The Dog Days of Whatever

In ancient Greece the constellation, Sirius, represented the dog. It was believed that when this dog constellation was closest to the earth (July and August) that milk would spoil, men would be become weak, plants would wilt and women would become aroused. I’d seriously have to question that last one. Incidentally, this is what we refer to as the “dog days of summer”.

While we are still a few months away from the “dog days of summer”, I couldn’t help but wonder over this past weekend if this dog constellation, Sirius, had some strange cosmic effect over a certain canine in my household, not unlike how those that believe in horoscopes are affected by the stars and the alignment of planets.

Friday after work I decided to take my bike out for an evening spin before hitting the hay. I changed into the usual garb; t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. Abby decided that she had to come with me. This was just not going to happen. I am lucky I can chew gum at the same time as walking, let alone ride a bike while holding onto a leash. Uh-uh. Nothing doing.

My usually pleasant pooch was not having any part of this. I was trying to get the bike out of the house where it had been parked in the living room (one of the joys of living alone –you can park your bike wherever you please) and she was bolting for the door like the place was on fire. I caught her with my leg and pinned her against the wall where she struggled to get away from me and into the freedom of the front yard.

Somehow I got the kickstand on the bike down without her sneaking by me. To enhance the mental image of this evening, I have sketched the following cartoon:

After literally wrestling with her, I somehow made it out of the house. I could hear her now in the backyard where she ran out her doggie door and was howling her disapproval. The neighborhood dogs all seem to howl back in agreement which made for the ultimate guilt trip. I made my way down to the canals quite frazzled after that display. Not sure what got into her but she was hell-bent on getting out that front door. After one glorious hour pedaling away in peace, I returned home. The neighbors were in for the night and all was quiet. What the heck, I thought. I’ll let Abby out for a few minutes of freedom. I opened the door and before I could get a word out, she flew by me, all 4 paws disappearing into a blur. I may have seen a few sparks fly out from behind her as well. She bolted down to the greenway. Meanwhile, I parked my bike back in the living room and went out to wait for Abby’s return. She usually runs down to the greenway and returns after a few minutes, having gotten the run out of her system.

Up until her return I had been standing in the walkway in front of the house. I was happily updating my Facebook status via phone when I heard the unmistakable sounds of dog nails on asphalt. Abby spotted something and was in a dead run towards it. Turns out my neighbors thought this would be the opportune time to also let their dogs out for a leashless run. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the other dog, a good thirty pounds heavier than Abby, is her all time nemesis. Suddenly my sweet little puppy with the seal pup eyes had turned into this snarling, vicious, hound of hell. I dropped my phone (suddenly posting about what a great bike ride I had had seemed severely irrelevant) and headed towards the commotion. My usually mild-mannered neighbor was screaming over the snarling already in progress.

Both dogs had each other down on the ground. I reached for Abby who slipped out of my grasp like a greased pig. all the while my neighbor is yelling, “Get your f’ing dog! Get her!!!” No, not yelling. She was screeching. It was complete pandemonium. Neither dog was backing down. Said neighbor’s husband is now using his foot to try to separate the dogs. Nothing doing. Neighbor and I are encircling the dogs like referees at a boxing match. Finally, neighbor’s dog runs into the house. This is the end of it, I’m thinking. No! Abby follows the dog into the neighbor’s house. Neighbor is now screeching again like a banshee. “Get her out of my house! Get that f*ing dog out!” Finally Abby cowers on the floor. She must’ve come to her senses and realized that hey, this isn’t my house. What am I doing here??? Now her ears were pinned back and she looked truly defeated. I scooped her up and headed out towards home, but not before mumbling an apology to neighbor and her husband. Nothing was said in return. The only sound is that of their door slamming.

As soon as I set Abby down inside the house, she ran towards her bed. I glared at her which resulted in more pitiful looks and the pinning back of one’s ears. Then she grabbed what was left of an old rawhide bone and headed out to the safety of the backyard through the doggie door.

