the fast learner

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, Mani the moderately tiny purebred border collie, filling in for the guy I live with, and here to bring you up to date on the latest news from our garden, and to talk about the guy I live with, some. You may remember me from such posts as “Of Orioles And Rain”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Slightly leaning, but there was a biscuit nearby.15090407If you didn’t seriously think there was a biscuit nearby, there was. The guy I live with says my pose here is “typical”. I’m not so sure about that.15090408So. Stuff has been happening, and by that, I mean bunches of stuff.

The guy I live with stopped taking his antidepressant. He talked to the doctor about it, and it was okay. He had wanted to do this for quite a while, but “spaced it out”, like he says people used to say. So he stopped, after tapering off as recommended.

He says now he’s in a much better mood, though sometimes irritable, and sometimes feels weird, and misses the lady of the house a whole lot more, because everything now “seems super real”. I don’t know what that means, but I can tell that things have changed. I like the way things are even better now. They were good before, but now they’re better.

The south side of the house got finished, and there was even some planting done while I was at Day Care. (I got a good report card this time.) You can see the one post kind of leaning. Technically, the camera distortion wasn’t fixed properly, so some of the fence looks oddly bowed, but as we say around here, “Whatever”. The buffalo grass got kind of trampled while the work was being done. 15090402Then a couple of days ago the guy I live with got a call about a pre-diabetic clinic, because his blood sugar was high when he went for his physical, and the doctor wanted him to go to that, and you should have heard him when he learned that this was a three-hour class.

“A three-hour class!” The guy I live with said he could process a large amount of information in three hours, just like I can.

“Come sit right back…” he moaned.

“…and you’ll hear a tale ….”

A three-hour class.

So, in order to avoid a three-hour class, the guy I live with bought a blood glucose tester, read the instructions for hours, last night (that’s right, he read the instructions), and started testing today. Everything is normal. He said that the tests done at the doctor’s show the amount of glycated hemoglobin which shows an average of blood glucose levels over a period of time, and he thought this was because of too many cookies, candy, cakes, and pie, and that if he did the tests for a week or so, he could call the doctor and get out of the three-hour class. He explained to me about insulin and stuff. It wasn’t very interesting but he said dogs can get diabetes, so I should pay attention. He also says he has quite a bit of respect for people with diabetes who have to go through this.

He also says his finger hurts.

Well, that’s that.

The other night we had a visitor.rac2I wasn’t terribly happy about it. The guy I live with said all the raccoon wanted to do was sit in the maple tree and munch on leaves.

A purebred border collie always has to be on patrol, you know. This is me looking at a squirrel in the grape vine. You can see the old pickets from the fence on the south side. The trash can holds potting soil.15090401There are things happening in the garden, too, and since I’m being kind of rambly, I guess I’ll show them now. The colchicums are flowering. There aren’t any labels. I understand this is my fault.15090403


15090405The last one is kind of fuzzy, isn’t it? No one was trying to be artistic or anything; it just happened. He was fiddling with exposures. Or some camera thing.

Today there was quite a wonderful aroma in the kitchen. The guy I live with cut something open, and I thought it smelled excellent. I didn’t get any, though. This is the famous Rocky Ford cantaloupe, and I hear it was ultra-delicious. I don’t know why I didn’t get any, since I’ve been told that the first border collie who lived here, Flurry, loved cantaloupe. IMG_7593The guy I live with said that when he was a little kid, his grandparents, who lived in an old house in Los Angeles, used to have cantaloupe every day. (The supermarket was half a block away, and across the street; Western Avenue if you want to know.) He said they would cut it into special cantaloupe cubes, and sometimes even salt it, which sounds gross, but the guy I live with says it really isn’t.

The guy I live with said that he made up a hilarious joke which he used to tell to the lady of the house, until she stopped thinking it was funny, but he said she was wrong.

It went like this.

“Honeydew you think we should get married in a church?”

“Well, we cantaloupe.”

Whew, huh? His grandparents also had lots of bacon for breakfast, and just from hearing about it, I think I would like that, along with the cantaloupe. Sometimes scrambled eggs and brown bread, which comes in a can. His grandfather was from New England. The brown bread gets steamed, and then slathered with butter. I think that sounds good.

Okay, I know I’ve talked a lot, way more than usual, and about some things we usually don’t talk about, but I like to talk. I also think I should show you what I think about getting no cantaloupe, and then I’ll stop talking.15090410


Until next time, then.


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24 Responses to the fast learner

  1. petabunn says:

    What a happy chappy you are today Mani… life’s good and your’re good too.

