Finally some fun

by Lorin Michel Saturday, April 9, 2016 8:39 PM

It occurred to us recently that we are very dull people. I believe this occurrence happened on or about the anniversary of our one-year of residence in the house. As we were sitting at the bar or maybe out on the deck, perhaps in the great room, one of us and probably me looked at the other, probably him, and said: “You know we never do anything fun anymore.” The other looked at me, blankly at first, and then recognition spread across his face, realization dawning. “You’re right. We don’t.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. We live a good life. We have this amazing house. We actually and genuinely like each other, and like spending nearly every waking moment together. We’re lucky.

But all we seem to do is work. During the week, we work our regular jobs and on the weekends we work around the house. Kevin has been obsessed with rocking outside, which is both lovely and efficient since the rock functions as a means to divert the falls of water that rush toward us, bursting off of the other and bigger rocks on the hill behind us. When it rains here, it is usually not polite. It is angry, demanding rain. And it threatens to engulf us. We knew we would have some issues before we moved in. We thought we had taken care of it with the wall we built along the driveway in the back. We quickly realized, with the arrival of the first storm last spring, that we hadn’t. 

I do things in the house, like clean. We long ago opted out of a cleaning service, which is funny because the only thing I ever wanted was someone to clean my house. When we moved into the Oak Park house, I informed Kevin that one of the first things I was going to do was hire someone to clean. I work all the time. I didn’t want to spend my free time cleaning. I wanted to occasionally do something, gasp, fun. Even if someone came just to scour the bathrooms and the kitchen once every two weeks, that was enough. Then Justin went away to school and the house wasn’t so dirty anymore. Then the cleaning people started not doing as good a job as we did. Then they started breaking things. We decided to take back our cleaning and we’ve been doing it ever since. 

But now I have this enormous house, and it’s literally impossible to clean it in a day, so I do it in increments, which means that it’s never done. I’m just moving from the west to the east only to start all over again. I go to the grocery store. I change the sheets on the bed. Kevin rocks. We don’t do much that’s fun.

We sometimes have people over for dinner, or go to someone else’s house for dinner. That’s fun. Every once in a while we meet friends for happy hour. That’s fun, too. But most of the time we’re in the house, doing house things. Or working. 

Then Saturday night, we collapse in a heap and watch mindless television. 

So after the revelation mentioned in the first paragraph, today we decided to do something fun. After Kevin spent just a short time outside and I did just a few chores inside (like changing the sheets), we washed the motorcycle, climbed on, went for a long ride, found some place to have lunch and then came home to collapse in a heap and watch television.

It’s how we lived it out loud – and had some fun – on this beautiful Saturday.

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live out loud

Sympathy for the devil

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, April 6, 2016 8:00 PM

In the early fall of 1980, I moved into a double room on the 5th floor of Stoke Hall at the University of New Hampshire. It had been built as a temporary housing structure in 1967. It is still there and housing students. The largest dorm on campus at the time, it stood 8 stories tall and had three wings. From above, it resembled a "Y," with two shorter wings and one long wing. I was at the end of a long wing.

Stoke Hall was and remains co-ed. That was still a "thing" in 1980. I'm not sure my parents liked it; I know my grandmother was appalled. I thought it was cool.

Stoke was a pit, a hole. The elevators, of which there were two, were mostly out of service. When they were in service they were slow. They smelled of stale beer and other bodily functions. I always took the stairs.

My room was next to a stairwell so there were people clomping up and down at all hours and especially on the weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights, the guys in the floor below played Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones over and over and over again, at ear splitting decibel levels and walk-cracking vibrations. I hated that song.

At some point, I started to like it. It was after college, when I could pack the memories of Stoke away in a box and enjoy the song for the social and political commentary that it was making. The song was written and recorded in 1968, as the opening track for the group’s Beggars Banquet album, and references everything from the  crucifixion of Christ to the Russian Revolution to the Blitzkrieg to the Kennedy assassination.

It occurred to me today that I know what sympathy for the devil means right now, at least for me, because I found myself having sympathy for some republicans.

I am not a fan of republicans in general even though I have married two. Husband number one became a ridiculous republican and very rigid especially when it came to social issues. It was one of so many reasons why we split. Current husband, also known as Kevin, was a republican mainly because he was raised that way, but after George W. Bush was elected (a man that Kevin voted for the first time) he quickly soured on the party and switched his affiliation. As I’ve said before, it had nothing to do with me and everything to do with them, and mostly, again, social issues. And the religious right’s influence. 

