REAL DADS: Not Just One Sunday in June

Dad Naas Scan 2

It’s Father’s Day. Time for a card or two. A new tie. Maybe breakfast in bed or a nice dinner out. But have you noticed? There’s something off-kilter about a culture that spends 364 days a year belittling dear old dad, then turns around to “honor” him on one Sunday in June.

Sadly, we live in a time and place where dads are often viewed or portrayed as: 1) Bumbling oafs who can’t tie their shoes without written instructions; 2) Insensitive clods and boorish louts or; 3) Invisible and irrelevant. Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter. Or jelly. Or bread.

What Does It Mean?

There’s a fair amount of confusion about what constitutes a “real dad.” Some equate dadness with volume, brute force, or beer bellies. They think the dude who sires a string of children and then disappears without a trace makes the yahoo a “father.” Or “dad” is the lunkhead who throws his weight around because there’s plenty of it. There’s a word for these kinds of guys. And it’s not “dad.” (Since this is a G-rated blog, you’ll have to fill in the blanks yourself.)

Real Dads

Real Dads can be hard to find these days. There are plenty of fakes. Just turn on the TV. But the Real Deal is still around. And often unsung.

A Real Dad is decent, hard-working, and upstanding. A Real Dad takes his family, job, and responsibilities seriously. He gets outside himself to benefit others. A Real Dad puts his family first. Even when it’s “inconvenient.” Sometimes especially when it’s inconvenient.

Faucets, Flicks and Foregoing

Real Dads fix leaky faucets. Hang pictures or wall paper (without killing anyone). Walk on the outside of the sidewalk, nearest the street. Endure chick flicks without complaint. A Real Dad may toil long hours in a thankless job to keep a roof over his family’s heads and put food on the table. Forego Monday Night Football to cheer a child’s Little League game. Put up a tent in the rain. Do dishes. Clean up dog barf. Teach junior how to slide into second without breaking anything. Stay home with the kids so Mom can have lunch out with the ladies.

Go Get Them

Real Dads take 1:00 a.m. phone calls in the middle of a sleep-over – come get me Daddy, I’m scared – and break every land-speed record on the books in the process. They attend daughter’s tea parties, scrunch their knees into their chins in those made-for-kindergartener chairs. Down gallons of pretend tea and wear those funny little party hats like they’re dining with royalty. Because they know they are.

Real Dads may not always know how to express themselves. They may have a hard time finding the words to tell the wife and kids how much they mean to him. So they do instead of say, speaking the language of self-sacrifice, service and grace.

Real Dads

  • Don coat and tie and conduct somber graveside services for dead gold fish and neon tetras.
  • Remove their hats, hold ’em over their heart and sing about rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air as their eyes mist.
  • Burn Christmas Eve and the wee hours of December 25 assembling brand new purple Schwinns.
  • Open those stupid pickle jar lids.
  • Spend an entire afternoon traipsing from store to store in the mall with the wife or kids, pretending they’re having a great time.
  • Say Yes when they can and No when they should.
  • Have arms that embrace, shield and protect. Their shoulders are big enough to ride, cry on, and hide behind.
  • Pray. And teach their kids to pray.
  • Are never quite thanked enough.

Real Dads cement a protective wall around the fam as no one else can. Real Dads stand on that wall, often alone, and patrol. Real Dads put any lurking menace or stalking evil on notice with, “Not on my watch. You’ll have to come through me first, and I’m here for keeps.”

With Dad at Neff

How do I know? Because my dad was a Real Dad. And not just on one Sunday in June.

***

This post was previously published on June 16, 2013.

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Celebrate “Great Outdoors Month” With These Awesome Outdoor Reads!

Frozen Lake Trail out of Sunrise, Mount Rainier National Park.

June is Great Outdoors Month. I love this month because… well… um… I love June because Mom loves June. And I love everything Mom loves. (Except broccoli. Gag me with roughage!)

Back to June. Check it out: Hiking! Frisbee tossing! Swimming! Canoeing! Frisbee chasing! Kayaking! Fishing! Frisbee-ing! Picnicking! Biking! Frisbees! The beach, the mountains, the desert, the plains!

