AFRAID OF STAIRS, ME? and THE INSIDE DOG

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These stairs were FUN!

Last Sunday, My Dad and I went on a SECRET MISSION to Dwight, IL, a quaint rural community in Livingston County, some 90 minutes southwest of Chicago.

“Hey Magic, remember when you were afraid of stairs and bridges?”

“I can’t hear you, I’m writing the blog, my blog…what did you say about stairs?”

“Never mind, I’m going to clean the windows on the Scion…you OK?  I’ll be outside.”

Mmmmm…why would he bring that fear of stairs up, now?  Yes, last Sunday, as I was saying, My Dad and I drove to Dwight on a SECRET MISSION to give court papers to some guy who drove a big white pick-up truck…no big deal, unless I am used as a diversion, or a lure.  Think about it…who would suspect some guy walking with an off-leash, well-behaved, Border collie.  Come to think of it, the use of an off-leash Border collie is sort of the ultimate in “social engineering.”  What person would suspect me of being a nefarious tool of deception, of entrapment, of misdirection, of trickery.  Exactly!  Well-behaved Border collies are so believable, so trustworthy, so credible.  I’m rambling.  Back to the more important part of the day’s adventure.

My Dad was a bit frustrated after our arrival in Dwight.  The white pick-up truck was at the target’s house, but no one was home.  My Dad asked me, “How about an adventure?”  Yes, of course!  As a VERY well-behaved Border collie who is an excellent traveler, I am always up for an adventure.  We had to drive about an hour and I kept a very close watch for livestock in need of discipline – cows, horses, sheep.  And when I spot these blubbering bovines, these blockhead ruminants, I alert My Dad, and he always says, “Good boy!”  And when we slow down to drive through the small towns, My Dad rolls down the rear windows.  Smelling the air, looking for dangers and staring at people in the car next to me is GREAT entertainment.  People will often roll down their windows, talk to me, ask me questions and take my picture with their phone.  “What kind of dog is that?”  Are you KIDDING?  Don’t you see the BORDER COLLIE signs on the car???

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“Yes!  I am a Border collie!  Can’t you r-e-a-d?

ENTERING STARVED ROCK STATE PARK  –  After My Dad parked the Scion, he warned me that people have died in falls at this park, mainly because they did not stay on the marked trails.  “OK, I’ll be careful.”  And I surprised My Dad.  I was running up and down the long stairways and staircases, and across the bridges – WITHOUT HESITATION.  My Dad was amazed!  He kept asking me, “Where is your fear of stairs?  Where is your fear of bridges?”  And I was off leash.  When other hikers approached, My Dad would repeat, “He’s cool, he’s cool, he’s a good boy.”  And so it was.  I usually ignore other people, but if they talk to me, or greet me, I’ll stop, say HI!, smell them, let them pet me.  No big deal.  I really like people.

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No FEAR!  Stairs and bridges are no problem.  I’m a big boy.

After our hike, we stopped in Streator, IL for a (yum-yum) HAMBURGER at McDonald’s!  And upon out return to Dwight, the white truck guy was home and it was MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  Of course, while My Dad is doing his investigator-thing, I am closely watching for signs of danger, with my head out the rear window of the Scion xB.

As all of my faithful and loyal readers know, I am a neighborhood celebrity.  I have many canine and human friends. But one of my canine friends rarely comes outside.  She is never taken for a walk, not even an on-leash walk.  Her owner’s idea of “going out” is letting Jazzy (that’s her name) out of the patio sliding door ON THE END OF A LEASH.  That’s it for Jazzy’s walk – FIVE minutes or less, on the end of a leash.  Yesterday morning, My Dad and I were walking past Jazzy’s condo just as the slider opened and Jazzy came out – at the end of the leash.  I could see Jazzy’s Mom standing inside the condo, bare feet and pajamas.  Jazzy’s Mom shocked us.  She stepped outside and unhooked Jazzy so she could play with me.  I know Jazzy likes me and she went all submissive on me.  We ran around for a couple of minutes, then her Mom had to walk outside, in BARE feet, to put Jazzy on the leash.  And that was it, just TWO minutes of play with THE KING of play.  Poor Jazzy…every time I walk by her condo, I see her head in between the vertical blinds looking at me and crying.  Should I bust her out?  Mmm…I’ll discuss this as a SECRET MISSION with My Dad.  Later, Love, MAGIC.

