Charlywalker's Blog

Some one saw my blog and made a constructive critical acclaim to the way it looked.  She said that it didn’t have enough “zip” to it and that I “needed to add more ambiance and eye-catching glitter”.  I told her to put down her Rose` colored wine glasses and just try to enjoy the humor of it all.  I happen to like the dark-haired green and black cartoon version of a silhouette that keeps reminding me of what my body looked like twenty years ago.

I haven’t blogged for quite sometime due to the fact that I was actively pursuing some academics that might help me further a career that was lying dormant over thirty years ago.  After getting my fifty-something year old carcass out of bed at 5:00 a.m., and jumping into a sassy saffron uniform with the school logo stitched over my left breast, and downing a cappuccino while racing the other commuters in the dark to board a freezing train that wreaked of diesel and radiated loud gum popping cell phone addicts in the quiet car and after brandishing 29 credits for three months and harvesting sleepless nights, watching the dust and grime host a no swifter party in my house, and neglecting my children ( who barely noticed between their social life and Ipods that I was missing), and, worst of all, forgetting that I owned a dog.

I missed passing a required course by two points in order to continue on with the program.

I thought that if I resurfaced a career I would be helping the family income during these bouts of economic hardships. Instead, I found that my economics were becoming even harder while aspiring to achieve greatness.  After calculating the cost of this venture and weighing the outcome of age vs. job opportunity, while finding myself crying over spilt Martilnelli 2008 Pinot Noir, daily,… and realizing that I am not smarter than a fifth grader,…I decided to do what any normal red-blooded hormonal woman would do:

I booked a trip to Italy.  Isn’t that where all the menopausal misfits run off to during a time of reputable failure? As my neighbor so eloquently put it to me over her lovely pomegranate martini’s: Ah hell, you didn’t want to be a nurse any way..fuck em’.. No truer words spoken out of an elegant pearl clad mouth..

The beauty of this departure from my academic whirlwind is that is brought me back to the basics of what my purpose may be in life. Even though my children are growing and heading into the adult world, they still need me. They have been use to their mother hanging about and being at their beck and call throughout their lives. As much as it appeared that they were fine without me being at the helm, I could see that they were not. They watched as their mother turned into a maniacal obsessed text-book worm letting the responsibilities of the days slip into the abyss. They witnessed mommy breakdown’s from the pressure of not being able to tackle her Medication Math and Calculate with Confidence.  We were a family of a traveling husband, teens in action, a mom running amok, and Charly-dog bearing the brunt and being locked up for hours, alone, in his room, with a night-light and food and water and an August issue of The Enquirer spread out on the floor. There was only so much that Charly could take, and peeing on yesterday’s news was his limit…  I’m sure Charly felt dejected and unwanted until someone came home from their daily activity and he was freed from his laundry room habitat and able to roam the great out doors to relieve himself.

My children are very capable individuals, and that is one trait that I am proud of.  My children will survive in this world and make wonderful lives for themselves with out me in tow.  My dog, however, I worry about.  I think about him when I’m away, I think about his well-being, I think about whether he is tearing up the wicker basket in the laundry room, or has dived into the pile of dirty clothes waiting to be washed and torn into every sock of every family member that has abandoned him for the day.  I think about him possibly sitting in is doggie bed staring at the white walls holding his hind legs with his front paws and rocking back and forth seething and thinking hate barks.

These things weigh on my mind more than one knows, which is why I probably missed passing the school program by two lousy points. But I will say this, when I came home every day and sometimes into the night and opened Charly’s door, I was met with a wide-eyed, waggy tailed, sausage-shaped, tongue licking my face Mongrel that is irreplaceable and doesn’t care if I pass or fail,  only that I returned home.

Sometimes life does funny things to a person, like taking a 4.0 graduate and mashing them into elementary mush making them wrap their entire being around  the word stupid. And sometimes is takes a mangy flea-bag tail-wagger to pull you out of your Picasso Blue period and pounce to a different tune, a tune where you work like a dog and you don’t have a dog’s chance to be a Top dog, so you’re thrown to the  dog’s, only to return with your tail between your legs.

And sometimes you just have to face the inevitable and break open that vintage 1989 Chateauneuf du Pape that has been collecting dust in your wine cabinet awaiting that special dog day afternoon…….

{February 24, 2011}   Why Title a Blog

I saw a writing contest featured on someone’s Blog that offered a $100 first prize award to the winner. You can only enter if you are a member of this site and also contribute a $25 entrance fee…..hmmmmm…..let’s see….after subtracting the member’s and entrance fee’s that should leave me with about a $50 profit.There’s another glitch in this Cloud Computing arena, albeit, they provide the topic. The topic is Courage. They also supply you with some hints and directional blurbs to get you started on your merry writing way.

