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.)

image

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.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

 

In all my years of study and scholarly pursuits, I have yet to find a satisfactory explanation for the existence of cats. Or fat-free cheese.

Truth be told, I’ve really never understood the human fascination with fat-free anything.  As any dachshund can tell you, the flavor is in the fat.  And if there’s no flavor … well, I’d probably eat it anyway, but I’d enjoy it much more if it was full of fatty goodness.

You know, cats don’t have a lot of fat.  It’s a little known fact that cat meat is very lean.  Not that I’ve ever eaten a cat.  But I hear things.  And my Buffalo Spirit Guide used to have a cat named Chauncey and she told me that he was the stringy-est, most non-fat animal in her menagerie.  And I believe her because, well, she’s a Spirit Guide and they don’t lie.  So maybe there’s some kind of correlation between the purpose-less-ness of cats and fat-free cheese.  It only makes sense, doesn’t it?

Let’s examine the facts, shall we?  1. Fat-free cheese is not real cheese.  Fact.  2. Cats are lean.   Fact.  (My exhaustive research has sussed out that 83.6% of the cats I’ve seen on Facebook or other social media are approximately 12.6 pounds or less.  I’d consider that to be quite lean, and seeing as how I am a mere 15 pounds myself, I know something about being lean.  But since we’re talking about lean cats and their fake-osity rather than svelte, haunchy dachshunds who are obviously real, we’ll put that aside for the moment)   Therefore, I would postulate that lean cats are not, in fact, real.   Furthermore, since it’s been well-established through a series of rigorous tests that all cats are lean … well, the obvious conclusion we come to is that all cats are not real.

Now, the real question becomes are lean cats not real cats?  Or (and this is where my superior deductive skills come into play) are lean cats not real cheese?  Ha!  I believe now we have the basis for a solid debate, my friends.

I’m already writing my speech for the Nobel committee.  Or perhaps the Book Prize awards ceremony.  Or the USDA.  Maybe even the Grammys.  It’s such an intriguing discussion for every aspect of society.  Just remember, you read it here first.  Or perhaps I should just be quietly content knowing I’ve sparked what could be the most important conversation in decades?  After all, I’m a modest dachshund – not a glory hound.

Ah.  Well.  After such deep thinking, I believe it’s time for me to take a nap.  But before I go, I’d like to reiterate that I have never, will never, and do not currently support eating cat meat.  Or any other fat-free food.  Like fat-free cheese.  Although they could be one in the same.  Good day, and thank you for your support.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

Life in the Family Bed can be hectic. Sometimes, I like to kick back with a puzzle and relax. But with all those Companions – well, it’s a challenge. I like to think that I’m equitable with the love and nurturing care I offer my Companions and that I don’t play favorites, but the truth is that there are some who require much more attention than others.  Such is the case with the Companion you’ll be meeting in this edition of The View From the Family Bed.

Today, I’m introducing you to Candace. She’s possibly the neediest member of the Family Bed, which I have attributed to her lack of balance. With only two legs, she’s quite a stumbler to say the least, and is constantly mooing for someone to help her stay upright. Tsk, tsk, tsk … she’s so clingy.

While Candace does try to manage on her own, she needs a lot of help.  A lot, a lot, a lot.  And I, along with my team of specialists, work with her about three times a week.  She runs line drills, the balance beam (which is really quite amusing, I must say) and other standard coordination exercises – all designed to help her stand on her own two hooves, so to speak.  Candace has been with me for about two years and in that time she has made no significant progress.  But I’m always hopeful that one day, she’ll be a self-supporting member of the Family Bed.  It would be such a help if she were less of a burden on me, personally and professionally.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

Because of my rare and somewhat overpowering musk issue (brought on by an allergy/fungus situation which I won’t go into at this time), it has been deemed necessary by “Management” that I bathe twice a week with a “special” shampoo.  The Family Bed is required to be washed once a week, as well, so as to completely eradicate any lingering opportunity for me to ‘re-musk-u-late’, which I find terribly rude.  I find my aroma unique and pleasing … but they tell me I actually smell like feet.  Whatever.

As an unexpected stroke of good fortune, the water was off at our house on both of my weekly bath days this past week.  It makes Mama Dog really angry and she makes Daddy Dog call Water Guy to find out what’s going on.  She really gets worked up about it … apparently, she enjoys flushing the toilet, washing her hands and bathing.

Now, what they don’t know is that I’ve secretly sent Bachmann out into the water district’s pipeline system to see just what kind of mischief a beaver of his ilk can get into.  A broken valve here, a ‘mysterious’ leak in the line there … Bachmann has really been living up to his position as Right Paw Beaver.  No one seems the wiser and I’ve avoided a bath for 6 full days.  Day 6:  Musky Mix!

Today, the water seems to be flowing really well.  I guess it’s time to send Bachmann on another aquatic adventure.  Or perhaps I should send my new Companion, Platopus, into the watery breach … he’s a platypus and should be especially suited to such a task.  Either way, my finely-tuned dachshund instincts tell me a water shortage will be forthcoming.

