Thursday, April 30, 2009

In real time.

In real time, waiting is long, and tedious, and heart-wrenching.

In real time, you still might meet a friend for breakfast, and take the dog for a walk, and do a little laundry, and go to the bank. But while you are doing all of these things, you are still waiting.

In real time, sometimes the news is about things happening around the empty space, the space that should hold the news you are waiting for.

In real time, you wake up to no answers and you go to bed to no answers, and in between you talk to people about how strange and awful it is.

In real time, you think there should be something you can do to help, but there is truthfully almost nothing.

In real time, prayers feel so, so very small.

Today I have been thinking about my son, and I'm thinking about my friend. Here's one little bit of the news about the search for Craig Arnold today, and here is a beautiful poem of his.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What matters.

I was going to write (again) about my irritating, high-end refrigerator that decided not to work (broken tiny heater that prevented a drain from not freezing up, then backing up and filling stuff with ice, which blew a fuse which tripped a breaker that's connected to the thigh bone). Trust me, it would have been amusing.

But then this: The Poet Craig Arnold is Missing in Japan. Which sounds like, sort of, Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego? but it's not, because the poet Craig Arnold really is missing. In Japan.

Add to that that my day was bracketed by conversations with people in Singapore--running son and then his mission president--about a small, probably not-such-a-big-deal surgery that he needs to have. Except: general anesthesia. And: half a world away.

Point 1: when I whine, it's just theater, everyone knows that, right? Just a little theater to amuse the people. And myself.

Point 2: half a world away. Waiting and praying.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Open letter to the end of April.

Dear twenty-ninth of April,

I understand that you are appearing tomorrow, pretty much everywhere. I also understand that it's not really your call about when you show up--in fact, you've been lined up between the twenty-eighth and the thirtieth for, oh, I guess about a year now. Still, I'd like to note for the record out just how hasty, how impatient, I feel you are, waiting around the corner, drumming your fingers on the wall, making the obvious point that we're well into spring now, and by God, we've all got plenty to do.

What about the seeds I bought when spring was wearing a flashy dress, way back in early March, making us think it was time for everything: lighter clothes, sandals, no more tights, planting stuff? But I think now, we may have officially reached "too late for peas and lettuce," and it just doesn't seem fair. Was I supposed to be waiting, parka and trowel in hand, for the fifteen minutes between that snow squall and "oh my hell, it's 80 degrees"? I guess so. And twenty-ninth of April, you are not making it easier, bearing down on me and my failure to carpe diem, hauling the first of May around like it's your best friend. Thuggy first of May.

"May" sounds nice. There's May Day and so-called May baskets (although, where did May baskets go? you'd think someone would have figured out how to make some money out of that, in greeting cards alone.). Proverbial May flowers (following April showers). Steady, beautiful weather. But really, May just throws its weight around, because May knows it's pulled a fast one: April came and went, sure, there was a bunch of weather and some tulips, cherry tree bloom yada yada yada and look out, it's July.

Listen, I've got shit to do, twenty-ninth of April. I have revisions. Movies to make. Seeds to plant and yard work and moreover, I've got to find the motivation to do it all. Twenty-ninth of April, just slow down, will you? Take your time. Sleep in, why don't you. Or maybe fall into a nice temporary coma that lasts for maybe a week? It's okay. I'll wake you up when it's time.

Myself, hightouchmegastore

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Organizing project.

Today, while I was checking out Obsessive Consumption, I clicked through to Design*Sponge for this feature on Kate Bingaman-Burt's apartment in Portland:

When I saw this, I remembered that I saw this idea in a book about interior design, which I actually checked out of the library because, what, I was going to . . . ? Well, I liked the pictures, and anyway: in this book, this wildly hilariously incongruous book, I saw that someone had had the aesthetically pleasing idea of organizing their books by color, which it appears Ms. Bingaman-Burt has done. Lovely! I thought, so I decided to do the same.

Who can spot the problem with this scheme? Well, I went ahead and did it anyway, and here's the in-progress result (I'm not showing you the shelves of theory, the spines of which should all be a soul-crushing gray):

Pretty, right? Now, how will I find my books if I can't remember what color they are? The same way I find them now, when I haven't put them in the appropriate section: by scanning the shelves for minutes on end until I remember that the one I want the one I need the one I must have right now now now is probably under my side of the bed, because that's where I was reading it last.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good day.

