Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #369

Entry #369
January 31, 2015

Hello Everyone, it’s me, Wimsey, once again coming to you from Manhattan’s Upper West Side where apparently The Super Bowl is considered a national holiday.  My human Maria and her friend Elizabeth are complaining that Fairway is looking a lot like Thanksgiving, with lines out the door.  This is especially annoying to them because it is the second time this week that they have been trapped in supermarket hell (if Dante had only known about Fairway…) because we had a faux blizzard to prepare for.  Although the first (and I would argue, the only) priority in blizzard preparations is making sure that I would have enough food, both of them ended up wasting inordinate amounts of time preparing for a few inches of delightful powder.  Never underestimate the power of The Weather Channel to create a media frenzy---even the folks at CNN are taking lessons.  And yes, we know that it is far better to be overprepared than underprepared (at least that is what my humans tell themselves after each climatorial wreaking of non-havoc makes them feel silly) but coping with the disruption that I bring to their lives is disruption enough.

And speaking of disruption, January has been nothing but, hence my prolonged absence. First, of course, Elizabeth deserted me for a conference in San Francisco where she got to swan around in clothes that did not have my drool on them and did not smell like me and pretend that she always looks like this. This meant that Maria had to come home from work in the middle of the day to walk me since I usually spend the day over at Elizabeth’s preventing her from working at her computer.  This in turn meant that it was my job to try to go to “Elizabeth’s” apartment  (really it’s mine based on the sheer volume of my stuff with which it is filled) on every walk to check and see if she was there.  And it was Maria’s job to prevent this and to try to make me empty my bladder and bowels instead.  The week did not go well. And because I am a very astute Hound I know that if I want to annoy Maria, I ignore her. Just like I know that if I want to annoy Elizabeth I don’t ignore her. Well both my indoor and outdoor behavior were the subject of furious texts and emails flying between New York and San Francisco and everyone wanted Elizabeth home except Elizabeth. She was apparently enjoying the clothing thing.

Well Elizabeth no sooner got home than I presented my humans with another of my medical emergencies—this time a growth inside my mouth that had to be surgically excised. So off we all trundled to see my long-suffering surgeon at Blue Pearl who was commended by Elizabeth for not killing me with anesthesia the last time and was encouraged to do likewise again.  Of course all the while this was going on the papers were multiplying my humans’ work desks like rabbits, but nothing could be done since I always takes priority.

It was pretty exciting to have surgery on a new body part and oral surgery entails some significant benefits.  First and foremost, the Heinous Gentle Leader was banished. My winter coat likewise could not be used since getting it on and off might disrupt the healing. Baths have been banned. And perhaps best of all, I was not permitted to eat hard kibble. The ladies tried soaking the kibble in homemade chicken broth from my boiled chicken breast, but I found its texture displeasing so Maria high tailed it off to a pet shop and bought me every flavor of Merrick canned dog food available. Apparently my majestic proportions require the delivery of 7 cans of the stuff into the Wimsey gullet, a process that I am enjoying very much.  My humans not so much as there has been a marked decrease in their indoor air quality and an increase in the poop bags.

Nevertheless, I am planning a huge hunger strike should I ever be returned to naked kibble. And I nearly omitted to mention that since I can’t have crunchy cookies on my walks either I have to be fed turkey at regular intervals instead.

Also, because I was not permitted to scratch my face, I had to be delivered to Elizabeth’s first thing in the morning so I could be observed at all times. I like being observed. I like it when my humans watch me sleep. I like it when they watch me eat. I like it when they watch me chew my bully sticks (of which I have been cruelly deprived during my convalescence—even my beloved nubs have been banished!).  I pretty much took over January.  Even more than I usually do which, even for me, was an accomplishment. And sensing that my regular vet might feel neglected, yesterday I started carrying on about my right ear to such an extent that we all had to spend Friday evening getting my ears flushed out and cultured. Again. A new supply of Positex has been laid in and my humans are under the sad illusion (again) that they will be able to get the stuff into my ear twice a day.

I should also mention that my activities have proven a major boon to the local liquor store---Elizabeth in particular is on the verge of a breakdown over the piled up work (clients being notoriously unsympathetic on the subject of days spent observing the dog instead of working on their projects). But it is a fitting punishment for her leaving, especially for a conference that has nothing to do with me.  I think this should be remedied:

Featured Talks at Wimsey’s Bloodhound Conference

Plenary Session: The Bloodhound. Why?

Why Can’t I Train My Bloodhound But He Can Train Me?

Cutting a Bloodhound’s Nails: An Owner’s Guide to Tranquilizer Darts and Other Anesthetics

Rock Gardens, Cacti and Sand: Solutions to the Landscaping Bloodhound

My Bloodhound Thinks I’m an Idiot. Is He Right?

Life Lessons Learned From My Bloodhound: How To Get Your Way All the Time Without Anyone Noticing

The Best Food for a Bloodhound: Yours

Ten Tenths of the Law: The Thieving Bloodhound-- Criminal Genius or Misunderstood Miscreant?

