oh the carnage

by Lorin Michel Thursday, November 12, 2015 7:44 PM

We have had three dogs. Regular readers know all of them fairly well. Dogs make for easy blog posts because they are such characters. Each has an individual personality. Like people, no two are exactly alike. They all like to eat different things, they’re all afraid of different things. There are some similarities. They all like to go for walks, or at least all of ours have liked that. They like going in the car to varying degrees. They like toys. More to the point, they like to destroy toys.

When Maguire was a puppy, before we knew better, we often bought him rubber-plastic toys. He loved them. Within 30 minutes, he had loved them so much they were in little rubber-plastic pieces on the floor next to him, the squeaker carefully deposited on top of the pile. Then he’d sit there and smile at us, so proud of the carnage he’d inflicted. It was as if he was saying: “look what I did, mom. Isn’t it great? Thanks so much for that guy. Please, can I have another?”

Paging Oliver Twist.

As he got older, we gave him plush toys. These didn’t fare much better. He would grasp these guys between his two massive paws and pick at them with his teeth, trying to dislodge a thread. As soon as he had a thread he would pull on it and pull on it until it unraveled a seam. Stuffing! He would systematically pull the stuffing out one mouthful at a time, depositing it in piles on either side of him. The once plush toy was reduced to a mere shell of its former self. We used to re-stuff the toys and put them in the hospital. The hospital was the top of the refrigerator where re-stuffed toys waited to be sewn up. After two or three trips to the hospital, the toy would be properly buried in the trash can. 

Cooper did much the same, though since he was older when we got him he had a bit more self-control. He would still work his guys, chewing on them, pulling to find that elusive thread. And once found, the same process would begin. A hole would open, and stuffing would be pulled out and deposited. It often looked as if a small snowstorm had happened just around him. By then, we’d closed the hospital. If he destroyed a toy, it got thrown out. Sooner or later a new toy appeared. He had several toys at any given time, so he was never without and he rarely went from destroying one to immediately destroying another. 

Enter Riley Michel. 

Oh, the carnage. Like those who came before, he loves his guys. Like those who came before, he will work a guy until he finds that one loose and offending thread and then he will pull until it opens and he can systematically dig out the stuffing. If he finds a squeaker or a rattle along the way, all the better. It’s like bonus carnage. 

What carnage?

Lately he’s been on a true tear. Just this week we have had to “bury” – and by bury I mean toss in the trash – Joe, a camouflage dinosaur that my mother brought him; Beav, a very dapper beaver that Roy and Bobbi brought him; Bear, a supposedly tougher toy that I bought him from Ace Hardware; and Cow, several tennis balls with a thick rope going through and a stuffed head and tail.

We have tried to explain to him that if he destroys all of his guys in one week, he’s going to be a very lonely boy. And that if he thinks I’m going to go out and buy more toys, well … he’s absolutely right but probably not until this weekend. 

As I write this, there is another guy in the foyer. Santa Bone. Santa Bone was Cooper’s and we just recently discovered him in a box. Riley took to Santa right away, and vice versa. But the attraction has turned violent. There is carnage. Everywhere. Again. 

This is the legacy my boys share. Their love and the eventual destruction of their guys. But as Kevin pointed out with Riley, they’re his guys. I worry though that he may be pathological. He may be a serial guy destroyer. I wonder if there’s a program he can join. What’s a puppy mom to do? Except buy more toys and expect more carnage. Like Cooper and Maguire before him, it’s Riley’s way of living it out loud. 

The ritual of the click

by Lorin Michel Thursday, February 12, 2015 8:16 PM

I don’t know when it started but it was many computers ago. Maybe with my first color laptop, the 3400c. Before that, the internet was more of an occasional thing. Now it’s there constantly. Somehow I got hooked into clicking for food, specifically for food for animals. It’s through theanimalrescuesite.com and each day, after I check my mail, it’s the first site I visit. I read the story of the day and then I click to contribute to food for homeless and rescued animals.

There are always stories about rescued animals, often dogs but almost as often cats. I read the stories always. I love that there are people in the world who rescue, because I abhor that there are people in the world who neglect, abandon and abuse. I can’t fathom what type of human could and does do such a thing just as I can’t fathom the abuse of a baby or toddler. These are defenseless creatures and we are a lot bigger. What causes someone to be so cruel? I have no idea.

