My Dog Life

I have been blessed with many pets in my lifetime. If you have been reading here for a while, you know that I have two fabulous kitties, Moo and Pumpkin. But before adopting them (M. came to our relationship with them), I lived my life with dogs. In many ways they were my siblings because my mother loved and cared for them as she did and does me.

There was Grover, the dog we had until I was 4 and moved to California. I used to sit under the table with him and share my food like most kids that age do. Tabitha was my first dog and a Christmas present when I was about 7 or 8. I named her after the daughter on “Bewitched.” My Mom and stepdad got her from a rescue organization and, boy, could she run fast. She would tear around our backyard like a greyhound chasing a rabbit. In fact, we think that our second dog, Apollo, was trying to keep up with her when he fell into our pool. That golden cocker spaniel was sweet, but clumsy.

Both Tabitha and Apollo lived until I was in high school. They died within a month of one another. Their absence in our house was heart-breaking. We vowed not to get another dog. Then, six months later, Sable, a black Pomeranian, was the featured guest at my parents’ Christmas party. I don’t think there could be a more affectionate dog. She would wait on my bed in the morning and at the slightest move, she would pounce on me and start licking my face. After I went away to college, she would agree me with TONS of kisses when I would sit down. She had a bionic tongue and I went through a lot of face cleanser. Eventually, my mom craved puppy kisses again and adopted Blaize, an American Eskimo.

I never lived with Blaize, but he was happy to see me when I would go home to visit. When Baby A came, Blaize was patient towards this little boy who used him (as he did Moo) for support to stand, who insisted on petting him and who giggled as he drank water. He taught my son the meaning of the words dog and puppy.

This morning I received a text from my mom: “This morning Blaize joined Sable. He’s home.” This beautiful dog had grown old and feeble. His health was deteriorating and my parents took care of him as if he was their sick child…well, he was. I do not have words to ease their grief.

For me, he was one of the glorious animals who fill my life with joy, laughter and play.

My Dog Life

The Third State is the Charm

It’s been over a month since I blogged, but don’t think  I haven’t been thankful for anything— actually it’s quite the opposite. Instead of giving you the gory details, here’s the Cliff Notes version (do they even publish those anymore?).

It started with a crazy idea. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that M. and I come up with these wild plans, then act on them. This one wasn’t so wild: Change our job search from Chicago to the Greater New York Area.

Then a job materialized. M. mentioned our intentions to a colleague and a job appeared. Literally two weeks after we agreed to the plan, he was offered an exciting job where the pay was right.

And then a place to live came available. My good friend ML had lined up a renter for her townhouse in the suburbs and that renter fell through just as M.’s offer came in. It was perfect for us, close to the city and the job. Plus, what parent can say no to having a playground 100 feet from their front door? Already a better life for A. was shaping up.

Baby A and I saying good-bye to the bench.

Here was the hard part. I packed and said good-bye to an area that I had lived in for most of my life in a matter of two weeks. Friends and family were the most difficult to bid adieu to even though I know I will see them again. But visiting my dad’s memorial was much harder than I expected. Overlooking the Seal Beach pier made me remember talking to my dad about events and decisions that were important during my high school and college years. After his passing, going to the bench we have in his honor allowed me to think freely about divorce, job opportunities, and new relationships. I will miss it the most.

Traveling cross country with two cats and a toddler. M and I packed everyone up in our car and drove from LA to New Jersey. My FIL drove the moving truck. (A huge amount of gratitude goes to him.) Everyone did great despite spending over 14 hours in the car for three days. We were lucky to have hosts in Denver and Illinois that allowed us to stay for two nights and one day so that kitties and Baby A could run around.

East coast, Baby! Everyone has been super friendly. ML has hooked us up with our neighbors and other friends. Baby A can’t get enough of the playground, pool or just walking around the area. So far so good.

For years I have wanted to make this move and now I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. In two years and three states, it’s nice to finally feel like we’re home.

The Third State is the Charm

Get MOOving

I hate to admit this, but I have to put Moo on an exercise plan. since we moved from our two-level condo our puppy-of-a-cat has been gaining weight. Between the stairs and regular play sessions, he wasn’t as big as he is now. He’s a big cat and he is a lazy one. I also want to make sure he is a happy one.

Baby A and I went to the pet store where he picked out fishing toys for Moo. I thought that having A. pick out the toys when make it easy to teach him how to play with his kitty companion. Not even. My son thinks these toys are his.

