Monday, December 26, 2011

one more thing...

Don't even think about buying this....ever ever ever!

I thought I was clear...

Water to drink...good.
Rain...not so much.

Apparently I forgot to mention that it's not okay with me to lure me outside with promises of a walk and then cart me straight over to the groomer for a bath!

So just so we have it straight.

Rain...not a fan.
Bath...worse than a thunderstorm.

Are you clear? Crystal?
Good then.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's not about the gifts...kinda

I swear, I'm not that materialistic.  Really, I'm a dog. How much stuff could I need? (My mother is muttering something in the background about treats and coats and poop bags and food and grooming and vet bills but we'll just ignore her.) I'm perfectly happy with a good tummy rub and a long trip to the park in lieu of wrapped presents.  And I definitely am not a fan of the trying-on process where my mom proceeds to stuff me into sweaters and coats she sees at the pet store and expects me to stand still in the face of possible treats on the floor to go and find! really woman, have some perspective!

That being said, apparently I have a material girl just waiting to escape because I'm pretty proud of my snazzy new collar and this deluxe car seat I got as Hanukkah gifts this week. I know, it's been a pricey week for someone who loves Gracie!  Even though I object to being buckled into the car seat over having free reign of the car, still, it's my seat! and it has plush lining! I know, i know, you're all drooling...try to contain yourselves. Maybe your inner material girl will come unleashed next year!

In the meantime, I have to go don my new jewels and pink ruffled coat to hop into my first class ride to the park...where i will promptly roll in mud and act the true un-materialistic dog that I am!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lost! Please return to Israel. Large Reward

So some two-legged folks are all in a tizzy over some billboard ads that have now been taken down.  From what I can gather as I scrounge under the picnic tables in a hunt for food, the Israelis launched an ad campaign targeted at Israelis living in America to convince them to move back home.  And this seems to have pissed off some tall Jewish Americans. 

Were their feelings hurt that the Israelis didn’t want them? That I could understand.  When I was in the shelter, there would be all of these nice looking families that would come and walk right by my cage to go and ooh and aah over the wriggly puppies.  Fine. Just because I was almost five doesn’t mean I’m not cute and adorable.  I guess my old home wasn’t as attached to me as the Israelis seem to be about their former citizens because I was just abandoned…no signs, no ad campaign, nothing. 

So maybe the American Jews were hurt that the Israelis didn’t take them home from the shelter.  Or maybe they felt slighted that the Israelis were saying their home wasn’t as good as the homes in Israel.  Really? Are we all in kindergarten? It reeks of “my dad can beat up your dad” mentality.  But the American Jews have a forever home already, so I’m not really clear on what the problem was.  The Israelis that seem to have gotten lost were the ones that the ads were for.  Kind of like those “Lost Puppy.  Large reward if found” posters that always make my mom cry.  I would think that they would be thrilled to know that their parents were searching for them all the way across the world.  That’s a far way to wander away from home.  No wonder the Israelis needed large billboards!

So I’m not sure what the big deal was.  If I got lost, I would hope my mom would put up billboards to look for me, and I wouldn’t care if the other puppies were mad that she didn’t want them.  She’s my mom and it’s my home. 

Everybody deserves a forever home, and if you wander too far away, sometimes you need a big reminder which direction to travel. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Are you talking again?

Like I’ve said before, I have limited resources.  Licks to give kisses, tail wags to convey happiness, entire body wriggles to impact absolute joy, jaws with which to grab my treats along the way, as well as to fetch my plethora of stuffed animals.  I bark rarely and randomly, usually at men in hats and things with wheels.  That’s pretty much all I’ve got.  So most of my communication and understanding of the world comes from the pauses in the day, the gaps in the conversation, the shadows in your eyes.  I’m not stupid.  I can see when you tall ones are upset.  I know what that salty eye rain means.  I understand coughing and sneezing means no long walks and furrowed brows signal annoyance (occasionally at me for not listening but that’s for another day).

It’s funny.  For all of you tall people’s chatter, it seems like the bulk of what you have to say doesn’t have a sound.  I don’t even understand English and yet, I get the message within the silence.  It’s usually a whole lot simpler than you make it sound with your fancy words and analyzing sessions.  You’re sad.  You’re angry. You’re lonely.  You’re hurt.  You’re disappointed. You’re anxious.  You’re thrilled.  See how easy that was. But no. You spend hours explaining and side-stepping, talking around the issue, under the issue, and between it’s edges.  You discuss the same point from every possible angle, with new adjectives, less emotion, more emotion, no emphasis, irony, sarcasm, and back again all in this desperate need to be understood.

