Archive for October, 2009

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 10/21/09

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
Rainy Road

Rainy Road

By Carrie Jacobson
The highway glistened in a cold rain last week, and promised adventure, and people to see and places to go. For price, size and delivery information about this original oil painting, contact

The Adventures of Zoe, the Wonder Dog

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

090109odz2By Carrie Jacobson

Chapter 19

The story so far: Zoe, a mostly blind lhasa apso, is trying to find her way from the Pike County shelter back to her owner, James Dunning, in Middletown. She’s helped by Kaja, a big red dog who’s been living on her own for a while; they’ve just been joined by Loosey, a cat. The three have met up with a Sheila Macrae, who’s delivering wood in Pond Eddy. She gives them a lift to her home in Deerpark.

That afternoon, the woman invites them into her garage and builds a sort of nest for them. The garage is not heated, and the day has turned chilly, but the woman fills a corner of the space with old rugs and old sheets and blankets, and the dogs and Loosey snuggle together and are warm and comfortable for the first time in a long time.

After dark, she comes into the garage with bowls and two bags of food and a jug of water.

“How are you three getting along?” she asks. “Are you warm enough? I think you’ll be warm enough, if you can all sleep together, and it’s my guess that you’ve been doing that. You’ll have some good food in your bellies, and you’ll get some good sleep, and then tomorrow, you’ll have to be on your way, because I can’t keep you, no, indeed. Bethann would have my head if she found out you’d even been in the garage here, but she’s away and there’s no reason she’d find out, not unless you all come back and tell her.”

She talks like this the whole time, low and steady and soothing, and Zoe remembers James talking to her the same way, and how she loved it, just the sound of his voice, directed at her. He didn’t even have to touch her when he was talking to her like this for her to know he loved her.

She drifts off to sleep thinking of him, and dreams of thick rugs and fireplaces and a quiet voice that never stops talking.

In the morning, the woman comes out to the garage, fills their bowls again and opens the garage doors. She watches them eat, and then she pets Zoe and Kaja, and picks up Loosey and holds her tight.

“I wish you all could stay with me,” she says. “I’d give you a good home. But I can’t have you, and you’re on your way somewhere, so you go now. If I see you, I’ll help you out again, you can count on that. And I’ll be thinking of you. So get along now,” she says, and shoos them out of the garage, and closes the door behind them.

The travelers find themselves on Route 209. They can smell water and food to the east, and so they head that way, walking as far from the road as they can. Kaja leads, and she takes them into the woods, and through backyards, and across side streets. Cars rush past, so fast it feels that the wake they stir will push Zoe into the road.

Late in the morning, they come to the Neversink River. A green bridge takes the roadway across the river, and Kaja sees no other way across.

There is no walkway on the bridge. It’s just roadway and railings, and the cars zoom over it. She waits until she sees nothing and hears nothing, and she sends Loosey.

“Go!” she tells the cat. “Go! Run!” and Loosey steps one white paw on the bridge. She stops, picks up her foot, and then puts it down and races across.

“Now,” she tells Zoe, “we go together.” She nudges the little blind dog onto the bridge, and keeping Zoe between her own body and the railing, Kaja pushes them toward the opposite bank.
Suddenly, a car appears, in the other lane, but coming toward them. It starts onto the bridge and the structure shakes beneath the dogs’ feet. Zoe stops. terrified and trembling.

But the driver sees them and slows, then stops, and Kaja thinks they’re safe, but then she hears a car coming from behind. She pushes Zoe on, but the little dog is scared, terrified, and she freezes up again. Stops dead in the middle of the bridge. Kaja nudges her with her nose. She can hear the car coming up behind them. Zoe won’t move.

Then the driver of the stopped car gets out. It’s a young man with tattoos and a braid, and he’s smoking a cigarette. He looks at the two dogs, and for a minute, Kaja thinks he’s going to yell at them, hit them, the way her man did, all those times, loud and awful, yelling and cursing and burning her with his cigarette and kicking her with his huge feet. He looked like this man, and smelled like this man, and Kaja begins to tremble, and she feels a snarl rising in her throat.

The man takes a step toward them.

The other car inches onto the bridge.

The man swears.

Kaja tenses, ready to attack. If he kicks Zoe, he will kill the little dog.

But the man stops, in the middle of the bridge, and he waves his arms at the other car and it stops.

