Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mortal Kanine: The Long Paw of the Law.

We had a dog party last night. Three women, four kids, four dogs, a bottle of wine and Chinese take out. Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter were well behaved, and Frankfurter was carried around by my 6-year-old friend, who announced that he smelled like burnt hot dogs. A good time was had by all.

Foxie and Frankfurter were exhausted after their childcare duties. So much so that they slept until 10 this morning. I was shocked and delighted.

As we all woke up, I noticed the two dogs nudging, licking and climbing over each other. They're very comfortable together, and there's a definite pack mentality. It's a stark contrast to the Geriatric Poodle.

I've written before about the Geriatric Poodle's rough start in life. I'll never know his story before we found each other, but it was obvious that he had been abused. Watching Foxie and Frankfurter interact makes me think that the Geriatric Poodle's rough start was even worse than I have ever allowed myself to think.

The Geriatric Poodle was always kind of afraid of shoes. That's a sign he had been kicked. He never figured out how to play, which makes me think that he never had toys, never had playmates and was not engaged or encouraged. Couple that with the too-tight collar and the crushed ribs when he was rescued and you've got one messed up little dude. In some ways, he never learned how to be a dog.
To the Geriatric Poodle's eternal credit, he was a very loving, affectionate friend. It's a miracle that he was able to trust after his rough start. But watching Foxie and Frankfurter - two rescue dogs - display natural tendencies that were too advanced for the Geriatric Poodle due to his abuse and neglect?

Well, it makes me want to hurt somebody.

It makes me want to find the people who hurt that tiny little dog and just beat the shit out of them.

So, maybe this is a good way to channel the anger that's confounding me. I'm going to be a sort of veterinary mercenary, getting vengeance on behalf of mistreated animals. I will even have my own reality show - sort of a mix of Animal Cops and Dog the Bounty Hunter. We'll take tips from viewers and travel around the country, slyly exacting revenge on cowards who hurt animals.

Foxie and Frankfurter have already signed on to be crew members, although they are both demanding producer credits as well. Now, we just need a theme song and we're in business. All I can think of is "These boots are made for walking," or maybe "Goodbye Earl." Because I don't know of any songs called "I raise my leg on your grave." But maybe I should write one. Thoughts?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's call it compromise. It makes me feel better.

I've been beaten down.

I can handle the accidents. I can make peace with the poo a foot from the back door. I am one with the fact we have a way to go with crate training.

But it was the crying that really got me. The crying that morphed into a panicked, high-pitched bark every night when I put Lil' Frankfurter into his crate and I climbed into bed. I'd linger on the edge of sleep and think, "I should really get up. I should get up and grab the old comforter out of the hall closet and just sleep on the floor next to the crate. It would calm him down. I'm sure the floor isn't that uncomfortable. Except it's a wood floor. Of course it's uncomfortable. And that comforter isn't that fluffy anymore. And exactly which closet is the comforter in, anyway? And isn't he going to wear himself out soon?"

And so, every single night, I would have this exact inner monologue as I finally drifted off. Until two nights ago when this little dude finally broke me down.

Foxie Doxie, Frankfurter and I all slept on the bed.

I told myself I wouldn't let Frankfurter on the bed until the potty issues were completely resolved and we had established the kennel as a safe haven. But, to be honest? The two mornings he's woken up on the bed, he's been really mellow and hasn't put up his usual to-the-death fight over getting in his kennel when I leave. And he hasn't been panicked about being outside without me.

Actually, I think that last one is that he just thinks it's funny to make me stand outside in my pajamas for all the world to see. Sort of like a few pre-Frankfurter weeks ago when Foxie Doxie cornered an opossum at 11:30 at night. I found myself outside in my pajamas, pink Disney princess flashlight in hand, trying to figure out how I was going to defend Foxie from a mean-ass varmint who was hissing at us.

He is dedicated to defending the homestead.

I will tell you this: screaming at Foxie to "Leave it!" when he didn't back down from the varmint only made my neighbors' lights come on, one by one.

At least I didn't have rollers in my hair. And I did manage to grab Foxie before the varmint gave us both rabies. So maybe I'm not totally white trash.

Let's just not talk about the dog hair in my bed, m'kay? Thanks.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cobra Kai is going down.

I had beers with my friend Rocco tonight. Is it still happy hour if it lasts three and a half hours?

I'm going to say yes, simply because I laughed my ass off. I was laughing so much that I forgot to be mad. And I have had a pretty good mad going the last few days. So forgetting to be mad is really saying something. Something like Rocco and I are both mean, awful people who laugh at the expense of others. And ourselves. But we laughed a lot - and the day before Rocco's last day at work, too! He got laid off. And yet we toasted to the future.

And then I came home and Lil' Frankfurter pooped in the living room and I still wasn't mad. And 30 Rock wasn't a rerun. And life is good.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am still knee-deep in figuring out this whole anger business. But a nice intermission of laughter? Well, that really worked for me. Because that's an emotion I know how to handle.

So Rocco? This is for you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rip it! Rip it!

Last night, I dreamt about another basement. This one was in the home of my mom's best friend. All of these dreams about houses and basements is both fascinating and freaky.

And I'm still mad.

