Thursday, December 31, 2009

I've finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick road

I've been thinking about my New Years Resolutions for several days, but try as I might I can't write about my resolutions without writing about all that has happened in the past year. How can we look forward without first learning from our past?

In another life I was a Certified Family Law Paralegal. I was really good at it and the certification was something I worked very hard to achieve. I wanted to be a lawyer. I studied for the LSAT. I worked for several years at something that I didn't really believe I was smart enough to accomplish and every time I reached a new milestone I wondered how I'd managed it. I figured I was just doing a really good job of fooling everyone. I felt like a fraud. Only one person in my life saw me as I saw myself. She was a lawyer in the office where I worked, a bitter woman who, whenever I asked her a question, would snort and say, "It's a good thing you're pretty." Like I said, she saw right through me.

It turns out she and I were both wrong. That's probably the most important thing I'm taking away from 2009. This was the year that I learned I'm smart. I've spent my entire life believing that I'm pretty, but I'm not very smart, so being pretty is the best quality I have. The very best thing about me is the way that I look. My favorite feature's are my eyelashes and my feminine little feet, but I also like how long my nail-beds are and the way my bellybutton is shaped. Never in a million years would I ever tell you that I like my sense of humor or that my favorite feature is the part of me that loves doing math problems.

That's kind of messed up, I realize. But this year I realized it. I became aware of it. That's pretty awesome.

This year I learned that the way I look doesn't actually mean anything. It doesn't matter. It's an accessory. I don't have to play dumb anymore. It isn't endearing or cute or funny and it doesn't feel good. I also learned a lot about my priorities. I learned what I will and won't do for my career. I learned that it's wonderful to make plans and it's wonderful for those plans to change. I learned that what I want will always grow and change because as I reach my goals they will undoubtedly shape-shift and that is the nature of the beast. That is being human.

This year was the year Mike worked his way onto the Deans List with a 4.0 GPA. He finished thirty-four credits and will be eligible for his AA by the end of summer 2010. He became a New York City Emergency Medical Technician. He unearthed all our art supplies and discovered a gift for painting and woodcarving. He spent twenty-one days hiking the JMT with his brother.

This year we learned how to be a family. We learned how to be our own, unique, special, crazy little family. We started talking about babies this year. It's still a ways off, for a variety of reasons, but for the first time in our six-year relationship we're on the same page about babies.

This year we began to explore parts of the City we'd never seen and in doing so, discovered a city we fell madly in love with. This was the year that I found space to stretch out and practice yoga. I rediscovered my love of writing. My blog went from being a place where I whined and ranted and wrote silly things I didn't really care about to being a place where I found peace and solace and comfort and joy.

This was the year I learned how much I love my extended family; my wonderful siblings and my parents, my niece, my nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles. I realized how important my roots are, and how much I have to learn about Michael's roots. I learned that I have a support group in my family; a pep squad and a team of coaches. That even when we make mistakes and hurt each other and get angry we still love one another and we are still a family.

This year I wanted a white Christmas and I got two.

The most memorable moment was when Mike said this is the year he's been happier than he's been in his entire life.

This year I fell in love with my life.

I'm really excited about the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


These are just a few of the treasures I discovered when I cleaned out Theo's wormy crate today. The items I chose not to photograph included a gazillion dried out worms and several pairs of dirty panties Theo has apparently stolen from my laundry hamper. I'm thinking of writing in to the A&E Show, Hoarders. I'm worried he needs professional help I can't provide. Maybe he needs a support group or a professional organizer. Maybe he needs a therapist to help him uncover his feelings.

Have you seen Hoarders, by the way? It's amazing. I cannot watch it without immediately cleaning out and scrubbing my fridge. I now have a ridiculously clean fridge.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good News and A Story About Scones

The good news is that Theo doesn't have any parasites or creepy crawly's other than tape worm, which is apparently not a very big deal. We start his de-worming meds tonight and our vet said we don't need to worry about treating the other three animals since they are not exhibiting signs of tape worm (i.e. dropping worms out of their butts all over my bed) so it is highly unlikely that they have worms too. The other really good news is that Mike and I don't have to worry about de-worming ourselves since it is also highly unlikely that we contacted the worms. Even though they were in our bed.

Now to make up for yesterday's awful post, here is a story my mom sent me. It is true, about her, and may give you some insight as to where I get my quirks.

But first, let me preface the story by telling you that my mother loves scones. LOVES THEM. One of my happiest memories from childhood is of coming home from school to find that my mom had baked scones so that we could have a little tea-party, just the two of us. We spent the afternoon drinking pink tea and eating scones and even though I didn't like them as much as I liked marshmallow cookies, it was absolute heaven. So while my parents were in town for an early Christmas celebration, I baked a batch of raisin scones. At the end of the day there was only one scone left and I sent it back to California in a zip-lock bag so that my mother could enjoy it once she was home. This is what happened:

So, what does the Scone Lover do? What does she do, after she walks downstairs, makes a cup of tea, and turns toward her last scone (which she transported all the way from Sugar Hill, NYC)? What does she do as she turns toward The Scone with great anticipation?

And finds it, in it's plastic bag (where it was presumed to be Safe), Covered with ants? COVERED.

I'll tell you what she does. She curses, and then she puts it in the freezer. Freezes the many ant butts solid. Then takes it out, brushes the ant butts off of it, and puts the lovely scone in the toaster oven at 350. Then she Enjoys it (every mouthful), with Orange Marmalade!

