Patsy Porco

Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

Three Rotting Bananas

In baking, Humor on August 12, 2017 at 12:13 am

I don’t like to cook. I do it, but I don’t enjoy it –– or attain a trance-like state while I chop, slice, and dice, like a friend of mine does.

“Chopping vegetables is so relaxing,” she told me a few years ago. To this day I don’t know if she was being serious, or lying to see my reaction. I just told her she was nuts.

Chopping onions burns my eyes. When I peel carrots, I always wind up peeling the skin off my index finger. Grating cheese always involves grating my fingernail along with the cheese, and then sifting through the pile of cheese to find the nail shavings. I now polish my nails bright colors so they’re easy to spot.

Most of all, I dread having to locate the necessary spices, because when I open the above-my-head spice cabinet, an avalanche of spice bottles roll out and fall into the sink, scaring both me and the dog.

By the time I manage to get whatever I’m making onto the stove or into the oven, the counters are littered with peelings, eggshells, onion skins, meat wrappers, and dirty pots, pans, bowls, and measuring cups. And the dog is underfoot, licking up whatever hit the floor.

As much as I dislike cooking, I thought I liked baking. Tonight’s attempt at making banana bread made me realize that I was thinking of someone else, maybe one of those cake experts on the Cooking Channel.

It all started with three bananas that were so ripe that they were going to liquefy if I didn’t do something with them fast. For as long as I’ve been alive, whenever someone complains that his or her bananas are brown, another person never fails to say in a perky voice, “Make banana bread!”

Up until today, I’ve always thrown out brown bananas (and steered clear of people who make upbeat pronouncements), because baking with putrid fruit never seemed honest. But, tonight, I decided to reconsider the ethical question of disguising rotten fruit as a loaf cake.

I looked up banana bread recipes and they all called for bananas that were well past the eating stage. Some of the recipes even gave instructions for transforming  perfectly nice bananas into sludge. All of the recipes demanded that the bananas be very brown, very soft, and very aromatic.

So, I made banana bread. The process was just as annoying as cooking, and easily as messy. Flour-drenched counters, a sugar-coated Golden Retriever, sticky bowls, and caramelized beaters awaited me once I slid the pan into the oven. It took me three hours to make one loaf pan of banana bread, not including the baking time. I blame the butter.

Who knew it took hours to bring butter down to room temperature? The recipe said to soften it naturally and not expedite the process with the microwave or hot water. Don’t you think that should have been mentioned right under the title, in all capital letters? But no, the author waited until I had mashed the bananas with sour cream and vanilla, mixed the dry ingredients, and tripped over the dog before mentioning that room-temperature butter had to be beaten with sugar.

Oh well. It’s done now. I have no idea if it’s any good. Nor will I ever know. I hate banana bread. I’ll probably freeze it, and one day when I can’t identify what it is, I’ll toss it in the trash.

Next time, I’m throwing out the brown bananas.

banana bread




Ode to July

In Humor, Summer on July 20, 2017 at 11:32 pm





fireworksI wait all year for you to show

And when you do, my heart’s aglow

I wear few clothes, but just enough

To hide the cellulite and stuff.





Your days are long and hot and funbeach

The water’s warm from all the sun

We swim, we picnic, we yell at raccoons

Who knock over our trashcans under the moon.




Rudy and Otto 4

Every day in July is a gift from aboveflip flops

There’s so much to do and so much to love

Swimming, sunbathing, water sports

Baseball, hotdogs, flip-flops, shorts.





Growing a garden, eating outsidesunset

Cutting fresh flowers, avoiding riptides

Biking, ice cream, watching the sunset

Kids, pets, adults … all soaking wet.





ice-cream-cone-1274894_960_720As long as it is, with its 31 days

It still goes by fast, in a sun-drenched haze

So, don’t bitch to me about the heat

Or I’ll kick you with my sunburned feet.





All photos were free/royalty-free from Pixabay.

