The wonderfully random world and the Huron River…

I have not been in a good place to write lately. I am not the type to be stressed. I’m usually calm and have coping strategies. But I have had to stop and breathe now and again. 2021 has thrown me a little. I am not going to discuss it with you, because I’m afraid the bitterness will spill out of me and that’s not fair to dump on you. That’s like vomiting; it doesn’t make anyone happy and you have to clean it up yourself while I go vomit elsewhere.  It reminds me of this picture:

A lot of people have been vomiting words. In my favorite movie “Amadeus” the Emperor praises Mozart but adds a comment. He says, “Too many notes.” Yep, we have had waay too many verbal notes and I have mentally suffered from the incessant voices and drama. But just when I think all is not right with the world, something comes along to knock me back into a better place. This week it was, of all things, an oil change.

I went to the Subaru dealer for an oil change after nine months of being overdue. This has been weighing on me since I squinted at the sticker and realized that not only the date was long past, but the miles were too. How did that happen? I haven’t exactly been driving. But although I really wanted to get an oil change (NOT) I waited until I thought the pandemic would be over. Still waiting. Finally feeling guilty every time I drove to Redi Go for a lottery ticket and having my car stare at me, resigned, made me want to change my bad car ownership habit. So I shuffled off to the Subaru dealer.

The Subaru dealer has two waiting rooms–count them– two totally separate rooms. Nobody was in either one. I sat down in the one with the air purifier (confession time; I thought it was a heater then figured I already contaminated the chair so I had to stay there). After about 10 minutes of playing Gummy Drop on my phone, an elderly (even older than me) lady entered the room. There were four seats, and a whole nother waiting room but she had to sit down next to me. Sigh. I pulled my mask around my face and shifted my weight to the other side. That’s when she started hacking up a lung. I swear I thought she was going to keel over right there. I was tharn, like a rabbit in the headlights, unable to move. I pulled my mask so tight that I think I cut off circulation to my brain which is probably why I stayed sitting there.

Next, she made a phone call. On speaker phone of course. She had to leave a message wanting to meet her friend/relative/I’m an investigator but feel like a failure because I couldn’t figure it out/person for lunch at Yours Truly. The last time I was at Yours Truly it was about 100 degrees inside. Kind of like a Denny’s but a little better and hotter. I mentally questioned her choice but apparently it was the friend’s birthday and she had a gift to give. She left a nice loud message then hung up. She had piqued my curiosity but what happened next…well some things…

She hung up, and a loud blast came from the phone. She pushed some buttons and the blast changed.  Blaring from the phone at rock and roll head-banging volume  was “A Horse With No Name.” She glanced over and asked “Do you mind?” I shook my head weakly. We sat and listened to “A Horse With No Name” at full blast in the waiting room of the Subaru dealer. Finally they called her name, and she stood up, said “I like your coat,” I said “thank you, my son picked it out” and that was that.

In that instant I remembered why I chose a people profession. People can be hateful. They can also be random, the kind of random that makes me shrug my shoulders and smile. Who was she? Who was the friend? What on God’s green earth made her need to hear “A Horse with No Name?” Some things are unknowable. But I needed that kick of randomness to knock me back into my reality. Kind of like a string quartet playing “A Horse with No Name” on the Titanic. That would be awesome.  We are OK, friends. Go ahead and breathe…

Now lest you think I forgot about Chester, we had a superb walk in Huron. We had the family Christmas, and had arranged a meeting point between Cleveland and Toledo to swap gifts. We chose a park that sounded great, so planned to take a walk. It was a bird sanctuary. Some of you in the know are nodding wisely…you guessed it, we arrived to see a big old “No Pets Allowed” sign. Really? I get it, the birds would be scared of Chester. I did wonder what other pets they are referring to…goats? Maybe horses, or alpacas? Anyway, we arranged to meet at the Shell station on Rye Beach Road and see if Google knew of another park. My husband’s British accent lady voice took us through what probably used to be a vacation cottage town and found a very nice park. A very nice PRIVATE park as the sign said. Remember the song “Signs”? The best part of that song was the “ugh” which I totally get now. I too am done with signs!

