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Two Weeks

Mood: Teary-eyed
Drinking: A toast to the Yodes

When the phone rang yesterday at 4 p.m., and the display said my sister was calling, I knew even before I answered that something was wrong. Call it sixth sense, sister sense, women’s intuition, whatever. I just knew.

My sister’s teary voice confirmed it. She was sitting in her car in the parking lot of a vet clinic, calling with the worst news any dog lover can get. Her dog was dying.

My sister’s dog is not just any dog. And I know all dog owners are prejudiced in favor of their furry beasts. But seriously. You haven’t known adorable-gentleman-giant-pig-dog until you know Yoda.

My sister met the Yodes in October of 2004. She was a newlywed, and her husband had been shipped off to Iraq just weeks after the wedding. She was living in a new town, alone, far from family, with few friends. I told her she needed a dog.

As my dog LeeLoo’s favorite auntie, my sister was well acquainted with the Boxer breed, so she began scouring pet rescue websites for some sort of Boxer-ish pooch. In one of her searches, she discovered a picture of a big ham-headed white Boxer/American Bulldog mix named Yoda.

Even though he weighed in at a good 110 pounds, the Yodes was living with a slew of thimble-sized Chihuahuas at a Chihuahua Rescue in Burbank, CA. He had been there for two years, since nobody in LA-land comes to a Chihuahua rescue looking for a husky galoot of a Yoda dog.

Yodes’ story was a sad one…his previous owner had died suddenly, and Yoda, being the delicate flower that he is, was so upset, he lost all his hair. The relatives of the deceased owner didn’t know what to do with a bald, chubby sad sack, so they dumped him at the pound. Enter Chihuahua Rescue Lady, searching for unwanted pocket-sized dogs. She felt so sorry for the big grieving Yodes, she packed him in with the tiny dogs and away he went.

Two years in purse dog rescueland were not kind to Yoda. In addition to his depressed state, loss of hair, and all around tubby condition, he also had a thyroid problem that went untreated for a long time.

So when my sister showed up at the kennel to meet him, Yodes wasn’t looking his best. He was bald in patches, had icky sores between his toes and big goobers in his eyes. But in spite of all that, he had the love. And my sister saw it. She called to tell me about the gentle giant she had discovered, and on a roadtrip south a couple of weeks later for sister weekend, I saw him for myself.

We took LeeLoo along to the kennel to see how Yoda would react. LeeLoo took one look at him, walked over, sat next to him and leaned up against him. They both sighed. My sister and I looked at each other, wide-eyed, and I said, “You have to get this dog!”

It was easier said than done. Turns out that Rescue Lady was also a wee bit crazy and liked collecting dogs more than she liked letting them go. So even though my sister filled out all the paperwork, had proof of good dog ownership qualities and everything else, she didn’t get to take Yoda home for three more months.

Finally, in January of 2005, Yoda became part of the family. He got a bath, a trip to the vet, medication for his various skin conditions and thyroid issues, and some nutritious, yet delicious kibble. Over the next year, the Yodes only got healthier and happier, taking walks to the beach and trips to San Francisco to hang out with his cousin LeeLoo. My sister’s husband returned from Iraq in early 2006, and Yoda was there to greet him at the door.

Over the past two years, the Yodes has provided endless entertainment, usually beginning with a phone call from my sister, “So, guess what Yodes did today?”

The list of things he tried to eat just kept growing, ranging from tea bags to styrofoam to a Duraflame log. In person, he was like a walking cartoon, a giant marshmallow of a pooch who wanted nothing more than to lean his head against your leg, slobber all over your knee, and get in some sloppy tongue kisses.

The Yodes had many talents. He could blow a drool bubble like it was bubble gum, poop in a perfect circle, and snore in an exact imitation of a giant pig.

He’s the sweetest beast to ever walk the earth, having nothing but love for everyone he meets. He has friends all over my sister’s town, from the elderly residents at the nursing home, to the toddler down the street, to the homeless guy on the corner. Everybody loves Yoda. And he loves them back, no strings attached.

Which is why it’s incredibly unfair that he has only two weeks left on this earth.

The phone call yesterday came immediately after the vet told my sister and her husband that Yoda has an aggressive form of untreatable cancer. There’s nothing they can do to treat it, they can only make him comfortable and give him the best two weeks any dog ever had on this earth.