Dog Justice

In dogs, Humor, pets on July 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

If you have a dog (or cat or bird or reptile) or know someone who does, chances are one of you is going to ask a friend or relative to pet-sit while you go away for a few days. It’s a summertime ritual. It’s hard to say no to a friend or relative. It’s damn near impossible when you have a pet of your own. The first thing you think is, “Great! Now I know who to ask when I need a pet-sitter.”

That was our selfish thought last night when we agreed to watch our nephew’s Pit Bull puppy for a few days (after thinking that we wanted to help him out, of course). Otto arrived this afternoon. He is such a sweet dog. I got my lifetime’s allotment of puppy kisses within an hour of meeting him. It’s such a shame that some of these dogs are trained to be vicious. They’re very sweet and affectionate by nature.

Rudy & Otto 3Anyway, Otto and our huge Golden Retriever, Rudy, went crazy when they met each other. At first we thought they were trying to kill each other, but no. They were just over-excited and overjoyed. Once we calmed them down, they followed each other around for hours. When my nephew left, Otto had a moment of sadness. He ran to the window and watched my nephew go. Then he forgot why he was sad and went to find Rudy.

Otto and Rudy explored the whole house and the backyard. They got in Rudy’s pool together. They chased each other around and wrestled. They had treats together. They became buddies.

Then, at some point, Rudy realized that Otto wasn’t leaving. He had had enough of sharing me with another dog. So, Rudy decided to complain at the top of his lungs for hours on end. The barking became unbearable. Our yelling at him to stop barking probably became unbearable to our neighbors. We tried separating them, but they kept crashing through doors to reach each other. Then Rudy would start complaining again.

Otto got the idea that Rudy wanted him gone, so he started whimpering. Then he changed his tactic and decided to hump Rudy when Rudy was lying down. Rudy let out a rebel yell and we had to hold him back so he wouldn’t flatten Otto. Both dogs have been neutered, so the failed attempt at humping was Otto trying to show Rudy who was boss. Unfortunately for Otto, it isn’t him.

Dinnertime rolled around. Both dogs had their own food in their own bowls. Both dogs decided to eat each other’s dinner. Rudy ordinarily refuses to eat any dog food other than his brand. Today, however, Otto’s brand of kibble was the one thing in the entire world that he wanted with all of his heart.

After they ate, they ran out back and jumped in Rudy’s pool. Then they ran inside, rudy and otto 1dripping wet. Then they did it again. And again. The floors became pools themselves. The dogs skidded across the wooden planks as they flew from room to room.

My nephew had told us that Otto needed to be walked three times a day. Rudy loves walks but we have a fenced-in yard, so they’re not absolutely necessary. And Rudy never gets more than one walk a day. When it was time for Otto’s afternoon walk, I was the only person home, and there was no way that I was going to walk them both together. So, I took Otto out by himself. The look of betrayal on Rudy’s face was heartbreaking. When we got back, Rudy decided to make Otto pay. He followed Otto around, barking at him to go home.

I kept telling Rudy to be nice to Otto because Otto missed his daddy. Rudy barked at me and I knew exactly what he was saying, “Well, get him the hell out of here and give him back to his daddy.”

It’s going to be a long weekend. But at least we have a relative who owes us a pet-sitting.



Foul-Weather People

In Humor on September 9, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Awhile ago, during the anthrax scare—when government officials were receiving anthrax-laced letters—there was a rush on hardware stores for duct tape and plastic sheeting, as well as backorders for gas masks.

My husband and I didn’t buy into the panic, figuring that if chemical gas grenades were dropped into our neighborhood, plastic sheeting around our windows and doors probably wouldn’t keep it out. And we weren’t really sure we wanted to survive. We’re not industrious enough to want to help rebuild our society.

A friend of mine, however, bought everything she could get her hands on, and ordered gas masks for her family. I asked her why she wanted to survive a civilization-ending attack. She asked me why I didn’t. She didn’t have an answer, other than she didn’t want to die. My answer involved my being too lazy to start over. I didn’t state the obvious—that we’re all going to die eventually—for obvious reasons.

