Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 223

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I want to thank a couple people for tipping me a coffee: S&C, old friends from the open mic, respected colleagues, much appreciation. I’m reminded of that time about a year ago where you had a Halloween party in your backyard, we watched The Conjuring on your projector, carved pumpkins, drank beer. It was colder that year, more like fall. The wind in the trees was more mysterious than the movie.

An M – another dear friend I got to know when she entered the life of an old buddy, and whose wedding I got to attend when she finally married him. I’m flattered, and glad my words meant something to you.

I’ll use the tips to try something special this weekend – a different sort of brew, something I’ve never written about on here before. Good or bad, I’ll love every sip of it because of the warm thoughts it was brewed on, and I’ll be sure to give you all my best attempt at a review.

As for the rest of today’s Coffee Log, I’ll keep it short:

A large brown dog came into the bank at the end of the day. He was walking a woman who’d be shorter were he to stand on his hind legs. A sheepdog, the pup was scruffy and long-legged, and when he got to the table where we keep the deposit slips he decided to lie down.

Sometimes you see something and automatically have a name for it: I called him ‘comfortable.’

A couple minutes later, in comes another customer, one of our regulars, and she sees Mr. Comfortable and wants to pet him. The short lady speaks up “Please don’t get his attention.” There’s a pause, a thickening, confrontation, and the lady follows with “He’s a service dog.” That’s the end of that story. A couple minutes later, Mr. Comfortable takes his partner by the leash and leaves. The deposit-slip table looks vacant without him.

Don’t bother a dog when he’s working, I guess.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 220

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Halloween season, but the scariest thing is that the world’s burning and we hit a record-setting 100 degrees.

There’s a dog in the house. He was here before, he belongs to R’s brother, name is Gus. Gus has gotten bigger since we last saw him, lost some of his puppy fur. He’s a Golden Retriever. Far as I can tell, he’s mostly been retrieving the hem of my shirt.

There’s a significant smell to dogs – it’s in their saliva, and since they’re always panting, it gets in the air. I grew up with the smell, I was in a house with five dogs. If you want to get a sense of it, find yourself a can of water chestnuts, open it, leave in the sun, and a week later pour in a few drops of fish oil. Take a big whiff of that concoction and you’re there.

A friend face-timed me tonight on accident. When she called, I was getting Gus off of me, so when I picked up there was slobber on my phone. She said her son had hit the button and now there wasn’t a way to turn the call off. She couldn’t even see me. I couldn’t even see her. I went to another room and heard Gus running around outside. We didn’t talk long, and when the conversation was over, Gus was jumping at my door. The moral? There isn’t one.

I’ve been thinking about blank screens on face-time and hot doggy breath all night.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

I like dogs
Big dogs
Little dogs
Fat dogs
Doggy dogs
Old dogs
Puppy dogs
I like dogs
A dog that is barking over the hill
A dog that is dreaming very still
A dog that is running wherever he will
I like dogs.

Margaret Wise Brown, The Friendly Book

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 151

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I took a walk. I ran into a guy and his dog. The dog’s name was Jarvin. He was a puppy – Jarvin, not the guy. He pulled the leash when he saw me. I asked if I could pet him. The owner said ‘Okay.’ I walked across the road and Jarvin met me. He put his paws on my hips and his nose in my belly. I’d got a bit of his fur. Quickly, though, Jarvin lost interest. There were gnats on a clover patch. He chased them around.

Sometimes the nicest thing in the world is to know the name of someone else’s pet. Casually intimate, like a bathroom towel. The next time I see the dog I’ll say ‘Jarvin!’ and he’ll look at me or maybe he won’t. And his owner will wave and we’ll smile with a knowing, ‘this person’s safe enough, I can trust them as far as the end of this leash.’ Neighborly. And rare. No-one has the courage to say hello anymore, and no-one has the space to get to know someone in any more intimacy than passing.

Anyway, I’m tired. I’ve got a few days vacation. I’ll have more to say then.

Night.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

I said hello to the poodle.

Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 103

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

A dog got out downstairs and ran havoc on the other dogs at the park. It did what it was born to do – run, struggle, pick apart stiff muscle with whale-white teeth. In the end, no other pup was hurt enough for anything serious, like talk of vet violence, putting it down. But the dog was caught and brought back home. It sits on beige carpet. I know the color because all the apartments have beige carpet. At best, it can fit its front paws on the window, it’s eyes through the glass, it’s breath wet, fogging. Summer day.

I listened to a podcast about masculinity. It said ‘you don’t have to be isolated to be strong,’ and that ‘you don’t have to be tough to be a man.’ It talked about emotion and how everybody has it, a full range, every color. One of the guys says: “men in my father’s generation proved they were men by selling themselves to hard labor, something you can express only with a strong body,” and then “now those jobs are gone.”