I was mad at work today. And I started the day by tracking poo into the house because Lil' Frankfurter took a dump on the doormat on the deck ... the brown doormat. So it all blended in. And I walked through it right before I walked through my house.

So, yeah, I was mad about that, too. Poo isn't part of my interior design concept, you know?

So, I've been thinking about anger, and what to do with it. And I realized why I love all the Madea movies. Madea does what everybody really wants to do. She runs her mouth. She drives too fast and tells people she shot Tupac.

I especially like this clip from Diary of a Mad Black Woman.


So, I'm mad. I haven't driven my car through any gates and I haven't torn up anybody's clothes. But somewhere, amongst the dreams about basements, my brain is figuring it all out. I guess it all goes back to faith.

Mad faith. Fuck yeah.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

She works hard for her money so you better treat her right.

I've been having a lot of dreams lately about my house. In one, I dreamt that I discovered that I owned the house next door - who knew? And in another, I dreamt that my house had a finished basement. Evidently, you can live in a house for two years and not discover all of the living space. Stranger things have happened.

My therapist (shrink? counselor? that lady who has to listen to me run my mouth?) suggested that it's all a metaphor for discovering the new places within me and beginning to own my emotions.

Today while we were visiting, I went off on a random tangent and really surprised myself.

I am MAD.

Like, seriously pissed off.

Now, I come from a long line of women who Don't Make a Fuss. Don't ask too much - don't be greedy. You can get what you want, but you have to do the work behind the scenes, not blatantly in the open. And if you really want to talk about not making a fuss, my grandma never wore an apron but could prepare dinner for 20 and then step out of the kitchen, perfectly pressed and not a hair astray.

I was the girl who got the evil eye for using the term "slut" at grandma's dinner table. (What? I didn't realize it was a bad word.) And somehow, I joined Team Don't Make a Fuss. Sadly, I didn't quite grasp the "no hair astray" part. But I strive to be poised and kind and not make waves.

And now? Now, I'm mad as hell.

I'm mad at the way The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful treated me. I'm mad about The Ladybug in ways that I'm too much of a lady to go into here. I'm mad that I put up with all of it. I'm mad that it's been four months and I'm still mad. I'm mad that I am still figuring it all out. I'm mad that I lost my boyfriend and then my dog died. I'm mad that I left a bottle of Patron at Ex-Wonderful's house.

I'm not so much hurt anymore, which is refreshing. I'm just ... angry. And it scares me, because Don't Make a Fuss means not acknowledging anger. But I am. And, like an exotic ingredient on Iron Chef, I have to figure out what to do with it.

I was once so blind with rage at Ex-Ex that I actually considered ramming my car in the car of his ladyfriend. Of course, what I really did was call BFF, cry for 10 minutes, and then go to a yoga class. So, obviously, I am DANGEROUS.

But I guess the real task at hand is acknowledging the anger and then channeling it in a productive way. But the acknowledgement? It is work.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Random people I've noticed.

The Guy With No Teeth is the guy who smiles at everyone at the grocery. He's also the biggest flirt. This would be heartwarming if he wasn't purchasing Mountain Dew and Pringles as dinner for his 8-year-old.

I was waiting for the elevator at about 5:45 tonight at Corporate Behemoth. The elevator area is an open area, and I heard someone coming up behind me. Way up behind me. It was No Concept of Personal Space Guy. I actually stepped away from him, and he took a step closer. He was busy putting on his jacket, so I tried to be charitable and give him the benefit of the doubt ... until he stepped in front of me to get on the elevator first. I guess he was in a hurry to talk to his pal, Guy Who Never Cut the Cloth Tag Off the Sleeve of His Coat, who was in the elevator.

At church on Sunday, I saw Earnest Young Dad carry his toddler daughter away from the communion rail. He gingerly carried her down the steps away from the altar and carefully set her down. He straightened out her pants so that she could walk easier. At the last moment, right before she toddled off, he scooped her up and smelled her behind. Safe in the knowledge that she was still somewhat clean, he walked her back to their pew. And yes, I pretended to be praying as I attempted to control my laughter.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy.

I've been in Iowa this weekend. I just got home and the house is a total pit. So, of course, I'm sitting on the couch, watching the Oscars and eating Thin Mints.

Yeah, I'm wearing sweatpants. Why do you ask?

Is it just me, or was the big "The Musical is Back!" musical number sort of ... a giant waste of time? I know it was created by Baz Luhrmann, but really. I tune in for awards and the "let's see who died this year" montage.

Ok, mostly the montage. And the clothes. Jessica Biel, what were you thinking?
I would make a comment about her rack not being suitable for use as a towel rack, but I'll refrain.

Also? I love seeing real people, not fake actors. I love seeing the joy when people win. I love that there wasn't a dry eye in the house when Heath Ledger won - and I love that you could hear a pin drop as his family accepted the award. I love Kevin Kline, well, always. I love the sweet Indian sound guy who couldn't catch his breath to give his acceptance speech. I love Sophia Loren, even in that awful ruffled gown.
I must also admit ... I always find myself considering my dress, my date and my acceptance speech. I'm thinking a long blue gown (short skirts are so inappropriate for the Oscars). Poochie would be my date. And I'm hoping I'd come up with a witty acceptance speech. Something humble without being a grocery list of every person with whom I've ever worked.