Awhile ago, I set a goal that I would have a complete draft--all the note-like things I've had as placeholders for actual poems would be actual poems, albeit possibly in draft form--of my new manuscript by May 1. Today, I did a little assessment of the status of things, and I am exceedingly happy to report that I am in all probability going to meet this goal. And that, the people, is the proverbial bomb. As in, "the bomb."

This may surprise you a little bit, what with all the YouTube research I've done of late and the downloading of Glen Campbell songs, but it is true. I have done fat revisions of poems that were in a sorry state. I have written drafts of things that were the mere whiff of the possibility of the idea of the concept of poems. I have made executive decisions about stuff that no longer appears to need to be in the manuscript. And now, I have
  • 2 drafts to write of rather whiffy items
  • 3 mash-ups of two or more poems that really should be a single poem
  • 1 fat revision of a sorry-state poem
  • 2 poems to decide whether they really need to be in the manuscript.
This is doable by May 1. Eminently. After that, I will smoke fat cigars and burn money and download some more stuff, because I will have arrived . . . at the point where I can do more fine-tuned revision. Whoopee!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My midnight confession.

The first record I ever had? 8th grade, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The very first record I ever had? 7th grade, Gentle On My Mind, by--that's right!--Glen Campbell.

Today, singing son proposed that he and I write a paper sometime about songs about working people, and he mentioned "Wichita Lineman." Which, the people, I had almost completely forgotten about, but which is a very very very good song. As in, a world class great song.

People who have covered "Wichita Lineman": R.E.M., Keith Urban, Cassandra Wilson, Johnny Cash, James Taylor and Freedy Johnston. (Check out the gorgeous piano playing on this performance Jimmy Webb, the composer, gives.)

But scientists have discovered, after extensive research conducted this afternoon on YouTube, that the best version, the people, remains Glen Campbell's:

Also, Glen was way cute, way back when.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The historian as sartorialist.

The historian reviews clothing in a catalog (I suggested he might find something of interest there):

Historian: I don't think I've quite come across what it is you had in mind for me here.

Me: Well, maybe not. I just thought you might see something.

Historian: Everything seems kind of expensive.

Me: You have no idea how much clothes cost anymore.

Historian (pauses to consider justice of this trenchant observation): Well, I don't think socks used to cost twelve dollars a pair.

Me: You know, I've bought you socks that cost that much.

Historian: Actually, my all-time favorite pair of socks cost fifteen dollars, and that was years ago.

Me: You have an all-time favorite pair of socks? What were they like?

Historian: They were wool, I guess . . . they were dress socks, and they came up this high (gestures at mid-calf). When you're wearing dress socks, you don't want . . .

Me (finishing his sentence (very bad habit)): Gapping? (at this point, trying to imagine:) So they were just . . . black socks?

Historian: I can't quite remember--textured, maybe. (Pauses, remembering:) They were the first pair of socks that showed me what socks could be.

This is basically how I feel when I read the news.

Seymour Hersh Uncovers New Thing Too Sad To Think About

NEW YORK—Sources at The New Yorker said a new article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh "blows the lid completely off" a subject matter far too soul-crushing for the human brain to process. Hersh, renowned for breaking stories on events such as the My Lai Massacre and Abu Ghraib, is said to have plumbed every last, depressing detail of the newly uncovered topic, which likely involves an inconceivable combination of violence, drunken abuses of power, wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life, and a chain of deceit and corruption leading all the way to the top. According to a recent poll, none of The New Yorker's nearly 1 million subscribers had summoned the strength to crack the story's first paragraph, instead turning to the new Roz Chast cartoon on the next page.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My virtues.

Well, it's a short list, and I can't really think of any of the items that are on it at the moment, but I can think of the items on the list of Things That Are Not My Virtues, and it starts with

1. Patience.

The historian is patient. He often says, "Historians have to have patience," (I may have made that exact sentence up, although I know he has said something like that in the past. (2. Telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. is another item on my list of Things That Are Not My Virtues.)). I don't know if it's his vocation or his temperament or what, but he does not fly off the handle, pitch fits, sink into funks, or any of the other vices associated with not being patient.

