(not the teenage kind)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wonder of Wonders

Most every Saturday I go for a long, long walk in the morning. Invariably I will run into a neighbor who will scream out of their car "Where's your dog? Why aren't you walking your dog?" There are several reasons:

- If I brought the dog with me, I would have to interrupt his love fest with the cleaning lady. Those two are inseparable. I swear, he would leave with her if he could.
- In the past, he has been "leash aggressive." That means that when he sees another dog and he isn't on his leash, he is completely unaffected. Put his leash on and he becomes a growling maniac and I have to hold on tight. I have a crooked pinky to prove it.
- He generally does not like to use the bathroom in public. He prefers the privacy of his own backyard.

He does not, by the way, lift his leg when he pees. He pees like a girl. My neighbor thinks it is because I got him fixed too young. We have always just thought he is a girly boy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I got home from work this afternoon and it was such a nice day I had the idea that the pup and I should go for a walk. We got around the corner, he was heeling really well for him, and we got to a tree and he very tentatively......lifted his leg!!!!! I do not think he peed. But he lifted his leg.

I could not believe I did not have my cell phone because I wanted to call everyone I knew to let them know this miracle had occurred. And then I realized that I did not give him positive reinforcement for the lifting of the leg. So I walked him back to the same tree and...he tentatively lifted his leg again. And I praised him and praised him. We continued on our walk. We passed a few more trees and a few more times he sort of kind of lifted his leg. He never peed, though, just lifted his leg.

When I got home, I called don dokken who I thought would be just as excited as I was. After 7 1/2 years, our boy was a man. Except don dokken was disappointed. He said not lifting his leg and being a girly boy was part of the lovableness of Rudy. He thinks that peeing like a girl is part of Rudy's charm. I don't know, though, the tenative, inept way that Rudy lifted his leg was pretty charming. I kept wondering what would make him just suddenly try. Did he see another dog do it on television or outside our window and think it might be fun? Has this been something he's wanted to try for a long time and just decided "what the hell, I'm 7 1/2 years old, it's now or never?" Miracles of miracles.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Shower Power

In honor of the impending births of my impending niece and nephew, "Buffy and Jody," I was invited to two showers. The first shower was at the home of kruthless' sister-in-law and here's what the table looked like when we walked in:

And these were just the appetizers. My favorite part of the table was this:

Can you see what it is? It is a gorgeous bowl filled with...cheetos and doritos! The best. We thought the appetizers were the meal but then, once all the gifts were open, out came more food:

Here is how kruthless looked at the end of her shower. She is holding a pair of "Buffy and Jody" wannabees:

The second shower was today. It was a nice brunch given my three friends of kruthless'. "Buffy and Jody" received the following handmade gifts from me:

I had to leave early because I had another engagement. This was a true fact although it is also a true fact that I really do not like showers and had an agreement with kruthless that I would only be invited to one. Nonetheless, I was happy to go to this shower, wanted to give my impending niece and nephew their blankets, and blah, blah, blah. When I went to leave, one of kruthless' friends said, "But what could be more important than this?" Oh, so many ways to answer that question. Someone (a reader of this blog, I believe) suggested "How about being in the delivery room when they're born, bitch? You gonna be there?"

Of course that would have been lame because I actually have no intention of being in the delivery room. Did you not read the post about my fear of all things being cut and being cut into? But, anyway, as the same person pointed out, I will be an Aunt for life. What does attendance or non-attendance at a shower have to do with auntdom?

Anyway, I will leave you with a picture of kruthless in the same outfit as the first shower which was just two weeks ago. See how my impending niece and nephew have grown?

P.S. For those of you too young to get the "Buffy and Jody" reference (i.e. JILL), go here.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Closets Project

One of my plans now that I am working part time was to straighten out and clean out my closets and cupboards. See how nice they look?

Of course, I understand that without the "before" pictures you all have no context. But just imagine years and years worth of things haphazardly stuffed into any available open space. Really, believe me, two closets and two cupboards looking this good is quite an accomplishment.

Only it wasn't mine. Apparently, my cleaning lady had the same projects on her list and I got home from a walk today and she had made everything nice and neat and all straightened out. Without me even asking.

