Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sophie the Wonder Dawg

~1994 - 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Passing of Time

Sorry to be such an infrequent poster these days. It is not because I have been kidnapped by trolls, or am sick in the hospital, or have a broken writing hand. It is more due to the demands placed on me by life and all its little complications.

Things have been going well around here of late. We enjoyed a very nice Indian Summer period that ended suddenly as a cold front came rushing down over the Canadian tundra and hip-checked Summer into next year. That's not to say that we don't have the occasional beautiful fall day. We do, but today is not one of them unless you are a duck. It is cold, rainy, and windy. The sky is a study in gray's with clouds scudding across the surface of Lake Superior.

Inside, it's nice and warm. If fact, if we have had a problem so far this fall, it is the warmth of the house. It's tight - very tight. We get enough solar absorption, even on a cloudy day, to warm the house into the mid-seventies. Which is nice I admit, but at night, you want to snuggle under a light down comforter while you listen to the gale outside, but it's just too warm. I wind up throwing the quilt off of me in the night until I cool down, then it's back on, then repeat.

As problems go, this is a pretty petty one.

A week and a half ago I took the White Whale over to the local road track (Brainard International) for the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Audi Club of North America. It was the first time I have had Ms. Piggy on the track in five years. She performed admirably and we made it through with no scratches or abrasions. The one exciting moment occurred as I was rocketing full bore down the longest straight away in North America and let off the gas to make my shift into 5th gear. Problem was the tachometer went the wrong direction. Instead of falling as you would expect when letting off the gas, it pegged over to the right as the engine screamed from the massive RPM jump.

Long story short, I turned the engine off at 110 mph and began my coast to the nearest exit. Fortunately, there was no one immediately behind me or the outcome might have been much different. There were cars in my run group capable of hitting 180+ at the end of this straight and I didn't want that complicating and already unusual situation.

Once off the track, the problem was quickly diagnosed and resolved, but it was a bit of an unintended adrenaline rush.

The kids are doing well. Kate is enjoying her second year in college and has turned into a massive football fan. Joe is busy with his junior year of high school and two jobs in the food industry. Sophie is still with us but not for long I fear. Her cancer is making breathing difficult (and noisy). We call her Snuffleupagus now. I have had conversations with the vet about end of life issues and we are simply waiting for Sophie to indicate that we should move on it. She appears to be pain free and alert and she still has a massive appetite though you wouldn't know it from the look of her. She looks like she has been locked in a room and starved for months. Poor thing.

One of the things that I like about living here is the ease of getting into the woods. I have been taking advantage of that as often as I can by sneaking away for a few hours to search for the wily grouse that are at a population peak this year. Since Sophie is no longer able to accompany me on these rambles, I have begun to take Saffron which may seem like a surprising choice since toy poodles are not generally seen as bird dogs. That may be, but Saffron seems to love the chance to run wild in the forest which is a pleasure for both of us - birds or no.

We make quite a pair. She in a red sequined T-shirt (pricker protection) topped by a hot pink harness with reflective strips and me - unshaven, long gray hair sticking out wildly beneath a blaze orange camo cap, and the other day, shod in crocs because I forgot to put on my boots. There has been more than one instance where we met other hunters and they had very quizzical expressions on their faces at the encounter.

All that said, it is rare that we do not come back with one or two birds for the larder. We enjoyed a meal just this weekend of partridge roasted with onions and apples and sauteed sage with a baked squash on the side. Ummm, yummy.

On the health front, everything seems stable. I still have the congested chest that requires coughing to clear the junk in my lungs. It is an annoyance for me and nothing more at this time. I see no signs of the lymphoma and will have a better idea of how we stand on that when I go to my next Mayo appointment early next month. I paid a visit to my new dermatologist here and left with part of my cheek frozen and a bit of my neck missing near the site of a previous biopsy. Results still pending as of now, but I am not worried.

Halloween is coming and I am still having difficulty finding my first choice costume. Apparently after 9/11 all UPS drivers are required to leave their uniforms at work since anyone dressed as a UPS worker can penetrate the most stringent security and endanger the country. Who knew?

So, I am coming up short at every attempt at securing a suitable uniform. I have a plan B, but since Marisa and I are teaming our costumes, it will affect her as well. If any of you have a UPS uniform stuffed in the back closet or attic, how bout loaning to to me for Halloween?

Tata for now.