The Pug Lady and Johnny Carson

pugsI love pugs. I do. And when I see one on the street I will always stop to pet the pug and chat with the owner, because Pug People are usually a bit crazy.

Case in point. I was at the mall yesterday with my kids: one who was spending his allowance at GameStop, the other who was spending hers at Victoria’s Secret (that’s another blog). I was just the appendage with the car keys.

We were walking through the mall when I spotted an older woman with a pug on a leash at the entrance to Macy’s. Now I’ve seen plenty of  service dogs in the mall with their trainers, and plenty of purse dogs being smuggled about, but I’ve never seen anyone get away with walking a pug in the mall!

I had to go talk to this woman (let’s call her Doris).

Doris was about 80, and the pug looked every bit as old. It was resting on its haunches while its owner chatted up another older couple.

“Excuse me. May I say hello to your pug?” I said. “I have a pug.”

Those are the four magic words: “I have a pug.” Say that to a pug owner and be prepared to be chatted up like you’ve been best friends for 20 years.

“This is Precious,” said Doris as I bent down to pet her pug (all 25 pounds of her).

As I was petting Precious I noticed something odd. She had a harness that said “Service Dog.”

I looked up at Doris and said, “She’s wearing a service dog harness,”  knowing full well what was coming next.

“Oh yes. It’s the only way I can get her into the mall,” she said with a wink. And then without missing a beat she reached into her small clutch and pulled out an old faded picture of  her siblings and their pugs, and pointed to each one, telling me their names as if they were her grandchildren.

She then carefully tucked the treasured pug picture back into her clutch and pulled out another faded photo. This one of herself and her husband dressed int heir finest at a formal dinner.

“This is my husband. He was friends with him.”  The “him” in the photo? Johnny Carson!  THE Johnny Carson having dinner with Doris and her husband. “They worked together,” she said as she slipped the photo back into her purse. And then the topic went right back to pugs.

I stood there and shared pug stories with Doris and the older couple (also pug people of course) for a few minutes more while my kids rolled their eyes with embarrassment.

We finally said our goodbyes, and as I walked off with my kids I thought to myself, who puts a service dog harness on a pug and carries around pictures of pugs and Johnny Carson in their purse? Pug People, that’s who.

The 10 Commandments of Travel

SuitcaseI have traveled quite a bit in the past few months, and every time I get on a plane I am reminded that the world of travelers needs a list of 10 commandments.

The 10 Commandments of Travel

1. Thou shalt not walk through security with a fifth of Tanquerey.

I recently flew from L.A. to Portland and had to go through a security line that was a mix of passengers leaving on domestic flights and international flights. I saw a guy walk right by the bin where you pour out the liquids and get busted for having a fifth of Tanquerey in his backpack. He said he thought the ban was on water only.

2. Thou shalt not call your spouse on a cell phone as soon as the plane hits the tarmac.

It never fails The plane touches down, everyone reaches for their phones, and one idiot calls someone and loudly announces, “We just landed.” Have you heard of text messaging? Why do we all have to hear your entire conversation with your spouse about the lack of tasty snacks on the plane? The plane will be at the gate in five minutes. Please don’t torture the rest of us while we are all trapped in the fuselage with you.

3. Thou shalt not stand in line to board the plane if your group or row number has not been called.

Hey you with the roller bag and the boarding pass that says Group 5, go sit down! The flight attendant said First Class, MVP, and Group 1. Trying to get on board before your group is called will not win you a prize, get you more peanuts, or even get you space in the overhead bin, because the gate agent is going to call you out when you get to the podium. The gate agent comes on the PA and says, “We have a gate crasher at Gate 87. Someone isn’t listening. I’m sorry sir, but you will now go to the end of the line and board last,” as she takes out a ruler and slaps the back of your hand.

4. Thou shalt not bring stinky food on the plane.

Smart travelers know to bring their own food on the plane unless they want to be stuck with a “picnic pack” for dinner. Smart travelers also realize the air in the plane is circulated around and around, and if you bring a stinky curry on the plane you aren’t the only one who has to smell it for the remainder of the flight. Sandwich good. Curry not good.

5. Thou shalt not walk through the metal detector with metal.

It’s called a metal detector for a reason! Why do you have five dollars in change in your pocket? A smart traveler will keep her eyes and ears open for people wearing belts, jingling change in their pockets, and carrying a raft of TSA infractions, and will avoid going through the same scan line.

6. Thou shalt not block the jetway with three children and a stroller.

You managed to get your kids on the plane and check the stroller at the jetway. Why must you block the jetway for everyone while you try to organize your stroller, your diaper bag and three cranky kids? The courteous thing to do is to allow everyone else to exit the plane first so you can take your time with your kids.

