life in my hood with 2 teenagers, a toddler and chronic pain

morongo, really? June 23, 2009

Back in college in my marketing class, we learned about the power of subliminal advertising. We looked at magazine ads for alcohol that had barely perceptible pictures of penises and other body parts embedded in the ice cubes in the glasses of scotch and that was supposed to make you drop everything and run right out to buy a bottle of Chivas.

There is a casino (you know, a place where people go to part with their money and get nothing in return) outside of Palm Springs called Morongo. They advertise on television here in L.A. and every time I see their ads, I am baffled by what seems to me to be anything but subliminal. Admittedly, this is a casino owned by Native Americans and the name is, presumably, of Native American origin and I mean absolutely no disrespect here, (I just googled Morongo, but couldn’t find a definition) BUT…Is it just me or does anyone else notice the irony of the name here? Moron go. It amazes the mind.

Don’t even get me started on the word therapist…


P.S. I have complete respect for the Native American’s right to self reliance through the ability to provide opportunities for folks of all races, ethniticies and nationalities to part with their money.

The following is on the Morongo Band of Mission Indian website:
The new $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa is the largest private sector employer in the region employing more than 2,400 people and serving thousands of patrons daily.  The casino’s revenue production provides the foundation for the tribe’s economic diversification.


divorce, doggy style June 2, 2009

Several years ago in May, our beloved dog, Gaby, died.  While we were all devastated by losing her (I had her before I had my husband), she lived a long and wonderful life. I always wanted to have 2 dogs, but Gaby was one royal bitch who had no interest in sharing us or her home with any other member of the canine species, bitch or otherwise. A few weeks after she left us, we decided it was time to find 2 dogs to add to the chaos that was already our lives. To cut to the chase here, we ended up with, not 2 new furry additions to our home, but 3- a very large male, goofball, descended from Bernese Mountain dogs and some type of terrier, possibly Airedale, and 2 females (yes, bitches). One was a medium/small part black lab, part who knows what, 3 legged sweetheart and a puppy (for more on her read my previous post called “bitches part 1”). In order, their names are Major (Tom), Ziggy (Stardust), and China(girl). See the connections? Hint-we took our 2 big kids to their first concert shortly before getting the dogs and the performer was (drumroll, please)….David Bowie. They are also known to us as Majee, Zigmund and China Berry Pie.





Other than the large expense of feeding these 3 mutts and cleaning up the inevitable outcome of those feedings, all went swimmingly in our house of 4 humans and 3 canines for about 1 1/2 years. During that time, we added one more human to our family and the delicate 3 male/4 female ratio shifted even more heavily in favor of the females.  (kind of like the liberal/conservative ratio on the Supreme Court) Anyway, we were one big happy pack, until one day. I can’t remember much about it except for one incident. China and Ziggy got into fight, not a little catfight, mind you but a teeth-baring, till-death-do-us-part kind of fight. It is all a blur to me now. All I know is that I had to separate them and somehow I did. But, not before Ziggy was bleeding heavily from several spots and I was terrified. I had absolutely no idea what got them started or why. All I knew was Ziggy needed to get to the vet. Several stitches and several hundred dollars later we returned home. With trepidation, after Ziggy recovered sufficiently, we allowed the 2 girls back together. Major, being the alpha male of the pack would get between them if he saw anything amiss and they would respond respectfully to him. Things seemed fine for a while until it happened again. Again we took Ziggy to the emergency vet and got her fixed up. Keep in mind that Ziggy is at a numeric disadvantage when it comes to legs and by this point in their lives China had outgrown Ziggy by a good 20 pounds. 


the girls before the trouble began

the girls before the trouble began


We assumed China was at the root of all this evil so after many consultations with our dog trainer and our vet, we shipped China off to doggy boot-camp to be rehabilitated.  She was away for a few weeks at which point, our very own dog whisperer returned China to us with specific instructions on how to manage the dogs. He told us we needed to establish ourselves as the leaders of the pack and that they should read our signals to stay away from each other if they couldn’t be bff’s.  We tried, we put up gates where there were no doors, we closed doors were there were some and we kept the girls separated unless we were with them in the room. Thing is, I had an infant in my arms during much of this time. The big kids were good about remembering to keep the girls apart and so were we up to a point. After all, we are only human and always remembering to keep the girls apart was not easy or convenient. Major would take turns hanging out with each of the girls so almost always, one of the girls was by herself. Truth be told, this was a very stressful way to live for human and canine alike.  We were in constant fear of the dogs getting hurt or killed or worse, even, one of the kids.

Nonetheless, the dogs are part of our family and we had trouble even conceiving of giving one of them away. We are not give -up-easily or dog-giving-away people. End of story. But, alas, that was not the end of the story. One day, one of us left a door open, Ziggy found her way to China and as my 10 year old son saw them approach each other, he jumped in to try to stop them. It was too late and they were lunging at each other. The worst happened. As China went for ZIggy, J’s leg got in the way and China sank her teeth into his leg. Interestingly, as soon as she realized what she had done, she immediately backed off. Ziggy went after her though and it was, then, in hindsight, that we realized that It was not China after all, but Ziggy, sweet little ZIggy, fiercely dominant and unrelenting Ziggy who had been the instigator all along. Jalen was fine, after an ER visit (it was not his first nor his last). But our pack, our family, was not fine. We realized with heartbreak that one of the girls had to go. We couldn’t decide which so we put out the word for both of them. My husband wrote beautiful biographies for each of them and we advertised around. Eventually a family came forward who fell in love with Ziggy. We knew this family would love Ziggy as we did and so one sad day my husband took ZIggy to her new home, where she, surrounded by 3 cats, lives as the 3 legged queen of the roost. Our hearts ached, not only for our loss, but as parents, for the loss that our children felt and our inability to provide them any comfort. They understood that we had no choice.

