Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Good Walk

What makes for a "good" walk? Must be at least four blocks long. A sunny day. Meet and greet with friendly dogs. Lots of good smells. Alice letting me sniff to my heart's content more often than not. And, for Alice, some nice things to see and do, too.
Today, the midday walk was good. Six blocks long. A stop at a favorite bush at the artist's house. Alice likes the poppies there. Down the street, people talking about the house under construction. Cody, a construction worker's dog there, gave me some updates the dogs know but the people do not.
The Secret Mountain Lab's person was out with his Great Dane and Bulldog. When the Bulldog gets tired he rides in the sidecar. When it's hot, he sits there under a little red parasol.
A "photo op" for me by some California poppies.
Long talk for Alice with a neighbor about houses in the neighborhood and parenting skills. I stretched out on the hot pavement for a sunsoak. Then cooled off in the shade. Repeat.
Two little girls gave me nice pats by these roses. They were very gentle and soft spoken. My favorite types of humans.
A good walk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Random Thoughts

Last Saturday, I had long snoozes in sunspots while Alice got blown to bits in San Francisco. Gusts over 40 knots. Icy blasts. Lots of rescues by the Coast Guard of wet sailors under the Golden Gate Bridge. Perhaps one of these sailboats trying to beat out to the open ocean got swamped?
At a museum nearby, Alice tried to find a single thing I would have liked. The pork meatballs in the cafe are the winner. But, not a single dog is allowed there except for working "servce" dogs. Bummer.
As for "art", she thought this painting of a spaniel peeking out from under a tablecloth at some poultry and other nice things would fascinate me if any good smells were associated with that painting. No smells, so why bother? Sometimes I simply cannot understand people.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Tibetan in England

A photo of one of my relatives is for sale on EBay. Alice and I had a long look at it. We both thought it would have been hard for that one to keep his/her paws clean since it seems no one ever bothered to trim the long paw hairs there...
Makes us think about how in China - and Tibet, too - in olden days wearing ridiculously long sleeves by the humans was considered a way to show one did no manual work. One was not a peasant! One does no work in the fields!!
Well! I'd rather be a peasant with nice, clean, and neat "Italian shoe" paws than an aristocrat with a nutty costume forced to wait for someone to help me get clotted mud off the paws.
Or worse! Never to be allowed outside to sunbake on the dirt or grass! Egads!!! To be stuck always indoors or watched like a hawk outside. Never allowed to ivy dive. Lawn diving onto wonderful smells. No real natural pleasures.
I know what that sad little dog in the photo is thinking. How about a romp on real Earth in the sun?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hanami at MemChu and a Firing Squad Line-up

Karen came for a visit. Lots of long walks for me with her! She and Alice went to see a big flowering double cherry. Again, I do not see the point in that. Sniffing the trunk, yes. Peering at flowers, no.
I'm still not sure why people like flowers....
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Rockies, this group of central bankers and finance ministers lined up, "firing-squad" style as professional PR photogs dislike so, across the street from the Willard Hotel in Washington DC. They missed completely the Cherry Blossom Tea at the Willard earlier this month. Could have seen those fabulous displays of cherry blossoms, Alice says. Talk about lousy timing for a big meeting of their kith, kin, and ilk. They COULD have been in DC for the peak of the Cherry Blossom season. Walked around the blossoms. Sniffed the tree trunks. Meditated on the fleeting time of life as those blossoms remind one to do, says Alice.
But no. Instead they pulled out their dark suits and lined up as if ready for a funeral or a firing squad. One is out of the loop. He did not get the word: black suits only. No blue suits....
At least one had an iota of fahion sense in honor of the season. Naturally, 'twas a Frenchwoman, Christine.
I bet all of them who have dogs would have prefered to walk their dogs instead of posing for that picture. If not, they are simply not decent dog people.
That's my opinion and I'm sticking by it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Monks, a Pug, the Presidio & a Slow Speed Chase

