Patti Soldavini

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Ancient Annie Hall

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/26/2011 at 8:10 pm

"Whoa. What the HELL was that?"

Today, Olive and I witnessed a most unusual sight at a local mailbox. As we were getting into the car after our morning walk, out of the corner of my eye I see an ordinary looking car pull up to the mailbox. And out steps Annie Hall. Old Annie Hall. Annie Hall as she might look in her early 70s. Dressed like Annie Hall from the ‘70s. When she was in her 20s. “HOLY CRAP OLIVE, LOOK. IT’S ANCIENT ANNIE HALL.” And there before us is a woman, clearly a long-term member of AARP, standing at the mailbox depositing a letter. Her long platinum blonde hair is framed by large, dark sunglasses. It’s also partially entombed by a black wool beret. Her hair comes to rest just below her shoulders in a limp loose curl. It gets better. She wore a temperately inappropriate wool suit; a long-sleeved golden graham-colored jacket with a matching skirt that thankfully was car-length. While the combination of her age and couture caught my eye, it did not register until now just how weird it was that she was essentially wearing winter clothes on a morning where the temperature had already climbed to 70+ degrees. Geez, maybe we just witnessed a terrorist act of some sort. Although Old Annie Hall better fit the profile of an overly ripened female Soviet Spy as opposed to a female Muslim extremist. And while her outfit wasn’t quite “Annie Hall,” that was the immediate impression it created. It was a striking sight. Neither bad nor good, just odd. High contrast on so many different levels. I finished wrangling Olive into the back seat of the car, releasing the leash from her Frankenprong only when she was safely inside. I look at the old woman once more and look back at Olive who is wondering why in God’s name all my attention is not focused on her and her alone. Olive looks at me with her incredibly sweet, innocent face, ready to believe anything I tell her. “SEE OLIVE, THAT’S WHAT BULLY STICKS LOOK LIKE JUST BEFORE THEY’RE PROCESSED.”

Happy Tail

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/19/2011 at 9:56 pm

A brief (23 second) video starring Olive’s charismatic tail. My first attempt at editing audio in imovie. A little sloppy, but a good start. One of my favorite things about Olive is how she expresses so much emotion through her tail. What you are about to see is how Olive’s tail behaves for much of the time during a typical day. More discussion on her tail at a later date. Enjoy.

Acorn Shower

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/15/2011 at 8:04 pm

This morning, Olive and I were treated to a pre-autumnal acorn shower. Standing under a skyscraper of an oak tree on the grounds of the local college campus, acorns rained all over us, slipping through the canopy of leaves with a musicality that was impressive. I wish my iphone would have picked up this sound better, but you can imagine how frequently they dropped just by observing the movement of Olive’s ears.  This symphony of nuts is interrupted only by a car door being shut, but keep watching for when Olive realizes that these things are falling from above and looks up into the abyss of the tree. It was all very cool.

School Daze

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/14/2011 at 8:42 pm

"They're BACK!"

It’s back to school time and Olive is as thrilled as an unopened jar of fingerpaint. During our morning walk, we pass by the local middle school and Centenary College. This gives Olive two opportunities to seek out oohs, aahs and friendly groping by both small and tall humans. As we approach the red brick entrance to the quintessential 1950s America-style Middle School, first we encounter the crossing guard who will walk into the middle of the street to stop oncoming traffic to allow Olive to pass safely as though she is another child. Olive stops to offer a thank-you lick. Up ahead to the right, all the children have gathered, chatting noisily in small groups like bees at a summer picnic. Sometimes a parent or a teacher will stop to chat and pet Olive. Some of the children stare longingly at Olive, their desire to pet her palpable. But, most are engaged in important conversations about all the things that were important to us at that age. You know, the things we can’t even recall today. We continue walking, passing mostly Victorian-style homes. The morning air is punctuated by the sounds of dogs barking from all directions, cars passing by, cement workers demolishing rapidly deteriorating stone front steps and often, the bell at Centenary College tolling seven times to let us know that it’s seven o’clock. We pass the home of the hyperactive tiny dog that rushes out to the front porch of its unique octagonal home (once the local post office) to bark non-stop crazy at Olive. Olive ignored it for many months and then got sick of it. Now, I watch for the exact moment when the hair on her neck and back rises and she utters a low growl that I’m sure means “SHUT THE F UP YOU BATSHIT DOG.” Inevitably we hear batshit’s owner yell at him and he stops. A few more blocks and we pass the “dancing teacup,” the miniature black and tan Doberman Pinscher, who tethered to his porch, races out toward Olive on the sidewalk, barking like someone just lit his tail on fire. We’re not done yet. Another few blocks and we pass “The Crazy Westie,” the white West Highland Terrier who hurls himself at the windows of his house while barking at Olive. What is it with these tiny dogs and their obsessive barking? As we round the corner, we can see the gleaming gold dome atop Centenary College. Sometimes we stop to rest on the front lawn of the campus. I check my iphone while Olive lays next to me gnawing on a branch she’s found. After a few minutes, we rise, and Olive quickly focuses on the students crossing campus on their way to classes. Yesterday, one of the students hangs out his car window to ask me: “I HEAR THOSE DOGS ARE GASSY. IS THAT TRUE?” “ONLY AFTER SHE’S HAD A FEW BEERS, AND PUKED UP CHEETOS ON HERSELF WHILE WATCHING A FOOTBALL GAME,” I reply. That’s what I want to say. Instead I say, “Not really, but sometimes her stools are really loose.” Have a nice breakfast, I think.

