Thursday, April 22, 2010

The meaning of life

My morning constitutional having provided me with the opportunity to both rest and activate my mind, I pondered some of life’s essential questions:

  1. Why did my neighbor name his dog Buck? “So that I will never be broke,” he told me. “I’ll always have a Buck.”
            Mom and I took several moments to process this gem, it being a tad early.

  1. Why did the chicken cross the road, or more specifically, why did the turkey cross the bridge? I do not know, but that is what was going on this morning in the Hunnewell Woods. Do these creatures not wade? Fly? Or do they simply prefer the charm of a rickety bridge across a marshy brook?  Whatever the real answer, if there is one, it was quite the picturesque scene.

  2. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, or in this case, a spring green one. Which did I choose?           
    A. The longest; B. The most difficult;  C. All of them.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston Marathon madness 2010

Headed to the Marathon route today to give shout-outs to my running pals: John Delaney (3:20:48), Bob Brunner (3:49:38) and Matt Mitchell (3:45:23). Way to go! Though I swiveled my head back and forth, back and forth, and let out the requisite loud bays, startling a few onlookers, I couldn’t find them. I did see: Minnie Mouse, an angel, a guy with a neon pink buzz cut and matching singlet, my neighbor’s part-foxhound pup Maisie, and some very, very hardworking people.

We hung out by the Entering Wellesley sign, which we do every year. It’s not the most comfortable, but it’s the closest, and I’m nothing if not a creature of habit. The more stubborn the habit, the better, say I.

Knew enough to keep my mouth shut when the elite leaders zipped by. You can see that I wanted to take on Robert Cheruiyot, but realizing I might knock him and everyone else over, I tamped down the impulse. Good thing, since that speedy guy set a course record!  Dad, having run Boston five times, looked like he was ready to jump in, too.

Mom always becomes teary-eyed at the marathon.  I too was a bit overwhelmed, mostly by all the dropped popcorn and hamburger buns. Nothing like a holiday for free food! I’ll just have to run it off…later.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cugini from the Old Country

So, my post on little old Italian ladies must have struck a chord—Rossini, or Vivaldi, perhaps—because suddenly Mom has reconnected with her cugini from Florence and Rome. I hope they weren't terribly offended by my stereotype of such esteemed women.

Speaking of esteemed women, Mom's longtime friend Susan Van Allen also has written about Italy and why women love Italy. Her book, 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, is an insider's guide to the art, the flavors, the beauties, the dogs, the shopping that makes Italy special. I made up the dogs part, but there are an awful lot of elegant hounds in those Italian paintings.

Check out her book and blog at It's bellissima!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The theft of time and tomato sauce

In case you were wondering about the gap in my journal, the hiatus was merely a self-imposed time-out. Unplug, unleash, unwind, or something like that.

Hiatus, in case you were wondering about that, is a word meaning "gap," especially a break in a series. So, because my journal is nothing but a serial (oh, how Dickensian of me!) it is quite the appropriate noun.

Mom learned a new moniker yesterday meant to help children manage their relationships as well as their schoolwork: time-robber. It's not in the dictionary, but it applies to anything that keeps you from doing what you want to do, or are supposed to do. It can be a person or activity, so you can say to someone, "You're being a time-robber right now." I must say, it seems rather accusatory, although I might be sensitive on the thievery angle.

Thievery Journal

Monday, 5:10 p.m. Mom frantically preparing dinner so my sister can get to her next activity. Just the opportunity to grab some delicious homemade tomato, fresh ricotta and basil sauce. While Mom is scooping my dry, drab dog food, I scoop the sauce container from the counter, bring it over to a comfy rug, and dive in. Good thing I'm quick, because so is Mom, and she was not pleased. I don't get it: the rug is red, the sauce is red. Problem?

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. Go through a few play-bows with Barney the beagle to get him all dizzy, then snag his stuffed squirrel and trot off with it before he could even howl. Give it a few shakes to get the dust off, then drop it just out of his reach. Satisfying.

Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. Leftover pizza, sausage sauce. Yum!

Fortuitously, on our latest outing in the town forest, Mom came upon the guy who does our carpet cleaning. She dropped several hints hoping he'd volunteer to come over and fix the tomato-sauce mess. It wasn't really fair, considering that's his business. And what better business for a carpet cleaner than to know lots of people with dogs? Think of it in a positive way: I'm helping to support the local economy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Be nice to little old Italian ladies

I love little old Italian ladies, my grandmother included. She's cranky, opinionated, and loves dogs. In other words, she's perfect.

