Monday, January 31, 2011

i am that dog person

You'd swear that I've just given birth to my firstborn, because this is how I imagine brand new parents behaving, talking and thinking. But, I assure you we did not have a baby. We had a dog.

And our dog has a name. We were having problems deciding what to call her. We I treated this dilemma like we were in charge of naming a messiah baby or future king of England or someone who will eventually walk on two limbs and speak and read and not eat styrofoam. So indecisive were we that several days after we brought her home, she still had her birth name, Ariel. (Her brothers' and sisters' names? Cinderella, Snow White, Captain Hook, Jasmine, and Aladdin. Cute. No thanks.)

We took her to the vet on day three. As I stood holding her at the front desk, a lady with two guide dogs encroached upon her not unlike the Close Talker from Seinfeld. She fawned over her as though she was the second coming, cooing and oohing and ahhh-ing in a reverberating falsetto. For five minutes. And another five minutes. And then she proceeded to literally make out with my eight-week-old puppy.

Once the bulk of their make out session was over, she asked me what her name was. The receptionist asked the same question a few days earlier as I made the appointment and I crumbled under pressure, sputtering the first name that came to mind, Tess. So I told the admirer that her name was Tess.

"She's not a Tess, she's a Sunny!" the woman said with resolute firmness. She was really on to something.

So Sunny she became.

Sunny's mom is not entirely sure that she is a dog and not a human. She often feels racked with guilt when leaving her, and lets her sit on her lap while she's driving even though this is unsafe and possibly illegal in California. Sunny's mom texts photos to everyone in her phone book each time her brilliant alpha puppy does something awesome, like sleeping, eating, or making it to the Potty Patch. At night when Sunny's asleep in her crate, Sunny's mom makes unnecessary shuffling noises hoping she'll stir and therefore "need to go outside" again. Later, she has dreams about her.

Sunny's mom asks her complex questions like "Why are you so obsessed with that?" and is surprised when Sunny doesn't answer, which is usually.


I heart my Sunny.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

naming a puppy is more complicated than i remember and other observations

does she look like a Caroline to you?
hi! my name is _________!

Some people fit into their names so perfectly that any other name would have certainly produced a different person. One of these people is Amy, BFF since middle school. Amy was supposed to be named Caroline. Her parents decided this long before she was born. But then they met her and realized that she wasn't a Caroline, she was an Amy.

Amy is the Amiest Amy I know. I love the name Caroline, but it doesn't suit Amy.Would "Caroline" have Amy's same robust fits of laughter that make the walls vibrate? Would "Caroline" react to shattering a wine glass by falling out of her chair in such a fit, landing on shards of the broken glass in the process? Most importantly, would "Caroline" not get up right away? No, no, and no. But Amy would. :)

Our 7-week-old Labradoodle needs a name. We refer to her as "Unnamed Dog" for now, but not to her face because she has to stay with her labramom until later this week. We've narrowed the slate down to between two and 14 names depending the time of day. I have placed exorbitant weight on this decision in order to ensure the most complicated and drawn-out process possible.

My philosophy of dog names is similar to my philosophy of human names, which is that people usually become their name. My childhood dog came to us as "Clancy." Clancy is a 78-year-old man who drinks straight up scotch and wears a velvet smoking jacket. What Clancy is not is a five-pound girl puppy. So she became Maggie and we all lived together happily ever after until 2004.

To name a dog Fifi or Toodles or Fluffy is to pave a path to diamond-crusted leashes, dog salons called "Paw-parazzi," and rapidly decreasing street cred. To name a dog Butch or Skid Row or Grizzly is to sentence yourself to 12-14 years of evil glares from parents as they usher their horrified offspring away from you and your spike-collared beast. And to name a dog Fred or Maude is to guarantee a dog who sleeps 22 hours a day and eats ground sausage out of the trash.

Also frowned upon is giving your dog the same name as a relative (living or deceased), a friend, a friend's child, a past pet, an ex, or an acquaintance from your past or present who left an impression on you that's anything less than perfect. You can also rule out names similar to one you might one day consider giving an  actual human child. For example, is your dog's name Polly? Sorry, no daughters named Molly.

But all is OK, because I feel an epiphany coming on any minute now. Meanwhile, who cares because do you see this face?
Make up your minds, people.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

i see in your palms a long life of douchery

Bad, bad lines!
Talking on the phone is a surefire way of preventing strangers from reading your palms. Right? Amateur psychics don't just walk up to people at the mall and tell them to hang up so they can talk about your bad aura. That's just silly!

I was sitting on a bench because I don't do things like "walk and check my bank account balance at the same time without walking into oncoming traffic" very well. A guy who looked like Mark Zuckerberg approached me and said to hang up right now because he needed help. Looking back, my first and biggest mistake was compliance.

Mark Zuckerberg said he was desperate to find a gift for a girl and needed advice. "Gift card," I said. "To where?" asked Mark. "Sephora." Or anywhere, I thought, as long it means you are no longer violating my personal space.

My terse response did not sit well with Mark Zuckerberg.You see, he told me, it's really important. "I'll be honest... it's for my sister," he said, as though this disclosure should come as some kind of game changer. I said I was sorry but I couldn't help him anymore.

Then Mark Zuckerberg said:

"You look like... [hesitates]... I don't want to say someone who doesn't get out much, just like someone who doesn't get out as often as you'd like."