I love you, Mama. Thank you for making me laugh with such a funny story! And I'm glad you got to enjoy your scone, ant butts be damned!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Theo's Christmas Gift

The morning of Christmas Eve I woke up with Valentine curled against my back and little Theo in my arms. A perfect way to wake up, if you ask me. I yawned and blinked the sleep out of my eyes and Theo yawned and rolled over for a belly rub. I started scritching and scratching his belly and his chest and he wriggled all over with happiness. I reached down to scratch my favorite place on his little body - his teddy-bear bottom. I'm not talking about his anus, which is directly underneath his tail, I'm talking about the soft, padded, fluffy part behind his back legs. So I'm scratching that and then I notice what feels like four or five very small scabs. I can't see anything, but I make a mental note to keep an eye on the area in case he's chewing it raw. (When he's bored he chews at himself. I'm pretty good about keeping chews around to prevent self-mutilation-out-of-boredom, but sometimes he chews himself anyway, so I'm forever worried.)

Christmas morning I woke up the same way and gave Theo a similar rubdown. This time, I noticed more little scabs. I took a good look at the area and saw that some of the little scabs were hanging in his fur, so I plucked one out for a closer look. It didn't look like much and his skin didn't look irritated or anything, so again, I made a mental note to keep an eye on it.

At this point I should have asked my friend Val, who's home we were staying in, what she thought of the little scabs. Since she has both bred and rescued dogs, she'd probably have known. But I wasn't that concerned and by the time I'd made it into her kitchen for coffee I had forgotten all about it.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. We'd let the dogs sleep in bed with us again, and even though it was the third night in a row, it still felt like a special treat. Again I woke up with little Theo, sweet in my arms. I gave him his morning rubdown and made sure to check his bottom to see if anything had changed. The little scabs were still there, but no worse than they'd been. However, when I got out of bed I noticed that the bed was full of little scabs. Little scabs sprinkled all over my sheets like cookie crumbs. Did I mention that they were all over my sheets? The sheets on my bed where I sleep?

"That is very strange." I wondered out-loud.
"What is?" Mike asked.
"Theo is shedding little scabs all over our sheets."
I pointed to the scattering of scabs sprinkled all over my side of the bed. Mike had no idea what they were either, but he suggested we collect them in a small container and bring them to our veterinarian, just to be on the safe side. Then we changed our sheets and decided the dogs could just go back to sleeping in their crates, that would be perfectly all right with us. I checked Theo's bottom several more times throughout the day because by now I was a little bit worried, but nothing changed. The scabs didn't look any worse, I never caught him chewing the area, it was a complete mystery. And then this morning he shit a pile of live worms.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Six Days of Christmas

There are toys for girls and boys
Silver bells make merry noise
Yet, you should remember from the start
Christmas is a feeling in your heart

Lucky little me got to celebrate Christmas all week this year. From Sunday, December 20th, to Saturday, December 26th, Christmas was the feeling in my heart.

My parents attended a seminar in Massachusetts last weekend and so they swung into the city for two nights afterward. They showed up at the tail-end of a Nor'Easter that dropped more snow on the city than I've seen living on the East Coast for three years, their arms loaded with brightly wrapped gifts, as if they themselves were Santa's elves. It was a very merry White Christmas indeed. Mike made a turkey with all the fixings and we spent Monday and Tuesday eating, visiting, opening presents and basking in Christmas delight.

[Insert photo of Christmas merriment]
[Photo not taken because I was too busy enjoying the merriment to pause and take photos.]

Wednesday I had to work and catch up on chores and pay attention to my responsibilities, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of hours to bake my traditional mutilated ginger-people:

By the time you read this, I will have eaten the last of them.

Thursday we packed up the dogs and headed to Esopus, New York to spend the holidays with some friends in their beautiful cedar house in the forest. Christmas Day included a real wood-burning fire, softly falling snow, eight Alaskan Malamutes, a herd of deer, and freely-flowing wine.

Saturday morning it suddenly occurred to me that our Christmas week was over and I hadn't taken a single photo. No pictures of my parents opening presents, none of Mike's turkey or my lemon meringue pie. No photos of the Malamutes or the wild turkeys roaming the woods or the beautiful stag and his herd of does. No photos of the perfect snowfall Christmas night or the look on my face when I ate my first oyster (which was a look of pure bliss, if you'd like to know). And I don't mind, actually. Most of the time the memories in my head are much more beautiful than anything my camera captures. But we did snap this, or tried to anyway, next time we'll at least drink a cup of coffee before we attempt any self-portraits.

Here we are Saturday morning, our eyes still full of sleep. What looks like a snow-field behind us is actually an enormous fishing pond that is apparently one of the best places for bass fishing in New York state. In January and February you can go ice fishing here. I'm much more interested in ice skating, but at this point in the season that would be a very unsafe idea.

Merry Christmahanakwanzika to you and yours. I'm off to bed, warm, sleepy, and thinking all about New Years Eve. Which is in four days. What, what? FOUR DAYS. Have you thought about your new years resolutions yet? Because I have. And they're really good.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


All signs point to GO!

Harlem, November 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009


News! News! News!

Vincent Lin, the director of the film I shot in September, just launched a brand new website for the movie. Check it out HERE!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's not a merry season for all.

I want you to meet some Bronx beauties. This is Gizmo:

This gorgeous boy is Mickey:

Here is Toby:

This funny girl is Lara:

Here we have Teddy:

And last, but certainly not least, is Elizabeth:

Every single one of these kitties was euthanized this past Monday morning to make more room at the shelter. Each cat was under the age of five, sweet, friendly, and perfectly adoptable. Their fates were sealed by the sheer number of animals stuffed into shelters on a daily basis.

I've recently started volunteering for A Tail At A Time, a no-kill animal rescue that pulls animals from the euthanasia lists at Animal Care and Control and takes in animals off the street. A Tail At A Time doesn't have a shelter location; instead we rely entirely on people willing to foster homeless animals in their homes. The rescue pays for all medical expenses; volunteers provide food and love.

