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How To Name Your Pet

12 Aug

blog image mallorca

I never wanted the stray cat with the chopped off tail to become ours.  Especially since I knew that other neighbors were already calling him “Lucky,” yet those same neighbors refused to address the chopped off bloody tail so, how’s that for irony?

Which brings us to the whole going to the vet issue.

You probably didn’t think that there even was a going to the vet issue but, as someone who has previously found issues with going to the dentist (Tractor Supply-esque music in the waiting room, really?) and late book fines at the Free Public Library, I assure you, going to the vet is a thing too.

Mostly it’s when your pet is summoned and the technician acts as if there is more than one “Lucky” with a chopped tail in the waiting room.  So you offer how you weren’t responsible for naming him, in fact, you’re just here to fix the tail and release him back into the wild to which the vet tech replies that they “hate when animals are named Lucky because, actually, they usually aren’t.”

So in attempt to add some gravitas to the name “Lucky,” (although the producers of “King of the Hill” have certainly helped by having musician Tom Petty voice their character named “Lucky”), I now register the cat with a hyphenated last name that sounds exotic and intriguing.  Like the child of two self-important parents vying for top billing, I insist that the vet call him Lucky Doodles-Majorca.

And should they call out to the waiting room: “Lucky?…Lucky Doodles?”  I won’t respond.  After a noticeable pause, I’ll inquire: “I’m sorry.  Did you mean “Lucky Doodles-Majorca?  With a hyphen?” because a: I can and b: it’s righteous.  And that puffed up, flea-bitten, stump-tailed cat who just drooled a ribbon of spittle through the carrier and onto the floor knows that I’m right and begins to feel a sense of pride and self-worth.  And that’s before he even licks himself.

I picked “Majorca” because that is my go-to run away spot.  If I ever am reported missing, that’s where you’ll find me.  With flights from Newark starting as low as $1128- thanks Expedia!  (I picked “Doodles” because there is no finer snack.)

Which brings me to the point of today’s post: give your pet a moniker that instills pride in the animal and, also, will not embarrass you should you ever have to shout it out.   Names like: “Ernest Hemingway,” “Juan Valdez,” “James Earl Jones” and “Lou Reed” work while neither “Matthew” nor “McConaughey” nor “Matthew McConaughey” do.

If all else fails, go with two puppies and name them “Lennon” and “McCartney.”  If there’s a runt, call him “Ringo.”

You can always opt for the unofficial name of every pet that has ever run into the road: “Jesus Christ!,” “Jesus H. Christ!” or “Jesus H. Christ-Majorca.”  Your call.

PS: he’s been with us for eight years.

With apologies to James Taylor

21 Feb

blog image bob costas

I’ve gone to Sochi, Russia in my mind.

Because sometimes living in your own head is the best neighborhood in which to live.  Case in point:

1.  You already know the strange cat lady.  (Spoiler alert: it’s you.)

2.  Also if your head happens to wind up in Beverly Hills someday, you will notice that the police all look like models with perfectly straight teeth who, as they gently guide you by the elbow, will say calming things.  They are so smooth, you won’t even realize that you’ve been removed from the peripheral of “Mr. Stallone” until you are back in the parking lot of the Beverly Hills Hotel.  (PS: Sylvester Stallone’s face looks so Joan Rivers-weird now it’s hard not to stare.  True story.  Not mine, Spouse’s.  But I am invoking my spousal right to co-opt.)

In my Sochi, Russian mind, I am a tall Nordic blonde with 18% body fat which, when converted from metric, is like -5%.

And as I shovel the roof (again), this time I am competing for the gold.

You may not know this but in the Women’s Roof Shoveling contest, points are awarded for tricks like maintaining the grip on your shovel despite 20kmh winds, avoiding permanent back injury and not crying.

