Poop Poopy Doop

dog cleanup

Someone tell me how a doggy poop disposal bag that you got at the Vet’s office can puncture as you’re picking up the poop.  SOMEONE EXPLAIN THAT TO ME.  You would think that the Vet would buy a ply count that would prevent a finger from going through.  I know you’re groaning right now, but imagine me getting all screamy and ranty on my way back from the afternoon constitutional.  Just saying.

And while I’m at it the same goes for Petco.  Are you kidding me with the thinnest bags in the world?  You would think that a pet store would have the common decency to also provide bags that would be conducive to poop pickup.  Think of the free advertising they would get as people were carrying the puffy bags around the neighborhood on their way to the dumpster.  Come on.

I’m one of those people who buy doggy disposal bags by the roll.  They fit easily in my pocket and I don’t look like a lumpy ass mess as I’m doing the loop.  I get that the plastic bags from the grocery store are free and that you’re actually recycling as you use them for the dirty mess but the bulges it adds to my pockets and therefore my hips are just too much for me to tolerate.  Besides, I’ve gotten used to using the cloth bags for groceries so I’m doing my part to save the earth.

Speaking of saving the earth, did you know that they believe that dog poop takes up about 5% of the landfills?  Holy bursting bags Batman. What did you expect; there are 68 million dogs in this country mostly over 40 lbs each.   What the hell are you supposed to do then?  Flush?  Well, yeah.  Don’t ask how I had this epiphany it was one of those aren’t you the dumbest woman on earth moments.  They actually make flushable bags, I’m sure I’ve lost some of my readers at this point but it’s true.  Made by….wait for it….Flush Doggy.

Yeah I bought them.  And frankly, I only use them when I pop the girls out back in our “yard”.  It’s behind the building, they’re on extending leashes, they run back and forth, and they are enjoying the freedom of not having to be glued to my side. We have some fun.  So when they do what they do in the main walkway (if they trek into the enchanted forest you can be sure I am not trekking in behind them),  I let them continue to play until they’ve had enough.  I pop them back in the house and go get the results.  I grab a flush doggy, pick up, and bring in the bathroom and flush.  Done.  Oh stop rolling your eyes.  Al Gore loves the idea.

It’s one of the drawbacks of dog ownership, especially larger dog ownership.  I used to think the girls were medium dogs but somehow they got taller and wider and, well, better at eliminating the excess non-nutrients.   I once had a friend that swore by a certain dog food because his dog had the smallest packages when he ate that brand.  Claims there was minimal waste and that the dog had extremely well balanced nutrition.  Yeah ok, want to know what it cost….just sayin.

I didn’t really intend to do a rant on the intricacies of elimination frustration but I know like I know that there is NOTHING worse than thinking you’re going to get a few afternoon miles in just to have to turn around and run for the soap, and water, and disinfectant and hand sanitizer.  You know you’ve been there, so glad I could articulate on your behalf.

Done ranting…for now.



One Billion Rising

lets one billion rising





A global strike

An invitation to dance

A call to men and women to refuse to participate in the status quo until rape and rape culture ends

An act of solidarity, demonstrating to women the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers

A refusal to accept violence against women and girls as a given

A new time and a new way of being.*

*Taken from the One Billion Rising website.

With the best of intentions I signed up to rise at the event at Palisades Center, sponsored by The Center for Safety and Change formerly the Rockland Family Shelter.  With the best of intentions I learned the song, familiarized myself with the dance and read what I could about the movement.  Sometimes I did this with tears in my eyes for the women who live in fear every day.  I have known abuse I have never known violence.

The road to hell they say is paved with the best of intentions.

Instead I found myself sitting in an emergency room with my sister and my mother who had fallen during the night.  Thankfully there was nothing broken.  There was, however, a little congestive heart failure (which is not like being a little pregnant apparently) and a urinary tract infection.  Turns out this UTI was a lot more potent than the usual strain and had been causing the elderly to experience atypical symptoms like hallucinating and…wait for it…falling.

Ok hook her up to fluids, antibiotics and oh yes, they are going to admit her.  Hours go by and more hours go by and even more hours go by, to the tune of fourteen hours to be exact until she gets to a room.

All this time I’m watching One Billion Rising unfold all over the world.  Beginning in some of the most dangerous places, women (and men) are dancing to bring awareness to the violence they face every day. In places like India, Jakarta, Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jerusalem, the Sudan, Taiwan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, throughout Europe and South America,  and nearly every state in the Union.  They are all dancing to the same tune, “Break the Chain” written especially for the event by Tena Clark and Tim Heintz with choreography by the amazing Debbie Allen.


