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Happy 4th of July weekend. This weekend I have declared my independence from anything that involves thinking, moving, or putting in my contacts. I am also celebrating my independence by becoming dependent on a dog. Rizzo (now Rizzi) my former foster dog is back for a week’s vacation. She was adopted seconds before I left for my Australian 2 ½ week vacation in February by a wonderful woman—a retired English teacher who said she was drawn to Rizzo because of her “well-written profile.” Well, thank you very much! I do believe some of my best writing is done when writing bios for the animal shelter dogs. Check out Sampson. Anyway, La Riz’s new mom took me up on my offer for complimentary dog sitting for the rest of her life and I couldn’t be happier. Or more surprised seeing as though I extended the offer sometime between me banging on the passenger side window of her Toyota Corolla begging Rizzo to look at me one last time and then bursting into tears as they drove out of the shelter parking lot. I thought for sure she’d think I was the crazy ex foster mom who can’t fully break up with her ex roommates (which I am.) But she’s clearly the crazy new dog mom who leaves her pets in the care of a delusional ex foster mom who may or may not give her back. Either way, I couldn’t be happier with the arrangement.

Rizzi’s vacation is perfect timing as I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting another dog permanently. It’s been over three years since Charlie umm…went away… and for the first time I’m starting to feel “ready” (READ: My cold black heart is beginning to thaw as it accepts the fact that dogs, like all living things, have to…umm…go away.) I miss being part of the dog-owner community. I want to shop at places called “High Maintenance Bitch” and “Petapoluza.” I actually miss finding plastic bags in my coat pockets and bits of chicken & rice flavored crumbs in the bottom of the washing machine. And dog-owners are just so nice. As it turns out, so are my neighbors. Rizzi and I met 3 of them on our walk today. I even ran into a former co-worker who lives about 6 houses away from me.

I find myself looking at “puppy porn” (aka Petfinder) at least once a day now and am familiar with every large, senior female dog’s profile within a 60-mile radius of Seattle. There’s always an excuse though. Work travel, vacation, dog or cat-sitting commitments. My biggest reason for not getting another dog is the time issue. I work long hours. I hate getting up early. I already get up early every morning to write. Having a dog would mean getting up even earlier than that to go for a walk or (more likely) cut into the writing time. What to do? I guess I’ll leave this one up the powers that be. Charlie was the right dog and I was ready for her. If the next right dog comes around then I’ll just assume I’m ready and make an honest woman of her.

I started my Super Secret Project on July 1st. It’s ironic it starts this weekend, but I can’t tell you why because it’s super secret. Kind of stupid, huh? I mean, why even bring it up? I can tell you that it doesn’t involve a dungeon or a dragon (at least not yet but who knows where these things can take you) but it does involve my mom and so far it has netted me 11 cents, 3 trips to Goodwill and a nasty memo from the Homeowners Association reminding me that the dumpster is for “garbage items” only. What the hell does that mean? Can’t we just assume that anything that goes in the dumpster is considered a “garbage item?” Besides, how did they know it was me who filled the dumpster with IKEA storage units and busted hangers? I mean, it was but really, how did they know? I bet it was the woman in unit 8. She puts her make up on in her window using one of those old-school mirrors that showed you your face in daylight, nightlight, and florescent light. How progressive! Well, curses to you Unit 8! Mind your own beeswax. And let me just tell you blue eye shadow doesn’t look natural in day, night, and especially florescent light!

So back to the topic at hand. Was there a topic at hand? There is now. In honor of the 4th of July I’d like to celebrate my independence by declaring myself free of the following things.

1. Mysterious Pork Aroma: The smell of bacon is mysteriously wafting through my windows. Why?

2. Noise-sensitive neighbors: An older woman has bought the condo next to me. She claims to be “noise sensitive.” And you bought a condo why?

3. Noise-apathetic neighbors: I have bad neighbors to the south of me. These are not dog-lovers. These are the kinds of people who light off fireworks for days before and after the 4th of July. They think they are in a band. They seldom where shirts. They cover their windows with tapestries. They have a toilet on their front porch. Whether or not it’s in use seems irrelevant. They have a toilet on their front porch, okay?

