Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Team Photos: The "Bad News Hoggatts"

My brother and his family are in town, and this is the first time we’ve all been in one place since Sawan’s funeral.  It’s nice to be together for a fun reason and not a sad one.  Plus, it’s nice to be together and actually be present this time.  I remember so little from the last time we were together that it really hardly counts.

Because we haven’t all been in one place for a while, we decided to do family photos.  My mom asked me how this made me feel, and I said, “Well, life goes on.”  I didn’t want to do it, but I also didn’t want us to miss this opportunity.  It’s just that being in that situation puts it so in my face that this is not how I thought life was going to go, and that’s what makes it hard.  I did great until Mom asked me, “Do you want to do a photo of you and Arthur?”  Yes.  “Do you want anyone else to be in it with you?”  In my mind I went “Um, yeah.  I want my husband and my own babies.  That’s what we’re doing here, right?  ‘Family’ photos?  And now my family is just me.”  My eyes welled up.  I needed a minute.  After that, though, I did great.

Enough of the pity party.  Let me tell you what we got to do.   My mom is so cool.  We get to do the coolest stuff because of her.  She had arranged for us all to be wearing Rockies jerseys/attire and because the Rockies were out of town, we got to go to Coors Field (the Rockies stadium) and take the photos on the field.  We got to go into the visitor’s bullpen, see the fountains in the outfield, then walk through the tunnel to the dugouts and view homeplate.  Um, yeah.  It was pretty fun.  Here’s a small sample.
The whole group.  I must say that it's extremely difficult to get two toddlers and a dog plus 8 adults and 3 big boys to all look AND smile at the same time.  We're on the rocks by the fountains just behind the outfield fence.

In the tunnel right before the dugouts.  Oh, ok, I changed my mind.  You can have my autograph after all.
Just the siblings on top of the home dugout.
My nephew Asher.  Playing with my butterfly necklace.  We're standing by homeplate.
My mom wanted me to tell you about the baby ducks.  They hatched while we were out by the fountains taking pictures!  As my niece, Addy says, "SO Tee-ute! (cute)"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Arthur Hollywood: The play-by-play

Want the scoop on my little movie star?  Here’s the play-by-play:

Last week I got a message from my dog trainer asking me if I could please call her.  When I did, she offered Arthur and I an amazing opportunity.  Betty White was going to be in town filming a commercial and doing a photo shoot for Morris Animal Foundation and they needed well-trained dogs to participate.  Would we be interested?  Heck yes!  It was super short notice, so I had to do some rearranging at work, but what an opportunity!  I had to make it happen.

I have a little experience with things like this, (I was in a “short” once and then have done hair and make-up for something similar before) and knew somewhat what to expect:  An afternoon of waiting around while they film take after take and do lots of touch-ups on hair and make up.  So when my trainer told me that we were actually going to be an alternate, they actually had all of the dogs they needed for the spots, I had a brief thought of “Should we even bother?”  But then I realized, “Um, yeah, either way, I’ll get to meet Betty White and anyway, once they see Arthur he’s gonna get to be in it.”  Because, I know that everyone thinks that their own dog is the cutest dog in the world, but I’ve actually had other people tell me that my dog is the cutest dog in the world.  So my bias doesn’t count.

When we arrived, we were standing in the hallway, waiting to go into the room where the filming was going to take place, and Betty came out of the elevator.  She met Arthur and was exactly what I expected her to be like: a sweet, charming, hilarious little old lady that is just like everyone’s Grandmother (and slightly hard of hearing).

We went into the room to film the commercials, and after she finished the first spot she bee-lined for Arthur, and came over to pet him and visit with me.  She wanted to know all about him.  She was curious about his age, and him being a service dog, and told me all about her little shih tzu that she just lost that was just his size.  Five minutes later they were starting their next “spot” and the producer came up to me and let me know that Betty insisted on having Arthur in her lap for this one.

Arthur and his new friend, Buck, with the "stage moms" as we waited our turn.
It was an interview-style spot, so I’m not sure how they’re going to use it or what for, but he sat there and behaved very nicely.  She introduced him and said that he was the service dog of a “very good friend of hers” and winked at me.  I had to stand off camera and keep his eye contact so that he would behave himself, and he pretty much did, just gave a few yawns.  At one point, the director got in-between Arthur and myself, and Betty stopped in the middle, “Excuse me, Honey, but I need you to move, Arthur can’t see his mommy.”  It was so cute.

