Tuesday, October 27


A wonderful light went out on Sunday morning. A cheerful little dog named Dudley who was much loved and is missed even more, left us.

He was fifteen and in bonus time, we knew. But we clung to the forlorn hope that he could rally in the face of a set of ailments so we could have him in our lives longer. As someone said, “A good dog never lives long enough.”

Dudley was found in a pouring rain sitting by a Houston road one day in 1995. A young woman stopped her car, opened her door and into her lap he hopped. She knew of a family who would give this large wet Yorkie a home, if his owners couldn’t be found. They had just lost their father suddenly and this little guy could help soothe their grief.

And he did. The two sisters of the three siblings lived in New York and brought him here where they would share him, a good plan for busy, social young women.

I ran into Dudley and Ensley, the older sister, on his first day in Manhattan as it happened. There began a friendship and a strong relationship as I became Dudley’s third mother, tasked with keeping him during the day. He soon was as happy and comfortable in my home as in theirs.

Dudley was a lover. He was a kisser. Slurp, slurp. And watch out because he could French you if you weren’t paying attention. He loved to eat! And he loved to sleep in the wine box beds I made for him, first here, and it proved so popular I made one for his home with Ensley. He would walk in and go straight to bed. I look over to it now and can’t believe I’ll never see him sleeping there again.
He was incontinent (that's a diaper in the photo) and had male pattern baldness late in life, poor guy. But he remained his silly, cheerful self to the end. He is missed terribly.

Monday, October 26


Sunday dawned gloriously sunny, the perfect raindate antidote to the wash out Saturday of the 19th Annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween dog costume contest. Only problem: it was also the day of the annual contest in Carl Schurz Park up here on the Upper East Side.

But for my friend, Lynne and her Brussels Griffon Gidget, there was no contest (so to speak.) And so to the East Village we went. Gidget in full mermaid get up and Macaroon in sombrero and taco suit. Barely into the park we were attracting many admirers with cameras. Maybe the taco would do well after all! I thought. Something none of my previous five years of competing in Carl Schurz ever did.

Entered in the 4th and last (and largest) group of competitors, Lynne and I were free to wander around the dog run to gawk at the cleverness of our fellow New Yorkers who clearly have a lot of time on their hands (and love of dressing up their dogs.) The people enjoying the outfits far more than the dogs (except the pugs.)

Macaroon caught a lot of eyes and soon there will be photos of him as a taco all over the net. People seemed impressed that I made his costume, which was Lynne’s idea. And she helped me with the basic jacket and some material to stiffen the taco shell sides, as well as some material that glistened and was perfect for the bits of onion. For green salsa, a piece of the glitzy fabric she used in Gidget’s mermaid tail. Plus another one in red. A wonderful reddish brown fabric I found would be the all important picadillo meat. A serving of guacamole from a pale green cotton and fabricated tomato bits out of red cotton cut into tiny pieces and wrapped around fiberfill. Some I adorned with pale fabric and yellow seed beads to make them more tomato-like. Very labor-intensive.

Through this process I wasn’t very sanguine. It didn’t look all that good, I thought and called Lynne to whine. She assured me that when she began making Gidget’s mermaid she felt the same way. And it had turned out so gorgeously. So I just continued. I had all the makings of the taco, including lots of tomatoes, green and red salsa, onions, dried beans, cheese shreds (yellow rick rack) and lettuce (strips of two colors of green cotton.) And I wanted the reassurance of Lynne’s advice as I glued the pieces together. But she was unavailable, so I just plunged ahead. It came out pretty well, I thought until, on my way to Lynne’s, I showed it to a neighbor. “What is it?” she said. Not encouraging. But Lynne liked it. And luckily, she had something to add: a tiny sombrero she happily lent us. That made Macaroon look like the Taco Bell Chihuahua, making me feel much more optimistic.

Our group was huge and featured so many great costumes: Hugh Hefner & a Playboy bunny on a bed! A Serta counting sheep. A Chia pet Schnauzer. Lynne and I assessed the competition: tough!

Still, our turn, we started down the “runway” to meet the judges, all women, who were pointing at the taco and laughing. Macaroon worked them good. He stopped at the first judge, stood on his hind legs and offered his total devotion as he so often does. He has the ability to make the recipients believe they are special. If you’re human, he loves you. So the judges clucked over how cute he is, asking if I made the costume.

Still, when the prizes were about to be announced, I was stunned to hear that first prize went to…The Taco!! Lynne also won! And by some remarkable coincidence we had scored the same prize: a dog bed from an East Village dog boutique. Plus we got two bottles of expensive dog shampoo!

“The shop’s on Avenue B,” said Lynne. “Let’s go get our prizes now.” So we removed the dogs’ costumes and started out of the park. No one was paying any attention to us now. We were just two women with dogs.

The dog beds we had won were lovely but huge, too big for our small dogs and miniature apartments. “Ah…” I said, “I hope I’m not being rude but because of the size of the bed, I’d really rather have one of these beautiful leashes.” No problem! And that’s how Lynne and I won some great new leashes. Now I have two and Lynne has her 49th.

I doubt we were missed in Carl Schurz although I would have enjoyed going to both events had the weather cooperated. Lynne’s convinced that Carl Schurz is fixed. Her costumes are amazing and despite multiple wins downtown, she, like me, has never won there.

Some of her fabulous costumes can be seen modeled by Gidget in INDOGNITO by Karen Ngo—Elton John, the majorette and the flamenco dancer. One of my losing efforts made it into that book, too. The Yorkie in the butterfly, sweet little Dudley. His companion, Macaroon, as the caterpillar, didn’t make the cut. And ironically, the caption for Dudley: “The caterpillar does all the work. The butterfly gets all the publicity.” ~ George Carlin. How true.

