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Ok, so, let me just throw out the hook right off the bat and you can decide if you want to keep reading: This story will get to a point where my stepmother is packing heat (yes, a fucking gun) in the middle of the night with her 60 year old, pot smoking, Grateful Dead lovin’ neighbor friend to kidnap a puppy from a different nearby neighbor that is known in the area simply as “that crazy motherfucker.” So, if that doesn’t interest you, I got nothing.

You’re on your own now.

My stepmother. I’ve never mentioned her here before because she and I have little contact and when we do it is either slightly awkward to somewhere around full blown THIS IS SO AWKWARD, awkward. She and I just don’t click. We have nothing in common but my dad… and our deep and sometimes mocked and sometimes (admittedly, but with no shame or apology) over-the-top passion for all things alive. But mostly, we are just so very different in every single other way. The first time we hung out she took me to get our nails done. I am a lesbian… with no nails to be “done” really, but whatever. She is a wonderful woman, we’re just not a match. But she is perfect for my dad and makes him remarkably happy, in a way that rests me assured that he has found the one. She is beautiful too. Quite beautiful. My dad is a fine lookin’ dude himself, don’t get me wrong, but if someone was to whisper “trophy wife” behind their back, I wouldn’t be surprised nor would I defend this.

So, a few weeks ago my stepmother, Marsha, was on a walk with a friend of hers when this adorable little yellow lab puppy came running into the street, her whole body wiggling, tail a-flappin, to say hello.

My dad and Marsha  live out in the boonies, so by “street”, I mean a semi-paved area where cars, although very rarely, can go to get from place to place.

Also to note, Marsha is not an animal lover, she is a fanatic. She has three horses, 4 cats, several fish, a few birds and a little dog. She also has an unheard of relationships with the local deer, skunks (you heard me), snakes, birds and other wildlife in the area. And by relationships, I mean, she knows and cares for them, as individuals, and they know her, as a safe place in a way that is totally appropriate in that they are still totally wild, but that just doesn’t happen with wild animals and humans.

So, this little wiggly puppy comes running into the dirt road and Marsha and she go into that crazy frenzy where the dog is rolling all over the ground while Marsha is squeaking all of these sounds about how she is “da cewtest widdle puppy baby ever ever ever!” when all of a sudden the neighbor, lovingly known as “that crazy motherfucker” comes to the edge of his property, still behind a fence and says, “Sorry ladies, that little shit spends her whole day trying to get out of here. Can you grab her for me?”

Marsha grabs the little yellow lab and hands her over the fence while commenting on how adorable she is. When “that crazy motherfucker” got his dog back he said, “It’s all looks so far” and as Marsha and her friend start to walk away Marsha turns back to see “that crazy motherfucker” on the ground, tackling the baby dog to the ground, choking her neck with his hands to where the puppy is coughing only to then stick a running water hose down her throat. And as the puppy is gasping and gagging he is chanting, “You don’t dig holes! You don’t leave the yard!”

Here’s the obvious piece: My stepmother freaks out. She is so freaked out that she can’t speak. She runs home, leaving her friend on the road to find her own way and shuts herself into her bedroom and sobs uncontrollably for hours. Later that night she calls the police. She tells them that the puppy is being seriously abused and that she will file this complaint as a witness.

The police pretend to listen, say they’ll come by and eventually it is obvious that they are going to do nothing.

Days go by and my stepmother is a wreck. My dad tells me that what she saw has turned into the only thing she can think about.

Dad tells her it bothers him too but he doesn’t know what they can do but to continue calling the police when they see incidents.

So, here’s the awesome part, the reason I’m writing this story.

Dad is out of town on business for a few days. Marsha has told a few close friends in the area what happened and to let her know if they see or hear anything about this poor little puppy so that she can file more complaints.

One night last week, Tuesday, one of her neighbors calls, “Marsha! The puppy is out in the yard… alone.” Marsha told this friend, the 60 year old pot smoking hippy, to meet her at the south side of their property (they have several acres) in 10 minutes.

Marsha has a plan. A plan that she had built and rebuilt in her head more than 20 times in the last few days. She already knew what she was going to do. So, when the adrenaline took over it didn’t matter, she was ready to go.

To start, she grabbed a gun.