I always hated it when  I was in school and the teacher would hand out writing assignments and she would always provide the topic.   AND then, when the task was completed we had to sit through class listening to thirty-five variations on the same theme. They all sounded the same: Courage and the Firefighter, Courage and the war, Courage to master a two wheeler….. My essay? Courage in a Bottle.  I wrote about how a lawyer found true grit in his Glenlivet.

That was the third time that I  spent the afternoon in the principal’s office.  Sister Carmalita confiscated my paperwork and grabbed me by my over-sized navy hand-me-down- button -down and marched me to Father O’ Banion’s office. He told me to “be seated” ( no not on his lap…) and then questioned me about my research and knowledge backround for this essay.  I expressed my views directly to him about my parent’s basement bar and the allotment of figureheads that were entertained there. My essay included a highlight of my mother throwing a Supreme Court Justice and a head Prosecutor off her front steps after showing up at 2:00 a.m.  Personally I thought that took a lot of courage,  considering the person involved was wearing a pink frilly nightgown. ( you take a guess). There were many times I snuck out of my bed and wandered to the top of the stairs to witness flagrant behaviors of forty-something adults wallowing in the divine Spirits…….of scotch. I watched all the great courage being mustered by most couples as they attempted to climb the stairs to find a bathroom.

Father O’Banion read my essay silently to himself as he held his finger against his chin and making “tsk” noises every other minute.  I sat there sweating in my knee length-make sure it touches the floor when you genuflect, plaid skirt. I sat on my hands until there were pleat marks pressed into my palms spelling out “you’re going to hell”. I sat there in “tsk” silence trying not to stare at him for fear he would look up from his Bifocals and his magnified eyeballs would glare at me causing me to start laughing. Which would result in a phone call to the parents. So I mastered the art of Silence by conjuring up all my courage and focus my gaze on the shelf behind his desk.  I scanned the leather bound books as they were neatly arranged in a Pious-like order and titled appropriately for the venue. I studied the shelves up and down and left and right; making a sign of the cross with my brown peepers. Everything appeared copasetic-ally Catholic including the decanted red vino on a silver serving tray that looked half empty.

  Father O put the essay down and saw my eyes staring off behind him at the latest discovery on his book shelf. He stared into my face with his broken capillary cheeks flapping a lecture about proper behavior for a girl my age. And then it hit me. I recognized those redden cheeks. Those cheeks belong to a be-spectacled face, that wore a priests collar, that held a Johnny Walker straight ,that was poured in the Bar that DAD built.

I love courage, it comes in all forms, shapes, sizes, and denominations. Oh and it also comes in Blackmail……………..Folks we have our winner!

{February 2, 2011}   A Blog in Sheep’s Clothing

I have been in Italy for nearly nine days now and I depart tomorrow on an early morning flight back to the states.  I am having mixed feelings about returning to my home in Pennsylvania, not because of what awaits me when I land but what has been left behind. My husband.

  I just realized after 21 years of marriage I actually love my husband. Over the last nine days I witnessed a man whose heart is larger than the moon that rules him and  he carries the world’s woes atop his stooping  shoulders. Shoulders  that lean more than the Tower of Pisa. Atlas cowers in comparison to my husband and he’s not even standing upright…I can’t decide if the amore rekindled because of the visit to Italy or if this is a part of what happens when a marriage continues past 20 years and the love  drought is over.

I will say that Geography plays a large part in where intimacy raises it’s protuberant head; well with me it does.  For example, having sex while married over a long period of time has it’s ups and downs and the outside meddling affairs that intervene during  a marriage can put a damper on your sex life:  The onset of children; A troublesome mother-in-law; A job or lack there of; and even a dog can cause rippin’ the sheets up to cease and desist.

  I always found that my PGAD was on high alert at the most inopportune times: Like the airplane toilet, or a cab, or the front steps of the Brooklyn Museum in February….. A bit frosty but fun. Or if you need to come in from the cold; your car parked outside Tavern on the Green under the lighted trees.. I’m sure there is a psychological term for folks that take advantage of our countries beautiful monuments and tourist attractions for their own nookie gratification, but I don’t care. You get off wherever you get off. You indulge when the urge strikes, because sooner or later you will be met with many interruptus bouts of screaming babies, or an everlasting phone calls from the boss, or the ferocious knock on the front door from your mother-in-law who schlepped all the way from west 6th street to find out if everyone is O.K. because no one answered her phone call… for the seventh time…..

Or maybe your dog jumps in to assist with what has been desist and causes mayhem on the mattress.  I don’t know if recapturing a spark that ignited over twenty years ago happened  again because of a romantic location or if I actually found my husband appealing.  My vote is the location.. location.. location… Italy brings the best out in me, there are no distractions except the  lovely country side, fantastic food, and an abundance of not over priced Chianti, all accompanied by the rapture of the language that captures your heart.

