Monday, April 3, 2017

The First Dog I Ever Loved


This is a picture of Nookie, the first dog I ever loved, taken in 1975.

She spent the first two years of her life as a guard dog at an auto body shop. This elegant and tender-hearted girl made a lousy guard dog (though she loved to drink beer and was frequently found passed out drunk on the concrete floor). She went to live with my grandmother, and the two fell blissfully in love.

As you can see, Nookie was better suited for portrait sittings, evening strolls and belly rubs. I was smitten with her and pestered her endlessly, but she sweetly tolerated me and taught me how to love and respect animals. 💜💜

It made me so happy to find this photo at my parents' house today.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Two Things I Am Grateful For Today

1. This cat.


Firefly is 17-and-a-half, has only one tooth, and lives with (carefully managed) irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure. She doesn't like to play or even leave her bedroom much anymore, which means she really only likes one thing: cuddling with me. She lives to cuddle with me. She waits for me, on her favorite chair, all day long. When I sit with her, whether for five minutes or a couple hours, she purrs and languishes and gazes at me. She shows me that I've literally made her whole day.

It's really sweet.

2. The life my husband gave me.



Last night, we went on a date to see his friends Justin and Brian play music. We enjoyed good music, good food, and best of all, we got to share the band's excitement when they nailed a song particularly well.

I realize that if I hadn't held out so long, I could have ended up with someone whose passion is video games or college basketball. That kind of life would not have thrilled me or even suited me at all. Instead, I got the only life I'm really suited for: traveling and hanging out with with bands and musicians.

Musicians aren't like any other kind of people, and they are my favorite people. Especially this one.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Heaven is Wherever My Animals Are



....

I didn’t grow up religious, but there are a couple things I place all my faith in:

1. Being good feels good.
2. Being bad feels bad.
3. When you die, all the animals you’ve ever loved come running to greet you.

Thinking about #3 has helped me through some dark days of grief. Now, when I die and cross over to the other side, I have my arrival all planned out. 

Woody

Woody will spot me first. Here on Earth, Woody used to lay inside the door of my dad’s guitar shop, casting a stern gaze at all the passers-by. Each time I approached the shop, he’d narrow his wary eyes … until I got close enough for him to recognize me.

I’d wait for it … that precise, adorable moment when Woody spotted me from afar. His whole expression would change. His alert ears would drop. His squared shoulders would go soft. His eyes would go wide and bright as his mouth opened in a doggie grin.

Yes, when I die, Woody will make his wiggly way toward me first.

But Porter, my dear, angel Porter, won’t be far behind. When Porter and I shared an apartment, he slept on a futon in the spare bedroom all day while I was at work. I lived for the moment when I pushed open our back door each day. Porter, waking with a start, would burst out of his bedroom, slide sideways into view, then get tangled in his own Beagle feet as he did a quick, gleeful pivot in the foyer.

One day, I’ll see him come tumbling into to view again … then careen around the clouds, galloping, ears flapping, and diving into my arms. I can’t wait to feel his stocky little body and bury my nose in his turkey-dinner smell. 

Porter


(Oh Porter! I miss you most of all.)

Betty

Betty and Nookie, the regal ladies, will bring up the rear. Betty won’t be the crooked, sick old girl I said goodbye to. She’ll be the sleek, athletic Husky who used to race me down grassy hills — thundering past me in a joyful blur. That’s the Betty I’ll see again. Billy the brown dog, my first love, will take his polite place in line, and sometimes, I feel like I can't even wait.

It breaks my heart to think of it now, as she sleeps beside me, but by then, my beloved cat Firefly will be there too. Her health has been failing, and every day seems like a bittersweet reason to celebrate. I don’t want her to go, but when she does, I hope she waits for me, too.

I hope it with all my heart.  

Firefly



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Nothing Good (or Fair) Comes Without a Fight


I just finished the book “America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines” and here’s what I think we need to understand today:
  1. Our nation was built, and civilized, in no small part by the backbreaking work of women, slaves, and immigrants. Women have done this work while shouldering the burden of pregnancy, childbirth, and child rearing.