I do. I do all of these things, although I strive not to and am getting better at forestalling my impatience. (Parenthetically, let me add that if I were allowed to stay on sabbatical forever, I am sure my patience would improve. Powers that Rule the Universe, please take note.)

For instance: today was beautiful. It was warm. Everything is in bloom. After an exquisitely refreshing walk with Bruiser, I put on a skirt and reveled in the springiness of it all. (Also, I deleted thousands, and I am not exaggerating, of e-mails from my work e-mail, because finally they got around to telling me, "Hey! You have way too many e-mails, sister." (3. Promptness in carrying out necessary tasks.))

The general blessedness of today did not, however, stop me from having the thought that there is literally NO fruit that is locally in season at the moment. None.

When will the local, seasonal fruit arrive? When?

(4. Gratitude.)

Sunday, April 19, 2009


1. slept the sleep of the (pot-sticker-making) just.
2. woke up to sunlight.
3. talked/webchatted to the Scotlands while eating breakfast.
4. bought cute shirt at Target.
5. took B for a walk.
6. ate leftover Mexican food for lunch.
7. watched/ignored Jazz game (hope/agony/hope/agony).
8. renewed ancient grudge against Lakers and possibly all NBA.
9. read NY Times. (Sample from Maureen Dowd's column:

The first thing I wanted to do in the Bay Area was go out to Skywalker Ranch and ask George Lucas about a disturbing conversation we’d had at an Obama inaugural party in Washington.

Lucas, the creator of “Star Wars,” had told me that I had gotten Dick Cheney completely wrong, that Cheney was no Darth Vader. I felt awful. Had I been too hard on Vice?

Lucas explained politely as I listened contritely. Anakin Skywalker is a promising young man who is turned to the dark side by an older politician and becomes Darth Vader. “George Bush is Darth Vader,” he said. “Cheney is the emperor.”

I was relieved. In “Star Wars” terms, Dick Cheney was more evil than Darth Vader. I hadn’t been hard enough on Vice!

Lucas was on his way to Europe and didn’t have time to elaborate in person. But he sent me this message confirming our conversation: “You know, Darth Vader is really a kid from the desert planet near Crawford, and the true evil of the universe is the emperor who pulls all the strings.”)

10. took walk in the park with Singing Son's family.
11. ate splendid leftovers for dinner.
12. new season: Law & Order: Criminal Intent (new Jeff Goldblum character to be introduced next week!).
13. did entire Sunday NY Times crossword.
14. contemplated the genre of the funeral oration. Wrote poem.

And now, I am about to start reading a new novel. That is how Sundays are, at least the good ones.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Momentous culinary event.

There are moments, here on the internet, when I fear I am talking to no one . . . but anyway: today I made pot stickers. I did what any sensible person does, goes on The Google to find out the 411 (or, as my NYTimes crossword had it yesterday, the "FOURONEONE") about pot sticker technique, and then I made my own recipe.

We had the historian's kids over for dinner with the passel of relevant grandkids. It was noisy and fun, and also delicious. I made a Thai-style curry, including a vegetable one that was sublime, I tell you. (I think the secret is Kaffir lime leaves, which I was lucky enough to find at Whole Foods one day not so long ago and which I hope I will someday find again--I did not let a single glossy dark green leaf go to waste, they were that precious and indeed that curry-altering.) Also, garlic snap peas. Also, salad with oranges, avocado, and cardamom seeds. Also, the pot stickers. They had grated carrot, Napa cabbage, garlic, green onion, a little ground peanut, mint, cilantro, and maybe something else, I forget. Salt. I fried them in some roasted peanut oil, another pantry item that I have cherished and doled out sparingly. I will need to find another bottle, but this may entail a quest. The dipping sauce had soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger and green onion and it was divine. Everyone loved the pot stickers and I was so proud of them, their little pursed selves, how well they held together and how delicious they were.

Since everyone went home and we loaded the dishwasher and packed away the leftovers, I have been watching restful and foot-healing amounts of television. When you cook a big dinner, sometimes you are on your feet for awhile or all day. Movies on television, some of which I have seen so many times it would blow your mind, are just the thing to make your feet feel better. And no, I will not say what these movies are. As if. Like I need the internet to make fun of me for my movie preferences.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Huh, anxious.

This week, I spent several hours at school for this and that, and I am contemplating the fact that I will have to go to work in August. The horror.

