Dogs know how to have fun
If life is getting you down, watch adolescent dogs at play. Last week, I drained the spa, which has been out of order and was full of rain water and dirt. Soon 19-month-old Annie and Chico pounced on the hose and the muddy spot growing on the grass. They got busy digging their own little pool in which they rolled and splashed until they were covered with mud, mud all over their faces, legs, bellies and backs as I ran to get my camera.
Every day brings another photo op. The other night, as the rain subsided and the day faded into twilight, I let Chico and Annie loose in the back yard. All through my dinner, I could feel their unflinching stares and didn’t need any words to tell me they wanted out. How could I say no to those faces?
As I opened the door, they flashed past me, one black, one tan, both tails high and wagging. Oh, they ran so fast, colliding in the middle of the lawn, Chico rolling Annie over, both sets of teeth clacking at each other but doing no damage. Annie jumped up and raced into the tight tunnel between the fence and the hot tub. As she squeezed around one corner, Chico crouched at the other end, ready to spring. When Annie didn't appear, he ran to the opposite side. They barked, his voice sharp, hers low. The corner closest to the house is too narrow to get out, so Annie did a tuck and roll worthy of an Olympic swimmer and zipped to the other end. By the time she got there, Chico was there, too, and they both zoomed across the yard, banging into each other, coming apart, racing to the other side, turning and going again until Annie knocked Chico onto the wet grass.
He flipped up and led his sister across the deck and down into their pen, then jumped up sideways, four legs at once, and they squared off, teeth shining white in the waning light. Bobbing and weaving like boxers, growling as if they planned to kill each other, they charged and retreated, punched and nipped, until suddenly in unspoken agreement, they stopped. Companions enjoying the night, they chewed a little grass, looked for berries in the well-picked vines along the fence, pawed at rocks and sticks, and stared at each other, tails still wagging, tongues hanging out.
At that point, all I could see of black
Chico was his tongue. "How about
some cookies for dessert?" I called,
and they both came running, skidding
across the rain-slicked deck and into
the laundry room as I hastily closed
their gate before giving each a treat from
the box on the washing machine. I
rubbed each dog dry with a towel, then
left them jostling for space on the big
living room chair that they have made
their own. Now they're quiet, sleeping
together, best friends.
How's Fred doing?
That's the world's most popular question. His illness is progressing. He has trouble speaking, can't remember much of anything and gets quite confused, but he's happy at Timberwood and looks handsome with his new goatee. For those of us who never saw him without a full beard, he has very handsome cheeks with flawless skin, and who knew he had dimples? Photos to follow. He has been moved to a new room, Room 107, which is a little quieter. His phone number is the same. E-mail me and I'll give it to you.
The writing biz
I traveled to Sacramento last month to talk to that city's chapter of California Writers Club. It was a great group, highly accomplished, energized and so welcoming. President Margie Yee Webb is a dynamo. The writers bought lots of my books, which is always nice. While I was in California, I drove down to San Jose to visit my dad, and my brother Mike joined us. Thanks to both of them for their love and hospitality. There's nothing like a hug from a loved one.
I also fell in love with the GPS I rented with my rental car, so I bought one of my own. With my gift for getting lost, it has already saved me several times. It's also good company when you're driving alone, even if all the voice says is "turn right. Turn Right. TURN RIGHT!"
Then it was back to Oregon to finish my article for October's edition of SeaPort Magazine. I also got the good news that I'm a finalist for A Cup of Comfort for a Better World. Keep your fingers crossed.
I'm still blogging away and working on other writing and editing projects, too.
The music biz
I'm also doing a lot of church music these days, playing at least two Masses every weekend, plus music for the kids on Wednesday nights. That's a lot more fun than I expected it to be. Most of the songs are done with gestures, and I'm glad I'm playing guitar because I'm totally uncoordinated. But it's great to look up and see hands flying everywhere.
I played at a celebration of life/garden party last month. I keep thinking of Rick Nelson's song. You know, "If you gotta play a garden party . . . ," but I was playing classical guitar. My steel string is in the shop since it decided to crash into the base of the mic stand in the middle of Mass and crack. Alas, but it's in marvelous hands and will be better than ever when I get it back.
Oregon Coast writer events
The coast branch of Willamette Writers will welcome poet Marianne Klekacz Oct. 6 at the Newport Library at 7 p.m. She'll get us writing poetry even if we've never tried it before. Admission is free. Oregon State Poetry Society will hold its annual conference here in Newport at various locations, starting with readings and an open mic at Rogue Ales on Friday, Oct. 16, moving to the new Oregon Coast Community College Central Campus in South Beach for workshops led by Laurel Blossom and Judith Montgomery all day Saturday, then to the Visual Arts Center Saturday at 7 for readings by Marianne Klekacz and Laurel Blossom and an open mic, concluding Sunday morning with another open mic, followed by tours of the Oregon Coast Aquarium for those who are interested. For more information, visit the web site.
Super Sunday in Newport by Matt Love, Nestucca Spit Press, 2009. These short essays, first written and presented at the Café Mundo open mic and on Matt's Myspace blog, are like Dove chocolates, every one delicious. They're irreverent, unbridled and real. We feel his frustration, his joys, and his tears, and we get a close-up look at the true Oregonians who populate this place and hang out at the taverns where Matt finds many of his ideas. Crazy people he met, Christmas at the Sandbar, runs on the beach with his dogs Ray and Sonny, a love of nature and hatred for the plastic plugged-in culture inform this terrific collection. Writing Out the Storm by Jessica Page Morrell, Starbound Publishing, 1998. I picked this up at the 2009 Willamette Writers Conference, hoping for a little encouragement to keep going in the midst of my own personal storm. This book includes some of that, but it takes only two words to sum up the whole 247 pages: keep writing. Morrell, author of mysteries and many books for writers and a great teacher, offers pages of encouragement and writing wisdom, much of it the same as I have read elsewhere. Perhaps most helpful are the exercises at the end of each chapter, where it says, "Try this." These are bound to lead even the most stuck writer to a more creative place. We're Just Like You, Only Prettier by Celia Rivenbark, St. Martin's Press, 2004. Put a feminine spin on all those "You know you're a redneck if. . ." jokes and that's what you have in this series of essays spun off from Rivenbark's columns. One of several books she's got on the market, We're Just Like You, Only Prettier, a treatise on the differences between Southerners and everyone else, made me laugh out loud all the way through. How could one not with chapter titles like "Let's Just Get 'Em Hitched Sometime Before We See the Head" and "Your Kid's Fever is So High, the Others are Standing Around Her with Marshmallows on Sticks"? Not only does she make me laugh, but Rivenbark is gorgeous, talented and sincere, which makes me want to read everything she ever wrote and beg for more.
Well, the stores are full of Halloween goodies and a few Christmas items, too. Our Oregon rain has returned on a part-time basis, the leaves are gathering on the lawns, and the days are getting shorter. Happy birthday this month to Brandon, Michael, Betty, Beth, Gidget and everyone else celebrating their birth this month. Let us offer our prayers and help to everyone in need.
All contents copyright 2009, Sue Fagalde Lick
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