Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Return Visit

Some time ago we got word that one of our foster cats (mine and Stella's) was being returned due to a hopefully temporary economic setback. The extraordinarily handsome boy known to us back in the summer as Joey – now named Chance – has returned for an extended visit. This has made for an adventurous December as he's now somewhere in the neighborhood of nine months old which puts him in the "real wild child" category. My cat Gigi would love to hate him but he won't let her.

Stella loves him because apparently he knows the play bow which as you all might guess action sets off all manner of YouTube-worthy chaos. The two of them have been riding the rugs through the new living room and scattering cat litter all over the house for going on three weeks.

In case chasing after a dog that outweighs you by sixty pounds isn't enough in the "I might be a lunatic" department, Last Monday I had to get up and shower at 5 a.m. and after rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, I looked down and this cat was sitting in the shower with me. It was absolutely all I could do not to make eye contact.

Here's a picture of Joey Chance first from back in July, and then earlier today (on squirrel patrol with Stella).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Territory (an encore)

Well we've been moving since January and hoping this is finally it for a while. I say January - that's when I started packing up the original house. We moved into storage and the interim house in May and then here in September but we didn't actually live in the new house until about two weeks ago. We visited every day though and got to see the progression of our new yard over the summer which was fun and educational. By the time the actual move came around I was a neurotic train wreck but I think it's going to work out fine.  Stella loves it and so does Gigi - the cat. There's only a partial fence but hopefully we can complete that thought at some point. For now we're getting back into our regular walking routine and learning where all the new neighborhood dogs live. It's a long process of learning what we can pee on and what would be better left alone. I guess from a dog's perspective you could say most days, that's pretty much the yardstick for everything.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Found in the move

Before I apologize for leaving you all sit well over a month, I offer up this vintage print of Easy that I found among the boxes when I moved. I never knew Easy to have a dog so much as a cat but there it is in black and white :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012


This year (yesterday), Stella got a trip to the Metro Mulch Facility to celebrate "Gotcha Day." She was a big hit there, probably because she didn't mind all of the heavy machinery and dump trucks. She's a big fan of mulch too although usually she doesn't lie in it so much as she waters it.  She's been spending a lot of time prancing around in our soon-to-be-new yard with her giant tree-limb-type stick. We don't officially have a fence on the east side yet but she hasn't noticed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Vacation


The rabbit family that was living in our new yard seems to have gone undercover for the last couple of weeks. I hope they didn't turn into a buffet dinner for some passing hawk or fox but I wouldn't be surprised. They have to eat too I suppose. Part of the big Hackberry tree in the meadow fell down last week which was a terrible shame. On the upside, I got four more windows unstuck. Stella is no help at all. She can't even make coffee. It's bunny patrol or nothing as far as she's concerned.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chigger Patrol

Also known as "bunny patrol" for Stella. This is a little corner of our new meadow in which I am dutifully working on a non-toxic solution for chiggers and mosquitoes. Seriously, if I'm to keep on blogging I'm afraid it'll be all gardening all the time. Regular readers say post it here but I'm not sure how a blog about carnival dogs and/or my own canine relates. Anyway, according to Google University, the organic answer (for the bugs) lies in two other critters: beneficial nematodes (250 million of them to be exact) and bats. Who knew right? Some of you may think (as I did) that Purple Martins might play a role in mosquito consumption but apparently that is a myth created by people who sell Purple Martin bird houses.

So bats it is. This leads me to wonder if my new next door neighbors wouldn't be frightfully concerned were I to show up one weekend and erect a twenty foot tall bat house in the yard. I suppose it would address their mosquito problem as well (bats eat a thousand mosquitoes an hour) but I'm just not positive they'll think of it in the same environmentally sound terms I do so for now, the plan is still in the early stages. They have big dogs too and Stella already sees it as her job to tease the three of them relentlessly through the fence whenever possible. Imagine.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


And if that weren't enough.. there's always an unlimited supply of foster kittens, right? We got one on the fly last Thursday and I took him to the vet Friday. It turned out he was old enough to get "tutored" along with all of his tests and shots. It was a long two days for him but now he's spent the entire weekend learning all about dogs and rattan furniture and what happens when you work your claws out on the priceless antique rugs of your foster mom's friends and he's doing great. 