I am about to enter the seven stages of grief, and right now, I am in

1. denial. Please do not, if you happen to be talking to me, try to describe the amount of time I have between now and when school starts again in units of days, weeks, or even months. All those units have the end result of making the time I have left to me appear very small. I am not interested in information conveyed in these units. If you would like to talk to me about this subject--and really, it might be dangerous for you, so I would recommend, for your own health and well-being, just don't--but if you have to, if you must, perhaps you could convey it in the form of bird whistles. Or, like, a dance.

After denial comes 2. guilt. Why have I not accomplished more? What about the playing the piano I was going to do every day? the meditating? the total transformation of my inner life and also the way I was going to look thinner? and sexier? when I came back. I feel a little guilty about that.

Next, I believe, will come bargaining (3.), and I have a lot of bargains I would like to strike with the Powers that Rule the Universe, if they would let me keep writing and I would not have to go back to work. I would keep my house clean! I would bake bread! I would volunteer my time for worthy causes! And: cheerful--I would be so cheerful!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Upon the recommendation of my Scotland daughter, I just downloaded Bat for Lashes and MGMT, which prompted Amazon to recommend that I also download "Don't Fear the Reaper." Yes, that's right, Blue Oyster Cult.

No, no, it turns out it was recommended for me because I downloaded "Rock On," by David Essex, last week. Thank God, the internet makes sense.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I am still writing like mad and it feels great. Because of the Poem-a-day project, I'm trying to get new poems going, but I'm also working off of old notes and ideas, and my confluence of methods seems to be keeping me in a groove. Today I looked at some notes about my grandmother's death and worked a poem out of that; I'm now working on another Dublin poem, working from some notes there (also doing research on bridges and rivers and ruins and conquest and maps). This has been a very pleasurable day--even the housework I've done has felt, well, satisfying.

Also, I just read a comment on my friend Ann's blog, about the crazy stuff dogs eat--someone noted that their dogs would eat wasps and bees and flies right out of the sky. That, my friends, is a poem just begging to be written. Somebody better get on it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter.

12. The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing, 5
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion 10
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Garden planning.

After a trip to the Garden Center, I report my findings to the Historian:

Me (waxing rhapsodic): . . . and I found the rose --I'm pretty sure this was the rose--that was in my backyard in California, when I was in high school!

Historian (very good sport): Mmmm!

Me: It's a Grandiflora. (suddenly pedantic:) That means a big tall bush. With big flowers. It's called the Queen Elizabeth. Big pink flowers.

Historian: (pauses.) So did you buy it?

Me: No, I decided to wait because I knew I would need you to dig some holes. So I thought I should talk to you first.

Historian: . . .

Me: How do you feel about that?

Historian: . . . conflicted.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Slap method.

Maybe I don't have a new method so much as I'm developing a well-curated boutique of methods. Here's the newest:

1. Arrange to have your friend send you a missive from the world of Jeannette Winterson.
2. Decide, "I'ma write a pome about that."
3. Entitle a word-processing document "a pome about that."
4. Decide to restart your computer. Don't save the document with nothing but a title on it.
5. Go hither and yon. Do this and that and whatnot. Pause to press your hand to your forehead to see if you might be coming down with something.
6. Make a dinner out of what have you.
7. Watch a hella lotta television.
8. After all of that, start a new word-processing document. Look up the Indo-European roots of about four or so words. Use Slap that poem together. Poke it and prod it a little. Et voila.

You could also try the method of using a song to do the above, in which case, add step 7.5: "Put a relevant--loosely or closely--song on repeat on iTunes. Play it till your poem is written or till your ears bleed."

But hey. I'm just one poem behind in Poem-A-Day, and that's not bad. However, I do think I'm coming down with something. Today, I used the Slap Method (with Optional Song), but I had to take a nap first. And do the crossword.

Today's accomplishments: seeing Deacon when he woke up; breakfast with Ann; excellent footwear find at Nordstrom Rack; possible illness; compensatory nap; banking errand; poem; Vietnamese dinner and an amazing movie with the historian.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

She had it coming.

