Thursday, May 21, 2015

Strange Bedfellows

Earlier this evening, we had to put our cat, Seamus, to sleep. He was 14 and declined very rapidly in the past week. It was the right thing to do, but I will never get over it. And I will never stop being grateful to the warm and compassionate vet who came to our house and made an awful situation less terrible. When I'm up to it, I will write about the awesomeness that was Seamus. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite photos...

He was a good and tolerant cat. 
...and a column I wrote for the Oakton Patch on July 20, 2011, where he makes an appearance:

Strange Bedfellows

After more than 10 years together, I can’t take it anymore. I toss and turn all night, I wake up cranky and unrested — I’m not sleeping at all and it is because of sharing a bed.

There’s the snoring, the space hogging, the need to be touching me the entire night. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the times he throws up on the duvet cover.

I’m talking, of course, about my cat, Seamus.

I realize this is my fault because I let him sleep in our bed. But to my credit, I assumed the arrangement was going to be temporary, something we allowed while he worked through his grief.

You see, Seamus used to sleep in the laundry room with our other cat, Brooke. They had a fairly elaborate set-up down there, with their food and water, litter boxes, kitty condo and assorted catnip toys. At the end of an arduous day of sleeping, eating and lazing around the house, they’d happily trot down there at bed time when we called them, we’d close the door, head upstairs, and everyone in the entire house would sleep peacefully.

But when Brooke died last year after they lived together for more than eight years, he sank into a depression. Before you roll your eyes and think I am one of those crazy cat people who thinks felines mourn and understand these things, let me just tell you that during my weekly kitty tea party (this week’s theme: Harry Potter!), my four-legged guests Hairy Potter, Purrmione Granger and Alpuss Dumbledore assured me they do.

While he was grieving, Seamus also had no appetite. He was listless (no list at all) and melancholy and he lost so much weight that for the first time since he came to live with us, I could actually pick him up without risking a hernia. It was obvious it was just too painful for Seamus to spend the night in the laundry room alone so I began allowing him to sleep in our bed.

When I realized just how much this was interrupting my sleep, we went so far as to adopt another cat to try and get them back in the laundry room sleeping routine. Alas, our new cat does not like being in a closed room and expresses that very vocally, so we now sometimes share our bed with two cats.

I’m exhausted and I have no idea what to do. Perhaps I’ll ask Paul McCatney at next week’s Beatles-themed tea party.



Sunday, May 03, 2015

For The Dogs

You know how you sometimes find yourself wearing Dalmatian shoes and announcing a dog fashion show in front of several thousand people? 

Don't worry, they're faux. As far as you knaux, anyway.
I had one of those moments on Saturday at the annual Reston Pet Fiesta

On Friday afternoon, a friend of mine who works with the Good Dogz organization e-mailed to say the radio station personality scheduled to announce the dog fashion show at the Fiesta had cancelled, so could I step in and do it? (Apparently, Left Shark was busy.) And if I know anything, it's that when you agree to help out at the last minute when people are desperate and expectations are very low, they are very grateful no matter what your performance.

It is in this type of environment that I really thrive.

Of course I posted this opportunity on social media the nano-second it was finalized and that's when my neighbor, Lisa, and I began texting dog/fashion puns back and forth to use in my schtick. However, when I got to Reston, I learned that my script was already written and I would not be able to use any of this fantastic material. Because I hate for this brilliance to go to waste, please enjoy the following: Devil wears Paw-da, Dolce and Gabone-a, Vera Wag, Fur-sace, Cynthia Growley, Helmutt Lang, Flea St. Laurent, Lily Pul-leasher, Bark Jacobs, Kate Spayed, Ruff Lauren, Jimmy Chew, Cindy Pawford and "please remember to spay and neuter your models." 

Perhaps it is better the script was provided.

