Month: December 2013

TueNight’s Best from 4 Months of Awesome

Give Tears for Fears a sandwich… After laughing over a gallery of ’80s musicians today (man, we’ll have what the Human League is having), a friend commented, “Feeling curiously old and young at the same time.” Bingo. That’s where we are here at TueNight. Stuck in the middle with you. A very good place to be. While it’s only been four months, we thought we’d share 12 of our favorite stories from 2013. How did we pick ’em? It wasn’t an exact science (although I did make a delicious spreadsheet). We tabulated based on page views and comments, but we also looked at the stories that defined our voice and diversity of perspective. Because if we have a goal here at TueNight, it’s to be a little messy. As Gen-X women, we’re not easy to sum up, categorize, scrutinize, organize or understand. And we like it that way. The Best of TueNight Dinosaur Jr.: On Entering the Puberty of Old Age. The story that kicked us off. Silly Things People Have Said To Me When I …

The TueNight Gift Guide Part Two

  It’s Part Two! We had so much gifting goodness that we couldn’t pack it into one week. So without further ado, here’s week two! Drive safely, stay warm, don’t eat too many Hershey’s Kisses from your sister-in-law’s candy dish (oh, sorry, that was for me) and much peace and joy. Happy Holidays, everyone! This Week: Pavia on Travel. Adrianna on Gifts for Kids. Piers on Gifts for Men. Margit on Tech. CraftFoxes on Handmade Gifts. Susan on Organic Beauty and Gifts for Writers. 11 Gifts for that Office Secret Santa. Tamar on gifts for carb lovers. Last Week: Maura on Music. Bethanne on Books. Kim F. on Style. Kim O. on Foods You Can Make. Rachel on Sexy Gifts. (NSFW!) Teresa on Dog Gifts. Susan on Gifts for Your Sober Pals. Amy on Healthy Goodies. Suzanne on Gifts That Give Back. Jenna looks back at her Gifts of Christmas Past, to her husband — the good, the bad and the unopened.

5 Gifts for Kids That They Don’t Already Have

It’s always difficult to pick out presents for kids (especially other people’s) when you’re trying to avoid buying all that overpriced plastic, branded crap. Especially during the holidays. I’ve stealthily built up my own repertoire of unique, original presents never to be found at Target.   1. Lambswool Duster/Magic Wand The first time I saw one of these, it was sitting on an artist’s table and I didn’t even recognize it as a cleaning tool. My first instinct was to pick it up and start “poof”ing everything around me, which I did. Replace the black twine handle with a sparkly ribbon, and that little one will, too. $5-$12, westelm.com   2. Treasure Hunt This pirate kit helps kids create their own treasure hunt with an X to mark the spot, a bag for gold booty and a sweet little chalkboard set for making maps. Plus, everything this husband-and-wife team makes is all-natural. $36, sevenacretoys.com   3. Chinese Slippers (Or as they say in China, “slippers.”) I’m lucky enough to live in New York, where I …

Man Up! Finding Presents He’ll Definitely Dig

For the lucky few (and most of the young), the holidays are largely about the bountiful joy and spirit of the giving season. For the rest of us, they are a quagmire of impossible expectations, difficult family complexities, and the insidiously mind-breaking challenge of what to get loved ones. The best gifts, in my experience, come not from rote requests or jam-packed Amazon want-lists, but when you truly surprise someone with something they hadn’t yet realized how much they desperately needed. To that end, here’s a shortlist of possibilities for the males in your life, be they loving husband, SO, best friend, or father.   1. Wüsthof Breakfast Knife Trust me, dudes like knives. And this one, with super-sharp, deeply serrated edges cuts bread, meat, vegetables, and fruit rinds with equal conviction. One knife to create a perfect Sunday morning breakfast bagel, with a side of melon? Count me in. $60,  Amazon.com   2. Smith Dolen Sunglasses Where I come from — um, upstate New York — sunglasses make a statement about who you are …

