July 31, 2011

Another how many things can you get wrong day. Plus doodles.

 

It has been another of my HOW MANY THINGS CAN YOU GET WRONG days—including HOW MANY WRONGS CAN THINGS GET YOU.  I began by making a total horse’s rear end of Grandsire doubles for pity’s sake at service ring and Penelope saying later when I moaned to her about it that even Vicky and Roger get it wrong sometimes was no comfort.

            What with one thing and another this week—chiefly ME and visitors—hellhounds and I have mostly been hurtling around town** and I was determined to get out of town today, and I chose one of our favourite walks, from Ditherington up and down dale to Warm Upford.  We’d got off later than I planned, of course, and our footpath had meanwhile become glued up with frelling tourists***.  We streamed past these impedimenta and shot out into the farther-from-where-you-can-have-parked-the-car reaches, where the crowds thin out.  And then on the way back. . . .

            There was an era when All Stars’ laces were waaaaay too frelling long.  I can even date it for you:  all the All Stars I bought at Jack’s Shoes the year I was guest of honor at Wiscon—2005†—had laces for Paul Bunyan’s thigh boots, and I’d noticed more of the same elsewhere around that time.  I was wearing one of these pairs today.  I had about sixteen knots in them . . . which had stealthily started coming undone on one shoe.  And I managed to put my other foot in the resulting loop and fell down.  ARRRRGH.  There was language.  There was quite a lot of language.††  There were also two skinned knees, one of which is trying to turn into an aubergine†††—I’m in shorts—a skinned elbow, a mildly wrenched wrist and a fairly significantly sprained finger‡ and some major temper.  I was in no mood to appreciate it at the time, but when we got to the top of the hill there was a woman with three small children attempting to hide in the shrubbery.  I think she heard me. . . .

Ajlr

Love, love the flying foogit! And there I was, thinking you’d started a new line in chrysanthemums. 

There is something rather mysterious about foogit reproduction.  Perhaps there’s a vegetative stage that has been hitherto overlooked?

Diane in MN

I will also want a commemorative plaque on the wall of the ringing chamber and a quarter peal of Cambridgerung in my honour.

If you bring them a five-figure donation, I don’t think you’ll have any problem with this! 

FIVE figures???   . . . You’re buying a lot of doodles/books/Special Items of Interest, then, are you?  Thank you very much!  Very happy to arrange for a plaque and a quarter peal for you too!

blondviolinist

Yes! I am going to have to buy a foogit doodle. (Though the muffin with fangs is hilarious.)

You can buy both.  Indeed, I encourage it. 

Okay, we’re going to try again with frelling WordPress’ photo-loading skwitzlflagelblat.  And I am looking at the amount of time I’m spending on all this, which several of you have brought up, and I’m thinking I may raise the doodle prices slightly—make $5 merely a ‘thanks and best wishes from the New Arcadia bells and Robin McKinley’ sans doodle, and then the lower end doodle for $10 and the upper end doodle for $15.  Which would make the following $15, and Friday night’s $10.

I'm not sure even for $15 I can manage this level of value-added muffin too many times. I know you don't eat a muffin with a knife and fork but a table knife, um . . . and Charlie's is the only cafe known to sell champagne by the glass . . .

    

Pegasi are kind of scary--cartoons don't really lend themselves to breathtaking beauty. But I can do bats. Lots and lots of bats.

       

The muffin with fangs was someone else’s idea.  I had thought of baked goods with teeth, but I hadn’t got round to experimenting yet.  Is there anything else anyone out there wants to suggest of a doodly nature?  As I keep saying I can only do what I can do, and I think Death of Marat would look like a blob in a pudding basin . . . although that brings up another question, that of labelling.  The map of Damar, supposing anyone is mad enough to request it, isn’t going to look like much without a label, for example. 

I feel this is also better with a label.

