Sunday, November 30, 2008

Don't Hate Us If You're in the East

This proved to be a perfect, long holiday weekend. I had to laugh when I heard some of my wimpy friends whine about how some of the weather here was "cold and miserable". That translates to being foggy and in the 60s. Personally, I thought it was perfect weather to sleep in late (i.e. 6:45 a.m.), snuggle with my basenji, go for a walk with her in her fleece coat and then come back to snuggle with her over coffee and the Sunday Times.

Thanks for all the comments of support for her great guest blogging. She may do another stint soon. She really is proving to be the dream pooch. She is adjusting quickly to going from being a suburban Chicago girl to a sophisticated Basenji Bay Girl. She's getting more comfortable with the noises and smells of the Mission. Even roaring motorcycles, fire trucks and growling pit bulls. We go one more block on each walk, and she is responding quickly to my leash commands. I don't want to speak too soon, but she is definitely feeling like a keeper.

While I am watching the news about delays to fog at SFO, O'Hare facing many delays and cancellation due to weather and 22 degrees back in Michigan where she was last week, I am so glad she didn't make her long trip last week. Here are just a few shots of our afternoon in the garden where it was nearly 70 degrees and then lounging in the sunny living room as she enjoyed a favorite chew treat. Now it's time to get back to work, but I am pinching myself that I am lucky enough to work from home and with such a sweet, gorgeous companion by my side.

And, of course, we won't be so smug when the rains hit and she has to be coaxed to go out in the three months of drizzle.

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Once I Was

One of the oddities of being the family guardian of photos and other memorabilia is that I keep coming across little surprises from the past. Fortunately most of them are pleasant. Tonight while going through some old cards and letters, I saw something slip out that I thought was a random scrap that should be tossed. Only after picking it up to realize that it was a piece of paper in plastic did I realize that these barely two inches of paper slipped across my arm more than half a century ago.

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The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Are you thankful this Thanksgiving? Yes, I am, with the positives far outweighing the negatives. The inventory of the negatives can sound overwhelming: horrible weekend in Mumbai and Bangkok, sustained economic paranoia, anger over Proposition 8, those spooky "Thank you Governor Palin ads, a number of friends and family members not here that were here last year and even more that I've lost over the past five years.

Yet this year, for the first time in years, i can say that I feel optimistic not hopeful. Optimism, I believe, is grounded in reality but also sees that positive change can and is happening.

When I started this blog more than two years ago, much of it focused on fairly cynical, fey, nonsensical or bitterly ironic humor. There seems to have been a slowly emerging shift as this blog as turned more personal and "serious" with great support and connection with absolute strangers -- from the great circle I met in Manhattan to the new basenji friends, most of whom I've never met, who have supported me through my fostering journey.

Like many people I sometimes I worry that I have put too much hope on the new regime coming to Washington. The high of election night may seem to have faded, but every day I feel a bit more optimistic, even knowing there will be enormous setbacks and challenges, simply from the process of seeing democracy truly happen.

About four years ago, shortly after losing my mother, seeing a second Bush administration on its way, facing my father's Alzheimer's, my cats' health declining, my aunt's suicidal plans becoming evident, I gravitated to the song below "People Who Used to Dream About the Future"by the phenomenal A Girl Called Eddy. it's one of the most wistfully touching and sad songs I've ever heard. (I featured the song in this video wrapping up my life in 2006). I always tear up when she sings "...when did we stop taking pictures?" That line was one of the things that prompted me to start a blog in the first place without any real clarity of where it would go. I knew that I had become a person who had stopped taking pictures because there was not much in my life that I felt merited documenting or cherishing.

This year, I feel cautiously optimistic on many fronts, having taken thousands of pictures over the past couple of years and sensing life is on a new route. After a great weekend of getting with friends, working on household projects and bonding with my gorgeous basenji girl.

This morning I realized that I may have become a person who takes pictures again but I don't cook the way I used to. With bloggers like Mouse, Kusala, Joy, Jill and others that are such marvelous cooks, I have been inspired to do more of that and did a heap over the holiday weekend. No traditional turkey, but I've been revisiting the Angelica Kitchen cookbook. I'm already anxious to make anothe visit back to Manhattan and make a pilgrimage to that wonderful restaurant. Anyone up for a spring blogger meet up there?