Feeling guilty and somewhat cheated I did tackle another cupboard. It appears that I have been a collector of the yellow pages and the white pages telephone books. I threw away so many of those that I now have two whole empty shelves.

Several people have asked if I am still going to have the cleaning lady now that I am, for the time being, working less and earning less. I'll just let you guess the answer to that one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

2006 Bloggies

I have just been looking over the 2006 Bloggies nominations and realized that I am a spotter of talent. Many of the nominees are blogs I read fairly regularly. And I am happy to share them with you:

Post Secret

Waiter Rant
Chocolate and Zucchini
Yarn Harlot
The Superficial
Go Fug Yourself
Daily Kos

And the host of this blog, Blogger, as well as Site Meter, which sends me reports about the readers of my blog.

Okay, full disclosure, I am actually not a Dooce fan. Heather Armstrong, the creator of Dooce, was famously fired for writing about her job on her blog. And "Dooced" became a synonym for being fired from your job by writing about it on your blog. But I have never really gotten into her blog. I have a soft spot for Pamie - hers was the first personal blog I ever read (Daily Kos, which is political, was my first blog ever) . And when I started my blog I actually wrote to her and she actually wrote me back. The Superficial and Go Fug Yourself make me laugh. And many of you might have heard of PostSecret first on these here pages. Yep, we were right there at the beginning.

If you want to see all the nominees, just go to 2006.bloggies.com.

I have spent so much time creating links for you all that it is way past my bedtime. The pup is snoring at my feet. Good luck and good night.

The Movies

There have been so many articles about why people do not go to the movies. My favorite was the Los Angeles Times who interviewed people at the movie theatre (i.e. attending movies) about why people aren't going to the movies. Someone sent in a letter suggesting maybe they should have asked the people who don't go to the movies. Here is how I would answer -

I don't go to the movies because:
- they are too expensive
- there are too many trailers
- I am short and tall people always sit in front of me
- I have ADD and am easily distracted by all the people who talk on their cell phones during the film
- People bring their babies and little kids to R rated movies because apparently babysitters no longer exist.
- I love my Netflix.

I have seen very few movies in the theater in the last year or so. But I took my car to the shop today and, having time to kill, walked across the street from work to see "Brokeback Mountain."

The cineplex is new and had stadium seating so I did not have to worry about tall people sitting in front of me. The matinee price of $8 was high but reasonable. I got there on the early side and had my choice of seats. They were playing these longish trailers, almost like "making of the movie" shows and I thought "wow, they finally got that people don't like all those hours of trailers before the film and they are playing them as people wait for the film to start. Brilliant idea!"

But, then, picture this. It is a large theater. There are maybe five people sitting in the very large theater. A very elderly couple (i.e. hard of hearing) walk in and, out of all the seats in the very empty and very large theater, they sit right next to me. The whole row is empty. They do not even leave a seat between me and them. I will repeat - they sit right next to me. So I move down one seat. Later I remember my friend Joan telling me that she and her husband can spot talkers and move away instantly. I ended up moving five minutes into the film. (I waited until after the half an hour of trailers. Yes, of course, there were still trailers.)

Actually it all worked out and was a nice way to spend an afternoon without a car. Well, except the movie was so sad. And I will never understand why, no matter how empty the theatre, people choose to cluster.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Even though I don't knit, I read many knitting blogs and they always refer to their LYS (local yarn shop). Well, I have my own LYS, only it stands for local yoga studio. The story of my LYS started four years ago when I worked briefly for an engineering company. There was a part-time employee there named Steve who I never talked to although I did know that he was an actor who had gotten some small character roles and that his wife was pregnant.

I left that company and, a couple of months later, walked into this brand new LYS with my yoga friend, Karen. And there was Steve. He and his pregnant wife were the owners of the brand new LYS. And they named the LYS after their black dog and they started a bulletin board of black dogs and my Rudy's picture was and still is posted right in the center. He is wearing reindeer ears and the picture has been carefully labelled "Rudy" at the bottom. Did I mention it's right in the center?

