Patti Soldavini

Posts Tagged ‘lawn cigars’

The Circle of Life

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 07/25/2012 at 9:40 pm

“I did NO such thing. That I can recall. At this time.”

The other morning, as Olive was perched on the crispy brown lawn depositing bio-cigars, she ever so gently (so as not to disturb the process) craned her neck down – and forward just a little bit – so she could begin snacking on the tic tac-sized rabbit pellets that lay in front of her without moving out of position. I couldn’t believe it. The first thought that popped into my head was “recycling.” I have an environmentally sustainable dog. Who knew?



Bologna Tongue

In dogs, humor, lifestyle, pets, weimaraners, writing on 08/19/2011 at 9:09 pm

"WHAT'S bologna?"

This is Olive doing an impersonation of a tube of fresh Italian bologna. Actually, she hasn’t pulled out all the stops yet. Usually, when she’s really hot, sweaty and stinky from our 60-minute walk, her tongue hangs out so far I think it might actually slide out of her head. When I start to see it grow like Pinocchio’s nose, we stop and I give her a drink from a bottle of Nestlé Pure Life water. I try to hold the plastic bottle in a way where the H2O just drips out but sometimes it drips like an I.V. bag. Olive gets supremely impatient and responds like someone who was just offered a peanut butter sandwich after having wandered the desert for the last 33 days without water. She starts grabbing the tiny neck of the bottle with her molars as though she is actually trying to twist the bottle open. I tip the bottle at a  30-degree angle and water starts pouring into her mouth like an infant geyser. She starts choking a bit but she won’t stop drinking. I pull it away after she’s gotten a mouthful and we continue on our walk. Olive goes back to scouting the sidewalk with her nose and the thought occurs to me, “If dogs have super olfactory powers and can smell its master’s DNA from miles away, then why do they shove their nose right into a lawn cigar or bird shit or whatever foul smelling object they find?  When dogs do that with their super powers, it must be an incredibly overpowering experience for them. They must become intoxicated from drawing in a multi-note bouquet with a nose that can suck shingles from a roof. I imagine that our walks everyday must feel like an olfactory treasure hunt to Olive. I wonder if she excitedly anticipates what scents she’ll encounter on each walk, much like a child anticipates going to the toy store. ‘LOOK MOM! A ROASTED DEAD FROG. CAN I SMELL IT? HUH? HUH? (And yes, we did encounter a flattened dried out frog on the sidewalk the other morning.) Olive also seems to be unusually attracted to the intestinal splatter from birds. (Big surprise.) I wonder if she knows it’s bird shit. I usually let her casually sniff each object without getting too intimate with it, but today I drew the line at a suspicious looking purple balloon, inflated with what may have been one and a half breaths of fetid air. “FORGET IT OLIVE. IT LOOKS LIKE SOME COKE HEAD’S STASH. MAYBE IT DROPPED OUT OF HIS COLON.” Olive looks at me for a second like I’m crazy, then continues marching forward. She can’t wait until we pass the strip mall down the street where she’s sure to find the back-end of a tossed burrito or some other cheap fat and cholesterol-laden jewel that escaped some human’s piehole.

Turd Tote

In dogs, humor, pets, weimaraners, writing on 06/17/2011 at 7:29 am

"Hey, I MADE that."

There’s nothing like carrying your dog’s poop in a plastic bag while you are walking to make one feel like an idiot. As I pass by school kids, crossing guards and other pedestrians, I try to hide the presence of the little fecal purse by being very animated. Perhaps this will divert attention from the little green bag dangling by my side as if it’s a parasitic twin. Olive prances ahead, head held high as if to proclaim, “Where for art my bag of crappeth? Being carried by my loyal subject of course!” As our walk continues, while Olive has her medium-sized brown nose criss-crossing the terrain like a tiny hovercraft, my eyes criss-cross streets lined with Victorian homes, searching desperately for a garbage can on the sidewalk or one that’s accessible to me without being arrested for trespassing. “Cripes. Garbage Day was yesterday. I’m going to have to carry this thing for miles.” Most of the cans are forest green, so they blend into the surroundings. And then, there are the new “charity cans,” bright, Barbie-pink trash cans that support breast cancer. I already donate to a number of cancer charities, but when I see these cans I think. “My God, I’d donate $1,000 just not to have this eyesore in front of my house.” The other morning, I looked out the kitchen window and saw what I thought was a person down the street, just standing idly in front of a neighbor’s driveway like a buoy. “That’s weird,” I thought. Until I take out my binoculars and confirm that it’s not a person. It’s one of these ridiculous garbage cans. Really, isn’t the world we live in today noisy enough without added “visual noise” like this? Olive and I live in a fairly rural area and these pink cans stand at attention at the end of driveways like giant erasers visible from hundreds of feet away. Can you imagine what they’d look like in urban areas? By now, I’m so tired of carrying the turd tote, I feel like just flinging it into the air like it’s a skeet target. And all of a sudden, a nasty-looking trash can, one whose lid looks like it has been seriously nibbled away by squirrel-beavers, stands before me on the sidewalk in front of a home that is either (sadly) occupied by very old people or a band of drugstore cowboys. The house is in grave disrepair. Another few years and it looks like it will have to be condemned. Whomever lives here is neither going to notice or care that I’ve dropped a bag of dogshit into their garbage can. I use just my pinky to gingerly open the rodent-bitten lid, toss the bag in, and gag momentarily before letting the lid drop. Olive just watches. She looks up at me as though I’ve just given away her left kidney. “Don’t worry Olive, you’ll make more.”