  There were no arguments breeding in our emotions or outside stimuli of  vagrant responsibilities that caused us to go asunder. We just had each other and the waft of Italian ambiance embracing our beings. All of this stayed intact until I entered the U.S. and headed home.

I left the garden of Eden to enter the gates of Hell.  As I crossed the threshold of my front door, I was immediately trounced on by Charly-dog who saturated my new Euro coat with pee stains ;  after receiving a giant hug from my 16 year old son  he followed up with complaints of “how he did all the work around the house and his sister did nothing”, then topped  the evening off by my invisible daughter who hasn’t seen me in weeks and opted to stay at her boyfriends parents house instead of asking me “how my trip went”.

I shuffled into the house after a nine hour flight and noted the dishes piled in the sink stained from yesterdays meals, pizza boxes left open laying on the garage floor two inches away from the recycle bin, soda cans left atop my car, laundry piled higher than Mt. Everest, and my husband calling to have me check his phone messages because he doesn’t want to be charged for roaming.  Business as usual.

I grabbed my over priced American Imported Chianti Classico and my box of chocolate covered Pocket Coffees and retreated  my jet-lagged ass to my bedroom.  I plugged my used airline earphones into my IPOD and blasted Pavaroti into my deaf ears as I downloaded my Flip videos of  Italy onto my Macbook Pro and sipped a lovely Vino Rosso all the while watching a recap of virtual food being served to me on a lovely terrace in Florence.   I feel the love…..Is it love or is it the idea of love?…….

OR is it the Location of love……………….Ciao Italia until we meet again…

{August 24, 2010}   Blog Agility

If you are reading this blog AND you find it clever or funny please comment. I need the feedback or otherwise I am wasting my Megabytes.  Speaking of mega-bites, my puppy is still snapping even after two weeks of guaranteed training. I don’t blame the Trainer , I blame my family who are lacking in the follow-up program arena.

My scheduled training of two weeks ended recently and I feel a bit empty inside. Charly-dog and I got use to the trainers 10 a.m. visits and it is hard to let go now. This trainer came into our lives and spent hours with each and every member of my family and worked with all of us as a whole to get Charly on track. I am  starting to have a small tinge of anxiety that once he is out of our lives for good, things will resort to the way they were.  The trainer did drop an anecdote  while sipping his bottled water, that being ;if any “uprisings” occur he will be here on the spot, and this is guaranteed forever.

Hmm.…. I could always find some fault somewhere in my puppy that might need tending to; maybe stage a scene or two…….kind of like the little boy crying wolf, only it’s a middle aged menopausal woman needing someone to talk to other than her doggie…..

I find as I am getting older and less tolerant of my estrogen levels, that letting go is becoming harder and harder. I took my son to the airport to catch a flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. He has been bugging me to let him fly out to see his best friend  ever since we moved out to the East Coast. My children have traveled extensively since they were born, but never without me in tow. I have this phobia about my children on  planes without me, what if  they have snakes on board……or worse yet Samuel L Jackson pushing the beverage cart………”I’ve had it with these Mother F*ckin’ Pepsi’s on this Mother F*ckin’ plane…..”

My son is 16 and does not qualify for the “unaccompanied child Airline escort” anymore. Plus, there is a $100 hidden  fee for this “Program”. It must fall in line with the “Meal Program” and the “Luggage Program”.   Personally I think they should wave this amount for first time moms letting their youngster fly solo and traipsing through Major City airports spending all their allowance on nonsense that is flagged out in the open Kiosks. ( Oh , yes son, I love the $50 neck snuggie you purchased to keep you comfortable during your flight that you left on board and is now on its way to Hong Kong where it originated from).

My sons flight was delayed over an hour from his connecting flight. I have a party retrieving him at the baggage claim terminal and they phoned to inform me that his flight was going to be late.   I got nervous.   I phoned the Major Airline that starts with a “D” and has been around since the Nixon administration, to find out more information about his flight. The “D” Agent confirmed that it was delayed twice, out of Atlanta.

I spat out; “TWICE?”.

“Yes”,( he said with an accent that was identical to the driver in the second Indiana Jones Movie).

I interrupted his silence with a very loud “WHY TWICE?”.

He enlightened me with the explanation that the first delay was a security issue.


  “Was a maintenance problem”.

 I questioned him further on the maintenance problem and he laughed and told me:

Well the plane is in the air now”.

Oh thank God, that is so reassuring, I am so thrilled, oh, and I feel so relieved and unconcerned that that plane is in the air now! How about the landing??? Please tell me the maintenance problem was a toilet that wouldn’t stop flushing or the Captain’s coffee pot heater light keeps blinking, or the food cart has a rusty wheel…………

I popped open a Dos Equis and brought up my sons Itinerary and  started to track his flight on my Macbook like a Pro. I love technology, it’s almost like being in the control tower yourself, minus all the other distractions, like ten million OTHER flights trying to take off and land.   I went into the “D” Airline WEB site and typed his flight number and it showed a map of the U.S. with a little yellow airplane following a bright blue line to his destination. I felt a little more at ease and managed to breath a little easier…………..

