a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: October 2021

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Winding Roads

SUMMARY: You think you know where you are going, and suddenly--
First posted in a Facebook Group Oct 23, 2021

In my area--southwest to west of San Jose, CA, if you start at the southern end of Highway 9 in Los Gatos, its name is Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. (Or "highway 9," depending on your inclination.)

As it continues northwesterly, when entering Saratoga at the intersection of Saratoga Ave. it becomes Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd AKA "Old Highway 9" (because the new one veers away and is a different road entirely). At this point, you are going north.

When you enter Cupertino, it becomes DeAnza Blvd (This was Cupertino's bright idea so that we didn't have TWO local names for the same road (Saratoga-Sunnyvale and Sunnyvale-Saratoga). Now we have THREE names for that section), also aka Old Highway 9.

When you enter Sunnyvale, it becomes Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd. Still going north.

At some point, it splits; if you turn right onto its old path, it becomes N. Sunnyvale Ave and then peters out. But if you follow its main flow, it becomes S. Mathilda Ave. for a few blocks, then N. Mathilda Ave. for about 2 miles.

It curves right smoothly about 90 degrees east at that point and becomes Caribbean Dr for a few more blocks going more or less east, then curves gently until it becomes Lawrence Expressway, going due south. (Aka state (? or county) highway 82, but no one calls it that).

And if you follow that for 8 miles, it turns into Quito Road where it crosses Saratoga Ave. (see above).

If you keep going south on Quito, eventually it ends at Los Gatos-Saratoga road, less than a mile northwest of where you started your trip.

(If you want to go around the circle again, sorry, you have to make an obvious right turn at a stoplight, and where's the fun in that?)

(This map shows you the west side of the loop with scale of miles at the bottom; Lawrence Expressway/Quito Rd is fairly obvious for the east side. Also here: Google maps: all that route mostly)

Saturday, October 09, 2021

Country or Western?

SUMMARY: My latest musical effort. Without any actual music.
From a Facebook Group Oct 8, 2021

This morning, doing my usual preflight check before going downstairs, I said out loud:

My phone is in my pocket
My dog is in the yard--

I know a winner when I say it, just needed more lyrics. Let it percolate a bit, and new realization: Negative would be funnier than positive. Plus I could squeeze in a pun. 

The result: My first-ever country/western song. Top 10 hit for sure.

My phone is in the toilet,
My dog escaped the yard,
My truck is in the kitchen,
My life is dog gone hard.

Smugly self-satisfied, I posted that to a group that loves mostly sophisticated kinds of humor* (ah, hubris rears its head again). And within minutes, someone responded:

If the phone is in the toilet, what are you writing this on?? 😂😂😂

Challenge accepted! I sat staring at my screen, working an answer. Took only a couple of minutes to respond:

Hmmm. Next verse?

My Mac is at the Genius Bar
My PC’s screen is blue
I stole my neighbor’s Android
So this message could get through.

Doggerel is easy. Although I think it actually keeps its rhythm. I'm sure you'll let me know


* "Welcome to the Devotees of the Style Invitational, the long-running weekly humor/wordplay contest in The Washington Post. Our humor is usually sophisticated, sometimes crude -- from the haughty to the potty. The atmosphere in the group is irreverent, but there's no trash-talking." 

Friday, October 08, 2021

The Inconveniences of Fencing and of Vinegar

SUMMARY: Related to dogs.
Posted on FB 10/8/21. Edited to post here.

This story has two parts.

Part 1: Fencing

Someone has to stay inside until late this afternoon. This never happens. He has words to say about this.

The middle portion of my north-ish fence began leaning/bowing in towards my yard last winter, I believe. But it stopped when it encountered a tree to lean on, so... [shrug]

I'd been meaning to take a photo of its relaxed state for months.
Too late--the fenceman had already propped it up to work on it
before I realized something was happening.

While I think that it is super cool that apparently the neighbor has hired someone to replace the rotted posts in that section of fence between us at his own expense (since he has said nothing*), I think that it would have been wise--given that he knows that I have dogs, having lived next to me for 20 years--to give me advanced notice that the fence would be down for half a day.

I am sooooo thankful that I was home when they started sawing away at the posts.


 * Just saw him, I said let me know what I owe you. He grinned, waved it away, and said, "Don't worry about it." After he denied me a 2nd time, I'll take it. 🙂

Part 2, later the same day: Vinegar

I sit in the green chair. Zorro is on a 15-foot lead. 
He'd rather be on his own.
That fence thing is still in progress across the yard and he must see!

Poor Zorro. Has an uneducated Human Mom.