On Wednesday earlier this week, I went over to the Office of the Red Chair while Alice walked across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in her life. A pug and a big tall dog walked, too. Monks led the march. Everything was very peaceful and beautiful, Alice said. The cops all looked supremely bored.
On 'tother side of town many people got all hot and bothered about a "torch". Alice decided to go cherry blossom viewing in the Presidio instead. Here are some blooming trees near the Yoda statue. Yoda was a kind of monk imagined by a Mr. Lucas. Alice liked to think what Yoda would have done had he been in San Francisco that day... For starters, he would have been marching on the bridge with the other monks. Approve of people yelling in the streets? No, approve he would not.
On her drive home, Alice listened to the CBS newsradio. Many reporters were trying to figure out where the torch with its "Olympic" fame was headed. Quite a lot of confusion. The reporters were out of breath from running. Some on bicycles. It popped up on Van Ness Avenue. Went north. With a WWII duck truck! Would it go on the Bay aboard the duck? It turned left along the Marina! Would it cross the Golden Gate?
Alice fervently hoped it would not. The bridge should be only for peacful things today she thought and some people were getting very "interesting" such as the ones who lay down on the street trying to stop the torch and who were "cleared off" by the cops in less than 30 seconds flat.
Alice got home and watched the unmarked torch-bus process to San Francisco Airport. A slow-speed-chase ala O.J. Simpson. (One can only imagine the new slow-speed chase costumes for this year's Bay to Breakers run... If people can dress up as Jeannies, they can dress up as torch runners, "protectors",cops and yelling protestors.)
A colleague of Alice's was at the send-off dinner for the torch at the airport as a former Olympian. She reports there was a nice spread of food at the United Airlines VIP lounge and that the blue and white torch "protectors" are actually very nice. They are under orders not to smile in public or interact with them. Sorta makes them look like thugs, Alice thinks. The sort who would never smile at a dog and ask to pat one. The SFPD cops on the bridge smiled a lot and chatted quietly amoung themselves.
I could not be more bored with this fiasco of silly humans following a torch. I was deep in dog ESP meditation with all the dogs of the world, the Dalai Lama, and even the spirit of Yoda, himself.
Some things matter. Some things simply do not.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cats, Dogs, Hamburgers, and Flags

Lots of real estating earlier "today". Alice was impressed by a cat door and a cat stairway at one property. A special cat lives there. Was luxuriating on its person's bed pillows while Alice took these pictures.
I was impressed by some flags at a house on the way to see another house where Alice had a hamburger and brought me half of a cut-up hamburger patter. It was tasty. Worth waiting in the car for that.
Most good things are worth waiting for. As that special cat knows, too.
I am wondering if the dog of that doghouse by the front gate of that big house with the hamburgers is a good waiter. I hope so.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Jiu Jin Shan -Old Golden Mountain

My extended Tibetan family today is closely watching Old Golden Mountain, as the Chinese call my local big city, San Francisco. This morning, Alice and I awoke to the news radio reporting climbers on the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic was at a standstill in many places. The winds were strong - and stronger where the climbers were. Very dangerous. The reporters said the climbers were expected to unfurl a banner about Tibet and the Beijing Olympics. Alice and I decided to take a walk to think about things while the climbers climbed higher.
I hoped they would have a Tibetan national flag since it has cartoons on it of two of my relatives. Maybe the symbols of the flag with the Team Tibet logo? And I also thought how many in cars - including dogs - might be annoyed by the traffic jam.
Alice thought about her great-great-great-great grandfather,John Hossack, who left the Scottish Highlands to find food and work in America after the English defeated his nation's army and decided the crofters and clansmen should be "cleared out" in favor of higher income and tax revenue produced by sheep and wool farmers. The Highland Clearances. The wearing of the tartan and the playing of the bagpipes was forbidden for a long time by those in power from London.
Alice thought about what her ancestor, John Hossack, would think about the Tibetans. She expects as a very active abolitionist who was arrested himself for helping a runaway slave, he would have marched for the Tibetans and helped pay any fines the climbers will be charged for harming the bridge and interferring with traffic on a highway. John said it all in Chicago about freedom from oppression in a speech he made before he was sentenced under the Fuguitive Slave Law in 1860,

"...Gladly would I lay in this prison if it would arouse the people of this state to control their own jails, sheriffs, and jailers, and decree an eternal divorce between them and the despotism that wields the General Government, that blights territories, and stalks over the free states, imprisoning whom it pleases, and where it pleases. Men of Cook county, if liberty is not a farce, I ask you to ponder these things."

