Why, it's Golden Retriever Tuesday again!
This week's photo, from somewhere on the Interwebs, is a friendly reminder never to leave your baby human unattended around Golden Retriever puppies, because, as you can see, the puppies will try to eat him.
“In a final act of lawlessness,” outgoing asshole general Alberto Gonzales apparently pushed back everyone’s tee times at the Chevy Chase club so that he and his non-member guest Condi could get the best time last Saturday. AND THE CLUB FORBIDS NON-MEMBERS FROM GOLFING ON WEEKENDS.
That's right, Gonzo! Non-members CAN'T GOLF ON WEEKENDS. Next thing you know, he'll be trying to eliminate Caddy Day at Bushwood.
Poor Arnie met a porcupine. My brave (oblivious) puppy handled it so well; he barely broke his stride - it's almost like he didn't even notice - until I saw him and said "OH MY GOD, ARNIE!" Then he clued in that something was amiss. (Another reason why I should never parent a baby human.)
I pulled one or two quills out on the trail, but because I know so little about porcupines and how their quills work (are they poisonous? What if I break one off too close to pull out? Are there really barbs on the ends?) I decided to wait until I'd spoken to a vet.
20 minutes later we were back in the truck and within cell range. I kept an eye on Arnie as we drove; I didn't want him to rub at the quills with his paws, pushing them in deeper. He didn't. Again, he didn't really seem to notice that anything had happened to him. He just stood at the window that looks into the cab, sniffing at the air and wagging his tail. Same as always.
At home, as I was looking up quill-removal tips in the Interwebs and talking to emergency vets, Arnie got sadder and sadder. He couldn't figure out how to drink with his quilly mouth, he couldn't eat the Rimadel I tried to give him. He kept dozing off, but as his big furry head dipped down, he bumped the quills and jolted awake. It was heartbreaking - his pathetic expression compounded by the strings of drool developing from his jowels.
I found out that we could take him to the vet, or we could pull the quills out ourselves. Brad, who fancies himself a master of the veterinary arts, elected home-removal. I pulled 6 out before he got home (he was climbing in the desert this weekend), and now Brad's removing the rest with needlenose pliers (it seems cruel, but it's what three vets and four websites recommend). Because I can't stand the thought - or sight - of Arnie in pain, each time I pulled a quill out, I had to hug him for at least ten minutes. The time-consumption of my process was killing Brad. He took over and subsequently banished me from the room where he's now working, because I kept yelling at him to slow down, to give Arnie a few minutes to rest and feel loved in between pulls (what am I, a vet?).
Arnie is all better now, if a bit tender around the snoot and a little mopey. He fosters no resentment towards us, though, for inflicting great pain, and to the Arnie-neophyte he'd just seem sleepy.
I wonder if he learned his lesson today. If he'll remember this sad, painful day the next time he considers trying to make friends with a porcupine. Brad doubts it, but I'm not so sure.
We can't wait till our dear friend Ed comes home to the Wasatch. While Ed is actually very appropriate and mature in yoga classes, I think it'd be funny if he acted like the guy in the video.
Sniper ONE Shot - video powered by Metacafe
I learned about this from my colleague Dave Rathbun, who also told me that yesterday was National Punctuation Day. Oh, joy of joys, a whole day dedicated to one of my favorite pursuits - the proper portrayal of punctuation.
(When I was younger, I HATED the letter "P." HATED the way it sounded; didn't like it one bit. My family - because they're the kindest people in the world - regularly alliterated their sentences with the annoying letter, peppering their proffers with P-words. See why I'm the way I am? I grew up in a horribly cruel household.)
Golden Retriever Tuesdays (GRT) is a new feature on The Wasatch Report. To those of you rolling your eyes, consider this: now I won't post pictures of Golden Retrievers EVERY day, just on Tuesdays. Or wherever I think about it. Or find one I like.
This week's first image comes from Mavis. She found it on www.cuteoverload.com.