Anyone who brags about a new method that is working so unbelievably fantastically well after the phenomenal stretch of three whole days probably deserves to

1. wake up with scratchy eyes and curse the wind.
2. fail to find the lost keys in an always chaotic house.
3. have no internet for a whole day because of a change in ISP, meaning that the new e-mail waiting from running son was out of reach.
4. go to the nearest campus (the wi-fi!) with what has got to take the prize for the Worst Laptop on Earth (this is purely factual and contains not even a tinge of whining. It just is. The Worst.).
5. try said new method and feel not one tiny pulse of life in the material. Big whoop, is what the freewrite, notes, &c. said to me, as I perused and re-perused. Screw you.

I did, however, have the consolation of a dog who sat with me through my trials. Seriously, when I wrapped up in the big blanket to stay warm and nurse my troubles, he nosed his way underneath, possibly in a show of solidarity, although it must be said that his motives may have been a little self-serving. I believe he may have been waiting for the merest hint that we might take a walk.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New, improved method.

Today, the third day in a row in which I took a poem that had previously had me backed into a corner and wrote it, I realized that I have, in fact, a new method. Here's how it goes:

1. Get out previous drafts, note, freewrites, glyphs.
2. Peruse them.
3. Procrastinate in any number of ways, to wit:
  • go buy the scarf that you foolishly didn't buy yesterday because you were feeling sweaty
  • wash the sheets
  • load the dishwasher
  • start reading a book that you recently bought
  • download the songs you realized last night that you (a) did not have and (b) needed
  • download various free song samplers from Amazon
  • recharge and sync iPods to take account of newly downloaded &c.
  • eat a cookie
  • eat another cookie
  • walk the dog
  • eat lunch
  • inspect the roses and admire the creeping phlox, which is blooming.
4. (optional) take a nap.
5. Re-peruse the materials in 1 above.
6. Check your e-mail, check your blog, check the Huffington Post, check the Fug Girls.
7. Repeat 3, 5, and 6 as necessary.
8. Write the new draft.

In other news, this morning at 6:48 a.m. I let the cat out. At 7:15 a.m., I let her back in, not noticing that she was carrying with her a dead mouse. New method: check cat's mouth in case of vermin transport.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Very good.

In a document I call "Daily Writing," I had this to say about today:
sweaty shopping excursion, ugh
after all that bravado, feeling: RELUCTANT to start anew on the terrifying poem.
(Re the sweaty shopping: because I started to feel sweaty, I failed to buy a beautiful scarf that I am totally regretting at the moment. I hope no one else bought it before I get there tomorrow at 10 a.m., sharp, to snag it myself.)

But: back to the tedious story of me writing.

1. I got out my fat freewrite re terrifying poem.
2. I got out my ancillary notes on my fat freewrite.
3. I went shopping.
4. I took a shower to wash off the shopping sweat.
5. I ate my lunch.
6. I looked at my freewrites and ancillary notes. I took some more notes.
7. Exhausted from all the getting out and the looking and the note-taking, I lay down and finished my French detective novel.
8. I sleep-wrote.
9. I got up, slightly disgusted with myself for the self-delusional "sleep-writing" nonsense I was shoveling.

Wrote and cried, cried and wrote. When he got home, the historian asked, "Are you okay?" I told him about the crying and writing. He said, "Yeah, you look like you've just been crying." I told him I had just finished the tear-stained draft.

And today, the writing--all of it--was very, very good.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I feel a little ridiculous saying so, but today I feel I turned a corner on this manuscript that has been one-half of my nominal rationale for a sabbatical. That's because, today, for my writing group, I decided to finally tackle the poem I've been calling "The New York Dolls" poem for nigh unto two years now.

This is one of those poems I allowed to saturate in dread (if dread were a kind of marinade) and then roll in scholarship (if scholarship were, say, toasted ground nuts--if you're following my recipe) until it became practically unwritable. Today, for instance, before I made myself bang out a horrible draft (I know, I have told you this story before, but that was another poem), I consulted:
  • the Latin of The Aeneid;
  • several stodgy translations of The Aeneid;
  • the lyrics to many New York Dolls songs;
  • a discussion of Kant's Critique of Judgment by Lyotard.
That seems like a lot for a poem to carry, in my humble opinion, and also it proved to be rather humbling, trying to figure out how to paste this stuff together in a way that felt remotely felicitous. I ended mid-poem, literally--the last line ended with a colon, which signified all that would come after. All that should come after. All that must come after, if it were to be a poem at all.