Don’t you get it? I understand you without all of the words just as you understand when I’m mopey and pouting, glaring out of anger, or exuberantly happy to see you again after the three minutes you were gone to do switch the laundry.

I know, communication is a tough one.  You don’t know what you want, how you feel, what you need. Or you know and you’re scared to say it.  Or you don’t say what you mean but rather what you think she wants you to say.  Or you don’t say what you feel out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings.  Or you say one thing and mean another.  It’s a very confusing world you people live in. 

So I get it.  Communication is something we’ll keep working on.

Next week’s topic: Eggshells are for cracking not walking on.

It must be getting close...

I can feel it looming...the rainy afternoons combined with muddy parks...

Every time she starts to run the water for her shower, i hide under the desk.  I just know she's itching to do it.

Hold out! Don't do it!! Fight the urge!!

But bad news is a-coming any minute now... I can feel it. If not now, then for sure this afternoon...

It's B-A-T-H time!!!

Crap, this desk-disguise just isn't cutting it!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Long-distance kisses

It's my favorite uncle's birthday today and I'm at a loss.  No matter how much i lick the phone, it doesn't seem like my gift is getting through.  Houston we have a problem!!

I have limited resources here: no credit card, no job, no cash of my own. All i've got is my extraordinarily long frog-like tongue with which is cover you with kisses, and this long distance thing creates somewhat of a snag.  Crisis!! Hence why all the people that I love should be mandated to live within tongue's distance away...or at least within often-visiting distance.  I know, I know, he's coming to visit in a few months.  But his birthday is today.  And my tongue just can't reach to New York no matter how hard I try.

Plus this phone tastes like windex...thank you obsessive-compulsive mom!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just so we're clear...

When I say we have a communication breakdown what I mean is that she needs to come over to my way of interpreting. We're at the park and we're sticking with my definition!! Come = sometime in the next ten minutes... Just so we're clear.

Oh, and "LEAVE IT RIGHT NOW" means wolf down the chocolate cake and then trot over and lick your face

Big trouble

I was in trouble yesterday.  BIG trouble.  The kind where I know my mom wants to shake me silly but instead gives me a time out and glares at me.  Well I can glare right back Missy, and you just foiled me attempt that snatching that ice cream sandwich.  It seems that when she yells, “Come”, we have a communication breakdown.  

I heard my name, glanced over at her, acknowledging her existence, and then went about my merry way.  I vaguely remember some background dim of “Come” but I was busy.  When I’m busy, I turn my cell phone off! Status update: Not available…hunting for food. Straight to voice mail!

Hence I didn’t get the memo detailing the definitions of “Come”, namely "Come right now, do not pass go, do not collect $200." 

Ok, that makes sense…but we were talking about an ice cream sandwich.  Where’s the compromise? Where’s the love? I propose “Just a sec” as an alternate command.  Yes, I hear you, and I fully intend on returning to you just as soon as I’ve wolfed down this morsel of food I’ve managed to find.  No? Not so much? Hum…we’re at a standstill.

Needless to say, yesterday I didn’t even come in a sec because once I know I’m in trouble, what’s the rush? Not my wisest move.  There were harsh words and forced sits and long time-outs.  But as soon as we’re done, I’m over it and she feels horrible, whispering apologies and giving me tiny treats and lots of hugs.  Thinking she might not be quite ready for one of those small humans I see around. 

The part that’s different between us is that I’ve already forgotten the incident and am moving towards my next target.  She’s still stuck in the past, beating herself up for getting mad.  And I’m the one that did something wrong! Does anyone else see a problem here?

Like I said, it’s a communication thing, which I notice being a problem for a lot of you humans.  Someone hears a comment with a slant that was unintended, or gets their feelings hurt over a perceived slight that the other party neither meant nor has any clue that something’s wrong.  Then the resentment starts and the eggshell walking begins and no good comes from that.  At that point we all just need to lie down before we hurt ourselves!

 I just need her to spell it out for me.  I’m not a mind reader, so her “Right now!!” probably means something other than how I take it – “Mosey on over here at your leisure.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The view from down here

She said she felt bad for us, having to live our lives ten inches off the ground.  That the view “must be so boring.”  Oh, Tillie Lou’s mom, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Have you spent time down here in this doggy wonderland of sights and scents? I think not! I don’t know about Tillie, but I’d much prefer the view from down here.  