Like many people in the country, we’ve been watching the train wreck that is this election season’s republican primary and alternating between shaking our heads in disbelief and being simply disgusted. I don’t agree with anything the republican party stands for, but this is even too much, evidently, for a lot of republicans. They too are in disbelief and disgust and can’t imagine voting for either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Part of me, I admit, has found this to be a wonderful bit of schadenfreude. You reap what you sow and all that jazz.

But lately, I’ve been feeling almost a bit of, dare I say it, kinship. I am not a Bernie Sanders supporter. I just don’t like him. I’m not a huge fan of Hillary Clinton either though if I had to choose, and I did, several weeks ago, I voted for Clinton. I have long assumed that there was absolutely no way Sanders could get the Democratic nomination. I’m still not sure there’s a plausible path, but stranger things have happened, especially this primary season. If he gets the nomination, I’m going to be irritated. I’ll vote for him, because he’s still better than anyone on the other side, but I will be doing so without enthusiasm.

So I now have sympathy for some of the devils in the republican party. It’s hard to have the nominee of your party be someone you just can’t stand and don’t think is up to the job of leader of the free world.

I thought of all of this today as my mind drifted back to my Saturday nights in Stoke when I hated the Rolling Stones and especially that song. The ooooo ooos over and over and over again. I get it now. I have sympathy. Maybe this is something that will finally bring us all together. The 4th floor and the 5th floor living in harmony. If it does, it might be something to celebrate. At the very least, it’s still something to ponder.

Banana bread is in the oven

by Lorin Michel Sunday, April 3, 2016 9:17 PM

I realize by the time anyone reads this, the title of this post will be in the wrong tense.  I’m surprisingly OK with that. 

I’m writing on a brilliant, warm Sunday morning. You’ll be reading on a Monday morning. But the gist will remain the same. I’m on the deck, a piping hot cup of coffee on the appropriately named coffee table in front of me. My slippered feet are also on the table. My dog is against the wall with perp. Music is flowing from the speakers overhead. I hear the flap of a flag, snapping in the wind down below. Birds are singing. It’s like I’m in a Disney movie.

But my husband is sick. Hence the banana bread. 

Yesterday was readying the vineyard day. I may have mentioned that I bought Kevin six grape vines for Christmas. He has always wanted to grow his own grapes in order to make our own wine. I found some that would grow in this climate. They arrived just over a week ago. As we live on a rock, there is not a lot of deep soil so we had to make our own raised area. We had dirt delivered and Kevin built gabion walls, using some of our infinite supply of rock, to hold it back and make a level, and large, planter. We distributed the dirt yesterday and had a bit of a mishap. Several of the walls tipped over. So what was a one-time job quickly turned into a two-time job. By 5:30, we were both cooked, him even more so than I since he does more of the heavy lifting. In fact, he was so cooked that it was his idea to stop and go in. 

By last night, he had chills. By this morning, he had a fever.

I don’t think it’s the flu. I think it’s more overdidititis. He’s not very good at understanding his perhaps-limitations. He pushes himself way too hard for far too long, and then this happens. 

One of his favorite things in the world is homemade banana bread, and as I was sitting in the kitchen earlier, it occurred to me that I could probably make some. If not a whole recipe then at least a half. I had a fairly good sized and overly ripe banana, flour, eggs, butter, sugar. I also decided to do something a little different this time and mix in a bit of sour cream. I greased the pan and also sifted some sugar-cinnamon onto the butter. We’ll see how it turns out. I’m thinking it can’t be awful, and if it is, for whatever reason, I’ll just toss it. Since Kevin is still in bed, he may never know the difference.

I just went to check on it. I walked into the house and that warm smell of baking wrapped itself around me. It’s so comforting, the fragrance of banana bread. I’m not a huge fan, though I enjoy it. I think I like the smell of it better than anything.  

It’s Sunday morning. Banana bread is in the oven and the husband unit is in bed. It’s quiet, save the wind which has just kicked up. But the day is lush, it’s welcoming. It’s another chance to get it right, whatever it might be. It’s rather how I approach every day, as an opportunity to live it out loud. Today, with baking.