Friday, October 23


Mr. President,I am reading that your administration is working to WEAKEN the health care reform bill in Congress, by your slavish and utterly ridiculous devotion to pursuing the one vote of Olympia Snowe. Why? This senator has made it clear she-- like the rest of the GOP-- has no interest in reform and is casting her lot with the insurance cartel instead of the American people.

I hear that you are pushing two ideas, one worse than the other. The opt-out proposal is bad. But the trigger is much worse. Anyone with a brain knows that a "trigger" is meaningless. The cartel has had decades and has done nothing but prove their rapacious greed. Why should they be given another day let alone another year before they have consequences? Especially considering that any bill produced now wouldn't go into effect until 2013 anyway!!

We did not work as hard as we did to elect you and majorities in the Congress in order to see such incredible cowardice!! The public wants a STRONG PUBLIC OPTION!! We don't want bipartisanship at the expense of a good bill. WE DON'T GIVE A FLYING FLIP FOR FREAKING OLYMPIA SNOWE AND HER ONE STUPID VOTE!!!Do not do this, Mr. President. Do not think that we progressives are just a chorus of little idiots sitting here to echo anything you say. We expect more from you. And a "trigger" ain't it!!!

We wanted SINGLE PAYER and as far as we are concerned, the public option IS the compromise! You started from a weakened position. Don't compromise anymore!Why do you think we have reacted so positively to Rep. Alan Grayson?? Not that I expect you to speak like him. But we like him because for once a Democrat has a set of balls!! He's not the usual weak, wimpy nambypampies we have had to endure! That's why he's a sensation. You should pay attention to him!

When I think of the crap the GOP rammed through with fewer numbers, I could scream! Did Tom DeLay care about "bipartisanship"? NO!! They got their creepy agenda through.What is wrong with Democrats! Why are you so FREAKING WEAK?????????

I agree with Rep. Anthony Weiner (another strong Congressman you should be emulating) who said that the opt-out feature would be acceptable ONLY if it would kick in after the public option program had been up and running for a few years. That would make it hard for a state to take it away from the citizens. Otherwise, why should be the red state citizens all be punished? Also, the insurance cartel and their lobbyists and money would descend on state capitals like locusts.

I am hoping against hope that all of these leaks to the press are part of some elaborate and sophisticated chess game designed to help us get real reform and a robust public option.If I am wrong and in fact you turn out to be as pusillanimous as these leaks suggest, I will be more devastated, demoralized and depressed than I will be able to say.

Thursday, October 15

Speaking Truth to Power

I've written so many passionate emails to Washington. Many to the President. And to Senators Schumer, Gillibrand, Reid, Whyden, Franken and Baucus. Also Representatives Maloney, Pelosi, Grayson and Weiner, two of my heroes.
I should have saved them all along. They'd be a window into my mounting frustration with the process which continues unabated. This morning I fired off these two to the Senate Majority Leader and to the President:
to Senator Harry Reid:

Here's what we Americans care about: REAL health reform WITH A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION open to all Americans.
Here's what we DON'T care about: 60 votes, bipartisanship, reconciliation, Republicans and their potential filibusters.
You make a huge mistake to think that we want a bill at any price. A bad bill is worse than none.
Why in the world are you courting Olympia Snowe? She's made it plain she has no interest in what WE want: a public option. One vote?? She has power over 307 million people?? This is absurd! The GOP is there to obstruct and cowtowing to them is foolish and weak. They did more to wreck this country with fewer votes. They never operated from a position of weakness that you seem to adopt. It's so frustrating!
Why isn't there a real progressive on the panel, like Sen. Harkin??
Ask yourself: Why did Rep. Alan Grayson cause such a storm and gather so much support? It's because he has a SPINE! GUTS!!! That's what we want. Not weenies!! We worked to get you people the numbers and you turn into a bunch of weenies!!
Be bold not tepid. I heard you used to be a boxer. Why don't you act like one? You seem more like the canvas now.
Why aren't you listening to the American people? Blow this opportunity and you will lose at the polls and the country will suffer if the GOP gets back in power.

My only hope is with the House.

And to Barack Obama:

Dear Mr. President,
The Senate has 60 votes. So why is Olympia Snowe so important? She's one vote from a tiny state, for crying out loud! Did the Republicans do anything this stupid when they had fewer numbers?? This is absurd!
First mistake was compromising singlepayer and starting negotiations from a point of weakness. The public option is the line the sand. And if you don't work for a STRONG, ROBUST PUBLIC OPTION, you will have totally betrayed your base, those of us who worked so hard to get you and your Democratic colleagues into power.
And we didn't do all that for you to give the power away to freaking Olympia Snowe. Who cares about her? Who cares about how many votes it takes as long as it's a majority?
Who is giving you advice, Mr. President? I think you should be listening to two people: Wendell Potter (insurance cartel whistleblower) and Rep. Alan Grayson. We Dems responded to him because he's plain-spoken and tells the truth and because he has balls, something it seems that many Democrats sadly lack. And I'm not talking about Speaker Pelosi who has shown admirable fortitude. I'm speaking of the many weenies in the Democratic party who do resemble Neville Chamberlain. In this analogy the GOP is Hitler.
Perhaps you would do well to look at a video of you in New Jersey this summer with Gov. Corzine. THAT'S the man we elected. That's who we want to see!
Be bold! We don't want any old health reform bill. We want a GOOD health care bill.