Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Give Her Enough Rope...

We got one of those longer retractable leashes, a 16 foot length. And after just one walk with the Banana Dog, I'm feeling really sad we didn't have one of these when my other Labs were around.

The leash gives her room to roam in a circle around us, able to sniff at will without dragging us along after her. With the new leash she makes the exact size circles my other Labs liked to make when they were off leash. I never got those two to behave on a leash with me. They pulled so hard, all the time, no matter how, or how often, I corrected them. But off leash, they were perfect. They'd stay within 20 feet ninety percent of the time. Unfortunately, off leash in Los Angeles isn't an option.

The longer-leash walk with Banana was effortless. We were able to reel her in quickly when there was traffic, or someone came by with another dog. And otherwise, she didn't pull at all. Unlike the 4-6 foot leash, which is a constant drag-along.

I'm so pleased!

Monday, August 28, 2006


Don't mean to neglect you, but I have a cold. And two lovely deadlines, even after working through the weekend. So to avoid any unnecessary pity parties (although I usually love a good party), I am going to lie down and come babble at you when I'm feeling better.

Is it the cold medicine, or just me? I'm inordinately amused that blogger's spell check keeps suggesting I replace "blogging" with "flogging".

I now return you to your regularly scheduled b(f)logging.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Good News Bad News

I knew she didn't like the noise, but I didn't know she'd take matters into her own paws.

Banana Dog murdered the vacuum cleaner.

The good news? I don't have to vacuum. The bad news? Laughing Boy's going to fix it.

I'm just glad I unplugged it before I left the little monster on her own for ten minutes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

16 Times a Day?

Okay, maybe thank you cards on this stuff would be, um, less than polite.

But come on! Elpahant Poo Stationery!

Laughing Boy, whom I love sometimes in spite of the fact that his sense of humor is stuck at 12 years of age, and sometimes because of it, would adore this stuff.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Childish Things

Kids today have it rough. Except for video games, so many toys have had the fun safety-ed and marketed right out of them. And snacks and cereals have followed close behind.

Cracker Jack Prizes
Stickers? Fake cheesy tattoos? Completely non funny jokes? This ain't Bazooka bubble gum, folks. Any old junk will not do. Choking hazard or not, you still can't beat plastic tops that actually spin, garish adjustable size rings that pinch your fingers, and small plastic magnifying glasses. These are the prizes that are worthy of the great Cracker Jack name.

Easy-Bake Ovens
My sister had the Easy-Bake Oven, and she was not interested in wasting her precious mixes on a little sister. So Easy-Bake and I have some history. But please, an Easy-Bake Microwave? Are you serious? Regular microwaves make nasty cakes, and even a 5 year old knows it. On the other hand, the Easy-Bake Gourmet Cookbook leaves me a bit torn. But after looking over the recipes, I think it's overkill. Anything that is baked with a lightbulb doesn't need to be gourmet. And do 5 year olds really want to make Chilaquiles with Roasted Tomato Salsa?

Creepy Crawlers
The whole point of Creepy Crawlers was the jiggly bugs you could make. It's about the bugs, man! And the reptiles. The new Creepy Crawlers Thing Maker? Girlie purple and blue plastic, and safety-revised to cook out of reach with a 60 watt light bulb. And the bugs mold doesn't come with the kit! You have to buy the cool molds separately. Gyp. And don't even get me started on the gooey glory that was Incredible Edibles!

Click Clacks
Click Clacks were fun, until our schools banned them. These were the only "co-ordination necessary" type toys I could ever use well. I know, we could conk ourselves pretty hard. But they were still cool.

Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch
While I always preferred plain Cap'n Crunch to all the other flavors (except in summer, which was Crunchberry time) Laughing Boy insists that Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch used to have a lot more peanut butter flavor. As he is a very honest person, I have to assume he is right and say "WTF?" on his behalf.

New Cereals
As long as I'm on the subject, we had Freakies. We had Quisp. We had Quake. Kids today have Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, coming soon to a cereal bowl near you! Freakies win this contest, tentacles down!

To Whom It May Concern:

To: Everyone
From: Me
Re: Who Died and Made You Queen

I am sorry you did not get the memo, but yes, someone did die and make me Queen. I'm sure your copy just got lost in the mail, or deleted by your overzealous spam filter. Sorry if you thought you were next in line for the job, but what can I say. The decision of the judges is final.

