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Before and After

February 15, 2016

The other night, in a restaurant, my husband happened to encounter a woman he knew from high school days.  This is not unusual.  My husband frequently runs into people from his youth. In fact, I once wrote about this phenomenon, which never fails to amaze me.  (See “State of the Reunion,” March 2, 2015.)  Growing up in a small town, his high school class had about 150 students, while mine, big city girl that I was, had about 1,000.  Yet I run into no one.

But I digress.  He introduced me to his former classmate, a very attractive woman who had to be my husband’s age.  Even if she was one of the smart kids and skipped a few grades, she could only be a couple of years younger.  So we chatted politely, (they chatted; I just smiled pleasantly and tried to look interested) then went our separate ways.

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Speaking of Sam……

February 1, 2016

Dear Readers:

I beg your indulgence on two counts: one, for beginning this essay in the manner of an 18th century English novel, and two, for again writing about our new dog, Sam.   I promise this will be the last time.    Perhaps I shouldn’t promise, but I will try my best not to further subject you to my excessive gushing over our 15 pound wonder.  But today is Sam’s birthday.  He is one year old, and therefore deserving of another mention.

IMG_1013It’s been two weeks, six day, 12 hours and 42 minutes since we brought Sam home.   And it’s been years since we shared our home with a very young dog.   Needless to say, there have been certain necessary adjustments to our household.  Baby gates and other containment apparatus are now part of the décor.  My floors are strewn with rawhide chews that I have a tendency to step on with my bare feet.  Thus, in addition to sit, stay and come, Sam has been learning many curse words.

And, then, of course, there are all the dog toys that squeak incessantly as he tries to rip out their guts.  The other day a woman whom I thought was my friend brought Sam a fuzzy duck toy that quacks non-stop as he holds it in his mouth.  Unfortunately, it has become his favorite object.  And I wonder what I did to cause her to hate me that much.

Getting used to a very small dog when one has been accustomed to cohabitating with very large dogs is another matter all together.   I had never stopped to consider that small dogs can be hazardous to your health.  Unlike large dogs, they are below one’s line of vision, so one must take special care not to step on them, or worse, trip over them.  Excuse the pun, but I am learning this the hard way.

Then there are those instances when I call Sam, once, twice, perhaps three times, only to look down at my feet and see him staring up at me in puzzlement.  Hey, I heard you the first time.

But it’s been almost three weeks of delight, and lots of fun seeing the world through Sam’s eyes.  Although he was almost a year old when we took him home, he behaved as if he was discovering everything for the very first time.   Before us, he obviously led a very confined life.   It’s like he lived with the Mole Women, or was raised as Dog from Room.

During our walks along a busy road, I was aware that he was transfixed by moving cars and bicycles.  And people.  And other dogs.   He backed away from path lights and irrigation flags.  He barked challengingly at fire hydrants before realizing it was something he could conquer by lifting his leg.

Indoors also held many wonders.  Since there are no second stories in underground shelters or utility sheds, Sam didn’t quite know what to make of stairs.  But when one’s legs are only 6” long it is understandable that getting from one step to the next would seem as daunting as scaling the Empire State Building.  But he figured it out, and now bounds up and down quite competently, looking very much like a Slinky.

Our stall shower is another object of complete fascination.  He sits and stares at the water coming down as one might gawk at Niagara Falls.  And he watches me intently as I step naked into it.  I have to admit that I found it uncomfortable at first having a strange pair of male eyes gazing at my nakedness.  That is, until I realized that unlike his human counterparts, Sam wouldn’t be judging me.  At least, I didn’t think so.

He watches me blow dry my hair, Sam does.  I can’t begin to imagine how he might be interpreting this behavior.  But at least he doesn’t complain about the noise, unlike the other male I live with.

So all in all, the past two weeks, six days, 12 hours and 42 minutes have been a delight.  We haven’t been sorry for a moment.  Except perhaps for the incident when Sam ate a piece of baseboard molding in my husband’s office.

Or that his total cuteness impedes my efficiency  because I have to stop what I’m doing to pick him up and cuddle, definitely one of the advantages of a small dog.  Or that I now play second fiddle to a dog as I listen to my spouse professing his love for Sam.  But that’s okay.   Better Sam, than some bitch half my age.

