Do My Brows Need Shaping?


Charlee’s Naturally Beautiful Brows

What would you say? Are my brows the straight slope? The softly rounded? Impeccably arched? Soft and feathered? (I don’t think the “tight brow” best describes me, right?) I think I’m more soft and feathered with an impeccable arch, don’t you? LMK!Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.03.01 AM


“Doctor, Doctor” – Charlee Visits a Therapist

Doctor: What makes you bark at your neighbor’s Chihuahuas?

Charlee: I don’t know. It must be a reflex.

I Don't Know Why I Bark

I Don’t Know Why I Bark

Doctor: How does it make you feel to see the Chihuahuas?

Charlee: Irritated.

Doctor: Why do you think you feel irritated?

Charlee: Well, first of all, they wear bandanas all summer and silly kilt-type jackets all winter.

Doctor: Why does this irritate you?

Charlee: Maybe because they seem so prissy. And don’t forget, they start it all – the barking, I mean. They taunt me.

Doctor: How do you think the neighbors feel when the barking wakes them up?

Charlee: Mmm, probably not exactly thrilled.

Doctor: What is your goal in barking? What is it you feel you are accomplishing by barking?

Charlee: They need to know how silly they look wearing scarves. They are male Chihuahuas after all.

Doctor: Do you think perhaps you may be suppressing feelings of attraction?

Charlee: Boys wearing girls’ accessories? Absolutely not.

Doctor: Wasn’t your sister, Bandit, (may she rest in peace) part Chihuahua?

Charlee: She was. But my neighbors are nothing like Bandit. Bandit wore a denim visor.

Doctor: Have you been spayed?

Charlee: I am 10 years old. Is this question even relevant?

Doctor: How old were you when you were spayed?

Charlee: Is this a HIPAA violation? How much is my mom paying you? I think our time is up now. I gotta go potty.

Excerpts from Charlee’s Diary

March 25, 2014 – I just hate being 10 years old. My legs aren’t what they used to be. I lost my footing and fell, hurting my bum front leg. It was more embarrassing than anything because my toenail scratched the hair off the bridge of my nose. I am considering rhinoplasty, but the best plastic surgeon my mom knows is in Manhattan. I don’t think I could get there and back without anyone noticing, especially with my nose bandaged. And does rhinoplasty even repair lost hair on the nose? I wish I could quit staring at it in the mirror.
Oh, My Nose!

April 4, 2014 – I find this sign discriminatory on several levels.

No Pets Allowed?

No Pets Allowed?

April 17, 2014 – Those Farmer’s Insurance commercials are funny. The bear on the motorcycle … still chuckling.

April 24, 2014 – So, I was reading The Wall Street Journal today and saw an article about a cat café in New York. Apparently, cat lovers can go and eat, drink “Cat’achinos” (whatever) and adopt homeless cats at this cafe. I really feel for a homeless animal in New York (even a cat, I suppose). Still, I don’t think I want to go to Manhattan for a rhinoplasty anymore.

Charlee at the Vet – A Dog Poem

To the vet this week I went with Mom for my annual check-up.
Initially, my tail-wagging thought was: “Hooray! An adventure with Mom!”
But, unfortunately, once inside did I recognize sans aplomb
The scent of needles and sound of desperate dogs’ “yups.”

“Oh no!” I whined as I turned (tail uncurled) towards the door.
“Get me out. I want out. Out, out, out – out and now.”
My mom tried to soothe me, but I wondered, “How
Could she love me and to this place me lure?”

"Get me out. I want out."

“Get me out. I want out.”

“I can handle this,” I coached myself. “I really am a smart dog.
I write poetry, right? I can do math, too. I even have my own blog.”
So, how does a smart dog survive at the vet? Just think of a way to hide!
Outside, outside, outside, of course, but an option is not outside.
Do the Polka Dots Hide My Spots?

Do the Polka Dots Hide My Spots?

Beneath two polka-dotted chairs I hid – convinced my spots would blend.
In walked the vet, something in hand, and with a mesmerizing tone,
Coaxed me from my hiding place with a large box of milk bones.
Then came that dreaded booster shot, shattering my state of Zen!