In the Women’s Biathlon, competitors come down off the roof through a seemingly ever-shrinking bedroom window into a house where the other dwellers have their feet up on the coffee table and are sipping cocoa and watching “Moonrise Kingdom” (again) to remove sopping clothes and boots without freaking out about how no one, not anyone, called up to the roof to see if everything was okay.

I lost.

Really.  I could be dead on the roof or have fallen to the ground, crippled, and there sits my family- inside, dry and toasty warm, watching Wes Anderson’s coming-of-age masterpiece (so well cast and scored, it’s crazy) and I’m not supposed to freak out?  Oh, there will be freaking.  No podium for me.

Finally, in the Team Snow Moving finals, I was able to force Spouse outside by using incessant nagging and heavy sighing but, sadly, our score was not high enough to place.

We may have to train more.  Like during the summer, I can start with “we never go anyplace nice” and see where that leads.

With enough nagging and practice, by 2018, we could be serious contenders.

By then I will have gone to Pyeongchang, South Korea in my mind.

Also- what’s with Bob Costas’ eyes?  He looks like the devil.

Back to School

12 Sep

back to school

Here’s why I hate the first day of school:

First: I am not known for being quick.  To move.  To judge, well, who’s to say?  (Actually, I am.)

I revel in all things slow (side note: future NPR show- “All Things Slow”?)  Friends have been known to doze as I search for the exact word whilst in conversation (for example, “whilst”) while others have consumed an entire meal before I have properly plated my green beans opposite my cranberry sauce (Spouse, Thanksgiving 2008).

It takes about a week once school ends for me to fully develop my summertime groove- from switching bed linen to a higher, more luxurious  thread count, to picking berries to add to my morning beet smoothie (side note: future morning music show about ska-influenced music titled “Beat Smoothie”?) and then imagine, if you can, how disruptive deconstructing that groove can be.  You see now how the first day of school is overwhelming, at best, and, at worst, a total Weepfest (September, 2011).

Secondly: the paperwork.  Every year it’s the same.  Science lab rules, gym class rules, homeroom rules.  Where are the Stevie Ray Vaughn Rules rules?  Doctor’s information, emergency contact (where you ferret out true friends and then saddle them with caring for your sick child because the school cannot reach you at any of the contact numbers you provided- oops, did I leave off a digit?) plus an improved code of conduct- NEW for 2013-2014!  The “I will not wear sleepwear to school rule!”  (PS: I didn’t even know that wearing pajamas had been an option.  Oh, the Lifetouch pictures we could have had- complete with airbrushed option and crooked hair.)

Third: lunch.  The Boy has watched enough Food Network to now believe that only fresh basil and hand-hewned croutons are acceptable in a salad.  Who hews?  Of course, a PB&J is fine if you’re rushed (hello, it’s me) as long as the bread is stone ground whole wheat, preferably cold-climate grown.

Fourth: the clutter.  The constant jumble of socks and shoes and backpacks and lunchboxes.  And books and binders and paper and such.  All in front of the kitchen door.  You know, the door that we must fly out of right now if we are to make it “on time.”

Finally, about the quest to arrive “on time.”  I put quotation marks around “on time” because while “time” is more of a “concept” to me, previous employers have adopted a more literal definition of “time” and the “wasting” thereof plus the need to “show up on” it.  But, hey, we’re all different and both schools and workplaces benefit when tolerance is practiced.  Besides, who am I to judge?  Oh, right.  I’m the unemployed one.

Let’s not even discuss the switch to Standard Time where, from November to March, I am 59 minutes late for everything.  Oh sure, I eventually make up a few minutes here and there- mostly at doctor’s appointments because physicians have even broader definitions of “time,” “schedule,” and “appointment” than I do, but it’s not the same.

Plus the reason I am at the doctor’s office is due to some nasty germ that The Boy brought home from school anyway.

Then, from my scratchy-sheeted sick-bed, I will begin counting down the days until summer vacation again.

259 from today.