He puts himself between Kaja and the other car. Kaja can hear his own car running, and she can hear the radio playing through the open door, and she nudges Zoe again, and this time, the little dog starts moving, walking, and then running, and in a minute, they are over the bridge and into the woods, where Loosey is waiting.

Carrie can be reached at

Free-Range Croutons, Random Thoughts

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

By Beth Quinn

I have a package of croutons in my bread drawer labeled “free-range croutons.”

I confess I have no idea what that means. I can only envision millions of croutons  roaming the Badlands of South Dakota, occasionally being knocked for a loop by some aggressive free-range tumbleweeds.

I supposed they’re in search of  some free-range water, perhaps some organically certified, lite or light, fat-free or reduced fat, low sodium, naturally flavored water.

That kind of water is hard to come by and very expensive. Just ask the free-range croutons.

I feel virtuous about having the free-range croutons in my drawer, just as I feel virtuous about the organic mac and cheese I have in the cabinet for my grandkids. But I have no idea what the point is except to please their parents, who are big fans of organic things.

I bring this up because I’ve spent the past couple of days painting my husband’s office. I have a lot of free time for thinking when I paint, and random thoughts entertain me as I  stare at the growing swaths of non-organic grey paint I’m putting on the walls.

Here are some more free-ranging thoughts that have gone tumbling through my head these past couple of days:

Why did they – whoever they are – change the “use by” date to a “buy by” date on food at the grocery store? Knowing when it will go bad was far more useful than knowing when the store should have pulled it from their shelves.

This is the Year of the Single Mother, and I’m glad they’re finally hitting the big time. Obama’s mom, Sonia Sotomayor’s mom – they deserve a lot of credit. When I was a single mother, my singleness was blamed for every small infraction my kids committed. (“Well, that explains it! He colored the sky yellow and the sun blue because you’re a single mother!”) Of course, Bristol Palin whining about how hard it is to be a single mother isn’t doing the cause any good.

The clothing catalogs are changing color names again. For years, “tan” was good enough. Then the marketing people decided “oatmeal” would be an improvement. I want to puke when I see a bowl of oatmeal, so I never buy oatmeal-colored sweaters. I’m happy to report, though, that oatmeal is finally being ousted. Now it’s called “dirt.” I’d buy a dirt sweater before an oatmeal one any day.

You can never have too many tubbies.

My hairdresser Liz has a number of rules she lives by, but my favorite is this: Cowlicks must be respected. This picture of me as a kid shows

Cowlicks should be respected.

Cowlicks should be respected.

what happens when your uncle the barber fails to respect a cowlick and, instead, smooshes your bangs flat to trim them. The cowlick jumps back into position as soon as he lets go.

The Great Squirrel Uprising of 2007 is continuing. The squirrels are sacrificing themselves for their cause, which I think is to get rid of the people. They’re hurling themselves in front of cars and, each morning on my walk, they race down their tree trunks to stand chattering in front of me and block my progress. I don’t know what to do about it.

Sanity needs to speak louder. We’ve got a lot of crazy people in this country shouting about DEATH PANELS and and how GUNS BELONG IN CHURCH!!!! I think the sane people among us need to speak louder instead of assuming that people couldn’t possibly be listening to crackpots. You know who’s listening to the crackpots? Congress. Speak up, sane people! Call your congressperson and your senator and say something sane and encouraging.

Why isn’t there a light in the freezer? My freezer is in the basement, and if there’s anyplace you need a lighted freezer, it’s in the basement. I have to take down a flashlight to find the ground chuck.

I was following a dump truck the other day when I noticed that sign on the back: “Construction Vehicle – Do Not Follow.” What does that mean? I don’t know what’s expected of me. Should I turn off into a nearby parking lot?

I went off yogurt this morning. I’ve had a yogurt every morning for at least three years now, but this morning I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore. I don’t know why. That happened to me once before when I stopped drinking V8 after 10 years.

I don’t know why, but the more expensive your bike is, the less likely you are to have a kickstand. It seems to be a rule among bicyclists, but I don’t understand it. I like a good kickstand.

So there you have it. Free-range thoughts. If you have any of your own, you’re welcome to add them to this list. I’m running out of random thoughts and wouldn’t mind thinking yours for a while.

