Category Archives: Advice from Chloë

Chloë Counts Her Blessings

Even though my UPS-delivered bickies were down this holiday season, the results in other areas were very favorable overall.

Aunts Susie and Debby from Syracuse came through again, this time with a whole selection of delectable treats. And my good friend Charlie came over for Christmas dinner, bringing me even more presents. If only Mike weren’t rationing them out so slowly, I would be able to really enjoy all my holiday loot. But around here, they always make me work for treats, dammit.

Like this: Before letting me enjoy the treats from my stocking, they buried all the good stuff deep inside and made me find it!  I had to worm my way all the way to the toes to get anything.

Putting herself into it.

Putting herself into it.

Don’t worry, I found them, and my Syracuse aunts sent me a fine selection of jerky logs, snausages and steak-shaped  items. Thank you, aunts, you know I love meat products of all kinds and descriptions.

Holiday treats from the Cuse.

Holiday charcuterie from the Cuse.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries

But I appreciate balance, too, which is why I’m thankful that Mike includes some raw vegetables in every one of my meals, and my vegetarian pal Charlie always finds the healthiest veggie treats for me.This time he gave me dried sweet potatoes cut like crinkly french fries. I love eating vegetables, too. In fact, I love pretty much anything that’s edible when I really think about it. Those sweet potatoes go down about as quickly as anything that’s meat-flavored. Or cheese, for that matter. Dairy products? Of course! And sweets, sweets are good.

Aunt Susie also sent some of her famous holiday cookies, but these were for Heather and Mike. Mostly Mike, based on what I’ve observed. I’ve seen him sneak into the kitchen at night and sneak a couple of Susie’s cookies into the bedroom after Heather is snoring sleeping. I couldn’t test any of these cookies, I was told, because they all had chocolate in them, and chocolate is not good for dogs. (By the way, I’d like to see some documented proof of this. This could be urban legend, for all I know, and I would have missed out on a lot of potential good stuff. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about hot fudge sundaes.)

Dachshund Cookie

Broken dachshund cookie mostly pieced together

Aunt Susie wanted us to know that some of the cookies were shaped like dachshunds instead of the traditional Christmas tree. It was hard to tell at first, because every dachshund cookie broke into pieces during shipping — via USPS, of course. I’d be remiss if I did not point out to Aunt Susie that had she chosen UPS as her carrier, the dachshund cookies would have arrived intact and the real dachshund on the premises might have had the lagniappe of having a large brown bickie delivered to the front door along with her aunts’s gracious holiday gifts. On the other hand, most of the people who saw the dachshund cookie thought it looked like  a Springer spaniel.

Chloe Under Ass

Chloe under ass

As it was, I managed to make do with the treats that I got. Even more than the food, I enjoyed having  lots of time over the holidays at home with Heather. When she’s around the house every day like she is on weekends, there is always more walking, more ball-throwing, more treating, more degrees on the thermostat and more stuff to do all day. Sometimes I am having so much fun that Mike has to literally sit on me to rein me in. I’m losing so much daytime napping that I’m spent, and I’m looking forward to going to bed early on New Year’s Eve. What the heck? See you next year.

 

 

Chloë Gets Seasonably Wet

In my last post I groused about how early darkness threw off my routine, and I didn’t like it. This time I’ll add the other thing I hate most about fall: The weather. True, this fall has been unseasonably warm so far, but I knew that sooner or later that El Niño effect was going to kick in. Over the past couple of weeks it rained sideways a few times, and those strong winds make walking harder and the trails and sidewalks messier with fallen leaves. Even so,  once I get out in the rain, I just try to tolerate it as best I can and then dry off afterwards with vigor. At least I don’t wimp out with weird costumes like the poor dogs in this picture that one of Heather’s co-workers sent her.

2-Dachshunds in the Rain

 

Pathetic. They look silly, and what difference will these rain coats make? Unless these dachshunds were completely and tightly wrapped in plastic like sausage from Costco, there is no way the moisture and dirt from the ground isn’t clinging to their wet little bellies that hang exposed mere inches above the ground.

