Buster Dozer

Buster Dozer
Buster and Dozer are each one of a kind.

Bees are the source of all happyDay Farm's goodness.

Bees are the source of all happyDay Farm's goodness.
The bees work overtime here on the farm.

Self-portait

Self-portait
Life is a balance...

Humming bird right out the back door.

Humming bird right out the back door.
I do experience my share of luck, when it comes to being in the right place at the right time.

Music fuels my mind and rocks my soul.

Music fuels my mind and rocks my soul.
If you cannot feel the music you are listening to deep in your soul, then change the dial.

One red leaf, stealing the show from the moon.

One red leaf, stealing the show from the moon.
Moon power!

Bernie for President

Bernie for President
Bernie Sanders rocks.

Biggee Fats gets patriotic and joins the army.

Biggee Fats gets patriotic and joins the army.
Private Fats, Biggee, reporting for duty, Sir! Can you direct me to the mess hall?

The braids

The braids
My sister, JT, and I, back in the day..

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

markyboy1231@hotmail.com

Monday, June 27, 2016

"Bad Sex"

"Bad Sex"

The post reads, “Two things I will not accept in life are bad sex and bullshit.”

Bullshit? I’m with you.

Bad sex? Bad sex. Hmmm. I’m trying real hard to get a handle on this, no pun intended, but it’s not working. “Bad sex” has to be the oxymoron of the century. I used to think it was “military intelligence,” but anyone who thinks sex can be bad, has never lived alone.

Now that’s bad sex.

I also have a confession of sorts to make: I have had sex-all of it good-with only one person since 1981 for the simple fact that I would not be able to have sex with another. Not good sex-not bad sex, simply no sex. Contrary to popular opinion, not all men are predatory wolves, lusting after anything in a skirt.

I speak for myself but assume I am in good company when I say that sex without emotional commitment would not be physically possible. OK. Back the truck up. It would be physically possible if a dude were willing to ingest Corporate ‘Merica’s answer to LDS (Limp Dick Syndrome), but that is grist for a different post.

I simply mean that there is a cause and effect thing going on here. Because I am emotionally committed to one person, I would be incapable of physical intimacy with another, unless I severed that original emotional bond first. How do I know? The same way I know that to jump out of an airplane without a parachute would be hazardous to my health.

When my partner and I got together in January of 1981, she laid down two rules with such matter-of-factness, that I never for one instant doubted her word. She said, “If you ever hit me or cheat on me, it is all over between us, without any second chance.”

I gazed at the most beautiful woman I had ever met and thought to myself, “Wow, you’re easy.”

She didn’t mind that I was a bearded, long-haired hippie clerk in an auto parts store, and a “professional student” at San Jose State University. She didn’t mind that I had no television and two cats, and she didn’t even freak out on our first date, when I had to have her pop the clutch on my ’62 VW Double Slug, as I pushed it. 
Ole Paint

On the other hand, she couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the fact that I had the foresight to point Ole Paint’s nose down an incline, to help the process along.

Sex is the part of a relationship which “helps the process along,” the process in this case being that of the business of living life. With three active sons, two highly complex jobs between the two of us and the plethora of challenges that come with this kind of lifestyle, there has to be benefits.

Who would sign up for it all, otherwise?

Woody Allen, that paragon of sexual virtue, said it best when he quipped, “I never met an orgasm I didn’t like.” I can hate the messenger without hating the message, and he is right.
Would you buy a used car from any one of these three?

When two people bind themselves together, no matter which gender(s) are involved, sex had better be the high point of that relationship, if it is to have any chance of success. Of course this is an opinion and there are bound to be examples of couples who place children, careers or other things higher on the list than sex.

And if that works, more power to these folks. It just never would work for me.

I suppose sex could be bad in the way that eating a hot fudge sundae could be bad…don’t you just hate those brain freezes from proceeding too fast?

Aside from that, sex is good-always. 