“It’s your bath day, Georgie!” they’ll say.  Indeed.  We shall see.  Thank you for your support.

 

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

You may not be aware, gentle readers, that I am known in certain circles as Ar the Sun Dog. It’s an honorary title for the most part – bestowed upon me by an ancient Beaver Culture, the remnants of which make their home just outside Sheboygen.  They don’t worship me or anything like that, but they do send me small tokens and gifts throughout the year.  Nothing extravagant, mind you – shell necklaces, books of poetry, smoked meats.  It’s nice to be recognized, I must say.

My own love affair with the sun came at an early age.  I always knew the sun and I shared a special connection.  We both are warm, energy-giving points of light.  We both shine brightest around 2:30 p.m.  And we both find joy in just settling peacefully at the end of the day with a puzzle and a light savory snack.  Well, I don’t actually know for certain that the sun likes savory snacks – he may indeed have quite the sweet tooth.  But I am sure that he loves a good puzzle, just as much as I do.

The truth is, dear subscribers, that everything just feels better when one is in the sun.  Allow me to illustrate …

Here I am, basking in this particularly plush sunbeam.  Do you see how content and peaceful I look?  I remember it was a lovely afternoon and Mama Dog had left the curtains open so I could bask.  Delightful.

And this is me soaking up an early morning sunbeam and surveying my domain.  I look noble and majestic, don’t I?  (Mama & Daddy Dog have since replaced this sofa with a new one.  The new one doesn’t have cushions like this so I can no longer sun myself on a lofty perch.  Hateful humans.)

The health benefits of sun exposure are well documented.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve read article after article stating that regular and prolonged sun-basking can eliminate cavities, strengthen tail-wagging muscles, cure warts, and even make one’s beard grow faster.

Ever in pursuit of health and wellness, I will continue to seek the healing and regenerative sunbeams, regardless of how inconveniently placed I might be.  My humans can walk around me or step over me.  It’s not like their legs are only 3″ long … Good day and Thank you for your support.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

On this visit to the Family Bed I’m introducing you to El Monterey, a rare Mexican moose. He prefers to be called Montey, though, so I humor him.  Here we are, Montey and I, after one of our ‘sessions’.  It’s important to rest and restore ourselves after such exertion.

Montey became my Companion a little over two years ago. Originally, I  planned for hime to provide a certain amount of multicultural depth to the Family Bed, but he American-ized really quickly. Now, instead of bringing a Mexican flavor to the table (pardon the pun), he watches Glenn Beck and demands pizza and imported beer at every meal. I recently had to block his internet access because he had subscribed to too many Libertarian websites, which resulted in the entire Family Bed being put on numerous Federal watchlists.  He’s also become increasingly involved as a volunteer for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Even though Cruz is not Mexican, Montey says he feels a deep connection.  As long as it doesn’t affect his work here in The Family Bed, I’m fine with that.  I encourage all my Companions to explore their passions outside the borders of the Bed.

Interestingly, Montey’s most positive contribution to the Family Bed has been as a yoga instructor.

His utter spinelessness renders him unbelievably bend-y and his “small government” political philosophy allows him to really connect with the other Companions. I’ve noticed an improved sense of cohesiveness in the Bed since Montey began offering daily Hot Yoga sessions in the sunbeam near the sofa. And most all of the Companions have told me that at the end of our workouts they feel less stiff and sore than before, which I generously attribute to Montey’s flexibility training. Except for Bachmann, of course. That darn beaver takes every opportunity to cause trouble in the Bed… I don’t know why I keep him around. Gaaahhhh.

My own yoga training is much more rigorous than what Montey teaches the Companions … I have achieved true limber-ality.

Anyway … Montey may not be serving the Family Bed in the way I originally envisioned, but I think he’s proving himself to be an important part of our mission.

A Little Known Fact

A Little Known Fact

Irishman Duncan O’Flanagan longed for a peaceful, quiet life. During his career as a soldier of fortune, he had seen enough violence and bloodshed and now he was ready to retire and fulfill his lifelong dream of running his own bakery. He excitedly opened Duncan’s Dough Hut in the small Irish village of Booterstown, where he baked breads, cakes, pastries and pies for pleasure and profit.

Particularly popular with his customers, were his special loaves of pre-sliced sourdough bread. The texture was refined and light and the villagers declared that Duncan’s bread was a wonder. O’Flanagan’s secret was the special slicing machine he had invented, which allowed him to uniformly slice the bread before packaging it for sale. Customers loved the neat, even slices, which were the perfect thickness for sandwiches and saved time when preparing the day’s lunches for many busy homemakers.

