Need a Susie Whisperer? Random Acts of Chat

This photo is begging for a caption dogs begging for treats

My husband, Danny, and I watched the Dog Whisperer on TV last Saturday. An aggressive Ridgeback named George needed to learn submissive behavior. When leashed, he disobeyed his owners and picked up rocks along the trail.

So the dog picks up a rock and that’s a terrible thing because… I sipped my coffee and half-listened while skimming the newspaper.

The show’s host, Caesar Millan, explained the root problem for most aggressive behavior: Insecurity.

My ears perked up. That sounded a lot like human behavior.

Caesar planned to introduce George to a huge pack of similar size dogs including Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. He mentioned if he didn’t show control over George when introduced to the pack, the Ridgeback would be attacked and torn apart.

Well, that seemed risky. More than twenty humongous dogs circled Caesar and poor George inside the enclosure, but I trusted Caesar. *gulp*

Caesar unsnapped George’s leash and the dog’s tail and ears descended. George snarled. Caesar sprang to action and cornered George. He commanded him to lay down. He never touched the dog or praised it.

When George showed calm behavior, ears and tail up, he was allowed to check out the group. The pack took turns sniffing the new dog in all the best smelly dog places. Accepted, the Ridgeback had a wild romp with others in the pack.

Later, Caesar introduced rocks to George. The Ridgeback looked at him like, why would I want to play with those stupid things when I have all these fine canine friends?”

Reunited with his owners, George walked down a rocky trail and ignored rocks and other dogs. His owners couldn’t believe the dog’s transformation.

Credits rolled at the end of the show.

ME: Wow! Did you see that? One minute he was freaking out and the next, the dog was having a blast. He just needed to know Caesar was in control.

DANNY: I need a Susie Whisperer.

ME: I have one. They’re called writers conferences. *wags tail*


31 Days…

31 days...

31 days. Slanted October light slices through the trees, casting shadows that creep across the withered landscape. Trees groan when wind claws brittle leaves from their branches. In shades of gold and blood-red scarlet to tawny brown they pirouette and spiral high in the sky, then sigh in resignation and finally rest upon the ground to rot. The same cool breeze touches my skin with icy fingertips sending ripples of shivers along my backbone. I wrap my arms around myself for warmth.

31 days. Each one of them a transition. Summer’s finale explodes in a burst of color. It’s the landscape’s last farewell to a fallow season of frenzied production. While plants prepare for months of rest, winter gathers its strength. It flexes with every stolen minute of daylight. You can feel its looming presence in the gloam of night while it waits, its cold breath on your neck.

31 days. The lengthening darkness brings back memories of spooky tales and giggles shared in youth. Corn mazes open along the highway. Crowds gather for haunted historic tours in cities and towns alike. Haunted houses advertise creepy adventures created to thrill and incite shrieks. Many long to recapture the feeling of fright night. We may buy a pumpkin to carve on Halloween night.

31 days. October 1st is the beginning of the end of the year. Only three months remain. Then the holidays will arrive with high expectations. They require planning and preparation, inducing stress. But October’s expectations are low. It’s a simple month. A month of enjoying walks while leaves crunch underneath our shoes with the acrid smell decomposition in the air. A month of enjoying the harvest, apple cider and pumpkin-spiced everything. A month of watching birds flock up and take flight in undulating shapes while geese fly in arrows pointing south. It’s a month of golden lighting and brilliant sunsets. Sometimes snow flies in an early winter surprise.

31 days. It’s time for scary movies, psychological thrillers, Hitchcock, Poe and King. The tingles race across our arms as our heart’s rapid pace quickens. We may have seen these films many times, but the best diabolical villains will still steal our breath once more. We may watch in terror or for amusement, but most of us will watch at least one of them. As All Hallow’s Eve approaches, we get into the haunting mood.

31 days. I’ll prepare for Halloween night by decorating. I’ll pull out my dead guys to freak out the mailman and hang spider webs in the hall. Lights will be hung in haphazard lines outside the house and pumpkins will sit on the doorstep. Once again my kitchen will be transformed. The strobe light and fog machine will be at the ready. It won’t be long until little goblins come to call.

31 days. On the 31st, I’ll don my Morticia Addams outfit, paint my lips and eyes. I’ll tee up scary music and turn up the speakers. Bags of candy will sit in the three-legged kettle near the door. I’ll peek out the window and wait for the doorbell to ring.

31 days. The month will end. We’ll lose an hour and our days will plunge into darkness. Winter will come. From a blaze of color to dazzling white, we’ll all adjust to another season as the year comes to a close.

But for now, I’ll enjoy October’s 31 days. I hope you will too.

What do you enjoy about October?


