Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Flea Factor

I was the star this week of a hit reality show called Flea Factor. Ya know, the one where your biggest fears are tested and you either survive or cripple in a moment's worth of willies. My fear: fleas.

My dog is perfect. I mean, duh. Besides the chewed up window blinds, sporadic carpet soilings, neurotic door scratching, and obsessive licking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my dog. So, imagine my surprise when on this perfect tuft of fur, I found a fucking flea.

Princeton gets a bath, oh, ya know, every three days. The dog is as clean as Danny Tanner's countertops. I mean, sometimes I don't even want to take him for a walk because I want to maintain his pristinely bathed coat as long as possible. I'm tellin' ya: the little man could perform open heart surgery. Dr. Princeton. I like it.

Anyway, I noticed he'd been scratching this spot in his groin area. No big deal. He's a self-scratcher, OCD-style. Around the same time, Bryan and I noticed we had identical clusters of small blemishes that itched on our arms. We figured some hungry bugs got to us outside on a walk.

So when my mom and I found a sick, slick, quick-moving critter on Princeton's tummy the size of a tip of a flathead screw driver, I jumped! And so did Princeton when we pulled his fur out to catch the intruder. And so did the flea when we tried to kidnap him from his canine blood buffet. Those guys jump. Apparently, 3 to 6 feet. On the third try, we (my mom) finally nipped the flea from P's skin and watched him go bye-bye down the sink drain. Awesomeness. But common sense tells us that when there's one, there are many more, so my already-heavy neuroses increased greatly and I suddenly had to know everything about fleas and clean-up and prevention.

There's really no way to describe my horror and panic upon learning that Princeton is a flea bus. That means, then, that there's absolutely no way in any dimension to describe my horror upon finding out that Princeton's flea bus hosted stowaway passengers: Tapeworm!


Quick research told me that fleas carry tapeworm and if they get swallowed by a relief-seeking dog, the tapeworm lives in the dog's intestines. Tapeworm can be 1 to 3 feet long and resemble an ongoing spaghetti. Gross. Seriously, GROSS. As the tapeworm sheds itself from the pup's rear, it releases little tiny granules of what looks like uncooked rice. Hmm. Okay. Funny. Just 2 days before the Great Flea Debacle of 2008, I was making my bed and thought to myself, "That's weird. I haven't cooked rice in the bedroom. Okay. Whatever!" I picked it up and flicked it toward the trash. So, back to present time...  ohmyfuckinggosh.  PRINCETONHASTAPEWORMANDINOTONLYTOUCHEDITBUTIIGNOREDITANDNOWHEISGOINGTODIE.

That's it. I was bouncing off the walls. I was hysterical. The dog mom in me was panicked for her innocent furbaby and the germ freak in me was having a fit about the larvae and the pupae and all the other disgusting vocabulary I was learning in my Fleasearch.

At home, I immediately washed my sheets, vacuumed the carpets and obsessively checked Princeton for more. I didn't sleep a wink and I woke up the next morning to call the vet. They normally don't see you if you just need to solve a flea problem, but the tapeworm warranted a sit-down with the doc, so Princeton strutted into the vet's office, completely unaware of his creepy subletters and what it would take to evict them.

We discussed flea treatment and decided on Comfortis. It's a monthly pill that is supposed to kill fleas on contact. Hell yeah! And then the doctor explained that one squirt of an injection in Princeton's shoulderblade area would kill the tapeworm inside of him. Injection? Uh oh. The vet instructed me to hold Princeton's collar and scratchy-scratch behind his ears while warning me that it's one of the most painful shots he has to give, which will make Princeton cry for a minute or two from the sting. Oh.

Lemme tell ya, Doc didn't get his license from being stupid. Brother was right on. Poor Princeton wailed and wailed with little whimpers and cries sprinkled between. He was in so much pain and had had no idea what happened to him. Poor guy. Poor mother. I was just as much a wreck. I feigned a pretty bad smile of understanding, but really, I wanted to hide under the chair in the corner just like Princeton did after the shot. I felt awful. I've never seen the baby in so much pain and it broke my heart.

