A Pug’s Life

Oscar has never wanted to food or attention.  He hasn’t had a restless night, but has instead taken up a section of our queen size bed, or our couch or the backseat of our car for years.  He’s only slept on the floor by choice, in the glow of the afternoon sun for a nap.  There aren’t kids around to pull at his ears or his curly tail (although I am guilty of playing with his “arms” in a human-type way).  He has toys in each room of the house and has a huge yard to play in.  He is incredibly loved.

He also mopes around on occasion like he is owed something.  He begs for food at every occasion, relentlessly.  His comfort means that his hair is stuck on everything we own, despite the season.  He still hasn’t learned to pick up his own “business” either.  He barks at kids and neighborhood folk as if he owns the town and I’m convinced that he tries to kill us by dropping toys in dangerous places, like the middle of the stairs or near a door, out of the tub or pretty much any location where it blends in and does not appear obvious.  We call him the town terror.  He’s too smart for us and tricked me into feeding him a second helping of dinner last night.  I should have known his “feed me” dance was a little cautious, like he was testing me to see if I’d fall for it.  I did.  My husband fed him less than five minutes before.  He knew our routine and took advantage.

He has moods like we do, but it’s hard to take him seriously when his tongue doesn’t fit in his mouth all the time.  When he’s sleepy, his bulgy eyes don’t work together and sometimes he blows snot bubbles out of his nose.  We get happy about that because it means his nose is working that day and not sealed shut.  He is the oddest animal I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and loving.

This is what I will see before I close my eyes tonight.  He is, Oscar the Dog.  And I love him like he was my kid.

My Best Friend Lost His Head

Shan and Tommy - Happy in Spring

When I’m searching for blog ideas, I look through pictures.  I found this one and it brought back happiness and devastation.  That is a bit dramatic, but when you’re little, things appear much more tragic.

No, it’s not because I look like a little boy in this picture, but it’s because my favorite doll, Tommy, had a rough life.  I was an only child until I was 8 and the only grandchild, niece etc. for almost the same amount of time.  Although I had many dolls and toys, Tommy was my favorite.  He was probably the cheapest doll I had too, which my parents probably loved, right?  It’s like buying the expensive toy and the kid loves the box.  He had yarn hair, cloth limbs and a cheap plastic head.  He had big cheeks like I did (do) and just had an overall happy face.

Although I love Tommy and we had many lazy afternoon naps together, tea parties and adventures, I have to say he lost his head.  No, literally, he lost his head.  The first tragic occasion came in the summer of my third birthday.  I vaguely remember, but I’ve also heard the story enough times that it feels familiar.  I went shopping with my Mom, because that’s what three year olds do.  Upon our return to our powder blue Honda Civic, Mom popped me into my car seat and then we saw it on the backseat.  Oh no, not Tommy.  Tommy’s cheap plastic head had gotten so warm in the summer heat, that the seal connecting him to his body let loose.

Tommy was decapitated by the summer sun.

Dad tried everything from glue to zip ties.  All winter, Tommy was safe, but the minute the weather became warm, there was no telling what might become of poor Tommy.

For now, Tommy is in a box with my other special friends.  He has probably lost his head in the attic more than once since he’s been up there, but I’m hoping he’s found some stability in his life.  When I saw Toy Story 3, I thought about donating my toys that are in my Dad’s attic but then I realized I’m too selfish and sentimental; at least with dolls like Tommy. The last thing I’d want is for him to blow his top for another young child.

Now that I think about it, Tommy isn’t the only one of my “friends” in my very early years to hit a rough patch.  Maybe I’ll share the tragic assault on Megan with you soon too.  Poor, poor Megan.  At least the pug lovers would laugh at it.

10 Simple Goals. Drum Roll Please…

 

One of the many things that deserve more attention.

This is no simple list or is it a list of  New Year’s resolutions.  I could’ve slapped one of those together in no time, without really thinking about the end result.  I didn’t even plan on making goals because resolutions seem so silly.  In reality, I realized that I need to handle my life like I do my daily chores, on sticky notes.  Without making my list and seeing what has to be done laid out in front of me, it’ll never get done.