No clothes for me. I embrace the rain.

Rainy day hike

Rainy day hike

Fording Big Creek

Fording Big Creek

in the rain forest.

In the Quinault Rain Forest.

Mike's Tingley rubbers ad rain pants

Mike does the old soft shoe in his Tingley rubbers and rain pants

Of course, getting me dry and clean afterwards is the necessary epilogue to every rainy day walk. As I said, I don’t suit up in rain gear from head to toe like Mike does, so even after I’ve shaken myself off outside the front door, when I get inside the house I can be soaked.

Messy Mutts Mitt

Messy Mutts Mitt

For this extensive yet still delicate drying job, we have been auditioning the Messy Mutts Mitt so graciously donated by my Uncle Bill, a.k.a. Mr. Pickle (maybe there’s some kind of cross-marketing deal going on?). Unfortunately, unlike my longstanding endorsement of Visi-Ball and my own line of autographed Whiffies, this product and simply I haven’t clicked. The “twin-sided chenille grooming mitt” might be OK for some lap-dog or a chihuahua, but a soaking, squirming dachshund needs the old-fashioned,  two-handed, oversize-terrycloth-beach-towel approach — still the most effective drying method for the first pass, BY FAR. And since I use the front of Heather’s mother’s living-room chairs or the Oriental rugs for my self-service secondary and tertiary drying, by the time I circle back around to Mike to apply the Messy Mutts Mitt, it has been rendered totally non-essential. And the MMM is simply not large or absorbent enough to ever become my go-to equipment. Not even a Messy Mutts Mitt on each hand could top the towel.

Sorry,  Messy Mutts Mitt, no endorsement deal for me. The tried-and-true terrycloth towel prevails again.

At least the forecast for Thanksgiving weekend is dry. That will keep the carpet cleaner so it will be easier to see any random food that might fall on the floor.

 

Chloë Hails the Umlaut

Umlaut 2I always demand that Mike (who does my typing) put the umlaut over the e (ë) every time he types my name.  I consider it a part of me, something to distinguish myself from all the run-of-the-mill Chloes and Chloés out there. It’s my trademark, like Colonel Sanders’ goatee or LeBron’s headband.

That’s why I was gratified to hear about Lindström, Minn., a small city (4,442) 35 miles northeast of the Twin Cities that calls itself America’s Little Sweden.  In 2012, a state highway project replaced the city’s welcome signs, removing its umlaut, and the state DOT later denied the city’s request that it be restored, citing a rule stating road signs use only a standard alphabet.  Local Swedish-Americans were incensed. This spring, however, the governor ordered the umlaut back.

“Nonsensical rules like this are exactly why people get frustrated with government,” Democrat Mark Dayton said in a press release. “Even if I have to drive to Lindström and paint the umlauts on the city limit signs myself, I’ll do it.”

In a segment on Public Radio International, local  historian Sally Barott said umlauts affect pronunciation and, more importantly, express the region’s cultural history and link to Swedish immigrants. “It’s important,” she said. “We have the old and the new. The blend is happening all over America, but I believe being able to retain our history and cultural ways, and to recognize and be traditional, honors the way we were taught and the way it was meant to be.”

In an article in The New York Times, University of Minnesota lecturer Lena Norrman added: “These are not just two dots. It’s a a significant letter with its own sound. You can’t just take them away.”

All of which is fine, but begs the question: Should umlaut have an umlaüt?

Chloë Makes Sense of Investing

Chloë soaks up advice from her broker

Chloë soaks up advice from her broker.

When we drive to Magnolia Village on a Saturday morning, it’s usually to walk through the farmers’ market,  which is not my favorite thing to do (too crowded for my taste). But last week Mike and Heather had a different market to deal with, something they called the stock market. They had an appointment with my friend Caroline, who has two dachshunds of her own. She was going to give them information about retirement, which as I understand is something that happens in the distant future that allows Heather to stay home every day. This sounds good to me; I hate to see Heather spending time on weekends pouring over patient report forms when the two of us should be napping or throwing my ball around.

