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September 27, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Tips and what washes

Giant sculpture of hand holding car at ar wash. ( Cbl62/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

Gotta hand it to them.(Cbl62/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The streets were dangerous when I was little.

Mom was the block’s informal Driver’s Ed. instructor – for other moms.

Odd as it may seem now, once many were one car families with dads doing the driving.

Once the women moved to the Big City and realized there was a bigger – and more interesting world – off the block, the urge to drive hit….sometimes kids. Not intentionally. (So they said) But you had to be alert…especially as all the cars were stick shift involving the skill of clutches.

The sounds of gears grinding, brakes squeaking, and heavy metal cars lurching were enough to send us dashing up yards away from driveways and sidewalks.

We thought that was normal.

What we also thought was “Hey, the money making opportunities are doubling” as families added another vehicle: Car washing. 

Nothing like pride of a new driver wanting a shiny new car as they drive down the street all on their own.

Buckets, soap, and marginally clean rags lugged eagerly by small hands towards each new victim driver.

Grumpy boy sitting in metal tub. (simpleinsomnia/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“I don’t care if you are hot. Get out of our car washing water.” (simpleinsomnia/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Thus the origin of a now time-honored, local tradition: the Student Fundraising Car Wash. 

Students of a club or school group dragged out of bed early one Saturday to participate in earning money to help pay for band trips, Cheerleading camp, sports teams’ equipment – you get the idea.

Thought by most better to earn money by some sort of effort than just stand and beg on the corner with a bucket.

While the Drama Clubs’ car washes are always entertaining (Often done around Halloween or a holiday offering chance to costume-up), most appreciated by passer-bys are the high school cheerleading groups with their “hawkers” out front by the street calling people over with their posters, short shorts, and soapy T-shirts.

Enthusiasm somewhat dulled after noticing a line of moms/dads with their arms crossed standing a few feet back.

Some business-minded parent quickly suggested the total of money raised could be increased by selling “tickets” the week earlier door to door to neighbors. It’s your neighbor’s kid…the folks who bought that dreadful band candy bar or cheap overpriced wrapping paper from your kid. Part of the price of living in a community. No real choice.

Bearing in mind the car wash workers were quickly tired and sometime resentful teenage girls, most gearheads/ drivers who really took care of their cars dutifully showed up and stopped far back from the buckets of dirty water and grimy rags. “Just wish the wheels, please.” Hey, less work for the same pay? No problema! Win-Win situation. Car owner is seen participating (while sparing their car finish), the cheer leaders get the same one for less work, and the fund total adds up.

Two teen girls at fund raising car wash. (J.Shlabotnik/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org

“Can you believe we are having to spend our Saturday doing this? My manicure is going to be ruined. Why can’t our parents just write a check?”(J.Shlabotnik/Flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org

While not as entertaining, automatic drive-thru car washes are practical: quick, competent, and without human contact. 

COVID behavior has made so many more introverted and avoiding human contact even now. That and sometimes you’re just in a hurry and want to be invisible…bad haircut, spilled catsup, whatever.

The very large car wash chains have gotten pretty fancy with spectacular light shows as you are inched along.

And with big and flashy, comes corporate thinking….”Hey, friendly service increases customers – think Walmart greeters.”

So they write out the job descriptions “Need perky, enthusiastic, likable, self starters who love to chat it up with people”

Octopus Car Wash 1981 Minnesota (LoC/flickr/COmmons.wikimedia.org)

When a simple bucket of soapy water in the driveway wasn’t enough: 1981, Minnesota.(LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

That’s what we witnessed recently during a spur of the moment desire for a quick wash the car while running errands.

As usual Sr. Staff drove up to the push button driveway machine to reach out the his window to select level of wash desired and pay….but didn’t get the chance.

A perky young employee in uniform quickly inserted himself between car and car wash console. And stood there while asking if we had been there before (“Yes”, trying to reach around to punch buttons) and were we familiar with the “all you can eat” style car wash membership?

Kindly we said, “Yes, but no, thank you.”

Not to be deterred, he asked if where we lived (and wanted to tell us of their other locations – which where we could also use their club membership.

Ditto with the “Yes, but no…” (Still trying to figure out how to get to machine buttons around this kid)

Smiling cheerful employee then says “Which car wash do you want? (and starts to list all the optional wash products)”. Not moving an inch from blocking the machine.

“We just want the basic,” Sr. Staff replies – but not quick enough. The kid says, “I’ll punch that in for you.” and then practically bats the driver’s hand away from the machine. Grabbing the credit card, the employees inserts it for Sr. Staff.

Did I tell you the machine buttons were quite easily reached from the driver’s car windows?

Before the pulling out the card, the kid looks straight at us with a big goofy kid smile and asked “Do you want to add a tip?”

A tip. For service provided. At an automatic car wash. A car wash you decided to go to because it was quick and easy.

I can hear corporate bean counters introducing the concept: “People love personalized service. It will draw in customers, increase the bottom line, and we can hire and pay employees less if they have the potential for tips!”

Men in suits talking. (Koch/Dutch Nat. Archives/USPD,. released CR, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Of course it’ll work. Guilt always works.”(Koch/Dutch Nat.Archives/USPD released/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Guess it’s just today’s world.

Some of those “new jobs” created?

Hope the big corporations don’t start complaining the student groups and charity carwashes are cutting into their business and those need to be regulated. HaHa

Won’t wash to come between a teen and her dreams dependent on fund raising for pom pom or drama queen camp.

Drive on

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Try watching this 1976 movie trailer without humming that tune the rest of the day. Double dare you. Gotta smile: Great movie.

Inside car during car wash looking thru window. ( W.carter/ PD released/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Splish splash. Pretty, but the robot car washes simply are not the same.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

 

September 21, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The Dark calls

Cowboy. Man on horse. John Wayne.1933 Promo for the film Sagebrush. (USPD artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Always a dark remark: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you. No, it’s not ghosting. It’s not you, it’s me.” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Most don’t mind him. Simply a wanderer – for his own reasons.

You know, the strong, silent type. Mysterious, yet by all known, harmless.

Drifting: here for a bit, then gone who knows where. 

Thought he’d been briefly sighted a few blocks away last week under a full moon. Relief. But last night there was no doubt he had returned.

Hank was the first to know. Couldn’t stop staring in his direction.

We tugged the stubborn husky along – no need to stop and stare.

Loners sometimes take exception to that.

However, he seemed to have something to say.

That startled. He seemed to be right outside the kitchen window once we were inside.

A grudge to resolve?

Stalking?

