano and our homage to Gram Parsons and Keith Richards. You can unlock your doors.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

More Toilet Seat Stuff

Aunt Jean has written in with her account of the sitting on the toilet seat with paint incident:
I must have been in pre-teen years (this was on Bosworth Ave) and mother painted the toilet seat. I did not realize it and had paint all over my buttocks. Daddy had to take terpentine and clean me off (I don't know why mother did not do it). Needless to say that is why there was no sense of modesty in our household! I am amazed that Mary remembers that because she was not there but mother must have told her.
So there you have it.

And in even more really exciting toilet seat news, Jill called to say that she was in the bookstore and found this book. It is in the shape of a toilet seat and is filled with Sudoku puzzles. This is great news as it easily solves the transporting of germy things in and out of the bathroom problem. And it proves what I always say - from my blog to the marketer's ears....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sudoku In The Bathroom

My 97 year old Aunt Mary sent my mom this article from the Des Moines Register where the author muses about how he always reads in the bathroom but then he got addicted to the Sudoku puzzles and started doing those in the bathroom but then got grossed out about the hygiene of taking a pencil in and out of the bathroom (he did clarify that he always washes he hands.) And then he started thinking that maybe it was even unhygenic to bring reading materials into the bathroom. And then he did some research. The germ doctor he called said there have been no studies done on this subject but was emphatic and insistent that he himself would never, ever bring anything with him into a bathroom which, as we all know, is a major minefield of germs.

Aunt Mary wanted my mother to show the article to me, my sister, and my Aunt Jean. I thought this was because I was obsessively doing the Sudoku puzzle when I went to visit her in Des Moines (although I most certainly did not bring it with me into the bathroom) but it turns out is is because when my Aunt Jean was a child her parents painted the toilet seat and Aunt Jean didn't know and she sat on it. Okay, whatever.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Evil Knieval Pup

(Yep, looking pretty evil...)

I do not know what has gotten into the pup. He did not eat while I was in Chicago. That is normal. Then he threw up in the middle of the night on Saturday and again on Sunday morning. Probably because he was not used to eating again. On Sunday I was watching television on the couch when he came bounding into the room and, instead of walking around the coffee table and then jumping on the couch, he tried to take a wild leap over the coffee table. That did not work out so well for him. The contents of the coffee table went flying and he was frightened and, I think, humbled. But what was he thinking? Is he going blind and did not see the coffee table? Was he feeling frisky and and overly confident and two years old again? We will never know. And we will hope that he never tries that trick again.

On another note...can someone please explain to him about the time change? Because he keeps waking up at the old 5am, instead of the new 5am. It is making me very tired.

And on another note, I consider this a red letter day because for once the people have voted the same way as I did. Arnold is going down! Sadly, the guy in front of me at the voting place foresaw Donna Frye's loss. "Too bad," he said. "San Diego is such a mess." What happened, San Diego? You were on such the right track with Donna. Oh well, keep counting those votes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Jewels of the San Gabriel Valley

Really I don't know where to begin. Okay, well, I will start by saying that I probably won't be moving to Chicago. The tour of the San Gabriel Valley as put together by the amazing and brilliant John Arroyo has left me speechless. But I will try. And the pictures will help. Although the batteries on the digital camera that I won instead of the Ipod Nano did not hold up. So I am waiting on some pics from Cameron. But to the left is how it all began which is how all tours should begin - with amazing homemade pumpkin muffins baked by Cameron and crowns handmade by John with each city on our itinerary nicely affixed to each prong of the crown. How do people get to be so creative?
We drove to Altadena where we saw Christmas Tree Lane. Happily, the trees were not yet decorated so I do not have to use precious blog space ranting about how they are starting earlier and earlier with the Christmas. That is not say we did not see them starting with the decorations. But that is okay. It is going to take them awhile.

Because you can see these are massive trees and there are lots of them.

Next stop was the Mountain View cemetary with the most amazing (you will be reading this word "amazing" a lot in this entry. Get used to it.) stained glass and some very unique book shaped urns. And other type of urns like this one that had funny sayings on them like "It's okay boys don't worry FDR isn't here." A crown for anyone who can explain that one.

The tour bus (aka my Volkswagon Passat) next drove to Sierra Madre and the Waldo Ward Ranch located smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood. They bottle jams, jellies, olives, and other such stuff for various manufacturers including themselves. We got a tour in which, thanks to Jill, we learned the difference between jam, jelly, marmalade, preserves, and what have yous. The next few pictures are from the ranch.

Please know that I am hitting the highlights here. There were gazillon ton vines and historic race tracks and then we were in Monrovia. I will pause here to state that each of the cities we passed though had their own cute main street. I will also pause here to state that I have been to Monrovia many times and have seen the neighborhood of perfect Craftsmen and have seen their cute main street but I have completely bypassed and missed and never seen the Brass Elephant and the Aztec Hotel my new favorite bar and hotel. It was built in 1925 and is very Mayan themed. See look....