 

Which reminds me of another caveat:  I need to get as much blog material out of this auction as possible, and if anyone asks for anything I find particularly amusing and can manage to draw, I will post it here.  I won’t post your name but I’ll post it.  This will eventually include things like the sonata for three harps and bicycle pump, and the knitting, supposing these deranged items sell. . . .‡

 * * *

* But she gets lots of points for trying. 

** This doesn’t necessarily mean pavement.  There are fields a few minutes’ walk from here^.  But there aren’t enough of them, and not all of them contain public footpaths.

^ Any of my three ‘heres’

*** Including the kind with aggressive off-lead dogs.  What is the matter with people?  I got some fool woman smiling and saying hello to me while her two gigantic frelling Labs were busy climbing all over my hellhounds.  They didn’t seem to have mayhem on their minds^, fortunately, but they’re still off lead and twice the size of either of mine.  And their owner was paying no attention. 

^ Minds? 

† I had to look it up.  Dates?  Remember?  Are you kidding?  I did very well to remember Peter’s and my 20th.  Oh, gods, the hellhounds have a birthday in a fortnight. . . I wonder which one it is . . . . 

†† Don’t forget that scientists have proved that swearing eases pain.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/8458163/Swearing-can-help-relieve-pain-study-claims.html 

Yes, I know I’ve posted it before.  It’s relevant to me kind of a lot.

††† Eggplant.  The purple kind.  Yaaaaaay arnica.  I still have a knee.  And that pale lavender is rather attractive. 

‡ And it’s my clicking finger. 

‡‡ And meanwhile when is the freller going to start?  Well, there’s a slight administrative hiccup out of Blogmom’s and my hands.  I am hoping a solution will arrive during working hours tomorrow.

GUEST BLOG FROM OISIN, continued

 

As you will gather from all that I have said, my lot is not the privileged one of teaching Music college entrants exclusively. A fair number of my pupils have nevertheless gone to read music at university, and several more have gone into professional musical careers. My name appears on the LP label of a disc issued by a former pupil, and another pupil opened his own recording studio and sent me a hit single that he recorded with a soloist so famous that her name has exploded completely from my mind. One of the first pupils I introduced to the world of electronic music and digital recording now has his own studio, runs a backing track company and makes more money from music than I do, even though he does so part-time!

Not that I don’t have fun teaching the less able – my view is that the deciding factor is what the pupil is getting out if it. I have in the past had people who were about as musical as a London bus, but derived so much pleasure from it that I regarded it as my obligation to continue as long as they wanted to keep coming. Conversely, I have had pupils who were musically very intelligent, but preferred lawn-mowing …

Musical intelligence is something I’ve realised seems to manifest itself irrespective of background, and even inclination. It is present when the notes seem to make sense to the pupil – some pupils, bless ’em, stare at the same tadpole for hours and at times can’t find it on the keyboard, let alone work out what it is actually doing there. It is also quite independent of musical background knowledge and listening. Sadly, no assumptions whatsoever can be made about the general access to recorded music (I do not refer to the ubiquitous bindweed of mainly undistinguished and indistinguishable pop/house/garage/garden-shed/snakepit/ music). A survey was carried out some 8 years ago which found that fewer than half the households in the UK had ANY books in them at all. I shudder to think what the statistic would be for what I call art music. Yes, I like some pop, and a lot of modern jazz, but it’s entertainment, for pity’s sake, not brain food …

I am often asked about ages for starting lessons.  At the lower end of the antiquity spectrum, it is a matter of the ability to concentrate, coupled with a genuine interest in the instrument. A piano is good in this respect – left open and accessible, it can be tinkled on-the-fly, when walking past. A move beyond the look-how-much-noise-I-can-make-with-my-fists to the playing of single notes is also a Good Sign. As far as lessons are concerned, I require of pupils of all ages the ability to concentrate on the unending flow of wisdom, and the tact to stay awake for the duration of the lesson (normally 30 minutes). For the “mature” student, the concentration is assumed – what is often a problem is the time for practice. Busy lives lead to priority conflicts – ultimately, a decision has to be taken on the relative importance of work at their instrument. From time to time the realisation dawns that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is rather more partial to vegging out in front of the box, or simply leaning against the nearest wall staring into space …

Age, Dear Reader, has Very Little To Do With It. True, the older you get, the slower the assimilation process, but a combination of realism and B-mindedness will get you a long way. Basically, if you have always wanted to learn, find a good teacher, and go for it. My oldest beginner was 70 when she started. She was hampered by possessing the musical sensibility of a charging rhinoceros, but her age was not the problem!