Back to the British accent lady voice. The third and final park was the jackpot. Huron River Park was just lovely, with a nice walking path and ice in a pond. I guess it may have been the Huron River actually since it’s called the Huron River Park. That just came to me…The ice kept cracking loudly. We freaked out at first thinking it was a Squatch in them there woods. But no, just ice… I think…I hope. That’s what my sister said, and she would know. We walked a couple miles, exchanged the gifts and I am now the proud owner of a cat eating a bunch of gnomes figurine.

Chester was so exhausted he slept in the car and all that night. He was so tired! I am including a couple pictures of him enjoying the day. It was great to get out. Between that and the oil change lady I’m feeling right with the world. It’s a beautiful place!

Chester looking for Bigfoot

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day to Chester…

Two years ago today we were on a mission. I had stumbled upon the City Dog website and realized that there were far too many dogs in need of homes. Not exactly news, smarty pants. I knew we couldn’t take them all, and I had avoided going to any kennel or even walking by the cats in the petsmart for many years. I guess it was a weak moment but I took a look at the doggies. Too late, I was sunk. Our kids had moved out and we had dogs before, we knew what we were doing. My husband and I talked, and we agreed that while we couldn’t take them all, we were in a place to help one dog at least.

Side bar alert: our first dog was from a shelter also. We had just moved to Euclid and, looking to make community contacts, I volunteered for a group that tried to place animals with people who called in. I felt hopeful because I had talked with a lady interested in adopting. I tried to match her wants with a couple of dogs I thought she would like. I chose two; a black lab puppy, and what looked like a mini shepherd. When I went to the front desk to ask for their cards I got the lab’s, but the shepherd didn’t have one. The lady at the desk looked him up and said he had been there for a verrry long time but did NOT have a card. I could hear the wheels grinding. Remember, this was 35 years ago, and this was not a no-kill shelter. After a certain amount of time, the animals had to be put down if only because there were so many. It’s pretty unbelievable how many there really are. Until I worked for a shelter I had no idea. But I digress…

The lady didn’t show up to adopt–that bitch! I took the lab’s card back, but now I felt the burden of being a snitch. I had alerted them to a situation that would not result in anything good for this mini shepherd type dog. Yes, you guessed it. I took him home. My husband, bless his heart, bathed him outside with the hose because between fleas and dirt and kennel cough, he was a mess. The dog seemed OK with it. In fact, he seemed OK with everything. He lay in the back yard with his face to the sun looking up and smiling. We named him Pax.  And he was.

Now, 35+ years later, given that we could help a dog, I was looking at the City Dog website and saw a picture of a dog that reminded me of Pax. His name was Roosevelt. He looked about beagle size and looked a little like a mini shepherd/pit bull mix. In fact, the vet at the shelter called him a shepherd mix. It said so right on his form! He was 5 years old and we had agreed that being older ourselves we wanted an older, calmer, not as active dog. My husband chose a few from my list and Roosevelt was one of them.  The city was doing a “Clear the Shelters” week, and I was afraid that the dogs we were interested would be gone, so we went on a Thursday after work to meet the ones we had earmarked.

We met Stephanie, the counsellor, and saw Roosevelt first. He was bigger than I thought, not exactly beagle size. They had taken the picture of him from standing, so he looked smaller. Kind of like when you are fishing and hold the fish close to the camera, only reversed. He loped out into the little play area and peed on the plastic house thing. How many dogs peed on that house do you think? It boggles the mind. He did acknowledge us, coming up and letting us pet him. He was interested in the dog we saw walking with a volunteer and ran around awhile. He seemed stable. We saw another dog next, but while he was beautiful and happy, he was young and very energetic.  My husband said he liked Roosevelt. Stephanie walked him by the resident cat, and he put on an academy award winning performance by not even lunging. Honestly, he ignored a CAT. He knew what was on the line. Sheesh. After some paperwork, he was a DiLorenzo.