Up there, where you guys live with your heads in the clouds, it’s all air and open spaces…boring.  Down here there are blades of grass with pee-mail, dropped morsels of picnics, mud crawling with wriggly worms, sticks to munch, flowers to sniff, and puddles to splash in.  I don’t have to sit at my computer to catch up with friends via email– I get to do it at the park, sniffing bushes and branches marked by friends and answering back with a quick squat.  And some of those socks you guys wear make for entertaining views themselves.  

I guess it would be nice to stare at something other than your ankles while we’re walking and to be able to reach the kitchen table.  But don’t feel bad for me.  It’s a whole different world down here and I literally get to watch the grass grow.

By the way, mom, you might want to vacuum under your sofa.  For someone as obsessively clean as you, you do not want to see what’s under there!

When one doggy door closes...

I might be in the minority, but I think this is great.  Less work = more time to play with Miss Gracie Joy.  What’s the problem? The way I see it, we have less obligations, less stress, and an increased availability to romp at the park.  Win-win situation! No? What’s that? Ah, right…those grown-up piddly concerns of bills to pay and gas money.  My bad.  Ok, so perhaps not all is rosy. But still, let’s keep some perspective.  There’s more time for her to do her own writing which always makes her smiley, more opportunity to write about things she’s actually interested in, and more chances for snuggling with me.  So yes, I get it.  Less work might not be the greatest news, but still…when one doggy door closes…

Plus don’t forget…the world is well managed.

Monday, December 12, 2011


I like water to drink.
I like puddles to splash in.
I like ocean waves to run beside.

Rain? Not so much.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holy days

I keep hearing all of this chatter about the holy days…groans of how they’re almost here, how hard they are, and mutters of family time accompanied by shudders.  What is it about these holy days that gets everyone in a tizzy? Does it depend on what religion you are? Because in our house, there’s no muttering or groaning, but there’s also no decorations or party invitations covering the fridge.  There’s no extra obligations or family events, no long lists of gifts to buy or requisite cards to send out.  

So maybe we’re missing something, but it seems like the country is taking a collective whining session and I’m not clear what the problem is. 

They are holy days…and by definition they should be exempt from complaining and stress.  Perhaps that’s the problem. There’s so much pressure to have an amazing time that it ends up backfiring.  Kind of like my birthday when it’s my one extra-special day all about me (as if that’s so different from my daily life – yeah right!) and I’m supposed to have a fabulous, perfect, wonderful day.  Well that’s a lot of pressure and usually it’s just a normal day with some gifts and cards thrown in and maybe an extra trip to the park.  

It’s all about expectations.  When I don’t know it’s my birthday, lacking my own iphone or calendar, my birthday is great because I don’t even know when it is! But once it’s all built up and the specialness factor is in play, then expectations soar and we’re in trouble. 

I think it’s the same with the holy days.  Maybe if no one knew it was December, and the 25th, new years, and those roving Hanukkah days rolled around without anyone’s knowledge, they would just be sweetly ordinary and everyone would relax.  Maybe if there weren’t expectations about the ideal family sitting down to the perfectly cooked meal and everyone being blissfully happy, the stress factor would plummet.  Maybe if new years were a time to self-reflect and cuddle with loved ones minus the flashy parties and fancy gowns, everyone would be happier.  I don’t know – I’m just a dog so consider the source.  But somewhere during the season of holidays, the holy seems to have gotten misplaced. 
Don’t worry – I’m on the job.  As long as its been rolled in some nutmeg or latkes, I’ll sniff out the holy. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Worth the Wait

Let’s be clear – I’m well aware I’m a lucky dog. I get to go to the park every day – sometimes two a day, I get tummy rubs, treats, games of fetch, and lots of cuddling pretty much just for breathing in and out.  Plus, I have a clique.  That’s right, I’m part of the in-crowd at the park. I’m one of those cool girls you want to be wagging her tail, sporting a pink puffy jacket, and racing around the grass…I know, I know, you want to be part of my clique too.  But the best part of the park is my friends.  Tillie Lou is my best friend, and there’s Parker and Coltrane and Jack and Navarre that I get to play with every day…I know, wipe the drool from those jowls.  I’m a lucky girl like I said. 

Plus, my mom has her whole group of friends that she gabs with while I wander around looking for food and sniffing tushes.  I pretty much take full credit for her friendships and joy that she gets from the park though since it’s only because of me that she met any of them.  It’s true – we would come to the park for me to play two years ago and she met all of these ‘park friends’ who’ve turned into real friends.  And now she has her group that she gets to see every day too – and it seems like the park must have some kind of magic power because no matter how rushed and stressed she is before we get to the park, once we’re there it all melts away. 