New Expressions for 2015 – In Response to Esquire

Do you get bored with expressions? I do. I avoid, “Awesome,” like an f-bomb. Okay. That’s not true. I occasionally f-bomb. Last year, Stacey Woods, a writer for Esquire’s Culture Blog, listed twenty-seven sayings or slang that had to go. This year she’s not messing around. She listed fifty of them!

I chose a few and came up with substitutions. I’m sure they will be the latest new expressions for 2015!

“Rockin’ out” is out.

This dog is ampin’ it with his jazz hands!

TrueGif (11)

Being “over it,” is over. Continue reading

I Am Going Straight to Hell or Household Confessional


Being a product of Catholic upbringing, I carry around my fair share of guilt. As a child, the night before making my Confession at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, I would lie awake trying to recall all of my most recent transgressions. Disobeying seemed to be at the top of the list most months. Why was it so hard to Honor thy Father and thy Mother? I guess I was never that kid who jumped when I was called to help. When the devil named laziness beckoned, I followed. “In a minute!” was my mantra and then I would conveniently forget.

Now that I am an adult, life has gotten a lot more complicated. I still stare at the ceiling some nights with one regret or another because try as I may, I am still far from perfect. Being Human sucks sometimes. But there is a new transgression that has seeped into my psyche and can cause that same sick feeling of guilt. I recite a slightly different mantra, “Oh, just this once.” Maybe I don’t lose sleep over it, but the pang at the time of committing the offense is the same. My shoulder slump when I have let myself down. Once again laziness is at the core of this new evil deed.

I am paving my way to RECYCLE HELL! Okay to be honest I am extremely OCD about separating my trash. I have three bins under my sink which I periodically empty out into large containers in the garage. One is for non-recyclable waste and another is for mixed use, such as paper, aluminum cans, and glass. If I make a mistake, I stuff my hand down into the garbage and fish out the misplaced rubbish. After all I figure hands are washable, right? But I have the biggest problem with the newest addition to the recycling family. Compost is by far the smelliest and the most foul. Ugh! I scrape most of the disgusting food down the garbage disposal. I fill my composting bin with any other leftovers which would otherwise result in having to call a plumber or cause the replacement of the unit.

But that’s not all dear reader. (This is hard for me.) I admit that one time while cleaning out my refrigerator, I came upon an old jar whose contents had become an unrecognizable organism. After staring at the specimen (probably from 2002), for several minutes, my hands began to shake. As I turned on the water and the disposal, I began talking myself through what was almost inconceivable to me. I had survived changing many repulsive and leaky diapers, the messes made by my dog after she ate several chocolate kisses, and I have removed the puke off all kinds of surfaces. I knew I could do this.

I gathered my courage and began to unscrew the lid. I turned my head as far away from the aberrant jar somewhat resembling an owl as I squinted while peeking over my shoulder. It wouldn’t budge. I had to run water over the container to loosen the gooey slime. Then using all my strength until my arms quivered in exhaustion, the jar suddenly untwisted, simultaneously unleashing the most vile, repugnant, and nauseating smell of death I have ever experienced. Not daring to inhale again, I glanced inside to determine if I could just throw it under the tap to squelch the rot and dispose of the revolting glop, but was horrified at the discovery of an other-worldly array of colored mold which seemed to move as the air struck its membrane. It was no use. The mold had sucked any moisture the gunge once possessed in a previous life form. I had reached my limit. With trembling hands I returned the lid to the top of the jar (warning – this might be too much for you to read) and screwed it back on.

Then I looked around to see if anyone would observe the sin I was about to commit. The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not throw recyclables in the trash. I ran with my quarry through the back door to the garage, opened the cover on the small garbage pail and threw it in. With a resounding bang, my fate was sealed. I dragged myself back into the kitchen with heavy shoulders and thought to myself, “I am so weak.” Then I cried out to no one in particular, “Next time I will be stronger!”

I know I have disappointed you. I make myself sick too, but I can assure you it hasn’t happened very often. I remember seeing the final scene of The 9th Gate when Dean Corso played by Johnny Depp willingly stepped through the fiery gates of Hell. Although it was a dramatic ending, I don’t really believe in an afterlife filled with fire and brimstone. Being buried “alive” in compostable garbage would be a more horrible fate for me. If I do go to Recycle Hell, it will be kicking and screaming!

Do you feel a pang of guilt when you don’t recycle? 

Click here to read about garbage and recycling fun facts.

Click here for an article in the August 22nd Boulder Daily Camera newspaper about harnessing landfill methane gas 


Do You Believe in VS Angels?

The first time I was in a Victoria’s Secret, I purchased a “gift” for my husband. At that time the store appealed to adult women and the lingerie could be quite bawdy.  I chose a see-thru push-up bra “teddy” with a killer thong. Later that evening, during a lovely candlelit dinner, I found the undergarments so uncomfortable even I couldn’t wait to get home to take them off!


