Riley and Bobbi have the best yawn noises. Kevin says Riley wins.

by Lorin Michel Sunday, October 30, 2016 9:20 PM

My husband is a yawner but a silent yawner. He almost always yawns in the car, but only when I’m driving. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is though it is more pronounced later in the afternoon and especially after we’ve seen a movie. The only sound he really makes is a little bit of a huff at the end as he pushes the air out of his lungs and finally closes his mouth. I tease him about it because I’ve never been much of a yawner. He’s like a little kid. Justin was always a yawner in the car, too. He also almost always fell asleep in the car when he was little.

I yawn only when I am beyond exhaustion. I yawn so seldom that when I do, Kevin stops and looks at me: “Did you just yawn?” The fact that he has to comment on it tells you all you need to know.

But nobody yawns better than Bobbi, who is also very proficient at it when in the car. Last Christmas, when we were on our way to Bisbee, and she was in the back of the Sport, the yawns were prolific, announced with vigor and finesse, an exhale accompanied by a high exclaim. Every time she did it, we’d laugh. We had never heard someone get so much volume and pleasure from a single yawn. We were impressed.

Enter Riley who is quite the yawner/stretcher/squealer. His noises are always fascinating and funny. None of our other dogs have had any particular noises other than what you’d expect from a dog. Maguire would growl with his toys and bark at the squirrels in the backyard. When he stood at the front door and decided we needed to be told about something in particular that may or may not have been of concern, he barked three times. Woof, woof (pause), woof. I don’t remember Cooper being much of a barker, though he did occasionally growl at his toys. 

And then there’s Riley. He is much more vocal. If he wants you to play with him, he’ll bring a toy (a “guy”) over, and drop it near you. Then he’ll back up, drop his ears and issue a guttural challenge. It’s pretty funny. When he bounds outside in the morning, usually with Wubba, he does so with gusto, whipping it back and forth and growling to great fanfare. 

In the early mornings, though, it’s the yawns that make us laugh. He starts by coming to one side of the bed or the other. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern; it’s simply whoever he deciphers as being awake first. He then lays his head on the mattress next to whoever, and as soon as his presence is acknowledged with eyes opening, the tail begins to wag. As we lean over to pet him, he then presses his whole body against the bed for a full length rub. 

But when we get up, the true fun begins. He backs up to allow us room to exit said bed. And then once we’re up, he stretches his front legs and paws out in front of him as far as he can, pushing his head and neck down and his butt up into the air. And while he manages this acrobatic act, he yawns, opening his mouth up as wide as possible so that we can practically look down his throat and see his tail. And then, he issues this high pitched squeal that we’re convinced will someday shatter glass. Then his jaw snaps closed and he pushed himself back up so that he’s completely standing, and he air snaps. Come on! Let’s go! 

This happens over the course of several minutes, several times, as we get ready for a walk.

So in the battle for who has the best yawn noises, we have to give it to Riley, probably also because of the stretch and the butt. Maybe if Bobbi could perfect that, she might be back in the running. I’ll have to talk to her.

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Oh the carnage (again)

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:04 PM

It is everywhere. Piles of nothing and everything. Discarded remnants of dignity, places where stuffing seems to have been literally beaten out of even the most unsuspecting. It’s a horror show, a disgrace, an embarrassment. I speak, of course, of the disaster that greeted us this morning as we exited the bedroom. 

Riley, as in Mr. Boo, Hey Boo Boo, Riley Boo, and Honey Boo Bear (sensing a boo pattern? And it’s not even yet Halloween), had left us a path of toy destruction that stretched across the walkway, down the steps and into the great room. Tufts of white stuffing, pieces of piping ripped from the edges, an eyeball, shredded pieces of plastic. It all awaited our arrival. We stood there, surveying the littered landscape. And started to laugh. 

Last night, Kevin had dutifully sewn up two of Riley’s toys, his beloved Yellow, he of the stuffed Crayola crayon variety (and who recently went on a camping trip) and a toy that has been in the hospital so long we couldn’t even remember its name. 