(Yeah, well, okay - we can only hope that Cameron took better pictures than this of my new favorite bar and hotel.)

And now for the most amazing part of the tour. But also the hardest part of the tour to describe. It's like this. There's this guy Michael Rubel who built a castle in the middle of Glendora. It is behind walls. You can not see it from the street. He started in the sixties and it took 25+ years to accomplish what he accomplished. There was no plan. There was no money. Everything was built with found or given materials. Over 1,000 workers helped him build his masterpiece for free. The place is filled with all sorts of wonders. There is a clock tower with the hugely vast and intricate mechanism that Michael Rubel put together himself. With no instructions. There are rooms and rooms of old and antique items. There is an old train car fixed up for guests. Everything is whimsical and wondrous and amazing. There are stories upon stories about things that may or may not have happened on these premises but it really does not matter. Oh, and you can go there and take blacksmithing classes and printing classes. I think. I leave you with pictures (although this is where the stupid digital camera really gave out....) since I do not have the words and this link that might help. I will also leave with a big, big thank you to John who knows everything and anything there is to know about Los Angeles and loves to share. And can I please be him when I grow up?

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Not the musical. The real city where I have just spent the last five days. I was a winner in Chicago. About ten different vendors at the conference were having drawings for Ipod Nano's which I wanted more than anything. But I won a digital camera. With a printer. That I had to lug home in my suitcase. Have you seen how small those Nano's are? Nevermind. If I knew what I was doing when I used my digital camera and hadn't erased all the beautiful pictures, I could have shown you something like this:

Doesn't Chicago have the best skyline ever? On my last night there, I went walking up Michigan Avenue and into Marshall Fields which has a new Lush store attached. The Lush store looked familiar so I asked the salesgirl if they had any in Los Angeles. "No," she said, "But we have them in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills. So that's kind of close, right?" She then looked proudly at her co-workers and said "See? I'm getting so much better" and explained to me that earlier a customer had asked about stores in San Francisco and she had proudly told him there was one close by in San Diego. I could not blame her for her geographical confusedness because I had a similar thing happen earlier in the day when I saw an ad for Indiana which said it was only 30 minutes (30 miles?) from there. That kind of closensess to a whole 'nother state I just do not get.

Here is my favorite building in Chicago. Some people call it the "corn cob" building. I call it the flower petal building and I want to live here.

It was built in the 60's and you probably can't tell from this picture but the cars are all parked in the bottom and the living space is upstairs. From a distance it looks like the cars are just going to back right out of the building and into the water. Plus it is next to the House of Blues. And right near all my other favorite buildings like the Wrigley Building and the Chicago Tribune Building and several blocks south of the Hancock building where you can go to the 97th floor and have a dinner or drinks and see the whole city.

I am now feeling like even the most architectural stunning downtown Los Angeles buildings don't come close to the ugliest building in Chicago. The J's are having our own impromptu Jewels of the San Gabriel Valley tour today and it better be good or I am coming home and packing my bags and leaving for Chicago and then coming back when I realize how cold it gets there.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hey, Hey, What Can I Say?

So I am at this conference in Chicago and one of the vendors hosts an event at the House of Blues with Hootie and the Blowfish. Just to give an idea about the type of conference - the organizers who introduced Hootie were making jokes about FAS 123 and Equity alignment and blah, blah, who knows.

My usual modus operandi at a standing only event is to arrive early and plant myself at the front of the stage. Which I did. And there were people coming around serving food and one of the servers found out I was a vegetarian and went out of his way to find and bring me as many vegetarian appetizers as possible. And at one point he had trays and trays of meat laden appetizers but found a server with cheese pizza and scored me a piece and brought it to me there at the front of the stage. Then he made me, made me, take three spanokipitas. Out of courtesy I had to eat everything he brought me. But really that third spanokipita made me want to vomit. Just being honest.

I can not say that I am a Hootie fan. But it was fun standing at the front of the stage right under the bass player and in fact right in front of the playlist. I will report that the playlist was in shorthand with a one word description for each song so that instead of "What Can I Do?" it said "Zeppelin." And I will also report that I did not have anything to drink but water which would not be true for several members of the audience. I would say that it is bad politics to drink as much as some of these people did at a work function. And I mean drinking so much that security has to warn you to stay away from the band. And I mean drinking so much that people standing around you are giving you dirty looks because your enthusiasm is ruining their good time. And I mean drinking so much that you are probably not here at the conference this morning but still in bed or in the bathroom or maybe even still at the House of Blues (it does happen... I once had a friend who passed out and was undiscovered and was locked in a nightclub all night. His only regret was that all the liquor had been locked up...)

The weather is beautiful in Chicago but my Ann Taylor cashmere pancho has still come in handy...

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