My Facebook page is filled with friends posting about things in their lives. I post occasionally but mostly I’m just a Facebook voyeur. The pages I like tend to be about the Patriots, wine, politics, dogs and specifically rescue sites. People who have the capacity to rescue abused animals are heroes to me. Eldad of Hope for Paws and Annie of Rescue from the Hart come to mind, as do places like Old Dog Haven in Washington. Like elderly people, we seem to have little regard for elderly animals, tossing them aside or into shelters. Granted, sometimes this happens because an owner has passed away but too often dogs who are 10 years and older, are abandoned. Old Dog Haven takes them in to foster or for hospice care. There’s also a place in Southern California that I’ve just become aware of because of a senior dog that Eldad just rescued from a water treatment facility. His name is Mufasa. The senior dog rescue is called Lionel’s Legacy.

I’m a sucker for anything dog and I have a special place in my heart for older dogs. That’s Maguire’s legacy. That beautiful boy of ours, who started his life with us as a 10 week old puppy, and was with us for more than 15 years showed us how wonderful a senior dog can be. Regal, calm, filled with the wisdom of life with a don’t-care-anymore attitude that is earned. It’s much like people I suppose, minus the get-off-my-lawn mentality.

I read the stories, I watch the videos, I send money. And I hope that perhaps one day I too will be brave enough to foster animals that no one wants. It’s a dream of mine to help more than through money. But I cry when I read the stories and watch the videos. I can’t imagine having one of those creatures in my house to care for. I think I would bawl the whole time.

Until then, though, until I manage to get brave enough to take in an animal that I will then have to give up to another good home, I click. Every morning. And I hope that just that little bit helps all animals of all ages to live it out loud, safe from those who would do them harm.

I am turning into my mother

by Lorin Michel Friday, January 2, 2015 7:45 PM

My mother is a wonderful woman whom I adore. I don’t see her as often as I’d like and lately I haven’t been able to talk to her as much as usual because my schedule has been bonkers. Still, I hope she knows that I think of her and miss her, and that I am turning into her.

One of the things I have long teased my mother about is the ever-present tissues found in every pocket she possesses. Since I moved west, when I go home to visit, I carry only one suitcase. If it’s cold, I wear a coat. There have been many times when I have had to supplement my wardrobe by borrowing a sweatshirt or a jacket, even a bathrobe to keep warm in the morning. Putting a bathrobe into a travel bag would essentially take up my entire suitcase. Whenever I borrow something, I inevitably put my hands into my pockets. I’m a hand-in-the-pockets kind of gal. I love to shove them in deep, to burrow. I’m also a burrower, as I’ve discussed with how I love sleeping under mounds and mounds of covers.

From my mother’s pockets, I always pull a tissue. Not a used one – that would be gross. Rather, a spare. It has always been thus and a running laugh track in the family. She tells me that this is a trick she long ago learned from her own mother, who evidently taught her to tuck a tissue into a sleeve so as to always be prepared. Somewhere along the way, my mother moved from sleeves to pockets. It makes me smile every time. It’s my mom, and it’s wonderful.

Unlike my mother, I have never been partial to hay fever or allergies or post-nasal drip (a horrible sounding malady for what is, rather, a runny nose). I do occasionally have need for a tissue, as we all do. I occasionally suffer from a cold. But I rarely have a tissue in my bathrobe pockets, or in my jacket pockets.

What I have are dog poop bags.

It seems that lately every time I put a coat or jacket on, no matter if it’s a hoodie sweatshirt, or a nice suede jacket, or my dad-sized Harry Carry jacket from Chicago, there exists in one of the pockets a roll of bags. We buy these rolls in bulk and use them every time we walk Cooper. Sometimes we have need for two bags. Kevin lovingly and proudly refers to that as a two-bagger.

I started to notice the bag-in-the-pocket phenomenon about two weeks ago. The weather had really and finally started to turn cold. The mornings were and are often in the high 20s or low 30s. Coats are needed. I put on my Harry Carry jacket and my hands immediately found their way to the pockets. In those pockets, I found a pair of gloves and a roll of bags. In my favorite Zaca Mesa hoodie, another roll of bags. In each of my fleece jackets, bags. Ditto by fleece vest. I told Kevin that if this keeps up, we might never have to buy bags again. When we think we’re running low, we’ll simply raid my side of the walk-in and rummage through every pocket until we find what we’re looking for.

