Sunday, July 05, 2015


Levi has been wearing my old T-shirts for the last week and a half after I found a small but nasty-looking wound under the curls on his left side. He had apparently sustained the injury a few days earlier, but it didn't bleed enough to discolor his thick fur. I might not have found it when I did had he not been snuggled up next to me on the sofa and flinched when my "skritching fingers" landed on that particular spot. By then it appeared to be badly infected.

We went to the vet the next morning, where a saucer-sized patch of Levi's fur was shaved off, the wound was thoroughly cleaned out and we were given two weeks' worth of antibiotics and one week's worth of doggy pain pills. My canine-trodden floors are not sanitary (there is no five-second rule here), so I asked the vet about bandaging the wound to keep it clean. He didn't want to do that, said it needed some air circulation, and suggested putting Levi in a clean T-shirt instead. So, that's what we've done.

I had no idea that Levi would be willing to wear clothes. He surprised me. He didn't object when I put the first one on him, and he's been as cooperative as a fashion model each time I've changed his outfit, often two or three times a day. He hasn't tried once to get out of a shirt. He wears a loose elastic belt around his waist, which allows me to roll the shirttail once or twice to keep it out of the line of fire when he pees.

The wound is healing nicely. I could probably leave the shirts off by now, except I don't trust our three other nosy dogs to pass up a chance to explore what the heck that thing is on Levi's side. As long as he seems comfortable, I'll lend him shirts until there's no more sign of the injury. Besides, he looks really, really cute!

Friday, July 03, 2015


This morning, minutes after waking, I lay in bed thinking that today feels like the 4th of July, especially because both my daughters have the day off work. But Independence Day is actually tomorrow. Today is only the 3rd. Hm. The 3rd of July. I thought about that date for a moment, then did some mental math.

Forty-four years ago on this date I married my first husband. Here's a photo of me, 18 years old, looking a little shell-shocked, sipping non-alcoholic, lime-sherbet-and-ginger-ale punch minutes after the brief marriage ceremony:

A week earlier, when I'd told Mother I'd accepted a marriage proposal, I'd expected her to try to talk me out of it. She could have, but she didn't try. Instead, she went into action and pulled together a small but lovely at-home wedding. Here's the pretty table she laid out in her dining room for the reception (note the green candles chosen to match the punch):

Forty-three years ago on this date, living 200-plus miles away from my parents' home, I took the top layer of that wedding cake out of the freezer and discreetly dumped it in the garbage, probably hiding it under coffee grounds and potato peels. I didn't feel much like celebrating--especially if it involved eating freezer-burned cake.

I can laugh now when I remember those long-ago events. It helps that my two daughters from that marriage have brought so much joy and love into my life. It also helps that I've lived long enough to understand that one impulsive marriage doesn't invalidate all the good decisions I've made through the years. Of course, that marriage wasn't the only mistake I've ever made. True, it remains the shining star of my bad or questionable decisions, but when I lump them all together, it loses some of its luster. 

These days I smile and shake my head when the song I once considered "our song" comes up on my iTunes playlist. It's a great song, and I still love it, but how could I have overlooked the warning in the lyrics?

The song is "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," performed by The Shirelles.
Click here to read the lyrics.
Thanks to Mp3SuperSound for posting the music video on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

He Who Would Be King

On October 20, 2007, I cast my electronic ballot for Bobby Jindal to become Louisiana's next governor. The following day I wrote a post about that vote, the iffiness of it and the hope behind it. That post included these words:
I made a huge leap of faith when I pushed that button yesterday, and I pray to God I didn’t make a mistake. If time proves that my faith wasn’t justified, I hope you’ll all remind me of that–-mercilessly--before the next major election.
Well, folks, I screwed up. If you want to heap scorn upon my head, I'm ready to stand here and accept it. Voting for Jindal isn't the stupidest mistake I've ever made, but it's the stupidest one I've ever made public.

In the beginning I was encouraged. Early in his first term we had Hurricane Gustav, and Bobby Jindal showed himself to be far more adept at crisis management than his predecessor, Kathleen Blanco, who was notably inept during Hurricane Katrina three years earlier. There. I've given him credit where he deserved it. That's the last thing I remember liking about him.

