Thursday, May 24, 2007

The infinite wisdom of my 4 year old dog...

Cayuga will turn four in a couple of days. However, according to his “real age” test that we did online he is nearly 17 (6 years younger than average – which is a good thing). In his four years Cayuga has done many things. Some good, some bad – but all were learning experiences – for both of us. Here is the list, from Cay’s perspective (in no particular order) -

If it is nice outside, why are we inside?

I don’t care how many beds, pillows or blankets you buy me, your bed and your pillow are the most comfortable, so scoot over.

There is nothing better than a cookie.

Screen doors are silly contraptions – if I can see through it, and hear through it, I should be able to walk through it.

It seems like you might have forgotten about me, so I am just going to stand under you and bark, loudly.

Dishwashers are scary and it’s OK to hide behind the toilet while they are running.

Some days it is OK to do nothing but lay on the couch.

If it hits the floor it is fair game.

If it is on the edge of the table it is fair game.

If I can get remotely close to it, it is fair game.

Grandmothers were invented to spoil grandpuppies.

…if by saying “trashcan” you mean “feast”…

Dogs sniff other dog’s butts, that’s what we do, deal with it.

Did I mention, if it is nice outside, why are we inside?

I don’t care how many times you say it – I’m going to poop in the neighbor’s yard and make you pick it up with that baggie.

I know it looks like I’m out of pee, but I am still going to stop at every mailbox on the way home.

I’m only tough when the other dog is behind a fence, a window or on a leash. When they get close I actually want you to pick me up and protect me.

I’m a cute dog – and I attract cute girls.

If you are not doing anything with those hands, why don’t you rub my face or belly?

I see that you are busy with your hands, why don’t you rub my face or belly?

If chocolate is so bad for me, why does it taste so good – and why do you keep so much of it around the house?

Why do you fold the laundry if you know that I am just going to play in it?

By the way, dirty socks are way tastier than clean ones.

It’s much more fun to get up and play at 4 am than it is to sleep through the night.

Hey, there’s somebody here! Hey, there’s somebody here! Hey, there’s somebody here! Oops…false alarm.

Is it time to eat, yet? How come your food looks better? Can I have just a bite?

I love you no matter what.

Is that a bunny? Let me out. Is that a bunny? Let me out. Is that a bunny.

So, those are the thoughts and wisdoms of a very VERY spoiled dog. Ruff life.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Morrissey = messiah

A lot has happened in the past few weeks, and as expected I have been delayed in talking about it. So – here I am. Early on Monday morning I feel like my head is clear enough (or am I just tired enough) that I can write about a few things.

First of all, Amy I went to a concert in Chicago last weekend. We saw Regina Spektor at the Riveria with my brother and his girlfriend. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from her concert. Obviously, I know her music – as everybody should. But what I didn't know was how she would be in a large public setting – in her videos and in interviews she always seems so shy and…well…almost introverted. Personally, I have no problem with that – I just didn't know how that was going to play in a large theatre.

Upon walking into the Riv we noticed just a piano, the piano bench and a chair. Um…OK. If you have listened to her latest album, Begin to Hope (which is what she is currently promoting) it is very clearly a "produced" album – with lots of instruments, etc. I didn't doubt that the songs would sound good only on the piano (as they were probably written), I just didn't expect it. "Fidelity" which gets a lot of air time just seems like it needs the rest of the music behind it.

After suffering through "Only Son" – the opening act that maybe wasn't so bad, but I am so old that I hate opening acts – Regina walked out. She looked shy, introverted and cute. She immediately walked to the microphone and started singing a capella – tapping the microphone with her finger to keep a beat. Eventually she moved to the piano and I was lost in her charm. She is shy…and all about the music. She doesn't really talk of try to build a relationship (at least a talking relationship) with the audience. That being said, when she is singing she is completely immersed in the music – and still she never takes herself too seriously. A few songs had obvious "bad" notes or missed notes on the piano. She usually laughed it off, or cussed about it to the delight of the audience. One song she even decided to start over after profusely apologizing. How cute is that?

So, she played piano, sang a capella, at one point played a guitar – then for "Hotel Song" she brought "Only Son" back out and he redeemed himself by acting as a human beat box while she sang. It was clear they were having a good time with it…as every time they looked at each other they both started to laugh. All in all it was a great concert. I don't think I would have liked hearing a band. It was much better with just her…better than the albums. Her stage presence works for her. The "shy" thing plays as very cute. So – I am keeping my eyes open for her next trip this way…I heard a rumor that she is actually coming to Indy. Oh – and the lighting sucked. Like – it was absolutely terrible.

