Dog Days

I’ve actually had to break out my snow shovel five times this winter so far, which is unusual. Truth is, the only reason to shovel at all is so that the sidewalks will be cleared enough that the morning sunshine will dry them and senior citizens don’t start flipping into the air and dropping like flies outside our living room window. If I didn’t scrape the snow away it would typically be gone from the walk in 24 hours.

Compared with what I’ve experienced in any of the other places I have dwelt, pushing an inch of fluffy stuff to the curb hardly qualifies as work, although each time I do it I think about the “fact” that graveyards are allegedly filled with old dudes who have heart attacks while clearing their walks. Surely that is in more northern climes only, because what I do now is not much more strenuous than pushing mashed potatoes around on my plate at dinner.

When people that know about such things begin to talk about water out here in the West, the word snowpack comes up quite a bit. That’s the snow up in the mountains that is inevitably going to melt and come down to our valleys where we can get at it. It’s talked about so much because 80% of Colorado’s surface water comes from melted snow.

This year we are doing fairly well in that regard. Which is a good thing in a dry country. It’s not nearly enough to begin to restore those shrinking reservoirs you read about, but puts us in more of at least a standing pat sort of position.

(This graphic was published in late December of 2022. FYI: those names in the graphic are those of the major river systems in Colorado)

So if any of the gods in charge are listening, I am absolutely down for shoveling quite a bit more if it means that we can get those numbers up. How about shooting for 200% of average for a few years? What could it hurt?

Cool Water, by the Sons of the Pioneers


From The New Yorker


There is a lady who passes our home nearly every day while out walking her dog. She seems quite pleasant, and never fails to make some cheerful comment if I happen to be out there. But the dog she is walking is right out of horror films. It is big, black, homely as the proverbial mud fence, and has jaws that look like it could snap four-inch fence posts without any difficulty at all.


It is the sort of dog that makes me look around for something to climb to safety rather than asking if I can pet the beast. I know, I know, I am overreacting … perhaps. But for all the fuss that pit bull owners make about their dogs being maligned unnecessarily, I will put this out there. Dogs have been bred to do certain tasks over centuries, and even before we knew anything about genetics at all, people were developing breeds that could hunt rats, sniff out escapees from gaols, find marijuana stashes, and guard what needed guarding.

Some breeds, like this adorable little creature, were bred to run up to humans to be petted and then sneak around behind and bite them on the Achilles tendon.

Pit bulls were not developed to sit around hearths and cuddle. Nor to retrieve game birds or to keep a flock of sheep in line. They were bred to bite things hard and often, and no matter what anyone tells me, I will take even one of the traitorous little ankle-biters any day over one of those with those jaws.

Or how about this … why not get a dog that’s bred to be a companion? Like a Labrador retriever or a malemute, for instance. A dog that was meant to work alongside of us rather than keep us in line. They have even temperaments, strong constitutions, and are safe around small children and senior citizens. Sounds like a win-win to me.

One more canine observation. It is a commonplace in Colorado to be outdoors walking about and enjoying the day when someone’s large dog comes racing at you. In the distance you can hear the owner calling out “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.”

Just as an FYI for those irresponsible dog owners out there, this is never, ever reassuring!

Leash laws are not there to make dog owner’s and their pets’ lives miserable. They are there to protect the rest of us against those large and meant-for-tearing-flesh-apart teeth. Canines, those teeth are called.

How Much Is That Doggie In The Window, by Patti Page


From The New Yorker


As of Tuesday morning I have a name for a long-present complaint of mine. Bunions.

Plagued for the past year with a localized pain just proximal to my right little toe, I finally went to a podiatrist for advice. My own differential diagnosis included cancer of the foot and black gangrene, so I hoped the professional would narrow that down for me. And he did. I have bilateral tailor’s bunions.

In my ignorance I had thought of all such afflictions as being located upstream of the big toe, occurring mostly in women of a certain age, and largely caused by wearing evil footgear for years. High-heeled shoes, primarily.

Wrong again.

The podiatrist told me that I needed surgery, either on my shoes or my feet. I asked if we could please just talk about the former option, and for now skip anything that included scalpels, bone saws, and limping for extended periods.

So from here on in I will be stretching my shoes, buying only those with a toe-box as wide as that usually found in the footgear of clowns, and when I finally give up and crawl back into his office he might actually deign to operate on me.

Oh woe and double woe! Is there to be no end to the ever-lengthening list of decrepitudes I must deal with? What’s next … my acne comes back full on from the darkened crypts of adolescence to haunt me? Nursemaid’s elbow?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s