Category Archives: Lifestyle


Kumo can run like the wind. Before I knew his given name I was calling him Ghost but felt that Arrow might be a better choice.

I learned from the get go that giving chase is of no use–Kumo can run circles around me and does. He is also smart and wily and careful not to get close enough that his collar can be grabbed.

This dog absolutely will not come when called and is not tempted by a proffered treat. In other words, approach is totally on his own terms.

With Kumo’s history of roaming, I took no chances and had him microchipped during his recent surgery. But even with that precaution, there is no question that being off leash is something that can occur only in contained areas.

Kumo arises early, and our first walk is taken while I am yet a bit groggy.

This morning my thoughts were elsewhere when I had the unsettling realization that the leash in my hands was suddenly connected to nothing–evidently I had not attached it firmly to Kumo’s collar and it had come loose. Kumo was just ahead of me but at the same moment I realized he was free, so did he. And he was off like a shot, an arrow.

I didn’t know what to do and nor did he. The call of the wild and all those mourning doves were pulling him off and away. And yet, he did stop when he was a good distance away to look back. Suddenly he was running toward me again and for one brief second I thought he would return. Rather, he ran wildly to and fro, close to me, away again, exhilarated by his sudden freedom of choice. Because it really was up to him at this point.

As I sat on the pavement in the middle of the parking lot, my heart pounding, tears quietly rolled down my cheek. ‘This is it’ I thought, my dream of a little white dog over. And so I stood back up and walked slowly to the building. Maybe, just maybe he would follow. And if not, I would go get Appa, the great white Pyrenees who is Kumo’s first and best friend at Western Avenue, and try to lure my little wild thing back inside that way.

I shut the glass door behind me and Kumo came closer. The minute I opened it he bolted. When I closed the door a second time he cautiously approached. I opened it just a tiny way this time and to my great surprise and overwhelming relief, he came inside.


At the moment he is laying beside me on the couch, pressed up against my arm as I type. We’ve had our breakfast now and he’s licked my bowl clean for me.

I think we’re good.

Tales from the hood

So what’s been going on here aside from swimming laps and the eating of greens?

We had a lovely Fourth of July. After dropping Peter at a party, David and I picked up our dinner at a farm stand. I really wanted to see some fireworks up close and personal but didn’t want to deal with a crowd. Fortunately for us, neighbors host a Fourth of July celebration every year complete with pyrotechnics (which are legal and readily available in New Hampshire). We don’t actually know these people but thought we could get away with taking a seat in the adjacent field. At dusk, after generous applications of deet, we strolled down the road. Fireflies were flashing on and off between the trees and in the distance I could hear bagpipes playing.

There's an art to capturing fireworks, and I I've not mastered it.

There’s an art to capturing fireworks, and I
I’ve not mastered it.

It turned out to be a marvelous display; almost an hour long. And as we were within a hundred yards of the site of detonation, the sound was amazing—you could feel it in your bones. Entirely satisfying.

Two days later, Peter took off for a week on Cape Cod, compliments of the same lovely family that took him to Florida over winter break. I texted him last night to see if he missed us and his response was ‘Maybe’. Cheeky teenager.

I’ve also been prepping a new spot for painting in the house. My current ‘studio’ is in an alcove under the eaves, but I’m just too damned tall and always bumping my head on the ceiling. So some old carpet is coming up tomorrow and I will be relocating to a (vertically) larger space.

Aside from that, when I am not writing, reading, cleaning, eating salads or hanging out in the pool, I am walking. A lot. At the conclusion of one such jaunt our neighbor Ray hailed me. Asked how I was doing, showed me his tan line (impressive, but I don’t need to see it again) and offered me some zucchini from his garden. One thing led to another and soon he was talking about the legalization of medical marijuana. And how if that happens I should definitely get squared away with a prescription. Better yet, I could start growing pot, in Ray’s greenhouse. We could become partners. “Perfect,” I say. “A match made in heaven.” As Buddy and I took our leave, Ray’s shouting down the road “You can pay for your son’s education that way!” I shout back “I’m going home to watch Breaking Bad and I’ll think about it!” Oh, New Hampshire.

Swimming around

Next stop, the real pond out back

I found and fell in love with our current home online. Like a hopeful suitor, I scrolled through the photos and watched the artfully shot video again and again. The house, built in the 1970’s, was straight out of Dwell. Beautifully landscaped and surrounded by five forested acres, it also boasted an in ground swimming pool. Kidney shaped and forever azure in the looping video, ‘a sylvan pond’, according to the accompanying text.

We moved in just as the last of the snow was melting. Consumed with unpacking, it was mid June before the heavy green cover over the pool was peeled back. Beneath the chilly water lay a carpet of overwintered leaves and debris. Undaunted, I got right to work with a long-handled net and a brush and soon the pool was serviceable.

However, it didn’t stay clean for long. Leaves, pine needles, caterpillars, earthworms, all variety of amphibians and the occasional rodent all took the plunge, and most to ill effect. I began to suspect that it was in fact more pond than pool.

This summer I have been vigilant and yes, stubborn. Every morning I empty the filter baskets and fish the frogs and their leavings from the pool. I scoop worms and needles from the bottom, skim the leaves from the surface and scrub green algae off the sides. And, because I am going to all this trouble, I swim. Just about every single day. Breaststroke, twenty, thirty sometimes forty lengths. I love the cold shock as I first go under, the weightlessness, and how the sun glints off the water.  When I step out of the pool, I am breathless. Eschewing a towel, I lay in the warm air and let the water evaporate from my skin; it is all very reminiscent of summer in my childhood. And, by pushing against my physical limitations, I am thumbing my nose at cancer.

My daily swim: two parts stubbornness and one part pleasure.