Saturday, February 23, 2013

Neighborhood watch

 Must keep an eye on all suspicious activity across the street. See that broken blind hanging down? I didn't really do that. Keeper, an Airedale before me, started it. I just kinda wriggled it. Can a dog help it if people make these things so fragile?


 UPS? Stop here! I will accept all packages.

Blast. He's driving away. I can't believe he didn't even drop off a cookie.
(Editor's note: The metal tray keeps a certain four-footed creature from sleeping on the couch. The pillows still manage to leap onto the carpet when I'm away.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Block party or crime report?



I did not take photos. The activities in question wouldn’t be suitable for a general readership blog.

I found out about the party at 9:30 when the noises of festivity in the street reached upstairs where I sat reading. The dogs did not react until I ran downstairs, grabbed a flashlight, and dodged around them to reach the front door, at which time they helpfully began barking to let me know that something interesting was going on. Imagine their misery, especially party guy Miró’s, when I stuffed them back inside as I closed the door after me.

The sounds were a screeching and a skittering, a growling and chattering, accompanied by dogs’ barking from the two houses in the neighborhood where dogs are left outside at all hours and in all weather. You know the word for that: neglect.

Without the unearthly wailing that cats make, the culprits had to be raccoons. My flashlight located them in the driveway next door, just on the other side of the fence and line of trees that border my yard. Suddenly stilled, four golden eyes reflected the light. They had not been fighting. I hadn’t known raccoon jollies were so noisy.

I really, really didn’t like the idea of there being more of these vicious animals in the area, but there was nothing I could do. Returning to my front porch, I heard the noises resume, followed by a crash and clatter that meant they’d overturned the garbage cans, a noise that finally prompted the householders to open their door.

I don’t know how far raccoons travel, if they live in that neighbor’s yard or if they just use the driveway as part of their freeway system, but I’ve seen raccoons on that property several times before. Each time I worry that the raccoons will climb the fence into my yard and get at the chickens or be here when the dogs are out, an equally bad scenario. Like any thief, a determined raccoon will break in; the best you can do is set up deterrents to make them feel that breaking in isn’t worth the bother. Note to self: encourage dogs to pee along the fence line.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Exciting news about Miró


But I have to wait a whole year. Here's the news release from the Seattle Art Museum.

Paintings and Sculptures by Avant-Garde Pioneer Joan Miró Coming to Seattle Art Museum in 2014

Miró: The Experience of Seeing
February 13–May 18, 2014

SEATTLE, February 6, 2013 – In February 2014, visitors to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) will be treated to a rare glimpse at the later works of Spanish-born artist Joan Miró (1893-1983), one of the greatest innovators of the 20th-century art in Europe. A contemporary of Picasso as well as a fellow Catalan, Miró was briefly aligned with the Surrealists in the late 1920s in Paris and went on to create a phenomenal pictorial and sculptural universe throughout his six-decade career.
Showcasing works of art exclusively drawn from the last 20 years of the artist’s life, Miró: The Experience of Seeing will bring an extensive and illuminating body of Miró’s work to the West Coast for the first time. A total of 48 works including paintings, sculptures and drawings will travel to Seattle (February 13 through May 18, 2014) from Spain’s national museum of modern and contemporary art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (Museo Reina Sofía).

... Brilliantly inventive, the artist continually pushed the boundaries of art and had a surge of creative ideas in the decades following World War II, when he embraced entirely new techniques and media.

You can see the resemblance between the works of the two Mirós..

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dog park adventure

For his birthday last week, I took Miro to the dog park and snapped just a few photos. The rest of the time, I was busy keeping an eye on my dog and chatting with people. As soon as we entered, a fellow fuzzy-face zeroed in on him. Unfortunately, Mr. Fuzz--part Golden Retriever and Airedale or Wirehaired Pointer--was not terribly wise in the ways of dog play. Like many dogs who want to play but don't quite know how, he kept trying to hump Miro. Miro would leap away, then turn and bounce on his front legs, inviting Mr. Fuzz to play with better manners. I was proud of my boy for reacting neither aggressively nor passively, but with confidence.

This park has the usual airlock type entry with a gate from the outside leading to an enclosed area where you can unleash your dog, then a gate into the park. Seeing a newcomer, dogs always run to the gate, and it's up to us owners to call our dogs away from mobbing and cornering the new dog.


I was talking to my friend Amy, Sheltie-person and a primary founder of the dog park, when Miro followed some other dogs to the south gate.

When I called to him, he stuffed his toes in his ears and sang, "I can't hear you," so I started toward him. Two women were fussing over their dogs in the airlock, one with a medium-sized dog and the other with a small dog she was hugging to her chest (good way to make the dog feel frightened). The one with the medium dog opened the gate into the park at the same time that the woman with the small dog opened the gate to the outer path.

Apparently neither woman could read the signs telling people NOT to do that. I ran.  Before I got to him, Miro slipped through both gates. Neither woman reacted when Miro walked past and started trotting up the hill, fortunately not toward the parking lot. 

I barreled past both women, clapping my hands and calling Miro to come, trying for the "happy voice" despite that heart-in-the-throat feeling. Miro turned around and would have charged right past me, but I was used to this trick and lunged for his collar, bringing him to my side. 

I shouted at small-dog woman loudly enough to make her cringe, "Never, EVER open both gates at the same time!"  I was very restrained. I did not tell her she was an idiot. I did not knock her down and jump on her. I did not throttle her or kick her fat behind. I just contented myself with fantasizing about doing those things and more while escorting a happily panting Miro back into the park.