I was obviously a very integral part of this event. 
Although, I did ad-lib a little:
  • One of the dogs in the fashion show was named Gisele - so I told the audience that the whole big announcement about her quitting runway modeling was just a rumor
  • I know we've all heard that models can be difficult to work with and that they don't eat, that was not the case with these models - in fact, they were exceptionally friendly and they eat...a LOT
  • In one of the dog's bios it mentioned that he was still working on potty training. And I said, "you and me both, brother"
Representatives from BROOD Basset Rescue
Team Canedo came out to support me and enjoy the event, which boasts several thousand attendees and more than 40 rescue groups. It was a gorgeous day and we loved every minute of it and met a lot of great dogs that need forever homes. 
This is Bear. He is a Golden Retriever/Corgi mix. And I love him.
And an aside: I also have gold shoes, so if there is ever a last-minute need for me to substitute as Oscars host...I'm in. 

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Two Redheads, a Brunette and a Blonde Walk Into a Bar...

I'm back from a great weekend in Richmond with three college friends I met during a semester abroad my junior year. It was not an immediate friendship as we experienced an initial drama kids/sorority girls divide that could have rivaled the Jets and Sharks in its intensity. But then we realized they would totally kick our asses in a choreographed musical rumble and figured it was easier to just be friends.        

And even though we planned this weekend about eight months ago before I knew I would be done with drinking altogether (what? who are you?), I had a fantastic time on our wine weekend touring vineyards and hanging out with these ladies.
Look at me. Pretending to sample wine. Like a big girl.
And of course, as with any new experience, I also learned a few things. So here is....

My Wineless Wine weekend with JMU friends in Richmond/Charlottesville...what I learned:

  • The "Sh-Sh....Shhhhh" move (depicted above) is so unbelievably condescending and stupid, yet it is also never not funny when used during conversation. This became our signature move of the weekend...and subsequently during my annual review at work, at parent/teacher meetings and while receiving communion. 
  • Carrie has never dated a man who uses a nickname. In her long, storied dating and marital history there have been two Jameses, a David, a Patrick, a Rodney and a Michael. Which frankly, is a terrific screening tool when assessing future mates. "Bobby? It's not gonna work. Chuck? Forget about it. Benjamin? How you doin'?"
  • Our hostess, Stacy, and her husband have six large rescue dogs (shout outs to Riley, Carson, Baxter, Harley, Angus and Parker). (Um...and also props to the awesome and tolerant Donnie.) Yet her house is gorgeous and immaculate and does not smell like dog. We have no idea how this is so. She may be a wizard. She welcomed us into her home with this: 
Gold and purple gift bags! With JMU wine glasses!
She's the wizard of hospitality, for sure.
  • When you are the only person not partaking of wine samples during your winery stops, you logically get elected as designated driver. Of a Hummer. When you have never driven anything larger than a Passat. Once I maneuvered out of the small winery parking lot onto the highway and was gently reminded by Joyce I could "loosen my grip on the steering wheel" I actually did okay. (Although in retrospect, I probably should have provided some context when bursting through the door after coming home from the weekend and exclaiming proudly to my husband, "I am the Hummer MASTER!")
  • Of the three wineries visited ( CooperBlenheim, and Trump), Cooper has the most delicious wines and the most pleasant tasting experience overall. (Please click on those links in order...as I am totally proud of what I did there....)
  • Joyce can perfectly sum up her long friendship with Stacy as simply, "I am the yin to fancy-pants's yang" (Although, I think Joyce is pretty fancy, too...or at least her new bra is. The one she showed us. While wearing it. At the dinner table.) 
  • When Joyce informs the group that her husband sent her "kiddie porn" and then wants to show you the photo on her iPhone, you recoil in horror until you realize she is showing you a photo of her cat sprawled out on its back and that she said, "kitty porn." (Unrelated: Joyce can do a spot on imitation of the dog voice in this video.) 
  • During a rousing game of "Boff/Marry/Kill" over breakfast, you all unanimously conclude that of Captain America, Hulk and Iron Man, Hulk should die. (For varying reasons, including 'roid rage, the huge clothing budget and the bulging muscles overcompensating for other areas  - but still...killing Hulk is the great uniter!) 
Still marveling at the fun,
Brutalism