Sniffing out other dogs’ scents: It’s been said that dog pooh is canine social media. Carlo Siracusa is the director of the Small Animal Behavior Service at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital. He explains, “These messages can tell your dog how many other dogs are in the immediate area, the sexual status of those dogs…whether a particular dog is a friend or an enemy, what he or she had for lunch, and when they were last in the area.”
Anxiety: If your pup has anxiety issues in other areas of her life, it’s likely that this will also be a source of anxiety, especially if you have her perform in a public area. If this is the case, walk your doggie on a quiet street and/or at a quiet time of day or evening to give her the privacy she craves.
Stalling: If the only time your furbaby finds himself in the great outdoors is during potty time, he’s going to want to take his time to enjoy the experience. If that means it takes extra time to find the perfect spot, so be it. So yes, he might be stalling to get to stay in the fresh air for just a little while longer.
To be in line with the magnetic poles: According to a study in Frontiers in Zoology, dogs may prefer to do their business with their bodies aligned along the North-South axis.
Here’s how Wired magazine sums it up, “The (Frontiers) study observed dogs’ eliminating (both urination and defecation), and ruled out other influences such as time of day, the angle of the sun, and speed and strength of the wind. In the end, the scientists conducting the study were left with compelling evidence that the earth’s magnetic fields might influence how and where your dog drops a you-know-what.”
So now that you know why your doggie has a particular pooh routine, you’ll hopefully have a bit more patience with him or her. Just don’t forget the bags. I once did and I had to use my mask to clean up!
Virtual hugs! ❤,
PS: Want to have some fun on Facebook? Join us in the women-only private group, South Jersey Girls Who Wanna Have Fun! Don’t let that name fool you. You can join no matter where you live. PPS: Check out our upcoming virtual events! PPPS: Photo credits: Two dogs looking out the window: Reagan Freeman. Dog looking out on the horizon: Jonathan Borba.
38% of women cannot afford the products necessary to get through their monthly cycle, forcing them to miss school, work and socializing.
That statistic infuriates me!
Something as ordinary as a box of pads or tampons, having the power to determine a girl’s future, should not be a norm in America.
Check this out from a 2021 study conducted by U by Kotex®:
A quarter of Black (23%) and Latina (24%) people with periods strongly agree that they’ve struggled to afford period products in the past year
Nearly seven in ten (68%) people agree that period poverty is a public health issue
Only 4% of Americans are aware of a local resource where free or reduced cost period supplies are available
Stats vs. Real Life
Now that you know the stats, let’s talk about real life. “Not having access to menstrual products can disrupt lives through disruptions to their work, school and social lives,” says Jhumka Gupta, an associate professor in the department of global and community health at George Mason University. Her study found that one-third of low-income women are known to borrow menstrual products from others, use rags, toilet paper, socks or fabric as makeshift pads, or completely going without.
Some women end up using products longer than directed. Emily Bell McCormick is the founder of the nonprofit Policy Project whose mission is to end period poverty. She says that if women are actually able to get a tampon, “some will wear it for 12 hours” because of the high cost. That is way beyond the recommendation for use. The Food and Drug Administration advises changing a tampon every four to eight hours, with eight being the maximum for a single tampon. Too long, and a person is at risk for toxic shock syndrome.
Did you know that in many states, period products are taxed? Conversely, says McCormick, there is no tax on men’s hair growth products or Viagra. So as expensive as these products can be, adding tax can take them further out of reach.
But there is good news because the tide is slowly turning. Virginia, California, and Utah are among the states that have recently enacted legislation mandating all Local Education Agencies to provide free menstrual products in female restrooms. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have introduced legislation related to free menstrual products in schools.
Here’s How We Can Help
Want to help? The South Jersey nonprofit, Wheels of Change, helps families who are struggling financially and mothers fleeing domestic violence, according to spokesperson Monica Mallon. One of their services is providing period products to local women:
Monica offers several options if you can’t make it on Sept 21:
Mondays and Wednesdays are drop off days at Wheels of Change. Just email them and they will let you know if someone is there to accept your donation. Their storefront is at 112 S. Broadway, Gloucester City, NJ 08030
Email them for info on how to Venmo, PayPal or mail a check
Send donations to PO Box 62 Woodbury, NJ 08096
This is a situation that just should not be, and every one of us can help, whether it’s with a financial donation for those who can, or one box of pads with wings.
Did you know that you can scientifically choose the perfect name for your dog?
Either did my husband who named our dog, Fred. Turns out, that’s not a good name for a dog. Who knew?
I did some research and found that Bruce and Kobe make much better doggy names than Axel, Remi and Fred, and here’s why:
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the key is to incorporate hard consonants and long vowel sounds into your pup’s name. That’s why Kobe works but Remi doesn’t. Kobe has the hard “K” and the long “O.” These sounds are the easiest for your dog to hear.
Many dog training experts suggest you use one or two-syllable names. So forget Lancelot or Cinderella.
The AKC further recommends you avoid names that sound like a command. Kit sounds like “sit” and Bo sounds like “no.” Very confusing for your furbaby.
Also avoid a name that sounds like a name of one of your other family members. So if your daughter’s name is Molly you should avoid naming your dog Dolly. If your daughter is Sadie, you shouldn’t name your dog Lady.
Certified dog trainer Nicole Ellis suggests a name that ends with a vowel, so Josie and Milo are good bets.
Consider your pet’s future nicknames, because, let’s face it, we all give our pets tons of nicknames. One of my cats is named Lucy. My daughter calls her Lucifer. I call her Lucille, Lucy-Poosey, Lucinda, Loo-shus, Loose Caboose, you get the idea. Lizzy Francis, news editor for www.fatherly.com (whose mission is to empower men to raise great kids) explains, “Try to come up with a ton of nicknames, and good ones, not ones like Buddy, to see if there are nicknames that are easy to say, sound like their full names and are cute.” Otherwise, once again, you could confuse your dog.
And finally, says the AKC, “When a dog hears her name, it’s a signal that whatever is coming next is meant for her. So use her name frequently in a positive context so she doesn’t associate it with punishment or anything negative or scary.”
January 19, 1995. The agreed-upon date the term “regifting” is first widely broadcast.
Though people had already been surreptitiously performing this highly disputed act, it’s the first time it was thrown into the spotlight, and by who else? Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who dripped “sponge-worthy,” “no soup for you!” and “master of your domain” into our water supply. The regifting bomb was dropped in Seinfeld’s episode, “The Label Maker.”
In a nutshell, regifting is when someone takes a gift they’ve been given, and gifts it to someone else. The hope is that the gifter removes the gift card tucked in by the original gifter.
We all know the good intentions (or the questionable motives) behind the regift.
So the question is…has anyone ever given YOU a regift?
KW: Not that I know of but one time I thought it was a possibility
SM: Not really sure, but could be possible
NRF: Yup. No worries as I really liked it.
SD: Yes! And accidentally left the card from the original sender inside! However, I really am in full support of regifting!
AO: Probably. It doesn’t bother me at all, especially if it’s something I want or like.
CW: You took the words right out of my thoughts, AO!
JTL: Yes, I am sure that happened.