Until this little yellow plane started a nose dive over Arizona….

The time left on his flight was an hour and a half and the meter was not moving, nor was the tiny yellow plane that I was watching for twenty minutes without blinking…

 That little mustard piper cub was not advancing on my screen and I was having the most horrible images run through my mind.  Images of a black smoke plume smoldering from seat 11B because I thought I  had confiscated all the fireworks my son wanted to share with his friend in California. Where they are illegal and maybe he sequestered a box of black Snake Glow worms that he stuck in his back pocket. I was a flight attendant once and have witnessed plight flights that brought me to my knees saying a few Hail Mary’s while pouring a few Bloody Mary’s..

I shut the laptop off  and logged back on to the “D” website to commence with stalking my sons flight. His fake plane kept stalling in the air until I clicked the refresh button so it would advance faster to LAX airport.  In a matter of seconds that little yellow cartoon 757 was now starting it’s descent  into Los Angeles with it’s nose in the air and landing in 22 minutes……..Funny if I keep clicking the Back Button that plane just might land on time.

My son loves being independent and Hates that his mother texted him thirteen times before he even left the ground. I can’t wait to tell him about the tracking device….I wonder if they have that for everything…like when he starts driving or is out with his friends at a movie, or maybe, just maybe…on a date.

Yes I love technology it helps a mom sleep at night…….and you thought Big Brother was watching……………hellooo Big Mother……..

{August 19, 2010}   Independent as a Blog on Ice

How long should couples stay together………in the same room.

After 20 -something years of marriage I realized that I can only tolerate my husbands presence  around me  about ten minutes per day.  That would be 365 days times ten minutes divided by 60 averages out to , say, roughly 6.5 hours  per year.  Quite the discrepancy  since the first “I Do’s” were spoken. Come to think of it I don’t recall uttering those two words at my wedding.

We were married atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center and our presiding clergy were a traveling duo consisting of a  Priest and a Rabbi. The only thing that was relevant in my mind under my too tight wedding hat was the drinking of the wine before I delivered my vow’s in Hebrew. (Mind you, it was a warm Manachevitz  with a screw top with no year posted on the label).  I did notice the priest chanting something in Latin ( non-Hispanic) along side of the Rabbi while they both nodded  their heads in approval. OH I BEG YOUR PARDON, that was Davening .

I was born a Catholic and I married a Jew. In NYC there are not many orthodox religions that will approve and preform a ceremony for a Bi-Religious couple and I was not keen  on the JOP, the line is too long at the state department and , unbeknownst to my children until now, I had a bun in the easy bake oven so time was of the essence.

We found our Divine Duo in the yellow pages.The first encounter was  scheduled with the Priest at his Midtown apartment on the sixth floor without a working elevator. We sat down to interview him and in the first five minutes we were interrupted three times by mysterious knocks at the door, which he readily answered. On the first interruption I noticed on the wall two photos of  three priests dressed in their Sunday Mass Garb with their hands folded and their heads slightly lowered in prayer form. As I studied the Photos more intently I noticed one of the priests looked exactly like Robert DeNiro and the other resembled a likeness to a very young Sean Penn. When our Padre returned from his mission at the door I commented on the resemblance of the two pictures and the Father confirmed that these guys in the pic were indeed the two famous actors.  He then rattled on about how he worked with them on a film.

“Oh”, I said, ” where they going through troubled times or maybe  you were coaching them on Priest-dom for their roles?”.

No, he was also an actor, and he pulled out his resume of films and fanned it out on his desk. Obviously a method man from the Vatican…. He reassured us that he is also a writer for the Catholic Digest and engages in these sidelines for extra cash; adding marriage ceremonies to his repertoire and to his bank account.

To this day I still have a burning sensation in the back of my brain that might indicate that my marriage of twenty one years could be, well, just might not be, oh this is silly of course it’s legal. But I still get that funny feeling in my gut every time I watch the opening wedding scene in the movie Prizzi’s Honor and stare into the eyes of our Priest as he preaches the  exact soliloquy to the actors as he used on us.

Which brings me back to whether or not I said “I do or I don’t”. I really don’t have a clue because the other half of the Holy traveling team was a Rabbi who only spoke Hebrew throughout the service; And he made me drink the wine and choke on words that sounded like I was coughing up phlegm. (Actually I was trying to choke down the Manashevitz and had an epiphany when my husband stomped on the wine glass.)  I guess, maybe after twenty some odd years I have finally HIT the spittoon of Independence and want to manage my own chamber-pot. Maybe I’m tired of side stepping glass fragments that spew every time I hear a Mozel Tov. Maybe those ten minutes alone with my husband in the same room with no one speaking can be managed or downsized by half. Maybe in those five minutes we could actually come to a realization that that one night twenty one years ago neither one of us recalls saying those words:  I DO”.