The Quiet, Well-Behaved Bloodhound and Other Canine Myths That Make Us Feel Inadequate

Fashion Workshop: Plastic, Latex and Vinyl Are The New Black

Marrying the Vet: A Complete, Cost Effective Strategy for Bloodhound Health

Bloodhound Facial Wrinkles: An Evolutionary Adaptation for Gathering Scent or for Getting Off Scot Free

Stubborn, Entitled and Obnoxious or Effective, Self-Actualizing and Goal Oriented?

Round Table Discussion: Is it Possible to Have a Bloodhound and Have A Life?

Cocktail Reception to follow hosted by Tanqueray.

Well you get the idea.  Anyway, I apologize for having to use photos from my copious archive—apparently my humans can’t be bothered to take their hands out of their gloves when the temperature falls below 35. Wimps!

But there is this picture from a few weeks ago when the Metropolitan Museum of Art was having an expo on Madame Cezanne. In honor of that, here is my Madame Cezanne entry from The Wimsey Institute of Houndish Art (available on Amazon!

Both Picasso and Matisse described Cezanne as “the father of us all” for creating the foundation of modern art. However in this early painting, Madame Cezanne in a Red Chair, (Paul Cezanne 1877, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Boston) there is just the hint of Cezanne’s future preoccupation with viewing the world through different planes. But we can see here the remarkable juxtaposition of patterns that must have delighted Matisse (whose specialty patterns were), as well as wonderful, small brush strokes that build to a geometrical whole. We can sense the solidity and almost monumental quality of Madame Cezanne which is enhanced by her off center positioning in the chair; and we can almost feel her weight as she leans on its arm. Cezanne painted more than thirty pictures of her and she was required to sit immobile for hours. We think that this must have been extremely boring for her, not to mention that in this painting her broad, empty lap and the large arm chair just beg to be filled with something both beautiful and entertaining. But what could that be? Yes! A Magnificent Hound, draped comfortably and diminutively in her lap so as not to overpower her fine figure! I am sure her face looks much happier now. And the Hound has lifted his head in an interrogative way as if to express Madame Cezanne’s sentiments of “aren’t you done yet?” (“Madame Cezanne and Wimsey in a Red Armchair”).

Well I think I will leave it there for this week.

Until next time,

Wimsey, The Hound that Ate January

Friday, January 2, 2015

Wimsey's Blog: Diary of a Manhattan Bloodhound #368

Entry # 368
January 2, 2015

Hello and Happy New Year Everyone! It’s me Wimsey, finally having a few minutes to post about all my doings here on Manhattan’s Upper West Side where the holidays have disrupted my schedule to an amazing degree. Where to begin? 

There are so many ways that I have been inconvenienced and so little time to enumerate them all. First, owing to the fact that the holidays fell on a Thursday, my human Maria’s employer decided to bow to the inevitable and close the office both Fridays (I guess he realized it would be tough to supervise from St. Barth’s). The 4-day weekends, plus some vacation days added up to a 12-day stretch where Maria was around to take care of me full time. Now some of you might think that this would please me. It did not.  Her selfish, extended holiday meant that there was no need for her friend Elizabeth to pick me up for our endless afternoons spent walking around so I can visit pet shops, food trucks and the park benches where people try to eat (all while I take care of minimal amounts of business). And what’s worse, it meant that I haven’t been hanging out with Elizabeth in my secondary apartment getting fed fancy lunches and bothering her when she tries to work.  And I am sure alien dogs have been savaging my toy pile while I have been gone. I will be taking an extensive sniffventory when I am finally able to return.

I have become a one human Hound. I know you all feel my pain, but it gets worse. Elizabeth’s monster project is just going to go on and on and even when I am around she spends her days staring at her computer instead of scratching me. And my joy at the fact that she is not going to leave me to travel on her birthday the third week in January this year was overshadowed by the fact that she leaves a week from Sunday for a week’s conference in San Francisco and apparently this conference is not about me.  Maria is going to have to rush home from work that week to give me a measly hour walk in the afternoons. But I had my revenge. Right after Elizabeth booked her ticket she had a dream that I was sitting in the seat next to her eating a tray of airline food.  I will not allow her to escape me, even when she sleeps.

But this talk of “monster” projects put me in mind of something that happened before Christmas. Maria had come over to Elizabeth’s after work so we could all go out for my early evening walk but Elizabeth was still sitting at her computer working.

Maria: Wimsey’s picked up a toy from his toy pile.
Elizabeth: Which one?
Maria: Monster (yes, I have a toy called “Monster.” He’s named after me)
Elizabeth: Uh oh. That’s bad.
Maria: Why?
Elizabeth: You’ll see. Or rather you’ll hear.
Maria: (a few minutes later) Oh.

I take Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to heart--I walk softly and carry a loud toy.