If you're in the New York area and you have space in your life to give a temporary home to an animal who will otherwise be euthanized for space, please email If you're interested but need more information, you can visit the website at or the blog, (This blog, by the way, is one of the ways I am volunteering. Since Mike and I have five animals, we are unable to foster. Instead I help out at fundraisers, adoption events, and this week I started writing the rescue blog. It was previously written by one of the lovely women who founded the rescue.)

Thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized in this country on a daily basis. Many of them are puppies and kittens born from animals who's owners didn't bother to spay or neuter. It never fails to amaze me when a pet owner doesn't want to neuter because they think it's cruel to remove their pet's testicles. I balk when I meet pet owners who think it would be "cute" to let their pet have babies because their pet is so cute! And the babies would be so cute! And it would be fun! It isn't cute. Irresponsible breeding results in the death of innocent animals, no matter how "cute" they are. Just ask the kitties pictured above. Oh, wait. You can't. They're dead.

No matter where you live, I urge you to think about ways you can help save animals in your community, whether it's making sure to have your own pet spayed or neutered, whether it's adopting instead of purchasing a pet from a pet store, whether you volunteer for a local rescue or petition for your local animal shelter to transition from kill to no-kill, do something wonderful before the year is out. Save a life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I am so excited about this.

Weeks and weeks ago Michael and I got a beautiful new sofa. We were all too happy to toss our sad old sofa to the curb. I mean, I loved the old sofa when we bought it, I did. It served us for four hearty years. Four years of claw-sharpening, accidents, sick-ups, party-fouls and even a cross-country move. However, as excited as I was to get it out of my home and replace it with something bigger, newer and more beautiful, I am not one to throw things away if they may still have some use. Since the majority of the damage done to the sofa was on the arms and back and the actual sofa cushions were in fine shape, I took an idea my mother gave me and I ran with it. I cut the seat cushions off the sofa and kept the back cushions, then I made it my mission to find beautiful fabric with which to make new cushion covers, so the cushions could be used and comfy floor pillows and throw pillows, respectively.

The sofa is a white and brown design that reminds me of an antique wood engraving. I was already in possession of a red fabric that I thought very cleverly clashed with the sofa, so my goal was to pick three more fabrics that would also cleverly clash; three bold designs in bright colors that would be edgy and classy, at the same time.

Valentine poses on the new sofa.
Draped behind her is the red fabric I already had.
I love the way the color and pattern looks
with the wood-print design of the sofa.

One recent Saturday, I spent several hours nosing around in a fabric shop in the garment district. As soon as I walked in I was immediately overwhelmed by the choices in the tiny shop. I poked around, looked at a few fabrics, and then my eyes fell on a blue swordfish pattern.

Valentine demonstrates the luxurious ease with which
one may recline upon the glorious swordfish

I was in love. The fabric reminded me of my father. The walls of his office bear antique prints of whales and massive fish and giant squid. They are beautiful and I remember the afternoon in Maui when he bought them with great fondness. I wanted that swordfish fabric.

But I wasn't going to buy the swordfish fabric. That would be silly. It wouldn't match anything else in the apratment. It would look stupid. Mike would hate it. It's too nautical. It's too fanciful. It's too expensive.

I wandered around the tiny, packed shop, sweating in my coat, trying to find something for the pillows. After nearly an hour of hopeless wandering, a sales girl came to my rescue.

"Can I help you find something?"
"Oh, yes. I am having such a hard time. I feel like I don't know how to match anything!"
"That's Ok! It can get frustrating with so many choices. What are you looking for?

I knew I wanted three contrasting prints in bold colors, but that somehow tied in together and tied in with the sofa. I wanted something wild and loud, yet chic and mature.

"Something edgy and classy at the same time."

She gave me a tight smile. Then she showed me dozens of paisley, swirly, polk-dot patterns that were pretty, sure, but not at all what I was looking for.

"Do you think I could match this with this?" I held up something with yellow and green grasshoppers, and something else with yellow, green and pink stripes.

"Um, no. Absolutely not. That's a bad idea."
"Yes. How about this?" She held up a green-on-green tie-dye and a solid green fabric.
I sighed. She didn't understand my vision.

I spent another thirty minutes wandering from one bright bolt of cloth to the next before I finally decided, Fuck It.

Fuck It.

I wanted the swordfish fabric, I was just going to buy it. The moment I decided to let myself have the swordfish fabric, I immediately found a second print I adored. This print was gold and blue, the same blue as the sword fish, but the print reminded me exactly of the print my mother used to paper the walls in the downstairs bathroom in the house I grew up in. I grabbed that too.

I may be able to cleverly clash prints,
but my sewing leaves something to be desired.

After that it was easy. The next print I pulled off the shelf tied everything together with gold, red, touches of blue, green and purple, and the same shaped flowers that are printed on the sofa and the red fabric pictured above.

Theo demonstrates how easy it is to be classy and edgy, at the same time!

Voila! Bright, bold patterns that don't quite match, yet look great. If I'd just let myself get what I wanted from the moment I walked into the store, an hours-long errand would have been a fifteen minute errand. The lesson to be learned? Ignore sales people.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ghost Hunters

My brother is lucky enough to be married to the hot blonde:

And also? Contrary to what the commentators (if they can be called that) are trying to say with their horrid spelling, punctuation and grammar, it's actually NOT fake. It's 100% real, folks. 100% real.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

H1N1, The Sequel

The funny thing is that I started this post last week just after I'd gotten over a stomach bug that had me hugging the toilet after every meal for seven days straight. But then I ended up writing this instead. And maybe I'm psychic or maybe it's because I mentioned it on my blog - could I actually will myself ill by naming a post after the swine flu? - but lordy lordy I haven't been this sick in ages. I mean, my throat is killing me. And my ears hurt and my head hurts and my joints ache and all I want is for Michael to fix me tea and pet my head and watch Meet Me in St. Louis with me. But he's busy trying to finish up a very special Christmas present he's making for his brother and so I'm left to whimper quietly on my own.