 

 

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“EVERYBODY RELAX…WE’RE HERE FOR THE COOKIES”

As my loyal and faithful followers know, I go everywhere with My Dad.  Yesterday I was summoned into the Bank, the girls there wanted to meet me.  And I know what the drive-up window at the Bank means…COOKIES!

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“Hey!  It’s me, MAGIC.  What, no envelope of cookies?”

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“One at a time is OK, but I get more than one, RIGHT?

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“Relax…I’m gentle, I got it…”

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“Thanks!  and yummmm…”

 

PLEASANT AND UNPLEASANT SIDES OF WINTER

As my loyal followers and fans are aware, My Dad is a soccer referee and he had been very busy during the Fall season. (He LOVES to officiate soccer and sometimes humans who know My Dad will allow me to sit with them along the touchline) The beautiful November weather here in the Chicago boasted of some days in the upper 60’s (F) and close to 85% sunny skies.

However, all good things must come to an end, or is it, no good deed goes unpunished? (My Dad says that a lot!)    The past two Sunday’s, the change to (real) winter has started and so has My Dad’s complaining.  My Dad tolerates some aspects of winter, especially if the temperatures are close to freezing with no wind.  Our Sunday snowfalls were both very pleasant and I spent a lot of time outside with Kaya – I really like to play in the snow, eat snow, catch snowballs, roll in the snow, relax in the snow.  But, let me clarify – no complaining by My Dad on those past two Sundays.

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Kaya and I playing in the snow.  We did not like when the snowman was being built.

The real complaining started two days ago.  My Dad does not like the wind, especially when the temperatures are single digits Fahrenheit.  I demand five to six walks per day and when I give My Dad the let’s go out stare, I watch him put his cold weather gear on.  Over long-underwear and Nike Combat Gear, he will don:  a U.S. Soccer jacket with a high neck collar, a black North Face fleece with a high neck collar, an Eddie Bauer storm coat with a high neck collar AND a hood, two knit hats, and ski goggles.  EARTH TO LUNAR BASE, DO YOU COPY?  Wait, I forget two pairs of gloves – I am not making this up.

MAGIC, WHAT ARE YOU GIGGLING ABOUT IN THERE?

JUST BLOGGING ABOUT OUR PLEASANT WEATHER.  DID YOU MAKE YOUR DINNER SALAD, YET?  DON’T FORGET ABOUT MY DINNER.

Mmmm….ok, he’s in the kitchen.  But My Dad does look out for me.  He puts on my Therapy Dog jacket to keep me a bit warmer and our walks are limited to about 20 minutes, on snow only…My Dad is worried that the salt slush will freeze my little toes.  And when I go poop, My Dad is VERY complimentary, very happy, because we can head home – to WARMTH.

My Dad takes me INTO O’Hare International Airport when we pick up his sister, Mary.  I know I am supposed to be in a down/stay, but people always come up to pet me.  They always smile at me, talk to me, and pet me.  My Dad is very proud of me.

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United Airlines baggage concourse, near baggage claim #6.  Being a good boy.

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One of those 60F days in November, I needed a drink!

 