  2. Today, most men and women can’t even fathom the near-constant opposition American women have faced throughout history. Women could teach, run their husband’s plantations, serve as nurses and even surgeons on our military’s front lines, but could not vote, sign a lease, or, until 1974 (!!!), have a credit card. (To name only a few things.)

  3. The reason we don’t have to worry about so many of these things now is because of women’s RELENTLESS fighting, protesting, and marching. These rights were hard won by women who dedicated their lives — enduring shame, abuse, and arrest — to making sure we wouldn’t have to.

  4. For every American woman who dared to wear pants, work outside the home, or fight for basic equality, there were other women who shamed her and fought just as hard against her. Yes, many women fought against their own equality, and continue to do so today.

  5. So many women like me can’t imagine fighting for rights simply because we’ve been basically, if not perfectly, FINE for 30+ years. I hope that this has not made us lazy and soft. I hope that we can be courageous and organized enough to fight for ourselves and our fellow Americans.

Nothing good or fair comes without a fight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Beagle Who Brought Me Back to Life

 


Four years ago today, this little dog saved me.

I worked for an animal shelter, where I’d met thousands of adoptable dogs. But this dog, Porter, was unlike every one of them.

He came along like an answer to a prayer. I was going through a tough time, and nothing, not even medication, could rescue me from constant sadness. I wanted to give up.

This sick, abused little dog looked even worse than I felt. He was catatonic. He had given up.    

So I took him home with me. Porter recovered from illness. I recovered from loneliness. 

In particular, I found the strength to break away from a relationship that was very, very bad for me.

With Porter by my side, I took long walks. I started a new hobby. I found dog-friendly restaurants and took him out to eat. All the while, Porter's clingy devotion to me was actually funny. He gazed at me like I was an angel. 

But he was my angel. Somehow, having an adoring little dog helped bring me back to life.

I got better. I was free. And just in time. Because just months after Porter came along, I met my husband, and I was ready for him. I was no longer a broken, shell of a person. I was happy, excited, and ready to start a new life. I shed my baggage, and Porter, Billy, and I became a family.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

...

Porter left us too soon, in an accident so awful, it sometimes overshadows my memories of our time together. But that little dog and I had an otherworldly bond, and we still do. Sometimes I get an overwhelming feeling that he’s not so far away.

No matter how badly it hurts to think of Porter now, I’ll always be grateful for the gift he gave me. I only knew him for 2 years, but when he healed me, he gave me a whole new life.

xo, my sweet love.






Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Rich Men, Poor Men, and The Best Kind of Men: How to Choose

This weekend, a lovely lady that I know was set up on a date.

She and the man went to a bar. He ordered several drinks while she sipped one. When their bill came, she offered to chip in. He paid for her drink, and said, “No, you can pick up the next tab.”

Then, at the next bar, the man ordered seven appetizers, including a platter of mussels that my friend was allergic to. Then, as promised, he let my friend pick up the tab.

Dudes, the jig is up on this one.

We know this trick. In my single days, it happened to me too.

Unfortunately, a nice girl will pay for “the next thing.” But that’s going to be your last interaction with her, because you’ve just revealed yourself to be a cheap, lousy date.

While we’re on the subject, let’s address “cheap date.” Why would an enlightened feminist like myself care about a cheap date? After all, some of my favorites dates — like a dog walk in the park with my now-husband — were free or inexpensive. 

Because being cheap with someone you’re supposed to like reveals something about you. I dated rich men and poor men, and learned that income doesn’t matter: the best men are generous men.

Ladies, ditch the man who orders shellfish on your tab.

Marry the man who packs your favorite candy for the movies.

He’ll be the one who gives you his jacket when you’re cold. Who carries a cup of coffee up the stairs to deliver it to you in bed. He will save you the last French fry.

This is the man who will love you best.

