Monday, December 22, 2008

The Precious!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! This is MY precious!! Frankie Claus!

This photo was a wonderful "happy accident" when my husband & I were trying to shoot our annual doggie holiday photo for holiday cards. Frankie is not the best at sitting still for such things as holiday photos, but we try our best. In this shot, he's wearing a Santa hat, complete with attached white beard, and a red holiday t-shirt (which happens to read HO HO HO on the back, but you can't see it in photos). He hated nearly every minute of wearing the hat & beard, I assure you! The garb was designed for cats, but our Frankie is a small guy & it fit him perfectly.

Mike had Frankie perched atop a red blanketed coffee table for this shot, with our Christmas tree in the background (not that you can see it too well). We had the mini tree (seen in Frankie's face) and we were moving it in front of him & he turned away because it annoyed him & magically, I shot the photo just as Mike moved the tiny tree & it looks like we have Frankie posing & playing shy. I assure you, this was totally unplanned & a true photo happy accident. We almost used this shot for our holiday cards, but we wanted his Santa suit to be more visibile since it was so this was simply a fun back-up photo for our enjoyment & now for yours.

Frankie is the most precious little dog I have ever come across....and for those that know me, you know how strongly we felt about our beloved Phoochie girl (RIP 6/3/05). While we miss Phoochie terribly, Frankie is really something else!

Frankie came into our lives purely by accident. I guess you could call it another "happy accident". It was 1 week before Thanksgiving in 2006. We had not even been in our new home a full year yet. The house was far from being a completed project & surely we had NO time to raise a dog! We were up late on a Friday night......still managed to wake up rather early & venture out for some weekend grease in the way of breakfast at a diner in Burbank called Frank's. We're sitting there, minding our own business & the waitress calls out to inquire if the little dog outside the door belonged to anybody. Of course we took a look.....filthy little mutt staring inside, hoping someone would open the door & let him in. No such luck. No one claimed him & soon after, he wandered off. My stomach turned as I watched him dart out into the street & disappear.....luckily at that hour, no traffic on a normally busy Olive Avenue! Our food came & while we fell silent, we were both still thinking about this poor little dog wandering out in the cold. About 10 minutes later, there he was again, outside the window by our table (he had just come across the busy street again). I told Mike I could not stand it....I was so worried he would get run over. I had that happen to a dog once on that very boulevard several years earlier & it pained me to see this little guy out there. I got up & went outside & he came right up to me, licking me furiously as if I was his long-lost mother! He smelled something fierce!!! He was very thin, bones sticking out, his fur in dreadlocks & flea infested like you cannot imagine.....and shivering because it was probably 40 degrees outside! Mike soon joined me while our breakfasts grew cold inside. I told him we just had to take the little guy to the shelter where he would be safe. We put him in the bed of our truck & took turns eating (inside the restaurant) & running out to try to feed him. What dog does not jump at the chance to eat bacon or sausage? This one! He literally had no clue HOW to eat!

We finished our meal, went out to the car & Mike wrapped the little guy in a sweatshirt so I could hold him on my lap without getting fleas all over myself. Next thing you know, we are driving to the only vet we knew was open on Saturdays in Sun Valley to have him checked out. The mutt fell fast asleep in my arms as Mike drove off towards the vet office. I was shocked at how at ease this little dog was with 2 strangers....that he could just go to sleep that way.

"What's your dog's name?", the desk clerk asks at the vet office......Mike & I just looked at each other. He had no name. We just met him! Then, Mike blurts out "Frankie", in honor of the diner where he found us. Little Frankie weighed in at only around 9 pounds, he was malnourished to say the least! He was determined to be 7-8 months old, which surprised us a bit. We thought he was older. Must have been the filthy coating! :( Anyhow, he was otherwise healthy, aside from being underweight, flea infested & having a foxtail wedged down deep in one ear. We had to leave him behind for the vet to sedate him to remove the foxtail & then they would drop him off next-door at the groomer for a flea dip & bath.