After that we waited for a while, and then he sat on her lap again while she did an interview for the local news.  It will be on Channel 4 in Denver, probably on Monday (I think afternoon), I’m not sure (they weren’t sure either).  They promised to send me a clip so I’ll post it on here later for all of my non-Denver readers.  He didn’t behave quite as well that time, the camera man got in-between Arthur and I at the end and I couldn’t call his name to get his attention to get him to behave.  He was trying to scramble out of her lap so he could lie next to her and put his head in her lap.  All of the “acting” was cutting into his napping schedule, for sure.
The only one that even remotely came out on my camera.  I think the camera might be broken.  Plus, Arthur obviously wasn't being a very good boy with me distracted by taking photos.  This was right before they started the news interview.

We had one more quick job to do after the news spot.  We went up to one of the rooms in the hotel for “head shots.”  They took some of just Betty (and the whole time she was asking “But where’s Arthur?  Don’t you think I should have Arthur?”), then they put him on her lap for a few, and then they took some of just him.  He’s such a ham.  Seriously, he just shows off.  You tell him that he’s handsome and he poses for the photos.  I'm sure he'll be happy to sign autographs.

What a fun day!  In the end she was saying goodbye and stopped to pet him, “Arthur, I’m not going to see you again,”  she said sadly.  He kissed her face.  He still has pink lipstick on his ear.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Arthur Hollywood

The stretch limo pulls up to the curb, and out steps Arthur to a burst of flashbulbs.  People are screaming his name from every direction, he turns, waves at his adoring fans.  The bodyguards hold back the crowd, but it’s ok, he greets a few, lets them pet him, gets a scratch or two behind the ears.  He walks on his leash into the building.

He throws a bit of a fit about his food, as if to say,  “Umm, I prefer the greek plain yogurt on my food, thanks.”

Other than that he’s a perfect gentleman about doing his lines, being photographed.  He enjoys all of the extra pets and attention, the new friends, the “craft service” water bowls, the fluffy bed.  He likes sitting in nice new friend’s laps.  He tries to make his mom look silly trying to keep him focused (rolls his eyes…she’s such a showbiz mom).

He ends the day in his “trailer”, relaxing on the comfy new bed (which he made himself right at home on).  All of these cameras and lights have cut into his napping schedule.

In his "trailer." Really it's just the room downstairs...
(This is my fictional rendition, I promised to wait to tell the real story until our trainer posted her blog.  Plus, I’m hoping to have photos.  But Arthur is, indeed, a moviestar.  Stay tuned.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chilimare Revisited

I have only had one “recurring dream” in my life.  I used to get it all the time, back when I was waiting tables, and then sometimes even after that.  All of my friends that worked at the restaurant would have them…we had a name for them:  “Chilimares”  (after the casual dining restaurant we worked at).  I haven’t had that dream now for a good 8 years or so.

We had this really cute little hostess that worked at our restaurant, and her dad was a manager in the corporation so she had some major job security.  She could never quite get a grasp on how to seat the lunch crowd (there’s a strategy to hosting: better to rotate new tables to each section, so that the server has a chance to greet the new tables and get drinks out before getting a new table).  She would pretty much just take every new table that came in the door to the same section until it was full and then move on to the next section and do the same thing.  She was the queen of the “quadruple seat” as I would call it in restaurant-eez.

In my nightmare, I had a 12 table section, and every time I looked up, here came said cute little hostess with a new table for me, so I would go and greet the first table, get their drink order and then have to go and greet the second table.  This happened with all 12 tables, but I would never get a chance to leave my section to go and make and deliver drinks, and enough time has passed that I need to go and take orders from the first table again, so I would need to make the rounds through my 12 tables empty handed.  They’re mad that they don’t have drinks yet, but it takes time to take orders from 12 tables, and I just keep rotating through the 12 tables, apologizing, but I never actually get to leave my section to do anything about making anyone happy.  I had this dream quite regularly for a while.

I saw the cute little hostess, for the first time in like ten years, working at Home Depot yesterday.  I got a little short of breath, but quickly realized I wasn’t having a nightmare, I was just shopping for plants.  She didn’t see me, even though I tried to make eye contact.  She maybe didn’t recognize me, we were never really friends.  I am happy to report that she was doing a bang-up job in the garden center, and as far as I know, her dad doesn’t work for Home Depot so she probably got the job all on her own.