Then my friend mentioned that she read that bomb shelters would be built by the government to house people during bombings. I told her that, even if this were true, she and I wouldn’t be among those chosen to live in them.

“Why not?” she demanded, quite affronted.

“Because we don’t have any special talents that a new civilization would need to begin again, and we can’t have children anymore. There is going to be a need for young women who can breed, and we’re not that.”

I think the conversation ended then. What could she say? What I said made sense to both of us; we couldn’t have kids, and a post-apocalyptic world would have little need for IT managers or proofreaders.

Years later, I’m rethinking my argument. I have a very special skill that might be needed. My face predicts the weather. When it’s very humid, the right side of my head explodes in pain. This happens right before the humidity appears, too, so my head could be used to predict storms or something.

I also have Reynaud’s disease, so when it’s very cold and damp, several of my fingers lose all circulation and turn dead-white. But, by the time that happens, it’s already apparent that it’s cold and damp, so I’m waffling on the usefulness of that particular talent.

One concern I have is that there are many people who have steel plates in their heads and others who have arthritis, and they can also predict the weather with some accuracy. Dogs are also great predictors of thunder, lightning, and rain, and they’re cheaper to feed than I am. I’d better start work on my marketing campaign about why my head is a better weather-indicator than joints, steel plates, and dogs.

Then again, like I said before, I don’t want to rebuild. It makes me tired just thinking of all the work that will need to be done.

I think I’ll just stick with my original plan and ignore what’s going on around me. If that leads to the end of me, well, that will be that.

They’ll just have to find somebody else with a barometer face.



A Dog’s Life

In dogs, Golden Retriever, Humor, pets on May 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

I love my life

A Lesson From My Dog

In dogs, Golden Retriever, Humor, pets on May 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Anywhere Is A Good Place To Have a Great Time

Dirty Dog

In dogs, Golden Retriever, Humor, pets on May 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm

I haven’t taken our Golden Retriever, Rudy, to Norwalk’s Cranbury Park for several years. I used to take him all the time, but then we fenced in our yard to cut down on his daily escapes, romps through the neighbors’ yards, and mad dashes across busy streets. Instead of going to the park, we’d open the back door, throw out some biscuits, and out into the yard he’d go. I would occasionally still take him to the park, but then I stopped because he always got dirty … much dirtier than any of the dozens of dogs there at any time.

Today, though, I had him in the car with me and we were in the neighborhood of the park, so I decided to take him. Cranbury Park allows dogs to be off-leash in an area called “The Orchard,” as well as on the trails. I figured that now that he was eight years old, he would be slower than he was when he was a puppy, and I’d be able to stop him before he jumped in the creek.

I was wrong.

I'm not dirty enough yet. 05212016

That sure was fun!

It was worth it, even if I have to have a bath now.

A Life-Changing Conversation

In dogs, Humor, pets on March 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm

I went to Walmart the other day with my brother, Gus, and my dog, Rudy. We left Rudy in the backseat of the car with two half-opened windows, and walked toward the store.

Gus was very disturbed by my leaving Rudy alone in the car. “Somebody is going to call 9-1-1 on you.”

“Why?” I asked. “I’ve seen lots of dogs left in cars in parking lots.”

“But,” said Gus, “their owners all get reported to the police. It happened to Katy Perry when she ran into Starbucks and left her dog in the car.”

“Really? How long could she have been in Starbucks for someone to worry about her dog’s safety?”

“Probably five minutes,” Gus said. “But that’s enough for some animal people.”

I’m an animal person, and I have no problem with Rudy’s being in the car,” I said. “He loves watching people, which he wouldn’t get to do at home.”

“I know that, and you know that,” Gus said, “But there are a lot of do-gooders out there who will think you’re being cruel.”

