Monday, October 22, 2007

The Busies Continued

work is insane lately. like loony bin, nuthouse, certifiably, committably, need medication for life insane. in my brilliance, i overlooked the fact that i might need to sleep now and then and picked up another freelance gig that has me editing a two-volume book on cinematographers. as with most things, it sounds cooler than it is and it’s whittled my free time down to zero.

but i signed myself up and i’m the type of gal who keeps her commitments. trust me on that point. don’t listen to my friends, who’d likely tell you that i’ve been LA flaking on them left and right. don’t mind the stack of unopened mail on my desk or myriad unanswered messages in my inbox, i get my shit done.

and after i’m done with the cinematographers, i have the carpentry book to keep me warm through the holiday season. and after that i’m hopeful for a seasonal slowdown that will afford me time to visit with the peoples and spend some of the cash i’ve been working so hard for. currently, it’s all been going toward the pay-off-your-damn-car-already fund, but mama needs a new iPod and some microderm.

mama also needs to update this blog more often. i’m sitting on a few stories i’ve been meaning to share about my attendance of open houses downtown and the annual copy editor forum and about my trip to chicago. bear with me. they’re coming. but for now i’m going. work beckons.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


that look: it’s the look she always seems to be wearing, particularly when i’m busy doing housework, checking email or — heaven forbid! — giving Juice a morsel of attention. that's when the stink eye comes out in this look that screams, “what are you doing, woman? don’t you know that I am the puppy? give all your attention to ME!!”

inattention: but the moment i pay attention to my special needs child i become irrelevant. i could be sitting with Pinko, scratching the sweet spot on the side of her neck that seems to paralyze her with pleasure, causing her to lean into the embrace and look up at me with the sweetest eyes. it’s a rare moment that could become my favorite of the day, maybe the week. and i’ll bend down and get all cutsie-poopsie in her ear and plant a kiss on her snout. then Juice will walk by leisurely on her way to the water bowl. and BOOM — Pinko will leap off my lap and trot alongside Juice like they had long-standing plans to meet at the water bowl all afternoon and her visit with me was only to kill time.

fusion: i’m fully expecting to come home one day to find Pinko’s skeleton fused into Juice’s. i hope they make special leashes for that. Pinko’s like an extra appendage already, the way she’s attached herself to Juice like a bunion. bright side for me is that i only need to ever look for one dog at a time, since the other will always be a step behind.

is that asparagus? for the record, i’m not one to get all weird about dogs sniffing each other’s asses. i understand that it’s a simple gesture for them, akin to a handshake. but imagine shaking your sibling’s hand up to ten times an hour, each time you both enter a new room, just to, you know, get reacquainted.

stuffed animal: now imagine viewing your sibling as a security blanket that must be in contact with your own body at all times. if the security blanket should ever fall off the bed or inch away from you as you sleep, imagine the horror such a discovery can bring. for Pinko, it means waking up in a flurry, crossing the room to find her beloved Juice and collapsing on top of her before returning to sleep.

from chopped liver to paté: though i’ll likely always be first runner-up, Pinko has warmed up to me tremendously. she’s not quite as affectionate as Juice, which bugs me a bit, but i’m trying not to take it personally. Juice is the type of dog who insists on taking every single nap in your arms, whereas Pinko only needs to lay her head across your foot to feel close. it’s clear she craves contact, but too much contact, like a hug, seems to smother her into a recoil.

pobrecita: i forget that Pinko was mistreated in her first few months of life, especially now that she’s grown so vibrant. it’s heartbreaking to think of some bastard abusing my puppy. and infuriating. it doesn’t happen much anymore, but at the beginning, whenever i would place my hand on her for some petting, her whole body would twitch, maybe from surprise, maybe from fear. to get her past her discomfort with contact, i got into the habit of resting my hand on her while she slept.

the crazy hour: i think Pinko might be part werewolf because, come sundown, she acts totally insane. it’s her “crazy hour” when she runs circles around the living room, ricocheting off furniture and jumping on Juice’s head like a hyperactive kid who’s upset that bedtime is approaching. my systematic research has discovered that crazy hour will occur no matter how much exercise Pinko has engaged in during the day. we could have spent the entire day hiking runyon and chasing balls at the park, but at the first sign of dusk — BOOM! — crazy dog.

the miyagi method: when Pinko becomes nutty — whether at night and often when guests are over — i try to reassure her that yes, Pinko, the sun will come out again tomorrow and no, Pinko, these people are not your new owners. when contrasted with my past strategy of exasperated frustration, reassurance is a winner. the trick, i’ve found, is to find that rare moment when she is still and gently place a hand on her belly or neck and leave it there. this acts as a sort of kryptonite, sucking out her nervous energy until she drops to the floor in a sleepy stupor. sometimes just holding her paw will do it. i think it helps her to know that mom’s here, baby, and it’s safe to go to sleep. (so fucking go to sleep!)

matriculation: best news is that Pinko has finally become a fully integrated member of the household. the novelty has worn off. she’s here to stay, and she knows it as much as Juice and i do. at this point, Pinko’s lived with me longer than she’s lived anywhere else, about half of her 10-month-old life.

the new sheriff: but with this newfound security, Pinko has decided to let her flag of mischief fly high and proud. before, she was trying harder than ever to conform to house rules, but now that she sees how hypnotized Juice and i are by her charm, she’s getting more brazen, as if she’s the one making the house rules.

rule #1: i am never allowed to leave the house. only when i am putting on my shoes do i become the most important creature in Pinko’s life. then comes the whining, the jumping, the pawing. and on those special days when Pinko’s at her most ballsy, she’ll pop into the yard and return with a stick in her mouth — a firmly established no-no — and lay it at my feet with a look that seems to say, “if you leave the house, i might be tempted to misbehave. and you wouldn’t want that, right?”

not good enough: as i’ve burned through my sick day stash at work, i can’t really call in to say i have to stay home because i fear my mischievous puppy, so i get up and go to work as usual, always uneasy about what i might see upon my return. once, i made the mistake of leaving my laundry hamper in Pinko’s reach only to find my clothes strewn throughout the house, covered in dog hair. as i leave the back door open for the dogs when i’m gone, lots of clothes were also scattered across the yard, including a lacy pair of panties that Pinko buried in the dirt.

rule #2: when i am at home — which is more often than not nowadays — all my attention should be focused on Pinko. this means playing with Pinko and her dirty dog toys and stuffing Pinko full of dog treats. any deviation from these two activities causes her to snake around my legs, wagging her tail so hard that it looks like it will break off her body. then comes the “talking,” which is not quite a whine or bark. it’s more of a constant vocalization that really sounds like there could be words in there. the speech generally falls into two categories: there's the low, guttural pre-bark growl that seem to say, “bitch, you better not be leaving the house again”; and the high-pitched pre-howl cries that translate to, “why, oh why, won’t you play with me? please, please, please!”

Juice! still a cutie.

Pinko!: just as cute — despite her destructive tendencies, talking back and divided attention. there's not a day i don't look at her and grin. she was the right dog at the right time, exploding with that hot pink personality that endears as it puzzles. i have no buyers remorse. you may put a fork in me. i’m done; i’m sold. i love this dog.