Easter Dog Walk


Oliver and I both welcomed the sun on our walk down Second Avenue today. The Bradford Pear trees were just beginning to blossom and I asked Oliver to sit while I photographed him by the daffodils outside a high-rise office building near Dag Hamarskjoldt Plaza. He didn’t exactly stay seated but I took a few photos of him with the daffodils and of me with the Bradford Pear tree blossoms in the background.

I am making a simple Pot au Feu, or boiled beef, for our dinner, so I decided to pick up a strong red wine to accompany the dish. Oliver loves the wine store because the staff keep a full bowl of Mother Hubbard dog biscuits near the checkout counter. He ended up getting two treats before we left, and I bought three bottles of red wine–two from Spain and one from the Languedoc region of France, a place John and I traveled through  in the late 1990s. We will have the Languedoc wine for our Easter dinner.IMG_5546

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Doing Tai Chi with Oliver at Amster Yard

I love to start off these short, dark days by walking my six-year-old mini-poodle, Oliver, to the cloistered inner patch of green at Instituto Cervantes in Turtle Bay, Manhattan. Oliver dashes around in the dead leaves and brush in search of chewables, and I do the first third of the short form, ideally three times. Soon Oliver is chewing  on a stick and luxuriating in the smells only he is privy to, while I try to balance and move “without doing.”  Somehow there is a correspondence between the two of us during those moments that reassures me.

Amster Yard, My secret garden

At Detmold Park with Oliver

Both of my parents are gone now, and I am in the midst of going through my parents’ possessions–what to keep, what to donate, what to give to friends. It is a sad and wistful task that makes me wonder about my need for books, paintings, sculptures, plants, and other physical objects to be around me–and about my difficulty with partings of all kinds.

So today I took a break from all that to spend time with my favorite uplifting canine, Oliver. We sat together at Detmold Park by the East River in midtown Manhattan–playing some catch, warming in the sun, and admiring the shirred, gleaming water.

A woman nearby was doing some form of meditation that was unfamiliar to me; it involved taking certain stances and holding them for prolonged periods of time. She didn’t smile or invite eye contact but her efforts inspired me to do a little tai chi, just the first third of the Yang short form 3 times. It’s always a mixed bag for me to do tai chi en plein air. I like the air but I don’t want to be seen. I guess it makes me feel ostentatious and/or self-conscious, but I carried on and ended up feeling better for doing it.

I am free from my former day job now, so there’s no excuse for me not to be writing and reading a lot! Now is the time.

Oliver herds me along with his beauty, his energy, and his enthusiasm.

JP & Oliver 10 20 15

Almost St. Patty’s Day

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Oliver in the sun and shadow

This has been the winter that will not end.

Saturday, I did a little basking with the dog outside until the wind started to whip things up. Today, O and I were back to walking our desultory way through the 30-degree air in our coats to the dog park, our illusions dashed by the persistent squirrel-fur hues of the urban out-of-doors.

As a child, I knew that the colors and substances of New York City parks were impoverished. The tan and gray cement sandboxes and pools, the sprinklers and the hydrants flooding tar beaches, the institutional green see-saws, the grim monkey bars.

JP & O

JP & O

With the dirty snow walls still there in White Plains and some parts of Manhattan (and I’m sure Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, too), I’ve got my heart set on spring.

I am looking forward to longs walks with Oliver outside and returning to the cabin in the Catskills.

The city has the dazed looked of someone after a rough surgery. Glad to still be here but not sure what to do.

I just spent 30 minutes combing Oliver’s tangled soft hair. It soothed him (even though he squirmed at points), and it soothed me.

Dog love is as deep as human love, I’m finding out.