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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").



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   Darla scare
Monday, January 13 2014
While Gretchen went to work at the bookstore in Woodstock and Susan and David went to look at real estate, I took the dogs for a long walk in the forest. Initially we didn't get far; Darla didn't want to cross the flooded Chamomile and Olive seemed to be hanging back a bit. It seemed they wanted to wait for their parents, so I had to take them back to the house to show them that their parents had left (something they'd done after we set out).
I realized I was hungry before we set out for a second time, so I quickly made a sandwich from a bagel and some cold pasta salad (delicious!). We headed down the Farm Road and turned east into the forest near the road's end. We continued up past the frozen pond on Funky Pond Summit and proceeded all the way to the Stick Trail. But Darla is a crazy puppy dog and needed a longer walk than we would have had had I just headed home from there, so we turned south and went around the Canary Hill summit, looking out across the icy and somewhat flooded cornfields 500 vertical feet below. As I neared an intersection with the old bike trail that heads down into the Esopus Valley via various old logging trails, I realized Darla was no longer in our group. So I stood there and whistled and called out to her repeatedly and with gradually increasing desperation. I'd just walked through the only part of the forest where I'd ever seen a coyote in the daylight, and at 30 pounds (or so), Darla might be just small enough to be an easy coyote kill. When it was clear that Darla wasn't going to come, I headed back south on the Canary Loop Trail, stopping to call and listen periodically. The other dogs fanned out and stood to quietly listen as well, but there was nothing. Had Darla gone bounding down the escarpment? Ramona kept looking that way, but the work of going down that hill wasn't worth the dubious possibility that Darla was there. Still, how was I going to explain this to Susan and David?
Eventually I saw Darla just standing there off trail. Why wasn't she coming? Was her leg in a leghold trap? It turned out she was perfectly fine. For some reason she'd just decided to stand there and no longer follow us, even after we'd put hundreds of feet of distance between us and her. You can imagine how closely I watched Darla for the rest of our walk home. The whole time, I marched energetically and overly-demonstratively, muttering, "We're trucking home!" When we got to the Chamomile, I had to carry her across.
Overseeing the extra two dogs was more of a job than I expected, particularly given the work I needed to be doing undistracted. It turns out that Darla isn't yet housebroken, and she shits a lot when she eats World's Best Cat Litter (she likes this corn-based product even when it hasn't been soiled by cat). She's also needy, and I had to keep checking in on her.
Later Susan and David returned and Susan took David to the bus station (he had to leave early for work reasons). At some point in the early evening, there was a vicious three-way fight between Ramona, Darla, and Olive. We immediately broke it up, but not before someone (I suspect Ramona) perforated the soft puppy skin on top of Darla's head. Susan is usually a bit of a nervous nelly, but none of this bothered her too much, and she wasn't even weirded out when I suggested repairing the injury with a dab of SuperGlue (note to self: we need more SuperGlue!).
After that, we sat around talking mostly about techniques related to oil painting (Susan works in oils and twenty years ago I did as well). I mentioned that I used to cook my paintings at low heat in a woodstove to speed the drying process, something I thought would horrify Susan. But after I confirmed that it worked, she said she wants to try it herself either using a steam radiator or a parabolic heater.
This evening our dinner plan gradually became one of going to La Florentina to have some red cabbage calzones, but at the last minute we remembered that La Florentina is closed on Mondays. So we went to Woodstock instead and had pizza at Catskill Mountain Pizza. Unfortunately, though, CMP was out of soy cheese, so we had to eat the pizza cheeseless. Usually that works out okay, but not if the sauce is thin and watery (as it was today). The only thing we could do to salvage our meal was to use lots of garlic powder, oregano, pepper flakes, and leftover balsamic vinegar from our salad. The beer-battered fries, though, were excellent. We were waited on by the bartender, a young woman who was visibly pregnant. She kept referring to her pregnancy every time she came to our table, but, since none of us are into babies or pregnancy, we refused to play along. We didn't ask when she was due or say "congratulations."

Later Gretchen and Susan watched Nebraska (we had a pre-release DVD from a friend who is a voter for the Academy Awards). I joined them on the couch to watch part of it, but it was all a little too ponderous, precious, and, dare I say, poorly acted for my taste.


Olive.


Darla.


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