Father Knows Best

In weimaraners on 04/12/2011 at 8:35 pm

Olive's Father: "Knockin on Heaven's Door"

Hi everyone. This is my Dad. Isn’t he handsome? Do you think I look like him? Without the little nozzle below? Hi Dad. What does knockin’ on heaven’s door mean? Wanna see me run? Wanna see me leap over the couch in one single bound? Am I cute? Today I ate a stinkbug. (Scratch, scratch, lick, lick, nibble.) Do you watch “Dog Whisperer” too? What’s that shiny blue thing in the picture? I’d like to eat it. Right after I’m finished eating Patti’s books. She reads them, I eat them. This is the only way I can digest the stories. The humorous ones work like Activia on me. The dramas are constipating. And the biographies take forever to pass. And the business books? Ugh. It’s like eating bull scat. Did I just say bull? “WHERE ARE MY BULLY STIX? I WANT A FRESH ONE. NOW.” Dad, will you take me to the store to get some? I just got my nails done. Today, they are electric blue with tiny polka dots. Just kidding. They got clipped. I’m thinking about selling my lawn cigars to the local woodland creatures. The deer are so stupid, I can’t believe it. I tell them they are chocolate eclairs. What do you think Dad, huh, Dad, huh?


In weimaraners on 04/05/2011 at 8:37 pm

"Want to hear me YODEL?

Olive is quite the vocal pooch. The deep, basso profundo growl she sustains when expressing her displeasure at a bird trespassing in her airspace. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY SIGHT OR I’LL SNATCH YOU RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR AND EAT YOU ALIVE!” Or the yearning hauntingly sustained howl she uses to signal her dismay at being left alone. “MY-HEART-IS-BREAKING-INTO-A-MILLION-PIECES.” Then there’s the skull-splitting bark she uses when she’s either signaling her urgent need to go outside to drop a lawn cigar or when she wants you to know that she’s very angry about being crated just because she clipped my head with her rock-solid hind quarters when she became airborne leaping over me while I sat on the couch. “NOT. MY. FAULT. LET. ME. OUT. OF. THIS. BIRD. CAGE. NOW!” Of course, there’s my personal favorite, the “nose whistling.” During these moments, you’d be right to mistake her for the world’s greatest flutist. “DO RE ME FA SO LA TI.” The only thing missing is a series of bright metallic keys on the bridge of her nose. I close my eyes and picture her standing on all fours on stage at Carnegie Hall. A very tiny, very round person dressed in a diminutive tuxedo daintily raises Olive’s petite tail and blows air into her behind while Olive deftly plays the keys on her nose. The pitch and range of the notes she’s able to hit are at the very least, American Idol-worthy. But the one noise she makes that never fails to startle me is her yawn. It sounds incredibly human-like. “EEEYYAHHHHHH.” It’s almost a little creepy. Now she’s snarling a bit like a frustrated bull because her softball-sized red tennis ball just bounced off the wall and shot under the couch. I bend down to retrieve it and when I look under the couch it looks like Christmas. At least five of her toys are huddled together seeking refuge. “SHHHHHH…WE ARE NOT REALLY HERE.”