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bow's Third Blog Post: Stepping Out of the Spotlight for the Weekend

It has been fun editing this blog while my foster dad took a bit of a break. We had a nice Saturday, even if he's kind of weird and is up on a weekend at 7 a.m.! He's nice to respect that a basenji girl may not want to be up at that time, and he left me under the covers while he made his coffee, sauntered around the house and did those weird things humans do in the morning.

Finally when I heard him coming out of the shower I decided it was time for me to rise. He seems a bit bemused that I like his feet an ankles when he gets out of the shower. He doesn't know whether or not I like the taste of his soap or that I always notice a few spots he missed. We'll keep that a mystery.

I met one of the neighbors in the yard and she was nice. I was really fascinated by this huge mushroom that has sprouted up since I arrived. One of my foster dad's friends came over this afternoon and was nice. He didn't even have to bribe me with treats. I just enjoyed meeting him and sitting next to him on the couch.

It's hard to believe that it was just a week ago that I arrived in that crate all the way from Michigan. There's so much of San Francisco and California that I can't wait to explore. I can't wait until it's warm enough for us to go to the beach, and maybe I'll even get to go off leash there.

If you want to send a message to me, you can send it to Junk Thief and tell him not peek at my personal message or just go see my profile over on I have been keeping a diary over there as well. I'm going to step out of the guest editor chair and let my foster dad carry on. It's been fun doing this job, but I've got too many pigeons and cats to chase to spend too much time doing this.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Bow's Second Blog Post: Black Friday in SF

I had a good Thanksgiving. Every day I trust my foster dad a little bit more. On the first night, I knew he was safe enough that I wanted to snuggle under the covers. Sometimes when we walk on the street, my urge to chase cars or other dogs is overpowering. Then he'll call my name and hand me a Natural Balance treat. I know he's doing this to manipulate me, but if I get treats, so what? He is so obsessive that he has hired a nice woman to do parallel walks with another rescue pooch. He has also signed us up for a class with a trainer in January. He's on the web or cell phone every day talking to other canine households. Every night I see him typing "basenji behavior" or "rescue dog challenges" into When he calls in the New Age gurus, I'm on the first flight back to Kalamazoo!

This afternoon he showed his sneaky side. We went for a walk, hopped in his car and suddenly arrived at the vet's office! I was really shaking, but he held me and told me how gorgeous I am and that everything would be okay. The vet was a nice lady who put a muzzle on me which I really didn't need and then examined me and gave me a bordatella injection. I was sort of embarrassed when the vet looked at my female parts and commented on whether or not I'd been "fixed" or had a pregnancy in my history. (Please, there's a guy in the room!) She also noticed my scabs and scars from that nasty encounter in an Illinois foster home. I'm not proud of those since I am a very refined lady, and the laid back atmosphere of California and this house where I am treated as the diva that I am is much more to my suiting. The scars and scabs will heal and fade, and I am working all of my charms to make it my forever home. It's not easy to be pulled away from your home of six years in the dark of the night, then thrust into a home that included a psycho/aggressive male that attacked the resident basenjis, only to then be shuttled off to rural Michigan and without warning or explanation to be put in a crate and shoved into the cargo hull of an American Airlines plane and greeted by a stranger. But I am a trusting girl and willing to give this thing a chance. You have to realize that I am suddenly been thrust into a totally foreign world where none of the smells, sounds, other dogs, humans or weather is familiar. I am a forgiving basenji with a heart that wants to trust that my foster-dad will rise to the challenge. He is trying hard, and I give him all the encouragement that I can.

After our vet visit, my foster daddy walked me back home, gave me a pig's ear which sent me into another place, and then he sneaked out while I was chomping away. About half an hour later he came back with bags of food for himself and some treats and this new bed for me. Who told him that my favorite color is red? I may keep him after all.

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Bow's First Blog Post: Her Human Has (Some) Talent

This is Bow. My human has finished his flooring project which I supervised by sitting in my chair. Sometimes there was too much noise, and I left the room, but mostly I slept in the chairs by the window in case I needed to be consulted. Here I am in the room with the finished floor. I agree that it looks better than the carpet with its cat smells which were interesting but not to my taste. It's a bit slick when I run and need to make a sudden stop, but at least this house has plenty of rugs. My human is not without talents, but my favorite is when he sticks a bit of Gouda cheese in a Kong that I can have fun with for hours.

