The Seven Day Fog

22 01 2013

“It all started with a wrong turn in the velvet fog of Venice.”

Chapter one, line one, new autodogography.

I am off to the City of Water to do some research. Venice in January: like an iceberg in a snowstorm and tourist-free.



Steamy bars laden with the scent of tobacco and milk chocolate. Trattorie packed with bodies warming to a plate of squid-ink pasta or creamy truffle risotto.


Gondolieri standing in their boats, wrapped up like winter hams, waiting for business. Ice between my toes. Frost on my snout. Pregnant mist pushing its long, fleshy fingers between the towers and canals.2292218586_e546c44060_m

I know only roughly (or ruff-ly, as is the case) my plot. Certain things have to occur: suspense, romance, danger—and magnificent meals. Truffles will take part as it is winter in northern Italy. And a French-African Chihuahua I once met will play in.1159578853_5864672ff8_m



Write what you know is what I say, until you no longer know. Then make it up. It’s fiction. All life is a type of fiction, after all. And the living, nothing more than writers. Comforting to know one can always change the ending. All dogs understand this.

The ending is always owned by it’s writer in more ways than one.8381306661_3b58d2eccf_m

Chew on that.


French Delights

26 07 2011

I am freshly fluffed and feeling fine.

We made an excursion to the open market in Nice today.  The smells were exquisite: artisan cheeses, provencal sausages, crisp white wines, multitudinous flowers conjuring the famous perfumes of Grasse just up the hill….and Socca.

Socca is a simple staple of Southern French fare.  It is ubiquitous in all the open markets in this area.  And, I always get a wedge.  I assume this is because nothing about it is bad for the figure of a small dog.

I watched carefully today as an old man concocted the batter.  Pezzo di torta, as we like to say: piece of cake.

Following is my translation.  I estimate it would serve 4 humans…or 1 dog:

The man put 1 1/2 cup chick pea (garbanzo) flour in a medium-sized blue bowl.  He added 1/3 cup of a lovely pale green olive oil and 2 cups of water and then stirred the whole slurry with a whisk.  He bent down to let me see the mix: a soft, smooth, lump-free batter that smelled like a rich bean cake.

He then poured a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, round pan, about 13-14 inches wide, like something one would use for Paella (ah, that trip to Spain last summer!). The Socca was only about 1/2 thick, or so.

He popped the whole thing into a very hot oven (I estimate, by the tinges on my whiskers when he opened the door, that the temp was 500 degrees).  He let this bake for what seemed to be 20 or 25 minutes.  Anyway, when it was set in the middle and browned at the edges, he took it out, drizzled it with more olive oil (about a tablespoon, I think, and sprinkled coarse salt and fresh pepper on top.

It was then cut into wedges and each was served on a piece of parchment paper: warm, salty heaven. I guess you could add herbs, or spices to the batter.  There are probably endless possibilities.

Personally, I think it would be a great light summer meal, with a tossed green salad and a glass or two of Provencal Rose wine.  

Alas, no one asked me.

I eat it alone, treasure on the street… a la cobblestones.  Still, heaven.



14 09 2009

I hate sneezing.  

First of all, I don’t understand it.  It goes totally against all standards of wild behavior, after all.  Dogs who gave away their positions on the Savannah way back when simply didn’t make their mark in evolution….at least not in a way I covet.

Second of all, if one is targeting a flea in a difficult area of one’s flank, even a small sneeze will throw it off the trail.

What IS the reasoning behind this convulsion?  To clean the nose?  To scare the daylights out of the hegemony? To blow the fluff from the corner of my dog-dish?

All valid but none, necessary.

I fear the act may be going the way of Darwin: phased out over time as runny nosed dogs simply don’t survive.

Solution: give the sneeze true purpose.  Use it as an emotion, any emotion. Make it cute, like one’s presence at the dinner table, wide-eyed and ears perked at the possibility of a crumb.

After all, cute survives, no?

Hairless Chihuahuas not-withstanding….


