Thursday, February 25, 2021

And Let Them Run In Pairs

After losing Bella and Tulip, my wife and I were really needing the quiet.  We were able to go to a hotel, leave town and not have to make arrangements to do things.  But, we actually, didn't really go and do a whole lot.  We didn't just get away or make late dinner dates that would have kept us out all hours.  We are just in a different phase of our lives I assume... oh, and Covid.  But one thing was certain, we were going to stay dogless for awhile.  And when we finally do get a dog, it will be a single dog.

Yeah, that idea was fleeting after we brought Ginger home.  Love can be expressed in many ways.  Heck, I'm a touchy person and it would be unusual for you to see me out and about for more than 30 minutes without be holding the wife's hand.  For Ginger, it's a little needy and possessive but loving.  And that seeking attention, affection and stimulation had me wondering if she needed a sister.

What do you know?  A few days later Kerry sees a photo on the AHome4Spot Facebook page.  The dog, Bubblegum (which we think came from some being stuck in her hair when they found her) had similar fear issues and had seen her share of abuse.  Foster situations weren't working well for her and she was about to be moved to a new foster home.  The photo we saw was this one:

Weighing in 1 pound more than Ginger, this dog definitely screams cute.  And screaming was what Kerry did when she saw the photo on my phone.  We made the call.  We waited a few days and were able to arrange to see her.  Now, there was some trepidation.  She had run out the front door of a previous foster home, can be snippy if you try to comb her hair (but has never broken the skin), becomes very protective of those she bonds with where she might bark at you upon approach until she recognizes you and, lastly, she can bark when you raise a hand (sometimes even waving.)  But, that worry was overblown.  She is loving and cuddly.

We have some hurdles to overcome and I expect Cookie (yes, changed the name again) to be another source of joy for us.  She is possibly a better walker than Ginger.  It's been 3 days, now.  The girls get along very well (except when there isn't enough lap for them to sit in.)  I can actually say that the heart of our family feels really full in a good way right now.  I can't ask for anything more.

9 Pounds Of Love


 There is something about the quiet moments in life.  Sometimes we yearn for them when the cacophony of daily life overwhelms us.  Other times what others would call a peaceful calm drives us crazy with the stillness around us.  I liken the last one to the sitting in a noise reduced room for a prolonged period of time where your breathing and heart beat are the only sounds... well, other than the voices in your head, right?

We've been feeling a lot of the latter.  A home where you are awakened by furry family members (no, not David) needing to go potty or wanting to eat.  One where you are greeted with licks and "hold me" looks.  With my work schedule changing randomly, I found too many of the quiet moments and started looking at rescuing a dog.

We started by going to an event on the other side of town.  Things have changed for animal adoption during Covid and many pets are being fostered away from a main facility.  So, a weekly "gathering" of these fostered pets allow you to see what little wet noses are available.  About a week after looking around, calling and meeting some dogs, Kerry saw a photo.  Well, this one:

As you can see in the photo, she loves sitting in the sun with a margarita in her paws (maybe not true as we have yet to see her indulge.)  Kerry's reaction was that we "have to call about her now!"  We did.  Arranged a Saturday meeting and asked to be put on the list to see her (kind of a new thing too.)  We were told she had fear issues.  And it was evident that she bonded with her foster mom.  So, that was Laren and in the end we didn't get Laren.

We got Ginger.  Ok, it was Laren but I have to tell you something.  Naming a dog is a personal thing and you want that connection.  They were also saying it like Lauren and that's just confusing as hell as we kept saying it wrong before even meeting her.  Our recent food experiments included a cauliflour fried rice (plus shrimp or pork) and the wife has found a new appreciation for ginger root.  So the word was there in Kerry's brain when we were meeting her.  She whined all the way home (Ginger not Kerry.)  But has really settled in.

We bought a bunch of throw blankets for her.  As we found out, her favorite way nap is to crawl under the blanket and roll herself up like a burrito.  This has led us to set a new ground rules for jumping on beds or sofas as there may be 9 lbs. of love beneathe you.  She is also a power walker.  Anyhow, if you wind up looking into pet adoption in the area, definitely consider AHome4Spot.  Good people and a provider of good new memories.

Monday, February 15, 2021

A Time Comes For All Paws

You've been there before.  Weeks, months or maybe years knowing that the end is coming.  For Tulip, it was a progressive slide  from thyroid issues, going deaf, dementia, possible blindness, balance issues to sleeping 90% of the day.  We treated every day as the last.  Often we would just check to see if she was breathing...which isn't sounding optimistic.

On January 5th, the dog that made me a better human and forever made me want to rescue other animals scared my wife.  I heard a shout from the living room and found Tulip going into seizures.  I tried CPR.  After what seemed like an eternity (but was probably 8 to 10 minutes) she stopped shaking.  We knew that it was time and that she wouldn't be able to survive another one.  All 3 of us went to say our goodbyes.