His (temporary) name is Joey and his awesome-ness is off the charts so I suspect he won't be with us very long. He can be reached at Nashville Cat Rescue if anyone is interested.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New territory

Gosh, how long has it been? It seems like an entire summer's passed by us since we posted about I heart Guts! Thanks for the funny comments on that btw. Things have been happening here that prevented all recent posting. Big things. I no sooner promised you all a new adventure than the adventure turned on its heels and tried to hijack me into a whole new blog. I'm trying so hard to resist it too because as you all are aware - I have a few too many in the wings already. The original story was this: Stella and Gigi (the tail-free cat) and I went house sitting this summer. In the middle of May we moved into a house in east Nashville that was built in the late 1800's. It is a grand place and we love having all of this extra room not to mention the amenities of a top-notch bed and breakfast. I'm doing the cooking and cleaning of course but it far exceeds our former crib. When we moved here I put all of my things in storage and the plan was that I would look for a house to buy over the summer and move out when my friends return at the end of October. Thanks to my dear mom, who decided I should inherit something of hers without her having to die for it (brilliant) I'd been looking online at houses for almost a year. At the beginning of June she gave me the go ahead to look seriously and not realizing what was about to happen I called a super smart real estate guy named Roger and gave him a short list of things I wanted. It went something like this: screened-in porch, fence, lots of light and maybe a little garden I could reinvent or tend to. No knotty pine. Then I said a little prayer that made reference both to an "oasis" and the "Garden of Eden."

And you know what happened after that, right?

I bought a garden. It came with a house. 
It's a cool house but the garden is mind boggling. In fact, if I had a couple of hens and a little goat I might never have to leave there again. In the photo just above -  those are raspberries. There's an herb garden, fruit trees, a family of state-fair-sized bunnies and a Wisteria draped carport that may actually have me for dinner some dusky evening. What a way to go though. I'd die a happy woman, especially if that broad was in full bloom. 

We haven't actually moved in yet but Stella seems to love it over there. I promise we'll return shortly with some more relevant d.o.g. type stuff. Hope you all have some wild excitement in your life as well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy daze

Stella had  her fourth birthday last Friday. What with moving and all, we didn't make it to a carnival this year to take her picture. A friend had given me this crazy stuffed heart though (shaped like a beating heart eek- not our typical romanticized version) so that, and a whole can of wet dog food was her present. I figured she'd chew the thing to smithereens but so far she's just been toting it around the house with the occasional blindside attack. I am planning on getting her a new leather collar too as I think her latest nylon version may sacrifice comfort for design. She's pretty funky all on her own and really shouldn't have to be bothered with itchy fashion accessories. That goes for all of us I suppose.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Beginnings

  So we have acres of new places to walk Stella and I. We've mostly stuck around the neighborhood which goes on for blocks and blocks - to the park if you're traveling east and if you're headed west, you cross the river to downtown. One great new thing which I forgot all about is that there are sidewalks to walk on. It may seem silly but it's a nice change if you've been traipsing up and down suburban streets for four years. It isn't without challenges but I so far I love it and Stella seems to like it too. 

  One challenge is that there isn't grass just anywhere Stella decides to relieve herself. Sometimes there are hybrid rose bushes bordering fantastic gardens and other times there are crushed beer bottles or other unspeakable litter. There are also tons of  little picket fences right on the street, with variety packs of dogs behind them barking right at you, as you pass. We played that game yesterday with an audience of neighbors sitting on the porch. One of their three dogs turned into the Sherriff, jumping viciously up against the thigh-high fence. Naturally, Stella went after the dog. I didn't really blame her (too much). It did seem as if the dog was going to get us but she was set to drag me over the fence with her. It's fine, I usually try to work 6-8 seconds of complete chaos in a few times each day. The more embarrassing, the better.