CP: I guess…hey, spread the love!
GBD: I’m not sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
AS-S: I’m pretty sure a friend gave me something she got from her baby shower that she never used and it has been my daughter’s favorite thing ever since she was born, and she’s five now.
MC: Yes, but they told me upfront. I think it’s fine.
JH: Probably. Hopefully.
DLG: Yes, it was the ugliest jacket ever. I wouldn’t mind, but it has to be something appropriate.
WLW: Most likely! Love it. Why not?
JRC: Yes! My family loves regifting!
MJK: I am a part of a ladies’ group here in Vegas and we do a regift party every year. It’s so much fun!
Ranker is a marketing and social media company. Their website asserts that they are, “…a worldwide leader in fan-powered rankings on just about everything. We believe that the opinion of millions is more relevant and far more predictive than the opinion of one critic.”
This factoid from The Wall Street Journal may or may not make you feel better, “Everyone has received bad gifts in their lives, and we generally accept that we will receive more in the future. Yet for some (mathematically impossible) reason, we believe that we give only good gifts.”
I personally believe in upcycling if necessary, but with honesty.
The final word belongs to the Emily Post Institute, entering its 100th year in existence. Is it ever okay to regift? According to the Institute’s website, no. And yes.
Each day—Monday through Friday—we ask a QOTD and the answers can be quite entertaining. Sometimes, they bring back memories of the little things we might have forgotten, and other times, the answers can bring tears to your eyes.
On Aug 26, member Cindy Morelli asked, “What was your first job?” Check these out. Can you identify with any of them?
MGS: Ran numbers for the mob in Brooklyn when I was about 10. Just thought it was a brown bag with papers. Never looked in it till the used car lot got raided. LOL. True story.
SGW: My first job was making sodas, floats, shakes and sundaes at Jerry’s Ice Cream Parlor 1500 S 28th St next door to our home.
SS: Grants at the food counter, lasted a day and quit! Hated it!
KN: I was a carhop, and it was fun!
LAH: Babysitting, literally, a 2-year-old and a newborn, I was 12, cloth diapers, and I took them to the pool 😳
DL: I was 16 – Packing salt water taffy at James Salt Water in Atlantic City – lasted a week…, even though I’m Catholic…, I didn’t have the right “rhythm method” … 😳🙄🤪🤪🤪🙄😳
MC: 17 years old, 10 days after graduating St Maria Goretti, I walked into the old Quarter master, 20th and Oregon! Although I left that office eventually, I only worked for the federal government for my entire career. Retired 37 1/2 years later at 55! Great career! Great retirement!!!
DMC: Driving the tractor at 9 years old in the early am while others picked corn then later the same day off to the roadstand to sell fruits/vegetables.
DKF: Cleaned houses for teachers
JG: Seasonal gift-wrapper…at a hardware store. (Ever wrapped a sledgehammer? I have.)
So, what was YOUR first job? Did you like it, love it, or quit after the first day? Comment below to let us know! And/or let us know your favorite job description from above.
We’ve all had good dates, bad dates and terrible dates.
The terrible dates usually make the best stories.
Let me take a step back for a moment to explain that—Monday through Friday—we pose a QOTD (Question of the Day) on our closed Facebook group page, South Jersey Girls Who Wanna Have Fun. Not too long ago, member Carolyn Slaw asked the question, “What was your worst date?” As you can imagine, we got some doozies.
DK: We stopped at McDonald’s after a movies, and he whipped out his penis under the table to see if I was interested in him or it. Well, that was the first and last date. Later I found out he did the same thing with my girlfriend at the bowling ally. 😆
2. SM: Went out to a fancy restaurant and he ordered an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms (of which there were 3) and we had 1-1/2 each. That was the dinner and that was the last date. I think we even had just water to drink.
3. BWU: I had been dating someone and the first time we were intimate he asked if he could call me mommy. No kidding. I got a million of them.
4. JG: Air Force octopus took me to see Temple of Doom and wouldn’t take the hint until I took a long refreshment break and reseated myself with my drink, bag and jacket between us. First and last date, lol.
5. DR: I think I win #internet date: Very nice guy, went on a few dates, and by the grace of God, I found out he was on the sex offenders list. Yes, I ended it ASAP. Also reported him to the dating site. That was 5 years ago, and it was the last date I ever went on…until last week, when I was contacted on Facebook by an old high school friend. Wish me luck, LOL! I am 62, and if it doesn’t work out, I am happily single…
6. NE: So many! But probably when my date went to the bathroom after we ordered dinner and never came back. Once I realized what happened, the manager came over to say she was sorry for me. She comped my meal which I ate. Then she told me that the customers at the bar wanted to buy me a drink. I ended up having a fun night on my own!
7. MGS: Internet date. Met him at a bar. He had more hair coming out of his ears than out of his head. I just kept staring thinking did you NOT see that? As I am a barber it was our only date! LOL
8. AO: Many years ago, I had a first date with someone I met through a dating service (and had talked on the phone a number of times and seen each other’s photo). As we were walking to Houlihan’s at the Cherry Hill Mall, he said he had to use the men’s room. After waiting for 20 minutes, I asked one of the guards to go in to see if he was alright. He was gone and obviously escaped through the outside door at the end of the hallway. Best part – a year later – the phone rings at 10:00 at night – it’s him – he says, “Do you remember me?” – “Yes,” I said, “I’m still waiting for you to come out of the men’s room!” (I slammed the phone down so never did talk to him again.)
9. JP: Drove to a sporting event at a stadium with my friend and her date to meet my date there. He was coming from work. After the game, he was going to drive me back to my friend’s house to get my car. Problem is he couldn’t remember where he parked his car in the stadium—at all. We had to get a security guard to drive us all around the stadium. He didn’t even know which side of the stadium he was on. I couldn’t help because I didn’t come with him. To top it off he brought oranges to eat during the game (he was kosher so had limited options in the stadium). As we were walking around, his oranges were dripping and falling out of the bottom of the bag! The security guard said, “Hey mister, you’re losing your fruit!” 😂 The security guard was hysterical and he and I were quietly joking with each other. I hope I don’t sound mean. I was laughing with the security guard only during a period of time where I was sitting in the security guard’s office well out of earshot of my date. It was so stressful, and joking cut the tension. It took so long that by the time we got to my friend’s house she was fast asleep and her date (who, by the way, is now her husband) was already back at his place, asleep too! And this was after they had spent some time together. The guy was so out of touch that when we finally found the car and were driving, he was trying to talk me into going away with him for a weekend! Again, I hope I don’t sound mean. I can be scatterbrained myself. But this was pretty extreme!
10. LRC: First date arrives with – not flowers or candy – but a vibrator. I believe I told him that based on his gift, I really didn’t need him around at this point. 😉😳😂
11. BIB: I was held up on Chestnut Street on a FIRST date. We walked over to the Irish Pub and called the police, who picked up our mugger right where we left him. Then the police took us to the station to give statements, except it was a new building and the cop driving got lost. On the way, our cop helped another cop arrest a hooker, and a manhunt in the area we were driving through came on over the radio and our cop actually asked us to look for the dude with him while we were driving. At the police station we were obviously separated to give our statements, and another cop told me how he likes to “air dry” out of the shower. Great. The police drove us home (me to my dorm, date to his apartment. Rolling up to the dorm at 2am in a police car was great…)
12. DPG: When the bill came, my date wanted to split it. He said it was a meeting not a date. So many bad dates. Until I met my husband.
