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You can't always get what you want...

It's 11pm. For the last 5+ hours, it's been all about Ella. Ella gets fed, Ella gets her outdoor potty break, Ella goes back inside for an hour of rough-housing and ball chasing, Ella goes back outside for a 2-hour walk in the park where she gets to roll around in the grass and play tug of war with a stick with a black lab named Uzo...and sniff all the recyclables out on the sidewalks en route to and from the park...and get petted by my neighbors who always stand out front by the stoop. Wow, what a good night for Ella.

You'd think after all that, Ella might look something like this....





Well, as the saying goes, you can't always get what you want folks. Sleep might be the normal response after all of the above activity...but Ella is still so wound up that she burst into the puppy zoomies. I managed to catch her on the tail end of it...my camera never saw it coming...







At least cleaning is fun for Ella

It is near impossible to get any cleaning done with Ella around. And since she's never not around, you can guess how much of a mess my apartment is always in. Well, trying to take advantage of the long weekend to tidy up, I busted out the cleaning supplies to try to scrub this place clean.

I don't know why i thought today would be any different. As you can see, in addition to taking out all of her toys (and my shoes!) and leaving them covering every square inch of this floor, she takes over the bowl I had planned to use for mopping.

If I'm lucky, maybe she'll let me use it when she's done.

But only if I'm quick about it.

And only if she gets to tear up cardboard or unravel a roll of toilet paper while I use the bowl.

You see my dilemma.








It's Memorial Day Weekend - time to hit The Pool!

My favorite occasions to be in the city are on long holiday weekends and weekends during the summer. Why? Because everyone else leaves! And NYC operating with half its usual population is without a doubt THE BEST place on earth...

As a special bonus, the weather this weekend has been awesome, so in the spirit of Memorial Day weekend, Ella and I decided to hit The Pool! No, no...not a traditional pool (though Ella would undoubtedly love a swim), but rather the beautiful and serene refuge on the northwest side of Central Park called "The Pool".

Here are some highlights...

The water looks almost tropical, doesn't it? I can assure you, however, that we are NOT in the Caribbean and that water is NOT the kind you'd want to take a dip in...


Lush green grass to roll around in and more sticks than you could, well, shake a stick at...any lil pup's dream come true...


Here's Ella posing pretty in front of Glen Span Arch...


Ella in the grass, just before she proceeded to eat and/or dig up most of it...




Ella, basking in the sunshine...


Ella, fortunately distracted by something in the distance....otherwise the frame after this one would be of her in the water swimming after those ducks...


Ella asked for me to take her from this angle. She's experimenting with various modely poses. Diva.


"Whatchu talkin 'bout momma? Oh no we are NOT leaving...I haven't even chased any squirrels up a tree yet!"


And here's Ella, trying to make a run for freedom. She made it 5.5 feet just before the leash pulled her taught. She always forgets about that damned leash. And I have the arm muscles and nylon burn/scratch marks on my wrists and hands to prove it!




What a bull it must have been...

One of Ella's favorite treats are Bully Sticks. For those of you who are unfamiliar, you may school yourselves here...but please note the most important bit of information, that being the revelation a bully stick is, in fact, a bull's penis.

Well let me tell you, there has been a mad run on bull penis here in NYC and you can't find these things anywhere. As a last desperate attempt (running out of something for Ella to chew on would be a COMPLETE disaster...), we ran up to the Petco yesterday evening and I was certain we'd find a suitable bone for Ella there. Alas, the only Bully Sticks they had left were THE LARGEST "THINGS" I HAVE EVER SEEN.

I debated, but given the choice between no chew bone or one that may be a bit oversized for my lil pup, I chose the latter. Needless to say, it didn't fit in my purse. And Ella was jumping about like a mad dog trying to get it all the way home.

OK well I'm too embarrassed to discuss this any further, so I'll let the images speak for themselves...

Images are true to size.


"Look ma. No hands!"



Playing it like a flute...


Needing an extra foot to keep it stabilized...


Trying a new position...
And, some bonus bully footage...