Like I mentioned, they live out in the middle of nowhere and my dad travels, plus, my stepmother is a badass cowgirl. She triple checked that the safety was on and tucked it into the back of her pants. She grabbed a leash, checked one more time that the safety was on and she left the house at 11:30 at night.

She met her neighbor right where they had planned. Marsha figured this was a quick bedtime pee break for the puppy and knew she needed to act fast. She knew the dog’s name because the “crazy motherfucker” had called the dog, “Danny” a few times as he shoved the water hose down her little puppy throat that day.

With her right hand resting on the gun in the back of her jeans, she whispered, “Danny! Danny come!” And she and her neighbor friend waited.

Nothing. They couldn’t see anything either. It was a particularly dark night.

“Danny!” She exclaimed. Sounding a bit more serious and with some panic, “Danny come here!”

They waited. Minutes went by.

Her friend looked to her with a face that read, “this is over” when all of a sudden a little blond baby dog came bounding towards them in a pitch black night with that run that new puppies have, where all of their legs are there and working, but definitely not yet in sync. She ran so hard and so fast in the dark that Danny slammed her head into the fence right in front of Marsha.

Marsha, in a single bound, hopped the fence, grabbed Danny and handed her to her neighbor. She hopped back over the fence, took Danny back and said, “At this point we’re in trouble. You should just go home. Thank you so much for the phone call.”

The next morning, around 7 a.m., my dad got back from his trip. He travels a lot so his return is standard: his little dog greets him, Marsha gives him  a hug and a kiss and makes him a latte (or dinner or whatever), the cats rub up against his leg and then he and Marsha go and tend to the horses or watch a movie or whatever.

This particular morning he came home, walked inside his house, put his suitcase down, only to find the most adorable little yellow puppy bulldozing towards him, who then jumped up on her hind legs, putting her paws on his thighs and started licking the air profusely until he finally picked her up so that she could attack his face with her tongue. He was amused and he admitted this to me when he told me this story, but he was also very concerned and very mad.

Here’s what happened next:

Dad: “MARRRRRSHAAAAA!” (this was far from the first time he came home to a new animal in the house)

Marsha: “Oh you’re home a bit early. Hey baby, want a latte!?!”

Dad: “Don’t do that. What the hell is the crazy neighbor’s dog doing in our house!?”

They talked it through, Marsha told him what had happened and after he calmed down he very begrudedly agreed to participate in what I call “saving a dog’s life” but what could also be legally recognized as “grand theft puppy”.

So, the little puppy lived with them for a few days before they could figure out what to do. She was quite thin for her size so Marsha spent most of her time feeding her and rubbing her and kissing her widdle face all over.

If they could, they both agreed they would adopt Danny, but with the “crazy motherfucker” less than a quarter of a mile away this was not an option, so, Marsha did her research and found an adoption agency that specifically deals with abused animals needing to relocate. She explained the situation, minus the fact that she was packing heat at the time of the kidnapping and they agreed to take the puppy and find her a home. Two days later Marsha brought Danny to this agency where they then took her to her new home.

Danny’s new home is big, with a lot of land to run free, which clearly she needs. There are three young kids and two parents. So far Danny has not attempted any great escapes, making people feel even more confident that this is a good fit for Danny. Marsha said she’ll keep up with them every now and then, making sure Danny is ok and the family invited this idea.

My advice to the family: Best of luck with your new little wiggly baby dog! But also, check yourself before you wreck yourself. If you don’t do right by little Danny don’t get all surprised when a pretty good looking shy-by-day-but-don’t-fuck-with-animal-rights-by-night fanatic ends up in your backyard with a gun and an older stoned hippy lady sidekick,  all sorts of ready to do right at any cost.

Seriously. It’s happened before.

to this face…

 

It was a toss up this morning, whether to try my damnedest to finally write a post for my blog or update my resume. Somehow the space between December and now, here, feels like miles. And for the many times in my every single day I feel this aching pull to get back to this space I get stuck on, “but where do I start now?” I don’t know where to start, or where I left off really.

My life, since starting this new job, has shifted and changed so drastically and so suddenly. Mostly this is a good thing but in other ways I’ve been so consumed by all of the new that I have put aside and flat out dropped pieces of myself, like this blog, that are so, so very important to me. So, here I am, trying to get back.