So until we get tired of the whole thing (“He got tired of the hole; she got tired of the thing…”), sex by definition cannot be bad.

Nether can hot fudge sundaes.









Saturday, June 25, 2016

Road Signs of Life

Road Signs of Life

My fingers and heels have gorges and ravines that rival those of the Grand Canyon, and my knees snap, crackle and pop like a bowl of breakfast cereal, but still work just fine, thank you so much for inquiring.

I have worn out three pairs of sandals so far this year, because apparently they do not respond well to pitch-forking, but they’re cheap. And my backyard, known simply as the West-Forty, is planted to capacity with an array of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
West-Forty

These are all signs of great success.

I have caged 75 of my more-than-100 tomato plants, I have gotten the last of the up-planting done with the sixty pepper plants that went into the ground inside the greenhouse yesterday, and I have completed the set of nine rock steps I was building just outside my back door.

These are additional road-signs of life that indicate I am on the right track.

Now I am about to begin the monumental task of trellising the 25 cannabis plants we have growing in the back, a labor of genuine love that will consume me for the next two months. I am up for the challenge.

I cleaned the two outdoors refrigeration units, each a five-by-three-by-three feet chest-size, one a refrigerator and one a freezer, and Casey fired them up. They both run off of solar power and are essential for farm-use, and have been inactive over the winter because we did not have the CSA going.

Now I have ice cubes for my hat, even if the freezer does not keep ice cream firmly frozen. I’m not sure how it is that a freezer can change water into ice at a prodigiously quick rate, but can’t harden ice cream, even if given a three-day weekend to accomplish the chore.

It matters not, though, if I choose to make root beer floats, but the ice cubes for my hat are essential for eighties-plus heat.
Amber is back!

The big news on-farm is that Amber is back! After being in Ohio for much of the past three months, helping out her mom as she recovered from life-threatening illness, and relocating Robin to a new living arrangement, Amber has returned to rejoin us on-farm. 

We have missed her greatly but must also recognize that her absence is what pulled us tighter together as a community, than we have ever been before. With Casey laboring ceaselessly for appropriate cannabis regulation, and being off-farm far more than he would like, much of the burden of maintaining the farm-fires has fallen on the shoulders of Annie, Lito and me, and more recently, Robin.

We are doing pretty well as far as backups go. With the decision to vastly reduce staff from last summer, due to economic restrictions, there was some conjecture that we had taken on more than we could manage.

Oh, contraire!

With a little help from RoseMary a couple of days a week, and the newly-returned Angie for four-days-a-week this summer, we are in serious control.

It is a heady feeling. I have never had this much involvement with the day-to-day farm maintenance of anything other than cannabis and Annie’s little kitchen garden. The feeling of inclusion is a balmy salve indeed. Respect that is earned on the playing field, as it were, is infinitely more rewarding than that which is earned by right.

Even if I am not capable of accomplishing the deeds of a twenty-something person anymore, I can still do OK for an old dude. Besides, I don’t want to do too much.

Management might start expecting it of me on a regular basis.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gob-Smacked

Gob-Smacked

If nothing else life is quirky.

Amidst the pain, joy, confusion, anger and self-doubt, is that which crops up every now and again and makes you think, “Whoa, that was random.”

The more extreme the random is, the more extreme the degree of quirkiness.

So now I behold my recent tech issues, combine them with a one chance in 26,575, and throw in a Holiday Season laced with turmoil because of the declining health of my mom, and we find the ultimate example of quirkiness.


First the tech: I recently replaced Terra Jean, my original MacBookPro, with Suzy Puente, and have been adjusting ever since. One idiosyncrasy is that I ended up with a different method of sending and receiving emails, one which indicated that I had close to 27,000 read/unread emails lurking about.

Did I care? I don’t know. Do they take up memory? I don’t know. Do I want to just dump them? I want to dump the face/book notifications but not the personal ones, like those from my sister JT. 

