Tuesday, March 28, 2017

DNA, Shmee N A

          Probably the hottest trend right now is tracing your DNA.  I have friends who are over the moon excited to find out that they’re part Cherokee or Russian or Chinese, when they thought were 100 % Irish through and through.  And it is exciting.
          So I thought I’d see if you can do this with dogs.  Because that’s how my mind works.  Of course, there’s no use doing it with AKA-registered show dogs; their backgrounds are already documented on paper. It would only be fascinating to do it with mutts you’ve rescued.
          And, as a long-time mutt rescuer, I have often wondered what accounts for not only the odd appearances of my pets, but their odd behavior. 
Because this is just a blog and not a book, we shall deal exclusively with my current dog, Mickey. I believe that if I traced her bloodline, it would lead directly to a muskrat, as she will burrow under anything she can.  Somehow, in a miracle of science, a muskrat and a dog must have bred centuries ago.
And as long as we're mixing species, her eating habits would indicate that she may also be a small percentage frog, chicken, owl, or snake, because she gulps her food down whole, as do those same creatures.
It’s also possible that her line includes a fictional, animated mouse, since there is a Mickey Mouse silhouette on her back-- nature’s way of shouting truth, right?
As for actual dogs in her line, let’s start with her breed.  The shelter said she was a Taco Terrier, a designer dog created by breeding a Chihuahua with a Miniature Fox Terrier.
          Now, Taco Terrier is a cute, alliterative name, but it is also the PERFECT RECIPE for a dog that cannot be housebroken.  If you look up a list of dogs tough to potty train, Chihuahuas will lead the list, followed by other toy breeds.  “Miniature” is a clue, and I believe actually refers to their bladders.
          In addition, terriers are known for being stubborn, independent, feisty, and not wanting to be team players with humans.  So, if you had the diabolical plan to create the perfect storm of an untrainable dog who piddles all over the house, you would breed a Chihuahua with a miniature terrier, hence Taco Terriers.
          Of course, I didn’t know this when we simply chose her based upon adorableness.  
          I didn’t even look at the paperwork from the person who surrendered her until years later, when I noticed that in the box labeled “Housebroken?” they had written, “Somewhat.”
          Folks, you cannot be somewhat housebroken. It’s like being somewhat pregnant.  Either you are or you are not.
          And so the housebreaking ordeal of the century began, and, despite her DNA, at long last we have a dog we can trust.  Somewhat.
          If you can take your eyes off your dog, settle down with a good book, or some short YouTube mom videos.  You can find them all here.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Say Tomato You Say Paradicsom

          I am jealous of people who speak multiple languages.  This means you, if my blog map is accurate, and I have readers in dozens of other countries.
          Sometimes I’ll notice someone’s background info on Facebook, and it will say they also speak Spanish, French, Dutch, and Portuguese.  Or they speak half a dozen African languages.  Or they speak Mandarin, Taiwanese, Arabic, and Farsi. Whaaat? 
          I am also mad at the U.S. school system, which thinks you can wait until junior high or high school to start teaching foreign languages.  We should start in pre-school.  That’s how others become truly fluent—they grow up learning languages when your brain is still young enough to grab hold of it.
          So here I sit, with Cave Man Spanish in my repertoire, and also Pig Latin, at which I am highly adept, again because I learned it before age ten. However, it does not come in as handy as I had hoped.  And, I might add, would not impress anyone on Facebook.
One time I was planning a trip to Germany and a friend of mine who had served a two-year LDS mission there helped me master one line.  I figured I’d be shopping, and I would look very cool and cosmopolitan if I could say, “How much is this?” in German.  All the way over on the plane I practiced my line until it rolled quickly and confidently from my lips.
I went into a store.  I saw a darling sweater.  I grabbed the sleeve, and said to a clerk, “Wieviel ist das?”
And she answered me.  In German.  I stood there like the dope I was, completely unable to fathom what she said.  Then I had to admit that I didn’t really speak German, I was just trying out my one lame line.  Aauugh.
It was also frustrating to be on Finnair Airlines one time, trying to convince the flight attendant, who kept speaking to me in Finnish, that I was actually an American and couldn’t understand her.  She kept rolling her eyes and finally walked away, as if I’d been joking.  Hey, I may look Scandinavian, but the most I can do is order a… okay, actually I can’t think of anything I can order there in any of those languages.  I can say “mustard” in Ukrainian, but how far will that get me?
Our daughter, Nicole, went on a mission to Norway, and speaks incredible Norwegian (according to the Norwegians we have run into).  When she first left I thought I’d surprise her by learning it online while she was gone.  I didn’t expect to be fluent, but I thought I could master a line or two.  Wrongo.  I took one look at those instructional videos filled with unfamiliar sounds and complicated wording, and turned the computer off.
Sometimes I’m tempted to laugh at package instructions from other countries, which are clearly written by someone who does not speak English very well.  Then I remember I would have no chance whatsoever translating these same instructions from English into their language. 
And I get irritated when someone says “tortilla soup” but pronounces the Ls, which should be Ys, as in tor-tee-ya soup.  Not tore-till-uh soup. But then I remember that I grew up talking about un-thawing something from the freezer, when it was simply thaw. Not un-thaw.
So there we are.  I’m jealous, mad, frustrated, irritated, and embarrassed, all at once.  Hey—I may not know multiple languages, but I can juggle multiple emotions.  That’s gotta count for something.