I am in awe of these women and of the Herculean efforts and the sheer determination of Eve Ensler to pull this off.  But then again why would I be, she has successfully waged war on violence against women in this country through her V-Day events and her Vagina Monologues benefit performances over the past fifteen years.

To say that each of these performances was moving is an understatement. Thankfully the tears brought to my eyes with nearly each performance helped to counteract the severe dry eye from sitting in the ER all day.

My sister finally went home after her 4am to 4pm shift (she gets the calls from Lifeline- God bless her) so she was pretty much shot.  She didn’t even have to change back into her pajamas to go to bed as she had bolted out in them.  Things got very quiet in the ER after she left and my mother and I had a chance to share the One Billion Rising story and some of the events together on my iPad.  We both remember the day we found out our dear Josephine had been shot and killed by her ex-husband back in 1976.  So vivid were the memories that she understood not only the importance of the events but the reason I was drawn to this cause.

One of the more disturbing personal revelations for me is that not many seemed to know about this and no one but Willa responded to my impromptu invitation on Facebook. Thank you Willa, I knew you’d be the one to stand next to me if you could. And of course my sister could have been persuaded, not thrilled about the dancing part but certainly to stand next to me in solidarity. Not many of the nurses in the ER seemed to know about it either. You would think they’ve seen some of the results of violence against women in our own backyard.  Sad that this wasn’t on more women’s radar.  My mother said it best about me, “you’ve always had your nose in something, ever since you we’re a kid” She has a way of putting things…

My ride home that night proved that even though my best of intentions were dashed I doubt I’ll be going to hell. I was with them in spirit and in prayer.  There was so much prayer during the day that when I finally made my way home near to 10pm I wound up going a different way home than I normally would.  Not sure why but it became clear to me as I rode up Route 17 and noticed that someone was trying to get into the north bound lanes going SOUTH.  There is nothing more disturbingly ODD than looking in your rearview mirror and seeing break lights where there should only be headlights.  Had I gone the way I normally do I would have met them head on, literally.

So the moral of the story is that I’m sure the financial support, and oh yeah got the tee shirt, will have to do for now.  I will have the best of intentions again next year and hope that I can truly participate.  I hope you’ll check out some of the videos on YouTube. Especially the ones from India, Sudan and the Congo as it took more than practice for these women to dance, it took incredible courage.






Snow Day


There was no such thing as a predetermined snow day when we were kids.  The siren would go off by 6 or 7am if there was no school.  Pandemonium in feety pajamas would ensue and there was all manner of hooting and jumping on the bed.   Seems to me there was more snow then, seems to me that hot chocolate tasted better on snow days, seems to me that kids and snow go so naturally together.

After eating breakfast, which was an everyday occurrence, of bacon and eggs and juice and vitamins and toasted white bread with strawberry jam we would “suit up”.  And by suit up I mean full on three layers of underwear, turtlenecks, ski pants with the stirrups and the now extinct snow suit for my sister.  The movie Christmas Story illustrates it damn well; no you couldn’t put your arms down…

There was a Flexible Flyer down in the basement next to the upright freezer.  I’m not sure where it came from, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t purchased new, or who the donor was but we grabbed it and out the front door we went.  Right outside our door was “the hill”.  Right outside OUR DOOR…do you understand the magnitude of that?  The police would come and barricade the side streets and we could flexible fly to our hearts content.  Somebody would shovel a narrow strip along the side of the road and bring it down to bare pavement so you could head there to stop and yes it actually sharpened the blades.  And if you were going fast enough it might just spark.  My sister would be in front of me on the sled (arms sticking straight out) and off we would go down the hill.  There were times we could make it all the way to Marcy’s house half a block away.  Walk back up, translation: I walked back up the hill hauling Terri on the sled for the next round.  And we would continue until we were either frozen or hungry.  Warm up, eat, and repeat.

Fast forward to adult snow days and you can pretty much break them out into three categories: delayed opening, work remotely in your fuzzy slippers or full on state of emergency.  I pretty much always skip the delayed opening option because why would I want to get in the way of the plows and salt trucks, battle the “I’m terrified to drive in the snow” crowd (thank you God for being born in February so I could learn to drive in the snow) or rush to clean off my car.  My job is important but I’m not saving the world, as Cookie would say “it’s just cars”, and I can work anywhere (remember when we called it telecommuting?)…thank you modern technology.