Did I mention Frisbees?

Anyway, when it comes to books about The Great Outdoors, Gary Paulsen titles top our list. Every time.

Mom says Paulsen’s a three-time Newberry Award-wining author. I have no idea what that means. Can you eat it?

More importantly, Paulsen is a super duper dog lover. Told he’s brilliant.

Paulsen’s writing style is spare and lean to the point of terse. No excess fat. Brisk as an autumn breeze. Quick as a greyhound. Or me.

Reading any of the Paulsen books below would be a great way to celebrate Great Outdoors Month. You still have time to knock out a couple or more this month.

Some of our favorites:

  1. Hatchet –Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson’s small plane goes down in the Canadian wilderness. He’s alone, except for a tattered windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present. It will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive. Newberry winner.
  2. Dogsong (pretty obvious, huh?).  Oogruk the shaman owns the last team of dogs in the village. He alone understands Russel’s longing for the old ways and the songs that celebrated them. Driven by a strange and powerful dream and by a burning desire to find his own song, Russel takes Oogruk’s dogs on an epic journey of self-discovery that will change his life forever.
  3. The River – Book two of the Brian saga. The government sends Brian back to the Canadian wilderness.
  4. Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod –  Paulsen writes about his experience running his team of dogs in this famous race. Snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on.
  5. Wood Song – Paulsen has survived a dogsled crash and a fall down a frozen waterfall, a bear attack, and running the grueling Iditarod. In this vivid, vibrant book, the author recounts the experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing.
  6. My Life in Dog Years – Don’t make me explain this.

Oh yeah. Nothing about broccoli. I like this Gary guy more and more.

Honorable mentions:

 

What are your favorite outdoor books and authors?

Kimber the Amazing Frisbee Chasing, Book-Loving Dog!

 

Rockin’ It This Summer With Reading

Kimber The Reading Dog.

Mom’s at it again. She’s skipping merrily around the house, opening every window in sight.  Humming that Temptations song. You know the one. About sunshine on a cloudy day.

Here in the ever-soggy Pacific Northwest, we take whatever we can get in the “sunshine” department. Maybe that explains Mom lately. Why she keeps crowing, “Summer’s comin’! Woo-hoo!”

Has anyone found my frisbee? Cuz frankly, what’s summer without a nice, chewy, frisbee?

Well. According to Her Mom-ness, “summer” also means the library’s summer adult reading program. Last year she read 136 books in 92 days. This year there’s a “limit”: Twenty books.

What’s up with that?

Anyway, this year’s theme is Libraries Rock. Some brain surgeon (The Powder Puff?) decided to combine the adult program with the children’s and teen reading programs. A one-size-fits-none kind of deal.

The sign-up form for tracking your reading progress includes stuff like coloring, singing a song or learning five new words. You write this down every time you finish a book.

Is there a shortage of grown-up Taste of the Wild in the building?

Not to worry. You know Mom and me and books. We’re not going to let something this silly slow us down. No siree, Lassie!

We’ve read eight books and one audio book since we signed up on June 1. Coloring notwithstanding, we’re gonna “rock” this summer. Reading highlights so far:

And a re-read of an old favorite: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

Another stand out: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.

It’s post-WWII Europe with a catch. A big one: Hitler won. Now a survivor of Nazi experimentation in a death camp, Yael is on a mission to win a race and kill Hitler.

“I couldn’t put it down!” says Her Mom-ness. “It’s a barn burner.” Maybe I should grab a fire extinguisher?

I’d say more, but I feel another skipping session coming on.

 

Meanwhile, have you signed up for your library’s summer reading program? What are your reading goals for this summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock skipping photo credit: Flickr – Creative Commons License

‘Knows-ing’ Into Books, Kimber Style

I nosed my way into Mom’s ‘bookish’ blog awhile back. Kind of like the way I nose into a New York steak. Top sirloin. Meatloaf.

Nobody’s perfect.

Anyway, Mom says a whole raft of new readers have recently joined us. I’m not sure what that means. But if Mom’s happy, I’m happy. See my tail wagging?

