A Public Service Announcement From Georgie

A Public Service Announcement From Georgie

I’m not one to belabor a point. Really, I try to say what needs to be said and move on. I simply do not have the time to spend on rehashing, revisiting, reiterating or otherwise continuing to yammer on about a subject once it has been discussed.

However …  It has recently come to my attention that a particular subject, which is very dear to me, is in desperate need of revisiting.

I have mentioned before, the importance of having access to a constant heat source.  I discussed in detail here the need for public awareness on Nook Neutrality.  And I warned, gentle readers, most vehemently of the dangers of living without a cold weather plan here.  Yet every day, I receive countless emails, letters and text messages from cold, miserable pets who are living without even the most basic of cold weather essentials.  And it concerns me.  Greatly.

Friends, if you do not currently have access to a Nook, a hot blanket, a generously sized sunbeam, an oven in the ‘bake’ setting, or a chuffy Daddy Dog beside whom you can nestle and absorb heat — you are in trouble.  You must prepare NOW.  Winter is coming.  I daresay it’s arrival is imminent.  You are running out of time to procure the items which will make possible your survival in the frigid, bitter temperatures of the coming season.

In my own home, I am still lacking access to the Nook I am certain is in the basement.  But on cool mornings, Mama Dog often turns on the oven in the kitchen to bake or roast something and I am content to lie pressed up to it’s base, soaking up precious warmth and delicious aromas.  In the evenings, Daddy Dog frequently places me next to him on the sofa, allowing his overwhelming body heat (from the extra winter pounds he carries year-round) to pass directly to my flank, haunch and bank – my primary heat absorbers.  Many days, the children will open the curtains in the family room just enough to allow a Dachshund sized sunbeam to land across the floor so I can replenish my energy stores.  Or they will cover me, as I lie in repose on the back of the little couch, with a blanket, towel or Mama Dog’s sweater (which she thoughtfully leaves on the arm of the furniture upon her nighttime retirement).  So you see, while I am without Nookability, I am not left to wither and die from the cold.

Ask yourselves, dear friends – how is your human family accommodating you?  Do they go out of their way to assure your warmth and comfort?  Or do they simply swath you in a tacky holiday-themed sweater or coat and send you into the frigid abyss to be mocked for a fashion disaster over which you have no control?  If the answer is the latter – well, you have a serious problem and it needs to addressed immediately.  Or sooner.

Do whatever is necessary to make your comfort a priority in your house.  Petition your humans.  Call your Senators and Representatives.  Make your voice heard and heard loudly.  DEMAND a Nook.  Withhold your household services if you must.  Make your needs KNOWN.  Your continued comfort and existence depends on your willingness to stand up for your well-being and your ability to convey this very important message to your family:  I am COLD and I will not TOLERATE these conditions any longer!

I will be sharing, over the next weeks and months, many tips and helpful plans of action you can use to turn your home into a haven of warmth and comfort throughout the cold weather season.  Some may seem drastic, but my reader feedback has shown there are many, many, many of you who are totally unprepared, completely unready and most likely destined to perish without intervention of some sort.  I would prefer that not happen.

For the time being, make sure you are seeking warmth wherever and whenever possible – even if it involves rolling yourself up in piles of dirty laundry waiting to be washed.  Some of my warmest naps have taken place in Daddy Dog’s discarded shirts.  Do your best to express your needs to your humans and take heart for I am here to guide and advise you to a winter season of absolute plushiousness.  Thank you for your support.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

This week, Mama Dog devoted an entire post to me on her blog. As is my due.

Being a generous, thoughtful, considerate, selfless, loving dog – I want to say a few words about her as well.

Where to begin …

Well, for starters, she never lets me out in the morning first.  She always goes to the bathroom herself, then comes to let me outside.  Which I find to be pretty inconsiderate.  Also, she doesn’t feed me before she puts me outside. Daddy Dog does, but he rarely gets up earlier than Mama Dog.  And she puts me outside even if it’s raining.  Or cold.  Or windy.  Or really hot.  Like I said, no consideration at all for my comfort.