The hospital is what we created years ago when Maguire would attempt total toy destruction by mercilessly working on a string until he managed to unravel a seam just enough to open a hole out of which he would proceed to pull more stuffing than the toy looked capable of holding. I guess in some ways that’s similar to blood being spilled, and how it always looks like there’s more blood than there should be, even with a small cut. After distracting Mr. Maguire Michel, Esq., one of us would pick up the limp rag of a toy along with the stuffing and attempt to re-stuff the poor creature. Then, because we’re horrible procrastinators, the re-stuffed but not re-sewn toy would be ceremoniously placed on top of the refrigerator, in the critical care unit, awaiting surgery. Eventually they’d get patched up and returned to play time. Sometimes the toy would go on to live a nice, long life. 

This is not the case with Riley. He gets a new toy and proceeds to tear it apart. If we can get a toy to last more than 30 minutes, we consider it a success. And we try, really, we do. We give him a toy and then try to distract him. We’ve found that if he has two toys with him at once his attention gets split and both survive. 

You’re wondering: Why don’t you buy tougher toys? The answer is: we try to do that, too. But they just don’t make them because if dogs can’t destroy toys, you don’t have to buy as many. His Wubba toys last awhile; others not so much. So we tend to buy toys in the reduced price bin at the front of PetCo because if they’re going to get destroyed anyway they might as well be cheap. 

The hospital now is the top shelf in the back of the pantry which is where the toy whose name we couldn’t remember was resting comfortably. Kevin, the official toy surgeon, pulled him out, after sewing up Yellow (for about the sixth time), and proceeded to restore the toy to chewable condition. Riley, having abandoned Yellow for what he assumed was a new toy (like I said, this one has been out of commission for a while), squirmed impatiently on the floor, scrambling ever closer then pushing himself back. When Kevin was finally done, he presented Riley with – “what should we call this thing?” he asked me. I shrugged my shoulders. “Leo?” “It is kind of leopardy.” – Leo and off he trotted. 

Fast forward to this morning and the toy Armageddon that awaited us. Leo had been gutted; ditto Yellow. Cat, who we didn’t even know was in the mix, was in the middle of a sea of white fluffy stuffing, a twisted, mangled shell of her former self. She’s long been headless, having lost it during her last trip to the hospital, but this morning, well, suffice it to say that we had to call time of death.

I’ve read that toy destruction is actually a sign of a healthy dog and a healthy mind. If that’s the case, then I’m ready to pronounce our dog absolutely brilliant. 

"I voted!"

by Lorin Michel Monday, October 24, 2016 8:01 PM

Justin is in England, specifically in Birmingham, at least for the next couple of days. He’s in England through the end of the year, and as when he was in Japan, appears to be loving it. The weather is a bit cooler. Japan was very hot and humid. And he loves him some good pub grub. 

Because he’s out of the country, he signed up for an absentee ballot. The ballot was, naturally, sent here to the house. Because he literally moves to a different city every week, it would have been difficult to have it simply sent directly to his hotel-home. We got the ballot last week. In order to get it to England in a timely basis, meaning before he moved again, we had to pinpoint his location starting this week (he usually changes locations on Sunday or Monday) and then figure the best way to get it over there. 

Our go-to for quick, overnight shipping has long been FedEx. They’re a little expensive but for more fragile items, they seem to take slightly better care. For a long time, UPS seemed to be a bit haphazard with their handling of packages. I think they’ve gotten much better. But I’m not sure they do international. USPS couldn’t guarantee delivery and FedEx was ridiculously expensive. 

Enter DHL. Kevin took it down to their office on Friday morning. Today we got a text: “I voted!” 

Justin was still in high school when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. Kevin and I stood in front of the television for hours, watching the results come in. When Brian Williams said that it was just after 8 pm on the West Coast “and we have news” in that wonderful anchor-y voice of his (yes, we remain fans) and then proceeded to announce that Obama had been elected, we popped open a bottle of champagne and stood crying. We couldn’t have been prouder to be democrats, to have campaigned and voted for Obama, prouder of the country. Justin remained up in his room. We called up to him, wanting for him to share with us the moment where our country changed its history. He came to the top of the stairs, smiled, said something about “cool” and then went back into his room. He was young and the outside world didn’t quite exist yet.