At the Edward Jones office, Caroline’s dog Ida greeted me with a bark and a growl, so we retreated to separate corners while Caroline explained things to Heather and got her feedback. Mike just nodded once in a while. As best as I could decode their conversation, Caroline told them they will definitely be able to afford to buy me gourmet-level biscuits exclusively for the rest of my life and then some. (Apparently it’s the calories, not the price, that keep Mike from giving me gourmet treats already. Yeah, right.)

Rewards of financial planning

Reaping the early rewards of financial planning.

When the meeting ended, Caroline gave treats to Ida and me, and Ida didn’t growl at me once.  That made everything fall into place in my mind: This investing business has its ups and downs, but if you stay calm and patient, you’ll be rewarded at the end. Makes perfect sense to me.

Chloë Develops a Plan to End Gridlock

My relationship with Mike is clear: I am the alpha dog. When I’m alone with Mike, he does what I tell him, most of the time. If I give him the slip to chase cats or rabbits, as I did to him again just the other day, when I finally come back he’s relieved, and I never get into serious trouble.

Chloë flops on the trail

Chloë does the Dachshund Plant

With Heather, it’s another matter entirely. Heather makes me work. Last week when I ran away from her to chase a rabbit, she got so mad at me that she wouldn’t even look at me for a day and a half. I got worried. She finally relented, and we are on good terms again. A few days ago I took off on her again at the top of the parade ground and headed for Bunny Central, but when Heather let loose a commanding “Treat Party!!” yell, I stopped in my tracks, pirouetted and sped back to her at full throttle. Even passersby were impressed.

Reaching detente

Reaching detente

Heather still  tries to keep me on a short leash, but sometimes I  am obliged to play the stubborn dachshund. I sometimes do what she calls the Dachshund Plant, flopping down right in the middle of a trail, and pausing to survey the landscape for as long as I damn well please. When I feel a tug on my leash, Heather and I stare at each other. I want to go in one direction, she wants me to go in another. We negotiate. Or sometimes when I want 20 throws of my purple-and-white ball, and Heather only wants to do 10. We compromise on doing 15. Or I want two Charlee Bears and a salmon heart cracker every time I come, and no matter how long it takes. Heather wants to cut spending after two whistles. We work it out. Sometimes she wins. Sometimes I win. Sometimes we walk in my direction, sometimes in hers. One day I may get as many treats as I want. Keep hope alive.

End of the line

End of the line

Heather said our relationship should be a model for ending the gridlock in “the other Washington.” (Having never left this state, it’s hard for me to fathom any other Washington than this one.) Cooperate. Compromise. Work together. Take turns.  Get somewhere. Whatever Heather said, I’m on board. I’m just glad she’s not mad at me anymore, so I’ll agree with anything.

Thanks for understanding. In our next episode, Heather and I solve the perpetual puzzle of peace in the Middle East.

Waiting to play catch

On a peacekeeping mission

 

 

Chloë Gets Mail from Another Party

Dangerous envelope

Dangerous envelope

Amid the continuing barrage of mail we receive from President Obama, the Democratic Party, a committee to elect Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama (is she running for something?) and a slew of charities and left-wing political causes,  imagine my surprise when another piece of political mail arrived, addressed to me, personally (although lacking the most important part of my hyphenated last name, Greenstein-Tully!). And it bore a postmark from Alaska!

I thought this was very suspicious, so I had Mike scan the envelope for telltale smudges of white powder. Only after it came up clean did I felt safe enough to let Mike open it — in another room, of course. When no contamination ensued, I finally thought it was OK for me to personally examine the contents. But the envelope contained no letter, no policy statement, no begging for funds, just an autographed photo of  Sarah Palin.

2-Sarah Thanks Chloe

Sarah smiles.