We took him home, renamed him Chester and realized that A) he was not small, B) he was pretty much housetrained, and C) while he seemed OK with Milo at first, within a few minutes he chased him down the stairs. Oh, and D) he was not the mellow oldster we expected! He ran around the house and yard like a rocket ship doing zoomies morning and night. He climbed over the fence the second day we had him. He tore up the garbage the fourth or fifth day when we went back to work. He would rip up any box available (still does). He would take stuffed animal toys, tear out all the stuffing, and shake their limp outsides back and forth vigorously until no innards remained (still does). Then he would tear up the outside. We took him on two long walks a day and got the amazing Brittany to take him during the day (still does😊) Then we took him to Petsmart training. We got Kongs to help with the chewing. We spoiled him to the tune of 15 pounds…mostly milk bones I think. It kept him from climbing the fence at least. Over the weeks and months he got a little better, and a harness worked wonders for walking. Days flowed into years. Time happens. Chester the dog (his full name–to differentiate between him and Chester the cat who is my nephew’s cat) and the two old people got to know each other. He calmed down and now tosses around the throw pillows then lays on them to watch t.v. He gives me his paw to go outside. He will sit nicely while we eat but if he sits too close he will drool on us. He usually gets the last bite but don’t tell the veterinarian. Chester has become part of the family.

Chester my sweet dog, two years have passed. You have gotten me walking and daydreaming. This blog would not be without you.  You have become my laughter and my friend. You keep us on our toes but are happy just to be here. You love your backyard and are doing an excellent job of keeping those terrorist bunnies and squirrels out. The cats…well, we will work on it. There is always hope.

Happy 2nd Gotcha Day my big goofy happy pup. You are truly a good dog and I love you.  

Below are pictures of Chester/Roosevelt when we got him, his Gotcha Day burger which he inhaled (I took off the candles first), and our first baby, Pax. Have a wonderful week!

Roosevelt before he was Chester
Gotcha Day Cheeseburger!
Our beautiful Pax

Familiar places and a doggie song…

It is beastly hot here. Now those of you in Florida or Georgia or Alabama or any other traditionally hot zone can stop rolling your eyes and scoffing. Yes, I heard you scoff. Granted, Ohio is not unbearable except for the humidity. But it was hot enough to be less than enthusiastic about a long walk in the sun with Chester. So we took him to Lakeshore Reservation. I have posted pictures of this park before; it’s on Lake Erie and has a paved trail. It has the rock sculptures and used to have a wooden swing-type bridge but that was taken down. Now it’s roped off with emergency tape. Maybe someone broke through while they were jumping up and down on it. Anyway, we had made sort of a decision to try every park in the system, a new park each week. Somehow though with all the change in the world we just wanted to go “where everybody knows our name” or something like that.

We went for a nice walk and it was just right. Everything was green except for a few flowers which made the green even greener and popped up like little gemstones. I had no thoughts except that it was so beautiful. I felt like Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, just overwhelmed by happiness. It didn’t matter what happened before or after, it was Just. So. Beautiful. Of course when I tried to take a picture of a path that struck me as lovely, Chester photobombed it (see below). No matter, a dog’s got to do what a dog’s got to do.

I know I haven’t posted for awhile. I’m not sure why except the weeks just got away from me. I thought you deserved a doggie song for waiting. The song is about the Stuffing of the Kong Ritual. For the uninitiated, a kong is a rubber thing in the shape of a snowman. There are holes at each end and the idea is to stuff it with treats like peanut butter, little biscuits, then we stick half a milk bone in the hole and freeze it. He gets it after the morning walk and it takes a good amount of time to lick the frozen concoction. Or it used to. Now he just lets it sit for 15-20 minutes until it thaws a little then eats it. We have been outsmarted by the hound. The song is to the tune of Yellow Submarine:

It’s the stuf-fing of the Kong

Peanut butter, can’t go wrong,

And some pump-kin makes him drool

Then it’s frozen, nice and cool

(Chorus, nice and loud now!) We all love the stuffing of the Kong,

The stuffing of the kong

The stuffing of the kong

We all love the stuffing of the kong,

The stuffing  (you get the drift)

It’s not my best work but want to guess what will be going through your head for a couple hours? Go ahead and hate me haters.

Have a good week. I will try to post more often. Happy late Father’s Day to all you fathers, and happy late 4th of July to the Americans. Happy late Canada Day to Canadians, and I hope that everyone had a nice summer solstice (also late).  Should I say Merry Christmas now so I’m not late?

