Friday, March 23, 2012

Remembering Roxy: Bear-Pig

Derek Teasing Roxy (Aug 2005)
Derek Teasing Roxy (Aug 2005)
I can thank my son, Derek, for coming up with the nickname 'Bear-Pig' for Roxy. Back in 2005, Rachelle was a sophomore in high school and Derek attended a local community college but still lived at home. By then he had moved into the basement (don't all young adult males thrive in those environs?) and only came up for air when he needed food or to leave for work or school. I often referred to him as 'Derek the Destroyer who lurks in the Mossy Catacombs (or Dungeon).' At that time, Roxy didn't have a playmate or companion dog to annoy (we would rescue Apollo the following year).

Derek and Roxy in a Stand Off (Aug 2005)
Derek and Roxy in a Stand Off (Aug 2005)
Derek loved to tease and harass Roxy. She would wait for him at the top of the stairs when she heard him rising up from the basement. He would lean forward on the stairs from the lower landing so he was eye level with her and start making strange noises at her or woofing at her. Roxy replied with her own strange sounds, which reminded Derek of the sounds a bear makes. He would get her so worked up she would start to lunge at him. Then he would egg her on more by chasing her into the great room and wrestling with her. Roxy didn't stand a chance by then, since Derek is an expert in nearly all forms of grappling - wrestling, judo and jujitsu.

That explains the first part of the nickname 'Bear-Pig.' The second half has more to do with Roxy's typical Rottweiler appetite and the fact that when she sniffed around the house for anything remotely resembling a snack, she sort of looked like a wild pig. At least she didn't 'oink oink' while she was rooting around for treats.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review: The Terror by Simmons

The Terror

The Terror by Dan Simmons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read The Terror as part of a group read at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club at GoodReads during the month of February. I participated in the discussion, as did many others. To review those threads, please follow this link.

I started reading this the evening of February 13th, with snowfall predicted to commence after midnight. I sat shivering at the kitchen table while I read the first few chapters, even though the furnace kept my house a toasty 78 degrees Fahrenheit. I even dug out a blanket to put on the bed before I went to sleep (still shivering). Brrrr..... Great writing by Dan Simmons, atmospherically speaking.

 And I restrained my insatiable desire to research the quest for the Northwest Passage and specifically the final voyage of the HMS Terror until after I finished reading the novel. Simmons kept me riveted until the last few chapters, when he decided to take an extreme detour into arctic supernatural spirituality that left me, well, cold.

Still, a great read by an outstanding author. I recommend lots of warm tea or cocoa and abstinence from long pork.

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Book Review: Archangel by Shinn

Archangel (Samaria, #1)Archangel by Sharon Shinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beyond Reality February 2012 Science Fiction Selection

The protagonist, Rachel, grabbed me immediately. Not only was she a superb vocalist, she reminded me in so many ways of my own daughter, also named Rachelle, and who is also a superb vocalist (mezzo soprano, though, instead of Rachel's coloratura soprano). As soon as I finished the book, I sent a recommendation off to my Rachelle, hoping she'd read it and enjoy it as much as I did.

The religious references intrigued me (and sometimes made me laugh - did anyone else think that the name of Semorrah was a mashed-up condensation of Sodom and Gemorrah?) and the musical elements fascinated me. I play piano, attempt to sing (not as well trained as my daughter, so I gave it up as a lost cause at this point in my life) and I know basic music theory. My husband has years of training (jazz trumpet and guitar), composes music and has perfect relative pitch; all of which he passed on to our daughter.

On the question of whether this novel is science fiction or fantasy, I leaned towards the former early on. Once introduced to the oracle Josiah in Archangel, I began to believe I was reading a science fiction story (perhaps along the lines of Pern?). But the rest of the novel revealed little beyond that scene with the Oracle. Another clue could also be derived from the 'smallness' of their 'planet' in area and scope.

I interpreted the singing as magical. The story is mostly a romance, which I normally avoid like the plague, but in this case it worked well.

I have not decided yet if I will continue this series. I'll have to research my friends' reviews of it and see if it gets better or if this installment is as good as it gets.

 All in all, I really enjoyed Archangel, even if it seemed to be a romance masquerading as a fantasy with hints of science fiction sprinkled throughout.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Remembering Roxy: Circling the Wagons

Roxy with one of her indestructible ring toys (May 2007)
I have many great memories of Roxy to share. I hope most of them make you smile. Some of them may even make you laugh out loud. All of them will be bittersweet for me, but still precious. So, I plan to share them with you on a weekly basis, probably on Fridays, as I will have the hardest time getting through a weekend without Roxy to cheer me up.

I dreaded walking up the fronts steps these last five days. Apollo met me at the door, but his tail didn't thump-thump-thump against the dividing rail between the entryway and the dining area. He wagged his tail at the sight of me, but he wasn't crowded out of the way by Roxy. She usually stood front and center, eagerly gripping her ring toy in her mouth, dancing back and forth in front of Apollo. I usually had to order them both to back up so I could squeeze through the screen door.

I would carefully thread the needle of swirling Rottweilers and unburden myself of my purse and laptop case in the great room. Once my hands were free, I could pet each of them, although Roxy would continually circle around me in an effort to head Apollo off from getting too much attention.

If I decided to sit down, Roxy would either approach me and plop herself down on my feet, facing away from me, or continue circling the great room with her ring toy. We affectionately called this parading around 'circling the wagons.' Sometimes Apollo would stealthily attempt to snatch the toy from her jaws and then the fun really began.

Roxy, being the nearly full blooded Rottweiler, could easily keep Apollo, the half-breed, from her toy. Her jaw strength and stubbornness exceeded his. But Apollo never played fair and used stealth and guile to trick Roxy into dropping it. Sometimes, he would even go so far as to lay on the ring toy, which drove Roxy into a fit of apoplexy. Eventually she would start circling him faster and faster and even go so far as to bark repeatedly at him. Unless Terry or I told Apollo to get up, he would ignore Roxy's tantrum.

Roxy's ring toys sit idle in the great room. I've tried a couple of times this week, as has Terry, to get Apollo to play catch and fetch, but Apollo only made half-hearted attempts. Apollo would much prefer to play tug-of-war with Roxy. He still doesn't understand why she's gone. If only I spoke better dog, then I might be able to tell him what happened. Perhaps it's a blessing for him that I can't.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Walking Roxy
The very last photo I took of Roxy (Fri 9 Mar 2012)

Terry and I are devastated. We lost Roxy Sunday evening, unexpectedly. I decided to stay home Monday and try to deal with this loss. So far, I haven't slept much and I miss her terribly. So if you don't see much from me here for a few days, don't panic. I'm just mourning the loss of my favorite ditzy Rottweiler.

May she rest in peace until we meet again.