Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oh Mickey you're so fine....

Approximately 4 years ago my son called me with the exciting news that He got a puppy! Dog lover in me got squelched while Mom in me said, "What? Your apartment does not take pets!" Minor detail. He went on to say that he had "rescued"--read stolen-this puppy from a short life of abuse and neglect from Detroit's inner city. Seems that the said pup had been spotted at a local party store feasting on pizza crusts and chicken bones, hardly the approved diet by Purina and others! There was also an occasion where it was witnessed that an accident was almost caused by said pup happily and cluelessly wandering down the middle of Conant. Upon his "rescue" he was appropriated with the rather royal moniker of McNicols F. Conant, honoring the area of his birth. We'll call him Mickey. The F. can be left up to your imagination. Freebird, on good days. Now if the stats can be believed, there are 1 pit bull dog to every 2 residents in the city of Detroit. That seems crazy but even if the number was 1 to 5, it would still seem like an unbelievable ratio. Pit bull and their mixes have been a big problem, and can be seen roaming in packs in areas of the city. Most are bred for fighting and for use as guard dogs, others just abandoned. So back to Mickey. He is a smallish brown pit bull mix with sweet brown eyes and a 1 ear up and 1 ear down thing going. Probably hit in the ear at some time, but He seems to hear just fine. Especially when the refrigerator door is opened, or the treat box is shook. It gives him a perpetually quizzical look that is totally endearing. Coupled with his five o clock shadow, Mickey is the epitome of Ghetto Terrier, which we lovingly have coined his "breed". The apartment manager was a softy and generously bent the rules for his newest little inhabitant. Who could resist such a tale of woe? Three years later The Mickster is TEMPORARILY residing with me in the big house and taking his strolls down the Metro walking trail. A real George Jefferson is he. And I couldn't love it more. Mickey guards me like a hawk, but would only lick to death any real danger. The bond with Black Betty was immediate and He loves riding with the wind in his fur. Mickey has proved himself very tolerant of children and other animals. Since Lola kitty is the queen (no offense Aretha) around here, it was imperative that He learn his place. That place being curled up with her in front of the fireplace or any sunny spot on the carpet!! Bliss to be sure. Everything that I have ever heard about mutts (ouch!) temperament, loyalty and such have been proved over and over with our Mickey. Guess all I can say is please don't hesitate to adopt a pet from Humane Society or where ever. You won't regret having such a loyal and loving pet. P.S. Prescription strength Singular alleviates those pesky allergy symptoms!!! xoxox

Monday, March 17, 2008

Boilin' the Cabbage Down..

Years ago we joined the raucous crowd on St. Paddy's Days day downtown at the Old Shillelagh. We were out for a Wings game and just decided to participate in the festivities. Not being Irish (is that even important?) but always up for any kind of celebrating, led us upstairs where the party was in full swing. About 15 hours into the day, and still goin' strong. Among the sea of green (one of my least favorite colors) in Red Wings red, we stood out like sore thumbs. Some friendly partiers made room at their table and we were met by a darling lassie to take our order. Whiskey? Too many teenage hangovers for that, and ordering my usual wine seemed totally out of the question--so green beer it is! Niggling in the back of my brain was my Grandma Eve's (who loved being Irish for a day) warning of the morning after effects of green dye. Never stopped her, why should it stop me? A live band was belting out traditional Irish tunes and in addition to Danny Boy and others, I learned of a popular ditty called, "Boilin' the Cabbage Down." Had 'em all whipped up into a frenzy. Never cared for Irish music and this did nothing to sway me. Thank the Lord I had already eaten and wasn't in any way tempted to partake in the food that was being lauded as 5 star. Corned Beef? What the hell is that anyways? Cabbage, maybe, but only fresh. Mulligan stew? Isn't that made with lamb? As in LAMB? I don't think so. How about cake? Cake would be good. Okay, so far not so good. Well, we could dance, however I have not had nearly enough green beer to do that crazy jig thing. Not sure I want to either, although participants seem to have fallen into some kind of trance. How to get on board with this thing.... I am generally afraid of trolls, leprechauns and such (but I do sport, for today, a tank top with the Lucky Charms dude on it). As a child, we would spend hours searching for 4 leaf clovers to bring us good luck. Kinda fun. Some of my best friends are Irish, and I have always envied their porcelain skin and jet hair. Frank McCourt is one of my favorite authors. Oh, and one of my favorite uncles is named Danny! March 17 is a good day to celebrate the end of winter--as long as I don't have to drink, eat, sing or dance!!! Guess I will never make it even as a Faux Irish lassie. I'll just settle on being a good Norwegian girl and since we don't have our own day, I'll just have a glass of wine everyday, just to be sure!!! xoxox Here's my favorite Irish toast:

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we know for truth

Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth
I look at you, and I sigh.

William Butler Yeats

Sunday, March 9, 2008

If we took a holiday....

Costa Rica. Ah, where to begin. The beauty, sure, but that's to be expected in a gorgeous tropical climate. We all know of turquoise waters, long sandy beaches with mountains in the background and exotic foliage that is outright stunning. What I was not prepared for was the total beauty and freshness of the Costa Rican "ticos". The people are inside and out lovely. Visually the pore less cocoa skin, ink black hair(not a grey in sight), slim bodies and perfect, white chiclet teeth are not to be believed. But it is the spirit that is even more attractive. From the moment you are welcomed at the little! airport in Liberia, through customs and immigration and then the rental car, you are treated to the big smile and welcoming attitude. They are very proud of their country and are seemingly genuinely happy to have you visit. There appears to be no stress at all. They just don't get the concept. If you want anything faster, they will just politely tell you, "Oh, no can do." This may explain the lack of wrinkles and grey hair. There is about 1 beat up car for every square mile of people and they mostly walk--up hills or bike. Many times I saw 3 people on one bike pedaling up a hill to the market that was 3 miles from their home! Hola and a smile and even a precarious wave to all of us staring slack-jawed! Diets of fresh fruit and vegetables along with fish and combined with all the daily exercise keeps most looking healthy. Can't remember the last time I witnessed 3 kids on a broke down bike, riding up a hill, in 90 degree weather to a dusty field, carrying mitts, ball, and bats to get a game going. Crazy what can happen without video games or even television! Hammock resting , observing nature and just conversing seem to be the order of the day when not at work. Families outside at tables laughing and visiting while dogs and cats laze about is a common sight. Very spiritual, family oriented people indeed. Should you fall in love with a Costa Rican, be prepared that YOU will be doing the moving--they will not be leaving their beloved country and family. Loco Gringos!! Small houses with no A/C are the norm. But, the houses are all hand crafted with extreme attention to fine detail. Use of indigenous wood makes them all look like little jewel boxes. I observed a construction site where one guy had a hack saw while his partner had a wheelbarrow! Smiling while toiling in 90 degree weather. Horses and cows walk freely around the villages, and I saw a man rounding up a cow while talking on his cell phone! I could not find trace of ego, social competition, or ranking of any sort. Respect and consideration for each other and us gringos was the standard. I did yoga on the beach with a native instructor and was invited to see her home and stay with her anytime I wanted to visit. Why wouldn't I be invited--I had known her for all of about 1 and a half hours!! The simple and uncomplicated life makes me feel ridiculous for all the excess I have. Just not becoming attached too much to these things, that are so taken for granted, is my only hope for that mental peace that they seem born into. Rushing around, indulging, and accumulating "things" seem like a total waste of time. (again, crazy gringos!) Then there's always the maintenance and stress that comes with "stuff." Guess, all I can do is try to take the memories and apply some of those lessons to my life. By nature, I am not really stressed (yoga helps) but I could learn from the gentle nature of the Ticos. Seems to work for them! And if I ever need a refresher course, it's 40 minutes to the airport, 3 hour flight to Miami ,overnight layover, 3 hour flight to Liberia, customs and immigration, then a 2 hour drive to my favorite village. You kidding? Too much stress. Wait! I know this one--una cerveza, por favor!!!! xo