I am turning into my mother, with dog poop bags replacing tissues. Both serve their own unique purpose and function to keep us in polite society. I’ve learned a lot from my mother, perhaps nothing so useful as keeping what one needs ever at the ready. That’s worth celebrating today and always.  


Paw prints and then

by Lorin Michel Saturday, December 13, 2014 9:50 PM

It was raining here this morning when I took Cooper for a walk. We knew it was coming in. My weather app said as much. Plus the west coast got hammered a day and a half or so ago and the storm was moving east. It was a nice rain, just enough to make both he and I wet but not drenched. It’s the kind of rain I used to love to run in back when I was a runner. I miss running in the rain. Fodder for another post.

By the time el puptart and I returned, we were both fairly drenched. He shook and Kevin wrapped him in a towel, rubbing his fur to dry him off. I shook my head to fling out some water and headed for the bathroom and the hairdryer. Cooper, sensing where II was going, pranced ahead leaving wet paw prints on the floor. I smiled.

I’m a sucker for paw prints. I suppose most pet lovers are. The perfection of the tiny or sometimes not so tiny pads that hold water and leave a trail even inside, even for a short time until they evaporate.

Yesterday, we noticed tiny paw prints on the face of the fireplace in the great room of the new house. Vertical paw prints. I’m not entirely sure how that was possible but there they were, in a cluster. Some were perfectly formed, others had slid together as if whatever was trying to scale the wall in order to get inside the hole just above the fireplace was using all of its little might to heave and pull itself to safety. Mike remarked that he hoped some little creature wasn’t somewhere in the walls. If it gets sealed in inadvertently ir’s screwed.

We’ve seen all sizes of paw prints at the house, some obviously a dog, some more suspect. Coyote maybe. Or bobcat. Mike says there are bears out there. I haven’t yet seen anything remotely the size of a bear’s print, but yikes.

Paw prints appear on cars all the time. I love when you see the prints across the hood of a car and on the windshield, the telltale slide. I can imagine cats or raccoons getting on top of a car just to slide down. Like an amusement park for the wilderness.

It always makes me smile when I see the paw print stickers people put on their car windows. It’s as if they’re signifying solidarity; showing their love of the furred ones to the world. I always want to honk and say “heck yeah.” I don’t because they wouldn’t know what I was honking about and they’d think I was a nut, which of course I am, for animals.

When we lost Maguire, my sister and niece gave me a sterling silver necklace featuring a small silver triangle. Inside the triangle is a paw print. On the back is Maguire’s name. I wear it all the time in memory of our beloved boy, the one Kevin nicknamed puppy feet when he was little; he of the large paws.

There is a popular meme known as footprints in the sand, about god and walking beside and then carrying. I prefer the idea of paw prints in the sand and everywhere. That’s about dog to me.

Paw prints bring me comfort, they make me feel safe, they fill me with love, even when they’re on the floor in the house, even when they’re muddy. They fade or are washed away, but they are the stamp of my dogs, past and present. They are their way of saying “I was here; I still am.” And that’s always worth celebrating.

Listing to starboard

by Lorin Michel Saturday, October 18, 2014 8:16 PM

Last week, Cooper decided he didn’t like his food anymore. Or at least he started acting like he didn’t like his food anymore. How did we know this? He stopped eating. Maguire was always a grazer, munching a little bit here and there, and only finishing his food at about 3 am when he realized there was absolutely no possibility of getting any chicken or cheese or pizza bones. We have to make Cooper sit and wait while we put his food into his bowl or he’s eating it as it’s pouring from the scoop. We attribute this to the fact that he was a rescue. From everything I’ve heard and read this is very common in rescues because they’re not always fed regularly and when they are, they often have to fight to get their fair share because all of the rescues are eating at once. The survival of the biggest and most aggressive.

Because Cooper has gained some weight, he’s on prescription food. It’s dry and it’s low fat and until about last Monday, he was having no issue scoffing down a cup in the morning and another at night. But then, he decided he wasn’t going to eat anymore. Right around this same time, I also noticed that the right side of his mouth was off, literally. The rear jowl was hanging down. He was drooling badly. He started holding his head cocked to the right. Something was wrong.