Owl on branch with moon behind (1919 American Forestry Association/USPD pub. date, with no cr restrictions/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“You should be so lucky to be even considered as an Owl Buc-ees.” (1919 American Forestry Association/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Owls converse in such an eerie, haunting trill.

“OK,” I replied. “Nice to have you drop in, but please, this time, take your dinner leftovers with you.”

After much soapy water drenching the porch and flower bed, and after a few rain showers, the horrendous smell is finally gone from his last visit. 

We don’t mind the owl guy winging in. There’s all sorts of legends and myths attached to them. But we’re not Owls Inn or owl’s end. 

Hank just grinned “It’s the call of the wild. Can I go out and play? Be a seasonally appropriate Hoot and Howlathon. I hear those are big around these parts…”

Ah, the of creatures of the dark and the falling season.

Time to sort out things as days get shorter and things around you start signaling retreat or defeat.

Man /cowboy in black in dark room. (Gary Cooper 1959 film trailer for The Hanging Tree. (USPD. pub.date, no cr, artist life/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

“So, let’s have a little talk about impending doom. Are you ready for the end of lines?” (USPD/Commons.wikimediaa.org)

Like my phone –  a victim of P.A.D.: Phone Age Discrimination. 

So it’s an ancient Apple 3 generation – but suitable twinsies with a 3G network, right? Lower numbers not the coming thing these days. 

Seems wrong, after so many years of competency and reliability that it is unplugged from the work force due to no fault of its’ own. Undeserved pink slip taken with a stiff upper emoji.

Now I have to struggle and relearn where everything is “explore” a brand new – and while not giant big – bigger phone.

Bigger in size. The new model will have to prove itself before being big in my heart. 

Merit based employment better than mandate.

People were becoming snarky 

Probably laughing behind their sleek updated model when I was beginning to sound like that commercial “Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now? Now? I’ll go stand by the window…” as the 3G network coverage dwindled. 

No more using the “dropped call” excuse when you really mean “drop dead” when tired of the conversation.

Now the dreaded task: pruning.

Having to take time to edit all the stale phone numbers cluttering the contact list from multiple, multiple companies and jobs.

Something avoided for years as it was just too tedious.

Besides, who knows? Those people might actually return to “A-listers” and be useful contacts someday.

Yeah and that’s probably how people take that dark turn and become hoarders

Slogging through twist and tangles of the list pondering “Who? Who? Whooo?”  

We make our own mysteries  

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge 

Serious western couple ( 1952 Grace Kelly and GAry Cooper in High Noon trailer (USPD, no cr, pub.date, artist lives/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“That’s right, Missy. There’s a new G network in town. Either upgrade or go dark.”(1952.Grace Kelly and Gary Cooper in High Noon trailer/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

September 14, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

The porch smelled like death.

The first cool wind was blowing in from the north, but that’s not what made it chilling.

Once we stepped out the front door, the hair on the back of our necks stood up.

Then that sound  – was that a mournful wail or a shriek of triumph?

Silly woman in garden (screenshot image from Lemmon's Gaardenline)

Ground advice. (image R.Lemmon’s Gardenline)

Jeeze, neighborhood owl, glad you are deliriously happy about your full tummy, but could we ask two things? Please quiet down and maybe try to avoid dropping late night snack leftovers in the flowerbed?

Stinks to high heavens. Something’s dead.

And now I feel really guilty blaming the occasionally visiting possum for that stench.

Come on Hank, let’s walk on quickly while Sir Owl enjoys his early morning reverie. We can hold our breaths just so long…(“What? Yes, we can count your squirrels just to make sure.”)

As the leaves turn, days shorten, and shadows stalk, time to warm up your mental defenses against the spooky times ahead.

Former WP blogger and doctor turned author, Carrie Rubin’s new book, Fatal Rounds, is a slice straight into the season of mystery and terror.  

Overheard: “Stalker? Or is it her imagination…you know about her mother…in the mental institution…and you’ve heard about her…how did she even get into medical school? You’d think being diagnosed with Schizoid personality disorder….”

“Shhh. Careful. There she is. Have you seen her pounding that boxing bag in the gym?”

Well, you can watch the trailer or find out more about the book here. Might be intrigued (I was) by a short prequel bit introducing the main character.  (Free peak: introducing Liza Larkin, here.)

But I gotta do something about that horrendous foul smell coming from somewhere in the front flowerbed….

Or Amazon won’t be delivering anything.

We’ll get that notice: “Your shipment is late…uh…because…we…uh…couldn’t find the house.”

(Will they mention their call to the cops saying, “I’d like to report something suspicious – it smells like something died in there…”?)

I mean, owls are cool and valuable. Only an innocent assumption about them being sloppy eaters. 

Obviously prefer not to be known as the “Let’s meat for happy hour” outdoor patio for owls.

Prepare for landscape defoliation.

Along with lots of soapy water in the pump-up sprayer.

And praying for strong sunlight sanitizing.

(Now where are those leftover masks and gloves?)

Sinking feeling: No stink like an old stink.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Red leaves (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

I don’t know what’s going on, but we’ve got fall color much too early. (© image)

Gold and red leaves. (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted, all rights reserved)

Gold and red: spooky as a hungry owl. (© image)

September 12, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

A Few Fall Follies

These days it seems like everyone is looking – or seeing – a sign from on high (or when they are high…as in up on a ladder or in a monster SUV. Get your mind outta the weeds.)

When house hunting, some look for proximity to Starbucks or Mickey D’s; others, however….

Sign on tree with sticks and water bowl beneath (Image screenshot: Garden Line)

Now this is what I call a dog-friendly neighborhood. (Image from D & D Feed Supply.)

On occasion, a neighborhood / HOA can disappoint.

Regulations can cut to the quick – or slow.

Riding lawn mower. (Chair on big grazing sheep. Image screenshot from Garden Line)

Riding lawn mower.(Screenshot: Garden Line)

When the lawnmower craters at the end of the season and the summer sales are over, it’s time to get creative.

(Will this count for carbon credits in CA.?)

(They disdain any kind of gas producer. Said sheepishly.)

Get ready to fall into line.

(Don’t worry about that electrical line; it’s not working. Politics is the only thing energized currently.)

Mad squirrel protesting non-seasonal fare (Image: screenshot Garden Line)

Enlightened or entitled? Squirrel protesting non-seasonal fare. Humans may have done Squirrels A disservice by encouraging them to live among us. So easy to learn by example. You always looked to the Big Guy for guidance, right? (screenshot Garden Line)

And I’ll leave you with a bite of freshness:

Fruit clarifying meaning (Screenshot Image: Garden Line)

Ripe with clarity. (Image: R. Lemmon’s Garden Line)

Remember, ride before a fall.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

September 5, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

High Jinx and Low Winks

“On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.” (Author George Orwell, 1903-1950)

There’s lots of drips around – the ones from over a week’s worth of rain much less bothersome than a few others pouring out in public.