See how mean Golden Retrievers can be? Brad used to say that the reason Arnie slept right between us, head on our pillows, was that he was actually trying to sneak in and suffocate Brad in the middle of the night. Manipulative Arnie, he called him. Yes, my dog is indeed VERY calculating. Why, just this morning, he came damn near to hacking into CIA's secure server. Then he accidentally fell asleep (see below).
This is my dear friend, Mavis, who is planning to overcome her aversion to unspeakably warm temps and join me in Indian Creek over Labor Day weekend.
Please note, Mavis does not actually have dreadlocks, and she generally bikes with a helmet.
I want everyone to know that while I find this picture hilarious (I found it on the internet. Props to the photographer for capturing the true spirit of the Malicious and Very Viscious Golden Retriever. Also, see? I’m not claiming it as my own, so please don’t sue me), I DO NOT THINK DOGFIGHTING IS ACCEPTABLE IN ANY WAY.
So, Michael Vick? Go to hell you evil, twisted son of a bitch. I can’t open a newspaper these days without your heinous, cold-hearted scowl, and it’s beginning to annoy me.
And to the poor doggies you tortured? Oh, there’s a place for you in doggie heaven.
Yes, I’m Agnostic and while I find the ideas of heaven and hell for people troublesome, heaven for dogs TOTALLY exists and is the happiest place ever, with clean rivers for swimming, no “Watershed – No Dogs” signs, lots of snow for scooting and sun for sleeping, plenty of soft couches and many, many treats.
Hey, this is my blog, and therefore my delusion.
I turn to my favorite poets at these times - when I am searching for clear, evocative language, when my own words fall short, are too emotional.
Billy Collins, one of our greats, is my favorite for this kind of writing; always kind and warm, he is also consise and direct and I know of no other artist who creates a similar landscape.
On Turning Ten
By Billy Collins
The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.
Walking Across The Atlantic
By Billy Collins
I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic
thinking about Spain,
checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.
But for now I try to imagine what
this must look like to the fish below,
the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.
"Thinking about Spain..." I love that line.
Here's a shot of Roch trying to make me eat, you know, food, and me trying to explain that I saw the 50k mountain run as a great opportunity to starve myself and lose weight. At which point Roch (and everyone else within earshot) looked at me like I was completely retarded. I can't believe Rob didn't drop the camera.
Whatever. I still think it was a good plan.
How can you see this and not want to get fitter? I made the mistake of opening this video this morning, sent to me by a friend (you know who you are, you evil wench), and now my rest day is blown. Maybe a crossfit work out to balance out my busy day of petting the dogs and reading? I feel like I saw this workout somewhere, on some affiliate site, but now I can't find it. If I've gotten it wrong, my apologies:
5 rounds for time
I like this one because I won't really be using my pulling muscles, which need rest because I'm still tired from climbing this week and I'm going to Maple tomorrow.
If it's not poems, it's Muppets clips. I'm always pushing something.
I've had moose on my mind for the past few weeks - there's a family of them living somewhere along the trail to Dog Lake, and I'm worried about running into them. (Ahem, Catherine, though, had no issues whatsoever when she came upon a young one the other day...) The boys (Arnold and Red) have never seen a moose, and I'm not sure how they'd react. The first time Arnie got close to a cow (Indian Creek, December 2005), he followed her around for a half hour, seemingly thinking she was his mother.
So with moose in mind, I bring you tonight's "Muppets Must-see" - one of my all-time favorites - "Chocolate Moooooooose."
Passenger keeps monkey under his hat
August 8, 2007, NEW YORK - A man smuggled a monkey onto an airplane Tuesday, stashing the furry fist-size primate under his hat.
The escapade began in Lima, Peru, late Monday, when the man boarded a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, said Spirit Airlines spokeswoman Alison Russell.
During a connecting flight to La Guardia, people around the man noticed that the marmoset had emerged, Russell said.