Of my eight sibs, JT is the only one with whom I carry on weekly correspondence. We are as close as the 360 days that separate us, indicates.

So in cogitating the matter, momentarily, I randomly opened one message from JT from Christmas-time, 2013, and perused its contents.

It was like getting gob-smacked in the face: Mama’s declining health, her need for full-time professional healthcare, the disagreement amongst siblings as to the best method to provide this care, all set two days before Christmas Day itself…it’s no wonder.

The email I had randomly selected (Freudian slip?) was lengthy, detailed and unemotional. It was like a detached summary and I will leave the contents unvisited except for the last sentence, “I even have a pretty gift for you which I cannot very well send…”

This time it was more like being face-punched. Pretty gift? For my sister who is 360 days younger than I? Maybe in a pretty box? Sitting amidst my Giants shrine? Ignored for a minute or two?

Uh, oh. Who turned on the sprinkler system? 

Got it. There isn’t one.

Much love, JT.






Friday, June 17, 2016

Week the Second


I LOVE to see the teams evenly balanced, in terms of gender.

Week the Second

“You gotta get lucky once in a while.” 

That is the caption beneath a photograph that I snapped during the first of two games at Harwood Park, Thursday evening, this one between the Bell Springs Bombers and the Revolution. A see-saw affair for most of the game, the Revolution fought their way to victory in the closing innings, putting a 19-11 win into the books.

I take my camera along when I go to the park because it allows me to orchestrate several instruments in my repertoire of right-brained activities. I like to write, I like to take photos and I enjoy combining the two together when I post on my blog.
Zounds!

I got lucky Thursday night because I snapped a pic of Lito, making a stellar catch on a ball hit to left-center field. This was a snag which showed the left-fielder outstretched to his fullest, the ball clearly ensnared by the ample webbing on his glove. His back was mostly turned to the camera, the double-s from “Great Success” visible, mute testimony to what we are seeing.

Not only was the catch a great success, the entire venue is also. Even though competing with the Warriors/Cavs game on television, there was a fine turnout to see a game between two of the league’s more entertaining teams.

Don’t get me wrong: All of the teams and all of the games are entertaining. With eight strong clubs in the league, Laytonville is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts, when it comes to the dawn of a new era, one in which The Oldtimers’ Game is not the only game in town.

Currently, the league format calls for a double-header every Tuesday and Thursday this summer, until each team has played all of the others twice. Then the playoffs begin. With so many teams from all geographic regions in the immediate area, it is hard to imagine that any cultural factions are being left out.

They are all present and accounted for, from the mountain folk to the townspeople; from the hippies to the rednecks; from those who Berned for Bernie to those who hanker for Hilary. I am certain that there were even those who will vote the Republican ticket and in this venue, that’s just fine with me. I am not here to talk politics.

I’m here to talk baseball.

You see, on the playing field everyone is working together. That’s the part I personally like the most. I also like that all of the teams have a comparable ratio of men and women competing. It’s no secret that Laytonville has always fielded excellent baseball teams, both men’s baseball and women’s softball.
There is unity of purpose on the diamond.

This season was particularly gratifying for the women, because of new coach Jennifer Davis, who returned to her alma mater to lead it to the league championship, in her first year. And it must be quite satisfying for Michael Braught, also, who volunteers his time to umpire.

I say it must be satisfying for Michael because so many of the players in the current league, played under his expert tutelage for so many years, when he coached men’s baseball at the high school. I must have snapped twenty pics of hitters in the batter’s box, with Michael’s visage in the background.

He has a smile plastered on his face in every one.
See what I mean about the smile?

I smiled too, when I caught sight of first, Rudy, and then Duck. These two guys had the misfortune of having me for language arts classes back in the day.

I know. Your worst nightmare. Your middle school language arts teacher.

Rudy had the charismatic personality of his pops, his sardonic humor always making me grin at his quick wit. And Duck? Simply the most athletic individual to have ever graced the middle school campus during my sixteen years’ tenure. 