Another thing about Mama Dog that really bugs me – she talks to me constantly.  As though I have the time or the inclination to converse with her all day long!  She tells me about her plan for the day.  (Like I care – I have my own plan.) She talks to me about her feelings.  (Ack!  Is there anything more gross?) She announces every little task or chore she’s about to perform.  (Seriously – I do not need to know that you’re pouring a second cup of coffee … it’s not like you share that hazelnutty, creamy goodness with me anyway.)

She’s very clumsy.  She’s always tripping over me or stubbing her toes on my shins when I stand in front of her.  It’s like she has no control over her gross motor function at all.  And even when I’m trying to move out of her way, she still trips over me by moving to the exact spot where I am.  And she blames me.  She says I’m like VISA – everywhere she wants to be.  Can I help it if she can’t step more carefully??  I’ll grant you, she does say she’s sorry when she kicks me.  But she never apologizes by dropping any of that food she’s carrying around the kitchen!

She never sits for very long in one place, either.  Like, if I try to give her support for her “frazzled nerves” and such by laying in front of her chair while she and Daddy Dog are talking in the family room, for example.  I’ll just get into a good, effectively supportive position under her feet when she decides she has to get up and go do something.   Or when she’s “working” at the computer and I lay on top of her feet to show how much I care … what does she do?  She has to go to the bathroom.  Or change over laundry.  Or take care of one of my human siblings.  It’s just rude, the way she jumps up and dislodges me quite brutally, leaving me lying on the floor only half-awake.

Some of her other problems, not necessarily in order of how much they annoy me …

  1. She’s a very neat eater, which means she almost never drops food.  Even when she can clearly see how very hungry I am.  
  2. She’s way too independent.  Everyone knows a Bathroom Supervisor is crucial to proper bathroom procedure.  But would you believe she tries to go on her own all the time?  And then I have to run in there after her to make sure she’s doing it right.  What a chore!
  3. She never takes me anywhere.  She claims that just because I get a little carsick that I shouldn’t travel much.  I only threw up that one measly time … and that was on Daddy Dog anyway.  If he doesn’t care, why is she making such big deal about it?
  4. She never wants to watch the television shows I want to watch.  “Zombeaver” looks like an incredible cinematic masterpiece and I think she’s being narrow-minded in not letting Bachmann and I watch it.
  5. She is CONSTANTLY taking pictures of me.  I can’t nap.  I can’t eat.  I can’t supervise my Companions without having her camera all up in my business.  I’m not sure what she does with all the photos, but so far, I haven’t seen a dime of compensation for all my inconvenience.

She’s not entirely bad, of course.  I mean, she does have a few good qualities.

For example, she tells me all the time how beautiful and smart and clever I am.  Which is all true, of course, but it’s good that she recognizes my attributes.  And she has an Amazon Prime account which means she can buy my cookies and get them delivered fast, fast, fast.  Because I don’t like to be without cookies.  She did set up this blog for me, too.  But it was all my idea so I don’t know if that counts in her favor – she might just be riding on my tail, so to speak.  Oh, and she makes sure I have clean water to drink.  So, you know, she knows how to provide basic care for another living being.  Woo hoo.

So.  There you have it.  Some words about Mama Dog, in return for the feature she wrote about me on her blog.  Good Day.

 

Beaver Tales by Bachmann

Beaver Tales by Bachmann

A note from Georgie:

As much as it gives me pause to do so, I have consented to let Bachmann take another turn at having his own column on the blog.  I do not suppose that much of what he’s about to tell you is the truth – he’s a wily beaver – but we shall see.

Beaver Tales by Bachmann T. Beaver

Growing up on the Little Nokasippi afforded me many opportunities to commune and become one with nature.  One such opportunity was the time my friend Arlo and I decided to ‘tube’ down the river from the Big River (known to many as the Mighty Mississippi) west of Fort Ripley, all the way to Sebie Lake.

We knew it wouldn’t be just a single day trip, so we planned it over a long weekend in June, during the summer between our junior and senior year of college.  Arlo had this beat up old canoe he’d been fixing up since Beaver Day in February.  It was ugly as homemade sin, but he swore up and down on a stack of birch-bark that it would hold up.  I argued that we needed a backup plan, just in case, and so Arlo finally agreed for each of us to carry an inflatable inner tube in our packs.

