Monthly Archives: August 2011

About Duke

This is a story I wrote about my husband’s beloved Pitbull, Duke earlier this year. I was going to enter it in the Bloom Magazine fiction contest but I didn’t.

I have a few pictures of him on Flickr. There aren’t many because my access to him is limited (because he would kill me if I got too close) but they show the gentle side that my husband saw in him.


                The man and the woman call me Duke, sometimes Dukie, sometimes Dukie-boy. Right now I’m standing in my backyard and the man is saying “pooh pooh Dukie.” I’m not ready to do that just now. A bird flies past and I watch it. I sniff at the grass and then I scratch my belly with my back foot. The man says “pooh pooh Duke!” a little more sternly now. But I still don’t want to. I’m contemplating the wind when the woman walks out. I look at her as she waves and says “hi Dukie.” She walks over and sits by the man and I sniff the grass.

                Soon I’ll have to go back to the garage. I live in the garage, not inside the house like a normal dog. The man says that I’m dangerous but I don’t think I am. When we lived at the other house with that other woman and her kids I had the run of the house. I got along with the woman, the kids, and even the cat. We were one big happy family. The man got me when I was a puppy. Me and my mom and all of my brothers and sisters were in a small yard and the man picked me up, put me into the front seat of his truck and drove me home. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to anyone. I hope they’re all okay.

                When the man and I got to my new home he brought me into the house and held me up in front of the woman. She looked at me and said “What is that?” The man said “It’s a surprise. It’s a pit bull puppy. I went down to Mitchell and bought him.” The woman sighed, “Another animal? We can’t take care of another animal!” The man laughed. “Of course we can,” he said. The woman turned and walked out of the room. I licked the man’s face.

                The woman warmed up to me after a few days. She didn’t play with me like the man and the kids did but she gave me scraps from the table and petted me a little. It was her idea to call me Duke. I liked the name because it sounded strong and I was strong. When I played with the kids I would run at them and bowl them over onto the living room floor. They would laugh and run and tackle me and we’d play until it was time for me to go outside or for them to take a nap. The woman didn’t like when I knocked the kids down. She would yell at me when I did and that made me feel bad so I tried not to do it as much.

                I started to get bigger but I still liked to play. Sometimes people I didn’t know would come to the house. When they sat down I would jump onto their laps and try to get to know them by licking and smelling. The woman didn’t like this. She would yell at me and put me out of the house or even worse put me in my pet porter where I would sit and look out wondering what I did wrong.  I began to hope that no people would come into the house from outside because that meant being locked up.

                The man and the woman started having arguments and then they stopped talking to each other and then the woman and the kids and the cat left the house and didn’t come back. I was glad the woman and the cat left but I missed the kids. From now on it would be just me and the man. If anyone knocked at the front door I would bark and growl hoping they would leave. Once the man let someone in and I knew he had probably made a mistake so I rushed toward the outsider growling and bearing my teeth. We didn’t want anyone coming into the house did we? To my surprise the man yelled at me. He said “Duke, what are you doing?” in the loudest angriest voice I had ever heard him use. He grabbed my collar and pulled me into my pet porter. I was locked up again and I didn’t understand why but I could see that when someone came to the house it meant I would be locked up even if the woman didn’t live there anymore. I knew I didn’t like people, except for the man. He was my friend.

                So that’s the way it was. The man and I lived in the house and if someone came to visit I got locked up. One day the man started bringing boxes home and he started putting things in the boxes. I didn’t understand what was going so I just watched and waited. One cold morning the man started loading boxes into his truck and then he put me in the front seat. I thought maybe we were going to the veterinarian’s office and I didn’t like that idea one bit so I started to whine. The man said “Don’t worry Dukie. We’re going to our new home in Bloomington. We’re going to live in a house with your new Mommy! I hope you can be nice to her.”

                I wasn’t sure what he had said but his voice was soothing so I curled up on the seat and went to sleep. The truck stopped and I woke up. I looked out the window and saw houses with grass in front of them and trees and pavement and then I saw a woman. She was walking toward the truck. She was different from the other woman but I knew I wouldn’t like her. She wasn’t the man so with her here I would probably soon be locked up.

                That was a long time ago. The man and the woman live in the house and I live in the garage. I’m allowed in the house too but the woman can’t be there. If she goes to work or goes shopping I can come in and spend time with the man. The man once tried to get me to be nice to the woman. We were all in the living room. I was by the man’s side and on a leash. The woman was sitting on the other side of the room. She said nice things to me and I sat calmly and looked at her. She kept moving her chair closer and closer to me and that made me nervous and I uttered my most threatening growl so she backed up and said more nice things. This went on for a long time. Every time the woman moved closer I would growl. She even tried to give me a chewy treat but I ignored the treat and barked at her. I held my ground until the man gave up and took me back to the garage.