It’s our grassy temple, our meditation center, and our place of peace all wrapped up with trees and fields.  And while the rolling hills and sunny patches are gifts in and of themselves, the biggest blessing is the friends we’ve made. 

She’s sitting there (leaving me at home, I might add) in the hospital waiting room, biding her time until her friend is ready to be taken home.  They left her house at 5:15 am, shared sleep-deprived giggles in their slaphappy states, and kissed goodbye when her Tillie Lou’s mommy walked down the sterile hall.  And now my mommy waits for her friend because that’s what friends do.  Because Tillie Lou’s mommy is a true friend, which humans apparently only get a scant few of in a lifetime.  My mommy woke up at 4:30 because her Tillie Lou’s mommy hears her and listens to her, supports her even when she doesn’t agree, makes her laugh when she’s stressed and cries with her when she’s sad.  Tillie’s mom shares inspiration and compassion, patience and kindness, and mostly loves her exactly as she is, just because, every day.  And that earns her endless puppy licks from me and the title of true friend.
So that’s the blessing of the park – we get to play and run and lie in the sun all while cultivating friendships that go beyond grassy fields but rather are rooted deep, strong roots that withstand California winds. 

Like I said, I take full credit for all of the joy of the park because if it wasn’t for me, I wouldn’t have my doggy posse and my mom would still be sleeping cozy in bed right now…wait, wait, that doesn’t sound right….
Oh right, she’d be cozy and snuggling with me but without her true friend. No question about it – she’s happier in the waiting room.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It seems like a silly question to me.  Maybe I’m missing something.  Asking yourself “Where are you”?? Hello…sitting right here waiting for you to feed me, drop food, give me treats, or pet me.  What do you mean “where are you”? How do you lose yourself? I’ve mastered this one.  I’m never lost, despite what my mom might say about me wandering out of eye sight.  I’ve got it.  Here I am, living right in the present moment, fully focused on the smell right in front of my nose.  How could I lose myself? I don’t get it. 

But apparently this is a problem for some of you humans.  My mom has been asking herself “where are you?” throughout the day as a way to get centered and remember to breathe. (Ok, really, you humans need reminding to breathe?? You guys aren’t as smart as I thought!)  It seems that its easy for less intelligent beings than I to get lost in the daily shuffle, to forget to appreciate what’s right in front of their noses, and to wander out of eye sight in their crowded brains.  I guess what comes so easy to me just doesn’t translate well to you guys.  

I actually got admonished this morning for stopping to smell the roses for too long! Seriously?? Where are you??

Hineni – Here I am, living in the moment.  Come join me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lost: one Bubby Ida. Large Reward

Turns out the enemy suitcase wasn’t the true enemy.  The real foe was this little yellow pill that she tried to trick me into eating by camouflaging it amid string cheese and which I fell for because, I mean hello…cheese! But if there was an airplane, I have neither memory of it, nor pretty much the rest of the travel day because she drugged me! Sure I wasn’t scared on the plane, but come on – slipping me a tranquilizer just doesn’t seem fair.  Then again, I did get to accompany the enemy suitcase on our trip, so I guess I can’t complain too much. 

So we went to go visit bubby and Zaidy at my old stomping grounds.  As soon as I pranced through the door, I realized, hey, I remember these smells! I have a backyard here and a doggy door (though I prefer for them to cater to me by opening the door and coming outside with me so I play dumb for that one). But yippee, I’m back! Hello Arizona! Plus, bubby and Zaidy had my back, pressuring mom to give me more food and at least more treats, so they fit the spoiling grandparents role just fine.  And turned out that the enemy suitcase had treats and a toy for me, so we’ve now made our peace…for now. 

But after just two days we had to go to that strange building with the huge flying birds again, and what do you know, another piece of string cheese, which I fell for again! My short-term memory apparently needs some work because next thing I know, it’s Monday and we’ve been home a whole day. 

Still, there’s something missing today.  My bubby and Zaidy are still in Arizona and my mommy’s bubby and Zaidy don’t seem to be anywhere we can go to visit. I can’t quite figure out where they live, but today she seems so sad, lighting this long-burning candle and staring at pictures of her bubby Ida with that salty drink she sometimes makes from her eyes.  I don’t get it.  

It seems so unfair that I got to visit my bubby and she doesn’t get to visit hers.  There’s something wrong with this picture and I see my mommy searching her gardenia plant for the possibility of a flower and flipping through pictures of the two of them hugging, always hugging so tight.  Where is that great-grandmother of mine who used to laugh so easily, hug so tightly, flow with wisdom, and make my mommy feel so special? There’s no bubby Ida book club anymore or communal crossword puzzles.  No games of gin rummy or Friday night sleepovers.  

