Thursday, April 29, 2010

Molly and me

Cantered around Lake Waban today, amid the whitecaps and the waves splatting against the Italian Garden. Correction: didn't canter all the way around, just enough to trim a few ounces in advance of my visit to Dr. Schettino tomorrow. That's right, the dreaded weigh-in.

My pal Kelly says that she thinks I've dropped a pound, maybe two! We'll see. Though I'm maniacal as usual, it's also good to just plop down in the sun every once in a while. You know, rest.

While I was plopped, my new friend Molly ran by, not once, not twice, but three times. That's quite a lot of lake circumference there, all added up and everything. Her mom, Susan, and my mom, knew each other long ago when they both had Dalmatians. Susan was always walking Missy and Prissy, and Mom took Sparky absolutely everywhere.

I was thinking: because Sparky was really a prince, and treated like one, my family must have had to make sure their next dog also had exceedingly special qualities. It's hard to be humble.

Molly and I had a playdate last week, and we gorged on fertilizer (organic, but still...). Now Mom really does have to call the rug guy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The wind of one foxhound's ears flapping

Ken Salazar, please rethink your approval of the Cape Wind project. Don't ruin that gorgeous view of Nantucket Sound with 440-foot windmills! There is no need! All you need is a pack of foxhounds and our energy problems will be solved.

Here is my evidence: at least 20 times a day, I give my head and neck a good, hard, shake. Anyone who doesn't want earflap burn will stay out of my way, because my folks tell me it's really, really painful. Worse than tail whiplash, even.

So Ken, here's my proposal. Say there's a pack of 40 foxhounds. That's 800 wind-propelling earflaps per day! Just think of the energy savings potential.

What's that saying about if a butterfly flaps its wings, it can create monumental change? Ah, the Butterfly Effect, so named when an MIT professor published his research in a paper titled "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?"

Now, my sister would love to attend MIT, so Ken, thinking of her future as well as the future of our country, why not try the Foxhound Effect? We could even throw in a little baying, for good measure. Ah-woooooo! Earflap power!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Places in the heart: Spotsylvania

Trotting around town, I attract a lot of attention. You know: I'm large, handsome, plus rather unusual for around here. I like the spotlight, and my family likes me to have it. But I follow literally in the pawprints of the esteemed Sparky, who had that magnetic quality that truly made him a celebrity.

You could hear people exclaiming from afar: "A Dalmatian! A Dalmatian!" Mom always said she'd be rich if she could have charged a nickel every time some child asked, "Can I pet your dog?" Let's see...say 10 times a day times 10 years...would just about cover my vet bill for a year. Maybe not rich, but still...

So Mom naturally charged right over when she saw two sets of spots on the lacrosse field, one liver (that's the brown), one the traditional black. What did she think, that she was going to see the great Sparky himself? I was standoffish, I have to admit. She liked the dogs OK, she said, but naturally she was a bit disappointed. Even though I know she loves, loves, loves me, her heart is still a little bit broken.

His birthday's coming up on May 14, and we'll say a little prayer of thanks for him being part of our lives.

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.