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The fine art of giving a dog a pill

by Lorin Michel Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:22 PM

Riley has allergies. This is fairly par for the course since he’s a bit of a mess of a boy. He has terrible anxiety, is a whining disaster in the car, freaks out anytime he hears the garbage truck, chases lizards with wild abandon and doesn’t come when called. He is also the cutest little dude on the planet, and we love him to pieces. 

For the last two weeks, he’s been on prednisone so that we can make sure that his allergies are more seasonal than food related. We’re already sure of that; we were when we went to the vet. He’s been eating the same food for the past year and we’ve had no issues. Plus spring has sprung pretty quickly this year, the winds have been swirling, there’s all kind of stuff in the air. He’s not sneezing but he’s been itching like crazy. The prednisone has helped.

For the first week, his dose was two pills a day. The second week, one a day. This week, we’re doing half a day. All doses are plus cheese. 

When we had Maguire and had to give him pills we tried to do it the way the vet showed us which basically amounted to opening his mouth, and sticking our hands as far down his throat as possible, depositing the pill, removing our hand and then clamping his mouth shut while gently rubbing his throat to make him swallow. Sometimes we’d blow on his nose. He’d stand there, stoically. He’d blink his eyes. Eventually, he’d swallow and we’d think, perfect. Mission accomplished. I’d kiss his nose, Kevin would rub his head, we’d let go of him and get up from the floor, telling him what a good boy he was. 

Then he’d look at us, wagging his tail, and spit the pill out. The little bastard. 

He was a cheese fiend, so we started wrapping his pills in cheese. He would take the offering gently, as he always did – he was very polite – and swallow. Again, mission accomplished. Then he’d spit the pill out. 

The little bastard. 

It was virtually impossible for us to consistently get pills into him. Luckily, he was healthy for the most part and didn’t require a lot of medication during his fifteen plus years with us.

With Cooper we never tried sticking our hands down his throat. He would never have stood for such a thing. He probably would have bitten us – he was not very polite. When he was so sick last year, right before we lost him, he was on a number of medications including prednisone. He too got pretty good at eating around the cheese. Then I had a brain storm, or perhaps it was just light drizzle. Either way, it worked pretty well. Chicken pill pockets. 

I would boil chicken breasts and then, once cool, cut them into small squares. I would then put a small slice into the square, stuff the pill into it, and feed it to the dog. We never lost a pill after that.

Since Riley has been on prednisone, the first time we’ve had to give him pills, he’s been pretty good. I’ve been wrapping them in a bit of Havarti cheese and he’s been scoffing them down. Except for today. Today, I gave him the half pill, safely ensconced in some pretty decent cheese, and he took it as he’s been taking it. Mission accomplished. 

And then Kevin found the half pill in his food bowl. The little bastard.

I might have to resort to chicken breasts with this boy, too. Anything to continue the fine art of giving the dog a pill so that he can remain itch free as he lives it out loud. 

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live out loud

Anniversaries

by Lorin Michel Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:12 AM

Kevin and I got married in September of 1998, on a lovely Saturday evening, the 26th, in the backyard of our Oak Park home. This coming September will mark 18 years. This month, we have three anniversaries. March 22 is the anniversary of our first date. The year was 1995. Coincidentally, this week is also the anniversary of me going out on my own as a writer. I had been on staff at Sebastian for 6 years and it was time. All last week, I kept getting “congratulations on your anniversary” emails from Linkedin connections. I finally checked to see what the fuss was all about and there it was. March 1995. Twenty one years. Twenty one years dating; 21 years freelancing.

I don’t think there’s a correlation.

It’s been a good 21 years. A lot has happened. My career really took off when I went out on my own and was no longer under the constraints of one client. Sebastian enabled me to do what I did by becoming my biggest client right off the bat. I gave them three days a week, working at an hourly rate. That left me two days to start building my business. Eventually Sebastian got sold and then sold again. P & G now owns them and all of their creative is done elsewhere other than California. 

Over the years, I had some ebb and flow but mostly flow. I was talking with my friend Diane tonight and she mentioned how amazing it is that I’ve stayed and continue to stay consistently busy. I’ve been very lucky. I also still live with the fear that it will all go away soon.

As for my dating-to-married life, it has been an amazing ride. Even after all this time, we still truly like each other. We spend nearly 24-hours a day together and we’re lost when one of us is away. We’re lucky; we know that. Over the years, we have both opened our own businesses. We have lost loved ones (his mother, my father). We raised Justin and got him through some very tough times. It was all worth it. We loved three dogs and lost two. We traveled, we spent time with friends and family. We built a house.