We got some canned food and started mixing a little in with his dry food. That seemed to solve the eating problem. He powered through every bowl and then rubbed his face on the wall in the kitchen as usual. We refer to it as Cooper’s personal and very large napkin. But better the wall than the couches. He started playing with his toys again. But his mouth was still weird and his head was still listing to starboard.

I called the vet to make an appointment to have him checked only to be told that they couldn’t see him until Saturday at 9:30, unless it was an emergency. We decided it wasn’t really an emergency. He was eating. He was playing with wubba. He was going for his two-walks-a-day without incident.

I told Kevin that I wondered if maybe it was a bug bite. When Cooper goes out into the back yard, which is several times a day, he loves to flop down on the grass, roll onto his back and proceed to writhe and wiggle, having the time of his life. Mouth open to celebrate. I wondered if maybe something had flown into his mouth, or if he had tried to catch something flying by only to have it catch him instead.

Cooper, on his back, living it out loud

This morning Kevin left early to go look at yet another piece of equipment for his shop. I think this was a jointer, which we already have, but this one might have been better (it wasn’t; he didn’t end up buying it). I busied myself in the house, changing the sheets on the bed, finally cleaned the guest bathroom, and putting the clean sheets on that bed. Cleaned up the kitchen. At 9:15, I got Cooper ready to travel.

He’s been very good in the car lately. He climbs his steps onto the floor in the back, then hops up on to the seat. Getting him out is a bit more problematic. That entails lifting him out and depositing him back onto solid land. Hopefully without throwing my back out.

Off we went. Got to the vet, weighed him (he’s lost five pounds on his prescription food) and then went into the exam room where Dr. Olson examined him and discovered absolutely nothing wrong. She said she thought based on my description that maybe it was a bug bite or sting. She didn’t have an explanation for the right-hand lean, offering that it might be something called old dog idiopathic vestibular disease.

This happens when the part of the brain responsible for balance gets a little off balance. The dog, in turn, is off balance, acting like he’s drunk. Symptoms include a head tilt (check), an unsteady gait (no check), circling in one direction (no check), eyes moving rapidly from side to side (nope), and sudden vomiting (huh uh). Dr. Olson said that if it was idiopathic vestibular, it was an extremely mild case. Regardless, it always tends to get better on its own so there was really nothing to be done.

I wondered if maybe Cooper was taking Arizona politics to heart but decided he was still my little democratic boy. I just need to work on getting him to list to port.

The healing power of the scrambled egg

by Lorin Michel Wednesday, October 8, 2014 10:36 PM

Cooper hasn’t been his normal hound dog self when it comes to eating, which is, I suppose, an insult to hound dogs and I don’t mean it that way. I love all dogs equally. Well, maybe not chihuahuas, but still. Hound dog usually implies aggressive, in your face, power eater. This is how Cooper usually eats. He powers through his food. We have to make him sit while we put the food into his bowl or he’s already eating it as it’s pouring from the scoop. The last few days, though, he’s been largely uninterested. With the exception of his Zuke’s hip action cookie (with glucosamine and condroitin), he’s hardly touched it.

I worry. When my boy starts doing something out of the ordinary, out of character, and out of routine, I get concerned. Dogs are all about routine. The walk happens at the same time each day. We go on the same route. We come in the same door. We go to the same place so the leash can be removed. A drink is had while food is being scooped. All of this has happened. It’s the food being scooped part where the routine begins to change.

I put food in his bowl last night, topped with the hip cookie. He ate the hip cookie. This morning, the food was still in the bowl so I put a hip cookie on top. He ate the hip cookie. Worried.

He’s not acting sick at all. He trots along quite merrily on his walks, doing his usual sniff and pee and go. He’s been playing with his toys. He races through the house carrying wubba and then whips the poor guy back and forth a few times, throwing him up in the air. Sometimes he catches wubba, but not always. This, too, is fairly normal.

So this morning, because of the worried thing, I decided he had to have something to eat other than glucosamine and condroitin, so I did what any dog-mom would do. I scrambled him an egg. It’s morning after all.

