Hot Diggity Dog

Ringo the Dog came to live with us 10 years ago and I’ve mentioned his crazy antics often over the years, including, but not limited to:

  • The night he ate our couch.
  • The day he chewed the leg off the coffee table.
  • His fear of vacuums.
  • His love of snow.
  • The times he’d snuggle in my lap, even as a 90-pound dog.
  • The way the word “walk” sent him into spasms of joy.
  • The way he’d act like I was returning from a 90-day world cruise, although I’d just gone downstairs to get towels out of the dryer.
  • The way he couldn’t corral the grandkids, and it drove him bonkers.

Good BoyFive months ago, Ringo the Dog passed away. It was unexpected and heartbreaking. There was a sudden emptiness in our home that had been filled with Ringo begging for treats or running in and out of the doggie door.

We were all dazed, unsure how to move through our dogless days. There was no furry distraction keeping us from sliding down the death spiral of today’s political chaos.
I had to start talking to my husband. I had no good reason to go for walks every day. No one jumped on me when I got home from work. Well, my husband did, but it just wasn’t the same.

Few things are as satisfying as a warm, happy dog snuggled next to you.

So.

For my birthday in July, we decided it was time to get a puppy. I yelped and jumped on the Google machine like an 8-week-old Pomeranian to search for dogs. I was quickly overwhelmed with the sheer number of puppies and the high-level of cuteness available.

Then I saw a German Shepherd/Lab puppy on the Community Animal Welfare Society website. I contacted the CAWS foster mom and was told he’d already been adopted – but his sister was available.

I couldn’t drive fast enough to meet this little ball of furry energy. Even before I’d held her, I knew she was mine. When we discovered her birthday was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), that clinched it. #StarWarsGeek

We named her Jedi.

After filling out the application, where I had to list everything from how often she’d go for walks (daily) to what Netflix shows I binged (all of them), CAWS finally approved her adoption and we brought Jedi home.

Jedi-2monthsI forgot what it’s like to have a puppy sleep between your feet as you get ready for work. I get overwhelmed with happiness every time she pounces on her squeaky toy. I find reasons to stop at PetsMart every day for treats and toys and accessories. My husband suspended my credit card.

My 2-year-old granddaughter can finally boss something smaller than her. My 7-year-old grandson spends time training her to sit and lie down. (The puppy, not his sister.) My husband’s adjusting to having Jedi knock the lamp over every single day. I’m floating on a puppy-shaped cloud.

I tried to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act so I could spend all day with Jedi watching her explore and grow. My boss wasn’t buying it, so I dash home during lunch for some quick puppy love.

I know we’re in the puppy honeymoon stage and soon our sweet little girl will turn into a velociraptor, only with more teeth. But I also know time with our pets is so short. That makes it all the sweeter. Jedi didn’t replace Ringo, she’s just a rambunctious extension of his joy.

I’m sure every dog owner thinks they have the most wonderful dog in the world. The best thing is, they’re right.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

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Darth Vader/Donald Trump

I’ve sensed a disturbance in society. A dark shadowy figure looms across the country, demanding loyalty from all those around him. A powerful force instigates unrest, encourages outrage and hate, and challenges his followers to embrace their inner rage to find their true destiny.

This person could be Darth Vader. This person could be Donald Trump. The similarities are eerie. Ever since Trump assigned Jar Jar Binks to take over the Office of Silly Walks, I’ve noticed his connection to the Star Wars universe and his uncanny resemblance to Darth Vader.

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I’ll present the facts. You decide.

  • They both have helmet head
  • They both have a thing for the Space Force
  • They are both seduced by power
  • They both lead a staff of brainless clones
  • Both try to destroy those who rebel against them
  • They both surround themselves with wacky characters
  • They consider themselves the center of the universe

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(If you look very closely, you’ll see a black hole at the center of the universe. That’s Trump’s soul.)

  • They both love the sound of their own voice
  • They’ve either tried to boink or kill their daughters
  • They have a love for long, flowing capes and ties
  • Neither of them give a shit about endangered species
  • They both answer to a bigger bad guy
  • Neither understands sarcasm
  • They wear suits that demonstrate their inability to fit in with society
  • They both demonstrate personality disorders
  • They’re both proficient at swinging a lightsaber/golf club
  • The Death Star is powered with coal and is coated in Russian asbestos.
  • They both reconnected to their inner goodness and light. Wait. Only Vader has done that.  I guess Trump still has time. . .