Speaking of Christmas, Crazy Aunt Purl just likened December to -- hold on, let me just quote her directly:

December is a weird month anyway, it's like one of those trick clocks that you wind up and it starts to go faster and faster until the hands are racing around the face of the clock, speeding up each day like a cartoon of anxiety until it pops all it springs and flops over dead.

Just as I was oblivious to the anniversary of when Valentine grabbed ahold of our hearts and made us take her home, I've been pretty oblivious to the Christmas spirit. It's not intentional, it's just that time has developed this relatively irritating habit of flying by so fast that I can barely keep up. Wasn't Halloween just last week? And Thanksgiving, that's still a few weeks away, isn't it? No? I'm not ready to get into the holiday spirit because I can't wrap my head around the fact that Christmas is less than two weeks away.

Every year I swear that THIS will be the year wherein I am finally on top of my game. THIS will be the year that I have all my shopping done by October, I will have all my gifts and cards sent out by December 1st, I will spend my evenings baking pies and decorating cookies and I will enjoy a holiday season that is relaxing and lovely and perfectly joyful. And every year ends up being exhausting, frustrating and anxiety-laden.

It's December 13th and not only am I not done with my shopping, which guarantees that I will not get any of my gifts mailed out in time, but I just received an email that the holiday cards I ordered TWO WEEKS AGO have been delayed AGAIN and probably won't arrive for AT LEAST ANOTHER WEEK.

Merry F-ing Christmas.

You know what? I'm feeling pretty grinchy after all.

This will be our third Christmas in New York, the third year in a row we've chosen not to chance holiday travel but instead to have a cozy little Christmas in the city. The first Christmas here was very hard. We didn't have the money or the space for a Christmas tree and I was so homesick I spent nearly the entire day in tears. Our second New York Christmas started out with my love and I fighting over whether or not a tree and decorations were wasteful and materialistic or necessary ingredients for a happy Christmas. Then when Mike surprised me with a beautiful little tree and spent a day helping me make decorations he ultimately taught me that it's not the stuff that matters: What matters is the feeling in your heart.

I went there.

This year I'm not very homesick at all. A little bit, sure. But my parents are coming to spend a few days with us and since last year was so lovely, I'm actually looking forward to our very own little Christmas. I even went ahead and suggested we substitute a tree for a lovely poinsettia, and Mike was so thrilled he brought one home that very day.

A few nights later we bought some eggnog, brought out our Christmas mugs, and spent the evening hanging lights around the apartment. It looks a little like a college dorm now, but I don't mind.

Then we decided to have a little fun:

Ta da! Christmas tomato plant!

Who needs a whole tree when you've got an enormous tomato plant? This, by the way, is the same tomato plant that was given to us at the beginning of the summer. She's grown, no?

And then there's Gavin:

Gavin Elfkin

Gavin left West Hollywood last year to try to make it on the New York Christmas Elf scene. He booked a job immediately, as the Frosty Family Elf.

Grinchy, distracted, busy and oblivious, the Christmas spirit has a way of creeping in and taking over, much like H1N1, which hopefully is not what I have.

I hope you enjoyed this very un-merry post. I'm going to go back to bed so I can hide under the covers until January. Until then, drink lots of fluids, don't go outside with wet hair and be sure to get plenty of rest!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's catching, like H1N1, only funner

How about a little vintage Valentine:

Christmas, 2005

Tuesday was Valentine's 4th Rescue Anniversary. I just realized that. Four years ago this past Tuesday, Michael and I were spending another afternoon at the Los Angeles Animal Shelter in Van Nuys. We had been fostering dogs from a local rescue group for about five months and we knew we were finally ready to adopt a dog of our own. We didn't want to adopt through a no-kill rescue because even though they are the rescues we support, we knew that those dogs were safe. A dog in a no-kill rescue is a saved dog. We wanted to go right to the source and find a city shelter dog close to the euth list*. Since all of our foster dogs had been large and cat-hungry, we wanted to find a dog small enough that if it tried to go after Toby or Amelia it would get it's little dog-butt kicked. We didn't care about the age, sex or breed.

We drove to the shelter on a cool Monday afternoon with the top down on the Mustang and Bing Crosby's White Christmas playing on the stereo while we held hands over paper cups of holiday coffee. We were in love and it was Christmas and we were adopting a puppy. Well, probably not a puppy, probably a fully grown dog, but still.

That afternoon we met lots of dogs who were sweet and terrified and each one broke my heart a thousand times. But I couldn't make a choice. They were all great dogs; how could I choose one and not the other? I fell hard for a ten-year-old blind three-legged chihuahua whom I wanted to name 'Scrappy', but Mike felt uncomfortable making a commitment to a dog that would clearly require medical care well beyond our budget. I couldn't argue with that. We went home that night with empty arms and heavy hearts.

The next day, December 8, 2005, we decided to try again, only this time we spent the drive to Van Nuys in silence. I was dreading the afternoon. I hated the cold corridors and full cages at the pound. I didn't want to have to wander from kennel to kennel listening to the terrified crying of hundreds of beautiful, discarded dogs. I didn't want to have to choose one and turn my back on the rest.

We hadn't been at the pound for very long when I found Mike squatting in front of a little, yellow, rat-like mutt. I had had enough. I buried my face in his shoulder.

"Let's go. I'm done here."
"What do you mean? We just got here." He looked surprised.
"I can't do this right now. This was a terrible idea. Let's just go home." I'd lost hope.
"Hold on. We can go if you want, but before we do, did you see this one?"
He was pointing at the little yellow dog, a scrawny thing with a terrible over-bite, big sagging nipples and a rat tail. She was stretched up against the chain-link, her paws hooked so that she looked like she was hanging on for dear life, but her tail wagged happily. There were eight other dogs in the kennel with her, every one cowering in the back corner.