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Our Guest Editor Is Seeking Inspiration

Now that her foster-daddy has finished his flooring project, rests and makes social engagements, Miss Bow is taking on the role of this blog's foster-editor. She's working on some ideas...after she finishes her Pupperoons.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Holiday Weekend

We're getting rid of the BART train carpet (right) that came with my flat and I've despised since buying it in 1998. Under which is this kinda groovy but severely damaged mid-century linoleum (left).
So that the finished floor will look like this. (I got an early start and am about 15% done.)
Meanwhile, her ladyship is looking on time to time and may get around to reading that book of Kafka on the right.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Someone turns six on December 6.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free at Last, Free at Last

My weird obsession with Greenland was delighted to hear about the vote to give them their long deserved independence from Denmark, though I hope they don't go the route of poor Iceland. I was telling Bow that I've long wanted to retire there, and she told me that we'd have to split and she would start a basenji rebel group in Burundi so she'd be able to get back to her historic roots and preferred climate.

It's still my belief that the Titanic was sunk by rogue icebergs seeking Greenland's autonomy.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Interactive Monday: To All the Girls I've Loved Before

There is much debate about which is easier to handle -- male or female basenjis. With just over 48 hours together, I don't want to say too much too soon, but I am becoming a sucker for the lady basenjis.

It got me to thinking about the trends of canines in my life. In reality, there have been only three, two of which were officially mine and both of those were hounds, all three of which were girl dogs. I love male dogs as well, but not having a dog in my home since my college years, I'd forgotten how special it is to have a lady pooch around.

Mind you, I dearly loved my two feline boys who gave me nearly 20 years of close companionship, but my house is feeling so much more like a home with my new special someone who is snuggled up to me as I write this.

So here is the proud line of she pooches that came before her, and feel free to share the stories of yours.
JULIE (1964 - 1969) This lovely girl was the best possible first dog for a kid to have, and her early passing was a huge tragedy. She loved to terrorize gophers and was mainly an outdoor dog.
NINA (1965 - 1979) The little ones are always the bravest and longest living ones. Nina was a smart but devious little dog who was officially my sister's but very much the family dog. She was part of one of the first waves of Chihuahuas as a teenage girl fashion statement, and she ultimately became the close companion of my grandmother.
NATASHA (1974 - 1985) This lovely Basset fit to a T all the funny and sweet characteristics of the breed, including becoming overweight. Only after several years of my family's attempts at increasingly aggressive exercise and diet that did not work, our neurotic neighbor finally revealed over dinner "Oh, I just love that dog. She comes over every morning and I feed her 4-5 doughnuts." Just as Nina evolved from a high school pet of my sister's Natasha became more attached to my parents in my early 20s as I grew to think I was "too hip for a hound", a trend that has since reversed. If you've ever seen the movie "My Dog Skip" you have something of our relationship.

And by the by...though I'm pretty cynical and have more or less given up on internet dating, I encourage you to check out Bow's Dogster profile where she has a growing fan base. I would screen any boyfriend before she went on a date, but I know many boys are smitten by my gorgeous girl.

When it comes to Bow, all I can say is, "She had me at baroo."

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

JTTV - Season 3, Episode 3 - The Bow Show!

Okay, yes, I know it's just a little basenji getting over being shy and checking out her new foster home. The fact that it's accompanied by my favorite song by one of my favorite girl singers and starring my favorite girl dog makes it pretty special to me.

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Caption This...

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Don't Come Cryin' to Me

Just a few months after I finally paid off nearly 25 years worth of old debts, bad purchasing decisions and plain stupidity on my card with them, my hard work to finally get my balance with them to zero obviously didn't save their necks. Of course, just if they go belly up doesn't mean my debt would have been erased had I not paid it off.

Be sure to wear your shades as they rattle their shiny gold cup for their bail out.

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Lady Bow Says Happy Sunday

And isn't she even prettier in natural light?

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Bow Chronicles: Hour Three and Signing Off for the Night

I swear, this little girl is an absolute angel. She had me at baroo BAROO. Life, now that it has a basenji in it again, has meaning and a sense of joy. And isn't she even more gorgeous now that she's shed her little schmata?

My princess was couped up in a crate in a cargo hull for two flights and nearly 10 hours. I think we're going to call it a night. Look forward to experiencing her full beauty in natural light tomorrow.

