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Open Letter to Otis

Dearest Darling Dog,

I realize it’s raining. The grass is wet. You are a fragile house dog who doesn’t like getting his delicate paws wet.  *snorts*

You seem to think the rain somehow gives you a pass to POOP ON THE DECK!!!

What the hell??!?!!!

You’re 105 lbs of hulking dog! You are a LABRADOR RETRIEVER!! ! A WATER DOG. Your ancestors worked alongside fisherman in the freezing waters off of Newfoundland!! You can’t get your paws wet??

“But MOM! The grass and water squish in between my paw pads and it squicks me out!

Do NOT poop on the deck. That is an order.

That is all.



Otis the Snow Dog

Grumble.  Worst part (of many) of having a ‘real dog’ is the WALKING. Little ones don’t care about long walks. Big ones, like my Black Beast, require them. No matter what the weather is. Rain, snow, gloom of night. You get the picture.

Me, I like the walks on the 75 degree sunny days. Not too hot, not cold. ZERO precip.

Otis?  He likey the COLD!  He saw the snowflakes this afternoon and was looking forward to the Big Walk!  I put on 3 layers of clothing, snow boots, hat, gloves…saddled my horsey and out we went.

J-O-Y!  He literally galloped down the street!  He looked like a 105 lb. black rein-dog.  Paused every 10 feet or so to turn around and GRIN his Lab grin at me!  His thought bubble said “I f*cking LOVE the snow!”  Made me envision his ancestors who would jump into the cold Labrador waters and help their Masters with the fishing nets. Otis would have stolen some of the catch for himself though 😉

I think Otis needs to live in a Lab Commune:

You wanna live with over 20 other dogs? On acres of land? No sidewalks, no leashes in sight? You want to chase rabbits and squirrels and CATS?  Cool, ’cause we’ve got ’em.  We’re Labs so it’s strictly No Kill, just capture ’em with our soft Labbie mouths.  You wanna eat whatever you want, whenever you want?  No silly 2 cup limits.  We’re LABS!  We’re STARVING all the time!  You wanna chew stuff? You can!  We all do! We’re LABS!  Shoes, toys, dining room chairs?  Have at it!  We’ll help! Wanna wrestle?  YES!  Wanna run FAST, no leash?  Dude, this is the place for you!  At night, it’s real queen sized beds! No one says DOWN or OFF to us here!

Heaven, Otis style.

Looking for a sign

I’ve been obsessing over this for a while. Yes, I know I tend to obsess over superficial crap but this is a serious one. Why can’t we know, or realize, when “this is it“…the last time for something or the last time you’ll ever see someone… so you’d take a moment to make that moment special or something. So you don’t spend your life wondering why didn’t I stop to appreciate that??

Like, when my mom was near the end with cancer and I left her house, we said good bye, I thought “maybe this is it?” but my mind wouldn’t really accept that . And you can’t really say to a dying person, “Well, I’ll probably never see you alive again, so bye“…kwim?  And yes, that was it. I never saw her alive again.

We just had the most amazing vacation. A bucket list one, for sure. Paris, Paros (Greek island), Athens…2 weeks. Before we left, I had a huge list of last minute Things To Do. Very important things, of course. Mani/pedi, waxing, all the important grooming.  One major item was to take Otis to boarding. It was pretty much the last thing to be crossed off the list before we jetted off.

Drove 40 minutes to the boarding place. Yes, had to take him to a special place because he’d been thrown out of all the good local ones. lol sigh. Got him out of the car, walked in, and the handler said “I’ll just take him back while you do the paperwork.” And then he was gone. Just walked away, black tail wagging happily. No good bye petting or anything. Standard drop-off. I had that niggling feeling in the back of my head about it though.

And yes, that was the last time I ever saw him. My sweet baby Otis died while we were in Paris.

Naturally, there’s a long story to go along with this. The hard lumpy tumors on his skin that were cancerous but slow moving so “let’s deal with that when you get back from vacation.” The 2 tumors that turned into 5 then 7 then 14 in the space of 2 weeks. The tiny one under his tail that he licked at til it bled. And kept bleeding. And wouldn’t stop bleeding. The veterinary ER hospital. Calls back and forth from VA to Iceland. VA to Paris. Getting updates that were hopeful and the ones that weren’t.

RIP my black furry baby. I will miss you forever.


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The Quest for Luminosity

Luminosity? Luminousness? What’s the word?  Whatever it is, I am not. I wonder if it’s even possible for a women of a certain age to have luminous skin?? Can one be luminous with wrinkles, freckles, age spots, jowls, etc.? I think not.