"Can we just go? Please?" I turned to walk away.
"Wait, wait, wait. Let's just take her out and say hi."
I turned back to him. The little dog cocked her head to one shoulder. I took a step closer and knelt down. She was kind of cute. Kind of ugly, but kind of cute. One of her little cellmates crept up beside her, tail wagging, looking for some love. She whipped her head around, bared her buck teeth and snapped at the perceived intruder.

"Whoa. Did you see that? She's all, Keep away, Bitch! These are MY people!"
Mike grinned at me. "You want to take her out?"
I did.

That was how we met Valentine. All we know about her life before us is what we read on her kennel card: She'd been picked up off the street on October 26, 2005. No tags, no chip. No one had claimed her, no one had come looking for her. She was an unaltered female, one to two-years-old. In bold red ink the card warned, "To be handled with CAUTION."

She hasn't changed that much. She looks less like a buck-toothed rat and more like a dog, but I'd still recommend handling her with caution. Why we chose her over all those other dogs? We didn't. She chose us. If you've ever adopted a pet, you know exactly what I mean.

Please note the rat-tail.

But actually, I didn't even mean to tell you that story, this was supposed to be a post about Christmas but then I sat down to write and found that photo of Valentine and remembered what day it was** and I ended up writing this. The title of this post actually refers to the post I intended to write, only now it doesn't make any sense at all.

Anyway, my point is that there's been a lot going on lately and time is passing so quickly that I cannot even believe Christmas is in less than three weeks. It's not that I'm feeling grinchy or scroogey, I just don't feel like it's Christmas yet. It can't be. It was just summer YESTERDAY.

Only it wasn't. Yesterday it was freezing and I had to wear six layers of clothing under my heavy wool coat and I was cold anyway. Yes, I'm completely exaggerating, but it is in the low thirties and even though Mike, who was raised in Michigan, keeps telling me that it's not cold out, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley where it is currently seventy-five and beachy and I say that it is VERY COLD OUT.

So apparently Christmas is going to be here in a minute and I'm completely unprepared. But I am getting into the holiday spirit anyway, and even beginning to enjoy it, as you can see with my new holiday header.

Isn't that great, by the way? That would have been our Christmas card this year, but Mike was worried about offending people, so instead our Christmas card is completely benign and completely boring. My dream Christmas card would be all of us at Frosty-licious doing the nativity. Theo could be the baby Jesus, Mike would be Joseph, I'd be Mary, the cats would be the angels and Valentine would be pooping in the corner***. Wouldn't that be great?

This post is now so full of random segue's that if I don't sign out soon I'll start writing about the audition I have tomorrow for my favorite show ever and I wouldn't want to do that, so I'll say good night.

Coming up next: A post about why Christmas is like the Swine Flu!

*Euthanasia list
**We don't actually do anything in celebration of the pets adoption days, it's just nice to take note.
***In case you didn't know, in Catalonia, Spain, it is traditional for the nativity to have a little pooping man. His name is El Caganer and here is a blurb from Wikipedia if you don't believe me.


El caganer

In 2005, the city council of Barcelona, Spain commissioned a nativity scene which did not include the region's traditional nativity figure, elcaganer, a red-capped defecating character which is not a part of the nativity narrative but simply an expression of the irreverent scatological humour of southwestern Europe.[51] The council claimed the character set a bad example as sanitation laws against public elimination had recently been passed.[52] The council's decision was viewed as an attack on Catalonian tradition, and, following a campaign against it, el caganer was restored to the nativity scene in 2006. In addition to the traditional caganer, other characters have appeared assuming the caganerposition. In 2008, a "pooper" of Barack Obama was made available just days after his election as the President of the United States of America.[53]

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A very merry wiener, outtakes

Sometimes my wiener falls asleep when I'm playing with it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Toby Toes

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The wall is not on fire

Autumn, 2009

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Saturday Afternoon

Working on the headboard he's making me...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

City dogs experience unadulterated joy

Yeah... pretty much no one should ever visit Harlem.
Wouldn't want to experience a serene city park, would you?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I figured it out.

This blog started long ago, on a misty, grey afternoon in May of 2007. Back when I still had hopes that "the rainy season" would end soon, when I was cutting my bangs too short and when I thought I looked good in puffy-sleeved dresses. The first post was a flippant one-liner, something I agonized over because I had no idea what I was doing or why I was doing it. What was a blog? I had no idea. I read a few blogs, blogs written by close friends, and they were all kinds of different. I decided that blogs were a little like online journals - journals you wouldn't mind everyone and their dog's mother having access to. So I started writing a little online journal. I did not censor myself at all.

I don't believe in censorship as we think of it in regards to great literary works and newspaper articles written by educated journalists and things like that. But when it comes to self-censorship? Let's just say that blogging taught me a little about not writing everything that just pops into my head. Because what you say is what you say. But what you write? It's there forever.

So that was a good lesson.

In the last year or so, this blog has almost become ... I hesitate to say it because of how much it will sound like I'm squeezing it out of a velveeta bottle, but this blog has become my friend. And the fact that you read it once in a while? That you come back and read after I've taken off and disappeared for weeks on end? And you only ever say nice things. It's kind of amazing. I wish you knew how grateful I am to you. You bring me a tremendous amount of joy. Your comments put a smile on my face for hours.