The only solution for peace in our household was divorce.

We visit her and she always is thrilled to see us, but when it is time for us to leave, she walks us out and looks at us as if to say, “that was a lovely visit, please do come again.”

We are told that Ziggy has a gentleman (dog) caller named Archie. 


P.S. Last week (in May), we received a holiday (2008) card from Ziggy’s humans. There was a detailed explanation for its late arrival and inside, a picture of Ziggy, wrapped in a red cape sitting on the lap of Santa Claus, looking almost like she belongs there.


profound saturday morning conversations with little miss t. May 23, 2009


t-3 1/2 (as of today) year old daughter



part 1

t-let’s shoot all the bad guys.

j-what happens when you shoot bad guys?

t-they turn into good guys.

me-oh, good, yes, then let’s definitely shoot all the bad guys.

part 2

t-why does the rabbit like trix?

me-because he likes the way they taste.

t-no, he doesn’t.

me-yes, he does, just like you like fudgcicles.

t-but, you don’t eat trix.  they are a toy.

me-no they’re not. they’re food.

t-no they’re not. (technically, she’s probably right on this point)

me-yes, they are. they are cereal, just like lucky charms.

t-i don’t like lucky charms anymore.

me-oh, really?

t-yes, now i just like rice krispies and smart start.

me-oh, what about fruitas loopas? (we started calling them this when we went to mexico a few years ago)

t-no, not any more.

me-o.k., how about apple jacks?

t-yeah, i like apple jacks, too.

t-but how does the rabbit get trix?

me-he tries to trick the kids into giving him the trix.

t-oh, why?

me-because he likes them….

**Please note, I gave up on giving my kids the “healthy, non-sugary cereals” very soon after my first discovered that they really don’t taste as good as the other crap.  As a parent, we must all pick our battles and this was not one I chose to fight.



bitches May 18, 2009


China Girl

China Girl

Part 1

There are 2 bitches in this house and only one of them is a dog.

One of our two dogs, China Girl, we adopted from a rescue when she was 6 months old. When she was 4 months old, she was set on fire, then thrown out of a moving truck on the freeway where she was hit by a car. Some kind soul stopped, picked her up and brought her to a shelter. She had to have surgery to fix 3 broken legs and a hip replacement. Talk about torture. Who could do this to a dog, a puppy? I’m certain she had no information about 9/11 or any other thing. She has a large scar on her side, a burn that will never heal that covers about 12 square inches of her body. There is no fur covering that part of her side. She doesn’t like strangers, which is to say she barks at people she doesn’t know until she does know them, which usually takes all of 4 minutes and then she gives love-kisses, tail wags, more kisses, butt sniffs and more kisses. For some reason, she has forgiven humanity its transgression. I’m working on being more like her.



bruno says May 13, 2009

Filed under: animal, vegetable, mineral,pain in the ass — mothahhood @ 4:39 pm
Tags: , , ,

My friend’s dog, Bruno, wrote this.  It’s very insightful for a pooch (or even a human, for that matter). I have permission to use it.

Pain is like doody.
Whilst you appear to be moody,
and a pain in the booty or perhaps
even snooty;
The world moves on and you try to keep up,
and our pain just like the doody we try to scoop up.
For moments, maybe hours, the pain goes away.
Then a meal or a walk or a game you might play.
But shit! The doody’s back the very next day.
So we fight it, we wipe it, we clear it away; this pain
just like doody that gets in our way….
Keep moving, keep doing, the experts all say.
So easy for them in a 10-minute co-pay!
Removed they all seem from the pain that is ours,
until it is theirs and their own demeanor sours.
A club of shared soreness we did not seek to join,
with nausea and headaches and immoveable loins.
Pain is like doody as it just does not care.
We wipe it, we clean it and next day it’s there.
Signed- A k9 with arthritis.



to bee or not to bee May 4, 2009

I have to post again today.  As I type this, there are about 60 very confused bees swarming outside my bedroom. Bumping grocery shopping and other errands to a lower spot on my to-do list today was staying at home and waiting for the bee wrangler, a nice  gentleman named Anders, from Sweden. He looks exactly like one might imagine a bee wrangler from Sweden would. Yesterday, my daughter noticed a beehive in our backyard which grew in a box that was in a tree and existed as a halfway house to a baby squirrel named “Doggie” that we rescued 2 summers ago.  Don’t ask, I will save that story for a future post. Suffice to say that we are not the bee-killing kind, especially in a world in which the very existence of bees is threatened.  Anders told me the hive was filled with honey.  I only wish I could have tasted some. So, it’s only costing me $150.00 for which, of course, I have no better use, to have this hive relocated out to a field in the country where its members can commune with other wayward bees. Ah, life in the big city…



out of the mouths of babes-part 1 April 28, 2009

Filed under: 2 teenagers and a toddler,animal, vegetable, mineral — mothahhood @ 3:09 am

At the zoo today, my 3 year old wondered, loudly, “what are koala bears’ vaginas like?”