Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Secret Thanksgiving Parade Report!

Hi everybody! Awake from your turkey coma yet? My pal Jazz (that was his Mom with mine as Lilypads in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) and I thought we'd share some behind-the-scenes photos of the big parade with you.

For our international friends, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a long-standing American tradition. This was the 83rd parade, with over 10,000 participants and 800 clowns! There are more than 3 million people on the streets to watch the parade and another 44 million watching on TV. And no, I wasn't really in the parade. Most of the participants - balloon handlers and clowns - are Macy's employees from across the country. Mom was sponsored by a friend who produces special events for Macy's. He wrote 4 of the songs performed in the parade, including "I Believe" which was nominated for an Emmy Award!

Thanksgiving Eve, Mommy met up with our pal Nelle who is a first-year student at RISD to watch the balloon inflation. This is almost as big a deal as the parade! Maybe you saw a Seinfeld episode about it? Lots of people who have apartments around the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side have parties that night.

It was a big drizzly and there were tons of people checking out the balloons.

This poor fireman looks like he's fallen down! There are nets over the balloons to keep them from floating away. In the early years of the parade, they'd release the balloons at the end and if you found one, it had an address on it so you could return it and get a reward. The big pink balloon is Abby Kadabby.

For the past few years, American artists have designed balloons as well.

Ooohh!! They're about to inflate Pikachu. First they roll him out....

then start unfolding....

...and more unfolding. Got to get that net over him too.

It takes quite a while to inflate a balloon. The inflations begin at 3:00 pm and end around 10:00 pm. Thousands of people will walk by to see them.

Here's the Energizer Bunny! He's 8 stories tall!

Poor Kermit! It isn't easy being green. Or face down.

Spiderman was back this year! He's super cool as the lines look like webs coming off of him. He's really huge - almost half a block long.

Okay Nelle! It's getting really soggy now - let's get some dinner.

Yikes! Mom's alarm didn't go off! So instead of waking up at 5:20, she woke up at 5:50! Luckily she had all her clothes laid out and ready to go. She arrived at the New Yorker Hotel - parade headquarters - around 6:05 am and still had to wait outside for about 40 minutes.

Once inside, there's a ballroom filled with costumes on racks, all in alphabetical order. It's a crazy hodge podge of snowmen, cactus and cowboys, dog walkers, flower pots, birthday cake - you name it!

After you get into your costume, you head to the next ballroom that's filled with make-up artists. They have a long list of the different types of clowns and who gets what makeup.

Here's Jazz's Mom getting her face done. Don't worry ladies, this isn't what happens when you get your makeup done on the main floor of Macy's.

TA DA! All dressed and made-up and ready to head to the buses! It's about 7:30 am now. The Parade kicks off at 9:00 sharp.

On to the buses that take us from the New Yorker Hotel on 34th street up to the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West. Anyone who looks over at one of these buses on the road would be in for big surprise!

Without the crowds, it's much easier to see the balloons as we make our way to Clown Corner. Hey! There's our pal Pikachu looking much plumper than when we last saw him. The floats, which are beautifully detailed, are built to fold down small enough to fit through the tunnel from New Jersey.

With all the excitement of the Parade, this poor pilgrim seems to have lost his head. (This is Mom's favorite photo!)

At Clown Corner, clown groups are assembled as the parade gets lined up.
It looks crazy, but it's really well organized! BAM! The confetti guns go off and Al Roker cuts the ribbon and the parade begins!

A loud speaker announces every one..."Safari Clowns (that's us!!!)...please join the parade!"
And we're off - the fastest, most fun 2 1/2 mile walk/skip through Manhattan down to the cameras and action in Herald Square.

Santa arrives at the end of the parade to officially kick off the holiday season. The little girl in the white hat is starring in the current Macy's holiday commercial - she's a ringer for a young Natalie Woods from "Miracle on 34th Street." She was thrilled to be asked to be in the parade, especially as she still believes in Santa and got to sit right next to him in his sleigh. Talk about a memory to last a lifetime.

For us clowns, the parade ends where it began at the New Yorker hotel. It's now about 10:30, so Jazz's Mom and my mom change out of their costumes, wipe off their clown makeup with baby oil (yuk!) and hop a cab back uptown for some pancakes!

Look who we passed as we drove through Columbus Circle. It reminded Mommy of the Sta-Puf Marshmellow Man in Ghostbusters!

Home for a nap and a nice walk around the neighborhood — it was nearly 60 degrees in New York! Then Mom headed out for dinner with a group of friends who've spent Thanksgiving together for the last 16 years. (This was Mom's 8th!) Everyone brings something and it is all soooo delicious. We had a big crowd this year which called for a whopping 25 pound turkey!

Our host and hostess live in a penthouse apartment directly across the street from the Empire State Building. They have a ginormous deck and just look at the view!!!

In case you felt that I was neglected on Thanksgiving, fear not! I had this delicious carob-coated cookie from my pal Bear. Mommy barely got a snapshot of it before I gobble-gobbled it up.

And look! There were even leftovers the next day!!!