On our way back home, Amy and I stopped to see my grandparents. My grandfather is in his 90's and just recently had a stroke. My grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. They were both great! My grandfather was excited to show us his scar from his recent surgery – and then he started complaining because the doctor told him not to play golf for a few weeks. I love resilient old people. It is comforting to see that they can still be healthy even if they are old.

So…what else has happened? Well, I have finished my first year as a college professor – and I am still standing, bichessss! I feel like I had a great year. My students are great; the people that I work with are great. I feel like I have support when I need it – I have a nice office – and I get summers off… I finished all of my grading early – which is a wonderful feeling. It sucked because I locked myself in my office for many hours on a BEAUTIFUL day – but it was so worth it just to be done. My final requirement of the year was to attend graduation this past Saturday. It was a bittersweet day. The speaker was terrible – but what can you do?

Last night Ron and I went to see Morrissey…again. I'm not sure how many times we have seen him now. But this was special…because he was playing in Indianapolis. What? Yes – I said Indianapolis. I know – weird, right? He played at the Murat. It wasn't quite sold out – or at least it wasn't full – which pisses me off, but what can you do? Moz said he hasn't been to Indiana for nearly 30 years when he was here working on a James Dean tribute. 30 years – begs the question if I am his illegitimate son…maybe?

So, last Thanksgiving, Ron and I saw this same tour when he made a random Chicago stop between Mexico and Iceland or something. But still, this show had this weird magic around it because it was here in Indy (and I am convinced he will never be back here). The show gets a 7 out of 10. Moz was his typical self indulgent, pompous and insecurely arrogant self (too many selfs?). It's nice to know that some things never change.

Unlike Regina, Moz acts like a (48 year old) rock star. And that's OK. He has earned it, and the audience will continue to give him what he wants, so more power to him. The crowd was a mix…the lady next to me was very drunk and in her mid 40's. There were a lot like her. The hot lady in front of us was in her 30's and wouldn't stop screaming…but she just kept screaming the same thing – and that got annoying. We saw the typical high school kids with their "Smiths" shirts on. We also saw a mom come in with her 6-ish year old daughter. I swear that K-Fed was there, too…or somebody that looked like him. The volume was too loud – and I hate that. The lighting was very good, much better than it was at the Aragon. The gigantic gong was still underutilized – and the guy on the horns was over utilized – but that just feeds into Morrissey being self indulgent – as does ending the encore early because he was having monitor issues.

I have never bought a t-shirt or any such paraphernalia from a Morrissey concert – or from any concert. Well – I broke down and bought a belt buckle. So – after 10 years of my beloved Campagnolo buckle I am switching to my slightly homo-erotic "Morrissey" belt buckle. Amy saw it and decided to ask me if I still like women. Never fear readers…I do still love the ladies. I don't love my messiah in "that" way – not that I would turn him down…anyway why do I call him a messiah? Well – he brings young and old together for a common goal. People faint when the touch him. He sits (happily) on his pedestal and looks at his followers. Some follow because they are sad and find comfort in his music – others see the humor in it. Some people just love him for his hair. Regardless, every show is an experience…different from any other concert I have ever been to. Rufus is the only one that comes close to comparing in terms of attitude, self-indulgence and general conceitedness, and I believe he has been dubbed "the gay messiah" – maybe Moz is "the celibate messiah."

I think that is all for now. 1st official day of summer. I need a nap. I need a car wash. I need to find something interesting to write about.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Secret Squirrel?

Dear reader - sorry it is late - sorry it is not proofed. Please enjoy.

"What is your least favorite day of the week?"

I distinctly remember being asked that question by a classmate in 4th grade. You see, at that time we were all reading the Garfield books. Garfield hated Monday – especially Monday the 13th. At that time I didn't really understand why. As I aged I learned that he was referring to Monday being the day that most people didn't work. Even though he didn't work – his character (I think) was still speaking to workers that might be considered "stuck" in their jobs and thus dreading Monday.

In fourth grade I am fairly certain that I answered "Monday" because of Garfield.

If you asked me last week I am not sure what I would have said. Sunday sucks because – although it is the weekend – there is work the next day…usually a lot to catch up on, etc. Wednesday day is annoying. I don't teach on Wednesday – but it is like a fake weekend. I know that I should go to the theatre and do some work – and that I have get up early on Thursday for class.

Well, today is Tuesday. As of right now I am officially declaring Tuesday my least favorite day of the week. Last Tuesday I submitted a story to this blog…it started by noting that Amy wakes up earlier than me on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. That has not changed. Today, Amy got up earlier than me.

I woke up a little while later to a blood curdling scream. I was in a daze – I thought I was dreaming. Why would Amy be screaming? What in the hell is going on? As my mind made its way into reality I realized what she was screaming.