                So that was that. Now I’m here in the backyard with the man saying “pooh pooh Dukie.” I know that if I don’t pooh pooh I won’t be able to come into the house and take a nap with the man; I’ll be stuck in the garage but I just can’t do it. Not with the woman sitting there staring at me. And then the woman gets up and goes back into the house and the man walks over to me with disappointment on his face and leads me back into the garage. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.


Duke the pitbull

Duke the pitbull

Follow-up and Such

My last post entitled Strategy Time was about improving myself. I was going to blog regularly, work in my art journal, and  eat better by preparing meals ahead of time. I also mentioned going to hooping class.

Here’s an update

1. Blog regularly? Not so much. The last post was Aug. 5, today is Aug. 26. Still the same month but not the frequency I’d like to achieve. Will try and do better.

2. Work in art journal? I’ve done two more pages.

3. Eat better by preparing meals ahead of time? I’ve done pretty well for myself. I’ve had kale sauteed in butter and garlic to which I added chopped sweet potato. The flavor was not quite right but I added some cheddar cheese and it was fantastic. I’ve also turned to the frozen vegetables in sauce that the grocery store has started offering. They are quick, easy, and flavorful. I’m also getting to like the Gorton’s heat and eat baked fish product. Very do-able.

4. Hooping class on Saturday mornings? Not so much.

I’m feeling pretty accomplished!

Next time I’ll talk about my new job and some more minor endeavors in art.

Art journal page.

Art journal page.

Art journal page.

Art journal page.

Strategy Time

Yes it’s that time again. You know when you have that feeling that you’re going to improve things in your life, that you’re going to do the things you’ve been meaning to do, that you have the moxy, the time and the energy to really get things going. Well I’m having that feeling today.

Now I understand that I can’t make all the changes I want to make overnight but I can’t make any of them if I don’t make a start. Right? And I’ve got to say that over the past couple of months I’ve actually started and have been keeping up with some of my “dream projects.” Blogging for instance. I’ve blogged somewhat regularly and I feel inspired to keep going. Then there’s the art journal. I’ve completed two pages and both of those pages are meaningful to me.

The next thing I want to tackle is eating better and preparing meals ahead of time so I always have something healthy on hand to eat. This plan should also save me money.

Well I say “plan” but I don’t really have an  actual plan quite yet. That’s where I usually get tripped up. I think I need a plan but I won’t sit down and make a plan and then the whole  thing falls by the wayside.

Now I do know that this meals ahead of time  strategy involves not wasting my weekends sleeping in until after noon. Since I know that much I can start by getting up at a reasonable time tomorrow (Saturday). Luckily PJ’s hooping class starts tomorrow at 10:00 am and I think I really want to go. That means getting up in the morning. My gosh I could even go to the Farmers’ Market after class and get some fresh veggies! That sounds ambitious to me but I’ll act as though that’s what’s going to happen.

I’ll be back with updates and photos!



I’m living in what seems like a state of limbo. I don’t know what my life will be like in the near future. Of course we can never really be certain of the future but we can generally expect same-old-same-old business as usual. Me, not so much.

Oddly enough I’ve been accomplishing some goals lately.  I’ve  figured out a pretty good system for preparing meals ahead of time for my Dad and I think he’s consuming more calories because of it. So CHECK! on that list item.

I bought  a neti pot today so I can alleviate my sinus problems without resorting to a lot of pseudophed (which once caused an increase in blood pressure for me). Now I need to take  it out of the box an use it.

I’ve finished a second page in my art journal! It references  the job loss and asks the question “Why me?” I managed to use up some of my paints that were starting to dry out. I mixed purple with pink and got a neat color that might be fuchsia.  I really should learn color theory. Here it is.

Now that I’m over that flu-like thing I had I need to start working out again. I think some hooping tonight would be a good idea. Need to get back to the gym twice a week for strength training too. I was doing so well with that until I got sick.

Another thing I need to do is start training to get my IT skills beefed up. Should I look at web design again? I’m not sure how much of a programmer you need to be these days. Do companies have web developers and web designers?

Or maybe I should focus on technical writing and communication.

But of course there’s that part of me that wants to be a fitness professional.

So many options, not  enough time. And thinking about this is causing me stress.

I really just want to be a movie star. Sometimes I think that’s the only worthwhile thing a person could be. I know nothing could be further from the  truth and that many movie stars are all but worthless. But wouldn’t it be great to get paid to be someone else?

I’d love to feel a little less ordinary.