Monthly Archives: October, 2013

A Decade with Daisy

pretty princess

I’m not sure how I almost missed it, but I realized in the middle of the night that this week would mark the 10 year anniversary of the day my beautiful Daisy Petals came into my home. It’s especially surprising to think that I would forget this, because I actually got her on my birthday, the best present I ever bought myself!

I’ve written about Mr. Louie, and his wily, weird ways. It doesn’t make me love him any less. In fact, I embrace his oddities, they make him unique. But it is ironic that while my older dog is a timid stranger hater, Daisy is the friendliest dog I have ever known. Neighbors will bring their kids over to meet Daisy; she has cured many a child of canine phobia. She has never met a person she doesn’t like, and even people who don’t like dogs, like my dad, find Daisy’s winsome ways hard to resist.

Perhaps this has led to her slight reputation as being a slut! I think she’s just popular. All kidding aside, she is just the most loveable, sweet, good natured, snuggly soft dog in the world! If I am sad, she will sit next to me, with those gorgeous brown eyes, and radiate sympathy and support. If I am excited or happy about something, she will join in the celebration, with a wiggly joy, and happily roll on her back, so I can rub her belly. Hmmmm, maybe there’s some merit to that slut thing?

Like all of my dogs, past and present, Daisy P. is not without her quirks. While she may spend the day at my side, sitting on her little cushion in my home office or following me around, at night, as I sit on the couch with Louie glued to me, she sits under it. If I call her name, she will thump her tail a time or two to let me know she’s cool, but prefers to stay where she is. Until exactly 9:45, when virtually every night, she will come out from under the couch, give me the “it’s bedtime” look and go to the crate in her room (also known as the guest room, she doesn’t mind sharing). There she will wait until I go in and put her to bed. Yes, there may be a special song involved, but sometimes I think I reveal too much in these posts, don’t you?

Aside from wondering how Daisy can tell time, which I have never figured out, you may be wondering why I allow my perfect princess to sleep in a different room, in a crate no less. And I would reply, happily! For one thing, Daisy came to me crate trained and like I said, goes into her little crate voluntarily almost every night. On very rare occasions, she will decide she needs company, and instead of going into her room, she will make a stand at my bedroom door. On those nights, she sleeps with me.

But, I don’t enjoy it. It’s bad enough that Louie is in my bed but he slips under the covers and burrows at my feet, so it’s almost like he’s not there. Daisy has a presence! Somehow, I’ll end up in the morning scrooched over to one slim side of the bed, while this wee little dachshund has somehow transformed into a large beast, and is stretched from pillow to post. I’ve woken up with her foot on my face, or to the sound of that thumping tail, or the infamous, rub my tummy, back roll.

Daisy’s other weird habit has to do with food. For all that she is a plump little sausage, she is a delicate eater. She has to be coaxed into eating, while Louie wolfs down his bowl and haunts hers, snagging kibbles when he can. Daisy has to take the first several pieces of any meal she eats into another room. The first piece is abandoned (and happily scarfed by Louie). The next two pieces are eaten in privacy. At that point, she will reenter the kitchen and eat the rest from her bowl. It drives me crazy, because I have to guard her bowl from a crazed Louie as she does this dance. Every single day.

But I will put up with those little oddities without a second thought. The love and companionship I get from her has comforted me through many a hard time. She makes me smile and frequently makes me laugh too. I know she is a dog, but she is also in many ways a beloved friend. She has given me such happiness and I love her so dearly. Happy Anniversary, to my sweet, sweet, Daisy Petals!

The end, for now






Five Things

Do you read Us Weekly Magazine? No, of course I don’t either, but this one time, I was waiting in line to buy Scientific American, and I “accidentally” glanced at US Weekly. And I just “happened” to come upon the feature, 25 Things You Don’t Know About Me, wherein some (usually C list) celebrity tells their fascinated readers 25 exciting things they had never revealed before.

Well, there’s no way I am going to tell you 25 things you don’t know about me. For one thing, I’m frankly not that mysterious. My life is an open book. I can’t even think of 25 things about me, known or not. But, let’s be honest here, I was struggling to come up with something to write about this week. Does anyone want to hear about my unemployment again, and how worried I am, and that I feel as if I am standing at the edge of my own personal fiscal cliff, with one leg fully extended out? I didn’t think so. So, I am going to focus on the positive, and write about five things I love.