I exaggerate not. He did not have the physical presence of say, Beagle, but his prowess on the playing field, particularly on the gridiron, was unsurpassed. His speed, his “soft” hands, able to snare any ball within Laytonville’s zip code range, and his frenzy to succeed, all stamped him as eminently watchable.

Nothing I saw in Thursday’s game made me alter my opinion one iota.
Mike has not lost a step.

I did not get a chance to say, “Hey!” but I did pause when I was walking past, while Mike was on the sidelines, and we made eye contact for a nano-second. I watched as recognition came over his face, and I saw the look that flitted across his face.

I saw the identical expression that I saw when he was in eighth grade, that same grin, the same mutual respect that we had always enjoyed, so very long ago. No words were necessary but volumes were spoken, nonetheless. I have all summer to catch up with him.

At least, as long as a few logistical details can be worked out, we will have all summer. These details involve those who volunteer their time to keep this show happening.

I was talking to Shannon, who has donated a fair chunk of her life, to help get the whole league off the ground. She still has to leave work early each Tuesday and Thursday, to help Miguel get the field ready. 
Much appreciation for the time and energy!

Shannon is hoping to get some help in this area, and figures that as the league gains in popularity and attendance, these things will fall into place. There are many of us who can no longer play, for any number of reasons, but who still want to see the whole program move forward. 

If you have the time/inclination, you might give her a call at the tire center, (984-8888), and let her know you would like to help keep adult baseball happening in Laytonville.

I must say, I like it when my community gathers together to celebrate life in its most eloquently simple form. To play ball together, to pull for one another, to laugh and groan together and to win or lose together, it’s all fun. 

More importantly, it is essential for any community to blend and meld together, especially in politically emotional times. Whether your political interests are focused on national elections, or local cannabis policy, there is much room for discussion and dialogue.

Polished mahogany tables are often the setting for these discussions, and that’s fine in its own right, but the most productive exchanges take place when everyone is situated on a level playing field. If everyone is functioning as equals in one area, some of that is bound to splash over into other areas.

Baby steps, you know, but they lead to success.


And speaking of success, I am finally able to give a two-thumbs-up to the Chief, after being somewhat ambivalent on the subject for quite some time. Being served stone-cold food the first time left me “ambivalent.” 

Even “being served” stretches the truth considerably, because I had to go in search of our order myself, after Annie and waited for an interminable period in the outdoor portion of the dining facility. I wondered vaguely at the time, just how long they would have left our order on that counter, had I not come to get it myself. 

I can’t honestly say if the burger and fries were tasty or not; I didn’t eat them. The place was crowded, noisy, unorganized and the thought of trying to rectify the situation was too overwhelming for me. No biggee, right?

So when Benny, Annie and I hit up the Chief, Thursday, prior to the baseball game, we sat indoors, and I let Annie order for me. She thought I should try the chicken strips, with ranch dressing, and an order of fries.

They were prepared promptly, they were piping hot and there was much camaraderie exchanged between Ben and the restaurant staff. Ben was most vocal in his appreciation of the culinary experience. 

Later, when Casey stopped in, the proprietor was overheard commenting to him, “Hey, your bro was in here earlier.” Long pause. “He’s a big ‘un, isn’t he?” 

I think Annie made his day when we got up to make our departure, and she said, “Well, you can expect regular O’Neill family meals together this summer, because everyone likes a great success.

Indeed.
There is a lot going on at Harwood Park, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just ask Fawn...WATCH OUT FAWN!






Thursday, June 16, 2016

No Escape


No Escape

I’m going to a ballgame tonight! 

No, I’m not traveling down to San Francisco to hit up AT&T Park-the Giants are on their way to Tampa Bay to play the Rays. I am going down to Harwood Park to take in the adult baseball league, which features a double header every Tuesday and Thursday this summer, and concludes with a set of playoff games that rivals major league baseball.