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A particularly lovely path.

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Chester just decided he was done. Doesn’t he have an exceptionally long tongue?

Chester’s arch-nemesis and just for fun flower signs…

Over the weekend Chester and I had quite the adventure. It rained in the morning so we went later than usual. The walk was nice, and I saved multiple worms. One was pretty big and it looked like it was low on energy to get off the street. I set it in a bed of clover to either gather strength and dig or die and be eaten. It reminded me of the Hunger Games.

Because of the worm saving mission, we were a little slow. We made it around the big block toward the other end of the development when we caught a glimpse of Enzo. If you remember, Enzo and Chester are mortal enemies. Whether you remember or not, Chester remembered. He flipped out, howling, barking, and making otherworldly noises. He pulled as hard as he could, lunging and running around me in his desperation to get to the dreaded Enzo. Chester’s over 70 pounds, maybe more with the COVID snacks, so I had to ground myself. I spread my legs apart and bent them a little, hanging on for dear life like I was waterskiing. I was yelling “leave it” and “No” and the bag of poop attached to the leash was flying in circles with every pull. Keep in mind that because of the rain and the shutdown my hair was frizzing out which added to the visual. Picture a Sumo wrestler with frizzy hair and baggy capris and you’ll have it. Not my best look. Meanwhile Enzo was just sitting on the other side of the street. His owner petted him and said “see what you made him do?” If I hadn’t been in the middle of a Chester-induced hurricane I would have said, “No, Enzo didn’t make him do that, he is choosing to do it himself. He is being a BAD DOG right now. We are not responsible for the actions of others. We may be a trigger, whether we did anything or not, but we are not to blame. Don’t take that on yourself little Enzo.” Of course I said nothing of the sort, I was busy dragging Chester down the street like I was in a truck pull.

Chester calmed down, and we walked home. It was warm and humid, and I didn’t save many other worms because I was d-o-n-e DONE. We got home, and I started to throw the bags of poop out…oh, did I say bags? Because there was only one still attached to the leash. Groan. He had done one prior to the Enzo debacle and one after. I could tell by the weight that the one prior was still there and the other must have fallen off. It couldn’t be far, I reasoned, so we walked back. I could have let him go in the house but he is the one who pooped. So we went together. We retraced our steps, and retraced and retraced all the way around the block again, peeking around corners to avoid he who shall not be named. It was located just after the scene of the Chester meltdown, a little blue blob on the side of the road. We collected it and went home. Sometimes things happen. His tongue was hanging out and he didn’t look one bit guilty. I couldn’t stay mad since he looked so happy. Sheesh.

On the plus side of the great poop escape, during the second walk I started to think about if flowers were people what kind of personality traits they would have. I came up with one word answers that I instantly thought of… based on some of the flowers here in northeast Ohio. Then because I have alot of time on my hands I tried to match them with astrological signs based on their personalities. Totally not official or anything, just kind of fun. See if you have the same reactions!

Sunflowers – joyful, definitely a Leo! Nothing shy about sunflowers!

 Lilacs – precious, maybe Cancer.     

Tulips – graceful, a Virgo? I wish Virgos were graceful but I hate to say…I’m, I mean they’re not.         

Daisies – cheery, let’s say Sagittarius. They happily do what they want and people are happy to let them.    

Crocuses – eager and independent, like Aquarius! Grow wherever the squirrels plant them.

Pansies – gentle, Gemini, my Grandma used to say they are like little faces looking to the sun.    

Marigolds – strong, like Taurus. Even bunnies won’t eat them.

 Petunias – easygoing, Libra? They are definitely gracious.

Irises—royal, Scorpio, of course. 

Roses; determined (they have to be, especially in my garden) like an Aries.  

 Daylilies—reliable, like a Capricorn. 

Finally let’s go with Hyacinths—intoxicating, maybe artistic like Pisces.

Now that I’ve used up another few minutes of your time, I’m going to smell the lilac bush that is blooming like crazy in our back yard. Let me know if you agree with my in depth and very scientific flower analysis!

Matthew 6:28-29

Lilacs
Our lilac tree
This is just a tree at sunrise but i like how the light makes it look like it’s dipped in gold.