Posted by: secretagent39 | October 2, 2010

In Memoriam

I do not understand how the forestry department decides the timing for doing “controlled” burns.  They almost always do it during a time when we have or will have windy days and then the fire gets all out of control and it’s crazy.  I know there have been budget cuts.  Maybe it’s the only way they can get money out of the government… Uh Huh:  Conspiracy Theory #3,792,004.

I had a little cold and was getting over it but then came the controlled burn.  The city of Santa Fe has been covered in smoke for a week.  Wednesday was the worst day and I’ve been hacking up a lung since.

The President was in ABQ this week.  No biggie; didn’t have any effect on me. The Balloon Fiesta started this week and more people were worried about the effect on traffic, etc… That didn’t happen. The Vice President, however, caused the freeways (both ways!) to be shut down while he toodled around town.  I’d just worked another 12 hour day and was driving home and just barely got into Albuquerque when we all just… stopped.  I sat there for almost 35 minutes just… stopped.  I didn’t know what was causing the stoppage but, once I finally got home and found out, I was hoppin’ mad.

Almost makes ya wanna vote Republican.

Almost.

I’ve been spending more and more time with Angela and the boys.  There is cereal in my pantry, once again, and I’m going through milk like crazy.  Such as it is… This morning I got up and made a bee-line for the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, poured it in the bowl, and added milk.  As soon as the milk hit the bowl, something odd popped up to the top and began moving around.  It was a strange looking little grasshopper-thingy.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It looked kinda mid-western-corn-ish.  Creeped me out and made me want to call the *800* number.  They are only available Monday-Friday.  The weekends are reserved for TV commercials and selling crap to kids in anticipation of Christmas.

I caught the bug and put it in a baggy and tossed it with the entire (new!) box of cereal.  Then I dumped the cereal and milk over the back fence into the arroyo.  My garbage disposal isn’t working.  Well, no, wait; my garbage disposal works but the electrical plug doesn’t.  What a sudden and most inconvenient dealio.

Ever since the Bo debacle, I’ve had bugs coming into the house. 

*sigh*

 The Bo Debacle.

He was attacked through the fence by the (new!) Pitbull next door.  His ear was torn off, he had multiple puncture wounds on his face/neck, and he was just crazy-nuts.  It wasn’t the Pit’s fault.  Bo had gotten crazier and crazier over the last several months and he actually went after her.  He’s the one that tore up the fence.  He’s the one that stuck his head through and started the fight.  It was awful.

I came home after a particularly long work day and found my newly painted walls and freshly cleaned carpets/furniture absolutely covered in blood.  I had no idea what had happened.  I thought Bo killed the cat (no lost love there) and drug him around the house.  It was like a scene out of CSI as there was, and I kid you not, blood spatters on every wall, droplets of blood all over the floors, and long, blood-smeared trails throughout the house.

Then I saw Bo, with his head covered in blood, his little chest caked in dirt and dried blood, and his paws looking raw and bloodied.  The long, blood-smeared trails on the carpeting were from him rubbing his head on the floor.  The spatters were from him shaking his head.  It was on my walls, my pots and pans, my couches, my TV, my everything.

I walked into a scene from a nightmare and had no idea what to do next.  I called Angela and she came right over.  I was worried that the scene would really disturb the boys and it did.  I put Bo in the sink and gently cleaned him.  Angela started on the carpets.  It was overwhelming.  I called my neighbors and they came over and saw the damage.  They were very apologetic.  We had just talked about fixing the fence and I’d bought some lumber and other materials but we just hadn’t gotten to it yet.  

This is when I started to go into breakdown.  I just couldn’t believe what was happening and the amount of blood in/on my house.  Angela and the boys left (it was just too much) and there I was, standing in the midst of chaos.  The doorbell rang and my neighbor was standing there with a Rug Doctor.

Thank God someone took control because all I could do was sob.  He and his wife came over and we cleaned my house until one in the morning.  They were very sweet to do that and I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t.  They felt bad because it was their pit that caused the damage to Bo but, really, the dogs were just being dogs (although Bo is/was crazy) and we bonded over the whole experience.

The next day I put Bo to sleep.  It was time. 

He had gotten out over the Fourth of July weekend and Mojo followed him.  Someone took Mojo and I haven’t been able to find him since.  (I’m pretty sure my asshole neighbor took him and sold him.) I’ve been heartbroken.  Then Bo kept getting out.  Daily.  He was running around the neighborhood and being just nuts.  So, I said goodbye to him and took him to the shelter.  That was really hard.  I hoped he would get adopted.  He spent 12 days in the shelter and did get adopted.  Happy ending, right?  Not so much.  A little over three weeks later, I was taking the train to work and checking Craigslist to see if anyone found Mojo, and there was Bo; “Found Dog.” 

*sigh*

So, I went and got him and brought him home.  He was covered in ticks, really, really thin, and totally out of it. He didn’t even recognize me at first.  It had been a terrible experience for him.  I felt so bad.  So, Bo was back home and I nursed him back to good health.  But he was still crazy and getting nuttier and nuttier.  He started nipping at the boys and fighting with Lulu.  I think there was something seriously wrong with him.  He may have been hit by a car, who knows, but he wasn’t the sweet boy I knew anymore.  Then, after tearing up the fence and the bloody carnage episode, I knew he would just continue to get worse and would eventually get killed/hurt and, well, that’s no way to go.

I fed him whatever he wanted, took him to the park and let him loose, and then we drove over to the veterinary office.  She slipped him a mickey to keep him chill. I loved him up, held him, and gently put him to sleep.  He had a good life with me and the last two years have been his best.  In his previous life, he was beaten and yelled at and generally abused and neglected.  I’m glad I could give him that and, while I miss his sweetness, I do not miss his crazy.

*sigh*

It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

I’m still finding blood spatter.  Most of it came up but it covered just about everything so I guess the bugs are finding what’s left.  Gross.  Really Gross.

I’ll be spraying and cleaning for weeks.

It’s quieter now.  The Balloon Fiesta has started and Bo used to go nuts over the sounds of the balloons overhead.  Lulu doesn’t even notice it.  The cat knows Bo is gone for good because he’s actually started to sit with me on the couch.  He never did that when Bo was here.  It’s amazing how much the energy changes when one thing is no longer there.

Lulu is lonely and driving me bonkers.  I’m just not ready for anymore animals.  One dog and one cat is fine for now.  I may eventually get another dog as a companion for Lulu but not now.  We’ve all got too much going on to start with another dog and that wouldn’t be fair.

Life goes on…

In Memoriam.