So I was out walking in the still-raining but kind-of-misting on Wednesday near Sprague School. It's a neighborhood where you can still find a grape arbor or two and some rosebushes, and, if you're lucky, a little old Italian lady standing in her garden. I was lucky. Mom was a little afraid that she wouldn't like me, but what did she know? The woman practically kissed me, until I tried to take her cane. What did I know? It was a stick, wasn't it?

The best part was that she still liked me, and even made a joke. What a clever, sweet, little old Italian lady. Mmmm, that cane sure looked like it would taste good.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Rain, rain, go away, and stay away!

Dogs of Seattle, I salute thee! How you cope with those incessant days of rain and drizzle, I do not know. During our recent neverending series of deluges, Mom and Dad had to become pretty creative.

First, the techniques which failed:
1. The Tarp Technique
Mom and Dad hold a gigantic tarp over their heads during straight down rain (this expression comes from Texas, where people must need to define rain as straight down—porquoi?) while standing on the patio, hoping to tempt me outside. What do they think, they're having some kind of outdoor party? One would have to be crazy to fall for that one. Personally, I thought it was hilarious to see the two of them out there in straight down rain.

2. The "If Your Friend Tells You to Jump Off a Cliff" Technique
I thought parents were supposed to advise against this one. Mom drives me to the soccer field, again in straight down, even sideways, rain. Another pup in a Volvo drives up, jumps out. Mom tries to entice me out with the promise of a playdate. No dice, but the pup tries to get in my Volvo! Not wanting to share cargo space with a wet someone, I try to slide through the doggie barrier into the safety of the back seat. Note to self: lose a few more ounces.

3. The Promise of Car Ride Trick
Look, an umbrella just isn't big enough to comfortably cover my bulk, so let's just leave it at that. The open garage door leads me to want just one thing, and it's not a trip out to the driveway under an umbrella. Patent idea: stupid umbrella hats for dogs. You read it here first.

Leading to what worked:
1. A trip in said car to the bookstore! In the back, get the treat, out the front, then over to Tails for a trachea or two...wait, Mom didn't want to walk three blocks in straight down rain? Tricked, sodden, and relieved, as it were, I head home. However, if you read my "mea culpa" post, (sort of like the "Checkers" speech, but in reverse) having banned myself from said emporium, my folks will have to become even more creative, should it ever rain again.

2. There is no 2.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transgressions of a young pup

Dear Diary,
In the exuberance of puppyhood, I have erred. Let me recap. It was a brilliant day in  Wellesley Square. I stopped at my favorite bookshop, limited myself to just one treat, and had the wonderful experience of a good ear rub from my pal, Rebecca. Mom headed to Town Hall green, but I stubbornly (and you know I am stubborn) stopped in the middle of the block and pointed toward my favorite canine supply store. I allowed myself to be dragged to the crosswalk, Mom being a stickler for such things, and tore off for Tails. My attempt at the tracheas being anticipated and more or less warded off, I eyed next a rather fetching lobster toy. Mom, thinking of something more appropriate for the Easter basket, chose a tempting blue dragon. Would I like it? Simply, yes. I grabbed the toy and bounded up the stairs. The door, which opens inward at the top of the stairs, making a quick exit rather awkward, conveniently had been propped open to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. I took advantage of the open door. What did I know about paying?

Anyway, after Mom took care of my pilfered object, I headed off, searching for a good spot to enjoy Dragon Dog with Chew Guard and test its limits. That place turned out to be no less than my favorite bookstore. Does it count as overstaying one's visit if one leaves, then returns? There was no time to ponder this piece of etiquette. I tore up the stairs and downstairs to the used book section. Not finding anyone to fawn over me, I hiked back up.

Now for my second, or perhaps third, error. The second was my peek into the biscuit bin to make sure plenty of Milk-Bones were on hand. Check. The next and more serious transgression was my investigation into the tiny gray hamster toy Rebecca was holding at shoulder level. I wanted it. Badly. Earlier, she and I had been comparing our respective weights and I opined that the scales would tilt in my direction. Clearly, I was correct as I nearly threw that good woman off her feet, besides scaring her out of her wits. It really wasn’t thoughtful after all of her kindness.

Mea culpa, Rebecca.

PS Remember me, for my visits from now on will be highly restricted.