Dog Days of Summer (7/13/05)

Dear Zelda,
I've got a great summer job working in the kitchen at a lodge in one of our beautiful national parks. I met a wonderful girl, another one of the kitchen helpers. My problem is, she lives on the East Coast and will be attending college there in the fall. I'm already enrolled at a college here in California and will be starting classes a few weeks after my summer job ends. We really like each other, Zelda, but I'm thinking maybe I should break up with her at the end of the summer in case she meets some other guy at college. It's tearing me up inside. I REALLY like her.

Summer Romeo

PS... I'm writing you because she is crazy about your column and maybe we could both use some of your advice!

Dear Romeo,

How does this sound to you? – I'm probably going to break my leg someday so I'd better put it in a cast now. – I'm going to be old and cranky someday so I'd better start shaking a cane and yelling at kids now.

Pretty silly, huh? That's what I think of your idea of breaking up with someone you really, REALLY like just because someday she might meet a guy she likes better than you. Sure, distance is an obstacle, but if you two really click the magic ingredients will still be there the next time you meet.

You don't have to promise not to ever look at anybody else, but you can commit to staying friends.  Several months of emailing and talking on the phone might strengthen your relationship. Then again, you two might drift apart. But there's no reason to prematurely terminate a good thing just because of a what-if. For the time being, enjoy your summer.


Dear Zelda,
I've got just four weeks to get in shape for a huge summer party. We're all getting together at a resort where the dress code is bikinis, bikinis and more bikinis.  Some of these people I haven't seen for years, but I want to look even better than how they remember me. Can you share some tips for toning up and looking terrific?

Bikini Babe

Dear Babe,

Say goodbye to margaritas and nachos for the next four weeks, girl, because you're in the army now! Welcome to Zelda's boot camp.

Don't expect eye-popping results in just four weeks but you can buff up your bikini bod. Start by watching your diet. Eat sensibly but keep the calories down. Cut out alcohol, fatty snacks and sweet treats.  Put a copy of the party's guest list on your refrigerator.  Every time you think of cheating with a few snacks imagine those guests all looking at your bikini body at the party. It will be worth it to resist the temptations in the kitchen.

Get a cardio workout of at least 20 minutes a day. Then focus on your abs and lower body, putting in several sets of lunges, squats, sit ups and crunches every day. After investing a little sweat equity, you'll get your poolside payoff when all eyes are on you.


Dear Zelda,

I am a small short-haired dog of indeterminate origin (a pound puppy). I've got a few tiny brown spots but I'm mostly white all over. Every summer I like to lay in the sun, but I turn prematurely pink after a few minutes of exposure.  Is there something I can do  to avoid canine sunburn?

Please Don't Touch!

Dear Please,

I feel your pain. I learned the hard way. That's why I don't go anywhere in the dog days of summer without my shades and parasol!

Yes, it's true. Just because we're dogs doesn't mean we won't look like lobsters after a day in the sun. Dogs of any sort can get sunburnt on their noses and in their ears. But shorthaired white dogs like you, whose tender skin is not fully covered by fur, really fry in the sun.  Actually any dog with white fur needs to watch the sun. Pink may be the “in” color this year, but pink skin is painful.

Remember that suntan lotion ad that showed the little dog yanking on the girl's swimsuit? He was saying, “Put some lotion on me, too!”  

Owners need to share the sunscreen (at least SPF 15) with their dogs, putting it on their noses, ears and short white fur or exposed skin. Then you'll both sleep well at night.

Another summer tip is to always have plenty of cool, fresh drinking water available and NEVER stay unattended in a closed car in the heat of the day. On those dog days of summer make sure you stay in the shade.