Well life, here are some things that I think will make me feel happier, healthier and less regret or embarrassment on a regular basis.  It may even do some good in other peoples’ lives too, and really, that’s one of the most important things.

Ten Simple Goals – In no specific order.

1.     Send a handwritten note once a week. To someone who deserves more than a text or a wall post. It can be simple, but will guarantee a smile on the recipient’s face. It’ll keep my Catholic School cursive on the straight and narrow and help the US Post Office stay in business, one little stamp at a time.

2.     Shop locally. A local farm for eggs or a local pharmacy – it’s like putting money back in your neighborhoods pocket and usually comes with more personal service.  Plus, I can meet all kinds of interesting people who are literally invested in their work and won’t treat me like a number on a corporate pie chart.

3.     Share knowledge. Be considerate enough to inform people about news or details that can potentially affect them. I don’t plan to post any billboards on the Interstate anytime soon, but I can be more generous with knowledge that can benefit the people I care about. Speaking of sharing, please note that #1 is about to get more expensive as a stamp increases to 45 cents on January 22, 2012. This list is working already.

4.     Exercise. AHAHA. Yes, this usually makes the top of everyone’s New Year’s goal sheet. It’s so typical, I’m really questioning why I put it on here at all, but it really is important. Maybe by not limiting myself to something I know I’ll never do, it may work? Run an hour a day? No, I’ll never do it, plus it’s bad on the knees. Walk? That sounds better, but maybe I’ll take more of those yoga classes I signed up for or dust off my Wii Fit board. To be perfectly honest, I’m scared of my Mii avatar criticizing me for how long it’s been since I logged on. Last year, when I gained 5 pounds, it mocked me and made my avatar chubby.  Listen Shannon Mii, you’re not encouraging, your mockery has turned me off, but I will give you another shot.

5.     Take better care of my dog. He really is my favorite little guy, but he doesn’t get all the care he deserves. He is incredibly spoiled emotionally, as every pug yearns for, but he deserves more. His breath is awful but he threw my back out the last time I tried to brush his teeth. His nails grow so fast that I can’t keep them short enough regularly. Trifecta…ready? I will walk him more, which helps #5 and #4 AND if we walk to the family owned dog groomer, maybe I can find some fancy option to sparkle up those little chompers, successfully satisfying #2.

6.     Wake up earlier.  Inevitably my morning begins with the following:  “Damn it!”, as my eyes shoot open and I look at the clock and realize I’ll be running for the door again.  Either I get up earlier or I prepare pretty much everything but my face the night before.  I’d say get more sleep, but really, then I’d have time issues getting everything else done.  Don’t be silly.

7.     Save energy? No, I do that.  Recycle?  Kind of OCD about that too.  Hmm.  What if I strive to finish projects?  I snicker as I write this because I need to come up with three more goals to finish this list and now I think I’ll tackle my little side projects too?  Well Blog, if you’re going to hold me to it, I have to.  I have that yarn that I started crocheting.  I keep buying picture frames for my 75% completed photo wall, so that’s a possibility.  The antiques still need some minor repairs and those hollowed out eggs my Grandmom gave me to make ornaments never saw the lights of Christmas.  I hear you inner voice.  What you’re saying is that I can focus on one at a time and get these accomplished? Interesting.

8.     Share more of my time.  You may ask, “Well Shannon, if you have all these time consuming goals, how can you possibly have any time left?”  The answer is easy; I have no idea.  But I will find it.  There is family I always want to spend more time with, friends I promised I’d see, you know, once the holidays are over, and before long, months have passed.  To be honest, I have become accustomed to being by myself so often, that I’m selfish with my space and my alone time.  It is self-centered and I’m lucky to have people who want to spend time with me.

