Tower of Sierra (Or Overboard Beer Birthday Cake)

Last Thursday was Tim’s birthday. Because he’s one of my favorite people on the planet I decided I should embarrass him on the day of his birth.

So I made this:

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It’s a tower of Sierra Nevada. 

Tim loves Sierra and dogs, so it seemed like the perfect present. (Like, DUH.)

The thing is, making things for people is kind of like a present for me because it’s an excuse to get out my paints and my glue gun.

Glue guns are everything.

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I made this sign with watercolor paints and a fine tipped pen.

Then I glued it on with my gun.

“Two please” is one of our inside jokes.

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So is the Boxer’s sign.

It’s a reference to a rather ridiculous argument Tim and I had recently.

The layers between the bottles are cardboard cake rounds that I covered in gold foil.

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I couldn’t bear the idea of white cardboard sticking out.

Who could?

Anyway…

The topper is a weird watercolor thing that sort of reminds me of the eye of a hurricane combined with a rooster. I don’t know why it looks this way. It’s just what came out when I was painting, and I went with it.

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It’s pretty whacked, but whatever.

The nicknames on the topper are probably only funny to us, but that was sort of the point. (I’m “The Worst,” and none of us are actually named “Darryl” — just in case you were wondering.)

The pups’ party hats were cupcake toppers. I cut the stems off of them and then glued them on their heads with my gun.

See?

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I NEED a Dalmatian puppy like NOW.

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And probably a Lab puppy too.

MY puppy wasn’t so helpful in the construction.

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He basically slept through the entire process.

Did you notice his hideous couch?

It’s gone now.

Tim helped me haul it away today and now I have a shiny new one.

(More on that another day.)

Oh, and one last thing before I go — Tim’s birthday card.

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He loves Snickers.

He also has a Chihuahua named Baby who bit him on the face the day he brought him home, so this little Chihuahua is saying sorry on behalf of Baby.

Okay, that’s really all for now.

Couch post later.

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Birthday Scheming (Or Time to Annoy Tim)

It’s that time of year again: Time to Annoy Tim.

See, Tim’s birthday is Thursday, and he hates too much attention so obviously his friends and I are scheming to horrify him with a big birthday display at the bar.

We’re leaning toward a big beer tower like this.*

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But with Sierra Nevadas…

and less Mardi Gras beads.

Our friend, Bobby, requested I make the whole thing totally over the top, so naturally I ordered grosgrain ribbons and plastic puppies of all kinds to adorn the tower of Sierra.

Tim loves dogs, so I thought some plastic pups would be perfect.

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He did give me these wine doggies, after all….

I’m also working on dessert ideas. I’m leaning toward ice cream sandwiches with his favorite Heath bar and coffee ice cream in the middle.

This recipe for the chocolate cookie is the front runner for the cookie part right now.

I’ll get back to you with updates when it all comes together.

* I found the photo on Pinterest, but I can’t find the link to the original source.

Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

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What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently and I’m mad at him for as many reasons as that state has lakes.

In truth, I never really needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me, and if I’m being REALLY honest that was sort of a crappy move on my part, but I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did. In more ways than one. (It wasn’t just the mirror.)

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone.”Yes,” he agreed, “because they can count on you.” #aww

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just doesn’t feel like real life.

Real life, to me, involves situations like: Can we hang my faux deer head without killing each other even though we’re both covered in the gum we accidentally melted with the hairdryer? (Obviously that example is too specific to be fictional.)

My parents practically filed for divorce every time they put up wallpaper or got in a car to go anywhere that involved a map, so I’m not trying to subject any future hypothetical children to that noise.

I’m not saying I have anything against dinner (I’m actually quite fond of it), but I guess what I’m saying is: the other stuff matters more to me.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

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Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.

Of Cancer and Gift Baskets (Or Smiles and Tears)

Friday my monster had surgery.

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His post-op lampshade situation was short-lived, however.

He figured out how to remove it because he is a canine criminal mastermind — even when he’s high on morphine.