7. Thou shalt be prepared if you are traveling with children.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen parents get on a plane with their kids and have nothing for them to eat, and nothing for them to do. The key is distraction people. No kid wants to sit in a seat with a seatbelt on for hours on end with nothing to do. If you don’t entertain them they will entertain themselves, which usually involves flipping the tray up and down and kicking the seat in front of them.

8. Though shalt not stand sideways in the aisle.

Remember that blog I wrote a long time ago called “Crotches and Asses?” The next time you’re standing sideways in the aisle of a plane, take a look at the view you’re giving the passengers on either side of you. Yep. Everything below the belt is right at eye level with that poor sap who chose the aisle seat.

9. Thou shalt not bring reading material into the lavatory.

I was recently on a flight where a passenger picked up a book off the flight attendant’s jump seat and brought it into the lavatory. That is disturbing on two levels. First off, that book belonged to a flight attendant, and I’m sure she was really grossed out with the fact that a passenger brought it into the lavatory in the first place. And second, the flight was less than two hours. Why does anyone need to spend time in “the library” on a short flight? Do your business before you board. Note: passengers on flights coming back from Mexico are exempt from this rule.

10. Thou shalt not hog armrest real estate.

What is it with people, especially businessmen, who sit down and spread out like they’re in an easy chair in their living room. Don’t give me the flight elbow! That armrest is a mere two inches wide, and one inch of that is mine!

Common Sense

Most of the commandments are just common sense. If you’re going to fly I suggest you do the following:

  • Review the rules of your chosen airline on their website. Check to see what the cut off is for baggage check-in, fees for checked bags, and whether or not there will be food for purchase on the flight.
  • Review the TSA website, because you never know what they will ban next. Their website even has tips for how to gett hrough the line faster.
  • Review the 10 Commandments of Travel, because you never know when you might run into me on a flight!

Enjoy your trip!

Bits, Pieces and Observations (with pictures)

The Cinderella Starbucks

When I go for a long run on the waterfront I start and end at Willamette Park, and hit the Macadam Starbucks before I head home. But yesterday my running buddy Debbi and I decided to hit a different Starbucks that was on the way home. We drove to a Starbucks in Mountain Park for our after-a-brutal-run latte.

I walked in the front door and made a beeline for the goodie case, because I wanted a breakfast sandwich. I didn’t see any, so I whined to the gal behind the register, “No breakfast sandwiches?” “Nope,” she said. “We’re the Cinderella Starbucks. We have no oven.”

Oh man, no breakfast sandwiches. Okay, my second choice is always a Panino Dolce. “I’ll have the Panino, heated with two butters then.”

“Sorry,” she said. “No oven. We’re still waiting for Prince Charming to bring us an oven.”

“Butter?” I asked.

“Don’t know if we have butter either. Let me ask.”

Nope, no butter either!

“Fine. I’ll have a double tall one pump vanilla latte whole milk please.” Sigh.

The Awesome Starbucks

My son Ashton was attending a 3–week intensive film school in Seattle recently, and this was his first time ever being away from home on his own for any length of time. He went to the same Starbucks every morning to get his latte and his breakfast (a highly nutritious donut of some kind I’m sure). On one of the last days of class he walked into the Starbucks, ordered his usual, and then realized he had forgotten his wallet. To his surprise all of the baristas chipped in their own money to buy him his latte and donut. Is that cool or what?!

The Pumpkin Outfit

I had the best stylist ever on the Best Buy shoot. But even the best stylist couldn’t make me look good in this outfit. I call it the Pumpkin Outfit. It was very poofy! The belt was up around my rib cage, not around my waist.

By Friday I Was so Done

Friday was Day-6 of the Best Buy shoot. We shot in two different studios that day. The morning was shots of us on a seamless, which is this big white roll of paper:

The afternoon was spent in a studio shooting video on a green screen. This is me on lunch break:

My makeup bag for the week. Brushes, mascara, etc.

The Last Shot

I mentioned in previous blogs that photographer Andy Batt was doing some staged shots all week for his portfolio. The last staged shot we did on Friday was of the “family” wearing wrestling masks. Here we are getting ready to put each other into headlocks.

Comedy Sportz World Championships

Never heard of Comedy Sportz? Heard of the show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Comedy Sportz is a franchise of improv comedy venues around the globe. The Comedy Sportz World Championships were held in Portland this week, and I got to see some of the competition. I also got to see a lot of friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Funniest moments:

* Manchester doing regional American accents

* Portland doing regional British accents

* The Randy Newman game that Provo played

The lobby of the Gerding Theater:

Portland Vs. Chicago. Andrew Berkowitz (Portland) and Rance Risutto (ex Portland, now Chicago) face off as captains.

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