As any dog person knows, the dog who shares your life quickly becomes more than a pet. They are your friend, confidant, your baby, your pride and joy. So the news that Yodes is not long for this world is unbearably heartbreaking.

As my friend S put it,
“He’s such a big, goofy canned ham of a dog, and it’s just not fair. I do know that Yoda’s last weeks are going to be the happiest, steakiest, up-on-the-furniturest, most spoiled-rotten weeks any dog ever had. I’m going to miss his bald patches; his hard breathing and huge grin; the way he used to follow Leeloo around like an enormous, lovestruck linebacker. Yodes, we hardly knew you.”

So here’s to you, Yoda… We love you. We will miss you terribly. There will never be another pig-dog like you. We’ll always remember your smile, your stinky breath, your gigantic pink belly, and the way you brought unabashed joy into our lives every single day. May your last weeks be heavenly. And may dog heaven be even better.

And when (god forbid) the LeeLoo’s turn comes, please wait there for her at the Rainbow Bridge. I know you’ll take good care of her.

-Lo, who thinks that a world without Yoda is a very sad world, indeed.

Poppy Jasper

Mood: Deja Vu’d
Drinking: Iced Sweet Tea

Ladies and other dudes, we have a two-fer!

Just received word today that we’ve been chosen to be part of another film festival! This time it’s the Poppy Jasper Film Festival in November, and they will be screening a different cinepoem compilation than Berkeley. This one’s called “The Way She Walks”, and it strings together “Boots are made”, “Object”, “Alice is my middle name”, and “Slow Roast”. It’s really quite lovely.

If you’re in the Bay Area, keep an eye on the Festival’s web site for a screening schedule. “The Way She Walks” will be on the big screen in Morgan Hill, California, sometime November 10-12.

This one is all thanks to my agent, the one and only Johanna Baldwin, who kept saying, “No, really, the deadline’s coming up and this is one festival you really, really have to enter.” Thanks, Jo. You were right. Enjoy. 😉

-Lo, who’s heard it said that “If you don’t get right, you’ll get left.” We’ll see about that.


Mood: Ebullient
Drinking: Various liquids

A big announcement from the film festival front…my partner in cinepoems, Michelle, and I, have just been informed that our submission to the 2006 Berkeley Video & Film Festival is not only going to be screened at the festival next month, but has also won an award!

Shel and I are doing backflips right now. Or we would be doing backflips, if we were much younger and more flexible.

For those of you in the Bay Area, our cinepoem “Two-Faced” (a marriage of “Alter Ego” and “Pretty.Good.Girl.”) will be screened on Saturday evening, October 7th, at the Oaks Theatre, 1875 Solano Avenue, in Berkeley. I’m not sure about tickets yet…I’m workin’ on that.

I’m also not sure which award we’ve won yet…the awards will be presented on Friday, October 8th. At this point, I can’t decide what’s more exciting…the award or the screening. Both are unexpected.

Anyway, three cheers for us, and a gigantic THANK YOU to Misha Hutchings, Kathy Azada, Patti Monaghen, Amanda Henderson, Katie Motta, and Angela Primavera, all of whom helped out with the award-winning cinepoems, and also to Johanna Baldwin, agent extraordinaire, who has helped out with film fest entries and moral support!

-Lo, who once won a purple ribbon and shiny gewgaw at a 4-H Fair with a Grand Champion goat. Yes. Goat.

Trolls Love the Internets

Mood: Punch-drunk
Drinking: Punch?

As the recess monitor used to yell, “It only takes one of you to spoil it for everybody else!”

And so, barely a week after it burst on to the virtual scene, the delicious celery-lovin’ Sarahblog is gone. History. Deleted. Dumped.

For the few of you who got to see it, you lucky bastards, you caught a glimpse of my BFF’s shiny genius-brain. For the rest of you, so sorry, weep into your beers and wail, “Nevermore!”

There may have been more than one troll under the bridge. The identity of all the Anonymous Naysayers have yet to be unequivocally determined. But whoever, wherever, whatever, he/she ruined it all.

You can find lovely people on the world.wide.web. People full of grace and wit (like the raven-haired Caroline in Portland and her big gay Boxer, Henry D. Monster). But the flip side of the Internet is a warm, moist underbelly where ankle-biting trolls drool and thrive. Such a magical place where vicious cowards can heckle anonymously, lobbing lies and horrible mis-spellings into inboxes and comment sections without fear of rotten tomatoes and slimy lettuce being hurled right back at their own large and misshaped heads.

