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Monday, December 15, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

I wonder. Is it legal to sell your dog on Ebay? If so, I just might consider it.

Dog about Town...or more accurately, Dog About Apartment (actual name, Ginger) is dangerously close to going the way of "gently used" Ugg Boots and "like new" Louis Vuittan hand bags.

Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly.

She is, after all, the sweetest canine ever. Narry a mean bone in her 60 lb, once-brown, now-gray, sheds like a motha, Boxer body. But, she is also, and this is why I regularly threaten to put her up on the cyber auction block, as stubborn as the day is long.

A summer day. Not one of these short crappy winter days.

Aside from making sure her basic survival needs are met, Ginger's goal in life appears to be three-fold:
1. smell then immediately jump on all other dogs (not unreasonable)
2. slobber on as many things as possible (annoying, but hardly her fault given the size of her jowls)
3. make owner crazy (herein lies the problem)

To that end, Dog About Town employs some very high-level tactics against which I have no defense:

Tactic #1 involves staring and whining (yes, whining. not barking. not howling. whining. like a child. constantly. for reasons I have yet to decipher) for long periods of time each night. I don't know why. I am not even sure she knows why. But I think she knows it annoys the crap out of me.

Tactic #2 is to "cute" me into over-feeding her. Tail wagging, head tilting, spinning in circles, offering a paw and growling at her food bowl are all utilized. Tactic #2 is often used in conjunction with tactic #1 which is why she almost. always. wins. And, why she can barely get her fat furry ass up the stairs these days.

Tactic #3 is a stroke of genius, really. Stopping. In the middle of a walk...she just stops. And won't move. Not an inch. I have no idea what's going on in that kibble-sized brain of hers during this maneuver but I can only imagine it's her way of establishing some semblance of control. Like saying, "nobody puts baby in a corner."

Tactic #4a, the hunger strike, is her very best work. The hunger strike can occur at any time for any reason and typically lasts three-four weeks. Seemingly out of nowhere, Dog About Town decides there is more to cuisine than kibble and holds out for something better. Or, sometimes, she's just miffed because I moved her dog bed, or I got home a half hour later than usual, or I fed her at 7:20 am instead of 7:00 am.

Or...because I put a pink wig on her for Halloween ;)

During a hunger strike, Dog About Town will eat treats. She will eat people food. She will eat paper out of the bathroom trash can. But she will not eat dog food.
There is no defense against tactic 4A because, if I don't capitulate within a certain period of time, she employs tactic 4b- fainting. I kid you not. she will pass. right. out.

Fabulous.

Despite her quirks and her apparent devotion to my impending insanity, I suppose I'll keep her a while longer. Unless, of course...someone wants to start the bidding at say $20?? Can't I get $25? Ok fine...I'll give ya a fin to take her ;0

Monday, November 17, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And, while we are so blessed with wonderful families and plentiful tables, there are many many people who are not as fortunate living right in our neighborhoods. In an effort to stamp out hunger, please consider donating food or your time to feed the hungry this Thanksgiving.

Senior hunger is, heartbreakingly, reaching epidemic proportions in our country. Meals on Wheels is in need of volunteers to deliver food to shut-ins, namely the elderly, on Thanksgiving Day. This meal-delivery service provides a once-daily meal to those who are house-bound and have no means of getting their own food. Further, volunteers for Meals on Wheels are often the only human contact available for seniors who are alone and have no family or friends to visit them. So, a friendly face goes a long way.

I realize Thanksgiving is a family-gathering kind of day, but if you live far from family and, like me, have decided NOT to sell a kidney in order to afford flying home, please visit the Meals on Wheels website at http://www.mowaa.org/Page.aspx?pid=183 and offer your time...and your car...to this very important cause.

In the DC area, the DC Central Kitchen is always in need of turkey donations so they can supply a nice hot turkey dinner to the hundreds of homeless people they service. You can even make a "virtual" turkey donation on their website, http://www.dccentralkitchen.org/.

If you live in LA, check out the LA Regional Food Bank at http://www.lafightshunger.org/ and see how you can help feed needy families in the Los Angles area. For west-siders, please visit www.mealsonwheelswest.org for volunteer opportunities in and around Santa Monica. And, in NYC, go to http://www.citymeals.org/support_landing?origin=ggmealsonwheels.

Everybody deserves a meal...at least one meal...everyday. Especially on Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tattoo You


The thought of placing an indelible mark on my body has, in years past, scared the crap out of me. Tattoos have always had a sexy, weirdly freeing appeal to me and I've toyed with the idea many times before but it was always just too can't-take-it-back. Too no-do-overs.

So, I don't know if it's the California left wing art vibe within which I'm (blissfully) ensconced or if that last quake caused a crack in the foundation of my commitment phobia but... i did it. I got inked.

The decision to finally do it came to me relatively easily as I responsibly reviewed the pros and cons...over beers at a sports bar with my friend Ashley from Georgia. Ashley has "been there, done that"...thrice...so she seemed like the perfect person to talk it over with. "I think I wanna do it...I should just do it, right?" I half ask. "If you been wantin' one for a long time," she says in her contagious southern drawl that always makes me start talking with a twang too, "you should just go for it, girl. I'll even go with ya...'cuz it's gonna hurrrrrt."