Finding a good teacher. Qualifications are good, but far from the whole story. Track record is the perfect indicator. A teacher who merely teaches isn’t usually the best – someone who performs regularly* and preferably has lessons themselves from time to time is a much better bet.** The rigour of subjecting yourself to examination is the sign of an open and mature mind, besides ensuring that you stay in touch with what it means to be a pupil*** , and thus be on the receiving end. In the UK, membership of a professional body such as the ISM is very desirable, and gives an element of accountability to what can be an independent and totally unregulated operation.

So – in a nutshell of Brobdingnagian proportions a few thoughts on this music teachering game. If you ask nicely and make the appropriate sacrifice to the H G††, maybe she’ll let you ask questions – if someone could also remind me what else I promised to write on, that would help.†††

Always assuming that you found this palatable enough …

           … if not, don’t tell me – enough realism, already.  

Oisin, with many thanks to all my pupils over the last 185 years, especially those who have become good friends.

* * * 

* Yes.  He does.  He’s chief organist at the big Catholic church in Mauncester.  I mean big.  I’ve seen smaller castles.  He also plays regularly at St Radegunde—my home tower—although I’m not sure what his title is.   And he’s forever being frelling late to my music lesson/cup of tea on Friday afternoons because he has some frelling wedding rehearsal to attend, at which he will discover that they’ve changed their minds about the playlist and rather than Mendelssohn’s Wedding March they’ve decided they want Mahler’s Ninth as transcribed for solo organ.  The wedding is tomorrow.  

** Yes.  He does this too.  But he won’t say so himself.  He takes lessons from a scary overachieving world-touring organist demigod based in London.  It is testament to Oisin’s ability/attitude/B-mindedness that he comes back from these sessions feeling energized and inspired.  I think I’d just cry.  Although after several years of Oisin—especially since he got his home computer organ monster—I’ve gone from thinking that organ music is all very well in its place, which is to say in a very large church where I am not present, to thinking that if I were thirteen and talented I’d be all over organ lessons.  As it is I think there is an enchanted-pipe-organ story beginning to stir and, er, boom, in the back of my mind.^

^ One does what one can. 

*** Pain!  Paaaaaaain!

†Yes.  A positive paragon, our Oisin.  Pity about the whips and hot pincers.

†† Chocolate is always good.  Totally preferred over chicken entrails, etc. 

†††  More guest posts.  THINK OF QUESTIONS.  PLEASE.

‡ Hey, this is my blog.  We don’t do reality here. 

‡‡ And first rate enemies.  En garde, balourd!^

^ Snork.

 

And now, back to business

 

 I CANNOT, OR, AT ANY RATE, IN A FAMILY BLOG I CANNOT BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH I FRELLING HATE FRELLING FRELLING FRELLING WORDPRESS.  I HAVE RELOADED THE $10 DOODLE PHOTOS IT KEEPS EATING, AND THEN THROWING UP IN INTERESTING CONFIGURATIONS ON THE PAGE, AND THEN ZAPPING INTO A PARALLEL UNIVERSE, NOW THREE TIMES AND I AM TIRED, AND I HAVE A BLOOD PRESSURE HEADACHE, AND HAVE I MENTIONED HOW MUCH I HATE WORDPRESS????  AND I WILL TRY AGAIN WITH THE $10 DOODLE PHOTOS TOMORROW.