But for all the joy that Sam brings us, we wonder if we jumped in too quickly, and didn’t allow ourselves sufficient time to recover from the loss of Davis.    But this quote I happened upon has been helpful:  “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is diminished.”  So in another sense, having Sam is a commemoration to our other pets.  The quote was attributed to the author Dean Koontz, and just goes to show that even writers of gory mysteries can have a soft spot when it comes to dogs.

So Happy Birthday Sam! May you live long and prosper! And may your energy keep the rest of us young.

Holidays Uncategorized

Unresolved Redux

December 31, 2015

happy-new-year-333459134So, folks, here we are again.  The baby in the top hat, sash, and diaper is once more about to kick the old geezer out of the way, as the number on the calendar changes to 2016.  And with another birthday pending, I hope this image will not become a metaphor for my life!

I’m sure for all of you 2015 had its ups and downs, but overall, I hope you emerged at the top.   And as much as we might tell ourselves that New Year’s Eve is no big deal, just another night, and that Friday will follow Thursday, as in any other week, there is a sense of closure and a new beginning.

Politics has certainly been a highlight of 2015, or should I say lowlight.  Tuning into the Republican debates and Trump tweets has been like binge-watching the Comedy Channel.   And I’m sure we can look forward to much more in 2016.  As for the Democrats, I was starting to give Bernie Sanders some serious consideration.  But now, I can’t be sure that I won’t be getting Larry David.   And if I do, would that be so bad?

On the personal side, my husband and I shall be entering 2016 dog-less.  Our beloved Labs, Bette and Davis, who have been featured in many of my essays, and were the inspiration for my book title, How Old Am I in Dog Years?  both died this year —  Bette in May, at age 15, and Davis just the other day, at age 16 12.  I know we were extremely fortunate to have them for as long as we did.  But they are very missed, and the house is strangely empty.  For now.

And New Year’s resolutions? Fuhgeddaboudit! A complete waste of time and psychic energy.  So instead, last year I made a list of habits I definitely would not change in the coming year.  And I’m proud to say I accomplished every one of them.  Therefore, adhering to the adage you can’t argue with success, I am re-listing.

I present my  personal reforms that will once again NOT happen in 2016.

  • Spend more time at the gym.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Give up Cool Whip
  • Lose weight.
  • Shop less.
  • Get more sleep.
  • Organize my drawers and keep them organized.
  • Stop wasting time watching Law and Order
  • Improve at golf.
  • Learn French.
  • Cook at home more often.
  • Always hang up my clothes before I go to bed.
  • Read James Joyce.
  • Wear a bikini.
  • Complete a London Times crossword puzzle.
  • Solve even one clue of a London Times crossword puzzle.
  • Have a neat desk.
  • Never write another critical essay about my husband.

So, whether you’re celebrating tonight in finery, jeans, or pj’s, I want to wish you all a happy, and above all, healthy New Year.  Jokes aside, it is a clean page in a new book, and we should all try to make the most of it.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you again for your support, and ask you to stay tuned in 2016.  There will be a new name, and a new web site coming soon.  A whole new look, but the same old me!

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T’is The Season To Be Cranky

November 30, 2015

If it’s Thanksgiving, can Christmas be far behind? Or does Christmas now start before Thanksgiving?   Somehow I think it does.

At least a week before turkey day, or perhaps even more, as I innocently approached my local supermarket, I thought I heard the rather loud clanging of a bell.  At first I thought it was someone’s cell phone.  Poor guy, I thought, he must be really hard of hearing to have his ring tone up so high.   Or perhaps it was a fire drill?  It was 85 degrees and I was in Florida.  Can you blame me for not thinking about “Ho Ho Ho?”But sure enough, there she was.  The lady with the red stocking cap, sweat pouring from her brow, imploring us, in the spirit of the season, to deposit coins in her

But sure enough, there she was.  The lady with the red stocking cap, sweat pouring from her brow, imploring us, in the spirit of the season, to deposit coins in her cauldron.

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No “F” in (the) Way

June 15, 2015

As a “woman of a certain age” who attempts to chronicle life’s nonsense with wit and wisdom, it is completely understandable that one of my role models should be Nora Ephron.  To me, she was the gold standard.   When it came to humorous essays from a female perspective, no one did it better.  After all, what mature woman couldn’t identify with feeling bad about her neck,  or the belief that life would be better if only she could find the perfect handbag.