I just want to say Thanks for joining us and Welcome!

Now then. Mom thinks some “introductions” may be in order. So here goes:

My name is Kimber. I’m a “rescue dog.” Part Golden Retriever. Part black Lab. A lot Border Collie. That accounts for my smarts and my speed. Mom says both are Off The Charts. Whatever that means.

By way of background, I joined my forever family in August 2016. I was about ten weeks old. I turn two years old later this month. (Not that I’m keeping track. But Mom is. You know how moms are.)

Mom calls me “Kimber the Magnifcent.” I don’t know why. She just does. But you can call me Kimmi. All my friends do.

I love pretty much everybody. Mom and Dad. My four brothers. The neighbors. Even the postal carrier. And The Powder Puff. She lives down the street. Well. I guess I just tolerate her. I mean, how can you take a dog seriously when she wears those stupid ruffly dress-up thingies? Can you blame me for barking at her? (Some humans have no sense.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Speaking of loving stuff, Mom loves reading, writing, and books. She also enjoys “blogging.” But doesn’t always have time. That’s where I come in. I’m nothing if not helpful. Always ready to curl up on her lap when she sits down to “knows” into a new book.

Sometimes Mom reads aloud. Or laughs out loud. Tells me what’s going on in the story. So I get to tell you. From a diffetent perspective. About some of our adventures. Favorite authors and titles. Book reviews and recommends. Stuff like that.

Knows-ing into books and writing isn’t quite like nosing into a New York steak. But it’s close.

You gonna eat that?

UPDATE: Last week Mom told you about how all her Reading Challenge data on Goodreads had been wiped out. (See Reading Challenge 2.0: Why I’m Going Back to Square One.) She got this message from Goodreads about it late last week. Most of her book titles have been restored. Whew!

Hi there,
I’m so sorry about the trouble, and I can understand how it might be alarming! Rest assured that this is only a display issue, and that all of your data is safely stored. Our developers are aware of this issue, and we hope to have it fixed shortly – we’ll make sure to reach out once the matter is resolved. In the meantime, I apologize for the inconvenience.
If you have any other questions about this, or anything else, feel free to reach out!
Best,
The Goodreads Experts

Reading Challenge 2.0: Why I’m Going Back to Square One

If you’re on Goodreads, you probably know the average Reading Challenge for 2018 is about 51 books in 12 months. I read 136 books in 92 days for last summer’s adult reading program with the library. So what was a realistic but stretch-worthy goal for 12 months?

I set my goal at 200 books for the year. I was cruising along pretty well, picking up steam. The “brass ring” was in sight – six months early.

Until today.

Let me explain. First the not so good news. Followed by the good news and some reading highlights thus far.

The Not-so-Good News:

I was closing in on my target goal of 200 books. I went to my Goodreads account today to add a few more completed titles to bring my total to 181. Suddenly, my reading progress vanished. Gone. Poof!

Has this happened to you?

Because not a single title entered over the past five-plus months remains in my Reading Challenge. Zip. Zero. Nada. I know the site was having trouble cataloging dates and updates. But zeroing out 181 books just like that?!

Well I’ll be et fer a tater.

I can’t possibly recreate the entire list from memory. (Yes, I reported the matter to Goodreads. No solution yet.)

The Good News:

Of course I’m discouraged. Not to mention a wee bit miffed. But I’m still reading. And while it’s not exactly cheery to have five+ months of titles wiped out due to “technical difficulties,” I’m going to keep reading. In fact, I’m aiming for another target. Think of it as Reading Challenge 2.0:

200 additional titles by the end of the year.

How does that sound? (Good thing I took a few screen shots awhile back, eh?)

Meanwhile, from some prior notes I jotted down, here are some highlights from my Reading Challenge 2018 (before The Great Poofery struck):

Most Whimsical or Disarmingly Charming:

What-the-Dickens, by Gregory Maguire.

A natural disaster, three kids, a 21 y.o. Language Arts cousin/babysitter. Skibbereens and a flying thing nsmed “Pepper” with lots of sass. Teeth. What’s not to love?