In 2012, he was in college. I don’t remember and neither does he if he got an absentee ballot that year but I tend to think he didn’t. I would think he would have remembered filling it out; I would think we would remember sending him one. 

This year, he’s 25, soon to be 26, and actively engaged with the world in all of its entirety, figuratively and literally. He and his girlfriend were Bernie Sanders supporters. After Mr. Sanders failed to get the nomination, Justin switched his allegiance. While Sanders was his first choice, there was no way he was voting for The Donald, and no way he was wasting a vote on a third party. At 25, he realizes the futility of that. And the danger. And he wanted to make sure that regardless of where he was, he could cast his vote for president. 

Today, he voted. How ironic that he cast his vote for the first woman president in the country we fought for our independence from more than 240 years ago. A country that has already had its first female leader. It’s poetic. It’s exciting. It’s breathtaking in its symbolism. I’m not sure he sees it that way. He sees it as doing his civic duty. But I see it. And I celebrate it; I celebrate him.

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The deep blue mystery of the Colorado t shirt

by Lorin Michel Thursday, October 20, 2016 7:50 PM

It was a bright and sunny morning. Oh, and windy. In other words, just another beautiful day in desert paradise.

I pulled on a pair of black cut off sweats and an "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" tee-shirt. For the record, it was 7:21. I was trying to lace up my sneakers - trying because in the morning, when we sit on the bench in the bathroom to put on shoes, Riley takes that as an invitation to get very close, spin around and while gazing back with a look that says "do you see my butt - You know what you're supposed to do" actually presents his butt for rubbing.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Trying to tie my shoes while rubbing the dog's butt. I finally managed to get him to get out of the way by urging him to "go find daddy. Go bug daddy." And off he went to find and bug daddy/Kevin. Who was actually in the closet. Trying to find something to wear. Luckily I did laundry last night so just about everything is clean. He emerged wearing his light gray sweat shorts and a dark blue Colorado t-shirt.

"Where did this shirt come from?" he asked perplexed, holding out the bottom so he could read it upside down.

"I have no idea," I responded.

"It's like one of those shirts you always buy me in airports on your way home from somewhere," he volunteered. It's true. I do always buy him shirts in airports. It's a thing.

"I don't think I've been to Colorado," I said.

"I don't think you have either," he said.

"It's a really nice shirt," I said approvingly.

"It is," he agreed.

We both stood silent for a while, contemplating his blue Colorado tee shirt. It really was a nice shirt. But where did it come from? We contemplated and thought and squeezed our brains about it. To no avail.

Pretty soon, we heard Riley heading back to the bedroom having been unsuccessful in finding daddy/Kevin. Tags jangling, nails clicking he appeared, ears flying, tongue waggling. He stopped and looked at us looking at Kevin's shirt. And then came over and presented his butt again.

No mystery as to what Riley wanted, but the mystery of the dark blue Colorado shirt continues. Oh, well. Something to solve another day.

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The secret to a happy marriage

by Lorin Michel Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:11 PM

My first marriage was not happy for a number of reasons beginning with the fact that we got married too young. We’d gotten together too young as well and when we got married we were already starting to grow in different directions. He became more conservative; I started leaning even more liberal. That in and of itself is not always a deal breaker (my current and favorite husband was a Republican when I married him) but it contributed. He listened to Rush Limbaugh and with that infatuation grew an ever increasing determination to make women – and thus me – lesser. Lesser in stature, lesser in intelligence. Lesser in value. One half of a marriage can’t treat the other half with growing disrespect and expect it to last. At least, I hope not. Every person deserves respect, especially in a strong, happy marriage.

We also got married for all the wrong reasons. We’d been together for a long time and it seemed as if our choice was get married or break up. In retrospect, we should have chosen the latter. But if we had done that, in some way, it would have invalidated all of the time, and yes love, we had shared. Longevity, ultimately, wasn’t a good reason to get married. 

I remember asking a good friend of mine once why he’d gotten married. He was 39 at the time, he never spent any time with his wife, rarely talked about her. “I was 39, it was time,” he said with a shrug. That struck me as being a horrible reason to get married. Turns out, I had done much the same. 

