From the desk of Mr. Pickles, broken hearted wiener

I had to say goodbye to my friend, and I miss him.

The first time I saw him I peed. It’s OK because I was a baby, barely three months old and he was this giant not so friendly looking guy! But once he figured out I wasn’t a squirrel and that I was staying at the house he warmed up. Well kinda. I’m not really sure if he was letting me sleep in his favorite spot on the couch or if he was secretly trying to crush me.

I mean I know everyone loves me, so I’m sure he was just being nice and sharing his spot. He taught me so much like how to bark at the mailman, and the neighbors and basically anyone who comes near our house. He taught me how to be a couch potato. He taught me not to share food or cookies. But most importantly he taught me how to always be the biggest dog in the room.

I love him. And I miss him. My little bitty dachshund heart is broken.

Bye Bam …. Enjoy sleeping in the sunshine and all the cookies you can eat!

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“No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.” – Roger Ebert

I was recently taking one of those survey’s that ask you personal questions.  And I came across one I truly couldn’t answer.

What is your favorite movie?

Uh… I don’t know? How do you just pick one?  That’s like asking which is your favorite child? Or worse, favorite dog.

I started a list.  But then the list needed categories. And now I have seven pages of movies.  Let that sink in seven pages. I made requirements to try and shorten the list: to make the list I had to have seen the movie more than four times. That only ruled out like 3 movies. I also found, based on the numbers, my favorite movies are all romantic comedies. Not like the Lifetime or Hallmark channel crap (sorry Kim), but the ones that make it to actual movie theaters.

Here is the list that probably no one really needs, but if you’re looking for summer movie suggestions here’s my top 10 in each category:

Romantic Comedy

  1. My Best Friend’s Wedding
  2. 50 First Dates
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. Dirty Dancing
  5. The Cutting Edge
  6. You’ve Got Mail
  7. Sleepless in Seattle
  8. Sweet Home Alabama
  9. An Officer & A Gentleman
  10. Blended

80’s Movies

  1. Sixteen Candles
  2. Pretty in Pink (I mean for real the main character is Andie)
  3. Mystic Pizza
  4. Top Gun
  5. Adventures in Babysitting
  6. Footloose
  7. Karate Kid 2
  8. Karate Kid
  9. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  10. Coming to America

Comedy

  1. Christmas Vacation
  2. The Hangover
  3. We’re the Millers
  4. Blockers
  5. Mean Girls
  6. Bridesmaids
  7. The Heat
  8. Clueless
  9. Vacation
  10. Meet the Parents/The Other Woman (tie)

Action/Drama

  1. All the Bourne movies (except the 4th one, sorry Jeremy Renner ☹)
  2. 13 Hours
  3. Zero Dark Thirty
  4. The Town (see Jeremy, you’re still on the list 😊)
  5. Gone Girl
  6. The Accountant
  7. Dark Places
  8. Wonder Woman
  9. Olympus Has Fallen
  10. Point Break

Action/Comedy-RomCom

  1. Twister
  2. Bad Boys 2
  3. The Italian Job
  4. Gone in 60 Seconds
  5. Speed
  6. Charlies Angels
  7. Charlies Angels Full Throttle
  8. Men in Black 2
  9. Men in Black
  10. Independence Day

Ridiculously Sad That Make You Cry Every Time

  1. Terms of Endearment
  2. Beaches
  3. Steel Magnolias
  4. A Walk to Remember
  5. The Fault in Our Stars
  6. The Notebook
  7. Titanic
  8. Brokeback Mountain
  9. Bambi (Truth – I’ve only seen Bambi once, when I was like 6 and I lost my shit at the movie theater and my sister had to take me home)
  10. Pearl Harbor

Musicals

  1. Mama Mia
  2. Grease
  3. The Sound of Music
  4. Chicago
  5. A Star is Born (I haven’t seen it 4 times though, and it could also go under ridiculously sad)
  6. The Greatest Showman (also, haven’t seen it 4 times)
  7. Mama Mia: Here we go again
  8. High School Musical 3
  9. High School Musical 2
  10. High School Musical (sadly, I have seen it more than 4 times)

(Side note: I’ve also seen Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach Movie 2 like 8 times)

Animated

  1. Finding Nemo
  2. Finding Dory
  3. Cars
  4. Flushed Away
  5. The Lego Movie
  6. All the Toy Story movies
  7. Shrek
  8. The Little Mermaid
  9. Coco
  10. Aladdin / The Aristocats (it was a tie….)

And the final category, which is probably the most important to me:

Movies My Mom Took Me To (just me & her)

  1. The Muppet Movie
  2. Ghostbusters
  3. Blazing Saddles (we didn’t go to the movies, but it’s the first movie she ever rented when we got a VCR)
  4. Beverly Hills Cop
  5. Tequila Sunrise

My mom and I saw A LOT of movies together, but usually with my sisters or my grandma – the ones above are the special because she picked me up early from school to go see them.  Except for Tequila Sunrise which we saw in Ft. Benning, Georgia on a special trip she agreed to go on because I was a bratty, defiant, pain-in-the-ass 17-year-old.

There are also two movie franchises that I have completely glossed over, Fast &Furious and Star Wars they kind of get their own special category – ranked in order of which movie I liked best:

Star Wars                                                                                            Fast &Furious

Star Wars: Episode IV (A New Hope) Fast Five (5)
Rogue One Fast & Furious (4)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (VII) The Fast and the Furious (1)
The Empire Strikes Back (V) 2 Fast 2 Furious (2)
Return of the Jedi (VI) Fast & Furious 6
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (VIII) Furious 7
Solo: A Star Wars Story The Fate of the Furious (8)
Attack of the Clones – Episode II Tokyo Drift (3)
Revenge of the Sith – Episode III  
The Phantom Menace – Episode I  

There are also a lot of movies that were left on the 7 pages of paper.  There was an Oscar nominated category, a Tom Hanks category and then the whole Hunger Games series.  And on the Romantic Comedy list, there are 22 movies left that didn’t make the Top 10. The takeaway is that I watch A LOT of movies.

So….. what is my favorite movie?  Like of All Time? Hmmmmmm…… quite possibly The Muppet Movie.  After all….. Someday we’ll find it, the Rainbow Connection, the lovers the dreamers and me.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

From the desk of Mr. Pickles, Cinco de Mayo Wiener

Mom is always leaving scraps of paper around with sticky notes that say “write about this” and I found one for the month of May, so I thought I’d write about it instead of her.  It’s one of those journal prompt thingy’s that’s supposed to give you ideas to write.

Here we go:

  • Describe a moment from today that you want to remember always.  That’s easy, breakfast…. It’s my favorite thing until dinner, which then becomes my favorite thing.  Plus Dad gave me bacon today.
  • What are some things you’ve been given recently?  Bacon, and cookies and cuddles.  And a haircut – I’m not happy about.
  • What is your idea of a perfect morning? Again I’m gonna have to go with bacon.
  • What is your idea of the perfect afternoon? I’d have to say April 25th.  It’s not too hot, not too cold.  All you need is a light jacket. #misscongeniality #lovesandrabullock
  • What songs or music do you listen to in the car? I don’t go in the car a lot because I jump on Mom’s lap when she’s driving and apparently that’s “frowned upon” especially in a roundabout.  But I like Cher, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and pretty much any Diva music.
  • When was the last time you felt embarrassed? What happened?  I was showing off my boxes to Dawson’s girlfriend and I fell trying to jump in the box.
  • Describe your ideal house.  A giant cardboard box with smaller boxes filled with doggie cookies and bacon.
  • What’s your favorite book to read over and over again?  Um… I can’t read.
  • What subjects did you study at school?  I never have time for school, I’m too busy.  But I did go to SWAT dog school and Jedi school and I took a dance class – shhh don’t tell Dawson.
  • What’s the most beautiful gift you’ve ever received?  Well….. other than bacon, I’d have to say the fancy cookies Mom buys on my birthday.
  • Would you like to work for yourself? Why or why not? Pretty much I already do work for myself, blogging and trying to get on HGTV.  I might need an actual agent though….
  • If you could live in another country for a year, where would you go and why?  I would go visit my distant cousins in England, you know Vulcan and Candy?  They live with the queen.  Ohhh I could go see Megan & Harry’s new baby….
  • Write a love note for someone you love.  Dear Killer, I still love you, leave that dumb Husky Tobey and come back, xoxo Mr. Pickles.
  • What are things you love most about your ethnic background.  I like bratwurst, and wiener schnitzel and um beer (ok I don’t know if I like beer or not, but it’s German).  I do not like that I was bred to chase badgers because those things are scary AF.
  • How would you like to be remembered?  Who could forget me?
  • What are some jobs you’ve had in the past?  SWAT dog – well I didn’t graduate but it’s ok, Jedi, backup singer for Britney and most recently Do It Yourself star.
  • Do you find it easy to talk to strangers?  Most people won’t believe this but I’m very shy at first around people I don’t know — even though I bark at them.
  • What kind of parties do you like to go to?  One’s with food.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’m pretty sure I’m an extrovert, I love to be the center of attention.
  • What social issues do you feel passionate about?  I believe in automatic pet feeders, leash free dog parks, warm cuddly blankets, squeaker free toys (so Princess will stop destroying my toys), and unlimited cookies. #votemrpickles2020
  • Where do you retreat for solitude and quiet?  My cardboard box, which is no longer in its safe place in the kitchen.  And currently has a bunch of Mom’s cookbooks in it.
  • How are you feeling today?   I was good until mom started brushing me and gave me a haircut.
  • What is your favorite thing about Mondays?  Who writes these dumb things?  There’s nothing good about Mondays…. Everybody leaves me to go to work and Sissy goes to school and I have to sit all day by myself with no one paying attention to me. I HATE MONDAYS!!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  And also, May the 4th be with you (that was yesterday) – I was celebrating with the other Jedi’s. There was cake, and light sabers.

Adios Puppios!

Dear Shrimp and Broccoli

Dear Shrimp and Broccoli,

Yes, I’m writing a letter to food.

Specifically food that is considered good for you. Food… like broccoli and shrimp that they tell you to eat when you want to lose weight.

For most of my adult life I’ve considered food, like broccoli and shrimp, as something I enjoy eating. Along with green beans, cauliflower and celery – if you asked me if I liked them I would say yes.

Here’s the twist. Enter the “metabolic restart diet.” This a super strict dieting technique that is supposed to jump start your metabolism and help you erase the past 17 years of bad eating habits, lack of regular exercise and overall “poor” food choices (a.k.a things that taste good – cookies, cupcakes, double cheeseburgers etc…). It involves eating within a set time frame during the day and eating a specific combination of a protein, a vegetable and a fruit. Or, in most cases, half of a fruit. And you can only use a few spices and some “healthy” fat (think avocado or coconut oil).

So back to you shrimp. Yeah I’m talking to you – I used to think you were the best thing in the world. No vacation to the beach or trip to Red Lobster is complete without eating copious amounts of shrimp. Turns out…. I like cocktail sauce. And scampi sauce. And remoulade sauce on po-boy sandwiches. And the beer and spices used to cook peel and eat shrimp. OK I’m starting to sound like Bubba. My point, Mr. Shrimp is that alone you have no taste.

And broccoli my pal, you need friends too. Like cheese sauce. Or ranch dressing. And celery isn’t good until it has a companion like cream cheese with chives or again ranch dressing. Ranch dressing really can accompany any food: vegetables, chicken, pizza, french fries – (sigh pizza and french fries.) And green beans, well, to be honest you aren’t too bad with just some pepper and garlic powder but you’re so much better slow simmered with bacon or ham.

Now I’m shaming vegetables. There may be some seriously disturbing side effects of strict dieting.

But hey since I’m on a roll – (sigh rolls)…… let’s face it who eats just potatoes? (By the way potatoes are strictly forbidden on the diet) Potatoes need pals too like butter and sour cream. Or when they get “loaded” with cheese and bacon bits. But I think potatoes know they need buddies and they are OK with their co-dependency on other food to make them yummy. Potatoes even try to make themselves seem healthy by pairing up with celery, onions, mustard and mayonnaise and calling themselves “salad.” Only when potatoes are sliced and deep fried are they cherished by themselves – either in chip or fry form. But even then they know deep down they’re better with the support of catsup or in my case mayonnaise. In Canada, gravy. And once again the ever popular ranch dressing.

Seriously, why isn’t ranch dressing it’s own food group?

But back to you shrimp… you let me down. Who knew that under all the horseradish, catsup and lemon juice you were just a plain ordinary slightly fishy tasting blah. And broccoli, well, I’m really not surprised by you – sorry.

Hang in there, bread… I’ll be back eventually. And macaroni. And all the other complex carbohydrates out there, way too many to mention, I miss you all. For the love of all that is Holy I miss oatmeal. OATMEAL!! I’m also fairly certain I’m missing the point of the whole diet and making better food choices and a lifestyle change. I’ve always said diet is a four letter word – and now I have proof.

25 days down, 10 to go. And then supposedly another 35 after that ….. or until I reach my “goal weight.” I think my goal weight just bumped back a bit. Or a lot. Like 10 pounds for everything not a vegetable that I’ve mentioned in this blog.

This is your brain on no sugar or complex carbohydrates…. jus sayin’.

From the desk of Mr. Pickles, DIY Expert

Hi Friends!

I’m a good helper!

I’ve finally found my true calling, I’m going to have my own house remodeling show on HGTV.  Recently I’ve been a HUGE help to Dad while he’s been remodeling the kitchen in our house.  Well, mostly I just supervise him and tell him where to put things.  As you can see, I’m pretty handy on a ladder.  I’m not sure what I should call my show, “DIY Dachshund” or “The Mr. Pickles Project” (shout out to Banilla Ice – V’s hard to say).  But then I was thinking maybe something like “Four Paw Flippers” so Princess and Bam can join me – its better when it’s a family thing ya know.  Dad likes “Puperty Brothers” and said Bam and I can be a team, but then Princess’s feelings would get hurt.

I’m kinda nervous about the new kitchen, my cardboard boxes have all been moved.  And they put a new cabinet where my boxes used to be.  Maybe the new cabinet will hold more dog food though.  I don’t’ know I just want my boxes back. They’re my secret hideout.

The best part about remodeling the kitchen is that at first everything was on the dining room table.  Even the food……… easy access for snacking.  But Princess made a lot of noise smuggling potato chips so once the new cabinets were up the food got put away.  OK, maybe it was me.  Princess helped though, like I can reach the table… I have 3 inch legs.

Today, Sissy went on a college visit. I wanna go with her.  To college.  I could be the mascot.  They have a lot of real dogs as mascots, Butler Blue (aka Trip), Handsome Dan, Uga, Bully, Jack, Duke Dog, Bruiser and Rocky.  Bam said they’re all bulldogs.  Then Princess pointed out she looks like Smokey from University of Tennessee and he’s probably her cousin, she has a lot of cousins.  It’s not my fault no colleges have dachshund’s. Ohhhhh.. I’ll be the first!  Bam pointed out lots of Husky’s are mascots too, he likes to rub Husky’s in my nose ever since Killer left me for Tobey the Husky. Bam’s just salty, I might have irritated him this week because I jumped on his back and he might have reared up and tossed me across the room.  He’s moody, I was just playing. See, if I’m a famous mascot I’ll get a fancy college sweater with a matching leash and I’ll strut around on the football field.  Killer will come back, she’ll forget about Tobey.

Sissy said one of the colleges she visited today has a Grizzly Bear for a mascot.  I’m scared of bears.  The mascots don’t actually fight each other do they? Because that sounds super dangerous.  I could get hurt.  Bulldogs can be mean (see above).  Look, I’m college material, I’ve already got my Starbucks.  I think they should rename it Starpups though.

Starpups is good.

It’s almost dinner time so I should probably wrap this up.  I’m never late to dinner.  And dad’s measuring more stuff for the kitchen so I should go help.

Bye Felicia!

From the Desk of Mr Pickles – willing Cheese Challenge participant

Do you have cheese?

Hi Friends!  Mom’s been super busy at work, but she promised me some blog time today.

Have you seen the cheese challenge on social media?  Why is no one throwing cheese on me?  A – I’m adorable(!) B – I love cheese and C – WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING — THROW CHEESE ON ME!!

Mom could get like a million likes on Facebook because let’s face it, it’s me, the video will totally go viral. It could launch my YouTube career.  I mean really all she has to do is give Sissy some cheese and take a video of Sissy throwing the cheese on me.  How hard is that? Sissy could even wear her Cheesehead Hat -side note I need one of those.  I tried to get Princess to help me, because she doesn’t like cheese (yeah, I know she’s weird….) but she couldn’t throw it.  And Bam kept drooling on the phone so there’s just a video of a lot of slobber and Princess struggling to get cheese off her paws. I’m surrounded by amateurs.

Oh wait, I forgot I’m a Jedi. 

“you will throw the cheese on me” “you will throw the cheese on me” “you will throw the cheese on me”

Is it working?  No?

I knew I shouldn’t have taken Jedi lessons from the guy I met at Gen Con. Three easy payments of $19.95… I didn’t even get a light saber!

Sissy taught me how to play Monopoly.  She let me be the dog too.  I owned Boardwalk and Park Place, which is supposed to be really good.  But I kept landing on everybody else’s properties, and nobody was landing on mine, so I ended up having to sell all my stuff to Dad.  Then Dad beat Sissy. It’s a super long game though and to be honest I was kinda bored anyway. And I guess no one read the rule that Mr. Pickles always wins.  Duh.

Not much else to report.  RJ came out to play the other day, but Princess scared him.  I like RJ, he’s my pal.  Princess says that he’s not my friend.  But I like anybody who can turn the garbage cans over.  What?!?! Don’t judge there’s usually all sorts of yummy food leftovers in the garbage cans.  Guys gotta eat!

I’d like to give a shout out to all my fellow puppies on National Puppy Day…. Bark, bark, bark (that’s dog for “hey y’all”)

Keep your eye out for my cheese video. Eventually someone will throw cheese on me.

Pickles out.

Love & the Alphabet Game

Related image

When I was kid and we would go on a long trips I loved to play the alphabet game with my grandma. The game where you have to find the letters of the alphabet, in order, on billboards, signs, semi-trucks or license plates. Yes, I’m old. This was before iPads and cell phones and DVD players in an era when you got in a car that hopefully had an FM radio (my mom’s Ford Escort had an AM radio) and if you were lucky – air conditioning.  And I loved the alphabet game.  Yes me, the same girl who got reprimanded for not alphabetizing road names at a former job …. But that’s another story for another day.

So how does love factor into this?

Before Christmas my husband and I took a little weekend getaway to Memphis Tennessee and for some unknown reason I said, “Let’s play the alphabet game.”  We were at that part of a long drive where we had talked about the usual subjects:  work, kids, family, weather, etc… The unfortunate part of my suggestion was that we had just gone through Effingham Illinois and were heading southbound on I57.  If you’ve never taken I57 southbound through Illinois it is like most roads in rural Illinois – a lot of wide open space.  And to top it off the majority of the billboards were not lit. 

For the most part we stayed neck and neck because there was usually two signs together when they finally popped up near exits.  Certain letters became problematic, starting with “G.”  “G” went unseen for a lot of miles then we were passed a semi, a Galaxy logistics semi.  Dave got the drop on the “G.”  And then there were billboards and he got an “H” and an “I.”  I was desperate for a “G.”  That’s a sentence I really didn’t think I’d ever write.  Up in the distance I saw a porch light on my side of the road, which was weird because there was not a lot of houses that you could see from the interstate.  As we were passing the one and only farmhouse on I57 I said “G! That was the Gibson residence!”  Dave in all seriousness said, “How do you know that’s the Gibson residence?”

I probably could have gotten away with it had I been able to not laugh mid-way through the sentence “I read it on the mailbox.”  Yeah, that “G” didn’t fly but a few miles later I caught up and now we were both stuck on “J.”  We went for a very long time with no “J.” Seriously, no one with a “Jesus is my copilot” sticker? No “Jesus is the reason for the season” Christmas lights? We were heading into the heart of the Bible Belt for Heaven’s sake!

And then as we were passing an exit Dave happened to see a very distinctive vehicle and said very nonchalantly, “Oh look a Jeep.”

“DAMNIT!!”

He doesn’t even like Jeeps!  Especially my Jeep!

Miles and miles and letters and letters later, me still stuck on “J” and not a Flying J truck stop in sight I figured I was doomed to lose.  I finally found a small “J” on a license plate and lucky for me it was just before the exit for Kinmundy.  “LMNO” is an easy letter to find.  Especially “M” because there are mile markers everywhere.  I caught up when we were stuck at “Q.” The funny thing is, we both got laughing so hard because we couldn’t find a “Q” but passed five signs for Vandalia and some sign for a local business that said “Zimmerman” or “Zachary.”  Of course we were finding “V” and “Y” and “Z” but not a “Q” anywhere.

Dave found the “Q” first, with “Quality.”  It was downhill for me from there as we were rapidly approaching our stop for the night and suburban civilization with signs everywhere for everything.  I have to say the alphabet game is a lot more fun in densely populated areas. At night. With no lights on about half of the billboards.

 So what does the alphabet game have to do with love?  Not much, for most people. But for me it means that no matter how random or silly my ideas are at any given time I have someone by my side who doesn’t judge my weirdness or complain that I’m flaky or just ignore me but jumps in and plays along.  I have someone who will happily play a 1970’s road trip game with me in the dark on a highway that time forgot despite the fact that we easily could have turned up our Sirius Radio or played iTunes or Spotify.

That’s how love works.  That’s how nearly 22 years together doesn’t seem very long.  That’s why we have silly crazy stories to tell when we take road trips.  Or just a trip to the grocery.  I’m not saying we’ve got a perfect marriage or that we are a role model for relationships – we make what we have work for us.  We have problems and get irritated at each other but it’s the silly stuff like this that makes the tough times easier.  Because there are way more happy, silly, laughing hysterically at the dumbest things memories than the bad stuff.

The trip had other fun memories like to drive to Memphis from Indiana you drive through five states (Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee) and had we stayed in the first hotel we considered we would have also gone into Mississippi.  Graceland, BBQ, Beale Street, the funky disco lights in the hotel elevator and getting caught walking downtown in a torrential downpour also make for great stories, but the thing that made me all warm and fuzzy inside was the alphabet game.  And I lost… which should speak volumes.

Now how many of you had to sing the alphabet song in your head several times during this blog to try and figure out what the next letter was going to be?  Yeah I thought so….