riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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How to be an Alpha Bitch

There is a moment in every woman’s life when she comes to understand that the only way to get what she wants is to be an Alpha Bitch. Knowing this does not make it so. She must either decide to become one or accept that she doesn’t have what it takes. If the former, and contrary to what you might think, she does not decide to become mean. She decides to become a leader. One that inspires obedience, loyalty, respect, fear and above all, love from her subject, be it man, child or beast.

Step 1 to being an Alpha Bitch is

1. Recognize that you need to be the Alpha Bitch
It’s okay to not realize it right way, as long as you realize it before the subject realizes that between the two of you, she is more Alpha than you are. Usually, this means while they’re young, still look up to you and/or don’t yet realize their own strength. Once you’ve made the decision to be the leader

2. You must decide how you want the subject to behave and be consistent in the message.
This requires a lot of foresight and energy. If you’re like me and have a set of rules for home and a set of rules in other people’s homes, it can be even more challenging, though not impossible. The trick is to be get the subject to listen to you wherever you are, and to never question your authority.

Ruby with bamboo2

3. Realize and accept that when the subject misbehaves, it’s really your fault.
This is often hard to accept because on some level we wish the subject would know good behavior instinctually. But accept it you must. No matter how good the subject might be, she will not know these behaviors inherently and must be taught what is good behavior and what is bad.

4. Always look the subject in the eye and never show fear.
Your eyes, voice and body language are all key factors. To command, you must be commanding, period.

5. Reward the subject with treats when they do what you want. Learn what is the most valuable treat.
Self-explanatory.

6. Withhold treats when the subject does not do what you want.
Ditto.

7. Learn when to withhold treats for other reasons, for example when the subject grows too accustomed to treats.
Learn to sometimes withhold treats in order to increase their value. Sometimes we learn this by accident because, for reasons not necessarily within our control, treats become unavailable for a period of time. The next time we give the treat the subject appreciates it that much more, which makes training easier.

Ruby with bamboo3

8. Follow up treats with praise.
The goal is to get the subject to behave even without treats all the time, for the subject to forget that bad behavior is even an option. The goal is for good behavior to become the norm.

9. Realize and accept that there will be exceptions
After all, the subject is what it is, and cannot be blamed for having these urges. Every now and then, let the subject blow off some steam and just be themselves.

ruby with bamboo4jpeg

10. Be patient, compassionate and loving. Don’t always be in training mode.
It’s okay to show affection, to laugh and play and indulge and spoil, to a certain extent. As a professional trainer recently told me, “Eventually, she’ll realize that everything good in her life comes from you.”


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Puppy update

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Believe it or not, these medications are all for the puppy. And she’s not even sick. She has a skin condition, an eye ailment, an issue with her right hind foot which she developed on one of our hikes and, as of yesterday, a small gash across the bridge of her nose because another older (probably unhappy) dog snapped at her in doggie daycare. With this cut on her face, her swollen eye and the small bits of hair missing from her coat, she now actually looks like a stereotypical fighting pitbull-in-training. Which couldn’t be farther from the truth, but I can’t explain that to everyone who sees her. This morning a woman saw her coming and crossed the street to avoid her. Little does she know my Ruby is a wanna-be lap dog, who happens to play rough and have delicate skin.

I must admit, I am not pleased about another dog biting her at daycare. I know things happen between animals but this is the second injury she’s sustained there since coming back from Vermont. I wrote about the first one a few weeks ago, the day she came home with a pronounced limp in her front paw. The limp healed and so will this cut, but still it’s annoying. Is this how mothers feel when their kids get hurt at school? Like, why isn’t someone watching these kids better? Sometimes I wonder if I’m being overly protective. I keep reminding myself “she’s a dog, not a child.” But I can’t seem to make the distinction. She might as well be my child, one with four legs and fur. She’ll never read or write or go to college, but I’m still investing in her education. She might not talk, but she definitely talks back. She’s willful and stubborn and oh so smart. And I swear she has a sense of humor. I feel like raising her is actually teaching me things that will make me a better mom to the potential human child I might one day have to beg, borrow or steal.

Anyway, the good news is she won’t be going back to this daycare again, at least for a little while. I had been wanting to find a cheaper solution for her during the day even before the face bite. And today, I think I did, via an old friend of my late husband.

