Sunday, June 10, 2012

This enthusiastic gardener took McCullough's speech to heart

Taking the advice of David McCullough, Jr.—my sister's superb former English teacher currently perhaps more famous than his famous father for his Wellesley High School commencement speech declaring that "you are not special"—I am carpe-ing the heck out of every diem. Especially these gloriously sunny ones.

Any enthusiastic gardener needs a good drink afterward.
When I garden, I really dig. When I bay, it's loud enough to ring across the pond. When I run, I knock over my mom. When I chomp, I do so with fervor.

I am, at my essence, enthusiastic.
I find it's easier to dig up than to plant, to destroy rather than repair, to eat what's on the table rather than place food there.

Enthusiasm + persistence = results.
What is the difference between enthusiastic and ebullient? Enthusiastic, from the Greek meaning possessed by a god (or demon, in my case), means showing intense, eager enjoyment.

Ebullient, from the Latin meaning boiling up, is more like a bubbling over of joy.
So, Mom was far from ebullient when she observed what she considered my over-enthusiastic digging up of the hydrangea.  I consider it merely effective.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Vital statistics: dogs on campus

I can wrangle a dorm bolster with the best of them.
Having been left out of a party celebrating the graduation of a friend from the Middlesex School in Concord, I thought I'd bolster my complaining with some statistics that might open the door to my attendance at future events.

Right up there, on the Facts and Figures page just under the number of AP courses (22) and the percentage of faculty with advanced degrees, is the number of faculty dogs on the MX campus: 27. Could pets on campus be a trend? Turns out I'm on the tail end of this one: puts out a yearly list of top 10 pet-friendly colleges (at my sister's school, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which did not make the list, one can have fish in a tank of 10 gallons or less). She was tempted by MIT's cat policy, though I nixed that idea. Bird-loving undergrads might appreciate the policy at Wellesley College that allows parakeets and canaries, but no cats.

Other pet-friendly schools: Sweet Briar, in Virginia, where you can board your own horse; Caltech, where two cats are permitted; Eckerd College, in Florida, which apparently accepts nearly any kind of pet—except ones as large as moi: I'm about 50 lbs over the weight limit. Plus, it's too hot for me down there.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Adopt a corgi in honor of the Queen

A royal nap among the royal pillows.
Brought some of my old (read: ineffective) restraining apparatus and unwanted toys out to Buddy Dog Humane Society. Featured on the wall of the reception area: A photo of my handsome self, stretching after a nap, along with a glowing testimonial of my wonderfulness written by Mom (she must have been delirious).

Mom and my sister took the opportunity to check out the dogs available for adoption. You never know what treasures you'll find! Mom considered the bloodhound, but she was even larger than I, and you know what challenges my size has caused. Then, she saw a lovely Pembroke Welsh Corgi, three years old, petite, and as sweet as could be. What better way to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee than to provide a home for her favorite breed? Don't forget, a dog's home is his castle, even if it's not Windsor.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A memorable Memorial Day

The weekend began with a bang—literally, as I crashed into the back door at about 6:30 Saturday a.m. I'll never be qualified to protect my country, but I certainly know how to protect my property and its occupants, inside and out.

Our fish were under attack from a marauding cat, and it fell to me to respond.

Finding the glass door to the garden closed did not deter me. I proceeded to bay in alarm, waking up everyone within at least a quarter of a mile. Mom skidded downstairs, opened the door (it was locked, or I could have opened it myself) and out I tore. Said cat escaped through a hole in the fence behind the bunny cage, while I sustained a battle injury from twisting my considerable bulk in the small space betwixt cage and fence.

As I rested on my cat-free lawn and baked in the sun, I observed several moments of silence as I reflected, as one should, on the sacrifices that have made our country great. I am humbled and grateful.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Stopping by dealerships on Memorial Day weekend

Which car we’ll buy I do not know
Mom only wants our old Volvo.
Dad says the time has come, past time,
To give that car the old heave-ho.