Without bubby Ida, we’re missing our matriarch, the one whose mere presence completes the family picture, but whose hand is the one my mom always sought.  I’m not sure where bubby Ida is hiding, but wherever she has been for the past three years, I think it’s time for her to come back.

In the meantime, we’re both missing our bubbies and zaidies today.  I’m not sure if the missing part ever ends…

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The enemy box

Just so you know, I see that suitcase there.  I see it and I’m not happy about it.  I know what that empty box means.  I’ve soused it out. I’m no spring chicken.  I’ve been around the airport terminal a time or two.  I know what happens when you promise you’ll be right back as you lug that wheeled box behind you.  Liar! Liar! You’re not right back! You’re back eventually, days later, all smiley and missing me and what do you bring me?  Nothing! Just hugs and kisses and lots of snuggles.  Well let me tell you missy that just isn’t going to cut it this time.  I’m putting my paw done. 

I tried peeing on your backpack once, but that didn’t stop you from trotting off to Canada.  I’ve moped, sulked, given you puppy eyes, and attempted to hide inside the enemy box, all with no success.  Well I just want you to know I’m on to you.  You think you can leave the suitcase out for a week in a kind of reverse psychology and then I won’t be as upset when you board that strange bird that flies you away? No! give me a little credit here.  I’m a smart puppy and this time I’m gonna outsmart you…

I haven’t necessarily figured out how but just know I’m working on it so don’t get any ideas about “being right back”….

What? What’s that you say? Ooohh, I’m coming with you??

Never mind…

(a la gilda radner)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My beef with J-Street

She’s more of a fan of Israel than I am.  To me, Israel was the place that stole my mommy for over a week where she got to make new friends, see amazing sights and fall in love with a new land, and I was left at home.  Needless to say, not all that enthusiastic about the country myself.  But it seems I’m in good company judging from the book we finished last night.  Or rather the book she read while I stared longingly at her sending subliminal messages: play fetch, play fetch, give me treats, give me treats.  I haven’t fully honed this skill but I’ll get there. 

Either way, the author seems to be in my camp about Israel, this head of J-Street Jeremy Ben-Ami.  I’ll give her credit.  My mommy doesn’t just listen to people who agree with her about issues she cares about.  She likes to know what the opposition is saying so that she can make up her own mind.  And make up her own mine she did with every page she turned. 

Seems that this “A New Voice for Israel” would be more aptly titled “A New Voice for the Palestinians” and probably wouldn’t bug her as much had he not touted himself as a faithful Pro-Israel Jew.  But like I said, she just got back from Israel, and is kind of touchy about those who criticize without solutions, water down Judaism, and speak out of both sides of his mouth. 

Example: One of Ben-Ami’s complaints is that the Pro-Israel lobby casts blame on organizations merely based on the fact that they don’t like the politics of their supporters.  So J-Street has contributors that the mainstream lobby doesn’t like and therefore J-Street must be anti-Israel.  Ok, valid complaint.  But then the guy has the gall to turn around and criticize the other side for the exact same thing.  His beef (ah, beef…. I’d like some beef…must find some beef) is that the right wing conservative Pro-Israel groups ally with the Christian Right on Israel while ignoring the fact that they disagree on many other domestic issues.  This from a guy that’s advocating programs with Muslim Americans, setting up rallies for the rights of Palestinians, and is in bed with donors who seem to only have negatives to say about Israel despite their self-proclaimed devotion to the country. 

Can we say hypocrite? Technically I can’t actually say it, but I’m thinking it!

Ben-Ami reminds the reader over and over that liberal Jews are turning away from traditional Judaism and that their voices are being shut out in the discussion about Israel.  Maybe he’s right, but we disagree with the notion that the solution is to water down Judaism, creating a “pick-and-choose” religion filled with alternative rituals, new-agey programs, and services barely recognizable as Jewish. 