Perhaps something like this:

I have been practicing this speech since I wrote a term paper in 9th grade about the Academy Awards. You'd think that with that long to prepare, I'd have something witty to say. However ... obviously not. I am at a very delighted, very speechless loss. Thank you all so much.

Or maybe I'd just get up on stage and pee my pants. That's probably a more likely scenario.

Who would you thank? And, more importantly, what would you wear?

Biel image courtesy
Loren image courtesy

Friday, February 20, 2009

Smile like you mean it.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with my periodontist. Wonder of wonders, I was early for an 8 a.m. appointment.

Yes, I do believe in miracles.

As usual, the waiting room was filled with people old enough to be my grandparents ... and me. I've been seeing the gum doctor for seven years and have survived two totally disgusting gingival grafts ... which is a nice term for taking skin from the roof of my mouth and stapling it to where my gums are supposed to be.

Anyway, yesterday, they had me fill out a new medical questionnaire. It was four single-spaced pages long.

No, I don't have Alzheimer's or Parkinson's or glaucoma. But one of the check boxes was for "Anxiety problems."

I didn't check it. Yeah, I have anxiety. No, it's not a problem. Yeah, I'm on Zoloft. Shut up.

Later, I decided that they probably meant "Are you going to lose your shit when we touch your teeth?"

I do not lose my shit. I always see the same hygienist. She's a very smiley, very kind Asian woman with a very, very thick accent. Her name is Rebecca.

Rebecca and I have a weird understanding. As in, I don't understand her. I can carry on a conversation with her, but once she puts on the little paper mask and then the big plastic face shield? She says stuff like "Twana la hackna wa rhododeren."

Now, at the beginning of our relationship, a visit to Rebecca filled me with anxiety. She is so nice, and I want to do what she asks, but I just didn't know what, exactly, she was asking me. Now, after seven magical years together, I have a pretty good idea of how she works her way around my mouth.

I now know that "Twana la hackna wa rhododeren" means "Turn a little towards me." I also know that when in doubt, just smile and accept the three extra toothbrushes.

The periodontist himself is super nice but always calls me "kid." Yesterday, he actually paired "kid" with a pinch on my cheek. I felt both adorable and completely disgusted.

But my teeth look good. And my gums are still holding them upright. Sometimes I think that part of being a woman (or maybe an adult in general?) is letting people get away with stuff when really it's just how you get what you want.

And what I want are teeth. In my mouth. That don't fall out. So far, so good.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Talk about my new dog? Oh, if you insist.

This photo is not doctored or staged.
Foxie Doxie and Lil' Frankfurter are exhausted after a bit of a toy orgy.

And, yes, if you look closely, you'll see that Frankfurter's favorite toy is ... an envelope. He steals things.

Frankfurter is also exhausted after chewing the velvet off a throw pillow, chewing up his food dish, and stealing my pajamas and dragging them out into the hallway. You know, as an interior design element.

I think our new packmate is a bit more of a puppy than we had originally anticipated. And, in a bit of a coup, my parents are welcoming us to their home this weekend. They're really dog people if they just laugh about me showing up with a dog I've known for four whole days. Suckas.

The thing about Frankfurter is that he is very engaged, and he just is who he is. Dogs never worry about their subconscious, or who they want to be, or who they think they should be. There's not a big market for canine psychoanalysis.

Dogs get reprimanded for, oh, say, eating part of a squeaky toy. And then they just totally move on to more important things, like barking at the dryer. Or, falling asleep so they have the energy to stay up barking for several hours at night.

Cesar Milan says that dogs live in the moment, and it's very true. It's a good lesson, and being around a new-to-me dog makes it even more obvious.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Could it be magic?

No Name Dog now officially has a name. I've been calling him various and sundry monikers, and tonight, one of them stuck. I called out as he was running away from me and he stopped, turned, and looked at me.

Here? We shall call him Frankfurter.

Lil' Frankfurter attended book club with me. This meant that he had to ride in the car, which is evidently a fate worse than death. He barked the entire 15 -minute ride. However, I'm thinking that all was forgiven when he spent the two hours that followed being passed from one adoring friend to another. He didn't even have an accident - I was so proud.

Here's the thing about book club: we don't usually read the book. We start out with the best intentions, and, well, you know. Last month, we read Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. I listened to it in my car, finishing it about two weeks after the meeting when we were supposed to discuss it. This month, we were to discuss The Kitchen God's Wife. I accidentally purchased The Joy Luck Club instead. Whoops.

We've been meeting for almost six years, and it's funny - this group of almost strangers has evolved into my dearest, closest friends. These are the women to call when you're in a panic or when you just need to show off your new dog. I'm so proud to call these women my friends.

Also? Also, we stopped being polite a long time ago. I like that. And even when everything else is going to shit, we make each other laugh. Tonight I was going to leave early because I have a periodontist appointment at the crack of dawn. And of course I ended up having just a bit more wine and staying just a bit longer. As you do.

I'm starting to wonder why I was so depressed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No name post.

A weird thing happened Sunday night as I watched No Name Dog scamper around my house.

This warmth just washed over my body. I believe it's called joy.

Seriously. I am so happy watching this tiny little dog. He runs full tilt. He gallops like some sort of exotic herd animal. And he skulks, like he's getting away with something.