13. TGG: Casino He didn’t offer me any ‘play money’ He ran out of his own money Asked me for $5 Put it in Slot and hit for $400 Handed me back my $5
14. CS: Took him out for dinner. I had to drive (he had a DUI, no big deal). Few minutes into the date, an awful chirping begins. I think “Maybe it’s his cellphone?” WRONG! It was an ankle monitor! He was so embarrassed, as he had a few drinks and forgot about the darned thing. We left in a hurry to report to the local precinct, and thankfully all’s well that ends well. Dinner was good, and we are dating still, 7 years later ❤️.
So, which of these 14 dates do you think was the worst? Comment below to let us know, and while you’re at it, what was YOUR worst date?
In the song, “One,” Three Dog Night sings that “one is the loneliest number.”
Sometimes that’s true, sometimes it’s not.
But I’m not thinking of THAT number 1. I’m thinking of the numeral 1 that is now at the end of our year—2021.
To me, that “1” represents a clean slate. Permission to look ahead to a rainbow of possibilities.
Trust me. I’m not living in a dream world. I know that everything we’ve lived through in 2020 has rolled into this new year. They’re not going to go away that easily, simply because we’ve hung a new calendar on the wall.
In 2021, we’ll still be dealing with a deadly pandemic, financial and food insecurity, cruel and immoral systemic racism, a political divide—no, a chasm—among the people of America, plus our own personal problems and demons. I’m not naïve.
What I am is grateful for everything I have, and willing to choose optimism and hope.
I have big plans for my 1!
Do you? What are they? Please share them in the comments below.
January 1, 1997: Jardin Ellery Cassell is born! A new life begins! Yayyyy!!!!
August 5, 2020: Jardin Ellery Cassell leaves our home to start her own. A new life begins. yay.
Thankfully, Stan and I have a very loving, fun and solid relationship, but hey! Give us a break! It was yesterday. It’s still fresh.
When she moved a half-hour away for college, it was Yayyyy!!!! for her and for us! Now that was great!
Now, she’s on her way to Florida—a plane ride away—and no more fun drop-ins from her and her friends or holiday dinners with her.
Up until yesterday, when she was still living with us in our small apartment, she’d do something that annoyed us, but we’d look at each other, shrug and say, “Well, she’ll be leaving soon and it will all go back to normal.”
Well, she left yesterday, and all I can hear playing in my head is The Beatles’ singing, “She’s leaving home, bye byyyyyye….”
When our son Richard left for college in 2007, I could not even look into his bedroom when I’d pass by. It took me months. But Jardin was in middle school with homework, projects, sleepovers, trips to the mall and parties. College was far off for her, and that went a long way to helping us get through Richard’s departure.
Now, in our apartment, her empty bedroom will soon become our home office, so I won’t have much choice but to look into it because soon I’ll be occupying it.
For the past week, before she left, I would randomly say, “Hey, Jardin.” And she’d say, “Yeah?” And I’d say quietly and solemnly, “Don’t go.” And she’d smile and say, “I love you mom.”
I know she’s going to be fine. Better than fine. She’s smart, savvy, competent, professional and sweet. And she’s beautiful, even though you’re not supposed to say that to or about your daughter here in 2020.
As I was hugging her in our parking lot yesterday, (her friend Dafna waiting patiently in Jardin’s car), I told her all the reasons she was going to succeed, and reminded her to value herself because she is more than worthy—she is precious!
I told her to never allow ANYONE to take advantage of her, ESPECIALLY a romantic partner. If they are not worthy of her, she should ditch them pronto. As my mom often told me, “Find someone who loves you just a little bit more than you love them.” If heeded, that bit of advice can be life changing. So, over the years, I’ve drummed it into both of my kids’ heads.
And when the time finally came, and she and Dafna drove away, with Jardin’s pet rats Hades and Bragi in the back seat, drugged for the ride, Stan, Fred (our dog) and I wiped away our tears—okay—Fred had no tears—then we came back up to our now very quiet apartment.
I read somewhere that the two best things you can give your children are roots and wings.
Richard and Jardin, I hope we gave you both.
My motherly parting wisdom: Wear a mask wherever you go, and always know that our hearts burst with love for both of you, and that you both make us proud every day.
Have an amazingly successful, love-filled and fun-filled life, Jardin Ellery! Stay healthy! We love you!!! Yayyyy!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, though. It’s not that weird ‘old lady blue hair’ from the 70s. This is blatantly blue hair. Cobalt blue. Royal blue. Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year: Classic Blue.
And it was on purpose.
A couple nights ago, our daughter was dying her hair blue. No biggie. She’s had purple hair, orange, green, you name it. The motto in this home is, It’s Only Hair.
So she had some blue dye left over, and asked Stan if she could dye his hair. Without even thinking, he said yes. It wasn’t because he’d always dreamed of having a blue head. I’d wager he’d never even given it a thought. But he made the decision in the blink of an eye.
He did it simply because he loves her and wanted to make her happy. It’s only hair.
And without even realizing it, Stan was putting forth a valuable life lesson for Jardin. He was teaching her to set the bar high for the day when she meets, “The One.” In other words, it’s not just the big important things that count, but the little ones, too. Like the things that make you scream with delight (and boy, did she!). Like the time you and your dad dyed your hair blue together.
Stay healthy and safe through this month of July, and remember, it’s the little things in life that show you care for others. Wear a mask and wash your hands. Easy little stuff like that make a BIG difference in showing others you care.
I’ve been doing women’s events for 11 years. Five for Girlfriendz Magazine (the magazine I created and ran for seven years) and six for Franks & Beans Events. I’m happy to say that I learned something new at our event this past Thursday night!
The evening featured Paper Artist Lorena Melcher of Melcher Creations, and we each had a chance to create something beautiful. Lorena designed kits for each of us in which she tucked beautiful stamped and embossed paper, sparkly gemstones, a frame and a glue stick. Even a bonus project! What she didn’t include was her opinion. She left that to us. So my choice of project was Terry’s choice. And Linda’s choice was her niece Jessica’s choice. And Kim’s choice was Sandy’s and Janis’ choice. They ended up looking the same and yet, looking different. And that was a big part of the fun!
So what did I learn? I learned that in 11 years of doing live events with between 30 and 50 guests, the virtual events that Kim, Linda and I have been presenting are amazing in their own way. At our first virtual event, there were 20 guests (not including our team members). At Thursday night’s event, we had 14 (not including our team), and here’s where the learning comes in: I’m seeing that less is more.
Whether by choice or by circumstance, many women live solo. And as we continue to shelter-in-place, that sometimes leads to loneliness. Put us together using technology, and we are technically alone, yet technically together. During the event, it felt like I was in a room filled with women! And I got to know them in a different way than getting to know them at a live event.