There’s something about a scrambled egg that just seems to heal the soul if not the tummy, especially where dogs are concerned. When we had Maguire and he would be having an off-day, I always scrambled him an egg which he would scoff down. If he was really sick, I would boil some chicken. It always seemed to calm his stomach. When he had his seizures and was still in the emergency hospital, I boiled some chicken and took it to him. I think I convinced myself that he would eat it. I thought that if he did, then he would get better. He had never turned down boiled chicken in the 15 years we’d had him. He turned it down that day, and we lost him several days later.

Cooper is not nearly as sick as Maguire. In fact, I’m not sure he’s sick at all. But there’s something off, and in my capacity as puppy mom, I figured that it could maybe be healed with a scrambled egg.

Just one egg. A touch of half and half, a sprinkle of cheddar cheese, scrambled up in just a little bit of butter. It’s bland. It’s warm. But it’s comforting. Cooper sat and watched me scramble. He waited while I put the concoction on a plate and waited a bit more while it cooled. Then he slurped it all up, ran his face against the wall to wipe his whiskers, and settled down for a nap. I have no idea if it will help him feel better. For all I know, he’ll hold out for the boiled chicken for dinner.

Like his predecessor, he has me completely wrapped around his little paw. And unsurprisingly, I’m just fine with that.

Tags: , , , , ,

live out loud

A short story by Cooper

by Lorin Michel Friday, April 25, 2014 10:49 PM

Our Cooper is a rescue, as I’ve mentioned. He was five or six when we got him; he’s seven now. According to the rescue group where we found him, he had been with one family for nearly five years until they had a baby and decided they couldn’t have a dog and a baby. It’s entirely possible that there were issues with Cooper and the baby, though I doubt it. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with people though we’ve never had him around small children simply because we don’t know any. We’ve passed a number of them on the sidewalk, usually in a stroller and he pays them no attention whatsoever.

I suspect what happened was that, after the baby came along, he was relegated to the back yard, tied up or kenneled. He didn’t have any human interaction, and he’s the type of dog who needs people. It’s possible that his original owners never paid much attention to him, which could explain why he’s very anxious when he’s alone. Whatever happened, his people gave him away.

The rescue group had him for 15 months. He was passed from home to home to home. I don’t know how he was treated though my understanding of rescue groups is that most people involved tend to like animals more than people. I can’t imagine anyone mistreating him.

He does, however have a pathological fear of other dogs. He hears one and he gets very stressed. He speeds up on his leash, he whines and when he sees another dog, he both stares and then turns away, like he’s afraid to make eye contact. There’s a dog here in the ‘hood. I think she’s a golden doodle. Her name is Lily, and often she’s in her people’s backyard when we walk in the morning. She stands at the gate and as we walk by, she starts to bark and then she promptly runs to the other side of the yard. She’s just a big, dorky dog who seems impossibly friendly.

Cooper is terrified of her.

It breaks my heart that he’s so afraid. It breaks my heart that he’s so stressed about being left alone that he can’t allow me out of sight for more than about 30 seconds. I feed him, and if I leave during the 43 seconds that his head is buried in his bowl as he inhales his food, he leaves the laundry room where his bowls are and races though the house until he locates me. Once he does, he stands for just a couple of seconds, staring at me, then he leaves to finish his food. As long as he knows where I am, he’s fine.

Like I said, his anxiety is heartbreaking.

I was talking to him this morning, after we had passed Lily, on our way back home. I said Cooper will we ever know what happened to so damage you, baby?

Then Kevin began to narrate:

Well, mom, I think it all started when I was a puppy. I don’t remember much after that. I was small for my age. My fur was red so some of the other dogs made fun of me. Then there were people and moms and dads and other dogs and a yard and and and and and.

Oh, never mind. It was a dark and stormy night.

The end.

By Cooper

Celebrating my anxiety-ridden dog, wherever he came from and whatever his past, because I love him, scaredy pants and all. 

Joy in the walk

by Lorin Michel Saturday, March 29, 2014 10:23 PM

This morning, Cooper and I went for a long walk, just the two of us. It’s usually all three of us. In fact, since we got Cooper nearly a year and a half ago, we all go out twice a day. But Kevin was working on the car and there was absolutely no reason that the furry one and I couldn’t go off on our own for a bit. It was a gorgeous day, already 72º when we left and headed north along Campbell toward Allen where we stopped and waited for the light so that we could cross and get into an area where there is no traffic, in fact no cars at all, and just meander. Meander we did, him wandering in and out and around the brush, the trees, the well-placed rocks. I simply held the leash loosely. The walk is his time.

