Bye Bye CBC

It may not surprise you that at one time I had a bit of an eBay problem. Well, “problem” is a strong word. Then again, maybe not. I decided to buy a few vintage Basset Hound collectibles.

Lotta CrapTurns out eBay has all kinds of Cheap Basset Crap, I mean Cherished Basset Collectibles. There are planters, cookie jars, banks, bottles, just about anything you can imagine. And a few you probably can’t.

Hot Dog DogsThese are hot dog plates. The mustard and relish go in the ears. How have you lived without these?

Hungover HoundFor some reason, booze and Bassets seem to go together. Since all my dogs are named after liquor, I can relate. This is a bottle (the glove on top is the cork) and it’s titled “How Dry I Am.” Not too sure what that has to do with a losing fighter. Don’t drink and punch?

All in OneThis is a bottle and cups, and the tail makes a carrying handle. Just what you need for a portable party with five close friends.

Who gave him a gun???Because you want to keep your cookies in a jar shaped like a gun-totin’ hound, don’t you? I especially enjoy the rugged hunting outfit.

I hate housework, tooIt says “I Hate Housework.” You hang it on the wall. No, I don’t know why.

Bubble Bath BassetYou could customize this one. I got “H” for my Basset at the time, Hennessy.

Bank on this BassetI’m guessing this was a hospital gift-shop item. It’s a planter.

Why Wyoming?Another bottle. And Wyoming wasn’t the only state that had these.

Basset BeretBassets are originally from France. Hence the beret on the cookie jar.

Flask to the RescueI guess if you couldn’t find a Saint Bernard…but what about the deep snow? Bassets are vertically challenged (or as we owners prefer to put it, extremely grounded). Another bottle (the nose is the cork).

Drink meUm, I don’t know exactly how you’d drink out of this. From the forehead?

Too TragicThe breed is known to be somewhat dramatic. This is a bank.

Planter plusAnother planter. But what is that compartment in the front for? Cigarettes? Candy? Your choice.

Basset HuddleThe top three Bassets are the top of this box. You’ve seen the video of the Bassets coming out of the doghouse, haven’t you?

But how did he get in...?But how did the dog get in the…oh, never mind.

You get the idea. Now the whole CBC collection is getting boxed up and going to Daphneyland, the Basset Ranch up north of Los Angeles, Dawn Smith has 60+ rescued Bassets looking for homes. I’m getting one this weekend. And leaving my CBC days behind. Dawn will sell the crap, I mean collectibles, to benefit the homeless hounds. I’m done with buying Basset stuff on eBay.

Because I’m much too busy buying fabric.



My Dinner at the Beach with John

Seasons 52

    OK, I admit I stole the pen from the restaurant. I think they’re meant to be given away as advertising. Plus, either way, I earned it.

It was my friend Tom’s birthday. We decided to go to Seasons 52 for dinner. This location used to be a pretty good Italian restaurant across from Santa Monica Pier. Great location, especially if you want to valet park your car for an evening event at the Pier. I made my reservation on Open Table with a note “It’s Tom’s birthday! No singing please!” We arrived at the restaurant in the Santa Monica summer fog, and were promptly seated. The hostess assured us there would be no singing. Dessert would be free. There was a birthday card for Tom from the restaurant. Very nice touch. Continue reading

Way Back in the Closet

Sandy asked me how I organize my closet. I can’t take all the credit. First I had the amazing Maxine Ordesky, of Organized Designs in Beverly Hills, design my closet. Maxine has years of experience and an extraordinary eye for detail. Her first two questions when designing a closet are, “How tall are you?” and “Are you left- or right-handed?”

Maxine divided the closet into two sections, casual and fancier. I can stand in the middle of either section and reach everything I need to put together an outfit. Here’s where my additional help comes in: the fabulous Tom Nevermann, the Moving Doctor.  Tom and his team organized the closet when I moved in, and everything is in the perfect place.

In each section, clothes are grouped by type and color. All items face the same direction (in my case left, because I’m right handed) , and all hangers the same direction (away from you, so you can easily pull them out).

Sorted by ColorNotice how thin the hangers are, maximizing the closet space. These are Joy Mangano’s original Huggable Hangers, though there are similar products available. They’re waterproof for hanging wet clothes. They’re textured so clothes don’t slip off. The ends are gently rounded, so they don’t make bumps in sleeves. They do not swivel, which means they don’t get tangled with each other. I won’t use any other kind of hanger. Continue reading

Why I Love Technology

So far the thieves have ordered on my American Express card:
Mac computer(s)
Car stereo
Night vision goggles
Home stereo
Custom engraving (don’t know on what)
Auto anti-burglary service (don’t know what that even means)
Random electronics

By the time we shut it down this morning, the total was about $20,000. I’ll have a new card tomorrow.

It was the home stereo guys who thought it was odd that someone in Ohio would buy stuff and send it to LA, and they called me. Go, Woofers Etc! American Express explained that the thieves wait till UPS has the package, then call UPS and change the destination.

Too bad. I would actually like some night vision goggles. Probably not $2000 worth, though. Continue reading

An Inspirational Rescue

Julie Klam asked me for a rescue story for her blog. This story originally appeared there.