Hi there, friends and passersbys. How have you been?

How about I start with the recent good in my life, the stuff that is keeping me above water as I continue to struggle a bit, to find a balance and other things:

Last week I turned 34 and for this Violet, the Seal and I went on at weeklong vacation in the middle of gorgeous Nowhere Washington where the three of us did a whole lot of skiing, eating, napping, kissing, laughing and nothing at all, all the live long days. We were surrounded by huge mountains and trees and deer, unfamiliar faces, good food, tucked in a beautiful warm cabin with no responsibilities as far as all of my mind’s attempt to circle back to worrying about something could find. It was amazing. I needed it. Badly. It was a simple get away and both Violet and I are toting it as potentially the best vacation we’ve ever had together… so far, of course.

When we re-entered reality I immediately crashed, emotionally, again. I keep doing this, which has me considering a few serious changes, one being my place of work. (The job is ideal, nearly perfect, the place in which I do this is not, but this, hopefully, will be a different post, post a resolve of sorts.) So, I skimmed the surface of responsibilities and made it through my short work week. The light at the end of this week being an evening out with my bestie in the whole wide world and universe, including all other yet-discovered worlds and universes, Rene, that Friday. She and I, as I have mentioned before, have known each other our entire lives. Well actually, I was born 12 days earlier than she, so I guess I had a week and some without her, but that, very truly, is all.

So, just this last Friday Rene picked me up so that we could celebrate our 34th anniversary out on the town together, just the two of us, which is not something we find much time for these days. And usually when we do find time together we make grand plans of going out, drinking fancy drinks and then going dancing till the wee hours. And what we end up doing is choosing to order Thai food around 5 pm., eat it right out of the containers at her place, in sweatpants (that we like to call “our eatin’ pants”) as we watch the trashiest tv we can find while talking about anything and everything, like we do. And this sort of evening is usually all said and done, with us soundly sleeping by 10p.m… 11 p.m. at the latest.

But for our 34th anniversary, for this one, Rene was pretty insistent that she wanted to go out! Wear real clothes and go out in public, together. So, that’s what we did.

We had a lovely evening, which is obvious enough. We ate, drank, and talked about everything. We wrapped things up early, like we always do, and headed back to my place around 8:30.

On the way home Rene said, “It’s pretty early, even by our standards. How about I come in for a drink and just hang out for a bit.” I thought that sounded great. I warned her that Violet was out with friends and so I was certain she turned the heat down to below freezing and that it might be chilly in there at first. Normally Rene would admit to minding this, but she just said, “Oh well, it will warm up. That’s fine.” I guess if there was anywhere to get suspicious, that was it. But I just said, “Ok then.”

We pulled up to my house, I unlocked the door and said hello to the Seal as she ran towards me like a wiggly flood of happiness, like she always does. But then…

As I looked up I saw streamers hanging from the ceiling and then… then as my eyes began to drift to the left I saw a friend of mine, Mark, standing on my stairwell, in the dark. And as my mind began to lose grip on what was real and what was not I saw another friend of mine, standing right next to Mark, standing next to another friend of mine, standing next to another friend of mine… on my stairwell. And just as soon as my brain let my eyes realize that my stairwell was covered in friends they all yelled, “Surprise!”

Violet, who, before meeting me, used to be an honest girl who couldn’t even exaggerate without blushing, had totally duped me and collaborated with Rene and everyone else that I love and adore so much and threw me a surprise party.   And let me tell you, I was so, so very surprised. After they all yelled “surprise” I started to feel this feeling, along with a mad rush of adrenaline and an overwhelming jolt of immense love for every single smiling face I also felt like my legs were going to give out on me. I don’t think I was going to faint, but I certainly couldn’t stand so I just sort of fell back onto the couch and sat there staring at the stairwell full of all of my favorites. Speechless. And if you’ve ever read any of this blog or know me at all, you know that speechless is not a common condition.

Eventually, I pulled myself mostly back together and had an incredibly fabulous evening with an amazing collection of wonderful, favorite people. Two of my newest wonderful-favorites being Jen and Sara (from we are (having) so much fun.)