4. Fruitless tomato plants: I haven’t given up yet but my more garden-savvy friends have. Our tomato plants are not bearing fruit because of the crappy spring we had. I thought I’d be living off the land by now. Not happening (unless one can live off mint and cilantro. Those plants are doing very well.)

5. E!’s Reality Shows (and my inability to turn them off): Aw man, was I really watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians today? Was I? Well, yes, I was but it was not my fault. It was Rizzi’s. She fell asleep next to me on the couch. She looked so darn cute and comfy I couldn’t get up and do something productive, could I? What choice did I have but to take a nap too? I fell asleep watching E! (Talk Soup) and when I woke up it was those hyena sisters bitching at one another.

“You’re lazy!” one said to the other one.
“Stop wearing my leather jacket!” the other one responded.

It makes me happy I never had a sister. But wait—if I did is it likely either of us would become famous for making sex tapes or hanging out with Paris Hilton? Nope. Can’t imagine we would have. And if we did I doubt our mother would agree to be on a reality show with us. And encourage me (or my imaginary sister) to pose for Playboy. And let the camera’s film the nudie photo shoot she did to surprise her husband—BRUCE JENNER! Bruce Jenner, people! My mom would never have married Bruce Jenner. Oh, and Bruce? Michael Jackson called. He wants his nose back. For the love of god, declare your independence from your plastic surgeon! You’re a former Olympian! You were on Wheaties cereal boxes! Your eyes are practically above your ears. You look like a freakin’ hammerhead shark! Stop the madness, Bruce. Get your eyes back on your face where they belong and see how ridiculous you look.

6. Stupid TV Husbands: Commercials are always guilty of this. Why must we depict husbands as browbeaten Nancy’s who can’t say no to their overbearing, hands on hips, domineering, housework demanding wives? I know no couples like this.

“Honey, time to clean the leaves out of the gutter.”
“Aw, man, the game is on!”
“Not until you clean the leaves out of the gutter! Now git yer lazy ass up off that couch so I can steam clean the cushions!”

What exactly are they advertising here? Divorce lawyers?

The worst of the bunch is one of those major home improvement chains. We see Husband getting beaten into believing he wants a new kitchen, then a new fence, and finally new landscaping in the backyard. All it takes to change his mind is a sideways snarl from Wifey who looks mighty intimidating in her blue oxford shirt tucked deep into her mom-waisted khakis. And if that weren’t bad enough, we get to see the next generation of domineering spouses as the last frame includes a little girl who happens to be dressed just like her mommy, hands on hips and all. No wonder people aren’t getting married anymore. Or maybe they are and I just made that up. But still. It’s annoying. But it’s at least an equal opportunity offender making both men and women look like jackasses.

7. Lists: I love lists. I think that’s evident, isn’t it? I have lists all over my home. Grocery list, to do list, list of lists I need to make. I could keep going with this list. Or maybe start a new list. But I need to stop. Why? Because it’s boring. Reading someone else’s list is like listening to the retelling of their dream. It’s not that interesting if it doesn’t involve you. Total snoozefest. Seriously. Are you still reading this? I assure you it won’t get any better. Maybe I should start keeping a journal again so I can at least stick to boring only myself. Am I procrastinating? Am I already bored with the Super Secret Project? Really, now, is there nothing else of substance to put here? (There is actually. There are about 6 unfinished diatribes that are waaaaaaaaaaay more exciting than this, even in their undone state.) So for your sake, I will declare my independence from making lists. Your welcome.

I will however leave you with this lovely picture of Rizzi enjoying a nap in the shadow of a fruitless tomato plant. Cute, isn’t she?

Rizzi Relaxing

I hope this weekend finds you declaring your independence from those things that bug you to. Like…this entry. Stop reading! I’m freeing you! It’s going even further downhill from here! Seriously! Stop. Do you want me to list the top 5 reasons you should stop reading? Ok I will. Here we go:

Thought so.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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