Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about some things. You may remember me from such posts as “Snow Upon Snow”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.It’s supposed to get hot later this week, which I’m not hugely looking forward to, but the guy I live with says it’s better than constant thunderstorms, which is what we’ve pretty much been having here. Yesterday, though, they said a good chance of severe thunderstorms but nothing happened.
“Nothing happened” is about our favorite phrase, except when you want something to happen.

We did have hail I think on Friday. Very large hail. The guy I live with said stuff as these huge hailstones began to hit the ground (like way bigger than golf balls), but then it stopped almost immediately.
Some things did get damaged by smaller hail.This squirrel baffle was thrown into the yard a year or so ago and the guy I live with said we would keep it, so this isn’t a huge loss.

Well, I have some serious things to say, so I might as well get to it. You know by now we don’t shirk away from that sort of thing. I’ll post some pictures of our super-jungly garden in between, so as not to exhaust anyone. I’m not sure why these pictures come out a bit blurry here when they aren’t in the originals. But whatever.

We’re not going to move into the downstairs bedroom. The guy I live said we might, as he was thinking about it, because the upstairs bedroom gets so hot and there’s so much perfume from our neighbor’s cleaning products.  (I guess some people don’t know that there are products that have no perfume, or that natural-type products contain more surfactants.) The fans were pulling the smell into the house. Even early in the morning, waking him up. We don’t have air conditioning here, because he’s lived in Denver for a long time and everyone said you didn’t need it, and that there was no reason to change now.
The guy I live with likes breathing. So do I.
Just last night, at Tinkle Time, the wind was coming from the foothills and the whole back yard smelled of ponderosa pine. The fresh air was nice.

He felt sick all last week, with the hot flashes and perfume and stuff, and even called the county about this ongoing problem, but when they called back he said he had changed his mind and won’t do anything about this, just feel sick when it happens again, and live his life that way. No doubt someone will tell him he should lead his life differently; people always do.Like when he says how hot the upstairs bedroom gets when he can’t have the fan on because of perfume or someone burning wood, people will tell him we should have our bedroom downstairs, and so then he tells them that his wife died there, and they usually stop talking. It wouldn’t be a bad place for us, because right now we sleep in the upstairs bedroom, with urns full of ashes, which is very cozy and pleasant, but it should probably be our decision instead of someone else’s.
The waterbed will have to go. I hear you just don’t move a waterbed.
He does go down there to get to the laundry room, and also to ride on the bicycle that never goes anywhere.This is all leading somewhere, if you couldn’t tell. The guy I live with was with a bunch of people a while back, said something about Radiohead, and someone said how much they hated Radiohead. So he said that his wife played “Pyramid Song” over and over again in the car, on the last day she was alive.
He has never understood why people have the impulse to say they don’t like things.Lately, the guy I live with has been doing things he never thought he could do after his wife died, regardless of whether or not other people like those things. He was afraid to do them, but he did them anyway.

One of them is listening to Radiohead again. Back when she was alive and they were happy together, the guy I live with read an article about Radiohead and how OK Computer was the Dark Side of the Moon for people in the nineties, so he got a copy and played it in the car as he drove to and from work every day.


He told his wife he didn’t get it at all. He had played this CD over and over again, driving to work, driving back to work. When the two of them went out together (they always went together), OK Computer was playing in the CD player.

Then he got it. It took a while, since he can be slow at times. It was a record you played over and over.

So then he started listening closely, to see why this was happening, and one day, when they were in the car together, the guy I live with set the CD player controls to the eleventh track, the song “Lucky”, turned to his wife and said “Listen to how beautiful this is”, and they did, and so then he took the CD out of the player and his wife took it downstairs later and began to play it over and over again.The CD was back in the car the day he drove home from the phone company for the last time.  That was a very traumatic day for him. Not to have a job any more. “Lucky” was playing, and he wondered what his life would be like from now on. To be retired, and spend the rest of his life happily, with his wife. The thing he wanted most in the world. It didn’t go like that at all.So he told himself he would never listen to Radiohead again. He also told himself that he would never get another purebred border collie when he knew Chess didn’t have much longer to live, and look how that turned out.

And he was absolutely certain, as certain as certain can be, that he would be alone for the rest of his life, and when he was invited to go somewhere, possibly to meet someone, he was so totally terrified that he thought staying at home, crying, which is what he mostly did, even after he got me, was safer than the possibility of being happy again, because that couldn’t possibly be, and he almost didn’t go.But he went.

And so that’s how things changed for him. There is of course much more to the story, but this is enough for now. And also of course things are different for other people. Even with the cancer therapy, he says he is a very lucky person to have me in his life, and his friend, and his other friends.

Oh, also, he ordered a copy of Amnesiac by Radiohead, to have it once more, and to listen to “Pyramid Song” over and over again, even though he will see his wife, in the car, pushing the button to replay the song, never suspecting that would be her last day on earth. There will be people who say they don’t like that song, the guy I live with will mark them down as clueless, and things will go on, from there, like they do.