THE DE-MUZZLING OF DANTE, SECRET MISSIONS TO DOWNTOWN, and CREEP-O-ZOID IN THE PARKING LOT

Last Sunday, My Dad and I were up at 4:30 am; we had to drive into downtown Chicago on a “secret” mission.  My Dad is quite candid when he describes me as a “lure,” as in fishing lure.  Who would suspect that a handsome 57 pound, very well behaved, Border collie, would be involved in subterfuge, a guise, a ruse?  However, before our departure in the Scion xB, I needed my morning walk which was completed with typical Border collie efficiency.  But after our return, My Dad alerted me to suspicious behavior in our parking lot.  I saw My Dad peering out the bedroom window blinds, so I stepped up to the lower level of the window blinds to see what he was interested in.  A stranger (stranger-danger) had just parked his older Nissan in the lot, exited his car and was looking in cars using a flashlight and pulling on the door handles!  My Dad was soon on his cell phone.  I followed him to our front door and we both watched the stranger skulking among the cars, we could hear door handles pulled.  I gave a deep growl, My Dad quietly said, “good boy…shhh…good boy.”  I love being called a good boy.  The skulking stranger soon left in his car, and several minutes later, the police knocked on our door and talked with My Dad.  The stranger’s car had been pulled over by the police a short distance away.

As the sky to the east lightened, My Dad and I left in the xB and headed downtown.  My Dad said we would be on surveillance – waiting for someone to leave their condominium high-rise near Millenium Park.

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Here I am outside of 400 E. Randolph acting as the “lure.”

As part of the ruse, my disguise, my being a “lure,” I am required to say HI! to a constant stream of people, many with dogs.  As all of my loyal readers know, I am the canine-psychologist, the mentor, the facilitator, the play-with-me specialist.  One of the dogs I encountered Sunday morning was Dante, a retriever-collie mix, and as he approached with his humans they placed a soft, fabric muzzle on his muzzle.  His humans said that Dante sometimes became aggressive with other dogs.  Mmm, obviously Dante hadn’t made my acquaintance, yet.  So, you may not be aware of this, but, dogs can easily communicate by thought-transmission.  Oh, don’t believe it?  Google it…canine thought-transmission…  So the muzzled Dante and I activated our thought-transmission capabilities…easy stuff, really!

why did your humans put that black tube on your mouth?  is that a toy?

mmph…mmm…zzz…le….mmmph…

you seem like a cool dude, you want to play, i won’t hurt you, you’re not going to bite will you…

mmmpph…play with me…can you take this off….mmmum?

ok…looks easy, hold still, i am going to place my mouth over your mouth, won’t hurt you….easy….easy….ha, it’s off…you’re sure this isn’t a toy, i can turn it into a toy?

And then we were playing, instant best friends.  No aggression, no biting, no growling…just dog fun.  Dante’s parent were SHOCKED when I removed the black tube!

The following Thursday, My Dad went back to the same building for additional covert activities, don’t tell anyone.  And can you guess who we ran into?  Yes, Mr. Dante, who is now my BFF.

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Dante with his Mom, Brittany.  She owns the Absolutely Chicago Segway tours which meant she had a constant source of water in a large bowl for us during our play activities!

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Marketing!  Are we cute, or what?!

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This is a dog-hug.  Dante and I trusted each other from the moment we first met.

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Sometimes, Dante wanted to get REAL friendly with me.  But, that does not bother me…a quick word and Dante responded well to subtle corrections.

 

Hangin’ with my Lady friends and Mr. Honey Bear (Deluxe) and The Grim Reaper re-visits Squirrel Town

As my loyal readers (and fans) are very aware, I have a number of Lady friends who enjoy spending time with me.  Last week My Dad and I picked up Kaya and her Mom for a drive to White Pines State Park, about two hours west of where we live in the Chicago area.  Since it was a week day, we did not see any other dogs or people during our three hour hike on the trails.

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This is me with Kaya after we ran down to the river for exploring and a drink.  Kaya likes to be the boss and I am OK with her being the boss.

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Here is an example of Kaya being the boss.  We are in My Dad’s Scion xB and Kaya is sitting up front – without permission.  I told her, “Kaya, stay in the back with me.”  But she didn’t.

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This Cattle Dog is named Scarlet.  The first time we met, she growled at me – FOR NO REASON!  She has been trying to correct her behavior with me.  She comes right up next to me and just looks at me “what, no second chances?”…and I walk away.  Sorry Scarlet, no second chances, at least for now.

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This is Brandy – remember, THE DEMONIC SCHIZOID???  She visited last week for about an hour.  She really enjoys my attentions…cheek pulling, gripping, rear leg nibbling.  And every so often she goes all Demonic on me and puts me on the ground, just to remind me that she can…whenever she wants to.