The Faerieground series, by Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser.

Twelve quick, enchanting reads about BFFs Soli and Lucy. One is far more than she seems at first glance, esp, when soneone’s made a wish inside the Willow Forest!

Most Interesting Biogs or Autobiogs:

New York to Paris – Charles A. Lindbergh.

Flying by instruments-only through fog at 1,500nft. over the Mid-Atlantic? Ay! Yi! Yi! Also white caps, porpoises, and “Which way is Ireland?”, the London-Paris runway and the Eiffel Tower.

Man O’ War – Walter Farley

Gripping Historical fiction about one of the greatest Thoroughbred champions to ever set hooves on a race track.

Creepiest

Look For Me By Moonlight.

Forget the silver stakes and garlic. Find an artist friend with a cliffside workshop and a hot stove! And whatever you do, don’t fall for some sweet-talking “30 something” dude in black who comes to stay at your Dad’d rustic, isolated inn in thd dead of winter!

172 Hours on the Moon – Johan Harstad

After yeats of budget cuts and stalled space exploration, NASA is going back to the moon, this time with three teens aboard. Once they hit the lunar surface, everything goes sideways. And astronauts start dying. Will Mia, Midori or Antoine ever see earth again?

Most Intriguing or Surprising

The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

Hauntingly poignant and powerful, this intriguing story explores family relationships, bio/medical ethics, how far a parent might go to save a loved one, and what it means to be “human.” Earned a rare five-star rating from me.

Fairest – Marissa Meyer

A taut, compelling tale dripping with palace intrigue, rivalry and jealousy, misplaced love, blind ambition and utter corruption. Masterfully crafted. Couldn’t put it down!

Anchor in the Storm – Sarah Sundlin.

Finally. A “romance”” novel that isn’t a romp through the local garbage dump.

This uplifting, engaging story offers solid characters who are both winsome and flawed. They’re wholesome without being sappy. The clever “whodunit” plot has perfect pacing while the love story deftly combines faith, hope, tenacity, and integrity. Superb historical fiction plus plenty of surprising plot twists to keep you guessing!

Old Faves:

Just about anything by Marguerite Henry, C.W. Anderson, and Scott O’Dell.

Note About My Reviews: I hold to the axiom: “The repeated use of profanity is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Hence, no book that uses same gets high marks from me. Ever. Far as I’m concerned, if an author can’t express him/herself without “turning the air blue,” then s/he is a lousy, lazy author. Period.

Now. Back to square one. And a new Reading Challenge.

How’s yours coming?

The Truth About Books (kindly hurry up with that steak!)

“Eureka!” says Mom the other day. I have no idea why she says this. But she says it a lot. Especially when she’s lugging another truck load of “books” home from The Book Place.

Me, I’m not crazy about The Book Place. Ever since Mom pointed out the “guide dogs and service animals only” sign. What am I, chopped Salisbury steak with extra gravy? Tri-tip roast? A nice, thick burger sizzling merrily on the outdoor grill?

Wait. What was I saying?

Oh yeah. “Eureka” and The Book Place.

“See what we have here?” says Mom, pulling out one of those big square reading thingies from a library “book bag” big enough to choke a Brontosaurus. “This is a book,” she explains. “Black letters on white pages.” She fans the pages.

I sniff said pages. Can I eat it? Something tells me no. As in, BIG N-O.

“David Copperfield!” Mom announces. I’m still sniffing. “A classic!” she says.

Am I supposed to be impressed?

“Wait! There’s more!” Mom crows, excavating deeper into the Bronto bag. She unearths more reading thingies. Like Pride and Prejudice. A Raisin in the Sun. The Black Stallion Returns. Thunder Rolling in the Mountains.

Still sniffing…

Meanwhile, I’m beginning to wonder about these reading thingies she calls “books.” They don’t have any buttons. Blinking lights. Bonus levels. App updates. In fact, books really don’t have any sounds at all. And not much smell, either. (Dust maybe.)

This doesn’t seem to slow Mom down.