Judaism is a religion. Have we all forgotten this?? It’s not a nationality or a stand-alone ethnicity.  It’s a religion and when people try to separate it out, to claim their heritage without shouldering any of the responsibility or commitment to the religion, it makes us a little nutty (ooh, nuts…I’d like some nuts…nuts…feed me nuts…feed me nuts…)

Like I said, I may not be the biggest fan of Israel, but perhaps if I could visit it myself, I’d fall in love with the country just like my mommy did.  And maybe Jeremy Ben-Ami should come with me because I’m not sure which Israel he’s been visiting all of these years, but it’s certainly not the one my mommy just came back from. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tales from a Hollywood outsider

We’re not LA girls.  We didn’t grow up here, she can’t parallel park, she gets lost on the 405, and neither of us could find San Diego on a map to save our lives.  We’re from Arizona, that forgotten desert to our south, where, at least in my book, it’s acceptable to go to the grocery store in your pjs, and it takes 15 minutes to go anywhere.  Plus we have great parking lots.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I can’t tell you who the celebrities are that are featured in the magazines by the checkout stand.  We’re both Hollywood outsiders, and I’m pretty ok with that.  I used to live in Malibu and friends would go gaga over the stars we’d see on the beach or be intrigued by the paparazzi swarms that flocked to Cross Creek.  I’d be standing clueless, not recognizing anyone and even if I knew who I was looking for, I didn’t know why he or she was famous in the first place.  This kind of ignorance isn’t really acceptable for a current LA girl. Well maybe I can get away with it, if I wag my tail and look especially cute but not my mom.   Especially my mom who writes for Hollywood Jew. 

But she’s learning.  She now has the TMZ app on her iphone and we’re becoming acquainted with reality TV.  She peruses Huffington Post Entertainment and has bookmarked the Hollywood Reporter website.  It’s a crash course in the Hollywood scene, and we’re cramming.  Why should we care? What is it about these actors and musicians and producers that make them worthy of our time, worthy of taking up space in her already crowded brain? Why should it matter who married whom, who’s getting divorced, who’s wearing a red dress to yet another awards show? Does it matter?

And the answer is of course it does.  It matters not because of the red dress, but because of the influence these people have.  It matters because they help shape the culture where we live, contribute to the atmosphere of creativity, set the standards that so many try to live up to.  It matters because they are living the dream of so many Hollywood hopefuls, and they need to be more than two-dimensional, need to have a human face tacked on to their red carpet images.  It matters because there seem to be a whole lot of people who care a whole lot about what these celebrities eat for breakfast and what kind of pets they tote in their purse.  We don’t happen to care, we like dogs of all sizes, but we aim to please!
It matters because we all matter, whether we are the leading lady or the girl who takes 15 minutes to fit into the parallel parking spot.  

So we’re studying hard and taking notes from celebrity gossipers. And slowly we’re learning how to put our finger or paw on the pulse of the Hollywood scene.  In her pjs. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One of those days

It’s one of those days where she’s in one of those moods for no good reason.  I’m kinda feeling sluggish myself so either it’s contagious or we both woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Either way, we’re not happy campers today.  This drives my master mom insane.  Me – I’m ok with having a lazy sunny Saturday filled with park and not a lot else. 

But she doesn’t do so well with crankiness.  She has her aforementioned list, so feeling tired and crabby just doesn’t fit into the schedule for today.  Plus, she hasn’t figured out how to take a mental health day.  She still goes about her day and tries to muscle through her carefully planned out activities which inevitably lead to her being snappy with someone she loves, resenting someone she loves, or losing her patience with me.  I personally prefer the first two options.

It’s not so much the crabbiness that bugs her but more the ‘for no good reason’.  I get it.  I like to have something to point my tail at, an understanding of why I’m unhappy – usually in my case it’s pretty clear…lost treat, hungry, disciplined for trying to steal dropped food, etc.  So it’s just one of those days where we’ll power thru and pray for bedtime.

Or maybe she could take some cues from me and spend the day napping in the sun, cuddling with me, and taking some alone time to muddle through the hours in quiet relaxation instead of washing the car, going grocery shopping, searching for a duvet cover, writing birthday cards, vacuuming, and cleaning the kitchen stove. 

Let’s cast our votes for what to do today… 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Empty baskets on Black Friday

It’s black Friday, although I’m not entirely clear on the name since the sun is out here and it’s a beautiful day.  But nonetheless, people have already taken to the stores and are busy waiting in lines and swiping strange plastic rectangles.  I’m not such a fan of shopping, unless it’s at places that a) sell dog treats, b) drop a lot of food – i.e. food courts, or c) are filled with people eating who might share. 

I’m grateful that my mom doesn’t seem to be a shopper either.  She’s like a speed racer – running in, scanning the racks, and then running out, often empty handed.  She’s funny.  We’ll get in the checkout line with a basket of stuff, and one by one as we inch forward, she manages to talk herself out of each thing until our basket is empty and we don’t have to wait in line anymore. 

It seems to be something about need versus want.  There are few things she needs – and those she’s always good about stocking up on.  But then there are all of those things that she wants, and those seemingly are taboo.  I guess the rule is you’re not supposed to want things that you don’t need because that makes you spoiled or selfish or greedy or materialist, all very very very bad things apparently. 