Lured by a box of milk bones? Yes, and impetuously, I did not even read,
If they were organic and gluten-free, as my mom always does for me.

The irony of my imperfect rhyme is that while I am a smart canine,
I ate humble pie, thinking it was a treat, while I got a shot in my behind.

“What Lovely Jowls You Have, My Dear!”

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

So, one of my recent adventures in desert dog walking involved Charlee seeing a dog and yanking me off balance into a cactus. The result: cactus needles embedded in my right hand and the right side of my face. Seven weeks later (after an infection requiring over 10,000 mg of antibiotics to clear and the makings of an ugly scar on my face), I visited a Scottsdale plastic surgeon to weigh my options regarding the impending scar.

Plastic surgeon’s report: the wound is still healing. Nothing can really be done at the moment. Keep doing what I am doing.

No problem, I thought.

In the next breath and with a look approaching disdain, the physician changed the subject. “You really should consider doing something about your jowls, especially at your age,” she said.

“My what?” I asked, perplexed.

With pursed lips and a generously Botox’d forehead, “Your jowls,” she repeated. “You are at the age when they can become problematic for women.”

Oh goodie. Not only have I been through a fairly traumatic seven weeks (and counting) with most likely a permanent scar on my face, but the plastic surgeon somehow felt compelled to introduce a completely new and unrelated issue unbeknownst to me and with such a lovely connotation … “jowls.” Truly, the word alone could create an anaphylactic response for some.

Fortunately, my ordeal with the cactus and ensuing infection must have primed me for this conversation, because I was ready for it. “Really? What do you typically suggest for jowls? Do I need a facelift?” I asked, knowing the question was ludicrous.

“Oh no! You are too young for a facelift,” the physician gave a startled laugh. “We typically recommend a procedure to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the skin.”

“Really? And what are the results of such a procedure? The jowls disappear permanently?”

“Oh no. Results are very subtle,” she explained. “And you don’t really have jowls, per se. I am simply saying that, at your age, you should be thinking about procedures to stave off those ugly things.” She paused a moment, assessing me, and added, “We could probably do your jowls and entire face and neck for about $2,500.” (The continued allusions to my age thrilled me as much as the inclusion of my “entire face and neck” in the context of a blue-light special.)

“I just want to understand,” I said, seeking clarity. “You mean ‘do’ the jowls that I don’t yet have for only $2,500, and you will throw in my entire face and neck?”

“That’s correct,” she nodded, seemingly quite satisfied with her sales prowess. “It would be more of a preventive procedure in your case.”

“Ahh. Well, I think not. My concern is the scar at the moment,” I explained more graciously than I felt. That marked the rather disappointing end of an appointment I had anticipated with such hope.

As I drove home, the plastic surgeon’s words echoed in my head. “Preventive procedures for jowls,“ I muttered aloud. “Women my age,” I snorted.

Did it require a healthy dose of fear and humility like a severe infection, the Grand Canyon of facial wounds, not to mention nearly seven weeks of living the life of a hermit – all to recognize the shallowness and the vanity of scheduling today’s appointment in the first place? Or, was I able to make this observation because jowls are not yet a part of my daily repertoire?

I sighed, knowing I could psychoanalyze this for the rest of the day, month and year (because that’s what I tend to do). Instead, I hurried home for a welcome by Charlee and her unproblematic jowls. (I can only hope mine will be as beautiful as hers some day.)

The Exorbitant Cost of Walking Your Dog in Scottsdale

Contemplating a Dog Walker

Contemplating Hiring a Dog Walker

It can cost a fortune to walk your dog in Scottsdale, especially if you are a woman. No, I am not referring to therapy sessions or ER visits to cope with the javelinas, coyotes, bobcats, snakes, Gila monsters and scorpions. I am referring to the actual cost of walking your dog in Scottsdale, i.e., the desert version of Beverly Hills.