My AT&T Park days are gone, over a long time ago. I can no longer convince myself that the discomfort of the experience, is worth the pleasure it provides. You see, I suffer from claustrophobia. Though many do not realize it, this anxiety issue goes beyond being trapped in confined spaces; it encompasses that feeling that comes over you, when you realize you cannot escape something.

Maybe you must attend a meeting in a small office, with a dozen coworkers. Possibly you hate tunnels, basements, cellars, subways, hotel rooms with windows that don’t open, airplanes, automatic car washes or having an MRI done. In extreme cases you might have commitment issues.

Or maybe you just can’t sit in the middle of the crowd at AT&T Park anymore, and take in a ballgame. It has always been a struggle for me, but with the right amount of cannabis, and various other enablers, I could make it through. I no longer even make the effort.
Style points...

I have loved the game of baseball since I was a young kid growing up in the San Gabriel Valley in SoCal. I played it every day in the summer, and listened to Vin Scully broadcast the Dodger games in the balmy summer nights.

I played it until I blew out my left knee in 1991, but now that I am 63, I no longer regret not being able to get out on the diamond anymore. It comes with the territory. I still love to watch the game, but not necessarily for the same reason that most watch it.

I am not a fan of the offense, so much as I appreciate good defense. Hitting the ball hard, while extremely challenging to do, is still not what really floats my boat. I want to see what happens on the other end of the action-I want to see where the ball ends up.

I used to be a defensive specialist; I could catch any fly ball hit within my vicinity, which was left field. I was fast and I have quick reflexes, a combination which gives an outfielder a leg up on many. Whereas hitting laser-beam line-drives is an impressive skill, being able to catch them is even more epic-to me.

Most importantly, you do not have to be a big kid to have a big glove. 

I don’t care what level of baseball I am watching, I am bound to see a few good plays. Of course there are occasionally balls that are bobbled and there are balls that are misplayed, but there is always some excellent glove work displayed, and that’s what I am willing to pay the big bucks to see.

I also enjoy a good rivalry, like the one between the Giants and the Dodgers, or between the Bell Springs Bombers and the Layton Villains. Last week Annie and I got to see the Bombers fall behind by a score of 7-1, in the third inning, before coming back to seize a 14-11 win.

Last season the Villains went undefeated and took the inaugural championship in our local league, back when there were only six teams. Now there are eight and they all hail from the area around the ‘Ville. 

I can attend the games and sit on the left side, without having to feel as though I am hemmed in by the masses. I can visit with friends, take a few pics, avoid a lot of traffic and see some good baseball, without having to put up with the pitfalls of AT&T Park.

I can’t see Buster Posey or Madison Bumgarner down in the ‘Ville, but then again, I don’t have to go down to AT&T Park to watch the Bombers and Villains play.

Great success, say I.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Walking a Tight Rope on a Slippery Slope

Walking a Tight Rope on a Slippery Slope

Applying the term addiction to me, as it relates to my use of cannabis, can be likened to walking a tight rope on a slippery slope. I have a mood spectrum disorder, for which I have been prescribed an assortment of Corporate ‘Merica’s answer(s) to all the problems a bipolar individual might encounter.

All I can say is that my original issues pale in comparison to those brought on by my “meds.”

Cannabis use allows me some hope of being able to contain the frenzy within my mind, that exuberance for life that has such an iron grip on me, that I cannot sleep more than five hours per night. It used to be no more than four hours, but physical labor has added an extra hour onto my nightly allotment. 
I grow my own medicine.

If you look up synonyms for “mania,” it gets downright ugly. Here are a few of my personal favorites: “craziness, dementia, lunacy, rage, delirium, derangement,” and of course, the coup de grace, “fetish.”

I prefer “frenzy” because that’s reasonably accurate. At least three mental tracks compete for my attention in my mind, most of my conscious existence. This is a phenomenon that I used to think was unique to me, until I conferred with others, and found it to be the same for them.