Monday, June 20, 2011


My nephews have always been interested in my necklaces.  I used to wear a Tiffany’s heart necklace (it was a gift that I bought for myself to commemorate when I had some editorial work published in a magazine), and both of my nephews loved it when they were babies.  When I would hold them they would immediately reach for it and could be distracted by it for ages.  It was so cute.

These days I always wear two necklaces at a time.  I’ve talked about one of them before; it’s a necklace that holds a little bit of Sawan’s ashes in it.  It’s a comfort to me, and even if I have a day when I wear my jammies all day, I pretty much put it on and wear it.  But I wear it on a long chain, so that I can wear another one, too.  I switch it up with the second one.  I generally either wear something “over the top” fashion wise, as is my want, or I wear the Tiffany butterfly that Sawan bought me the first Christmas we were married, or I wear a necklace that my dad bought me for Christmas this year.  It is a circle and reminds me to:  “Be brave.  Live life.”  On days when I feel that I need this reminder, I wear it.

Yesterday was bound to be a rough day.  As I was getting dressed, I started to put on jewelry and I almost put on the old Tiffany necklace, because my nephew, Asher, is right at that age where he would love to play with it and I was going to be with him and knew I would be holding him.  But I also knew that I needed the reminder yesterday to live bravely, to find the things in my life now that I love.  So I put  on the "be brave" necklace instead.

Last night Asher climbed into my lap.  He picked up my “Sawan Necklace” and held it for a minute, studying it.  Then, he pressed it to himself, right in the spot where he does “please” in sign language.  Then, he pressed it to my heart, and then touched it to my “be brave” necklace.  Then, he put it to his mouth, the way he does “kisses.”  Then he climbed down from my lap.

"be brave" necklace on the left, on the right is the "Sawan necklace"
I don’t know what this means, but it was a powerful, special moment between us, and I loved it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This week's Happy List

Here's what's making me smile this week:

I have the plummer here.  He’s down in the cellar working on the fittings between the galvanized and copper pipes (something that’s been on my list to have fixed since I moved in).  Yay!  For getting things checked off the list!  Arthur is on full alert, he acts like it’s the Norman invasion, or something.  But, (also, Boo!) the water is turned off and I have to go to the bathroom.  Bad.  And, I have cleaning to do and can’t get it done with no water turned on so I’m just hanging out, watching tv and looking at Facebook (I’m sure I could find something productive to do, but, why bother?).   Is it bad that it occurred to me that I could lock him up down there in the scary dungeon? 

I’m incredibly busy.  I’m not sure what it is that I’m doing to fill my time, but I feel like I’m busy from sun-up to sun-down and never quite get everything accomplished.  But it’s good to have distractions.

I am doing incredibly well.  I love people asking me “How are you?”  And finally being able to answer honestly, “Good.”

Ok, I’m off to do something productive (maybe I’ll put together my new porch swing) and find a bathroom…

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I remember saying to a girlfriend when Sawan was still alive that I loved being married but sometimes I wished that we could fall in love all over again.  That I was sad that it would never again be like it was in the beginning, with everything so new and fresh.  Nerves about whether he would be calling.  Learning him.  Hearing all of the stories.  There was something so comfortable about our love, but the bathroom door always being open was also, you know, maybe a little too familiar.

The same girlfriend and I were walking in the park a few months ago and I reminded her of that conversation.  Remember when I said that?  Ugh.  I was so stupid.  Now all I want is that familiarity.  All I want is to be married again.  I just want to go to step 27 and not have to do all of the “learning” all over again.  I want the comfort of the man in my bed every night.  Of the warm body to my right.  Of knowing that I always have a date, a sidekick.

I changed my mind.  I am enjoying the world of possibility.  I'm back out there.  I am excited.  I’m excited about the possibility of maybe falling in love again.  I feel like I “get to” rather than “have to.”  I get to fall in love all over again.  I have enjoyed the nervous feeling of waiting for the man to call.  This is an exciting new adventure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Arthur!

Arthur turned three this week!  We were going to celebrate with an ice cream cone, but he literally puked on the way there, so I thought ice cream wouldn’t be such a good idea (I actually give him frozen yogurt that’s egg-less and is no problem for his high maintenance tummy on a good day, so it’s usually ok…).  Maybe we’ll do it later this week (he doesn’t really know when his real birthday is, after all).

Happy Birthday, Arthur!  And thanks for being my little sidekick.

