Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bring it On

I made it past the dreaded Christmas holiday. Chris and I celebrated in our usual fashion--we call it "Mas Chris" (Spanish for "more Chris" --you got that right?) and just let it be all about him. Although, he, as is our tradition, was the one in the kitchen whipping up a pan of mouth-wateringly good paella and pouring the Tempranillo. We also have a custom of sipping on some Madera wine from 1904. Yes, 1904. The wine keeps that long (and after the bottle is opened as's like magic wine!).  Throw in a fews books, a nice fire going, a snuggly beagle on his cashmere throw on the couch...and yeah, we survived nicely.

And now, on New Year's Eve, I'm very much in my happy place. My happy place looks a lot  exactly like this:
This is Wind 'N' Sea beach in La Jolla, California. Truly one of my favorite places on earth. I took these photos (with my cell phone no less) on my walk this morning. I'm here in a friends condo, finishing up the manuscript for "The Dog Lived (and So Will I)" memoir.  (4 days to deadline!)

Walking the beach is good for the creative (and all other types of) energy. And today on my walk I encountered at least six puppies (Christmas gifts?) and a whole bunch of adult dogs. Dogs on a beach? Pretty much my favorite thing.

2 Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppies with their moms (dog and human!) on the beach

And in a few short hours my favorite person on earth will be joining me. Not a bad way to end 2011.

As for 2012? Bring it on. 

Happy New Year to all!

P.S. The savvy readers among you at this point are thinking, "Wasn't she just in Maui?" And the answer is yes. I have very kind, very generous clients who share their beautiful vacation homes with me from time to time and all seem to want to help me get this memoir finished. I am rich in friends. But, um, I better get back to work on that memoir lest they all think I'm a fraud!

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Anniversary Gift

 If you've met me or been reading this blog in holidays past this will not come as a surprise to you: I hate Christmas.

Actually, it's much deeper than that. I loathe the entire month of December, right up to Christmas (oddly, I'm okay with the 26th through the 31st). I'd give you the whole long, sad saga of why but there's no need to bring you down too. (Let's just say it includes deaths, a coma and cancers--please note the plurals. And please return to your happy holiday celebrations as though you never read that.)

December 23rd is a particularly bad day historically, so I hesitate to write this before the day is completely over. But, I feel I must was 3 years ago today I got the "highly suspicious of malignancy" phone call from my doctor. That statement was followed by "you need to see a surgeon and have the mass removed; not even a biopsy, just have the surgery." Oh, and that call came at 3:45pm. Merry, merry...uh, quite the contrary.

That was, however, 3 years ago. I'm fine now. Scar is faded, mammograms are clear, hair is grown back and chemo weight gain is finally gone (yeah, it took 3 years; whatever. ).  And dare I say it--I've had a very nice quiet day at home. I've been rewriting, and rewriting and rewriting the memoir (due to my editor in a mere 12 days!) while sitting by the fire with Seamus for most of the day. (Chris is busy at his new wine shop.) It's been, actually, unbelievably, a pretty nice day...but it makes me nervous to say that (lightening will strike soon). And while I'm still not up for celebrating Christmas or any other winter holiday, I have gifts for you. Let's just call them anniversary gifts, shall we?

As my gift to you, I'd like to share some blogs that make me happy. Blogs that cheer me. Blogs that are just so freakin' cute. (Although I follow many cancer blogs, none are listed here...I have a certain mood to maintain!). And as you know, the things that make me happy involve my alphabet life (alcohol, books, coffee and dogs). So please enjoy:

From Sophie's View (please don't tell Seamus I said this, but this is one gorgeous dog who has one fantabulous life)

Mutterings (watch this video in particular; it's so good it almost made me like Christmas!)

Going Gently (in my next life, I want to come back as one of his animals/ pets/ housemates. And only now that I had to grab that URL for you did I see that his URL is, which gives you an idea of the humor)

Luna, A Dog's Life  (she's a beagle puppy...and if that's not cute enough, she lives in Australia with her two doting daddies who teach her all sorts of tricks.)

Coffee With a Canine (Coffee. With a Canine. Are you kidding me? How does it get better? --well, I'm holding out for Wine with a Canine....but in the meantime, I'm good with this.)

Sara in Le Petit Village (Sara is married to a French guy, has a great dog named Fifty, lives in a postcard French Village and has a terrific sense of humor; I'd hate her if I didn't enjoy her blog so much. And the fact that I won a book called "Dog Trots Globe" on her blog this week? That's just icing on the cake...or the croissant. Whatever.)

Greetings From Texas (Megan is, as her blog says, a "professional blogger, amateur Texan," she also just happens to be a young ovarian cancer survivor with a great sense of humor...and fashion!; This does not mean I lied about no cancer blogs being listed here...this is not a cancer blog. If it was, I might never have found out about UV Cake Vodka.)

And finally...

I Shoulda Been a Stripper  (I guess with that title I don't need to tell you she's funny. But it's worth noting she has two beagles. Which also means she's hip and smart. No, it does. It totally means that.)

And just as a side note, because it's worth sharing should this ever apply to you: American Dog magazine recently posted an article on where to get help paying vet bills if you need it. Now that's something that could really be a gift.

I'm dangerously close to being all perky and holiday happyish here and we do not want to tempt fate. So, let me hasten to add...

Bah, Humbug!!
And to all a goodnight.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Holiday Tradition

The Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center here in Riverside has a "Pet Pictures" with Santa fundraiser event every year. We take Seamus every year. And every year he does this:
Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2010
That's right...every year he hates it! (2009 was my cancer year... I thus call "chemo brain" on the fact that I can't find that photo).

So...aren't you dying to know how 2011 went? Here he is:
Christmas 2011
Hey, at least Santa didn't have to put him in a headlock this time.
But  then look what happened...

I guess Seamus didn't want to wait for Christmas morning to get his treats. He hit up Santa when Santa was trying to take a break. Santa obliged and just happened to have some dog treats in his pocket.

And now we all believe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Pup-arazzi Following begins

Seamus is getting even more famous. It happens. This interview of me (and Seamus) was done in connection with the "Boobie Bash" fundraiser for The Pink Ribbon Place and Tongka Dog Foundation (raising funds to support canine cancer research).

Let us know what you think of the video! (And please don't point out all the faces I make...I know, I know....)

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I had this crazy idea that I'd have MORE time to blog on vacation. Especially since my vacation was in know land of beautiful beaches, sunsets and a "hang loose" attitude.

But, no. First, I was sick the first two days I was there (crazy stomach bug--so much for Thanksgiving dinner) and then I was hyper-productive on The Dog Lived memoir manuscript. The point of the week in paradise really was to write. I'm pleased to report, I finished another draft! Probably only one more to go before I hand my baby over to the editor at Sourcebooks. Super exciting times.

So that's my excuse for being absent from the blogoshpere. Well...that, and these: