Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Unsettling Junior Boomer Kind of Day

First of all, I must explain that I have never identified too much with the Baby Boomer label, even though I was born in the time period that covers. The older members of that demo had the VietNam War to contend with as well as the massive culture shift. By the time I reached my formative teen years and young adulthood, there were just not the same issues. I also graduated from college as a recession was ending and the Senior Boomers already had most of the jobs. However, I have two Senior Boomer siblings and a spouse, which often makes me feel younger than I actually am. morning started with my radio alarm going off. I had forgotten I had set it to a classic rock station. So I vaguely hear..."first live recording in 1967...during...the Beatles All You Need is Love...with Mick Jagger and Donovan among the members of the chorus..." Blah blah blah, I'm still half asleep. Then I hear something like..."This classic rock moment has been brought to you by the Burcham Hills Retirement Center." Boom! I'm awake, thinking "That's the wrong commercial for this demographic." I used to visit an elderly lady from my churh at Burcham Hills (which also has an assisted living center.) And then I realize, "Oh my gosh. It's not. It's exactly right. My husband is retired."

Then after returning to work after lunch (I had come home to feed the dog and let him out) I heard that Farrah Fawcett had died as I was parking my car. I sat in the car and listened to the story.. As I got out of the car, tears just inexplicably started rolling down my face. I was not a fan of Charlie's Angels...not my kind of thing, plus it was known as a "jiggle" show and I was developing my feminist sensibilities, such as they are, at that time. However, I always thought she was beautiful and had amazing hair even in the magazine shampoo ads in which I first noticed her (pre-Angels.) I also thought she did great work in The Burning Bed, which I paid special attention to because it involved people in a town near where I lived at that point...the case was frequently discussed in the local media. (It was a good movie, but I always wondered why the Michigan people had Texas accents. Most Michigan accents are more like Chicago-lite or Canada-lite or Sarah Palin-lite, depending on the combination of where you live and your parents are from.)

I was thinking about how in my college dorm so many of the young men had that Farrah poster in their rooms. Seriously, it was everywhere. I had to stop in the rest room and collect myself before I went to teach my class; I did not know why this was affecting me so.

And then later as I was reading something on AOL, in the more often than not extremely stupid comments, someone said something about Michael Jackson being dead. I thought it was a Mikey pop-rocks, Wikipedia false info planting kind of thing, then the local news said "TMZ is reporting..." (And I thought "Really? TMZ?") and then finally, Brian Williams was saying it.

I have two Michaels in my memory: Michael, the boy my age with pictures in Tiger Beat magazine who sang with his brothers, then Thriller Michael whose video "world premiere" I watched with my husband and stepkids before I became a mother myself. The much later Michael was definitely disturbing but I always wondered why no one seemed to be helping this clearly troubled man who pretty much had his childhood stolen from him.

I feel sad and old today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I don't remember when I started wanting a dog. I know it was some time after my cat died because while I missed my kitty a lot, I sort of enjoyed being pet-free for a while. However,once I started campaigning for a dog, my husband wasn't quite ready. He likes dogs, and had one when he was younger. I had them as well. We tried having two dogs when my son was very young, but neither of those worked out. There was a beagle who liked to run all the time and was always burrowing under the fence and escaping. We sold him. Then there was a German Shepherd, a gift to my son, and he chewed up everything...carpets, remote controls, you name it. When we put him outside he would bark incessantly. I'm sorry to say we "surrendered" him. If we knew now what we knew then, we probably would have been able to work with him effectively.

I think the thing that intensified my wanting a dog and led to my husband's agreeing to it was watching The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel. If you have never seen it, it features a man named Cesar Millan who works with problem dogs. He is amazing with dogs, and has a very compelling story of his own. My husband started to say we could perhaps get a dog once he retired, then as that grew closer, that maybe we should wait until a year after he retired to see what our life was like. Then, this past year, he said we could perhaps get a dog in the spring.

The dog we ended up with was completely different from my fantasy dog. I thought I'd like a little bichon frise that I could pamper and dress in silly dog clothes and let sit on my lap. I was going to buy one of these from a reputable breeder at some point, but I have two friends at work who are dog lovers. One gently and persistently scolded and made me feel incredibly guilty for thinking about buying a dog, encouraging breeding, when so many dogs in shelters needed to be adopted. (She and her husband have had three rescue sheepdogs.) Another friend has a second job at the local Humane Society, and often talked about the little friends she fosters to save them from being euthanized.

I started looking for bichon frises on rescue sites. They were available, but often had some kind of big problem or weren't good with children. I learned though, that Petsmart had an adoption event the first weekend in May (this is a nationwide event that takes place at lots of pet supply stores, shelters, etc.) I had my husband pull in at a Petsmart when we were on the yuppie side of town buying wine, and Tad was the first dog we saw. We played with him for a while and liked him a lot. He was no bichon frise, though. He is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix (another part of the mix, being dachsund, we were told). My husband thought we should look around some more, including at the Petsmart on our side of town. I agreed, but couldn't stop thinking about Tad. We looked at other dogs, but I just really felt that Tad was our dog. It almost looked like it wasn't going to happen, but by the next Wednesday, he was home with us.