GreyDog’s Anatomy

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/13/2011 at 9:44 pm

"Is that a NIPPLE!"

It happens every day. On our walks, Olive and I are inevitably greeted by a passing pedigree-ignorant stranger with, “Is that a Greyhound?” By now, after encountering 18-months of this, I probably either scowl or chuckle without realizing it. “Actually, she’s a Weimaraner. German. A hunting dog. Go ahead, lay down on the sidewalk and she’ll bring you over to me in her mouth.” I never verbalize the last part, I just think it. I used to think that the reason why Olive gets mis-identified as a Greyhound is because she is grey and she’s a hound. But I’ve come to realize that it’s more complex than that. One of my friends pointed out that it might be because Olive is so tall. Even when she’s not in her Jimmy Choos. I also think it’s because Olive has a deep barrel chest, well developed “brisket,” AND a very high “tuck up.” In non-dog and non-medical terms, it is an elegant, accentuated upward slope of her undercarriage. I can’t believe  it’s taken me this long to so eloquently articulate this. (Heavy sarcasm) “OLIVE. GET OVER HERE. I NEED TO CHECK YOUR UNDERCARRIAGE.” “NO WAY. YOU JUST WANT TO COUNT MY NIPPLES AGAIN.” She’s right. I have been obsessed with this ever since I realized that dogs have only 10 nipples. (I can’t believe I just said ‘only.’) What is the significance of this? It means that Olive’s mother Lacy, who had a litter of 11, was one nipple short. And to this day, I’m convinced that Olive was the pup shortchanged by this genetic fact. Why do I think this? Because my dog will spot a nipple of any kind from as far away as Neptune. Any kind of nipple. The nipple on a baby bottle. On a balloon. On an exercise ball. On a tire. On a swim tube. Poor Olive, always chasing the eternally missing nipple.

Barbie Crime Scene

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/09/2011 at 7:31 pm

"Now THIS is interesting."

I think the photo above cries out for some creative captions. Got any? This is the treasure Olive found during our walk this morning. She uncharacteristically dragged me across the sidewalk onto someone’s lawn to check this out. I can’t imagine what she thinks of it. A tiny, naked human, lying stiff in the grass. I’m hoping it piqued her interest because it was something she saw as opposed to something she smelled. She was very interested in it, nosing around it from all angles while I was desperately trying to get a good picture and talking on the phone at the same time. I should have let her pick it up in her mouth as the photo would have been priceless, but since my brain was otherwise taxed trying to hypertask, I didn’t think of it. I’ll bet when we pass by tomorrow it will still be there. Maybe we’ll get a second chance. Wouldn’t that be funny, if we came by tomorrow and Ken was lying there naked too? Who knows, maybe some demented neighborhood child is staging some kind of crime scene. Great. That would mean that a Jeffrey Dahmer- or Ed Gein-in-training is living nearby. Olive and I continued on our walk past the house on the corner with the most amazing lawn in the tri-state area. Really, the guy who lives here must have been a groundskeeper at Giants Stadium or a local golf course. It has not one weed in it. Perhaps this is why Olive always wants to pee here but I don’t dare let her. We cross the street and continue our peaceful early morning walk. “SO, WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE NAKED BARBIE DOLL?” asks Olive. “HOW THE HELL DO I KNOW?” I reply. “I JUST HOPE YOU DIDN’T LEAVE ANY NOSEPRINTS OR DNA ON IT.”

Dear Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/07/2011 at 5:06 pm

"And how does that make you FEEL?"

I am pleased to announce that Olive Pimento Soldavini is now authoring a dog advice column. You’ll find it in the Main Menu at the top under DEAR OLIVE. In this column, Olive helps other dogs understand their humans, overcome their fears and become the best dog they can possibly be. Check back every now and then to see what advice Olive is offering. About this photo: Taken by my nephew John, I suspect he actually posed her (although that would not be easy to do given her independent spirit, overall squiggiliness and desire to play) because I have never in my life seen her sit quite like this.

HallowOliveWeen

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/06/2011 at 8:16 pm

Olive would like your help in choosing what she will be for Halloween. She’d ask you herself, but she’s napping right now.