At this point, you might be wondering why in the world two savvy aquatic mammals would want to travel over the water as opposed to under it.  I’ll admit that we are better suited to the submersible lifestyle, but we were looking for a real taste of Americana.  We wanted to experience the blue sky above us and the sounds of the insects and birds around us and the fresh air in our noses.  You just don’t see too much in the scenery department when you’re swimming under water.  This was to be our last Great Adventure before moving out into the adult world and starting our own colonies.

*As a sidenote, to this day, neither Arlo nor myself has settled down into domestic beaver bliss. I can’t speak for Arlo, but I’m certain I don’t have any wayward kits roaming around North America, either.  Of course, this is by my own choice – I could have my pick of lady beavers if I wanted.  Arlo, however, has probably never settled down mainly due to a slight physical deformity that renders him incapable of , well … let’s just say he can’t build a dam to hold water, if you get my meaning.  Also, Arlo doesn’t like to bathe, brush his teeth or practice any sort of personal hygiene.  I believe it’s a factor in his pursuit of female companionship.

Now right away, I knew this trip was going to be difficult.  Poor Arlo chipped a tooth right off the bat while trying to push the canoe into the water.  He tripped over this backpack straps and went head over asphalt into the nose of the canoe.  I took out my trusty Minnesota Beaver Scout knife with 17 different tools built in and filed the tooth down as smooth as I could.  But it was still causing him some trouble, as it was uneven.  And it’s awfully hard to gnaw with an uneven bite.

After we finally set sail, so to speak, and had been out in the river for a few hours, Arlo remembered that he’d brought along a deck of playing cards.  We began to play Gin Rummy, but Arlo quickly got tired of that — I won every hand.  I have a real knack for cards, you know.  We played Hearts, Crazy Eights, Blackjack … Arlo lost every time.  He got pretty frustrated and suggested a game I’d never heard of before – 52 Pickup.  In the interest of keeping harmony in the canoe, I figured I’d be smart to go along with whatever Arlo wanted at that point, so I said I’d love to play.  As it turned out, 52 Pickup wasn’t much of a game and after Arlo had scattered those cards all over the water, I inquired as to who was the winner.  Arlo is something of a poor sport and he started ranting and raving, jumping up and down in the boat.  I took that to mean I had won, but it was sort of a hollow victory.

All his yelling and screaming drew quite a bit of  attention from the local Nokasippians.  One old-timer, a muskrat who called himself ‘Pete Pete’, even threw sticks at us as we sailed by and shouted out, “Beaver punks!”  Now I’m not sure whether he was offended particularly by Arlo’s outburst or beavers in general, but he was adamant either way.

We managed to make it around two bends of the river in that canoe before it finally sprung multiple leaks right before we met the Mississippi Fork.  It was there that we had to abandon ship and scramble into our inflatables before a real Titanic moment was upon us.  Arlo argued that we could tow the canoe the rest of the trip and repair it once we landed at Sebie Lake, but I thought that was a real bad idea.  Before I had to present my own dissenting opinion on that subject, what was left of the canoe was caught in a wayward current and swept down the right fork and on down the Mississippi River.  For a minute, I thought old Arlo was going to swim after it so I stayed ready to grab his tail and prevent him from doing something foolhardy.  Just as Arlo lunged for the nose of the canoe as it disappeared into the Big River, though, his field glasses started to slide out of one of the pockets on his fishing vest.  He made a grab for them – they were special because they’d been a gift from his great uncle Gene – and missed his opportunity to grab hold of the boat.  He groused about losing that boat for months afterward.  And I’m not sure Arlo really ever got over it.

Anyway, there we were, two madcap young beavers in the open water.  My inner tube was just as comfortable as my own bed.  I’d found it in an old salvage yard for farm equipment and I think it must have been from a tractor tire.  It was spacious and stable on the river.  I even had enough space to string up some netting I’d stuck in my pack to make a cover over the center hole.  I tacked down a handkerchief or two so I had somewhere to lay my belongings, and the rest made a very comfortable relaxing surface.  Many an hour I was lulled to sleep by the gentle bob and sway of the water.  There’s just nothing like it.

