Monday, March 19, 2007

Our pickled pepper picker

It's only been a week or so, but there's no getting around it: Piper is a permanent part of our pack.

In truth, I knew she was mine before I met her and before I saw her picture. There was nothing super-special in the message from her family that after 11+ years, she was going back to the pound from where she was adopted as an 8-week puppy. No novel twist in her story - old dog is left behind in a move. But although my life circumstances maybe aren’t right for a second dog (my landlord just called, telling me she's got to ditch this house, fast) my heart's been ready for a while. The last ten fosters and guests have tugged my heartstrings a little harder, making me realize that my preferred dynamic of multiple dogs had been missing for such a long time in my life while I made more sensible, rational choices. That joy and its attendant complications has been denied since Courtney died four years ago and Hunter and I went on alone.

Still, I went into it assuming it was a done deal. Then I saw David’s beautiful portrait of her (photo credit Alaska Pet-ography)...and I refused to publish it anywhere until I had a test drive with her first. And finally, “Piper” herself crashed into our lives.

Living with Piper is like living with a furry, irritated ox. She doesn’t walk – she stomps. She’s bossy and vocal, persistently agitated, but also vulnerable and dear. She carries her stuffed toys around the house and comforts herself by nursing and kneading her blanket. She’s a bit of a medical mess, she’s fat and chronically hungry and bangs on the cabinets where she knows the treats are. Has dropped significant weight but has at least another 20 pounds to lose and she's patently opposed to that. Hunter is still pretty bamboozled by her; when they’re outdoors and he romps or flops down in the snow, she rushes into his face with lots of loud barking, disconcerting to him and me both. He’s stopped flinching when she does that, and so far she hasn't shown anything to back up her bluster.

Her loyalty of many years turned out to be misplaced, her love betrayed when she became inconvenient. She very much would like to have things her way, if only she knew what that really was. She has a big loving heart and an injured soul. And the world is just not laid out the way she thinks it should be. She crashes through life with good intentions but regular storm squalls.

Remind you of anyone?

Piper and I aren’t yet intimately acquainted, but we definitely ‘get’ each other. This dog is more like myself than any person or creature I have known when it comes to multiple positive/negative attributes in constant internal collision and often sprayed around on others. I can't think of two beings who deserve each other more. There have been lessons in every relationship I’ve had with a dog over the years, but this one is the magnifying mirror. I had it coming.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jingle Bell Jacks

Nana has been making these dolls for her great-grandsons, for what seems like forever - it's amazing how many small bits of thread and fabric have been all over the house. She got Nathaniel's done in time for his birthday last month. I was beginning to fear that Will and Zack would receive theirs just about in time to take along to college, but she finished them this weekend. I think they're pretty cute. And they are indeed very jingle-belly.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Props to Honda

That good old-fashioned American company (cof), for this display of evident interest in customer satisfaction yesterday...

Background: Last week, I got my months-long broken driver's door lock fixed ($2.79 part, $79 labor) after this goading by a fake gift certificate that Kari made for my birthday, with my photo, a birthday message, and such fine print as

- Authorized by the Nag who is tired of watching you crawl through the passenger door
- Not redeemable for cash or any other favors you may think you want
- Expires in the distant future if you don't get off your ass

The gift certificate was so entertaining that I paid for the repair myself. When I picked up the car, I realized later that the stereo didn't work and was flashing an ominous demand for a code I didn't have. Took me a while thru the owner's manual (which I also didn't have, but bought one) to determine this is part of the anti-theft system. I had no idea my car was this technical; I prefer to think the world is still back on the Chevy station wagon 3-on-the-column that I first learned to drive hmmpty-hmmp years ago.

Yesterday I checked the Honda website and it says talk to the local dealer. I call the local dealer and they tell me it'll cost $100 for them to pull out the stereo to get the serial number to track down the code. I object. The gal says the original dealer would have this info, and I think okay, I got a Carfax last year when I bought this thing used, so it probably will have that dealer on it. I hang up.

Then I think no, I'm not at home, I don't want to go digging through paperwork, I just want this fixed. So I call national customer service. They answer on the second ring, I tell them my problem, they ask me for the VIN and for the label code inside the glove box, retrieve the code I need and tell me for my protection they are revising it, ask me to fax my license and registration to them, then call me back to give me the code over the phone and at no charge. The whole thing took maybe ten minutes and cost me nothing. I like it!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

And nothing was ever the same again

March 1, 1988 - March 8, 2000

Addendum: David Jensen of Alaska Pet-ography sent me this memory collage today of Gryphon in his youth. (The other dogs are Diva and Max.)

Monday, March 05, 2007

I must be alive, I'm still coughing...

Sorry for disappearing again. I have lots to share, all of it inane. Real life and constant coughing are interfering with my ability to breathe and blog. But there are a good many cute pictures in the camera, so I'm hoping to catch up some next weekend - I no longer work on Saturdays since we've stopped the socials until next fall (yeay! Kari rocks!) and I have a lovely excuse to stay at home all next weekend, in the furry guise of an old doggie grrl who will be taking us for a test drive to see if we're good enough to be her permanent home.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Nissa has been staying with us while George & Becky are in Phoenix. She's a lot of spirit in a little package. Here she took a rare moment of relaxation in her favorite sunny spot on the stairs. I didn't realize how well the sundogs (from the beveled glass of the front door) would frame her. Look at those incredibly long black eyelashes!