We drove home & crawled back into bed. It was only about 9:30am, after all. We woke up when we got the call to fetch "our dog" from the groomer. We were worried he would not know us after we had showered & freshened up....but, another surprise, as soon as he heard our voices in the groomer's salon, he came running out, jumping up at the counter, trying to reach us! It was wild!!! I have to admit, we were both freaking out on our way there.....what were we doing adopting a PUPPY???? We will have to train him, housebreak him, he's gonna chew our stuff, etc. What have we done? But, seeing his little happy face again made it worthwile. We were doing a good thing.

We lucked out in that he WAS housebroken & no matter what little "bad" thing he did, he learned SO quickly not to repeat it. He was SO eager to please us it was unreal. And, to this day, he still remains overly eager to please us. How can you not love this little guy??

The story goes on, but you get the point. He is "the precious". He is MY precious. He is Mike's precious. We love the little guy tremendously & while on the surface it appears WE did some good deed in taking him in, the real good deed is that he found us. He adopted us. He brings us so much joy each day. Frankie is the best boy ever!

My friends all want to come back (as in reincarnation) as my dog. They think we treat our pups (past & present) so well that they'd be lucky to come live with us. Perhaps they are right? I don't know. We try to make a nice life for Frankie because he is NOT "just a dog".....he is part of the family (and the only part of the family that is truly NO trouble).

Happy Holidays everyone!
Happy Holidays, Frankie boy! (the frankster, little Frow-frow, baby boy). We love you!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Black Friday fun!

SLACKER that I have become....I am finally getting on here to post about my recent Black Friday experience at the outlets in Cabazon, CA.

We stayed up rather late on turkey night, eating, taking silly photos, drinking in the fab pomegranate martini's my sis, Marla, makes & just having a truly FUN Thanksgiving (for a change). Marla & Micah were over, and Ian came for a few hours. My Aunt Francine also joined us. My dad was visiting from Michigan with his fiance, so it was nice to finally meet her. She is just as warm & friendly as my dad said she would be!

My youngest sister, Shawna, came from Chicago to join in the festivities, so it was equally nice to have her with us (she is not a fan of flying). Shawna has amazing porcelain skin & is the hipster I always wanted to be when I was young. She has a flair for taking wonderful photos, particularly the "silly ones" with her old-school Polaroid camera.

Last, but not least, my sister Aimee, came from Michigan, complete with her hubby & their 2 gorgeous toddlers. They stayed at our home with us.....crammed into our tiny den on a futon, but they were troopers! They insist they never slept better, but I don't see how. ha ha!!!

So, back to the main event......after a late-night bowl of Chili John's for me, Mike & my brother-in-law, Craig, we headed up to bed, knowing full-well that Marla would be calling at around 5am to wake us for the Black Friday event. We could have gone earlier, but no one wanted to rise & shine before 5am & the guys did not want to rise & shine for shopping at all. The plan was to drop them off at Casino Morongo while the girls & kids went shopping.

My dad & Maria headed out to the outlets first & earliest. We met up with them there. Apparently, they thought that the desert remained hot even in winter....they showed up in short sleeves, sandals & no jacket! To say they were chilled was an understatement....and let's not forget the chilly winds that blow through the Palm Springs area. Brrrrr!!!! Marla & Shawna headed out in a separate car next. Shawna was not too happy to wake up so early just to go shopping, but she did.....largely because Marla promised her there was an Old Navy at the end of the rainbow. I tried to warn everyone that there was NO Old Navy store out there, but I guess no one heard me (must have been the turkey day booze clogging their ears). Poor Shawna was outta luck on that one, but she still scored some great goodies at some of the other shops. Last, it was me, Mike, Aimee, Craig & the 2 wee-ones, packing ourselves into a rented mini-van. We were slow moving, hung-over, and had 2 kids to get out the door.... But, we made it!! The boys were dropped at the casino with some kisses for luck & off we went to the outlets. Aimee was so excited, I think she nearly pee'd her pants. ha ha!