Posted by: secretagent39 | September 26, 2010

The Things I See While on My Way to Somewhere…

So, you know, I now work in Santa Fe and make that drive, to and fro, daily.  It’s a little over an hour, one way, and you just would not believe some of the shit I see on the road.

First of all, the most interesting things I see are usually either just coming into or just going out of Santa Fe.  The most interesting things are usually things on the fringe on the fringes of the city.  I remember that people I know in Albuquerque used to say, “If you want to drop off the planet, you’ll land in Santa Fe.”  There’s a lot of oogly-boogly stuff going on up there but it’s interesting, at the very least, and certainly more entertaining than most things I see in Albuquerque.

Last week I saw two guys hitchhiking.  They wanted to get to Las Cruces.  Both were wearing brightly colored Tams, army jackets, dirty, weathered jeans, Chuck Taylor’s, and wildly-colored scarves draped around their necks.  They both had long dreadlocks and scruffy beards.  They each had over-filled backpacks.  One of the backpacks, I swear, had a recorder sticking out of the top (I mean, really, who plays the recorder anymore?) and Tibetan prayer beads hung on what looked like a cell phone cover.  The other guy had a guitar strapped to his back that looked uncomfortable because I think his hair was stuck in the tuning nuts.

I was stopped at a stoplight and they were walking backwards, not yet to the corner, trying to catch the eye of any driver who might possibly pick them up.  When they walked by my car, I smiled at them and they turned their thumbs up from their working sideways position.  Oh, yeah; thumbs up!

And then I smelled them…

It was a mixture of very strong patchouli, sweat, cigarettes, and skunk weed.

Whoooooo-Weeeeeee-Baaaabyyyyy!

Really, though, the weirdest thing was that both of them were wearing army jackets.  They kind of looked like two, single white males, in copycat uniforms who got out of the service and went crazy by going in the absolute opposite direction of their previous uniformities. 

In reality, they were just two dudes lookin’ for a ride after spending a little time in The City Different.  I never see hitchhikers in Albuquerque.

Only in Santa Fe.

Then…

Just before crawling up La Bajada Hill, I saw a guy in a truck, hauling a horse trailer, pull over and unload his horse.  The horse backed out, stomped around on the side of the road, took a big poop and a pee, and then loaded back into the trailer.

When you’ve gotta go; you’ve gotta go.

They caught up to me somewhere around Bernalillo and both had funny-looking, horsey grins.

Four days after I purchased my new car, at 6:10AM in the morning, the dude in the big white truck in front of me, appeared to be falling asleep at the wheel.  I honked and flashed my lights.  I was trying to save a life, people…

How did he repay me?  He swerved onto the median and kicked up a shitload of gravel.  Right onto my new car.  I mean, it was like a hail storm only louder and more menacing.

I was so mad that I lost my cool and zoom-zoomed up next to him and gave him the finger, called him an idiot (and a few other choice words) and then zoom-zoomed past him.  I swore all the way up the hill.  I was so mad I threw myself into a hot flash.

That woke me up more than ten cups of coffee but had the same, mellifluous effect: nuthin’ like havin’ to pee only twenty minutes into your commute and at least twenty more minutes to the next pit stop.

I’m learning a lot along the way…

  1.  Drink your coffee while on the road and not before.
  2. Stay back at least 144 feet in case some guy sprays you with gravel.
  3. Watch the fastest cars for when they brake: there will always be a state trooper parked in waiting within 5 seconds of the flash.
  4. Don’t have your windows down at stop lights.
  5. Even horses have to stop ‘n go.
  6. I have no idea how that cowboy knew to stop for his horse and, by golly, I wanna know how he knew.

The stories get better from here but that’s a start.

Posted by: secretagent39 | September 19, 2010

Every 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 months, or so…

I might even write a blog post.

I’d stopped because there was just too much going on and, frankly, I didn’t want to share and don’t know how to not share so I stopped.  Dead in the water stopped.  I couldn’t find the humor in anything and, well, that’s not much of an excuse but, honestly, everytime I tried to write it came out so sarcastic and bitter that I electronically crinkled it and tossed into the recycle bin.

And then there’s facebook and twitter and foursquare and iphone and all of the other things I was *not* doing.

Snippets.

However, I was still enjoying reading blog posts written by friends and all the newsie stuff and reviews and, of course, the NYT’s.  I’d read that blogging was “out of fashion” and a thing of the past.  Old school.  Pashaw, I say!

So maybe, just maybe, I’ll start up again.

I’m hoping it’ll be more than 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 months between posts.

My time is now more limited as I’m working in Santa Fe and have that extra two hours on top of my work day.

But in the wee, small hours of the night (or morning if I don’t take the train) I’ve found I still have a voice.  I’ve been writing short stories and am, once again, working on the damned novel.  The anecdotal stories of my life’s livin’ are not so anecdotal anymore.  Eh.  How much cleaning, organizing, reorganizing, shuffling, rearranging, etc… can a girl do?

Evidently… quite a lot.  I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing will ever be totally complete.  And, no, I still can’t grow grass.  I’m a wiz at pullin’ weeds, though.

So.

Here we go.

Posted by: secretagent39 | January 9, 2010

All Hail the King… or Queen… or My Mom

I just read about people celebrating what would have been The King’s 75th birthday on January 8th.  When I read the headline, I wasn’t sure who they were talking about because I don’t remember Elvis Presley’s birthday as much as I remember his death.   His original moniker is “The King of Rock ‘n Roll” but was eventually shortened to just “The King” ‘because I guess he was the be-all-to-end-all-King-of-over-indulgence.  That’s how I saw him… in the end.

I can remember the exact moment when I heard of his death: I was 18 years old, driving down Pueblo Ave., in Napa, California, on my way to work at Queen of the Valley Hospital, and the disc jockey on the radio announced it.  I was driving a 1972, beater Toyota Corolla, stick-shift, and had to down-shift and pull over.  I immediately had tears in my eyes and wondered what had happened.  I probably used it as a distraught moment to try to get out of work.  (I was young once, unbelieveable as that may be, and this is the sole reason you cannot fool me now! Bwah-ha-ha!)

I wasn’t really much of a fan of Elvis at that time.  I liked his early stuff because it always reminded me of my mom and singing his music with her or watching her sing and dance around the housewhen I was little.  I still like his early stuff and still scoff at his Viva Las Vegas years.

When I read about parties people were having for The King this morning, I remembered when Michael Jackson died last year.  I know exactly where I was and what I was doing.  I’d been in meetings for work all day.  I came out, got in my truck, turned on the radio, and heard the news.  I remember thinking, ‘Did I just hear that right?  Michael Jackson died?  That can’t be right!’ 