And then I did not go to the LYS for awhile and one afternoon Rudy started barking and I looked out the window and there was a man and woman pushing a stroller and walking a black dog. It was Steve and his wife and newborn baby and black dog and they had just moved into my neighborhood.

And then I did not go to the LYS for awhile again and I was in the Gelson's market wearing a t-shirt from the LYS and I heard someone call my name and say "you rock." And, of course, it was Steve.

All these run-ins with the proprietors of the LYS led me to believe that I was meant to take lots and lots of classes there. So I kept buying classes and I would go for a few times and then I would stop. And, by the way, the LYS really rocks. Steve and his wife have created a a beautiful, organized, respectful place to practice yoga and they have even expanded into more space. Their business is doing really well.

I went to take a class today for the first time in a really, really, really long time. When I went to sign-in, the woman behind the desk told me that it was a community class and only cost $8 so I might not want to use any of my previously purchased series. I told her I believed I had tons of classes so no worries.

After class, as I was walking out, the woman behind the desk said "you have 125 classes. I know exactly who you are now. I'm the office manager here and we talk about you all the time." I guess they find it funny that I have purchased all these classes and never used them. But that is about to change. The class today was really hard (for me....It was a low level class although the instructor kept saying that it is a misconception that yoga is relaxing. The relaxing comes later. The actual yoga class is HARD.) but I will be going back regularly. It is my LYS - they have a picture of my dog on the bulletin board, they know exactly who I am, and they talk about me. All the time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In My Spare Time

As many of you know, I have left my full time job for a part time job and to give me time to develop my own business (or businesses). My first day on the job went really well. My new boss gave me a hat. And he offered to take me to lunch but I had to rush home to meet the plumber. You know how I wrote a few days ago about things that go away if you ignore them? Well, I really do know that plumbing problems do not disappear so I actually scheduled the guys to come and clean the roots out of my line so a back up would not happen. Aren't I good? Except that on the way home from the first day of my new job, the other thing I was ignoring - the scary brake warning - happened again. What to do? What to do?

So, yes, today was new job, wait for the plumber, a little business development, and then fun stuff on the internet like this:

Your Hidden Talent

Your natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people.
You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together.
Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly.
People crave your praise and complements.

And since now I know that people crave my compliments, I will end by saying that I think you are all terrific...

Monday, January 23, 2006

Where Is The Love?

I had dinner the other night with one of the children I used to advocate for. I will call her Emma and we were celebrating her 12th birthday. She told me that she had talked to her birth mom who I will call Amy. Amy was calling from jail where she has been on and off since before Emma was born.

"How was it?" I asked.

"Not good," she said.

"Emma's upset that Amy's an atheist," Emma's adoptive mother volunteered.

"How did that come up?" I asked.

"Well, Emma found out from me. I told Amy that a woman from our church wanted to write her a letter and that it would have religious content and I asked her it that was okay and Amy said 'no' because she's an atheist and that she would write me a letter to explain," Emma's adoptive mother said.

"Well, maybe they don't have church in jail," Emma said.

"Oh no, in jail they have lots of opportunities for religion. A lot of people find God in jail," the adoptive mother said.

"Well, maybe, she's disappointed in her how her life turned out and feels like God let her down," I said.

"She did it to herself," adoptive mom said.

"Well, I'm disappointed that she doesn't even believe in the most important person in my life," said Emma. And then she left the room to find a jacket so we could go out to dinner.

Later, I thought of so many things I should have said like telling Emma that she will always be disappointed if she expects everyone to believe all the same things she does (I sure am...) and would God really want her to be so harsh and unforgiving? But I figure she's a preteen now anyway and hopefully there will be questioning years ahead and more understanding about all her birth mother has been through.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

If You Ignore It, It Goes Away

Right? Yesterday was my last day of work and I piled the trunk with boxes and the back seat with pictures and the front seat with boxes and pictures and I backed out of my parking space. Suddenly all these bright red warning lights lit up: "ABS," "Brake," "Brake Fail," "Service, " "STOP!!" Really, they did. So I pulled back into a parking space, turned off the car, and started it again hoping that it would all go away. It did not. Many plans went through my head simultaneously but, in the end, I just decided to drive.