“Look,” she says, cheerfully paging through something called Anchor in the Storm.

You’d think she just discovered filet mignon, medium well.

“Finding a good book is like finding buried treasure!” Mom continues. “It’s an adventure waiting to happen!”

She tells me that these reading thingies – “books” – can take you on travels only you can imagine. Through forests thick with facts. Whole galaxies dripping with starry fiction. A book can introduce you to lifelong friends, says Mom. Keep you awake all night until The End. A book can be a friend if you just want to be by yourself in the highest peak of a status-update-free mountain. And the only “storage space” that runs out in a book is what’s in your own head.

Also, a book doesn’t run on batteries. Never needs a recharge. Or a power cord. Doesn’t have an off button. You don’t need to remember a password to get inside. And a book won’t unfriend you. Ever.

At the end of the day, you can put down a book and it won’t mind. Because, says Mom, a book will always be there, waiting for you to come back. Pick up where you left off. Like an old friend welcoming you home. Whether you’re a “service animal” or not.

Mom may be on to something. I just hope she hurries up with that steak.

 

 

 

 

 

Brontosaurus image: Wikimedia Commons

Which Reader Are You?

I’m gonna be two years old next month. I’m telling you this now to give you last-minute gift-getters a heads up.

Anyway, Mom insists I’m still a “puppy.” So embarrassing. I keep telling her I’m a lap dog. I mean, really. What’s a measly 62 pounds?

So. I may not be two yet. But I’ve been around long enough to make some observations. Like postal carriers aren’t always friendly. Neither are fences. There’s no such thing as a “ten second rule” when Yours Truly is on kitchen patrol.

Squirrel!

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah. I’ve made some observations in two years-ish. One of them is there are lots of different kinds of readers. You may not think us canines notice stuff like this. But we do. Here are a few of the readers I’ve seen. Any of these sound familiar?

The soloist.

Hear, hear! Or more like, “Quiet down, pronto!” A “solo” reader is the person who Can’t Stand To Be Interrupted. As in, “Can’t you see I’m reading??!!!” They just want to be left alone, absent activity, noise, or conversation when they’re neck-deep in a good story. Or even a mediocre one. Interrupt The Soloist at your peril. (Don’t ask who I know this.)

The Techno Reader

Do you prefer reading on your mobile device? Love your Kindle? Audible? How ‘bout Ebooks or talking books? If the mere notion of thumbing through paper pages or creasing a physical book makes you break out in hives, you may be a Techno Reader.

The Dinosaur

The dinosaur reader doesn’t care how cool your Kindle is. Call ‘em Brontosauri (hi, Mom!), but for these readers, nothing beats holding a physical book in my hands or turning real pages. There’s something about a physical book that an electronic device can’t touch (pun intended).

The Librarian

Does reading at home present too many distractions or time crunches? The Librarian reader prefers the relative quiet and solitude of a library for reading. They value the personal interface with their librarian(s) for book suggestions and recommendations.

The Groupie

This type of reader likes to be part of a group reading effort. They find it easier to keep their reading on track if they know a title is available ahead of time and a discussion will take place a month out or so (hi again, Mom. What?). They also like being able to bounce ideas and impressions off other readers who’ve read the same title during the same time frame.

The Kimber

These readers are happy reading anywhere. Like me. I’m good anywhere my humans are. But I’m at my best on someone’s lap. Just think of me as a 62 pound fur baby. Mom does.

Holding Hands: What I’ve Learned in 35 Years of Marriage

Snuggle Bunny and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary this week. Where did the time go? More importantly, in an era in which a double nano-second constitutes a “long-term relationship,” how did we make it thirty-five years?

First off, we’re waaay too young to be that old.

Second, it hasn’t always been easy. Marriage is hard work. It’s the union of two imperfect, self-centered, hard-headed people with feet of clay. Throw in some job losses and “down-sizing.” Too much month at the end of the money. Four kids. Health issues. A couple cross-country moves. Misunderstandings, the untimely loss of loved ones (three parents in just over a year), and the usual trials and tribulations of life, and you’re in for some major stress.

