This just in: Spring approacheth. The equinox is still a month off, the weather of late has been atrocious, but yesterday when Sprig and I were mincing along the treacherous, icy sidewalk, trying to avoid falling on our canine and human butts, suddenly, there it was — that ineffably subtle change in the air that says, Hold on, I’m comin’.
At first I thought it was way too early, and then recalled that it’s usually the second week in August when I notice autumn off on the horizon, approaching on his dun-colored horse. That is, six months ago.
Then the sheet of ice I was baby-stepping on cracked, and icy water swept over the dog’s paws. He looked pissed. Can’t blame him.
Speaking of dogs. I recall a line from an essay — Thomas McGuane, I think — saying the best dogs refuse to be completely domesticated, that the streak of wildness that remains in them is what makes them worth sharing your lives with. I think of this whenever my own gets into some sort of trouble. Like yesterday. I finished lunch, got a couple of Girl Scout cookies for dessert, and dropped the last quarter of the last Samoa on the floor, because it’s nice to share. Went back upstairs. Shouldn’t have.
Kate has her GS cookie orders bagged individually and sitting on the floor of the family room, awaiting delivery. I’ve been telling myself they’re safe because they’re double-wrapped in plastic and cardboard. When the dog sticks his nose into a bag, I say, “Get out of there” and he does without objection. A couple times I’ve thought I heard something and checked it out, only to find the cookies untouched, the dog peacefully sleeping on his bed, which is what he does most of the time these days.
Until yesterday. Thank God Girl Scout cookies are packaged in super-noisy crinkly plastic packaging, because I heard the plunder in progress from upstairs, ran down and caught him before he did too much damage. Only one box had been torn open. Samoas, of course.
“Bad dog!” I said. He didn’t slink or cower. You knew durn well I was a snake before you brought me in.
Kate used to have a videotape of a BBC production of Beatrix Potter stories. The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse is about the fussy, compulsive cleaner and tidier-up of her little mouse burrow. A giant toad in a waistcoat stops by one day and asks for some honey. She says she doesn’t have any, the liar.
“Mrs. Tittlemouse,” he says, in this low, growly, BBC-Cockney accent. “I can smell it.” It’s the filthiest line I’ve ever heard in a children’s production. This cookie event will be known in the future as the Mrs. Tittlemouse Incident.
Emma is learning to play the violin. As always with Emma stories, when she changes gears away from her own experience to talk to others — the people who actually justify doing the story — I get impatient. Who cares about these boring people learning the guitar at 50? I want to hear more about Emma:
For years, I’ve operated under the deluded fantasy that, given the opportunity, I could rival Itzhak Perlman on the violin. Not that I’d ever had a lesson. No, this fantasy was born after watching a 5-year-old on “Sesame Street” play a feisty version of “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” A 5-year-old can’t even tie her own shoes, right?
And this was the writer my alma mater let slip through their fingers. (Bonus: Downloadable audio clips of Emma playing “Mary,” as well as “Good King Wenceslas.” Itzhak Perlman can relax a while longer.)
I know some of our readers are into general aviation. Spriggy would like to be taken for a ride like this, although he requests a nice soft cushion in the back seat:
If the central fashion revelation of Oscar night needs to be made any clearer, it’s by comparing this photo of Helen Mirren to this photo of Jessica Biel. Central fashion revelation: You can look as great at 50-plus as women half your age. Central fashion lesson: Ladies of all ages, bras are our friends. Central overall lesson: Worst show ever.
Sometimes the headline says it all: Police say driver in fatal crash was using laptop.
Back later. Carry on, you crazy kids.