Throw in the dark

Ella's attention span isn't the greatest when it comes to games of fetch. She'll chase after the ball a few times but generally loses interest pretty quickly. In all fairness, it's hard for the ball to compete with the squirrels, pigeons, and mud puddles throughout the park. Poor ball. It even squeaks...and it still can't win Ella's undying attention. And all those other distractions mean plenty of opportunity for Ella to escape to...well, let's face it, she doesn't know where she wants to escape to exactly...she just wants to be free and figure all the details out later.

Anyway, here's a clip of Ella and I playing fetch at night in the park. A few things to note:

1) I've always told people not to be fooled by Ella's cuteness - that she is really a little devil in disguise. I hate to be smug but I do believe that her glowing eyes in this clip provide irrefutable evidence that she is in actuality an American-English-Devil Golden Retriever...

2) Apparently, "devil mixes" are inclined not to listen. As you'll see, Ella obliges me once and actually sits on cue, but the remainder of our session, she pretty much does what she wants. This is why we only play fetch at night - a) so she doesn't see all the other things that would ordinarily make her run off, and b) so that momma doesn't feel ashamed of being such an unassertive pack leader.

3) Momma can't toss a ball suitable for catching to save her life. You'll remember that I have previously talked about my bad aim. I don't know what happened...I used to be such a good athlete...Ella deserves a momma who doesn't throw like a girl.





Eye-catching Ella...

I have always preferred to fly under the radar. Before I had Ella, you would generally see me walking around the city with earphones in, sunglasses on…read: I’m not interested in communicating with strangers so, politely, please leave me alone, thank you very much.

Fast forward to roughly late March ’08 when one such complete stranger stopped me on 79th and Park and said, “Oh my God I’ve heard about you!” I looked around, puzzled, sure she just forgot to take her meds that morning (something about these Upper Eastside women…so rich, so often drugged to dull the pain of being so rich). Anyway, she quickly clarified by saying, “I heard there was a new golden retriever puppy in the neighborhood!!” Whoa, seriously? Not a day later, a woman stopped me in the park and asked if I felt like a celebrity as often as I was being stopped while out and about. I promise you, if Ella knew how to write, she’d surely be signing autographs. Already, several people have stopped us to have their picture taken with her…

Anyway, here’s a perfect example of what others see when I’m out walking Ella, and why we never make it very far without people cooing and stopping us and telling me how beautiful and sweet she is. Of course it’s all very nice and I appreciate the complements. But in an answer to the woman’s question about whether I feel like a celebrity? No, I don’t feel like a celebrity…I feel like a celebrity’s handler! (Shouldn’t I get paid for this? Don't most celeb assistants at least get some nice hand-me-down clothes/handbags or the stuff in the gift bags left over from industry events? I mean, throw a furmomma a bone!)

Now, go ahead…coo away…






It looks like a duck and sounds like a duck...but something's clearly off here

As Ella gets older, she is increasingly intrigued by the ducks we see in Central Park. It's all I can do sometimes to keep her from jumping in the Conservatory Water to chase after them. So I figured she'd love to have her very own quacking stuffed toy duck to chase around the apartment.

Well, as this clip shows, not all ducks are created equal, and apparently synthetic fur and a fake honker are no substitute for real feathers and a good ol' genuine quack! She spends the first several minutes backing away in fear from this stuffed monstrosity, and the last couple of minutes trying to make the best of it but ultimately being bored.

I would bring home the real deal from the park for Ella to play with, but between the duck and Ella, I don't think i could handle cleaning up all those messes...







The All-American pup

By pedigree, Ella is technically half English and half American, but there's no question that she's adopted a full-blooded American way of life as evidenced by her love of hamburgers and hotdogs.

The only way Ella could be more American is if I threw a baseball cap on her and got her a red, white, and blue collar and leash set (not happening, by the way).

Her taste (so to speak) for American cuisine started at an early age. For those who don't remember, here's how it all started...





And here we are today...and in true American style, that hotdog is CLEARLY bigger than one serving...












Rain, rain go away...

Ella and I hate the rain. Well, ok, truthfully Ella is barely even aware that it's raining she's just so happy to be outside...I'm the one who hates it because I know that even a little bit of rain means a whole lot of muddy dog by the time we're through. So it's straight to the bathtub for Ella once we get back (this is where she starts to hate it)...