I pulled out of my parking spot and yelled to my comrades, “Hey!  Did you guys hear that Michael Jackson has died?!”  All the milling co-workers perked out of their droll work conversations and began the business of yelling out either incredulous comments or jokes.

The King of Pop was dead and none of us could believe it.  In the coming days we would be inundated with reports of his mass consumption of drugs and his obsessions.  It was easy to make comparisons to Elvis Presley sans fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches.

I got to thinking about the “King” moniker and realized we’ve had lots and lots of Kings of things.  There’s “The King of Rock ‘n Roll” (Elvis, of course), “The King of Pop” (Michael Jackson), “The King of Swing” (Benny Goodman or Louis Armstrong, depending on who you talk to), “The King of Jazz” (Paul Whiteman’s self-proclaimed title), “The King of Cartoons” (from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and one of my favorite parts of his show), “The King of Comedy” (Mack Sennet or Jerry Lewis’ character in the movie, depending on your side of pop culture), The King of Western Swing” (Bob Wills), “The King of R&B” (actually, there is no such thing but when you type it into Wikipedia, R. Kelly comes up… R. Kelly?  Hahahahaha!).

There is no “King of Rap” but maybe that’s because it’s just too early for that genre.  Or maybe “Dr.” is the better moniker for that genre and, well, I vote for Dr. Dre.

There aren’t as many queens but there are some: “Queen of Soul” (Aretha, ‘natch…), “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll” (Tina Turner although I hear her music as soul, too), “Queen of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, of course!), “Queen of Jazz” (Doesn’t exist but should be Ella Fitzgerald, in my mind), “Queen of Rap” (Latifah, of course! Interesting that there is no King but there is a Queen of rap but that kinda makes sense what with all that “bitch” and “ho” stuff), “The Queen of Clean” (okay, now, that is just f’d-up… I’d like to see a “King of Dirty” just to balance that!)

And then there is that other royalty, the artist formerly known as “Prince.”  And, of course, there is just “Queen”; led by a gay man and I always wondered if it was their little inside joke.  Their original name was “Smile” which tells me it may, in fact, have been a tongue-in-cheek name-change.

What is up with all of this royalty stuff?  Are we not a sovereign nation of souls born out of rage against the royalty machine?  Anyway, I digress…

When you look at it, there is a “King” or a “Queen” for almost every generation.  I had no idea who Mack Sennet was and I can bet that half the people reading don’t know half the people I just mentioned.

My mom is “The Queen of All Things”.  As it should be…

I currently hold no titles.  I am, however, working on my Queen of Sheba attitude and have, on occasion, been called a “Princess” but I have no long-standing moniker, crown, or even a crumby scepter.  I’ve been known to use this phrase during employee orientations (in regards to loss prevention): “You just never know if I’m “Manager Extraordinaire” by day and “Crack Head” by night.  You never know how people actually live.”  Nor would I want to…

And so it goes…

Posted by: secretagent39 | January 3, 2010

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

I’ve had quite the morning.  I had a tickle in my ear and thought maybe I had water in it, or something.  It felt really weird and then I had The Thought: could a spider have crawled into my ear while I slept?  I sat there and tried to figure it out but just kept getting more and more freaked out.  I woke Angela and made her look at it.  She, too, thought it might be a bug, or something, and was getting freaked out, as well.  I made her take photos so I could see it, too.

Then I made her get the tweezers and pull the fucker out.  Freaked. Us. Both. Out.

Turns out it was a Lulu-hair.  It was a very, very loud Lulu-hair.  Whew!  Can you imagine?  Gross!  Ack!!  What-The-Hell!

So, I settled down and drank my coffee and tried to get my heart rate down.  I looked out the window and saw what appeared to be a beautiful, warm day… but, much like the possible-spider-turns-out-to-be-a-freakin’-dog-hair incident, I KNOW it is not.  It’s really cold outside.  Not as cold as Chicago but cold, nonetheless.  And it reminded me of something I’d written on another blog, long ago, and far away… in our life in Chicago.  I read it and cracked up.  This is so… so… Lulu.  She hasn’t changed one bit.  She was still just a puppy when I wrote this; she’s now five years old and lives inside a FENCED (Thank God!) backyard. 

So, now that we’ve extricated the freakin’ Lulu-hair, I can laugh about it.  Sorta.  I know you are all shaking your heads at this.  Really; I own a Dyson and use it frequently but you just can’t get it all, can you?  Evidently not.  TMI?  OoooOooo.. Sorry!

Welcome to my world!

Here’s the story… And so it goes… 

As I look out my window this morning, I see that the sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky.  I can actually hear birds fluttering around in the bushes in front of the house.  I am not fooled by this however as I’ve already been out in the elements this morning.  The wind is blowing and it is COLD.  The snow that was fluffy and blowing up and over and in every direction yesterday now has a hard, crunchy surface on top and is slippery, icy below the surface.  Yes, looking out my window is a deceiving picture that my eyes refuse to believe because my butt knows the truth from having landed solidly on the ground just moments after my first steps of the day. 

And it’s all Lulu’s fault.

How is it that animals and small children know the exact anatomy of where an adult woman’s bladder is located?  I can ignore most requests for cereal, or TV, or whatever, by feigning dead sleep.  Eventually it ends, they wander off to mischief, and I drift off again.  Lulu, employing her secret weapon of bladder-radar, pushed on the comforter and let me know that SHE had to go outside.  Yeah, well, me too… now that you’re pushing the point.

So, I got up, threw on whatever I could find in my sleepy haze, grabbed a pair of shoes, slipped them on and headed for the back door.  I opened the door, grabbed the end of the tie-out lead, and attempted to open it.   (They don’t have fences in Illinois.  I just do not understand this.  So, Lulu is tethered to the tree when she goes outside.)  The thingie is frozen shut.  So, I stand there in the whistling wind, wearing a clinging shirt, a pair of sweat pants, and someone else’s shoes, holding a frozen piece of metal in my used-to-be-warm hand while trying to get the spring to open.  Finally, I get the little thingie to move and attempt, with my now half frozen fingers, to put the hook on the gotta-go-potty-and-you-need-to-hurry-up-bouncing-on-her-toes dog.  No easy feat before a first cup of coffee.

I went back inside and started to make the coffee since I was in the kitchen.  I ran the water (oh, gotta go), cleaned out the pot (omg, gotta go), put the grounds in and turned it on (OMG, I’ve gotta go), and started toward the bathroom. 

