and yet another crisis

Greetings and salutations everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to amaze and delight you. You may remember me from such exceptional posts as “Baby Pictures” and “A Man, A Plan, A Gazoon”, among others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. (This is to make up for the ridiculous shot of me later on.) You also may notice that I look, um, wider than in some of the other pictures of me when I was younger. This, of course, is because I’m totally buffed from all my walks, dragging the hapless guy I live with along the canal road.


So, about the crisis. The guy I live with has been fretting about the North Border, and how awful it looks. A while back I mentioned that he said it was “half disaster and half catastrophe” and now he adds “and also half not what I want at all”. And then today, in the middle of putting up a fence behind the border, which he’s been talking about doing that for about twenty-five years, he moved a whole bunch of plants out of the North Border and now it looks like this.


The kind of thing you don’t see in gardening magazines, for sure.

Since it’s my mommy’s birthday today and he didn’t want to feel desperately sad just staring out of the window, he said, as he dug out plants left and right (a lot of plants he just put in this year), that what he’s going to do is make a huge sand pile there so he has more room for the bulbs he’s obsessed with. He says gardening should make us happy and who cares if some people disapprove of a sand pile right in the middle of the garden. Or on one side of it. I sat and watched him do this most of the day, after he finished the section of fence he was working on. (He ran out of wood.)

Speaking of wood, this business seems to be getting out of control.


He doesn’t know why the yellow jackets are doing this, but, he says, one thing’s for sure, people will definitely wonder about these holes. He’ll tell people they were done by aliens. Of course.




He went out in the dark and wrapped the branch with tree wrap. There were still a few yellow jackets there and the holes they’d chewed were oozing sap. Maybe they’re getting a sugar fix or something.

And here’s a picture of Colchicum speciosum ‘Innocence’. ‘The real thing this time”, according to the guy I live with.


A little later in the afternoon, while I was napping, he was taking more pictures of the yellow jackets, and I came outside to see if he was going to get stung. He took this picture of me and I don’t think it’s very complimentary.


I was just wondering what he was doing, that’s all.  No need to make me look like a complete idiot. The guy I live with said I could post some pictures of me and my buddy Slipper to make up for it. This is me with the partly pink nose. I was really cute then. Still am, of course.


Here we are in the kitchen. I’m on the left. You can see how easy it was for my buddy Slipper to look really sad if he wanted to.


And here we are down in my mommy’s room. My buddy Slipper is looking out the window; not an easy task because my mommy didn’t want the window washed because of “the light”. The “throw” on the chair is about the city of Littleton, where he moved after his family left California. The pencil drawings are some she did before she met the guy I live with. She was self-taught. The table on the right is where she drew. The table on the left is part of the set of rattan furniture and it’s really, really old.


Well, I’m just about done. I know this hasn’t been exactly focused, but that’s kind of the way things are here now. Since it’s my mommy’s birthday, and I talked about the two of them sitting on the patio, and since it’s October, here are two pictures she took of the patio table.



She liked to decorate things, in an artistic way.

Let’s see. The guy I live with says the sand might be delivered next week. “By the sand man”, he claims, which makes me think I should take a nap.

I hope you enjoyed this post, except for the one silly picture of me. Until next time, then.

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22 Responses to and yet another crisis

  1. I am mystified by the hornets: how strange and annoying! You are a much more tolerant man than I am (I was stung sixteen times by them the day I flew to Kazakhstan the first time: I have no patience for their nests any more)…Love the Colchicum. And the remembrances of times past: Cindy was an artist in many media. Long live her memory.

  2. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    I am so happy to finally meet Slipper. He was very handsome, too.
    I had the great good fortune to visit Wales about 8 years ago, and one of my favorite memories of that trip is visiting the home of Bob, a border collie and world champion herder. Unfortunately, Bob was on tour in Australia (really), but I got to see a lot of border collies and watch them in action, herding sheep. I learned that the power of border collies was not in their feet (speed) or in their mouths (no nipping allowed!). No, their power was in their eyes according to the man who trained them. The really good herders were able to stop & hold sheep with their stare. They didn’t say anything about holding people with their gaze, but I’m here to tell you that’s pretty powerful, too, Chess.

    • paridevita says:

      We stare. My grandpa Flurry had a blue ribbon for herding.
      I might as well tell this sad story. The January after my mommy died, my buddy Slipper was diagnosed with liver cancer. He was nine. He fought it for four months; it was up and down. One day he seemed fine and then the next morning we knew the end was near. He left us, while the guy I live with was holding him and I was standing there, on the back patio, the day before the first anniversary of my mommy’s death.
      After that, the guy I live with didn’t know quite what to do, and that’s why he got the crazy rescue dog who bit me constantly, so I don’t really hold it against him, but it’s why I don’t much care for other dogs.
      I adjusted to being an only dog fairly quickly.

      Oh, P.S. Here’s where we first introduced Slipper. It shows him being really naughty.

      • Deborah S. Farrell says:

        The only time I have wailed (as an adult) was when my first dog, Jake, was dying. He was a black and white terrier mix that we got as a puppy, shortly before we got married. In fact, Jake was in the background throwing up while we got married because we got married in our house. I thought Jake would live forever (because I think all dogs should live forever), but he only lived 18 1/2 years. He died 10 years ago. Last year, I was standing in line at the pet store when I suddenly had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I wondered what was going on because buying dog food doesn’t usually make me sad. It took me a second to realize that there was a dog barking at the back of the store, and it sounded a lot like Jake. It’s because of Jake that I have such an affection for black & white dogs.