Everyone was relaxed and ready to have fun, to experiment with her creativity and to meet some new people.
Because it was virtual, sisters Marcy and Linda, and Marcy’s daughters, had the opportunity to spend an evening together, despite the fact that Linda lives in NJ, Marcy lives in LA, and the girls live in TX and FL. I had the opportunity to spend an evening with my sister Molly. Even though we live a town away, we haven’t seen each other in person since early February.
All of this is making me even more excited for our upcoming virtual events.
So what are you doing technologically now that you’ve never done before? Please let us know in the comments below.
*PPS: I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, please contact the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. Click here for a variety of resources for those living in New Jersey.
Six-feet apart is still the order of the day, as we watch COVID-19 cases and death counts heartbreakingly mount.
But must we call what we are doing “social distancing?” Wouldn’t “physical distancing” make more sense? I ask because the last thing we should be doing now is being socially distant from one another.
With so many suffering from depression, anxiety, isolation and loneliness, the last thing we need to be is mentally, emotionally and socially distant from each other.
Trust me, I am a staunch advocate for physical distancing. It’s what the scientists are telling us to do. And if I’m going to take advice from anyone, it’s going to be a scientist. Stan and I consider ourselves beyond blessed to be able to stay safely in our apartment. And, we have the deepest of gratitude and respect for the essential workers who put their lives on the line for us–and everyone else–every single day. We request on their behalf, continued good physical and mental health. If anyone deserves it it’s them. Yes, the economy is important. But if most of the population dies from a global pandemic, the economy will too.
So, I’m not against the concept of social distancing. I’m against the terminology that was chosen to describe it.
On Sunday, we attended a Zoom funeral in Central Jersey for my dear friend Debbie’s father, a victim of the Coronavirus. After that, we “traveled” to a Zoom birthday party in Abington for our future daughter-in-law, Christine. The day ended back in Central Jersey, with a Zoom Shiva (Jewish prayer service to honor the person who passed away, and to support those who are mourning that person). We hit 3 destinations in two states, yet we didn’t move one inch to go from one milestone event to the next. One of my friends pointed out that as much of a roller coaster day it was for us, there was one undeniable constant—love. (You nailed it, Kathy.)
Though we were physically distancing for all three functions, the last thing we were doing was socially distancing. It wasn’t the preferred way for the mourners or for our birthday girl, but the alternative would have been disappointment for Christine and loneliness for Debbie.
So, as we continue to live through this unprecedented time in our lives, never lose sight of the most important four-letter word we have in our arsenal: Love. Share it with those you live with, and those who are living alone, and those living in a dangerous (abusive*) situation.
Sending you my love,
PS: Who are you celebrating and/or memorializing during this difficult time, and how are you doing it? Have you bought stock in Zoom yet? Please let us know in the comments below.
*PPPS: I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, please contact the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. Click here for a variety of resources for those living in New Jersey.
The joke about COVID-19—and there are many—is that family pets all around the world, got together and orchestrated the pandemic to be sure their humans would stay home with them for an indefinite period of time.
It’s a bizarre and improbable thought.
Another such thought came during a phone conversation this week with my sister, Molly. She and her husband have recently moved into a lovely CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community), where, unfortunately, COVID-19 has hit. It’s moving slowly. It started on one wing on one floor. One week later, it’s on another. Because of HIPAA, Molly and Martin have no way of knowing if it’s on their floor or their wing. About a month ago, when we went for a visit, we were asked to fill out a very short form. A week later, the form was longer. Now, no visitors are allowed. The residents are no longer permitted to eat in the dining room, and their meals are being delivered to their apartments. First, they were encouraged not to leave the premises. Now, they’re not permitted to leave their apartments. She joked to me, “I feel like we’re living in a really nice prison.” We laughed. And then we stopped.
Worldwide, every one of us is feeling pretty much the same way—a combination of uncertainty and fear. We’re feeling defenseless for ourselves and our loved ones.
The worst things that could have happened, have actually happened. Way too many are sick, way too many have died, and way too many are living in abusive situations* which only get worse in circumstances like this. Way too many have lost their livelihood and way too many are now among the homeless.
We fear for our lives, and for those of our revered essential workers—police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, aides, orderlies, hospital housekeepers and maintenance workers, grocery store, pharmacy and gas station workers, delivery people and so many others. These people are all putting their lives on the line as they are literally keeping us alive.
And now, we are all in prison. Sadly, some are very difficult prisons to be living in. Some are actual prisons. Some are very nice prisons. And many are in prisons that might not be fancy, but are safe and clean and comfortable, with more than enough food and medicine. And yes, even toilet paper.
And the sunlight is peaking through. People are showing their goodness and kindness in countless ways, large and small, by helping those they know and love, as well as those they’ve never met.
This horrific pandemic has an unexpected facet for those of us who are fortunate. It is giving us a bit of extra time, as we shelter in place. Time to have a conversation, to read, to reflect, to cook, to bake, to binge watch TV shows and movies, and to make new friends on Facebook that we may never get to meet in person. That, happily, happened to me just the other day!
For my safety and good health, I am thanking God and the Universe every single day. I am also asking for relief for those in despair, and I’m saying a prayer that we all come out unscathed on the other side. If you’re like me, lucky enough to be living in your own clean and safe prison, you might be scared, lonely and bored, but here’s the thing. We all have just one job to do, and that is to stay where we are (if we can do so safely*), for as long as the scientists tell us to. If we do our job well, we will hopefully all come out on the other side, counting our blessings.
Happy Easter, Happy Passover–and Happy Birthday and Anniversary to those who are forced to low-key it this year.
Sending you my ❤,
PS: What are you doing to keep your sanity? Please let us know in the comments below.
PPPS: We’re now doing our events virtually! Check out what’s coming up!
*PPPPS: I hope you don’t need this, but if you do, please contact the New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 572-SAFE (7233), 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Or call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. Click here for a variety of resources for those living in New Jersey.
COVID-19 doesn’t just affect humans. It touches our pets, too.
For those of us sheltering in place, self-quarantining or in isolation, while making deals with God in hopes that we haven’t been exposed, don’t think for a moment that our pets aren’t absorbing our anxiety.
Recently, I spoke to Rachel Waltzer, VMD, of Garden State Animal Hospital. I asked her if pets can pick up on our apprehension. “Yes, absolutely! There are studies that demonstrate the rise in cortisol—a stress hormone—which occurs in pets when people are anxious. They can even smell when a human is anxious!”
But don’t get her wrong. It’s not all bad for Fluffy, “Pets are certainly enjoying the extra time with their humans at home.”
That’s the case with Rolo, a seven-year-old dachshund from Essex, England. He’s been so overjoyed by his family being on lockdown, that he sprained his tail by wagging it nonstop. Rolo’s owner, Emma Smith, said he is, “currently on pain relief and the vet said he should be healed within a week.”
You can’t make this stuff up.
Thankfully, Dr. Waltzer, a Penn Vet School grad, has the prescription for chill cats and dogs. “You can reduce your pet’s anxiety by reducing your own. Try to control your own emotions. Move slowly and act calmly around your pets. If you rush around with nervous energy, your pet will pick up on it.