To give you all time to straighten up your files, erase all "joke" e-mails from your hard drives, and clear out your desks for the turnover, I will only be making a few minor changes to start with.

1) Spelling: All "cute" spelling will be corrected. There will be no more Kozy Korners, I am not interested in your Krafty Kapers, and Ye Olde Ice Creame Shoppes will be renamed with fewer "e's" forthwith.

2) Work Hours: The work day will now run from 1 pm to 8 pm. Single digit hours occurring during the first half of the day, formerly referred to as "morning", will be banned effective immediately. Anyone bubbling enthusiastically about their 5 am workout, and how peaceful it is to be up at 4:30 am will be forced to clean the bathroom at Kchuckie Kcheese. In a mouse costume.

3) Restaurant hours: Restaurants will remain open until at least 11 pm, unless it's Kchuckie Kcheese. Kchuckie Kcheese will only be allowed to open from 11 am until 12 noon, on alternate Wednesdays.

3) Traffic:
a) All drivers will exit the freeway one half hour before I leave for work, and again one half hour before I attempt the return trip home.
b) All left turn arrows will be long enough to allow no fewer than seven cars through on a single cycle.
c) There will be no more double parking, but jay walking will be required if, and only if, streets are clear of vehicular traffic.

4) Neither the Post Office, nor any other "service" business, will be allowed to post signs announcing their drastically reduced service hours if said signs include the words "for your convenience".

5) Fluorescent lighting will be banned in all offices, dressing rooms, and bathrooms.

6) Neither this dress, nor anything else I own, makes me look fat. I do not look tired. I do not need a haircut. I am not required to smile, and am not likely to just because you say so. And I have not put on some weight. Evidence to the contrary will not be admitted in a court of law, or anywhere else.

7) No comment on the state of my house, height of my dirty laundry pile, or appearance of pet fur drifts piling up against the baseboards will be permitted at any time for any reason. Unless you feel like lying and telling me how wonderful it looks. If you choose to pursue this latter course of action, be convincing.

8) No insults will be allowed if disguised, however well or badly, as a compliment. (See #7)

9) "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" will be legally enforced, unless one is speaking about anyone who considers appearing in the tabloids to be a good thing. *

10) The proper use of "I" and "Me" will be memorized and adhered to. Especially by any and all guests appearing on Dr. Phil. Sorry, I know you're all under a lot of stress already, as Dr. Phil doesn't take any crap. It's hard to keep track of grammar when you're getting your behind handed to you on a plate. But. "He told Jason and I that we had to leave," is WRONG. Would you say, "They told I that I had to leave?" I can only hope, by all that you may or may not hold dear, that you would not. Less frequently, and usually heard from Maury's or Jerry Springer's guests, note that it is "Jason and I went to the store", and NOT "Jason and me went to the store".

11) "Nuclear" is not to be pronounced "Nucular". If it is, the hearer is required to say, "What? I don't understand you," while wincing in pain. The alternate response, "Is that even a word?", may be used if repeated loudly and incessantly to anyone else within earshot. This is to be continued until the speaker corrects his tired-ass, allegedly-Presidential self.

Until the changeover is complete, these details should be enough to keep most of you busy for the foreseeable future. Here's to a long and happy reign. All hail etc etc!

As you were.

* UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that steps 6-9 (especially #8) will render Laughing Boy's sister-in-law effectively mute for life. Um... would you buy an "ooops"? Didn't think so.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time

So the trainer suggested putting a bit of peanut butter or cream cheese in a Kong(tm) toy for the dog, to keep her from being bored. Seemed like a good idea.


I have just found, to my chagrin, that Banana Dog likes to toss her Kong(tm) around. And as it bounced on the hard tile entryway, small globules of greasy peanut butter were flung from the ends all over the floor, walls, and nearby carpet. Apparently, the easy to reach mess isn't nearly as tasty as the stuff still clinging to the insides of the Kong(tm), because I'm on my way to get a sponge to clean it up while Banana concentrates on getting the last few pieces of peanut butter that weren't forcibly ejected from the Kong(tm). I am concentrating on being grateful she didn't think of taking it up onto the light green couch.

Easy like Sunday morning? Not at my house!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

See Me

When I was little, I would hear people talk about clouds and stars. My mom would say, "Look, Panda! That cloud looks like a bunny!" And I would nod hesitantly. But my eyesight was so bad, when I looked up all I saw was a soft wash of blue and white, like a watercolor left out in the rain. I never knew what a star was, exactly, but I dutifully sang "twinkle, twinkle" with the rest of them. I knew they were all seeing something, but obviously I was doing it wrong, because I didn't.