9.     Learn to converse.  I’m so awkward.  My mouth doesn’t move as fast as my mind or vice versa.  Either way, I walk away from random banter and deep conversations feeling like a moron.  “I can’t believe I just said that”.  There is a book I bought about how to hold conversation and I am going to read it.  Maybe that can be a “project” I can work on.  It’s really a skill that doesn’t get very much credit.  I think I’m fairly interesting but my conversations truly lack anything stimulating, causing me to get flustered and tongue-tied.  Whenever I end up referencing the temperature, I think of another good Oscar Wilde quote; “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Eek.

10.     Define my character.  I will always be myself, but how do I want to be portrayed?  It can consist of many superficial things; how I dress, a signature perfume and include my general demeanor, my handshake and verbage choices.  This is for starters.  I can live up to who I know I am, by keeping promises and not overcommitting myself to things that are unlikely to be possible.  That said, this list of 10 things will take major commitment, but it’s not impossible and worth the time to the people I care about and for the betterment of being a good, honest and healthy individual.

Weekend Blogger

My Dream Office

As someone who is finally a consistent blogger, I’m starting to see trends, some of which disturb me.  Reading traffic really dies on the weekends for me.  I realize that I’m not sitting at home on weekends, enthralled with reading freshly pressed blogs, I’m out living life.  Oh wait, it’s late on a Friday night and here I am – doing exactly that.  As my husband watches cartoons on Netflix, I write to you and wonder…will anyone read my post this Saturday?

Doing the 365 blog has been a gift thus far because it is forcing me to take time to write, when I previously thought it would be impossible.  Initially I did say that I don’t do this for the followers or recognition, but it is nice to get it.  It’s also nice to make connections with other writers and broaden one’s horizons from feedback.

I’m starting to wonder though, should I save my more uninteresting or less inspired topics for the weekend?  If you read what I posted most recently, you may think I’ve already jumped on this train of thought.  You might be right, as posting my cookie recipe is not earth shattering.  You writers out there must admit, there are simply days that are less inspired.  You write for the love of writing, but somedays the words don’t seem to flow as easily and the humor just won’t rear its head.

How could I not be inspired with The Last Airbender and pug snores pre-occupying my senses?  I think it’s time to get my “office” in order post-Christmas and find my zone; where everything is just so and all that exists is a flowing thoughts and tapping fingers.  And by office, I mean the guest bedroom that has a desk and bookshelf in it, as well as miscellenous laundry that needs folding and piles of 2011 paperwork that needs to be shredded.

Mae

Mae might be my alter ego.  Or maybe she’s just a lot less shy and a lot more outgoing than life allows me to be, the true me.

Why Mae? I grew up in South Jersey, raised by my Philadelphian parents.  I moved to Southern California after I graduated high school and a couple of years later I met the man who would be my husband.  Until I met him, I never really knew I had an accent, besides the fact that waitresses could never get my water order right.  “Root beer? What did you say?”  “I said water.”  No, apparently I was saying “wudder”.  My in-laws still giggle at this.

Mae is one of my vocal imperfections.  That is apparently what I say instead of saying “me”.  As I got to know my future husband and his friends, we’d talk and share stories until eventually I got asked who Mae was and why I was talking about her.  Mae has stuck with me, and she’s got a devilish grin and a glimmer in her eye.  She sneaks backstage at concerts, debates passionately over a Guinness and plays in the rain.  She’s always with me and but comes out when I’m at my best, and I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because she gets to visit pretty often, when responsibility doesn’t wear her down.

Mae loves history, ancestry, Ireland, Philadelphia sports, Superheroes, Red Hot Chili Peppers (even when Kiedis is trying to rock that porno ‘stach), dorky science, tea parties, whiskey, playing guitar, oil paintings, culture, debating, photography, Los Angeles after a rainstorm (no smog), U2 (for both music and humanitarianism) and hates that she hasn’t found a way to make a profitable career out of the passion she has for life…yet.  Mae and I co-exist, never straying too far from loving life but being responsible.  Oscar my pug begs to differ…he’d rather I take him on a walk then write you.

It is beautiful out tonight…Mae, you up for an adventure?  Oscar, grab your leash!