All that being said, for as long as I've been writing here I haven't really known what I was writing about. It was actually a lot easier when I was in the obnoxious-wussy-whining stage because it didn't take any time or energy, really. I'd just open my blogger page, type something like, "as;lkdfjiouwe;LKEJ; ROIU WALEKRFJ;S LKDFJ A;SOID FU;LSKDFJ S;LKDFJ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" then write, "That's me screaming in type," and that was that. (Ah! Remember the good old days?) But since I've actually started caring about what I write and whether or not you'll like reading it, this writing has become something I'm really proud of. And don't say that I shouldn't care whether or not you like what I write because, Damnit, I am an ENTERTAINER. I LIVE TO ENTERTAIN. IF I AM NOT ENTERTAINING YOU THEN AS;DLKFJWOPIURELW K;AEJRA;SLKDF J;ASIODFUAOPSI EFJA;KLSDFJ!!!!!! I WILL JUST SCREAM IN TYPE ALL DAY LONG.

But I do care. And so I vow to never again subject you to that kind of mind-numbing irritation ever again.

So what am I writing about? Most of the blogs I read are mommy blogs written by young mom's raising little kids. Dooce is my favorite because she has the same sense of humor I do, and I like Girl's Gone Child's whole alterna-mom thing, but my blog isn't a mommy blog because I don't have kids. It isn't a blog about dogs, even though I talk about the crazy mutts a lot. It's not a blog about being an actor in New York because out of over 400 posts, only 30 are about acting. It's not about cooking or baking, electronics or photography, so what's it about?

It's a blog about family.

Did you figure this out ages ago and I'm only just now catching on?

Last year I tried to read this book my dad lent me, about managing one's time. I gave up in the first chapter because the book asked me what I would do if I found out I was going to die in six months. I didn't like my answer so I walked away from it.

Would you like to know what I would do if I found out I only had six months to live?

I would do whatever it took to spend every waking second surrounded by my family. I would move back to Los Angeles and I would spend every moment possible with the wild and beautiful clan that I was lucky enough to be born into. And of course, every private moment I'd spend in the arms of my wonderful husband.

Moving to New York taught me about family, and how to be a family with Michael. I don't know how to explain it except to say that until we moved to New York, until we went through that fucking awful year together and came out of it stronger and happier and more in love than I ever imagined was possible, we weren't really a family. Before we moved, he was my boyfriend, my partner, my team member, blah blah. We got married and that was great and relationships take work but are totally worth it. We spent years in couples counseling and had epic arguments and a storybook romance to keep it all worthwhile. We had all this great, awesome, important stuff. But now? Now he is a part of me. He is my family. Even though a forensics guy would never say so, Michael's blood beats through my heart.

This blog is about family.

Part 3 of That Nasty Post

I took a deep breath. The moment of truth had begun. One at a time, the head judge called the contestants to the stage. Each contestant was required to bring their entry to the stage, hold it up for the audience to view, then give a short speech about their work. The first person who came out was a woman who'd brought an eagle her dad's best friend's brother had killed and stuffed himself. She'd grown up dressing the eagle in baby clothes and pushing it around in a pram. She loved this eagle because she thought it was really funny that her dad's best friend's brother killed the eagle and stuffed it.

Not quite what I had expected.

The next woman works as a professional bug-pinner for the Natural History Museum. She'd brought four tiny diorama's she'd created, anthropomorphizing various South American beetles. She mentioned how she keeps the beetles in her freezer next to her roommates Skinny Cows until she's ready to use them. Based on what she said about her work, I am certain that those diorama's were beautiful and compelling, but I couldn't see them. I couldn't see them because the stage upon which the contestants work was displayed was lit for a sweaty band of boys playing bad renditions of Iggy Pop hits, not for the art I was hoping to see.

The next guy was a short, round, sweaty, fast-talking Japanese guy with an accent so thick I could hardly understand a word he was saying. He used his own taxidermied skin to create squid-baby, two-headed baby and mer-girl. He tried to explain his process - I understood that "summer is best time peal skin" but I'm still not sure if he was actually skinning himself or just using flaked sun-burnt skin. Either way, it would have been really great if I could have actually seen his sculptures. But I could not.

I also couldn't see the eight-hour old yorkie puppie that had been given to the taxidermist by a devastated breeder who'd never lost a puppy. I could kind of make out the plastic skeleton being sold off as Mickey Mouse's actual skeleton and I did not think it was funny or clever or interesting. I was also not amused by the woman who entered into the contest a skull she found on a trip to New Mexico but she wasn't sure what it was, a shellacked alligator-head she bought at a Rite-Aid in Louisiana and a "really cool rock" that she alleged might have a dinasour fossil in it, but she wasn't sure, and she'd love to know if the judges thought so. I was even less interested when the same woman proceeded to read aloud an ad she'd found on the internet for a stuffed piranha from Japan. The ad was obviously written by a person who did not speak English as a first language, yet this "really cool rock" woman seemed to feel that making vicious remarks about someone's ability to write in a language not their own had some relevancy to a rogue taxidermy contest. However, it wasn't until a woman who's contest entry was a bottle of deer's urine and her entire talk was a sales pitch for a particular brand of deer urine that her father manufactures, I decided I'd had enough. Sure, Rabmer, the soft-mounted under-sea jack rabbit was incredible, but it was after ten o'clock and we had an hour ahead of us on the train and I just couldn't take it anymore.

The evening was a crushing disappointment. I haven't been that disappointed in at least four hours, but if I learned one thing, it was this:


Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Apple Pie

Created from scratch,
by yours truly


And how was your Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

That Nasty Post, Continued

And the answer to last week's Question Of The Week is:

C) You'd let a Very Boring Woman give a Very Boring Speech about a Very Boring Book she wrote, follow it with a psychedelic movie about a deer's butt and then let random people come up from the audience to show whatever the fuck they felt like showing, while they yelled into a microphone about how their dad's friend's brother was a taxidermist who preferred stuffing eagles he killed over all other creatures.