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Brandy and me in the Scion xB.  We share the rear windows, but remember that Brandy is THE BOSS, and a lot more bossy than Kaya.

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This is Bear…remember the “open carry” three-legged Shar-Pei from Texas.  My Dad visits him every day so he can take a whizzz.  Bear wants to get “friendly” with me but it can be a a challenge to hold onto a 58 pound Border collie when you have only three legs…but he keeps trying.  Sometimes I have to give Bear some “eye” just to keep him in line.  Surprisingly, he knows what “eye” means and he says, “Sorry.”

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Mid 70’s in Chicago, yesterday, and My Dad took me for an “off-leash” in the Forest Preserve.  I could hear squirrels to my right.  And while we are on the topic of squirrels, I had a catch ‘n kill last week at the dumpster enclosure.  The squirrel thought I was on the north side of the fence and he took a leap to freedom (he thought) from the south side….into the air and right into my mouth.  A mid-air snag as I returned from the north side of the  enclosure.  Gotta pay attention is what I always say…

GIVING IN TO TEMPTATION and BARKING AT BOVINES

“Your characterization of me as a dog, as a BORDER COLLIE, with poor manners is a bit upsetting…that photo is inappropriate.”

“Which photo are you referring to, the chewed container or the warm turkey breast in the back of the Scion xB with you?”

“Mmmmmmph…they were both taken by you today…the event is over…the event was, like, five or six days ago…you discussed this problem with me already…this is inappropriate material for the blog -MY BLOG-  I might add…I realized I made a mistake dragging the warm turkey breast into the back of the xB…”

“You did a bit more than just drag it into the back of the Scion, and I know, you were apologetic about your actions.”

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Warm, savory, juicy…aromatherapy for dogs…mouth-watering, too, and very tasty!

My Dad and I were out and about last Saturday, and one of our stops was Sunset Foods for some groceries.  And while I will use the photos My Dad took today, I am using these only so that all of my loyal and faithful readers will understand that this event took place on SATURDAY – some six days ago!  For some reason, My Dad feels that my poorly thought out decision to crawl up into the front seat of the xB and  g-e-n-t-l-y  pick up the cooked, juicy ROTISSERIE turkey breast and bring to the back of the Scion requires a full disclosure – must be the investigator in him.  I am referring to this as a re-creation of the actual event – gently pick up the Sunset Foods plastic bag holding the savory, aroma-therapy of the juicy, warm turkey breast, remove the warm plastic container from the plastic bag, chew and pry the clear plastic top from the container and….VOILA!…a delicious, mouth-watering turkey breast.  And I was able to chew off and consume four corners before My Dad returned from his shopping foray at Target, or as he likes to say, “TARJHAY.”  I say, WOOF!  That turkey breast was DELICIOUS!

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This is only a re-creation…makes My Dad feel better…

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While this is the ACTUAL container I broke into, this event took place some six days ago.  The benefit for me was turkey breast mixed into my regular IAMS Natural meal.

“Don’t forget the barking-at-the-cows story.”

“Well, finally, another story that is a bit more appropriate for MY blog.”

We drive through Glenview, Illinois several times a week…My Dad used to live here…and we pass by Wagner Farms located at the northwest corner of Lake Street and Wagner Road.  Part of the allure of Wagner Farms is that it is a  working (allegedly) dairy farm – WITH COWS.  The cows stand around, watch the cars go by, the cows are moronic.  They do not have any herding dogs, of any kind, running around Wagner Farms to keep these cows, these cud-chewing bovines, in line and alert.  So as part of my never-ending job as a Border collie, a very serious herding dog, I bark-bark-bark-bark at these simpletonians, these slobbering, burbling, bovines.  I can see their ears twitch and they look around – “….uhhh…where is the Border collie….?”  Very satisfying to get that reaction.  Time for a nap.  I played with Kaya and Erin today.  Later…….MAGIC.

THE ELEGANCE OF HERDING DOGS and THE GRIM REAPER VISITS SQUIRREL-TOWN

“We are leaving in the car in an hour, will you be ready?”