Halloween Costume Idea #1

1 Aug

blog image prince

With Halloween just 93 days away, the time to start your costume is now.  Once September rolls around and the kids are back in school five glorious, albeit too short, days a week, you’ll be so busy with organizing and cleaning and vodka and such that before you know it, Sugar Day will be here and those 3-5 pounds aren’t just going to gain themselves.  They require a costume.

For the moment, I am considering the following:

1.  Dress in all purple.

2.  When someone asks if you’re an eggplant, first, congratulate them for not assuming that you are a grape or raisin or Prince circa 1982; so cliché.

3.  Next, inform them that, technically, if you were to go trick or treating as an eggplant, you would, instead, dress as an aubergine as you are still feeling the effects of your summer vacation in Paris.  (Basically the difference between an eggplant costume and an aubergine costume is a scarf.  And you thought I was going to say ” beret” right?  Americans; so cliché.)

4.  If people on the street believe that you are an eggplant, there’s no reason to let them know that your original intent was to dress as a varicose vein in an attempt to connect your Halloween costume to your life or that the migraine costume you had envisioned ended up looking like a sausage that was beaten with a hammer then hot-glued to a baseball cap.  (Which is kind of what a migraine makes your head feel like.  Now just add The Boy’s drum practice.)

5.  And while the varicose vein costume would help explain my weird body shape, scant muscle tone and surly attitude, the eggplant costume conjures up essences of silky, fragrant Ratatouille and mysterious and spicy Bangan ka Bhurta from exotic lands.

Besides, isn’t the best part of Halloween pretending to be someone you’re not?  A silky, exotic dish for you, and for me it’s dressing as a gainfully employed individual, a halfway decent cook, or someone-who-can-just-be-on-time-once-in-a-while-and-not-make-everyone-else-wait-for-her-damn-it because, according to Spouse and Boy, I am none of these.

Notice that in the above list I did not include coupon warrior, grammar czar, cliché police or Banshee because, on any given day, I can be ALL of these.  At once.  (I’m talking to you Food King cashier who recently told me that my coupons were valid “only on this coming past Tuesday” and that she “could care less” if I screamed like a, well, you know.)

So be the eggplant, the vein, the dried plum even.  Purple is still trending for fall and its slimming effects are noteworthy.  Plus, when paired with navy, it seems fresh and sophisticated.

(Side note: the artist formerly known, then reknown, and now just sort of unknown as Prince, and captain of all things purple (and rainy), is now 55 years old and will become eligible for Social Security in just 7 years.)

Now get out there and get working on your costume before the opportunity to be someone else, someone wonderful, is gone.

Until December.  When we get to overspend, overeat and undersleep while baking cookies, wrapping presents, donning gay apparel and drinking vodka and such for a bunch of ingrates who want, more than anything, for us to go back to being the Reese’s-scarfing, licorice-stealing, vodka-drinking varicose veins who we set out to be.

I hate Christmas.

PS: Only 148 days until then too.

Never begin a sentence with…

13 Feb

blog image spilled milk

“Let me just grab my hot glue gun…”  (Nothing frightens Spouse more than a warmed up Thermogrip and a Michael’s giftcard.  Somewhere out there is a napkin ring sans artificial flowers and we can’t have that.)

“It’s no accident that…”  (Guess what?  Sometimes it is, in fact,  just an accident.  Milk spills.)

“The universe will…”  (But if the universe won’t, aren’t you just being lazy?)

“Hey!  Little Buddy!…”  (Too many exclamation points= bad news ahead.)

“We’re out of chocolate…”  (Death wish.)

“Your mother and I think/feel/believe…”  (Actually, Mom works real hard at not thinking/feeling/believing and Daddy’s a little uncertain here.  She’s not standing behind me, is she?)

“Good morning Honeybunch!…”  (It isn’t and I’m not.)

“The Bible says…”  (Oh for Christ’s sake, even the Pope quit.)

“And finally…”  (Because then there’s no more FA&S.)

Lessons Recently Learned (or “Shake it down. Shake it down now.”)