It’s also mine. Walking the dog alone allows me to think or not think at all, and I have been known to do both. Maybe it’s being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I don’t know. But the fact that I don’t have anyone to talk to means I can truly just relax and let my mind wander to wherever it decides to go. There are no restrictions. I might find myself in a childhood memory or on a sailboat off the coast of Maui. I might think about the day ahead or last night’s dinner. My brain may attempt to work out a creative problem with a story I’ve been writing or plan to start. Rarely do I think about work. I think my sub conscious takes over and I simply drift.

Which is not to say that I stop paying attention. I am vigilant when it comes to watching for other dogs or animals. Cooper, as I’ve mentioned, is a nervous dog. We’re not sure why though we’re fairly sure it has something to do with his life before us. He is terrified of other dogs, so we keep him away from them because he shows his terror by working himself up and attacking. I know this sounds counter intuitive but we have been assured by many dog trainers and behavior specialists that it’s actually quite common to react to terror with aggression. It’s impossible to avoid other dogs entirely and we don’t try to. We simply pull up on his leash so he is walking right next to us. The idea is to assure him that as pack leaders, we will take care of any and every situation and he doesn’t need to worry.

This morning, as Cooper and I walked down Allen toward a farm, there was an older couple walking toward us. They were on the other side. They had two dogs. I pulled up on the leash but we just kept walking. Cooper glanced at them as they passed but didn’t get upset or worried. He just went back to sniffing and peeing and being a dog. I nodded to the people, wished them a good morning.

Maguire and I used to walk alone nearly every day, until he got older. It became my job early on in our relationship to trot the pup as we called it. I’d ask him if he wanted to go for a walk and he’d turn cartwheels on his way to the door where he’d wait for me to put his harness on, raising his left front paw so I could slip the harness over it and then buckle it. Off we’d go. I came up with a lot of good ideas while he and I were out slumbering along. Maguire was not a fast walker. He was a grazer, a sniffer. When he got older and his gait slowed even more, Kevin started walking with us. I think he realized that we weren’t going to have our precious boy forever after all. The walks became our family time.

This morning was mostly quiet. Cooper’s prancing feet in the rocks and dirt made a lovely percussive melody. I walked along slightly behind him, my flip flops snapping as flip flops do. Behind us and in the distance, the sound of tires churned on pavement as people did whatever people do on Saturday mornings, going to wherever they need and want to go.

The solitude of the day was wrapping around us. In that, I found – I find – great joy. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

live out loud

One minute you have a nice, warm, delicious garlic roll and the next minute

by Lorin Michel Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:36 AM

I love bread. I am especially drawn to fresh baked sourdough bread. If it is freshly baked sourdough with garlic and parsley and a bit of Parmesan cheese, I’m nearly euphoric. I don’t eat a lot of bread because I’ve found that as I get older, bread tends to, well, not evaporate as well as it used to when I was in my 20s and 30s.

Last night we went to our favorite gourmet grocery store to get salads from their salad bar. Like many gourmet grocers, their spread is very extensive with several types of lettuce, marinated as well as sliced button mushrooms, artichoke hearts, different cheeses, and more. We don’t do these salads often but I wasn’t in the mood to cook, or even to go to the store.

Salad bars often have fresh soups as well. The one last night also had fresh garlic rolls. They smelled so wonderful, so warm and gooey, that I had Kevin grab one for each of us. We got home with our salads and plopped ourselves in front of the television as is the way of the overworked American, Kevin on the couch, leaning over the coffee table, me on the floor, legs under the coffee table.

We flipped through channels and finally settled on Sideways. It had already been on for about 30 minutes but we just love that movie – we actually own the DVD and the soundtrack. We came in right around the time Miles and Jack were having their first dinner at The Hitching Post and seeing Maya. We decided we too needed a glass of wine if we were going to watch the film so in honor of Miles we opened a Pinot Noir. It wasn’t from Santa Ynez, where the film takes place. It was from Washington, and fairly decent. It’s hard to find a good Pinot because, as Miles so eloquently explains, they’re temperamental and need a lot of love and attention.