Our visitors left today.  Sniff.  Listen, stay longer next time, I promise to lose Thurn and Taxi.*

            Meanwhile, back at the drawing board, I’m having a little trouble with my equipment.  Last time I did serious drawing I used pencil and then inked in over it, but while I will undoubtedly do some pre-pencilling for some of the more esoteric doodles** I don’t have time for the slow sexy languorous deal with the individual nibs and the bottles of ink—I want one of those high-tech drawing pens*** with the frictionless points and a nice medium black line. 

            I went to the big W H Smith’s in Mauncester, which used to have a not-to-be-sneezed-at art-supplies department and . . . ew.  They have a few wildly overpriced kits for people who like the idea of drawing†, a few sizes of drawing pads including the A6 I think I’ve told you I’m going to be using . . . and not a whole heck of a lot else.  Frell.

            So I came home with some A6 pads, and this:

Pink! Spotty! Who can't use a few more office supplies, especially when they're pink and spotty!

Waste not, want not.  They were on sale.††

So, with the kitchen table at the mews clear of such mutable obstructions as guests, I have been wrestling with a series of ordinary stupid rollerball pens, with varying success.  Fiona and I may have to have an expedition to a proper arts supply shop.  I’m still getting my eye in, not to mention my fine motor control and my brain is still only semi-present.  But if doodles do turn out to be popular I have to have an implement that lets me throw them off without major loss of life or time.  But these will do to give you an idea.

Sample $5 doodles. Well, someone suggested a muffin with fangs.

 

More $5 doodles. I should specify that's a flying foogit, seen from above.

 

 

BurgandyIce

So… I’m following along silently ecstatic about the chance of getting something – from a doodle to a book to a book with a doodle… and now I’m a little nervous. As happy as I am to toss doodles and dollars at each other, there’s an awful lot of us and only one enthusiastic doodler. (Who has a lot going on, let’s not mention.)

I will throw doodles back! And, since you mention it . . . $15,000 would do nicely, thank you. . . .

Then again… it’s better not to think overmuch, creeping whatever-it-is. Best to avoid the logical “how many doodles per hour to doodle three thousand cool, personalized doodles fast enough to save the bell-ringers.”

Yes, I’m avoiding thinking about this too—except to say that there is going to be a LARGE CAVEAT POSTED when all of this goes live††† that again, if the doodles—including doodled books—prove popular, it’s going to take me some time to crank them all out.  I would have said that any regular readers of this blog already know about my less than mature and magnificent relationship with time‡, and while if I get 3000 orders‡‡ I will produce 3000 doodles‡‡‡, it’s going to take me a while.  As observed:  there is only one of me.  And I have ME and a living to earn.  And hellhounds.  Etc.  So . . . don’t worry too much.   Remember that these are not fine art, they’re doodles.  And be patient.

Aside from being concerned over boring practicalities, I’m already saving to buy as much as I can.

Oh good.  Goody goody good good good.

 * * * 

* I told Oisin about my drunken agreement to sing the next time they’re here and he sniggered.  Then he said, How long do you have?  Probably quite a while, I replied. 

            If not, I will have to be sure to have pneumonia.  Or at least a very large frog in my throat.  Like sort of an alligator.  

** Esoteric happens early when you’re as out of practise as I am. 

*** Relatively high-tech.  I can’t afford whatever the current fashion in to-die-for is. 

† And will take the kit home, strip the cellophane off, stroke all the pretty chalks and brushes and coloured pencils and . . . put the whole thing in a drawer and go back to whatever they were doing before. 

†† A friend recently sent me this, for some reason.  I have no idea why.

Who, me?

 ††† Which if I can get my slow butt finally in gear, should be soon 

‡ For example, all those UK edition PEGASUSes that people won . . . uh . . . several weeks ago, will be going to the post office on Tuesday.  Which is the next Fiona Day.  Any time anybody wins anything, don’t start counting till the next time Fiona is here.  The doodles I can post, but books?  Books wait for Fiona. 

‡‡ Eeeeeep. 

‡‡‡ I will also want a commemorative plaque on the wall of the ringing chamber and a quarter peal of Cambridge rung in my honour.