5 Perfect Trips for Everyone on Your List

Here’s the truth: No one needs another sweater, scented candle, novel, or wireless speaker. (They probably haven’t used last year’s yet.) A vacation, on the other hand, is something everyone needs. A vacation that’s been planned for them is even better. Here’s where to send (or bring) everyone on your list.   1. The Mother and Daughter Trip Rome, Italy Rome is a classic. Yes, it’s spaghetti carbonara and gnocchi gorgonzola – heavy, old-fashioned, and delicious. But Rome is also incredibly vibrant and fresh right now, as seen in the new Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Arts and in new juice bars all over town. The old and new coexist harmoniously in Rome, which is a lesson for your intergenerational holiday. And if your mother complains that she feels old, remind her that Rome is almost 3,000 years old and looks pretty great. For ideas and details about historic sites and cool new shops, check out Fathom’s Guide to Rome. Where to Stay Splurge Hotel: J.K. Place Roma. A gorgeous new boutique hotel in the center of town. Affordable Hotel: Buonanotte Garibaldi. A tucked-away, three-room bed and breakfast …

Gadgets and Thingamabobs To Make Life Easier

No, I don’t have a pair of Google Glasses, but I’m a bit of a tech-and-gadget-obsessed gal; mainly for the ways it can make life easier. The gadgets and digital doodads listed here aren’t necessarily new, but they make great gifts and have truly enhanced my life (or family and friends’  lives)  in 2013.   1. Karma Karma — a pay-as-you-go mobile WiFi provider —  has saved my internet-obsessed butt many times when there was no wireless around. (I’m looking at you, high-tech corporation with no wireless for guests.) I recommended it to a friend who has a small apartment in NYC and uses it as her primary service to access the internet — she loves it too. The cool thing is, other people can log in to your Karma signal and when they do, you earn free data — a.k.a. Karma. $99 for 5GB data $50, Karma.com      2. Everpurse I’m certainly not the first one to recommend this product; that’s because it’s simply so problem-solving cool. Designed as a clutch, these purses …

Totally Organic Beauty Gifts That You Can Eat (But Don’t)

Over the last two years, I’ve become much more mindful of the ingredients in the beauty products I use — especially when it comes to skin care. It’s very easy to get tricked in the drugstore aisles these days, because the American cosmetics industry is currently unregulated by the FDA. So that beautifully packaged, big green bottle that screams “all-natural” might not really be as “natural” as it claims. A product that’s organic means that it’s made completely from contents of the earth. You should literally be able to eat it. While we don’t suggest this as a testing method the next time you’re at the Duane Reade, checking the ingredients list on the back of the bottle is key (usually, if you can’t understand or pronounce it, it’s not natural). Also, products that are USDA certified organic are proudly packaged with a special sticker, so you can easily see that they are the real deal. Unfortunately, it’s not easy going all organic, especially when it comes to makeup. (I love my Neutrogena foundation too …

Gifts Under $25 for Secret Santas & Yankee Swaps

The Yankee Swap, White Elephant, Secret Santa or, in my family, we call it Pollyanna (which is apparently a Philly thing? Who knew?) — there are many variations on these crazy reindeer games. Here’s a quick run down on some basic rules. Whether you pick a name from a hat or bring a gift designated for “the pile” (and then mercilessly trade until you get what you want — see Kardashian Christmas), we have five no-fail ideas for your office or family get together. We tried to keep the cost below $25, but we didn’t try very hard.   1. The gift of possibilities: A Mega Millions Lottery Card. Drawing tonight (12/17)! You never know… $1, Various locations   2. The gift that says I have amazing taste: Something local and small-batch, ‘natch. A bottle of Oregon House Wine from Portland; Mast Brothers chocolate from Brooklyn. You get the idea. $9; Mast Brothers chocolate bar from Bklyn Larder $12, 2010 House Red, OriginalHouseWine.com   3. The gift that says I have no taste: Items professing …

You’ll Be Amazed You Can Make These DIY Gifts

If you’re having a tough time finding a distinctive, memorable, and/or cost effective gift this season, you can always rock it DIY style. Thankfully, this is not the kind of DIY that will require standing in a ripe basement for hours on end. Rather, here are five not-too-hard, handmade gifts that will exhibit your personal flair.   1. Cocoa in a Jar Sometimes all you need is a Mason jar and some ingenuity to come up with a heartwarming holiday treat. Grab a handful of ingredients for your favorite cocoa recipe and layer them stylishly. Get the How-To     2. Tile Pendant Necklace Learn how to turn a glass tile into a statement piece with this tile pendant necklace how-to. You can easily pick a featured print from a magazine ad or even scrapbook paper that suggests a friend’s sensibility or celebrates an inside joke. Get the How-To     3. French Press and Coffee Cup Sleeves If you know your way around a sewing machine and want to stitch together something that will …