Come again? hurt? Hold on one Georgia Bulldoggone second. If there is one thing I'm more committed to than my commitment phobia, it's my avoidance of pain. Not to mention, I feel completely mislead. I have seen several episodes of Miami ink and not one customer has ever indicated there might be pain involved. No one says "ouch" or "hey, that hurts" or looks anything but completely zen. hurt? no fair.

"Really?" I say. "Ummm, they do use a needle," Ashley quips, "and if you're gonna go gettin' it on the back of your neck...on those bones in your spine...it's gonna hurt like hell! But, you'll be fine," she assures. "I just wouldn't advise drinking before-hand though, because it thins your blood." blood???

Three Amstel Lights later, I decided to move forward with the inking. The pro prevailed in a valiant battle against the cons. The pro...is the same thing that caused me to try alligator bites at the DC waterfront, snails at a French Bistro in NYC, and sky diving in New Jersey. It's exactly why I got my belly button pierced in the 90's. It's the reason I got Scuba Certified in a frigid, murky quarry in Virginia, went repelling in the rain in Great Falls Park, tried White Water Rafting on class 4 rapids in West Virginia, and let myself be coaxed into eating raw fish wrapped in rice for the first time. More than having a tattoo, I wanted the experience of getting one...pain, blood and all.

In preparation, Ash and I spent an exhausting day combing LA for the perfect tattoo parlor. Okay, we drove to 3 places...but they were at least a mile apart each and we were starving so it SEEMED like a long day (here, I could insert the story about how we finally stopped at Wendie's in West Hollywood for burgers and ended up parked in front of a large woman's gnarly, hairy, naked backside...but I prefer never to speak of it again).

First stop...Velvet Grip. We're greeted by a tat-laden artist named Dave who gives us his undivided attention and doesn't wince when I tell him I just want 3 simple, five-point, one-color stars symbolizing my brother and 2 sisters (akin to asking Chagall to paint-by-number). We instantly like Dave and the price is right.

Predictably, we also check out Kat VonD's infamous High Voltage Tattoo (home of the reality show LA Ink) where we push our way past droves of picture-snapping tourists and no sooner get in the door when a lovely and not at all pretentious (yes, that was sarcasm) woman states with all the warmth of an eskimo, "$250 minimum ladies." k. bye now.

Shamrock Club on Sunset, our third and final stop, could easily have been mistaken for a Hell's Angels hideout. Our skinny jeans weren't welcome there and besides, the place seemed...icky, so we made our exodus faster than we could say Hep C.

Two weeks later, I was back at Velvet Grip...in Dave's chair... awaiting my self-imposed torture with only Ashley's upbeat personality and the hope that the 1/2 a beer I had just drunk at the pub next door would act as a numbing agent, to keep me from running. To my surprise, needle hit skin and it really wasn't that bad. In fact...I kinda liked it.

I adore my tattoo and I'm so glad I got it. It is meaningful to me in so many ways, not the least of which is the outward expression of my rebellious side. But, more importantly, I have the memory of the experience. Now, for my next adventure. Tomato Fights in Spain anyone??










Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let's Dance


In my quest to live life to the fullest and try new and challenging things, I decided to join my friend, Amy, in Salsa class on Thursday nights. Keep in mind, I have NEVER ever attended a dance class before in my life. No ballet twirls in Kindergarten, no jazz hands in elementary school, no craze-of-the-90's swing lessons. The closest I ever came to dance class was cheerleading in high school, which required little or no actual dance moves. This should be interesting.

On the afternoon of my first class, I asked Amy what I should wear to class. She said she was going to wear "something she could move in." "Don't worry about how you look," she said, "just be comfortable." "You don't even have to shower for class. There is no one in there to impress at all- It's just one little old Chinese man and the dance instructor." Famous. Last. Words.

Remembering what Amy said, I, in all my wisdom, headed to class that night in (ready for this) black spandex biker-pants and an ill-fitting, way too short, supremely unflattering, white tee- shirt. Something I can move in. Perfect. Class starts and it's just Amy, the instructor and me. Great! A semi-private lesson! I need all the help I can get in order to avoid looking like Elaine from Seinfeld. We're moving, we're doing a couple of slow easy steps, and I'm keeping up. So far so good. I can do this.

Enter the hottest guy alive. Now, I'm fixated on the instructor's feet and using every ounce of energy I have to learn the steps so I don't notice "Hot" walk in and start dancing behind me. Step out and back and hold and step and back and hold... Got it! "Okay," the instructor says, "now let's add music." The music starts and meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Amy is using every ounce of HER energy trying not to burst out laughing about the fact that "Brad Pitt" is dancing behind me. She finds the whole thing rather amusing, considering my spandex and the fact that she told me not to shower.

The music is playing and I'm keeping up. Okay, good, got it, I'm such a good dancer, ha, this is easy, I rock, I got this. And then, out of freakin' nowhere, the instructor goes headlong into this twirl-turn-step-twist-Rerun-from-What's Happening
sequence that seems to take place at warp speed and my head is spinning. I'm losing my balance...I'm dancing out of time...I'm lost...I'm confused... and all the while I'm making this contorted what-the-heck-is-he-doing squinty puzzled face.