Follies, vehicular and personal

 

It has not been a good couple of days to have ME in.  Not that there are ever good days to have ME, but the perniciousness of it varies.  In theory we and our visitors were going to have an excursion today—I’d even done my homework and got up a little list of possibilities—and I was wondering how I was going to fudge this since while I am beginning to recover from this particular bagged by the bad guy situation* it’s kind of a slow process and the standard excursion set up of driving to somewhere, doing something when you get there and driving home again sounded a little extreme to me.  I’m still in the crawling [note:  crawling] up behind the Lord of the Nazgul with my sword phase, it’s been kind of a long few days, I’m not feeling my best, I’m not sure anything useful is going to happen even if I manage to stick my sword in him, ** and I may need to go lie down again afterward.

            And then when our visitors arrived yesterday—after unforeseen adventures including a blocked-solid M25***—their big fancy brand new wheelchair-adapted car was going BLINK BLINK BLINK I NEED A MECHANIC BLINK BLINK, so they left it at Third House and we experimented with getting Luke and the necessary support paraphernalia into Wolfgang, during which it was proven that Wolfgang has some tardis blood . . . and that Luke and Andraste are amazing, but we kind of already knew that.

            This morning I rolled out of bed†, performed the slo-mo version of a hellhound hurtle, but since we’re finally having some SUMMER WEATHER†† we were all content with an ambling pace, and came home via Third House to find out what was going on.  What was going on was that the RAC††† bloke had come and done the Professional Long Face and Andraste, looking somewhat shell-shocked, was waiting for the frelling tow truck, with no idea whether any of them would be going anywhere any time soon. . . . It’s okay, I said, Third House is not fully booked for the rest of the summer hols:  the Duke of Clarence doesn’t arrive till next week.‡ 

            So Aaron, Luke, Percival, hellhounds and I variously strolled down to the mews to infest Peter, leaving poor Andraste to her fate.‡‡  And questions therefore of excursions were (on my part at least) not entirely regretfully set aside, since Wolfgang is only part tardis.  Luke, Percival, Aaron and I played a game of Thurn and Taxis‡‡‡ in which I totally ploughed them under, coming in with twice as many points as any of the boys, by the excellent strategy—which I have used before on such occasions with this family—of doing exactly what I’m told.§

            The good news is that the Frellingmobile only needed its gerkinblitch replaced and they had one in stock.  Yaaay.  Jubilation, not to mention the return of Andraste before she’d spent all their remaining holiday money on downloading books from amazon to read while she waited for the garage to do something besides drink coffee and complain of their backlogSo there was a certain amount of perhaps superfluous jollity around the supper table tonight, assisted by—ahem—champagne.  Usually I have the sense to wait till I’ve eaten something before I start hitting the champagne but when there are six of you you don’t want to linger, so I didn’t.   Meanwhile, when I was helping them unload yesterday I had discovered an Interestingly Shaped Object which upon application Percival admitted was his guitar.  Oooh, I said.  In response to nagging, I mean gentle request,§§ he brought it with him today and after supper . . . played.  And sang.§§§  What it is to enjoy performing.  Although the fact that he has a, you know, voice, helps.  He’s now started taking proper voice lessons and apparently great minds think alike because we’re singing a lot of the same stuff for our teachers, whereupon Andraste said, okay, Robin, now you sing something!

            No, I said.  I haven’t had that much champagne.

            Oh, but performing is good for you, they said, more or less in harmony.  And we’re friendly! 

            I still blame the champagne, and my already-ME-weakened defenses.  And the warm furry bonding moment of finding out that Percival also loves Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel.  Not this time, I said, weakly.  Next time.

            Okay! they said (still in chorus).  Next time!

            Remind me to have pneumonia. 