It is perhaps a fault of mine that I'm overly impressed by intelligence. Jindal is bright; there's no question about that. I have tended to equate intelligence with logic and open-mindedness, but I've learned from watching our governor that I'm wrong about that, that those traits don't always go hand in hand.

I've also learned that naked ambition trumps intelligence when it comes to making decisions in the best interest of the citizenry. (And speaking of "trump," the Donald's naked ambition is brazenly obvious, too--but that's a subject for a whole 'nother post.)

I don't think Bobby Jindal has ever cared one iota about the State of Louisiana except as a stepping stone on his path toward the presidency. If he believes every single piece of right-wing propaganda he's spouted in the last eight years, then, in my opinion, he's dangerous to a free society. If he doesn't really believe everything he's said, then he's such a suck-up that Tea Party bigwigs must have permanent hickeys on their behinds. Either way, polls indicate that seventy per cent of this red state's population are disappointed in his performance.

Why am I bringing all this up today? Because Bobby Jindal is expected to announce his candidacy for president at four o'clock this afternoon. What an ego! What a loser!

I'd say, "What a joke!" but I'm not laughing.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

For Charleston, Where "Hate Won't Win"

This brand-new song is "All Good People" by Delta Rae.
Thanks to Delta Rae for writing it, recording it, and posting it on YouTube in response to the slayings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Beat of a Different Drum

I wish I knew what goes on in Gimpy's mind. When the dogs start from anywhere in the house to go outside, they have to pass between the dining area and the kitchen, go into the den, then turn left to go out the door onto the patio. Three of the four do it just that way. Gimpy, however, skips that first left turn, runs straight ahead to pass between the futon and the cedar chest, steps up twelve inches onto the hearth, then turns left, steps down, passes by the large dog crate and turns right, ready to burst out the door. He  doesn't choose this crazy path always, but he does the majority of the time.

Here, I drew this floor plan of my (overcrowded) den for those of you who prefer pictures to words: 

He also has his own convoluted route to get back inside from the backyard: 

I"m pretty sure I know the reasoning behind his chosen path in this instance: anole lizards hang out on the patio furniture. They're only there in warm weather, but Gimpy does it this way in winter, too, just in case. (Sometimes he shortcuts under the table.)

(Speaking of convoluted, those little squares placed in odd positions near the round patio table in the second drawing represent chairs positioned just where we like 'em. I like to sit in one chair and prop my feet in another one, symmetry be hanged! We don't arrange them nicely unless company is coming.)

Gimpy's eating habits are peculiar, too. We separate the four dogs at feeding time because Lucy is greedy, doesn't take time to chew, and doesn't mind eating out of someone else's bowl. She and her bowl get locked in the hall behind a gate until Levi and Oliver are finished. Gimpy eats in the crate with the door closed. The gist of the long story behind that is that before we got him, he shared a home with his Golden Retriever father, who intimidated him and wouldn't let him eat. He was getting skinny. Here, closed in the crate, he can feel safe that no one will interfere with him during his dinner. That worked fine for a long time, but he's been taking things a step further recently. Now, when I put him and his bowl in the crate, he faces away from the bowl, lies down and waits. Only when the three other dogs have all cleaned their bowls and have gathered around his crate does he stand up and begin to eat. He does it very slowly, as if he's relishing every bite, and he glances up now and then to make sure the other dogs are still watching him. I'm pretty sure that if he could talk, he'd be saying, "NA-NA-na-NA-na-na."

I love Gimpy. He's funny, the most clownish of the four dogs, and the cuddliest, most affectionate, too. He gives far more chin licks and tail wags than the others do. He also happens to be the most jealous: if one of the other dogs is getting hugs or skritches, it's only a matter of seconds before Gimpy shows up and squirms into the middle of the action. It's sweet and funny when it happens, but we all know jealousy isn't a particularly good trait. He's sneaky, too. If I tell Levi to stop licking or scratching, Levi stops it. If I tell Gimpy the same thing, he gives me a dirty look, then gets up and goes around the corner where I can't see him.

I love him even more for his weirdness.