5 Non-Book Gifts to Get Your Favorite Writer

Writers are not easy to shop for. They’ve usually read every book already known to man (or, they already know all about the book you plan to buy and have no interest in reading it), are very picky about the pens they use (in my experience, at least) and have been receiving journals and notebooks for every birthday and holiday since they day they started writing. So what to do? The following five non-book gifts add a little fun flair to the world of a writer, ones we think they’ll find quite noteworthy.   1. Paddywax Jane Austen Library Candle There’s a whole collection of these fabulous Paddywax author candles (not to mention diffusers and travel tins), which includes literary greats like Emily Dickenson, Oscar Wilde and Leo Tolstoy. Each soy candle is adorned with a quote from the author, which is one of the reasons why I like Ms. Austen’s the best: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort,” she said. That’s my kinda gal. I also adore the scent, which is filled …

All I Want for Christmas is… Pizza? 5 Gifts for Carb Lovers

‘Tis the season to celebrate awkward family conversations (“Nope! Still don’t have kids!”), the birth of whichever deity you may believe in, your general mildly pagan ways, and stretchy pajama pants you plan to change into to celebrate the most sacred and holy food group of all: carbs. Just admit to yourself how much you love carbs, whether or not you lie about eating them. It’s a truly freeing experience. Here are five no-carb gifts for the carb lover (i.e. me/ you) on your list.   1. Jeffrey Campbell Pizza Hi-Top Platform Sneakers And you thought there wasn’t a shoe that combined your love for cartoony pizza, the now-ness of the post-modern ’90s revival and your need for added height! In your FACE, I say! $250, Urbanoutfitters.com     2. I Want Abs But I Want Pizza More T-Shirt Aaaaaand therein lies the conundrum, printed perfectly on this tee, that masterfully nails the endless pizza-versus-abs chasm. (Personally, I always go with pizza over abs, because it’s easier. And tastier. And I can wear the t-shirt with pride.) …

The TueNight Gift Guide: Part One

  Oh how we love to give… But a big debate here at TueNight HQ: Do you give someone a gift that you’d want to receive? Or do you give someone a gift you believe they truly want (and you might not)? I lean to the latter. For example, an older relative of mine is super into gift cards as a gift and since they’re renovating their kitchen, I might get them a Home Depot gift card. I wouldn’t get them the Velvet Underground, White Light / White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (hint, hint). Although, it might enhance the construction process… I like listening to the subtle cues all year (“I could really use a better drill”) but others say you should think outside the gift-wrapped box, get them something they didn’t know they wanted. Whichever way you lean, giving is personal — it’s from me to you. And it will always say a little something about how you and I relate. To that end we’re going all personal this week and next (more to come folks!)— …

5 Gems for The Gen-X Audiophile on Your List

Giving the gift of music is a time-honored tradition. But in the post-digital-era, it’s a bit fraught — after all, sticking iTunes gift cards into boxes makes for a less satisfying gift-giving experience, no matter how elaborate the packaging. Here are five physical musical offerings for the person on your list who just wants to stick something new in her ear for Christmas. 1. Various Artists: Atlantic R&B, 1947-1974 Aretha. Ray. Otis. This eight-disc, 203-track box set collects the biggest hits by those one-named lights of R&B and other classics that are identifiable from their opening bars — “This Magic Moment,” “In The Midnight Hour,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” A crash course in American pop music that also provides hours of pure listening pleasure. $54, Amazon.com 2. Soundgarden: Screaming Life/Fopp: Loser Edition For the grunge lifer on your list, a handsome reissue of the first two EPs by the Seattle kings — the 1987 EP Screaming Life is pressed onto on blue vinyl, while 1988’s Fopp comes on a clear 12-inch. These two …

Classic, Chic & Covetable — Gifts With Style

The gifts I tend to give most are always on the bold side, color or print-wise — that’s where I have my fun. But the items themselves are always more classic, which makes it more likely they’ll get used and loved. 1. Gold Tote This chic metallic carryall will only get better with age, and — improbable though it may seem — really does go with everything. $160, baggu.com 2. Brightly Colored Gloves I love the hand-knit look of these, and the crazy-bright color combination is like an instant shot of happiness. $55, Jonathanadler.com 3. Neroli Soap Cube I pretty much never stop going on about The Soap & Paper Factory, because they put out such a great looking — and super high-quality — product. Their soaps in particular are packaged so beautifully that they render wrapping paper totally unnecessary. $12, soapandpaperfactory.com 4. C.O. Bigelow Eucalyptus Body Scrub Just exactly the right scent for deep winter cleansing, from the renowned beauty mecca in Greenwich Village, C.O. Bigelow. $15, bigelowchemists.com 5. Snakeskin Print Sweatshirt So much …