Which leads me to our third anniversary. This week, on the 24th, we will have been in this house for one year. We can’t believe it. We moved in on a Tuesday afternoon. Roy and Bobbi arrived that night around 11 because Roy’s one-man gallery show was starting on Saturday. (Another anniversary) We were sitting on the deck, on the chairs that Kevin had managed to get together, eating pasta and drinking wine at midnight. We all went to bed, among all the boxes in each of the bedrooms, at around 2. 

I can’t believe that we’ve been here for a year. Once again, the passage of time astonishes me.

All three of these anniversaries are ones I happily celebrate. There are also two anniversaries I don’t. Maguire died on March 6 in 2012. Cooper died last March 29. With March comes the good and the heartbreaking. I’ll take the good, while still remembering the sadness of losing our two boys, and celebrate it all. The good and the sad are the definition of living it out loud.

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I'm a proud mama

by Lorin Michel Thursday, March 17, 2016 7:55 PM

Justin is on tour with a Disney show, and has been for over a year now. He lives out of a suitcase, which these days is more like a big duffle bag on wheels, moving from city to city to city, either via a big travel bus or, if it’s too far, via American Airlines. Last year, he was on the east coast, visiting all kinds of cities east of the proverbial Mississippi, and then went down to Mexico for a month. Since August, or maybe it was September, he’s been on the west coast except that this week he’s in Ft. Myers, Florida. Not sure how that’s west coast, but it matters not. We hadn’t heard from him in quite a while. He sometimes goes dark for a month or more at a time and we get nary a text. If he didn’t post via Swarm on Facebook, we’d never know where he was. 

But we had a chance to talk with him last night, and, as it so often is, it was delightful. 

He and several of his buddies on tour, including his girlfriend, have three days off in Ft. Myers so they rented a house. Because he had some time, he decided to use a bit of it to call his parents.

The conversation began with the usual. Him giving us a rundown of what’s been happening on the tour, where he is, what he’s doing; us telling him that all we do is work but that we are trying to have more of a life, and that we even have plans this weekend. He asked about Riley; we asked about Kelsey. Then Kevin asked him about politics, and I started to smile.

For the next two hours, we talked politics. He has been paying close attention to the presidential race, watching the debates on both sides, devouring the Rachel Maddow show, reading up online about what’s happening. He has studied the issues, he had very thoughtful and insightful things to say about it all.

From the time he was little we tried to teach him two things: to question everything unless he knew it to be true; and to never let anyone give him his opinion, least of all us. Come to think of it, both of those things are somewhat inter-related. I’m proud to say that he has actually repeated it to me, when I’ve casually asked if he remembers what I always said when he was little. Without missing a beat, he says: “Question everything.”

I am a flaming liberal and proud of it. I always have been. Kevin was a Republican when we got together. He reluctantly admits that he voted for George W. Bush in 2000. And then, he was done. By 2004, he had come over to the dark side. I had nothing to do with it. I’m not that persuasive. The Republican party did it all by themselves. I’ve never hidden my liberalism, except from clients because it’s just not appropriate to talk politics or religion in certain company, not if one wishes to maintain a good and strong relationship. Both Kevin and I actively supported Barack Obama, in 2008 and in 2012. In 2008, Justin was still in high school and not at all politically informed. It didn’t interest him. On election night, as Kevin and I stood in front of the fireplace, watching the returns, we called for him to come downstairs to witness history. As the polls closed in California and Brian Williams said “We have news,” calling the race for Obama, we wept. I don’t know if Justin realized the magnitude of what had just happened. His generation – and here is where I sound old – doesn’t really think much about someone’s skin color or religion or sexual orientation. The election of Obama was that night and remains to this day one of the proudest moments of my life. 


Justin and Kelsey in Mexico last summer

Justin supports Bernie Sanders. It’s not at all surprising. He listed a number of reasons why, mostly policy related. He understands that it’s an uphill battle. I asked him if Sanders doesn’t win the nomination if he would support Clinton. I know in the heat of the season, many people get almost too enamored with their chosen one and vow to never support the other person. I get it; I do. But it’s counter-productive. The real issue is that the party you support win in November. I didn’t say all of that, of course. Because that’s my opinion. I just asked the question. He didn’t hesitate saying of course, and then went on to explain exactly what I was thinking. That there are issues at stake that are too important. 