It makes sense not to buy things that you might not use or if you have no money and are living in a box, then clearly just stick with the need items.  But we have this cozy apartment and since she spoils me with new treats and toys, I would think that she could get at least the same treatment.  Plus, she’s always good about buying gifts for people – even ‘just because I love you’ gifts but again, for her not so much. And yet, things that she wants she doesn’t like to admit.  She likes to appear want-less, bordering on need-less, as if that makes her a better person.  

But it’s a lie.  I know it because I see how she can fill up shopping carts with cute sweatshirts and new hats, journals and trinkets.  Not that we come home with any of them because they all fall into the category of want and therefore end up back on the shelves. 

Don’t get me wrong – I’m thrilled we weren’t lined up at 3 am to cash in on black Friday sales today and I can think of better ways to spend a weekend than in the mall.  But still, I think that my mom should get to have wants and still not be spoiled or greedy. 

And if I had opposable thumbs and my own strange plastic card, I’d help but until then, I’ll just hope she learns how to give herself “just because I love you” gifts.

Weight gain plan

We’re on a weight gain plan at our house, which suits me just fine.  Really I’ve been a subscriber to this plan from day one, but it’s my mommy’s twin, the evil master who always foils my plans.  I mean really, I find perfectly good pizza crusts and chicken bones that fit right into my diet, and then she steals them from me.  Actually prying open my jaws and snatching the food.  That’s just not polite! I’d share if she’d ask nicely but she’s not usually a happy camper when I have my jaws clamped down on a leftover chocolate bar, so then I don’t even want to share!

But seriously, this diet thing has gone on long enough and I’m hungry.  I know, I know, it’s better for my joints and I have a ton more energy now that I’m not overweight…all the better to race away in search of food!  But I’m always up for a tasty treat or really anything remotely edible, and I don’t get why she doesn’t feel the same way.  She’s even skinnier than I am, and has a fridge stuffed with food.  What’s the problem? Why doesn’t she want to eat it? It’s right there and I don’t have opposable thumbs so no one’s going to prying open her jaws. 

And yet, she sits down every day to salad. Salad three times a day.  Literally lettuce and dressing and sometimes some toppings.  Let’s be clear – I’d eat it if she’d let me but really, I’d almost prefer leaves and mud…more flavor.  I watch her nibble when we’re out to dinner, and smile politely while passing on dessert and I don’t understand.  What’s wrong with this girl? Why is so scared of that machine with numbers in the bathroom? Is that her evil master? 

I want to be spry and painless but I’d be fine with waddling! So since she’s my mommy and obviously perfect, I figure it must be the human world that’s broken.  Because in doggy land, we like food.  We eat food whenever and wherever we can.  So maybe there’s different rules in the human world? Is that it? So I have some choice words for this human world. Stop telling my mommy that skinny means success, and thin is better and the boniest is the winner.  Stop giving her messages of not good enough, too much, too big, doesn’t measure up.  Be nicer to her.  She needs more pats and cuddles and less critical training.  She’s got the lessons down pat.  She’s too well trained, as are so many humans that I run into on our walks and at the park.  I think my mommy needs to take some cues from doggyland.

  1. Food is delicious and meant to be eaten.
  2.  Eat desserts first because someone else might come and steal them.
  3.  Bony means uncomfortable laps to sit in and not enough padding for cuddling.
  4. Healthy doesn’t mean fat. Healthy is having energy for lots of walks and games of fetch.
  5. Lettuce is yummy every now and then but really it’s for the rabbits, and neither of us qualify.

Needless to say, I’m a very willing participant in this weight gain plan.  I just hope her evil master lets her join me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I don’t really think she’s going to have a hard time with this homework assignment.  Let’s see…I was disappointed when she didn’t share her stir-fry dinner, when we left the park, and when she stole the crust I found on our walk.  Done.  Disappointed three times…that wasn’t so hard!

Humm…the wise man she pays for advice might have said, “disappoint three people” but then again, if he wasn’t counting me as a person, then he’s not that bright after all.  Still, she may have a bit more work to do this week. 

But I will agree with her.  Disappointment is way worse than anger.  Anger is fleeting. Anger seems justified.  There’s an event, a misstep, a sharp comment that warrants the anger.  It’s because of something she or sometimes even I do.  Example: yesterday at the park some fairy godmother had strewn pound cake all around the base of a tree, clearly a treat for one miss Gracie Joy.  I went to cash in, and my evil mommy pounced on me, dragged me away from my gifts, and then made me sit and say to ponder my disobedience.  I was angry! Well, also disappointed, but more mad.  And then I got over it and she gave me lots of kisses and pats and slices of carrots and all was good. 