But hey, and what do you know, the horrible draft ended up being not so horrible after all, and when I read the poem to the group, with many last minute cuts and emendations and additions, ending mid-poem, they thought that the non-ending made a great ending, and all my big fill-in-the-blank ideas of what should come after the colon melted away, and the poem, she is finished, or dang near.

Because this poem had terrorized me into random acts of scholarship and truly awful avoidance behavior, the fact of having drafted it successfully has me feeling that I am nearer to a whole draft of this manuscript than I thought. In fact, I believe I will tackle the other terrorist poem in my manuscript tomorrow, because I am on a roll: Iceman, Power Lisa, my assault on the world starts NOW.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Data data data.

Found this, this morning, on TED: Tim Berners-Lee, who, did you know this? is said to have invented (yes, "invented"!) the World Wide Web. He's rather excitable in this lecture, but is pointing the way to what is called, variously, Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web:

Also, yesterday in the mail came a slim volume, the CD-ROM of Chris Marker's Immemory, a very poetic, idiosyncratic and gorgeous meditation on memory, which the user navigates in a highly poetic and idiosyncratic way. It only recently became available again--if anyone wants a demo, I'd be happy to share. It requires the Mac OS X to run.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Did/did not.

Today, I did
  • sleep a blissful little bit longer than usual
  • have a bagel for breakfast with the historian
  • work on my manuscript
  • take B for a walk during a break in the snow--well, mostly a break
  • go to the bank
  • contemplate the spring and also the summer
  • text various children
  • go to bank
  • slide a movie into late afternoon/evening plans (Adventureland--lovely, and excellent soundtrack)
  • go to evening work event (very clever, to go to late afternoon movie! made the evening work event bearable and even enjoyable)
  • write poem 3 of the Poem a Day project.
However, I did not
  • say no to a large work-related commitment for next year
  • make a lovely homemade breakfast
  • completely get over my hot eyes syndrome
  • complete textbook review
  • write a textbook proposal
  • do a crossword puzzle
  • take a nap
  • have very many conversations with Bruiser.
And thus, on balance, aside from hot eyes syndrome, this was a good day, spring snow and all.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


1. My eyes felt hot.
2. The wind sounded ominous.
3. After breakfast with daughter and grandson, I stayed in.

That is all.

p.s. Poem A Day is ongoing here. You can go there if you've checked your pockets and your purse but still find yourself in need of some poems for National Poetry Month. Dr. Write is there and so is Nik, as well as friendly others who may or may not post, we'll just have to see. As of today, April 2, I am two for two.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Megastore Dog Road Home Rescue Place.

Today, when Bruiser and I set out for our walk, we hadn't gone very far when he halted, at full dog-across-the-street alert. He's not a pointer, but if he had been a pointer, he would have pointed. Dog! Across the street!

It was a little cocker spaniel, buff-colored, with a collar but without any leash or person attached to her. She was walking like she meant business, but when Bruiser stopped, she stopped, and I thought, Damn. Who are you, little buff-colored dog?

We went across the street and I checked her tag. There was a phone number. I had no cell phone and, more to the point, no reading glasses, so I hoisted her up and carried her back to my house, Bruiser leading the way. The number was the vet's, who tracked down her rabies shot number, which gave me the name and phone number of her owner. And the dog's name--Annie. I called and left a message.

After that, the three of us went for a walk. Bruiser thought that was a novel, interesting, perhaps foolhardy and overly ambitious enterprise. Periodically, he stopped, wheeled around, and gave little Annie the business. Picture me as a Maypole and the dogs as children winding ribbons in a complicated dance. Picture that, but with growling and yelping and yiping. I was like Shiva, doing the dance of a zillion hands, untangling the leashes.

But it was a lot of fun.

The whole walk long, I thought--and these were foolish thoughts--what if we get to keep Annie? She's such a cute dog! It's fun to have a little dog with a big dog. I bet they'll get along. We could take walks like this every day!

I got to talk to the owner, who was at work. She asked if it would be all right if Annie stayed there till she got home. All right? You bet. At that point, I was preparing to take a rest, and both dogs were curled up with me on the bed.

So now, no more Annie. But the day we rescued Annie--it was still a pretty great day.


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