  1. My Swiffer. What, you ask? You LOVE a household product? Why yes, yes, I do. I always have this sort of secret shame that my house verges on shabbiness. Spending so much time at home these last few months has given me ample opportunity during the daylight hours to see the cobwebs and cracks that conveniently fade away at dusk. There’s something really satisfying, dare I say, thrilling, about pulling the Swiffer around the house, picking up dust, dog hair, etc.  Sometimes I dance with it. And no matter how much cleaning I have done, the Swiffer can always find something and swiff it up. It is a miracle.
  2. Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday! Well, except for my complicated relationship with Christmas, but let’s leave that for another post. Anyway, it’s coming soon! Last night I lulled myself to sleep reading the Bon Appetite Thanksgiving issue and getting progressively excited and hungry. I can’t wait for turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, and don’t forget pie, yum, yum, yum! Oh yes, family and friends gathered together to count our blessings. Did I fail to mention that? But, TURKEY and STUFFING!
  3. Small portions. With the exception of Thanksgiving dinner, where my secret hidden glutton tends to burst out for her annual village pillage, I have a thing that borders on weird about small portion sizes. Actually, it has probably slipped way over the border at this point and may officially be a disorder. Put me on a talk show, I have Small Portion Disorder (SPD).  I sort of freak out when I am served an oversized portion of anything, to the point of getting anxious. One of my favorite foods is simply, appetizer, and in a perfect world, I would go to a restaurant that only served hummingbird portions in little walnut shell cups. I am not exaggerating about this. You would think this would make me a skinny girl, but it has not. Strange, that.
  4. When my Louie Dog yowls. I have mentioned before that Louie is not exactly a cheerful dog. He walks around with a worried expression in his sad eyes, leaving the casual observer to think that his life is a veil of tears and tragedy. But I can always cheer him up, by singing the song My Baby Loves Lovin’ with the word Louie substituted for Baby. First, he will start to grin, that wide wiener grin that is as rare as it is beautiful. And then, he will give this little yippy yowl of happiness. Melts my heart every time.
  5. Driving South through Topanga Canyon. I drive a Mini Cooper, which is much like driving a go-cart. And since I have grown up in Southern California, I know this canyon like the back of my hand, and drive it like a race car driver, speeding around the beautiful curves, until that perfect moment where it spits you out on Pacific Coast Highway. Topanga and PCH, life’s most perfect intersection.

And there you have it. Five things that I love. The sixth is that I managed to meet my personal commitment to blog again, even when I thought I had nothing to say. And, to anyone out there who takes the time to read my posts, please know that I really appreciate it. In fact, I love it. Wow, there goes number seven!

The end, for now

Trick or Treat?

Halloween is drawing near, as evidenced by abundant displays of pumpkins and jumbo bags of candy at the market. And as usual, I am doing my annual “should I or shouldn’t I?” dance regarding decorating for the spooky season and hosting the hordes of kids, from wee to teen, that descend upon my neighborhood each year.
I love the idea of Halloween! For one thing, it’s the day after my birthday, so I am all about continuing the celebration! And it’s a holiday filled with my two favorite things, candy and hijinks. In case you didn’t know, I am pretty much a candy fanatic. I LOVE candy, more than is reasonable for an adult woman. And it’s a family trait, more or less. My grandmother worked in a candy factory and remained a candy freak her whole life. The candy gene sort of skipped over my sister, but her kids know they can always count on Auntie to pull a licorice wheel or lifesaver out of her purse. I’m THAT kind of aunt (the good kind!). And while I like chocolate, the darker the better, the candy I will commit crimes for is hard candy. Yep. Like lifesavers. I can tear through a roll of lifesavers in about 3 minutes flat, and never look back. This may explain the extensive and expensive dental work in my mouth, but, hey, life is short. Candy is good!
As a kid, Halloween was awesome. Despite the yearly “razor blade in an apple” legend, it was a pretty safe time. We weren’t going to eat any apples anyway, not while the free candy bonanza was flowing. We roamed the neighborhood, fairly unsupervised, with just a general curfew and a few safety reminders, like stay together, and avoid dark houses. We knew our neighbors, not just the ones on our street, but for extended blocks. We even knew who gave out the full size candy bars, who made the popcorn balls, and where to pick up the toothbrush from our local dentist as our last stop.
But Halloween, like so many other things, has changed. It has become extremely commercialized, and seems like another excuse for people to spend too much and get out of control. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I also find the idea of adults dressed up in costumes in places of business totally ridiculous. I don’t want to do my banking from a sexy cat, or buy my lunch from a sexy nurse. And I think it’s a problem that every female costume over the age of about eight seems to be a sexy something. Nothing against sexy, do not get me wrong, but I feel for my friends who have to try to explain to their young daughters why a slutty zombie is not an appropriate look for an eleven year old.
The other issue I have with Halloween has to do with my personal sanity and safety. As a single woman, living alone with two yappy dogs, I either have to board the pups, lock them up and hear them whine for hours on end, or deal with them freaking out every time the doorbell rings, and then traumatizing small children who are canine fearful. And if I do board or sequester the dogs, I start feeling very vulnerable opening my doors to legions of strangers, especially as the night wears on, and the kids get older and taller. The last few years, I have chosen to lock up the dogs, and hand out candy for the first couple of hours. I get a lot of kids, so usually two hours is enough to run out of several bags. At that point, I turn off the porch light, let the dogs out, pour a glass of wine, and try to relax and watch a scary movie. But, apparently the “porch light off” code doesn’t work as well as it used to, because I will have kids banging on my door for hours. And it gets annoying, and then a little menacing, and the night turns from sweet to sour.
But it’s hard for me to resist the idea of the darling little ones that appear in those magic twilight hours, and I hate to be known as the lady who won’t give out candy. The holiday is big on my street, with several houses elaborately decorated, and I’m friendly with the children on both sides of my house. So…once again, the conflict continues. I’d be curious to hear if any of you out there have this same issue, and how you have resolved it? In the meantime, I have a few weeks to decide. I’ve already started buying candy; I wonder what I will do with it if I don’t decide to give it all away?
The end, for now

