New Digs

El gato has a new home. One of my co-workers and his wife wanted him, so we put him in a carrier and drove him to his new owners last night. He meowed, scratched and complained the whole way. When I lifted him out of the carrier and placed him in the wife’s arms, he scrambled up her arm and nestled into her neck.

A heart-warming scene if there ever was one.

What I didn’t know was that there was a dog in the picture, too. He was shut out in the garage while we did the handover in the living room. I asked what kind of dog they had because the racket he was making at the garage door sounding like he was the size of a bear and I was afraid we’d be taking el gato back home with us.

“He’s a Chihuahua mix,” my co-worker said. IMG_0471

“With that noise?” I said.

“He knows something’s up,” he said.

I’ll say. It sounded like he was throwing himself against the door with all the force of a hurricane.

I had visions of fur flying and hissing and booing the instant the dog was allowed inside the house.

“Don’t worry, they’ll grow up to be friends,” my co-worker said with confidence.

I hope so, otherwise el gato I didn’t want will be back in our lives and we’ll have to give it a name. I’m thinking something like Recurring Rico.

Calvin says, “Quit threatening my peace, will you?” beagle

Over Here

Last week I read the simplest formula for how to tell a good story.

It goes like this:

A character has a problem.

He meets a mentor who (1) helps him with a plan and (2) inspires him to act.

The resulting actions turn into a comedy or a tragedy.

The end. Edward Hopper

I like that.

It’s simple and straight to the point.

If you think about it, most movies and novels are written that way.

Hollywood demands a problem within the first 10 minutes of the movie or TV show. Books are now doing the same.

Then the main character spends the rest of his time acting on a plan somebody he trusts has given him. That’s his first mistake.

Of course he spends more time failing than succeeding because he has to keep you in your seat eating popcorn. That’s what he gets paid the big bucks for.

Eventually she solves her problem and everything gets resolved. Or maybe not. If you’re building suspense for the next sequel she’s hanging from a zip-line that’s stuck over a whitewater river in a forest populated with cannibals.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel with a fellow writer. I believe two heads are more creative than one. Plus I always get stuck in the middle of a story when everything is coming undone and I need help figuring a way out.

Like life.

Calvin says, “That’s what you have me for except you’re a terrible follower.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equidae

My son spent a morning with two donkeys on a ranch in the hills.

He knew nothing about donkeys. He’d never met any before so he didn’t know what to expect. They were not used for anything other than ornamentation on the property, like trees.

They were in a corral. My son went inside softly and stood there to gauge their reaction. He didn’t want to frighten them as is so often the case with horses that don’t know you.  donkey

“Go up and pet them,” said the ranch manager.

And he did. They came up immediately to his side and allowed him to pet them, talk to them, and feed them a treat. They were happy to stay there all day with him.

“They’re like children, actually worse. They’ll eat themselves to death, they have no sense of when to stop. And these two like to wander. If you let them out, they’ll take off and won’t come back,” the manager said.

The property manager was hoping to find them a new home.  I guess he was tired of chasing them all over the hills. They had become a nuisance.

What did he expect from ornaments?

They had no purpose in life.

We’d be traipsing all over the place, too if we didn’t have things to do.

At the end of the visit, my son declined them. He already had two dogs to take care of, he didn’t need two bigger ones.

Calvin says, “You’re close to hurting my feelings. Am I a nuisance like that? I thought you adored me.” beagle

 

 

 

Not Yet, Maybe Later

One of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book.

It’s called Scary Close by Donald Miller.

Apparently it’s about intimacy.

I find that comical. Don is single, or was. He recently married at 42. And his book is about what it’s like to live with another person after so many years of being a self-proclaimed hermit. Well, writers are hermits. That’s part of their DNA. You can’t write while you’re carrying on at a party, or watching a movie, or attending church. You can’t write while having a conversation with your spouse either.

I’ll bet his wife is an extrovert dragging him into public places with friends and family and ruining his writing time.

I think he should have waited at least 7 years to write it. He’s still in the honeymoon stage of married life. Nothing he says now is going to be true later. But it’s too late. He didn’t consult me.
Jacqueline Osborn

I loved his Author’s Note:

“Somebody told me we will never feel loved until we drop the act, until we’re willing to show our true selves to the people around us.

“When I heard that I knew it was true. I’d spent a good bit of my life as an actor, getting people to clap—but the applause only made me want more applause. I didn’t act in a theater or anything. I’m talking about real life.