Arlo wasn’t fairing as well.  He’d really believed the canoe would make it all the way to Sebie Lake so he’s skimped a little on the back up inner tube.  All he’d been able to find on short notice was the tube out of a bicycle – and a little bicycle at that.  Arlo said he’d nabbed it from little Marlen Nordsterson’s yard when Marlen’s daddy was changing the tires out on his tricycle.  Marlen was only 3 that summer, so he didn’t have a very big ride.  I doubt if that tire was even twelve inches across.  And it was skinny.  Arlo – not so much.  He’d put on the ‘Freshman 15’ and then some the first few years of college by eating in the school cafeteria all the time – loading up on all that rich rosewood pudding and mahogany fries really packed on the pounds.  That little bitty tire was really struggling to keep Arlo afloat.  I took his pack on board my own craft, but Arlo wasn’t sleeping much and I don’t think he much appreciated my attempt to help.

We sailed along for a few more days, finally making it to the sharp bend that flows right into Sebie Lake.  By this time, poor Arlo was pretty wild-looking.  He hadn’t slept for about 3 days and hadn’t eaten more than a few handfuls of wood shavings in that time.  Every time he took one paw off his tube, it tipped over and dumped him off.  I think he’d probably swum further than he’d floated on the entire trip, trying to keep up to his inner tube.

I knew the end of our trip was drawing near and I have to say, as much as I enjoyed the lazy days of floating peacefully on the water, I was happy for it to be over.  I’d made arrangements before we left for my brother-in-law Donald to pick me up at the Sebie Lake Marina.  I wanted to get back home in time for my mother’s birthday the following week.

As we landed on the shores of Sebie Lake, Donald was, indeed there to greet us.  He had a thermos of hot  sap and a copy of the latest issue of Beaver Illustrated, which was most welcoming.  I felt relaxed and refreshed in a way I’ve never felt since.  Even Donald commented on my vigor and good health.  By the time Arlo wandered ashore, Donald and I had deflated my trusty inner tube and stowed my pack in the back of his truck.  I offered Arlo some sap and he almost pulled my arm off grabbing at it.  If you ever seen someone who wandered in the desert for days without water drink upon their rescue, then you’ll have a pretty good picture of what old Arlo looked like sucking the sap out of that thermos.  Donald asked him if he’d like a ride home and darned if Arlo hadn’t decided to tube back to the Mississippi Fork and try to find his lost canoe!  I tried to reason with him, but Arlo is as stubborn a beaver as ever there was so I wished him fair winds and went on home with Donald.

When Arlo didn’t show up for the first week of classes Senior year, I got pretty worried and was about to take some time off from my own studies to launch a search for him.  But before I could get all the paperwork turned in, Arlo showed up at my dorm room door one morning, looking for all the world like he’d been a castaway on a deserted island for years.  His teeth were yellow and uneven, his eyes wild and hungry.  His fur was disheveled and overly greased and the beaver musk came off him in waves.  I’m ashamed to admit that my old friend scared the vanilla right out of me.

As I sat him down and gave him some refreshments, he told me his story:  He’d managed to locate a slightly more suitable inner tube in the Sebie Lake Marina, this time swiped from a 1987 Geo Metro in the parking lot.  He made it through the fat rapids area of the Nokasippi and ventured out into the Mississippi to find his canoe without incident.  But after four days on the Mississippi, he found himself floating through some golf course community near Brainerd and he’d completely lost the canoe’s trail.  He tried back tracking for a few weeks, but never found any trace of his beloved ship.  In despair, he decided to make a new life for himself in Crow Wing State Park, as a tourist attraction and naturalist.  But when the rangers there found him peeping on some female tourists in their campsite, he was thrown out of the Park and decided to come home to finish his education.  After graduation, though, Arlo put together a small band of hippie beavers and set out on another expedition to find that canoe.  He didn’t find it then, but that hasn’t stopped him from searching for it ever since.  I heard that last summer, he talked one of his relatives into financing a trip to the Yukon because he’d gotten news that a canoe had been spotted there.