Photo by Wonderlane from Seattle, USA

Over the years, VS has transformed their image to appeal to a younger crowd. Whenever I have crossed their threshold to buy a gift for my daughter, the salesgirls looked at me as if I was an ancient relic since I am the age of most of their mothers. I have to admit to having a drawer full of bikini and French cut undies, but only one thong “won” at a silent auction. Whenever I have considered buying their tiny panties, I would pick one up to examine it, shake my head, and set it back down into the bin of other colorful tiny panties. Since it is usually the first display in their store, I have always left before making my way to the bras.

One night my husband and I were invited to a party. I flipped through the dresses in my closet and found one I had been too shy to wear because of its plunging neckline. Realizing that décolletage is very much in style, I stuffed my push up bra, took a deep breath and slipped on the dress. I joined my now wide-eyed husband, held my head high and didn’t look down. Once I arrived, I received a few comments relating to the fact that I had exposed my curves.

“In order for me to have any cleavage at all, I need to stuff these pads into my bra.” I fished them out to show my girlfriends.

My more knowledgeable friend said, “They should look like this!” She grabbed either side of my boobs, pushed them together and continued, “All you need is a Victoria’s Secret bra. They have one that really smooshes them together.”

Well enough said. The following week, I crept into a VS filled with teenagers and twenty-somethings as usual. With hip-hop music blaring, I scanned the predominantly pink space for the elusive bra. A youthful blonde salesclerk asked, “Are you looking for something in particular?”

I looked around not sure if she had been addressing me since the store was packed with shoppers. “A bra that smooshes my boobs together,” I responded, quoting my friend.

Very sexy bras

“Do you want one that makes you 2 sizes larger?” she said rather loudly.

“No,” I replied and instantly my face heated up like a stove burner on a high setting. “I would just like some cleavage,” I mumbled.

“I think you are looking for our ‘Very Sexy’ bra.” After showing me a few wild patterns and colors, I settled on an unadorned black bra. It looked harmless enough.

I stepped into the fitting room and took off my t-shirt and sweater. I looked at myself topless in the mirror and thought, “Don’t expect miracles. I’m over 50 years old and nursed both children. Even when I was in my twenties, my breasts were never perfect.” I couldn’t find an adjustment for the straps, so I assumed they had been let out already. I know that my breasts have slid down my chest a bit since I was a teenager, but I could barely get the straps over my shoulders. “Ouch!” I thought, “They must want them really short to force women’s breasts up to their neck! Jeez! No amount of cleavage is worth this amount of pain.”

When I marched out of the fitting room, the clerk working with another customer asked, “How did you like it?”

“The straps are way too short for me,” I said as I handed her the tortuous contraption.

I felt her restrained eye-roll when she responded, “All of our bras are adjustable.” She simply slipped both straps out and handed it back to me with a tilt of her head and a smile as she spun around to continue with the other shopper.

Now my cheeks really burned, but I turned around and paced back in to the dressing room for round 2. I could almost hear the bell ring.

With the straps at the proper length (Duh!), I put on the bra and looked into the mirror. That is when I had a moment when the pounding music ceased, an intense spotlight enveloped me from above and angels (Victoria’s Secret Angels?) began to sing “Aaaaaahhhhh!”

‘Oh, my God!” I remarked out loud as I smiled at my reflection in the full length mirror. I looked good. No, I looked great! Amazing!

I floated out of the dressing room to the register and made my very first personal Victoria’s Secret purchase since the early 1990’s.

Driving home it occurred to me that these bras are wasted on the young. As some women over 40 know, our baggy, saggy, skin can be molded into whatever shape Victoria wants. Our aging breasts just need direction and encouragement. All we have to do is bend over and tuck them in.

The VS image has changed drastically from its inception in 1977. Roy Raymond started the company to make it comfortable for men to buy lingerie for their lady friends. Every bra company tried to knock off the Wonderbra after it was designed in the 1990’s. The VS Miracle Bra quickly took the lead leaving its competitors in the dust and now I know why.

I think that Victoria’s Secret should change its image once again, this time to include a wider range of consumers. In the future, commercials could air with stylish middle-aged ladies modeling the bras. Christy Brinkley could come out of retirement along with Cheryl Tiegs, Iman, and Cindy Crawford. What about Helen Mirren? Some report she is 63 years old and others say 66, but either way she won the “Body of the Year” award in LA! And why stop there? What about a runway show?  Replace Justin Timberlake and Black Eyed Peas with Sting or Mick Jagger! They can help us “bring sexy back” too!

This could be revolutionary. All women could benefit. It could also triple the amount of money Victoria’s Secret makes annually.

The next time you are strolling by VS hold your head high and enter the pink store.  Elbow your way through the crowd of teenagers and pick out something fun to try on. Maybe the Victoria’s Secret Angels will sing to you!

What do you think of the VS image?

Do you think it should change to be more inclusive?