So here I am, blinding tossing an exploding turnip out into the darkness, knowing full well that the Oakland Hooker Troll with the AID is long gone. But I’m yelling into the wind, anyway:

“Hey, Loser! Thanks for ruining a good thing for the rest of us. I see you hiding under that bridge! Yeah, you! And your smelly, um, toes! You suck!”

-Lo, who always signs her name.

Dear Sir

Mood: So very tired
Drinking: I should be

It should be clear by now that
she does not want
to talk to you.

You may find it coldhearted, you may
think it unfair, but still
that is the way it is.

I cannot (and would not) change it.
I am not your ally. (I’m hers.)
And though you may
bear a beating golden heart
within your breast
though you may deserve a doubt
and all its attendant benefits

you have, indeed,
made a mess.

And I cannot help you.

So, please,

-Lo, who knows firsthand the fire of lost love and the fickleness of email translation, but stands by her woman nevertheless.

De Lovely

Mood: Delighted
Drinking: Diluted tea

I’m absolutely delighted, totally tickled pink, and beside myself with excitment to announce that one of my favorite people in the entire world — no, the whole galaxy — has entered the blogosphere.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the lovely, funny, sexy, shiny, and ridiculously, brilliantly talented Saralita.

She makes celery sound scintillating. She makes hairy toes seem sweet. She makes sharks wear pants. And she totally gets the irresistable allure of pale, skinny boys in smeary black eyeliner and tight pinstriped pants who smoke Nat Shermans and sulk in the cobwebby corners of dark dance clubs.

She’s all that and more.

A PostScript: If you cannot get through the link to S’s blog, I apologize. She has had an unfortunate incident of ex-boyfriend-itis, and had to add some tall metal gates to her virtual home. Le sigh.

-Lo, who thinks that Sarah hung the moon. (And if, indeed, the moon is made of cheese, it should be made of Gouda cheese.)

Falling Down

Mood: Dizzy
Drinking: Diet 7Up

I heard about this documentary a couple of years ago, when it was being filmed. It was very controversial (of course) and completely fascinating to me, in part because of the subject matter, but also because the infamous bridge is mere minutes from my house. I see it nearly every day.

So I did a little research on the topic and ended up writing a poem about it (“London Bridge”). I’m not posting the poem here…I’m saving it for the book (which is really, really on its way).

But here’s where the whole thing started…
The Bridge
…it’s not for the faint of heart. Or, rather, it’s not for those who fear the dark.

I myself am well acquainted with the Dark (we’ve made our peace with each other), and I would say I’m looking forward to seeing The Bridge when it comes to a theater near me, but that almost seems morbid. So I’ll just say that I will most definitely be seeing it. Who says that the deadliest things cannot also be beautiful?

-Lo, who once jumped off a cliff. (And no, it wasn’t a figurative cliff.)

It’s the breathing that matters…

Mood: barenaked
Drinking: in a minute

I’ve been keeping a little cinépoem in my pocket. Because sometimes life intervenes and ties our schedule in knots — it’s a volunteer operation, after all. So in this interim while my partner-in-video has been buried with 1,000 other pressing duties, I’ve been keeping cinépoem #11 on hold so I’d have something to drop into the void just when you started thinking it’s been awhile between new shows.

And it’s been awhile.

So on this listless Labor Day, wander on over to the cinépoems page and let a little poem called “Yin” wash over you.

She’s a special story written back in the last decade before Boy, before California, before all of this. But back then there was a special someone. And this poem is dedicated to that person. (You know who you are.)

And to that person, I say this…
I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times you have saved my life. You have been there in the thick and the thin. You’ve seen the storms and the light. You’ve heard the good and the ugly. And you’re still here.

It goes beyond blood, this bond we have. It goes beyond sisterhood and salvation. You are a part of me, and I’m a part of you, and honestly I would have it no other way. Whatever may come our way, whatever trials and triumphs, I will be here. For you. We may not always see the world in the same way, through the same lens, with the same intensity, but what matters most is not our sameness but our togetherness.

I am on your side. Nobody’s ever going to change that. This might be the sappiest thing I’ve ever written on this site, but I want the world to know that I love you. That I’m proud of you. In awe of you, actually. And that you’ll always be my beanhead.

This one is for you.

-Lo, who can’t even remember how that nickname came to be.