Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lab Notes: National Dog Day 2019!

Hello dear ones,

My name is Nash. I'm Andrew's Yellow Lab. There's another canine fellow living  here too named Nick, a Golden Retriever. He's a real piece of work that one, and wouldn't retrieve anything if his life depended on it - but more about him later.

Technically we belong to Mr. Farber, the rich man who owns this house and three-acre property. But Andrew is our go-to guy for treats, walks in the park, and unpleasant visits to our vet. Basically we're outdoor dogs, mainly because the humans around here are afraid we'll shed or pee or poop inside the house - which is more Nick's fault than mine, but I get blamed for it too.

Anyhow, it's been really hot today so Andrew let us go upstairs to his garage apartment to chill and watch TV. While he's out running errands, I'm taking the opportunity to jump on his laptop (which he really doesn't like!) to remind you that National Dog Day is coming up on the 26th on this month. I thinks it's so cool how it corresponds with the Dog Days of Summer, which Nick and I have both enjoyed immensely.

The thing is, we've got it good here with our rich owners; plenty of food and treats, a really fun groomer coming once a week to tidy us up, and there's a huge infinity swimming pool in the back yard that's open all night. Rich people have a thing for pedigreed dogs like me and Nick, which I don't fully understand. But I can't help but worry about all the homeless dogs I see out there roaming around on the streets without pedigrees, and the desperate ones in shelters.

There's so much we can all do to help. Like when Andrew takes me to Petco (one of the few pitiful stores that lets my species come in) he always hits the "Donate" button to shelters when we get to the cash register. In fact, rich humans can add animal shelters to their charity list (especially the no-kill ones!) and many of them do already. They and we can also donate our time just to go to the shelters to pet and play with all the abandoned cats and dogs who need affection so badly.

Humans can also volunteer to be temporary foster parents until a permanent home can be found for lonely souls. Nick told me he had foster parents at one point in his life but they took him back and exchanged him for a cat, which wouldn't surprise me one bit! But I'm pretty sure he said that just to scare and intimidate me. I know for a fact (from his chart at the vet) that he's been here since he was a little pup.

It's not that Nick is a bad guy, but he really gets on my nerves. He got to this house first and claimed his territory. Ok, fine, I understand that. But then when I came along he was totally indignant and never lets me forget for one minute that this is his place. If someone dares to pet me on the head, he'll absolutely knock me over to get his own head petted. When it's time for treats, he gets his first or otherwise there's a scuffle.

Then if Andrew or anyone else is throwing tennis balls (which I LOVE to chase) Nick just lays there like  "Let that other fool run after it". Which makes me furious! Some retriever, huh?

His whole game is controlling the balls, not running after them. And he will spend his entire miserable day trying to get the ball away from me. Like if I go down to the pool to take or swim, or god forbid take a nap, then BOOM! the ball is gone! Seriously, the guy has issues which really drive me mad. (Well, not that kind of mad; I have all my rabies shots and can prove it!)

Uh oh! I just heard Andrew's car door slam! He'll be coming up the stairs any minute! Gotta close his laptop quick and curl up in a corner, like I'm sleeping!

Until next time...


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Unique Christmas Gifts for the Rich!

Yes, I know it's only the middle of summer. But while our rich employers are frolicking on the beach at their summer retreats, I assure you that all over the globe personal assistants, personal secretaries, personal shoppers, and house manager/butlers like me are already busy making plans for Christmas.

As absurd as that may sound, it's absolutely urgent to pin down holiday parties so that you can get the event planner, the caterer, florist, musicians, tent-rental company, valet parkers and security all on the same page for the same date.

It also takes time to design and print holiday greeting cards, save-the-date notices, party invitations, and thank-you notes - especially if you're engaging a noted designer of some repute. Then, for your closest friends and loved ones, if you're Christmas gift this year includes a luxury car with a custom designed interior, that takes the motor companies time, right? Likewise custom designed jewelry; it takes time to research and pick out the best stones, and then to decide upon the right setting.

Moreover, there's the endless gifts to the vast array of friends and associates to figure out, which in the world of the rich and super rich can be extremely complicated and tricky. So yes, Christmas plans start early in this crazy nutty world. Over the past few years I've written several posts describing ideas and distinctive gifts that might aid in the struggle.

In a post called Luxury Gifts for the Rich and Super Rich I recommended perusing the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog, or wandering through the London Silver Vaults for unique gifts, which still holds true today. In The Orient Express I mentioned gifts of travel being the up and coming thing, which always creates a stir. And in What To Buy For Someone Who Has Everything I brought up the basic stable of fine wines, brandy, and cognacs as being welcome gifts on any occasion.

If you have a moment, this year I'll add a few more ideas:

How about hiring a renowned photographer to take pictures of your elaborate grounds and gardens and turn them into meditative works of art for the interior walls of your home? Here's a link to Curtis H. Jones Pure Nature Fine Art Photography and his various soothing styles. You can contact him personally at and ask him about the luxury Magical Backyard Art Photography service. (This could be quite a unique gift, especially if done in secret while your friends, the homeowners, are away for the day.)

On another note, Cartier's famous Tank Watches are for the ages and appropriate for both men and women nowadays. In the world of luxury horology they're surprisingly not that expensive, many in the $3,000 to $10,000 range. It might be advisable to have a few of these on hand in your gift closet for those last-minute surprises, or perhaps a forgotten birthday.

For more frivolous gifts, there's always Hammacher Schlemmer. This depends, of course, on how well you know your rich friends and their interests, and when the need to impress each other with expensive gifts is no longer necessary. For over 170 years this company has been offering the most unique and crazy gadgets under the sun, and it's a lot of fun just to browse through their catalog.

Finally (also on an arguably-frivolous note) how about giving your friends the gift of a White Christmas, no matter what part of the country or climate they live in, by covering their home and gardens with snow? Prices vary from city to city and depends on how much coverage and depth of snow you want, of course. But imagine the delight in children's eyes in Miami or Phoenix, Arizona when they wake up to snow on Christmas day. Priceless! Just Google "snow machine" in your city to find an estimate.

I hope this has been somewhat helpful in making your gift plans this year? It's never easy buying things for the rich.

As always, thanks for stopping by this evening.

And Happy Shopping!