By the time I had gone a couple of blocks, most of the lights had turned off and there was only one - a triangle with an exclamation point. I pulled over and looked in the manual and it said that if the ABS (anti-lock brake system) light went on, you should call the service station right away but in the meantime you should keep a healthy from cars in front of you. So as I drove I kept trying to call the dealer service and kept getting a machine. I finally told the receptionist that this was an emergency and that red lights were a-flashing and she put me through to Mike who said "the warning sign is for your anti-lock brake system but your conventional brake system is fine. You can keep driving but you need to make an appointment to have the ABS looked at. If you turn the car off and on again, the warning light should go off."

These overly scary lights for no good reason reminded me of many, many years ago when I went to say goodbye to my dying Grandmother in the Kaiser hospital in Fontana. She was on a ventilator and could not speak but she kept pointing to her eye and shaking her head and then waving goodbye. She was saying don't cry, I love you, goodbye. I went to a pay phone and, sobbing, called my dad to tell him what was going on. He did not say a word and I started thinking "is he so busy working, he's not even listening to me?" when I realized that he could not speak because he was crying too hard.

So you can understand my state of mind as I was driving home from Fontana with my sister in my fairly brand new Nissan Sentra and a warning light came on. I pulled off the freeway wondering how this one more wrong thing could be happening on what is still the most horribly sad day of my life ever. I pulled out the manual and read that this was the 5,000 or 2,000 or whatever mile light that goes on automatically to remind you to get some sort of maintenance on the brand new car. And the only way the light will go off is if you take it to the dealer so that they can turn it off. Not only was it scary but it was outright manipulation.

I still get angry and want to write a letter to the CEO of Nissan. As for my current car, the Volkswagen, Mike was right. I turned the car on this morning and there were no scary lights at all. I am wondering if the weight from all the boxes made the computer feel like the car was too heavy for the anti-lock brake system to work? And I hope you know I totally made that up because I am not really sure what an anti-lock brake system is. I will make a service appointment eventually but until then I'll just ignore and it will go away. Right?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

How Did You Get Here?

I can see how you got here. Most people know about this site and just enter the URL and they are here. But many people get here through a word or phrase search on google or yahoo or some other search engine. I can see the words they put in and many make me wonder how they ended up here. There are obvious ones having to do with hormones. There are a lot of those. But just in the last few days or so there have been these:

"Alexander Payne Behaved"

"Gasoline smell from 200 acura el"

And my favorite of the week...

"would a Jewish person like me because I am not"

I doubt any of the search engine people ever come back but I do think I will make this a regular feature just because I find it so fascinating.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Tale Of Two Charles

Charles #1:
This story is from many, many years ago. I was at a bar in Santa Monica watching my boyfriend's band when Charles #1, a bass player (as was my boyfriend), started chatting with me and my friend. Charles #1 was cute and goofy and completely broken hearted. He painted addresses on people's curbs. When the evening ended, he begged for my phone number disregarding my boyfriend who he had already decided was no good for me (he was right!)

He was cute and goofy and I gave him my phone number and he called and called but I would not go out with him. At one point he expressed concern over whether I lived on a hill or not because his car would not make it up a hill.

Sadly, the last thing about him I remember was a distraught Charles #1 saying "Oh my God" over and over again as he realized that even though he was cute and goofy and probably really, really nice, after weeks and weeks of calling, he was never going to see me again.

Charles #2:
This story happened a few days ago. don dokken and I go to the copy store and we are waited on by Charles #2. There is a framed picture of Jerry Garcia sitting in the copy store and I am certain that all the employees there sit around all day smoking pot. I tell don dokken that Charles #2 reminds me of my friend Chris.

don dokken: He looks nothing like Chris.
me: Well, he's tall and has a nice smile.
dd: Oh, yeah sure, you're right. In that case, he looks exactly like Chris.

See, I always win. Charles #2 is totally cute and goofy. I call him from my office which is across the street from the copy store and he says "I can see you." I tell him that don dokken and I will be stopping by and he says "That's great, that's great. I am really looking forward to it."