I DO remember telling his mother for the tenth time that night that”NO, I will not remove my hat”.

 I DO remember my older sister arguing with me about the seating arrangements because she was mad at my other sister and didn’t want to be at the same table.

I DO remember my new husband spilling red wine on his Tuxedo shirt.

And I DO remember our Priest yelling out the phrase: “In Playboy” , when the Best man made his speech about seeing me for the first time.

Which made the Rabbi “oye Vey”, my father roll his eyes and denounce his Notre Dame lineage, my mother in law pull her son aside and say; ” I told you so”, my brother in law dial his cell phone to get a copy of the edition, and my mother asking for the Priest’s phone number.

A marriage made in heaven, or as close as you can get on the 107th floor of the WTC with all the trimmings.

Yes, ten minutes in a room with my husband alone  after 21 years is like watching paint dry on a wall. The only excitement we encounter now since the kids are grown is catching a remake of our wedding video. Need I ask: Do I stand alone?

{August 17, 2010}   No sense in Beating a dead Blog

I’m cocktail slumming right now. I actually opened a beer. I don’t like beer, but when you are amidst menopause and you are not taking replacements, your gunna need Sedation via Libation and I’m waiting for my Vino to chill.

I know there are beer connoisseurs out there who have a love of Hops and Yeast, but I really can’t unravel the taste.  Although, my underage- by- a- year- college daughter informed me that she loves beer. She waltzed into our home the other evening after her hard days work at the Pizzaria folding boxes and collecting change, and grabbed a beer out of the fridge and retreated to her bedroom. I Tango’d into her space with a pile of clean laundry to be put away and I noticed a half empty beer resting on her mahogany dresser sweating Malt & Barley on her July Cosmo. (I couldn’t escape the wet  ring embedded in Shakiras’s Belly…. Well I can’t think of a better coaster.)

I asked my daughter if her father happened to leave a beer in her room and she snapped back;”no, it’s mine, dad said I could have it”.

My eyes went into a trance like glaze and my head spun around like Regan from Blatty’s  Exorcist and I spewed; ” oh really” in pea soup.

 I walked down stairs and confronted my husband with my new discovery and he admitted to the crime.  Now I know kid’s in college drink and party and do much worse. And I know my daughter is responsible about this and I have warned her of the repercussions of getting behind a wheel if you have had alcohol. That being DEATH by me. I have lectured on the effects of a DUI stigma affecting the rest of her life. She is 20 and 1/2 and continually proclaims  to know her life and informs me that she is responsible and not stupid. So, I quickly ran  to the office and printed out a waiver for her to sign absolving me from any accidents she may incur while drinking a beer and putting away laundry.

I know my daughter is on the up-n-up with me. I know this because she is not at all like me, she is a clone of my husband. He likes beer and he is a responsible drinker. He, too, leaves his sweaty bottles lying about on tabletops without coasters.

I truly believe that whichever category of alcohol you prefer is genetically coded in your DNA.  My dad liked what they called in his day, “the hard stuff”, like Scotch and Bourbon. I acquired a taste for Scotch in my twenties when a local bartender decided to teach me about the different variances and degrees of Scotch. He lined up a few shot glasses and poured from a variety of fancy labels and had me taste each and every one of them. I started with the beginner blend of Cutty Sark and ended with a Glenfiddich. (I should have started the other way around and I would have appreciated the finer first.)  The rest of the evening was a blur and my friend drove me home and I spent the remainder of the night kneeling to the Porcelain God. There is no such thing as a scotch tasting….

I am not a prude when it comes to alcohol and my children ,but I am not a liberal in that arena either. I have alloted my children tiny tastes of Mommy’s aperitif  now and then and when we toted our children to Italy they witnessed first hand how the European’s handle their brewed er I mean brood.. When in Rome…

I did offer a Dogfish beer to Charly-dog, but he sniffed  the spout and turned his tushie to it and farted.., It appears I have a Breed of Beer snob. Maybe the same would have happened with my daughter if my husband  would have offered her the local brew instead of the Import….

{August 13, 2010}   Blog-Leg-Left

Can someone out there help me to publish this as a book? I surely could use the money.  I have decided to incorporate my relationship with my dog,menopause, raising children, and my marriage into some light reading. Oh and float the influx of alcohol into the equation it could  add some  unintentional lightness of being.

Anytime you affix alcohol into the picture it ads excitement and adventure; oh,  and a  slight headache.  Earnest Hemingway use to drink a bottle of Scotch before he  started to write his novels. I just uncork the latest Pinot Grigio and free float. Alcohol adds containment to life’s little sidebars;  And also works as a quick astringent for dog bites.

