Things on Cowboy’s Head: Guest Post


Guest Post: Nova Dog (above) just turned two, and she’s still very much a puppy at heart. Additionally, she is an enormous help making the bed (as you can tell from the photo above).


General Catch-Up…

catch_upEvery now and then, I like to do a general round-up post about what’s going on in my life. It’s a nice break to write about something else other than books and reading, and it helps me keep my life on track when I can see it as an overview. So – this post is one of those posts.

The weekend was so RAINY. I know, rain may be more common in your part of the world, but I happen to live in a semi-arid environment (almost a desert/scrub-land sort of world), and so rain does not come often. It tends to be rainy in May, but apart from that month, there’s not much precipitation coming from the sky.

So, guess what? It rained for almost a full two days over the weekend. It must have been a couple of inches, and it was pretty steady throughout, with occasional minutes of heavier rain. Normally, I love and adore rain, but since we have brought Nova (a young German Shepherd) home, we’ve learned that she is one of the biggest fans of rain and mud in the entire canine world. If there’s mud or filthy water or puddles, you can almost double-dog* guarantee that she will be in with all four paws for most of the time. I’m all for having a good time, but Nova? You need to wipe your paws when you come in the house. Muddy footprints *everywhere* and on our clothes from when she jumps up to say hi, and so the house has been FILTHY. Sigh.

Image result for muddy german shepherd

This isn’t Nova, but it well could be.

This rainy weather also meant that there were some good reading moments at my usual hangouts, and this was great. Got to get some reading and writing done (no ‘rithmatic though :-)), and I found this to be really satisfying. The past weekend had been spent completely re-organizing my bathroom cabinets and some of my bedroom drawers which has meant that some of this weekend was spent walking around admiring my now really tidy storage. (Am I the only person who does this?) The reorganization was one of the more satisfying ways to spend my time, and I managed to get rid of two shopping bags of bathroom junk which has freed up a ton of space now. Aaaah. Bliss to open the cabinets and see lots of empty space and what has remained now corralled in storage containers…

(One thing I’ve learned about organizing is that those canvas over-the-door shoe hangers are magnificent for storing bits and pieces apart from shoes.)

Reading has been happening as well. I finished Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain the other day. Incredible read and highly recommend any of Boyle’s work. (He is one of the more prolific writers so quality can vary, but most of his stuff is great.) That’s led to me prowling the TBR shelves (as you do) to find my next read which ended up being Mary Norris’ wonderful memoir/grammatical manifesto called From Me to You. Norris has worked at The New Yorker for years and is known as the Comma Queen (gotta love that title), and this is a fun read to experience. It’s good to hang with your own tribe every now and then.

Then I’ve been missing reading a classic of some kind, so I’ve picked up Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Love it completely, but Hardy is so good anyway.


Watching: We’re riveted to the new Masterpiece show about Queen Victoria, and now I’m curious just how accurate the narrative is. (Cue reading Victorian biography I have sitting in my shelves…  In a minute…)

Saw a French movie called Elle which took some awards at the recent Golden Globes. (My recommendation is that you don’t pay money and time to see this film. So much violence against women that didn’t contribute to the forward movement of the plot…) One movie that more than makes up for that yucky experience is Hidden Figures which spotlights the contributions that a small group of African-American female mathematicians made to NASA’s early space flight program. (Really good film.)


And then we’re in the process of researching new furniture for the living room and now narrowing down the choices to “really comfortable” combined with “not bad looking”… It’s not as easy as it sounds, let me tell you, but I think we have it narrowed down to a manageable number of pieces. The next step is to measure… We’re looking for a settee/couch set-up which sort of “hugs” you when you sit in it (as opposed to “bouncing you out” when you first sit down). It’s a lot of sitting down in furniture shops right now, but as I mentioned, we’re getting there. Hopefully something by the end of the month, which means that we’ll also need to sell the current furniture to make room for the new purchase!….

Know anyone? 🙂

  • See what I did there?…

It’s been a while.

Avi Dog having a rare moment of stillness in his puppyhood.

Avi Dog having a rare moment of stillness during his puppyhood. His energy switch was only on or off, and mostly on. One of the busiest dogs we’ve ever known. He will be missed.

Sorry for that unexpected absence. Life and work intervened with full force for a few weeks, and suddenly we’re almost at the end of August.

One of the saddest decisions that we had to make was to put our five-year old Australian Shepherd to sleep as he had what’s called dropjaw. This is a rare neurological disorder that affects the muscles in the head, particularly the bottom jaw, and makes it so the dog can’t eat food or drink water as his jaw muscles have been paralyzed. (Similar to a stroke in humans in some ways.)

After driving Avi Dog to several vets (including one six hours away), he ended up with the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia (or dropjaw), a condition which usually resolves itself in 3-4 weeks (according to the few reputable websites which talk about this condition).

So we all soldiered on with Avi:  hand-feeding him (still hungry) and hand-watering him (still thirsty), giving him IV drips to help fluid intake, and going for short walks.

However, as time went on, his condition didn’t seem to improve and he lost his ability to swallow. (So not only could he not eat or drink anything, but even if we put this in his mouth behind his tongue, he would choke on it.) It was heart-breaking and after numerous emergency trips to the vet, it became obvious that although Avi’s spirit was willing, his body wasn’t.

So – here’s to Avi Dog. Our house seems very empty without the Black and White Tornado (which was a description of how much energy Avi had all the time), but he fills our hearts.

I’m back. (You know you missed me.)

I have just got back from a lovely trip to England to see friends, fam and rain. Luckily, I rec’d all three which made it fab. In the meantime, until I can see straight past the jet lag, here is a gratuitous photo of Muttley the Ancient One looking happy the other day. She is just about to turn twenty years old, so every day is a good day from that perspective!

Muttley the Ancient One (dog)

Pets Post…

It’s been a while since I have forced you to enjoy photos of the creatures with whom I share my living space (DH excluded)… So to make up for that appalling oversight, here is one with Muttley the Ancient One (20 year old black mixed breed pup) and Fergus the Cat (18 month grey and extremely chatty kitty) on a walk. (Addendum: This pic below was just selected for an exhibition. Yahoo. Mutt is especially pleased.)


The cats have all learned to come on the short walks for Muttley, and so it’s sometimes quite a sight to see: four cats straggling out one after the other (and rarely leading the way) along with old Mutt (who walks slowly and in a very dignified fashion) and Avi Dog (who walks very fast and is unable to walk in a straight line on leash as he has so much energy and there is so much to look at that he doesn’t know how to concentrate on that…Oh look – SQUIRREL!)


Avi Puppy Close-Up

Curious as to the correct plural for a group of cats (herd?), I dug online and found the suggestion of a “crowder” of cats. I’ve not heard this word before, and there are few references to it for the sake of credibility, but it’s rather fun to say. “Our crowder of cats came with us on our early evening walk.”

And then, as I have been also neglecting Cowboy’s web presence, here is a close-up of her. She is such a fan of eating and is working so hard to become an expert in the world of food consumption that her nickname is fast starting to become CHOWboy. Snarf.