Two goats laughing. Russian fable 1914.(USPD pub.date, Artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Hey, it’s goat tea party time!”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Take that G.O.A.T. thing: “Greatest of all times”

What a burden to drape on someone – usually thoughtlessly awarded at the worst possible time – when pressure is the highest. Don’t they understand they’ll jinx them?

First it was our local gymnast and Olympian Dominique Dawes. “Awesome Dawesome”: was enough when she was competing. Putting “G.O.A.T.” on her clothing and all over media was tempting fate. Just too much.

Looks like Tennis star Serena Williams was the latest to suffer from well-meaning fans screaming accolades in the stands.

While maybe not baaaa-ing out in the style they might have preferred, G.O.A.T looks pretty good on them now.

One thing that will get your goat is all the antics of new dog, HRH (Happy R Hank).

There’ always shakedown crews (We ain’t going anywhere, but the crew here is really shakin’ down by exhaustion). 

At the sight of a cat, Hank can leap vertically high in the air and spin like a ballet master. Quite a show. Just hang on to the leash for the landing and easy to anticipate ballet reindeer-style lunge. Dog whisperer would probably scold us for laughing. Actually he’s slowed down those little performances as long as we see the cat first and warn him not to try…

But you know cats…mischievous creatures; some think it’s hilarious to lurk out of sight until the last second. 

Two cats in human clothes chatting by window.1913 book of fables (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Did you see that fool dog get tangled in the leash and almost fall down? Let me check my watch. It may be time to saunter on back over by that hedge along the sidewalk and see if we can do it again.”(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Yesterday was pretty calm – if you dismiss the snatching of my toast when the phone rang, noticing the toothpaste tube on the counter had been quietly snagged off for examination, and about the teeth marks on the new light-weight pet-hair cordless vac.

“Mom, I was just trying to get those lingering dog hair strands wrapped around the wheels for you while you washed out the collection canister. Helping R Hank!”

Now that the results are back, Hank is dripping with some high and mighty attitude. 

Our new vet and his wife work closely with the local Husky rescue group. Dr. Vet was pretty amazed that Hank was a street stray. Kept saying “you got a really good one there.”

Intrigued Sr. Staff decided to DNA test Hank. Like it matters.

Sr. Staff sent Molly Malamute’s slobber for DNA testing a few years ago. The results came back with wrong name, “male” as gender, and the wrong owner’s name. When we asked politely for Molly’s report, the company rep was pretty ugly and said “We don’t make mistakes.”….but “male, wrong dog name, wrong owner’s name???” “It’s a typo” she screamed. “Just a typo – That’s your report.” UH, no. Futile to ask and no retest offered. I was so not inclined to chase that unicorn again for Hank. Who needs the aggravation? 

But it’s been a few years and this is a different company, so for laughs….

Hank, as it turned out, is 100% Siberian Husky DNA – no other dog DNA except for a good amount of “wolfiness” = high number of ancient wolf genes. 

Any wonder HRH is feeling pretty wild and wonderful?

Resisting any suggestions to change his name to something more arctic-y or regal. He’s just Hank. Low key self confidence. Sign of someone knowing who they are. 

Although Hank is the perfect animal shelter poster dog. Proof no matter what kind of dog you simply must have, there’s one waiting for you in a shelter. Waiting…waiting…

I’m also rather amused that the dog DNA company also sends information on dogs in their data base that show some family relationship to yours. Sort of like Ancestory does with people. Lots of dog owners (not us) have upload their dog’s pictures.

It’s like Facebook for dogs.

If you choose to “connect”. 

Pack of dog pointing at another wild animal. 1847 (USPD. pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Admit it. You ain’t nothin’ like a hound dog. You stole some DNA from an unguarded dog bowl. No pack invitation for you!” (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Uh, no. My dog doesn’t need a screen hobby. 

We’ve already been messaged from another rescue shelter dog parent in Austin whose dog has 30% shared genes with Hank (She calls them cousins!), but is a lovely, yellow flop-eared haired Lab-ish dog  – and her parents live in the area near us, so maybe a playdate sometime?…

Amused but, polite paws to decline. 

Hank, yawned and  muttered something about, “Once you win the lottery or become royalty, distant relatives just come out of the woods…..” 

Perhaps if you replaced the words “human beings” with “dogs”, the Orwell quote at the top would be equally valid?

But don’t quote me own that.

A couple of wink worthy sayings from Benjamin Franklin:

  • “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
  • Now the most important one for the Labor Day barbecues: “Beware the hobby that eats.”

Happy hijinks and may the only drips in your day be dinner dripping from your chin.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Smiling dog. (© image copyrighted, no permissions granted. all rights reserved)

“Hobby or habit – doesn’t matter. HRH is in the house.” (© image)

August 26, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Sound lines

It is the beast of times and the Wordsworth of times.

“A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.” (William Wordsworth)

(But you are used to that around here, aren’t you?)

A few soundings – just in the lite of sleep

No the dog isn’t settling into normal alarm times – 5:30 am is beginning to feel like 4:30 am with the shorter days’ later sunrises and overcast skies for the last 7 days.

Bleary and blurry: today’s descriptive modifiers.

Soooo a few quick shots below. (No, not Jello shots or those connected to ammo…although the thought has crossed along with lines)

Sleep aid packages. (screenshot: click2houston)

Does that news story tag line seem a bit contradictory? (screenshot: click2houston)

  • Concerned about school kids getting enough sleep, but is this really a good idea? Teaching kids that all answers lie in medications, herbs or pills? Obviously appealing to desperate parents full of wishful thinking. No easy answers for lots of things in life. (Are The Rolling Stones tuning up for an updated “Mother’s Little Helper”? Modifying to stay relevant – revising the old for new profit without risking a new original direction seems to be so common from fashion, to marketing, to some old long debunked  educational excuses)
  • Personally, I’m wishing that the Feds had passed on that college loans forgiveness  (Hey, struggling and doing without is character building. That’s what many of us were told.) and offered instead some of that “available money” to some of the 20 million households who are behind on their utility bills. As a taxpayer, I’d feel a lot better about helping someone keep the lights and heat on rather than financing some college kid’s 4-6 years of entertainment university life.
  • It’s weird 5-6 years is now considered “normal” for college. Maybe if the “loans” stipulated the money could only be spent on math, science, and English rhetoric and mechanics courses, students wouldn’t linger so long? Or how about clearly counseling students on the difference between “college credit courses” that will help you get a job and those courses that are really “leisure time” courses normally taken after you graduate, have a job, and want to learn something just for fun. Dazed first time to be away from home and without-parents-telling-you-what-to-do students might be confused about the long term value of UT offering a course studying the music of Taylor Swift or the TSU course in “Harry Styles and Cult of Celebrity”

But then again, maybe sleep deprivation just dreamily painted an alternative reality. 