  2. Barb K says:

    I can’t understand why he didn’t give you any, Mani. We had a cat once who loved cantaloupe, the scent would wake him up out of a deep sleep. He would sniff the air before his eyes opened. It’s quite a bit more expensive now. Someone told me the antidepressants made it like you can’t feel anything, good or bad. I’m glad they’re gone. So not too many cookies, etc. now but I believe Brie is okay. We had a kitty with diabetes but he did okay with it. Sorry too much talk about cats I guess but perhaps you like them Mani? Ugh, raccoons. They always have more on their minds than just eating leaves….What are the little ivy like leaves near the colchicums? Maybe it’s actually ivy but isn’t it too dry there?

    • paridevita says:

      I don’t understand it either. The guy I live with says that “in the old days”, there used to be something called a “compost bucket” here, and cantaloupe rinds were thrown in there, and Flurry got into them, what with his love of cantaloupe, you know, and had to go to the Bad Place to get a shot. (I don’t call it the Bad Place; I call it Day Care.) So that’s why he says I don’t get any. If you believe that. The leaves are Engelmann ivy, or Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). Oh, cats. When I came back from my walk, there was a black cat right by the front cactus garden. A cat, in my yard. The guy I live with said I got overly excited, and I wasn’t allowed to chase the cat to Wyoming, which is where I thought it belonged. The guy I live with said that cats were okay, but I didn’t buy it.

      • Barb K says:

        It was the little heart shaped leaves I was wondering about, perhaps they are a cyclamen? They are very pretty. Our dogs got something once or twice that the vet called “garbage gut”. If you served up a rotten broccoli stem in the dinner plate, the dog would be shocked, so why is it a delicacy when taken from the compost pile? Mani? Is it the joy of the hunt?

      • paridevita says:

        There’s ivy, but no cyclamen. Hedera helix ‘Baltica’. Yes, there’s nothing like something really gross to add to one’s daily diet of High Prairie Puppy, biscuits, water, pieces of wood, leaves, bugs, plastic (I get that taken away from me), dirt, pieces of plush toy, paper, worms, flies, bees, and a few other things.

  3. Alison says:

    Aw, Mani, cats are ok, but the guy you live with should let you scare away all the squirrels and raccoons that you possibly can. I am really not a fan of raccoons (you should blame the missing tag problem on him). Cantaloupe is yummy, I’ve never had it sprinkled with salt, but I love a salty and sweet flavor combo, so I bet it’s good that way. I’ll have to try it.

    • paridevita says:

      I have this idea that cats are smelly. I’m not sure where I got this idea, but I think it’s true. And they have claws. I don’t. He also says that the “reason” I don’t get any cantaloupe is that I had some digestive issues until I started eating the High Prairie Puppy Formula (which is really good, I recommend it), and so no cantaloupe.

  4. Hi Mani, when I was a little kid I lived very close to Western in Los Angeles . My elementary school was on Van Ness, and I went to High School at Slauson and Crenshaw at St Marys Academy. Sounds impressive huh ? My grandparents lived in Echo Park but had to move to the desert because Grandpa got TB. I had cantaloupe too, but they were probably from Morningside Market on Manchester. Back then they didn’t fly melons in from Chile. I’m really glad the guy you live with got to get off the meds.

    • paridevita says:

      The guy I live with says that when he was a kid, there were wide open spaces between Long Beach, where he lived, and Los Angeles, where his grandparents lived. Many places in between had the feel of being “out in the country”, if you can believe that. Our cantaloupe comes from Rocky Ford, on the Arkansas River, down south of here. There’s a reason why the cantaloupe is famous. Dry weather and sun. Irrigated, of course. The thing about the meds, well, it was high time to make a change for the better. Oh, and he also did something else. The last of the LPs went to the library for donation. Including all the ones downstairs. Some said “Cindy” on them, but away they went. There’s an issue with all that, and unresolved, but he did it anyway.

  5. bittster says:

    I’m happy for you, things sound well… except for the cantaloupe part and the cat. I think you should have been able to at least give the cat a little warning.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Well, the cat was the one who surprised me. Here I was, just walking up the driveway, minding my own business, and there was this black thing with glowing eyes, going “Reeerr” or something like that. It was scary.

  6. Tracey says:

    Mani, good to hear that you did well in Doggie Day Care. You deserved a little cantaloupe for good behavior.

    Tell the guy you live with to research cinnamon for diabetes prevention. Sprinkling cinnamon on his food will be an enjoyable way of prevention. I highly recommend any of the cinnamon sold by He should also take you for more walks.

    I’ve had some close encounters with raccoons recently, but your raccoon is smaller and cuter than mine.

    My Siamese cat (yes, you hate cats) has been sick all week but might come home today. He is normally very talkative and playful – the apartment has been very empty without him. I’ve been visiting him at the Bad Place every day because the vet says that it cheers him up when I visit, and he will eat for me.