But when someone says that they’re disappointed in me, that feels personal.  That’s because of a character flaw, some inherent badness in me and not just because of a behavior.  Hence on the balance sheet, disappointment definitely outweighs anger.  But is it merely a matter of semantics or is there really a difference? Does one say they’re disappointed and another say they’re frustrated and they mean the same thing? Nope, disappointment still feels worse.  It’s a word that’s laden with history and judgment, a global assessment of coming up short.  An in-your-face statement of not being good enough.

Ooh. That’s a big one for her.  Not being good enough.  I’m still not clear on for whom this applies.  She’s good enough for me, although she’d be better if we lived at the park and I could eat whatever I want, but aside from that, for sure good enough.  And yet, there’s this standard of perfection: eternal happiness, banned from crankiness, pleasant and smiley, successful and witty, energetic and accommodating that seems to set the bar insanely high. 

I, on the other hand, am more than good enough.  I look cute, wag my tail, come most often when called, listen occasionally, and am enthusiastic 100% of the time in anticipation of food.  I know sometimes I fall down on my obedience skills, but I also know that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough.  Even my mommy wouldn’t say that.  She says I was distracted, I couldn’t hear her, I was hungry, or I wasn’t feeling well that day.  She always has excuses and justifications for me, but they don’t seem to apply to her. 

How come she doesn’t get to be crabby or tired, sad or angry? I know there are days when she’s distracted, hungry, lost in her own head, and tired but still she doesn’t seem to be able to remember the excuses or reasons why that’s ok.  Instead, she becomes NOT GOOD ENOUGH all around.  Maybe we’ll start small.  Just like training when I used to get a treat just for looking up when she said my name (God I miss those days!), maybe she could practice not being good enough just in that moment instead of globally.  Or even one better, she could just recycle the justifications she uses for me and apply them for her.

See, she doesn’t need to pay someone for advice.  I’ve got all the answers right here.  And for the right treats, I will gladly share my wisdom.

Grateful to be a dog

It seems funny to set a day aside to be grateful.  I don’t really get it.  I’m pretty grateful all of the time, and I show it by excessive licking on the people I love the most.  They don’t always appreciate my gratitude but I think they get the message anyway.  But I know that there’s this Thanksgiving thing where everyone gets all in a tizzy cooking (which by the way I am happy to help out with leftovers, dropped morsels, or even plates left unattended!) and speaks about being thankful for their blessings and grateful for the gifts in their lives.  Sounds great, but shouldn’t that be an every day thing?

My mom used to write every night in this little book five things she was grateful for.  Obviously, I was usually at the top of the list, along with friends, family, and other small joys like the warm sunshine, feeling energetic, having legs that can run and eyes that can see.  It was a good practice, but for some reason she doesn’t do it anymore.  I don’t think it’s that she doesn’t like those things anymore. Rather I think that she forgot that it was important amid the cachophony of daily living. 

It seems to be due to something called “stress” and “anxiety” which I don’t really understand.  Well, I take that back.  When I’m wandering towards spotted food at the park and my mom is yelling for me, I feel a moment of stress at the impending trouble I’m going to be in when I ignore her command to “COME!! RIGHT NOW!!” but then I’m happy-go-lucky as I trot off in search of my hidden treat.  But my mom, also known as Lauren to other tall beings, seems to feel “stress” and “anxiety” even when no one is yelling at her to come!

She has this list that never seems to end.  Her list is like her leash, always tugging at her neck, pulling her back from good smells and grassy fields to explore.  I hate the list because a) it makes her “stressed” b) I have to wait in the car sometimes while she runs errands to check off on her list and c) we have to leave the park to do things on the list! And it’s not even my list!  You’d think that we’d finish the list and then we’d get to be done, but no…this is a magic list that never seems to end.  The to-do list that rules her days and yanks on her neck. 

So maybe the gratitude list helped with the stress and maybe it didn’t.  But I’m voting to instate gratitude on a daily basis and not just one day a year.  And today I’m grateful for:
  1.   my mom
  2. the park
  3. yummy food
  4. my doggy friends: Tillie Lou, Parker, Coltrane, Moose, and Navarre
  5.  treats
  6.  playing fetch
  7. dropped food
  8.  my aunts: Tammy, Shalene, Linda, and Lise
  9.  treats
  10.  anything edible (sense the theme??)

I get to walk off leash in the neighborhood and at the park I roam free.  I wonder when she gets to take off her leash…