“Bark.”  “Bark, Bark.”  “Bark, Bark, Bark, Bark, Bark, Bark, Bark…”  Lulu is done.  *sigh*

I don’t want her to wake up the world so I walked to the back porch and looked out the window to see what she was up to.  Yep.  Wrapped around the tree.  And I know; I absolutely know, that she will stand there and bounce back and forth on her paws and bark her head off until I come down and rescue her.  *sigh*  I opened the door and started to make my way down the creaking, frozen, slippery wooden steps while Lulu wagged and wagged and growled a happy growl.  She just loves this game.  And, hahahaha, this morning she got me to play it with her first thing!  I’m growling but it’s not a happy growl.

As soon as I reach her, she walks away from me and runs around the tree, frees herself, and then runs past me and up the stairs.  She’s standing at the top of the stairs, bouncing back and forth and wagging, and looking at me like, “C’mon, it’s cold out here.”  I start swearing.  I look up and see my neighbors pulling out of their driveway.  They wave.  I wave and think about my hair.  It’s scary hair.  It’s all sticky-uppy all over the place but not the cool, Sharon Stone-like; I meant to do this, sticky-uppy all over the place.

No, it looks like a bristle brush that’s been crushed under the seat of the car for four months with a flat spot on the top left side, one half going to the left, and one going to the back, and the very front sticking straight up.  Yeah, “Hi, folks”, I wave… and then realize what I’m wearing.  Oh, I’m lookin’ perky!  Oh, my Lord.

I quickly start back towards the stairs but turn on my heel a little too sharply.  Whoosh!  Down I went onto the crunchy, icy patio.  *sigh* The dog thinks this is very funny and comes bouncing down the stairs and runs over to me.  We are now on the same level and she’s pawing at me, kissing me, and whipping me with her tail.  Her enthusiasm is not contagious.  Thank God the neighbors didn’t see me fall, or maybe they did and chose to look away… considering…

Anyway, I got up and walked up the creaking steps, grabbed the dogs’ collar and started to take the lead off when I realized it was frozen shut again.  *sigh*  So, I’m standing there, feeling like I’m ON TOP OF THE WORLD, for everyone to see, blowing hot breath onto a frozen piece of metal but for all the world seeming to be blowing on the dog, as if whispering sweet nothings into her ear, when finally, FINALLY, the damned thing opens and I can unhook her.  We both went inside and she stands next to the baker’s rack, as is her ritual for when she goes outside to potty (versus sneaking into the basement), and looks at me and expects a “cookie.” 

“You have got to be kidding.” I deadpan while quietly scurrying through the dining room and making a beeline for the bathroom.

No, the sunshine out my window does not deceive my eyes.  I know, from my ass-up, what the temperature is outside.

And, baby, it’s cold outside…

Lulu under the infamous stairs… Clearly on a warm day!

Posted by: secretagent39 | December 31, 2009

*CLINK*

(Here’s hoping that’s the sound of glasses clinking and not handcuffs locking… Ha!)

Everyone is talking about how awful 2009 was and how excited they are for 2010 to start.  Initially I agreed but then I tried to remember what exactly was so awful about it and couldn’t come up with anything particularly significant. 

And that is the beauty of getting older… Ba, duh, dummmm…

I do recall changes at work but, considering how much I was working, that is now a blur.  I do remember going to Virginia but, that, too, has become a blur.  I distinctly remember barbecue in Memphis, Starbucks somewhere near Toad Suck, Arkansas, and the best damned chicken nuggets at a McDonalds somewhere in Tennessee.

I also remember going to Taos with my mom.  It was a really great trip and, for some reason, every time I count money at work, I think of going to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house.  Tyne Daley’s face pops up and I think casting her in that dumb movie about Georgia O’Keefe was brilliant.  Mabel Dodge Luhan is a very interesting character and I believe a movie should be done about her.  My mom and I went to several museums, ate really great food, read, relaxed, and enjoyed ourselves and each other’s company.  It was wonderful.

I can also recount the flood of memories I endured when entering the Catholic school and church this year. That was weird but tolerable.  Made me want to buy holy card magnets and stick ‘em on my fridge.  Currently, I’m wearing my St. Christopher and St. Anthony pendants ‘cause, well, they are cool and, frankly, what can it hurt?  It’s the same as crossing your fingers and/or investing in good insurance… in my opinion.

This year Bo joined our pack and he’s been a wonderful addition.  Lulu has gotten really fat.  Mojo is a whiner but still the cutest, curliest, French appetizer, ever.  Ever since the owl incident, Q has become the sweetest, happiest-to-be-alive kitty, ever.  DeMarcus is talking up a storm, has a really hilarious sense of humor, and is cognitively more aware every day.  Gabriel went from a public school “D” student to a catholic school honor roll student.  Money well spent.  Angela’s photography business is doing really well.  Her day job still sucks but… eh, someday she’ll be able to just be in her passion and not have to worry about that.  I am happy in my job.  Today I was told I was appreciated (my boss) and was told by an employee that I am the best boss she’s ever had.  That was all so nice to hear.  Can’t ever get enough of that, you know?  Reconnected with my nieces and that is wonderful.  My mom is doing great and I am so grateful I have her in my life.

So, you know, 2009 wasn’t all that bad!  I could probably drudge up some icky but why bother with that energy?  It’s done and over. 

While I hate this holiday (fireworks, dumbass people with guns, drunk drivers, etc…), I do love the thought and feeling of starting over.  I look forward to renewed commitments and possibilities.  Tomorrow is a new day, a new year but, really, it’s just another day.  I’m grateful to have it.  The best part about tomorrow is that it is a day off (of four!) and I can do whatever in the heck I wanna do.

The air is clean and crisp and there is fresh snow on the mountains.  I was totally inspired by the views of the mountains, the mesas, the far-away mountains (I could see for miles and miles!!), and the Rio Grande Valley today.  It feels like “new” is in the air.  It feels like a cleansing, of sorts, in anticipation of all that will come next.

The year 2010 is promising because it’s a “3” and, well, secret agent 39 is very happy about that and ready to get on with it.

So here’s to it:

May you have good health, happiness, prosperity, love, and may all your dreams come true.

*CLINK*

Happy New Year!

Posted by: secretagent39 | December 19, 2009

Our Christmas Card to You

We moved to New Mexico when I was about 13 years old.  My mom, God bless her, was a single mom with three little girls, working and struggling to make ends meet without any help from my father or family.  We three girls spent a lot of time alone waiting for mom to get home from work.  I am the oldest and usually took charge; hence my bossy nature, managerial tendencies, and wild imagination.

One year, as the story goes, we had begged and begged to be able to go caroling over the Christmas holiday.  We were on Christmas break, bored, and taking care of ourselves during the day while my mom worked.  In the morning, she said we could go caroling that night but by the time she got home, it had snowed buckets and it was too cold and snowy to go out.  It was with tremendous disappointment that we gave in to the weather and stayed home.  My mom went to bed early… and that’s when the scheming began.

