Monday, October 17, 2011

Family Matters: 10/ 14/2011, A Parade of Doggie Halloween Costumes

It's October and with children, matters of Halloween have come up.  What to wear as costumes is of prime importance to Miles, and Gabby, although she feigned indifference over the past couple of days, was originally excited at the concept of being a Peacock (perfect for her because she's so beautiful and no, I have not informed her the female peacocks are reserved and brown and it's their male counterparts that display the beautiful tail feathers), and now thinks that she will wear her riding clothes out for trick-or-treat.  Although I loved the peacock idea, it could turn into something quite expensive and the riding idea not only will be something that we won't see coming and going, but she already has everything she needs on hand.  Her prime directive there is to gather enough candy (aka inventory) to make a fortune on selling at school (the movement to remove candy and other sweet treats from the campus was stupid as the kids just bring it in and sell it anyway, taking profits out of Los Angeles Unified's pocket), so the less money spent on a costume, the better.

For Miles, all he wanted to be was a character out of Halo.  Now he knows that Halo is not a game that I will allow back in this house again, but I agreed that if he wanted to be a character, I could live with it.  Unfortunately, the only thing he has found in that area so far runs well into the $150 range and there's no way we're spending that much money on it, so I'm not sure what he has in mind.

We take the kids to an Ultimate Trick-Or-Treat zone in Calabasas, a very rich community just outside of Los Angeles, and we go to the "poor" zone where the houses only cost slightly over a million each, and they're long and narrow and set very close together.  The candy they give out in that neighborhood reflects the generalized wealth of that area and because so many people visit them, a large number of the residents put on terrific displays and many even have shows!

Our own neighborhood, because the houses are large, set far apart, set far back on the properties, and most of which have fenced permiters, gets no trick-or-treat traffic at all, so that frees both Eric & I up to go with the kids.  We enjoy that activity an awful lot.

Many people take their dogs out in that neighborhood when they take the kids, dogs in costume too.  Last year we took Lucy, wearing her bunch-of-grapes costume.  Sunny was just too old to participate in such a vigorous activity although he enjoyed wearing his costume during our wedding reception.  I actually think he probably enjoyed having the entire house to himself while we were gone.  I can't say that for sure, but Sunny was exceptionally intelligent and I know how I feel during those precious moments that I'm here alone.  Free to do whatever I want... to be productive or to take a nap without interruption.  But back onto topic.

This year we have Lucy and Sophie.  Both dogs love to go places, Sophie is certainly young enough (and interested enough) to participate, and while we have the grape costumes on hand again, truth be told, my original idea for our wedding reception was for the dogs to wear skeleton costumes.  Sadly, only one showed up, and that was not only too late for the reception, but for halloween as well.  I was going to return it, but never got around to it.  In the end, that was terrific because we didn't want to repeat costumes this year (first because it would be boring but mostly because Lucy cannot resist attacking Sophie's grapes - lol!) and the skeleton fits Sophie perfectly!  Sophie is not the least bit disturbed by wearing clothing, so we now have to decide whether to get a matching skeleton for Lucy or something else.  I'll take pictures of the dogs in their costumes on Halloween and share them for you, but for now, let's just say that a black dog wearing a black outfit with a glow-in-the-dark dog skeleton imprinted on it is a very effective look!

Anyway, we started looking at pictures on the internet, trying to figure out what to do for Lucy, and were very happily surprised at the options that presented themselves!

Although this Dogzilla is in Extra Small, I have a feeling that if we looked around, we'd find one big enough for Lucy and gawd only knows that the theme would be appropriate for her personality!

Here's the Skeleton we already have.  It looks much better on our dogs.

Hmmmm... This is also a costume based in black and certainly the Bee would be appropriately humiliating for Lucy, not that she'd notice.  

Could we get this Elephant on Lucy before she tore the trunk off in play?

There's no way!  Lucy would rip the skirt of this Witches costume to shreds as soon as she took the hat off and played with it to death!
While this Devil costume is very tempting, do we really want to encourage Lucy?

Tinkerbell.   Hmmm.... tempting! 

A Pirate.  Another very tempting choice!

The costumes above are all available on  But of course, I didn't want to completely ignore Etsy, my favorite hand-crafted buying forum.  So here's a few of my favorites available there:

A Doggie Hula Costume!  I really like it.But it's only displayed on a stuffed dog.  How would a real dog feel about it?

There's little question how this dog feels about this monster hat.  Now that's the Halloween Spirit!  But I don't think that Lucy could be taken down so easily.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing1  I feel like such a Cow!

Carmen Miranda!  Now this is tempting - lol!

