Chester and reality…

Last summer there was a dead rabbit in our yard and Chester was carrying it around. I told myself that it had died of natural causes and he just found it. I guess I have to rethink that theory because unfortunately, he killed another. It’s the downside of dog ownership; I know these things happen. But it’s sad. I love the bunnies. The truth is,  bunnies have been Chester’s arch-nemeses since we brought him home. He is halfhearted now about squirrels, but something about a bunny sets him off. How could he not love little furry cute bunnies? Because the Reality is, Chester is a dog.

He had no regret for his misdeed. He was pretty proud of himself and looked mighty happy. He went out the next morning and revisited the scene of the crime, sniffing around at who knows what (I know what, just don’t want to think about what) The cats have killed mice, voles, and taken the tail off of a chipmunk. The chipmunk was perfectly fine, just tail-less. I found the tail in the basement. Chester is bigger, but it’s still the food chain. He had to survive the mean streets of Cleveland somehow. It’s not warm and fuzzy, but it’s the reality of being a dog.

At work we have to do some mental exercises that may help in alleviating stress. Each day we are to apply certain strategies to manage a stressful situation. The task this week was to take a negative situation and try to reframe it to make it positive. Like making lemonade out of lemons. It irritates me to no end because I think it focuses on the wrong thing. The cause of the stress isn’t the situation. The real problem is in expectations. We use the word “should” like it’s the norm. I think that word should (😊) be banned. Why do we think we are so special that we should be happy and that it’s all about us? It’s not about should, it’s about is. It is what it is. If we always think people are only good, and we deserve only good, and people should be good to us, then we aren’t looking at reality.

Reality is facing the world head on with clear vision. We are all animals, good and bad, we pick on each other, we fly off the handle, kill each other, make mistakes and hurt each other just because we are not perfect. We are part of the food chain too. But, and this is a big but (I like big buts and I cannot lie…but I digress), if we accept this, it’s less stressful because there is no expectation or entitlement. Instead of “why me” it’s “why not me”. Not to say it isn’t difficult, but asking with these words is not as personal, it’s more about the inevitability of the situation due to being human. I don’t want to make the situation positive– It’s not. That fails to acknowledge that it happened. I want to say it is what it is. It may never be better but it happened because we are all perfectly imperfect. We have ups and downs. I’m not going to reframe the negative situation to try to make it positive–that’s not honest.

Back to Chester…is it weird that I don’t want him to lick me? Ew. I’m considering a loose muzzle for the springtime morning and evening backyard excursions. Enough is enough. I want to be able to feed the birds and enjoy the bunnies and squirrels. If he wants to chase them, he can go for it, but no more of this food chain stuff in my backyard. We spend way too much on dog food for that. So, I’ll be braving the pet store with the grandsons, which pretty much doubles my purchases. They like to get treats for Chester and the cats, decorations for the aquarium and an occasional tennis ball for themselves. We have a delightful outing and I enjoy their enthusiasm and questions. This is reality too. Knowing both realities make the sweet ones so much better.  

Chester monitoring the perimeter for bunnies.

Bagels, spring, and Elvis Costello…

Last Thursday morning I needed to mail some cards at the post office, so I drove to Painesville via the side roads. I was apprehensive, since we were in the middle of the third or fourth “blizzard of the century” according to the weather people. The schools were closed so I thought I’d be slipping and sliding. BUT

Some days things go my way! There was very little snow on the road, and I dropped the cards into the box, then realized that Dunkin Donuts was on the way to the highway. (I kind of planned this, let’s be honest)  Guess what? There was nobody in line at the drive through! It’s normally a wait, so  I decided to celebrate and live a little. I got a large iced coffee with cream instead of a medium, and a toasted sesame bagel with…get this….garden veggie cream cheese instead of regular! I was a risk-taking daredevil! I made a couple discoveries

1) A large coffee is a lot of coffee

2) Garden veggie cream cheese is tasty but messier than regular cream cheese

3) It’s kind of disconcerting to feel a chunk of something solid in your mouth when you’re eating cream cheese.