Poem by Lewis Carroll. The first letters spell out the name of the little girl that supposedly inspired Alice in Wonderland.

Poem by Lewis Carroll. This acrostic poem found at the end of “Through the Looking Glass”. The first letters of each line spell out the name of the little girl who supposedly inspired “Alice in Wonderland”. Is that form following function? 

 

“Our meddlesome intellect misshapen the beauteous form of things.” (William Wordsworth)

Dream weaver and dream leave-r

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

rainbow on wall with green palm fronds reaching for it. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Wake up! Enjoy the surprises waiting around the bend.(© image)

 

August 24, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Dark Cotton and Boxes of Blues

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the desert on the quest. painting by Daumier (USPD. artist life, reprod of PD art/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Just one more store. We’ll surely find one there.”(Daumier /USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.” (Jonathan Swift)

The search for the Holy Grail couldn’t have been more intense.

A tradition as old as not wearing white after Labor Day: the search for dark cotton.

Preferably plaid. Sleeveless, if possible (AC was not common and school started long before the first cold front even thought about showing up.)

Apparently only three such items were ever shipped into this town each year. Also, there was only one dark cotton per size once you found a shirt or dress….and your size was gone.

The task almost impossible, yet my mom, like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, set her mouth and undertook the quest each August. A personal goal and community standard here in the semi-tropics. “Can’t have my kid wearing leftover summer clothes at the start of a new school year.” The early bird gets the appropriate threads. 

Some expectations are best relaxed. 

But not all.

“I have never entered into any controversy in defense of my philosophical opinions; I leave them to take their chance in the world. If they are right, truth and experience will support them; if wrong, they ought to be refuted and rejected. Disputes are apt to sour one’s temper and disturb one’s quiet.” (Benjamin Franklin) 

Who could forget the crisp, brand new, box of crayons also purchased each fall?

The 16 in a box one, not the 48. 16 being deemed enough.

The only kid that got the 48 was one whose mom hoped the rarity would be enough for her child to be more socially acceptable – to gain more friends – or at least be allowed entry into a group.

Sharing is good.

Lessons for life.

Heart shaped by rainbow crayons (Pink Sherbert Photography/Commons.wikimedia.org)

You never outgrow crayons.”Santa? A box of 48 colors? Please? I’ll forgive you about the pony.”(Pink Sherbert Photography/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Not long ago, each student had a cigar box for all their pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue.

Everything in one place. No getting up out of your chair to get things. No whining “I forgot to bring…”.

You were responsible for your personal supply box all year long . That meant checking to make sure the paste/glue lid was screwed on tight.

Woe to the child who forgot and let their glue turn their entire supply items into a glue brick over the weekend. 

But times change.

Maybe too many mom caught on to the extra social push a 48 box offered.

Of course, using a cigar box with lingering whiffs of tobacco became socially unacceptable.

“It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant should have so much influence.” – (George Orwell)

Besides, Schools, being sensitive beings, decided to collect all the crayon boxes in bins until needed, then handed out at random.

To avoid any child feeling his crayon box wasn’t as nice as another’s – whether it be the number of crayons or the brand. You know some crayons are really waxy, do not draw smoothly, or make good, dark marks without skipping.

Sharing is good.

Take a box and leave a box.

Take only what you need. 

Only…

And there’s always an “only”.

There’s always the kid – usually a wild and crazy one who will probably end up as a breakneck NASCAR driver – who colors with wild abandonment: swift rapid strokes and sharp jabs. No moderation or braking of downward pressure. Snap. Breakage. (At least with car races, there’s a tall metal screen protecting the onlookers.)

Once back in the collective crayon tub, there’s no clue which box holds nothing but nubs or peeled down paper sleeves.

“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” (George Orwell)

Boy running being chased by others. (1975/FOTO:FORTEPAN/Urban Tamas / Commons.wikimedia.org)

“No. No. Stop. I didn’t mean to break all the red crayons! Teacher!”(FOTO:FORTEPAN/Urban Tamas/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

My kid was most perturbed by the crayon destruction and being forced to tolerate dull crayon points, and pieces masquerading as whole behind paper sleeves – even halves of the different colors suspiciously re-stuffed inside the paper wrappers.

“Why should I have to get stuck with crummy crayons? I brought a box of new ones all in one piece. I take care of my crayons and don’t break them. Why should I suffer with some slob’s damaged colors? That’s not fair.”

 My first thought was “Welcome to your first brush with collectivism and socialism.” But, instead, the kid being so young to face such, I simply said “It’s not right, but sometimes life isn’t fair.”

Yep, life’s lessons start early.

During Chairman Mao Zedong’s tumultuous reign, the revolutionary zeal for collectivism overrode the wishes of the individual, often leading to devastating, deadly consequences. (Nectar Gan And Steve George, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021.)

Somehow we got past the rigid “Don’t wear white after Labor Day”, so maybe there’s hope.

Managing your own colors might be a welcomed return to sanity.

Dark cottons?

Probably an insane, unattainable dream from another dimension – one where heavy sweaters don’t dominate the clothing racks until the temperature actually drops here….after Halloween. 

As the leaves turn – and the world wobbles

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Lovely womanin grey dress. Русский: Eve Anders Collection (Olga Zvereva/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“No. No dark cotton for you. You shall have to endure the shame.”(Русский: Eve Anders Collection /Olga Zvereva/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

 

 

 

August 15, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Falling at breakneck speed.

Person in graveyard looking up. (1981 Fear No Evil film with Elizabeth Hoffman.USPD: Publicity still to promote film, no CR notice, artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Is that it? When all the details fit perfectly, there’s probably something wrong with the story? Doyle said, “As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is, the less mysterious it proves to be.” Unless there’s dramatic lighting…I added that last part.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Backpacks have barely hit the shoulders and it’s already too late.

So it’s grab what sense you can: Spicy, Signs, and Pet Fines Finds.

1. It’s true: all the old looked-forward-to traditions are melting away: Ignore the still upper 90F temp’s: Once the schools are in session, it’s time for pumpkin spice drinks! Yeah, that’s a bit heavy and nauseating right now. Yeah, you can order it cold, but it’s not the same “Welcome Fall” type of feeling. Just not ready to spice it up.