Looking around my living room that night was like a head count of reasons and reminders why I am very certainly, one of the luckiest.

So, there we have it. This little snippet of the best of my world lately is my attempt to reopen the door back into my own blog and all of the other places that keep me upright in the day and warm at night. More to come… and thanks for hanging on and coming back.

Violet and I promise each other every year, as we find ourselves running out to get one last thing on Christmas eve, or as we are wrapping everything early Christmas morning, we will not wait until the very last minute to get things ready for Christmas ever again! We will not wait until the very last minute to get things ready for Christmas ever ever ever again!

This year Violet and I have waited until the last minute to get things ready for Christmas. Every year, in the 11th hour, we scramble to buy a few things and make a few things for everyone in our collective family. One year everyone got a little something we bought and a  jar of home made kahlua, another year it was candied orange rinds, the year before that it was home made hot fudge.

This year we had all but given up on making anything, as time has slipped by and we are just too busy. But then, last night we decided we should try to one up ourselves and wrap the gifts we had scrambled to get that day before Christmas morning.  But it was late and we realized we didn’t have any wrapping paper.

That’s when Violet dug out several paper bags, a potato and some paint. And here’s what came of it all:

We cut open the bags, cut the potato in half…

And then we carved:

And then we covered our potatoes in paint and stamped and stamped and stamped the night away.

We made wrapping paper, tags for the presents and holiday cards.

Here’s one of the cards (and yes, the red collar has been hand painted on each and every dog, it’s the Seal’s signature look after all):

The model/inspiration for the project?

Coolest potato ever, no?

One of my favorite neighbors lives two doors down. He’s a fabulously frumpy and usually mostly grumpy old man with a heart of gold. I’ve written about him before, just after we had our first and one of my favorite quick conversations of all time. He has a little terrier named Lily that he walks with every day for several hours. They’ll leave sometime late morning and if I catch them walking by my house we’ll come up with some quick and amusing banter and then off they’ll go until late afternoon at least. Raymond loves Lily. He’s said more than a few times, “Yep, this little gal’s my best friend, I guess.”

Any time I catch him on the start or end of his walk he’ll tell me one of three stories about Lily that I have heard somewhere between 10 and 50 times already. I’m not sure if he realizes he keeps telling the same stories or if he even cares. I listen, quickly realizing which of the three it’s going to be and laugh where I did the first time. As the story unfolds I say, “oh wow” exactly where I should and where I did the first time I heard it, and eventually end with some sort of closer like, “Well, at least you’ll never need an exterminator” just like I do each time I hear it.

A few weeks ago I noticed him walk by without the dog. I opened my front door and asked, “Hey, Raymond, where’s Lily?” He stopped walking and sort of shouted, “Who?”

“Your dog, Lily.” I said.

“He looked away and at the ground and said, “Oh her. Eagle got her last weekend. She’s gone.”

This was not one of the three stories I had ever heard and if I had heard correctly it seemed an unbelievable one. “What?!” I yelped. “What do you mean an eagle got her?”

Raymond, still looking at the ground, said, “Yep. Was up in the mountains with her, like we do. Let her off the leash, like I do, and she never came back. I seen that eagle before. I know that’s what got her. So, Lily’s gone.”

All I could say was “wow” and “I’m so, so sorry, Raymond.”

He finally looked up at me and said, “Ya well, there’s a little puppy in Olympia I already picked out. Still suckling so I gotta wait a few more weeks. Same breed. Only difference is she’s got two black eyes.” (Lily had a big black spot over her left eye.)

“Well, that’s great. What are you going to name her?” I asked.

Raymond thought a minute. “Think I’ll name her the same. Call her Lily.”

I’m not going to lie, I thought this was a bit strange, but the whole story was strange and the poor guy just lost his little best friend to a huge bird so I immediately replied, “Well, that sounds like a great idea.”

He started to walk his long walk alone and I went back inside and on with my day.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Tonight, a few weeks after that conversation, I ran into Raymond again. He patted The Seal and told me the same two stories he always does about labs (one is about how great their shit is for growing flowers) and I asked, “So, when is the new pup coming home?”

Raymond smiled big and said, “Two weeks.”