“Remember Maisie, that Border collie you saw in National Geographic Your Shot?  She sent me some pictures.  I’m writing about the handsomeness and beauty of herding dogs…yes, I will be done here within the hour…maybe we can visit Maisie…”

“You better include your buddy Patrick on this post, and don’t refer to him as the Cattle Collie, anymore…he did not like that.  And as long as I’m thinking about it, don’t forget to mention your sudden success with squirrels…the corpses are starting to add up.”

“Mmmmm…good point about Patrick…I’ll start with him…”

My good friend Patrick lives in Shannondale, and I refer to him as Patrick of Shannondale.  IT’S A JOKE, PATRICK!  My Dad thinks you are very handsome and I’ve got to tell you, I owe you an apology.  Your Mom sent me a picture of your sister (I’d like to know her a little better) and your Mom sitting together in the Sheriff’s Prison Transport (just kidding) and without a doubt, your mom is an Australian Cattle Dog, and quite beautiful, too.

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Patrick’s gorgeous mother is on the right and his sister is on the left.  (Photo courtesy of State Prisoner Transport System)

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And, as all of my loyal readers are aware, this is my good friend and play-fighter, Patrick of Shannondale.  He certainly looks like his sister…compliment Patrick!  (Photo courtesy of Home for Deranged Cattle Dogs)

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This is my mentor and renowned Therapy Dog, Cody of Lenox (RIP 01-08-2015).  Cody was well known for his fabulous ticking, split-face, and endearing disposition.

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And, speaking of ticking, GORGEOUS ticking, this is the beautiful Maisie, recently observed in National Geographic Your Shot.  Photo used with permission of Maisie’s Mom, Tiehrra Alexander.  I’m hoping to get a play-date with Maisie!

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Maisie smiling…look at those golden eyes!

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And…Maisie after running through the mud…

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This is Maisie’s house-mate, Porter.  Porter is 7 months old.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

“We’ll be leaving soon, wrap it up, Magic!  Don’t forget about the squirrels…”

HA!  It has taken me over a year to catch a squirrel…I was always overplaying my moves…too quick, too straight, too reactive.  But, that changed last week…patience, pursuing a bit slower, and not reacting to their little deke-out moves, their trickery, their sense of superiority.  They are actually idiots, they wait too long to make their break for freedom, they get a bit too choosy in which tree to climb, or they choose one tree and just as they get there, they change their mind.  Three squirrels, two last week, and one yesterday (who did not die very pretty).  Pretty simple stuff…grab ’em, puncture ’em, crunch ’em, shake ’em.  Time to go.  Thanks, Maisie, for the great pictures.  I think I’m in love.  -Magic

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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Did Dr. Preiser make any comments about my handsomeness?

“How did you find out that my birthday is today?”

“Why can’t you just go with the flow…like you usually do..why are you over-thinking this?”

“I’m a rescue, picked up as a stray…right?  What…did you drive down to Quincy, Illinois and find my parents…snoop around the truck stop where I was found?  That would make you a pretty good investigator…”

“We guessed…your birthday was assigned by what Dr. Preiser saw when she examined you…remember, the week after you were adopted, remember being fostered at Kathy’s house? Remember Cody and I picked you up at Kathy’s house”?

“Duh…of course I remember, Border collies remember everything…and my date of birth was determined how?”

“Dr. Preiser said you were 8-10 months old…max…based on your brilliant white teeth, your weight, your demeanor.  Dr. Preiser said you were just a baby.  So, we did a little math and came up with a birthday of February 8th, 2014.  And that makes you TWO years old, today.”

“What did my weight have to do with my age?”

“That is the simple part of the guesswork.  When you were picked up in Quincy you were only 33 pounds.  And Dr. Preiser said you didn’t have much muscle…even Kathy said you needed to build some muscle.  During you weigh-ins at the vet in August, September, and October, your weight was right around 55 pounds.  A couple of weeks ago, you were 61 pounds, I don’t know where you are putting the weight.  I know you been getting a lot of exercise with all of your girlfriends – Kaya, Sophie, Erin, and Olive.”