2. Signs of the times: Starbucks havin’ some employee issues. Seriously, they have a point here: a barista waving a sign: “Short staffing is Union busting!” Darn right! Hire more tall people, Starbucks. Handing out coffee to cars needs body length.

3. Can we live without Email nagging suggestions? I’d like to try. Thank you Chewy’s for making me feel even more inadequate. Got a note that their Halloween Pet Shoppe is now open. offering (free of charge) ideas to make your pet’s Halloween a special day. (Like living everyday here isn’t special enough?)

For years I have smugly resisted and laughed at pet costumes (Luckily, I do not have a guinea pig – those are darn cute. But seriously…is that a violation of pet rights and freedoms? PETA? Waiting for you to weigh in here…).

I may have to lurk in the underbrush on dog walks. One neighbor spent hours and hours sewing a Halloween costume for Willow, her perfectly coiffured Great Pyrenees  (with that breed’s calm Zen-like attitude). Then search for hours online to find dog Halloween costume contests to enter. “Well, the dog deserved to show it off.” Really? Good her dog is totally Zen-like.

There are pet costumes by themes now to match your family’s costume theme for trick or treating…You are planning, of course, to take your pet along, too..Pets can’t wait to go out in the dark, garbed up oddly to encounter all sorts of noise and visual chaos on Halloween…I mean, I know pets have brightly circled the date already…

And if that’s not enough, now I’m supposed to be also acquiring pet Halloween costumes accessories, ordering “Boo-tiful” Halloween pet treats, and my dog will be scarred for life if I don’t purchase a special Halloween toy?   (We used to joke parents bought big monohull sailboats once their kids became teenagers in order to sail far far away from commercialism and social pressures. The internet crashed that! Who knew we’d have to distract our pets’ attention from all that, too?)

Terrified woman against wall. 1960 film Psycho. Paramount Pix/Shamley Productions/USPD. no CR notice, artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Nooo! Once ridiculed for a child’s trite Halloween costume, now facing being cancelled because of pet costuming refusal?”(Appropriately from the 1960 film Psycho. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Hank, the new pup, not feeling shorted.  He said he’d had enough of horror shows before landing here and intends to celebrate feeling like Christmas all the way to New Years. Whew.

Oh, by the way, The Realm applauds Hank’s selected title of HRH – standing for “Happy R Hank“. Like I said when we first saw him, “He’s a perfect fit.”  (Counter surfing addiction rehab in progress. “Paws and Disorder” tagline still so appropriate…)

A tall order to sandwich blogging time in right now. Daylight Saving Times, no help – awake, able to function, and be productive just so many hours – no matter what the current humans-in-charge set the clock and pace at.

We’re in a brief spell between Sr. Staff’s treatments. So far so good, we hope. We’ll know in a few weeks.

Getting Hank used to car riding for road trips eventually. (What? Leave him in boarding? Right. Provide the opportunity for him to chat with others and come home hinting for formal wear? With his coat becoming very elegant – like “Bond. James Bond” elegant – a black satin bow tie soon might be requested.)

Man wearing formal black tie. Daniel Craig. (Image by Chrisa Hickey/vflickr/Commons.wikimedia.org)

See. All the handsome, young guys with shaggy hair and striking blue eyes consider a satin black tie the perfect accessory.(C.Hickey/flickr/Commons.wikimedia.org)

While social influencers and seasonal merchants can’t wait to slam Summer to the curb (which seems sad when not too long ago, “Summer” was the hottest thing), how ’bout joining me by dragging a toe old school style to slow the spin down just a little?

Yes, Summer should get a speeding ticket!

(Why do lions move out at the end of summer? Because the pride goeth before the fall)

Warning: Candy corny season is upon us.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Anna Duncan dancing in surf at beach. (USPD, pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

No stopping the waves that are coming, but you can dance your way through them. Stall that fall. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

August 5, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

One cute puppy. (Mars version)

Man aiming gun at robot defended by dog. Art by Robert Fuqua, 1939 pulp fiction maagaazine. (USPD, CR not renewed, pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“I’m telling you don’t even think about attacking that pillow” Yes, I do need a nap, but couch pillow defense system is not quite ready yet. (Robert Fuqua cover art, 1939 pulp fiction magazine. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

You can expect only a bit of robotic rumblings around here right now. A flighty bit – spacey. Blame both NASA and Paw and Disorder Hank

Something of an improvement with the 6:15-6:30 a.m. light dependent wake-up call instead of a very consistent. want-ply-wanna-play, no-matter-what-the-sunrise 5:30 a.m. by The German. Diva Molly, not a morning dog, rarely rolled out of bed before 7:30.

At least with the last two, I didn’t have to worry about what they were getting into if I ignored the live action alarm clock. Hank, stilling new, is still exploring – house and limits. No liking’ the way he’s tossing glances at the faux fur pillow on the couch….yea, I see you casually tossing your toy closer and closer…

But as today is a day to celebrate (Called for cinnamon rolls with the breakfast fruit and oatmeal), so no slug-a-bed.

WALL-E photographed by Remux, Colombia/Commons.wikimedia.org)

One is the loneliest number. Both Curiosity and WALL-E know that well. (WALL-E photographed by Remux, Colombia/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Curious?

Yep,  Happy Birthday, Curiosity Mars Rover.

Unlike previous years when few noticed and the rover had to sing to himself – just the most sad thing in the universe! – people worked to make sure Curiosity wasn’t alone in celebrating his life and accomplishments this time.

There’s something about Curiosity’s big “eyes” and vulnerability so far from home that makes people feel sympathy and protective.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a smile.

Reminiscent of Wall-E and ET.

July, 2022

August, 2013:

“Having helped design the Mars rovers Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, NASA engineer Kobie Boykins reveals what these robots are telling us about the existence of life on the red planet.” Click here for what he has to say (2015) about “The Curious Life of a Mars Rover”.

As sleep deprivation tends to make me a bit bleary, that’s about all I can get to fly outta here today.

Although during the just-barely-dawn dog walk, I did see an unexpected “V” flight pattern of birds lifting off by the lake.

A bit early for migrating ducks. Have the Purple Martins decided to beat the rush and start early?

The Audubon Society has already started organizing Purple Martin watch events as the birds dine locally here for a few weeks to fatten up before soaring across the Gulf and onward to their winter resorts.

