THE VANISHING HEDGEHOG AND A LITTLE STUFFED DOG

Today was the first snowy day of the 2016-2017 winter and I’ve been doing a lot of stairs.

For some reason — I must have been tired, distracted, having a brain glitch. Something was definitely off-center because I decided Bonnie and Gibbs needed toys. We didn’t have toys when Bishop was here because he gutted them. It took him mere seconds to totally disassemble a stuffed critter and distribute its innards from hither to yon.

Bonnie and Gibbs are gentle with stuff. Gibbs has displayed enthusiasm for anything fuzzy and soft he can get his jaws around. He had a deprived puppyhood. So I bought toys. A fuzzy doggy and a plush hedgehog, both with squeakers. The hedgehog grunts, really. The dog squeaks.

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They loved their new toys. Grabbed them and galloped around squeaking and grunting, eventually stashing them in the crate or between the sofa cushions. All was well here in Happy Town.

I had forgotten about the doggy door.

“Where are the toys?” I asked Gibbs, then Bonnie. And finally, Garry as he might actually answer me.

“I think they must have dragged them outside.”

Gibbs - Innocent until proven guilty!

Gibbs – Innocent until proven guilty!

That has been the fate of many things over the years. Mop heads and dish towels and dozens of pairs of my socks. Slippers. Shoes. Balls. Anything small enough for a dog to carry in mouth and take through the door. It’s a pretty big door because we’ve had some pretty big dogs. Bigger than Bonnie and Gibbs need, but it’s the door we’ve got.

I went outside and retrieved the stuffies. It was dry, so no harm done. Dusted off the leaves. Put the them back on the sofa. Apparently thrilled to see them, they did their happy dance and when I saw Gibbs heading for the door, hedgehog in jaws, I cried “No, Gibbs, no … drop it.” He did drop it and went on his way out the door.

Boonnie - Guilty until proven innocent.

Bonnie – Guilty until proven innocent.

The next time I looked, the little dog was missing. I went outside and found two little stuffed dogs — I’d forgotten about the other one and wondered how long it had been out there — and brought both of them inside. When next I looked, everything was gone again.

Garry went out this time. Hedgehog was right on the stoop. The little dog (the other one had vanished (again) … (maybe we’ll see it next spring) was harder to retrieve, but he did it. He gave them back to the dogs and they zoomed around the house like mad things. Which is when I realized we had a new game. They take the toys out through the door, and hide them. Then, we retrieve them. They really like this game. It’s even better than the “begging for treats” game.

I have retrieved the two toys twice today. Garry’s gone out for them another few times, and between last night and today, we’ve been getting a lot more exercise than usual. I brought them both back inside not long ago and was only just able to intercept Gibbs as he was hitting the stairs with hedgehog,

The first snowy day of the season with dogs and stuffed toys.

The first snowy day of the season with dogs and stuffed toys.

“This is ridiculous,” Garry said. “I’m not going to do this 100 times a day, you know.” I agreed it was ridiculous, then went outside to get the hedgehog and the little dog because while we were talking, Gibbs and Bonnie had snuck past us and hit the doggy door at supersonic speed.

As of this moment, I’m not sure where the toys are, but I’m tired. What is the meaning of vanished? Two stuffed dog toys small enough to go through a large doggy door. And one grunting hedgehog.

How big will the toys have to be to keep them inside? I’ve ordered a really big squirrel and rabbit. I guess I’ll find out.

VANISH | THE DAILY POST

THREE CHEERS FOR THE FOUR SEASONS by ELLIN CURLEY

It’s getting cold in Connecticut. The winter is late in coming this year, but now it’s definitely here. My husband is mourning the end of the warm weather. He is also missing his boat, which we just took out of the water to be shrink wrapped for winter.

On the other hand, I’ve just happily switched my closet from summer to winter clothes. I’m actually looking forward to wearing my favorite sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

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I love the variety of clothing the seasons provide. I’d get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once you put on your beautiful outerwear, you’re not cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas! Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

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I have to confess that I am not a heat lover. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by removing layers of clothing. I can only go down to tee-shirt, shorts, or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed.

But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I dislike the heat and can stay warm in cold weather.

What else do I like about the seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I been through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees, and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter all year any more than I’d want to live in summer full-time.

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For the three months winter lasts, I appreciate it. We love the fires in the hearth on winter nights. Tom and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out in the winter, maybe because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer. Like playing golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, and all that outdoorsy stuff.

I’m also lucky because I love where I live. I don’t dream of moving somewhere else. If I did, it would probably be to another place with four seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange in Autumn. I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly burst out on trees. Every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same year in and year out.

I’m happy dealing with a world that changes. And now, it is changing again. Winter has arrived … with the promise of spring to come.

TRACES OF THE PAST – OLD NEW ENGLAND

Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past Y2-08


Visible evidence of history in this country is limited. We live in the earliest settled (by Europeans) area in the U.S., but most of the “old buildings” are not terribly old … at least not by the standards of other continents and cultures.

Most of the “old buildings” date to the 1700s. There’s a lot of stuff from the 1800s, a great deal of it from the 1880s into the early 1900s. You aren’t going to find medieval architecture in North America … not the real stuff. Imitations, yes. Real? No.

Bearing that in mind …