The day we got Arthur.  Have you ever seen a puppy with bigger ears?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Happy Summer Toes

I posted a photo of my toes on Facebook last night and I got such a response that I decided to share my secret with all of you. 

I had bought these nail decals at Target for $8.99.  They said they were for fingers but I thought I’d try them on my toes.  I removed my old nail polish, trimmed my nails, and used the decals according to the instructions.  Once I did one nail, I realized that I could cut them and get more toes done with one decal (I was able to use one decal for three toes except for the big toe).  It took me about 20 minutes, which is longer than normal nail polish would take, but not too bad.  I bet it won't take as long next time (as this was my first time using them).  Also, there was no drying time, so overall, it was probably a wash.  Happy Pedicure-ing!

It comes with all of the tools in it that you'll need for applying the polish strips.
The other additional things you'll need.  Polish remover, cotton pads, and clippers (yes, that's my favorite pair of nail clippers that are a souvenir from Garden of the Gods). 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Guest

As a widow, I have RSVP’d “no” to several weddings.  I just wasn’t ready yet.  Last fall was my first wedding back, and I did pretty well.  It was my first wedding as a widow, but it was also my first Jewish wedding, and I was just so fascinated by it, that maybe it was distracting or something.  I had a great time.  I did some crying, but I also danced the hora.  It was really fun.

On Sunday, my friend got married.  He’s like a brother to me.  I’ve watched him grieve his singleness for so long, then watched the adorable love story unfold (they met in either Junior High or High school at camp and have kept in touch until their 30’s.  I mean really, can you get any cuter than that?).  I wanted to see them get married.  I thought I would be fine.  I already had one wedding under my belt.  I wasn’t fine.

I did all right for most of it.  Then they did their vows.  ‘Till death.  They, fortunately, have no idea what they’re vowing to each other.  One of them is promising the other to go through what I’m going through.  We just don’t know which one.  Or how soon.  (Hopefully it’s a long, long time from now.)  I started to cry.  Then, the minister said something about hoping that they had long lives to be faithful to each other.  I lost it.  I had to leave. 

It’s embarrassing.  I hate it.  I hate that I can’t just be normal.  I hate that I know so much.  I hate that I’ll never be able to think of weddings or wedding vows in that laissez faire kind of way. 

On the drive up to the wedding (It was about an hour and a half away) my sister Ellie and my friend Rick and I were chitchatting and making conversation.  Ellie asked, “So if you could change places with any character in any book you’ve ever read, who would it be?”  What a fun question.  But I knew my answer.  I loved my life.  I loved my story.  I didn’t long for someone else’s.  I always thought that there should be a book about my love story, but no one would want to read it because it was so normal, even though our love was so fierce.  I loved my ordinary life.  Now I feel like there could be a book, but what’s changed, what makes my story extraordinary now is the way it ended.

I know that in some ways this is a gift.  It’s a calling.  Some days, the good days, I can be thankful.  I have sight that others don’t have.  Most days I just wish that I had the blinders on still and could just see a wedding the way I used to.  I wish I was normal.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Beyond my wildest dreams...

Friday night was epic. 

I was so excited that I was having a hard time managing my expectations.  The evening that I had far exceeded them.

We ended up sitting in General Admission seats even though we had assigned seating (because they’re better and no one checks or really cares, but still, don’t tell) and this meant that we all got to sit together: all my friends that had come and my sisters and brother in law and their friends that they came with.  Dispatch played nearly everything that we wanted them to play and they sounded great.

I’ve been holding out on you.  I am actually friends with one of the band members (I became friends after I was a fan, but have been friends with him for nearly a decade), so this show was actually a little more for me then just seeing my favorite band play at Red Rocks, it was also getting to see a dream come true for one of my dear friends.  When they took the stage I turned around and could see his parents, and the look of pride on their face, and later I got to see his sister and as she was watching she grabbed my arm and said, “Can you believe that’s
[My baby brother] out there?”  I also, because of his generosity, got to have a backstage pass, and got to see a little of the show from behind the scenes.  It was Just. So.  Fun. 

Best.  Concert.  Ever.

The view from backstage.

Backstage with my Bestie.

My friend Rick who came all the way from Seattle for the show...

Cori and Scott

Me and my girls (Cori and I have on the nerdy shwag glasses from backstage).

The dirty hippies in front of us smelled so bad I had to dance with my fingers in my nose....

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Confession to Make...

I have been looking forward to this weekend for months! 