We had been practicing our Christmas carols all day.  Our favorite album was The Partridge Family Christmas Album and our favorite song was all about “instead of letting the postman bring it; we decided we’d rather sing it; especially for you… for you.”  We danced and sang that song all day long; giggling and fighting and getting into scraps and predicaments typical of homebound kids on school vacation.  All the while it snowed and snowed and as the white stuff grew on the ground, we watched out the window and knew our hopes of caroling would be dashed.

After mom went to bed, we got out the phone book and devised a little game called, “Dial-a-Carol”, which was a variation on the theme of “Crank-Calling-Anonymous-Numbers” that we used to play all the time.  We would randomly choose someone’s name in the phone book and, as soon as someone picked up, I would wish them a Merry Christmas, cue my little sister to put the needle on the record, and we sang our hearts out!  (This was way before cell phones and caller ID.)

Not one person ever hung up on us or gave us a hard time.  Without exception, they would listen and then thank us for the lovely gesture.  Score!  We may not have been able to go out caroling that evening but it started a tradition that held over the years of us calling each other on Christmas and singing that Partridge Family song.  Things change and people drift and shit happens so we haven’t all participated over the last several years but I have tried to keep the tradition within my own little family unit.

We were supposed to put up the tree last night but it just didn’t happen.  We were so involved in making this Christmas card for everyone and had such a great time doing it that the poor little tree got stuck in a bucket and is still awaiting its adornment.  We’ll probably get to that tonight (after I go shopping and brave the holiday world a week before Christmas) and will watch this video, over and over, and laugh and laugh and laugh…

So, there you have it; our Christmas card to you:

Starring:

Jordan: niece and über cool dancer and back-up, “bom-bomp” singer.

Juju: niece and whisk-mic-percussionist-extraordinaire.

DeMarcus: youngest and spoon-mic-goofball.

Gabriel: evil genius guitar-hero-slingin’-frontman.

Me: the only one who actually knows all the words to the song.

Mojo, Lulu, and Bo: clearly unaffected dogs.

Angela: cinematographer and director.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Posted by: secretagent39 | November 26, 2009

Thanks~Giving

 Gratitudes and giving thanks for everyone in my life.  A little (true) story from Mi Vida Loca:

The man in the uniform waved us through the first set of barriers.  We pulled slowly forward as the second set of men in uniforms waved us to our spot.  We sat perched precariously atop boxes filled with dried goods, coolers filled with ice, butter, and milk, and finally cushioned in sleeping bags. We carefully navigated around bread, potato chips and other breakables packed on top with us. We were packed to the gills in that van and sat nervously as we realize we were going to be questioned about our reasons for visiting Mexico.

 The dog began barking furiously as the uniformed man approached.  I grabbed her by her collar and told her to stop.  She continued a low growl of warning as the man leaned into the window surveying our inventory while watching each of our hands.  He began speaking with the person in the front passenger seat.  I was sitting in the back and couldn’t hear everything that was being said.  I don’t speak Spanish very well and all I could understand was, “papeles”, “perro”, “muy mal”, “no.”  From what I gathered, this man was asking for the dog’s papers and saying that she was a bad dog and that she wouldn’t be allowed into Mexico. 

We had just driven, cramped and stuffed for four hours, from Tucson to Lukeville Port of Entry and there was no way I was going to drive back to take the dog home. 

I climbed down from my perch and got out of the van.  The man was tall, at least 6’4”, and imposing in stature.  I tried to speak to him, in my broken Spanish, and explain she was not a bad dog.  She had all of her shots, her papers were in order, and she was a family member.  He let me get all the way through it… shooting questions at me in Spanish and then looking at me and smiling as I struggled to tell him in my own special Spanglish, the answers to his questions.  I had tears in my eyes as I struggled to understand if he was saying he was going to take my dog. 

The man looked directly at me and said, “Okay, Ma’am.  You can go.  Have a nice day.” in the most perfect English accent.  I looked into his eyes and saw the play of power.  He smiled and waved us along.  I turned and said, “Let’s get out of here.”  My first thought was to run him over but then, I was in Mexico and anything could happen, so I just pushed the dog to the back and climbed back up onto my perch.  We talked about it all the way to Rocky Point.

I’d lived in Arizona for years and, other than the occasional shopping trip into Nogales, this was my first real trip into Mexico.  I was going with my girlfriend, her co-workers, and our dog for a weekend getaway.  We were staying at someone’s beach house in Puerto Penasco, otherwise known as Rocky Point, a very “Americanized” area in the Sea of Cortez.  I was excited to be going to the beach despite the fact that I didn’t really know anyone and they seemed to be a group of partiers.  I was there on my own agenda and that’s why I had taken the dog along.  I wouldn’t be part of their “work retreat” and could do whatever I wanted.  It all sounded so good when it was pitched to me up until we got to Lukeville.

 I realized that my blond-haired, blue-eyed, Anglo-self, was going into a foreign country where I barely spoke the language and stood out like the gringa that I am.  It brought back memories of being at a new high school in New Mexico and all of the discrimination I felt in being the “pelo amarillo” girl with thick glasses, a terrible case of shyness, and no friends.  I got the crap beat out of me a couple of times just for being the only white girl walking home on the same route as some very tough Hispanic girls.  For all of the things I love about New Mexico and the Hispanic culture, this was a very difficult time in my life. 

Adolescence and my parents divorcing were bad enough.  The culture was new to me and I loved it.  I’d been accepted by many but those who didn’t… were very harsh.  The experience with the border policeman was just like that… he was messing with us.  I hadn’t experienced discrimination prior to this in my white, middle-class, Catholic school existence.  I really didn’t know what to make of it but I did know that I didn’t like it.  As I got older, it colored my world, both figuratively and specifically in how I felt about my rainbow of friends.  I was and am intolerant of ignorance, meanness, and discrimination.  I don’t care what color you are if that is who you are; you ain’t in my world!

It was hot and muggy in the house.  The windows had been closed for over two months making the rooms smell musty with a slight scent of rotting fish.  I immediately pulled out my sage, lit the end, and walked around smudging every room.  Once I’d cleared the energies and smells of the house, we settled into making it our own.  There was a beautiful, covered patio with three chimineas, plants, comfortable chairs and tables, all facing the sea.  I plopped myself into one of the cozy chairs and waited for the coffee to be done. 

The dog was very excited and ran around checking everything out.  She ran out to the surf, jumped into the water, shook, turned, looked at me and then ran back up and shook on me.   She thought it was very funny and kept nosing under my arm to get me up and out of that chair.  I got up, took my shoes off and walked out onto the hot sand.  Feeling the scorch, I ran for the cool of the surf!