6 Feb

blog image commodores

When the trooper asks why you think he pulled over, do not respond with: “isn’t that YOUR job?”

Never go on a three-day juice cleanse and then slather yourself with cake-scented lotion right before bed on Day One.  You may wake up to ragged cuticles and the uncertainty as to whether the first day even counted due to unintentional meat consumption.  Also, never book air travel while on Day Two as receiving an upgrade via frequent flyer miles may cause you to weep.  Everything makes you weep on Day Two.  Like memories of having chewed, for example.

When The Boy brings home a bad report card, do not accuse him of not trying hard as he will eventually yell that while  he was, in fact, trying, he simply wasn’t trying “hard enough!”  Oh sure- now he understands modifiers.

Even though everyone saw “Les Miserables,” only a small percentage of the population (me) appreciates having everyday conversations sung in opera voice.  Sue me for thinking that “you take that wet, used towel and you put it in the wash.  One more dawn.   One more day.  One day more!” would be received more favorably when vocally expressed with massive vibrato.  Likewise to the Food King cashier who couldn’t wrap her brain around “Do you hear the people sing?  Singing the songs of angry men.  They’re frustrated coupon shoppers who will not be fooled again.”  (PS: Anne Hathaway could use a sandwich.)

Finally, if the trooper repeats the question “do you know why I pulled you over?” answering “was I doing 36 in a 24-36, what a winning hand?” and following with some mighty mighty dance moves just makes him tug the tie wraps tighter.

The Inauguration

23 Jan

blog image guess sandal

I got caught up in the moment and found myself filled with optimism and hope.

So I did what any proud American woman who finds herself filled with optimism and hope would do and ordered a new pair of shoes (full price!) from the GUESS website knowing that Spring, like universal health care, will come, that the time for the America I have envisioned is now and that a nice platform sandal will be part of my peep toe rotation for years.

As for the dress?  Well, that’s what happens when optimism and hope get ahold of me.

Buying a dress that is a size too small (but on sale!) is a pledge to a happier, fitter and more frugal me!  And, like I said to Spouse, “who wouldn’t want me to be happier and healthier while saving money?”

It was a rhetorical question but I’m sure he had something to say.

I was too busy “optimisting” my way through the Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and Carvel websites while “hoping” that the credit card was approved.

“Optimisting” is a great word that I made up.  It’s from the Latin “optimum” and it means to shop the best online sales while MSNBC is on in the background, a President is being sworn in, the kids are home from school and that “Fire and Rain” guy just won’t quit.  Optimisting can get expensive.

(PS: Am I the only person on the planet who thinks that Rachel Maddow is adorable?  Also, that she has garnered enough power to hire correspondents who look like her is awesome.  Go, Rachel, go!)

And so, my fellow Americans, while FA&S has, until now, maintained its political neutrality, I must confess to you today, that I am totally partisan.

I go to all of them.

And I look pretty darn fabulous too.

Why do Gifts Suddenly Appear?

13 Dec

buche de noel

I’m having issues with gifts and gifting and places that sell gifts and people who buy gifts.

Because, really, what does “gift” say other than “I’m caving in to a commercial frenzy and keeping gloves and picture frames in the house in case you stop by to gift me?”  Why gloves and frames?  Because gloves (in my size) are useful and picture frames demonstrate that, while you may never have witnessed it personally, surely the giftee has some sort of life in which things that are worth framing happen.

And while I know that wrapping paper is used to wrap the gifts, I have not used it since the inclusion of color comics in the Sunday paper as conventional gift wrap offers little reading and no laughs while that Dilbert still makes me grin.  And if the gift sucks, well, at least you’ll still have that Dilbert there.

So if you don’t need gifts, you don’t need gift wrap but why stop there?  Taking a perfectly fine outdoor tree and bringing it inside never made much sense to me either, but this time of year brings out the conspiracy theorist in me anyway.  Tell me there’s no backscratching  going on between Christmas tree dealers, Shop Vac retailers and McNeil, the makers of Benadryl.

