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October 25, 2014
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What am I, chopped liver?

“Yarnslinger” Kazzrie Jaxen enchanted the audience with her story “The girl who dreamed dresses.”


As much as I delight in sharing my life with Dharma (the wonder dog), as of late I’m beginning to wonder—is it me, or the dog? It was only a month or two ago, that Dharma received an invitation to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony of a new gift shoppe in Jeffersonville, NY (you know who you are.) Since the dog is unable to use a keyboard, I responded for her and asked if I could tag along.

All in good fun, but the response was pretty clear. The proprietors assumed I would be attending, since “Dharma can’t drive.” Hmmm. I know my Havanese pooch (www.havanesedogsinformation.com) is cute, but I can’t take any credit for that, and attribute it to DNA. And yes, she is with me a great deal of the time, but lately I’m getting the message that without the dog, I’m far less popular.

It’s not her fault, she is precious. Each and every person we encounter seems to think that I am unaware of her many charms and that I need to be informed that she is adorable. Yeah, thanks, I get it. One would think that having her around would make me more popular, but not so much. It’s actually as if I disappear in a puff of smoke when she enters a room.

Last week, I participated in a presentation of creative writing with the “Yarnslingers” (yarnslingers@yahoo.com) group. Alongside a bevy of talent, including Z’Ka, Ann Finneran, Marion Laselle, Barbara Winfield, Lucy Lee, Annemarie Schuetz, director Ramona Jan and the effervescent Kazzrie Jaxen, I read a piece of my own (Dharma at my side) and felt, well... inadequate.

There was a terrific turnout at the Ethelbert B Crawford Library in Monticello (ebcrawfordlibrary.org), which offers a wide variety of stimulating programs throughout the year, and I was overwhelmed by the well crafted (IMHO) works of the other writers, finding myself suitably humbled. My work was okay (I suppose) but Dharma was clearly the bigger draw. That’s just great.

Since the dog does not have her own email account (yet), I RSVP’d on her behalf to Jill Padua’s invitation to attend another fabulous event presented by the Riverfolk (www.jillskitchen.com/riverfolk) concert series, this time at the Catskill Distilling Co. (catskilldistilling

company.com) in Bethel, NY.

Both WJFF (www.wjffradio.org) and the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (artsalliancesite.org) were represented at the show, which featured the incredibly appealing vocalist Karen Savoca (www.karensavoca.com) and guitarist extroaordianire Pete Heitzman. Talented doesn’t even begin to describe this duo, and even though we had never met, both asked me why the dog was not with me. Charmed, I’m sure.

Naturally, my self-esteem was at an all-time high as I placed an emergency call to my therapist, who told me to “get over it,” while espousing the many virtues of the dog, suggesting that I never leave the house without her again, if I was “planning on receiving any invites in the future.” Nice.

Ego firmly in check, I knew I could not attend annual “music, art and environmental” celebration, RiverFest, in Narrowsburg, NY, without my “life-partner” Dharma, tucked under the one good arm that I have. Aside from the dog parade (no, I did not enter her), the booths, posters, music, vendors and variety of food offered are always a big draw and the weather cooperated nicely, but I was (once again) persona non grata as I made my way through the festival, stopping every two feet to allow Dharma to be admired, petted, fawned over and feted.

Clearly, I am the appendage that “comes along for the ride” as she makes her way through the Upper Delaware Valley, and I am (more or less) sanguine about it after this last week of nonstop doggy admiration. Apparently, this is the way it’s going to be for a long, long, time. At 22 months, she is already the shining star of my flagging career and has become (by far) the main reason for my (misguided) popularity in the Catskills.

I’ve been informed (on more than one occasion) that bitterness doesn’t suit me, so have given in and joined the growing ranks of admirers, openly admitting that it’s not me, it’s Dharma. Although a bit slow on the uptake, I get it now (maybe it’s Karma) and am formulating a new plan of attack by pretending that I had no idea that she was “so darn cute.” I’ll try to appear interested when complete strangers pull me aside to let me in on the secret and continue to claim that I had nothing to do with her good manners. The way I see it, I had better get with the program, take my shrink’s advice and just never leave home without her, since (clearly) it’s me or the dog.