“If finding ways to reduce your own anxiety is difficult, try distracting your pets by playing soothing music or working on advanced training. This is a great time to perfect that trick you’ve been thinking about teaching your dog! If all else fails, just toss their favorite toy around.
“Did you know you can teach your cat tricks? My own cat knows how to sit, lay down, and roll over on command. But for all animals, especially cats, try to maintain a normal routine as much as possible. Feed them at the same time as you would on a normal day, clean the litterbox every day, and if you have dogs who are normally confined during the day, try to give your cats a little dog-free time or access to a dog-free space if you feel they need it. For additional help in reducing feline anxiety, check out The Ohio State’s Indoor Pet Initiative.
“Pheromone products can be calming for both cats and dogs. For dogs, I recommend Adaptil brand products. For cats, I recommend Feliway. Plug-ins, sprays, and collars are available at pet stores and can be ordered online. If all else fails, contact your vet to see if anti-anxiety medications may be helpful.”
Some people are concerned that their pets might expose them to the Coronavirus. “Currently, there is no evidence that pets can carry or spread COVID-19. Theoretically, it is possible for pets to act as fomites (object surfaces which may transmit disease). This risk may be limited, but more research is needed in this area. In the meantime, if someone else handles your pet’s leash, carrier, or other accessories, you can minimize your risk by washing your hands and disinfecting these items.”
And to those who are considering or have already taken their beloved pet to the shelter because of concern over the Coronavirus, Dr. Waltzer assures you that, “According to the World Health Organization and the CDC, there is NO evidence that pets can become infected with, or spread, COVID-19. Concern about catching or spreading COVID-19 is not a reason to give pets up to a shelter.
“When at all possible, please try to avoid surrendering pets at this time. Many shelters have had to limit or suspend adoptions and public access, and they are requesting your help to ensure that they are able to care for the animals currently in their care. Limiting surrenders to only those that are urgent will allow them to focus on the pets already in the shelters while adoptions are down.”
And the best news of all, “While pets can certainly pick up on human anxiety, they are also a great way to help reduce anxiety! Research shows that dogs can help lower blood pressure, so don’t give up on your canine or feline friend at this time. Try to remain calm around them, and let their presence soothe you as well.”
Do you have a pet story during these trying days of the pandemic? Please share it in the comments section below.
In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy. And as silly as it might sound, stay home. And wash your hands.
Jewelry is like chicken soup. It can cure all ills. But even if it doesn’t, it still couldn’t hoit to have some.
When we wear jewelry adorned with genuine gemstones, we can get more than just the superficial mood boost of a new pair of earrings. Gemstones are known to promote restorative properties for our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Full disclosure: I’m writing about this topic because of all the questions I’ve been getting about our March 18 eventwhere we’ll be creating our own, one-of-a-kind gemstone bracelets. And because the Empress of Gemstones Josie Domanchich will be teaching us, the bracelets will double as essential oil diffusers.
“Energy is all around us, as well as inside of us,” says Josie, the owner of Breathe by Josie. “The body has 7 energy centers, called chakras. Picture little spinning wheels of light. When one of these is out of balance, your whole body feels it. Gemstones work with these energy centers to help restore balance to the body.
“Each chakra is associated with a specific color, so wearing or carrying gemstones in the color of the chakra you’d like to work on is said to be helpful.”
Here are the gemstones and crystals that Josie finds are the most popular among her clients, and how they can help you:
Rose Quartz: By far, says Josie, these are the most popular stones. They vary in color from nearly white to light pink to very pale pink. Known as “a stone of the heart,” rose quartz’ properties include: compassion, peace, healing and comfort. It also can promote love in all its forms: self, family, platonic and romantic love. It can also lower stress levels, and clear out anger, jealousy and resentment, while promoting empathy and forgiveness.
Agate: Agate is the gemstone of the businessperson because it helps hone decision-making, clarity, stability, concentration, perception and analytical abilities. For these reasons, it can also be helpful to anyone about to begin a big project. It also cleanses the aura of negativity and creates a sense of security and safety.
Purple Agate: This gemstone offers the same properties as agate in any other color. But since purple is associated with the Crown Chakra, our connection to the Universe, it can disperse Universal energy—or life force—into the six other chakras located below it.
Jade: Call on jade for heart, harmony, love, nurturing and serenity. It is known for keeping the wearer safe and for balancing your energy and others. It helps attract good luck and friendship and can stabilize the personality and promote self-sufficiency.
Picture Jasper: This gemstone offers a message or “picture” from the past. It is a stone of proportion and harmony and stimulates creative visualization. It also helps bring hidden thoughts and feelings—like grief, fears, guilt and envy—to the surface, and helps release them. It also can help alleviate fear, stimulate the immune system, and help treat kidney and skin disorders.
Hematite: This stone helps absorb negative energy. It is protective, calming and grounding. It works with your root chakra, helping to change negative vibrations into positive ones.
Magnesite: Magnesite is also known for its calming properties. It helps improve creative visualization and imagination, while encouraging revolutionary ideas. It can also open the crown and heart chakras and stimulate heartfelt love.
Some say gemstones, others say crystals. Are they different from each other? The same?
“They are the same,” says Josie. “But a lot of people think crystals means glass, like Swarovski crystals. That’s why I’ve started to say crystal/gemstone.”
Do you have questions for Josie about crystals/gemstones? Which are your favorites? Please comment below.
When is it okay to start farting in a relationship?
By Tobi Schwartz-Cassell
Because I’m a blogger, I receive press releases from different companies. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’ve received a bunch.
One of them reminded me of a meme I’ve seen: “The biggest step in any relationship isn’t the first kiss. It’s the first fart.”
And that got me to thinking, when in a relationship is it okay to do it? The “it,” of course, being farting.
On Feb 7, Stan and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary, and I’ll lay it on the line—we fart in front of each other. After four decades, it’d be uncomfortable (in more ways than one) if we didn’t.
But at what point in our relationship did we let it rip? And which one of us was first? To be honest, I don’t remember (although I’d wager that Stan was first). But getting back to that press release, it prompted me to do a little research of my own. Sure enough, I found a couple of casual studies on the matter, and both asked the question, “When do you feel comfortable enough in a relationship to ‘break the seal?’”
And more importantly, why is this even a consideration?
HuffPost’s Kelsey Borresen asked psychologist and sex therapist Shannon Chavez, who explained, “Passing gas is viewed as gross, dirty, stinky and not attractive. Kids get ridiculed about it in school and are even embarrassed by peers if they pass gas in front of the opposite sex or anyone, for that matter. …I think it’s something most people avoid in any sort of intimate relationship, out of shame.”
But eventually, we all have to pass gas, whether it’s from our mouths, or the other end. And if we’re in a relationship long enough, something’s going to blow. But exactly when?
Mic.com, a millennial online magazine, questioned 129 people–a small number in the research world, but interesting, nonetheless. The top result was, “When we start having regular sleep overs.” The next highest number shows the respondents holding it in, and waiting for the other person to take the lead.