Election 2009

17 08 2009

The Roman exodus that began August 1 is yet in full swing.  The streets are oddly quiet; the heat is turned to high and, up on the Pincio, the vendors of small squeaky playthings have even closed up shop until the cooler days on late September.

Thunderstorms roll across the city like thick blankets from time to time.  The air becomes 99% water and it’s hard to breathe, especially at ankle level where the rain hits the hot cobblestones and steam rises like fog.

So, I am content (I guess) to stay in the air conditioned appartamento. I roll the ball around a bit until it ends up under the low slung couch.  I check the dirty laundry by the washer for my Contessa’s underthings.  My nose searches out an empty breakfast bowl.  Finally, I turn to the computer and use one particularly long toenail to search “cute dogs”.  Eccolo!

I go to “the gallery” and click:  Up comes Axel!



My old pal from across the hall stands in the snow, a fuzzy, green ball in his mouth, cutting quite a fine figure (though he’s put on a kilo at least since we last ran on the Pincio together.)

Seems he’s trying to win a contest for cutest dog (I’m afraid I have that title…alas, I am not entered).  Grand prize will pay for his trip back to Rome. He says he misses pizza…real pizza.  And Rome has just the spot for that.

So, if you care about a small dog and his pizza (not to mention the fact that if he makes it back to Rome I will have something to do other than modifying my Contessa’s silky things…),

VOTE FOR AXEL by clicking the cute dog link above. Send the link to your doggish friends.  You can all vote once a day. Let’s send Axel to Rome.


Paradise, Lost

11 08 2009

Beautiful and clear today on Lake Como, but the radio on the bar by the pool suggested clouds for the rest of the week.

Thunder, lightening, rain.  Time to head for home.

We used the rest of the afternoon to pack up: my lambskin, my ball, my chew-toy and a marrow bone I picked up via the waiter at dinner last night.

A last swim in the lake; a final patrol of the manicured gardens; one more chase of the hotel cat.

Drinks on the terrazzo (more Martini olives, garlic stuffed this time) under a waning moon.

Tomorrow we begin the dreary ride home, nodding off to the sway of wipers across the windshield.

Paradise, lost.



5 08 2009

OK.  Loving the beach here on the lake.  It’s enough to chase the ball, really.  But most of the humans, even the tiny types, are plugged into a small device that sings to them.

That’s all perfectly well, but I have a better idea (and, no, it’s not an IPOD for dogs….)It’s something any canine can strap on to it’s neck (with a little help from an opposable thumb, preferably attached to a bikini-clad female), nose plugs instead of ear-plugs, and three gigabytes of smells…

From Persian cats to parakeets, as it were— Abyssinians to Zebras.


On The Road, Again

3 08 2009

Alas, we quit the palace yesterday.  La Reserve disappeared from sight through the rear window of the Big Black Car, my angst at leaving born out as drool down the fine leather back seat.

We drove the windy coast road above Monaco, across the border into Italy.

Adieu, Francia.  A bientot.

I believed all was lost when we passed through Milano.  Busy streets; commercial sections; no beaches in sight.

Then, a hint of greenery from the open car window as we sped out of the city.  A nose out the forward section to decipher the air: water.

Fresh water.  Sweet, salt-free, non-irritating, hypo-allergenic H2O.  No more itchy after effects of retrieving floating sea-born objects.

Lake Como spread before us like a giant azur-blue carpet, sparkling with silver thread in the sunlight.  The car rolled down a narrow road beside the water for what seemed like miles, then pulled up to il grande palazzo del lago: Il Serbelloni in Bellagio.

A sturdy gentleman in a tan uniform heaved our bags from the car onto a trolley (my bag, with a small sheepskin rug, a green, water-proof ball and a genuine mink cat-like facsimile, came first).  The scent of grilled lake-fish dressed in garlic and parsley wafted through the entry doors.

The porter pulled a bone-shaped treat from his coat pocket and slipped it into my grateful mouth.

Traveling is hell, no?


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