Cooper was flitting from one side of the table to the other. We were taking turns telling him to stay back. He was drooling, panting, whining. In other words, being a dog. You’d think he was horribly deprived, that he never got any food in his life.

Maguire was one of the most polite people – I mean dogs – we’ve ever met. It wasn’t anything we trained him to be; he simply was. He never took any food without it being given to him. We used to joke that we could put an entire chicken on the floor in front of him, and unless we told him it was ok, he wouldn’t eat it. He’d drown himself in a pool of drool but he’d never eat the chicken. It wouldn’t occur to him to ever take food unless offered. Like I said, polite. Cooper is not nearly as polite.

You can see where this is going I’m sure.

So there I was, feet out in front of me, legs crossed at the ankles. I was leaning back against the couch, watching the movie. I swirled my wine, sniffed and sipped, just like Miles was doing. It’s funny how you sometimes emulate what you’re seeing or hearing. Maybe it’s just us. We like to quote and recite and mimic.

Cooper finally sat down next to me. He was close, but he was fine. Every few seconds or so, he’d lean into me, as if to remind me that he was still there and could he have something to eat please. Never mind that he was panting and breathing rather heavily on me. Or that he weighs about 55 pounds or that he has red fur, making him hard to miss. Never mind that he doesn’t really like salad – it’s not really in one of his food groups. He wanted something, anything, please please please please.

I took a sip and he took the opportunity. With one quick lunge he grabbed my nice warm gooey garlic roll from the table and ate the whole thing in one bite. I almost spit out my wine. Kevin started to laugh. I said Bad dog but Cooper, unlike Maguire, doesn’t seem to suffer from remorse. He didn’t seem to feel the least bit badly about the fact that he had taken my roll. He got up and went over to Kevin’s side, eyeing Kevin’s roll hungrily. Kevin picked his up and ate it.

It just goes to show you that some things in life are fleeting. Look sideways for just a second, or watch Sideways, and you lose your garlic roll. One minute it’s there, and the next your dog is living it out loud. With garlic roll breath.

Tags: , , , , , ,

live out loud | The cooking of joy

Reaching the zenicle

by Lorin Michel Sunday, March 9, 2014 10:32 PM

Cooper, like Maguire before him, is not allowed on the furniture. Cooper, like Maguire before him, is allowed on the bed in the morning for a morning snuggle. This is why we used to and continue to buy bed-in-a-bag. Maguire used to race in the bedroom after his morning constitutional which consisted of the usual, plus a large milkbone dog cookie that was always eaten in the exact same spot in the back yard. When he was young he would virtually launch himself from just inside the bedroom door and land on the bed as nimbly as 85 pounds of fur allowed. He’d then promptly come up to me, since I was still in the bed, cringing at the possibility of being crushed, kiss me good morning and flop over on his back for a belly rub.

After he was done, he’d try to snuggle for a little while but he invariably got hot and uncomfortable so he got down. The only time he stayed on the bed was when he had it all to himself. We’d often find him snuggled up against the throw pillows that I put on after making the bed, snoring in the sun. If he woke up, he’d look at us with a “what? I’m just taking a nap here” kind of look.

Cooper doesn’t usually get up on the bed if we’re not in the room. He’s not secure enough in his canine-ity. Maguire was a very secure dog, probably because we got him as a puppy and we were all he knew, and all he knew was safe. Cooper was a rescue and he had six years of not safe before we came into the picture. He never knows if he’s going to get left behind again, and so he clings; he’s anxious. He’s incredibly insecure in his canine-ity.

But in the mornings, when we’re still in bed, he too manages to jump aboard the California King train and zen out. He curls around, once, twice, three times and then he plops himself down. He keeps his head up momentarily, then he falls over to the side in a heap. He sighs heavily. Before long, he’s snoring. He would stay that way all day if we stayed in bed as well. He won’t stay though if we get up because of his insecurity.

Still, while there, he reaches the zenicle, something I realized this morning as I was watching his feet twitch as he dreamed of dog-knows what.

We humans constantly strive to reach a pinnacle of something. Pinnacle of strength, of influence, of career, of love. Watching Cooper this morning and Maguire when he was alive, made me wonder about reaching the pinnacle of zen.