Word of this ‘wonder’ bread began to spread throughout Ireland, England, Europe and eventually, even across the ocean. Finally, it came to the attention of frustrated American inventor, Otto Rohwedder, who had long been puzzling over his own bread predicament:  How could he cram thick handcut slices of homemade bread into a newly marketed device called a toaster and achieve even toasting on both sides?  In each of his attempts, the unevenly sliced bread inevitably came out of the toaster un-browned on one half and charred on the other. Upon hearing of the Irish ‘wonder’ bread, Rohwedder was struck with the notion that, if he were to market the idea of pre-slicing and packaging bread before sale in the United States, he could achieve wealth and fame. He knew few would question his claim to the idea, as Ireland was much removed from the industrial revolution currently spreading through America.

After several failed attempts to recreate the success of O’Flanagan’s slicing device, including one disastrous idea where he used hat pins to hold the bread slices in place for packaging, Rohwedder finally marketed his bread slicer in 1928. The pre-sliced bread was well-received in the United States and Rohwedder did indeed receive credit for the revolutionary idea.

Although there were many in Ireland and even England who decried the American’s claim of ownership to this fantastic invention, they were largely ignored and dismissed as radicals and Irish nationalists. Thus another Irish achievement has passed into the annals of history, falsely attributed to a lesser nation …

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

This Easter Bunny fellow seems pretty shifty to me.  I mean, here’s a rabbit who makes his living hiding eggs from children.  Seriously … what kind of career is that?   Can you imagine how embarrassed his parents are?  And what they tell their friends and neighbors?

‘Well, yes, Steven is actually working as The Easter Bunny.  We tried to convince him to go into civil engineering or law  – or something more practical like Community Organizing.  But he insisted that he had a “higher calling” to be The Easter Bunny.  All his brothers and sisters have Master’s Degrees or PhD’s and successful careers, you know?  I guess he’s just destined to be the rogue of the family.  Maybe if his father had been around more instead of spending so much time in Farmer McGregor’s garden?  It’s hard on a boy to not have his father’s guidance.  Or maybe we shouldn’t have babied him so much when he was a kit.  He was the youngest of 26, though – and I knew he would be my last … it was hard not to coddle him.  Ah, well, we do enjoy having him still living at home with us after all these years … mostly.’

Georgie waits for The Easter Bunny
Georgie watches for “The Easter Bunny” … if that is his real name.

I mean, come on!  Even Bachmann has a better 5 year plan.  What would parents say if they knew ‘Steven the Easter Bunny’ lives in the basement of his parents’ house and spends most of the year building model forts?  They probably wouldn’t be so keen to let their little darlings accept candy, colored eggs and gifts from him, would they?  So I’m keeping an eye out for him … for the children.

Happy Easter from Beard to Beard.  Thank you for your support.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

Last fall, I noticed these weird mounds of dirt with holes in the center showing up in my yard. I heard the Mama Dog tell the Daddy Dog that “those damn gophers” had come back. She was really mad. In my capacity as Yard Supervisor, I immediately launched an official investigation, but was reprimanded for digging. In my continuing quest for knowledge, I attempted to initiate contact with the “damn gophers.” But when I shouted, “HELLOOOO!” into their doorways, there was no response.  I monitored the situation for several weeks days hours, and considered initiating negotiations with these interlopers, but it got dark pretty early so I decided it would be better to wait until I could look them in the eye.  It’s important to look a potential adversary in the eye when determining whether or not they are trustworthy … a lesson Bachmann has taught me.

Georgie says, "Helloooo!"
Georgie initiates a negotiation with the gophers.

Now that spring is upon us, I notice the strange dirt hummocks are more plentiful than before.  Mama Dog and Daddy Dog have resumed their discussions on how to deal with the “damn gophers.”  I’ve conducted many several two hours of research on these “damn gophers,” and have only come up with a paw full of information.  They are elusive creatures, indeed.  Nevertheless, I’m quite anxious to determine whether or not the gophers are still in residence, and if so, how we can work together to achieve a more harmonious yard experience for everyone.

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

The Family Bed Community is home to many Companions. By far, the most demanding and loudest member is this porky-mouthed beaver Bachmann. He is my most-trusted confidante, although I honestly don’t know why — he’s completely self-possessed.  I’ve found that I need to have more (and more intense) training sessions with Bachmann than any of my other Companions.  He’s quite stubborn, as I suppose beavers are wont to be.

Georgie and Family Bed Companion Bachmann
Georgie & Bachmann

He fancies himself to be a real cosmopolitan beaver, even though he hails from the wilds of the Great North. His family runs a ‘mom & pop’ beaver vanilla bottling plant.  His more irritating qualities include his constant tail-slapping and shrill announcements of ALERT! ALERT! … all day long. This interrupts my nap time and it’s very rude. Lately, he’s taken to using his tail as a lever to move rocks and begun referring to himself as ‘Bachemedes’.  Now he expects the Family Bed Companion Group Health Plan to pay for his unnecessary and grossly expensive tail-waxing procedure to fix the damage.   I’ve told him repeatedly that he can lever rocks until the cows come home but he’s still not going to be a mathematical pioneer with a shiny tail.  Whatever will I do with this rodent raconteur?