The sand was very different from the soft, silky sands of California.  It was not soft on my feet.  It cut into me like little broken pieces of glass.  In actuality, it was little broken pieces of shells that had been tumbled over and over into a small fineness.  It still hurt to walk on so I scurried back up to the house and slipped on my Vans. The dog was lapping and jumping at me to get back out onto the beach!  Now that I could walk comfortably, I began my “beach routine” of scouring the sands for shells. 

This was a very strange beach, indeed. There were very few shells that weren’t broken or chipped.  I noticed the surf was very choppy and short and there was very little seaweed.  There was, however, quite a lot of trash on the beach and in the surf.  I noticed several dead fish, a couple of gooey looking things, something that was squishy when I poked it, and a pile something really smelly that the dog tried to roll in.  It was a dead sea lion.  So far, my trip into Mexico wasn’t going so well.  I decided to just make the best of it because I certainly couldn’t take the bus home with the dog.

I sat down on the warm sand and called the dog over.  She sat next to me and we watched the little birds scurry in and out with the surf looking for something to eat.  Suddenly, I thought I heard, “Hola.”  I turned around looked up into the sun.  There I saw the silhouette of a man holding a bag in his hand.

  “Hola.”, I said hesitantly. 

“Would you like to buy?” he said, in slightly broken English. 

He opened his bag and had all kinds of silver jewelry, toys, trinkets, belts, wallets, and other “Hecho en Mexico” items.  He smiled at me, took off his floppy hat,  and crouched down to give me a closer look. 

I had no idea where he came from or how he was able to sneak up on me and the dog so quickly.  I guess we were so engrossed in the activity of the birds and the sounds of the surf that we didn’t hear him walk up.  Neither of us felt particularly threatened but I was alone and this made me hesitate slightly.

He had a kind smile and soft brown eyes and I could tell from what he was wearing that he was a local who worked these beaches regularly.  I patted the sand and invited him to sit with me.  He spoke English fairly well and I occasionally peppered mine with Spanish words which probably amused him. 

His name was Miguel and he lived in a small village about three miles away.  He was a very nice man and explained that he made his living by working the shrimp boats and selling souvenirs to the touristas.  He had a wife and two children and three cousins living in his house.  He had been on his daily walk home when he saw me and decided to stop.  He told me that we were there during the off season.  When I asked why it was the off season, he told me it was because it was too hot, too many flies, and shrimping was at a minimum for most American touristas.  I hadn’t really noticed but it was my first time visiting that area.

Miguel was very gracious as he told me the better places to buy souvenirs, where to eat (and where not to), and where not to go after dark.  His face was a deep cinnamon-brown color with dark creases along his mouth, cheeks, and eyes.  His forehead had one long,  crinkled line from squinting in the sun.  His fingers were short with dried, white calluses running along the edges to the nubs of his fingertips.  He spread his fingers slightly as he pointed and then drew the Sea of Cortez in the sand.  His hands looked strong as the veins poke out creating mountains and valleys of skin over bone.  He gestured elegantly as he spoke about the Sea and its many riches.  He lost me when he began talking about the de-salinization plant they were going to build and how it would hurt the shrimping industry.  His caramelly accent was slathered over his articulate blend of Spanish and English words, mesmerizing me in its texture. 

I heard my name being called.  The dog jumped up as if it were her own and ran back to the house.  I turned and pointed to where we were staying and invited him to come up after we ate as I was sure everyone would buy something.  We both stood and I extended my hand to him.  He took it and smiled at me warmly while saying my name in Spanish, “Natalia.” followed with, “Gracias, Senora.”

As I walked away, I glanced back and saw him sling his bag over his shoulder, pick up his shoes and walk barefoot along the surf.  I imagined his feet are as rough as his hands and savored a romantic thought of how wonderful it must be to walk along this beach enough to not have to wear shoes.  His clothes were clean but worn and his shoes were hand-me-down golf shoes without the spikes.  I thought to myself that he was probably more comfortable barefoot than in those shoes.  My romantic thoughts faded into the reality of his situation.  I didn’t feel sorry for him.  He seemed content yet hard-working.

The beach looked differently to me now.  I slipped off my Vans and carefully walked along on the sea-glass-sand.  The house we were staying in looked opulent from this view considering where my mind just wandered in from.  Everyone was waving handfuls of beers at me.  “Cerveza!” they yelled!  I smiled and continued on my way while thinking of Miguel and his life.  He did come back later and ended up pocketing quite a few American dollars from all of us.  Life and vacation carried on in a symbiotic dance of what’s good for mine is good for yours.  To a degree.

Everything that I experienced in Mexico was both beautiful and ugly.  There were two sides to everything from the beautiful resort grandly guarding the entrance of the beach, to the shacks just two streets over that housed the workers.  Two sides; from the fact that I could have my dog sit with me at the restaurant to the fact that I could have my dog even BE in the restaurant were both beautiful and scary.

I came home from that trip with a bad case of dysenteric problems.  I hadn’t drunk any water but didn’t even think about it when I drank my Coca Cola in a glass with ice.  I needed that coke considering how yummy the fish tacos were and how the chilé left a lingering burning on the roof of my mouth.

I was thankful to finally be home and in my own bed.  I was grateful for the little pills that made me feel better.  I was filled with gratitude in being able to join the group and yet have my own peace on the beach every day.  I was glad to have met Miguel whom I saw every day I was there and would wave and say, “Hola, Miguel.  Como estas?” and feel so proud of myself that I could simply ask how he was without really being able to understand the entire answer to that question.  I’m not sure I really wanted to know, fully, but I liked how he made me feel welcome in his country.

I got to thinking about how things are both beautiful and ugly in my own country.  I realized there was no difference between Mexico and the United States because, really, it was all relative to that which we call home and those whom we call family.  Sure, Mexico has a lot more poverty and difficult situations than the U.S. but when it comes to the human factor, we all have one thing in common: how we treat each other.  Whether it is a power-filled policeman or a hard working Joe/Jose’ or a woman walking along the beach with her dog; how we connect is the most important thing for all of us.

I guess, gratitude is relative to the realities in our lives.  Things and people come and go with only the memories to garnish our lives in either gratitude or resentments.  This, to me, is how we build our lives and learn to love and forgive and appreciate and let go…  Family, whatever you make of it, is all that matters.  My “family” consists of everyone in my life.  Everyone.  And it’s hard and easy and fun and painful and all of those things that make up mis/ustedes vida loca.

¡por vida mía!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

I cherish all of you.