$199 later, we scurried back to the car, anxious to get home and get the pill to work. Poor boy is still itching a little, but I haven't spotted any other fleas. Whatever was left on him should have died within an hour of Princeton taking the pill, so hopefully it remains a miracle drug that all the message board reviews claim it is because I just cannot handle one more minute of my poor pooch in pain and my OCD on overdrive.

Kids, spay, neuter and flea-prevent your pets!

Or this

P the Model

will be home to this:



Ugh. Nightmares.

Must end blog with pretty picture:

me with P laying down

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Wonderful Opening

After six long weeks of rehearsals that included tons of conflicts, varied venues, and difficult music to learn, our cast enjoyed a great opening weekend of A Wonderful Life: The Musical.

I haven't talked about it very directly in my blog. I mean, it IS the reason why I haven't blogged much in the past month and a half because it's taken up a lot of my hours that I normally devote to blogging. But now that the show has opened and I've given it my own little stamp of approval, I thought I'd share my pride and excitement for this musical take on a holiday classic.

To be perfectly honest, the source musical material is not spectacular. With the music and lyrics team behind the piece (Harnick and Raposo), I expected more. There is a handful of catchy, toe-tappin' songs, but a lot of them don't gel with my preference in musical theater numbers. Thankfully, everyone knows the story and has related to Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey throughout life, so the mediocre music doesn't affect the wonderful show. Our cast sealed the deal with a stellar leading man who acts the part perfectly and has gained my respect as a fellow actor, and the performance for his wife, Mary Hatch Bailey, is extremely likeable and I'm glad to call her my off-stage friend.

I always adore seeing my husband up on stage. It's just so much fun to what you love with the one you love. Bryan plays Ernie, the cab driver and is an important part of the show. Plus, he's dead sexy in a cabbie hat.

I have a bit part as Ruth Bailey (as well as featured ensemble roles) and I'm having a terrific time bringing Ruth and other wacky characters of Bedford Falls to life. Over opening weekend, I received some great compliments about my work on stage and I'm glad that my efforts have been recognized. I always put a great deal of thought into my characters so I can represent the material with truth and reality in the pretend world on stage. I've never received the same compliments with such sincerity in previous productions, so I finally feel like I've leapt into a new category of capabilities. It feels like a million bucks and I look forward to future hurdles and challenges that my passion for theatre brings.

Overall, I think the next five weeks of shows will be super fun. Best Man Extraordinaire Brian is also in the show and he actually plays my husband! We have a great time on stage together and it's so clear why my Ruth loves his Harry Bailey! He's a fantastic dancer and looks resplendent in his military getup!

I think this holiday season will be just a little sweeter with this show catapulting us into the end of December. It is heartwarming and fun and really, who can resist that little pile of adorableness, Little Zuzu, when she says "Listen Daddy! Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings!" ?? Only a Scrooge. But that's a totally different show altogether!

image Dress rehearsal photo of my "husband" Harry Bailey toasting his newly rich brother George (I'm right next to him, not yet wigged!)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What a trick-or-TREAT!

Ever since I started planning my wedding, I started looking at photographers' blogs to catch up on the current trends in photography and weddings. I learned so much about styles of photos and reception decor, yes, but I also learned about the publishing of a blog.

I'd be lying if I said the wedding photography blogs I read didn't inspire me to create my own blog almost a year ago. And while I have no intentions to be a professional photographer or work in the wedding business, I've always wanted to blog like a wedding photographer. Their blog entries are so personal -- not about themselves -- but about their subjects. They really write beautifully AND showcase their gorgeous photos and by the end of the post, you feel like the featured person or couple are your best friend.

Some of my favorite photographers categorize their blog entries:

Day After: Marge and Homer, Anytime: Wilma and Barney, Wedding: Lucy and Fred... and then follow with a series of photos from that shoot.

Well, for one day, I present to you :::cue:  magical fairy dust and bell chime flourish music:::



Halloween: Princeton

Princeton is a sweet dog with a great personality. He's such a loving creature and enjoys the company of his human friends and family. His good looks and expressive face make him a wonderful photography subject, so on Halloween we conducted his very first photoshoot with many poses and candid moments. Princeton, all dolled up in his PetSmart pumpkin costume, worked the camera and was totally feroche. I love when my clients feel comfortable in front of the camera so I can really capture creative poses. Princeton was so cool; he pretty much did anything I told him and was open to my ideas. Thanks, Princeton, for letting me a part of your special first Halloween! And now, without further ado, Princeton as the Great Pumpkin.