Until next time, then.




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35 Responses to lucky

  1. Nell Lancaster says:

    This post is something. It’s like the experience Gertrude Jekyll intended for people visiting her big summer color border. The pictures from the garden start off soothingly indistinct, and get more intense and beautiful as the post goes on, culminating for me at “It didn’t go like that at all.”. Which is where the tears took over. The analogy breaks down there because the decompression isn’t as gradual as the progression, much less as drawn out as the return to cool colors in Jekyll’s border. But it’s there. And we all are lucky to share it with you, and the guy you live with.

  2. Elisabeth Gillem says:

    My eyes are again leaking but my heart is full. Tell your guy thank you for his vulnerability. It helps put my struggles in perspective.
    ps, all the variations of green in the garden beautiful.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. There’s more story to tell, but I’m saving that for later.
      Unlike someone I know, who buys a bag of cookies and says he’ll save some for later, then eats all of them, and wishes he still had cookies.

  3. Mani what a poignant & bittersweet account of ‘your guy’s’ life & his struggles. He is one very special & strong man. A true survivor!! I truly admire & respect him. Being widowed twice I have wept my fair share of tears. And I totally ‘get’ where ‘your guy’ is coming from….
    Whatever he wishes to do or not do; listen to or not listen to is fine by me. We all do what we need to do to cope & mover thru our grief & loss.
    Thank you both for sharing your life with us!
    {{{hugs}}} Sherri-Ellen

    Meow wow Mani yore garden iss speck-tackular….mee wuud love to romp inn it an play ‘hide an seek’ with you for sure!!!
    An mee agreess with mee LadyMeowy; yore ‘guy’ iss wunderfull…a reel true-purr!
    An Radiohead iss one rockin band! 😉
    ***purrsss*** BellaDharma

    • paridevita says:

      Well, thanks. The guy I live with is kind of a marshmallow if you ask me. I of course am super-tough and ultra-deadly, so I know a marshmallow when I see one. He does say there is nothing wrong with shedding tears from time to time. It brings him closer to the one who died. It was really hot here today and the guy I live with lay on the living room floor for a while, because his back was hurting, so I joined him. We have a new fan that blows a lot of air, and that was nice.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      • Teerss are guud fore Hu’manss Mani fore sure…it sorta washess away their ‘sadss’ an it helps them ree-memburr how much they loved that purrson of furbaby. LadyMeowy iss a tuff cookie…a reel warrior….and shee iss all so a marshmallow when shee thinkss of her 2 huzbandss an her PawPaw an her furbabiess. Shee REELLY has a bug heart full of ❤ LOVE ❤ Just like yore 'guy' for his wife…..

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, I think so. The guy I live with has a friend, a girlfriend, really, her picture is on the blog in a couple of posts, but there are times when he can just feel super sad, since he lives with me, and sometimes gets lonely, or really, I think, there are triggers. Like today, when his super best friend sent him a plant of the Chrysanthemum ‘Mary Stoker’ from her nursery, for his birthday. He called her up to thank her and said he burst into tears when he saw that plant. Cindy loved it so much. He’s better now.

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      • Mee heerss you Mani!! Tiggurss here to with musick…oen minutt LadyMeowy iss calm an then a sirtain song comess on radio an shee iss all wet eyed. An sirtian photoess of ‘angel’ Unkell Siddhartha reelly get her sobbin….
        You know Mani our Pawentss are lovelee peepull. They love their peepull an they love us too!! 😉

      • paridevita says:

        Yep. The guy I live with says there can be these “triggers” that all of a sudden make things pretty sad. It doesn’t happen to him very much, any more. Just sometimes.

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      • Same here Mani…not as much as when mee came here….LadyMeowy sayss mee has lifted her heart upss!!! 😉

      • paridevita says:

        We can do that, can’t we?

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      • Mew mew mew Mani wee are ‘healin furbabiess’ fore sure!!!!!!

  4. ks says:

