Dear Clare,

I think it’s best that I first tell you about the chicken I made last night. I mean cooked as one doesn’t really make a chicken does he?  Anyway I have been on this mission to come up with a moist product and basically so far the technique has been to under cook the thing to the point that it freaks out most people especially when blood runs down the thigh. Organic or not, bloody chicken isn’t on too many menus and my experimentation has sort of put the members of the household off of chicken.  Anyway,  in lieu of the oven or the Weber, I enlisted the Gas BBQ out front here which is essentially a piece of shit on account of it’s basic settings of “on” or “off”.  Oh they like you to think that you have a few options but if you turn that knob one millimeter from high you are left with nothing more than a rather impotent warming oven.  You’d barely warm your hands placing them right on the grill. Problem is high is quite so.  A “skin on” chicken will ignite in only a matter of minutes-say the time it takes you to walk into the house and remedy your state of mind with a suitable beverage (because we all know winter barbequin’ is mighty thirsty work). So to work with the situation (and we must work with the situation as I don’t think I have even paid for the thing yet thanks to Home Depot’s generous terms)basically anything I cook on it I do so on the bun warming rack above the grill.  Though you are limited to about a five inch strip of cooking surface and an especially flimsy bit of wire rack it gives you the benefit of about 550 degrees of usable heat which is perfect if you are looking for a nice skin without everything else being charred to the bone.  Anyway, pay dirt.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Do you even like chicken?

Pet Hotel is busy right now made even more so by the fact that Phyllis is out with a seriously nasty headache.  Just came back from dropping her at the clinic to find that Pile, the long eared doberman, filled his time with a little abstract diarrhea painting on(luckily)the floor.  Also we have a dog here that is 17 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s. It spends the bulk of its time defecating on the spot it wants to sleep or walking in circles(to the left) and came with a lot of instructions including what to do if it hauls off and dies(cremation, case you were interested).  It’s owner has very limited use of the English language.  Were I to speak Flemish this would not be so much a problem.  It has a  tumor the size of half a coconut on it’s hind leg which has to be bandaged to contain it’s effluent of pus and looks like an industrial accident-the kind of thing you don’t want to re-dress just before sitting down to a little, perfectly cooked, roast chicken.   Also in the play we have Colonel Klink.  He is on enough anti-seizure medication to stupefy a grown man. The effect it has on him seems quite the opposite.  He holds the title for being able to produce the loudest, most piercing and sustained round of barking.  Any attempt to calm him just accelerates the behavior.  His particular strong suit is randomness.  He might sit perfectly still and silent when someone comes to the door but then decide to explode just as you are threading your bare  hand between the top rack and the broiler element to fetch a couple of tuna melts.  Today I learned, while drying off the Colonel and the floor after the bucket of ice water I was soaking my burned hand in happened his way during another of his outbursts, that he can reduce a bath sized towel to a pile of thread in under a minute.  He just grabbed it from me and started shaking it like a  mongoose with a cobra.  Once Phyllis saw the entertainment value in this she couldn’t resist throwing a variety of linens his way.  We finally had to put a stop to it when he yanked a king size comforter off of the couch and whipped it about in such a frenzy that chairs were being upturned and the coffee table was cleared.

Also visiting is Yolanda a Miniature Yorkie.  She comes from a rough part of town.   A  Miniature Yorkie is a really great choice for a dog that lives in her neck of the woods.  If you live in an area where starving dogs and coyotes will eat a litter of puppies just for sport you might as well have a dog that looks like a chinchilla running around making high pitched squealing noises.  The owners are quite nice but I fear some genetic mishap  may have effected(affected? beats me) their sense of smell. The dog has been known to show up in little “outfits” as so many of the smaller dogs have inflicted upon them these days.  One day she came dressed in a little number that was intended to give you the impression that little “Yoli” was a great big bumblebee.  I think somebody had hooked up the family washing machine to a vat of horse piss based on the smell of that little outfit.  It took out the whole front hall and a pre-soak in bleach followed by a full wash was not able to rid the thing of that indescribable stink. Yolanda is quite endearing however. She can be outside for four straight hours and then come in all excited, jumping and running around wagging her little tail.  Then she’ll hop right up on your couch and take a disproportionately large crap.  She screams to be let out of her crate only to run to the back of it and cower when you try to free the little angel. Once you get her in hand she pees down your arm-like carrying a soaking wet rag.  Her owners love her.  Sometimes that seems like a rare commodity in her neighborhood where the situation of some of the animals can often be heartbreaking. We do the best we can to welcome little Yoli with open arms.

I have taken to running around the fence perimeter with all the dogs as part of my “heart smart” year where amongst other things I intend to lose fifty pounds and become a genius, neither of which seem to be kicking in just yet.  All of this to say, we are flying to Miami on the 23rd this month for 10 days to find some sun and see my dad.  It will be the longest home alone stay for our new girl Marge.  I hope she is up to the task.

Well that’s about it.  Yolanda is out in the yard barking relentlessly trying to provoke an eagle attack so I better let her in so she can pee on something expensive.



P.S. Don’t think for one minute I was unaware that in 2000 words or so I asked nothing of you or yours which is what you would be so kind to fill us in on when you reply.

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