Are you kidding me? Another squirrel? There was another dead squirrel in my yard – and this time the dog found it before we did. A frazzled Amy came and got me from my slumber. The best we could tell the dog hadn't tried to eat the squirrel, he was just sort of sniffing it…and rolling on it.

"I'm late and the dog needs a bath."

Those were the last words I heard as Amy left to tend to her 2nd graders.

A bath?!?!?! I pay somebody to give my dog baths. He goes to a doggy spa – his day of haircutting, bathing and relaxing is more money than three of my haircuts. I don't know how to bathe him…and I am still supposed to be sleeping.

I threw him (nicely) in the shower. Fortunately I installed one of those "removable showerheads" so I was able to hold him and the shower. This situation was already on the fast track to something from the Three Stooges, or America's Funniest Home Videos. Imagine me in my PJ's – still mostly asleep (I am sure that I looked as though I wouldn't have passed a sobriety test), the dog soaking wet…crying in the corner of the shower – and dog shampoo (or is it soap) EVERYWHERE.

I should point out at this point that my cute little white fluffy dog looks like a sad old man when he is wet. Not a dog…an old man. It is funny and sad all at the same time.

I should also note that Cayuga cannot just be washed and left to dry. Because of his hair, he has to be blown dry and brushed as you go. If not, he gets tangled, matted and it is uncomfortable for him – and for us when his regular groomer yells at us.

There we are, in the bathroom – Cayuga whining and crying like I am eating his little leg off. If a neighbor had walked by, they would have been in a right mind to call the police with all the noise he was making.

When the hair dryer came out – Cayuga looked at me with that look that says "you are not putting that thing anywhere near me…consider yourself warned."

"Cayuga," I said, "it is far too early in the morning to fight with you. I have to get to school and set up my paint lecture. You have to be dry in order for me to do that. Sit your ass down, or I'll sit it for you."

It was like the showdown at the OK Corral – only one side was going to make it out alive. I was just hoping that Wyatt Earp was on my side.

I flipped on the hair dryer and the barking commenced. It is no secret that I hate Cayuga's bark – it is surprisingly loud given his size. It is even louder when you are closed up in a tiny bathroom.

I moved in. At the top of my lungs I shouted "bark all you want, I'm not stopping until you look like a dog again, little old man."

The barking stopped. He glared at me. Then he went back to barking. I knew that if I could hold out a little bit longer he would grow tired of the noise, too. It only took 10 minutes, but I outlasted the dog. Yes, my ears were ringing – but I had won this battle.

As with most dogs, after the barking comes the biting. Cayuga is not a vicious biter, rather, he sometimes 'mouths' when playing. He sort of uses his mouth as an extension or a hand or something. He doesn't clamp down…he just plays. And he knows it gets a reaction. After all the barking I felt like I was on my last nerve. How much 'biting' would I be able to put up with? More importantly – is he like this with the groomer, or is it special for dad?

I don't want to bore you with any more of the pain and suffering we both endured to get through the process. Just know that Cayuga was dried and brushed…and there was not much bloodshed in the end.

But that's not the end of the story. What about the squirrel? It is yet to be cleaned up. Fortunately, I had my system from last week. I would save myself the annoyance and humor of pitching it over the fence. No – this time I went out shovel in one hand and "cinch sack" in the other.


The squirrel wasn't there. Is it possible I am looking in the right spot? I thought I saw it earlier – but I was in such a daze I might have confused it for a leaf. As I scanned the yard I realized I was right. There it was – over next to the fence.

As I went down for the 'scoop' his head turned.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" I screamed – and possibly wet my pants a little bit.

It was alive. Not very alive – but alive and aware. It was staring at me with that look that says "don't put me in that shovel. I'm still alive and trying to get to that tree over there."

I wanted to help – I really did. But, the sad truth is that the bathing took so long I had to get to my class.

I helped the little guy hobble over to a whole in the fence. Sure – he might be in my neighbor's yard – but he was dying. My plan was to come back right after class to provide the proper burial like I did last week.

I did make it to class on time – barely. I didn't have time to set up, but I worked it out. The real problem was after class. I quickly scampered home to make everything right. The squirrel was gone. Seriously. I hate to end the story this way – but I only speak the truth. I looked everywhere for the little guy. There is no way he could have moved. When I saw him an hour earlier he was knock knock knocking on heaven's door. There is no way he could have gone anywhere…but he did.

I've named him Secret. Homage to the wonderful cartoon, Secret Squirrel and it leaves room in the event I ever find a mole.

One class, one clean dog and one missing squirrel later – my day was off to an amazing start. Stear clear of me on Tuesday. It is my least favorite day of the week.