Let’s start with your dog walking attire – a lululemon ensemble, of course, and it runs about $200 if you include the sports bra. Then, you need some MBT sports sandals in a variety of colors to complement your color scheme for the day. The most stylish ones run between $130-$200.

And, you cannot spend that much money on your clothes if you are flabby. You will need a personal trainer several hours each week … another $200.

Next, skincare is of utmost importance in the desert, especially when you are outside for 30-45 minutes several times each day. I use and recommend a variety of products. For sunscreen, I prefer the COOLA organic suncare collection. To moisturize the skin around my eyes, I love SkinMedica; for full face, I prefer Jan Marini. The “I-had-the-best-tan-of-anyone-in-the-world-during-my-teens-and-20s” sun damage repair is a work-in-progress with Obagi’s Nu-Derm System and Fraxel laser treatments at the helm. Estimated total cost for skincare: several thousands of dollars.

Of course, you must keep your hair conditioned in this desert oven. My preferred hair care lines are Oribe and Moroccan Oil these days, but I am a fickle consumer. Cost? Conservatively, $300 for my favorite mists, creams and oils from each line.

What about the mandatory manicure and pedicure? Those hands and heels must be hydrated, and nails adorned with shiny polish. Add $75-$150 if you visit a salon. (I prefer to do my own. The OPI nail polish line makes me happy, although Dior is my favorite. For hydrating the desert heels, nothing works better for me than Theraplex Emollient.)

I won’t even delve into the Botox, Dysport, Restylane and Perlane treatments (or other plastic surgery procedures). You can easily add thousands more to your dog walking expenditures, depending on the “work” done and which plastic surgeon or dermatologist does the “work.”

Bottom line: it’s cheaper to hire a dog walking service.

Not All Spots Are Blemishes


Did anyone else experience breakouts on school picture day? Since I was 16 years old, I have had a blemish for picture day (even for re-takes). Yesterday (Sunday) was no different. Yes, several years (okay, decades) later, knowing a photographer from church was scheduled to take my photograph, I was riddled with skin issues. Let’s add to this the fact that I needed to visit the Christian Dior counter at Nordstrom after Sunday morning worship service. Even my 5-inch heels, really quite breathtaking, could not upstage what seemed to be a 5-inch-in-diameter pimple on my left cheekbone.

“Have you been helped?” asked a beautiful woman with flawless skin who was representing Christian Dior.

“I have not,” I smiled, dropping my car keys strategically near my right foot so I could bend down, hoping my shoes would grab her attention. “I am here to pick up my pre-order.” I gave her my name, and she whisked away to collect my sack of goodies.

Upon her return and NOT noticing my shoes, of course, she asked way too nonchalantly, “Do you use our skincare line?”

“I do not,” I smiled in reply, my head tilted to the side with a look that translated, “You must have spotted the white elephant.”

“We have a product that clears the skin right up,” she said with a kindly look of pity.

Sigh. “Thank you, but I actually do see a dermatologist’s office regularly, where I buy wonderful skincare products. I even visit a plastic surgeon’s office for monthly chemical peels.” (I was experiencing shortness of breath by this time.) “If it helps at all, I know I look terrible today. I’m having my picture made this afternoon,” I explained matter-of-factly as though Mount Everest happened to everyone systematically on picture day. She frowned as much as the Botox would allow, clearly (no pun intended) not understanding the connection.

“Not at all, Madam. You have beautiful skin.” (This did not even qualify as a white lie. She needed to repent after that statement. In all fairness, she was the epitome of everything I love about Nordstrom … outstanding customer service, knowledgable, professional. I just had a zit large enough for a birth announcement.)

And oh goodie, why not, this had to be the day the computer system was running painfully slowly. (When does this ever happen at Nordstrom? On picture day, of course.) “Let’s move to this counter. The system is usually much faster over here,” she explained, moving us to the glitzy Hollywood counter with unforgiving lighting. Sigh again.

Yes, there is more to the story, but the humble pie is choking me. Needless to say, I was glad to get home to my photogenic Charlee, whose brown and black spots would not be considered imperfections even in the world of Christian Dior.