Yes, my lovely Charly The  Chaniel grabbed my hand with his Chi-hua-hua canines and left a one inch blood gushing gash in my right palm. That pissed me off. That’s my drinking hand.

No, Charly was not fighting me for the Chardonnay , I was attempting to recover a tuft of tissue dangling from his mouth that he stole from the waste bucket in the powder room. I used the command on him to “drop” before I reached for the used Ultra Soft Kleenex, but Charly was stubborn and would not surrender his  rumpled white flag.

So, I, being the larger of the two species, bent down to tear that paper out from his teeth and that’s when he charged and latched onto my hand.

I don’t remember exactly what happened next, but when I came to there was a lot of blood and a rolled up torn Times next to me and my dog looked like an Andy Warhol painting.

My hand did not require any stitches but I was hurting for a dog trainer.  I called a family meeting, minus my always traveling husband, and announced to the children that I was getting rid of the dog. My twenty year old  daughter said “Good” and continued texting on her Iphone, and my  16 year old son grew silent and grabbed some ice and a band-aid.  (I now know which child will put me into the Deluxe Suite at the Retirement Center and which one will leave me duct taped to a wheel chair drooling in a parking lot).

 There was no need to call the paramedics for me or an  undertaker for the dog; the only phone call I managed to dial was a local Dog Trainer in my “hood”. I had his card for months, but due to economic hardships, doggie obedience and doggie schools and doggie camps and doggie play dates where not in my budget this year.

Plus, growing up with German Shepherds as kid, I never recall any dog training with a professional in our household or even in the neighborhood for that matter. Dog’s just seem to be dogs and they either obeyed or were met on the nose with whatever was handy. Albeit a stick, magazine, or my mothers new Rubbermaid spatula that she ordered through the catalogue  that ended up mysteriously missing from the Gadget drawer one day only to be returned with large bite marks on the handle.

“Rubbermaid, Touching millions of people everyday where they live, work, and play”. Even while sent to the Dog House…at least my mother’s bark was worse than her bite…

I finally gave in to the recession and dipped into my budget Piggy bank and hired a Dog whisperer of my very own. Only he doesn’t whisper. He met with Charly-dog and took that Chaniel by the horns and showed him whose boss. He was The Trainer.  He was Alonzo Harris in Training Day with a mix of Kathy Bates of Misery, throw in a hint of Darth Vader ,  and a wardrobe from Barbara Woodhouse.

 This Trainer got my dog under control and civilized in under an hour. My Trainer can take my dog anywhere and meet any one or any other dog and my Chaniel never complains. Not one little bark or whimper escapes his little doggie lips. If he had lips. The Trainer can make Charly-dog do anything he wants him to do and Charly obeys him, because if he doesn’t he will face the almighty choke collar cutting off his air supply.

When I try to emulate the Trainer and do as I am instructed Charly behaves like he should. Especially when the Trainer is present. I was impressed to say the least, that I actually had a dog that I could be proud of , and not fret every time I had to walk him and a car zoomed past and Charly would try to outrace the moving vehicle. I basked in the glory of strolling by folks in the neighborhood without Charly on High Alert Attack mode. I have to say that training day is the highlight of my life right now because my dog transforms into a T.V. dog that minds his manners….. For the camera anyway…

That’s right , when the Trainer is gone and I am solo again with my pup, mayhem breaks out and he regresses back to his original Hell Boy Look-a-like.  I can not afford to have this Trainer 24/7 unless I offer him room and board.

Hmmm…I’m thinking. My husband does travel a lot and I do have a guest room collecting dust more than visitors….

Well, it could make for some interesting blogging…………

My puppy is regressing in behavior and lashing out. The interesting thing about this is that he is snarling at the family members and, oddly enough ,he is wagging his tail at strangers.

The mailman who never rings once at our home, but merely drops packages at the end of the street and has neighbors sign for our registered mail, came to our door and Charly-dog extended his paw in a greeting.  After the door closed he turned to me and raised his upper lip to bare a canine tip, and barked as he leapt towards my chest. I usually don’t show fear at rude and bad behavior (just ask my children), and back down from a confrontation, but I was baffled at my dog’s new(?) mannerism. My voice commands just filtered through dead air and my physical directives where met with nips and growls. I was so confused and angered at what to do that I did what any normal menopausal woman would do when faced with adversity and hormonal assent;   I mixed my self a mojito.

Albeit, not ever having a Mojito molded my anger a little off target. I first had to google a recipe and then check to see if I had all the ingredients. Oh, yeah…Rum and club soda and mint.

I gathered all the makings for the Mojito to purge my menopause outburst and set me on a smooth sailing river of doggie obedience.  Making this cocktail calls for one to use an Apothecary Mortar and Pestle to mash your Mint unconscious. I know this is hard to believe, but I don’t own a Mortar nor a pestle: I had to improvise and use substitution tools that were right at hand, or foot…… a dog dish and a calcified dog bone.  Not really, I would never bend over to a level of apparatus beneath mankind and besides I  think Charly-dog doesn’t like a hint of creme de minth in his Science bites.