IMG_2965IMG_2970 IMG_3000 IMG_3010 IMG_3006 IMG_2987 IMG_2967

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friend Pride

I love my friends. Really, I do. I have great little circles of friends in recent years and I enjoy the time I spend with them. That means, when something great happens for them, I get all squealy and excited for their success.

It's especially inspiring when one of your friends goes after her dream and builds it to a reality. This dream has completed several little benchmarks along the way over the past almost-year, but she's hit a big one: official -- and  official-looking -- Internet real estate!

My friend Jordana is a photographer and she is really talented. I mean, beyond talented. I want to create special events out of thin air so I can have some fun with her in front of the camera. She was a beautiful bride herself, so she knows a thing or two about what and how to capture the perfect moments.

Not only does she rock the snapper, she has a beautiful way with words. She paints them into her blog and they complement her photos ever so gracefully. It's a union of two really great and sentimental artistic devices. I'm a word nerd myself, so I get extra giddy when I read Jordana's blog entries.

And I am proud to show off Hazelnut Photography -- a little play on words with her name: Go see some eye candy and read word dessert -- and then book her for your event. Girl's gotta quit The Man job and devote all the time to love -- her's and your's!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Analyzing the Dog Park Culture

With the help of veteran dog owner friends, we've discovered the wonders of the local dog park and have enjoyed taking Princeton there for his socialization and exercise.

Wait, who am I kidding? It is pure entertainment for us. It's not always in the form of dogs either. Some of these owners are interesting.

But the big belly laughs and coos and "Aaawww"s come from watching the dogs play together. Or, in some cases, try to play together.

You see, the dog park is like high school. There are always a couple of dogs who are the leaders. The cool kids. This would be equivalent to the varsity quarterback or the student body president. This dog runs around wherever he or she pleases and a swarm of dogs buzzes around him or her, wanting to follow its every move.

That brings me to the followers. There are a bunch of loyal subjects who bow-wow down to the popular dog. These dogs are always a few steps behind and compete with other peer-level dogs for the popular dog's attention (which usually means mounting).

Then there are the dorks. It's probably easier to be a dog dork than a human dork as dogs don't really judge as harshly as humans do, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. The dog dorks run around with the playing dogs on the outskirts of their cluster. They keep trying to get "in" with a series of hops and tumbles, but they never quite make it. No one chases them and they can't break through the mold. You can usually see the owners sulking in disappointment that their dogs aren't accepted into the group. You know they're just saying things like "oh, Puggy, if only you didn't waddle so much and you could run a little faster, you could be in the cool crowd." The culture kills me; it's just too funny.

The dog park is like a microcosm of the real world in an ideal place.

For example, humans are not as friendly as dogs are. When passing by, we don't greet each other with a "hello" or a "how do you do?" In fact, we're considered overly friendly and invasive if we manage to make eye contact and half a smile. Dogs, however, just run up and sniff. Either they like what they sniff and continue the salutation or it doesn't knock their paws off and they move on. No hard feelings. Here, Princeton and a fellow pal sniff-hello. IMG_2816

When other dogs see two dogs socializing, they're more apt to join in. This doesn't happen in people world either. Most people are intimidated by what looks like an already-formed group. But for dogs, hey, the more the merrier.IMG_2824

But then, just like people, there are dogs out there who are all alone. They don't have anyone who loves them or anyone to love back. It warms my heart to see humans who come through and help the lonely dogs find homes. We do more for lonely dogs than we do for lonely people. IMG_2829 Fortunately, the lonely dog always can find friends at the dog park.IMG_2827 I'd like to think that my Princeton and our friend Scotty are giving him a pup pep talk and feeding him some encouragement.

As we humans do, and as I've done in this blog, we personify dogs. It's easier to relate to them that way, I suppose. So when we see dogs try to show dominance, we giggle because it looks like sex. And sometimes it actually is, but in so many ways, it's the dog version of a buff and confident human man flexing his muscles or a pretty and available woman who walks hip to hip in killer heels. But deep down, I am a child and I still think this is hysterical.IMG_2825 Looks like he's not so lonely after all.