As we were talking one of his friends came into the room where he was and gave him some wine. Kevin poured us some, too. 

Justin has also taken to wine. And not just any wine, but good, strong, hair-on-the-chest red wine. Syrahs and Petite Verdots. He goes wine tasting. He asks questions. He has a remarkable palette and nose. When he was in high school, he was very judgmental about wine and alcohol in general. Kevin and I were branded alcoholics because of our love of wine and wine tasting. He has come to realize that it’s an art form, a hobby; something to be savored. And it’s also a lot of fun.

Last night, he was in Florida and we were in Arizona. He was holding court about politics, and drinking red wine. We all were. I was so proud all I could do was smile, and raise a glass to my boy. Here’s to him, and his amazing mind, his personality, his goals. I’m bursting.

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live out loud

Waiting

by Lorin Michel Friday, March 11, 2016 7:39 PM

I am struck sometimes by how much time we spend waiting. Waiting in line, waiting for mail, waiting to be called. We wait for dinner reservations, wait to get married, wait to get old. We wait for the weather to change, wait for the storm to pass, for the sun to come out. Waiting is what we do best and sometimes I wonder why we wait for things to happen when we can just make them happen.

Naturally we can't change the fact that we have to wait in line at a grocery store to check out. There are some times when we need to wait but there are also times when we choose to wait because we're afraid. Afraid of what might happen if we don't wait. The problem then is that we become passive in our own lives; we wait to settle rather than being fearless, being brave. 

Someone said to me not long after we had moved that what we'd done was very brave. I hadn't thought of it that way though it struck me. I never thought of myself as brave. It was simply that we didn't want to wait anymore for our lives to change so we changed it ourselves. We built a house, we figured out how to populate it with fixtures and furnishings. We figured out how to pay for it. We just did it because to not do it was no longer an option. 

Waiting takes up so much of our lives, so much precious time. It's frustrating and normal. It's also easier. When you wait for life happen rather than helping it along, you're short-changing yourself. You're letting fear of the unknown win, because it's what we do. What we all do. 

We wait. To lose weight, to get in shape, to eat healthier. We wait. To be nicer, be better, be ready. We wait. We hope. We dream. 

Waiting for life to begin, waiting for the inevitable. There is here and there is there, now and what will be. We know what is now. We have no idea what is in an hour, a day, a week, next month, next year, next life. Waiting for a sign.

When we lost our precious Maguire I remember sitting on the floor with him, stroking his greasy fur. He had been in the veterinary hospital since Friday night and it was Tuesday morning. He had suffered horrendous, unending seizures, only stopped by the administering of drugs. We waited for it to stop the entire drive to the hospital. It didn't. We waited for him to get better because we weren't ready to say goodbye. He didn't. On that Tuesday morning, the vet had told us he wasn't getting better; that he wasn't going to get better. We had made the decision to let him go because he was waiting to leave. Kevin had left the room to tell the vet. I whispered in my boy's ear, inhaling his Maguire scent still present even in the sickness, asking him to give us a sign that we should wait a little longer. Instead, he had another seizure. It was time. We had perhaps waited too long. We vowed to not do that again. 

And yet we did with Cooper, waiting to take him to the hospital, waiting for him to get better. We'll wait again.

Because sometimes we have to wait to be sure. It's a dichotomy. The only constant is change. The only change that can't be undone is death. We wait. Because we live. 

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It was an ambush

by Lorin Michel Sunday, February 28, 2016 6:53 PM

We were invited to our neighbors for dinner last night. We’ve gotten to know them a bit over the last year and like them tremendously. They were up here right after Christmas, we were down there for the Super Bowl. They live almost directly below us. Since we’re on the hill, we look down onto their roof and part of their back yard which is actually some sort of fake grass sculpted between rocks. Their two rescue dogs, Brody and Jax, can often be seen racing around and back and forth. We didn’t know until Super Bowl Sunday that the yard is at the bottom of a cascade of rocks and a recycling water feature.

Their house is beautiful, about a thousand square feet bigger than ours, and more formal. It was built about 15 years ago before the completely open floor plan, like ours, became more prominent. The back of their house, like ours, is glass. Their view is almost identical to ours; it’s just lower. We probably see a bit more of the mountains to the west because of how high up we are but the rest is the same. The city lights sparkle and dance in the distance. The sound of the coyotes seems more distant when more on their level. From up here, the howls seem to be racing up the hill. 