How I would have loved to be the one that got to say, "Excuse me, Sir, but is that a monkey on your head?"
I was curious, too, so I went a-googling.
Here's what I found out:
I feel better now.
If you know me well, you’re probably surprised that I’m not using this blog as a venue to push poetry onto unsuspecting readers. Well, that’s because I want to attract visitors, and frankly, the anti-poetry comments from (oh, you know who you are) might drive said visitors away.
That said, I’m taking a chance today and posting this, my favorite William Stafford poem, in honor of friends who’ve just had a baby. I love this poem – it makes me feel safe and warm and content, with thoughts of firelight and quilts.
I hope the beautiful new baby girl always experiences such joy.
At Our House
Home late, one lamp turned low,
crumpled pillow on the couch,
wet dishes in the sink (late snack),
in every child's room the checked,
slow, sure breath--
Suddenly in this doorway where I stand
in this house I see this place again,
this time the night as quiet, the house
as well secured, all breath but mine borne
gently on the air--
And where I stand, no one.
I cannot take credit for unearthing this rare piece of Muppet history in which the hippie bong-shaped Muppets blow up the corporate bong-shaped Muppets; I found it here: http://www.mamapop.com/
The two-minute skit begs the question: what were the puppeteers smoking?
You are The High Priestess
Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.
The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.
What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.
He was delightful. I'd always adored his work (at the time, I never went anywhere without my dogeared, noted and studied copy of "Sweet Machine"), but hearing it read aloud...no words.
Anyway, he's a golden retriever man. He's written about Beau, his big sweet Golden, in several poems, and his newest book, "Dog Years," is about how Beau was "the life force that keeps hims from abandoning all hope during the darkest days." I know that sounds heavy, but the man wsa losing his partner to AIDS at the time, so his grief was warranted. "Dog Years" is on my nightstand waiting; I can't wait to open it up and start reading.
If you like good poetry, read his stuff.
We have five bird feeders in our backyard (which Brad calls, "the sanctuary"): one tube feeder, two cedar a-frame feeders, a finch feeder and a hummingbird feeder.
For weeks, we had hungry, happy birds getting fat at our feeders. We had eight quail, two pairs of mourning doves, black capped chickadees, finches, jays, hummingbirds, robins (the golden retriever of the bird world) and flocks of others I couldn't identify, even with the help of the marvelous, full-color birding book my parnts gave us for our first anniversary. Our birds seemed content and comfortable. If one of us forgot to fill a feeder, the birds sat on the empty structure and squawked at us - the avian equivalent of banging your shot glass down on the bar?
One night, during a party with tons of people in the backyard, our hummingbird (Hummy, I call him) flew up to the feeder, swilled some nectar and darted around the party for several minutes, delighting our guests and making me feel like Saint Francis.
But now they're gone.
Over the last week, I've noticed no bird activity in our backyard - not even a sudden flutter into hiding when I open the door. They've all gone, and I can't figure out why. It's not any hotter than it has been - actually, it's been almost (almost) pleasant in Salt Lake for the past couple days. The dogs pay no more attention to the feeders than they did before.(Arnie, the bird dog, is afraid of our backyard guests. He sticks to my side when I'm out there, like he just saw Alfered Hitchcock's "Birds" and is convinced they're all out to get him.)
Why have they left us? I really miss them.
That said: Who''s the half naked dude? They cut away to him briefly, and it appears that he's watching the events unfold, but why is he not wearing a shirt?
When the lion first lunges at the big-haired-tight-pants-wearing fellow, didn't you think he was gonna maul him? I did.
Truthfully, I think it's a lab in a lion suit.
There's (ongoing) discussion among the backcountry skiing community about whether or not dogs should join in the fun. Black-hearted dog-haters declare backcountry dogs to be as bad for the environment and community as helicopters (this is a whole other subject that I'll address later, but for now, just know that HELISKIING HELICOPTERS = BAD).