Big B has a house with a fenced-in yard in Santa Monica, and an older female pit named Lacie. Lacie has white hairs around her muzzle and a waddling gate due to her big belly. When she wags her tail, her whole body sways to and fro. I’ve left Ruby with Lacie and Big B a few times, recently while at dentist appointments. Today Big B said I could bring her by any time. “Really?” I said. “Really,” he smiled. And that was that. We discussed specifics and agreed to take it one day at a time. But come Monday, we’re going to Big B’s for daycare. It will add another 30 minutes to my commute, but whatever. At least she’ll be outside running around with one dog, not inside all day with 20. And it will save me some money. So, fingers crossed.

Now, I just need to remember to give her all these medications, soak her back foot in the solution they gave me and put the ointment in her eye twice a day. And write.


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99 aka The Nuptial Bed

I just noticed there are 99 people following this blog. Free turkey to the 100th follower! Just kidding. Here are some random facts about the number 99 (according to http://www.RidingtheBeast.com):

Symbolism
Expresses a realized perfection state, since it is in relation with the number of the perfection, 9.

According to Bercelius, this number would be the equivalents of the Gold, symbol of the Pure Spirit.

Bible
Number of ewe left in the parabola of Jesus to go to seek the hundredth that was lost. (Mt 18,12)

Age of Abraham when God appeared to him and instituted an alliance with him. (Gn 17,1)

General
Number of grains of the Muslim rosary.

Gematria
The numerical values of Hebrew word HVPE meaning nuptial bed, and IDIGhE meaning knowledge or cognition, gives each one 99.

Numerical value of the word Amen written in Greek:

A M H N
1 40 8 50 = 99

Occurrence
The number 99 is used 6 times in the Bible.

The number 7 is used 99 times in the NT.

The word generation is used 99 times in the OT and the word confidence, 99 times in the Bible. The word “prayer” is used 99 times in the NT of the NRSV.

And here’s what I think of all that…

Photo by wsdashbaseball on Instagram

Instagram photo by wsdashbaseball


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Widow to Widow

I have a neighbor who keeps asking me out to dinner. He’s a nice enough fellow, probably 10-15 years older, but there’s nothing about him that interests me. I’ve declined his offers several times, always as kindly as possible. The other day I finally said it bluntly. We were standing in the laundry room in our apartment building and he had just reminded me of all my previous excuses. “The thing is,” I said, “I’m just not interested, in general.” “Sounds like something’s broken,” he responded. “Yes, my heart is broken.” “Well, my granddad used to say the best thing to do it to get back on the horse and learn how to ride again.” I winced, my back to him, quickly grabbed the rest of my clothes from the dryer and said goodbye.

The next day I had lunch with a few friends from work, two widows among them. One lost her husband to cancer a year ago, the other to a violent criminal several years ago. The former had been married for 25 years, the latter for 5, and me for 11 days.

We marveled at the fact that we are three widows working in the same department. “What are the chances of that?” we all wondered. I asked them if they had thought about dating again. Each shook her head.

“I’m just not interested,” one said.
“Me neither, I don’t think I could go through it all again.”
“Do you think you’ll change your mind eventually?” I asked.
“I doubt it, but I guess you never know.”
“I’m just not ready.”
We paused.
Then one said, “Sometimes I wish I were gay, it would be so much easier.”
We all giggled.
“There are certain aspects of being with a woman that are attractive,” I said. “But you know, then you’d have to do that.”
“I don’t think I could do that.”
“Do you have to do that?” the other asked.
“I think it comes with the territory.”
“Damn.”
“Maybe you could wear a mask,” I suggested.
They howled.
“What kind of mask?”
“I don’t know.”
“A snorkel!”
“I’ll buy you one for your birthday.”
We were still laughing as we walked to the car.
“At least we can joke about it,” one lady said.
“Amen, sister.”

I’m not sure when I’ll be ready to date again. In May it will be two years since Kaz passed, and I still find it difficult to imagine being with someone else. I’m not afraid of being alone. On the contrary, I’ve become a bit of a hermit. I socialize with close friends but rarely at public events. I just wrote a post about preferring to network online rather than out with real people.

But that’s going to have to change soon. If I am to get my career back on track, I will have to get out there again. It’s Hollywood, after all. Networking is at least 25% of the game, if not 95%. If you’re not seen, you don’t exist. And the days of using my puppy as an excuse to not go out are over. She’s housebroken and crate-trained now. At the very least I have to socialize more. Whether and when I start dating again is a whole other story. “All in good time,” as my mother used to say.


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Looking Forward

Like I said in previous post, I don’t do “resolutions” anymore. Resolutions are promises I used to make, usually to better myself in some way. This was a common one: “I’m going to go on a diet and lose 20lbs this year.” Twelve months later, I was the same weight or heavier and would make the same resolution, “but this time I really mean it!”

