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Today in My History

2001:  Prison Time
2002:  The Wages of Sin
2003:  This Nearly Was Mine
2004:  What Do You Say to a Naked Doctor?
2005A Musical Meme

2006:  Psst...Psst...Psst...
2007: Mr. Brunelle  
2008:  Tower of Babel
2009:  Magic Puppies
2010:  Trading Spencer
2011:  Sleaze and Deception
2012: Sunday Stealing

2013: Automatic Pilot

Bitter Hack
Blue Man Group

Books Read in 2014
"40 Yrs of Chez Panisse"

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Ernest & Vanessa's Visit

Mirror Site for RSS Feed:
Airy Persiflage

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mail to Walt


19 March 2014

I came across this quote today.  Obviously written before 2003, because Fred Rogers died in 2003.

Nearly every morning of his life, Mister Rogers has gone swimming, and now, here he is, standing in a locker room, seventy years old and as white as the Easter Bunny, rimed with frost wherever he has hair, gnawed pink in the spots where his dry skin has gone to flaking, slightly wattled at the neck, slightly stooped at the shoulder, slightly sunken in the chest, slightly curvy at the hips, slightly pigeoned at the toes, slightly aswing at the fine bobbing nest of himself... and yet when he speaks, it is in that voice, his voice, the famous one, the unmistakable one, the televised one, the voice dressed in sweater and sneakers, the soft one, the reassuring one, the curious and expository one, the sly voice that sounds adult to the ears of children and childish to the ears of adults, and what he says, in the midst of all his bobbing-nudity, is as understated as it is obvious: "Well, Tom, I guess you've already gotten a deeper glimpse into my daily routine than most people have."

I don't know when this interview (this is just the start of it) was written, but two things struck me.   First was the description of this 70 year old man.  Harumph, 71 year old me wants to say!

But the second thing was the last sentence which led the article writer into talking about Mister Rogers' daily routine

The first time I called Mister Rogers on the telephone, I woke him up from his nap.  He takes a nap every day in the late afternoon--just as he wakes up every morning at five-thirty to read and study and write and pray for the legions who have requested his prayers; just as he goes to bed at nine thirty at night and sleeps eight hours without interruption.

I have been thinking about routines today, and how our lives have changed since Polly entered our lives and essentially put an end to the sporadic fostering of dogs and allowing us to settle into a pretty set routine around here.  Every time I visit my mother she asks "what have you been doing exciting?" and I always tell her "nothing" because unless I'm reviewing a show, pretty much things are routine around here.

I love how the dogs are really very polite.  I end my night of sleep in the recliner.  Sometimes Polly sleeps with me, but mostly she sleeps in Walt's recliner, though with ears erect, waiting for me to wake up.  I confess that I often don't let her know I'm awake for as long as half an hour after I wake up.  The dogs either sleep in the living room or walk outside, but they never bother me.

The minute I decide to get up, Polly leaps off the chair and gives one sharp bark, which brings Sheila and Lizzie running from wherever they are and all three leap happily, knowing that I will feed them.  Polly sometimes barks until I go into the kitchen, but lately, once she knows I'm standing up, she just acts excited because she knows that the routine is that I will feed her.

When I put down the bowls, Lizzie scarfs hers down instantly, and then goes in to where Polly is eating and sits quietly until Polly has finished, when she eats whatever (if anything) is left.   I love that there are never any fights over food.  Lizzie is the one who eats the leftovers, but she never challenges anybody for food.  She just sits and waits her turn.

The dogs go back outside but when I get up to make toast they can hear it going into the toaster and all return to the house where they stand in front of me begging for toast crust.

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They never fight over the crust.  They know Sheila gets hers first, then Lizzie, then Polly.  I am constantly amazed at how they never try to grab a piece of crust that isn't theirs.  They each get two pieces of crust, after which I put up my hands and say "that's it," whereupon Sheila walks back outside because she knows it's over (the other two haven't figured that out yet and remain ever hopeful).-

When they are outside and start barking, all I have to do is open the sliding glass door (which scrapes on the frame because Lizzie has knocked it slight off the track) and they come racing inside.  One of these days I will get a video of it because it's so cute, but usually even if I sneak to the door with the camera, by the time I get the camera ready, they are already inside.

The time changes each season have kind of done away with the routine they had for awhile, which I loved.  When the end of Jeopardy came, Polly would leap off whichever lap she was on and starts barking, letting the others know it was time for their dinner.  She still barks to let them know about dinner, but it isn't connected with Jeopardy any more.

At night, when we are eating our dinner, they take their positions around me because I'm a bad dog owner and do feed my dogs from the table.   Sheila takes stock of the dinner.  If there is something meaty she knows she will get a sample, if there is no meat she may or may not, so she doesn't commit to the full sit, staring at me.  Instead, she lies down, with her back to me, pretending she doesn't care, but if she senses sounds of food sharing, she can be up in a flash.  Meanwhile Lizzie is staring at me from my right side and Polly is sitting unobtrusively under the table until food is shared, whereupon her nose appears on the chair seat, between my legs.

Starting at about 11:30, when The Daily Show is over, Sheila, who has been sleeping in the living room, starts getting antsy.  She doesn't want to go out, she wants me to go to the couch and sleep.  She checks on me several times, sometimes sleeping under my legs at my desk.  When I finally get up, she is as excited as if I had announced dinner.

She stands behind me and lets me enter the living room first and then waits impatiently for me to make up my bed.  When I lie down, Lizzie jumps up on the table behind the couch, Polly settles in under the blanket on the level of my waist and Sheila first walks down in the left direction from my head, presenting me her backside to pet (not my favorite part to pet) and then turns around and comes back in the other direction so I can scratch her ears and her chest and run my hands over her shoulders.   Then she lies down in front of the couch and we all go to sleep.

When I get up in the middle of the night, nobody moves.  I go to sleep in the reciner and everyone continues wherever they are (except sooner or later Polly will move into the famiy room, to either sleep with me, or to sleep on Walt's recliner) and then in the morning the routine starts all over again.

The thing I like most about our routine is that it's mostly silent.   I'm a quiet person and though I talk to them, I don't talk all that much. We don't yell at them for barking, we just open the back door.  I don't have to call them for meals, they know. I learned how acute their hearing is when I once said "treat time" in a very low tone and the dogs, who were outside, came right in, so I don't call out "treat time!" any more, I just say it in a low tone. They know when I'm thinking about going out and react accordingly (getting ready for a treat, which I always give them when I leave). I try to be aware of dog body language and while I can't be quite as attuned to them as they can be to me, I have gotten much better at reading them over the years. I feel that we five have a real partnership that just works for us, thought it's not every exciting to read about.



The dogs may run our house,
but at least we aren't THIS bad!


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