Later today, I caught a bit of a radio show about Latina soccer players in the early 1900’s. They were considered crude and rebellious for showing strength with their bodies. Women were supposed to play games and exercise in ways that made them docile, motherly, easy to protect. Accentuate the feminine body – no muscle, all curves. Soccer was too rough for that.

Sitting at a table for a garden party together, we’re all mixed up: socialized men needing places to put their emotions out of view, tuck them under the arms of their women; socialized women, given so few outlets for their strength or independence, are coerced to oblige. Tangled. No-one notices the fisherman’s knot, catching us all, reeling in.

Right now, the dog’s probably sleeping off his busy day. He’s dreaming of damp grass and matted fur. Meanwhile, we gather ourselves around him, staring, like he’s the only animal we’ve ever seen.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The water is a dark flower and a fisherman is a bee in the heart of her.

Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 56

Hi.

Coffee: Breakfast Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

A dog showed up at our door.

My roommate’s sister is going out of town. While she’s gone, we’re watching the dog. She’s a small Chihuahua with dark brown eyebrows. She’s very quiet, very polite, and runs in circles when it’s time for food.

Growing up, I was surrounded by dogs. My family had seven over all, five at one time. We inherited two dogs when my grandmother came to live with us. I liked the dogs, maybe even loved them, but they never got into my skin. Some pet owners fall to pieces without a canine companion. They love all dogs, slobber themselves on this or that four-legged critter. It’s beautiful, I kind of envy it. No, I loved the dogs I grew up with, but I’ve got little love for dogs overall.

When you look at me, it’s like you see a different side of me. You see someone bountiful. You see hands hiding treats, a place at the couch, a long leash. You see someone that’s an indispensable part of your social order. In or out of the pack, there’s a definite place for me. That’s what throws me off – I’ve never seen myself so clearly as you do; I find myself better in the cautious eyes of cats.

Still, I gotta admit, our temporary boarder is pretty cute.

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes (FINISHED! Will share thoughts soon)

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of.

Ogden Nash, The Private Dining Room and Other Verses


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 22

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Most days, I go home on my lunch break. My apartment is only two miles from the bank. I make sandwiches or leftovers in the kitchen. Today, this is what I saw:

An old man walking his dog in the dog park.

Whenever I take my evening strolls around the complex, I pass this one apartment on the first floor that has a black fence around the patio. It’s a waist-high fence. The apartment is across from the pool.

On nice days, this burnt orange chow sits behind that fence. He never barks. Hardly looks at me. He’s used to people passing. And behind him, the deck door is always open. You can see inside the apartment. There’s movies on all the time. You can’t see what’s playing, though, because the TV’s facing the other way.

That’s where the old man and his dog live. I’ve seen the guy watching me when I walk by. Not in an off-put way, more curious. He and his dog have a lot in common. Before today, I’d never seen him out of his recliner.

I watched the pair walk around the dog park from my second-story window. I followed them for the whole time it took to microwave some slices of soy bacon. They padded and plodded. The dog didn’t run. The man didn’t either. When they left the fence, the chow walked alongside the guy without a leash. It got a little turned around where the sidewalk goes up a hill. The old man waited for his dog to catch up.

That was the nicest part of my day.

Novel Count: 30,740

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes


Coffee Log, Day 307

Hi.

Coffee: Folger’s Breakfast Blend, Brewed by my Father; My Dad drinks coffee like it’s been prescribed to him; he brews it weak, two scoops for a 12 cup pot; I must have had five full glasses of the stuff; by pot two, he made it stronger, just for me; there’s no coffee that’s as good as the coffee your father makes.

My parents have this dog that’s shaped like a sausage that my mother wraps presents for every year. We toss them down the hall and she goes running. In half an hour, the house is littered with wrapping paper.

That’s Christmas to me: something full of energy that you expect to follow a toss.

Merry Christmas. Or Merry Winter. Whether it’s with friends, family, or at home alone with a good book, I hope you got to have fun unwrapping your plans for the day. Maybe you even surprised yourself a little. And if it’s messy – if there’s paper everywhere, or if the day tore you up in it’s teeth despite the safe veneer we all expect of the holidays – then don’t worry about picking it up right now. Catch your breath. Do whatever you have to to take care of yourself.

Not every person or every family can find joy. The world’s not fair. But everyone can look inside themselves and see something worth opening. Every time you take a breath you’re proving something valuable. And I’m glad I live in a world full of so many curious persons full of curious things.

Thank you. Happy holidays.

Novel Count: 5,924

Currently Reading: Nothing! Will pick a new book after the holidays.

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.

Andy Rooney