  The photos below have nothing to do with this post. They came out of our new (temporary) garden in the back yard which is also fenced but thankfully ours is a lot more private at six feet. This mama Robin was teaching her chicks the basics yesterday, inside the fence, which I thought was truly brilliant since they were like bunch of toddlers, heaving around and flying into things. Today they're strong enough to fly to the top of the fence so they probably won't be here that much longer. I didn't realize any of this was happening until the chick in the lower photo hopped right up to Stella and started a conversation. I wish we had a picture of that. Mama bird put a stop to it rather quickly and basically ordered us into the house.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pity Party

Well I had every intention of posting the details of our recent move here on Stella's page but things got out of hand early on and haven't quite settled even now, a week on into our transition. The Cliff's Notes version is this: I had everything I own except the bare essentials (dog toys, clothes, computer, cameras and the food that was in the refrigerator) moved into storage. I hired Music City Movers to do this for me. That was a mistake I regretted half an hour in but I don't want to talk about it because then I'd be forced to relive it.

The Thursday prior to our move I took Stella to the vet for a rabies shot that was two months overdue. I didn't want to get one at all and even asked the vet once if she would sell me the tag which is completely illegal and of course she refused however, this time they stuck her, charged me the $24. and THEN SAID:
"They've recently changed the law in Tennessee so she won't have get another shot for three years."
In other words, we could have skipped the thing for two more years legally but they wanted the $24. Then, I made the second mistake and bought a single dose of Advantage topical flea medicine.

We got to the new house (which is spectacular btw) and began unpacking a little bit and getting settled in and Stella seemed to be having the time of her life. Even the cat was cool about the whole thing. Then on Thursday I gave her the flea medicine - just in case. I didn't want her bringing any rogue fleas into the new place. It belongs to friends, and I've agreed to house and garden sit for 6-8 months.

When she started itching I thought it was because the fleas were on to us. I had no idea that the next five days would be fraught with vomiting and diarrhea, listlessness, swelling, and trembling, hives and what can only be described as mental breakdown. She was feverish and delirious, running into walls to get away from the itch. At one point I opened the front door and she ran outside, down the steps and out into traffic. She just missed getting hit by a car. As some might suspect that led to my very own personal breakdown.

During all of this craziness, she also managed to adopt a variety of neurotic behaviors. She didn't drink any water except out of a flower pot in the backyard but oops, then she was afraid to go out the back door, or into the kitchen or up the front steps. She spent time licking the floor. She's only eaten twice since last Thursday. I went for Benedryl on Friday. That actually gave her some relief but since then she appears to have a runny nose. I'd take her to the vet but now that she's improving I'm sure they'll want to give her a steroid shot, why is that the answer to everything? Thanks but no thanks. I knew things were going south when she climbed up in my lap and laid down on my chest.  

So that's the short story. What I had hoped would be a big fun time, turned into a nightmare eluding to the fact once more that the power of positive thinking is bullshit - just in case anyone wondered.

UPDATE: Just so as not to leave everyone floating in a black hole - I believe as of about four-thirty this afternoon (but for the runny nose) Stella appears to be recovered and has mostly reverted to her regular self. It's been a long few weeks and despite my ranting there are wildly fun things in our future over here; on the other side of the river. We promise to avoid having a big pity party next time.

Here is part of our new (temporary) bathroom with the stained glass window which is not only beautiful but genius. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I got up last Friday and told Stella it was her lucky day. If she were a teenager, I'm certain I would've gotten the full blown eye roll right then and there. It was a long busy day and she was surprised when I produced her leash again at 5:30. We drove for a little while and then turned onto a winding road bordered at the back by a creek. I turned the rear view mirror in her direction. She was about to scratch off a ticket worth more than five dollars, I wanted to see her face if I could. Her nose went straight out the window. A minute later we pulled into a driveway we hadn't been in since early January. A familiar black dog headed up to the gate toward us. He blinked, looked behind him and again at us, as if he couldn't believe his eyes.