After I got my glasses, I could see the leaves on the trees and the clouds in the sky. The stars were just as bright for me as for everyone else. I could see what they could see.

But as I grew older, really seeing became more difficult. I'm not really seeing those stars, but the light from gases long burned away. And back here on earth, I don't have to just see something. I have to see both sides of an issue. See their side of it. See my way clear to helping them out. See what is really going on. See behind the mask. It isn't enough to just look at things and see them as they appear. Now I have to see past the way they look and through to how they really are.

Just for today, I'm going to stop trying so hard to see and just look at some stars. Maybe even a cloud that looks like a bunny.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

I'm In The Book

I'm official! My blog has finally showed up in the Blogher Blogrolls. I blog, therefore I am!

I mean, I know it's not a popularity contest. If you register, you eventually get added. But I'd applied a few weeks ago, and was wondering when I would show up.

It's the little things.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just As Soon As I Get Around To It

I've been a procrastinator since... well, since the first day I had something to do and a deadline for doing it. Mostly, as the middle child of a minister and a teacher, there was no assignment, schedule, scouting badge or art project that was not paraded in front of my parents' microscope practically before the finger paints dried. So the pressure was pretty intense. When I took IQ tests for elementary school placement, the tester noted in my report that I would have scored higher, but I was terrified of making a mistake so wouldn't even try if I didn't already know the answer.

My sister cut class in high school, and the lady who took care of the attendance called my Dad directly. It's not that 35 other students hadn't ditched school that same day. It was just that my Dad was on the review board for school attendance, and she knew him personally. It was like living in an aquarium, glass 360 degrees around our lives. What they didn't hear through the parent and administrator grapevine, my Mom found out through reading my sister's diary, or my journal.

Hence the procrastination. If you had barely enough time to finish, then it didn't have to be perfect. Done would do. You didn't have time for paralysis when you had a 16 page report on Renaissance cartography due in the morning, and you still had to track down the only book extant in the local public library. (Pre-internet, my friends. Truly medieval.)

In later years, my house would never be cleaner than when I had a deadline waiting to feast on my entrails. Vacuuming never looks as good as it does when I should be doing my taxes.

I've gotten over most of this, but not for any noble reasons. These days my schedule is so full, I don't have time for pushing things back. A job comes in today, and is due tomorrow morning. My procrastination is already done for me before I even get hired.

This could be the perfect job for me. Or a special circle of hell just for procrastinators. I'll figure out which. Just as soon as I finish this game of solitaire. And that load of laundry. And have you seen the vacuum?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Howdy Folks!

Hi! Did you miss me?

I sure did.

I'm fine with five hours sleep, most nights, if I have to. But less than 4, and I'm in real pain.

Too many of those this week.

Banana Dog has been bored, bored, bored. So we've got to spoil her a bit tomorrow. I know she won't behave worth a darn in class tomorrow night.
Note, if you will, the wild gleam in her eyes. We have. I think it's time to give the park another try.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Veeerrrryyyy Tired

You know that work I don't mention? Well, I started at 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday), and I just finished now. 3:20 am Monday.

That's three different clients, 4 different projects.

Must sleep.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Ready For Her Close Up

In case you think we don't take pictures of our other pets, you're only half right. We try. The cats, however, consider the flash an instrument of the devil. So they run every time they see the camera.

Doodles has a different problem. I think she avoids looking at the camera because she's embarrassed.

She has this recurring fungus, kind of like athlete's foot is in people. But for her, it's whole body. It makes her reek and itch. It used to be so bad, she licked her fur into huge mats. In some places, she licked her fur right off. We've got medicine for when it gets bad (hard on her liver, so we can't use it often), and shampoo for in between times.

She gets the buzz cut treatment at the groomers. It looks so funky, the groomers will only do it if we agree not to tell anyone where we get her clipped.

They obviously didn't think to ask me not to post it on the internet.

We love her. We just try not to stand down wind.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It's Not Too Late For Your Daughters

Mothers, I have an urgent request to make.

Every male roommate I have had over the years, platonic or intimate, has turned this:

Into this:

within 20 minutes of getting home.

I could take a picture of the trail of socks and underwear too, but if you've got a man in your house, you could turn your head and see them yourself. Unless you've already picked them up.

How does this happen?