    Thank you for the story Mani, and today you have posted especially beautiful photos of your garden.A beautiful garden is both a sanctuary and an affirmation of life.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The first two and the last one are phone pictures, but the rest were taken with the DSLR. The guy I live with likes taking pictures, though he’s nowhere near as good at it as his wife was. Taking up photography was one way of feeling less adrift after she died. Like having purebred border collies in the house.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  5. Mani, dear dog, I think you and the guy you live with are fortunate to live surrounded by all that magnificent garden beauty. I see the through line for Ms.Jekyll’s creations and his own, although your garden’s colors are, I perceive, more subtle and, yes, your guy uses more texture. I love that the article terms Ms.Jekyll’s books “ponderous” (true for me) while I find your guy’s books more straightforward and entertaining to read. The customary time for processing, stocktaking and acceptance is holidays and year-end, but really any season will do Your guy’s got it *down,* although I sense more work being done on the bedroom question. How lucky he is to have you, Mani, and you him, and all who are lucky to follow your posts. Want more of the meeting story, of course. Tip: I understand dog paws applied to a sore back can be wondrous healing. Try it and see what happens.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. (By the way, we now have Mail for Windows 10 and it is very confusing; hard to tell what we’ve responded to, and what not.) G.J.’s books are indeed ponderous. “Many a garden has to be made on a hillside more or less steep.” Whew. Farrer comes as a sharp contrast, ornate, if not euphuistic, though his prose may often be. (The guy I live with said to write that.) But, her books have a certain period charm which is irresistible. There may be more on the bedroom, though the guy I live with is agonizing about that. (Should the waterbed go, or stay?) It will require purchasing a new bed, which will not be easy. I’ll do more of the meeting story, though I hope I have established the basic theme: there being something totally scary which you do anyway. The guy I live with rarely makes me do anything like that, I should say.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  6. Christine says:

    May we be brave.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    These are difficult topics to read about. I do not mean that they are bad topics. They are just difficult. When Privet passed away in 2001, I knew that I could never again live with another terrier, or any dog. Bill showed up anyway. It was not my choice. It just happened that way. When Bill passed away, I again knew that I could not live with another terrier. I certainly have no regret about living with Privet and Bill, and if I had the ability to go back in time and make it any different, I would not; but I knew that I could not do it again in the future. Well, that did not stop Rhody from coming here to live with me. Well, you know how terriers are. They are easier to talk about because they are dogs, and contrary to popular belief, dogs are slightly different from people. As you know they have shorter life spans.We know that if we live a normal life span, that we will likely live longer than the dogs with whom we live. People are different, and the topic that I can not even address right now.

    • paridevita says:

      It is difficult, though as I keep trying to tell the guy I live with, my days are longer than his are. Like when he starts talking, he’ll say he only talked for five minutes, but it seems like five hours to me.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  8. ceci says:

    Oh, my dear Mani. What a wonderful companion you are, and how challenging it is to be brave in the face of life’s tragedies. And the garden is a fabulous relief to the eye and the heart in reading this.


    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. Well, as I hope I’ve said, things are way better for the guy I live with now. Even with the cancer and stuff. Way, way better.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  9. Denise Maher says:

    Hey Mani — I’ve often wondered what my dog friends think about music blasting through the house. I know my last little friend was mostly deaf at the end, but I don’t think music caused that. I haven’t played OK Computer in a while either, but like your gardening friend it is a great example of affirmation while acknowledging pain and difficulties — like “Letdown.” And what a beautiful garden you two have made through a difficult time, kinda like a Radiohead song too…

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; well, when it’s thundering here, like it is right now, or when there are firecrackers, loud music is pretty good. I can still hear the thunder and firecrackers but the gesture is nice. (It stopped raining pretty quickly.)
      The garden. It’s gone through so many changes it’s hard to imagine what it was like a quarter century ago, though there is a post showing it, called “Then And Now”. (I wasn’t born yet.) It looked pretty good, and his wife decorated a lot of it, and loved it, but after she died he decided to change the garden into one that didn’t look like anyone else’s. One year there were visitors, and someone said it looked like a cross between Rancho Santa Ana and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a comment which made him feel pretty good.
      Right now, two large deadish trees don’t add much to the overall picture, but finding someone to take care of these without wrecking everything underneath might not be easy.
      He did write a book with the same title as a Radiohead song. I mean to be all into synchronicity and stuff. That is part of his past life, but he likes to say things like that.

  10. I love your garden.

    This post fills me with heartache and admiration about the way you write about personal things.

    What is the book that you wrote with a Radiohead title?? Unless they wrote a song called High and Dry, I am stumped.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The garden is kind of a mess but it has to manage on its own, right now. Talking about all this stuff is something you don’t see on many gardening blogs, but that’s why the guy I live with has me do the talking. To kind of distance himself from it, in a way. He calls it ego suppression. Radiohead’s second album, The Bends, has a song called High and Dry. The book was written before the album was purchased and listened to. That book received a lot of criticism. Maybe because people didn’t like Radiohead.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  11. P.S. I just looked up the lyrics to The Pyramid Song. It is beyond cosmic that Cindy was listening to that.

    • paridevita says:

      Yeah. The guy I live with looked at the lyrics just now, and burst into tears. (He does that, sometimes.) His wife didn’t know anything was wrong, though. The doctors said so.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  12. One more thing. I googled and now I know the book is High and Dry (a great gardening book, which I own.)

    • paridevita says:

      Lol. Thanks. It’s probably the only gardening book that has “despair” in the index. (Like the columbine book is probably the only gardening book that makes reference to the Summer of Love.)

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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