Arlo and I haven’t maintained the best relationship over the years since then.  We’ve drifted apart the way friends sometimes do.  But I always think back on that river trip as one of my most defining moments in life.  It was there, as I floated peacefully on the great Little Nokasippi, that I knew I what I wanted from life – to never, ever, become so attached to material possessions, like poor old Arlo, and spend my days chasing a mythical canoe.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

I realize it’s been some time since my Independence Day post.  I have been struggling with such fatigue and have found it most difficult to manage both my duties within the Family Bed and my obligations to you, gentle readers.  Additionally, my Mama Dog has been in desperate need of a Social Secretary – someone to screen visitors and make appointments with other family members – and I simply could not refuse to offer her my assistance. It’s a rather mundane job, but my work with troubled Companions has made me specially suited to the task.

I have been resting as much as possible, though I am still deeply, deeply tired from the release of my W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachshund) over the Fourth of July holiday.  An unexpected water outage on the 4th delayed the actual celebration until the 5th.  Bachmann swears he had nothing to do with the leak in the water line, but I don’t believe him.  Forcing the celebration to be held on the anniversary of the Battle of the Manolada in 1316 is just too much of a coincidence.  Bachmann is well known to have a fetish for the Infante Ferdinand of Majorca, and any opportunity he can find to dredge up that old chestnut … well, he takes it.  If I have to hear him rant about how Ferdinand was robbed of his rightful claim to the Principality of Achaea, I’m going to boil his macaroni art.  Gah …

Even though my family’s celebration was a day late, it was no less spectacular.  I’m told the grilled hamburgers were quite tasty.  As I wasn’t given the option of trying one for myself, I must go with popular opinion on that subject.  I tried to preserve my strength as much as I could during the day, anticipating the release of my W.O.I.D. later on.

Once the fireworks began, I was able to put out a prolonged and impressive display of Irish Dachshund power.  Here I am in the initial phase of W.O.I.D. release.

Release the WOID 1

Note my upright, curled tail position and the focused intensity in my face.  This is classically perfect form.  I am leaning slightly forward on my Fraunches, allowing for more flexibility and torque in my rear quadrants.  If Daddy Dog had not insisted on that ridiculous and heinously unflattering harness, I would have had the fireworks by the throat.

Here I am, approximately mid-release.

Release the W.O.I.D. 2

 

In this image, I am in a relaxed, yet alert and ready position.  My tail is still elevated, signaling my preparedness for the battle.  My haunches are flexed and in a widened stance, which gives me a powerful leaping ability.  Again, the wretched harness is clearly holding me back and diminishing my impact.

The wind began to blow quite hard shortly after the mid-point of the fireworks display and Daddy Dog declared that we would be stopping for the night.  But I was able to release the final vestiges of my W.O.I.D. before everyone dispersed.

This photograph captures me in meditation as I prepare myself for the recovery period.  This process is crucial to my mental and physical well-being.  Had I known Mama Dog was filming, I would have looked away, as it is a very private moment.  But I’m choosing to share it with you, dear readers, in the hopes that you can gain further understanding into the mind of the native Irish Dachshund.

After the WOID

As I said, the recovery period for a total and complete W.O.I.D. release is substantial.  I am still in partial convalescence, even though I am trying to keep up with my responsibilities both to my Companions and my human family.  My humans have been most understanding  over my need to take frequent and prolonged naps.  My Companions have not.

I have found the Family Bed in complete disarray on a daily basis, despite my attempts to keep them tidy.  Je m’appelle Claude, Plato-pus, and of course, Bachmann have been the biggest culprits in Family Bed disharmony over the past few weeks.  My plan is to rest enough over this weekend and begin intensive training with them next week.  I only hope it’s not too late.

Despite the delay in celebration, the utter exhaustion from the release, and the resulting chaos in the Family Bed, I am satisfied that this Independence Day will be remembered, as it should be.

Remember, dear friends, Independence is a right.  Swimming through water lines and causing breaks and leaks is not.  As always, thank you for your support.

 

 

An Independence Day Little Known Fact

An Independence Day Little Known Fact

Happy Independence Day. Or as we Irish Dachshunds call it, Tim Murphy Day. For surely this Irish frontiersman, this colonial sharpshooter, this ragged rebel serving under Daniel Morgan has done a service as integral to secure the birth of this Great Nation as any Founding Father.