I will never be Nora, not even if I lived another hundred years and kept writing.  But that’s okay.  I’m content to have her as the focus of my admiration and my muse.  I evoke her name each time I sit down to write, and derive inspiration by asking myself, “now what would Nora say?”

So when a  friend  happened to remark  to me, “Your essays are so funny, you should really put them in a book,”  I immediately thought, “that’s what Nora did.”

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Silver Lining

May 16, 2015

shutterstock_184127258So the other day I was on the phone with my friend Doris (not her real name).  She’s had a very rough winter.  Some strange malady has been sapping all her energy.  The slightest household chore sends her crawling to the sofa to lie down.  Her doctors have assured her that it is nothing life threatening, yet they can’t seem to get to the bottom of what ails her.

I call her regularly for an update on her situation.  Sadly, she reports about all the things she cannot seem to do, all the dates she’s had to cancel, how she suddenly feels very old and vulnerable, how bored she is, and how she doesn’t even have the energy to eat.  Her voice reflects her pathetic state of being.

I’m about to shed tears on her behalf, when suddenly there is a shift.  With a noticeable lightness of tone that definitely was not there before, she states, “…and oh, by the way, I’ve lost 10 pounds!”

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Erotica Fantasy Uncategorized

“Fifty Shades” Revisited

February 15, 2013

Two significant events occurred this week.  1) I had another birthday, and 2) I finally read   “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

What is the link between these two seemingly unrelated happenings, you might ask?  Even if you don’t (ask, that is) you know I’m about to tell you.  My birthday, of course, forced me to confront the reality of my chronological age.  Even more depressing, the book forced me to face the possibility that my potential for acting out sexual fantasies may very well be over; novel erotic positions are guaranteed to give me leg cramps.

As I’m sure all of my literati friends already know, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is about a kinky  relationship between a very unreal 27-year-old drop-dead gorgeous male who is a self-made gazillionaire, and a somewhat unreal beautiful 21-year-old female recent college graduate who is still a virgin.  She is an English literature major with a perfect grade point average who nevertheless expresses her emotional astonishments by repeating the phrases “holy crap,” “holy shit,” and “holy fuck” on alternating occasions.

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Kvetching Pets Shopping Uncategorized

New Car Blues

December 15, 2012

new-car-bluesIt isn’t every day that one buys a new automobile.  Therefore, it should be an occasion marked with at least some measure of anticipation and excitement as I drive the shiny, as yet undented chariot off the dealer’s lot.  So why do I feel like I want to go directly home, cover my mirrors, and sit on a hard wooden box for a week?

Yes, I am in mourning for my old car, which didn’t die exactly, but was economically disposed of as a trade-in for a newer, more fuel-efficient, somewhat smaller version of itself.  I had convinced myself that its time had come and I needed to let it go before it became unreliable.  The decision was buoyed by my adult children, who are secure in the knowledge that being of a certain age themselves, they now know what’s best for me.  They couldn’t quite understand how their mother cared so little for her safety that she didn’t have a back-up screen.  Hey, I’ve been craning my neck for years, and only occasionally have stone walls made contact with my rear end.

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Men Relationships Spouse Technology Uncategorized

Remote Possibilities

July 31, 2012

What I’m about to say is not exactly breaking news.  This is something that every wife and female significant other knows only too well.  While we can congratulate ourselves on having made great strides in the fight for equality with males in many arenas, there remains at least one battle zone where men are holding fast.  And I do mean holding fast.   It might as well be a logo on a victory banner.  A tightly clenched masculine fist, with fingers possessively wrapped around the TV remote control.

The origins of a man’s inalienable right to dominate TV viewing is unclear to me.  But no matter.  I give up.  I give in.  I have moved on to assert myself in other areas, like the setting on the air conditioning, or which side of the bed is unarguably mine.  But there are evenings in the TV room when I seriously consider rebellion.

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Fantasy Uncategorized

Epiphany

March 30, 2012

I think I have figured out the afterlife.

If I go to heaven I will be surrounded by wonderful delights that are no longer accessible to me here on earth.

For example, for years I enjoyed eating a particular mint candy that, in addition to having just the right amount of zing, also happened to be sugar-free.  What a perk for the diet-conscious.  Good taste without the calories.  Suddenly it is gone!  I check out all my former suppliers; the drug store, the super market, the convenience store.  I am told by all of them that the manufacturer stopped making it.   I’m sure there was a good reason.  Probably all the toxic chemicals that made it so tasty.  But still…..

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