I also suspect quid pro quo between the Land O’Lakes butter company, Martha Stewart and cardiologists but what do I know?  There are worse ways to go than death by Bûche de Noël.  Like while chopping down your own Christmas tree- biggest scam on the planet.

Keeping the Christ in Christmas has never been easier than in December.  I can still hear my dad, upon opening his presents, ask: “What the Christ am I supposed to do with a massaging foot bath?” or Spouse who recently uttered: “Who the Christ is calling at 9:45 at night?”

Christ is everywhere.  And so are gifts.  The Little Drummer Boy had ADHD that’s all.

The Thrill of Victory

1 Aug

Once every four years:

I decide that I probably could have been an Olympic swimmer.  Maybe for some landlocked country where the men are “eh”-looking and the women can crack walnuts under their arms.  But then I heard a horrible rumor that swimmers have to do sit-ups.

I watch Women’s Gymnastics while spouse goes on and on about how Women’s Gymnastics is a misnomer: because the athletes have no hips.  (I’ll never understand why those girls have to do a floor routine set to music but I figure that Burt Bacharach (or his cousin- Stavros Bacharach XIVIIM) was at the first Games.)

My neighbor Cory will say something like: “You know, if they put that balance beam on the ground instead of in the air, I bet anyone could do it.  It’s the height that gets you.”

I go to the Village Pool and try some wacky new cannonball off the board- a Grande Fromage or a one-and-a-half Lewis (named for beloved actor Jerry Lewis) and I am humbled.

And once every four years is enough of that.

It’s the Little Things (including fingers)

19 Jul

My high school gym teacher, Miss Juanita Fiesler (a great name for a cinematic phys ed teacher if you’re reading this Judd Apatow) used to tell us that, if not our kids, then certainly our kid’s kids, will be born without pinky fingers.  This was pre-internet so while she did admit that the typists among us had a slight advantage- the lost pinky would impact their great-grandkids- the non-business science majors were still screwed.

Miss Fiesler told us that our pinkies were extremely underutilized and in danger of becoming superfluous unless we practiced handstands (the pinky is very useful when it comes to balancing) and rubber band finger exercises.

Until Becky Russell shot a rubber band into the eye of Kris Floystropp, then she ended the unit on evolution and moved us on to square dancing.

Apparently, honoring your corner was on her endangered list as well.

Meanwhile, the pinky is very important when it comes to typing a, p, q, and z.  And now that we all use typing and/or texting as our primary means of communication, those four letters are crucial.  Imagine a world where no one is ever happy, where salsa is never piquant or where Judd Apatow doesn’t make movies.  No “Pineapple Express”?  Why, that’s barbaric.  An entire high school career spent without a pop quiz, however, would have been great.

And if you’ve ever shaken hands with a person who is missing a finger, you know how weird it feels when a digit is gone: it’s like whistling “shave and a haircut” and leaving off the “two bits.”  It’s just odd.

So imagine how good it felt when I recently swallowed a bunch of ibuprofen and reset my dislocated pinky.  (It’s a boring story involving a gallon jug of milk and a deadbolt that requires jiggling.)  My entire mood immediately improved and for a brief moment I contemplated taking piano lessons or hosting a formal tea.  Not to mention the additional thrill of cheating the local clinic out of a $15 co-pay.

It’s the same reason my dad keeps a 10lb. bowling ball around and dangles it from his hand when his shoulder is out.  (Yes, my dad has a 10lb. ball.)

We’re not cheap; we’re DIYers in a hurry: “We’re here.  We’re handy.  We have a high pain threshold.  Get used to it.” ~ from the DIY Convention Keynote, Atlantic City, April 2012.  (PS: they had a make your own sandwich bar.)

As for square dancing being endangered?  Miss Juanita Fiesler was right:

I haven’t honored (or pledged to cherish) anyone since the day I got married.  And I had my fingers crossed.

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