* * *

* I think

** I love it that in hindsight, with the whole paranormal/urban fantasy thing as huge as it is now, that Tolkien, the one true god of high fantasy, can be seen to employ . . . zombies.  Well, the undead anyway.  And as a metaphor for ME the Nazgul will do nicely.  The whole of Book One of the FELLOWSHIP will do rather too well as a description of being hunted down and nailed by the beggar.  And unfortunately most of us don’t wake up in Rivendell with Gandalf at our bedside in the next chapter.^  

^ Yes, I know there are five books to go . . . and that Frodo ultimately can’t go home to the Shire and relax.  At age eleven that was the first time I’d ever run into—or at least recognised and taken in—the fact that stuff changes you.     

*** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M25_motorway  Blocked-solid is its natural state. 

† And fell to the floor and lay moaning 

†† No sweater with my shorts.  —Which is a pity, because I’m wearing my fabulous £18 steal.^  The Mauncester knitting shop apparently—I had no reason to know this before February this year—every now and then sells off all the gorgeous high-level knitted stuff that their staff makes and that they hang about the place in a showy and come-hither manner^^, for pretty much the price of the yarn.  Or less.  Yowzah.  

^ It’s pink.  

^^ The appropriate yarn and the pattern always prominently displayed, for people like me to look at, laugh painfully, and head for some other yarn to fondle for comfort. 

††† http://www.rac.co.uk/ 

‡ Speaking of the undead. 

‡‡ Technology is wonderful.  We had a pretty much running commentary of what was going on with Andraste by text. . . . And I have found it very amusing to spend a couple of days in the company of people as techno-addicted as I am.^  I may or may not have told you that my lust for an iPad was partly fuelled by hanging out with Percival and Luke . . . whom I am now going to trump with my iPad 2 . . . of course supposing it ever dranglefabbing arrives. 

 ^ In their rather more clued in ways. 

‡‡‡ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurn_and_Taxis_(board_game) 

§ When this was reported to Andraste, who lives with three games-mad boys, she said crisply, Just so long as the girl wins. 

§§ I’m older than he is.  He has to do what I say.  Ha hahahahahahahaha

§§§ Including The Four Chord Song  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I

which had me crying with laughter and I only recognise about half of the songs.

How to Make Beds When You Have Acute ME

 

Sit down.

Remember that there was something you needed to do.  Stand up.  Decide that whatever it was wasn’t that urgent.  Sit down again.

Remember that you have hellhounds.  Look at hellhounds.  Look at hellhounds looking at you.  Contemplate the concept of ‘walking’.*

Put harnesses on hellhounds.  The problem with putting harnesses on hellhounds while sitting down is that hellhounds immediately hurl themselves in your lap.  Serially.  But with great emphasis.**  Guys.  Do you want to go out, or do you want to go on with this really bad impression of Yorkshire terriers?***

Totter outdoors.†  Totter several times around a block or several blocks or some damn block-like things.  Or something.  Pick up dog crap by kneeling down first, so you don’t fall over.

Go home again.

Sit down.

Take harnesses off hellhounds.

Stare.  At anything.  It doesn’t matter what. ††

Become aware that you have been sitting staring for rather a long time.  Remember that there is something you need to do.  Have vague memory trace that it has something to do with Third House. 

Groan.  Put harnesses back on amenable hellhounds.†††

Trudge up to Third House.‡  Convince hellhounds to lie on a perfectly nice comfy pile of blankets‡‡ in the sitting room.

Sitting room?

Sit down.‡‡‡

Stand up.  The sofa you’re sitting on is one of the beds that needs making up.  First you have to take all the cushions off and then you have to pull—pull—it open before you even get to the sheet thing.  We do not do this . . . pulling.  Whimper.

Stagger into bathroom and cling onto linen cupboard door for support.  Stare at pile of sheets.  Remember how much trouble you and Fiona had trying to find the one fitted sheet big enough to go on the queen-size in the bedroom.§

Take sheets into sitting room. 

Sit down.

Decide to tackle the sofa with the pulling-out thing last.

Go back into bathroom.  Stare into linen cupboard some more.  Pray to the Linen Fairy.  Pick up likely-looking pair of sheets and take them into bedroom. . . .

The fitted sheet FITS. 

Attempt to do small shaky jig of joy, and a salaam to the Linen Fairy.