So we divorced not long after we got married. Ultimately it was a turning point in my life, changing me, I think for the better. I was free. I lived alone for several years, which I’d never done before. I bought my own townhouse. And my income increased dramatically. My first marriage held me back in almost every way. Freed from that unhappiness, I was able to grow and become, finally, me. 

Enter favorite and current husband several years later. We got married for all the right reasons. Madly in love, never wanting to be apart, unable to imagine life without the other. And we laughed all the time. We still do. In my estimation, the ability to make each other laugh, even after decades together, is one of the biggest secrets to a happy marriage. 

The other secret is this: an equal distribution of chores in the kitchen. I make the mess, he cleans up the mess. It’s been working for us for a while now. I love to cook, but I am not a neat cook. I’m neat in almost every other aspect of our lives and in the house, but when it comes to the kitchen, every bit of counter gets used. And I have a lot of counter space.

One of my less messy meals: today's breakfast

When I cook, I use nearly the entire kitchen. The center island is where I used the cutting board and thus all of the vegetables that I remove from the fridge end up there. The cooktop, on the eat-at island, always seems to have at least two if not all five of the burners going, with various items sautéing, boiling, sizzling, scrambling. Add to that one of the ovens, and sometimes both, baking or convecting, and the kitchen is awhirl. While I cook, Kevin often sits at the bar, with the iPad and a glass of wine. It’s my job to make sure everything we’re having is done at the same time. Once it is, I distribute onto our plates, make sure all of the burners and the ovens are turned to off, and we eat.

Then comes clean up. Kevin is a master. Better, he doesn’t seem to mind. As he often says when I tell him I’ll clean up or that I can at least help: “It’s my job. And it’s the least I can do for always being the beneficiary of good eats.”

So there you have it. One of the secrets to this happy marriage is an equal distribution of roles in the kitchen. It keeps us laughing daily.

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In which Yellow goes camping

by Lorin Michel Sunday, October 9, 2016 8:30 PM

So Riley has a new toy. It’s an oversized, stuffed Crayola crayon that we have dubbed Yellow for obvious reasons. It’s brighter than the sun. We got it just days ago, from PetCo. Every time I go to PetCo to buy dog food, which is roughly once a month, I also stock up on whatever cookies-treats we’re low on and I usually buy a toy. Our little blonde nut goes through toys fairly quickly. Excited to get something new, he sits as I remove tags and stickers, his tail sweeping the floor, his eyes hyper-focused. He vibrates with anticipation. Finally, the time comes. I present the toy always by naming it as I give it to him. We started that habit with Maguire. We introduce toys with a name in the hope that when we say “go get Yellow” or “get Wubba” he has at least a clue as to what – who? – we’re asking for. 

Riley sniffs, licks and then grabs the toy, rising, turning and racing off into the center of the house. He whips the new toy back and forth, growls and then settles down to start chewing, squeaking, destroying. We try to distract him, but we’re not always successful. If a toy can make it 24 hours, it has a chance of making it for a week or two. If not, it’s usually gone within the hour. 

Yellow was purchased in the reduced price bin because of the destruction factor. Yellow was $4. We like Yellow. More importantly, Riley likes Yellow. After the ceremonial handoff in the kitchen, he and Yellow have become nearly inseparable. Yellow gets carried around the house. Riley sits at the front door, watching out through the glass, holding Yellow. When we go out to pee, Yellow comes with us. It’s his new BFF. Oh sure, he still loves Wubba, but Yellow is bright, shiny –


Where was I? 

Ah, yes. Yellow and Riley, sitting in a tree, p-l-a-y-i-n-g. They were out on the deck last night, Riley down on the tile, looking out over the deck, a sphynx overseeing his desert. Yellow was next to him, not really paying much attention to the desert, content to be with his new friend. 

I’m sure if Yellow could talk, he would have gushed about how excited he was to be in his new home, how much he loved his new friend, and how great the desert was. In fact, he didn’t have to gush. Because Yellow actually decided to go and explore it a bit. In other words, Yellow went camping. 

I went out to check on Riley and he was standing at the railing, looking down and whining. I went to look and there was Yellow down on the rocks. 

