Monday, May 16, 2016

"Sleepwalker" a High Line hit

Sleepwalker's found his peeps in NYC.

Reviled by many, splashed with yellow paint and generally not a welcome sight on Wellesley College's campus, Tony Matelli's "Sleepwalker" sculpture is getting a lot of love on NYC's High Line.

Mom reported this to me firsthand, because I could not accompany her to the city where she was headed to meet her agent. Somehow, she never gets tired of saying this.

The reasons I could not go were these:
1) While dogs now are permitted on Amtrak, those of my bulk (a very muscular 93 lbs.) are definitely not ok. Discrimination?

2) Even had I somehow snuck aboard, the High Line also prohibits dogs. Perhaps that's why Sleepwalker's pup (far less controversial, but still vandalized with matching paint) was nowhere to be seen. Mom spotted him about a year ago on the Upper West Side, where passerby were thrilled to have him in the neighborhood.

High Line visitors, too, were entertained by the paunchy white guy who wears nothing but a pair of tighty-whities. They had no problem shaking his outstretched hand, cuddling up between his flailing arms, and posing for countless pictures. So glad he's found a home.

In the absence of leepwalker's dog, I've been roaming the Wellesley campus, giving and getting lots of hugs of my own. In fact, I think I'm ready for the big time. NYC, one Very Big Beagle might just be headed your way!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Signs of spring popping up everywhere...time for a bath!

Clean (kind of) and more than a little wary.
I knew it was coming. For a week, I'd been avoiding going outside whenever Mom was around. What did she think, that I couldn't see the towel lurking outside the door? Smell the shampoo next to same? Not understand the word BATH, which she did not even bother to spell out?

To fully prepare, I hid in a series of closets, mooning over my fate. I plopped in the deepest dirt hole, reveling in being completely dirty.

Eventually, she caught me. Rather, my horse-and-dog-whispering sister, did so. I went to another place in my mind while she sloughed off that winter sheen (enhanced by some fervent rolling in a particularly skunky spot during my Wellesley College walk). I was sorry to see it go. Sorry to see eau of skunk replaced by aloe and oatmeal--who thought up that combo? Sorry to suffer through a vigorous toweling. Sorry enough to have to retreat to my sister's bed to recover from the trauma.

Spring does have an upside. My favorite dirt hole gets full sun. I can continue to rearrange Mom's hydrangeas. The chipmunks are ripe for chasing. My next bath will be, say, six months or so away. It's all good.

Friday, March 11, 2016

While I was friends published some great animal books!

I do enjoy my whale-print sheets, but as I am loathe to leave them, I'm better at getting some reading done than at tapping out book manuscripts. But I have to admit, I'm inspired by my friends...

Here's to my pals, who have managed to be far more productive than I and write some amazing animal-themed books!

Unfortunately, I never met the legendary Chief, but I heard firsthand the incredible and true tale of when he and his mom, Cheryl Lawton Malone, were loping along on Race Point Beach in Provincetown. Chief makes eye contact with a whale, Cheryl too, and therein lies the seed of an idea which is now:

Dario and the Whale. Dario's mom is a cook at The Salty Cod, so he comes back to the beach every summer. It's not easy for him to make friends, and amazingly, he and a young right whale, who is also a seasonal visitor, form a sweet friendship. Read an interview with  Cheryl here.

Fenway and Hattie. Hey, who couldn't love a Boston pup's musings on food, love, moving, food and family? Did I mention food? Fenway, a Jack Russell terrier, tells his own tale of food, moving, love and more food in this chapter book perfect for grades 3-5 by Victoria J. Coe. Mom read this in manuscript form, too, so I can vouch for its accuracy. Check out this fun interview with Vicki.

And...Teddy the Dog: Be Your Own Dog, by the hilariously funny Keri Boyle, is due in May. Preorder at my favorite bookstore, Wellesley Books, here.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Wellesley's Sleepwalker to walk the High Line in prime time

Giving Sleepwalker's dog a comforting nuzzle after he was
defaced with yellow paint on the Wellesley campus.
Tony Matelli's Sleepwalker statue, having by turns terrified, annoyed and offended Wellesley sensibilities (not mine, though--I was more interested in his canine corollary), will now stride unblinkingly up on NYC's High Line, according to the New York Times.

Readers no doubt will remember that I was one of the few unperturbed by the ghostly white, lumpy, underdressed, balding human posing in mid-step on the Wellesley College campus. I barely gave him a sniff, and the encounter went unrecorded, in the photographic sense.

Look for Sleepwalker beginning in April, when the cherry blossoms might or might not come out again. No word on whether his little dog--last seen on the Upper West Side--will accompany him.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Daisy does the polar bear plunge

Daisy takes the plunge.

The fish didn't mind having a friend in, and neither did I.
In advance of the traditional New Year's Day polar bear plunge, and fortunately just in advance of today's icy snow glop that forced me to wear my winter coat, one of my less well-behaved, but nevertheless welcome, visitors took a dip in my pond.

My personal pond, that is, not the local body of water known as Morses. This pond, while it is home to fish, frogs and the occasional turtle, is more of a watering hole for me, and this visitor--Daisy is her name--rightly treated it as such. In fact, she was so thirsty after racing around my garden that she waded in farther and farther, lapping as she went, until she was up to her neck in water and pond fish. Fortunately, they did not mind.

I was thrilled to have a playdate with Daisy, who is one of the many pups--albeit a very special one-- brought up North by Greg Mahle, the subject of local author Peter Zheutlin's book Rescue Road. I'm from the South, too, so I knew we would get along just fine.

Besides the fun, one of the best things about having Daisy over was that she made me look good. Really good. Her mom has trained champions. Dogs who understand French. Dogs who can actually dance to actual music. I can barely speak English, and I'm better at dressage than dancing.

Turns out, all I had to do to look good was to sit. I rarely sit, but I did for her. In return, I chomped down bits of string cheese. Daisy? She mostly raced about, heedless.

I'm no Christmas angel, as Mom would attest. So I will confess that I mostly sat. The rest of the time, I was inclined to knock Daisy's mom over. Given that she does not weigh much more than I do, it would have been a cinch, but I decided it wasn't worth the repercussions. If she had blue cheese, well, that would have been another story. As I'm already packing on the holiday pounds, it's something I could go for in the new year. Better than an ice cold plunge any day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Did Jesus even drink coffee?

Ever hear the one about how Jesus went
into a Starbucks and ordered
 a double frappe macchiato?
Did snowflakes ever fall in Bethlehem? Did anyone hang ornaments on the manger?

I mean, we might as well get authentic about I asked history professor dad the obvious question: might Jesus have drunk coffee?

"My guess would," concluded he. Perhaps, he mused, somewhere in the Bible it mentions Jesus' dietary habits?

In the absence of such data, I say, look at someone's coffee cup collection, and you can learn volumes about them--not anything of biblical proportions, but certainly plenty.

Mine, for example, includes souvenirs from the Rivers Music School; Boston College; that Jersey Shore institution, Ron Jon's; the Volvo place; Rensselaer, alma mater of my sister; and a red-banded cup from the Wellesley Education Foundation's spelling bee.

Nothing religious about them, unless you consider Dad's fanaticism about the Boston College Eagles football team, which could use a bit of prayer right now.