I love skiing with Arnie and Red. They love to bound through the powder after us (only after one of us has skied the slope and declared it safe for our boys). They love to roll on their backs and make snow-angel-dogs. Snow-dogs. Dog-angels.
We're not idiots; we don't take them out for huge days, we don't take them into dangerous terrain. We don't let them jump on people. We CLEAN UP THEIR POO. (Why do the dog-haters always assume that we dog-lovers revel in leaving dog shit for others to step in? Hey haters? Breaking news: I hate stepping in dog shit, too.)
Check out the boys. Note that they're waiting patiently to be told "go."
Brad took this as I marched up the final hill in the Speedgoat. Important to notice here: I am carrying ONE water bottle, and a small one at that. I have no food on my person, and I'm in no way shaded from the elements. Think I underestimated this race? Not only was I the only racer without provisions, I also seemed to be the only one who, like, didn't prepare.
Oh well, that's how I do things, I suppose. Sort of jump in blind. Now that I know that I CAN run a 50K, I will actually TRAIN for the next one (oh yes, there'll be a next one). And carry more water. And food.
Jesus. I can't believe I didn't pass out mid-course.
It was my first time in Tuolumne, and I want to return again and again. It's heaven to me, because even though the climbing is exceptional and plentiful and easily accessable, it's also just a small part of what that place offers. When I remember it now, I think of camping in cool mountain temps, snuggled into down bags and waking to frost on the windows of the van. I think of swimming in a cold, clear lake in the middle of the day when it's too hot to climb. I think of meeting good people with similar passions and goals. I remember feeling like we were doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing in the exactly the right place. I think of taking it easy and enjoying the time togehter, not feeling rushed to get more routes in, and even so, going to bed each night completely exhausted.
I spent a lot of time staring into the Sierra, the Range of Light, and thinking about how, while the Cascades may have given life to Gary Snyder's poetry, it was the Sierra that moved Snyder to settle and build a homebase, that continues to inspire him even now.
One after another, the granite peaks - domes, sharp aretes, ridges - filled the middle distance and beyond. The possibilities - link-ups, big runs, traverses, routes - grew in my mind as I racked my brain for a way to live there, just for a season, for a way to make the Sierra my home. Our home.
1. Mountain Lions
2. Strange Men
Three People Who Make Me Laugh:
1. David Sedaris
2. George Oscar Bluth
Three Things I Love:
1. Trader Giotto’s Italian Roast first thing in the morning
2. Waking up to snowfall
3. Fall clothing
Three Things I Hate:
1. Seeing people in pain
2. People who don’t like animals
3. People who are consciously hurtful
Three Things I Don’t Understand:
1. Tax stuff
2. How to figure out gas mileage
3. Why people wear open-toed shoes with tights
Three Things On My Desk:
1. A picture of Brad and me in front of the Captian
2. The tiki-style pencil holder that Megan bestowed upon me when she left Backbone
3. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style
Three Things I’m Doing Right Now:
1. Waiting for the day to end so I can go running
2. Looking forward to tomorrow when I can go climbing (I need to rest my muscles tonight)
3. Wondering if I can make it to Red Pine Lake and back without running into a moose
Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
1. Go on a hut trip with Brad
2. Live on the road, in the van, climbing full time
3. Visit Vermont in the Fall
Three Things I Can Do:
3. Pet Arnie
Three Things I Can’t Do:
1. Wear horizontal stripes
2. Christmas – it makes me feel sick and sad
3. Play soccer
Three Things I Think You Should Listen To:
1. Folk music
3. My mother
Three Things You Should Never Listen To:
1. The doubting, taunting voice deep inside
3. Fundamentalists of any kind
Three Things I’d Like To Learn:
1. To save mo money mo better
2. To think first, speak second
3. To react less emotionally
Three Favorite Foods:
2. Chocolate Milk
3. Saag Paneer
Three Shows I Watched As A Kid:
1. Sesame Street
2. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
3. The Muppet Show
Three Things I Regret:
1. Not learning to save money sooner
2. Cutting my hair
3. That I have regrets
It allows you to weight in on the key issues facing the upcoming Presidential election and calculates, based on the level of importance you apply to each of your answers, the candidate who best suits you.