What we didn't understand is that having your surviving dog pass makes for an eerily quiet home.  You keep seeing reminders.  It is almost like you mourn the first dog, Bella, all over again while feeling guilty about how both dog's passing affected you differently.  All I know is that we gave, they gave us more than we could ever ask.  We must loved them all we could.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Under The Influence: Rio

I'm not big on subjective lists.  So, coming up with the 10 albums that influenced your musical tastes is a chore.  Probably because it is personal and that you only heard an album if you bought it, borrowed it or copied it.  Things changed by the 1990s and since -- as you can just go to YouTube, Spotify or any other service to hear full albums.  So, a lot of it depends on what you got your hands on or what song on the radio made you part with money you made on your newspaper route.  Then there is the parental effect...they control the stereo in the car, so you listen to what they do.  Paul Harvey was a standard in Dad's car while Mom was more Pop radio with hints of country.  So what singles you heard would determine if you were interested in getting a whole album.

Duran Duran's 1982 sophomore effort, Rio, had a long simmering inspiration as I was affected by the singles and MTV domination as almost everyone else was.  "Hungry Like The Wolf," "Rio" and "Save A Prayer" were huge.  Later in junior high school, my friend Phil would make cassette copies from his rather vast collection for me.  He was a Duran Duran fan among other acts.  So, I played my copy of Rio over and over.  But one song, "The Chauffeur," specifically hit me as otherworldly.  That pan flute sound hooks you while the keyboard and bass take you elsewhere.  "New Religion," "My Own Way," "Last Chance On The Stairway," "Lonely In Your Nightmare" and "Hold Back The Rain" were great songs as well and got played on my little stereo enough to almost feel like singles.

Rio as well as the follow-up albums, Seven And The Ragged Tiger and Notorious, made me want to play music...form a band.  I'm not going to list those endeavors here but how can I not name an album that led me towards performing which led to journalism and all that you've seen here.  Only saw them perform once but it was well worth it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Under The Influence: Alpha

During the 5-year run of Talking 80s Music, I mentioned 1983 and how important that year was musically to me.  I've had a long-standing belief that a lot of the influence on your music choices come from a young age... as early as 12.  (I'd still love to see a research paper on it.)  I specifically remember being at a friend's house (her name was Princess) for a birthday party and, prior to the party, they had MTV on.  I recall 2 specific songs from that day, "Puttin' On The Ritz" from Taco and "Don't Cry" from Asia.  One got me into modern Jazz covers and the other put arena rock on the musical map for me.  I still have this on vinyl in a box in my closet.  Such a beautiful cover created by Roger Dean.

There is something upbeat and optimistic about "Don't Cry" that also touches on that inner white knight in me.  I also found myself endeared to the emotional "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes."  So many good moments on here like "Last To Know," "The Heat Goes On," "Never In A Million Years" and "My Own Time (I'll Do What I Want)" but this is probably the first album that I wanted to hear in order.  The singles were great but I really liked the balance in energy from song to song.  The production and use of keyboards to enhance the landscape of the music impressed my young mind.  I definitely believe this led me into the rest of their catalog, Styx, Journey, Foreigner, The Alan Parsons Project and Rush.  This almost didn't make it here but a lot of albums are going to miss this list.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Under The Influence: The Size Of Food

Do you think anyone actually stole the book titled Steal This Book just because of the title on the cover?  Do you think anyone has been inspired to buy an album because of the cover?  Well, I can answer the last one as a big, "YES!"  I mean just look at the cover of Jean-Paul Sartre Experience's 1989 album, The Size Of Food.  Crazy, right!  From a distance it looks like an eye but closer up has that thermal imaging photo of people reaching out to the center of a circle bringing the last person towards them.  Or are they ostracizing someone with their hands pushing that person away.  Or, the zombies got to the last human.  Amazing what a perspective change can do to an image.  But this photo led me to one of the albums that inspired my musical tastes.

Beyond that surface, this is a heartfelt psychedelic trip.  It's hard to describe the journey the band take us on here as some of these songs dabble in creepy, damaged, haunting, melancholy and vulnerable.  "Inside And Out" has a romantic undercurrent with a chorus of, "Baby, it's your heart that I'm after."  Creepy, I guess, if you are taking it as literal.  One gem that I catch myself singing often is "Shadows" which hits the melancholy and dark vibe.  (Maybe a psychedelic song for goths.)  Remember that boat ride during Charlie & The Chocolate Factory?  Well, that's the feel of "Get My Point."  The guitars drive several of the songs here -- songs that have inspired me to look outside the mainstream and into genres I might not otherwise sample.  Definitely an album that needs a few listens...especially if you are staying in on a rainy day.