“Can we go the woods again today, I had a great time yesterday…I like being off-leash in the woods.  What was the name of that park?  I really had fun chasing the Canada geese into the river.”

“White Pines State Park…and you were VERY good with every command I gave you – EVERY TIME – you really pay attention…GOOD BOY!”

“Thanks, but Border collies know how to pay attention.”

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CANNON BEACH, HERE WE COME! and FEEDING THE DEMONIC SCHIZOID

Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon...doesn't look that far on the map...

Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon…doesn’t look that far on the map…”Where’s Nebraska?”

“Where’s Nebraska?”

“You’re looking at the map…you have it open to Nebraska…”

“Why are we stopping in Scottsbluff…why don’t we just drive right to the beach…we ARE going to a beach, aren’t we?”

“We have three nights in Scottsbluff because I am teaching at soccer referee clinics for an AYSO region. Don’t worry, you’ll have your own bed…”

“When do we get to the beach…you said the Pacific Ocean, mountains, rain forests, sea gulls to chase, cool temperatures, bye-bye in the car, when do we get there?”

“We are meeting Mary at PDX on Friday morning, we’ll be at the beach Friday afternoon.”

“This is an OFF-LEASH beach…right?  You keep telling me I will be OFF-LEASH…”

“Yes, yes, yes…an adventure of a lifetime for a young Border collie.  And from Scottsbluff to Portland, we are taking US Route 26, through the Rocky Mountains, small towns, National Forests.  You will see Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.  Believe me, you will LOVE this trip!”

“I’m going to miss my dog friends…Brandy, Ellie, Sophie, Olive…”

“Sorta funny that all your friends are female…just sayin’ and you let them eat your food while you just watch…you certainly are the Romeo…don’t forget to tell your followers they can follow our trip on your blog…”

“Hey, all my faithful and loyal followers…follow my trip to Oregon on my blog!”

Brandy was over the other day, she asked if she could eat my food.

Brandy was over the other day, she asked if she could eat my food…she didn’t wait for an answer…

...and then she eats the rest of my food...it better to just watch it happen...I always want to stay on her good side, right Demonic Schizoid?

…and then she eats the rest of my food…it is better to just watch it happen…I always want to stay on her good side, right Demonic Schizoid?

BCBCI QUESTIONNAIRE UPDATE -AND- SOCIAL LIFE HIGHLIGHTS

Dear Mr. Magic:

Your questionnaire is INCOMPLETE.  Please answer ALL questions by July 15, 2015.

Please provide information on your sense of hearing:

Just one look at my ears should provide all the information you need.

These ears have SUPER POWERS!!!

These ears have SUPER POWERS!!!

But My Dad wants me to provide two examples:

1)  While sleeping near the sliding door to the patio one evening, I suddenly awoke and walked fifteen feet from my sleeping position to an entry table by the front door.  My Dad saw me place my head under the table and stare at something….that SOMETHING was a quarter-sized spider walking on the carpet along the baseboard…REALLY!!!

2)  While sleeping on My Dad’s bed one morning, I suddenly awoke and ran 30 feet to the CLOSED sliding glass door that looks out onto the concrete patio…a small toad was hopping across the concrete from north to south…REALLY!!!

I have a very rich and involved social life…some examples:

Brandy loves me.  She LOVES IT when I nibble on her neck.

Brandy loves me. She LOVES IT when I nibble on her neck.

Brandy always looks off in the distance when I am nibbling her neck.

Brandy always looks off in the distance when I am nibbling her neck.

This is PATRICK, my very good friend and play-fighter.  PATRICK wears a MODPAWED dog ID tag, too.

This is PATRICK, my very good friend and play-fighter. PATRICK wears a MODPAWED dog ID tag, too.

Patrick modeling his MODPAWED ID tag, the "T-REX" model.

Patrick modeling his MODPAWED ID tag, the “T-REX” model.

This is my Uncle Ed, he babysits me sometimes and we stay up late and watch movies...he's cool!

This is my Uncle Ed, he babysits me sometimes and we stay up late and watch movies…he’s cool!