I got a text yesterday afternoon from Julianne saying to bring Riley, that he could play with the dogs. I thanked her and told her I’d speak with Kevin. My gut feeling said not to bring him. He’s an anxiety ridden little mess of a boy whenever we leave the house. There was no reason to think it would be any different to take him to play with two big dogs he’d never met. 

Kevin and I discussed it and ultimately decided to try it. Why not? We’re close enough that if it didn’t go well, bringing him back home would only take minutes.

Just after six, I slipped Riley into his harness and buckled him up. I hooked on his leash. We had our twice-baked potatoes (my contribution to the meal) plus two bottles of wine in a bag. I had bought three new dog toys at CVS when I was there to pick up a prescription. I put those in the bag, too. I slung my purse over my shoulder, put on my sunglasses, then, with leash in hand and Kevin holding the bag, we set off down the hill. We decided to walk because it’s so close. Also, it was a lovely day that promised to be an equally lovely night. Riley was fine. He’s used to walking down the hill, even used to going around the cul de sac. But when we started to go toward their driveway, he got a little apprehensive. This wasn’t routine. By the time we got to the steps down to their door, he was actively pushing back. We stopped so he could look at the water rushing down the rocks (another very cool water feature); so he could sniff. We walked further and he stopped at the front door. I suspect he could smell the dogs. Ed opened the door, and Riley practically flattened himself on the floor. He didn’t want to go in. After a few minutes, he did.

Then we went out onto the patio. The dogs saw him and flew at him with wild abandon. A new toy! Riley was terrified. The excitement of the other dogs turned into a snarling, snapping match as Riley tried to protect himself from what he deemed an attack. I held his harness and Julianne grabbed Brody and attempted to hold him back. Brody is 75 pounds. Ed had Jax, who is a more manageable 55. Jax and Riley did that sniffing each other thing before returning to snapping. There was simply no way they were going to play together which meant there was no way we were going to be able to enjoy ourselves.

Kevin took Riley and headed home. I took a glass of wine from Ed who then left in his golf cart to catch up with my two boys and offer them a lift home. Kevin and Ed were back in about 20 minutes, sans my little mess of a boy.

We enjoyed our evening immensely. Their dogs, great boys both, played together and eventually settled down to sleep. And even though it was sort of an ambush and even though I should have followed my instinct, no one got hurt and we learned the way NOT to introduce Riley to new friends, not if we want him to continue living it out loud.

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live out loud

TFW

by Lorin Michel Thursday, February 11, 2016 9:55 PM

It happened like this. Riley was being his usual Riley self. We came back from the walk, and he grabbed Wubba. Raced around the house, back and forth, swinging Wubba wildly from side to side, effectively flaying himself with his toy. Who knew I had an Opus Dei puppy? 

Wubba, for the uninitiated, is made by Kong and is a relatively sturdy dog toy that consist of a ball wrapped in some type of material with five long tassel-type legs/feet. Riley is currently on his fourth Wubba in nine months as a Michel, which is actually pretty good considering that most of Riley’s toys last between 30 minutes and two days. This Wubba has heavy duty rope as its ball. The streamers are heavy red canvas. One of those streamers has been shortened by half thanks to canine incisors. Otherwise, Wubba is fairly in tact. Wubba is also the toy of choice most morning’s when one needs to swing. 

Another toy that often gets the nod is Bob who used to be Wubba before he lost all of his legs/feet tassel/streamers. The joke writes itself. 

My two boys were playing, Riley grabbing Wubba and bouncing through the house, growling and swinging. Kevin saying variations of “gimme that Wubba.” Occasionally this command works. Riley drops Wubba at Kevin’s feet, backs away slightly, gets down and stares at it, willing Kevin to pick it up and throw it. I didn’t used to allow the throwing of toys in the house because something would inevitably get broken. But because of the wide and long expanse of the main walkway, and the fact that there’s nothing in said walkway save for two steps, I have relaxed this rule. Gimme indeed. 

Kevin tossed Wubba up toward the master bedroom. Riley took off for it, easily clearing the two steps with one leap. He’s Super Riley. He hit the brakes, grabbed Wubba just as it was heading for under the bed, locked it in his jaws, shook him as if to say “dude, you are NOT allowed under there,” pivoted and took off back towards Kevin who was still in the walkway near the kitchen.

