Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 220


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

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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 56


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)

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

Ogden Nash, The Private Dining Room and Other Verses

Coffee Log, Day 350


Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee; my second to last batch if I’m judging the amount of beans. I’ve liked this coffee. It was a gift, which always helps, but I would have liked it if I’d come across it on my own. It’s direct with it’s flavors but still a little complicated, especially if you drink it like I do – big mouthfuls lounging on the back of your tongue. Makes me want to get up and do something, but doesn’t guilt me when I’m only sitting down.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about her dogs. She treats them like children. They go with her everywhere. She won’t board them, says it’s cruel. And maybe it is – if you can give something a good life, why wouldn’t you?

I used to know a woman who had two cats. One was gray, one was brown. They had dramatic personalities. The gray could would wake you at 3:00 am to show you it’s shadow. The brown cat would hiss if you got too close. Once, brown cat ate a piece of plastic. She was real sick. So I took the morning off to drive her to the vet. She was in a tiny plastic carry-on. She made the most pitiful sounds. The vets took her in for surgery and I waited a couple hours, then she was better. Afterwards, she’d sometimes come to sit with me when I was reading in bed or working on something.

There’s a lot of emotion in the world, even if there’s not much intelligence. But intelligence tends to produce things like McDonald’s and plastic bottles, so maybe it’s overrated.

Novel Count: 20,399

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’

Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.

Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Coffee Log, Day 135


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

The rain took the heat away, then the rain went away too; packed-up houses. I took my daily walk in the space it left.

Tonight, I saw: a new family. The mother and father were both taller than me; their son was twig-high. He was toddling, dressed in a red tee. They held both his hands when he needed it. The three walked the parking lot searching for sticks and acorns. He picked one; he wasn’t satisfied.

“They’re better by the playground,” Dad says.

“Yeah,” says the toddler.

There’s a bend in the neighborhood that obscures oncoming traffic. The rain washed the tires of an SUV loud enough for me to dodge. My downstairs neighbor drove by. She waved. In her wake, I saw a mother and daughter slogging toward recycling. Mom was stern. She had handfuls of wood and cardboard. Her daughter was sterner. She pulled a pink wagon full of broken boxes.

Trees look best in a storm; your first love coming out the shower. I snapped a few pictures, even the sewers looked nice.

At the dog park, wet fluffs were yapping. They had death in their lungs but cuddles everywhere else. Their owners chatted across the fence. The dogs weren’t happy. Both were fat, still hungry.

The last stretch goes by the office, the pool, there’s a deck that’s always open and a guy in a dark armchair who’s always watching TV. We see each other often but look away when our eyes catch.

I took the new bridge across the stream. I saw the family again, only the Dad and son this time. I waved. Dad waved. The kid ran circles, he was scared of me; I’m no stick, no acorn. I said “Hi Hi!” to red shirt, folding my best paper-plane smile.

“Say hello,” said Dad.

“No!” said his son.

He ran away to find more fairies. I wasn’t hurt; summer storms are enticing company.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I’m tryna get high as I can.” – Future, Hate the Real Me


Coffee Log, Day 103


Coffee: Two cups drip from Cocoa Cinnamon; One cup Iced from Joe Van Gogh; the first two were better.

It was a long day. Distracting, like one of those stinkbugs that climbs your wall and looks like the paintjob until you really focus.

It wasn’t easy and I don’t have much energy.

When I was seventeen, my dog Becky was taken to the vet in the morning for pains that ultimately killed her. The same day, I stopped at a gas station on the way to work. There was a woman on the ground. She was crying. Bleeding from her face where she’d hit the curb. The couple passers-by told me that a man had run up, hit her hard, and run off. They didn’t know why he did it. She didn’t either.

I got the gas and drove to school.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” – Mark Twain


Coffee Log, Day 74


Coffee: Organic Bolivian Blend, Trader Joe’s brand

I followed a small black dog through the woods. She had a collar. She waddled ahead of me, stopped to let me pat her, then skipped and hopped. The dog was always waiting for me to catch up. Eventually, her owner called and she bopped through the trees. It was nice to see the dog today. Travel companions are hard to come by.

In 2010, I studied for a summer in Greece. We dotted across the country – island to island, city to city – and spent a weekend on Mount Olympus. Duke had rented us a lodge but we had to climb the mountain to reach it. Halfway up, a scruff grey hound joined us while we snacked by a waterfall. He had no collar and wagged his tail when we fed him candied mangos. We named him Mango. The dog led the way up twists, turns, sheer-face climbs, and across the last pass that was snowed over – even in summer – until he left us at the lodge to dodge the backyard kitchen, eager for the smells of baked spaghetti.

There’s no moral or message to this, unless it’s maybe to follow whatever fido happens to cross your way.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

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“Dogs never bite me. Just humans.”  – Marilyn Monroe