Beth can be reached at

Late-Breaking Medical News from Atlanta

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

By Michael Kaufman

Hunter Thompson would have loved this one. I’m in the press room at the Georgia World Congress Center after making the rounds of the exhibits at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The peach cobbler at the Schering-Plough booth was scrumptous!  Boehringer-Ingelheim has some delicious capuccino made fresh and served by a cheerful young woman named Tresica. Other companies are giving away clever little egg-themed tschotchkes.

I feel sorry for the doctors from Vermont, Minnesota and Massachusetts though. Right next to the peach cobbler and elsewhere throughout the exhibit hall are signs advising them to refrain from accepting any of these freebies in accordance with the laws of  their home states.

This phenomenon, which one wag has dubbed the “tschotchke intifada,” is government’s response to the lavish meals, travel and other gifts that pharmaceutical companies used to lay on healthcare professionals, especially ones deemed “thought leaders” or “key opinion leaders” (KOLs in today’s jargon).

It was a not-so-subtle way of trying to influence them to be favorably inclined toward the company’s products, thereby driving up the number of prescriptions and increasing the profit margin. And by all accounts it worked: More than a few unfortunate patients experienced deleterious effects from drugs that were overprescribed as a result of these nefarious practices. But, mercy, does this mean your local doctor can’t have a little bit of peach cobbler or a fresh cup of capuccino when they go to a medical meeting?    

Meanwhile the companies have found other ways to drive prescriptions, most notably by direct-to-consumer advertising on television, radio, and in mass-circulation publications.  “Ask your doctor if [fill in the blank] is right for you.” Viva Viagra! Thank you, Novartis.

The biggest news to come out of the ASRM meeting can be summed up by one of the headlines: “Octo-Doc Gets Seal of Disapproval.” Doctor Michael Kamrava, who runs the West Coast IVF (in vitro fertillization) Clinic in Beverly Hills, was kicked out of the ASRM for his “persistent failure to live up to our standards,” explained Sean Tipton, spokesman for the group. Kamrava is the fertility specialist whose teatments led to the birth of Nadya Suleman’s octuplets as well as her six previous children. Those last eight were probably the last straw.

News of Kamrava’s expulsion has completely overshadowed coverage of some interesting medical advances presented at the meeting, including promising stem-cell research with implications for prevention and treatment of cancer. Kamrava was second only to Beyonce in Monday’s “Most Popular” searches on Yahoo.

Also widely covered was a story reminscent of one of the classic routines on the original “2000 Year-Old Man” album made by Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. Brooks, plays a renowned psychiatrist discussing one of his famous cases, a woman named Bernice who compulsively tore paper. “I cured her,” he says proudly. When Reiner asks how, he replies, “I told her, ‘Don’t tear paper…What are you, crazy, tearing paper? Don’t tear paper!'”

The headline Monday from Reuters was, “Want to get pregnant? Just relax.” The story led, “Old-fashioned common-sense advice to just relax may actually work to help some women get pregnant, doctors reported on Monday.”  Just relax. Don’t tear paper.

You might also want to listen to a little harp music, according to results of a randomized clinical trial reported at the meeting. Patients undergoing IVF were randomized into two groups, one  of which listened  to 20 minutes of live harp music during the procedure. The researchers concluded that harp music therapy “significantly decreases self-perceived anxiety levels.” There was also a trend noted “towards improved clinical pregnancy rate in the harp group…” I’d like to see a study comparing the effects of live harp music versus 20 minutes of listening to a Jimi Hendrix album.

I miss Hunter Thompson. And I’m about ready for some more peach cobbler and maybe some more of Tresica’s capuccino. Later.

Michael can be reached at

350 Actions This Saturday

Monday, October 19th, 2009

By Shawn Dell Joyce

The “safe” level of carbon emissions in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million (ppm), according to NASA scientist James Hansen. We are currently at 385ppm. “Safe” meaning avoiding the most disastrous effects of climate change like sea level rise that swallows  the world’s coastlines, and a radical redistribution of ground water making farmlands into deserts. Basically, we are making our home inhospitable to humans and most other species on our planet.