My favorite band, Dispatch is back together for a brief tour this summer, kicking off with three nights at Red Rocks!  A bunch of my friends have come from all over the country/world to enjoy the show, and I’m going two of the nights.  I am one of those nerds that I always made fun of.

One of the things that I’m most looking forward to is that Sawan didn’t actually really like Dispatch, he mostly humored me, so this is something that I can enjoy as my own and not really have to be feeling super sad the whole time.

Never heard of Dispatch?  That’s ok, most people haven’t.  They were an independent band (never signed with a label) and they split up like ten years ago, but still get together occasionally for mostly non-profit stuff.  (So some people have heard of them, their fund raiser for Zimbabwe sold out Madison Square Garden 3 nights in a row in 2007.  I didn’t get to go as I was busy being on my honeymoon that weekend.)  I’ve posted their most popular song, for your listening pleasure.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


When I was a little girl, my dad had to take an emergency trip to visit his family.  His dad had something wrong.  I can’t remember if it was a heart attack or a brain tumor, but it was major and he had to get down to see him quick.  We lived in Montana at the time.  The Billings airport is a tiny affair, really cute, with about 4 gates.  Remember the days before 9-11 when you could walk up to the gate to greet your friends and family?  I loved airports.

When we went to pick up my dad, my mom had us all dressed up really cute.  I was probably 3 or 4, and I had on a cute little khaki skirt.  Don’t ask me how I remember that (I don’t remember how to do square roots but I can tell you what I wore on just about any occasion as a child).  Now this part of the story might not have been remembered had the story not been re-told a thousand times: when my dad came off the airplane, for his carry on luggage he had brought home for my mom one red and one yellow-meated watermelon.  One in each hand.  Texas watermelon is far superior to Montana watermelon and it’s her very favorite thing in the whole world.  It was one of the cutest, sweetest, most thoughtful gestures ever.

Usually when you go to the airport you’re there to pick up someone you haven’t seen in awhile.  Someone you’ve missed.  Or, you’re leaving on a grand adventure.  Airports were always so exciting for me.

Now I hate the airport.  I hate it.

Because it’s not a place that I often go, it’s just harder.  The pain of it hasn’t worn off yet.  Everywhere I look is a reminder of my husband.  I look up in the main area by the fountains and see him literally running to me the time he picked me up from visiting my brother.  I look down the row at passenger pickup and wish I could see the little white truck come around the bend one more time.  We were always sheepishly embarrassed about being away from each other.  Embarrassed about how much we missed each other.

As I sit there waiting for my sister and her family to arrive from London, I look to the left and I see the little family, the dad with the two little boys waiting for their mom and they’ve made her a sign.  It’s so cute and so precious and I just grieve.  That will never be me.  I see the couple embrace and kiss, so glad to see each other and I just long for my husband.  I just miss him. 

I wish so much that he was just on a long trip, and that someday I could just go out to the airport and pick him up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The long weekend

I had a busy weekend!  No time to post on the blog!

I worked last Friday to make up for not working on Saturday.  I’ve learned over the many years of being a hairstylist that I can book the snot out of a Saturday on a three day weekend, but when I call to make confirmations the day before, half the clients will be all “Oh, was that tomorrow?  I’m in San Diego.  I can’t make it.”  So I’ll still be working but half of my day (usually out of the middle, so I’m sitting around) cancels.  So I just take a three day weekend myself.

I spent my Saturday doing two things completely out of character.  I got up early and went to garage sales.  I did research on Craigslist before hand, and chose several that I wanted to go to that had yard tools and a few things that I was looking for for my house.  It ended up being mostly fruitless, but still fun.  At the last place I went to, though, I found a window AC unit for my bedroom for $15, and that was on my list (they’re at least $150 new) and I checked it to make sure it worked before I left so I’m stoked!  Then I did yard work (this time with no wardrobe malfunctions…phew), and then went out with friends.  I packed more into my Saturday then I typically do in a whole week!  I was making the best of my weekend, for sure!

On Sunday I helped my mom put stuff back in her new kitchen (they’re doing a major remodel), then went to…pick up my family from London!  They’re back folks!  I’m so excited!

Monday was spent in the mayhem that comes with a family of five around and getting settled back in the states.  Their oldest even had his first little league game. 

It was a great, action-packed weekend.

Won't be long before they need their first haircut! (this is the exact spot as the picture in the previous post, by the way)
Also, here’s an update on Wes (what I’ve named my cute little grass):  It’s coming in great!  I have little 1-inch shoots all over!