As we are leaving the copy store, Charles #2 engages don dokken in a conversation about his glasses. don dokken says that Charles #2 was flirting with him and I was flirting with Charles #2. He tells me that I will never get Charles #2's attention if I am going to be so obvious with the flirting. Not that I have one flirting bone in my body.

I was trying to write a moral to these two stories but, as you all know, I have not posted in many days and my mind and writing skills are weak. If you think of one, let me know...

Monday, January 09, 2006

Brinks and The Police and Me

On New Year's Eve Day, I left my house briefly to take some leftover food to Stephanie who lives less than five minutes away. I was there for two minutes when my cell phone rang. It was my alarm company telling me that the alarm in my house had gone off. The police had been called. Not really thinking too much of it, Stephanie and I went to my house. When we got there nothing looked awry, the alarm was not ringing, and the pup was all quiet. But I didn't think I should go inside so we waited for the police who arrived just moments later.

I told the police my situation. The dog was in the house. I was a little worried that he wasn't barking. Because, as all the neighbors know, he is a barker. The police told me to get back in my car. And then they pulled out their guns and started walking around my house. And then I started hyperventilating because all I could picture was my dog running to look out the window and the police shooting. So I got out of the car and started screaming "My dog is in there. My dog is in there. Please be careful. My dog is in there." They ignored me because, as the Sage later explained, "they are trained to ignore hysterical women."

Thinking about the situation later, I realized that the police and I had vastly different goals. They wanted to get the bad guy inside so he wouldn't steal my stuff. I did not care about my stuff and was only worried about the safety of my dog. They eventually came to the car and said that the dog had started barking and that with a bark like that they could not imagine that anyone would have gotten into my house.

They proceeded to tell me that they would need to go into the house. They told me that they knew the dog would not like them and I needed to grab him right away. When I explained that the dog really had never hurt anyone, they repeated that I needed to grab him RIGHT AWAY. It actually worked out beautifully. I surprised the pup by coming through the back door, called him, grabbed him by the collar and ran him out to the car. Meanwhile, the police ran past us yelling "police" just like on TV.

Of course, there was no one there. And the reason the alarm was not sounding when I got there was because it was the remote panic button that had been set off. The remote panic button was sitting in a drawer. It is almost eight years old and probably needs a new battery. But the alarm company told me that we should just see if this happens again before sending someone out to replace it.

I was going to let it go even though, as I explained to the alarm company customer service person, I did not want to watch policemen pointing guns at my house with the dog inside ever, ever again. Until I got the bill.

One hundred and fifteen dollars. One hundred fifteen dollars for a false alarm. Should I really have to pay that for an alarm company equipment malfunction? And if the equipment malfunctions again should I have to pay another one hundred fifteen dollars because they wouldn't send someone by to replace the button? I didn't think so. The CEO of Brinks Alarm Company will be getting a letter from me shortly.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lou Rawls - RIP

I have always loved the opening monologue to Natural Man. It is not like I have spent a lot of time thinking about Lou Rawls but I just loaded the song into my iPod a few weeks ago. If you don't know them, you should read the words below. The fade out: "No more 'yes, sir.' No more 'yes, ma'am.' 'Cause I'm a natural man."

A Natural Man
Lou Rawls
- written by Bobby Hebb and S. Baron
- as recorded by Lou Rawls
- entered the Billboard Top 40 the week of October 16, 1971 and
stayed for 11 weeks, peaking at #17 the week of December 4, 1971

You know, there was a time when, if someone told you to
do somethin', you did it. Bam! Right on! No questions asked.
It was "Yes, sir" and "Yes, mam". You never said no. You know? Huh.
But, you know, things are changing nowadays. It's a new day,
babies. Folks want to take their own lives into their hands and
make their own choices. No longer do they wanna go along with
the program 'cause everybody say it's right. You know what I mean?
Let me tell ya what I'm talkin' about, ya see, 'cause...