I did manage to find a reputable instrument to make my mint match the Mojito  mint in a recipe from Wine Magazine. I smashed those leaves into oblivion and back again all the while envisioning my puppy in the bowl. I added the mint,the Ice, club soda, and a hint of a new secret ingredient that is not yet privy to the most decadent Bars in Manhattan. Menopausal puppy anger.

I am sure there are variances in degrees in the amount of kinetic energy dispersed per bartender while mincing their mint, but no one can compare to a 50 something woman amidst the change of life who has had her last stance with a gnarling dawg. I massacred that mint into green noise… Then I finished the mixture and stared at it in wonder-mint.

I watched as the tiny particles of leaves mingled with the bubbles from the soda and swirled about until they fell to the floor of the glass. They looked as though they were enjoying their own spotlight on dancing with the stars. I wondered if the Rum felt left out. Well it did, because I forgot to add it in.

 I thought by entertaining myself with the task of mixing this drink it could possibly distract me from my possessed puppy, but no, Charly was on a mission from dog hell and determined to destruct my Zen moment.  He was determined to win and I was determined not to let him. I cradled my Mojito and receded to the couch to coil up in fetal position turning to the T.V. to possibly capture a re-run of the Golden Girls.

 My dog would not let that happen, he followed me and jumped up on me to continue his one sided battle. Consequently at the same time, Cesar Milan happen to pop up on high-def wielding a wild doggie resembling my puppy. I watched intently while pushing my pup away from view, and I looked up at the screen and witnessed Mr. Whisperer himself taking a newspaper to a couples pup. He stated that “it was O.K. to use it like an extension of your hand”. Well, I just got Carte Blanche from the Dog whisperer to swat my dog with the NY Times. Hallelujah.

 I got up from the couch and left my Mojito melting on the coffee table to wallow in it’s mint. My puppy chose this opportune time to run after me and nip at my shirt and bark at my hands. My commands were fruitless towards him and his responses were negative. I had no other recourse but to resort to the newspaper technique I attested to onscreen.

To grab what ever source of reading media is handy is not a good idea when  disciplining a dog.  I nearly destroyed Princess Diana in her wedding dress while brandishing my January 1982  collectible edition of Life Magazine on my dog’s heinie.   My dog did not even blink a cows eye, probably due to the fascination of the young Ingenue  in her over blown dress and sparkly tiara.

I should have grabbed the  the ’73 Life  Special Report featuring Nixon and Bebe Rebozo boating in Biscayne Bay. Yeah, that might have calmed Charly’s Mojo. Although  his Mojo is no match for my Mojito….

{March 21, 2010}   Like Cat and Blog

I went to the beach today with my son and his two friends. The weather was absolutely stupendous, sun shining, seventy degrees, and a light ocean breeze all accommodating my pastel body in mid March.

 I love the beach, I love everything about the beach; the sand that is buried in a stick aftermath from the winter storms, the returning seagulls waiting patiently atop rolled up awnings of closed shops, and the variety of people covering the  a Tri- state  area coveting the not  quite ready for flip flops board walk. The beaches on the East coast differ from the West in that they close up in October and re-open Memorial weekend, yet in Los Angeles, where we migrated from, you can hit the beach all year round.

I don’t care if the beach is in Timbuktu’, when I plop my chair into the sand facing the water and plug my Ipod into my over wrought ears, I know I have reached heaven.  Laying in the sun on a shore is the best therapy that should be prescribed by over paid Doctors.

 As I basked in the Pre Spring sunshine listening to my chosen Itunes, it suddenly dawned on me what I truly want in life. A beach house. I want to wake up with the sound of the morning tide hitting the shoreline. I want to retire for the night with the sound of the waves echoing against each other.  I envisioned the house and the beach where I would be spending the rest of my life and amongst all the beauteous seascapes and sunsets what stuck out most in my daydreaming was my dog Charly. I could see him in the distance romping in the sand and chasing birds away from my opened Cheetos bag and lightly barking as the tide ebbed and flowed. I sat there on the sand with Michael Buble crooning “Summer Breeze” only to me and my eyes closing to the satisfaction of the day…….

….Only to be brought back to reality by a semi chewed soccer ball landing on my lap spraying  sand into my face.  My son and his teen friends were engaged in a World Cup of their own and neglected to notice my  seat of serenity and decided to use me as a goalie.  Shortly after that awakening, a herd of strollers equipped with dune buggy wheels marked their trail next to me and families flocked in more than the seagulls. I watched as people darted about in the sand toting toddlers with an assortment of plastic play toys. I watched couples and singles walking their dogs along the water front. I watched all these people with dogs pass each other and the dogs would wag their tail and stop to say hello to their fellow canine friends. I watched and wondered if my puppy would ever be able to be in a public place displaying this incredibly polite doggie behavior that these pooches were exhibiting. I must have watched these dogs   for over an hour  in wonderment  and praying that one day this would be Charly and me; strolling down the beach encountering other  tail-waggers and Charly-dog would just  smile and sniff a behind or two and carry-on in search of drift wood. That would be a dream come true.