Reaching the zenicle is all about letting go, letting the day simply be, allowing the moment and the atmosphere and the feeling to wash all over you and around you. To find the ultimate zen.

Now Cooper and zen are mostly at odds. His version of zen is chilling at mach II instead of mach III. He does manage to reach it briefly when he’s on the bed but it doesn’t last. He gets to the place where all is right in the world, now and forever. It is a place filled with cheese and pizza bones and where his parents hug and kiss and squeeze on him all day long and where Wubba never needs to be replaced.

And then someone gets up and the zen is broken.

Can the feeling of zen be maintained?

Bobbi’s online call sign, as I refer to it, has long been zenspeed. Obviously a play off of godspeed which is the ultimate wish for good luck, good life and good travels. zenspeed is more about the ultimate wish for achieving peace and tranquility. It’s the pinnacle of zen – the zenicle – and it’s a good place to reach. 

christian louboutin online discount christian louboutin wholesale jerseys from china replica oakleys wholesale jerseys cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys oakley sunglasses sales cheap jerseys free shopping michael kors handbags nike nhl jerseys cheap nhl jerseys cheap replica oakleys oakleys sale cheap jerseys from china christian louboutin outlet 2016 cheap fake oakleys WHOLESALE AUTHENTIC JERSEYS fake ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin cheap christian louboutin online cheap jerseys cheap oakleys cheap jerseys from china cheap michael kors wholesale mlb jerseys replica oakleys store cheap jerseys china fake oakleys authentic nhl jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys discount oakleys cheap oakleys fake oakley sunglasses replica christian louboutin cheap oakley sunglasses authentic jerseys cheap cheap oakleys outlet wholesale oakleys christian louboutin online wholesale cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys fake cheap oakleys discount jerseys sale cheap ray bans fake cheap oakleys michael kors outlet cheap wholesale jerseys replica ray bans wholesale jerseys outlet wholesale nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake cheap oakleys outlet ray bans sale christian louboutin outlet oakleys sunglasses wholesale authentic jerseys discount ray bans fake cheap oakleys cheap christian louboutin online nhl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys discount ray bans wholesale jerseys cheap ray bans michael kors handbags outlet replica michael kors wholesale oakley sunglasses ray bans outlet cheap jerseys china cheap nba jerseys fake cheap oakleys cheap oakleys cheap ray bans cheap christian louboutin discount oakleys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap michael kors handbags fake cheap oakleys discount christian louboutin wholesale nhl jerseys michael kors on sale discount ray bans cheap jerseys wholesale cheap michael kors cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors bags replica ray bans cheap sunglasses ray bans authentic jerseys authentic jerseys from china cheap oakleys outlet replica oakley sale red bottoms shoes on sale wholesale oakleys cheap nfl jerseys cheap replica oakleys wholesale oakleys cheap christian louboutin outlet cheap oakleys store cheap michael kors cheap ray bans cheap authentic nfl jerseys paypal cheap fake oakleys cheap oakleys cheap michael kors outlet fake ray bans fake ray bans cheap authentic nike jerseys cheap authentic jerseys fake cheap oakleys fake oakleys store replica oakleys cheap christian louboutin fake oakley cheap cheap jerseys wholesale cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys china cheap oakleys online replica michael kors cheap ray bans jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys discount ray bans cheap michael kors store cheap ray bans ray bans sunglasses jerseys wholesale wholesale china jerseys cheap mlb jerseys oakley sunglasses wholesale nba jerseys christian louboutin outlet wholesale oakleys wholesale authentic jerseys wholesale mlb jerseys cheap michael kors outlet cheap jerseys online shopping cheap ncaa jerseys michael kors bags cheap fake oakleys cheap jerseys wholesale cheap fake oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors cheap discount ray bans ray bans sunglasses cheap jerseys free shopping cheap nba wholesale jerseys fake oakleys replica oakleys cheap nhl jerseys cheap christian louboutin cheap oakleys official jerseys replica ray bans cheap michael kors outlet wholesale jerseys cheap cheap authentic ncaa jerseys michael kors on sale cheap fake oakleys cheap elite jerseys discount oakleys cheap replica oakleys cheap michael kors online wholesale and retail oakleys fake ray bans cheap wholesale jerseys
Filter by APML