The contest started at nine and it did not begin with an introduction to the rogue taxidermists who's work would be on display, no it did not. Instead, it started with The World's Most Boring Woman giving The World's Most Boring Speech. Who was this Boring Woman? A taxidermist? No. She's an author trying to sell the book she just published about taxidermy. Maybe I'd buy the book, maybe if she had cared enough about her book to make a smart marketing decision and hire someone to play her, because the real and actual her was so boring that if I had to choose between having hot needles shoved under my fingernails or listening to that Boring Woman give another speech, you can bet I'd go for the hot needles.

Next, there was an art film. It's too bad I can't accurately type out the sarcasm with which I use the words art film. They played a psychadelic art film about an endangered creature known as the "rumpape". From what I gathered, a rumpape is a face made out of a deer's stomach and placed into his butt. It looks a little like a monkey, but not really. The most surprising thing about the movie was that it actually succeeded in offending me.

You read that right.

The rumpape movie offended me. Me. Me, the woman who has planned to have Valentine freeze-dried and posed as if she's humping a pillow, because that is how I will want to remember her after she dies. I was slightly offended by the rumpape.

It was then, in the after-sting of slight offendedness, that the contest finally began. At nine-thirty. A full two hours after the show was scheduled to start.

To Be Continued...

Friday, November 27, 2009

By now you think I'm lying

Taxidermy? What? (It's coming, I swear.)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving. It was nearly ruined by a carton of half-and-half, but luckily for me Archie is a quick thinker.

As long as you came here looking for the second half of The Nastiest Post Ever and didn't find it, would you do me an enormous favor? Mike is working on a paper about the Healthcare Reform for his Critical Thinking class and he has to have as many people as possible take a survey. It's short and sweet and takes less than five minutes. Also? You'll win a free ice cream cone, which you will receive upon your next visit to New York City.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Phone Blogging - Not the same.

Hi friends! Blogging by phone cuz my internet is down. Next post is so great, too - all about a guy who taxidermys his own skin. Check back soon! xo

Monday, November 23, 2009

This may be the nastiest post I've written

the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skins of animals with lifelike effect.

Last week I was flipping through Time Out New York --

It just occurred to me that most of my readers are related to me, live in Southern California, and have no idea what Time Out New York (TONY) is.

It is my belief that at one time, TONY magazine was a great vehicle for finding interesting things to do in the city, great places to shop, the best places to eat, et cetera. Unfortunately, the TONY that I know is a giant wad of advertisements with four pages at the end detailing all of the places to go if you want to get spanked, poop on someone's face, find someone to watch you have sex with your stuffed panda and which porn shops specialize in celebrity look-alike movies with matching dolls.

Last week I was flipping through TONY because, I don't know, it was there and, ALL RIGHT I'LL ADMIT IT. I like reading about the people who think it's hot to wear butt-plugs shaped like horsey tails. It makes me laugh. So I'm flipping through TONY and I come across an ad for:

Drumroll, please.





I almost freaked out. My first thought was, Mike will never go. And it's in Brooklyn. That's like, eight hours away.


Do you know what rogue taxidermy is? I didn't either. But I started having these visions --visions of incredible, beautiful, enchanting, bizarre creatures, sculptures made of once living flesh, two-headed rats and four-nippled snakes. I did a quick little internet search for "rogue taxidermy" and read about these artists who use donated pets, roadkill, and other animals who've died of totally natural causes or met with accidental disasters, and they create these incredible works of art using dead flesh as their medium.

In reality, I wasn't very impressed with the pictures of dead-things art that I saw online. They were all right, but the stuff I was seeing in my head was so much cooler. I just knew that those photos weren't even important. The photos were barely the tip of the ice berg. This rogue taxidermy contest? It was going to be the zenith of my fantasies. It was going to be the end all be all answer to my questions about life and who I am and what I should be doing and what my secret dreams are. This contest was going to change me, forever.

Do you remember when I wrote about how big my expectations get? I'm just saying.

*Weird coincidence: I talk about roadkill in that post too.*

So I get all these ideas in my head. And before I know it, I am more excited about this rogue taxidermy contest than I can remember being about anything in ages, except maybe when I booked that Life On Mars episode. (But I won't mention how that was almost a year ago, because I wouldn't want to make myself feel bad or anything.)

By last Friday I was more excited about a rogue taxidermy contest than I had been about anything in a really long time. Saturday felt like the longest day of my life. Sunday I was practically hysterical. I was showered, dressed, had walked the dogs, had my shoes on, my purse packed, ready to walk out the door by ten o'clock in the morning, a full six-and-a-half hours before it was actually time to go.

I trust you understand the weight of that small detail.

We arrived at the venue at seven-thirty on the dot, and proceeded to wait around for an hour-and-a-half because although the contest was scheduled to begin at seven-thirty sharp, it did not begin until nine. NINE. Nine. They were running an hour-and-a-half behind schedule. They might as well have ripped out my heart.

Question: If you were hosting a rogue taxidermy contest, what would be the first order of business after making your excited audience members wait an hour-and-a-half for your contest to begin?

A) You'd introduce the evening's contestants to the audience.
B) You'd give a short talk about rogue taxidermy and then introduce the contestants.
C) You'd let a Very Boring Woman give a Very Boring Speech about a Very Boring Book she wrote, follow it with a psychedelic movie about a deer's butt and then let random people come up from the audience to show whatever the fuck they felt like showing, while they yelled into a microphone about how their dad's friend's brother was a taxidermist who preferred stuffing eagles he killed over all other creatures?

To be continued...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Like a pretty little weed

Whoooeee. It's been, what? A week since I posted? Yeah... I've been putting it off. Avoiding it. Procrastinating. Deliberately delaying.

It's because I'm afraid y'all are going to hold me accountable for the fact that you gave me such fabulous advice recently (see here and here), and while I've tried out your suggestions, I'm still engaging in naughty behaviors.