Also? He's a klepto. He has stolen my gloves and the bedding out of Foxie Doxie's kennel. At this point, I think it's part of his charm. However, I'm the same woman who wants to celebrate because No Name Dog pooped outside today. Twice.

Yeah, I don't get out much.

I am exhausted, as if a new dog is like a new job and sucks all of your energy. The house is a disaster area with dust bunnies that are almost larger than No Name Dog.
(Consider this an accurate representation of any No Name Dog / dust bunny confrontation.)

And yet? I don't think I care. Foxie and No Name Dog are getting along well. We all went for a walk tonight and there were no fights, no tangled leashes, no almost getting hit by cars. A little vitamin E oil appears to be soothing No Name Dog's bald ears. All is right with the world.

And I'm getting in touch with that weird emotion I haven't known for a while. It's all pretty great.

And speaking of pretty great ... I am the grateful recipient of a sweet award! The lovely you gotta wonder over at A Mother's Angst thinks I'm fabulous!
This sounds cheesy, but I am so thankful for every kind comment, every moment spent here. You all have helped me close in on this joy business, even when I thought I'd never feel normal, much less good, again.

I have admittedly been a crappy blogfriend as of late, so I'm going to hold off on passing this bling on. However, I wanted to say thanks and encourage you all to visit you gotta wonder. Her heart is big and she generously shares the gift of her spiritual journey.

Off to encourage No Name Dog to go potty outside. Because my life is glamorous like that.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm in love!

And now, the final stanza of BFF's Valentine's Day haiku:

Fun'ral home intern
Took you to prom in a hearse?
Relationship: Dead

For the 900th time, it wasn't a hearse. It was a one of the limos they'd used to drive the family around in. Basically, a Cadillac with an extra set of doors. And really, who hasn't dated a guy with an interesting vehicle? Alice had the hots for a guy in college who was 6'6" and who drove a Ford Festiva.

But, yeah, you got the "relationship: dead" part right. Dead right. Damned straight.

In other news, guess what I did today?

Here's a hint:
That's right! I went to prison!

Foxie Doxie and I went to a prison to meet a little dog who is a member of the prison's dog program. Inmates earn the right to live in a special unit where they care for and train dogs rescued from high-kill shelters.

Or, rather, Foxie Doxie and I went to meet a little dog who was a member of the prison dog program. This sweet little boy is currently curled up on my couch.
He is currently unnamed, but a real charmer for sure. He's about 3 years old and a little too skinny at seven pounds, but we'll work on that. He is following me everywhere and very interested in our collection of toys. And ... he and Foxie actually played together for about 10 seconds. I have never, ever seen Foxie play with another dog, as he is very submissive and gets nervous.

However, within about 10 minutes of meeting No Name Dog, Foxie humped him, and appears to be feeling confident and secure in things. He even appears to forgive our new pack mate for barfing on the ride home - all over Foxie's blankets. Bygones.

Did you see his feet? Look at my baby! Look at him!
So, consider yourself warned: probably a lot of new dog-related posts in the future. The cuteness - it burns!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Goodbye to you.

So, my trip down memory lane, courtesy of BFF's stellar haiku, continues.

She writes:

Breaking up by phone
Ever done that, dear Cha Cha?
Yes! With MY cousin!

Well, yeah.

I was a junior in high school. He lived an hour away. It was not a love connection, but he thought I was just awesome. But, again, he lived an hour away.

So, one night when he called me, I told him something along the lines of "dude, I'm not feeling it." Or something like that. I think we'd been out on two dates. I didn't think it was a big deal.

Fast forward almost a year. BFF and I are at the Iowa State Fair, and her cousin and his friend are hanging out with us at the campground. BFF is reading an issue of Sassy magazine, and evidently zeroed in on some article about breakups.

"Have you ever broken up with someone over the phone?" she asked me.

I gave her the look of death. A silence fell over the group.

BFF and I had evidently not perfected the "volumes with one eyebrow lift" communication we now share. She continued, "I just think it's soooo tacky! I can't imagine ever doing that!"

And ... scene!

So, yeah, I was tacky. But again - he lived an hour away!

I still have the same issues. I need to tell Mr. Date Guy that given his flaketastic behavior, he needn't call me again. Except ... except he did call, and when I called him back, fulling intending to say "Sayanara, sucka!" I was working so hard to keep the conversation moving - moving anywhere - that I just gave up and told him I was tired and got off the phone. It ended up being a 10-minute "I just called to say I called you."


And ... well, I didn't tell you all this, as I got sidetracked, but ... I actually had a blind date last Sunday. He was the son of a coworker of my friend's mom. Got that?

Well, he was very nice. But there is no attraction whatsoever. And he is of the "I'll call her Friday night and if she doesn't answer I'll call again Saturday morning" pattern of communication.

HELP ME. What do I say to these men? I want to be kind, which is the only thing stopping me from being a total bitch and just never returning their calls. I know that's wrong. I'm not totally tacky, no matter what BFF might say.

In other news ... I'm going to prison tomorrow!

Yes. I'm going to a local prison to meet a dachshund who is part of a special program where prisoners train homeless dogs. He is up for adoption, and Foxie Doxie and I are going to do a meet and greet. I am nervous - it's another first date.