I have done an extensive, albeit informal, study of this phenomenon in the past.

First up: my Ex's Mom.

"Ex's Mom, why does he leave every single box of cereal, package of cookies, carton of milk and baggie of lunch meat out on the counter? He took them out, he can't put them back? And he never throws the empty ones away. Why?"

Ex's Mom sighed. "That's my fault. With three boys, they went through a full pantry of groceries in minutes. The only way I knew when they'd finished something off was if they left the empty boxes out. And if they left the mostly empty ones out, I could get some milk for my cereal before they finished that too."


I've asked other roommates' moms the same thing over the years. Same general answer. I have not posed the Great Question to Laughing Boy's Mom, since it's too late to change this in our house.

The daughters, interestingly enough, do not have this particular quirk. Oh, we have others, but not the half-empty boxes, bags and cartons of groceries loitering on the counters. Probably because all that tangible evidence that we girls ever ate anything as teenagers would have led directly to an ice cream binge. Or another diet. But that's a topic for another post.

Back to the point. I can understand the groceries, I really can. Actually, never having had to provision a kitchen for a battalion of teenage boys, I'm sure I can't. But here's the thing. Men don't seem to get that there's a disconnect between "helpful" mess and general mess. If a guy leaves almost empty cartons of milk out on the counter, you can guarantee he will leave spilled sugar on the floor, spattered spaghetti sauce in the microwave, used cereal bowls half full of the aforementioned milk on the coffee table, and a trail of socks and underwear down the hall, up the stairs and even out onto the back porch in the right weather.

So Mothers, here's my plea. Nip this in the bud. It's time. It's too late for me, for us. But do it for your daughters, for your someday daughters-in-law, for significant others everywhere. Future generations will thank you.

Saving the planet one empty carton of milk at a time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Now THIS is Shopping!

Thanks to Chookooloonks for this link: Environmentally friendly, Fair Trade goodies for gifts, kids, toys, food and drink, cosmetics, and (yippee!) THE HOUSE! My lazy little heart is goin' pitter-pat-pitter-pitter-hop-hop-hop as we speak!

Emerald Market

I'm in luuuuuuv!

To-Do List

I had a million things to do that day. The list was as long as my commute.

And I ticked them all off, one after another.

Balance the checkbook - Done.
Enter my notes into my day planner - Done.
Copy pile of contacts into address book - Done.
Edit coworker's project proposal - Done.
Read new script for concept meeting - Done.

So why didn't I feel better?

Probably because I was "driving" on the freeway at the time, stuck for 67 minutes between my onramp and the next offramp.

I hate the 405.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Music To My Ears

I'm sure you've probably seen this link around, but just in case the others haven't persuaded you to look, I'll put in my plug too.

You type in your music favorites, and Pandora pulls together a music station, just for you, of other songs that you might like based on your tastes.

Listen already, and find some new inspiration to rock your life!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Can You Take A Hint?

One of the same friends who used to only call when she needed something had a husband who was a world champion hinter.

"We've got to pick up this dining room table we bought, but I don't think it will fit in our car. I don't know where we can find a car big enough. I think we'll need a truck..."

Long pause, while we all consider trucks. Hmmm. My not-yet-an-ex-at-the-time, who was elsewhere, had a truck.

"I guess we could rent something," he continued, staring off into space, not making eye contact. "But it seems like a lot of money, renting a truck, for just fifteen minutes." Pause, pause, pause. "The store is just around the corner." Long pause and a sigh. And on it went. Oh, alas. No truck, no truck.

"Not-yet-an-ex-at-the-time has a truck," say I. "I'm sure he won't mind. You should call and ask him."

"Oh no! I wouldn't want to ask... I mean, if he WANTS to do it. If he OFFERS, that would be great. But I would never ASK."

So I went and asked. An offer is made, and the table is eventually fetched.

He never, ever asked outright. For anything. But he would hint, long and hard and blatantly. And then one day, someone else brought up the subject of some favor thus attained through the Olympic(tm) medal caliber hinting. And the Hinting Husband was shocked and horrified.

"I never asked them to! If somebody offers, I'm not going to turn them down. But I don't owe them anything. If they didn't want to do it, they shouldn't have offered!" And then he chuckled warmly, content in his never asking and owing nothing.

And that, right there, is what bothers me about being hinted at.

Because they don't come right out and ask, they feel free to never return the favor. Because they don't feel that there was a favor. Because they always stop just short of coming out and asking.

