Beach Houses on the Brain

I’ve long been a fan of “Coastal Living” magazine, even though I don’t live on the coast. I like to read about beach houses and bungalows, find out how people decorate in such a fashion that tracked-in sand won’t hurt the carpet or furniture, and see how they allow for weather.

Condo Hotels have intrigued me ever since I was introduced to the concept one summer on the Jersey Shore. I remember that we’d drive by this towering building every day on the way to or from the beach, and that my mother referred to it as The Monstrosity. (Monstrosity would become my first “big” word – I was all of two.)

Years later, I’d see the same building, complete, no longer looking like a stack of cinder blocks and cavernous gaps where rooms should be, and wonder what it would be like to live in a luxury condo overlooking the beach or the yacht harbor. As much as I prefer the notion of a beach bungalow at sand level, there’s something attractive about being up near the stars, and having the whole coastline as a view.

Dog Walking

It’s become our habit (Zorro’s, Cleo’s and mine) to do a daily walk before I settle at the computer to write. Generally, we do this between 9:30 and 10:30 in the morning, before it gets too hot. Today, we didn’t manage to do this until almost noon because I had other engagements.

Generally one turn around the long blog (one block over, through the park, up another short block, and down the long block home) is enough to keep both dogs tired out until supper, at which point their antics – the tricks they do do EARN said supper – tire them out enough to keep them from driving me crazy until the three of us retire to the bedroom. Once we’re in the bedroom, each of them selects one of my ankles as a chin rest, and I can read, write, watch television, or do all of the above, for hours, as long as no one (meaning me) has to move.

Tonight, about an hour ago, the routine changed.

I fed them around six, and let them out into the back yard to do their stuff (and so I could turn off the hose, which was in the pool, and had subsequently flooded the yard), around seven.

Just before eight, as I was about to write my second to last post for tonight (and I apologize for the over-abundance of posts – I had some ad-links that were due tonight, and even though one of my services doesn’t care if posts are back-to-back, I care), a small dog jumped up and braced their front paws on each of my thighs, and said, “We’d like another one of those walkies, please.”

At least, I thought that’s what they were asking. They might have been looking for Fuzzy, who isn’t yet home from work. So I asked, “Are you looking for Daddy?” and they gave me the look that means, “Who?” And then I asked (because they’ll often signal when it’s bedtime, “Do you want to go to bed?” But clearly they didn’t.

“What do you want?” I asked, and they raced for the door to the mud/laundry room/airlock between house and garage where their leashes are stored. Zorro pawed at the door, and Cleo sat in front of it and warbled, the way she generally does when begging for her special T-O-Y that we keep hidden so she won’t destroy it.

“Ok,” I said. And yes, I do speak aloud to the dogs. It amuses me, and they like the sound. “Let’s go for a WALK!”

This is a trigger phrase, and caused utter pandemonium, until leashes were snapped on, doors were opened and shut, and the street had been peed upon.

Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out what to do with my cell phone, for I’d grabbed it thinking it was unwise to wander around in the dark without something in case of emergency, even with two canine companions in a fairly safe neighborhood, but alas, didn’t have any pockets.

I ended up ducking behind my mailbox and shoving it into my bra. The edge of the bra touched a button, and the screen lit up, so I walked for a quarter of a block with a glowing rectangle of light on my left breast, but the dogs didn’t care.

And by the time we passed the neighbor out for his evening motorcycle ride, the light had gone off…really.

I’m going to have to get a fanny pack, because I suspect evening walkies are about to become a regular occurrence.

Danny Kaye and Me

It’s interesting the way one word or phrase can trigger an entire memory. Here’s an example.

Surfing websites, I came across a site advertising Callaway golf equipment, and it immediately reminded me of an essay I’d once read by a man who had grown up listening to Danny Kaye’s version of the classic Cab Calloway song, “Minnie the Moocher,” had practiced it with his brother, and had gone to one of Kaye’s concerts to prove how good he, himself, could be. I don’t remember the author, but I remember the part about Danny Kaye challenging the audience to a string of “Hi de hi de hi de ho” choruses.

I have a special fondness for Danny Kaye. Obviously I never met him, but whenever I stayed home sick, my mother would bend the “no TV before five pm” rule, and since I hate cartoons, and never got into soap operas, that generally meant reruns of Star Trek or old movie musicals. Since there are far more musicals than TOS episodes, I saw a lot of Danny Kaye.

My two favorite Kaye performances are the “pellet with the poison” bit from The Court Jester and the “Russian Composer song” from one of his other movies, in which he played a prize fighter. I think it was The Kid from Brooklyn.

I had, as a small girl, and have still today, a rich internal fantasy life. I’m rarely lonely, rarely bored. Escaping into a world where Danny Kaye sang about a gazillion Russian composers in 28 seconds was exactly the sort of thing I used to do. While we all have voices in our heads from time to time, mine don’t belong to my mother or my grandmother, but one of them belongs to Danny Kaye.

The last performance of his that I ever saw was an episode of The Cosby Show in which he played the best dentist ever. He died when I was in high school. I always regretted never having written him fan mail, even though I don’t believe in writing fan mail, generally.

There was a point to this piece, really, but it’s gotten muddled, because in my head, all I can hear are strains of Danny Kaye singing “Minnie the Moocher.”

