Just a lazy Sunday afternoon, really?


It never seizes to amaze me how much we humans can learn simply by observing; by taking in our surroundings and more importantly, the dynamics that take place in them.

Today, after a week of captivity (or at least it feels this way), I finally left the house. I thought it was due time for Roxy, the Significant Other, and I to hit the dog park. I figured that after our long sabbatical, our furry friends and their humans would long have forgotten our “reputation.”

So off we went. Me, wobbling side to side but finally walking a bit, the Significant Other dutifully carrying my crutches should the need arise, and Roxy tugging on her leash, eager for the opportunity to socialize.

Sadly, there weren’t any furry friends in attendance at the dog park. I glanced at the position of the sun and concluded we had a short wait before we were joined by other visitors.

After a short while, an elderly man and his pup were seen on the horizon. Roxy spotted them easily. Eagerly wagging her tail, she awaited their arrival. I quickly reminded her that she was being given an opportunity to redeem herself; tabula rasa and what not.

The man and his dog came closer and closer. I could see Roxy starting to pant. Deciding it was a good idea that she play freely, I naively took her leash off. I briefed the Significant Other on how he should intercept our little Miss the second she showed any sign of returning to her wicked ways.

Roxy avidly greeted her new friend with a wag of her tail. However, he didn’t seem too interested in her comely appearance. Roxy, not one to admit defeat, danced around him enthusiastically. Yet, this wasn’t enough to illicit a response from the other canine.

Roxy did not give up. She barked, wagged her tail even faster, lifted a paw in greeting, and even tried to kiss him. Nada. Zilch. Nix. Our new furry friend seemed oblivious to little Roxy’s charms.

I turned to grab my camera but stopped midway when I heard an ominous growl. In less than 2.1 seconds, the transformation was complete. Roxy, teeth barred and claws at the ready, had metamorphosed into mini Cujo.

The man, in shock at what he was witnessing, tried to pull his dog away. Roxy wouldn’t have it. She circled both of them like a turbulent tornado intent on destroying whatever lay in its path.

The Significant Other, completely taken aback by Roxy’s reaction, stood rooted to the spot even while I screamed at him to take action. By this time, the old man spun around in circles and the small dog flew through the air like a super hero.

Roxy, intent on leaving no prisoners behind, circled voraciously. And then, the worst imaginable thing happened–the little dog got loose. He ran toward the cemetery which lay a hundred yards in front of us. Roxy took off in pursuit and the old man followed.

In the meantime, the Significant Other remained frozen in the same spot. Fortunately, my piercing screams brought him out of his catatonic state and allowed him to join the mad race. Horrified, I saw the other dog crawl under a hole in the fence and head into the cemetery. Cursing, panting, and groaning ensued.

A few minutes later, the Significant Other returned with our wayward friend. Roxy averted my gaze as I reprimanded her but then lifted her snout as if to say, “It wasn’t my fault.” My sharp, “Don’t even go there!” indicated I was not pleased with her actions. Just then, the Significant Other returned from helping the man capture his dog.

“Just a quiet, relaxing afternoon in the dog park, you said. I don’t get paid enough to do this job.”

“You don’t get paid at all.”

“And how would you classify the elevated spurts of blood pressure, tachycardia, and shortness of breath?”

“Marginal benefits to living with two colorful butterflies.”

“Don’t you mean, two lethal black widows?”

Chuckling, we turned to leave. We hadn’t taken but a few steps when we saw another dog and his human approaching. The breath caught in our throats.

“This time, you do the running and I do the screaming,” said the Significant Other.

To be continued…

Roxy says, "It was all him."

Roxy says, “It was all him.”

After so much action, there's nothing left to do but rest.

After so much action, there’s nothing left to do but rest.

Roxy admits, "Okay, I may have been partly to blame."

Roxy admits, “Okay, I may have been partly to blame.”

Are you still awake?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by jenny downing

Last night, as I wobbled like a Weeble Wobble to the kitchen, the phone rang.

Glancing at the clock, I realized it was a little after midnight.

I had barely croaked a hoarse “hello” when screeches at inhuman decibels hit my ears.

“Are you awake? Tell me you’re awake cause nowadays with you, I never know. Bears in hibernation sleep less than you, Bella. Anyway, pull up a chair. This is going to take a while.”

Carefully replacing the moka pot in the cabinet, I reached for the leftover dinner wine. Something told me coffee wasn’t going to cut if for tonight’s tête-à-tête.

“Do you remember Diane, the woman who’s married to Henry, my next door neighbor’s son? You know, the one who was fat as a house? And notice how I say was and not is. I saw her this morning and I didn’t recognize her. The woman is 200 pounds thinner!”