So now what does a snow day look like?  Pull something from the freezer first thing in the morning; I’m thinking beef for stew.  Have the first cup of latte after popping the girls out back to play in the snow.  True to form latte also tastes better on snow days.  Set up for work, VPN in and see what’s happening in my email.  Another latte, some breakfast; which doesn’t even remotely resemble the hearty one from days of old.  And get to work.  Another romp in the snow with the girls before lunch, this time with my camera, and then a delicious bowl of soup and grilled cheese for lunch.  Back to work, but the emails dwindle as the snow gets deeper and the people begin to find their way home to the warmth of their families.  For the very first time this year, my sister took a snow day.  She, too, is beginning to believe that it’s “just cars”.  And no bad can come from staying home in your jammies every once in a while.   As the emails dwindle I see the people coming home to Stowe Lane, many of them bringing with them the requisite brown bag and Duraflame log.

Finish what I can from my work day and think about dinner.  As the stew simmers on the stove, I light the fire, open a bottle of Bear Print pinot noir and relax with the girls.

If I had my preference I would rather wake up to the sight of several inches of snow on the ground. I prefer to go out with my camera before everyone else and capture the snow in the morning light.  I also love the pure quiet of newly fallen snow before all the hub bub of the challenge ensues.  Thankfully, the back garden and the enchanted forest provide just enough of a barrier that the only thing I can hear is the sound of the commuter train going through town in the early morning.

At the end of the day the fire will die down and we will be out for a last time before going to bed.  My boots stand ready at the back door and I slip into them easily.  I love the shearling lining so I don’t need any socks. The girls will be just as excited about the snow this last outing as they were this morning.  Toto will come back in with a face full of snow and Lina will be anxious to get her feet cleaned up.  Exhaustion will set in and we will have the best sleep we’ve had in quite some time.  I know like I know that this is the end of a perfect snow day.


So Many Clarences

bday cake

Today is my birthday.  Notoriously the day before my birthday I do a ritual mini pity party, a kind of taking stock of where I stand an examination of my life previous birthday to present.  So even though I spent a great day with my best friend and her daughter I felt compelled to examine pounds lost or (mostly) gained.  Good deeds, downfalls, accomplishments, thank yous received and thank yous doled out.  Have I remembered to take care of me, do wonderful things for me, or have I gotten lost in the life gets in the way shuffle.  Is God mad at me or have I put another rung on the good-Karma ladder to heaven.

Mostly I am not a very good judge of these things, my view is somewhat myopic, and I can be hard on myself.  Aren’t most people?  The one thing I came away with is…God ain’t mad at me.  Other than that it’s still pretty much up in the air.  And then…

Today started with my Stowe Ln family when the Aunt Ms came bursting through the door around 8:30am.  How did they know I was awake?  It’s all about the blinds in my office.  If they are open, I’m up.  If they are closed I’m not.  If they are closed for too long, or never open they are coming in to search and rescue.  Love those little guardian angels.  So I was up and in they came with flowers, and wine (for later, don’t get smart) and cards and love and birthday greetings.  Commence with the coffee and the start of the official birthday.

Then on to my Mother’s for breakfast with her and my sister.  Eggs over easy, bacon, coffee (which I picked up for Terri and I),  and the best Italian club rolls in Bergen County (wait for it…which I picked up on my way in) and my favorite cake made with love by my Sister, Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  Terri, once burned twice shy, refuses to turn it upside down.  We did make progress today turning individual pieces as we went.  It’s a start.   A pop-in from my cousin Nancy who we get closer and closer to each year and this phase of the official birthday is complete.  How wonderful to have this ritual.

All along my phone is pinging with birthday messages from friends and colleagues and acquaintances all leaving wishes on Facebook.  One text after another from the dearest of the dear, my Summer Sister, my favorite two boys, a Zumba girl, the beloved black sheep Sistah and the Ladies Auxiliary.

The phone call I wait for each year from my oldest friend, Marcy and the added bonus of her Mother Norma in the car with her.

Back on Stowe Ln the Aunt Ms come back for the last round of the day bearing one more gift.  The now coveted Pistachio Cake.  It is so amazing I could eat it for breakfast, oh wait, I do eat it for breakfast.  So now to open the wine and truly catch up on all things Stowe Ln.

There is a running joke in my family that my name, Sandra, is somehow a derivative of George.  When people my age were being born it was practically mandatory to be named after a saint.  This is how my mother got around it.  Add to that the fact that my sister has been calling me George Bailey for a decade or so and it all seems to fit somehow.   I know like I know that no matter how I question my status in the universe the day before my birthday, any number of Clarences will come along to show me that I have not failed.  They all will get their wings and I am deeply grateful for each of them.

george from clarence