“We have a Yellow down,” I called to Kevin. “We have a Yellow down.” Good dad that he is, he laced up his hiking shoes and trudged down under the house, down onto the rip rap to rescue hapless Yellow. He handed him up to me through the railing and I promptly handed the toy back to Riley who was overjoyed. 

Within two minutes, Yellow had been tossed and nosed off of the deck again, this time rolling under some of the brush down below. Riley stood and whined. Kevin and I looked over and shook our heads. 

The sun had gone down and there was little natural light. We tried to explain to Riley that it was probably best for Yellow to stay outside overnight… 


… that we’d be sure to get him in the morning … 

*whine wine * 

… right after our walk. 

*whine whine sniff snort whine yip* 

I guess this is what happens when a best friend decides to go camping and leaves his puppy behind. There’s a lesson in there someplace. I’m just not sure where.


Postscript: Yellow was successfully rescued this morning making a certain puppy very happy indeed.

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There was a dead snake along the road this morning

by Lorin Michel Saturday, October 1, 2016 9:09 PM

It was just after 8 am. The sun had long since risen above the house and was busy warming the day. Riley and I got a late start on our walk but since it was only hinting at 70º I knew we’d be fine. We trudged along, me saying “slow” about every ten feet. I’m trying to train him to not be such a puller and I’ve never liked the word “heel.” Dogs know the words they taught, and I’m teaching “slow.” His leash was wrapped around my left hand; I was keeping him close to me.

There were workers at the Strobel’s house. Kevin had mentioned that he heard what he thought were trucks and trailers down below, where the house is being built. He asked me to take a look as I went by, just to see who it was and whether we should call the sheriff. It was the contractor – I recognized his truck – and several others. All were busy working. The contractor saw me and waved. I waved back. 

We trudged along, Riley and I. No one else was out. No cars passed us. I always keep my eyes open for creatures, namely javelinas or coyotes. I look to the right and the left and dead ahead for the entirety of the walk. Javelinas can be nasty and dangerous. Coyotes not so much because Riley is a big dog. But I fear Riley would freak and cause a scene. I watch for Gila monsters that can bite down on a dog and not let go; I watch for tortoises that will bite if provoked and attacked. I watch for snakes. 

As we rounded a gentle curve, and began to walk down a small decline, there was one on the side of the road. A rattlesnake. We haven’t seen many snakes up here. We know they’re around; how could they not be given the terrain and the climate? I saw one in what was call the Cooper Area, where we take the dog to pee during the day and before we go to bed at night. There was the one that somehow got into the house. Another that was on the road another morning. We kept Riley close and made a wide circle to get around it. When we returned it was gone. 

I pulled Riley’s leash closer. He didn’t see it, but I kept my eyes on it as we continued by. When we came back past, it was still there, still in the exact same position, part of its scaly body looped over the other. This time, Riley saw it and stopped. He stood staring, his body extended in the direction of the snake, his head forward and down. He didn’t try to pull. He just watched, waiting.


I picked up a rock and tossed it. The snake didn’t move. It was dead. Completely intact. No apparent trauma. Perhaps one of the falcons or ravens had grabbed it up and then dropped it from a great height. Maybe it just died of old age. It didn’t matter. What mattered was there was a dead snake along the road. 

We continued toward home, my dog and I. I watched and listened for other predators. I nodded toward the contractor again. I thought about the snake and its symbolism. Rattlesnakes are lethal creatures, striking to kill. But it was dead. Could it be that it somehow also symbolized the death of fear?

We all live in fear, sometimes it can be crippling. Most times it just gnaws at the back of your soul. Fear of failure, of loss. Fear that we’re not good enough, fear that we’ll never be what we dreamed of becoming as children. Fear of life. 

A rattlesnake is but one creature representing the personification of fear, but it’s a just representation. If it can die for no visible reason, could our own insecurities and fears die as easily? Can mine?

The death of fear. The death of anger. The death of lashing out, of striking out. All manifested in the death of one snake along the road this morning. Something to think about.

