Dog Songs: Grabbing Joy at the Unicorn Discotheque

My iPod is really kind of an embarrassment. I use maybe .0004% of its capacity, my playlists are weird and narrow, and let’s face it–it’s mostly 90s. There is a decent amount of blues, a dash of 70s, some pretty terrific stuff from the 2010s. And while the 80s produced a LOT of really abysmal crap, there was some downright awesome music, too.

So I have all of my songs on shuffle, because I have stuff to do and can’t be arsed to choose a playlist when I’m going somewhere. I’d rather skip through dozens of songs like a maniac until I find the perfect one, doncha know. Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” has gotten lodged in my head after coming up on the playlist recently. But instead of being annoying, it’s made me quite happy because it has fed another ongoing source of joy for me: my dogs.

Seti is, like all of our dogs, a rescue from a local shelter. She is an incredibly sweet and good dog, even handling our recent addition to the family beautifully. But for weeks after she got here, we couldn’t for the life of us name her. We had plenty of names that we loved, but they just weren’t HER. For whatever reason, her first and enduring nickname (our dogs historically have about ten names apiece) was Puppypie. Eric almost immediately worked this into “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and I banged out some new lyrics:

Puppypie, you are so crazy and I don’t know why/

You want to stay up watching “Superfly”/

Oh, I believe in Puppypie…

You get the idea. It was cute at first, then quickly became hideous because Eric wouldn’t. Stop. Singing it. Then some time passed, she finally told us what her name was, and it became cute again.

Now, I have many fine qualities that make me a decent, productive human citizen; being even a tolerable singer is not one of them. It’s not good, you guys. I have friends who also can’t sing, but love to do it in the car or shower anyway. I can’t even do that. Nope, nope, that’s not helping anybody out.

But oh, to sing to my dogs. The privilege! The joy! The absolute lack of judgment! They may think I’m insane, but they’re not talking. And really, they will take all the attention they can get, so I’m chalking this up as a victimless crime.

Back to Nena.

It’s not just that I have “99 Luftballoons” in my head, it’s that I’ve got my new lyrics, too, about my beloved little mutt:

“Puppypie in a little toy shop/

Buys a bag of balloons with the money she’s got…”

And now all I can think about is my sweet pup who had a rough start in life but landed safely and now is buying herself some balloons with her walking-around money. This is totally weird, I know, and couldn’t be further from the anti-war anthem the original is. But it makes me indescribably happy that our girl got another chance and is now thriving away from the chaos and want she came from.

Joy is a weird, slippery little monkey and you have to grab it with both hands when you find it, wherever it is. Shit is getting weirder and weirder these days, you guys, and it would be the worst kind of extravagance to waste joy.

I also find my pockets of joy in the following places, to name but a few:

Laughing and being incredibly inappropriate (to say the least) with my husband and friends; knitting; doing yoga; walking on the beach every chance I get; excellent naps and baths; watching a really smart movie or TV show; making a new friend who is similarly twisted and bent. It’s like falling in love, really.

So lick those beaters clean. Go find your joy, or remember it. Make it where you can; don’t worry about how it looks to someone else.  Most importantly, GET AMONGST IT.



Getting Bounced from the Unicorn Discotheque

I’m writing to you from the sidewalk outside the Unicorn Discotheque.

Try as I might, sometimes I just can’t get into that place. It is damned hard. I can see the lights, hear the throb of the music, sense the “zero fucks given” vibe from inside… and this mofo bouncer won’t let me in.

For those who have never heard of it, the Unicorn Discotheque is where I go in my head when it’s all. Too. Much. It is a fine place.

The UD is home to feel-good, funny TV. It can be smart, but not heavy. Parks and Recreation gets played a LOT in there. Ditto The IT Crowd, Peep Show, 30 Rock, The Good Wife, Seinfeld, etc. The show may deal with less-than-funny issues, but not so serious they can’t be tidily wrapped up by the end of the show.

There is no world news in the UD. Not even local news, come to think of it. We walk a fine line between keeping ourselves sane and burying our heads in the sand. It is a tricky line to navigate.

Facebook usage is severely limited, DUH.

Texting is permissible. Between very funny and smart people, it is actually encouraged. No gossip, though. Not a single one of us is an angel, but the UD is not the place to feed our baser impulses. If it makes you feel icky, or icky about yourself, pass when you are in the UD’s hallowed halls.

Por ejemplo: So I got my nails done yesterday, a rare treat. The color looked okay in the bottle, kind of a neutral violet hue. The tech was a few nails in when I noticed that, uh, this shade looks kind of terrible on me. Out of the bottle, the violet is more of a beige…. But who cares? I was in with a dear friend who was visiting from out of town, and we decided to get manicures on the spur of the moment because we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye yet. I think the shade is godawful on me but now I’m kind of perversely into it. So into it that I spent much of last evening texting with a different buddy about what horrible names this color should have been named. They were exceptionally rude, I mean, so bad that I’m not totally sure I want to publish them here. The nicest and most PG name I came up with was Corpse Mauve. You get the idea. We had a LOT of fun with this.

I still haven’t fully realized that my buddy is gone again. (She’s not dead, Brown. Get a grip. Jesus.) It won’t be pretty when I figure it out, and maybe this is why I just can’t get past the UD’s velvet ropes today, no matter how I try.

Here’s why getting into the Unicorn Discotheque is sometimes a real bitch:

How dare I get  a manicure when my good friend is in town? What about Paris, and puppy mills? What about the dogs at the animal shelter that I didn’t save? What about the people who don’t have a warm and safe place to sleep while it is so Christing cold? How dare we indulge ourselves?

Don’t I owe everybody an explanation?!