I took a deep breath, still shaking after that incident, and headed back over to neighbor’s house. I rang the doorbell with my heart beating in my throat. Neighbor came out and I asked if her dog was okay. Luckily the dog was. This is how I found out Abby and her dog were arch-rivals. Something the ex never let me in on. She apologized to me for how she acted and then hugged me. It was a relief.

Before heading off to a well-deserved rest that night I texted the ex that he may have a new visitor in that frozen waste-land he now calls home. Either that or she would be shipped off to a country where dog meat is still seen as a delicacy.

On Saturday afternoon, while out and about, the ex texted me that he has something for me (paperwork for a quickie Mexican divorce perhaps? -No, one couldn’t be so fortunate). After reviewing my texts of woe, he had decided to sign me up for a subscription to Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer’s magazine, Cesar’s Way. At first I thought he was joking. No, this was no joke. I got the email to prove it the next day. Why not something I would actually read like, Women’s Running or Real Simple, or Is Your Ex Really That Clueless?

Oh, I am just waiting with bated breath for my first issue! Believe you me!

Abby seem to know she had done wrong. She sulked about the house for the rest of the weekend and didn’t give me a hard time again when leaving. I suppose dogs, like people, have their days. About 1am today I woke to the sounds of her nails on the tile as she entered the bedroom. Usually she doesn’t stray too far from her dog bed at night but last night was different. It actually sounded like she was tiptoeing in as not to wake me or the weasel. She leapt up on the bed, licked my shoulder and nestled down next to me in the crook of my knees.   A rare event in the Monsoon household.

Perhaps even Orion suffered through a few dog days with Sirius.

“Sirius rises late in the dark, liquid sky

On summer nights, star of stars,

Orion’s Dog they call it, brightest

Of all, but an evil portent, bringing heat

And fevers to suffering humanity.”

-Homer in The Illiad

Cruising the Past, Propelling Into the Future

Two posts in two days?  Hey, I am on a roll!  I so miss this!

In yesterday’s post I briefly mentioned my new bike which I picked up on my birthday after months of lay away.

 It had been at least 20 years since I had ridden a bike.  I was a bit frightened at the thought of trying to ride again after all these years.  Would I forget?  Heck, would I need training wheels?  On that first hot Saturday in April I took a deep breath, clamored onto this pink metal contraption complete with bell and basket and pushed myself into the street away from the safe harbor of the driveway.  I pedaled about and practiced going in circles in the cul-de-sac until the neighbors thought I had gone mad.

I was doing it!  After all these years I was doing it!  In an instant I went from 44 to about 7.  Suddenly all these memories of riding a bike as a child came back to me in a solid rush.  My first bike was a Huffy.  I believe it was purple with a flowered banana seat.  I had a bell and basket then, too.  Some things you never outgrow, nor should you.  I remembered my Dad removing the training wheels one summer night.  “Pedal, pedal,” he shouted to me.   Okay, I did end up losing control and crashing into a wagon full of youngster being pulled by their parents.  I sometimes wonder if those former children in my Boston neighborhood remember that incident (or have spent years in counseling).

Having a bike meant freedom.  Sweet freedom.  I raced around the neighborhood with my best friend (she is still my best friend after all these years) and we searched for the ice cream man.  We didn’t wear helmets.  That was unheard of in that time.  Somehow we survived into adulthood.

Back to that hot birthday night. . .

I road down to the canals and went up and down until the sun was only a faint memory in the sky.  As it got darker I headed back to my neighborhood and road near the local park.  A group played volleyball in the greenway and there was just this certain sense of peace over the whole neighborhood, over the whole evening.  A slight breeze blew my hair back and rinsed over my skin.  My gosh, I had forgotten how that felt!  Who would have thought something so simple as a bike ride would conjure up memories and thoughts.  Even the sound of the chain churning as I pedaled drew out a certain deja vu from the depths of my memory.

Earlier in the week my boss, who is about my age, asked me if life in my 40s is what I thought about in my 20s.  This was a very interesting question. During that bike ride that birthday evening I started compiling a list in my mind of the things I’ve done in my 40s.  I never thought that far ahead in my 20s, truth be told.  Here’s what I came up with.