Now if you're serious about dressing your dog up, there are many places to go to buy them.   This is but a small selection that I found on line, and you can find them in many brick-and-mortar stores too.   Please enjoy the holiday and be safe, and if you can enjoy committing your canine to participating too, then happy shopping! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again

It's been such a long time since I've posted here, and even longer since I posted regularly. Amazing, since at one point in the not-that-distant past, I wrote very regularly about anything and everything, almost every day. What a change my life has brought me over the last year!

One year ago yesterday, I married the love of my life, Eric.

It has not been a smooth transition at all. The wedding itself was difficult - a portend into the future perhaps? - and the reception? Ah, the reception.

Where my some of my "best friends" conspired to betray me, leaving me officially a couple of months later. In the 60 days between the initial unfriending and the final once-and-for-all parting, I grew intensely weary of their rabid backstabbing, their emotional issues, their refusal to face reality... that I was not and never was the person that Richard Simmons pretended that I was and certainly was not during the wedding or afterward. When pushed to undue lengths, guess what? I can get emotional and break down too! By the time they left me for good, I was glad to see them go and even celebrated with an Animoto Video in honor of all unfriending:

That video, inspired by an idea from Eric, gave me the ability to laugh at the situation that I should have seen was inevitable for months and maybe a full year before our marriage.  We were parting ways anyway as they were spiraling out of control without a parachute to soften their landing.  As my own life also spiraled and I needed to focus all my attention on myself to regroup, they could no longer rely on me to be there to listen to and support them.  Indeed, talking to them was wearying as we were no longer in the same place, so in the end, the end was no loss.  And, in fact, I still laugh at the "Unfriended" video which is a good thing.  As my life continues to change and I lose more and more of my old friends, it reminds me of something that I posted on Facebook at some point in the past year (paraphrased):

"Some friends are forever.  Others come into our lives for a period of time, but will not always be there.  I love and appreciate both, as they have all helped me grow and develop as a person.   Those who are still with me are truly golden.  But even of those who I have lost, I think fondly of them, miss them, and wish them the best."

The truth is, though, that most of the people at the Wedding Reception truly did wish me well.  I hold on to that, even as I still wince at the betrayal.  At least half of my friends there, even as I have not seen them regularly as my life has changed, remain true and steadfast, and when I finally get settled, I know that they will be there to welcome me back.

But then there are the others.  The others who, after they crippled me and badmouthed me, banished me from their world.  Again, a very abrupt change in lifestyle.  The truth is that the moment Sh- stomped on my foot, I knew that I was done, that the injury was serious and devastating, even as I pretended to myself - confirmed by well meaning but unaware physicians in the ER at Cedars - that it was no big deal.  I remember even exclaiming, as I was helped to the dressing room, "I hate this place!"  And I meant it.  I had had my family and especially my children ripped to shreds by "our mighty leader" only the weekend before in a class where mostly people I don't know attended.  His exact words:  I hate that you got married.  I hate even more that you have children.  And why?  Because I had gained some weight and he could not use me publicly anymore. 

Guess what?  I had tried to tell him before that weekend, only to be blasted and later have him characterize that interchange as "a joke" that my health was worsening, that lack of exercise and the drugs I was being fed had more to do with the gain - of substance but not that critical in the overall scheme of things - than the marriage.  But he was angry, he's on some kind of spirling-out-of-contol downward path himself (only look at him and how he presents himself in the past 9 months and you know in an instant that this is true), and human.  My situation was stressing him out, even before the accident.  And after the accident?  He didn't want to deal with it or he couldn't deal with it.  I don't know which it was, but I tried - stupidly - to try to get him to correct a situation that he did not want to see in order to keep others from getting hurt.  I do not regret for one moment, even up to this day, that I tried to get him to see.  I am at peace with myself for my words and actions.  But that does not change what happened.

He took my words and led a "We Hate Laura" campaign within his world, pretty-much ensuring that the main players ( a few exceptions and you don't know how much I love you for seeing the truth and maintaining some contact even as your own reputations in that world would be threatened by communication with me) also exorcised me, without even knowing the entire truth.  That I wanted nothing more than to have peace and all I wanted was for the right thing to be done.  At that time, I had no idea that accidents such as mine had already occurred in that same location; that people had been paid off to keep quiet about them.  At this time, I still don't have all the details although that is likely to come out still, but there is no question in my mind that I am probably more seriously physically hurt in that environment than anyone in the history of the establishment.  Emotionally, though, not so much.

Yes, it hurts.  I cry all the time when I realize how alone I am and how I've been cut out of a very special relationship without a second's thought.  But then again, I always knew that I was different than the pack.  I did not and never did subscribe to the cult mentality.  And so I remember that I really meant it when I exclaimed to myself in that moment of shock and pain that "I hate this place!" and also, I did my best.  The last communication sent off, just before the "Staff Meeting" where it was agreed that I was now an enemy of the state, said:

Dear R-,

I am praying this afternoon.  I am praying that tonight's staff meeting is productive, harmonious, and has a good outcome.  I am praying that you are protected from those things I fear
for you the most, and that the group comes up with good and actionable ideas that can be implemented either now or over time.