Krevolin’s angels and the art of funky

by Admin Thursday, September 29, 2016 8:52 PM

My mom has two old pieces of sculpture she wants to give me because she knows of my love of both old and especially of funky. They’re not antiques even though they’re from circa 1970. But they’re definitely funky. After visiting last year – can it really be nearly a year since she was here? – she knew instantly that these pieces, which she no longer displays would be great in our house. We are very eclectic in our décor. We love the art of funky. 

When our family lived in New York, we were in Dutchess County. We started out in one of the hamlets called Staatsburg where we lived in a big development. We had a split level ranch at the time, a house style that was very popular. I think we had shag carpeting. My mother hated it. We lived there for a short time and then my parents built a house in Hyde Park, one of the towns in the county. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s summer home was there. There were also several mansions, including a Vanderbilt palace. 

I remember living there, but not well. My mother liked it though; I do know that. There were some interesting areas and many small artist enclaves scattered on the outskirts of the towns. I suspect this was one of the reasons she liked it so well. My mother was always a bit of an artist. She used to do a pen and ink drawing for our Christmas card every year. For a time, she dabbled in watercolor. When she was in college, she studied art. If memory serves, she eventually got a degree in education and taught art. But I was very little and don’t really remember. I know we still have several of the pieces she created while she was in college, from wood engravings to tapestry-like pieces where she used pieces of cloth sewn onto burlap in order to create a landscape. I think my brother still has one of these hanging in his house. 

Evidently when we still lived there, she discovered an artist named Lewis Krevolin. She went to Krevolin’s studio and just loved the funky crudeness of his sculptures. She bought two angels, each about a foot or so tall, for $25. When she brought them home, my dad was not pleased. How could she spend money on something that looked like that?

As my mother likes to joke now, if it didn’t get hit with a bat, dunked into a basket or tossed down a field, my dad had no use for it. 

Those two angels have stayed with her all these years. She still has them. We talked about them yesterday and she said she’d been thinking about giving them to me, ever since she came to visit a year ago, largely because of our tendency toward eclectic, funky pieces of pottery and art. As she was telling me about them, I thought I remembered exactly what she was talking about. If they’re what I remember, I said, I’d love them. And I bet Kevin will even like them since while he doesn’t automatically gravitate toward certain types of art, he does have a strong appreciation for it. 

Great, she said. I have them out in the shed. I’ll take some pictures and send them to you so you can decide for sure. And then next time you’re home, you can take them back with you.

She didn’t think they’d travel well if shipped.

I got the photos several minutes later, and they were exactly what I remembered. Crude faces and yet there was and is something about them that’s intriguing, beguiling even. Lewis Krevolin, who was born in 1933 and is still alive, is no longer doing sculptures or pottery. He now does pastels as far as my mother knows. 

They’re dusty, my mom said, because they’ve been in the shed for years. But they’ll clean up fine.

Because they’ve been in the shed. I thought this a bit serendipitous. My mom’s house was built around 1926. It’s a small, adorable cape, two bedrooms, one bath, somewhere around 900 square feet, plus an attic and a basement. It has a one car garage which she added, and next to the garage, it has a shed. The previous owner was an artist and the “shed” was his studio. It has no plumbing but it has a wood stove, ceiling fans and dormer windows. A lovely porch off of the sliding glass door. The angels created by one artist and purchased by another are now in the shed previously used by yet another.

That’s definitely worth celebrating.

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Something pretty

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, September 27, 2016 11:40 PM

Yesterday was our anniversary and to celebrate we watched the first presidential debate in separate rooms. Not by design; more by necessity. The debate started at 6 pm here in the west so we were still working. Not that we got a lot done while the two nominees were flailing at each other. 

Correction, one flailed. The other held court.

It wasn’t a romantic way to spend an anniversary but it was a Monday night and we are in the middle of probably the most volatile and horrific election season ever. Romance was not really something we were thinking of.

We watched, we clapped, we giggled. We met afterwards for a glass of wine and – to honor the Obamas whom we love – fist-bumped as all good terrorists do. We are not passionate about Hillary Clinton, not like we were and are about Obama. But we believe she’s smart and competent and head and shoulders above her much taller opponent. We happily and easily support her. Kevin announced he’s going to the Democratic headquarters here in Tucson on Thursday to sign us up for whatever they need us to do. 