I slowly inhaled what was left of the dinner wine’s bouquet.

“Turns out she had gastric bypass surgery. She tells me she’s been sick as a dog for the past three months but with all the weight she lost, who cares? And if the weight loss wasn’t enough, the bitch went and got a tummy tuck to get rid of the leftover skin. A tummy tuck! Do you know how long you and I have dreamed of getting one of those babies? But have we? No. And why not? Cause all of our money goes into paying for these kids’ education, that’s why!”

I took a long sip and let my head roll back.

“And for what, Bella? For what? Your kid still is still a work in progress and my two have been working toward a Bachelor’s Degree for the past six years. What a waste of money! We could have spent that cash in getting our stomachs stapled. And with what we’ve spent on books and other incidentals, we would have had enough for a tummy tuck, liposuction in our jaw, an eye lift, and four Botox treatments!”

I turned my neck to the side and heard it crack loudly.

“We would be skinny minnies shopping for bikinis at Target. In size 0! No more being on the defensive and saying 0 is not a size, because it would be our size! We’d be a double 00, you and I! No more fat pants, tunics, or those nasty sweatpants you’re so prone to wearing. We’d be sporting skinny jeans, mini skirts, and thigh high boots! We’d be a force to be reckoned with. We’d look younger, taller, and skinny! S-K-I-N-N-Y!”

I took another sip of wine and wobbled back to the kitchen.

“If we had better invested our money, you wouldn’t have knee troubles from being overweight and I wouldn’t have a double chin I have to hide with scarves in the summer and turtlenecks in the winter. We’d teeter on high heels, buy skinny lattes at Starbucks, and count calories using an app. Instead, those universities where our kids say they go to study are sucking what’s left of our meager savings dry. At this point, we’ll be lucky if we avoid living out the rest of our days in one of those nursing homes where they beat the elderly and starve them to death!”

I slowly moved the items in the kitchen cabinet, searching for a box of Carr’s crackers.

“Mom is right, you know. We’re a pair of enablers. Not only have those kids taken all our money, they’ve also done away with our taut stomachs, firm boobs, and perky derrieres. I never recovered from that 13 stitch episiotomy, you know. I go one day without consuming fiber and all hell breaks loose. You can hear my screams in the next county. And you, don’t get me started on how your desire to breastfeed left your girls, Thelma and Louise! One more month of breastfeeding the Son, and you’d be dragging them on the floor!

I rummaged in the refrigerator and searched for the brie.

“I wish I hadn’t seen that woman today. She’s the reason for this rant. Her and her new flat stomach. She used to weigh more than I did, you know. It makes me want to cry. When I think of the money we’ve wasted on useless pursuits, I want to scream! Where did we go wrong? We made bad choices, plain and simple. I should never have gone to the club that night and met you know who and you should have joined the Peace Corps like you wanted to. Who knows, you might now be married to a doctor and I wouldn’t have to wait until they put the granny pants on clearance at Target.”

Not having found the brie, I made do with the remains of what I hoped was Cheez Whiz.

“We were destined for glory, you and I. Remember how I was in the top ten percentile in college? You spoke French like a native. Dear Lord, now look at us. I bet you’re drinking stale wine and spreading something moldy on a cracker, aren’t you?”

I tried to chew the saltine I had just spread with some sort of mystery cheese without making noise.

“It’s too late to do anything about it now. Our lives suck. This is our reality and we have to deal with it. You and I. We’re in this crap hole together. No one’s digging us out. We’re going to be stuck in here till we die. Or till they send a pair of burly orderlies from the nursing home where our kids are sticking us. Because that’s what awaits us down the line, sister. Me, a woman who should have been dressed in Prada, wearing a straight jacket and you, a woman who was going to write a best seller, singing ‘Old McDonald had a farm’. Dear God, why do you hate us so?”

I took a final sip of wine and placed the wine goblet on the kitchen counter.

“The sound of an empty wine goblet scratching the surface of your old kitchen counter. My cue to put the soap box back in the corner.”

Smiling, I answered, “Yep. Do you feel better?”

“Maybe a tad. Same time next week?”



Who do you call when you need to vent?

Pulling myself up by my piggy house slippers

piggy house slippers

Dear friends,
First of all, I wanted to apologize for my absence. For the past week and a half, I’ve been battling bronchitis. Many sleepless nights have ensued and I’m afraid it’s time to admit that it has whipped my derriere. Breathing has become so difficult, I’m using an asthma inhaler even though I’m not asthmatic.

But not to fear, friends.
I’m beat but not broken.

(Although something tells me that the surgical mask wearers the Son and the Significant Other would say otherwise.)