Make a Difference in the World — And Give Snazzy Gifts, Too

Good gifting offers a joyful rush, and when those gifts actually give something back? Well, that’s off-the-charts good. Whether you’re interested in helping feed hungry children or keeping the oceans clean, you’ll find a way to spread a little philanthropy around with these charitable selections. 1. Benefits: Survivors of Domestic Violence Me&Ro Fearlessness Sterling Silver Script Pendant The Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress Mariska Hargitay, helps heal and empower survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. 100% of the net proceeds of this Me&Ro necklace go towards the cause. I love the idea of giving this to friends who are powering through a rough patch to remind them of their fearlessness. $160, joyfulheartfoundation.org   2. Benefits: Child Hunger Creme de Corps Limited Edition Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butters Just when you thought Kiehl’s’ products couldn’t get any better, it turns out that 100% of net profits (up to $100,000) of two new, limited-edition scents from their indulgently rich Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter line (Grapefruit and Coriander) and will help …

5 Books to Give Your Trickiest Recipients

When TueNight asked me to provide a list of five gift books, I panicked just a bit. Only five? One of my deeply held beliefs is that there are books for every reader, and readers for (well, almost) every book — when it comes to holiday gifts, it wouldn’t be untoward to have a list of 100 books, or more. But we are busy. We don’t have time during this festive season to peruse long lists. So I’ve done the perusing for you and selected what I hope are five books that will cover five especially difficult recipients. 1. For your “read that, too” friend “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton Not only is this a big, fat, glorious novel that any bookworm will love — its author is the youngest ever winner of The Booker Prize, making it one of those titles people will be chatting about at cocktail parties for months to come. Give your know-it-all pal a leg up on the literary competition! 2. For your beloved older male relative “The Great War” …

Festive Food Items To Create, Gift, Devour (In That Order)

If we believe the hype, this is the most wonderful time of the year, but years of fighting the blues has taught me one thing: The only way to keep my head above the proverbial water (and out of the holiday punch bowl) is to keep everything as simple as possible. For this seasonally-affected cranky pants, that means lots of fresh air (versus hot gusts from a wall vent), loading up on vegetables (to offset the eggnog load) and scaling back on conspicuous consumption. These days, the gifts I give (and like to receive) are decidedly DIY, low-tech, with a little mindful tinsel thrown in for good measure. What follows are a few of my favorite things. 1. Chocolate Bark If you can melt chocolate, you can make chocolate bark. Seriously. Here’s what you do: Chop up a handful of your favorite dried fruit and nuts (or throw into the mini chopper), maybe a hint of sea salt and stir into a bowl of melted chocolate (which you can do in the microwave). My secret …

I Used to Buy Booze as a Gift. Now I’m Sober. WTF Do I Do?

It’s funny, I once heard someone say how there are literally hundreds of words for the term “drunk” (smashed, sloshed, over-served, sauced, wasted, tipsy, tanked—you get the idea), but only one word for not being drunk — sober. And that kind of sucks, because the word “sober” doesn’t imply fun and frivolity. Rather, as the dictionary states, its alternative meaning is “having or showing a very serious attitude or quality.” But that’s just NOT true! Of course, getting sober is painful and certainly no walk in the park, but we are NOT a glum lot — people in recovery are funny, silly, clever and full of life. It sounds so incredibly cheesy (and I hate cheesy) but it’s true: the gift of sobriety is the most wonderful gift one could ever receive (in my opinion, at least). Thing is, you can’t give it to someone. As much as you can hope and help and try to point people in the right direction, it’s up the alcoholic to open her eyes, see her situation for what …