So I have subsequently become the densest person on the planet with Compulsive Hinters.

(scene: a fictional and non-existent job, similar to one I held ages ago but in no way representative of any actual employer or co-worker, or of any conversation held with any co-worker or employer or employee ever at any time. Or anything.)

"Gosh, I wish I had some milk for my coffee," says Compulsive Hinter.

"Hmmm." I sit there, sipping my soda.

"I'm stuck at my desk allllll lunch, and there's no way I can get away to buy some milk. I can't drink my coffee without it." Compulsive Hinter stares mournfully at his/her coffee cup.

"Hmmm." I open my bag lunch, brought from home.

"If only someone who wasn't so busy was going out for lunch. I bet it wouldn't take long to pick up some milk. If they took their car..."

I rustle my sandwich baggie loudly. Compulsive Hinter can't be talking to me, as I obviously brought food with me and am going nowhere. And yet, there's no one else in the room.

"Isn't there some fresh milk in the break room? I saw Office Manager opening it this morning," I say, as Compulsive Hinter is settling in for a good long pout with his/her still black coffee.

"Ohhhh." Long pause. "That milk." Compulsive Hinter sets the mug down with a dissatisfied thunk. "I don't really drink 2%. It tastes funny."

Office Manager pops her head in the door. "Hey, Panda. Could you do me a favor? I'm stuck at my desk and I forgot to pack a lunch. Would you mind picking me up a sandwich."

"Sure, no problem." I drop my sandwich and grab my purse. I turn to the Compulsive Hinter. "Do you want me to pick up some milk for you while I'm out?"

"Oh no!" Compulsive Hinter is shocked, shocked I tell you, that someone would think he/she actually wanted something. "I wouldn't want to bother you."

"It's not a bother. I'm going to the deli. I'm sure they have milk. If you want me to pick some up, just say so."

He/she glowers at me, refusing to ask outright.


"Well, you have my cell phone number. Call me if you change your mind."

And checkmate.

He/she never called, and I picked up the milk anyway. Whole milk, just like he/she liked it.

Which he/she refused to acknowledge or use.

Sure, I can take a hint. But I prefer to leave it lying there on the floor, where someone might step in it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