Scat On a Hot Shingled Roof

In weimaraners on 02/23/2011 at 7:07 pm

I told this story to friends over the Summer and I’m not sure how I neglected to re-tell it here, but it bears repeating. This is actually a postscript of sorts to my “Kryptonite” post. Once a week, I’d take an environmentally unfriendly plastic grocery bag and march out into the backyard with a scowl on my face and a garden shovel in my hand. Time to scoop up and dispose of the fecal land mines all over the yard. By the time I’m done, the bag feels as heavy as if there’s a bowling ball the size of Minnesota in it. Mind you, I perform this unsightly chore in full view of all the cars that pass by on this busy county road. I know if I drove by and saw someone doing this, I’d laugh my ass off. And then I’d probably lean out the window and yell something like “HEY, DON’T FORGET TO PICK UP YOUR OWN WHEN YOU’RE DONE PICKING UP THE DOG’S!” Olive waits inside the kitchen, quietly tearing everything off the refrigerator door, even messily devouring the cute miniature paper doll chain that my friend’s 6-year old made for me. I think I’m done. Usually, I walk three-quarters of the way around the property to dispose of this transitory septic farm in the trash can. Today however, I’m lazy. I’ll just go to the back of the house, tie up the bag and heave it down below near the garbage can. Then, when I go out later, I’ll pick it up and dispose of it properly. I walk over to the top of the rotting railroad tie retaining wall (which to replace is going to cost me what it would cost to purchase a small country), tie a knot in the bag, swing it backward, then forward, releasing it as though I were in the national finals of a slow pitch softball tournament. Wow. It feels great as it leaves my hand. This baby is going up, and up and up…OH SHIT. IT’S GOING TO LAND ON THE ROOF. Yes, the bag of Olive’s lawn cigars and moon pies (complete with intestinal parasites) lands on the corner of the roof. The only saving grace is that it barely misses landing on the vent pipe that prevents radon fumes from building up in the house (a common geologic occurrence in New Jersey.) WELL, THIS IS GREAT. IT’S ONLY JULY AND I DON’T NORMALLY CALL THE GUTTER GUY UNTIL THE FALL. For a brief second, I think of getting the ladder out to retrieve it. I quickly realize the ladder will fall short by about 15 feet. Then a newspaper headline flashes before my eyes: LOCAL WOMAN KILLED IN FALL FROM LADDER. BAG OF DOGSHIT FOUND AT SCENE. I shake my head and walk away. Maybe it will decompose and blow away before then. As annoyed as I am with my laziness, I am even more annoyed by my “shitty pitch.” But by the time I walk inside the kitchen, even I’m laughing. It’s a great story. I look at Olive and with a straight face and ask her, “OLIVE DID YOU SHIT ON THE ROOF?” She just looks at me all happy, with her tail wagging furiously. Without Olive, it would be just another boring day.


In Uncategorized on 01/16/2011 at 1:24 pm

If you’ve never heard of Giardia before, think Kryptonite. It is an intestinal parasite common to dogs THAT CAN LIVE IN ENVIRONMENTS FOR TWO TO THREE MONTHS after a dog excretes its cysts. Yes, this would have been a useful piece of information to tell me when I was leaving Olive’s lawn cigars and cow pies scattered about the lawn like Bingo chips this past Summer. Had I known they required delicate hazmat handling, I would have been obsessive about picking them up right away. Because when you have an acre of property, what’s a few brown trout dotting the lawn? The drawback to having an acre of property as a canvas for Olive’s fecal artwork is that contrary to what one might think, it’s actually not so easy to find these deposits. I couldn’t pick them up right away while I had Olive on the leash because she would try to tear the flimsy plastic bag out of my hands as if we were playing tug of war with a delectable rotting fox carcass. So I’d put her back in the kitchen and arm myself with a gardening shovel, plastic bag and…surgical gloves. Just call me “Scatologist.” Then, I’d be faced with trying to recall the coordinates of precisely where the event occurred. Standing in the yard looking hopelessly perplexed as if I were lost, I’d mutter to myself out loud, “I think it was about 10 feet from the 8th pole in the split rail fence opposite the middle hemlock bush.” It was like playing “Battleship.” And rarely, did I sink the battleship. Then, I have a brainstorm. Why not get those tiny red anti-litigation flags that companies plant on lawns to warn people that pesticides have been sprayed? I go to the first place I think might have them. Yes, They have EVERYTHING. Including 50 miniature red flags attached to the end of foot-long wire poles…for about $5. Now my lawn looks like a miniature golf course in the summer. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m batshit when out there planting little red flags in the lawn while Olive is in the undignified “pooping position.” I don’t care. It’s genius. Except I didn’t anticipate how hard they’d be to jam into the frozen ground in the winter, resulting in bent poles hanging and twirling in the wind like psychotic pinwheels, while leaving my knuckles bloodied. Now, it looks like a miniature golf course at an insane asylum from which a serial killer just escaped. The alternative is feeding Olive sweet potatoes which when consumed, digested and released, resemble orange glow-in-the-dark cylinders. You can see them from space.