Regardless, it’s fall and it’s time to TRY. ‘Tis better to try and fail than just give up, right?? So, I’m attempting an actual “Skincare Routine.”  Blah. Even saying it makes me itchy. I despise routines. I feel suffocated even using the word. Routine. Ugh.

Am using the 4 piece Boot No 7 Lift & Luminate kit from Target. It’s a day serum, day cream (with SPF 15), night serum, night cream, and then I bought an additional eye cream. Easy peasy to use and I had a coupon. #frugal I’ve been semi-diligent about using it day and night. This is definitely a step up from my fall-into-bed-with-makeup-on-and-wakeup-and-not-wash-face routine.

I decided against posting “before and after” pix. Honestly, can anyone ever really see the difference in some of the before/after shots?? I’ve decided to just go with how I feel about it. 2 weeks in?  Not fecking luminous at all. lol The stuff goes on easily, makes my skin feel soft, and smells nice so it’s not a complete waste.

And, since I was already buying snake oil, I bought an Illumask anti-aging device. #shame It’s a light therapy mask which is supposed to increase collagen, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, firm skin…a miracle in a mask for only $30. #frugal

It’s meant to be used daily for 15 minutes at a time for 30 days. There is a countdown timer on it so you know how many uses you have left. (and our friends at youtube have hacks that show you how to get more than 30 uses out of it #frugal) The huge issue I have is…15 minutes is a loooooong time. You can’t see out of the mask so there’s no walking around, no reading, no Facebook. Crime against humanity basically.

Here are my thoughts while using it:

Okay, this is nice and relaxing.

It’s warming up…reminds me of my tanning salon days (le sigh)

Do I have to pee? Dammit.

No, I am not going to pee. I can wait 15 minutes.

Okay, what can I think about now?

What if there’s a robber/rapist just stalking me now while I’m lying here blind?

Nah, Otis would be barking.

Unless he’s dead.

Shit, is any oxygen getting thru the mask?

What if I’m slowly asphyxiating myself? This would be a truly vapid way to go. #shame

Okay, maybe I’ll do some butt clenches.


How many minutes have gone by? Eleventy four?

Is that the sound of my heart beating?

Should it be so loud? 

Maybe it’s a sign of high blood pressure? Or impending death.

I do have to pee.


Where is the cat? She should be snuggling me now.

15 minutes is an eternity.

Oh, there’s Fiona.

And then the mask goes off.

Such a cat move to wait 14.5 minutes to snuggle. CATS!! Aloof jerks! *shakes fist*


Again, before/after results? Nope. Do I look better? No. Feel better? Nope.




Well, I Guess Summer is Over?

Shit. How did that happen?

Kids are both back to school. The Frug is frugging busily downstairs. And me? What am I doing? I’m sitting here at my desk, listening to the soothing sounds of Otis licking his empty ballsack, and dicking around on the interwebs. Time for me to do my traditional post-summer Kelly overhaul.

The summer damage is truly exponential. The revenge of summers past, if you will. It seems that no matter how many peels I do, serums I try, creams I buy and forget to use, the sun damage is there. SPF 70, no pool or beach during peak hours, sitting under an umbrella, etc. Pfft. No matter. Freckles, age spots, melasma. And the sagging. That’s a new one. Really enjoying the sagging. Jowls and neck are so pretty, flapping in the wind. I have 3480 browser tabs on “how to firm sagging skin without surgery.” *snorts*  

Another thing I’m digging is “eyelid hooding.”  Lots of people have undereye bags and dark circles. My thing is upper eyelid sag. It’s gorgeous!! Makes already porcine eyes look even more sinister! And old!  Let’s not forget OLD. Who has good product reccs for THAT? Come at me!


Happy Fall to All. Blah.


While the Cat’s Away…

The Frug is away. He’s been away for over a week. The house? Don’t ask, don’t tell. My grooming? Well, my plan was to be Full Yeti for the time he was gone but then we’ve had some 60 degree days so I had to rethink that. And, sadly, I have showered. lol Been doing a workout routine that includes sauna time and that, my friends, requires a shower afterward.

What am I doing with all the free time? (“Free Time” that used to be taken up with mundane things like “making dinner” and “straightening up” and answering all sorts of questions from the Frug — “COW! Where’s the ___?“)

Let’s see…

Plundering the depths of Buzzfeed! I know whic Zoolander character I should be — HANSEL! (OMG ZOOLANDER 2 is coming!) Which Lost guy is your soulmate? BOONE! (WRONG! It’s Sawyer! Duh)  Marcia or Jan? MARCIA!