101 Things You Probably Didn't Need To Know

101. I don't like cilantro
100. One of my great uncles buzzed Stanford in a small plane, and was expelled.
99. Another great uncle ran off to join the circus, and was never heard from again.
98. Another great uncle was a keystone kop in a Mack Sennett movie.
97. That same great uncle was on the crew of the silent movie one of Laughing Boy's relatives starred in back in 1913. We have a video tape of the movie.
96. As a member of a choir, I sang the national anthem at a Giants' game at Candlestick park.
95. I can't sing.
94. When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a letter to President Gerald Ford, and he sent me back a personal note and a Christmas card.
93. I still ended up a Democrat. Sorry, President Ford!
92. I have left ice cream in the freezer so long, it has died from freezer burn.
91. If that ice cream had been deep fried, it wouldn't have lasted two minutes.
90. My Mom's side of the family is Norwegian. I'm German, Dutch, Scottish and English on my Dad's side. Yes, I glow in the dark.
89. I hate being cold.
88. I hate cooked fish. It tastes like I'm eating pennies.
87. I love sushi.
86. I used to have an extremely dry, sarcastic sense of humor. I miss it.
85. People in L.A. don't get sarcasm. Ever. Any of them. And I don't mean this sarcastically, either. I had to give up #86 because they always thought I was serious.
84. I am never serious.
83. Growing up, I never won a lottery, raffle, door prize or contest, no matter how small.
82. I can't find my glasses without my glasses on.
81. I've fallen on my head hard enough to knock myself out three times.
80. I can't stand having anything tight around my neck. Turtlenecks and chokers are not in my wardrobe.
79. I love the language of "Cyrano de Bergerac", but think the lead characters were all drips.
78. I still love "Cyrano de Bergerac".
77. We don't have any television reception at our house.
76. We have four televisions.
75. I remember many things about my life in great detail, but don't remember what year they happened. Was I in London in 90? 91? 92? No idea.
74. I would rather go through an earthquake than a tornado or a hurricane.
73. I have never lived outside of California.
72. I don't like to eat in the morning.
71. Shopping is boring.
70. I make Laughing Boy go to the figurine shelves at the Drug Store, and show him the ugliest items. "No, wait! This one's uglier! Oh, wait! Look at THIS! So much worse!"
69. I pulled a hideous ceramic elephant out of the trash room at my old apartment, and it keeps me company in my office. It would totally win the "Ugly" Drug Store Contest.
68. I love old pocket watches.
67. I love the shoes from the 40's.
66. I don't like the shoes from the 30's.
65. I've never owned a Beatles album.
64. When I was little, I wanted to be a Ballerina.
63. My natural hair color is blonde.
62. I color it deep red/purple.
61. I get bored sunbathing.
60. I love to read.
59. I have read cereal boxes and motorcycle manuals if there was nothing else around.
58. I like doctors, as people, but do not like to go to doctor appointments.
57. I am allergic to mosquito bites.
56. Mosquitoes love to bite me.
55. My hands get cold all the time.
54. My cell phone ring is set to the theme song for "The Munsters".
53. My newest computer is 6 years old, even though I work on them all day long. I upgrade and upgrade and upgrade until they surrender.
52. I sometimes do a hoppy "Charlie Brown Christmas Special" dance for my own amusement.
51. I hate the taste of pickles, pickled things, and olives.
50. I was terrified of harelquin clowns when I was little.
49. When I was young, for a couple of years I slept with my head at the bottom of the bed and my feet on the pillow. So when the burglars broke in and tried to bash me in the head with a baseball bat, I could still jump out of bed and hobble away.
48. I didn't like "The Brady Bunch" or "Scooby Doo".
47. I loved "Bewitched" and "Kimba the White Lion".
46. I thought it would be cool to have Dick van Dyke for a Dad, because he could climb up the chimneys and fly cars.
45. I have named a pet after my favorite restaurant.
44. I once had a job demonstrating meat smokers.
43. I have never been able to do a single chin up or a pull up.
42. I can still do the splits.
41. I can barely touch my toes anymore.
40. I love champagne.
39. Alcohol during the day puts me straight to sleep.
38. I used to make beer.
37. I have never finished a full beer.
36. I am stubborn.
35. I don't like to be hinted at. If you want something, ask already!
34. No matter how hard I try, I can never get all those neat carpet lines when I vacuum.
33. I am always surprised when I run into someone I haven't seen in a couple of years, and they remember me.
32. I can't recognize people from across a large room, because I'm nearsighted and their features are all fuzzy. I smile and wave anyway, but never greet them by name because I have no idea who's waving at me.
31. I can't hear a word people are saying if it's in a crowded restaurant and music is playing.
30. If, after the third time I ask them to repeat whatever they're saying, I still have no idea, I smile and nod, and say yes. Or shake my head and say no. Randomly.
29. I have offended people due to #30 through #32.
28. If I have done # 32 and you think I must be mad at you, or I have done #30 and offended you, I am sorry.
27. A double espresso at 3 a.m. will not keep me awake.
26. I hate being woken up, no matter how gently or cheerfully. I especially hate the cheerfully.
25. I like toast well done and dry, without butter or margarine or jam.
24. I have never had a pepperoni pizza without burning the roof of my mouth on the hot grease puddled in the pepperoni.
23. I know #24, and still, the next time I have a piece of pepperoni pizza, I will burn my mouth.
22. I love deep fried cheese sticks. I dip them in Ranch dressing. Fat, fried in fat, dipped in fat. Yes.
21. I love Lemon Drops and Cape Cods, but don't like the taste of hard alcohol.
20. One drink will make me tipsy. Two drinks will make me drunk. Three drinks will put me to sleep.
19. Because of #20, I have never had a hangover.
18. I don't like iced tea.
17. I love Thai Iced Coffee.
16. I love Creme Brulee.
15. I love flan.
14. I love pudding.
13. I love chocolate mousse.
12. I would trade #13-16 for chocolate eclairs, but only the custard filled ones.
11. In college, I worked on campus in the donut shop. We got to eat all the donuts that broke. A lot of donuts broke. I gained 10 lbs.
10. During a dance audition one time, I fell out of my top.
9. #10 is only the third most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me.
8. When I was in sixth grade, our class dissected a cow's eyeball. I insisted on bringing all the pieces home and keeping them in our refrigerator for three days, on a piece of cardboard and covered in plastic wrap.
7. In spite of #8, my family still speaks to me.
6. I have one blue eye and one green eye.
5. I have very long toes.
4. The Three Stooges never made me laugh, but Monty Python always does.
3. I would rather stay up until 6 a.m. than get up at 6 a.m.
2. I find the fact that you know all this about me very embarrassing.
1. I'm posting it anyway.