I was very surprised by who my “ideal candidate” turned out to be.
Try it; it’s kind of neat.
No. Katherine Anne Cavicchio marks the start of a dynasty.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Wow...it’s been awhile for real sobs, though yesterday I got a bit teary-eyed when my friend Robin told me that she has a tape of Mugs’ voice. The thought of hearing the voice of your life-long love, long after he died....Completely crushing.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
With the proper pen or pencil (the lead must be 0.7, not 0.5).
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Even better - I have two dogs. Arnie (aka Arnold, the Bear, Little, Sweet Pea) is a 3 year old Golden Retriever and Red (aka Red Dawg, Heeler, Dingo, Red Puppy) is a 4 year old Red Heeler.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Hard to say; I tend to be scared of people who are too much like me.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
No. Never. That was sarcasm.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes, but I always wanted them to be taken out because I really wanted to eat all the ice cream. Just like George Costanza.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Cracklin’ Oat Bran, but I never eat it on account of its copious sugar, fat, bleached flour and cost. I also love me some oatmeal.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Yes. If I don’t untie them when I’m taking them off, I’ll just have to untie them later, when I'm putting them back on. Why wait?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
No. I KNOW I am strong.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Anything that starts with vanilla and adds some form of chocolate or peanut butter.
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Men: their smile.
Women: how skinny they are.
15. RED OR PINK?
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
How my completely distorted self-image affects my mood.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Grama and Pap Cavicchio.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Brown velour skirt and pink wooden clogs.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
HealthyPop Butter flavor popcorn, but I'm still hungry.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The woman in the office next to mine is on the phone, trying to help a friend feel better. It sounds sad.
22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Today I’d be white. I’m looking forward to snow.
23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Brad’s neck, woodsmoke, sweetgrass, Arnie’s fur, Red’s paws.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Penn State football.
26. HAIR COLOR?
Darker brown than most people realize.
27. EYE COLOR?
28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
39. FAVORITE FOOD?
30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy endings. Always.
31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
32. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
33. SUMMER OR WINTER?
In summer, winter. In winter, summer. Always, fall.
34. HUGS OR KISSES?
35. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster.
36. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don’t use one.
37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
I don’t watch tv.
38. FAVORITE SOUND?
Brad calling, “On belay,” Arnie scratching his back on the carpet, Red saying good morning.
39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
40. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
I remember every single thing a person was wearing at any point, right down to the make and model of their running shoes and what kind of barrette they have in their hair.
42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
43. WHAT SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU LIKE?
And as the opening chords rang, I was back in Zeno’s, five feet away from where Ryan was playing, his foot kicking, his hair in his face, dark glasses, tight jeans, glaring at the audience. I think I remember the set list, I remember what I was wearing, I remember that I left the bar that night and rode home through the alleys because I was drunk, I remember the rainbow cruiser that I had in college. It had a purple bike horn and handlebar streamers and I adored it wholly. I was probably wearing patchouli oil with my Zeno's t-shirt and the carhart jeans I lived in back then. I got home to the bungalow on Buckhout Street and couldn’t sleep. I sat on the back porch facing the garden, smoking an American Spirit (in those years, I so wanted to be a smoker). Eric and Dave, my roommates, were probably asleep or at their girlfriends’ houses; my neighbors – Erin, Olena and I forget the rest – weren’t home. And as I sat there in the silver and white light, as the soar of the alcohol loosened its grip, I ached with loneliness.
Of course those feelings are gone now – more than 10 years later – but his music takes me there in a heartbeat, and it's still as beautiful to me as it was then.