All the cute animal videos. All. Of. Them.

Pinterest. Dear God, Pinterest. I have boards filled with all kinds of vapid stuff. But, I’ve also found great new recipes! Coconut Chia Seed Pudding anyone? Anyone?

I’ve used makeup samples that were long buried. And last night’s “contouring” experiment was um…

I’ve done so many facial treatments. I’ve got such a youthful glow now. *snorts*

Napping? Oh yes. Fiona and I are becoming one, all nestled in the covers.

Oh, I read about a new product that has me fearscinated. It’s called Baby Foot. It’s a peel for your FEET and it’s supposed to be AMAZING. So, if you’re not faint of heart, click here for some delightful google image results for this peel. *cackles* Go on, click. You know you want to.

So yeah, I’ve been busy.

Not everyone has been enjoying this time. Otis is a black of heap of depression. He misses his daddy. Poor Pedro has had to ask, more than once, “Um, Mom? Are we ever having dinner?” Oops, sorry kid.

We had a couple of snow days last week too. People have asked how I was holding up…and honestly, when the kids are teenagers, snow days ROCK. Everyone sleeps in. There’s no “playing outside” aka cramming little bodies into snow gear (why won’t little fingers go smoothly into gloves and mitten??”…we all read, play video games, stare at our phones til our eyes bleed. Good clean American fun.

He’ll be back on Sat. I have a few days left to erase all signs of sloth. It may take just that long…

Wish me luck!





And It’s DONE

Dear God. Spent the last few days re-doing Master Pedro’s room. Nothing fancy, just moved a larger bed into his room, rearranged the furniture, got some new “teen” bedding, etc.


We took a queen bed we had in the guest room (frugal) and moved Pedro’s old twin bed in there. You should have seen the misc. stuff we found under the old beds. For example, an old National Enquirer’s “Worst Beach Bodies” magazine from 2009. All kinds of old dog bones. *shudders*  One shoe that’s been missing for years. In Pedro’s room? An Easter basket, with some candy and empty wrappers. Please note we haven’t been home for Easter in probably 6 years. *shudders*

Now, the 5’7″ inch teen can spread out while he sleeps. The 105 lb dog? Not so much. He is currently in full-on pout over it. He is lying beside it with the saddest puppy dog eyes…  I am a crazy animal person so I am rather worried about the poor dog being traumatized over the reduced bed size. lol

Just look at him! Poor angel.  (ignore all the random crap on the floor — the guest room is in transition. Ahem)


A Tail of Woe

(aka Easter Incentive Trip Part Deux)

Otis. A true retriever. Born to swim. He never gets to, though. The water in the streams by our house cause nearly instant diarrhea and vomiting. It’s actually fascinating in a repulsive way.

So, as I said in the last post, young Otis got to go away for the weekend with us. Sweet pup was so excited. Bounced around the rental…I kept eyeing the lovely new hardwood floors and sighing. Eep. Saturday afternoon, the Frug and Sarcasmo took him into the river to swim. If this sounds like it was a production, it was. Otis is a runner so they had to block his ability to escape. Turns out, he wasn’t going anywhere but BACK IN THE WATER. Fetching aaaallll the sticks. Prancing on the river’s edge, waiting for the next stick to be thrown. So cute. He raced on the dock and dove into the water to get sticks. Over and over. 12 and I cheered and took pix. It was a golden time for the Frugalficial family. *cue foreboding music*’

When it was over (much too soon as far as Otis was concerned), we hosed him off and went to the deck to go back inside. Huh, what was that stuff dripping onto the wood? Oh yes. Blood. Blood from the 4 inch gash on his hind leg. Oh, and from one of his toenails too. Fantastic.

After an initial burst of angerdisgustdismay from the family, we cooly assessed the injury. Sarcasmo, bearer of a Boy Scout First Aid badge, took charge and cleaned the gaping GAPING wound. We dug around the house for a first aid kit and found some gauze and tape to keep it clean and covered.

Any local vets? Nope. Well, yes but CLOSED for the holiday weekend. Great. As the blood seeps thru the gauze. The only gauze we had. Ended up finding a Carefree pantyliner and some duct tape and, believe it or not, that worked well. Other than the “what’s a panty liner?” question. *shudders* McGyver would be proud.

So, he’s chilling out and we went to dinner. Came back to see that the wound was still bleeding but much less. And then we noticed allllll the drops of blood aaalllll ooooovvvvvveeeeerrrr the house. Hardwood floors. Tile bathrooms. Oh, and somehow he managed to jump on the bed the Frug and I were using and bled on the (new) sheets all the way to the (new) mattress pad. It was a freaking crime scene.