Thanks to everyone who has been so great about passing along the "Blessings" award! If the wing of a butterfly can cause a hurricane on the other side of the globe, just imagine what the world would be liked if every being knew they were a blessing to someone else. So please - keep it going until every doggie, kitty cat and hammie knows that they are blessed. That's my Thanksgiving prayer.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Better than a dog on your head!

Yesterday, while I was still sound asleep, Mom snuck out of the apartment at 5:50 am to go be a clown in the 83rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! It was her 7th time marching in the parade and she said it was the best time ever!

She was a Lilypad with the Safari Clowns, right behind the Watering Can float with Mitchell Musso from Hannah Montana. If you look carefully, you could have seen her dancing around in the background while he sang! Then they had a closeup of Mom and her pals, but it was as they were going to commercial so there's a big logo over them.

Anyhow, here she is with a Frog on her head! Only appropriate that Kermit is in the background!

And here she is with her friend Susan, waiting for the parade to begin.

We're got loads of photos of "behind the scenes" Parade stuff that we'll post over the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy these Thanksgiving leftover!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Announcing a brand-new Award!

It's almost Thanksgiving. A time for gratitude, not just for the food in our bellies, the roofs over our heads and the pillows beneath them. But for sincerely thanking those individuals who have made our lives brighter, our hearts fuller and our burdens lighter.

So I've created this little award. While everyone who regularly reads this blog and leaves a comment is certainly deserving, I'd like to bestow this Award upon five individuals with the hopes that they will cut and paste the badge above for their blogs, then honor five more and so on and so on...

My first blessing has to go to Max Dog, who so generously shares his beautiful country and his Mom's even more lovely words with us.

My second blessing goes to Mango, the Relentlessly Huge, for the enormous amount of work he puts into our blog world, to keep us involved and amused with events as far-ranging as Mangominster and our trip to Africa. Through Mango, I've met some extraordinary dogs and their owners.

My third blessing goes to Clive and his Not-So-Little-Man and their family. The candor and joy they share with us has had an incredible impact on our understanding of autism and how very capable and creative autistic children can be, especially when encouraged by love and a lot of curly blond fur.

My fourth blessing is headed west to Joe Stains and the hilarious Tanner Torkelson. There isn't a day that goes by that they don't make us smile and laugh with their wit, wisdom and unflagging loyalty to their teams. (Go Yankees.)

My fifth blessing is for my bestie pal, Eric Square Dog. Truly, this fine fellow is a pal beyond measure—generous, wise and funny beyond belief. His joie de vivre is infectious and he lifts my spirits with every post.

Frankly, my blessings are beyond measure and this list could go on and on indefinitely. But for now, I'll limit myself to five. While each one of you is indeed a blessing, I think it is important to be acknowledged by name, and I'm sure each one of you will be declared a blessing as this award moves from blog to blog.

Much love, health and happiness to you all this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Is this Iowa?"

"No, Snickers, it's Heaven. But it looks a lot like Iowa. You'll feel right at home here."

Till we meet again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

House-hunting for Kira and Khrya

So Mom and I were strolling down Bleecker Street the other day, and look what we came across - the perfect new dog house for Khyra and Kira! You'll remember, I was house-hunting for me and Rosie earlier this year and came across several options that would be perfect for my friends.

This looked too good to be true, so I went inside and had a look around.

It seemed much bigger inside. I heard the sound of ice grinding and came across Lacie with her ever-present blender and her BFF Asta. "Just imagine all the parties we could have here before we'd ever run out of ice," yelped Lacie over the blender. "Of course, I wouldn't want Kira and Khyra's house to melt when I brought over a particularly hot date..."

Wandering further into the igloo, I heard the gentle tinkling of piano music — The Waltz of the Snowflakes to be precise. And there was the Not-so-Little-Man and Clive in the music room, with Murray tickling the ivories and Clive wagging his tail like a metronome
Speaking of music, I became an official Sing-a-lot Boy performing an impromtu rendition of "She's Cold as Ice" with Rosie accompanying us on the organ.

Finally I found Kira and Khyra doing what they do naturally — lounging gracefully and looking beautiful.
Hope you gals will be happy in your new home—at least until January thaw!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Turns out Max is a stuffie!

Our brave pal Max is back home from the Vet (hooray!!!) but from the photo above, you can see he clearly is a stuffie and apparently, his doctor tried to de-stuff him.

As you can see below, many of our friends are advanced surgeons when it comes to this advanced procedure.

Like Tanner, demonstrating here his delicate one-tooth approach to extraction.

Here is Dr. Asta, just an intern at the time of this photo, but already showing tremendous promise as an efficient Stuffie Surgeon.

No operation is too intimidating for Surgical Assistance Nurse Lacie who has been known to skip the patient's anesthesia in her haste to begin the operation. "This won't last but a few minutes," she brusquely replies, stuffing dangling daintily from her left canine.

Oh and should you believe that only terriers make the best stuffy surgeons, I beg to differ. Just look at the finesse my darling sister-in-law Gabbi shows as she carefully peels away the skin from this obviously ailing tennis ball.