Folk’s here’s the story ’bout Minnie the Moocher
she was a red hot hoochie coocher
she was the roughest, toughest frail
but Minnie had a heart a big as a whale

MissMeliss vs. The IceMaker

One of the things I love about my very stylish stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator, is that it has an ice maker, and a chilled water/crushed ice/cubed ice dispenser.

One of the things I hate about it is that a family of two humans and two small dogs cannot possibly use as much ice as said ice maker is capable of creating, which means, if we don’t remember to empty the ice maker once a week, it overfills, jams the dispenser and while we can still get chilled water, if we attempt to have it dispense any form of ice there is a sad grinding not unlike what I imagine the Titanic sounded like when it became intimate with an iceberg.

Today, I wanted ice.

In the past I’ve spent the better part of an afternoon defrosting the dispenser, and while I recognize that this is something I do need to accomplish sometime soon, I don’t have the time or inclination for such a thing today. Also, it’s Fuzzy’s turn.

Instead, I used a hot knife to remove the crust of snow-like stuff from around the edges of the ice maker, pulled it open, moved my hand around to break up the ice, and basically treated the storage section as a really expensive ice-cube bucket.

Thankfully the grinding part of the ice maker is not inside the bucket, but the dispenser, and unlike the garbage disposal, a kitchen device that still scares me sometimes, you can’t accidentally stick your hand in and have it shredded into bloody pulpy bits.

I have the most expensive ice cube bucket on earth.
Go me.

Shore Leave?

Orlando isn’t exactly the beach, but the one time I was there, I remember thinking, “Oh, this would be lovely without the humidity,” and “more time to visit Disney parks would be fun.” As a result of being there for a con, and not having a ton of free time, I’ve never managed to make it to Epcot, only to the Animal Kingdom.

To be honest, my Florida dream vacation involves renting a house on Sanibel Island, not a Orlando vacation home rental, but Fuzzzy does go to Florida quite often, and it’s a much more pleasant place to visit than, say, Sterling, VA in winter, where he’s been twice in the last two years, or Buffalo, NY during a cold, damp spring.

But the Harry Potter thing is opening in Orlando in 2009, and while I mocked it in this very blog just a few months ago, the truth is, I kind of want to see it (it’s not a Disney park, but part of Universal Studios Florida), because, really, you can’t be any kind of fan and NOT want to at least see it. Once. Briefly.

So maybe, just maybe, Orlando is on the horizon after all.


Miss Cleo is a bit of a klutz.

On our stroll today, she did her business then, because she’s so amazingly talented, managed to step in it while kicking grass to cover it.

She then tried to stop and “go” every few feet on the way home because she could smell herself.

And she was embarrassed.

Now, she’s mad at me, because when we arrived home, Zorro was let off his leash, but SHE was dragged to the back yard where the hose and her hind-quarters became well acquainted.

No doubt she’ll leave a present near the hose later, to show her opinion of the thing. Her honest opinion.

But at least she’s clean.


I don’t usually write about this here, but I’m psyched because despite having a really horrible couple of days, migraine-wise, and not wanting to even do walkies with the dogs, I’ve lost three more pounds, for a total, over five and a half weeks, of seventeen.

I’m three pounds from my first goal.

This experience has taught me a lot. First, it’s taught me that whether you’re using a cream, a pill, or a diet patch, those external helpers are just that – HELP. They’re support, but the real work comes from you, from inside.

I’ve also learned that sometimes it really is better just to have the chocolate bar (or, in my case, a third of a chocolate bar) because the stress over wanting something, and feeling miserable about it, is often worse than just having it. But only sometimes. Not every day.

I’ve re-discovered my love of cooking. It helps that we bought a George Foreman grill, because I treat it like a toy, not a boring kitchen appliance. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be impatient with the dogs because they want to sniff every tree, because we’re having a mild summer, and if I wear shorts on our walkies (which, I admit, is a juvenile spelling, but it’s not a trigger to the dogs when pronounced that way, and it sound so much more upbeat and positive than “walk.”) I can work on my tan and be active at the same time.

And generally, I’m a much happier person, and sleeping better, since I started all this.

Happy Friday.
Happy Me.

Comments Link

You’ve all been really polite about not complaining, but Carmi mentioned that having the comments link at the top of a post was a little confusing, and I’ve noticed that it’s especially so on those post where Mr. Linky is enabled, so I’ve moved the comments links to the BOTTOM of each post.

Just wanted to let everyone know.

Reimbursement Rag

Every month or so
On a trip, Fuzzy must go
He’s got the packing down to just one little bag

When he returns to me
My very first spousal duty:
About his expense reports, I must nag.

The accounting people are slow
Though they use payroll software, I know
So I worry when our bank balance starts to sag.

“Are you sure you sent it in?”
“I did,” he’ll say with a grin.
“Before you even told me,” he will brag.

“Good, cause the cable bill’s due.
And it’s an expensive one, too.”
I say this, and try not to sound like a hag.

“I hate when you go away.
I much prefer homecoming day,
Though I kind of wish you’d manage to bring me more swag.”

He laughs and gives me a kiss.
And for a few moments there’s bliss.
But then to my head comes this Reimbursement Rag.

And yes, I realize this isn’t a rag so much as a blues riff.
Also, he does bring me flowers whenever he goes to the grocery store.