Posted by: secretagent39 | November 21, 2009

The Blushing Bride

I am one of those people who sees everything going on around me in both the mundane and extraordinary.  I don’t miss a thing.  Every little detail is noticed and those very details submerge my thoughts into “what if’s” or “what about” or “hmmm”.  It is both a curse and a blessing.  Most of the time, I don’t know what to do with the information and simply file it away.  It clogs my senses and, truth be told, I can’t find my keys or remember my zip code or forget to do something really important like, I don’t know, payroll because of it.  *sigh*

Today it has become, yet again, blog-fodder or stories from the archives and perennials of, “Truth is Stranger than Fiction.”

I’ve been to the grocery store three times within the last 8 days and have bought over $250 worth of food.  All three times I went in for something like, eggs, milk, bread, but ended up buying a bunch of other stuff because the deals were just too much to pass up.  As a result, I need to go back to the grocery store to buy things like, eggs, milk, and bread because, evidently, my Spidey-Powers don’t keep me on track in this mundane chore.  All of those bright yellow “SALE!” signs were just too distracting.

 Too bad we can’t make a meal out of cake mix (1 dollar a box!), grind-yer-own-spices (usually 7 bucks, now only 2 bucks!!), and Vintage-boxed Raisin Bran (1.49 a box!!  Regular, same size: 4.79 a box!!).  The good news is that I spent over $100 and got a free turkey.  I wasn’t going to cook for Thanksgiving but I guess I will now that I have a bird.  I dread going back to the grocery store for Thanksgiving dinner fixin’s ‘because I’ll probably come home with just eggs, milk, and bread.

I was talking to a person the other day that needed their Affidavit for Release from Ignition Interlock License notarized.  It was just after 7:00AM and, this person who’d had an ignition interlock for three years, was trying to get their regular driver’s license back.  The interlock license expired three years ago!  I mentioned that I needed a valid ID and this person whips out a regular but illegal license that expires in 2014.  Somehow, this person had circumvented the system but had been caught again and had to fix it.  This person smelled of alcohol and their hands were shaking terribly.  This person shares the roads with you and me and is still drinking, despite the legal causes out to prevent drinking and driving.  Yes, I noticed it but I didn’t/couldn’t say a thing.  Oh, but I wanted to but what good would it have done?  None, I suppose; it pissed me off.

I had to take a detour while driving to work the other morning and I noticed a boy, about 12-13, running down the sidewalk as if he’d missed his school bus.  I had to stop at the major intersection but I noticed the kid wasn’t stopping at all.  He ran right in front of a truck.  The truck driver quickly slammed on his brakes, spilled obviously hot coffee down the front of him, and began swearing and jumping around in his seat all hotcha-ChaCha-like.  The kid stopped for a second, looked at the driver, flailed his arms, and took off.  Luckily, there wasn’t a car in the far lane and the kid made it all the way across the intersection.  He never looked back.  That poor guy in the truck sat there, pulling his steaming, hot, coffee-covered shirt off his chest while shaking his head and banging on his steering wheel.  He looked up and saw me, got embarrassed, and drove off.  I really felt bad for him.  What the hell, kid?!

Yesterday, around lunchtime, we had a store full of people and all five of us were helping customers.  I was helping two people at a cash register close to the front door.  I was multitasking, greeting customers as they came in, directing them, handling the two transactions at the register, and the rest of my staff were helping multiple customers, as well.  It was just that busy!  An older man was standing at our shipping counter for all of two minutes and yelled out over the din of busy copiers, conversations, and computer’s whizzing, “DOES ANYONE WORK HERE?  I.  NEED.  HELP!” 

It suddenly got quiet (He yelled VERY loudly.) as everyone stopped what they were doing and glanced in his direction.

I raised my hand and yelled, very, very loudly (too loudly, really), “YES SIR AND WHEN WE ARE FINISHED HELPING OUR CUSTOMERS, SOMEONE WILL BE OVER TO HELP YOU DIRECTLY!!” 

I knew I said it too loudly but, really, buddy, do you not have eyes?  Everyone and I mean everyone, chuckled quietly, and the din returned.  A moment later, my shipping-dude went over and tried to help the old guy.  He didn’t want my shipping-dude to help him; he wanted me.  So, we traded places and I went over to help him.  I was ready to be given a hard time when the old codger started flirting with me.

“You must be the one in charge.  I really like how you just took charge of that situation and answered my question.  I saw you from across the room.  Are you married?”

Gah!  Yes, I am, you freak…!  I wanted to say it but I didn’t.  (I never describe myself as being married except for in emergencies.  lol!) I just smiled at him, winked, wiggled my adorned ring finger at him, finished the transaction, and said with a smile (that said ‘Push off!’), “Okay.  You are all taken care of and can be on your way.  I’ve got to help someone else. You have a great day, now.”  I toddled off and helped a little old lady with her calendar project.

I never looked back.

Later, my staff told me that all of their customers were laughing and commenting on the old codger and how funny I was for yelling back at him.  They were watching me with him and, evidently, as he was speaking to me, I blushed.  Damn that I didn’t realize I’d blushed but they all got a big kick out of it.  This time people were more observant of me than I of them.  I just rolled my eyes and… blushed again.  They were all merciless and teased me the rest of the day.  It was all in good fun but, geez, people!!

I hate it when I blush uncontrollably.  I usually know when I blush; I get hot and feel flushed, red in the face, and my head tingles a little.  A cranky, demanding, loud old man made me blush.  Criminy!  So much for Spidey-Senses.

This morning I had my game face on.  No, not my football game face… And, yes, we are going to our first NFL game tomorrow. 

It’s Gabriel’s 12th birthday on Monday and I bought tickets to go to Denver and see the Broncos (his favorite team) and the Chargers (Angela’s favorite team) play for the number one spot in the AFC West divisional, or something like that.  Very exciting! 

No, I had my game face on because Angela and the kids made me breakfast (supposed to be in bed but I don’t like to eat in bed) and I had to look happy about cold waffles (DeMarcus made ‘em.), burnt sausages (Gabriel’s first attempt at making, you know, “raw meat… cooked”), and banana bread (Angela made it and it was delicious.) 

I didn’t blush once and I’m pretty sure they didn’t notice a thing.  Even when I choked a little on the waffles when I heard that DeMarcus made them without first washing his dirty little hands.  Of course, I noticed the look on their faces (beaming with pride and adoration) and the sly little look from Angela as we do share a brain and she knew exactly what I was doing.

