gerisullivan: (Geri 2014)
Why yes, I do know how to pose for the camera
Milo in my office, right next to my desk chair, smack dab between me at work and me being anyplace else.

Sentry Milo, redux
Milo at Conant Brook Dam. Our favorite place for walks.

On April 8th, Marc Abrahams tweeted "Many of you who met Milo, our improbable, socially-challenged-yet-charismatic dog. Milo went peacefully, today." Marc shared the sad news in email, but I missed his public mention of it, and held off on making my own until I checked with him. It was a bit my news, but it was totally his and Robin's.

I treasure rich memories of Milo's three years of vacations here at Toad Woods, from his trial visit in 2008 to week-long stays while Marc & Robin were traveling, typically overseas. Milo's vacations here ended three years ago when Tillie and Jinx moved in. Cats were squirrels as far as Milo was concerned. Their purpose in life was to be be his prey, to get impossibly excited about as only Milo could. Or so I'm given to understand. We never tried to introduce them.

But Milo continued to greet me joyfully during each visit to the Improbable Research headquarters in Cambridge and there was never any doubt that he would have gleefully jumped in the Cardis for another vacation at Toad Woods, never appearing to hold it against me that we didn't do that any more.

So now I miss Milo as well as Baskerville, Willow, Brandywine, and Kachinka, all dogs I've loved over the past, urk, 42 years. Oddly enough, I don't miss Wags, the dachshund of my childhood. Well, maybe a little, but Wags was clearly Daddy's dog. I had closer relationships with the parakeets we had throughout the years of my childhood than I did with Wags.

Nameste, Milo. You were an energy-generating joy to be around.
gerisullivan: (Toad WOODS)
I took Milo back to his people Wednesday afternoon, then spent the evening at the NESFA Clubhouse. Shortly after I returned home in the wee hours, I heard scratching sounds. Loud scratching sounds, much more than the mouse sounds that have been refreshingly absent of late.

I got up, looked around a bit, and pulled out the mouse poison that I'd put out of reach while Milo was visiting. Then I returned to my computer.

Quiet, then more rustles, then quiet. Then Loud Scratchy Rustle Sounds. Really Loud!

I went stomping into the kitchen, calling out in a firm voice, "All right! Who's in MY house?!"

The scratching continued, as demanding as my stampfoot and voice. Thankfully, it wasn't coming from inside.

There was something on the deck, scratching at the screen door as if it desperately wanted to come in. For a split-second, I panicked. Oh, no! Had I accidentally left the dog outdoors? That couldn't be; I'd taken the dog home. He wasn't here any more. So who the heck was so desperate to come in?

I flipped on the outside light. I should have grabbed my camera first, for there at the patio door, standing up on his or her hind legs, claws gripping the screen, was an adult raccoon staring up at me. It didn't move while I returned its stare, but vanished when stepped away from the door to grab the camera.

There was a raccoon on the deck a few years ago, back when I was keeping the bird feeders full. But never before has one come a'knockin' at my door.
gerisullivan: (Zeppelin Hangar)
-- Freshly-laundered bras tucked safely away in their dresser drawer. Check.

-- Plush Sun Bear and ginormous Valentine Frog put up out of easy reach. Check.

-- House and garage swept for mouse baits; all put safely away. Check.

-- Guest bedroom dishes of chocolates and Kisses removed. Check.

-- Last of the post-Boskone Renovation party kit returned to pantry shelves and the basement Fan Room. Check.

Most of us tidy up a bit when company's coming. Me, I tidy up for canines.

Today's efforts were for the benefit of one canine in particular, of course. Milo the Moon Dog is vacationing here for the next nine days. I'm looking forward to the wind and rain finishing up the job of blowing themselves far away from here. Milo and I are looking forward to pleasant ambles over at Conant Brook Dam.
gerisullivan: (Seuss character)
On Thursday, Robin Abrahams -- Boston's very own Miss Conduct and VP, Human Resources at Improbable Research -- is going to be on the Today show!

She'll be talking about layoff etiquette, but I hope she also has the opportunity to plug Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. It's her first book and it's being released at the end of May. I always enjoy (and learn from) her blog and am eagerly awaiting the book's release.