When Pigs Fly

Yesterday, we went to the County Fair north of us. Our friends' young daughter had entered two pieces of art, and they wanted to go see how she did. Best in division AND best in class AND a first for one of them, and a first for the other! She and her family were tickled, and rightfully so. And I must compliment the judges on their excellent taste.

My camera phone died, so I couldn't take pictures. But Laughing Boy did indulge me with a teeny tiny zoomed in picture from his camera phone of the pig races.

It was either that shot, or the back end of a goat. Don't ask.

We also saw, thanks to Deus Ex Machina, our very first correctly identified Emo boy. Before this, I'd thought they were just pathetic punk/goth hybrids with an astonishing lack of taste. Now Laghing Boy and I know that they really want to look that way. On purpose. Curious.

In other news, we came back early to let Banana Dog out of her kitchen playpen so she wouldn't have to hold it all day. And then, in a feat of courageous daring, when we went back to meet the others for dinner, we left her out alone with the run of the house and yard for the first time.

Drum roll please...

She ate... Just one fortune cookie! She managed to get the wrapper off the cookie before she ate it, but the fortune wasn't so lucky. She eats paper as often as she can get it, so I'm sure she was pleased we'd bought the special crispy filled cookie.

That's it, the rest of the house was unmolested! She did half knock down the gate between her part of the house and Doodle Dog's half. But she didn't jump over it, which is strange. We'd put the cat food, papers, dvds and remotes, and Doodle on that side for safety,and all was untouched.

The judges awarded her a well deserved "Best in House" for that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Banana?

Banana Dog had to go back to the vet today because they noted her chart wrong and had her down for one more round of shots. So, no shots and everyone gave her treats. She did have to be dragged kicking and screaming onto the scale (yup, she's a girl all right), but other wise was fine. She did three good solid "sit" commands just perfect for them and got more treats. A good vet visit all around.

On the way back, I took her to the giant grass-and-trees park next to a golf course. There was a good half a football field length of trees and green green grass to frolic in. We'd gone to the hiking trail parks several times, but no open grassy parks yet so I thought she'd be excited.

We trotted half way across. She sniffed and ran, sniffed and ran (on leash). Peed. Sharp left to the next tree. Then her head snapped up, she looked across the park, and we ran back the way we came. I thought she'd spotted something she was interested in, so I was happy to follow her. Nope. She had spotted my car. Trotted right up to the passenger door. Sat. Tilted her head in a perfect RCA-dog impersonation, and whined.

She acted like I'd just taken her to the world's largest bus terminal restroom, and she wanted to get back in the car before she caught anything.

"Banana! Let's go! Go for a walk?"

"No, thanks. I already went. Home now."

WTF? My dog just dissed the park!


We - Laughing Boy and I - have not had a true vacation in the eight years we've known each other. By true vacation, I mean getting on a plane and going somewhere for more than 48 hours.

We have traveled to the next state over for weddings, a single day at a time. We have driven an hour and a half north to Santa Barbara or Ojai for the weekend three times.

But no jaunts to Europe, weeks in Hawaii, Caribbean beaches with a drink in hand and days to soak up the sights, fall in love with the culture.

I was very spoiled when I was dancing, getting paid to tour parts of the world I had always longed to see. Japan in first rate hotels with a modestly generous per diem and full days off to explore is an experience I will always be grateful for. The two months I spent in London, put up in a small ground level flat while we traveled the country by van from venue to venue, let me soak in one of the most expensive cities in the world and still come home with more money than I started with. Very, very spoiled.

I miss traveling. It resets my brain, reboots my operating system.

Next year, I say, every year. I want to go to Italy, see France, visit the Van Goghs in the Netherlands. Australia, Jamaica. Someday.

In the mean time, I'm enjoying the world one blog at a time.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

By George, I Think She's Got It!

Banana Dog had her 3rd class yesterday. She was awful. And I love her, so if I thought she wasn't getting it, I can't imagine what the other folks thought.

All she wanted to do was to play with the other dogs, and sniff the bushes, and rush out of the training area. She did NOT want to practice walking, heeling, coming, or sitting. And definitely not staying. She's scattered in class on a good day, but I could see her completely give up and check out half way through. She was so frustrated with 12 dogs within bouncing range, and not being allowed to bowl over any of them. She strained at the leash and whined for 20 minutes straight.