Mercifully, the song ends after what seems like four or five years. I try to gather my composure and mumble in frustration and light amusement, "oh, I really stink at this!" "If it's any consolation," says a voice, "that was really hard and the music was going really fast." Huh? I look up to thank him for his kind words and realize the Son of God himself just spoke to me. In the words of Ralph Cramdon- hummana, hummana, hummana. I reply with something clever like, "thanks" and dizzily stumble away. I've always been smooth.

A few seconds later, four girls come running into class, obviously late for their weekly lesson. They have all been in this Salsa class before. They can all dance. They are all wearing jeans and heels and cute trendy shirts and no spandex at all. Amy...can also dance and sports no spandex. I look really stupid. Why do I have to be wearing spandex and Reebok's and looking stupid tonight? I could have done that on Tuesday night when I was home alone watching American Idol.

Eventually, I managed to follow along fairly well for a beginner and, as luck would have it, we girls got to rotate between dancing with the instructor and dancing with "Hot." Hot dances really well. Hot speaks quietly and smiles coyly and helps us all dance better. He is 6'1" and dressed in jeans and a fitted rocker-boy tee-shirt. He has longish-blondish hair and the face of a Calvin Klein model and holy crap I'm dancing with him. I'm dancing with Hot. Kill me now, I'm in spandex.

In the end...I actually learned some Salsa steps. I also learned that Hot's given name is Ian and that he will be back next week. Me too, Ian...me too. Amy was able to hold her laughter until we got to the parking garage. We cracked up and talked about how dreamy Hot was and what are the chances and wow and I bet he's an actor and he's coming back next week and yay! Amy is already planning the wedding. She thinks all the bridesmaids should wear spandex.

Monday, March 31, 2008

About A Bunny


It's Good Friday. You wake up, put yourself together and head off to work thinking you look alright. You like the jeans you're wearing and...you didn't wash your hair today, but you're only going to your office where two other women (and one male you aren't the least bit attracted to) work, and it's basically a warehouse anyway, so who cares and besides...you look alright.

You decide to make a pit stop. Today, you'll treat yourself to your favorite coffee because it's Good Friday, and it's sunny in California even on Good Friday, and well...you deserve it. Walking into Starbucks, you're thinking of the smooth, warm beverage that will start your Easter weekend off on the right foot. You're thinking you better hurry or you'll be late for work. You're just thinking your benign little thoughts and then...you see it. Not it, so much, as her. The bunny. No, not the illusive Easter Bunny...or his furry wife. THE Bunny. Hef's Bunny. Holly Madison. Are you freakin' kidding me? I should have washed my hair today.

Your self image cracks like the shells of the eggs you have yet to dye. Holy cottontails Batman, the girl is beautiful. And, disappointingly, not in that gossipy "she only looks so good because she's plastic and fake and is caked with gobs of make-up and has a hair stylist blah, blah, blah, kind of way". No, she's standing there, ordering a latte, in her faded jeans and a sweatshirt (okay, a really cute,fitted, zip-up, bright green, Juicy Couture sweatshirt, but still a sweatshirt) and her little Chuck Taylor sneakers and she's truly beautiful. You sigh...and then mentally throw up your decaf, non-fat, one pump mocha right there on the caffeine soaked floor.

She's tiny. About 5'4" you estimate. And about a size 2. Her hair is not "done" and she doesn't have on a lot of make-up...not even lip gloss...and she's stunning. Immediately, your mind is racing with thoughts of dying your hair platinum blonde, followed by thoughts of wonderment about how your hair is dry from a few highlights so how come she practically washes her hair in Clorox and yet it's glossy and bouncy? You think better of dying your hair, and move on to wondering about her skin. Yeah, she's 28, and she's rich (being "kept" by a wealthy old Playboy qualifies as rich) and she probably has a great dermatologist and an on-staff skin specialist and gets 3 facials a week, but you have never seen skin that smooth before...except on a babies behind. It's like she was air bushed just before leaving the Mansion. You hate her.

Except, you can't. Because, horror of all horrors, she's nice. And friendly. And, actually seems pretty down to earth. She's chatting with different people who walk in. People she seems to know. Regular, everyday people she has probably seen at that Starbucks before. Her demeanor is not that of pretension or fame, but of the sweet "girl next door". Only, the regular kind of "girl next door"- not the kind who live in notorious, lavish mansions with two other curvy platinum- blonde friends, a slew of servants and the oldest bachelor in town. She does, however, clearly know she's gorgeous. It's in the way she stands, the way she acts. She knows she's the best looking thing in that Starbucks. In any Starbucks. In any anything. And, she's right. Gorgeous and likable. Gag me. I should have washed my hair today...in Clorox.

But, that's LA. It's what you sign up for. Everything...is just different here. It's always sunny, even on Good Friday. There are famous faces everywhere. And, it's never Easter until the Playboy Bunny drops in for a latte.