“But, I’m not!” I said, apparently in a loud voice, judging by the stares from people walking past us. “He’s happy and comfortable. People call the police when they see a dog in a car with the windows up during the summer, when it’s hot. It’s winter now.”

Gus shook his head. “I know it’s winter, but it’s a warmish day. Someone is going to think he’s too warm.”

“The windows are open and it’s almost 50 degrees. He’s not hot and he’s covered in fur, so he’s not cold. Nobody is going to report me.”

“Let’s just wait and see,” Gus said. “If we come back and the car is surrounded by crying women and flustered police, then we’ll worry.”

“Things sure have changed since we were kids,” I said. “Mom said that when I was ten-months old, she and Dad parked outside a store in New Hope, during the summer, and left me in the car for an hour, with the windows rolled up. When they came out, she said I had sweat pooled under my eyes and my face was beet-red.”

Gus rolled his eyes. “It’s a good thing that they raised us in the 1960s. If they did that today, they’d both be in prison.”

“You’re right,” I said. “And since I’m the oldest, the rest of you would never have been born, what with them being locked up. What would have happened to me? I could have been put into the system and become a passed-around foster child.” We walked up to the store’s entrance pondering this.

“Or,” I said, as we went through the automatic doors, “I could have been adopted by millionaires who would’ve bought me a BMW and sent me to Harvard.”

Gus laughed. “Don’t laugh,” I said. “It could’ve happened. But probably not. Anyway, isn’t it interesting to think about how one action can change the course of many lives?”

Gus looked at me. “I think I’ll go back to the car and sit with Rudy,” he said. He turned and went back through the automatic doors.

dog in car




Dog Days

In dogs, Humor, pets on June 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Our Golden Retriever, Rudy, got his summer shave today, and he is pissed. Because I am an American and speak American English, when I say “pissed,” I mean “angry.” I almost said “mad,” but he’s not a mad dog, as in crazy/rabid; he’s merely a livid dog.

If I were in the U.K. and spoke English English, then when I said that he was “pissed,” I would have meant that he was drunk. But I’m not, and he isn’t. If he were, it would be perplexing because the only dog bar in town, called “BarDog” to confuse PETA, is closed. While it took them awhile, PETA finally caught on (when one of their dogs tried to duck in for a cold one during his walk) and took action.

At BarDog’s subsequent auction, I was fortunate enough to win the “Dogs Playing Poker” photograph that had been blown up and hung waist-high, above the bar, which was very low, for obvious reasons. Dogs don’t sit on stools. This “Dogs Playing Poker” was original in that it was a photo of actual patrons playing poker, but again, they don’t sit on stools or on chairs, so it showed them the way they really play: by sprawling on the floor with cards in their mouths.

But, back to Rudy. This is his seventh year of being shaved, but he never gets used to it. He always comes home in a foul mood. Eventually he forgets that he had a haircut and everything goes back to normal. But in the meantime, he’s very unpleasant to be around. I would slip him a nip to cheer him up, since his watering hole is shuttered, but I’m afraid he’d tell his dog friends and one of them would have an owner who would object and then we’d be back to square one, except my square would be a cell.

So, until then, I guess he’ll live under the dining room table. His plan is to not come out until his hair grows back, but we all know how well that plan works. Rudy 06242015

Rudy the Bad-Bad Golden

In Christmas, Christmas, dogs, Golden Retriever, Humor on December 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Rudy, our Golden Retriever, has spent the day lying low. If he could become invisible, he would; in the absence of an invisibility cloak, he attempted to blend in with the furniture (see photo below). As well he might. They say that you have to reprimand dogs immediately when they break the rules, because they won’t remember their transgressions the next day, or even the next hour. They are wrong. Rudy knows he’s in big trouble. Maybe he doesn’t remember why (he does), but he knows better than to ask for any special favors today … or even breathe too loudly.