Riley raced down the hall, ears flying, Wubba’s legs/feet whipping. He took off, as he usually does when he’s racing, to clear the steps because, really, why actually use the steps when one can fly over them. When he does this, when he flies, the fast clip of his nails on the tile suddenly stops and for a brief few seconds there is a soft silence. He is air born. He is free.

And then he hits the tile about nine feet away from where the steps end, takes a few leaps forward and then slides to a stop. This time, he lost his footing. His front feet splayed, his back feet tucked under and suddenly he was on his side, sliding, sliding, spinning, whirling. Wubba went air born, too, suddenly untethered, and crashed onto the foyer tile. Riley, eyes wide, tongue out, ears pinned, slid right into the corner of the rock column. Kevin, concerned, immediately moved to make sure he was OK but before he could get there, Riley was up, bouncing, racing to get Wubba, growling. Let’s go!

Kevin had him come over, and calm down. “It’s OK. OK. Zen puppy. Ohhhmmmmm.”

I was on the phone with a client while this was going on. I didn’t hear any yelps so I figured it was safe to say – think? – that the dog wasn’t hurt. I got off of my call and went to see what had happened. Riley, Wubba in his mouth, was trying to be calm, standing, leaning actually, against Kevin. Hi mom. Wanna play some Wubba? 

“It was a total f&%^ing wipeout,” Kevin said when he saw me. A TFW. And just like that, new meme was born.

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live out loud

When one has no idea what to write about one resorts to stream of consciousness in the hope that something anything will materialize

by Lorin Michel Friday, February 5, 2016 8:10 PM

It’s Friday and I’m tired but neither is usually a reason for me to not have any idea whatsoever for a blog post. Often times ideas present themselves rather easily. Often when I’m not even looking for them, something will happen, somebody will say something, I’ll read an article and I’ll think instantly, ooooh I should write about that and so I do. But no such spark has ignited today. The news is filled with politics which I’m addicted to even though I hate hate hate it. There aren’t even that many stories out there about the Super Bowl, not that I care because even though I love football I also hate that I love it. It’s a dichotomy, an enigma. I probably need therapy for so many things. 

I thought about writing about my dog who is cute as hell and always worthy of a blog post but I worry that my readers will tire of my laziness. How hard, after all, is it to celebrate one’s golden retriever mix on a daily basis? Woo hoo. Woot woot. Break out the champagne. Even though Riley has developed this exceptionally cute thing where he brings a toy into Kevin’s office and deposits it somewhere out of site, then backs up into the doorway and stares. He stares and stares and the longer he stares, the harder his tail wags. When Kevin doesn’t pay attention to him, he then growls. Short growls, low growls. Playful growls. Kevin, hearing this, will still ignore him because then this happens: the tail stops wagging, and Riley smiles at him. He rolls his lips back ever so slightly to show his teeth. He growls again and when Kevin finally looks at him and says “what?” Riley bounces and growls and airsnaps in the direction of his toy. 

It’s probably something that dog trainers would say is aggressive. But we don’t see any aggression. We see him trying to get our attention so that we play with him. 

But I don’t want to write about that. 

Kevin suggested writing about the Super Bowl party we’re going to on Sunday and how sometimes and often Super Bowl parties are a plethora of chips and dips and beer and tequila. Other Super Bowl parties are catered. This is neither. We’re going to a friend’s house and the only criteria is that everyone attending has to be bring a hot appetizer. I couldn’t decide what to do and finally settled on something easy but good: small Yukon gold potatoes, wrapped in bacon, baked, and then served with a side of sour cream and chives. 

Hey. It’s a Super Bowl party. They’re not supposed to be healthy.

I worked all week and as usual didn’t get nearly enough done. I slept a bit better this week though not great. I went to a doctor’s appointment. I went to the grocery store. I worried that we didn’t stop to watch the sunset every night. I don’t know why and it’s not a habit I want to get into. I cherish our sunset watching. I look forward to it. It’s the punctuation at the end of the day, the time that says “phew, you made it through another one. Congratulations. I know it was tough but you toughed it out. You didn’t let the client critters get you down. Here – have a glass of wine.” 

That’s the punctuation at the end of this post, too. Cheers. Here’s to living it out loud.

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live out loud

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