What to Get the Dog Who Has Everything

Last week, we shared all the reasons why our furry friends mean so much to us. They’re family, so naturally, they also deserve some holiday cheer (even if they don’t really know what it is they’re getting). Nevertheless, we’re sure your dog will love one (or all!) of these five canine Christmas gifts. 1. Yum Gift Pack I feed my dogs Dailo and Lola mostly raw and all-natural food, so why shouldn’t I wash them the same natural way? Y.U.M.’s Gift pack contains a dog wash made with essential oils such as citronella, lavender and cedarwood, plus a cleansing spray infused with lavender and lemon patchouli. I secretly want to spray this on myself. $24, indigowild.com   2. Filson Dog Shelter Cloth Dog Coat with Wool Lining This dog coat is cozy, warm and reversible! The otter green side is made of water-repellant waxed-canvas, while the classic Filson plaid side is a sporty and hip (a perfect to match for your Filson Double Mackinaw). $75, Filson.com   3. Bark Box Join this subscription service and …

Spread Healthy Cheer with These Good-For-You Gifts

The holidays are filled with gift-giving anxiety. What if my mother-in-law hates her present? What if my hubby thinks I spent too much on his? The good news: A recent survey by Tada.com revealed that the majority of holiday revelers are happy with the gifts they give and receive. And with a brand new year (and new resolutions to make!) just around the corner, you can’t go wrong with health and wellness-related gifts. Here are my top five good-for-you finds for all the loved ones on my list. 1. For Your Chocoholic Sister Cissé Traing Company’s Delectable Dark Chocolate Cookie and Cocoa Gift Sets One bite (or sip) of Cissé delicious chocolate goodness and you’ll be hooked. Not only are their cookie mixes and cocoas chock full of disease-fighting antioxidants, but they boast all-natural ingredients you can actually pronounce. A bonus: you can feel good about your indulgence since Cissé only uses fair trade cocoa powder in their mixes, which means fair labor practices and no child labor. Apparently, I’m not alone in singing Cisse’s …

What I Thought My Gift Said… And What My Husband Really Thought

We all aim to get this gift-giving thing right, right? Every year, I think I’ve finally mastered it for my husband, only to realize, through a combination of his luke-warm reactions and, more definitively, the gift remaining unopened months later, that I have once again failed. I figure it’s one of two things: Either my husband is the hardest person on the planet to shop for (it’s probably this), or my gifts give off a vibe of an assignment. I should mention that my husband has never actually complained about these gifts out loud (ok, once, because I gave him the same shirt two years in a row). But the evidence is strong, and I know what he’s thinking. In fact, here’s how the inner dialogue has gone down for the last 3 years. 2010: The Yoga Mat 
Manduka Big, $76, zappos.com What I thought this gift said: Yoga! It’s so good for you! And, I know you didn’t notice, but I actually heard you talking to John, the neighbor, about how he’s been doing Iyengar. And I …

Lessons of Mandela: Remembering a College Shantytown in the ’80s

Last Thursday night, when I came home from work and turned on the TV, I was immediately absorbed in the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing. I quickly forgot about everything else I was supposed to manage that evening  — my son’s math test scheduled for the next day, in particular — and became lost in a vivid flood of memories. 1986. It was the second semester of my freshman year at Penn State. Disenchanted with fraternity culture and parties, I was trying to find my place among the 40,000 undergraduates. Like any college freshman, I had little idea of what my identity would become. Three years earlier, a group of students had formed the Committee for Justice in South Africa (CJSA). In the fall of 1985, those students managed to get 7,000 Penn Staters to sign a petition asking that the University divest its endowment money from South African multi-national corporations in a protest against the racist Apartheid regime. Somehow, CJSA found me, and one night that second semester, I found myself at an all-night …

You Should Know: Cow vs. Goat vs. Sheep

You’re scratching your head. Of course you can tell the difference between these three barnyard animals. Heck, any five-year-old can tell them apart! But do you know the difference when it comes to one of the most fantastic foodstuffs on earth? We’re talking cheese.                               Many of us take the advice of gourmet goddesses like Ina Garten to heart when composing a cheese plate, going for a threesome that includes one “soft and fresh,” another “semi-hard or hard” and a third pick that is resolutely “blue.” (Yes, we’re still talking about cheese. Get your mind out of the gutter.) But, with a good number of cheese plates under your belt (literally and figuratively), it is time to seriously consider the provenance of your selections. Not talking country of origin — although national “cultures” do offer up distinct styles — but speaking of the animal of origin. When it comes to cow’s milk cheese, there can be a wide range of flavor …