Parking was a nightmare! The streets & gravel areas off the side of the highway were crammed with cars. I have never seen such a sight out there! We took the first space we found & hoofed it down towards the outlet stores & thanks to cell phone technology, we managed to hook up with the rest of our group for loads of tag-team shopping & babysitting. Hailee refused the stroller, so it came in awful handy for carrying packages. Little Brian slept part of the time in his stroller.....lucky guy! The stores were packed, but for the most part, the lines moved smoothly & quickly, no matter how long they were.

Banana Republic had some of the best deals -- everything in the store was a full 50% off, even the clearance items were an additional 50% off! Made it real easy to calculate costs when you just cut the ticket prices in half! I refused to wait for a fitting room to try on a skirt, so I did so out on the a thong. Not one of my better moments & Marla managed to catch it on film (see her Facebook page for those pix). I am guessing some other dudes in the store may have as well & I could be up on You-Tube for all I know (thanks again cell phone technology!). I tried to keep my exposed back-side up against a wall of faux UGG boots, but I am sure some "crack" was exposed. Ooops! No, I did not buy the skirt. All that trouble for nothin'!! It was cute, but rather tight & there was no way I was going to try on a second one, being the first one was SO difficult to wrangle myself in & out of!

J. Crew had about 40% off most of their merchandise, which worked out well for us (translation: we have lots of shopping full shopping bags from this store). The clearance items were an extra 50% off. I love $12 sweaters!!! Marla got a CUTE mini-skirt in black, white & yellow plaid. I almost did the same, but I held off.

The Gap was PACKED.....but Aimee & I managed to fill up our bags with some fun items, including boxer shorts for our men. Mike's are green with gingerbread men on them. Craig's are colorful stripes. We thought about getting them matching undies, but laughed & opted to pass on that idea. Boys are funny about that stuff, you know. The Gap was a well-oiled machine with their super long line. I was through that line in maybe 5 minutes, much to my surprise....and with a new plaid miniskirt in hand, along with an eggplant top & Mike's new boxers. I saw other goodies, but apparently, most of the stuff I liked in that store was not on sale. Argh! Aimee bought too many things for me to list! (She has kids, too, you know!!).

There were LINES like you cannot imagine to gain access to stores like Gucci. That line was a 5 hour wait just to get inside!!! Sadly, we had to pass. Aimee wanted to cry, I'm sure, because that was the main reason we went all that way to shop -- to hit up Gucci. Ferragamo had some amazing handbag deals & while my hubby told me to get one if "I had to have one", I passed. It was sweet of him to offer, but buying handbags is "his thing" & I prefer to save that event for when we are shopping together & it's not just me in a Black Friday Frenzy! True Religion also had a long line that my dad opted to wait in, only he did not buy anything after all that waiting. I think he scored some designer jeans later at the Sacks outlet, however, for far less coin. Kenneth Cole was giving $25 off for each $100 you spent. Nice!!!

Michael Kors had some great deals, including 40% off their handbags. Impressive pricing for sure! My niece had maybe 8 of these bags strewn along her tiny arms as she paraded through the store......but since she did not have any money, they all had to go back! :)

The crowds were getting thicker & was more & more chaotic. Our strollers & arms were full of packages & our feet were getting as tired as our eyeballs. We were hungry, too. The goldfish crackers were long since what??

Me & my sisters, plus the kids, paused for a break by sitting on a curb, eating hot pretzels, churros & bottled water for a bit. By then, the sun was out & the temps were warmer, but that wind was still blowin'. We did a bit more shopping & gradually parted ways for everyone to head home. My dad & Maria opted to head into Palm Springs for the remainder of the day where they stumbled upon an art show (one of my dad's favorite things). Aimee & I made a few calls to reach our boys & picked them up from the casino around 1:30pm & then we drove on outta that town. We made a stop in Pasadena for a wonderful lunch/dinner at a Mexican place called Margarita Jones. YUMMY! Probably the smoothest margaritas I have ever tasted....and the Centenario Anejo tequila certainly did not hurt, either. Don't worry....I did not drink & drive! I only had a sip off Mikey's drink while my nephew discovered the glories of guacamole & proceeded to ingest an entire bowl of the green concoction all by himself. It was a magical day, indeed!

Hope you all had a happy "black Friday" as well.

Happy Shopping!