I had potstickers for lunch. I love them with white vinegar, so I poured it onto the plate from the large bottle. When I finished, some vinegar remained on the plate along with Maybe half a dozen crumbs from the potstickers themselves. I put it on the floor to see whether he'd lick it (he hardly ever turns things down), thinking that he probably wouldn’t like the vinegar. He definitely tried to stay away from it while he tried to pick out the orts. I left him to it.

Now the gross part:

About 10 minutes later, he walked down into my office and threw up a good portion of his breakfast (of course onto the carpet, not three inches farther onto tile floor).

While I tried to keep him from re-eating it (a dog's first instinct, of course), his head made that little bobbing movement, and I pushed him over the tile floor where he threw up another large portion of breakfast. And after that, while I petted him and he eyed the two yummy piles of food, it started again, and I kept him on the tile for a third portion. Stomach pretty much emptied according to that third one.

OK, so at this point I didn’t even really have to look it up. But I wanted to know how much gastrointestinal distress or damage the vinegar might have done. Online vet sources say "some dogs can't tolerate it" and it could cause vomiting and diarrhea--for up to 48 hours afterwards!

OMG. OMG. And of course today is the only day in his Entire Life that he has been restricted to the house, without free access to the yard. (Maybe a few others here or there). 

Pretty sure he had been intending to go out to the yard to handle his upset because where he decorated the floor was only about 2 feet from the actual door he would normally go through.

So I’ve been outside with him for about 20 minutes. Shows no signs of wanting to throw up or poop. just hanging with me. 

Fingers crossed. I need to go back inside.

If I had a good place to hook his 15 foot lead without risk of it tangling up, I would do that. But I don’t.  And unwilling to try to set up a fence for just a couple more hours. I already went through that when I thought there was a skunk in the yard. And it was exhausting and painful.

So, here we are.

Oops. Now what?

An hour later, he still seems healthy. I just happen to have some leftover steamed white rice. 

That always perks him up.
Gave him the rice. He loved it. 

Sunday, October 03, 2021

A Place for Family Treasures

SUMMARY: Books. Dogs. Bookends. To start with, anyway.

6:00 PM October 2, 2021. How can it possibly be getting dark this early already?

I'm typing away at the computer on my desk, trying to concentrate. But there's a niggling something at the edge of my consciousness. And finally I look off to the right of my bright, large monitor into the gloaming, and...

… something is staring at me with horrific wide white eyes from the shadows in the bookcase across this darkening room.

See it there on the top shelf, leaning against the little dark blue books? (Below the boxes, to the right of the vacuum handle?)

Let’s take a closer look, since the phone zoom is worthless.

Holy wow! Those aren’t his big buggy eyes!

They are his mustaches! Old friend of a friend.

He is nestling up to a collection of poetry in a set of books belonging to my great grandmother originally (My dad’s mom’s mom). 

Who is Betty?  Might be my grandmother, but no one called her that in my lifetime.
My great-grandmother?
Who is Glossie (seems vaguely familiar?) ?
Time to call on my Sisterclan hivemind! 
So I don't have to actually do the research myself.

And apparently my grandmother and her sister Hap were more or less bitterly divided about the fact that grandma inherited the books and Hap didn’t. (I don’t know: when I knew them, they were good friends and bought houses in Arizona in the same retirement town even though they were both from back east.) 

I was not the only sister who wanted them, but whatever negotiations we did, I brought them home. And have I opened them since I brought them home? I have no idea, but I like having them where I can see them easily. I do think about their growing fragility. The pages still cling tightly, but the spines are sketchy. I handle them with loving care when I touch them. We can keep aging, together.

They always held a prominent place of honor in my parents' living room. Dad had a set of bookends, wood, one of which was a large R and one of which was a large L. Those always… yes, bookended… those books. 

See the "R" and "L" around these books, top shelf?

And I have no idea whence those bookends came. Were they originally dad's, or were they his father’s? A gift? (I'm guessing yes on that.) So many things that I never asked and that they never wrote down. Unless that’s in the anecdotal history that dad wrote.

And... which sister took the bookends home? They were always around these books (at least since the late '70s), so I should've spirited them away when no one was looking, heh heh heh.  Of course... I already have several warehouses full of bookends plus a plethora of items that make fine book-holder-uppers, such as this little guy.

But I do know whence came the dog: My best friend since junior high. It was her Dad's and it reminds her of him. They lived together in their spacious-enough home until he died around 90, so I also knew him for a long time; not well, because he wasn't usually around when we were hanging out, but still. He had a lovely sense of humor. He was a "collector" and she's a minimalist, so she has spent time over a few years purging things. She knows I love dogs and asked whether I could rehome him--and I certainly could. Who could turn down that face? Another permanent member of the household.

So many treasures and memories, none of which will likely matter in any way to the next generation. Unless I collect these stories into a book and deliver it to all. Another project for retirement.