Weimaraner Vs. Comforter

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/06/2011 at 7:32 pm

Everytime I watch this clip, it makes me laugh. Taken when Olive was about 9 months old, it shows her fascination with the goose down comforter on the bed. Might I remind you that a goose is a BIRD, so I think that genetically, as a weimaraner, Olive is predisposed to being obsessed with this object. I have now sewn about five holes in the comforter. Each time, her teeth tear a small hole in the fabric, feathers erupt as though Mt. Vesuvius is coughing up more molten lava. I predict that by the time Olive reaches her two-year birthday, I will have sewn another three of four holes up. And trust me, I’m no Betsy Ross, and thank god for patients everywhere that I do not stitch wounds up because when I’m done with a needle and thread, it looks like something Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder sewed up. Really, my sewing skills make Dr. Frankenstein’s look like the work of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

Rip Van Olive

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/05/2011 at 7:03 pm

DO NOT DISTURB. I MEAN IT.

Whenever Olive and I return home from the local dog park, she marches upstairs to the master bedroom wordlessly, hops onto the bed and collapses like a drunken old lady into a deep slumber from which she does not want to be disturbed. There may as well be a cartoon sign that floats above her that says: “DO NOT TOUCH. DO NOT KISS. DO NOT PET. DO NOT STARE AT ME WHILE I’M SLEEPING. AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING TO CLEAN MY EARS. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO CLEAN YOUR EARS WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING? AND I MEAN IT. ALL OF IT.” She’ll stay there, curled up like an overgrown, unhurried fetus for hours. The only way I know she’s still alive is that I hold a mirror up to her big brown nose and watch her breath cloud it up. Just kidding. I do love standing over her though, listening to her snore peacefully and very contentedly. Who knows what she’s dreaming about. Probably the same things we do, only in her dreams, it’s the dogs that speak and around whom all the action revolves. The humans just stand around like tree trunks, barking incessantly in the background. “I’M GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE SOON, I HAVE TO DO A LOAD OF LAUNDRY,” says Olive in her dream. “LAUNDRY?” Says Kira, the snow white Boxer. ‘WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO LAUNDRY? DOESN’T YOUR HUMAN DO THAT?” “YES,” replies Olive, “BUT SHE SHRINKS ALL MY BED LINENS.” I guess we imagine that emotionally our dog’s lives would be pretty much like our own, but most in the veterinary world would say we’re anthropomorphizing. So what. You fantasize, I’ll anthropomorphize. When you think about it, they’re both imaginary pursuits.

Double Dog Show

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/02/2011 at 8:05 pm

This is how Olive behaves whenever she sees other dogs on TV. Non-stop. If I let her watch “Dog Whisperer,” she’ll bark for 30 minutes straight. I’ve actually caught her barking when just Cesar Milan is on. (My eyebrow is raised right now). Who knows, maybe she has a crush on him. They do say that weimaraners often bark just because they like hearing their own voice. Christ, they must really be Italian and not German. Or, it’s a genetic trait they inherited from a very pompous blowhard of a dog; probably a dog that was a lawyer in another life. Probably, a dog that was a defense lawyer.

“Who Moved Olive’s Cheese?”

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 09/01/2011 at 10:57 am

"QUIET. I''m supervising."

Olive’s been a really good sport about the kitchen renovation taking place. She doesn’t seem to mind that her water and food bowls have been unceremoniously moved into the basement. Or that she can no longer stand in front of the dining room window and people-and-car-watch. And bark. Of course, I knew better than to dare move Olive’s overstuffed black-and-white pony chair from the corner of the dining room. That would be akin to shoving Queen Elizabeth’s throne out a window. There she sat, as regal-looking as ever in her chair surrounded by almost two dozen giant cardboard boxes protecting kitchen cabinets and other nicely finished “sticks.” It was comical. There was just enough room for the chair and her. It created the impression that Queen Olive was surrounded by a crowd of loyal subjects. And while she enjoyed snacking on all the bits and pieces of chalky drywall, splinters of wood, splatters of spackle, and yes, cardboard boxes, she wasn’t too crazy about all the strange people entering and leaving the house. Oh sure, she’d bark her little grey head off when they entered the house, but in a dramatic display of ambivalance, her tiny tail wagged back and forth so fast, I was afraid it would snap off at its base like the stem on an aging pumpkin. One unfortunate result of all this intermittent commotion was the toll it took on Olive’s bowels. I’m now convinced that when she gets stressed, she goes through minor bouts of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome for those of you with non-irritable bowels). This causes her to bark insistently at between 2am and 4am to be let out. Although I consider myself a morning person, this is not my favorite time of day to get up, get dressed and go outside. I stand under the star-kissed moonlight in the front yard with my dog who in the universally undignified “pooping position,” lets the contents of her bowels fly.

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