“Historically there are two major roosts in Houston. We keep an eye on the radar for roost sizes and will select the watch event site based on where the birds are. Roost locations are either Stafford (12634 Fountain Lake Cir, Stafford, TX 77477) or Willowbrook area (17395 Tomball Pkwy, Houston, TX 77064)” (source)

Realistically, times and locations are flexible. The last time I witnessed a massive flock was at dusk over the HEB parking lot. Lots of glowing lights attracting bugs and there are still some undeveloped lands close within wing range.

Never know what might fly your way.

Oh. That. Sorry, lots of dog brushing means a good deal of fluff flying around. I know some spin it into yarn for canine aficionadoes, but no….

Hope you land a great weekend, 

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

 

August 1, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Tag. You’re it.

Boy in suit. From 1925 "Pampered Youth" film still with Ben Alexander(USPD pub.date, artist life/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Yeah, I’m resourceful, especially with a wad of post-it notes tagging along in my pocket.(“Pampered Youth” film promo still of actor Ben Alexander. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Instructions left in an obvious place. Is that too much to ask? Apparently.

It takes time to sniff out all the nuances of a new position.

“Loft” I kept getting. “Loft” What the heck. A message as useful as one written in lemon juice by a bored kid magician: “Everything you need to know is in the loft.” 

As in jumping high into the air? (What? 6:00 am is too early for that?)

“Loft” as the fleeting lob between the time the tennis ball leaves the hand and it lands? (I let it land, stared at it, hoping “X” marked the spot to dig for it…but, no. Oh, clods.) 

“Loft” perhaps as tucked into a fluffy pillow or comforter? (Tearing into those seems risky – and unnecessary….except if there was a cat involved, well, you know how they think.)

Hank the Dog searching in the backyard. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

“Could it have meant “lost” instead of “loft”? I think someone seriously lost it.” Searching the backyard for a clue. (© image)

Eventually, after much exhaustive searching, a whiff of something –

Yes, a tiny sniff of revelation sent me past the place-that-must-have-once-held-a-litter-box (You can tell – there’re a smidge of cat hair still stuck in the baseboard) into the closet  – and voilà: a loft fit for a cat.

Or much smaller, athletic dog…while I was able to hop up on the small container bin, once I got two paws onto the shelf and was wondering what to do with the rest of me if I pushed on forward, AM – Adopted Mom – yelled at me to “not even think about it and get down and out of the closet”.

I realized the actual lofty knowledge I require was actually shelved right there in front of my nose: “The Care and Needings of The Realm: including standing treaties, a schedule of yearly events, helpful management hints, and “All the Rights and Responsibilities of the RC of the Realm”. 

Hope to clarify a few things….

Things like worn post-it notes in cabinets and on cartons about “Boxing of children”, “Defense against the annual Orange Vegetable Intruders”, and what the heck is an “RC”….and now I’m tagged to be one?

Of course it’s vague and confusing – written by a cat.

The previous Resident Canine (who assumed the title from the long ruling, legendary RC Cat) left only a brief note on the windowsill apologizing for not sorting out and leaving a more coherent instruction manual, having been called away suddenly and unexpectedly, there was only time to scratch out “Everything you need to know is in the loft.”

So, now to begin.

RC? I’m tagged as an RCResident Canine? Can’t the title be a little more lofty? Like HRH?

Hank, Royal Husky-Malamute? That could work if I use the hyphen. I’s trendy to use hyphenated these days.

The Honorable Rowdy Hank? Titles should offer some identifying quality, some say.

Hank, the Regal Houndster perhaps? That sounds modern and hip.

But the Tradition of The RC of the Realm…

I’ll work on that. First things first. 

Like can anyone explain why AM got so excited when I stood up and grabbed the 18 egg plastic carton off the counter?

I wouldn’t have dropped it if she hadn’t startled me with that shriek.

Was only going to see what was in it – and then give it back….after a little tug of war game.

What’s the big deal? She wanted scrambled eggs – I just pre-scrambled some for her in the carton.

Good I located the instruction manual. Appears there’s a lot to unscramble around here.

Pondering over that “staff” designation.

AM certainly doesn’t look like a stick. Maybe in Days of You’re when the RC Cat first arrived.

Although I’ve found both AM and DA (Dad, Adopted..also not very stick-like although he’s quite good at throwing sticks…although the purpose of that action is unclear..) are quite supportive, so the “staff” possible indication of able to be leaned on and their helpfulness?

Maybe a music-related nickname as AM does sing silly songs a lot…all about being sort-of like an EPIRB locating device, she says.

3 worried men in doorway. Ben Aalexander on right. Still photo of cast of Felony Squad( (USPD, pre-1978, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

“Don’t look to us for answers, pup. Once you’re tagged and out of the shelter, you’re on your own.”(Grown up Ben Alexander on right with the cast of Felony Squad. Maybe staffed in supporting role, but no longer as thin as a stick. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Best to consider during a short nap….some place quiet – where I won’t get stepped on. Stretching out unseen right behind AM as she is doing stuff has resulted in a few ouchies…

Could be why there’s so much leftover cat hair in the closet: frequent retreat to a lofty thinking spot.

Hmmm, wonder how tightly that closet door is shut.

Yours in Paws and Disorder Pawsabilty and Order

Hank, HRH of the Realm

Hank the Dog at rest...productive napping...internalizing input....digesting. Digesting lunch that is. (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved. no permissions granted)

Resting…productive napping…internalizing input…digesting. Digesting lunch, that is. (© image)

 

July 25, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Done with sittin’ on the sidelines

People sitting in rocking chairs on porch at Roosevelt Lodge, Yellowstone NP. (USPD: by NPS employee/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Are reservations are required? Curious about what is the hierarchy for position and preferred chairs?(Porch rockers at Roosevelt Lodge, Yellowstone NP./USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

The others ask (Not always politely), “Why are you always smiling?”

The quick answer, “’cause I know they are coming.”

“Pshaw. Same every day. No phone call. No cars in the parking lot. Too busy for you.” 

Such negative Nellies. 

But I know they are coming.

The one next to me – the one who wants to hope – tries to defuse the darkness with “It’s really hot. Too hot.

They are all staying inside. And there are baseball games.”

He looks to me for encouragement. I flash an affirmation: a self-confident smile.

They ARE coming. I can feel it.

Could barely eat my breakfast.

We wait. All lined up. Each ready to nod and say, “See, there they are. I knew they’d come today.” 

Except that new gal – on the end.

So darn grumpy no one wants to even sit near her.

Nothing but complaints and moans.

“I can’t believe they put me here. I’m used to much finer accommodations. The disgrace.”

On and on she mutters. Even spurring a kind word when offered by someone well meaning. 

The rest of us edge away from her – tired of her constant harangue.

Hard to ignore the constant whining.