So, in the evening after A. goes to bed, Moo and I play. Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for 20 minutes; hopefully we can work up to an hour a day (that’s what baby and I need). Either way, I’m bonding with my little boy before there was little boy. I forgot how much I enjoyed playing with Moo. Glad that we’re doing it again.

Get MOOving


After living with my mom for a week in a retirement community somewhere outside of Palm Springs, I’m glad to be home. I don’t have a childhood home where each time I visit I can stay in my old room and be near the things I remember; my mom and stepdad have moved too much for that. In fact, I can remember five homes that I lived in from kindergarten until high school graduation.

Since then the meaning has changed. For me, home is…

…where M., Moo, Pumpkin and A. are.

…where the Internet is available 24/7 in any place in the house.

…where I know where everything in the kitchen is.

…where my son can run around and I already know the hazards.

…where there is little furniture, but each piece has a story or an inspiration.

…where I can walk to the bank, Starbucks, grocery store and, even Nordstrom. Also, at least one employee at each of the above knows me and Baby A.

…where I can walk through movie productions or premieres unexpectedly.

…where I can walk to a facility and train next to world-class athletes.

…where my Heavenly bed is.

…where my baby smiles, my kitties nap and my husband is.

These are the things that define my home (for now). In the future some of these characteristics will change, but not the first or the last ones on this list.


Feels Like Home

I’m sitting in a sparcely furnished two bedroom apartment on the west side of Los Angeles. City views surround me, traffic hums on the street below me while helicopters hover above and the air is cool. I’m home.

We recently moved to Westwood after stints in the suburbs and Phoenix. This neighborhood isn’t new to me though. I spent ten years in this area—during college, during my first marriage, and during my divorce. I’m not sure what it is about these tree-lined streets that makes me so comfortable. Yes, it can be noisy, the traffic can suck, and the parking is scarce but despite all of this, I love it here. I feel like I belong; that this is where I’m supposed to be.

And it probably is. In the week that we’ve been here I’ve driven my car three times (to LAX and to the recycling center, not really walkable destinations; the third was to Target and it is just too far to walk). Baby A is getting used to riding in his stroller and the Baby Bjorn multiple times a day. [Editor Note: I don’t like to drive.] Even though summer is here, I’ve been able to wear black and not feel like the member of some Goth band. In addition, we experienced a typical week in Westwood—ran into celebrities, witnessed a host of protests and heard the helicopters covering a news story (Unfortunately, it was the death of Michael Jackson)—though it doesn’t seem normal for most areas of the country.

What’s more: My family is happier. M. is doing a job he loves. Baby A is sleeping more (it could be all the fresh air). And while Moo and Pumpkin are still getting used to the city noises, both are eating better and socializing more. So maybe it wasn’t just me who felt out of sorts and needed a different energy around her.

Feels Like Home

The Lady of the House

Pumpkin nappingI’m surrounded by boys. Well, not entirely. There’s Pumpkin, our smallest and oldest kitty. But don’t be fooled by this demure 11-pound cat, she rules with an iron paw. With one glance, Baby A knows not to touch her. She swats her brother (see My Moo), a cat who is double her size, and he backs down. She demands to be petted but only in the bathroom or on our bed. She is the lady of the house.

Each night she sits with me in bed. It’s our time. No M, no A, no Moo. It’s the girls’ time. Sometimes we just sit, other times we play and most of the time I pet her (until she’s had enough and walks to the other side of the bed). And despite her gruff disposition, she does care about her brothers–Moo and A. When Moo is unsuccessful waking me up at 5 AM to be fed, she walks on me to wake me up. When A is looking out the window, she comes and sits by him sometimes or looks over him from the bed while he plays on the floor below.

Together, we keep the boys in line. And I’m happy that each night we can carve out some time to take care of each other.

The Lady of the House

If I Twittered…

You would probably see these tweets:

  • It’s 4:30 AM and there is a line at the Starbucks drive-thru six cars long. Thank you to all the employees who rise earlier than me.
  • Thank you to the nice cashier at Paradise Bakery Cafe that got a highchair for Baby A, waited for us to pick a table and set up the chair.
  • We couldn’t be luckier that Moo kitty is so gentle. Baby A is really pounding on him.
  • Kick Ass Spin class! Can’t wait for Monday (or Friday).
  • I have a wonderful husband who helps me take care of our son; especially at 6 AM.

Thrilling stuff, isn’t? While these gratuitous thoughts send out positive vibes in a world that tends to see glasses as half full, they’re not exciting or, even remotely, interesting.  I’ll leave it to more insightful people, such as the engineers repairing the Hubble telescope to twitter.

If I Twittered…