Cleaning, Feeding, Preparation

BenchSpotForget about the wars, revolutions and the gubmint listening in on your cell phone calls!  You’ve found a peaceful spot where you can sit and listen to birds sing, where gentle waters flow as you read.

I am fixing some problems I have procrastinated about, and feeling dumb because I didn’t address them before.  We didn’t cook much until I began dieting.  We didn’t know how to clean the oven.  We are now entering our third day in the process of cleaning the oven, after having to research the different kinds of products and buying them.  There’s a self-cleaning cycle to the oven, but I’ve already set off the smoke alarms twice trying to run it.  Damn, those things are loud!  Currently, the racks are drying outside.  Mary and I have about a dozen degrees and professional licenses between the two of us.  How could we have missed that class on how to clean an oven?

rootcanalMary’s gone to the dentist to have a root canal.  She took a drug called halcion (triazolam) as a hypno-sedative beforehand, and she’s nervous.  I’ll be driving her home after, and having had one of these operations myself some years ago, I expect her to be a loopy handful until she gets home and crashes.  But you can’t put off dental procedures indefinitely.  It makes eating unduly difficult.


The birds and other creatures are eating better though since we put up the feeders and built the fountain.  In the afternoon I sit quietly, amazed at how many different kinds of life coexist in the yard.  The grasses, ivy and ferns are growing.  There are chickadees, finches, warblers, robins, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and crows.  Quail, squirrels, rabbits and deer have come to drink.  Bees, spiders and worms are busy with their projects.  When the breeze blows, I look up and see the trees open their arms, sending down mists of seeds and leaves to help sustain the multitudes below.  I belong too.  The others are shy, but they have begun to accept my presence. TransStation

During my past career as a musician and sound editor, I accumulated recordings in a variety of formats.  It was my main leisure expense for decades, but it was a big pain to haul around and store since I rarely listened to most of the collection.  I got rid of about 75%, but there are still boxes of albums and tapes with original compositions, rarities and works that have emotional significance for me.  I finally got around to obtaining a good turntable with a line input, USB output, and restoration software to remove the clicks, pops, hiss and hum inherent in analog recordings.

I dug out my old G4 tower computer and set it up as a transfer station in a little corner of the loft behind the TV.  I’m going to digitize everything, then get rid of not only the records and tapes, but also a number of obsolete electronic components.  I really do not need a DAT recorder or a four-track Portastudio.  I even have a remote hope of inspiring my wife to part with her Betamax, unused, in fact untouched during the entirety of our 20-year relationship.

 Finn His name is Finnegan.

It’s been nine months since our last dog went off to college and her new life as a guide dog.  We’ve decided to broaden our skills and see what other kinds of service dogs we might be able to train.  There are all kinds of people in need who might benefit.  At the end of the week we will welcome a four month-old, black goldendoodle.  He’s going to be raised as a general assistance puppy, and depending on his aptitudes he will be trained for mobility assistance, health alerts, and aid with cognitive challenges like PTSD and autism.  Unlike the previous guide dog puppies, we will encourage this one to retrieve small objects, be steady so someone can lean on them to stand, and evaluate other talents as he grows.  We’ll be learning clicker training through a school in a nearby town.  I’ll keep you posted.


Filed under animal communication, Technology, Thinking about thinking

9 responses to “Cleaning, Feeding, Preparation

  1. Michael – I loved this video. And Finnegan looks lovely. Sounds like you have found a new training program. Love the yard! Hope Mary’s root canal went well. So impressed with your clean up and organizing of your collection. I can’t seem to get motivated to clean up and organize our house. Maybe because I am trying to organize my Spanish-speaking neighbors who have a crappy landlord…. Some landlords are unbelievably irresponsible. Others are extremely condescending to lower-income people of color. How is this for an idea…socially insensitive people could get a dog to help them be better human beings; the dog would be trained to growl at them when they are cruel to others. Of course that would mean training the dog to detect eye rolling, sneering, arrogance, lying, and yelling. Am I thinking out of the box or out of my mind? Hi to Mary.

    • Mary came straight home and slept for hours. She’ll be fine. You have the energy you have. Forgive your limitations and carry on. We save who we can. All your acts of compassion count. Always nice to see you, Suze.

  2. It seems to be the perfect time of year for cleaning up. I am having similar experiences myself. The dentist being one of them. UGH. I like the TASCAM. We have one like that in the shed collecting dust. It’s amazing how these things can add up.
    Thanks for the good work you are doing with the dogs. It is important and probably not easy.
    It was good to play catch up with you Mikey.

    • You know, I find the dog work very easy. We always have systemic support from more experienced trainers. I have great sympathy for people who save old machines. There’s a lovely recent film called “Hugo” in which the boy-hero is obsessed with restoring a robot that writes, in hopes it will copy a last, lost message from his father. We attach meaning and value to these objects. I accept the symbolism, but I’m not free from it at all. So happy to welcome you here, Strawbie.

  3. So nice to catch up on all your news again, Michael. Your garden looks so tranquil and beautiful. Finnegan is absolutely adorable. I hope Mary feels much better already. Lots of love to you both from across the ocean.

    • She revived nicely after a six-hour nap, and thank you for asking. I expect we will call the puppy Finn for short. Three syllables is unwieldy to say when speaking commands. I hope he works out! I’m sure he’ll be the source of some good stories.

      For much of my life the only real peace was deep inside my head, and I retreated there pretty regularly. With the gradual development of this cute little property into a home that reflects and reinforces our tastes and values, I’ve begun to appreciate how much a positive environment can affect my moods, my energy level, probably health in general. It’s quite a lesson. Better to learn it late than never 🙂

      Lots of love to you as well, Butterfly.

  4. Ha! The oven thing made me laugh. Self cleaning basically just means that the oven gets so hot that everything gets incinerated! And yes it makes some smoke!

    • I did intend it to be comic, so I’m glad it worked. After a couple of hours on my knees with a de-greaser, plastic scrubbers and rags, I re-ran the self-clean cycle. No smoke! The oven has an internal fan that runs during cleaning. There was a little bit of fine ash afterward, but I felt much less doofusy. Used Easy-Off on the removed racks, but had to do it outside. Stinky! These household basic skills are challenging. I probably would have starved to death in the 1880s. I do know how to chop wood and tote water but that’s about it. Thanks, Steve.

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