“No wonder her family dropped her here and ran. She’d better learn to zip it and learn to get along…even if it is suffering in silence or she’ll never hear that “Oh Baby, Baby, why don’t you grab a few things and come stay with us for a while?”

Senior citizens siting in rocking chaairs on porch. Miami-Dade. (USPD, pub.date, artist life, /Florida state lib. and archives)

Room at the end. (Senior citizens siting in rocking chairs on porch. Miami-Dade. USPD/Florida State Lib. and Archives)

Then, everyone holds their breath. A car has arrived.

For who?

We all sit up a little straighter and try to hear as the car doors open.

“Darn, I’ve spilled some of my breakfast on my ankle.” says one who starts to get up and go to the back.

“Wait, wait,” several of us call.

“It won’t matter. They won’t care. You don’t want to miss them!”

He nods and turns backaround.

The office door opens. They walk towards us.

First in line, I smile broadly and get up to welcome them.

I don’t know who they are…yet…but something tells me….

One of them says, “That’s him. There. The one with the blue eyes. That’s Hank.”

And I am. I knew they would come.

Even if it was hot.

Even when that rain shower poured down forcing us inside.

Never doubted it.

You’ve heard the song “Blue eyes crying in the rain?” No point in playing that.

Gotta get into wholeheartedly into the game: You send out hope and someone hears.

I knew, even with thousands of applicants, my resume would catch their attention somehow….possibly pushed to the top of the pet finder pile by an invisible review committee of elder paws.  

A day to be marked: an ice comet cooly swoops by and Hank with ice blue eyes leaps into his Forever Home. 

Welcome to the pack, Hank

(“Don’t worry about that one little accident in the bedroom. What? No counter surfing allowed here! Leave the Siamese alone – she’s the neighborhood huntress….the Realm’s established treaty says she is allowed in the backyard after 9 p.m.; You’ll just have to accommodate that or use the grass in the front if necessary. We’ll remind her of the “dogs reserve all backyard rights during daylight hours” provision. I thought you might want to catch the tennis ball, not just run past it…)

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Dogs are Old Souls

From Hank’s resume:

"... a little too tall - could have used a few pounds..."thin, but a

“… ‘a little too tall – could have used a few pounds’… Yep, I’m something to sing about. Got the swagger. (Do not believe any rumors that I have stolen this tail from a fox.)”

"Blue is just so hypnotizing, isn't it?" Good planning dog mom whenever you are.

“Blue is just so hypnotizing, isn’t it? Good planning dog mom whenever you are.”

Dog in wading pool. "Wait wait, My cell phone is in here somewhere."

“Epitome of cool. Wait wait, My cell phone is in here somewhere. Leave a message. For goodness sake, leave a message!””

 

July 22, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Terror. In the still. Of the night.

scary tree branches at night (© image copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Scary reaching neighborhood tree sets the dark scene.(© image)

In the still of the night

A noise –

It’s not right

You huddle and slink 

Down the wall of the hall

Wishing there was 

A dog.

To bark

In the still of the night.

‘Cause the doorbell camera

Shows a weird blur staring in

And the noise

In the night 

Just ain’t right.

No. No. No. Nooooo! 

It’s the biggest –

the most giant – 

cricket of them all

Staring in and saying he’s come to call.

In the still of the night…

Do wop. Do wop.

It wasn’t Sir Jiminy

Unexpected consequence of being dog-less

Always an adventure around here

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

For those unfamiliar with the first/last line, on YouTube:

July 18, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Picture. Picture, Mister.

Frances Benjamin Johnson's self portrait (as the "New Woman") in her Washington, DC Studio, 1896. (USPD Artist life/ pub.date/ LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Bain News Service photojournalist Frances Benjamin Johnson’s self portrait as the “New Woman” in her Washington, DC Studio, 1896. (USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

News segment banner across screen: “Be weary of companies that sell your data” 

But we are….and also “wary” and “weary” of stupid.

Note to TV station: get that caption writer a print dictionary for Christmas

And mandate writing, by hand, the meanings of misused words 5 times….

Caption generating job requirements should include “Must have read the print dictionary and encyclopedia front to back.”

“Credibility” might be a good place to start

Weary. Yes, so dreary, deary.

O’Leary’s cow couldn’t be more burned up about it.

Woman standing with camera at front door. American photographer and photojournalist Francis Benjamin Johnston between 1930-1940. (USPD. aratist life, pub.date, LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Now she’s dressed smartly for press conferences with this President. Also photojournalist Francis Benjamin Johnston (1930-40’s. USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Leery.

Yes, weary and tired of less-than-presidential leering.

“President Joe Biden interrupts Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador multiple times to point out and flatter a “Lovely Lady” camerawoman.

To his credit, the Mexican President graciously tries to gloss over the ludicrous.

Someone has manners.

Joe’s been distracted by women over the years – especially pretty girls of all ages. Sniffing hair. Unwanted pawing. Inappropriate remarks.

He’d better watch it.

The equity people will soon be pouting the President is a bad role model – not giving equal attention to all individuals who identify as “women”.

Considering his age, generation, and some recent behavior, Joe could claim he’s not advocating “leering”, but Timothy Leary-ing. That would be trippy. 

Which, totally bananas aside, brings up that notorious Mellow Yellow and Yellow Submarines. 

Vintage woman standing by camera. 1880. George Eastman House Photography Collection. Woman Photographer. (USPD. artist life, pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Do we ever get past the old stuff? Woman photographer from George Eastman House Photography Collection.(1880’s/USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Is “Yellow Submarine” is waaaay over parked? Sweetly luring (not “leering” or “leaning”) with META and VR docked and readying boarding? 

“Yellow Submarine” received various social and political interpretations in the 1960s. Music journalist Peter Dogged describes it as a “culturally empty” song that nevertheless “became a kind of Rorschach test for radical minds” (Source)

Musicologists Reising and LeBlanc view the song’s lyrics as a celebration of “the simple pleasures of brotherhood, exotic adventure, and an appreciation of nature” (Source)

Musicologist William Echard recognises the psychedelic traits of oceanic imagery, childhood and nostalgia as especially prominent in the song, thereby making “Yellow Submarine” one of the most obvious examples of UK psychedelia’s preoccupation with a return to childhood” (Source)

Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ former press officer who worked as a music publicist in Los Angeles in the mid 1960s, recalled it as “a kind of ark … a Yellow Submarine is a symbol for some kind of vessel which would take us all to safety … the message in that thing is that good can prevail over evil. (Source)

Paul McCartney commented in 1966: “It’s a happy place, that’s all … We were trying to write a children’s song. That was the basic idea.” (Source)

Overthinking can be annoying, but some thinking would be refreshing

Lemonade, anyone?