She Worked Hard for the Money

As I continue to look for work, and go on interviews, I’ve been thinking a lot about the jobs I have had through the years. I worked at NILS Publishing for 22 years, working my way from Assistant Editor, to Director of Editorial Production. And another 6 years at Kaiser Permanente, as a Managing Editor/Communications Manager. But even though those jobs covered a significant portion of my life, they are not the only jobs I have had. Here’s a little stroll down job memory lane, as best as I can recall, in chronological order.

Salesgirl, Michael’s Resort Wear. My first job. I was 15 and lied about my age. The store sold muumuus to cruise-bound old ladies, and bejeweled sandals. One of the owners had been a Gidget, apparently the highlight of her life. This was at Northridge Mall, but within a couple of months, they had closed down this location, fired everyone but me, and made me manager of the other store in Fallbrook Square. What were they thinking?

Drench a Wench, Renaissance Faire. I was 16! I would sit on a bale of hay, with other scantily clad wenches. Drunken men would throw sponges at us, and if they hit us, we would have to kiss them. Oh, the 70’s! Probably my most scandalous job, what were my PARENTS thinking to let me do this? Oh yeah, they didn’t know!

Store Clerk, The Genie. Lasted 3 days. Enough said.

Nanny to infant and three year old boy, private home. Ugh!

Messenger Clerk, Chatsworth Public Library. This was the job that essentially put me through college. I loved it! Working in a library was a dream come true, shelving books, repairing books, putting on puppet shows, and occasionally, getting to work the front desk. First crack at any new book that came in, unless it was on reserve. Did I mention I loved this job? And when I left, my sister took over for me.

Production Assistant, Unnamed Production Company. I don’t remember much about this job, except that the owner, who was a friend of my parents, was going through a divorce and midlife crisis and was very unhappy. This made for very unhappy days.

Administrative Job, Other Unnamed Production Company. This was a temp job, which turned out to be VERY temp. The first day on the job, I was warned not to lock the bathroom door, as it was broken. I forgot, and they had to break down the door. I was not asked back.

Copy Technician, Teledyne. My grandfather worked there. For a summer, any time a copier broke down or needed toner or paper, I would have to put on a white lab coat and go fix it. This was after I had quit the library job to go to Europe. Fortunately when summer was over, they rehired me.

Catering Lackey, various companies. My first experience was working for a kosher catering company, at a wedding. They did something called French Service, where you held the heavy, hot platter full of food on your left arm, and served with your right hand. The vegetable course included potato balls, which turned into missiles in my clumsy hands. After the potatoes projectiled off of a bridesmaid, I was retired to the kitchen. The catering gigs were as varied as birthday parties for spoiled children, to bar mitzvahs, to lovely wedding receptions. It was super hard work, but great money. This was during my early years at NILS, where I desperately needed to supplement my income.

I’ve never been afraid of hard work, or doing what it takes to get the job done. I would come home from the catering jobs filthy and exhausted, and never wanting to see another Rumaki appetizer as long as I lived. The next weekend, I would put on my little tuxedo shirt and bow tie, and do it all over again. At NILS, when they still owned a printing facility, we would be called on from time to time to help out. I loved working the shrink wrap machine and drilling holes in the loose-leaf pages! I’m excited to see what the next position brings me. It probably won’t involve sitting on a bale of hay, or projectile potato balls, but it is sure to be an exciting adventure all the same.
The end, for now