Another surveywas completed by 1,007 people using Amazon Mechanical Turk. The ages ranged from 19 to 76, with 46% men and 54% women. Both men and women reported that they waited until they were into their relationships for an average of nine months before farting in front of their partners.
But the bottom line is this. Dr. Chavez says that those who pass gas in front of their significant others, more times than not, have a mature and comfortable relationship. And, there’s a bonus. “(These couples are) probably having great sex because they are comfortable with their bodies and what they do and are more likely to enjoy different types of stimulation and play with less inhibition, fears and insecurities.”
That’s all well and good. But what if you’re in a brand new relationship, and you get the urge, but you’re too embarrassed to let it go? Let’s say it’s a first date, and you mistakenly ate chili for lunch that day. This couple, Sabrina and Stacey, each came up with her own solution, and it ended up being the same one! They even named it the same thing! The Spread.
“When you’re afraid that your partner—or like anyone, really—is about to hear you fart,” says Stacey, “you just reach back and spread the butt cheeks apart a little bit and then it won’t make a sound because the air will just fly on through. But the funny thing is that, when we first started dating and Sabrina was worried that I was going to hear her fart as well, she also separately started doing the spread. So we were both doing it without the other person knowing. We had each invented the spread independently.”
So there you have it. The Spread. But that begs yet another question. Which is less embarrassing? Audible farting in front of your date, or visibly reaching around to spread your butt cheeks?
Extreme modesty suggests that the world may never know.
PS: So…are you willing to share? In your relationships, who farts first? And at one point? Do you have a funny fart story? Please tell us in the comment section below. If you’d rather remain anonymous,email me and I’ll share your response, but I promise not to share your name or identify you in any way. TIA
I’m not asking, “Are you
dreading getting one year older,” because aging beats the alternative.
I’m asking, “Do you like
your birth date—the day on the calendar when you were born?”
Do you enjoy your summer
birthday—or do you hate the summer swelter and wish your birthday was in spring?
Is your birthday in autumn but you hate the brisk weather—or do you revel in it
because the leaves are changing color?
My birthday is smack in
the middle of December. And while other Sagittarians I know hate sharing their
special day during the holiday season, I can’t think of a better birthday month.
Everyone’s in a good mood, and everywhere you look, there are decorations! We
were celebrating my birthday last month, and Santa Claus came by on top of a
firetruck, dancing to Chuck Berry’s “Run, Run Rudolph!” Who wouldn’t love that?
My mom’s birthday was January 2. She hated it. There wasn’t very much she hated—but she hated her birth date. She told my sister and I how sad she’d feel as a child because everyone was getting back to normal that day after the long holiday season, and they couldn’t bring themselves to celebrate one more thing. So, her birthday would get tabled for another day that never came. We and our dad always made it our business to celebrate her on what in the past had made her feel so overlooked, and she always appreciated that.
When I was pregnant with my daughter who was due on January 7, 1997, my mom told me more than once that as much as she’d love to share her birthday with her new grandchild, she hoped she didn’t arrive early because she didn’t want her to be burdened with such a terrible birthday. So, what did my daughter do? She came into the world on January 1. What could be worse than a January 2 birthday? A birthday on January 1. Or, on December 25, the day my dear friend Debbie was born. But that’s another story.
Back to the delivery room.
As the nurses were cleaning her up and I was still in the bed on which I gave
birth, I vowed to my husband that I would do everything in my power to be sure Jardin
not only liked her birthday, but loved it.
And I kept my word. Every year since 1988—the year our son Richard was born, we’ve been hosting a New Year’s Eve party with an open house on New Year’s Day. So, at midnight, January 1, 1998—Jardin’s first birthday—we brought a cake into the den, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to the sleeping baby upstairs.
Our annual New Year’s Day Open House turned into Jardin’s Birthday Open House. More food, another birthday cake, and another round of “Happy Birthday.” When she started school, I’d bring cupcakes into her classroom on the first day back, where her classmates would sing “Happy Birthday.” But that’s not where it ended. Every summer, we’d hold a real birthday party with her friends. The regular kind, with paper invitations, a pinata, “Musical Chairs” and of course, a birthday cake, over which “Happy Birthday” was sung to Jardin for a fourth a final time. Until the next year. And she loved it! Who wouldn’t? She’d have three winter birthdays and a summer birthday every year!
But I knew that someday,
she would discover the truth. That a January 1 birthday is as awful as a January
2 birthday. Was I setting her up for failure?
Just this year, the 22-year-old Jardin said to me, in anticipation of her 23rd birthday, the words I’d been dreading since New Year’s Day 1997, “I wonder what it would be like to have a normal birthday.” My heart sank. I told her that I understood, and if I had the power to change it, I would.
I don’t know the answer
to her question about a normal birthday, because who dictates “normal?”
Is normal being able to
have your cupcakes in elementary school on the actual date of your birth?
Is normal receiving birthday
cards in the mail on your actual birthday?
Jardin can’t have either
of those. Ever.
But what she does have is a New Year’s Eve/birthday party with her friends at school, and an automatic birthday party the next day because we continue to have our New Year’s Eve party (though dramatically scaled down) and we continue to have our New Year’s Day/Jardin’s Birthday open house.
And when she walks into our home on her January 1, there will always be people who love her already assembled, delivering birthday wishes and hugs as soon as she walks through the door. And very few people have that on their actual birthdays every single year.
PS: So, what’s your birth date and how do you feel about it? Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
PPS: And no matter when your birthday is, Franks & Beans is having a party just for YOU! On February 19, we’re throwing our “It’s EVERYONE’S Birthday” Birthday Party: Leap Year Edition!
Join us at Illiano’s for a delicious 5-course BYOB dinner, birthday presents for EVERYONE, games, prizes and so much more!
Our goal is to make
everyone who comes feel as special as she should on her real birthday.
And, if you were born on February 29, your ticket is only $29! If you were born on the 29th of any month, you only pay $49! And if you’re a first-timer to one of our events, you get 10% off the regular price. For everyone else, it’s still on early bird pricing. Our first two Birthday Parties were sellouts, so get your tickets now! Questions? Click here to email me!
And no matter when your
birthday is, “Happy Birthday!”
By Margaret Phillips, GuestBlogger (See below for more about Margaret)
When we eat the correct amounts of fruits and veggies each day, it helps stabilize our emotional and physical health. That’s because our bodies are getting the nutrients it needs. I realize that seems like a no brainer, but sometimes we need to be reminded of what we already know.
For example, if you are lacking magnesium in your diet, it can lead to or increase depression, headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, and many other illnesses and dysfunctions. Dark leafy greens are a good source of magnesium, so eat up!
Are you at risk
or have a family history of heart disease or stroke? The potassium in fruit can reduce
those risks. Are you suffering from a cold? One cup of cooked broccoli has as
much vitamin C as an orange and contains potassium, vitamin K, folate, and
sometimes caused by dehydration. Another nutritive call for potassium!
According to New Jersey Registered Dietician Enid Palinski, a baked potato (with
the skin) is one of the most impressive sources of potassium, containing a surprising
721 mg. In comparison, a banana contains about 467 mg.
Do you have stomach issues such as
gas, bloating, or constipation?