Cat in The Hat

In weimaraners on 01/10/2011 at 9:30 pm

What a “Cat in The Hat” morning I had today. This is how I describe a series of ridiculous events that starts with some innocuous act on my part and quickly accelerates into a Pandorian nightmare. Usually because I’m rushing and not paying close enough attention to something I should. At around 6:30 am this morning, while lugging the 40 pound plastic bag of wood pellets up onto the pellet stove, dumping them into the hopper, the bottom of the bag breaks open and 20 pounds of compressed wood pellets come cascading down the front of the stove onto the living room rug, scattering like tiny shiny turdlettes. Olive is now trying to gobble up these unexpected treats like a Dyson vacuum cleaner. To her, it probably resembles deer or rabbit scat, two of her favorite environmental delicacies. I reach into her mouth with the finesse of a blind plumber, trying to extract these tiny missiles to no avail. They are so small, she can barely chew them; they disappear down her gullet only to tumble onto the pile of other foreign objects she has recently ingested (pencil bits, the eye from a plush lizard, cardboard, discarded Q-tips, etc.) I retract my hand, now dripping in a syrup-like coating of dog saliva. To make matters worse, part of the heavy-duty white plastic bag is now melted onto the front of the black pellet stove. I’m so annoyed with myself I want to slap my own face repeatedly. Olive gets led to her “dungeon” crate downstairs while I clean up and curse at myself. (I call it her dungeon crate only because it is very spartan. It’s where she goes when I have to leave her for awhile and the possibility of a gastrointestinal train wreck is very real. Often she holds on to her lawn cigars for hours, apparently in an attempt to polish them into diamonds.) Soon, she’s barking and I know this time it’s for water. I swear the dog forgets to drink sometimes and when she’s thirsty, she becomes very insistent and the water in Princess Olive’s bowl had better be as pristine as an arctic spring. If it contains microns of stick bits, whisker dust or God forbid, a bloated kibble, she won’t touch it. Any foreign floaters, and she turns her nose up in disgust, waiting for her handmaiden (me) to replenish it. I clean and fill her water bowl, let her out of the crate and scrub my hands. What a great day today! You won’t hear me complain, my dog is a nuthatch and I’m insane!

#2 Squared

In Uncategorized on 01/03/2011 at 8:17 pm

Olive just finished devouring the #2 pencil I left on the coffee table unattended for 5 minutes. She’s outside in the backyard now writing the next post.

No Mixed Signals

In Uncategorized on 12/30/2010 at 4:20 am

Olive has finally gotten a bit more vocal about her needs. Thank God, because I have gotten a bit rusty reading minds. Who would have thought that when she had an urgent need to empty her bowels, she would trill and growl. Yes, TRILL and growl. Not whine, not bark, but trill and GROWL. The trilling has an Irish lilt to it, like when you vibrate your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Sounds a bit lyrical and a bit like a demented leprechaun. The growl makes me laugh though. Is she annoyed with me because until that moment, I was too stupid to anticipate her gastrointestinal need? It’s a very clear signal. I need to get her out of the house INSTANTLY. The good thing is, after I remove the barrier to the rest of the house, she races ahead of me like she’s running the Kentucky Derby. I open the sliding glass door just as she sails across the sill, like a reindeer taking off into space. Less than a minute later, a small brown pie rests atop the bright white snow in the yard. Triumphant, Olive trots back to the door, ready to come back in and find something satisfying to chew on. But wait, I hear slurping noises that sound somewhat hollow coming from upstairs. COULD IT BE? Yes, it’s Olive drinking from the never-ending porcelain bowl of water. It’s like there’s a man living in my house now. Often when I sit on the toilet seat, it is now wet, evidence of Olive’s sloppy drinking style. Do you think she’ll stop if I treat her water bowl like my toilet? Right now, she is laying contentedly beside me curled up in her sage-colored Orvis donut bed in my office. I can hear her stomach gurgling. I look at her sleeping so peacefully and my heart fills with joy. I am so happy to have this crazed little nuthatch in my life. The one who now takes my place on the couch whenever I get up. Is it because it’s warm? Or, is she literally taking the pack leader’s spot? Does she question me as much as I question her? What a complex relationship we have. I love it.

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