I don't want no gold watch for workin' fifty years from nine till five
A-while the boss is guzzling champagne and I'm beltin' beer in some dive

'Cause I want to be happy and free
Livin' and loving for me
I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
Like a natural man (like a natural man)
A natural man (like a natural man)

Well now, I refuse to listen to people's thinkin' that I live too high
I'm gonna taste it now before my one life streaks on by

'Cause I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
Like a natural man (like a natural man)
A natural man (just like a natural man)

Well now, I tried to do what others say that I should do
They say that I should fit in, fool 'em, fake it, well
Those kinda dues just make me crazy and blue
Man, I just can't take it

So when ya see me walkin', won't ya notice that proud look in my eyes
My feet are on the ground and my soul is searchin' for the sky

'Cause I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
I want to be happy and free
Livin' and lovin' for me
Just like a natural man (just like a natural man)
A natural man (just like a natural man)
Just like a natural man (just like a natural man)
My feet are on the ground (just like a natural man)
My soul is searchin' for the sky (just like a natural man)
Like a natural man (just like a natural man)
No more "Yes, sir" (just like a natural man)
No more "Yes, mam" (just like a natural man)
Huh, 'cause I'm a natural man (just like a natural man)
I'm a natural man (just like a natural man)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Burn, Baby, Burn

I had insomnia last night. I woke up around 3 am and then fell back to sleep at 5 am. I admit I had one weird dream in which my deodorant bottle fell down the sink drain, causing the drain to back up and the deodorant to come back in dozens of big plastic chunks. I said to myself "this must be a dream" and then I woke up.

But the other weird part was definitely not a dream. I heard the Governor of California say that California needs to burn more. Twice. (I mean, he didn't say it twice. I heard it twice.) He is trying to make nice nice with the Democrats. He is proposing a $222 billion public works program that will go on for a decade. What he said went like this: "We need more hospitals, more freeways, more schools, more teachers, more policemen, more fire. More, more, more."

I wonder how much of the $222 billion more fire is going to cost.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I read an article today that talks about how because the boomers are about to become social security age, they did a survey and asked how many would use direct deposit to receive their social security checks. It turns out that less boomers would use direct deposit than the elderly of today. The number one reason? They like having interaction with their financial institution.

The article goes on to quote some goverment official saying that if the boomers want live checks it is going to cost lots of money in postage which will cause us all to have to pay more taxes.

There are a lot of news reports and stories about the baby boomers these days because the first of the boomers turns 60 in this year of 2006. I was listening to Talk of the Nation on NPR the other night and the guest said that the decline in our culture is all the fault of the baby boomers. As an example, he pointed out that there are no William Faulker's among the baby boomer authors (FYI - the boom years were 1946 to 1964.) I have been sitting here for the last few hours trying to refute this and have come up with nothing. Suggestions anyone?

The Talk of the Nation guest then went on to say that all boomers are lumped together and thus all are responsible for Rod Stewart. I will take full responsibility for Rod Stewart. I bought most of his albums. I was first in line to buy tickets for the "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" tour. I clipped pictures of him out of teen zines. And my best friend and I once drove to his house to try and give him a puppy. (Hey, it was an afghan and it looked just like him....)

Anyway, boomer babies, give it a second thought. The world blames you for Rod Stewart and all things low brow. Do you really want to be blamed for a huge rise in the taxes? Sign up for that direct deposit. Now.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Big Fat Loser

That's me. Because I have been sitting here all day watching the friggin' Big Fat Loser Marathon on Bravo. Have you seen that show? They take a group of very overweight people and bring them to a ranch and then they get voted off based on their weight loss and other factors. There are temptations and award challenges and immunity along the way. It is Survivor goes to fat camp.

How long is this marathon? It seems like it has been days. And it is not even over yet. I think I have many hours to go before I find out who the biggest loser is. My favorite part about watching the marathon is that at the end they show you how much more weight the person who got kicked off has lost. They have all done really well. Makes me cry. In fact, I could skip the whole hour and just watch that last minute.

In my defense, it is raining and windy and awful outside so why should I leave the house if I don't have to? I thought I would read the latest Harry Potter or go see a movie today. Or maybe pay the bills and get the office organized. Or clean out a closet. Being such a big fat loser definitely was not part of the plan.

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