Then you might want to add raspberries or blackberries to your diet. One cup of
either of these berries have 8 grams of fiber, which helps regulate digestion.
There are plenty
of delicious healthy choices. And once you start to explore what’s at your
farmer’s market or grocery store, your taste buds and body will thank you for
But how many fruits
and veggies do we need to eat every day? The current recommendation by the USDA
is five to nine servings. You’re probably thinking, “Is that a typo? That must
be a typo.” If you’re like most of us, the first time you hear the updated
recommendation, you may also be thinking, “There’s no way I can do that.”
Here’s the good
news. Yes, you can do that! First, realize that five to nine includes fruits
and veggies combined. So, you can breathe a little easier now.
Second, if you’re a person who struggles with getting to this number, start slowly and no beating yourself up allowed. Challenge yourself to eat one fruit or veggie EVERY day at EVERY meal for one week. Then, do it for a second week. Continue to do this for six weeks and then add a fruit or veggie for snacks and follow the same challenge pattern.
know for a lot of people, time can be an obstacle when it comes to getting
enough veggies and fruits. A great way to help this is to prepare your produce
for a couple of days all at once and have them in a grab-and-go container or sack.
If it’s already washed, cut up (if needed), and put into a container, you can
grab them before you go on that day trip or when you know you will be having a
late dinner due to your schedule. This is great if you have kids, because they
can just grab them when they want, and you don’t have to be their on-demand
You also don’t have to worry about them filling up on unhealthy foods when they are snacking. Fruits and veggies you prepare ahead of time can also be used for a quick TV or reading snack. If you have a craving for something crunchy, peppers, carrots, broccoli and celery can both help satisfy your craving, and get some extra veggies into your diet.
Fruits make fantastic desserts or even good treats for curbing the sweet cravings. While we still have our calorie-laden sweets from time to time, I have been teaching my girls the best dessert after any meal is a sweet fruit. My favorite summer dessert is a sweet juicy, plum. With some patience and resilience, you can eat your fruits and veggies and get to the right number.
Thank you Margaret! Great article.
So how about you? Are you, like Margaret, able to get in all five to nine servings each day? If not, how many? (Congratulate yourself for eating even one each day, for now.) Tell us your tricks and tips for getting more veggies and fruits in your diet, by leaving your comment in the section below.
Margaret Phillips is a psychic medium, life coach and energy healer. Find out more about her on her websiteand on her Facebook page.
I came up with the question after a friend of mine told me that her dog’s name is Whistle. I asked if his middle name was Blower.
It is not.
But I did get some great answers to my question. One of the best came with a newspaper articleto document it.
Franks & Beans Events’ very own Linda Rosenson Coe (pictured here) has a cat named Ansel Catems. It’s a twist on the name of the famed photographer Ansel Adams, a favorite of Linda’s husband Marvin Coe, our Official Franks & Beans’ photographer.
Other names were so funny and so sweet, and I thank
everyone for sharing them with us:
Anne M Stengel: My little she-poo is Rocky Doodle/Pupper Doodles (pictured above in the dapper yellow necktie).
Deb Ferguson: Our dog is Dante Hicks Ferguson. He’s named after the character in “Clerks.”
Lauren Sprague: My cat is Philly Thomas!
Cathy Wilson: When Shelby was alive, her full name was Shelby Scully Wilson. Shelby for the character in “Steel Magnolias”, Scully for the character in “X-Files” because she was chipped, and Wilson because she was a member of our family.
Kim Mercantini: My cat is Cali Anne.
Kathleen Bridgewater: My dog is Lilly Ann.
Karen Marie: Giovanni Michael
Ateia Nesmith: Sugar Pie Honey Bunch Harrington.
Eileen A Weiss: No middle name but Mayhem’s nickname is Bug.
Sandy Fishman Konefsky: Had a cat named Squeak because he squeaked instead of meowing. Had a poodle who my husband named Picaboo because he liked Picaboo Street (the skier). My Afghan hound was Tasha Benvicki (from Benvicki Kennels). She looked just like the Afghan hound in the Apple iPhone commercial.
Theresa Ann: My cat’s middle name Joe. She is Teddie Joe!
Marcella Yanulavage-Strenger: My Border Collie’s name is Jasper Jackson, my Cockapoo’s name is Sparky Sparkalicious, and my cat’s name is Riley Ann, even though he’s a boy.
Lisa Rife: My Daisy is Daisy Mae. Before Casey passed away, she was Casey Marie.
Terry Ginsburg Goncharoff: Ollie was Oliver Elvis and Shayna is Shayna Sugar.
Dana ‘Captain’ Rinaldo: Rockefeller Roofus Rinaldo. Rocky Roo for short 🤣🤣
Peg Willard: Years ago, my sons decided to name their cat Tonka, after the toy trucks. His middle name was Bonks. Tonka Bonks Laney.
Sarah Moore: Artemis Stumbledore Dumpsta-Diver
Emily Keifer-Jackson: No middle name. Just Snowman Jackson
Melissa Price: Long ago, I had a dog named “Notes.” But it was spelled “Gnotes” since I was a musician and his puppy bark was a “G” note. Gnotes became Gnotesey and then ultimately Gnotesey Punkin’ Noodlesmith because after all was said and done, he was a noodle-connoisseur.
Jennifer Lynn: I wish my dog had a middle name. That would be cute. His name is Teddy, but I call him Theodore when he is does something wrong. LOL!
Taralynn Sandker: Our guinea pig has a middle name. He’s George Cooper Sandker.
Wendi Lynn: No middle name, but one had a last name that wasn’t mine, LOL!!!!
Donna Laurent Gabler: My cat’s name is Maggie–short for maggots. I found her at 3 weeks old covered in maggots. It was a long road but within a month she was a normal cat. She is little brat at times, so the name was appropriate 🙂
Lauren Palmer-Wearne: Leah Nicole (Aurora, my daughter, and I share that middle name so we gave it to Leah) Rosie Faye. Stitch Beauregard. Camilla Hope. And Bella Bug. LOL
Debra Thornton: Her middle name is Ann. She is Sally Ann.
Debbie Kirk Kobus: My dog’s name is Ginger Beans.
Jerri Griffith: Effie Trinket and Obi Wan Kittenobi
Holly Ward-Mauger: Buddy Blue (dog), Princess Fiona (cat), Trouble Littlefoot (cat), and they all have the last name of Ward-Sheairs-Mauger 😂
Michelle Hagy Helfrich: Coconut “Rum” Helfrich
E Jazmine Kiah: My cat is Ariel Precious.
Lois Rosenfeld Urkowitz: We had Ezra Keith Urkowitz after the band members of “Trout Fishing in America.” They were quirky and so was Ezra. Our Labradoodle was Zoe Rose. New addition is Willy Wonka (previous owners).
Beth Browdy Gonyea: Champ Anderson Pooper Gonyea
Carla Mandell: Lucy Furr. Combo for Lucille Ball and Lucifur. Sweet, funny, playful, devilish, tons of energy.
Lisa Pestcoe: Lou…her full name is Luckie Lou Lapue
Amy Schaaf Kueny: Gunnar–his dog father’s name! Full name is Bauer Gunnar Kueny.