    Hope the two of you have a great weekend.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, even though I’m not fond of cats, them being sick doesn’t sound so great, and I hope he gets better. The guy I live with constantly tells me how much I fill his otherwise empty life with joy, so I know how it is. Maybe not so much when I’m chewing on the hose or trying to eat rocks, but other than that, yes. I guess he read about cinnamon and we have two kinds here. The real and the mock. Mostly for cooking Indian food, which if you didn’t know was never used it dessert. Though I guess in Nepal they used it with shikarni, a sweetened yogurt thing with apples and cinnamon. He also used cinnamon to get ants to go somewhere else. You don’t want ants to leave, because they distribute cyclamen, crocus, and snowdrop seed, but sometimes you want them to go away from where they are, to another place, and cinnamon does the trick.

  7. SusanITPH says:

    Ever since I grew the true cantaloupes that they sell in France, I can never go back to musk-melons. Too “musky”.

    • paridevita says:

      Rocky Fords are pretty good ….sweeter than most.

      • Mark Mazer says:

        Baker Seed’s offers the green fleshed cultivar of Rocky Ford and also other French cvs besides the one most commonly encountered, Charentis.. Our sandy soils grow commercial quantities of high brix “Rocky Hock” cantaloupes, watermelons too. Have you tried Mani on dehydrated sweet potato treats? Easy to make, gentle on the stomach, and cheap in season.

      • paridevita says:

        Yeah, the sweet potato things sound pretty good. Sweet potatoes themselves are good.

  8. Leslie Beach says:

    Dear Mani’s Guy,
    As a fellow dog lover and gardener, I want you to know how much I look forward to reading Mani’s newsy updates. My Mother and I refer often to your wonderful posts.
    I recently retired after 32 years teaching first grade, my silver lab Buddy was 6 pounds when he became our classroom pet in September; by June in was 70 pounds. He was a well loved member of my class every day for two years. Now he is my garden helper and fishing/crabbing pal when my husband and I go to the San Juan’s. You have such a way with words and phrases, have you ever thought about writing children’s books? The world thru Mani’s eyes is beautifully colored!

    I wish you continued healing as you learn to live life without your Lady Love.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we like to be newsy. And come to think of it, this last post was about the wordiest ever.
      The guy I live with was thinking of writing children’s books, when the lady of the house was still here, based on the adventures of Pooka, the second purebred border collie who lived here. They were going to be called the Mister Offelsoft Stories. I forget what the titles were going to be. Mr. Offlesoft By The Seashore, Mr. Offlesoft Takes A Holiday, Mr. Offelsoft Solves A Mystery, and so forth.
      If you didn’t know, the guy I live with is kind of a sap, and he’s working to make me one too. But I eat bugs, so he has a long way to go before I become one, too. (By the way, bugs are good, if you’ve never tried them.)

  9. Oh dear Mani, right away, please inform the guy you live with that the alluring, tasty Rocky Ford cantaloupe is A SUGAR BOMB.
    Moving on, I like the colchicums. The current The Garden magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society has an article extolling the plant, and I recognized the name from your earlier post. They are just what my garden needs this time of year. Sorry not to join your opinion, Mani, but that is one cute raccoon, probably as startled by you as you are by him. Of course, I would not want the creatures near my place. I’ve seen families aggressively mooching at the entrance to Yosemite’s Ahwannee Hotel and at the Aliso Creek Inn in Laguna Beach. Perhaps you should consider contracting security guards, they’re excellent at dealing. I consider your guy to be very brave. Unregulated reality can be pretty scary. Perhaps lay off the hose chewing for a bit, as a special favor. The second photo? You have *such* a cut pink tongue when you smile.

    • Cute! not cut, CUTE. Such a cute pink tongue when you smile.

    • paridevita says:

      Oh, the guy I live with says that cantaloupe has a relatively high glycemic index, but a fairly low glycemic load. He’s have to eat four of them. But there aren’t any in the house now. I think I understand how this works. In order to get something, he has to leave me for a while and go out and hunt it. He also says that colchicums are poisonous, and like, not to eat them, but I’m more interested in bugs and especially grasshoppers, which have a lot of protein. I don’t know where the raccoon or raccoons live, but it isn’t here. And I guess the only reason they would want to be in my yard is to ear leaves fairly high in the tree. About the meds. The guy I live with told me he was in an emotional rut, and could have stopped them a couple of years ago, but when you’re in a rut, you don’t do anything. Likewise, the weather has been in a rut, like it can be here. It rained every day for two months, now it hasn’t rained for two months. It was a little windy the other day, though, and that was kind of different. Leaves blew on me, and I didn’t care for that a whole lot.

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