Ella Beast : Page 4

Infidel dog

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Infidel dog
This morning,
with a high of seventy degrees in the forecast,
amazing for a November in Chicago,
I drove the dog to Warren Park.
That's where we go for a special treat
instead of our usual neighborhood walk,
because the squirrel chasing is most excellent,
and there are never any cops there to harass you,
a scofflaw walking his dog off its leash.

We like to run up the steps of the sledding hill,
which a parks department sign actually proclaims "Sledding Hill,"
and then charge down the slope,
after which we make our way around the skirt of the hill
where the squirrels rummage through the leaves
like so many bargain hunters.
We crunch crunch crunch across the orange carpet,
and if we're lucky we spot a squirrel far enough out
in the open that Ella can chase it full-bore
back to its tree.
She has never once caught one.
Or at any rate never killed one.

Next we like to follow the cinder jogging path
all the way around the little nine-hole golf course embedded
like an off-center yolk
in the albumen of the park,
and that's exactly what we did this morning.
I walked in the leaves at the side of the path,
trying to encourage Ella to do the same,
but unless she has a rodent, lagomorph or marsupial in her sights
she prefers to walk on pavement. Go figure.

We were on the south side of the golf course,
the tall chain-link fence meant to protect us from flying balls
off to our left,
when I saw two men coming our way along the path,
youngish men—younger than I, at any rate—
neatly bearded men dressed in long robes the color of wet sand.
It was already warm enough out that I was regretting
the heavy coat I wore over my hooded sweatshirt.
I snapped my fingers imperiously,
calling for Ella to return to my side,
to leave the path and get out of the way
of the two youngish men engaged in animated talk.

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Cheap bitch

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Don't call Ella cheap, but she did just get less expensive. Take an extra 30% off her 2011 calendar when you enter the coupon code EARLYBIRD305 at checkout! (Offer good through November 15, 2010.)

Ella-Mental 2011 13-Month Calendar

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It's "Ella-Mental," Watson!

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Though Laura and I have fallen down on the job for the past few years, we've finally gotten it together enough to publish a sequel to the immensely popular Ella-Vation 2006 and Ella-Tion 2007 calendars.

Yes, our furry little 33-pound calendar girl is back in her biggest productino ever, with an extra month thrown in for free:

Ella-Mental 2011 13-Month Calendar

For a limited time, only $14.39! Order all you want. We'll print more.

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Ella is seven

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This is a seven-year-old dog
Yesterday was 10/07/10, and Ella turned 7 * . Using the common yardstick of seven dog years to one human year, she's now older than either Laura or I, which makes me sad. (Good thing Ella is immortal, and will outlive us both.)

Ella was six months old when we rescued her in April 2004. Well, really it was Laura who rescued her. We still lived in Queens at the time. I was on a week-long trip to the west coast—business in San Francisco, seeing my son in Portland, and hitting the Nebula banquet in Seattle. While I was gone, Laura spent a few days visiting her parents in the Chicago suburbs. Her parents' neighbors had a six-month-old, 18-pound soft-coated wheaten terrier puppy they couldn't care for anymore. They had heard from Laura's mother that Laura wanted a wheatie, and asked Laura if she would like to take the puppy home with her. She called me.

"Do you want a six-month-old wheaten terrier puppy?" she asked.

"Sure," I said. And thus our lives changed.

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Picky, picky

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Even with her bath Tuesday evening, I'm still picking little specks of dried algae out of Ella's fur. It's like someone sprinkled her with diced parsley.

If I smell a backyard grill, I'm not letting her out of my sight.

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In the bloom

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Algae bloom

We like to take Ella to a dog beach on Lake Michigan, a couple of miles from our apartment. The temperature was in the high 80s yesterday, so I tossed Ella in the car late in the afternoon and we headed east to Lincoln Park. Unlike the past few summers, the water at the beach there has been crystal clear all season, so I didn't stop to look at it before letting Ella run around in it.

When she emerged, her legs were green.

The water at the people beach still looked pretty good, but at the dog beach the water, once you stopped to look at it, was opaque with algae. You couldn't take a step without the dark green soup billowing in a cloud around your feet. When we left, people were amazed to see the dog with the skinny green legs trotting along. Thank goodness she's only a wader and not a swimmer.

I didn't take a picture of her green legs, but here she is in the opaque water:

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Almost fall

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Squirrels chasing each
Other up and around trees
Like on Benny Hill

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Dogwalker's algorithm

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if
      poop
then
      scoop

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Hungry bear

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Where's mine?
[sung to the tune of "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath]

She's my hungry bear
She's the little dog with the golden hair
She'll just sit and stare
Anytime I'm eating and I won't share

Nobody feeds her
She just stands there and pouts
(do do do-do-do do-do-do do-do-do)
She's gonna starve soon
Of this she has no doubts
(do do do-do-do do-do-do do-do-do)

Hey there, hungry bear
Your bowl's full of pheasant and ground-up hare
Ain't no cheese on there
So you walk out with your nose in the air

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Laura's off to Florida through Tuesday for work, and I'm going to do get as much writing done as I can. The only breaks will be for taking care of Ella (who went to the groomer yesterday and now looks like a Muppet) and a special team-trivia competition this afternoon to benefit One Tail at a Time, a local dog shelter. One Tail's Medical and Finance Coordinator, Jeff Kitchen, is also the quizmaster at our regular Wednesday night pub trivia event.

If you're in Chicago and have some free time this afternoon, come on down! The event kicks off at 2 pm this afternoon at KINCADE'S BAR & GRILL, 950 W. Armitage, right at the Brown Line stop. (The event has moved since the blog post above, so don't go to Kendall's.) I'm not sure whether or not there's room for more teams, but if so it's a $100 entry fee for your team of up to 5 people. You can add a sixth team member for another $20. And if the roster is already full, have a beer and cheer. Do it for the puppies.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
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could afford.

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About Ella Beast

Ella Beast (a/k/a Ella the Wonder Dog) is a soft-coated wheaten terrier born in 2003. She enjoys stalking squirrels, ear skritches, and pushing a basketball around with her face. After several years in Chicago, she's back in NYC, and stars in her own line of calendars and YouTube videos.