Tim Murphy fearlessly and without hesitation fired a fatal shot into British General Simon Frasier, thus ensuring a turning point to the favor of the Patriot movement during the American Revolution.  Without Mr. Murphy, there would likely not even be an America.

However you like to celebrate the 4th of July, be it with fireworks or barbecue (or both, as I do), remember Ireland’s enduring contribution to your freedom.  Raise your perfectly built stout to Tim Murphy and know that without him, you’d all still be wearing powdered wigs in court and calling cookies ‘biscuits’.   (Which is ironic because I call my biscuits ‘cookies’, but they’re actually biscuits and I’m not even a little bit English.)

On a personal note, I will be releasing my W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachsund) at my family’s annual fireworks celebration on Saturday evening.  I anticipate it being an even bigger display of my power and wisdom than ever before.  I will endeavor to take pictures of the event, but Mama Dog is quite protective of her expensive camera equipment and also very selfish.  At least she is ever since Bachmann crawled into her camera case and took her 80 mm lens, which he then proceeded to mount on his river boat as a makeshift periscope.  That was during his last camping trip on the Little Nokasippi.  Mama Dog was not happy about that, especially when he brought the boat back but not the lens.  He claimed that he’d been boarded by a rogue band of beaver pirates and the lens was stolen.  But what I suspect happened was that he’s a terrible sailor, he got into trouble on the river and lost the lens overboard during rough weather or sold it to make bail.  It’s about 50/50 for either scenario with that beaver.  Anyway, the point is that unless Mama Dog takes photos of me during my performance, there may not be any photographic evidence of my greatness.

So.  God Bless America and God Bless Ireland.  And thank you for your support.

 

Anatomy of an Irish Viking Dachshund

Anatomy of an Irish Viking Dachshund

While scientists have long been aware of their unique anatomy, little is actually known about the function and specifics of the Irish-Viking Dachshund’s particularities.  It has been ascertained, through countless hours of research and study, that these elusive animals do possess a structural makeup unlike any other breed.  While the “Haunch” and “Flank” are quite common pieces of canine form, the Irish-Viking Dachshund has other features which make it a fascinating case study.  These include the “Bank” or back flank area; the “Fraunch” or front haunch; the “Frit” or pit of the fraunch; and, most importantly, the “Honk” or haunch/flank concurrence.  Let us explore further …

This Irish-Viking Dachshund was captured in the wild and domesticated. While known primarily for their beards, Irish-Viking Dachshunds are also widely recognized for their extreme susceptibility to sunlight. In this photo, the subject was found unawares – basking and oblivious to our study. Notice that the Haunch, Flank and Bank are positioned so as to be excellent solar receivers. They are crucial to the Irish-Viking Dachshund’s survival in un-plush environments. The primary function of both the Haunch & Fraunch is flexing when stretching or being munchy when adored. The Frit & the Honk facilitate these activities. The Flank & Bank are known for their extreme reflective qualities, as shown in this diagram – notice how they gleam in the laser-like sun. The noble Irish-Viking Dachshund is an enigmatic creature, indeed. We were extremely fortunate to be able to document this amazing life-form for posterity.

A Little Known Fact

A Little Known Fact

While working on his play, Henry V, Shakespeare took a few days to visit his older sister, Judith and her family.  He brought his work with him on this holiday and often worked late into the night, sometimes requesting refreshments from his sister’s maid, Irish-born Ailbe O’Roarke.  Miss O’Roarke, something of a story-teller herself, found herself acting as a sounding board for Mr. Shakespeare’s work.

Late one evening, Ailbe took tea and biscuits to the playwright, and found him wringing his hands in frustration – the pivotal moment in his play had arrived and the Bard had no words to adequately convey the scene.  Miss O’Roarke offered a memory from her childhood in Ireland – an afternoon of play with her siblings, re-enacting the famous Celtic Battle of Axona against Julius Caesar.  She recalled how her brother Brogan rallied his brothers and sisters against the children from the neighboring farm (who were portraying the Roman army)  with words of encouragement and pride.  “Those who are not here with us on this day will forever be ashamed!“ he had cried.  “My band of brothers and sisters that shed blood with me and will show our scars with pride, remembering our valiant deeds!”  “Oh, that Brogan,“ she said fondly, “he’s a silver tongue in his head.  Always quick with a story or a speech to fit the occasion.”    She laughingly recounted the lot of them running into imagined battle, shaking stick-swords and holding shields of tree bark in front of them, shrieking like banshees as they charged the ‘enemy’.  She then left Shakespeare to his work, telling him she had confidence he would find the right words to complete his story.