"I can't date you; I'm going to prison" is an option for breaking the bad news to the other guys, I suppose.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'll be there for you.

Today, we continue our stroll down memory lane and The Many Loves of Cha Cha. Thanks to BFF for her inspiring, thorough haiku. Today, we'll be studying the first stanza of her masterpiece:

Your eighth grade boyfriend?
Fabulous! Cute, funny, smart
Too bad he likes men

I had my very first crush in eighth grade. I adored this boy, and I adore the man he is today. And ladies, let me tell you: if you didn't have a gay eighth grade boyfriend, I recommend you go out and pick one up now. Because he will give you handbags for Christmas and always tell you you're beautiful.

We grew up down the street from each other. And he was an older man - I was in eighth grade, and he was in ninth. He was the first boy I ever called on the phone. I was so nervous that he said, "This doesn't sound like Cha Cha."

I responded, "No, you're right. It's her evil twin, Ramona." Pretty sassy for being 13. And then we became sort of inseparable.

We would hang out with my brother and create obstacle courses like those on the show Double Dare. We'd set the timer on the microwave and then have so many seconds to get through challenges like finding a Cheerio in a bowl of ketchup or pulling a water balloon out of the bottom of the toilet.

Yeah, this was usually while my parents weren't home. Why do you ask?

And really, what sort of wholesome existence did I have where the "bad" thing I did when my parents weren't home involved making obstacle courses with my brother?

I developed a very serious crush. We "went out" for maybe two months, and then I was devastated when we broke up. But really? He's pretty much my best break-up, hands down. My entire family adores him. And my mom always asks about his partner, and if that man is good enough for him. Actually, she wants to set him up with Nate Berkus from Oprah.

So, yeah, there's a lot of love there. Is anybody else out there still adoring a junior high love?

Next up: A dissection of the second stanza of BFF's haiku. Breaking up over the phone: Is Cha Cha really that crass?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is this burning an eternal flame?

My sweet BFF added a great epilogue to the great haiku competition:

Your eighth grade boyfriend?
Fabulous! Cute, funny, smart
Too bad he likes men

Breaking up by phone
Ever done that, dear Cha Cha?
Yes! With MY cousin!

Fun'ral home intern
Took you to prom in a hearse?
Relationship: Dead

Let me just say that there are pros and cons to having been friends with someone since fifth grade.

This bit of poetic brilliance got me to thinking - I have been dating for almost 21 years. Yep. And it keeps getting worse!

However, as the haiku attests, those years have also produced some interesting stories. So, in celebration of Valentine's Day, I'm going to stroll down memory lane for the next few days.

My very first date was to a junior high dance in April 1988. I was in seventh grade. My date had a permed mullet and wore the mid-80s equivalent of a leisure suit. A powder blue leisure suit.

But it all worked. I had a perm, and glasses, and I wore a little white dress that I thought was soooo awesome.

His dad drove us. When they came to pick me up, I realized that my date was from A Good Family. I am very blessed that to my people, A Good Family doesn't mean "they own the lumberyard." No, it means that Date Boy's daddy grew up across the street from Aunt Ione and was one of the famed "Smith Boys." My grandma approved.

No, I'm not making any of this up.

So, Date Boy gave me a corsage of white carnations tipped in blue. Blue to match his suit. At the school, we danced in the classic junior high style - my fingertips on his shoulders, his on my waist, our arms outstretched as far as possible so that our bodies didn't actually touch. We swayed to the music while talking to our friends, as if dancing together was totally natural, as if we weren't dying inside over being ATADANCE! WITHADATE!

In retrospect, the whole thing is just so innocent and wonderful. I saw Date Boy at our 10-year reunion and he's a bit of a stoner. His fiancee actually looked like she wanted to deck me. I went to a seventh-grade dance with your fiance. Insecure much?

Love? She is a fickle mistress.

Tomorrow: Eighth grade, the telephone break-up and the so-called hearse.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dogs rule.

Foxie Doxie and I spent the evening watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Or, as we refer to it around these parts, "DOGSHOW!"

As someone who is officially insane over dogs, of course I loved it. Foxie wasn't all that interested, but is always in support of couch time. Everybody wins.

The really great part of DOGSHOW! was the winner - a 10-year-old Sussex Spaniel named, appropriately, Stump.

The really hard part of DOGSHOW! was the Pedigree Foundation commercials. Heartbreakers of dogs in shelters, with the David Duchovny voice over, "I know how to sit. But I don't know how I ended up here. I just want to go home."

Oh. My. Gawwwwwwd.

I am a total sucker. And I've been thinking about adopting another dog. I know that shelters and rescue organizations are overwhelmed - more so than usual - because of the economy. I feel like it's my moral responsibility to take in a dog because I am able.

Which I know sounds really ... weird.

And some of my friends and definitely my folks think I'm insane. Which, I understand. And, to be fair, one dog is way easier than two.

I think about the Geriatric Poodle every single day. Sometimes, I pull up a picture of him on my computer and leave it open all day, just so I can see him while I work. But this isn't about replacing him, because that's impossible. It's about ... seeing exactly how much dog hair my couch will support.