 It's worth holding out for!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Friends are the Family We Choose: My Friend Chris

“Today our model is wearing a charming ensemble featuring corduroy overalls. Look how effortlessly she completes the outfit with a lovely white turtleneck! She ties it all together with a pair of casual sneakers. Ooohh la la!”

            I was 5 years old, and this was my go-to game when my mom’s friend Chris came around. I’d make a grand entrance in whatever outfit my mom had put me in that morning, and Chris would describe my little-kid ensemble as though I had stepped onto a catwalk.
           
            When I was a kid, I thought Chris was one of greatest people in the world. I still do.

            Chris and my mom grew up as best friends and neighbors, but to me, Chris has always been family. Birthdays were always more special when she was around. Even being dragged to the grocery store with my mom became fun and exciting if Chris was coming too. I horned in on as many of their outings as I could, and Chris always made me feel like I was just one of the ladies.  

            Chris showed up when times were tough, too. When I was 15, my grandfather died unexpectedly. His death didn’t really hit me until I got to his funeral, and suddenly, I started crying and couldn’t stop. I stood there, helpless and panicking, while sobs took over my body.

            Suddenly, Chris was there. She whisked me into another room, pulled a Kleenex out of her purse for me, and distracted me. I don’t remember what she said, but it was the right thing. Soon, I was smiling, and even laughing. Chris had rescued me. To this day, she is always the first to step up when my family or I need it.

             Over the years, Chris was always there with a funny joke and a big heart. And she always came up with fun things to do. She, my mom, and I went to Atlantic City, a mountain resort, and even just to the DMV — because even the worst errands were fun when we were together.

            I’m in my 30s now, but Chris still tells me “You’re JUST A KID” every time she tries to pay my way when we do something fun. Now, we fight over who gets to treat. But I wasn’t prepared for what she did two years ago.

            I was planning my wedding on a tight budget. I decided try on gowns at a bridal shop, find my favorite dress, and search for something similar — but thousands of dollars cheaper — on eBay. Since the bridal shop was right in Chris’s neighborhood, my mom and I invited her to join us for lunch.

            Chris came to the bridal shop with us.  As the clerk buttoned me in to my favorite gown — the one I loved the moment I walked in — my heart simultaneously soared and sank. This dress was absolutely perfect. I had come so close, but so far, to finding a dress as beautiful as I'd dreamed of.

            That’s when Chris revealed her secret plan. She’d come to pay for my wedding gown: one of the most special parts of our big day. I couldn’t believe it. Just like that, my dream dress was mine. 

 

            Chris has taught me several things.

·      The time is always right to play a little prank on someone.

·      If you get bored, you can always play a game to entertain yourself and your friends, like, “Which of these weird things would you eat if you had to or else someone was going to shoot you?”

·      It’s usually best to be nice. Except for when it’s not.

·      Always spoil the people you love.
            Some people come from big families with lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I come from a tiny family, but I got the best deal. I got Chris.

I love you!



Monday, January 2, 2017

Us, at Home


This is my new favorite picture.

This is a photo of my husband, Billy, sitting on our staircase. I was sitting in my home office, trying to focus on something at my desk. Billy was, as he often is, buzzing with thoughts and ideas and just couldn't stop talking to me. He knew he wasn't supposed to come into my office, so he planted himself on the other end of our hallway, and happily chattered at me while I attempted -- and gave up on -- my task at hand.


He just couldn't stop talking to me, and I am so grateful for it. I can't believe I didn't find him until I was 33, because that enthused, earnest face would have made me swoon when I was a teenager in study hall, too.

I love being his person -- the single human who gets all of him, the play-by-play of his overactive but always interesting brain.

The holiday season is about to come to its official close, and I know that what I will miss most is being home during the day with Billy. We're like two kids in this house. One afternoon, we practiced pull-ups, attempted to weigh the cat, danced around changing all the lyrics to Chritsmas carols to be about our Beagle, and ate lunch in front of Netflix.

Everything is fun with him. I appreciate every moment.