I am supposed to find out this week if his cancer spread and if we’re facing the beginning of a battle — or the end. I try to put it out of my head as much as I can because I don’t want to waste time worrying until I know it’s necessary, but prognosis aside, his three big incisions break my heart. I almost cried when I saw them.

Full confession: I love my dog more than I love most people, so this isn’t easy. Maybe that makes me a misanthrope, or maybe he’s just a very special beast. Either way, I have been loathe to leave my house since bringing him home from the vet. I’ve turned down dinner invitations, hiking offers, and I bailed on book club. I just want to be home so I can watch him sleep.

Here he is crushing Cee Cee the Cancer Lion during a recent nap.

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Die Cancer Lion! Die!

I bought Cee Cee for him the day his initial needle biopsies came back positive for cancer. I cried so much that night that I woke up the next morning with my right eye nearly swollen shut. I had to ice my eyelids before I went to work. (It wasn’t awesome.)

I did manage to drag myself away from my patient this weekend to make an appearance at a baby shower, albeit, a brief appearance.

I probably spent more time putting together the gift basket than I spent at the shower, but I did what I could.

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I like presents.

That’s why I get carried away making them look pretty for people.

Like this one.

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Even boys need bows on their birthday. Fact.

Presents help me deal — and they help me express things I sometimes fail to communicate properly.

That’s also why I cook for people. It’s my way of saying I care about them even if I’m lousy at saying it sometimes.

Okay, enough rambling. I’m off to blast some Matoma remixes and make myself a quiche because I need to show myself a little love via my mouth now.

 

 

Weekend Round Up (Or Kygo and Persimmons, Oh My!)

It’s technically the weekend even though I’ve worked every day. Don’t worry: I have still managed to squeeze in some fun, though.

Friday I saw Kygo with Lola at the Hollywood Bowl.

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It was beyond.

Seal came on stage for a cover of Sexual Healing.

And there were fireworks.

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Tons of fireworks.

Saturday was all about sushi and football.

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As every Saturday should be.

And today I went to the Mar Vista Farmers Market in search of persimmons for a Halloween Party appetizer.

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My search ended in victory.

It’s persimmon season in LA, and I couldn’t be happier. I plan to slice these beauties and serve them with basil, mozzarella, and a balsamic reduction. It’s like Caprese but better because persimmons > tomatoes.

The Mar Vista Farmers market is near a Mexican grocery store that sells my favorite salsa verde in LA, so I try to make it a two for one when I head over there.

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Plus they have goblins. 

And free dog sitting.

I’ve never tried bringing my dog, though. I’m pretty sure Albus would figure out how to break out of the enclosure and head straight for the wild seafood.

Or the goblins.

He’s a magical dog.

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With big magical paws.

Okay, I’m off to watch the Packers before I head to work, but before I go I’ll leave you with a Kygo track because I’m generous like that.

It’s a remix of The Weekend’s Often, and I love it.

My Psychedelic Menagerie (Or I Want to Redecorate My Living Room)

My living room evolved over time and ended up kinda loud. There are a lot of birds and bright colors. Basically, it looks like a psychedelic menagerie of sorts.

Every time I try to photograph the elements, I end up with a dog in the picture.

Living room decor from Dogs Dishes and Decor

I was trying to take a picture of the entertainment center. Pay no mind to the crooked, off-center deer head. That situation was remedied with a hammer, a hairdryer, and a pack of gum. No, really….

Antropologie run on Dogs Dishes and Decor

This was an attempt at photographing my rug. It looks like my spaniel is using it as a Slip ‘N Slide.

Anthropologie Lamp Shade on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I was trying to take a picture of my lampshade, and my dog sat up. (I ultimately put it on a different lamp, but it started here.)

Anthropologie pillow on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Here’s my throw pillow up close. Albus is very into it.

You can sort of see the elements in context from this angle:

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Again, a dog in the photo. I think he’s angry he doesn’t receive royalties for appearing on my blog.

And this angle:

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I am in desperate need of a new couch, but I have been putting off the purchase. I also need to reposition the Beymer prints, but I have one more to frame, so I haven’t bothered….