Some months later, she attended a performance of Henry V and was surprised and pleased to hear her brother’s words that she had shared with the author, uttered from the stage.  After the play ended she sought out Mr. Shakespeare and congratulated him on the piece, mentioning that she was glad to have provided him with the material for the pivotal scene.  Shakespeare pretended he had no idea to what she referred and quickly slunk away without so much as a by-your-leave.

Not one to be silent when slighted, Miss O’Roarke took every opportunity to share Shakespeare’s thievery and slight. However, because of her Irish heritage, she was most often disregarded and assumed to be an embittered ex-consort of the writer.  She never stopped telling the true story of the famous St. Crispin’s Day speech, though, sadly, history remains shamefully occluded about the true origin and once again, denies the Irish due credit for a great literary achievement.

A Little Known Fact

A Little Known Fact

During the Second World War, a lesser known but equally important war was being fought:  The Great Fabric War.  Irish textile manufacturer, Finnegan O’Fergus set out to create a synthetic fabric that would be more durable, flexible and cost-effective than cotton.  He determined that the common Irish potato was a perfect medium through which to develop this wonder fabric.  Through extensive experimentation with potato starches and their natural polyesters, he finally came up with a material which he called “Potaterylene.”  This miracle fiber was lightweight, durable, stain and water resistant and flexible. Knowing the value of his invention, O’Fergus set out for England and the patent office in London.  He was certain that his fortune was about to be made.  Until …

O’Fergus arrived at the Patent Office only a few minutes before closing.  He hurriedly handed over his application and corresponding notes, research and formulas for Potaterylene to Patent Clerk (and frustrated chemist) John Rex Whinfield.  Whinfield assured him the paperwork would be filed before the office closed on this Friday afternoon and O’Fergus left to find a quiet pub in which to celebrate his imminent success.

Whinfield, meanwhile, read over O’Fergus’s research and plotted to claim the discovery for himself.  He took the notes and formulas home for the weekend and, using them as a model, created his own fiber.  He substituted other plant cuticles for the potato polyesters and renamed the fabric “Terylene.”  Whinfield filed his own patent application the following Monday morning and *accidentally* mis-laid the application proffered by O’Fergus.

Terylene was hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and Whinfleld became famous.  The DuPont Corporation purchased the formula for Terylene and the revolutionary fabric, renamed Dacron became a worldwide sensation.

O’Fergus petitioned the patent commission for many years afterward trying to prove that he had come up with the fiber first, but it was no use.  Thus, another opportunity for Irish notoriety was lost.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

Occasionally, I take a day away from The Family Bed to run errands, attend workshops & meetings, or maybe even grab a latte with my Spirit Guide.  Even though I love my work, I sometimes just need a break, you know?  I try not to take these ‘holidays’ very often:  Many of my Companions are very fragile, emotionally and mentally, so I hesitate to leave them unsupervised for any length of time.  You never know when a Companion’s anxiety will overflow and cause  the others to meltdown.

Once, I went to the post office to receive delivery of a batch of carpet samples.  We were re-decorating Candace’s tunnel and I felt like a more lively carpet would encourage her to make it all the way from one end to the other.  Anyway, in the short time I was gone, Hobart the Holiday Hedgehog had started an intense debate on religion with Emrys the Elephant (who currently practices Judaism, but was born into a family of Vodou practitioners).  The fervor of the discussion was apparently fueled by the half pot of hazelnut espresso someone found in the kitchen.  Upon my return to The Family Bed, I found Emrys, trunk knotted in three places, and Hobart wrestling on a table in the cafeteria.  As Hobart stood atop the clearly distressed Emrys, the other Companions circled the table, chanting for Hobart to deliver “The People’s Elbow.”   Clearly, the Companions had been watching more wrestling than I had realized – and I’m pretty certain Bachmann was responsible for that.  He’s always mucking about in my Hulu account.  By the time I was able to disperse the Companions and calm both Hobart and Emrys, it was late in the evening and I had not only missed my supper, but the Entertainment Tonight, as well, which is one of my favorite programs.  I learn a great deal about dealing with fragile egos, emotions and personalities by observing celebrities in their natural habitat.  It’s like a primate documentary with spray tans.