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge 

Women photojournalists see it all.

Frances Benjamin Johnson  As one of the first photojournalists, she provided images and illustrated articles to the Bain News Service syndicate (1890’s-early 1900’s). Her photographs include those of First Families, leading political figures, American world’s fairs; coal mining, the White House, openings of Congress, Admiral Dewey, a systematic survey of southern architecture known as the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South, as well as Progressive era educational efforts.

Dorothea Lange. As an American documentary photographer and photojournalist (1920’s -1965), she used the camera as “an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”. Her unflinching study of the human condition in the 20th century shaped photojournalism in a way that continues to resonate today.”

Explore other women photojournalists here or the visit George Eastman Museum

Woman with movie camera. (Bain News Service, 1900 (USPD. artist life, pub.date, LoC/Commons.wikimedia.org)

It ain’t Micky Mouse ears. This from the Bain News Service (1900), who apparently noticed the women’s abilities not just pretty faces. Sir?.(USPD/Commons.wikimedia.org)

July 15, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

When you wish

Pine Cone waits in the window. (© Copyrighted, all rights reserved. NO permissions granted)

Pine Cone waits. (image ©)

When you wish upon a star, you remember where they are.

Molly Malamute was not alone. She was not afraid.

Our Old fashion, actually compassionate as well as with that rare commonsense, rural-type vet came to the house.

We had spent the entire night before on the floor by her bed so she could she look out the windows without much effort – up and down the block – witnessing the biggest Super Moon. She being an ancient breed, nights like that always enchanted her.

All true wolves – and those of the ancient DNA – relish those full moon nights. We agreed with her. (She did, as always, discourage Sr. Staff’s pathetic attempts to wolf howl…”Please stop, Dad” Molly always said with a glance. “You don’t know what you are saying – and looking silly….Embarrassing me in front of my friends…”) 

She was comfortable – in all ways. The ones that mattered.

Yesterday, Molly Malamute slipped away from us.

A fast growing brain tumor abruptly robbed us.

The hitch in her giddy-up was more than arthritis, displeasure with the extreme heat, and her 10 1/2 yrs. Two weeks ago during her annual check -up, she was full of antics and bounces.  

Then she refused food. Then she seemed unstable, and wobbly with a couple of times her back legs not cooperating.

I thought mini-stroke. 

Oddly, that morning while sitting in the kitchen mending Molly’s favorite toy, Pinecone, a small bit of movement caught the corner of my eye. I had to stop myself from calling out to Molly who was on duty on her bed at the front window, “Watch out, Molly, RC Cat is coming your way and she looks like cat on a mission…” Caught myself. Unsettling. Rushed in to check on Molly and give her a hug.

Back to the vet who let her cavort around the clinic and play while he observed. Quietly he said, “I’m 99 12% sure, but here’s the number of a friend pet neurologist with big machines – if we want them.” 

That afternoon and night, she acted as if she had spent the day socializing and playing with friends. That happy. 

Small things never bothered her too much. “Life is too short,” she would laugh things off.

Oddly, a few nights previously – just before dawn, a flash of a intensely colored dream: On a path winding between arching trees – lined by wild flowers – like the ones in Colorado – sat RC Cat. Before I could question, RC Cat stood up and said, “I’m here for Molly. She’s missed me- and strangely I’ve missed her. I’m the Welcoming.”Before I could say anything, Molly bounced to RC’s side and both tails waving high, the walked of chatting like two kids thrilled to see each other at the bus stop after a long summer apart. “It’s OK to go. Stay with RC!” I called after them, but they had already rounded the curve in the path. I’ve told you before that people sometimes check out with me on their way out. That and this are not fiction. It’s been something all my life.

Yesterday, if Molly had been a wolf in the wild, instinct would have whispered to go off into a small dark cave and wait. 

Her decline was kindly so fast:

  • Refusing the hand-fed yogurt and fresh cooked chicken chunks she’d had the day before. “Oh, wait. My favorite cheese? A little bit, please. That’s enough. Thanks.”
  • Accepting small amounts of water from her travel bowl.
  • Unable to rise. Even to sit upright. Not able to walk at all. Periods of disorientation when trembling, rocking, head leaning, eyes not tracking together – in fact one eye socket seemed to be swelling.
  • But in between the confused episodes that were increasing, she was busy watching lizards out the window – exhausted, yet happy to have extra attention and companionship from her human pack.
  • Decided: no specialty pet neurologist clinic.  We would keep her comfortably at home instead of in a cramped, cold cage in an unfamiliar sterile place full of unfamiliar rushing around people.

By noon, our vet said, ‘Don’t try to lift her 85 lbs. into the car, I’m on the way.” And he was.

There was no fear. She was not in pain. She had her Pinecone. She walked quietly away from us. 

Welcoming committee waiting, no doubt. 

Out of nowhere, a heavy rain fell once she left.

Don’t tell me the passing of even the smallest goes unmarked.

There’s a large hole here. 

Malamutes are very much like mischievous 3 yrs old kids. We chose each other at the pet rescue adoption…”We went in for cat food and came out with a dog.” We became pack. 

Molly transformed from wild and crazy, social, party girl to be Sr. Staff’s emotional support dog as he goes through treatment.

We took her to feel snow with her paws in winter, and chilled mountain streams among flower in the wild scented mountain meadows. We always promised she could experience the lands of her ancestors. Wish we had given her more of that, but she was happy and contented anywhere. As long as we were pack.

It will be quiet here for a while. 

Star light, star bright. 

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Here’s a book you might be interested in if you are interested in how brains work or reality of awareness and consciousness. What It’s Like to be a Dog:

“What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist and bestselling author Gregory Berns and his team did something nobody had ever attempted: they trained dogs to go into an MRI scanner — completely awake — so they could figure out what they think and feel. And dogs were just the beginning. In What It’s Like to Be a Dog, Berns takes us into the minds of wild animals: sea lions who can learn to dance, dolphins who can see with sound, and even the now extinct Tasmanian tiger. Berns’s latest scientific breakthroughs prove definitively that animals have feelings very much like we do — a revelation that forces us to reconsider how we think about and treat animals. Written with insight, empathy, and humor, What It’s Like to Be a Dog is the new manifesto for animal liberation of the twenty-first century.”

“Dog lovers and neuroscientists should both read this important book.” — Dr. Temple Grandin

A constant unwavering vigil. Sure there is a new Dog Star in the sky. ((image © copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

A constant unwavering vigil by a true friend. Confident there is a new dog star in the sky.(image ©)

 

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