Other resolutions I would make: “I’m going to read more books.” “I’m going to volunteer.” “I’m going to be a nicer, more thoughtful person.” “I’m going to respond to emails in a more timely fashion.” All fine sentiments but c’mon. We are who we are and we rarely change our personalities and habits due to our own volition. It’s not impossible, but I think more often, we change because of life events that cause us to change, or sometimes because we are inspired/affected by someone else’s life event.

One of my favorite quotes from Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST: “When something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.”

I am a different woman now than I was when my husband was alive, less because I set out to be this way, more because the experience of loving, caregiving, losing and grieving him has caused me to learn, grow and mature.

Do I want to lose weight, read more, be a nicer, more thoughtful person and faster on email? Hell yes! But those are lifelong issues, in the background to everything else, not the focus.

All that to say… I do think of the year as a clean slate of sorts in terms of goals, and I do believe there is power in writing them down.

Last year I wrote down (among other things):
“Learn how to ride a motorcycle”
“Baby and/or dog”
“Blog”

I did those things, opting for dog instead of baby (for now).

This year I’m writing down the following:
“Get paid to write”
“Get published”
“More space” (meaning more physical space to live and work in)

And that’s it.

I hope to report back next year and say, “I did those things too.”

What’s on your list?


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20 Fears to Overcome (by this writer)

1. I will get to Vermont residency in two weeks and not be able to write.

2. I will get to Vermont and not know what to write.

3. I will spend all this time and money for a trip that will yield nothing.

4. I will be laughed at by the other artists for being a fraud because I haven’t been published yet.

5. I won’t be able to handle the cold. Watching TITANIC last night didn’t help.

6. I will sleep too much.

7. I will meet too many interesting people and be distracted.

8. I won’t make any friends.

9. I won’t be able to remember everyone’s names. This will be embarrassing and stressful every time I leave my room.

10. I won’t leave my room.

11. The bed will be uncomfortable (though this might cancel out #6).

12. I will worry about the puppy staying three miles down the road with a surrogate mom, and not be able to write.

13. I will not have enough warm clothing or footwear, causing me to have to go shopping instead of writing.

14. Whatever I do manage to write will be garbage that I could have just as easily written at home.

15. My computer will stop working (I’m considering taking two).

16. I will get lost in the woods and no one will notice because they’re artists on residency.

17. I will get lost in the woods and be found by people who live in the woods.

18. I will get lost in the woods and not be found by anyone and freeze to death.

19. I will not be able to handle driving in the snow and ice.

20. I won’t like the food.


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Thanks, Merci, Dank, Gracias, Teşekkürler, Tack, Salamat, شكرا

I might be the only American blogger who hasn’t posted about Thanksgiving yet. At least, that’s my assessment from the blogs I follow and scan throughout the day, every day, somewhat obsessively.

Truth be told, I’m a procrastinator and (surprise!) have tardiness issues. I’m also a late bloomer and usually the last to know, but that’s beside the point. The point is – this is my official Thanksgiving post, 6 days later.

As many have already mentioned, major holidays when you’re grieving can be pretty excruciating. The first Thanksgiving without K, I tried to avoid the “emotional cliff” by traveling to the East Coast to be with my family and K’s mother. It was sad but good.

This year, the 2nd Thanksgiving without K, I went with an old friend of his to some new friends (a gay couple) who live an hour outside of Los Angeles. They were kind enough to invite both me and my puppy, who spent the entire afternoon/evening playing with their grown dog, a German Shepherd who flunked out of drug-sniffing school before she was rescued by her two fathers. The dogs got along like gangbusters.

When it was time for dinner, we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for. I said I was thankful for my family and friends, for Ruby, for being there, and so on.

I wanted to add how thankful I am for discovering blogging, but didn’t because my blog is still somewhat of a secret. Rather, I have only told a few people about it. For some reason, I feel a little shy about my writing around certain folks, including K’s friends, not sure why. (Do any other widows/widowers feel like that?) It’s something I will need to get over.

Anyway, I would like to say thank you now, to YOU, the readers.

Thank you for reading this blog, whether you follow it or not. Your time is precious and I’m honored and grateful that you would choose to spend any of it here.

Thanks to those of you who have liked posts and/or left comments. Every “like” and every comment literally makes my day.

I’ve only been at this for 40 days. Before that, I wrote in a journal, wrote film scripts and more recently a book (still working on it) – so, either stuff that was private or stuff that takes a very long time and a lot of money to see the light of day. For someone who is still re-defining herself as a woman and a writer after losing her husband, blogging has been somewhat of a revelation.