I pray that everyone comes out of it feeling positive about themselves and S-, and that feelings are not bruised too much.  I pray that my letter is understood in full context and that nobody feels that it is anything other than a vehicle asking you-all to take a hard look look at a 'situation' before it turns into something really tragic. 

I am still at peace with what I said, even knowing that you will be sharing it with your Staff.  My intentions were honorable and good, and it is the truth as I know it.  I pray is that my letter creates positive change in which everyone at S-, both Staff and Students, can flourish.

I love S-, I love you, I love your staff.  I know what a miracle S- is.  I'm praying for you all.



I look at that letter from time to time and I know that I did the right thing.  And even if the people involved suddenly realized what a grave error they made in their judgement me (unlikely as that world is all about pleasing the demi-god), it would make no difference at all to my status.  I am irrevocably damaged by their stupidity and failure to care for those who entrust their bodies - and souls - to them, crippled beyond belief by an accident (yes, the actual event was an accident, but due to what I would consider unforgivable negligence before it) that could have been prevented, and I will never be able to be active in that or any like-it venue again for the rest of my life.  And as the world spreads outside of that one classroom and more and more people are getting (and believing ) the company line about what happened, thinking that I am evil, and  eschewing of any contact with me, I can live with the results, as hurtful as they are.  So be it.  The relationship is forevermore dead.  Rest in Peace.

And so I moved on.  I lost my precious dog Sunny, and as his legacy, adopted Sophie, a delightful girl, emotionally damaged beyond belief from the abuse she suffered before she came into my life as well as her experience in the Lancaster, CA dog pound, a horrific place and a high-kill shelter.  

I also lost an adversary by the name of Garrett who lived in our home and was Eric's oldest son, only to have a moment in time last May where the three of us came together as a full and loving unit during a visit by Eric & myself to his school in Utah, and there I gained a step son.  Garrett has a long way to go before he is emotionally healed from his issues, but when we sent him off and out of our home - probably forever - with tears standing in our eyes, I had little hope for him.  Now I know that while he has his issues, he is not mentally ill.  He is not damaged beyond repair.  He just has issues, huge issues.  He will have to work strenuously on them for many years to come to regain the ground that he lost and continues to lose, but he is showing that he has the capacity for that kind of work in his current location, and is sure to grow and grow up eventually.

I gained a 'daughter', Eric's daughter Gabby who I am so proud to call step-daughter, and helped her find her passion in horseback riding.  This is something that she loves, excels in, and because she is determined to maintain this passion while access is tied into her grades in school, she has become an "A" student, and at the same time, is developing the capacity for hard work, compassion, and community service, all under the tutelage of Sandy Springer.  
Waiting for Show Results

I am so proud of her.  I'm also proud of myself where she is concerned.  I have been steadfast that she should have access to horses since Eric & I wed, knowing in my heart as well as my head from my own experiences, that involving her in this activity would be life-changing.  I was right.  

I continue to advocate for her in this area.  Even as we have our differences as most women & teenage girls - especially those who live under the same roof - will have, I delight in her happiness and will do everything that I can to maintain her access to her beloved sport.  Assuming that she continues to get the grades.  And Gabby, in case you're reading, I know that you will, and over time, getting fantastic grades will no longer have anything to do with horses but will be an end unto themselves.  Once you truly taste and understand the fruits of hard work and education, you can never let it go again.

I gained a son in Miles.  Eric's youngest, he tears at my heart as he struggles with issues of health, ADD, and emotional despair.  He's so much like Eric, Garrett, and even myself as I was growing up.  The product of a dysfunctional and hateful situation beyond any kind of belief, he's experienced more pain in his nine short years than most of us will endure over our entire lifetime.   I work hard continuously to help him through his travails, and will continue to advocate for him at any opportunity, and also help him to learn to do the right thing always, even in the face of adversity.  He's exceptionally gifted - I'd say brilliant but that's understating his capacity - and we need to find an avenue for him to let it out.  I will continue my search until I do.

I gained a husband who, despite our issues as I try to adjust to a very abrupt change in lifestyle and he recovers from what he survived in his former marriage and then as the father of four special needs kids, I  love him with all my heart.  I will stand by him as he struggles with his own demons, and he is making such amazing progress which is only accelerating in the past couple of months, that I only fear that he will leave me behind and want somebody better when he beads them into submission. 