So I spoke to the trainer after class, and asked him how strict I needed to be with her during lessons. I mean, I need her to learn this stuff, but if she's not having any fun at all, then maybe she's just too young. Or she'd be better if we trained her one on one, away from all these distractions. Not that I can afford private classes for her, but the point is to train her and us. And if she's not paying any attention, then what good are we doing?

He assured me that she may never seem to be settling down in class. But she won't be walking around and around in circles with a dozen strange dogs in the real world. As long as she's getting better outside of class, just be patient and don't worry about her behaving as well as the older dogs. After all, she is the 2nd youngest. Most of the other dogs are 3-7.

Class is more to train us than her.

Ouch! Hopefully, I'm getting it better than she is.

And then, when all hope had faded and I had resigned myself to failure, today she obeyed "sit" a full 80% of the time! Off leash! Without snacks! I know that's not a great record, obedience wise. Still, for her that's "My Fair Lady" breakthrough territory.

But if she breaks into a chorus of "I Could Have Bounced All Night" in Marni Nixon's voice, I'm gonna be really scared.

Summer Blogging List

Let's say you can't get to the library, so a summer reading list just won't cut it. If you're looking for something to do, have I've got some links for you! This is a little summer blogging list with something for everyone, I hope.

The first link is an Arts Journal, which has links for books, art, music, dance. Pick your artform, and browse away!

The rest are links to blogs and sites by indiviual topic.

Literary Saloon

Clap Clap Blog
PopDirt - (this one is for you, if you prefer the gossip to the actual music)

Gallery Driver

Reality Blurred

Fun In The Sun

They're early ones, but still my favorites:

These are very rare shots of Banana Dog not digging, chewing, bouncing or destructing.

This may officially be the last time she ever held still.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Speak No Evil

When I was little, I was so shy, I would burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

A stranger speaking to me on the street? Tears.

An adult asking my name? Tears.

Swimming class? Tears.

Having to go door to door selling stuff for school / youth group / assorted scouting organizations? Fine, as long as no one was home. If, horror of horrors, someone answered the door? Tears.

Oh yeah. I was a fuuuunnn child.

I was at the store last year, and someone pushed a tiny kindergarten sized scout my way. For once, I wasn't the one who burst into tears. I did, however, buy eighty-eleven boxes of cookies. Cookies I threw out as soon as I was out of sight. Have you seen the list of hydrogenated oils in those? That almost drove me to tears, right there.

I don't cry anymore, thank goodness. Maybe twice a year, at stupid commercials of all things. But that doesn't mean chatting goes well for me. It's usually something like this:

Other person: "Talking. Talking. Talking."

My brain: (following conversation, nodding, enjoying) Gosh, what a great person. I'm so glad we're having this conversation. We don't have enough time to catch up... Uh oh, they're about to pause for a breath. At which point, I will be required to make some sort of response that indicates I get what they're saying. Something innocuous, but encouraging.

(Hyperventilating) Think of something. Quick. Hurry. Hurry! THINK! Say anything! ANYTHING!!!

Me: "Blurt, blurt blurt blurt. Blurt. blurtttt. t. tt."

My brain: Ohh nooooo. Anything but that, I meant. Now look what you've done.

Other person: Blinking at me in confusion, trying to translate my blurt into something coherent. Nope. Still not computing. ... "Um..." Blink.

My brain: I know what will make things better. I'll explain my answer. In great detail. So they will see that I really meant to contribute something useful. Intelligent. Kind and witty. Say something. Quick. Hurry. Clarify! Clar-i-fy! Ye gods, woman, THINK! Say something! Speak, damn you, SPEAK!!!

Me: "Blurtimus blurtolaneous blurtesphere. Blurt. Blurt, blurt." (hand gestures) "Blurt." (giggle nervously).

My brain: Ohh. Nooooo. Not that, either. And you know you passed the public giggle age two decades ago.

Other person: Blink. Blink. Suddenly remembering they have a car and can leave anytime they want. Like, say, now.

My brain: Gosh. That went well. I think I'm getting the hang of this conversating thing.

Me: Sigh.

Read, Read, Read

When I was little, summer meant reading lists and happy days lost in the library. Then back home, curled up in a corner with a book. And a whole pile of books for when I finished that one.


Here's a short list of what I'm reading right now:

Chinese Fairy Tales and Fantasies

Motorcycle Diaries

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Read on!