        We still had Dollar, our first black standard poodle, but after Jake died, he suddenly seemed very old (he was 11). The house was too quiet, so we got Daisy, a 10 week old black standard poodle. Daisy pestered Dollar: she wanted to play and he didn’t. So we got Buddy, another black standard poodle (who is Daisy’s half sibling), and Daisy & Buddy played and left Dollar alone. After Dollar died, we only had 2 poodles for a few years. But then we got Sammy, and now Sammy & Buddy play, and they leave Daisy alone, which suits her just fine. I say we have oodles of poodles. Sometimes their barking and running around annoys me, but when they are all at the groomers, the house feels spooky because it’s too quiet. They keep me to a routine and make sure I get a walk every day and laugh every day. Good medicine.

      • paridevita says:

        They are.
        I thought about taking him to the groomer but decided to do it myself (sort of), because I’d have to be there the whole time. Before she died (it was very sudden; blood clot) Cindy was making noises about getting “a third one”, and when I suggested a red-and-white one, or a merle, she said she wanted “black-and-white boys forever”. All that starry eyed thinking about little puppies.
        When we got Slipper, he would grab Flurry’s tail and drag him around the house. Flurry was about 15 at the time. Slipper also collected things and took them downstairs under the drawing table. When Chess showed up two years later, Slipper was overjoyed, and lost all interest in the old man.

  3. I think your guy is on to something, Chess. Passionate gardeners must make a passionate garden.
    Looks like those yellow jackets are passionate about their stripping and boring.
    You could never look anything but baseline adorable, Chess — and you go way beyond. Love today’s portrait.
    Thank you for introducing us to Slipper, at last. And your mommy’s studio looks like a fine place with wonderful light. The patio is perfect for drinking Champagne. I admire the garden beyond the folly – if folly it is – but I feel sure it’s changed by this time. Perhaps into a mound of sand. If not sand now, perhaps in the future. Our dogs like running in beach sand, but mostly for the sniffing opportunities.
    Be of good cheer, Chess, Seems like you always are, even when projecting absence-of-biscuit sadness.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with remembers beach sand. His mommy’s cousin had a cottage in Balboa. You walked out the front door, went down the street a few yards, the land rose a little, and there was the beach. He thinks maybe that sort of property wouldn’t be so cheap now.
      I hope the sand pile doesn’t attract any smelly cats. …

  4. Cliff Booker says:

    A classic, Chess … thanks buddy!

    • paridevita says:

      You’re welcome. The guy I live with got a small box today that said “royal mail” on it. That’s what the sand pile will be for, next year. More royal mail.

  5. At this moment looked past text to photographs: whahh! terrific! Especially of the yellow jackets, colchicums, and you. Absolutely adore your today, Chess. Captures what I believe is the essential YOU.

  6. Fisher, the Wonder Dog says:

    Greetings and cheers of the day after what must have been a difficult and melancholy day for you both. Glad to hear the guy you live with did something which makes him happy. Is there anything in creation that holds more possibilities than a pile of sand?

    • paridevita says:

      Probably not. A pile of sand. It conjures up some gross memories for the guy I live with, playing in a sand box as a little kid, and finding, uh, things in the sand box, but, well, never mind.
      The sand might come next week.

  7. Vivian Swift says:

    Chess as puppy! Chess as straight man! Chess with a waistline! I see those old photos of you and your buddy Slipper and I wonder what it must have been like to be a human in that house, living with all that exuberant DoG energy. If it were me, my feeble self would be crowded out by the brainwaves and superior cuteness emanating from TWO, count ’em TWO pure bred border collies.

    Glad to know that you and the guy you live with spent the day in right- mindfullness, wrapping wood and carrying sand. That’s a day well spent no matter how joyful or solemn the occasion.

    • paridevita says:

      One pair of matching bookends, different as night and day. Our mommies, I mean our real mommies, were sisters. Incidentally, Slipper, like Flurry, is a character in The Irish R.M. The guy I live with wanted to call me Neutron, The Wonder Dog, and my mommy wanted to call me Mouse, so they settled on Chess. Mouse would have been okay, but Neutron, that would have been great.

  8. pamit says:

    I think those holes in the trees are probably made by woodpeckers, and the yellowjackets are opportunistically enjoying the sap that oozes out. I had a similar problem with a hackberry tree last year; was sure all the holes were leaf borers, but they turned out to be woodpeckers.

  9. petabunn says:

    Hi Chess, not wnting to be sad or anything but how lucky you and your guy were to have such a mommy, albeit too short a time, a truly beautiful, talented being. Brings a lump to my throat. You are both stll lucky to have each now. Glad you both spent the day doing things you love to help you through. Great photos all round. Trim, taut and terrific Slipper and Chess both fitting on the same chair, just gorgeous, I love it.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we did both fit on the chair. The chairs that went with the table eventually fell apart, and so my mommy ordered custom-made diner-style chairs, that we couldn’t both fit onto. I don’t get up in the chair any more because I’m too old. Or because the chair is never pulled out. One of those things.

  10. Beautiful drawings and photos and creation of lovely ambience on the patio.

    We all dream of being remembered with so much love.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Cindy liked her house a lot. We met working for the phone co., and she quit after we got married, so didn’t work for 26 years, and had lots of time to do things around the house.

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