For the record, Scotty constantly does this to Princeton, too. In fact, I think Princeton is walking away on the right side of the picture because he feels a little betrayed. See? There we go with the personifying again.

But really, at the end of the day, especially a dirty, funny, and doggone happy time at the dog park, it's all about family in any combination. We love our dogs and we want the best for them, so we constantly try to provide them with the best lives they can have.

So we run with them in flip flops through the doggy yard:IMG_2815


We pet them and tell them "good boy!" and "good girl!"IMG_2817 

We collect our favorites and help find them specialized homes:IMG_2843

We document family time together:


We also make discoveries! It wasn't until the dog park outings that we realized Princeton is quite an athlete. He certainly didn't get his track and field genes from his parents! The Twelve Pound Turbo really turns it on and goes nuts around the grass. Take a look!

A Batch of Photos of the Bachelorette!

The only bachelorette party I'd ever been to was my own so my first night out as a pal of the bride was super fun! The girl of honor was Janice and we had a night full of penis cakes, sushi, sex trivia and baseball fans!

Keren and I met Janice's friends at her house where we toasted her and watched her don her condom crown and must-wear bachelorette sash.


We waited and waited for the surprise stripper, "Billy the airline pilot" to show up, but it turns out, he was stuck in traffic. Probably better that way -- we got to Sushi Roku in Santa Monica sooner where we could order more drinks and enjoy some yummy food. Plus, who needs a stripper that's moronic enough to not leave enough time to drive from Orange County to Glendale on a Saturday night? Next time, we'll order strippers who also serve on the board of the Harvard Alumni Association.

Even though the stripper didn't show up, looks like Janice will have to take some stripping into her own hands! Look at the gifts she got! Ay ay ay!

IMG_2853 Uh oh, gotta return it. It's defected - they left out some fabric on top...

IMG_2855 She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weenie little purple string bikini...


Dinner was yummy! Always heard of Sushi Roku and booked many o' power lunches there for my old bosses at Fox. Very swanky inside. Expected to see Ari Gold burst through the doors.

IMG_2857 The MOH and bride pose with their dinners

Wendy, the domestic (and phallic) diva baked us dessert. She endearingly differentiated the flavors as Vanilla McCain and Chocolate Obama. Way to keep the cakes current!

IMG_2858 IMG_2859 Janice gets ready to, um, blow out the candle.

We finally found ourselves on cute-and-trendy Main Street to enjoy the low-key surroundings of O'Brien's Pub. We had a table reserved for us and the drinking began. Unfortunately, the "Irish Band" wasn't very Irish so we stayed in our corner and enjoyed our own private Girl Talk and, of, course, penis lollipops. What's a bachelorette party without a bevy of below-the-belt props?

IMG_2861 Keren and I with our penis pops. Mine was Chocolate Chubby flavored.

IMG_2863 Playin' to the camera, Janice and Wendy enjoyed their Penis Colada pops and Debra picked Chocolate Chubby like me.

This got us thinking: do boys play with boob things at bachelor parties? Yes? No? Discuss.

The bar started filling up, notably with the Dodger Stadium crowd who had just returned either to drink sorrows away  -- if Cubs fans -- or to celebrate hardcore -- if Dodger fans. After all, Janice's Bachelorette Party night shall share the same historical date with the Dodgers, who swept the Chicago Cubs, clinching the NLDS title for the first time since 1988. This is a big deal. October Fourth Two Thousand Eight: Janice's bachelorette party AND the Dodgers beat the Cubs to move ahead closer to the World Series.

This brings us to The Boys. A pair of cute boys (fittingly, the Dodger fan remarkably cuter) joined our table later in the night and conducted themselves appropriately around the bachelorette: The Cub fan, um, flirted:

IMG_2871 IMG_2870 

And the Dodger fan bought our bride a drink.

And. He. Was. Hot.


We all gushed like little girls. It was funny. (Aside: He's a fellow Wildcat. We talked about UofA and exchanged stories. He's also from Alaska. Cue the handful of Sarah Palin and moose hunting questions).