No. No, I don’t. I know that today, and believe me, I’m working on it. But that noise, right there, is what makes it so hard to get into the UD sometimes: Guilt. Worry. Sadness. Powerlessness. I can’t always make it through the doors, and that’s okay. I don’t think the feelings are quite done with me yet.

The difference is, today I know the Discotheque is there. Tomorrow, I might even get in. And while it might be juuuust out of reach, I have you guys here with me. I never have to be alone again.

So… who’s got a cigarette?

Here’s Why the Bathrooms in the Unicorn Discotheque Are Excellent

By now you’ve probably noticed that these complaints of mine are not original, they are simply my way of sending out a plea for civility into the void. If these issues weren’t so rampant, I wouldn’t need to keep kvetching about them.The point of today’s rant is not that we behave perfectly, but that we try every day to be decent to each other in small and undoubtedly inconvenient ways.
Cleaning up after yourself and yours is never fun, but ask yourself: do you really expect the world to do it for you? If your dog shits somewhere that’s not on your property, pick it up. It’s gross, but not hard. The rest of the world is not your (nor your dog’s) toilet; no one else need experience the worst parts of having a pet, while you enjoy the best. Unless you truly forgot to bring a bag, or it is too dark to see, or it’s pretty much liquid, there is no excuse for not picking it up. If you simply  leave it there, you are communicating to the rest of us that we are your maids, and if we don’t want your shit, we should pick it up ourselves. This is unacceptable. 
Ladies: if you hover over the toilet seat when you pee in a public restroom (and who could blame you?), please leave the seat dry. By trying to avoid the disgusting thing that is that toilet seat and not cleaning up after yourself, YOU ARE MAKING IT THAT DISGUSTING THING. If I follow you, I have the choice to either sit in your urine (or your child’s), or wipe up after you. I suppose I could just add to the puddle of pee, but that is also unacceptable.
Usually, in my crankiness, I dismiss this behavior as mere self-absorption. And maybe it is. But sometimes I wonder if it isn’t a form of self-loathing that, like most self-loathing, spills out (sorry) in strange ways to affect those around us. “If I don’t clean it up, then I don’t have to acknowledge it. If I get away from the scene of my mess, it will become your problem and I can forget I ever made it.”
The same person who leaves a damp toilet seat is likely the same person who will exit the stall, wash her hands (Jesus, please tell me you at least wash your hands), then take about a million selfies until she deems one suitable to upload to social media: “Trying to get purty in maybe the nastiest bathroom EVRRRR.” 
Don’t even get me started on the goddamn selfies. Sweetie, you look fine. Now give that toilet seat a swipe.
My point is, the time spent literally trying to show your best face to the world might be better spent making said world just a little less gross for those of us who actually share it with you.
Honey, you really do look fine. And if you don’t look fabulous, no one actually cares that much. It simply does not matter. A truly beautiful person is a whole, real person who understands that we are funky organisms that some even funkier stuff comes out of, all the time. Denying that fact serves no one, especially not you. 
All this to say, the bathrooms in the UD are by no means perfect (who has time?), but they are damn clean because we are not dicks in the Unicorn Discotheque.

Unicorn Discotheque guest posts!

Just a quick FYI: The Unicorn Discotheque will be popping in from time to time. It looks a little something like this:setiselfie1The husband took this picture (bugger cropped himself out). What you see here is my silly face, and that of our beautiful dog. I loathe selfies, but I like this one because it looks like the dog is taking the photo.

I technically can clean up better than this, but seldom care to because FUCK IT, that’s why.

Step into the Unicorn Discotheque


It’s early days here on my blog, so I will likely pick random things about my weird mental makeup to talk about for some time. One of these things is the Unicorn Discotheque.

You might call it your Happy Place; we’ve all got one, and mine is the UD. What you will find within its magical, imaginary walls is pretty much anything outside the realm of the serious, political, newsworthy, or even heartwarming. (Have you ever noticed how things that are heartwarming are comprised largely of sad things? THERE IS NO SAD IN THE UNICORN DISCOTHEQUE.)

I mentally check myself into the UD when I am dwelling far too much on things I can’t control (which as it turns out, is a lot of things). In fact, I write to you from the UD right now; I admitted myself the other day after the shooting in Berkeley, MO.

My symptoms include, but are not limited to: not wanting to hear any more shrill conjecture from people who have no more information than anyone else; witch hunting; “us vs. them”-mongering; name-calling; excessive judgment of other people’s experiences; people who say “should” like it’s their job… you get the idea.

We have not had cable in our home for years for several good reasons–not the least of which is we’d rather put out our eyes than give Comcast a dime of our money. Additionally, the 24-hour news cycle is a soul-crushing juggernaut. It’s not enough for a thing to be tragic and terrible, we have to tart it up, turn up the volume, and beat it past the point where we can recognize the features of the actual event. It is exhausting and deeply depressing, not to mention completely unproductive.

I am not advocating that we bury our heads in the sand here, just that maybe we don’t have to turn other people’s tragedies into pain porn. The next time we catch ourselves licking our collective chops over that celebrity going into rehab AGAIN, it’s time to take a step back and tend our own crops. What if we did something useful instead? Help out a friend who’s having a rough time; spend an afternoon at your local animal shelter; clear out your pantry and closet so someone else can have a little more.

That’s the ticket: usefulness. And when we’re not being useful? That’s right.


Declare a moratorium on heavy shit for a day or two. Abstain from drama and bitching on Facebook. Post a lovely comment or memory on the wall of someone you haven’t talked to in a while (a friend did this for me today and it made me feel like a million bucks). Indulge in deeply silly memes. Post unabashedly proud pictures of your kid, your dog (please post dog pictures. I love them.), your parents, how terrible your hair is that day and how little of a damn you give.

The Unicorn Discotheque is a lovely place with loads of room; come on in.