Check out my YouTube Mom videos.  They’re in English, but feel free to translate these handy life hacks for all your friends.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lights! Camera! Action!

          Last Friday a real-life chase scene tore through the streets of Hollywood, and most folks just took selfies.
          Here’s what happened.  Two guys in a blue Mustang led police on a wild chase, doing donuts and pumping their fists in the air.  It started with the report of a burglary, but ended with sudden fans hugging and high-fiving the suspects as they arrived in their own neighborhood. TV news helicopters followed the action until sheriffs finally arrived and arrested the two men.
          This is the problem with living in L.A.  Years ago when I lived there, I recall driving down a street not far from Universal Studios, and seeing two policemen with guns drawn, crouching behind the open door of a cop car, with other police cars nearby.  A crowd was standing around, apparently doing nothing exactly as crowds look on a movie set, so I – and everybody in my car—assumed it was a movie shoot.  Or a television episode. 
          We all muttered about the pain-in-the-neck these events are, trying to maneuver through streets crowded with props, catering trucks, lighting cables and the like.  And we turned around to go another way.
          About an hour later I learned this was an actual standoff between police and someone holding a hostage in a house.  Good gravy!  I was literally living in a movie set of sorts, and like these folks in Hollywood who cheer as suspects provide drama and entertainment, we forget that real crime also happens, not just scripted crime.
          Just one more reason to leave La La Land, along with my reason several years ago. I knew it was time to go when I was driving on the Ventura Freeway and heard my two young boys in the back seat, arguing about whether a passing limo was a stretch or not.
          Sometimes it’s just better to shout, “Cut” and change to a new scene.

But I did host a daily TV talk show there for four years, and much of that plays out in my comedy novel, Sisters in the Mix, which you can find here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Now You See It

          Have your eyes gone on strike, yet?  If you are 40 years old or more, chances are you cannot hold books far enough away to see the printing. You could even be struggling to read this blog.
          But I have the solution and it’s a beauty.  First, however, let’s give you an eye test.  I have devised a dozen ways you can know you need reading glasses:  
1.       Your food is blurry. So are the menus.
2.      You call a rest home by mistake when looking on your phone for restaurants.
3.       You sing “waitress for Christ” instead of “witness for Christ” at church.
4.      You don’t know your nail polish is chipped until someone mentions it.
5.       You can’t see your husband’s face unless he stands across the room.
6.      You can cut your toenails, or see what you’re doing, but not both.
7.       You have to ask clerks what the price tags say.
8.      You dial more wrong numbers than right ones.
9.      You look in the mirror, and even without makeup, you look great!
10.     You ask the PTA to stop printing things on colored paper.
11.     You stop looking for the calorie count on food packaging.
12.     You have to sit so far back from the computer screen that you can’t reach the keyboard.
          But guess what—there’s another option to having glasses.  My eye doctor told me to try monovision.  This does not mean surgery; it means one eye has a contact lens for distance (since I’m nearsighted), and the other has one for close-up.  The brain simply figures out which eye to use!
          I was skeptical.  How could your brain know which eye to use?  But I was so tired of hunting all over the house for yet another pair of lost reading glasses that I agreed to try it.
          And voile!  It’s as if my eyes are 20 years old again!  Instantly I was able to see close up, then glance across a room and see that in focus as well! I donated all my reading glasses to charity, and am considering becoming an astronaut. They need perfect vision, right?  Sign me up! 

          And you are welcome for this fabulous tip.  You may thank me by visiting my website and purchasing a book or two.  Or watch a YouTube Mom video with your new, perfect vision!