That was Thursday. Today is Sunday, March 1st. What a difference three days makes! It’s 47 degrees, aka flip-flop weather in Cleveland. Chester and I went to Lake Erie Bluffs for a long walk. Of course the snow had melted, and it was pretty muddy. So we went around the meadow trail—still muddy but a little higher ground. Below are some pictures. I discovered that mud, while not good for my tennies, is great for heel spurs. My foot didn’t hurt at all, so I had lots of time to think. This time, I thought about Elvis Costello.

When he was in high school, almost 20 years ago, my son created a portrait of Elvis Costello using round circles. I always liked Elvis Costello when I was younger. I thought he was the essence of honest cool. I did find out that he was born 5 years and 5 days before me, a meaningless but interesting fact. I thought, and still do, that he puts his heart in his music. Of course my theme song is “Watching the Detectives” since that’s basically what I do. So I thought about the Elvis Costello artwork and decided I should frame it and hang it up.

Why is it that some things on our to-do lists that seem so small are harder than they should be? I was happy that it was already matted. But Milo the cat had sneezed snot all over the matting, not so much the picture. I had a frame, and thought, hey why not just take off the matte and frame it? Sigh. The picture just didn’t look the same. So I tried a bigger frame, a different matte, and so on and so on. It’s still crooked. ARGH! Elvis is watching me type and looking like he’s disappointed in me. Not hung up yet but framed.

I have a long list of things like this that I want to do but each one takes forever. Maybe that is what retirement will be…all the little things. I let go of the little things when I am busy. But often the little things are what matter. I do like Elvis. I’m going to get some wire, and fix the matte so it’s not crooked, and hang it up. That should only take me another day, or year. Then I’ll move on to the next project. Have a good week, and if you are lucky enough, enjoy the spring weather. Chester and I did😊

Chester enjoying the high road
Lake Erie Bluffs
Elvis, almost ready.

A Halloween walk…

Stop pulling, Chester. Wait! Bags? Check. Flashlight? Check. Dog? Hee hee I amuse myself.

Ooh, look at the stars! There’s Orion’s Belt. Is that the big dipper? No, can’t be certain. They seem to be fading. Must be a cloud. What do you see, Chester? Up there by Julius’ house? Is it a bunny? I don’t see anything, crazy dog.

Boy is it quiet this morning. I don’t see lights on in any of the houses. That’s weird, usually someone is up and about. Maybe everyone decided to sleep in on Halloween. I don’t get it, every house is pitch dark. What do you see now Chester? Quit pulling! Hey, I can’t hear the highway. As a matter of fact I don’t hear anything at all. The train usually comes by about now. Or at least the crickets or cicadas are chirping. Maybe it’s too early. Dead silence.

This is getting kind of creepy. It’s like I’m alone in the world. What would I do if something happened? What was that? I feel a chill. Sheesh, Martha, quit psyching yourself out. There is nothing here. It’s like every other walk every other day. Just keep walking.

I feel something. It’s colder than I thought it would be. It seems like it dropped 10 degrees in a few minutes. Brr. I hear something in the leaves behind us. Walk faster. Don’t turn around. No turn around and stand up real tall and straight. See what it is. No, walk faster. If there was something behind us, Chester would act different. Don’t look.

Something is definitely following us. Turn around you scaredy cat. You are supposed to be fearless. This is your neighborhood, get tough. Turn around NOW. Oh, it’s nothing. There’s nothing there. Hee hee you’re a mess Martha. Now go home, Chester wants his Kong. And you need coffee.

Wow, it’s dark. I can’t see a darn thing. Good thing I know the route. Oh shoot, Chester has to poop. Get the flashlight. No I want to go home. Just pick up as much as you can see and get out. Something moved past the window of that house. Is it on the outside or inside? Hurry up Chester. Keep going, you’re almost home.

Ok, something is following me. Walk faster, one two three four, count the steps. Oh my God, I saw a shadow. Breathe, in, out, in out. Don’t run, if it’s an animal it’ll chase you. Did someone clear their throat? Something is behind me. Doesn’t sound like an animal. Glance over your shoulder, see if it’s a coyote. Go on, DO IT. Better to know. OK, on the count of three, one, two, three, now LOOK!