How have we kept it together for 35 years? Here are some key ingredients, suggestions, and lessons learned over 35 years:

  • Make Jesus Christ the center of your heart, home, and marriage. Like this. Sung at our wedding in May 1983. It still rings true today:

  • Pray for your spouse daily. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve muffed this over 35 years. But I keep trying. You can, too. Incidentally, the person whose heart will be most changed when you pray for your spouse is yours. (Don’t ask how I know that.)
  • Cultivate a sense of humor. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Develop your “funny bone” and exercise it often. Look for things to laugh about. If you can’t find any, I might lend you some of mine. If you ask real nice.
  • Be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Another thing you can’t do on your own. It takes Jesus. Trust me on this one.
  • Learn and use those three little words: “I was wrong.”
  • Give your spouse room to grow, stretch, and learn. Allow them the freedom to fail. When they do, be the first person to pick them up, dust them off, and cheer them on to the next endeavor or adventure. Be your spouse’s #1 fan.
  • Show an interest in and participate in your spouse’s hobbies and interests if at all possible. Is he a football, baseball, or basketball fan? Into NASCAR? Boating, hiking, fishing, camping? A history buff? What kind of books or music does she like? What’s her favorite cuisine, color, movie, style, or get-away spot? How does your spouse like to spend his or her down time?

Snuggle Bunny and I love the Great Outdoors. We’ve spent more time around a campfire singeing perfectly good marshmallows than I can shake a charred stick at. We’ve also hiked millions of miles over most of the western U.S. and quite a few Eastern Seaboard states, too. (Well, okay. Maybe not a million. It just feels that way.) The idea here is to adventure together. Savvy?

Also (throwin’ these in for free):

  • An ounce of Hershey’s is worth a pound of cure.
  • Flowers. Don’t ask me to explain this.
  • Honesty is the best policy. (Don’t confuse this with undue harshness or acting like a jerk. Tell the truth. In love.) Also, be trustworthy.
  • Love without commitment only goes so far. Like, around the block. Commitment lasts forever. Don’t confuse the two.

  • Snuggle Bunny and I have worked hard to implement and maintain what has been derisively dubbed The Pence Rule. By people who don’t get it. Like, whenever possible, we avoid being alone with someone else’s spouse or a member of the opposite sex. It’s called protecting our marriage pro-actively. It works. For 35 years. And counting.
  • Don’t take each other for granted. Ever.
  • Say “I love you” every day. Find creative ways to express your love and appreciation for your spouse in ways that’ll speak to their heart. (Did I mention Hershey’s?)
  • Realize that marriage vows are vows, not suggestions.

07 May 1983

On an eighty-degree evening in southern California in 1983, Snuggle Bunny and I promised to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health….” We’ve seen plenty of all of the above. But we made solemn vows “to have and to hold… until death do us part.”

Not just when things are going great. When it’s all moonlight and roses, champagne and fireworks. Because guess what? The last couple to “live happily ever after” was Snow White and Prince Charming. You’re neither. There will be times when your spouse seems as attractive as an overcooked cabbage. As prickly as a porcupine. Is galactically irritating. Selfish. An insensitive clod.

Well, guess what again? So are you. So get over it. Choose to honor your marriage commitment and hold fast to your vows. Even when you don’t “feel” like it. Maybe especially when you don’t feel like it.

If you need professional help, get it. Remember #2. Also remember that you have an Enemy. The Thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That includes your marriage. Be on guard. Be prepared to fight for your spouse and your marriage. Take the gloves off and do it!! Like this:

Finally:

  • I still have a lot to learn.
  • If I live a thousand years, it still won’t be enough to deserve the good man who gently won my heart so many years ago. And still has it. Hey, Babe. This one’s for you. Happy Anniversary!

One day, far away, you gently won my heart
And one night, by candlelight, we made a vow to never part
And then it seemed just like a dream
When wide eyed, side by side
We faced the future holding hands…

Everyone’s favorite pup, Kimber the Magnificent, returns next time. Stay tuned!