I waved at him. He knew then, who and what he was looking at. As did his former girlfriend, Stella. She jumped into the front seat, which she never does, and then back to the backseat again as I slowly drove down the driveway and into the parking spot. Now if this were a movie, we'd be at the part where we're all running toward each other through a field of daisies in slow motion. The love fest that followed was so sweet it would rot your teeth. Diesel jumped into the back seat of my car and sat down facing forward, like it was yesterday and when I told him to get out he simply moved over to the other seat and sat down again. It was hysterical. There's no question he's having the time of his life at the farm. He has all he needs there to fill up his days with the things dogs love most. Toys, treats, canine friends, feline friends, love and attention, livestock, a horse trough filled with water. He's still the same lover boy that he always was and although we probably overstayed our welcome (having too much fun - you understand) I still hope we get to do it again sometime. Many thanks to Diesel's mom for the invitation and great DINNER.

Friday, April 13, 2012


We went straight out the door yesterday morning and found a double cheeseburger on the ground. Stella found it incomprehensible that I didn't hand the entire thing over to her.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Did you all know that dog walking can inspire a person to spontaneously write and sing (terrible) songs to the dog while walking? Some might consider it abusive, I don't know. This caterwauling can include lyrics about hot dogs, toe nails, puppies, dog poo, soft bellies or funnel cakes. Apparently nothing is off limits. I pray to God the neighbors never hear me.

On another whole subject, I think I'm going to start telling people Stella's name is Boom-chaka-laka-laka. 

(*note: I'm now told the word is "Boomshakalaka" but we'll stick with the French spelling for now ;)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Good Friday

I can't begin to understand what dogs think but I know this for sure.
Stella has ideas about the Easter Bunny that aren't what we humans would consider sweet. In fact, I suspect they lean more toward the diabolical.

white eyelashes
She knows where he lives. 
He's been weed eating the back yard
for a couple of weeks now.   

She texted him:

He wasn't provoked.
No sign of Sunny the turtle.
She normally comes for Memorial Day but
I'm hoping she'll show up a little early this year. 
More on that later.


Friday, March 23, 2012

The difference an hour makes

Stella and I got a tour of Shelby Bottoms this morning courtesy of our friend Christine and her dog, Aurthur. Getting there in the morning traffic was a little bit of a hurdle but it was definitely worth it.  

Monday, March 19, 2012



 This is a beautiful dog named Lady who long ago (back when we were shooting film), belonged to a ride jock named Timothy Bell (we called him Tubby). He found her in Tampa and she almost made it through the season but got hit by a car in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Shirley, who was kind enough to identify her for us,  "Tubby was a hot mess losing her. She was such a good girl."

 As I told Shirley on facebook, Tubby asked me if I had a picture of this dog once, some years later, but I don't think I could find it when he asked me. It hung on the darkroom wall for a while but I never saw him after that. Maybe he'll run across it one day here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vintage carny dog

Tennessee State Fair, Nashville, Tennessee; The Mighty Bluegrass Shows, 2003.  

Don't remember ever seeing this until now.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carl and Trish

Carl and Trish on  the deck of the Skywheel after work.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Morning Dog Walk

Our everyday walk, the one we take through the neighborhood that is, is about two miles, or seven square suburban blocks. About four times a week I try take Stella somewhere new or different particularly if I'm forced to drive to some other part of town for work. Either way, we do the neighborhood walk, seven days a week. It gets boring sometimes but in the spring it's pretty wonderful and I have Stella to thank for actually getting me out of the house for the last (nearly) four years, rain or shine, whether I like it or not. It's been an education in the natural order of things. For example, we knew that spring was on the way long before the daffodils began to bloom. We know what critters are on the move when, the exact day the trees begin to bud, when the school bus comes, what time the neighbors go to work, who takes care of their dogs and their children and who doesn't, where the shade falls on the streets leaving icy patches, which drainage ditches flood, how much litter can accumulate over a weekend, and where's the best place to find a drink of water in a pinch. We're also blessed to live in a neighborhood with old beautiful trees and a little bit of history in the landscape. The rose bushes, the Iris and the Crepe Myrtle tell a story about what was popular decades ago. I'm sure many of them have died off over the years but it isn't difficult to follow the trail of DIY gardeners even across a few blocks. Having said all that - here are a few shots of our walk this morning. The fire plug is only included because I call it Stella's boyfriend of color.