Sometimes blogging feels a bit like being part of a large, extended, meddling, disfunctional Italian family. So much advice and suggestions from soooo very many. Last week a reader asked me, “Renee, since you named your blog for your dogs, why don’t you write about them more?” So Janelle, from Michigan, this post is for you!
Baxter is in class on Mondays; he’s a great candidate for being a therapy dog at hospitals or senior centers, so we’ll see if he makes it to The Big Show! He is the most intelligent pet I’ve ever lived with (please don’t let Reggae read this!), but his brain is matched only by his obstinate nature. The downside of the Booger’s arrival in our family is that the bigger and more dominant he becomes, the shyer and more passive Pooter is. On balance, I don’t think she’s ready to return him to the breeder, but there are days when a little Booger goes a LONG way.
I read that Boxers are the clowns of the canine world, and it’s certainly true for this guy. Last week he discovered my yummy Polartec robe and came prancing down the hallway modeling it. I thought he looked like a prize fighter about to enter the ring with his satin robe thrown over his shoulders.
Last week, leaving the vet’s office, we saw a beautiful female boxer, about 20 pounds lighter than Baxter. It was odd, because, even with the size disparity, they looked like carbon copies of one another. They almost seemed to recognize each other. Come to find out, it was Ginger, a sister from Baxter’s litter! Talk about a small world, and no, I still do not want to paint it! So, Janelle, are we good?
As you may recall, at the last posting of “Texas Toast” I’d just completed my first day of “go-sees” in Milan, Italy, where I’d been sent in exile and disgrace after my most humbling month in Paris. Career-wise, this was apparently the equivalent of My Last Supper. I had been working non-stop for the first four days after I arrived, when I was summoned to the modeling agency office. How would I feel about spending ten days shooting in Tunisia? And, also, would I consider extending my stay in Italy by a few more months? Apparently, a bridal magazine wanted to book me for a month-long shoot traveling all over the country.
I was black and blue from pinching myself. How could this be happening after the debacle in Paris? Could a mere 500 miles make such a night and day difference? It truly did seem like one country’s trash could be another’s treasure! Clients, photographers, and magazines could not have been more welcoming, and better yet, put their money where their mouths were. So much money was rolling in I felt like I was playing Monopoly. I felt confident enough to check out of my perfectly acceptable, though modest hotel, and checked into the magnificent Hotel Diana Majestic, which would be my home for the next four months.
This was the first taste of true luxury that I’d ever experienced in my life. I lived in a huge suite, where everything was white on white. There were balconies overlooking an interior courtyard with flowing fountains, a fabulous restaurant and bar, and a delightfully fawning staff. In retrospect this was a silly extravagance, since I was on the road so much of the time, but I was like a kid in a candy store, living la dolce vita and having a blast!
- There was one humorous, but quite odd aspect to my Milan modeling life. Apparently there existed a cadre of men, some titled and some not, usually quite wealthy from family money, who wanted to be photographed out and about with the model equivalent of “The Flavor of the Week”. These were not one-on-one dates, but loosely organized affiliations of models and men generally late 20’s to 40-something. Professional bachelors, who, for one reason or another, chose not to participate in the quest to find soulmates. Some were gay, some didn’t want to risk the family fortune on what could turn into a bad marriage, some wanted nagging, aging parents off their backs. Apparently being seen in the tabloids with a constantly changing parade of young women fit the bill. These evenings were encouraged by my agency, as it certainly didn’t hurt for their models to be caught by the paparazzi. So it came to be that I was out dining and discoing in all the best places every single night I was in Milan. I also vaguely remember a couple of helicopter trips to the gorgeous seaside resort of Portofino.
At some point during my second month in Italy, the Paris agency called to inform me that they were thrilled with my ‘resurrection’, and that they were eagerly awaiting my return to them to pay off my “debt”. One thing was certain; I was never, ever setting foot in that city again. They can call it ‘The City of Lights’ all they want, but to me it will forever be ‘The City of YIKES’. As in, hell no, mama ain’t going back there; not til hell freezes over and the devil wears ice skates. I also had the reassurance of knowing that if my return to NYC was less than triumphant, I could always return to Milan and have a very successful career. A fall back is a good thing to have.
And in a moment of largesse I decided to throw Baseball Bat Boy a bone, and bring him to Milan to visit for the final six weeks of my stay. After all, he had no job to hold him in NY, and I was paying for a humongous suite. He was an architect by training and I knew he would love the opportunity to see some of Europe. What Boy didn’t realize when he accepted my invitation was that it would be his swan song. I now knew I could swim in the sea without that very gay albatross around my neck, dragging me down. Actually ejecting him from my life would end up taking longer and be much more difficult than I could have imagined. In time, I would shed him like a rattlesnake sheds its skin, and one more chapter in my Texas book would be closed.