Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another dog tale - two living happily in a truck cab

An enormous shiny red Volvo truck cab minus its trailer parked outside the Pasadena Dog Park last week.

It is state of the art - no manually shifted gears, just an automatic shift resembling a small baseball bat with a selection knob on top.

Traveling cross country from Colorado to southern California every week  were the the two drivers (man and wife), and their two larger-than-average-size dogs - a Sharpei named Winston and an Italian mastiff named Paolo.  Their first stop in Pasadena is at the dog park, where the four-legged occupants romp happily and the two-legged drivers stretch their legs before heading to 24-hour Fitness - part of their regular routine.

The two truckers share the 17 hour drive to Breckenridge and back  - each driving halfway.  They recently acquired the mastiff - a replacement for one who died a few months ago.  The Sharpei looks old and a little weather-beaten.  Paolo, on the other hand, has a long way to grow into his extremely floppy loose skin.  He flops around, skin sagging and drooping from chin, chest, hindquarters.  When it's time to get back in the cab, he puts his paws on the first step, and gets lifted up and shoved in.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying their 'life on the road' - the dogs sleep, the drivers drive, the products get delivered.

Summertime and the fruit is tasty

The Saturday morning Farmer's Market in Pasadena draws enormous crowds, especially during summer months. Every third or fourth vendor offers strawberries - very much in season, and all advertised unashamedly as 'the sweetest.'  Stone fruits, berries, even a few apples - along with a glum-faced farmer whose booth promises that his hydroponically grown tomatoes are 'like a tomato should taste.' When I saw this legend on a banner over his booth I started to laugh.  I have yet to find a really good tomato (other than from a backyard garden) in any grocery, high-priced or tumble-down, anywhere on the west coast.

The beefsteak tomatoes grown in the southeast are beyond compare.

Haven't tasted the tomatoes I purchased from the cheerless farmer yet.  I'm counting on them having a happy taste - despite his gloom.

A year or two ago the parking lot at the market was redesigned.  Apparently in order to make every driver crazed.  Bumper cars in a maze.  Each entrance overflowing with long lines led by a gas-guzzling vehicle, blinker on, unmoving - waiting forever to squeeze into a too-small space.  Exiting is as difficult. Every driver in a moving car maneuvers triumphantly down a single lane,  while all the other lanes merge to a standstill.

Post script - the tomatoes did not 'taste like a tomato should' - no big surprise.  The next time I went to the market the crowds were as big, and the drivers were just as impatient.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

He's in the dryer

Rose, our mobile groomer, knocked on the door to pick up MaeRose.  I asked where Darby was -
the response - "He's in the dryer, and he really seems to like it."

For the next hour I sat and giggled at the idea of Darby being 'in the dryer.'  Sort of like imagining him in the oven, or the dishwasher.

Of course, I had to see for myself.  The dryer is a large glass enclosed rectangle, with sliding doors -
which wafts a gentle breeze.  Much nicer than a loud electric blower.

Stroll in Sierra Madre Part Two

Friday morning in Sierra Madre - white-bearded man crouched on curb -a pug  on each side - one yapping as ferociously as only a pug can.  Across the street a young man pushing an acoustic lawnmower.
Where do they find someone to sharpen this relic?

At the crossroads - ginormous black mastiff-like dog, large black poodle, various others of lesser identity.

Several loose cats - MaeRose at leash-end tugging till her collar strangles. If she were a few pounds heavier, she and I would tumble.  I have put the gentle lead back on Darby to slow him down - he is not lured by cats, just too eager to dash down the street at walk's onset.

Sierra Madre neighborhood walk - again

Walking through the park this morning we saw a neatly dressed gray-haired man with two young girls by his side.  Both girls chorused  "May we pet your dogs, may we pet your dogs?" They ran up telling me
"we've been trying to get the those men over there to stop fightingtheeyllls. "  After they had repeated "fightingtheeylis" and I asked if they were talking about "owls," their companion (father? grandfather?)
translated "fighting Israelis."  Rather startling comment from the under-five set. Another notch in my belief that adults mold and children are pliable.

Later we met one of the first-grade classes from Sierra Madre School, lined up along a wall outside Bean Town, slurping ice cream from cone and bowl.  "MaeRose, MaeRose," greeted Charlotte, jumping down to meet us. (Charlotte and her sister Madeline are among the faithful readers we meet for our monthly Barks and Books visit to the Sierra Madre Library.) We were soon surrounded by a swarm of children
patting every inch of Darby and MaeRose front to back, top to bottom.  Their teacher promised to visit us next time Barks and Books meets.


Beverly Cleary - on the occasion of her 95th birthday

The first time we read a Henry Huggins book my sons were four, six, seven and eight. They, and I,  were so enchanted by Henry's adventures, that I wrote Beverly Cleary a thank you note - for writing stories which rambunctious young boys found laugh-out-loudable .  About that time I also wrote a fan letter to Bob Keeshan - aka Captain Kangaroo.

Dare I say that was 48 years ago?  I received  a reply from each.  Wish I had saved them.