And our beloved Head Nurse Snickers, has not only performed many successful destuffing operations, but she has also assisted Dr. Snickenstein in reversing destuffing surgeries for countless hapless wheelies.

So if our dear friend Max is indeed a stuffie, as photos report, one question remains...

"Did they remove your squeaky box, Max????"

Do drop by Max's blog and wish him a fast recovery!

Monday, November 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS!!! Max got a good report at the vet!

In fact, you could say our pal Max is doing swimmingly!

Here's the report from Max's loving Mum (my comments are in red!):

"We took Max to the Randridge Specialist Veterinary Centre, here in Johannesburg, today where he had a chest Xray and abdominal scan. Except for the one Mast Cell tumour, they could find nothing further in his body.Yipee!!! He also had various other tests which came up clear. Hip hip hooray! The tumour on the side of his body (the one which I photographed on the blog) is the only one they could find. Phew! We were phoned a short while ago by the surgeon, who told us that Max's surgery went extremely well. Thank dog! They removed the tumour and he is very optimistic. Well done! The wound however is deep and painful and Max will be on morphine until tomorrow morning when they will assess him again. Poor, brave fella, although Mommy gives morphine a big thumbs up! He may come home tomorrow, although I imagine he is now a 'battered' looking pooch. Nah, he's be telling everyone he fought off a herd of Cape Buffalo! I am so grateful and thankful for all the prayers and warm thoughts from across the world. The power of the paw strikes once again...

They obviously will be sending the tumour to the pathologist and we hope for a clean result on the margins of the tumour. So, its all VERY good news for today....MAX'S NEWS IS GOOD AND HE GOT THROUGH THE SURGERY VERY WELL!

Oh I am so grateful and so happy to have all these beautiful doggie-bloggie souls around the world." Ditto!

As many of you know, Max's Mom's mother passed away very recently so their family has been through a lot of heartache recently. They may not get a chance to post for a while, but asked me to share this wonderful news.

Time for some prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving. And continued comfort to Max's wonderful family.

Ahhh, I love great news on a Monday morning!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mom graduated from college yesterday...

CLOWN college that is!

On Thanksgiving Day, Mom will be crawling out of bed around 5:00 am to head uptown to The New Yorker Hotel to get in costume and makeup to be one of over 800 clowns in the 83rd Macy's Thanksgiving Parade! There will be close to 3 million people in the streets along the 2 1/2 mile parade route and over 44 MILLION watching on tv.

Yesterday, she and her pal Susan (Jazz's Mommy) went to Clown College to learn some tricks on clowning around. Now this will be Susan's 4th parade and Mom's 7th, so they are pretty much PhD candidates!

Last year they were Harlequin Clowns. These were very cute costumes with great funny hats.

The year before, they were Safari Clowns, near the Dora the Explorer balloon. That's what they'll be again this year. The costumes aren't great - they are hoping they can be the two alligators...
(We know a thing or two about alligators.)

On the rainest, coldest Thanksgiving Day, they had the best Clown assignment as Confetti Clowns. They were at the very start of the parade with Al Roker and got to shoot off confetti guns as he cut the ribbon, kicking off the parade. (Mom also landed about 30 seconds of camera time, if you could recognize her!)

Finally, Mom's very favorite costume —as an ear of corn with the Funny Farm Clowns. She got to make all sorts of awful puns because she is so corny.

Really glad that Tanner didn't turn my Mom into a gigantic corn shank!

And what will I be doing while she's busy on Thanksgiving morning?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cancel that ticket!!!

Phew! Just heard the great news that Miss Snickers has bounced back and her suitcase for a trip to the bridge has been shoved to the back of the closet (where our 2-leggeds keep the exercise equipment and clothes they'll wear again "when they lose a few pounds!"). Head over to Gussie's blog to read the good news direct from the source!

So as we told Clive's Not-so-little-man, give your pup a big hug, then someone nearby will feel the urge to hug their pup and soon, all those hugs will wind up in Iowa for Miss Snickers, Butchy and their Mom and Dad. And that, my friends, is the Power of the Paw!!!

Who'd ever think Friday the 13th could be such a lucky day?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Power of the Paw for Snickers and Max!

Those Holy Terriers in Da Burgh have this beautiful image on their blog and we wanted to share it, with our best wishes for good health, with Max, our South African pal, and Miss Snickers in Iowa.

Max will be seeing a specialist within the next week about removal of a Mast Cell Tumor. Miss Snickers has had swelling in her neck and throat that may be lymphoma. She'll be seeing the vet again tomorrow.

We doggies are lucky, we don't know what words like "cancer" mean or why they make our owners so worried and anxious. We wake up every day and then one day we don't. We really don't think about the future beyond our next meal or walk or cookie. I think we're much more fortunate than our people.

But right now, our people are scared and sad, so let's send Miss Snickers and Max lots of love and virtual kisses, while our people send their people loads of prayers and positive energy and love and support.

We dogs have people who love us like crazy and that makes each and every one of us a very lucky dog indeed.