Music occupies one track, whether it is being funneled in through my headphones or originates in my brain; a flow of consciousness controls the second track and the third is what I simply refer to as my creative track. This third track operates exclusively from the right side of my brain.

I do my most creative work from one in the morning until six or seven. By the time you are sitting down to your first cup of coffee, I have been up for six or more hours. I ain’t proud but I ain’t skeered either.

The three tracks do not so much as compete for my attention, as they simply exist. That alone creates a fair amount of, well, frenzy. Not craziness, or lunacy and not derangement. I’m sorry; I wish I could be more helpful.

Where does the slippery slope come in? Unfortunately, some people still view cannabis as something only musicians and drug addicts do, and it’s OK for musicians because they are cool people. Otherwise, fergeddit, because cannabis is an illegal drug, despite the legal existence of 215 cards.

Everyone knows that if you need to rely on illegal drugs, then you’re not fit for society. I found that out the hard way when I almost got the rug pulled out from beneath my son Ben’s wedding, for the egregious act of not only smoking the devious demon, but making it available to other adults for the same purpose.

I knew the rules, I broke the rules and I had therefore earned consequences, even if my behavior was based on my need to control my social anxieties. Unfortunately, those in control of the facility, threatened to shut down the entire function until I met with them privately and pleaded my case.

It was a demeaning experience and I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t get caught in the future.

I could have relied on edibles; I could have gone out through the rain and sat in the truck (though probably not with 20 others); I could have stayed home. But I should not have jeopardized such an important event by doing something that was prohibited.

That’s the slippery slope. One man’s medication is another man’s object of disdain. “Different strokes for different folks” doesn’t quite cover all the territory here because there is just too wide of a chasm between those who fear it, and those who recognize cannabis as the gentle giant that it is.

Corporate America certainly fears this medicine, and has done so since the government systematically went about destroying its credibility with mainstreamed America back in the 1930’s. Hemp was the basis for so much of our country’s basic needs, that it had to be shunted aside in order to open up the door to a whole new world of synthetic fabrics and plastics, all of them far more lucrative than hemp.

And of course, perish the thought that the FDA should actually recognize this plant as beneficial, and catch up with the rest of the medical and real world. As a medicine for cancer, epilepsy and countless other maladies, cannabis is unparalleled.
I am not the only person who has chosen cannabis
over Corporate 'Merica, as the steady flow of exultant,
215-Card-carrying patients attested to Saturday, at Area 101.

As a money-maker, not so much. 

I grow my own medicine, and aside from basic organic amendments and a summerful of time, all it costs is the ‘boo and a few rolls of green plastic tape. Corporate America knows that it can’t charge ten thousand dollars per month for a cancer treatment that can be grown in the ground, as it does now for synthetic drugs, so it keeps up the “reefer madness” rhetoric.

I would say that it drives me nuts but “nuts” is a bit too close to “lunacy” and “craziness,” for comfort.

How about I just say that this artificially constructed prejudice against cannabis saddens me immensely, and I hope it ends some day soon?


Monday, June 13, 2016

Totally Useless but Highly Entertaining

Totally Useless but Highly Entertaining 

You know you just might be a dog lover if:

…dog kisses elicit an “Awwwwwww….” as opposed to an “Ughhhh.”

…you treat your dog as though he is your fourth son…or first grandson.

…you spend more time getting your dog ready for vacation, than you spend on yourself.

…you talk more to your dog than you do to those around you.

…you are willing to share your perfectly-barbecued ribeye steak with him.

…you worry about life after your dog goes to the big kennel in the sky.

…you share your blankets on those cold winter night.

…you agonize whether to take your dog along with you in the car for what might prove a long day, or leave him at home-by himself.

…folks look at you as though you were nuts because of how much you pamper your dog.

…you practice your Spanish on him and don’t mind that he does not respond accordingly.

…you routinely break the rule about feeding him tidbits from the table. You justify it because, well, chicken IS pretty healthy for him. (Additionally, you promise to slightly reduce his dinner that night…and then forget.)