Before we left, we played with the camera and exchanged shots to document our fun night out.

IMG_2866 IMG_2868 IMG_2867IMG_2873 

HAPPY BACHELORETTE JANICE! We can't wait for your wedding next weekend! If this is any indication of what a hot bride you'll be, we can't wait for the real thing!


Friday, September 12, 2008

A PUPlic Service Announcement

Don't get your tail between your legs. I am happy to report some news that is really something to woof home about.

While on an Olympics of errands with my mom and Princeton last week, we had to choreograph a shopping-with-dog routine: I run inside and get what I need; Mom stands outside with Princeton on a leash while passersby fall in love with his sweet adorableness (that last part may or may not be true, but, psssh, how could they not?). Good thing I was quick, I knew what I had to buy, and I chose good lines. This is what we decided to do when my mom and I spent the day together and we both wanted to hang with the P-man. It's that whole "have your milkbone and eat it too" scenario.

The final stop of the day was Bed, Bath and Beyond. We got out of the car and I promised I'd be quick while my mom waited outside with her granddog.

Only a pawful of minutes later, and I heard my name while browsing through the pillow section. Much to my surprise, the person calling it was my mom and before I could panic about where my dog was, I saw that he was in her arms. In the store. In the pillow section.

Was I dreaming? Was I in Europe? I've been so conditioned to thinking that here in our country where dog is man's best friend, we can't bring our pets into public, commercial spaces. It's always been ruff on me.

Turns out, a super nice BB&B employee saw my mom outside and told her dogs are allowed in the store. Company allows it. In fact, it's encouraged. So, into the store they came!

Say what?! Dogs are allowed in BB&B? Oh hell yes, BB&B is now my new favorite store.

So we had fun showing Princeton the ways of corporate retail America.

For example:

noname2 Had to document Princeton's first time in a shopping cart.

noname1 "Mom, what in dog's name am I doing in here and why is this so exciting for you?"

(and yes, apparently I am that dogmom who talks for her dog... at least in blog).

We even shot real, live video courtesy of mediocre-quality video camera-phone. My mom and I laugh at ourselves for having too much fun with this novel experience:

I'm so excited to take Princeton shopping with me again. Being productive while enjoying the company of the cutest little man in the world really makes you feel like you're getting so much more bang for your bark. Um, buck.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

Bryan and I are trying to be more cost and health conscious of what we eat. We constantly find ourselves going out to dinner and it turns into a habit that's not good for either our bellies or our wallets. So, with some inspiration from some cookbooks, we went to Costco, bought, bought, bought, and planned our meals. As they say, it's all about planning.

I bought a behemoth bag of sweet onions. I figured I'd find something to do with them. A brisket. Some stir fry. Eh, sure, why not. Plopped 'em in the cart. But I really didn't realize HOW MANY onions were in the bag until I came back to reality and entered our tiny kitchen. The area of half the kitchen was taken up by onions! (By the way, just relearned that area = width times height. Very exciting).

So I had to get crafty. I sifted through our other purchases. A gazillion pounds of tri-tip. A trillion slices of turkey. An infinity of multigrain slices of bread. Neither of these would do. It sure is easy to get caught up in the dreamy world of buying in bulk. You think "so what if I don't finish 452 onions? It only cost this much for this many!" Somehow, that logic trumps "we are only one male and one female of average size." This family of 2 bought for a small country and I had no idea what to make.

Then I found it! We had also bought some pre-made pulled pork that you just heat up and voila! instant sandwich a la our many lunches poolside in Hawaii. So, in order to recreate our honeymoon, we decided to make onion rings, pulled pork sandwiches topped with sweet BBQ sauce and pineapple. Done and done!

Not so fast.

I assumed onion rings would be easy. And in hindsight, they actually are, but when I see 5 inches of column space devoted to a recipe in the world famous "The Joy of Cooking" with 3 different page references to other ingredients' sub-recipes, I get a little intimidated. So when Bryan heard the non-G-rated words coming out of my mouth, he came to the rescue. My attempt to be Betty Crocker turned into my husband saving the dinner and shall thus be named Bobby Crocker when working in the kitchen.

