Return to the Scene of the “Crime”

During a recent heat wave I decided to head to the beach with the dogs. Since I have no patience for sitting on the sand, I thought that Santa Monica would be perfect. The pier is a tourist attraction with lots of activity. Even better, there’s a pedestrian path that goes down to Venice.

ELBEE That sounded good to me. I like the beach although I’m not much of a surfer. I was, however, a little suspicious when I heard that Venice was on the agenda.

As soon as we walked up the steps to the pier, Gus and Elbee, with all of their hair blowing in the breeze, were surrounded by people. I lost count of how many wanted to take pictures. All that was missing were the “puparazzi.”

ELBEE I knew she couldn’t resist that lame joke. By the way, I’m pretty sure I saw Kendall Jenner and another model type on the pier. They had their own professional camera man with them. Why didn’t I?

Things stayed interesting on the ocean path. An adorable toddler in big sunglasses came over to pet the dogs. Two seemingly drunk men asked if I knew where there was a liquor store. Someone yelled out “Look at those diva dogs.”

ELBEE He was obviously very astute. 

 

 

 

That last remark was our welcome to Venice Beach which is a crazy, fascinating place that has become even messier since the last time I was there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still, I couldn’t resist posing the Doods for these touristy photos.

As if!!
Just embarrassing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELBEE As for the one on the right, I don’t know which is worse, that she took the picture or that she’s sharing it here. And take a look at this one below. They’re opening a Muscle Beach History Museum! I think Pack Leader is hoping to secure a place. What is she? Arnold?

To be honest, I’m not sure if Venice Beach is the site of my former glory or of my former crime against “carpool momdom.” I had done a few bodybuilding shows before I competed there but they were sort of under the radar. The first was in Fresno. The other one or two were in places that no one in my daily life except my family would know about. Competing in Venice was like “Woo hoo, here I am.”

GUS “Woo hoo?” I don’t even say that.

To make it even better, Nicole, the middle daughter, was turning eleven and wanted to have her birthday party at the show. She probably wasn’t old enough to be embarrassed. To this day I wonder what the other parents thought about it. At least no one called child protective services.

Nicole had one special request. She asked if everyone could sing Happy Birthday to her if I won. I mentioned it to the emcee who loved the idea and brought Nicole up on stage as soon as I became Ms. Venice Beach.

ELBEE That was subtle.

 

Seeing the microphone in my face is probably disconcerting to anyone who knows about my singing. The good news is that with a thousand people in the crowd, no one could hear me.

 

 

THE DOODS Amen to that. Remember, we’ve heard her in the car.

 

 

Another Birthday, Another Butt Burner

Some people celebrate their birthdays with dinner at a favorite restaurant. Others like to get a cake from a special bakery. I celebrate by hiking up the butt burner, which maybe I should rethink considering that my birthday is in July and it’s really hot outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELBEE Maybe she should consider going to a senior cooling center instead.

The birthday was on a nice morning as far as summer mornings go. There were a few clouds and a soft breeze. As I began my way up the trail, I was enjoying the scenery and the tranquility. It was challenging, but I was happy that I could still do it.

ELBEE Hello, she just did it last week so it’s not really much of a stretch. On the other hand, I’m impressed that she can still do it at her age. I’ve done the butt burner and it’s not easy. I absolutely refuse to do it in the summer heat, though. It ruins my hair.

As for this unfortunate photo, it’s her first birthday since Charley passed so I let her dress me up. I’d prefer to be anonymous but I’m so well known by now, that’s almost impossible.

Then the air warmed up, the sun got stronger, the breeze disappeared and I started thinking that going shopping might be a better alternative. To add insult to injury, the show offs who had set out early were smiling and waving as they passed me on their way down. Not to mention the young ones who ran by me on their way up. Hey, I never said anything about not complaining.

Undeterred and sweating, I kept going. About forty minutes later,  I made it to dirt Mulholland, an unpaved road that crosses through the Santa Monica Mountains. Since it was the birthday hike, I climbed a little higher where there is a beautiful ocean view. From there I decided to really go for it and come down a short steep hill that only the “regulars” use. It involves a bit of slipping and sliding but is really fun.

ELBEE No wonder the daughters think she’s a shade short of cuckoo.

As I made it to the bottom, feeling pretty good about myself, I saw a guy holding his phone and leaning against his bike on the side of Mulholland. He looked at me and said, ” I was just watching you and waiting to call 911. Figured you were going to wipe out at any moment.” I debated whether he was being thoughtful or making an age crack.

GUS Even I know that was an age crack. 

ELBEE Apparently, dressing us up has become another birthday obsession for Pack Leader. I mean, look at Gus (are you kidding me) and poor Riley!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birthday that Just Keeps on Giving

A few days after my “big” birthday, I received a card from my local councilman. Since this had never happened before, I wondered why the recognition. Was it my blog? Was it the Doods? Was it because I’m a model citizen?

20160209_171423-1_resizedTHE DOODS We hate to burst her bubble but it was probably because she’s old or because he’s running for reelection.

Then a day later, I received another birthday surprise. The youngest daughter and the husband sent a gift box.

THE DOODS We all thought the gifts were hysterical. We hate to say it but sometimes we seem to have a more finely tuned sense of humor than Pack Leader.

First, following my up close and personal encounter feeding a squirrel out of my hand (for which you know I got a ton of static) was this t-shirt. Since the squirrel didn’t bite me and give me rabies, I think I may have earned the title.

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Squirrel Whisperer
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Elbee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELBEE OMG I feel like one of those magazine comparisons of “who wore it best.” Is there any question with my fabulous hair and toned back?

The next gift was a water bottle that says, “KEEP CALM. HIKE ON.” Despite the fact that the daughters aren’t thrilled with some of my hiking adventures, I think this was a vote of confidence.

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ELBEE Again with the sunglasses? PL needs to get some professional help for her obsession with putting these on us all of the time, although I do like the bottle. 

After the bottle, I unwrapped a blogging organizer. They were referring to me as a real blogger. Awhile back, Nicole, the middle daughter, gave me a t-shirt that said, “World’s Greatest Blogger.” Hey that’s two out of three. The oldest still refuses to read my posts, but shares the photos so her friends can crack up at how much the Doods and I look alike.

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Charley and pushy Gus

THE DOODS Coincidentally, the almost 12 year old son of the blog non-reader said something amusing to PL recently. He told her that blogging was so last season (our words, not his) and that she should be vloging, like she knows what that is.

 

 

 

THE DOODS The last present is brilliant. Kudos to the youngest daughter. This is so awesome we forgive her for accusing us of peeing in the living room. As if!

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