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The Bow Chronciles: Hour Two Begins

We've only been together about an hour and 45 minutes, but I am already smitten by my little princess. I know that there is always a honeymoon period with a foster, but after fostering a 40 pound plus aggressive boy and now having a little girl that is barely over 20 pounds I know that in the worst case scenario I could just pick her up and remove her from harm's way.

Special "pet" names are already popped up including: Bowsie, Bow-Bow, Miss B, Lady Bow. Add your own. Did I also mention that she's a major league snuggler?

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She's Here. She's Here! SHE'S HEEEEEERRREEE!!!!

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I'm Heading Down to SFO to Pick Her Up

Welcome to California Miss Bow!

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What We're Seeing in the Mission

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Her Flight Left on Time. Five Hours to Go!

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She's Waiting for Her Next Flight at O'Hare

Someone please give her a biscuit and tell her she's a gorgeous, sweet basenji girl.

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She's Saying Goodbye to Kalamazoo

Where it's 14 degrees but supposed to be clear for flying. They're putting her coat on to be safe.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Way to Go Wago

"It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to take up space."
- Tugboat Dave

That quote from Dave was used a few months back to describe Junk Thief TV and what he attributed as being an inspiration for a great video he did that featured miniature horses and random New Orleans tomfoolery. This season of Junk Thief TV has been really sparse, and more than once I've been tempted to give it up since such nuisances as having a job, a life and foster dogs has sort of gotten in the way. (Though "The Bow Show" may be coming soon.) There hasn't exactly been a screaming mob whining "We want our Junk Thief TV", but like it or not we may end up having a few episodes here and there.

Tonight I got some good inspiration from a dozen or more short films by the video-artist Wago Kreider at Artists' Television Access over on Valencia. ATA brags that they bring you videos guaranteed to "mess with your head", and some of Wago's really did with lots of micro-edits and wacky recycling of Hitchcock, Sirk and Ray among others. My absolute favorite was "Vienna in the Desert" that used unedited sound from Johnny Guitar with contemporary footage shown above from what I assume was Lake Mono, but I don't know my desert landmarks that well.

When I first moved to SF, I went to screenings very regularly at ATA after feeling a real void after being involved in the documentary world of Manhattan and longing to be near video nerds. I sort of let my visits lapse, and it was nice to be back. Maybe there will even be a new JTTV coming soon.

Stay tuned...

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Thirty Hours and Counting

It's just above 22 degrees in Kalamazoo, and come Saturday morning, a certain someone with a golden-red coat will be making her way to San Francisco from Kalamazoo via Chicago O'Hare. I am so excited and also so nervous. I have no idea how she will react to me, California, or the trip. But after having nearly a month without a four pawed companion for the first time in nearly 20 years, I am very anxious to be able to go to the special handling window of American Airlines at SFO Saturday evening. Fingers crossed, baby gates back up in the back yard, and lots of Natural Balance treats and Gouda cheese to welcome her. I plan to shower her with all the attention and support she deserves.

Although I have regularly been assured that flying is a better option that BUR (Basenji Underground Railroad), the clip below has given me pause several times. At least she won't be on United, and apparently this case caused airlines to be extra cautious about basenji travelers.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

What We're Seeing These Days in the Mission (Continued)


What We're Seeing in the Mission

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Thanks, PG&E, for Adding Just a Little More Stress Today

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Making a List, Checking It Twice

Okay, I don't promote or discuss my work here at risk of offending people who come here to hear about basenjis and junk, but I'll make an exception.

In a year when iPods, tacky novelty sweaters and gifts screaming out obscene consumption are acutely out of touch with the current global realities, I encourage readers to check out the Beyond the Box - a Better Way to Give. Seed banks, cuys, women's literacy classes and HIV/AIDS training are gifts that won't break a budget and can contribute to changing someone's corner of the world.

Please pass it on to others, and add a link or widget to let more know about this chance to reach people around the globe

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Empty for Not Much Longer

Assuming no flight delays or complications, she'll be eating and drinking out of these Saturday evening.

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In These Uncertain Times...

...the view from my front window, the berries on the trees the only sign of autumn in my immediate world, I take comfort and unease in remembering the transient nature of everything, everyone and every emotion. And I take solace in knowing that I planted these trees ten years ago after two others died.

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AS IS: What a Quarter of a Million Gives You in SF

You can take a virtual tour here. And they say the economy is in bad shape. Ha!

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