Gabriel was particularly proud of himself.  Angela told him it was good for him to learn how to cook so he could cook us meals and be able to cook for himself.  Now, see, this scared the crap out of me because the kid is already eating us out of house and home.  He was just so glad to have been able to, “…do something for Miss Natalie ‘cause she’s just SO awesome.”  He smiled at me so sweetly and so charmingly that I smiled back and thanked him, for the umpteenth time, for making me Breakfast in Bed but Not in Bed.  My smile did not betray the fact that I knew he was buttering me up to be able to play his Nintendo DS and the fact that he’s just so freakin’ excited to be going to a Broncos game AND that I know that he knows that he’s playing me but he’s still being Mr. Bee Charmer about it.  I winked at him and he blew me a kiss.

And that… is when I KNOW I blushed.

Posted by: secretagent39 | November 5, 2009

Dog Psychology

(Not an homage to my secret boyfriend, Cesar Milan.  In case you were wondering…)

Okay, so, the M-F’ing dentist thing is still going on and driving me batshit.  I went to the dentist (endodontic stuff is completed) to get my new crown and, thinking I would just hop in the chair, pop off the old crown and pop on the new one didn’t happen.  The office manager told me she would order and have the crown before the appointment but, ohhhhhhh…. Noooooo…. She di’n’t.  So, instead of being there for, oh, I don’t know, twenty minutes, I was there for an hour and forty five minutes while the dentist took off the old crown, cleaned up the nubby tooth, and put on a temporary crown.  I go back a week from tomorrow for the new, permanent crown.  Supposedly.

I just tried eating dinner: pasta with spinach and cheese.  The M-F’ing temporary crown came off in my mouth and I almost swallowed it.  The spinach was acting like dental floss, all wrapped up under it and, POP!  WTF. I swear to God. M-F’r.  Holy Christ.  I immediately emailed the office manager and asked her  to squeeze me in tomorrow so I could, once again, take time off from work to go take care of some M-F’ing BS work not done correctly (or thoroughly or appropriately or exactly) by this dental office.

*sigh*

Anywho…

Bo is doing well.  He’s just the sweetest, most well-mannered little pooter… ever.  I can’t understand why those people would even think about putting him down just because he kept trying to escape from their house.  I mean, I’ve seen crazy and he just ain’t crazy, man.  He’s a darling and has really gotten along well with everyone in the household.  He’s even doing well with the cat and, well, let’s face it; no one really gets along well with that cat except Mojo.  Bo seems to round out this menagerie quite nicely.  He is, however, slightly arthritic and, every night he asks (Yes, he actually asks…) to get up on the couch and promptly goes to sleep.  He has a fairly strict schedule and just drops once he’s tired.  He is kind of old-man-ish like that but he keeps up with the other dogs during the day and tolerates the boys’ antics and has plenty of energy and personality to trick me into giving him a cookie.

Of course, I am his personal Jesus and that suits me just fine. He follows me like a little shadow and always wants to go everywhere with me.  He rides well in the truck and loves to go to PetSmart.  He doesn’t cause trouble and if there’s trouble to be had, he slinks and cringes and hides.  Poor little soul… He acts like someone is going to kick the crap out of him if you look at him sideways.  I believe someone(s) did just that and, each time he acts scared (scarred), I go out of my way to comfort and soothe him.

I truly believe the reason he fits in so well is because Lulu is a healer dog.  I got her from the pound after I had to put my little cattle dog, Osita, to sleep because she went crazy and tried to kill herself by jumping through a closed window.  Osita was a horrendous ordeal and I finally had had enough.  So, when I heard that neighbor woman say she was going to put Bo down, I somewhat understand her angst but I do not believe she gave him the chance he deserved.  I tried everything, and I mean, almost go to the break the bank place of EVERYTHING, to help Osita.  The vet recommended I put her down.  It was awful.

My heart was broken and Lulu, goofy little puppy that she was/is, helped in the healing.  Then Angela and I got together and Lulu was perfect with the boys.  Then, Lulu got DeMarcus talking and it was almost as if she’d performed a miracle.  Then she peed on the back porch and in the basement a bunch of times and I realized she wasn’t a saint and I got mad at her but forgave her, just the same.  God knows… If I had to pee outside in the Chicago cold I might consider it better to pee in the basement…

Criminy.  What in the hell am I talking about?  I digress…

Lulu wouldn’t put up with Bo’s territorialism over the food bowl and gently told him it wasn’t okay.  He responded positively because she wasn’t going to fight him but she wasn’t going to put up with his crap, either.  I love the simplicity of dog relationships.  It just is what it is and… Hey, Man… Deal with it.  Yesterday, I caught the cat rubbing up against Lulu in a totally, “I love you” kind of way.  When he saw me see him, he flipped his tail and strutted off as if nothing had happened.  Uh huh.  We all feel that way, Kitty Q, and it’s nothing to be all-cat-ashamed-I-just-loved-on-the-dog-like.  Lulu is our healing heart pup.

 Bo now sleeps next to Lulu and actually lets Mr. Spazz-o, Mojo, lay almost on top of him.  He has short hair and knows Mojo is a curly little heater.  I bought him a sweater and he tolerates it but would prefer to wear Mojo especially when they are outside.  Lulu lets him eat out of her bowl.  He picks out the soft bits (the best part) and then goes back to eating out of his bowl.  It’s really sweet.  I think she knows he’s an old guy who had a rough first part of his life.

We are all willing to cut him some slack.  It’s easy.  Love him up, let him sleep on the couch, give him the soft bits, and the rewards are definitely worth it.  He looks at Lulu with adoring eyes.  He leans into me and almost hugs me with his paws.  He licks the boys gently.  He squishes in with Angela and snuggles with her.  He walks by the cat really fast and averts eye contact.  (He’s a smart, smart dog.)  If he has to go out in the middle of the night, he is the only soul brave enough to attempt to awaken me.  He will gently put his paws up, lifts my hand or arm with his nose, and then carefully stands back with ears alert.  He’s been doing this all week, around 3 (formerly 4) in the morning because of Daylight Savings time.  He’s so sweet about it that I automatically get up and let him out.

Life is good. Dog psychology is fascinating.  Bo is happy.  TDC (The Damn Cat) is happy (and right now is messing with Mojo under my desk.)  Lulu is happy all the time.  I love that about her.  The boys are having trouble adjusting to this weirdness with bedtime and Daylight Savings.  Two meltdowns each this week is enough!  I think Angela and I are experiencing some sleep deprivation from all of it.  We’ll be okay… If we can just get a few minutes, hours, days (God have Mercy!) ALONE!

Now, if I can just get this dental thingy done and over with, all will be well.  ‘Cause, you know, the holidays are right around the corner.  I cannot believe that it is November already.  Where did this year go and, wow, a lot has happened.  It’s all good.  Every morning I click my heels together and tell myself there’s no place like home.  Then Lulu, Mojo, and Bo come bounding into the office and shower me with love as if they haven’t seen me in a week.

I really love that.

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