What? Nothing there. I’m alone. What is that? Is it a reflection in Chester’s eyes, are the street lights on? No, must be my imagination, it’s still dark. You are a basket case, Martha, just Halloween getting to you. Come on Chester, hurry up. Whew there’s the house. Where are the high school kids at the bus stop? My spine is prickly.

Wait, something is wrong. What is it? I don’t know but it’s wrong, screaming wrong. The house is dark too. We will cut through the yard. Come on, Chester, why did you stop? What is wrong with you? Let’s go inside. No, wait, I left the lights on. No, no, no, what is that on the porch?

Help, turn around! Chester…Chester…run away. Go, run! Go! No, what are you doing? Don’t go that way, get out! What’s wrong with your eyes? What is that behind you? How many eyes are there…all I see is red eyes. I’m confused, are they all dogs? What is that sound? It’s a low growl. Chester, don’t go to the thing on the porch! Run! Did it just say good dog?

Whaaat…I’m surrounded. The growl is getting louder. Chester, come! I knew you would help me, come, hurry. What’s that? Are your lips moving? I can’t make a sound. My nose is growing. I’m shrinking. I’m screaming but I can’t. I hear barking.  Is that me? I’m covered in fur, I can’t stand up straight. Chester, help me!

Ohh…I can’t get up. Why can’t I speak?  What is that barking..is it me?Who are you? Lori? Oh am I glad to see you! I love your haircut. The bow is falling out though. What Chester? If you could speak why didn’t you before? What do you mean I didn’t give you enough treats? Where’s John? Oh, I see him, the Shepherd. I’d recognize that mustache anywhere. Listen, our pack leader on the porch is talking. He has such beautiful red eyes like us, and a long tail. What do you think he….OW! He poked me with that pitchfork. If I had that pitchfork I’d …

Happy Halloween!

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This and that and a doggie song…

My thoughts today are jumbled. None are worth a whole blog post, like a usual doggie song or my bucket list stories, so I decided to do a this and that entry. Let’s start with a short doggie song, shall we?

If you ever watched American Idol, you may remember a clearly older gentleman that got through to the judges. When he sang his “Pants on the Ground” song, everybody over a certain age (or level of class) stood up and cheered. I once worked with a teacher who was young, but would tell the boys, “No one wants to see your gotchees.” And we really didn’t. Anyway, Chester and I made up a song today…it’s only a couple verses but in all honesty, that’s about all there was to the original too. It’s called “Trash on the ground” (today is Friday you know…)

Trash on the ground, Trash on the ground, whatcha gonna do with your trash on the ground.
Trash on the ground, Trash on the ground, critters pickin through your trash on the ground,

Trash on the ground, Trash on the ground, wind must of blew your trash on the ground.
Trash on the ground, Trash on the ground, not lookin cool with your trash on the ground. The end. Sorry, I know you wanted more.

While I was driving to work I heard a bit of an interview with Ian Anderson, of Jetro Tull flute fame. He’s Scottish, and was describing a recording session. He was saying how another player was sick when he was supposed to record.  He said his bandmate “subjected himself to some dodgy curry.I love this! I am going to make this my new catch phrase. I have to modify it a little but it will work. I will say “I subjected myself to a dodgy donut” or “I subjected myself to some dodgy Taco Bell.”  “I subjected myself to fried swiss cheese on a stick.” “I subjected myself to gas station sushi.” Yep, I’m ready!

I like to look on the bright side of things. Last weekend I had totally finished laundry, and even put it away. Then I found one dirty t-shirt of John’s. But if he goes missing, the police dogs will need something to smell. Otherwise they would just find my Tide.

Chester and I can tell it’s spring. Not by the temperature but by the noise in our neighborhood! The birds are insanely loud at 5:45am. With the windows open, I can hear the train whistle. The Painesville Speedway is roaring back. And, even in the house, I can hear our neighbor’s music. He plays a lot of Pink Floyd, which is OK, since I like Pink Floyd. But when he yells “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat”…well, there’s no going back. It’s spring! 😊

Finally, we had chicken-garlic pizza for dinner. Chester loves chicken-garlic pizza. Who knew? It does wonders for doggie breath I’m sure. Chester is one spoiled dog. Below is what I looked at while eating. Don’t yell at me, but yes, he got a piece…I KNOW….sheesh.