 

Sniff test

Sniff test

Truthfully, I wasn’t  really sure who the hell Sarah Palin was, but looking at her hair, lipstick and earrings, I guessed either TV commentator or real estate agent. Rather than guess, I decided to investigate. So I did what any enterprising dachshund would do: No, I didn’t Google her, I gave her the old sniff test. I poked my nose right in there! Unfortunately, I didn’t find her scent at all appealing. She reeked of hairspray, perfume and baloney.

Chloë makes a bold political statement

Chloë makes a bold political statement

In my world, I must smell a dog or person to really get to know them. I can smell a friendly dog or person from a great distance, and approach accordingly. Sarah flunked my sniff test, big time. If she were hoping for any kind of monetary contribution from me in return for this autographed photo, she can just forget it. My only contribution to any of  her campaigns is illustrated on the right.

Chloë Gets Involved with Her Community

Mike and Heather went on vacation for a long time, and they were lucky to have me here protecting the house. The neighborhood endured three robberies and a stolen car while they were away, all coming on the same evening, and while it was still light outside. None occurred at our house, however, and after those incidents I threw my internal security system into  high alert. With my nose and ears working overtime for the duration of their trip, I successfully defended the house, both cars and my friend Lynn until Mike and Heather returned.

A bag of bags

A bag of bags

And did they bring me anything to say thanks? Some snacks from the plane, perhaps? (Hardly; I heard Mike complain that he didn’t get one damn pretzel on four flights.) Maybe some new, orange-colored dog clothing? (Something is allegedly on its way via UPS, my waiting assuaged to a degree by the anticipation of the Brown Man’s biscuits that will accompany the package when it finally arrives.) No, all Mike and Heather brought me was a couple of year’s supply of poop bags. Like I’m supposed to care. (Note to fans: I think you can stop hoarding them for a while.)

As usual, hanging with Lynn was cool, especially at dinner time and during our trips downstairs to escape the summer heat. Beyond the robberies, the highlight of my “staycation” with Lynn came when we were coming back from a visit to her house to pick up mail.  As we drove in her car through downtown to Magnolia, the sidewalks along Fourth Avenue were lined with people of all ages, some in lawn chairs, some on blankets and even some on small sofas.  Soon this would become the route of the Seafair Torchlight Parade, but for now, in the slow-moving traffic Lynn’s car became the parade, and I was the main attraction, like a Macy’s Parade balloon.

Seafair pirates and float (PromotionHoldings.com)

Lynn always lets me sit in the front seat, so I was able to get up on my haunches and look out the open side window to watch the crowd. Soon enough, people started waving, pointing and shouting at me,  like they were my adoring fans.  And why not? With my front paws perched over the open window, tail wagging and tongue hanging out,  I did my best to look cute. It wasn’t hard.

Traffic crawled northward, but it was a good pace for me to interact with the crowd. At red lights, Lynn supplied a few laps of cool water and an occasional cheese heart. When we reached Seattle Center and the crowds disappeared, I felt a letdown. I had enjoyed my moments in the spotlight, but I was also tuckered out from being the center of attention for so long. When we got home, I had my dinner, and then Lynn and I went downstairs for popcorn and a DVD.  I soon fell asleep, dreaming again of my Torchlight Parade debut.

At the block party

At the block party

A couple of days after Mike and Heather got back, all three of us went to our annual block party, held in the street at the corner near the park. This time my friend Einstein’s owner, Carol, took charge of the meeting, and she had plenty to say, mostly about security. Mike managed to slug back a couple of beers while she was talking, but he was forced to stay away from the buffet table, mostly because Carol was speaking from right in front of it. He would have had to walk right in front of her to load up a plate with appetizers, and he was too self-conscious about it.  And he was not the only one; I didn’t see anybody eat any of the food  on the table during her presentation.  I could tell that nobody would be dropping any of those tasty apps on the ground yet, so I just planted myself next to Heather and waited patiently for Carol to call on me to add my personal perspective to her discourse on neighborhood safety. Alas, it was not to be, at least not on this hot August night. Rest assured, there will be other neighborhood meetings, and one of these days the time will come to get in my two cents.