And it's about creating joy. For me, for Foxie, and for a to-be-determined member of our pack. Foxie is the deal-breaker, of course. No new dog without Foxie's prior written consent and approval.

Or, maybe it's just about me becoming a spinster and being allergic to cats and therefore needing an alternative to the 23 cats / housecoat / piles of newspapers power combo. Two dogs / dog-hair-encrusted yoga pants / piles of paperbacks to send to Africa is a good start, don't you think?.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rocks and love.

A new week, a new episode of Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels.

To recap: Bret appears to be falling hardest for the girl who is the meanest. Also, in a blinding display of Guyness, Bret faulted the contestants who clapped when he announced that three more girls would be joining the competition. He expected the contestants to be pissed, because they should be there just for him and want to fight for his love. It caused him to pout.

Let's all take a moment to let the dry heaves pass.

Ok, so the three new girls were standing right there. And the current contestants had just gotten to know them. And to not welcome them would be downright rude.

You can be crazy about a man, but you still have to be yourself. And that means being gracious. As my mama says, "You are a lady of grace and dignity and you shall conduct yourself as such."

So, go fuck yourself, Bret.

I have a bigger rock issue and I need some assistance.

Between two ex-boyfriends, I have two pairs of diamond earrings, a diamond necklace and a very good created sapphire tennis bracelet.

All of this bling was put away after the demise of the relationships from which it originated. And now? Now, it seems insane to have some really nice jewelry that I never wear.

I asked a friend who works for a jeweler about my options. Basically, I can pawn the bling or try to put it on consignment. I either way, I won't make enough money off of it to translate into new, nice jewelry.

So, I'm thinking I need to find a way to rid this bling of its bad juju. Some sort of mindful and meaningful little ceremony that's all about me and moving forward. A little celebration about being rid of the past and grateful for my many blessings. And Valentine's Day is a perfect time for it, because who doesn't enjoy a little bling on Valentine's Day?

Any ideas?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bruised and beautiful.

During my recent Corporate Behemoth-sponsored trip to Boston, I stayed in a handicapped-accessible hotel room. The funny thing about the room was that some misguided housekeeper mistook all of the handrails in the bathroom for towel racks. So, this room with one king-sized bed had no fewer than eight sets of hand towels and washcloths.

The painful thing about the room was a towel hook on the back of the bathroom door. It was about four feet off the ground, so of course I walked right into it at full force.

That was four days ago. This was my arm this morning. I just don't know why Mr. Date Guy doesn't think I'm worth any effort. I mean, this is all sorts of sexiness.

And, yeah, it's sort of gross to post a photo of a bruise on a blog. But on one hand, I just had to share. And on the other ... I have received lots of kudos lately for being so honest here. These comments surprise me.

It's easy to be "so honest" when you don't have your real name on a random blog. But, to be fair, almost all of my friends and my family know about this blog and just might even read it.

More than that, it all goes back to the bruise. It's hard to not be authentic when you're hurt.

When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago this month, one of the exhilarating side effects was that our family suddenly didn't have time for shit. We were hurting and had Important Stuff going on, so we just starting cutting to the chase. We didn't have the energy or the time to pretend like things were ok. We got honest, even when it got ugly.

Same thing happened to me when I broke up with Ex-Ex, and when I broke up with The Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful this fall. How could I possibly pretend when I was spending all of my energy on just getting through?

Now that I'm a little more situated, I wonder if and how this authenticity will last. And I've decided that I want it to. I'm learning more and more about myself, about who I really am, and this blog is a part of that. I'm finding that I like myself. And why would I not want to be who I really am?

Besides, after a while, this authenticity stuff is really, really easy. It feels lazy. It's sort of like showing up to work with bedhead. At first you're sure everyone is staring at you, and then you realize that their hair is all fucked up, too.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nobody loves me like you do.

Tonight, I was supposed to have date number three with Mr. Date Guy. He had suggested we go listen to some live music, so I scoured the paper for options. I came up with two: a wine bar downtown with jazz or a midtown bar with ... a Journey cover band. Oh, yeah.

In the interest of time, I will condense three phone calls into one paragraph. Mr. Date Guy didn't want to listen to music anymore. He wanted to cook dinner together. And then he decided that he wanted to just watch a movie - preferably at my house - and that he would bring over one of his favorites. When I nixed that idea and suggested we just meet for a drink, he called me back and announced that he was tired but wants to go on a day trip with me when he's back in town in two weeks.

I literally told him to have his people call my people.

And maybe, if I'm bored out of my mind and / or have a brain tumor, I'll call you back. I wish I'd been ballsy enough to add this last part, instead of being all nicey-nicey "Uh-huh, sure. Take care!" I am a wuss.

So. I'm dancing around my house, listening to Barry Manilow and trying to figure out a way to choose a winner to my haiku-tastic Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack giveaway. This is hard! So many worthy, worthy poets. Thank you all.

Here are a few that made me guffaw:

From the lovely DallasDiva:
Amaretto Sour
You make me far happier than
Any boy with hands

Dorrie hits the nail on the head:
I love you so much
Here’s your stupid Hallmark card
And crappy candy

Cerwydwyn might be bragging a bit, but she makes us laugh:
My husband does not
give gems, kisses or candy
but he's good in bed.