Tonight, feeling like I can finally breathe a little better, I decided it was time to pull myself up by the bootstraps, actually, by my piggy house slippers, and tell all of you how much I’ve missed you.

Please forgive my absence to your blogs.
I hope to be get better soon and look forward to reading all your posts.

I also want to express my gratitude to all who have emailed and sent Twitter messages asking how I am. Please know that you are lovely, lovely, lovely and I am very appreciative for your concern.

And now I want to leave you with a post I wrote before bronchitis snared me in its clutches.

It’s been two weeks since then but I think you will still enjoy it.

I’ll be back as soon as I can take a full breath.
Until then, enjoy!


I find it ironic that someone who loves technology and gadgets as much as I do, can’t afford to have any.

I feel cheated.


And let’s face it, in a time where people can instantly post from their cell phones to the net and post photos using cutesy apps like Instagram, I feel deprived.

Yet, not one to cry over what I don’t have (though I find complaining to be the perfect way to channel my frustration), I decided to take matters into my own hands.

The photos you are about to peruse are not “sent from my iPhone.”

Heck, they’re not even sent.
I had to upload them with a USB cable.

Nevertheless, when life gives you lemons, you make a lemon pound cake.

Or a lemon meringue pie.

Or a lemon granita.

You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures…

These sightings took place in the spell of four days.

During this time, we went from cold, to colder, to snow.

All photos taken with my barely alive but still kicking Nokia.



I love the charm of this cafe.

I love the charm of this cafe.


Yes, yes I do!

Yes, yes I do!

Stunning Roxy!

Stunning Roxy!

Wild parrots

Wild parrots

Why yes, there's a swan in the canal, Roxy!

Why yes, there’s a swan in the canal, Roxy!

Thoughts, anyone?

Because this is the only place Barbie needs to be!

Snow day!

Snow day!

European snowmen. You gotta love them!

European snowmen. You gotta love them!

Which is your favorite?


Peekaboo. Do I see you?

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Crazy George

The aging process.

Some of us dread it.
Some of us embrace it.
And some of us are unsure if it’s a good thing or not.

Nevertheless, it’s like death–there’s no avoiding it.

The aging process.

We want to believe that when it arrives, we’ll be ready.

Until the day we spot it.
Laying there.
Trying to camouflage itself, yet failing miserably.

One gray hair.

Not an army, mind you.
Just one.
That’s all it takes before we go into full panic mode.

We start to question where time has gone.
We calculate how many days before our next birthday.
We pull out a magnifying glass and search every square inch of our face.

One gray hair.

Its discovery unleashes the monster.
Opens Pandora’s box.
Sends us on a downward spiral.

We look up “old” friends on Facebook to see if they look younger.
We cross our fingers, say a prayer, and try to strike a deal with the powers that be so they may look older.
A lot older.

We buy expensive face creams.
Hoping they’ll do away with the effects of time.
That they’ll do away with the crow’s feet.

We question whose idea it was to call them crow’s feet.
We curse whoever it was and wish we could turn back the clock.

To reverse the all-nighters.
The late night partying.
The one drink too many the night we celebrated whatever it was we were celebrating.

We look in the mirror.
We realize that while we’re losing the hair on our head, we’ve started to grow a mustache.

We place a pencil under a breast to see if it’s still perky.
We realize we can easily fit a box of twelve.

We become aware that our gums are receding.
That our joints hurt.
That our ass is sagging.
That it’s only a matter of time before someone tell us we’re more wrinkled than an elephant’s scrotum.

We notice our fingernails have stopped growing but our toenails keep growing.
That we can’t bend down to trim.
Or shave our legs.
We find it easier to let everything below our waist grow until it can grow no more.

We realize that movie stars our age are cast in the role of grandmothers.
Or great-grandmothers.
Or great-great-grandmothers.

We wake up to the fact that we have trouble getting up after sitting for too long.
That we can’t cross our legs without a muscle spasm.
That we easily lose our balance.

We forget the neighbor’s name
We confuse our children’s names.
We realize there are days we can’t remember our own names.

We realize that if we were to answer people truthfully when they asked how we are, we’d have to utter the word “constipated.”

We lose the ability to lose weight.
We’re too tired to exercise.
We become indifferent to the state the house is in.
We stop buying lingerie and start to think granny panties have gotten a bad rap.

One gray hair.

That’s all it takes before our world falls apart.
Before we realize that youth is slipping from our fingers.
Never to be recovered.
CPR’d back to life.
No need to get the paddles and shout, “Clear!”

Middle age has found us.
There’s nowhere to hide.

Do we embrace it or pretend we don’t see it?

One gray hair.

For today, I’ll color it and happily stay in a state of denial.
I never saw it.
It was never there.

Are you ready to embrace middle age?