I never thought I would:

  • live in Arizona
  • ride a bike
  • run races
  • be a blonde!
  • speak Spanish (not as well as I used to  –I’ll never be fluent)
  • lift weights
  • have the same amazing people in my life as I did back in my 20s
  • have a job I absolutely adore
  • do 50 guy push-ups (let alone 1 push up!)
  • own a cute little stucco house with a Spanish tiled roof
  • wear a bikini
  • blog (4 years now)
  • be this happy on my own

So that’s it.  If I sat here long enough I could probably think of more things.  What about you?  What are some of the things in your life that you are doing/have done that you would have never thought you’d do in your younger years?  Do tell!

Respecting Fire by Air

This post has been brewing in my mind for a while now.  The hardest part is finding time these days to actually blog.  I no longer take breaks during the day which has placed a damper on my blog efforts as of late.

The ex left about a month ago to work in a northern mid-western town.  I took the morning off to have a final breakfast with him.   It’s funny how you don’t know how you are going to feel until certain events unfold.  I didn’t cry or get emotional.  My whole body breathed a sigh of relief that he was gone.  Not just down the street, but thousands of miles away in a town with a population of 97 people.

There are days when I am so angry I could punch holes in the wall.  Then there are days when the silence and peace in the house and just in my normal life is so prevalent that I could cry from the sheer joy, however, crying would mess with the peace that now sustains me, so I refrain.

In April, on my birthday, I made the final payment on my beach cruiser bicycle.  I’ve spent countless evenings riding along the canals which has turned into the ultimate secret to an amazing night’s sleep.  During the rides I think so much of the past insanity and again breathe a double sigh of relief that that particular door is closed.  I think a lot about marriage and what my thoughts growing up on marriage were.  I try not to be bitter by my past experiences.  Marriage has always been something I have held in high regard.  Back in my dating years I would never date a married man, although I have girlfriends that did.  I have a girlfriend now that insists that all married men will cheat.  Well, hell, if that is your attitude then what do you think is going to be attracted into your life?

While my own marriage hasn’t worked out it has not changed my view on marriage.  It is something precious.  When you are partnered with another person you are entrusting that person with a piece of yourself.  A big piece of yourself.   And vice versa.  It’s so important to choose wisely.  In my own marriage I would have been far better off trusting my dog, Abby, to guard my steak.  But I digress.   I still see it as holy.

More than a decade ago I dated a Parsi man of the Zoroastrian faith.  He told me about the fire temples in India and how they housed the holy fires that were started many years ago by a single lightning strike.  One such temple existed in Yemen.  I had to look this up online today because I couldn’t remember the whole details of what he told me.  According to the website, Yemen became a communist country.  It was decided that the holy fire needed to be brought to India as there was too much pressure to close the temple.  To make a long story short, many arrangements were needed to transport this fire.  Despite the dangerous risks, Air India flew the fire from Yemen to India after many negotiations between the two countries, mainly by Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself.  When the holy fire arrived in India, many Parsi families greeted the jet at the airport.  Only those of this faith are allowed to gaze upon the fire.

I only bring this up because when I think of the faith the Parsi’s have, it is in much the same way I view marriage; sacred, serious, holy.  I doubt I’ll ever marry again, however, my respect for the union remains.

Life has changed so much just within the past month.  I joined a group that gets together and plays board games every so often.  I have made a few friends as well.  It’s now been three months since I joined the boot camp gym and I see myself changing.  I feel so strong!

Races are done now until the Fall.  The last one was in Sabino Canyon in Tucson which was 7.4 miles.  By the last mile I could feel the curve of the street through my feet.  We returned to the canyon the next day to do some sightseeing.  Although this was my third year attending the race, it’s amazing how much you miss when you are running.  It’s such a beautiful place.  All the cactus were in bloom, too.

I’m trying to plan a trip to Florida this Fall with some Boston girlfriends.  There is a 10k going on right near my aunt’s beach house.  I sent a note out to the girlfriends in question and so far haven’t heard back yet.  Hopefully it will be something they will all want to do as we have talked about meeting somewhere to do a race for a while now.


So much going on and so little time to write!