Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What we do to our pets....

Click to enlarge the humiliation. 
My friend and colleague Bailey Joy-to-the-World Means is a Christmas fanatic. Since having her in class at UMaine some years ago, Ms. Bailey has gifted me, and now Bailey Tuckerman, a wide range of Christmas paraphernalia.  If you'd seen her in class as December appeared, you'd know I was not the only recipient of her Christmas cheer. Most of all I marvel at her organizational skills of getting gifts out to her wide range of friends and family. Knowing this effort, I do my best to dress up Bailey Tuckerman in the gift. This year, as with 2011's Santa Watch hat, my obliging pup was less than enthusiastic.      

However, at this point in his life Bailey probably knows that after the humiliation there's the Yuletide pay-off. This year, a humongous bone from Uncle Fred's stuffed with treats. And so it goes....

The Yuletide Bone

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Shaming...

I heard that when a farm dog kills a chicken that some farmers tie the dead chicken, or parts of it, around the dog's neck. I guess the act is a reminder and a shaming, and after a few days I'm sure the dead chicken has to be downright disgusting.

Click to expand photo.
This morning, Bailey swiped a  bag of holiday Chex Mix off my kitchen counter. He ate it all leaving the plastic bag in shreds on the floor. When I came back into the kitchen and saw the bag, well, I wasn't happy. The chicken farmer idea immediately came to my mind, so after several "Bad dogs," and I put the plastic bag over Bailey's head.

I headed back to my office and  left him standing in the corner of the kitchen when I snapped this picture. Eventually, Bailey came skulking in and lay down beneath my desk next to my feet.

After a minute or so, I looked down at the plastic bag and my devoted pup. He kept his chin on his paws and never looked up. At that moment I felt a wave of shame come over me. I lifted away the plastic bag and gave him a gentle pat on his head and a scratch behind his ears. Then, as always, his tail began to move. Forgiven again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Book: Writing the Dance (33/60)

One of the delights of the past sad year has been working with Josie Bray, a director and choreographer from Boston who teaches at Emerson College. She's also a former high school student who, at 14 years old, strode into my high school English classroom and ripped the place a part with her fine work. I wrote about Josie's work as a dancer in my class in Beyond Room 109. She undertook an ambitious independent study on dance and performed an original dance for us at the end of the quarter. Since then, Josie has worked at regional and Off-Broadway theatres, and as an assistant on several national tours and the recent Broadway Revival of Ragtime.  
Josie was the Co-Artistic director of the Animus Ensemble, a Boston-based theatre company, for five years and also served as the Executive Director of Green Street Studios, Center for Movement and Dance.  She currently teaches at Emerson College and is producing a new musical intended for Broadway.  Josie practices yoga and Pilates, experiments in the kitchen, and spends time with her hilarious husband, Jack, and their energetic preschooler, Redd.


Thanksgiving in Florida

For many of the past 40 Thanksgivings, I've celebrated with my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara & Ken. We've shared the holiday at our camp in Weld during snowstorms, at my home in Rumford, and in their various homes in Boston, Bar Harbor, Los Angeles, and Florida. Once, we went to the Concord Inn in Massachusetts and sat in a narrow hallway of the venerable old inn. I think we've been to Copley Plaza and the Ritz Carlton in Boston, too. But then again, perhaps those celebrations were at Christmas.

This year, Ken and I celebrated in Florida. We power walked, played tennis, and hit our favorite haunt, Shrimpers. BKT would have been proud of most of our activities. Ken got me to try a Manhattan; we watched football; and on Thanksgiving we got all dressed up and headed over the Miles Grant Country Club for dinner.

That we were ignored for the first 15 minutes after being seated irked us. It was, after all, 4pm and we knew that our bottle of chardonnay stood in a refrigerator off in the bar. We also had a young server who hadn't been trained well. She smiled as she poured Ken a full glass of wine to sample and pushed the salad into the main course and the main course into dessert. It felt a bit like a diner at lunch time.

But none of that mattered. We two sat at our small table with an empty seat. We talked about what we would have talked about had Barbie been there. But she wasn't, and that was the plain sad fact of Thanksgiving 2013.

4000th Manhattan

1st and last Manhattan

My favorite sister.