She also thought about the other side of her family from southern Ireland who had to leave after the potato famine and much too much persecution of the Catholics. If you were Catholic you could not get a government job. The Irish were forbidden from wearing of the green and speaking their language by those in power from London.
Well. The Irish did not give up. Lots of violence and struggle. Hunger strikes by prisoners in the 1970's.... But they finally joined the European Union. A new rule of law for all. The first Celtic Tiger economically. A roaring success.
The Scots got their own Parliament back again just a few years ago. And the Scottish Crown was delivered back to them by the English royal family. It took a long time....
And now, all over the world, the Scottish and the Irish cultures thrive thanks to their painful disporas.
The Tibetans have had a dispora, too. In their old capitol today, no one can get a government job without speaking Chinese well and denouncing their religious leader.
How long until those in power in Beijing realize the Tibetans need not be feared as those in power in London for hundreds of years feared and oppressed the Irish and the Scots? I hope the answer will be nonviolent as the Dalai Lama has preached for decades.
Erin go deo.
Scotland Forever!
Om mani padme hum.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hanami at Scampi's Home

Last week during a break between business meetings, Alice and Pika's person went to Marjorie and Scampi's home for some hanami. What is "hanami"? Cherry blossom viewing of course! Here is Pika's person under an old cherry tree.
Marjorie was a lady who loved flowers and especially Washington DC. She would have driven around the Tidal Basin to see the famous Japanese flowering cherries. And she planted many herself at her house in the woods nearby.
Scampi was her very last dog. A Schnauser. He had a special bed in her library and he rests now with the other long gone pets of Marjorie's family in wooded pet cemetary.
Here is Pika's person looking at each of their names carved in black stone beside's Marjorie's Dacha cottage.
Marjorie was an active supporter of many "causes". She was famous for supporting the American Red Cross, helping to get the Washington DC ballet a proper home, and I've no doubt with her four Cold War bomb shelters at her Rock Creek house she had plenty of kibble for Scampi and any other dogs for disasters. She was an uber-prepared person, Alice says.
And, Alice is sure Marjorie and Scampi, Coco, and all her other dogs did plenty of hanami in Washington DC each Spring.

Brave Hannah, Max and Wuzzy!!

Yesterday morning, Alice went to the church where Penny's people were married for a Red Cross shelter exercise. More than a hundred people came for three hours along with three very brave dogs: Hannah, Max and Wuzzy. The people set up cots, put makeup on people to simulate bad injuries from an earthquake which real docters and nurses from DMAT-6 had to triage, and all the people got cheese and P&J sandwiches.
The dogs had to make do with water.
But, they had many people taking care of them as if this was a real shelter for pets and people. Here is Hannah with her Bonnie and a Red Cross animal control volunteer, Ariel. If it had been a real disaster or a longer exercise, there would have been a volunteer from the Humane Society to help with all the animals. With treats, food, and pet bedding, too. And walks.
One of the DMAT-6 doctors told a story about his scariest experience last year at the QualCom Stadium shelter for the San Diego fires. There he was, walking in a parking lot talking to his wife on his cell phone, happily eating an apple.... with a loose Shetland pony in pursuit of that apple. Guess who won?
Anyway, I hope all reading this have disaster plans to ensure their human and animal families will be taken care of during any disaster. Alice makes sure we have lots of extra kibble and Greenies on hand and hopes we never have to be evacuated from home. It's tough to be evacuated even for an exercise. It's very scary, says Hannah, until the people you trust tell you everything will be OK.

Alice is Back and We're Exhausted

Alice came back very early in the morning yesterday. I asked how her commercial flight was. "An aerodynamic success," she said which means it got her from Point A to Point B with little fun or comfort involved. She should travel more in the small planes she likes better. Then I could go with her!
We collasped finally together and caught up on sleep with a proper dog afternoon nap. Lots of dreams. All good.
Aren't afteroon naps snuggled together wonderful when you are totally exhausted?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Alice Sees Pika!

Yesterday, Alice went for a walk with Pika and Pika's person to a place with a lot of tulips and grass. I am a bit jealous. Must be calm. Think positive thoughts.
Hmm. Ommmmmmmm.
OK. I am getting lots of attention, lots of nice things to eat, plenty of walks and "opportunities"... And I *do* get to sleep in a very big bed with two people. A nice warm and cozy pack. Life is good.
And Alice will be home soon.
I am thinking of the two-foot dance I will give to her.
And, she is thinking at this very moment how much she misses me.
Pika says, "Alice, go to bed!"