Anyway, when all is said and done, we're both in a bad mood - me because i have to clean up a muddy dog and an even wet and muddier apartment (there are no mud rooms, surprisingly, in Manhattan studios), and Ella because she's now soggy from the rain and her bath.

After Friday morning's downpour, Ella modified the routine a little bit and decided that the best way to break the cycle and improve her mood would be to jump straight into my bed. Funny though...this strategy didn't improve momma's mood one bit...and as you'll see, it didn't fix Ella's bad hair day...

"Would you believe I just forgot I'm not supposed to be up here?"



"I don't know where that wet spot came from...maybe you wet the bed?"




"Yes I am AWARE that it is no longer the 80's and this crimped look is no longer in".




"Well don't just stand there laughing - go get the straightening iron!"



"Fine. No straightening iron, you don't get your bed back. Hmpph."





Puppy Flower!

Ahh, springtime. The scratchy eyes, sneezing, itchy nose, sinus headaches...the annoyance of having to show my ID every time I pick up more Claritin-D from Duane Reade (darn methamphetamine users ruin it for everyone). The only consolation is, well, the absolute beauty of all that stuff in bloom, and frankly it makes me feel badly for even complaining about the pollen embedded in my contact lenses.

Central Park in springtime is as beautiful as you can imagine. There is such a variety of plants and flowers blooming, and there's even an official bloom schedule for those of you dedicated foliage fans who would be heartbroken if you missed the Grape Hyacinth's coming out party in May.

Ella was a great sport this morning and patiently posed beside any blooming tree, plant, or flower I could find.

DISCLAIMER: It's safe to assume that any attempts I make below to identify the blooming flower, plant, or tree in the photos below are INCORRECT as I don't know a daisy from a daffodil.

Here goes nothin'...


Umm...crabapple? Anyone? I'm stumped. Ella looks awfully adorable though, don't you think?



Hmm, french lilacs maybe? But aren't they bushes, not trees? God, i have no idea. I love the color purple though. Whoopi was so good in that film.


Here we are in The Ramble, looking out over the eastern side of The Lake adjacent to the Loeb Boathouse, with Bethesda Terrace visible in the background. She had just finished chasing some ducks back into The Lake so, feeling quite smug, was happy to take a rest and enjoy the scenery. No blooming flowers in this one. And i'm not even going to attempt to identify the trees in the background. Let's see - green leaves, brown bark...yep, definitely trees. Definitely.


And last but not least, here she is lying in a sea of fallen blossoms (cherry blossoms I think? i should know this...i grew up near Washington D.C....it's not like I've never seen cherry blossoms before)...





A quickie in the pines...

...No, I'm not referring to another dog getting his hump on in the woods with Ella (I already told you that is NOT happening as long as I'm around to protect her)...I'm referring instead to our much more wholesome jaunt through the Arthur Ross Pinetum in Central Park yesterday morning. This place is awesome...I don't know much about pines admittedly, but I do know that it's one place that is relatively peaceful and secluded...enough off the beaten path that Ella and I can spend some quality time chasing squirrels and rolling around in the pine needles in relative privacy.

Didn't have my camera with me but got a few shots with my crappy camera phone. Sorry, no photos of me rolling around in the pine needles. I know that's really what you were hoping for...







Ella vs. the sweatshirt...

Ella doesn't have a brother or sister to play with, so I often end up serving the dual role of momma and furfriend just to keep her entertained. I know, I know...you don't have to tell me how much it messes up kids to have a mother who acts more like a friend. I can assure you I do provide plenty of discipline as well, but there are times when we just end up wrestling it out to see who gets to be alpha female of the apartment.

Here's a clip of a typical evening playdate between the two of us. I have to put on my heavy oversized sweatshirt to protect my skin against her brutal puppy teeth (if she doesn't start losing them soon, I'm going to have to find a way to rot them out...she could gut a bear with these things). As you can see, she's not the type to ever give up a fight and even when she's down for the count, she's not letting go.

In the end, I'd call this one a draw...