He didn’t sleep that night. Stayed in the room with us and sighed and moaned and licked himself crazy. Between his noise and the Frug’s snoring, I was ready to off myself.

The next morning, I got to wash sheets and blankets and the mattress pad. And go over each room that had been bloodied with a wet towel to get up the blood spots we had missed the day before. Yahoo!  Happy @)(&$ Easter!! 12 dutifully vacuumed up all the the hair the beast had shed in his “holy f*ck, I’m bleeding!!!” race thru the house.

Finally got to the vet today. Since the wound was so big and deep, he needed stitches (internal and external.) Needed to be sedated…dammit, Otis, just lie there and be still while they stitch your leg up! Oh, forgot to mention that he ended up with “Swimmers Tail”…a fun condition common to Labs and Goldens. A limp/dead tail from “overuse“…b/c they use their tails as rudders whilst swimming. So, he needed steroids and pain meds for that. And antibiotics for the wound.

Total?? A cool $475.

We “saved” $150 on boarding by bringing him with us. A $225 loss. #notfrugalatall. That sound you hear is the Frug crying a river of tears.

Let’s look at his happy face again…to ease the pain of the financial failure…priceless, right?



Easter Incentive Trip

The Frug, bless his heart, wanted to “reward the family” for our efforts in frugality this quarter. Yes, the family is run much like a corporation/dictatorship. He planned a little weekend getaway for us to the Northern Neck area of VA. (please pronounce “Northern Neck” like Kevin Spacey on House of Cards, please. A little Southern drawl. Nah-thun Nack.) It’s about 120 miles from our house and doesn’t involve crossing the Bridge of Death to get there. #winning

He found a cute place right on a creek (pronounced “crick” please)…complete with dock and boat. Used airbnb which is frugalicious! And, big bonus, they allowed pets so Otis got to come!  *cue ominous music*  This meant the we saved $150 on boarding. #FRUGAL!

Rented from a retired Army officer and his wife.  The place was just completely renovated (gorgeous new hardwood floors) and we were their first rental. *ominous music continues*  They greeted us on arrival and gave us the tour. The poor woman’s eyes bugged out of her head when Otiszilla bounded out of the car. I think perhaps the Frug neglected to tell them that our “dog” was more of a horse than a dog. I assured them (read: lied to them) that Otis was a very calm house dog. *looks for even more ominous music* 

Not too much to do there, very quiet and peaceful. I kept thinking it would be a nice haven for writers.  Rural. One of those weird places where you see beautiful homes on the waterfront right next to trailers. And not nice trailers either, kwim?  So, we let Sarcasmo drive *shudders* and toured the area. Ate some fantastic seafood and, on Easter Sunday, ate some true southern BBQ.  Mmm Mmmm Mmmmmmm. Hush puppies too. *drools*

Sounds nice, right?

Well, things went to shit late Saturday afternoon…Otis “Super Retriever” Frugalficial got to go swimming. The beast was full of joy. Truly. The smile on his face?? Priceless. I mean, LOOK AT HIM:otisswim otishappy

Actually, there ended up being a price but we’ll get to that in my next post…tentatively calling it “Tail of Woe“…and no, that isn’t a typo.

To be continued…


Heard at My House…

The Frug has been away this week and the natives are positively feral at this point.  Even cheerful 12 is quiet. Oh how I wish his surly brother would be as silent.

This morning I woke up a bit early. I know, me wake up early? When the Frug is gone, I have a hard time sleeping b/c I’m worried I’ll sleep through the alarm and eff up the morning routine. ANYWAY, since I had some time, I decided to make scrambled eggs and toast for my darling angels. Breakfast on school mornings is usually a quick affair since we have to be out the door at 7:10am. So, I thought I’d give them a nice breakfast today instead.

Sarcasmo comes down the stairs and sees what I’m doing…

Sarcasmo:  OMG, that better not be for me!


Sarcasmo: I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THIS BULLSHIT.stomps back up the stairs*


Otis: *drools* More for me!

How is this bullshit in any way, shape, or form??? Someone cooks you breakfast, you eat it, right???

I should know better. Really, I should. There have been morning where he stomps down the stairs and stomps right back up saying he is running late so he can’t eat. So, I will make him a bagel that he can eat in the car. His response to that is generally one of two things:




Stubborn boy will go hungry just to “prove a point“…what point that is, I do not know.