Monster is my loudest toy and when I am really cheesed off I take him up on the futon and squeak him (although “squeak” doesn’t adequately describe the noise he makes) until a human does or gives me whatever it was that prompted me to consort with Monster in the first place.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year’s. Maria cooked me a special Christmas Eve lunch of sausage, egg and cheese which I was too busy napping to eat until Elizabeth came over to join us for a walk which meant that she had to sit around and scratch me for an hour whilst I digested.  This caused me to get some dirty looks from my humans who are convinced that I did it on purpose because I know that I can’t be walked after eating because it can cause bloat.

So then I got up on the couch between them because nothing facilitates social conversation so much as looking at a giant, Hound body instead of the person with whom you are speaking. This led Maria to slightly adjust her position so she could see Elizabeth, which caused me to slightly adjust my position so she could not see Elizabeth.  Which led her to adjust her position which led me to adjust my position, etc. which led Elizabeth to conclude that maybe I am not as dumb as she thinks I am.  It was kind of the couch variant of me staring into the rear view mirror during our road trips so the only thing Elizabeth could see behind her was Hound head.

But I am really quite a clever Hound, even if it is only me who thinks so. Over the past few weeks I managed to teach Elizabeth a new trick. When she tries to lure me off the furniture with turkey in order to leash me up I insist on having a piece of turkey before I even contemplate getting off the furniture (to eat another piece of turkey) while she puts on my stuff. We behaviorists call this a sampling reinforcer and before you could say “gobble, gobble gobble”, I had trained her to thus double my turkey quotient.

I’ve always been a gifted trainer of humans—it’s why I am so popular with them and why texts and emails with HBO words fly between Maria and Elizabeth when I am around.  It also leads to Elizabeth turning herself into something of a human webcam. She sends Maria a continuous stream of exciting news such as “Sir is snoring on the futon,” and “Sir is snoring by the closets” and “Sir just had water and smeared his snout on my pants,” and “I can’t breathe! —I must have put too much butter on his yams again” No wonder she never gets any work done. Of course there was that day that we had a bad nor’easter with pouring rain and I decided that I wished to take a nice, long walk and came in after only an hour, not because we looked like we had been taking a shower, but because when we turned north the wind was blowing too much rain into my face. Then there are other days, principally when my humans actually want me to walk and to take care of business, that I decide that I might melt in a passing shower, and decline to move. Hence it is very little wonder that I have a namesake called Monster (and like me he is loud, smelly, trips people and is vastly inconvenient).

I can generally tell how annoying I’ve been by how much alcohol gets consumed and how many sweaters Elizabeth buys (some people have sex, drugs and rock n’ roll and she has When I’ve been  “difficult “I find her studying the Woolovers catalog and pretending that I am not there. But she has now turned her attention to winter hats—a box of these things is now on its way from Turtle Fur and we are all going to try them on and select the ones we like (like any addict, Elizabeth is always trying to get others hooked—she’s constantly encouraging Maria to buy sweaters). Who knew I was a Gateway Hound?

But speaking of alcohol (and no, Maria’s Mother, your daughter does not drink to excess---the four times a day she’s attached to me by a leash tends to put a damper on the overconsumption of adult beverages)-- although Elizabeth had to work most days, she came over for holiday drinks. This is an activity that pleases me very much. It consists of:

2 humans
2 large Aperol Spritzes (aperol, prosecco and a splash of club soda)
1 large canister of mixed nuts
1 I large nut-loving Hound
1 large bath towel.

As you might imagine, cocktails with the ladies is a very elegant affair. It requires that Elizabeth shroud herself in a bath towel because no matter where she positions the canister of nuts I position my snout to rain drool upon her (she being the Wimsey Nut-Feeder-in-Chief).  Those of you who think that she is being fastidious, think again. Both my humans are constantly covered in my drool-- flung at them, smeared on them and dripped on them—but the Nut Drool is special. It is constant and it is copious. It cannot be evaded, avoided or stopped. It raineth down like manna from heaven (or Hound, which I like to think is pretty much the same thing, although I am sure that my humans have another destination in mind).  And we have such a lovely time, although Elizabeth gets scolded for picking out all the almonds to feed to me,

Anyway, there is a vicious rumor going around that we all might congregate at Elizabeth’s on Sunday and that a bath might be involved.  Also cocktails (a mandatory part of recovering from bathing me), a pot of chicken (for me), nuts (for me) a new stuffed toy (for me) and a box of Turtle Fur hats (not supposed to be for me but I will do my best. Have you ever noticed how much woolen winter hats resemble dog toys?)

Well, I think I will leave it there for now. I have to think about what I want from San Francisco. An earthquake??? Might be a tough one. Next week I will be back with Elizabeth—I know how much she misses me by the ridiculous number of times she texts Maria to find out what I am doing.  Maria has threatened to bring me over. Of course this afternoon, Maria texted Elizabeth “Wimsey’s being a jerk” which pretty much means “ Wimsey’s here.” It makes me proud to be a Hound.

Until next time,

Wimsey, absence makes the heart grow fonder—it’s my presence that's the problem