Rudy 12262014

Rudy’s disgrace occurred yesterday, Christmas Day. My sister, Valencia,* her husband, Mike, and their children, Lana and Jack, invited our family to Christmas dinner at their house in New Jersey. Valencia insisted that we bring Rudy. They have a two-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever named Ozzie. Valencia assured me that the two dogs would get along wonderfully, even though they had never met.

At first, it appeared that my worries were for nothing and that Valencia was right. The dogs were initially wary of each other, but then they sniffed each others’ hind quarters and settled down. I had brought two enormous rawhide bones for them; one was pure white and one was a darker tan. I gave the lighter one to Rudy and the darker one to Ozzie. The kids and I took the dogs into the yard and tossed a ball around for them to fetch. After awhile, we went back into the house. In the kitchen, the dogs were just standing around the kitchen table when Ozzie decided that he needed to demonstrate who the alpha dog was in their house. So he started to mount Rudy. It happened in an instant and if you missed it, like my sister and brother-in-law did, you wouldn’t have known what set off the ensuing dog fight in the kitchen. Rudy, who is generally too lazy to bark for more than attention or food, bared his teeth and snarled. His snarling turned into angry barking at Ozzie. Ozzie barked back in equal anger. We were able to separate them before limbs were torn off. Poor Ozzie was at loose ends. It was his house and he deserved to call the shots, but this seven-year-old Golden seemed to think that he was the boss.

We tried to get the dogs to make up, which was just plain ridiculous. They don’t exactly kiss or shake hands. But, in time, they were able to co-exist in the same space, although they kept their distance from each other. In any event, they seemed peaceful, so we went back to preparing the dinner. Rudy went to the door to go out. Valencia let him out and noticed that he had Ozzie’s bone. He went out and hid it somewhere and came back in. Ozzie then had to go out with Rudy’s bone. Then the fun really started. Rudy went to Ozzie’s pile of Christmas presents and grabbed his stuffed animals and slobbered all over them. Then he went outside, found a big mud puddle and rolled in it. Before I was able to drag him into the house, he grabbed Ozzie’s bone from where he had hidden it. Back in the house, he headed for the living room, where he plopped his filthy body onto the floor. I cleaned him and the floor up while he gnawed on Ozzie’s bone, with Ozzie observing the proceedings from a safe distance. Then I went back into the kitchen.

My nephew, Jack, who had a fever and was resting on the couch, called me back into the living room. He thought that I should know that Rudy had vomited on their rug. Back to the kitchen I went to get cleaning supplies. As I cleaned up the pile, it became obvious that this wasn’t real vomit. It wasn’t slimy or anything. This looked like Rudy had filled his mouth with chewed up rawhide and water and spit it out.

Then it was dinner time. I filled Rudy’s bowl and Valencia filled Ozzie’s. Ozzie decided that Rudy’s dry kibble was far superior to his, so he bogarted Rudy’s dinner. Rudy sniffed at Ozzie’s bowl and rejected it, even though it had his favorite wet food mixed in with the dry kibble. Instead, he took a big gulp of water and disappeared from the room. Moments later, Jack called me back into the living room to point out another pile of rawhide bits sitting in water.

You have to realize that dinner preparations were in the works, and appetizers and drinks had been put out for us and their neighbors, so this subplot was evolving in the midst of revelry. Not everyone was aware of it, just the kids, and the mothers, who had to subdue the dog-induced mayhem.

After awhile, we all sat down to dinner and had a wonderful time. My brother-in-law is a wonderful cook and my sister is a marvelous hostess. We decided to ignore Rudy, who periodically turned up with Ozzie’s stuffed animals, Lana’s stuffed animals, and anything he could stuff into his mouth and contaminate. Ozzie was always in the same room as Rudy, but never too close, as if he were saying, “Look, I’m a good dog. I’m nothing like that horrible Rudy.” All in all, it was a great day. I don’t think Rudy will be invited back again, but I’m hoping we will.

* Valencia isn’t her real name. My mother never would have named her after a type of orange. The other names were changed, as well, but not as creatively.

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