…your dog gets the last of the ice cubes to rub over his hot fur when the temperature gets into the nineties.

…the cats are always second and third on the “Oh, Boy!” list, as far as meals are concerned.

…you dress to the hilt in all of your rain gear to take him out for a doody-walk, knowing your dog is going to refuse to step outside the door if there is so much as a mizzle in the air. (It is disconcerting to see how much enjoyment he derives at watching me dress.)

…you ache to take him to the Dog-Walk in Eureka, but you know his Alpha-Male personality makes it impossible. Considering he loves every single human who comes into his world, I guess it’s “normal” that he does not care much for his own kind.

…people wrinkle their noses at the questionable scent in the air as they enter your home, the odor you stopped being aware of years ago.
A dog and his dish

…you stopped fixating about dog hair on your pants…furniture…blankets…car seats…jackets…in your food…did I miss anything?

…your heartstrings tug when you see him stretched out, full-length, in the sun on the deck, snoring gently.

…you allow your dog anywhere in your vicinity on those hot summer nights.

…you worry about the heat to the extent that you continuously apply a sopping wet, cool cloth to his exterior every hour or so, to make sure he does not blow a gasket. Bulldogs are especially susceptible to heat.

…you accept the fact that your excursion in the car today with your dog, means that you will be spending a lot of quality time in said vehicle, as Annie runs the errands.

…it offends you to see a dog mistreated.

…you refuse to acknowledge the malodorous fragrance permeating the atmosphere, the one emanating forth from your gassy dog…

…when your dog’s outburst of barking annoys everyone else around you, and you’re not sure why. He’s just doing his job, right? Super well? With enthusiasm? Incessantly?

…you still want to buy him those big chewy rawhide bones, the ones the threaten to choke him, just because you know he would still get a great deal of enjoyment out of the experience…

…you can acknowledge that your dog is totally useless as a farm-dog, but that he is highly entertaining.

…the sound of your dog barfing in the middle of the night, is not worse than anything else on the planet.

…you can watch Emma the Elephant roll playfully over your newly-planted “hot crayon” zinnias, without so much as cringing. Besides, what would I possibly do? Emma thinks she is a chihuahua who is unfortunately-through no fault of her own-trapped in the body of a great dane…

…you are willing to make as many phone calls as necessary, to find a motel that will accept pets. (And then you are willing to pay the price.)

…you can’t go to a certain restaurant for lunch, because you could not park the truck where you could see it as you ate.

…you know all the places to scratch him that make him groan with enjoyment.

…you avoid specific venues on the Fourth of July because your dog wigs out when fireworks go off.

…you religiously check out Emily’s It’s-a-Dog’s World Posts, with special mention going to Maggie…

…you cringe at the sight of a dog running loose in hazardous conditions. You just can’t help them all.

…you want to grab the handiest brick and heave it [carefully] through the front windshield of a car with a dog inside-in the heat of the day.

…you patronize certain drive-through businesses because the employees reward your dog with a dog treat. 

…you develop an obsession for making sure your dog does not pick up any ticks. Nasty bits of business, ticks. “None socially redeeming qualities,” as Mike Krakow would say.

…you try every one of your hats on him, to see which has the cutest effect. Or a Buster Posey shirt.

…you have to stop and talk to every dog you meet.

…the dog you have not seen since December, six moths ago, fawns and writhes on the ground in delight to see you again.

…you try to duplicate his facial expressions right back at him.

…you occasionally confuse him by urging him too break the rules and jump up on the couch with you, especially if Buster Posey is at the plate and you need everything going for you.

…you would do anything on earth to make your dog more comfortable, when that is impossible.

…you can relate the names of every dog you have ever owned, in chronological order. The older you get, the more impressive this becomes.

…you recognize that dogs derive more pleasure from your happiness, than they do from their own.

…you do not want to stop listing the things that you love about your dog.