So, anyway, that’s my living room. And even though it’s not quite done, I find myself restless and wanting to redecorate. Not because I don’t like the room but because I also like these rooms:

Mary McDonald on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I mean can we talk about this wall by Mary McDonald? Source

Caitlin Wilson Anchors Away

Remember when I said I was obsessed with Caitlin Wilson? Well, these are her Anchors Away pillows and I need them in my life. Source

Annsley Interiors on Dogs Dishes and Decor

I live for this room by Annsley Interiors. Source

I’m thinking of moving toward the beach in the next year. Maybe that would be a good excuse to overhaul my aesthetic.

What do you think?

Let’s Show Sandy We’re Stronger Than She Is (Or How You Can Help)

Social media sites have been fascinating microcosms for the minds of my east coast friends this week. From Monday night’s Facebook cries for more Makers Mark on the Upper West Side to Instagram photos of tiny dogs dripping with water, the mood was more jovial in the beginning. When the sun came up on Tuesday and Sandy’s devastation was evident by the light of day, the collective mood on my social media platforms shifted somewhat.

One friend in New Jersey posted: “The Namaste Wagon has drowned.” (Translation, in case you don’t speak yoga teacher: “My car is filled with water.”)

By Wednesday, things were starting to get a bit desperate. “At this point I’d trade my designer handbags for a generator. It’s 60 degrees in here.”

But throughout it all, I have seen kindness and generosity displayed by my friends. “We have fresh water and heat in Williamsburg [Brooklyn]. Come by if you need a shower or a place to sleep.”

Or as one doctor friend in Manhattan put it, “Guys, stop thanking ME for all I’m doing and go buy a Con Ed [utility] worker a cup of coffee. They’re outside in this.”

Gradually, more and more are giving thanks for newly restored heat (“I love electricity so much. It is so sleek.”), asking for information about ferries, and even sharing opportunities for volunteers to carry supplies to fellow New Yorkers trapped in high rises.

And while there are reports of looting, there are some political pundits finger pointing, and there is the brewing controversy over the New York Marathon, I’m choosing to focus on the positive. And I’m looking for ways I can help.

Even though I’m on the other coast and I can’t carry supplies or offer warm water, that doesn’t mean I’m powerless. And neither are you. That’s why I made an emergency donation to the Humane Society this morning, and I made an appointment to donate blood to the Red Cross on Monday.

I made my first donation to the Humane Society in 2005. It was images of helpless animals trapped on roofs in Katrina’s horrific aftermath that turned the tide for me, and I have remained a faithful donor since then.

It’s estimated that 250,000 pets died during Hurricane Katrina. These lucky pups were rescued by a local police officer. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

This poor dog was abandoned and tied to a freeway during Hurricane Katrina. Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Though we have learned a lot since Katrina, and the loss of life — human or animal — is not expected to come near that of 2005, there are still many in need of our help.

This heroic rescue worker saves one of Sandy’s furry victims. Photo courtesy of Babble.

These Sandy victims are comforting each other after the storm. I think of my bubba when I see this picture and I get so sad I want to hug my dogs all day long. Doesn’t he look like Albus? Photo courtesy of American Red Cross via Babble.

The ASPCA is a wonderful organization as well, and they’re also doing a lot to benefit the animal community in need. You can read more about it here. Or make a donation here.

Whether your heart calls you to make donations to alleviate human suffering or animal suffering, both are absolutely worthy of your support.

The American Red Cross has been heralded as an incredibly efficient organization and one that brings extraordinary relief to devastated areas. Even if you cannot afford to make a monetary donation, you can help their relief efforts by donating blood. I mean, we all have that, right? Growing up, my dad donated regularly. I remember him coming home with the band-aid covered cotton ball on his arm about once a month. He may not have donated a lot of money to charities, particularly when I was young and money was tight, but he gave what he could: he gave blood. Since I’m financially backing the pups, I’m giving the people my blood. Seems fair.

If you want to read about other opportunities to help animals, the Petfinder blog has a comprehensive list here.