But it was our anniversary and we did absolutely nothing for it. We had some wine. We grilled some chicken. We watched MSNBC, again as all good terrorists do. And we went to bed to hopefully sleep better than we usually do. We didn’t, but this time not because of politics. This time was because of the weather. At some point and I think it was around 4:30 or so, lightning began to flash and shortly thereafter, thunder began to crash over our heads. The wind was already howling. Rain was pelting the house. The rumble began. 

Riley doesn’t mind rain. He doesn’t mind wind. But he positively hates thunder. When there is thunder, there is a nutty puppy. And last night, while we were finally enjoying a decent night’s sleep feeling even just slightly better about the election, however fleeting, we were awakened by whining and crying and general puppy agitation. 

So much for the sleep. We were up for a while trying to calm him down. Eventually we did, largely because the weather moved past us and the thunder ceased to roll. 

I swear to dog, if I don’t get some sleep one of these days… 

Today dawned early and because I was on deadline for a huge – someone might say yuge – project, we didn’t walk the dog. I didn’t ellipticize. I worked. I drank coffee. Keven did much the same and then this afternoon, he got his hair cut. He went off into town with a quick kiss goodbye and a vow to see me soon. He was also going to Ace Hardware to pick up a new dryer hose since we’ve been having trouble with our new dryer and the GE technician said it was because our old hose was crushed and twisted. 

He came home about an hour and a half later, walking into the house with flowers. Lilies. Something pretty.

“Happy Anniversary,” he said. “A day late…” 

Something to celebrate.

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Maybe tonight I’ll sleep

by Lorin Michel Monday, September 26, 2016 10:54 PM

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’ve mentioned before that this election is killing me; it’s keeping me up at night. I get to sleep but I can’t seem to stay there. Almost every night I wake up and then I’m awake for somewhere between one hour and two hours. I can’t turn off my brain. I toss and turn. I’m not thinking about anything in particular; I’m just a ball of anxiety. 

I’ve tried not to watch politics at night. Sometimes it works. I’ve tried not to read The Washington Post and check Fivethirtyeight, which I’m ashamed to say I’m almost obsessive about. This election terrifies me like no other. I can’t seem to shake the feeling of impending doom. I’m mortified that some of my fellow Americans think that a man like him is qualified to lead the greatest country on earth. I purposely don’t talk politics with anyone unless I know that they think the same and feel the same as I. I don’t want to think – or feel – differently about someone. 

And we now live in a red state so I’m not surrounded, necessarily, but people of the same persuasion, if not necessarily by default. The fact that we’re in Tucson helps. Tucson is very blue, very liberal. The other day I got my hair cut and colored and my hairdresser said she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t know how this state is considered so red and so right because Tucson isn’t like that and neither is Phoenix. I agree with her. Where are these people? 

I’m afraid that some may be people I know and like. And so I don’t ask, and don’t speak, and I’ve no doubt it contributes to my anxiety 

Tonight was the first debate and I almost didn’t watch. Bobbi didn’t watch. Granted she had class tonight but even if she didn’t, she wasn’t sure she would have been able to view it. She couldn’t stand the stress. Kevin said the same thing to me earlier. 

“Are you going to watch the debate?” I asked. 

“I just don’t know if I can do it,” he said. 

Today is our anniversary; 18 years married. Ten years ago, we were in Lake Las Vegas. We’d gone for the weekend, to get away and just enjoy our married-ness. We took the motorcycle and drove from LA. It was miserable. The weather was horrific, the heat unbearable. We couldn’t escape it. By the time we got to the Ritz Carlton, we could literally have been wrung out. We got to our room and took a shower. Kevin got some champagne and, dressed in the white robes that came from the room, we lounged on the bed, drinking some bubbly and watching the first debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. 

Our 10th anniversary

Tonight, we watched the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Neither of whom are we crazy about but we much prefer the former to the latter. We’re Democrats after all. 

“You know ten years ago…” I said earlier. 

“I know,” he said smiling. “We were in Vegas watching Obama and McCain. It’s nice that they schedule presidential debates on our anniversary.”

Indeed. Maybe tonight I’ll even be able to sleep.

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