I told him he needed to bring her by as soon as she showed up and asked if he was still going to name her Lily. He said, “Well, everyone wants to name her Jazz.” I replied that I thought that sounded like a great name.

He responded, “Ya well, I like Lily best.”

“Well, Raymond, it’s your dog, name her what you want.” I said.

Raymond nodded his head back and forth, “Well, there’s another person involved with this new dog and her name.” (I assumed correctly that he was talking about his ex wife.)

I asked, “Does this other person with a say happen to be a woman?”

He smiled and nodded.

“Well then” I said, “Good luck with your new dog, Jazz.”

Remember a while ago when I posted about how the Seal shit a shirt? If not, read it real quick and come back….

::waiting::

Ok, caught up? Well, here is a golden little tidbit that fills in some long time blanks to that story. I have no idea how it came up now, but a few weeks ago Violet and I were reminiscing on all of the beautiful trouble the Seal has caused us and her shitting a shirt came up, of course. And that is when Violet’s confession came without warning or apology: “Oh ya, well she only ate your shirt because it was covered in bacon fat.

me: “Wait. What?”

V: “You mean that A-shirt of yours that she ate?”

me: “Yes, and then shit in the park, in front of all of those people. Yes. Wait. Has she shit other garments of mine that I don’t know about?”

V: “No, no. But didn’t I tell you? I mistook that A-shirt of yours for a rag and used it to clean the iron skillet. So, when I put it in the laundry it must have reeked of delicious bacon. So, of course she ate it.”

Me: (having finally learned, after years now, that picking your battles is key to long term love and so there was no need to question the obvious like, why did she use my shirt to clean a skillet in the first place? Why did she cover anything in bacon fat and then put it in the laundry? These sorts of things, you just let them go unless the moment is right.) “Ok. Well, that makes sense, I guess. As far as the Seal could tell it was a bacon shirt… that she ate and then shit in the park in front of all of those people. I get that. But it wasn’t a rag, love. It was my shirt.”

V: “Well yes, I realize that now.”

And really, it hasn’t happened since, thank god for the Seal’s poor bowels and for all of those visually scarred onlookers that morning, so who cares about one shirt of mine turned bacon-shirt turned shirt-like-dog-poo. And most importantly, as far as I’m concerned, the shit-a-shirt mystery is solved. Case closed.

Yesterday might have been one of the most beautiful days of the year (so far.) As soon as I woke up and saw the sun beaming through the windows (can be a rare sight in these parts) I rushed to get myself and the Seal outside. With Violet out of town, the Seal and I were on our own to figure out how to spend the day in the sun. After wrestling with each other in the yard a bit, we both found a sunny spot and stared up at the bright blue sky through the freshly bloomed cherry tree. Eventually we decided it was time to do a little yard work.

(yes, this is a real-time photo of the tree the Seal and I were staring at.)

After a few hours of pruning, planting and weeding the yard we took a quick break.

As you can see, clearly the Seal has her eye on something. I assumed it was probably a squirrel or the neighbor’s cat until I realized…

It was MARCUS! The photo is very out of focus because I took it from quite a distance. Marcus use to be a pretty chill raccoon but ever since we introduced the Seal to this family he is a bit more on guard, and quite frankly, can be a little intimidating. I mean, we still love each other, don’t get me wrong, but these days we do so from a far.

(that is Marcus’s “I love you. Too bad about that dog” look. Love you too, buddy!)

After our break and our brief encounter with our favorite raccoon friend it was back to work. The Seal and I had a bunch of clippings and branches to chop up for compost and firewood before calling it a day. As you can see, not only is this dog some of the best company, but she is also a hard worker.

The Seal and I are on day 3 without Violet (still have 11 days to go) and so far we’re hanging in there. The sunshine helps and knowing Violet is on a much deserved vacation makes it all ok. Like I told Butchtastic Kyle, after spending over a year apart I like to think that two weeks should be rather doable. I am not saying my posts won’t begin to sound a bit pouty, as I much prefer my world with her in it, but I prefer over all things, that Violet is happy and having fun – and that she is.