You’d not but think I’d try to rhyme
In verses noble and sublime
For one so steady, true and dear
Who’s stood the test of twelve years’ time.

Because she goes in just one gear
Old Bessie’s like a souvenir.
She helps me get my beauty sleep
As, chugging on, she perseveres.

A new car’s cost is much too steep.
My bank account’s not small or deep
With miles to go before she sleeps
More miles in her, I think she’ll keep.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tucker to the rescue on a wonderful Wellesley weekend

Except for the fireworks capping off Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend, which went off as planned and forced me to seek shelter in the cavernous regions of my sister's closet, the weekend was glorious. Among my escapades:

  1. Helped round up my neighbor Ellie, a fetching Portuguese Water Dog. She wasn't missing, but wouldn't come in–for hours. Ironically, this same behavior earned me probation at a certain dog hotel. In this case, however, I was the bait. Ellie came to the fence to greet me. Wild-eyed at my traitorous behavior, she was dragged inside by her mother.
  2. Hopped in a 2009 Volvo wagon, and it was quite a hop. Fortunately, I'm nimble. But I nearly bumped my noble head—the headroom is a full two inches shorter than in old Bessie. Given that I've only an inch to spare in the Bessie mobile, this presents a problem. My test drive was courtesy of Robert at Wellesley Volvo, who earlier in the day had offered to stop by my domicile and pick me up. I adore being driven around, and it seems like Robert gets the idea.
  3. Had a splendid spring walk around Lake Waban, the cannon from the 18th century encampment booming in the background.
  4. Tried to hop into my sister's kayak, the sit on top kind, while Mom was in it. Together, not only would we have exceeded the weight limit of this ordinarily seaworthy craft, we would also have had occasion for a lovely swim in Morses Pond. Well, why not?
  5. Missed the annual dog contest, again, out of modesty. It would be too embarrassing to win every category.
  6. Chased a baby bunny. Helped Mom dig in the garden. Slept in the sun. Spring!
A baby bunny has taken up residence under the playhouse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What a (sales) woman!

What kind of salesperson would offer to drive a new car to your home, pick up your dog, and take him for a test drive?

Wendy, that's who! Even when Mom showed up glummer than glum at the Honda dealer, having pinky-sworn an open mind to Dad before they left (her fingers on the other hand were crossed) and was unbelievably impolite, Wendy tried like crazy to please. She thought of every possible car that would fit our family's needs (as we know, those needs are tri-colored, XL, and awfully demanding). When it looked like one might do, she made the offer, with enthusiasm.

Unfortunately for her, though, this time it was Dad who wasn't interested. "Too small," was his only comment.

Why don't they make openings on the insides of pockets?
Because I was stuck at home, with nothing to do, I chewed on the car situation. Then I chewed on Mom's running jacket. She had left it, well within reach, on the coat rack, its pocket full of treats. What was she thinking?  Perhaps when she comes to, she'll realize there's really only one car for me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Car shopping headaches—literally

Taking Mom car shopping is simply asking for it. She loves the old Volvo, and that's that. Take me car shopping, however, and you've got a partner for life.

So last week Dad and I hit the Wellesley VW dealer, with Mom slinking along. All of our hopes were up, sort of:
  • Dad's, because he liked the mileage of the diesel Jetta Sportwagen—and the sticker price.
  • Mom's, because she read that the wagon would appeal to the die-hard traditionalist. That's her, all right.
  • Mine, because I heard it was a great car for large dogs. I already had hopped into my friend Freckles' wagon one day, and found it charming.
  • My sister's, had she been there, because the car comes in a couple of good colors.
Kind salesperson finds a car for me to test drive—from the rear, of course. I hop in the cargo area just fine. Then Dad shuts the lid. I try to turn around, and, because the wayback clearance for a tall guy like me is pretty wimpy—BUMP—my head hits the window. I nearly was concussed.
Ye Olde Wagon outside our summer rental in Maine.
Note the wayback headroom. And the waterview.
So that was that. And even Dad, who keeps complaining that Mom is like Goldilocks, had to agree that the car was too small.