I also had several submissions that were quite kind and generous, and fed my soul. I think I'm going to write this one from Green Girl on my forehead, backwards, so I can see it in the mirror every day:
My dear Noodleroux
has a heart like a bright star
its points reach and glow

Oh goodness.

And now, the title of Miss Haiku 2009 goes to ... LaDue & Crew, for her oh-so-true poetic description of my future:
Future Cha Cha beau
Treat her like a Princess or
Your hiney will hurt

And yes, I admit that Ms. LaDue got extra credit for postponing sex with her hubby in order to write haikus. I like that kind of dedication in a poet.

As a side note ... you know how many pageants have that one girl who is just a step away from a career in the adult entertainment industry? Like Amy Adams' character in Drop Dead Gorgeous? Yeah. I had a haiku like that. My friend CB submitted it via e-mail because it was so wicked and wonderful. E-mail me if you want to read it. It will make you howl at the expense of some people I've written about lately. Heh heh heh.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My car's name is George and I love him.

I'm home, back to unseasonably warm, humid and windy weather. And you know what that means!

Turbulence. Lots of turbulence.

I've been on solid ground for about an hour and a half now and still feel like I could hurl at any moment. Welcome home!

The best part of the trip was coming home to Foxie Doxie. Along with his usual snorts of happiness, I was also greeted with high-pitched chirps. It made me feel like the Beatles, or at least the Backstreet Boys.

Now that I've returned from this Corporate Behemoth-hosted travel adventure, it would be easy to act all, "Oh, yeah, I travel for work. Whatever." And Marsha even left a comment stating that if I can fly and not lose my shit, so can she.

But the honest-to-Oprah truth?

This trip caused me Anxiety. It all went fine and with the exception of wanting to puke my brains on out the flight home, it was great. But leading up to the trip, I experienced anxiety that really surprised me.

I was nervous about the rental car. I was nervous about parking the rental car. I was worried about my presentation. I was nervous about schlepping all of my crap. I was so filled with anxiety before I ever even left that I twinged my back and the pain made me nauseous. My chiropractor said my sympathetic nervous system was a mess. Evidently, that's chiropractorspeak for "You are totally stressed out."

I think that in light of recent pain and losses and quality couch time, it's extra stressful to get out of my comfort zone. It's scary.

But here's the deal: for once, I acknowledged the anxiety. And I just went with it. I became one of Those People who medicate before getting on a plane. And you know what? It was all fine.

It was even fine this afternoon when, en route to the airport, I realized I had a little extra time and made a hasty exit off the highway and directly into a Nordstrom Rack. Half an hour, one silk sweater set, a 100% cashmere wrap and $56 later, I stood in the parking lot unable to open my rental car.

The automatic open button didn't seem to work. I figured the key needed a new battery. But the damned key wouldn't open the lock, either. I figured I could climb into the car through the trunk, but I couldn't get the trunk open, either. So, I stood next to the car, planning how I would call information, call the rental company, explain that they had given me a faulty key, wait for them to rectify the situation and make arrangements to change my flight. Ok. I could do this.

And then I realized that I had spent 10 minutes trying to open the rental car with the key to my car. My car at home.

There's something nice about visiting somewhere where nobody has a clue who you are.

My Honda Accord
You love me only; your key
Not universal

Last chance! Enter my haiku-tastic Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack giveaway!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Obviously delirious with exhaustion and sugar.

So, I survived my day of acting like a grown-up. During my presentation, I even won the hearts of my audience by referring to our content pool as "svelte and sassy." Yes, I am an editor. I still have the giant zit, but whatever.

After a long workday, I got directions to a Whole Foods, where I bought myself a salad. And by "salad," I mean almost a pound of all their yummy prepared salads with a little spinach thrown on top to make it look healthier. I also treated myself to a lemon bar from the bakery.

The plan was to throw the vittles in the fridge in my hotel room and then trek over to the fitness center. But, umm? I'm fucking tired! So, I ate on my bed while watching Friends reruns and reading an old copy of Glamour.

And now, for the really, really important thing I have to tell you.

The lemon bars at Whole Foods?

Must be made with crack. Crack and whole cream and pixie dust and magic lemons from a magic lemon tree. Seriously. This was the best lemon bar I have ever had. And it was huge. And I was only going to eat half. But I ate the whole thing. And I refuse to apologize. The layer of shortbread, the layer of creamy lemon, and the layer of sweet frosting-y, Cool Whip-y goodness combined to take over my brain.

I have no regrets.

Oh lemon bar please
Be my valentine; I will
Knit you a warm scarf

Just a reminder ... time is running out! Enter my haiku-tastic contest and win a Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

At this time.

I flew to Boston today on behalf of Corporate Behemoth. Tomorrow, I have to give a three-minute presentation and pretend to be a grown-up.

Oh, and I have a giant zit.

Heh heh heh.

I entertained myself on the plane by counting the number of times the stewards said "at this time." At this time, we ask you to please discontinue use of all portable electronics. At this time, you are free to move about the cabin.

But the best? At this time, please return to your seats at this time.

Heh heh heh.

Today, I also rented a car for the first time in my life. I know! Usually, whatever boyfriend rented whatever car. But today? Today, I rented a car and drove through the Big Dig. Alone. There was exactly one car for me to choose from - there, like an old friend, sat a Honda Accord. The car I drive every day. So while I was trying not to get lost, I didn't have to worry about how to turn on the windshield wipers. Right on.