So, happy Monday all. I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

I just got a comment from Lesbian Life Style on my last post informing me that I have been nominated for a Lezzy Award. I am still trying to figure out what this means exactly but in all of the mean time I have been asked to grab this graphic and link it to the award nominations and quite obviously, ask you, my fine flanneled friends, to also nominate me (top 3 blogs with the most nominations in a particular category by the 22nd go to “the final round.” Again, not totally sure what that means…)

I was told that I have been nominated under “humor” and “personal” and am assuming that is because there is no category for “unemployed faggot dyke who has a fish and raccoon as closest friends, with an entire blog about Cher, her dog and her girlfriend, that posts photos of animals balancing random items on their head and chooses to watch Golden Girls reruns on Friday nights while simultaneously tweeting everything Blanche says rather than hanging out with real-life people award.” I’m not saying that shouldn’t be considered as a category in the future but honestly 1. Hi. You lose. I win. and 2. How very, very sad.

So, if you feel so inclined to nominate (vote for) this blog, well, shucks and thank you in advance! (fyi: Thanking someone in advance is a popular sales technique that makes the “customer” feel like they are special and like they have already done something nice, causing them to feel a temporary obligation to do so… do not be fooled by this.)

The rules for this award are that I must remain a lesbian for the duration of this contest and that you can nominate (vote) once every 24 hours. So, if I don’t make you laugh or tell you anything personal or if you suspect that I might be straight- do not vote for me! But, in the spirit of competition, I promise to make out with Violet every day for the duration of the voting period, and, like always, I will continue to share with you the personal, self-deprecating moments that come my way.

Click the pink box to make me rich and famous (that’s what she said):

Last weekend Violet, the Seal and I decided to go on a last minute adventure. We ended up driving north for a few hours to the sweet little town of Bellingham. On our way back we stopped at Larrabee State Park. There was a short wooded trail that led to a small beach. Violet, the Seal and I explored our little desert island of a beach together, walking in the sand, climbing on rocks, looking at little tide pools with sea anemone, starfish, and little crabs. At one point, maybe a few hundred feet away, we watched a blue heron stalk and catch her lunch. She was huge and her graceful ability to dart her beak into the water and come back up with a fish was beautiful and had all three of us awe-struck.

We didn’t know we were going to stop here and I certainly wasn’t wearing the right shoes for it. I had on a pair of very water unfriendly leather loafers and because of that I was trying to be extra careful not to get them wet with salt water (It was really cold and we were walking on rock with bits of coral barnacle or I would have just taken them off.) After a few hours we decided we should get going and began walking back up the beach. Every step I took my foot would sink in a puddle of soggy sand and after several steps my feet were getting quite wet. My mind thought, “I am going UP the beach, AWAY from the ocean, there won’t be any water this next step.” But sure enough, somehow every step I took landed me in water. I became more and more focused on my feet and where I was going to step next but I didn’t want to stop moving because that would make my feet sink even further into the wet sand. Eventually, I started to try and hop quickly, hoping this next time my feet would find dry land. But still, with every step my foot found water.

Finally, Violet said, “jesse, stop! Just stop and look at the big picture here.” And so, quite frustrated and soggy footed, I stopped and took my focused attention off of my two wet feet and looked all around to see where I was in the scheme of things. Because I had only been focusing on my feet and nothing else I hadn’t noticed that I was walking right up the path of a shallow but wide stream of water that was flowing from the hillside into the ocean. Three or four steps to either side was an entire beach of dry sand. So, now that I had seen the whole beach compared to where I was exactly I hopped three times to the right and that was that. Dryland.

I have spent this week more offline than usual, which honestly, isn’t so offline, but more so than usual and hence, a real lack of posting. The weather has been wonderful and in the middle of January this is not something you ignore. So Violet, the Seal and I have been outside taking long morning strolls, the Seal and I have spent some time with the 5 little fish out back, and yesterday we went to the beach where I threw a stick, the Seal ran, jumped in the water, got the stick, brought the stick back to me, where I would then pick up the stick and throw it again. We did this for a long time. It is her favorite game and somehow, watching her run back to me at full speed, like, “Don’t worry, jesse! I haaaaave theeeeee stiiiiiiick!” never gets old and always makes me nearly as excited as she seems to be.

So, to keep on with my offlineness this might well be a record short post from yours truly. Happy Friday to all.

My name is Jesse James and this website is just like me. read more about me

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