So, as I said, I try to stick pretty close to home.  I’ve tried leaving one particular Companion in charge for the time I’ll be gone, but that never works out well.  Invariably, whichever Companion is chosen quickly devolves into a power-hungry megalomaniac.  For example, once, I left Marshall the Mammoth in charge.  He’d had an especially productive week in therapy and was feeling quite relaxed and calm.  I was only leaving the Bed for a few minutes to supervise the Daddy Dog as he transferred meat from the grill to the kitchen and I felt the responsibility would be a great confidence booster for Marshall.  When I got back, Marshall was calling himself “Marshall Law.” He had moved all the ambulatory members of The Family Bed into the storm shelter and was wielding Breakfast in Bed Chewy like a club in the doorway, shouting “Remember the Alamo!”  sigh

This morning, I had an important meeting with my Spirit Guide.  She’s been working very hard for the past several months on getting me fitted for a prosthetic thumb and finger – her own invention – called The Do-Claw.  She says I’m a perfect candidate and that the Do-Claw will allow me to provide even more for my Companions.  I was gone for about a half hour.  And when I returned, this was what greeted me:

ItsJustSomePancakes.com - View From the Family Bed
ItsJustSomePancakes.com – View From the Family Bed

Apparently, Bachmann began taunting Je m’appelle Claude about who is the better aquatic creature and fisticuffs ensued.  Here, I’m told by Claude’s close friend and fellow crustacean, LeVergne the Lobster, that Claude is performing his signature move on Bachmann.  It’s called the “Crab Rangoon,” and it appears to have been quite successful in getting that porky-mouthed beaver to shut his tree hole.  For once.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

When I opened The Family Bed Education, Rehabilitation and Training Center, it was with the particular goal of providing a nurturing, enriching environment in which to instruct my Companions.  Over the years, I have trained countless Companions – shaping them into upstanding, productive members of society.  Many of them have gone on to careers in the Arts, Politics, Finance, and Sports Medicine.  A few have moved into the arena of Community Organizing and Activism, but one has to expect a certain number of failures in any educational setting, I suppose.   Still, overall, I enjoy my work and feel the FBERTC is a successful institution.

Probably the most rewarding part of my day, however, is the work I do with the more disadvantaged members of the Family Bed.  Some of my companions suffer from developmental challenges.  Some are behaviorally dysfunctional.  And some are just porky-mouthed. (You know of whom I speak – Bachmann.)

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One of my toughest cases is Ernst …  He’s an Eggplant.  And though he’s very sweet, there are clearly many problems which I must help him overcome. For example,  I’m constantly reminding Ernst to use his words because when he gets overly excited he just grunts and points.  I believe his issue stems from being left on the vine over-long … I’ve consulted many experts and they agree with my diagnosis.

I work with Ernst on a bi-weekly basis but we often nap together.  I have found, through my work in the Family Bed, that napping is a great way to build trust and promote inter-companion communication.  I do nap with other Companions, both within and without the confines of the Family Bed, as each individual case may demand.  In this photo, Ernst and I are napping on the couch in the family room.  The elevated position gives Ernst a feeling of empowerment, and also serves to protect him from the prying eyes and often cruel taunts of some of the other Companions. Notice his serene countenance.  Plus, Ernst is quite cuddly and I look especially lovely next to his plush purple exterior.

In many ways, Ernst is my biggest success story.  Since I first began to train Ernst, his vocabulary has expanded by over 12 words.  Additionally, he no longer spits as a greeting.  And while there are numerous issues yet to be resolved – his need to announce bodily functions, for example – I firmly believe that I can help Ernst become the Eggplant he has always longed to be.