I ordered room service and am feeling like I just invented fire because I finally figured out how to operate the thermostat.

So, really, life is good.

And the haikus? Fantastic!

Please enter today
Your haiku in a comment
Win fabulousness

Yeah, that's right. Enter to win a Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack. The entries thus far are awesome. I think I just might have to feature a Valentine's Day haiku each day in the week leading up to the big day. This is art that demands to be shared.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love will keep us together.

That stupid groundhog saw his shadow, so we are all doomed to freeze for another six months. Or weeks. Whatever.

And it's suddenly February, that magical month of Valentine's Day. I have been in denial ever since I visited Joann's Fabrics the Sunday before Christmas and they had their Valentine's Day stuff out already. I would say Joann's is now dead to me, but who are we kidding? She hurts me, yet I forgive her every time.

So. The season of love is upon us. And, a few days ago, I somehow magically surpassed my 300th blog post. The moons of Jupiter are aligning.

You know what that means! Time for a giveaway!

Gimme your very best love or Valentine's Day-related haiku. You know - three lines, first and last with five syllables, the middle line with seven. Like this:

Oh Foxie Doxie
With your long and wily tongue
Don't French me again

You get the idea. Leave your haiku in the comments by midnight this Friday. Feel free to enter multiple haikus, and let your creativity flow. Extra credit will be given to poems that make me laugh and / or make the idea of being single on this most wretched holiday seem tolerable.

One lucky winner will receive a Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack. This wondrous assortment of goodies includes many delightful surprises and a scarf knitted with love - not necessarily skill - by yours truly.

The Fabulous Valentine's Day Gift Pack doesn't include any kind of puke-inducing white teddy bears, yucky, cheap chocolate, or some random-ass card that you know I picked up at the last minute at Walgreens when the selection was totally picked over.

And yes, I really would make an excellent boyfriend.

Thanks for reading. Help me share the love.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Like Christmas, but better.

So, I cried at work today.

I received some mail. I adopted a family for Christmas through a program at Corporate Behemoth. The company partnered with an inner-city program that serves children way, way below the poverty line. Twenty-five percent of the children they serve are homeless.

So, I felt a little less guilty about the fact that I went a bit overboard with my Christmas shopping. I had such a good time! My family was a single mom and her 10-month-old daughter. And really? If you don't have fun Christmas shopping for a 10-month-old, you are dead inside.

Today, I received a thank you package from the sponsoring organization. It included a note about how despite the hard economic times, folks really came through for the families in need. They noted that one family that had been donors in the past found themselves in need of assistance this year.

The package also included a handwritten note tucked inside a pale yellow envelope.

Dear Family,

All that you've done is greatly appreciated. Times are a little tough. My fiance has been layed off yet we still find the means to help who we can. One of my friends is a single mom not making much so we try to help her out with formula and diapers. So everything you have done for us is going twords more good. We are the type of people who try and do the greater good whenever we see possible. We are very blessed to have people like y'all to help when we need it. I hope youre family has as great a holiday as ours will be. In all sincerity thank you.

And tucked inside the note was a picture of a very young, smiling woman with a little girl in a red sweater.

So, yeah, I cried at work today. The thing is, though, that I have received so much more than I gave. Next Christmas, I'm going to adopt, like, 27 families.

And this happiness even made me rather mellow when I got to the post office five minutes before it closed and watched as the evil lady looked at me, then closed the gate to the office and wouldn't let me in.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Make way for Poochie.

I went to a baby shower yesterday. It was a fete given in honor of one of my friends at Corporate Behemoth.

Driving over, I realized that the last shower I had attended was probably the one I hosted five years ago. After I broke up with Ex-Ex, I avoided them because they only made me feel more "other," more behind. And by the time I got over that, most of my friends had had their first babies.

So, off to the shower I went, vaguely remembering stupid games involving guessing the candy bar melted in the diaper. Luckily, my prayers were answered and this shower, mercifully, had no games. Just food and gifts. And I wasn't subjected to oohing and ahhing over a Diaper Genie. It was pretty no-nonsense stuff.

One of the last gifts was a lovely basket full of children's books. Classics like "Make Way for Ducklings" and "Harold and the Purple Crayon." A wonderful, wonderful gift.

And my gut reaction was, "Oh! I wonder if The Ladybug has those books? I'll have to check and pump up her library if not."

And then I remembered that The Ladybug's literacy - or lack thereof - is so totally not my concern.

Later, I walked up and down every aisle at Hobby Lobby, mostly for something to do. Poochie called and we ended up visiting about his ladyfriend and the recent developments in my world.

I ended up sitting on a display unit in the Hobby Lobby fabric department, telling my brother about the books, about the whole Ex-Boyfriend Formerly Known as Mr. Wonderful dating Lisa thing.

I was a really good partner, and I was on the way to being a great stepmom.

Poochie interjected. "Yeah, Cha Cha, you were great. And you're going to be great at whatever you do. But he threw it all away. It doesn't have anything to do with you."Ol' Poochie's got a point there. And really, would you disagree with this dude? He will cut you with one stroke of his oar.