“The thought of not acting pressed on me like a terror. Can we really trust people to love us just as we are?

“Nobody steps onto a stage and gets a standing ovation for being human. You have to sing or dance or something.

“I think that’s the difference between being loved and making people clap, though. Love can’t be earned, it can only be given. And it can only be exchanged by people who are completely true with each other. I shouldn’t pretend to be an expert, though. I didn’t get married until I was forty-two, which is how long it took me to risk being myself with another human being.

“Here are two things I found taking the long road, though:

“Applause is a quick fix. And love is an acquired taste.”

Calvin says, “Oh no, why can’t he leave well enough alone. Intimacy is a well loved bone by the fire.”beagle

 

 

Pop! Goes the Bubble

On my subway ride into work this morning, two techies sat behind me. It turned out they were friends from a former company and they began to catch-up.

The talker worked in sales. The other must have been a programmer. He was quieter.

The talker recounted his recent trip to Vegas with his boss. They played and drank and crashed a club with a bachelorette party they met at an expensive restaurant. The talker flirted with the women, but nothing came of it.

Then the topic switched to money and salaries and wives and children. Wives? What’s this talker doing in Vegas playing with girls at a club? From the conversation, both men were frustrated by their wives. The quieter one didn’t appreciate his wife’s online spending habits.

“Every day a new package shows up at the front door,” he said.

“Tell your wife to get a job,” the talker said.

“I do, but she doesn’t do anything about it,” the programmer said. “She sleeps until noon, then gets online and spends money.”

“I wouldn’t let her do that. She needs to find a real job and bring in some money,” the talker said.

Then they talked about the price of housing and how important it is to live where it’s cheap and not compete with the younger set living in the city.

“They pay $4,000 a month!” the talker said.

“For a two-bedroom condo?” the programmer asked.  Bursting bubble

“Yes! It’s crazy!”

“They must be making crazy salaries,” the programmer said.

“No, they live four to a condo, that’s how it’s done,” the talker said.

“Do you think the housing bubble will last this time?”

“Sure it will. This is Silicon Valley.”

These guys must have stepped off another planet. Or were too young to experience the housing meltdown of the early 2007’s.

And we trust these guys with our social media? Yikes!

Calvin says, “My bubble bursts all the time. Like last night when you didn’t toss me some of your steak.”  beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overheard Conversations # 11

I haven’t posted my regular overheard conversations in a long time, so I’ve got a few.

Two young men walking down the street. One was pouring his heart out about a girl he was attracted to, but wasn’t ready to commit to. He didn’t ask his friend his opinion, but he got it anyway. “It’s like this. You can either buy the book or borrow it from the library,” he said.

A sign on the subway station wall:  photo (38)

no mocking

no eating

no playing

Have you hugged your local reporter lately? No. Because there aren’t any, only idiots who can’t write a sentence, or give you the facts about a story because they aren’t there! They’re picking it up from a wire service, or worse, from Facebook.

Don’t trust a doctor who lives on pills.

A new study says that saturated fat won’t kill you. That’s because it was sponsored and paid for by the cows.

Don’t believe all the likes a picture or video gets. People in the Philippines get paid to click for a living.

Calvin says, “I overheard a conversation at the dog park. It went like this: Woof, woof, come back here, stop that, that’s nasty!”

beagle

 

Overheard

A couple across from me at a table at a bagel shop. In their 30’s.
Girl: Long dark straight hair. Thin. Glasses.
Guy: Rumpled clothing. Just got off a plane. Backpack. Shadow of a beard.
He pulls out a bag of sun-dried tomatoes from Sicily and a sea shell the size of a quarter.
Guy: I had other things I wanted to bring you, but I had packing issues.
She receives the gifts as if they were diamonds.
Guy: the tomatoes are salty. You’ll need to soak them.  Bagel Tree (2) (2)
She gives him a hug.
Girl: What’s an everything bagel? Is it a bagel that has a little bit of everything on it?
Guy: Everything is hot. Would you want to do it?
Girl: Ya.
Guy: What do you want on it?
Girl: Butter. On the side.
He gets up. He orders. He pays. He brings everything to the table.
Guy: I want to show you everything Jewish.
Calvin says, “Sun-dried tomatoes? Really? How about a juicy kiss where it counts?” beagle