Sit down.

Put pillow cases on pillows.

Sit down.

Go yet again into the bathroom and stare into the depths of the linen cupboard.  Pick out third pair of sheets and some more pillow cases.  Creep upstairs on hands and knees and collapse panting at the top.§§

Sit down.

Make bed in attic.

Sit down.

Go back downstairs again.  Possibly on your bum, like a two-year-old.

Sit down.  Fend off hellhounds, who were afraid a roc was going to sweep into the attic and steal you away.

Stand up.  Go into sitting room.

Sit down.

Make bed.  Including the pulling-out thing.

Lie down.  Fail to fend off delighted hellhounds.

. . . It was all worth it though.  Our visitors brought champagne. 

* * *

* We elect not to contemplate the concept of ‘hurtling’.

** This is particularly unpopular when I’m wearing shorts.^

^ My weather aps keep predicting summer weather.   They keep lying.  I put on shorts . . . and then I put on a sweater.  I feel silly in shorts and a sweater.

*** Or possibly Jack Russells.  It’s amazing how high those legless little frellers can jump.  I was assaulted by a Jack Russell puppy today—fortunately the hellhounds were not present—so once he was already in my lap I turned him over and rubbed his tummy, and he nearly died of joy.  Not one of your dominant dogs then.  I’m even on record as disliking Jack Russells^, but I like anything that is made this happy this easily.  And, you know, puppies. . . . 

^ I dislike Labs too, for exactly the same reason, that I’ve met too many of them wrecked by stupid humans.  We had another non-incident yesterday that I had no way of knowing was going to be a non-incident:  a frelling Lab on the far side of the little park we were walking across which I assumed was far enough away and wasn’t—and I am so not in the mood for an adrenaline spike when I saw the thing streaking toward us with all its hair up and its useless owner vaguely calling after it.  I had just about ascertained that it was a bitch, which possibly meant this was going to be less of a bloodbath than I feared with two male hellhounds, when she . . . slammed on the brakes and sat down about six feet away . . . and turned her back toward us.  Hopefully, if you can turn your back on someone hopefully.  I know this is a submissive thing, but I find it a hoot every time—I’ve also chiefly seen it in female Labs, I don’t know if they’re particularly prone?+  So I permitted the hellhounds to lunge in her direction, and there was general rejoicing.  Dogs.  Gah.  Oh, the useless owner was still on the far side of the park, calling vaguely.  I nearly went home with a third dog.  I might not have minded. 

+ Supine really.

† Attempting to rebuff Chaos, who wants to bite the insides of my bare thighs.  Ow.  If this were a paranormal romance he would suddenly morph into Alan Rickman^.  It is not a paranormal romance, and Chaos is a twerp.

^ And we would both be thirty years younger 

†† If I am sitting in the chair by the front door, I am facing the tallboy, which mysteriously has a number of fake roses tied, clipped to and hanging from it.  Next to it on the wall is a meat save . . . with a particularly excellent fake rose appended to its dome.  Hey, I know what I like, and so do all my friends. 

††† Oooh.  We’re going out again already?  Oooooh. 

‡ Where the pond is full of waterlilies.  Palest pale pink waterlilies.  For these waterlilies I almost forgive my predecessor for the ducky and chickie tiles in the kitchen.^   I’ll try to remember to take a picture.

^ And the plastic baronial chandelier. 

‡‡ Noooooo!  This is not our bed!  This is not our space!  We cannot lie here!  We must tirelessly patrol the borders!  Tirelessly!  Patrol! 

‡‡‡ Ooooh, say the hellhounds, who were looking for an excuse not to lie down any more.^  Isn’t that a sofa you’re sitting on?  That looks a lot like a sofa to us.  Weren’t you saying something about wanting us to lie down?  

^ They’ve been lying down at least twenty seconds.  What am I expecting?  Miracles? 

§ There used to be three.  Where did the other two go?  Burglars?  Bats

§§ The carpet up there is still new and, you know, shiny.  Lying on it is a pleasure.

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