Halloween

Holidays in the ‘Hood

In our neighborhood, we know who lives in every house (I know the humans, Izzy knows the animals) and have begun to learn their habits.  The old guy with the pit bull-mix that doesn’t like Izzy walks Main Street around 6 PM.  If we’re there at the same time, we have to walk on separate sides of the street, because he can’t quite control his young, angry dog.  (It’s not his fault.  The dog came from a home where he was tied outside in the back yard all the time, and he’s frustrated.  I think the dog could use a LOT of exercise, but the old man can barely do the walks down Main Street a couple of times a day, never mind run with the dog to get rid of some of his aggressive energy).  On Main Street, the artsy couple walks their two dogs very early and when we didn’t see them one day, I wondered why.  We found out the next day that the older dog had passed away.  And two houses down from us, the Spanish teacher at the community school takes out his dachshund at the same time that Izzy and I make our second walk before I leave for work.  They have a sniff every weekday morning, then happily trot away.  When I heard the dachshund barking every day over the Thanksgiving holidays and didn’t see the teacher’s car, I started to worry, but it was okay.  He was just away for the holiday.

During the holidays, certain houses decorate over the Thanksgiving weekend (I’m one of them) while others don’t decorate at all.  Izzy watches them out the window, patrolling the couch to make sure that no one puts any extra decorations on our lawn.  

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And when we walk the neighborhood, we check out the sights that we see along the way.  The yellow Victorian house that had such wild decorations for the Halloween holiday has now put out their figures and lights for the Christmas celebration.  But one of them seems oddly out of sync with the others.

In the middle of the lawn, in front of the sparkly horse and Cinderella-type carriage that the folks used as their focal point last year, stood a life-size brown wire moose.  A moose.  Izzy looked at it, then looked at me, then peered back at the moose again, as if to say, “What the hell does that have to do with Christmas?”  I started laughing.  I’m thinking the same thing.

That’s what holidays are like in my ‘hood.

A moose.

Damn.

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Dog clothing? Really? Do we need to dress up the little buggers? Or is that human vanity?

While I do believe that when it rains out, Izzy needs his ThunderShirt, both to stay dry and so that he won’t get freaked out if it’s thunder and lightening while we’re out, I’m not so sure he needs a specially-designed sweater in the middle of the winter or a nice wooly blanket for football season.  Seriously.  What is it about people who dress up a Golden Retriever in a kerchief like some Middle-Eastern babushka-wearing grandma?  And how long does the dog keep the kerchief on to begin with?

I’ve read a lot of articles about Baby Boomers and how we are treating our animals as though they are the children who have long since left the nest.  While that might be true (not only of Baby Boomers but pretty much everyone who’s crazy about their pets), I’m still not convinced we have to turn animals into pseudo-human-children.  I’ve seen Chihuahuas in pink tutus, poodles in berets, and boxers in Irish Fisherman knit sweaters.  They all look the same:  ridiculous.

I’m writing this and remembering that the dog I had when we were growing up often got scalped rather than having a decent haircut (because my parents were do-it-yourself-ers).  Tammy would skulk around, head down, eyes averted, as if ashamed that she was “nude.”  In that particular case, I can see putting something on her nearly naked body if it was the middle of the winter, because she certainly would have frozen.  But should we dress our animals just to make a statement?  Does a Cocker Spaniel really appreciate being dressed as a dragon for Halloween?  Should we create a mini Pekingnese version of Santa Claus on December 25th?  Or what about a heart-shaped Pit Bull for Valentine’s Day?

Maybe I’m just being an ol’ poop, but I don’t get design clothing for dogs.  http://www.refinery29.com/pet-accessories?utm_source=email&utm_medium=editorial&utm_content=los-angeles&utm_campaign=131029-dog-accessories#slide-1

I’d be interested to hear how you feel about dressing up your lovely pooch.  And I would venture to guess that your most affectionate cat wouldn’t sit still for putting on a hat or a vest or a lovely sequined dress!  

Izzy and the Haunted House

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The house around the corner from mine decorates for Halloween at the end of September and people come from miles around to see the moving and speaking figures that populate the porch and hang around on the rooftop.  In the corner of the porch, a Frankenstein-like creature plays an organ (and the haunting music from that organ plays 24/7), while a witch welcomes visitors and tells them (every fifteen minutes or so) about what she’s stirring in her pot (‘double double toil and trouble’).  On the roof, a supersized black cat swings its head from right to left, lit from within in some horrid way, and above the doorway a gigantic spider waves its arms, threatening to spin its web over any intruders.  Pumpkins litter the lawn, cutout witches guard each corner, and a blow-up evil tree spooks little kids who will probably never enter the woods again.

Every time Izzy and I pass by the house, he freezes in his tracks and his eyes light with the orange flickerings from the decorations themselves.  He’s baffled by the moving cat and spider on the roof, tilts his head when the witch intones her spell, and the sound of the organ alerts him even when we’re blocks away.  He pees on the gravestones at the edge of the walkway and doesn’t even bother sniffing the wood cutout witch.  If we’re walking by early in the morning when everything else is quiet, he mutters a little in the back of his throat or does a little prance and whine routine.  He knows this isn’t “normal” but he has no clue what Halloween is (nor does he care, other than the sound and lights bug him).  

Wait until the kids start ringing our doorbell in their costumes.  Now that is cause for a great deal of barking!