Moby Might Have Been a Dick, But I Loved Him

Moby loved curling up in cardboard boxes and cold ceramic sinks. He had a habit of biting shoes and biting people, especially an ex-boyfriend or two. He had a protruding chin like a little man, and a marking on his side that looked like a broken heart. He’d snuggle and spoon with me at night. When I met my husband-to-be, Moby gave me his own personal nod of acceptance by not biting him. Moby would regularly knock things off shelves to wake us up, so often that we installed new cabinet doors to deter him. A big white whale of a cat, Moby was alternately named for Moby Dick or ’60s psychedelic band Moby Grape but not the electronica musician, as many suspected. His nicknames included Little Man, Mister Man, Mobius Strip, Mobus Operandi, Moby the Dick. Funny thing is, I grew up with dogs and never thought about getting a cat until a fateful day in 1995, when a crazy-seeming old lady on a street in South Philly offered up an adorable white kitten. …

Just Like People: Dogs & Cats Get Bookish

Jon Katz writes books about dogs — lots and lots of books about dogs: Soul of A Dog, A Dog Year, A Good Dog, Dog Days and many more. He lives at a place called Bedlam Farm (also the name of his web site), sharing accommodation there with numerous dogs, a variety of livestock — and his new wife, an artist named Maria Wulf. Her intensely loyal but troubled dog Frieda is the subject of Katz’s latest book, The Second Chance Dog: A Love Story (Ballantine Books, November 12, 2013). Despite Frieda’s initial erratic behavior and refusal to go near Jon, the author used patience, determination, and “five hundred dollars worth of beef jerky” to convince his wife’s beloved canine to accept him. Katz believes we over-anthropomorphize our pets (or “companion animals,” to use the latest parlance). By attributing too much emotion and soul to domestic animals, Katz thinks we fail to understand and respect their animal nature — their real reason for being on earth. I highly recommend The Second Chance Dog to anyone who …

A Mutt (and an Aunt) Named Edna

I brought home Edna, a Chihuahua/terrier mutt, when I was 12 years old. She’d been living with a punk rock boy named Clay who hung out where I did on the Santa Fe Plaza. We were called the Plaza Rats (in our thrift store creations and Violent Femmes-blasting boomboxes), but this Edna “thing” was rattier than any of us put together. Clay had been stealing Mighty Dog food from the Woolworth’s on the corner and didn’t want to get busted. I agreed to take her home for one night, and if my mom didn’t allow her to stay, I’d bring her back the next day. She was handed to me on a ratty rope used as a makeshift leash. I slowly rode my rusty brown Huffy bicycle home to Alto Street; she trotted along beside me. “Don’t name her!” my mother implored, knowing that to do so would be getting Edna one step into our little rental apartment, and into our lives, for good. I can’t remember whether it was my brother or I, but …

The Dogs I Have Loved: Although None of Them Are Mine

I have an abnormal love of dogs. At least that’s what a former boyfriend said when he broke up with me. (Also on the list — which you can review here — is that I’m not political enough, and that I’m a loud clapper.) I do, admittedly, have an irrational love of dogs. I love them more than humans. My favorite movie is Best in Show — and I actually go to the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show in New York City every year. (The movie ain’t too far from the truth.) I must have been a dog in a former life: I sense them from blocks away. If I had a tail, it would start to wag when I saw a furry friend on the street. I know my dog breeds cold, but please don’t ask me to pick a favorite. Although, if pressed, I’m partial to the following: Puli (Rasta dogs), Poodles (the may look wussy but they are super-smart) and Poodle mixes, along with any shaggy-looking mutt. I also know how …

Married, With Pets: Opting for a Furry Family

As I’m writing this, my 11-year-old son and five-year-old daughter are fighting over toys and running around the house. They stop and look at me, then at the cupboard where we keep the snacks. Those little faces know that I’ll give in and give up soon, meaning it’s cookie time. They’re average kids, with the exception that that they’re of the furry kind with four paws. More and more, I’m meeting like-minded marrieds in their 30s and 40s who have chosen to adopt rescue dogs — and love them just like family. You know how moms post endless baby pictures on Facebook? I love to see them and adore my friends’ children. But my own bragging is about PetSmart Basic Training graduation and how well behaved my dog is around the larger breeds. There is a special camaraderie among this group of people that are owned by their dogs. Our conversations at the dog park are very much like the mothers at the playground, except we’re exchanging training tips, discussing the latest in organic snacks, …