It was August 25, 2001. I was hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains with my Basset, Hennessy, and my Golden, Bailey. At the top of the hill, at Inspiration Point, a huge Chow mix without a collar approached me. I was a little nervous, but he politely accepted some water and let me put a leash on him. Back at the ranger station was a note that some hikers had seen the dog put out of a car in the parking lot the night before. The rangers were busy, so I volunteered to take him down to the shelter. Halfway down the hill, he put his elbow on my shoulder, and I headed to the pet store to buy him a collar. Surely one of my friends would take him. He’s a redhead and I met him hiking, so I called him Johnnie Walker Red (yes, there’s a theme to my dogs’ names. The first two were Moet and Chandon). Continue reading

It’s January 2011

Happy New Year, all!

I hope you’re happy and healthy and full of energy to enter the new year. So let’s take a moment to stop and reflect on where we are before we blast off into the future.

Happy New Year to you and yours! I have a friend who just came back from Austin. She ate very well. Clearly I need to do the “Visit You and BBQ” tour at some point!

Here are some recent faves.

TV: Yeah, I like Burn Notice, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, In Treatment, Treme, Bad Breaking, Louie, Rescue Me, Mad Men. All fine shows. But I ADORE Sons of Anarchy. This is Hamlet on an motorcycle. Everything works, acting, directing, writing—it’s amazing. And then there’s Pit Bulls and Parolees. Friend of my friend the Basset rescuer, if there’s not a dog crisis, there’s a legal one. Love it.

Movies: I don’t go anymore. That’s what Netflix is for. But I did go see The Fighter. A little scary, it takes place in Lowell, Mass, which is two towns over from where all my Irish alcoholic relatives live in Stoughton. At least Mark Wahlberg (he’s from the area) gets the accents right. I could never watch  The Perfect Storm because of the bad Massachusetts accents. If you can rent or buy it, Jekyll (BBC 2007). Amazing, wonderful, can’t rave enough about it.

Book: Room by Emma Donoghue. Unbelievable. She really nailed this one. And if you missed it, In This Way I was Saved by Brian DeLeeuw. Brilliant.

Music. I wouldn’t presume. But in case you missed them (skipping the obvious, I hope) : Caitlin Cary, Bill Morrissey, Dave Alvin (my favorite musician ever), Patty Larkin, Guy Clark, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bill  Morrissey, David Wilcox Jamey Johnson, Anne Hills, Dylan, Billy Joel, Chris Rea, John Gorka, Rosanne Cash, Leonard Cohen, Lucinda Williams, Maura O’Connell, Rodney Crowell, Rufus Wainwright.

And you?


P.S. If weren’t trying to be obvious, I’d include Lyle Lovett, Bruce, Willie, Garth, Hiatt, Paul Simon, Steve Earle, Eagles, Elton, Fleetwood, Sinatra, Gram Parsons, Grateful Dead, James Taylor, John Fogerty, John Mellancamp, Joni Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Paul Brady, Paul Simon, Steve Wariner, Tom Petty, Tom Waits.

All worth a listen.

2011 blows into LA

It’s snowing in Southern California! Not at my house, where we’ve had heavy rain all winter. We need the water, but could do without the mudslides and fallen trees.

The big dog and I spent a week in Santa Barbara before Christmas. It rained every day, so he never got to go to the beach. However, he found a coonskin cap in Fess Parker’s hotel gift shop. (Fake) dead animals for sale in a hotel!

New Year’s Eve I went up to Malibu and took a little hike in Solstice Canyon. Gorgeous sunny day. The porpoises were leaping in the Pacific off the beach at Topanga. That’s how I like my winters, hiking at the beach with the snow-capped mountains far off in the distance. Continue reading

Shopping Cart Christmas Tree

Just what it sounds like. Anthony Schmitt has been creating holiday trees for 14 years at the Edgemar Complex on Main Street in Santa Monica. This year he used 86 carts, it’s 33 feet tall. Probably a comment on holiday consumerism, or perhaps the area’s homeless population. Either way, it’s pretty darn festive.

Kindred Photography Souls

What I learned from guest blogging for Scott Kelby yesterday: there are a lot of people out there who love photography and need to make it a part of their lives. I heard from young and old, employed or not, beginners or longtime hobbyists. Some stories were sad, some inspirational, some both. Some hesitated to call themselves photographers. I love Paul Simon’s quote: “If you make music, you’re a musician.” Same for writers, artists, photographers. It’s not about whether you get paid, it’s about what you create.

One woman summed it up when she explained she felt guilty spending money on her “hobby” but photography feeds her soul. Exactly. Don’t we all need to weed out the things that drain us in life, and make more time for the things that feed us? Continue reading

My Photo Project’s Finally Done!

I’ve been working on it all year, and it’s finally done. I created a visual diary of the year 2010 by taking photos of all the places and things around me every day. I especially included things that are likely to look very different in a few years. They’re all in a book that I can flip through any time I want to remember what 2010 looked like for me. It’s great fun, I’ll be doing it again in five years. I wish I had this project from five years ago, and ten, and….

(Left, My Publisher; top right, Mpix, bottom right, Adorama)

You can see much more about the project here, including my comparison of three different photo book companies. Why not do your own, or one for someone you love? Continue reading