As it stand now it is just a dream because my dog still barks wildly at any passing dog, runs and chases cars down the street, and does not come when I call. So I can imagine my puppy on his leash at the shore running up to every sun bather and staring them right in the face and barking his  bobble head off until the Bay Watch people come to strap a muzzle onto his snout and ask me to vacate.

No, I think if Charly-dog and I are to retire to a beach environment it will have to be an unchartered uninhabited island deep in the South Pacific where his yelp will not be heard around the world. Right now I am still dealing with a dog that barks at a tall tree in the yard or  an upright vacuum standing in the corner of a closet. He barks at a pillow propped on the couch or a jacket slung over the back of a kitchen chair. He barks if he hears the jingle of another mutts collar  two miles down the road. He barks if a commercial for Pedigree treats comes on the T.V. ….No my beach house will have to be out of ear range, I’d pick the Alps but the barks would just intensify with the echos creating more barks and  me having to offer Charly a Ricola.

There’s gotta be a right tree for Charly to bark up………I’m thinking a nice large Palm in the Sahara…

spread the humor.

The snow is melting and leaving spots on my yard looking like a patchwork quilt. I think the storms are fading and Spring is trying to hone in where it should have been weeks ago.

My puppy is fluent in making storm stools. I was worried how the winter would affect his potty rituals but Charly-dog came through like a trooper. A  pooper trooper. I think he is a little too proficient in relieving himself in the winter, because he now treats the now effacing green blemishes as if they are Poison Ivy patches.He now goes directly to the nearest snow pimple to drop his excess baggage. Maybe the ice on his fanny cools the burning sensation of those tough days of constipation when he swallowed everything lying loose on the floor. Maybe Charly has a case of Hemorrhoids and the snow acts like Preparation H.(hiney).

Whatever the case, he seems to have a hard time figuring out the changes on this planet. He’s only eight months and hasn’t experienced all four seasons to their fullest. Maybe I’ll have to keep a patch of white ongoing throughout the Spring in order to ease his transition. I could sculpt a make shift potty and keep it in the freezer and pull it out in the summer months.

Charly-dog has decided to mark his territory all over the lawn. This is something new to us and takes a lot of time. He likes to cover the entire acre and a half lifting his back leg onto specified areas. Areas that only HE can dick-tate. Charly will encompass the entire yard and stop every so often to spill a little content on his chosen spot. Not like the old days where he would pee for minutes and head home.

I think he actually enjoys this self empowerment  because his tail wags frivolously and he smiles with his eyes squinting as he looks upward.  I can almost hear his brain talking as he does his potty dance: “look what I can do..Look what I can do”.

I don’t mind this ritual now since the weather is getting warmer, but he started this practice during the height of subzero temperatures. I think he enjoyed imitating an arctic nomad wrapped in his own pelt fighting the frost. I think he believed he was the Yukon King  sniffing out Dirty Dan some where in Canada.

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon was one of the many TV shows my mother planted my pre-school ass in front of instead of helping me form Play-Doh letters. I loved watching the rugged adventures of a weathered Mountie and his dog and horse surviving the wilderness solving all the problems  of the Northwest Territory. All by themselves. All Sergeant Preston had was a smart Malamute dog and a horse named REX.

One episode had the Sergeant solving a murder and the only witness was a dog. Can you imagine that? Out in the vast frozen Yukon at the turn of the century and all he can attract is an abandoned dog? His malamute must have been in heat. More like Yukon Queen. I wonder if I were ever trapped somewhere if my puppy would try to rescue me as I yelled for help into his bobble head ears. Or would he respond much like he does to everything by running over to sniff whatever it is to pieces and then turn to chase a fleet of leaves.

I think the only thing Charly has in common with the Sergeant’s Malamute is the mute part. Anytime I call the dog it just falls on floppy deaf ears.I think Charly-dog hears me when I call and I think he chooses to ignore me. He likes to play tricks on me. He likes to curl up in a corner sunspot and lie there without making a sound watching me look for him throughout the entire house. He’s the same size and color of my son’s black & white back-pack which curls up in the same corner untouched for an entire weekend.

Menopause does strange things to your mind. Those missing hormones can play hide and seek with the optical department in your brain. I figured that out one time when my son asked me why I was giving a dog chew to his back-pack.

Spring is in the air and I think I’ll dye Charly’s fur to match the budding roses……..I highly doubt my son will tote a pink back pack….

spread the humor.

et cetera
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