Monthly Archives: September 2006

Elbows have been rubbed….

This last week the livestock and I played host to, if not exactly the Rich and Famous, at least the moderately-well-off and award-winning. Susan Palwick, sci-fi author, university professor, and blogger,* graciously flew to Omaha and endured 2 3-hour drives through western Iowa farmland** to visit Storm Lake and Buena Vista University. Susan visited my creative writing class and also, in a program open to all students, read the first chapter of her newest book and discussed the relevance of sci-fi to the here and now. Both talks went very well and we’re already planning to bring Susan back as soon as she forgets the tedium (with bursts of red-light-running excitement) of 2 3-hour drives through Iowa farmland.

Susan stayed at my house, as my very first houseguest, and promptly fell in love with Ricky, who reciprocated by sleeping on her bed all day long and not eating for about 24 hours after she left. The cats also welcomed Susan and showed their admiration by sneaking into her room while we were out and knocking some of her toiletries to the floor. We came home and found a prescription bottle open and 29 little pills artistically scattered across the floor, a travel-sized hand lotion container in another room entirely, and Susan’s toothbrush in the living room, no doubt batted there by a cat but then lovingly chewed to shreds by Ricky, who had minty-fresh breath for the rest of the day.

All in all, a lovely time. Susan and I gabbed about writing and religion and emergency rooms (she’s a volunteer ER chaplain and I’m incredibly clumsy and thus we’ve both spent a bit of time in them) and The Lord of the Rings  and dozens of other topics and she signed my copy of her latest book. At one point she mentioned that several people have given her beetle-based gifts, such as a scarab charm, because of the importance of beetles in the novel. Like a high-speed beetle to the forehead, it struck me that I had, tucked into my jewelry box so they wouldn’t break, a pair of iridescent green beetle wings, about 1.5 inches long, pierced to be made into jewelry. I bought them, oh, 10 years ago and never did anything with them, and it was immediately evident to me that their purpose was to grace Susan’s ears. So I made her a pair of beetle wing earrings, which I hope was a nice thank-you for her visit. In all, we had a lovely time, and proof of Ricky’s Susanistic ecstasy is below:


*and lots more — click the blog link
**and thus endured my driving (which included a warning for speeding on the way to the airport and running a red light in town) and my chattering

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Midwest Winds

Last autumn, I posted to brag about how wonderful Midwest autumn is.

This is a retraction.

THIS autumn, it’s windy. Windy even when it isn’t cloudy and rainy and I know, I shouldn’t complain as long as the sun is shining, and I must admit that it might have been this windy (but definitely warmer) last autumn, BUT. BUT, last autumn, I wasn’t walking Ricky twice a day and thus was not out in the wind so much. AND, while you think I’d be used to the twice a day walking schedule by now, the wind does something to Ricky’s little doggy brain. See, most of the time he’s a fairly well-mannered walker. He’s very excited and pulls on the leash for about 15 minutes, then calms down and we both enjoy the walk. The wind, though, rushes into that Beagly nose and sends an intoxication of scents straight to his little Beagly medulla oblongata and his cerebellum shorts out and it’s as if umpteen-thousand years of evolution and domestication never happened. He’s simply a nose connected to a desire to chase and rend.* And that entity is connected to the leash I’m holding and you’d be surprised at the traction 35 lbs of determined doggy chasing nothing but scents can maintain on wet grass.

Anyway, here are some pics from yesterdays breezy walk. (click on pic to enlarge)

Storm Lake lives up to its name — it’s shallow, so it gets pretty dramatic on windy days:

We saw a duck with two small ducklings. Hope these little guys survive autumn. Ricky wanted to run out into the water after them, but I told him we don’t chase babies. He looked at me, obviously thinking, “Why the Hell not?”Ducks

Here’s Ricky playing in the water. He loves to snap at the tops of waves.

And see how those floppy ears ride the breeze?

One more Ricky pic. The wind makes his tail flags fly:

*or, if not quite rend, chew and cause to squeak. Some domestication can’t be altered — Ricky views small animals as primitive plush squeaky toys.

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Taking a Walk with Ricky

Since Ricky came to live with me on June 7, I’ve taken him for 2 walks each and every day. The result of this is 1) a happy dog, 2) a smaller butt (me, not the dog), and 3) a greater appreciation for Storm Lake and the parks around it. So this morning, I thought I’d photodocument our walk (but not my butt — it is safe to read on).

First, this is the view I get of Ricky for most of our walk. Notice how tight the leash is — this dog is in high gear:

Every bush and hedge must be evaluated for H.B.P.*:

After walking about 10 minutes, we see the lake at the end of the street:

Our destination is Scout Park, tucked in behind the BVU campus. Here’s the park sign. Do you get the impression the sign maker had just about had it with Storm Lake and its many parks? (click on pic)

The park has a functioning lighthouse (and delusions of grandeur), sailboat docks, and Ricky’s second favorite quarry, ducks.**

Near the end of our walk, you can tell Ricky is getting tired. Note the slack in the leash:

Still, he doesn’t want to go home. He plays “Goodnight Moon,” sniffing at any- and everything in an attempt to delay the end of the walk. On school days, I empathize, but I and the rest of the livestock want our breakfasts.

Finally, we make it into the kitchen, where Ricky gets his end-of-walk treat. Not a bad life for a formerly stray dog.

*Hidden Bunny Potential.
** His favorite quarry is Canadian Geese. Being let off leash to chase 40 or more Canadian geese into the air and water is just about as much excitement as a little black dog can take.

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Is it possible to go to the grocery store, with a list, no less, and not 1) forget to buy something vital — cereal, milk, toilet paper — the forgetting of which will necessitate a return trip, or 2) buy a staple — bread, butter, shampoo — that you needed three weeks ago and can’t get out of your brain and thus you now have 7 of?


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