I really did try your suggestions though. I want you to know that. They were excellent suggestions and I am eternally grateful for your advice. In fact, it is because I reached out to you and because you answered that I was able to finally come to the realization that I really just enjoy taking my sweet-ass time to get ready in the morning. I like the ritual in brewing my morning coffee and then sipping it while I wander around the apartment, imagining what kind of floor lamp I'd want to put there and how nice a little table lamp will look once Mike builds that custom dog crate he's been talking about building. And oh! (sips coffee) Look at what Mike did with the shadows on that mountain landscape! The mountain actually looks different in the morning light than it did last night. (sip) I think I'll just curl up on the sofa for a minute and rub Amelia's belly. Oh yes, (sip) this is lovely.

Do you see?

Last week there was a morning where I was forced to get ready to go in an hour and IT WAS AWFUL. I felt weird and disconnected and my scalp itched all day.

The mornings are when I want to stretch out, practice yoga, write, and dream. It's when I think I can't afford the luxury of spending my mornings how I want that I end up spending four hours wandering aimlessly, not doing anything at all.

This is a problem. Luckily, it's a problem I think I can fix.

I think it's time for me to start setting aside an hour or two every morning to do whatever I want to do before I have to get ready to go. As it is, I'm spending two hours every morning fucking off and feeling bad about myself, I might as well use that time to do something I enjoy. Maybe some people can wait all day to have their special hour of relaxing or poetry writing or exerciseing, but I need mine first thing in the morning.

I just realized I don't know how to spell the word "excersizeing". Excerisixeing. Excerising. Esxerciing. Exercising.

As for lateness? You guys would be so proud. I've now been five to fifteen minutes EARLY for three consecutive appointments. THREE TIMES IN A ROW.

Do you know what the secret it?

(Yes, I know you do, considering you helped me figure it out, but let me tell you anyway so that I can gloat over myself for a second.)

It's in the planning.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Save Booger

Booger is a friend's dog. She's heartbroken, as you can imagine. If you can't make a donation, can you take a minute to forward this video? Twitter it? Send some positive energy?

Imagine if Booger was your dog... What would you do?

Valley Upbringing: Cons

Me: John Quincy Davis is on the new gold dollar.
Him: Who's John Quincy Davis?
Me: (Scoffing loudly.) Um, the sixth president of the United States.
Him: ...
Me: Wait. Did I say Davis? I meant Adams.
Him: I'm sure you did.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An ugly, hypocritical little bird

All of your comments on that last post have been incredibly insightful and helpful and, um, the crazy thing? You helped me learn some stuff about myself. Some stuff I didn't want to know, and some stuff that is incredibly enlightening. I'm even working on a post about it, but in the mean time, how about another situation I could use some advice on?

How do you like that? Y'all are my personal team of Dear Abby's and Anne Landers!!

Dear Internet Friends:

I am always late. I am embarrassed to admit it, though if you've ever had occasion to spend time with me, you already know that I am one of those people who is ALWAYS late. My norm is about fifteen minutes, but on a bad day I can be anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes late. A really good day has me arriving only five minutes late, which as far as I am concerned is absolutely the same thing as being on time. I have friends who routinely lie to me, telling me something starts at six if it really starts at six-thirty, just so that I will be on time. It works. I have other friends who just plan ahead and arrive fifteen minutes later than we agreed, so that they aren't waiting around for me. That works too.

Though I may be someone who is religiously late, I cannot stand other late comers. It drives me crazy. I think it's rude and disrespectful and irritating. Clearly, I am a chronically late hypocrite. Why? I don't know. What I do know is that being late everywhere gives me such anxiety that I end up with stomach pains and headaches and itchy rashes. But does that make me more understanding of others who are habitually late? Nope. Does that make me a big fat asshole? I suppose so.

But it gets worse.

Not only am I chronically late, and not only do I find other late people irritating, but I also do not like those people who are always three minutes early. Or always on time. Because I am always late, if you show up three minutes early or right on time, you are simply highlighting my deficiency and reminding me of my shortcomings.

So here we have it, folks. I take four hours to get ready in the morning. I'm always at least fifteen minutes late. I am a hypocrite who resents other latecomers and I cannot be made happy by those people who have the courtesy to be on time.

What to do?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Like an ugly little bird

I have a confession.

It takes me four hours to get ready to go in the morning. Even when I wake up at 6 a.m., I'm still not ready to leave for work until ten.

I've recently considered starting my days at 4 a.m. so I can be ready to go by eight, which is when I'm supposed to leave, instead of two full hours later at ten when I usually leave. (My boss doesn't read my blog, so he'll never know.) (Famous last words.)

The thing is, it's this four hour block of .... primping? that is causing a lot of the major time-suckage I've been complaining talking about lately. I thought maybe if I wrote about this phenomenon here, we could, together, as a team, help me find new strategies to becoming a person who can wake, eat, shower and leave in a more reasonable amount of time, like, say, one hour. One hour is reasonable. Four hours? What, am I being tied into my corset by my nursemaid every morning? Seriously.

So. What am I doing with four hours every morning: I spend about thirty minutes preparing my coffee and breakfast, then eating. I spend another thirty minutes doing yoga (or reading mommy blogs, depending on the day.) (OK, usually I'm reading mommy blogs.) It takes me fifteen minutes to shower and condition my hair, then thirty minutes to apply the various moisturizers, creams and lotions I use, another fifteen to twenty minutes fixing my hair and ... that's it. That's everything.

But that's only two hours and five minutes, tops. Where are the other two hours? Where? What do I do with them?

Yes, I realize that two hours and five minutes is a really long time to get out of the house, I know. You don't have to make me feel bad about that. I am perfectly willing to work on narrowing that down, AS SOON AS WE FIGURE OUT WHAT ON EARTH I AM DOING FOR THAT EXTRA HOUR AND FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES.

Because I have no idea.