I love the freedom of it, the autonomy. I love interacting with people from all walks of life, sharing common interests, learning new things, being inspired and surprised. I love the thrill of hitting the “publish” button, and the instant gratification of sending a post out into the matrix and seeing it read in places like Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Turkey, United Kingdom and here in the U.S.

Honestly, I wish I had found blogging sooner, like when K was sick, but c’est la vie. I’m here now, and I’m going to make the most of it. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

 


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Lessons From Ruby

Lesson 1 – Focus your energy on something that you love to do. Work hard at it.

 

 

 

 

 Lesson 2 – Immerse yourself in what you love to do. All in. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 3 – Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the little things, like a beautiful sunset.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 Lesson 4 – Relax during your time off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Friday Night Frights

This will have to be quick. I have less than 6 hours to complete an application to one of the film studio’s writer programs. Truthfully, I should be writing that instead of writing this, but I wanted to share this funny interlude. Also, I might be addicted to blogging.

This past Friday night, I left my puppy Ruby alone for only the second time in 3 weeks (the first being Kaz’s birthday on November 5). The occasion was a night out with my best friend T, who is also a producer, and has been my producer. In keeping with the theme of this blog, T is hands down the baddest bitch I know.

Around Halloween, T sent me a link to a theater show with the message “bought us tickets for November 16.” I never clicked on the link – if T bought us tickets, I knew it would be good.

Turns out it was an “interactive horror play” called DELUSION, The Blood Rite, produced by Jon Braver and Neil Patrick Harris.

T and I (and others) showed up at a large mansion in Korea Town, where we were greeted by an Elvira-looking hostess who proceeded to tell us the “set up.”

“The year is 1918. You’re all soldiers returning from World War 1. You were drawn back to this mansion because you were all patients here once under the guidance of Dr. Frederick Lowell. Since his sudden death last year, his family is now trapped in the mansion under an evil spell. Only you can free them of the spell, but you will have to risk your lives and limbs to do it.”

Then she asked us for our blood types, followed by: “Who among you is the bravest?”

“T!” I blurted out.

“Bloody hell,” T said.

I should mention that T speaks with a mixed South African/British accent (that gets stronger when she’s in business meetings).

For the next 45 minutes, T led our group past a drunk gravedigger, many severed human limbs, an axe-wielding butcher, growling insane asylum patients, a possessed grandmother in a tub, an evil priest and a horned, furry beast – all of whom which she argued and haggled with, while I held onto her coat sleeve like a 5 year old.

Afterwards, we caught up at a local dive bar over some much needed drinks. Among other things, I told T about this blog. She immediately launched into a tirade about all the reasons why I shouldn’t use my real name.

“What if someone starts stalking you?”

“Oh, come on. Why would anyone want to stalk me?” I snorted.

The Bartendress chimed in, “I think you’re perfectly stalkable.”

“You see!” cried T.

“Well, certainly no one would want to steal my identity. I owe almost $200,000 in student loans!”

“Now you’re just being silly,” T said, smacking my arm.

After more harassment (it’s pointless to argue with T), I finally agreed to change my username on here. Perhaps the haunted mansion had left its mark. In any case, though it was a great night, I was relieved to come home and cuddle with my own little furry beast.

Curious if you blog with your real name or a pseudonym?  And why?

Btw, if you’re in LA and want to experience something thrilling and fun, definitely try and see this show: http://www.hauntedplay.com/home-2012

Happy Monday, folks.


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Riding Bitch

I figure if you’re following this blog, you’re not offended by curse words. But just in case, here is your official warning: this site will sometimes use adult language (including curse words) and discuss adult subjects. No offense. It’s just how I talk and write.

Today is about the name of this blog.

Originally, “riding bitch” was the phrase my late husband Kaz used to describe being a bike passenger. I thought he made it up but, apparently, this is common slang in the motorcycle world. For example, in the photo of our shadows above, I am “riding bitch.” When I told my brother (also a motorcyclist) that I was going to travel to Kaz’s memorial on the back of a Ducati with his ashes in my purse, my brother said: “So Kaz is going to be riding bitch on his bitch.”

The phrase also refers – in a tongue-in-cheek way – to the fact that I am a newbie motorcycle rider and can sometimes be a bitch – rather, sometimes be bitchy (like any woman).  But “Riding Bitchy” just doesn’t sound right.

I’m also a Writer, but “Writing Bitch” doesn’t sound right either.

Now that I have a new dog (Ruby), it occurs to me that the phrase could have an entirely new meaning, because eventually she will be riding with me – in a sidecar (riding sidebitch?).

So, there you have it. I have no idea how this name will play out in the long run, but that’s where the name comes from.