But what of myself?  I have devoted all of my time and energy to recovering from the betrayal of friendships, of issues of health, of devastating and crippling accidents, of changing from a single and free woman  to somebody who is wholy responsible for the lives of five other people (as well as assorted animals in the dozens).  I continue to suffer from horrifying and invasive medical treatments to try and stay the damage from what was done TO me, as well as those longstanding treatments for my various autoimmune issues.  

Somewhere in the past year, I've lost myself.  I've found myself without friends who I can talk to honestly and candidly as most of them will not understand.  I'm walking, yet again, a very unusual life in which few can relate.  

I've found myself unable to sustain my creative instinct and business, and barely keep some of my clients happy.  

I've found myself without educational outlets, and without the time or energy to pick up new classes.

I've found myself utterly and totally alone and while I have dreams,  I cry to Eric on a regular basis " I have nothing left.  I've given up everything for this marriage.  I have nothing of my own or my identity anymore!"   

But I am  now formulating a plan to bring those dreams back to life.   There's an old saying:  "That which does not kill me only serves to make me stronger."  I don't know if I am stronger for what I have experienced or not yet, but I do know that I am not completely dead.  And that's why I am posting, at long last, tonight.

I know that I can never go back to the person that I was.  I've been changed in ways that you can't recover from, not that I'd want to.  Not really.  My life now is a culmination of that which I've learned over the past decade.  I'm continuing to evolve, but now I want to plan and control it a little bit more.  I'm assessing what was best in my former life, and figuring out how to adapt it to my new one.

I think that this blog might be a beginning.  I know that I cannot sit down at the computer and type out my heart at a moment's notice anymore.  Indeed, it is not a wise thing to do at this juncture, even if I had the time to do so.  But at the same time, I miss this form of expression as both a creative outlet, a way to hone my writing skills, a way to communicate with my friends and fans, and a way to release things from my life that are stressful.  Also, it's so much fun to share the happy times and bring joy to others, especially those that I've never met.

And so I think that a guarded plan of posting may be a good start.   Maybe three times a week.  Developing a new header photo.  ?????    And that's where you, my readers - assuming that I have any left - come into the picture.  

I would like to know what you'd like to hear about.   I'm thinking that posting on particular subjects on given days may be enough to get me out of my rut.  And this is what I am thinking:

Once a week, I will post about my life, my family, my animals, and my health issues.  I will talk about what's happening with me, trying hard not to be a downer.  I will share funny stories, tell you about people who are inspiring me, and maybe share some of the travails I face as I struggle with issues of family and friends.  

Once a week I will post about my journey back to health.  About my illnesses and my treatments.  About my weight and my struggle to bring it back into line despite challenges of medications designed to put weight on, crippling issues that prevent meaningful exercise, eating "family style" which is not necessarily conducive to being sexy-thin.  I will talk about cooking and medications and coping.  I will talk about others on occasion who inspire me and/or make me nuts.  I may use this blog on this day as a venting board too, as nothing is more frustrating to me than wanting to live a more full and productive life only to have my body betray me.

And Once a week, I will post about my creative side.  I will talk about the creative process and what it means to me.  I will profile some of my work; how it came to be and what it means to me.  I will talk about inspiration vs. creative channeling, how to turn creativity into a small business despite the challenges that I face.  I will talk about my successes and also my failures.  I will profile other artists I know who are worthy, and maybe some who are not (evil grin).  I might talk about the technical side of what I do too.  The difference between gold (or silver) plating and fill.  How I do what I do.  Classes I might like to take or teach.  What I have learned.  How what I've learned has greater life application.

There can be a lot of crossover between the topics, I'm sure.  But these are my proposed general guidelines.  And now I would like to know 

1. What you think about them.
2.  If there are other things you would like to hear about, and if so, will they work under the current topics or should I consider adding one more day into my posting schedule.
3.  Is there something that I should stay away from?

One thing that I can assure you, no matter where this blog goes from here forward.  I have always written in this forum, first and foremost, for myself.  That is not going to change.  I've seen friends and "friends" gain popularity in the blog-o-sphere, only to sell out and post what they think their readers want to read, in search of the elusive title of "Super Blogger."  I can't go there.  My ethics won't allow it; but more important, I'm just not capable of that kind of activity.  Yes, my blog might be a tad self-serving.  It's been so in the past and so what?  Those who write for their readers are self-serving too... they live for one more follower, and another and another...  Am I so horrible to write for myself?  I think probably not, but if you disagree, I'd like to hear about that too.

But this is the first test.  Is anybody still out there?  Is anybody reading?  Is anybody who IS reading willing to go public and respond?  Or am I alone and rebuilding my blog-world as well as my real one?  Either way, I will survive and flourish in the end.  But it's easier when you are not alone.

I get by with a little help from my friends.   I hope you are out there.




Related Posts with Thumbnails