Robin's scheduled appearance on the Today show is the reason I'm unexpectedly spending the last half of April without a dog. The Ig Nobel Tour of Denmark starts tomorrow and Milo the Moon Dog was originally scheduled to come and stay at Toad Woods while both Marc and Robin were in Denmark. But time didn't do it's job. Time is supposed to keep everything from happening all at once, but on Thursday, the Today show will broadcasting from New York, not from Denmark. So Robin stayed on this side of the Pond, and Milo is staying with her, where he belongs. I look forward to his next visit, whenever that turns out to be.

I have the inklings of a theory. Perhaps time's been laid off. That would explain a lot.

This Thursday...I expect to be watching NBC between 10 and 11 am. On a real TV, if possible, but online at if need be.

I love living in the future. (Much though the fact that the future is now may well be additional evidence supporting my theory-laden inklings. Hmm....have theory; must investigate. In my Copious Free Time, obviously.)
gerisullivan: (Default)
Three years ago today, Milo came to live with Miss Conduct and Mr. Improbable. There's a full tribute to the Miloversary at Miss Conduct's blog, complete with poetry and a link to last year's Miloversary post.

I'm honored to be spending this special day with him, and will note that even though I took this picture 6 days ago, he's in a pose quite similar to the one below as I type this note.

Milo at Toad Woods
Milo at Toad Woods
Here's Milo, next to my desk. We spend a lot of time here.

gerisullivan: (Default)

Another walker in the distance
The view from Conant Brook Dam
One of them, anyway...

Milo in Autumn, on Rock
Milo in Autumn, on Rock

Having Milo visit provided the welcome motivation to return to Conant Brook Dam, site of several enjoyable hours of walking together in early summer. Now it's autumn, and the place is a whole new color of gorgeous. Several colors, actually. All in autumn tones. It was so pretty on Saturday that I remembered to take along my point'n'shoot digital camera on Sunday. Click through on either snapshot for 18 more pictures from that day's walk.

Edited to add two more pictures to the count -- one shows the top of the dam as we set out, the other is of Milo, of course.
gerisullivan: (Default)
Tonight is Milo's last for this stay at Toad Woods; tomorrow he heads home. We took an extra long walk at Conant Brook Dam, though not quite deliberately. I meant to get back to Toad Woods before dark, back in time to mow the ultra shaggy part of the lawn I didn't get to 10 days ago. But a new path beckoned, and it said it was a connector path, so we followed along. And along, and along. Yes, it connected up with the path I thought it did, but only after looping up way farther than I expected it to, then dipping back down to rejoin the main path much farther along than I would have walked even it. Oops.

Good exercise, though. And it was blessedly cooler out, so the walk was a pleasant one even if my headband was more than a tad damp by the end of our exertions.

Our final walk back across the top of the dam was surprisingly lively. Two women were there with toddlers, young toddlers. Milo really, really, really, really wanted to check them out. Then the daily biker passed by, the third time our paths crossed tonight. Most days, we've seen him once and Milo has been reasonably well behaved. Tonight he wanted nothing more than to play chase the bike.

Last night's walk back was interesting in a completely different way. Milo and I were the only creatures in sight, so I followed my recently-developed habit of dropping the leash and letting him walk on his own, dragging it behind. We didn't do that down amongst the trees -- Milo was much too prone to taking off into the woods in a mad frenzy after a squirrel and there was no way he would respond to "Milo, Come!" under those conditions. Not for me, not for his owners, not for anyone. But up on the top of the dam, with nothing but gravel and rocks for hundreds of feet, the dropped leash routine worked fine. We did it on the way out, and again on the way back, for 4 or 5 visits, once we were both used to the place, and used to each other.

Last night we walked later than usual, giving every last moment possible for things to cool down to something tolerable. When we walked back up to the top of the dam, Milo looked up and froze, startled by what he saw in the sky, the clear sky.

The only thing there was the moon at half phase. The very only thing. Milo kept staring at it, then ran forward a bit, and stopped and stared again. He was fascinated. He started trotting, then running, trying to get closer to it. Not with the frenzy of a squirrel chase, just with deliberation, with intent. A casual run, as it were.

About halfway across the 1,050-foot dam, I called him back. He stopped, jumped back a few feet toward me, and stopped again, staring at the moon. We repeated this a dozen or more times, however many it took for him to come all the way to me. Each time it was a token "yes, I'm coming toward you, just like you told me to" followed by a stop. He wanted to be nearer to the moon, not moving away from it.

Even though there were no other creatures on the top of the dam, I held his leash for the rest of the walk across it. If I hadn't, Milo could have easily spent the night running for the moon.

And who could blame him?


gerisullivan: (Default)

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