Fake Mark Zuckerberg, seconds ago standing too close to me, was now sitting too close to me. "Your body language is really negative right now. Look at your legs." I envisioned his idea of appropriate body language. Jazz hands? He grabbed my left wrist so that my palm faced upward. "Oooooh... Not good. See that line? That's bad news." 

The reality that I, Rachel Leah, was getting my palm read on a public bench by Mark Zuckerberg's body double began to settle over me. 

Fake Mark Zuckerberg then that judging by the Rubio's cup I was holding, I had already eaten dinner (?) and would I care to accompany him to Haagen Dazs right over there?

"No, I would not. In fact, I am hard pressed to think of anything I would less rather do than the scenario you just described."

Just kidding, I didn't say that because then Fake Mark Zuckerberg asked if I had a boyfriend. That I said yes did not faze him; on the contrary. Like his less clairvoyant doppelgänger, Fake Mark Zuckerberg is always up for a challenge. "Just get some ice cream with me."

Exit Rachel.

"Come on, just for a few minutes?"

I was far away by then. Fake Mark was shouting.

"Not even a handshake?"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


By no means was it a "resolution" of any kind, but I accidentally lost four pounds in four days by not eating Chick-fil-A. If I keep this up I may vaporize by Presidents Day. But why would I want to do that?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

how to take one-half of a road trip

Wake up at 6:02 A.M. Shower. Forecast the next 13-to-15 hours in head. Note in forecast prominent role played by Allsups, truck stop restrooms and beef jerky. Question logic of decision to shower.

Locate frou-frou Christmas gift yoga pants. Decide to dress for comfort. (Keep frou-frou yoga pants on for the next 48 hours.) Run around in frantic stupor fetching and re-fetching items you forgot to pack last night.

"Leave." Encounter unforeseen dilemma while backing U-Haul truck out of relatively compact driveway. Actually leave nine minutes later. Announce what a long day it's been before reaching end of alley.

Drive all of seven minutes. Stop to purchase two honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger. Discuss with driver whether or not Whataburger is better than Chick-Fil-A. Mentally will someone, anyone, to open a Whataburger in San Diego.

Stare out window. Resist temptation to take out Texas Monthly until Abilene. Remind self that you are still three hours from Abilene. Take out Texas Monthly.

Read issue cover-to-cover before Weatherford. Stare out window. Wonder how long it would take to ride a tandem bike from Dallas to San Diego. See on Facebook that childhood friend converted to Buddhism. Google Buddhism on iPhone. Read about Buddhism for the next 45 minutes.

Compulsively change radio stations every five miles. Make mental note to renew Sirius subscription. In anticipation of driving through Abilene, learn everything there is to know about Abilene on Wikimobile. Conclude that "all there is to know" isn't very much. Tell driver that Abilene's population is a bit higher than you thought. Wonder when you were last in Abilene. Realize you were there last March. Stare out window. Miss Abilene.

Drive through Buffalo Gap. Note that there are a lot of pictures of bison in Buffalo Gap. Decide that this should in no way come as a surprise.

Buffalo Gap, TX
Pass road sign that says, "Colorado City: 6." Immediately associate Colorado City with polygamist cult scandal from several years back. Loudly proclaim that there must be a cult compound nearby. Envision exciting real-life "Big Love" detour. Google Colorado City. Discover polygamist cult scandal actually took place in Colorado City, Arizona. Sink into seat in defeatist fashion.

Stop for gas at Skinny's Convenience Store in Colorado City. Decide owner is probably skinny.

Enter first stall in womens restroom of Skinny's. See ladies wallet lying on tin disposal. Inspect wallet using makeshift toilet paper glove. Find credit cards and a driver's license and a Nordstrom gift card and other items people do not typically leave behind in a gas station bathroom on purpose. Internally debate the proper etiquette to follow finding an abandoned wallet in the bathroom of a West Texas gas station. Confirm with cashier that no one is missing a wallet. Tell self you would not want your wallet left at Skinny's. Leave Skinny's with a Red Bull, a wallet that isn't yours, and plenty of ambivalent feelings.

Declare new mission in life to locate and contact rightful owner of wallet. Spend next 45 minutes stalking this person on your iPhone. Find out she's a 4th grade teacher in Plano and the mother of twins, a boy and a girl. Question how humans survived before the internet. Leave message on owner's school voice mail detailing plans to FedEx wallet to address on driver's license. Realize teachers are on vacation for another two weeks. Hang up feeling more creepy than helpful.

Hit Big Spring. Leave Big Spring. Enter chunk of Texas so remote you won't pick up an AM radio signal until El Paso. Count oil wells. Pound Red Bull.

See this:
West Texas

And this:
Even Wester Texas
And this:

And this:
Just kidding.

Wonder if survival until Las Cruces, NM, your stopping point for the night, is possible without food. Calculate how many hours since you and driver last ate (save for a few bites of beef jerky six hours ago.) Conclude 12. Drive drive drive. Note that it's getting dark. Very, very dark. Remark to driver how easy it would be to hide yours or anyone's bodies so that they would never be found. Decide preemptively that your New Year's resolution is to make fewer morbid statements.

Drive more. Research Ciudad Juarez drug wars going on a few miles away. Cease research once you realize reading articles about anarchy and mass slayings doesn't lend itself to making non-morbid statements. Reach El Paso. Leave El Paso. Enter New Mexico 14 hours after you left Dallas. Find out you are less than one hour from Las Cruces. Become flooded with renewed determination and hope.

Arrive at Las Cruces hotel 15 hours after you left Dallas. Eat guacamole. Drink margaritas. Sleep better than you have in months. Repeat the next morning.