Irreplaceable: Carrie Fisher

A piece of my heart died on Tuesday when I heard Carrie Fisher had passed away. She changed my childhood and rewrote what it meant to be a powerful woman.

When I was a young girl, Princess Leia was everything I wanted to be. Brassy and brave, and full of swagga while carrying a blaster and saving the galaxy in a floor-length dress.

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In later years, my admiration grew. She was so willing to talk about things no one discussed, and so willing to be her own wonderful self. She was never a damsel in distress, never a maiden looking for her white knight. Carrie Fisher was already complete and goddamn fine with who she was.

Here’s why I loved her:

Her razor-sharp wit. Who knew a woman could be funny AND smart AND successful AND throw norms out the window? She was a knee-slapping, rip-roaring, pee-leaking, side-splitting, cheeks-hurting comedic genius. If she’d survived this heart attack, she would have written a brilliant book about her experience and the subsequent media ape-shitting that followed.

Her honesty. She said, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” She was brutally honest about her addiction and mental illness.She shared her struggle without glossing over the messy bits–and threw in heavy doses of dark humor.

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(If you haven’t read “Postcards From the Edge”, you need to buy a copy. Tuh-day.)

She never forgot her Star Wars roots. It’s hard to be a real-life super hero. Carrie Fisher was not Princess Leia. But she knew to millions of fans, she represented a rebellion against the Dark Side. She was gracious in her acceptance of that role and re-embraced it as General Organa. She continued to kick galactic ass, enthralling a whole new generation.

She was entirely herself. Carrie Fisher was not perfect. In a time when image is everything, she refused to believe that. She said offensive things. She pissed people off. She refused to be silent in regard to body-shaming and the unrealistic expectations imposed on women in the spotlight–and out of the spotlight.

She loved her French bulldog. Gary Fisher was one of the most pampered and recognizable pooches in Hollywood. With his Twitter account reaching  more than 10K followers, his posts following her death were heartbreaking as he faithfully waited for her to return.

garyfisher

(Gary Fisher during yet another interview.)

Just like Gary Fisher and millions of fans, I’ll miss Carrie Fisher terribly. The world just got a little less funny, a little less sarcastic and a lot less beautiful.

 

 

Top 5 Ways Star Wars Changed My Life

I was 9 years old when I met Princess Leia. I was instantly smitten. It was 1977 and Star Wars had just hit the big screen, bringing with it top-notch special effects, a kick-butt soundtrack and the Force. I left the theater with a lump in my throat because I wanted it to be real SO MUCH.

Three years later came The Empire Strikes Back, and three years after that, Return of the Jedi. These movies changed my life, not in a geeky way, but in an “I Need To Train As A Jedi and Fight The Dark Side” kind of way. So, yeah. In a geeky way.

Here’s why:

1. Princess Leia–I’d been raised on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Beautiful princesses who slept while princes fought their battles. But Leia! She was brave and tough and feisty and funny and beautiful and smart–and could shoot a blaster! She flirted with Han Solo and Luke, she spit in Darth Vader’s face–and that hair! For several birthdays, I wished I would wake up as Princess Leia.

leia(Don’t mess with her. She will blast you.)

2. Darth Vader–This dark villain stormed through the Star Wars movies with his own cool theme song. He was so easy to hate. But then he saved Luke! Then Luke tries to save Vader! It was all so complicated. But it taught me that there is no black and white. Behind every horrible person is a layer of anger that comes from fear.

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(He just wanted some quality father/son time.)

3. Plot Twists. Say wha??? Vader is Luke’s father? Leia is Luke’s sister? Lando betrayed his friends? Han Solo is encased in carbonite?? Star Wars was my introduction to unpredictable stories–and I’ve been hooked ever since. Give me a plot with a neck-wrenching twist and I’m a happy camper.

4. There is a Force in the universe. Yeah, I can’t blow up a Death Star with my mind, but I can absolutely impact the world around me–for good or evil. Star Wars taught me that I’m already strong enough, powerful enough and wise enough. I just need a lightsaber.

force

(Covering all the bases.)

5. Yoda Wisdom. Yoda is my co-pilot. I wanted to fly to Dagobah and train with him to become a Jedi master. I hear his voice when I’m angry. I see his eyes shut with sadness when I choose the dark side.  Today, I use his lessons in my yoga classes. Now, if I could just learn to levitate . . . .

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