A ‘Champion for the Ages’

“Inevitable.” Isn’t that a great word? Learned it from Mom the other day. As in, the 144st annual Run for the Roses is coming up on May 5. So debates about who was the Greatest Thoroughbred of All Time are… inevitable.

Or so I’m told.

A few other things I learned:

The “Run for the Roses” is also known as The Kentucky Derby. The Derby is always run on the first Saturday in May. It’s the first jewel in the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horse racing.

Why do I care about Thoroughbred racing? Well, I don’t. Not really. But Mom does!

She’s been reading a Walter Farley book about one of the greatest champions to ever set hooves on a race track: Man O’War. Along with legendary Triple Crown winner Secretariat, Man O’War is a top contender for Greatest Thoroughbred of All Time honors.

Back to the Farley book.

Man O’War’s remarkable life unfolds through the eyes of fictional stable boy Danny Ryan. Mom says the story is nearly as powerful and compelling as the great Thoroughbred himself. I’m not sure what the means. But it sounds good.

Here’s Mom’s review of Farley’s Man O’ War.

So when Kentucky Derby time rolls around each May, the comparisons between Man O’ War and another great champion, Triple Crown Winner (1973) Secretariat, are inevitable. At least according to Mom. Which horse gets the nod for Horse of the Century? Depends on who you ask. And what day it is.

Both possessed blinding speed. Both ran challengers off their feet. Both broke records. Both have great stories.

So whether your vote for The Greatest goes to Secretariat or Man O-War, a few things are for sure:

1) May is the perfect month for awesome horse stories!

2) Any story by Walter Farley is a great story. Inevitably.

3) Churchill Downs promises another great Run for the Roses this Saturday. (“Run for the noses”? I always kinda thought that was when Mom calls me in for dinner. But I may be wrong about that.)

4) One of the finest athletes to ever set hooves on a race track, Man O’War remains a Champion for the Ages. Just like Walter Farley.

Is it dinner time yet?

Update – May 5: Congratulations to the 2018 Kentucky Derby winner, Justify!

How I Survived the Big Deluge

You know I’m not one to complain. I mean, I’m the World’s Greatest Optimist! I love everybody! I dance a furry jig whenever my humans come home. Even if they’ve only been gone ten minutes. It’s just so exciting to have them back!

But seriously. Someone needs to talk to the Big Dog in the Sky about this weather. I know the Pacific Northwest is wet. Dad emptied the rain gauge yesterday. “Nearly five inches in less than 48 hours!” he said. “On top of the five-plus inches we had the last coupla days before that!”

I’m not quite sure what it means. Except fewer walks. Less time outside. More running stairs and playing tug ‘o war or ball indoors with my peeps.

But you know me. I’m not one to complain.

Besides. I guess it’s better than being cooped up inside all day with nothing to do.

But when is spring going to show up???

Okay. Had to get that out. Let’s see. Where was I?

Oh yeah.

I guess buckets of rain aren’t all bad. Mom turns on the fireplace – I still haven’t figured that one out – and lets me on to her lap while she reads. I’m good as long as don’t knock over the lamp or try to steal her “hot apple cider.”

I’ve also learned a “reading” thing or two during the daily deluges. (“Deluge.” Isn’t that a great read? I learned it from Mom. Like, “Another deluge? Ugh!”)

Have you heard about the Survivor book series by Erin Hunter? Stories about a pack of Leashed Dogs trying to survive after their Longpaws vanish in the Big Growl.

Their reluctant leader is a big golden dog, Lucky. He’s a City Dog. Lucky escaped a city Trap House. He lives by his wits in the wild. He’s a Loner. But these Leashed Dogs don’t know anything about living on their own, without their Longpaws. I mean, who’s gonna play fetch with them? Who’ll fill their food bowls?

These Leashed Dogs get into all sorts of trouble! Especially when they cross into Pack Dog territory.

I’m liking these books! Especially that black and white herder farm dog, Mickey. He’s one sharp doggie. (Probably a cousin.) I figure, if these dogs can survive the Big Growl, I can survive the Big Deluge.

Like I said. I’m still keeping an eye out for spring. Wait. I think it’s starting to let up!

Later!