small thoughts

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

Here I am in a characteristic pose. Lying on the couch, late at night, listening to Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand. Maybe I was sleeping a little. 

There’s a prominent part for the contrabassoon right at the beginning of the concerto. A lot of really low notes. He said at one time he thought about getting a contrabassoon, but he has kazoos, which are more his style.

Naturally, I got a mini-lecture on the music. The guy I live with said the concerto was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, an Austrian pianist who lost his right arm in the First World War. Wittgenstein first contacted the Austrian composer Josef Labor, who was blind, to have him write a piano concerto for the left hand. Paul’s brother was the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who considered Labor to be one of the greatest composers ever, though nowadays his music isn’t performed very often.

Of course I could have learned this online, though the guy I live with just knew it, and told me, like he does, all the time. His father was paralyzed on his right side, because of the Korean War, and yet was able to have a career in computer programming for the government, and so maybe you can see why he’s interested in this sort of historical fact.

He looked at me, lying next to him, after all the talk about the Wittgenstein brothers, pianist and philosopher, and said, “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life”. He knows a lot of Wittgenstein quotes, in German or English. I like English whenever possible.

This happened night before last, I think. Last night the guy I live with took a picture of what it’s like to sit at this laptop, even later at night, with Q.I. on the television and a pot of menudo cooking on the stove.

I’ve never had menudo. It’s one of the guy I live with’s favorite things, and he thinks it’s funny that some people say they don’t like it, as though he was going to offer them some. He used to buy a lot of licorice because his wife didn’t like it so he knew it would be there when he got home from work.

The days have been pretty nice, sunny, but sometimes the tiniest bit chilly. Here I am in one of my favorite spots in the yard.

This is a very pleasant warm spot. You can see a little bit of snow by the blue pot there.

Speaking of small thoughts, I have some snowdrop pictures, from the garden, in the frame, and in the upstairs bedroom.

This first one is really late. It should have flowered in November but the soil has been so cold, even frozen, which is pretty weird for here, that it’s been struggling.

‘Potter’s Prelude’

a mystery snowdrop

Some snowdrops flowering in the frame. The soil has frozen there, too, but thaws out during the day.

There are snowdrops being grown as houseplants here. I know how that sounds. It doesn’t affect me very much, because no one would look at me and think that I’m the one doing this, because I’m not. I have other interests. But here are the snowdrops.

The pots are too large. I’m not sure why he thought gallon pots would be a reasonable size, but this is how it is, for now.

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, though not as “stunningly elegant” as the guy I live with said it was. This blog has described a number of “brilliant ideas” which turned out to be embarrassing failures, so I was skeptical.

Snowdrops can be expensive. You can pay well over a hundred dollars just for one bulb. No, really. The guy I live with hasn’t done that yet. If his wife were still here he would never even consider that, but she isn’t here, and so maybe he might consider spending that kind of money, especially if it was for a rare species.

So, say he did spend that much money for a single bulb. If it was planted out in the garden and died, he would be irked. Gardening is about the only hobby where you spend money and often have nothing to show for it the next year. I mean, if he collected coins, the coins would still be there in a couple of years. But plants die. I know because in the relatively brief time I’ve been here, a lot of plants have died. The guy I live with said he’s probably spent ten million dollars on dead plants. I think that’s an exaggeration, but I get the idea.

Instead of planting snowdrops out in the garden, they’re going to be planted in pots and grown in the upstairs bedroom their first year, so that they make good growth, and then next year, some time in August, maybe, the bulbs will be planted in pots (smaller pots) in the frames, until they begin to increase.

These pictures are only sort of in focus.

Galanthus transcaucasicus, the only snowdrop native to Iran. (Also found in Azerbaijan).

That’s the gardening stuff, and philosophical quote, for today. I’m not sure I can handle a lot of Wittgenstein, even though the guy I live with said that Chess, the purebred border collie who lived here before me, quoted Wittgenstein from time to time. Well, once, anyway.

Whew, huh. Going on my evening walk came as a relief. We saw one of our neighbors, as we often do. Just waking up. 

It was a pretty good walk, as usual. The wind came up, which is unusual these days. The guy I live with has been complaining about the lack of air moving here for months, now, and when it got windy this afternoon, he said it was nice. On the way back, since we’d been talking about thoughts, very small ones, I had to stop and do some thinking of my own.


Until next time, then.


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endings, and beginnings

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here to talk about some stuff and to wish you all Happy New Year. You may remember me from such posts as “Another Year Goes By” (both posts with that title), among so many, many others.

Here I am in a not hugely characteristic pose, but I am with my best friend.He looks like an ancient mariner, does he not? A seafarin’ man. We don’t go on the ocean, though. It was just that I was practicing what are called “selfies”, with the camera on the phone, and this is how they came out.

Another one:The guy I live with pointed out that I have a hair on my nose. Like I didn’t know that.

But anyway. There’s been an awful lot of heavy sighing around here in the last couple of days. Our modern lifestyle may have some rough patches ahead, though last year was not a very good year at all. Also, of course, and probably most importantly, because of the increasing distance in time from when the rooms downstairs weren’t dark at night. There is at least a light on, down there, now; even a night-light is left on, after the lamp on the nightstand is turned off at bedtime.

I rarely go downstairs. I think of it as like a disused wing of the manor house, very still, and full of memories which are not mine.

My house is super cozy but I know there’s sadness lingering here and there; the guy I live with talks about moving, from time to time, but I figure it’s only talk, because it would involve so much, and besides, there are other more pressing things to think about.

It snowed on and off yesterday, and in the afternoon the guy I live with got out the DSLR camera to get yet another owl picture. I think you can tell the difference between this one and the ones taken with the point-and-shoot. I wasn’t with him, so he didn’t have someone tugging on his arm the whole time.
The guy I live with said that telephoto lenses for DSLRs are expensive, and probably wouldn’t be used a lot, so when something far away, which the owl certainly wasn’t, needs to be zoomed in on, he just uses the point-and-shoot, though there isn’t much in the way of sharpness and stuff.

I was joining in with a few other dogs this morning, barking, and the guy I live with came out to investigate. By now he’s figured out which kind of bark means what, so he brought the little camera along.

(By the way, we’re having some trouble making these posts now. The post was published and these two pictures completely disappeared. They’re back now.)
My walks today were pretty good, despite all the complaining about how cold it was.

I like the snow, but today my paws iced up, and that’s pretty unpleasant. The guy I live with just reached down and rubbed the inside of my paws a bit, and made them all better. He said that maybe I needed some boots, but I’ve seen the picture of Chess in his pink boots, and am pretty sure that’s not something I need. Maybe, though.

Well, so, this is my first post of the new year. It would have to be, wouldn’t it? I’ll let you go now, with another picture of me, after my paws were de-iced. It wasn’t a very long walk, after all.

Until next time, then.

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