Barrie Weinberg Urbano: My Moe was Joe. Gracie was Lou.
Dianna Arble: Ginger, Equinsu Ocha …it’s white devil from “Ace Ventura.” 😂 She is a bad dog.
Marci Mathis: Our pets’ middle names are always the names they were given at the animal shelter before we adopted them. <3
MaryAnn Ragone DeLambily: Jake Jakester, Crazy Daisy (and that’s the truth), Mia mee-mo, Ciana see-saw, Lucia Luchee, Leo Leosky, Biscotti Limpy Limpster (rabbit)
Steve Platt: My cat was often called “Mr Annoying Face.” So was his middle name “Annoying?”
Jen Bärr: I’m not a pet person, but now I want one to give it a middle name! I think I’ll get fishies…I’m not sure of a name yet, but they seem like they’d be low maintenance. No walking required.
We even got some ethnic names!
Lisa Sengin Yuen: My first cat was Mogan David! (Translation: Star of David)
Judie Weiss Mangel: Macey Mazel Mangel (Translation of Mazel: Luck)
Shelly Cortés: My boy is (spoken with a Spanish accent) Chico R. Cortés, the R stands for Raúl.
Stephanie Garofalo: No middle names. Just a Mario and a Luigi.
And there is even royalty among us:
Danielle Showell Nolan: Spotty Louise Liscious LuLu Nolan, the 1st. LOL
Sandra Zydanowicz Cook: The neighborhood gave her a name when I got her. Miss Willow of Kenwood Estates. 🤣 I live on Kenwood Rd.
Mika Murray: Calvin Crookshanks Murray, Mickey Mouse Murray, Maxwell Caulfield Murray (deceased 😔), Kitty Cat Murray (Calvin’s mom, deceased 😔) and Fluffy Jane Murray (deceased, my 1st cat 😔). My Princess is the only kitty to not have a middle name. But since she’s a royal she doesn’t need it. 😂
So, what’s your pet’s middle name? Please
let us know in the Comments Section below.
My dog’s name is Fred Benjamin Cassell (pictured here). Benjamin is in memory of one of our earlier pups, Ben. Ben’s middle name was Casey, who was our furbaby before him. Casey, Ben and Fred all share a beautiful face, and a sweet, loving heart.
We also had a pup named Rachel. We adored her but she had her moments. We joked with people that her middle name was Trouble. And it eventually stuck. RIP Rachel Trouble Cassell. ❤
I have always been, and always will be, a Barbie Girl. My collection started with a hand-me-down Barbie and her sparse wardrobe. She had a long blonde ponytail–just like the one in this picture–except mine had only one leg.
I didn’t even want to speculate on what had happened to the amputated limb. I just avoided dressing her in the pants she showed up with, and opted instead for her long, pink ballgown.
On my birthday, my parents gave me a brand-new Barbie with all four appendages and a beautiful platinum blonde “bubble” hairdo. I was positively euphoric! Barbie and Barbie had a lot of fun together, as did I, their puppeteer.
As time went on, Ken joined in to make it a platonic threesome. The Barbies’ wardrobe grew, with both store-bought clothes and handmade pieces my mom would design and knit for them. Those girls were stylin’! But when they’d get dressed up to step out for the evening, all Ken had to choose from was a golf ensemble or swim trunks.
Eventually, Ken and the Barbies acquired a knock-off “11.5-inch
doll” doctor’s office with cardboard snap-together furniture. Ken was instantly
awarded his M.D., complete with a doctor’s white coat. One of the Barbies got a
nurse’s uniform with a starched white cap. It sounds kind of weird now, but this
was the 60s and though Mattel made career clothes for Barbie, they didn’t make attire
for female doctors or male nurses.
Just the other day, I convened a business meeting with
Catherine and BJ, and somehow, we got onto the subject of Barbies. (Yes, this
is what happens when women meet for business—or at least for Girlfriendz
Magazine business.) We eventually got back on topic, but before we did, BJ
told us about her typical Barbie family with Barbie, Ken and Skipper. I’m guessing
Ken was an insurance agent, Barbie was a homemaker and president of the PTA,
and Skipper was a typical fifth grade girl who turned her nose up at spinach. Catherine’s
Barbies, on the other hand, only owned outfits that corresponded to a career.
She remembers naming one of her Barbies “Tina,” and writing curt notes to Ken like:
Make your own dinner tonight, Ken. Signed, Tina
Catherine did not remember what Ken had done to provoke Barbie’s…I
mean Tina’s…ire. And just like with my uni-leg Barbie, I chose not to
Eventually, Tressy joined my collection. (Remember her?) She had a short brown haircut with a ponytail at the top of her head. You could pull that ponytail all the way down to her feet! I never could figure out where all that hair was hidden, and didn’t put two and two together as to why she had a belly button that when pushed, sucked her hair back into her head. But again, I chose not to speculate.
Rounding out my collection was “Hi Heidi.” Much shorter than the 11.5-inch dolls, all she owned was the red dress on her back. But who cared? When you pushed the button on her tummy, her right arm would whip up toward the sky as if she were saying, “Hi!”
So, there they were—My Barbie Collection: Ken, Tressy, Hi
Heidi, Barbie and Barbie. They made a cozy, sexless home in the cardboard
doctor’s office (my parents couldn’t afford an actual Mattel Barbie Dream
House) and they all lived happily ever after.
One Saturday afternoon when I was in middle school, I decided to visit my old Barbie Collection. I went down to the basement and couldn’t find it. My mom told me she and my dad had given it away. Gone. Lock, stock and doctor’s office. I was furious! How could they have done this to me?!
Naturally, my mom apologized profusely for not having
checked with me first. She and my dad had assumed I wasn’t interested in
playing with dolls anymore. Annoyed, I accepted the apology because I knew it
was sincere. After all, they were correct in their assumption. But it took a
long time to get over it.
I eventually did, of course, especially after they told
me who they’d given it to. He was a man my dad worked with. They were a family
in need and my parents wanted to help. So, my Barbie Collection became his
daughter’s Christmas present that year. And this time, I allowed
myself to speculate.
I envisioned her having a lot of fun with Barbie, Barbie, Hi Heidi and Tressy. Ken, too, even though his flocked hair had rubbed away long before. I’d taken care of business with a black magic marker and he looked just fine. In fact, the whole thing was fine because Nameless Little Girl was giving my old Barbies a new life.
It wasn’t until years later that I realized what my
parents really had in mind. Though the phrase “paying it forward” wasn’t in usage
back then, that’s what they were doing.
And it all started with some really nice person at my dad’s work who, so many years before, had given him a blonde one-legged Barbie doll to give to his daughter.
PS: My story has a second happy ending. My dear, childhood friend Barbara (who used to play Barbies with me) went on eBay and found an exact duplicate of my platinum blonde “bubble” hairdo Barbie, and gave it to me for my 40th birthday.
PPS: What’s your Barbie story? Did you have any of the ones I had? Which ones did you have? Please share it with me below.
BTW, the dolls pictured above were not mine. They are representative of the ones that my parents “paid forward.”