Bryan's Best Friend and Best Man, Brian, was joining us for dinner so I was hoping to treat him to something delicious. My frustration wasn't helping and "treating" wasn't the right word anymore since I wasn't such a treat myself. Thankfully, Bryan helped me create the batter (made out of beer, flour, eggs, pepper, and paprika) and then I proceeded to get into a rhythm of dredging, dipping, and placing the onions onto a rack. It was kind of fun! Nevermind that the house stunk for days after; we were pretty proud to say we could fry stuff.

IMG_0328 Dredging the onions in the batter before placing them in the 360-degree pot of oil (this required a last-minute trip to the market upon realization that we had no frying thermometer).

IMG_0329 Sizzle sizzle. No calories. Nope. None. Yup.

IMG_0330 Alton Brown, our kitchen idol from Food Network says to place fried-anything on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath for less grease AND easy cleanup. That's my man.

IMG_0331 Side by side: before and after!

IMG_0332 Finally! The plated onion rings. They tasted pretty good! All in all, they took about only 20 minutes to make from dredging to plating. Not bad.

IMG_0333 The boys enjoy their manly meal. Notice the room is smoky. It smelled just as thick as it looks. Ugh. But whatever, tasted good.

With each successful meal we miraculously throw together, I am inspired to cook the next. So far, our experiment of eating in and eating healthy has been working great! We are satisfied and feel in control of what we put in our bodies and that's a great feeling! Plus, more time at home means more time with Princeton! Can't have a post without a shout out to the little man!


Monday, August 25, 2008

Let's play: Get To Know Your Chain Store or Restaurant

Okay, I've had it. I can't stand listening to established, cultured human beings constantly refer to pop culture places of business by a name that they are just... not!

Read the name on the building, people. It's something different than what you're saying.

This rant stems from my reading and hearing gross misnomers of popular places. For example, Nordstroms.


Nordstroms? Really? Go read it. What does it say?

No "S." Perhaps if you are planing on shopping at more than 2 Nordstrom department stores, you'd say "I need more expensive, fancy underwear so I'll be going to 42 Nordstroms today." But that's probably not the case 99.999999% of the time. Therefore, if you plan on shopping to the tune of the baby grand piano, just simply say "The half yearly sale at Nordstrom is tomorrow. Yay!" and call it a day. Perhaps this gross mispronunciation of an additional "S" comes from other stores that DO have an "S" (usually possessive) in their names, such as Macy's or Mervyn's. That shouldn't matter though. It's a simple task of reading and repeating.

This above phenomenon goes for deliciously-famous-for-gigantic-portions Claim Jumper. I constantly hear Claim Jumpers. And it's wrong. Nope. One. Just one claim jumper. Only one little mean miner guy who violates another man's land claim. One. See? I'm not even lying:


Get ready, because this one really irks me. Not only does it change the spelling, but changes the meaning! Ready? Ok, here it is. The violation: Victoria Secrets.

WHAT?! Really?

I'm cutting to the chase. It's Victoria's Secret. See here:

I mean, the running joke for years and years and years has been "Wonder what's Victoria's Secret even IS?" If the name was actually <shudder> Victoria Secrets, than that little wink-wink-nudge-nudge of a joke wouldn't even make sense!  I guess I just don't understand why it's so difficult to make the proper noun possessive and keep the 2nd noun singular. It's a story, an enticing name of a lingerie store. It's something to discover: "If you come in here and try on these ridiculously small panties, you shall discover .... Victoria's Secret." Oooooo. It's stupid and dramatic, but it's a multi-gazillion dollar business with a published, branded name. Use it.

The rules of English just make sense to me the same way the rules of math make sense to other people (NOT me! I wish!). While I have my frustrations with gross misprintings of words -- commonly seen are possessive vs. plural issues -- I think this (Nordstroms, Claim Jumpers, Victoria Secrets) bites at me more because, well, they're all proper names. The work's been done for us. We don't have to think. We just have to read it and pronounce it (or write it). It's a simple game of copy-cat. And yet, it's still  a problem. If we can't even just mimic an already-created and branded name, then society will never get the actual rules of English that need real, actual attention.