 This Saturday, October 24, will be the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. “The International Day of Climate Action will cover almost 162 countries, with over 1700 big rallies in big cities, and incredible creative actions across the globe: mountain climbers on our highest peaks with banners, underwater demonstrations in island nations threatened by sea level rise, churches and mosques and synagogues and ashrams engaged in symbolic action, star athletes organizing mass bike rides—and hundreds upon hundreds of community events to raise awareness of the need for urgent action,” according to organizers.
 For a carbon-fat country like ours to get back to the 350 safe zone means transforming ourselves. “It means building solar arrays instead of coal plants, it means planting trees instead of clear-cutting rainforests, it means increasing efficiency and decreasing our waste,” says the 350 organizers.
 Part of the impetus for the International Day of Climate Action is the global treaty currently being hashed out in time for signing at the United Nations Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen this December. Copenhagen may well be the pivotal moment that determines whether or not we get the planet out of the climate crisis, and many activist believe the current treaty to be too weak to reduce current emissions to the 350 safety zone.
 Take part in one of these local events and add your voice to the world chorus.
Shawn Dell Joyce is a sustainable activist and artist, and founder of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery, NY.


  • Students at Heritage Junior High School in New Windsor are “wearing the green” and educating each other and teachers through posters and information posted throughout the school.
  • Sustainable Warwick has peppered Warwick stores signs reading “What’s 350? Ask inside.” Handouts inside the stores explain briefly what 350 means. On Saturday Sustainable Warwick members will parade around town in costumes explaining the importance of reducing atmospheric CO2.
  • The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, Outdoor Discovery Center presents “Rise to the Challenge of the Climate Crisis and take a STEP for Climate Change.” Featuring original music by Lydia Adams Davis, a talk about “Climate Change and the Hudson Highlands with live animals,” a pledge and “350” photo you can take part in.
  • Hikers are hiking up Mt. Eve in beautiful Warwick, to erect a 350 banner at the top of the mountain.
  • The Orange County Peace & Justice Coalition is holding an old fashioned “demonstration” in support of the 350 mission, to promote the urgency that the December Copenhagen treaty meet the 350 parts per million goal and to educate the public to unite around solutions to the climate crisis. From 1-3pm in Middletown on North Galleria Drive off Rte 211, close to the railroad station entrance to Galleria, on the grassy strip between the traffic.
  • The Cornwall Environmental Club, community members, school faculty and politicians will walk through Cornwall wearing green sweatshirts with “350” painted on the back collecting garbage in Orange Bags. The group will go to the Cornwall Central High School and lay out Orange garbage bags in the number “350.”
  • Hudson House participants will pick up 350 pieces of garbage off Broadway in Newburgh, NY
  • Newburgh Free Library hosts a “teach-in” from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm with:
    – Awakening the Dreamer: an introduction to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on our planet. Presented by Courtni Hale of the Pachamama Alliance
    – “Eat Local” presentation by Shawn Dell Joyce, Wallkill River School from 4-4:30. Cure our “national eating disorder” and find out how we can change our food system to be more local and sustainable. “The single most important thing you can do to curb climate change in Orange County is to become a locavore” says Joyce.
     – Solar Car and Newburgh Free Academy solar team 
    – Honey bees and their importance to our local agriculture by Animal Hughes
  • There will be a rally and petition drive in Monroe, NY with the goal to obtain at least 350 signatures for a petition demanding the United States government adopt the 350 goal from 11 till noon.
  • The Wallkill River School, in the heart of historic Montgomery, will display 350 artist-made prayer flags depicting reasons to curb climate change. To submit your own prayer flag, paint it on 11×14 fabric and drop it off between 9am-6pm Tues.-Sun.
  • At the Tuxedo Ridge Ski Center, we will meet at the bottom of the bunny hill at 1:00 pm and will form the numbers 350 with people. This photo op will be uploaded to
  • Hathorn Farm is sponsoring a lecture by Andrew Faust to address how various aspects of Permaculture can actively and effectively mitigate our Carbon Footprint with simple, low-tech, bottom-up solutions that EVERYONE can apply in their daily lives. From 1-2pm at Tuscan Cafe 5 1/2 South St., Warwick, NY
  • Orange Environment, Inc. is sponsoring “A Conversation On Climate Change and How It Affects the Hudson Valley” by Dr. Sacha Spector, Conservation Science Director for Scenic Hudson.  He will address the issue of global warming in the Hudson Valley and discuss the region’s most biologically important sites for  natural resource management and future restoration based on ecologically-based best practices. $3 donation requested at Tuscan Café, 5 ½ South Street, Warwick, NY
  • The Town of Cornwall Conservation Advisory Council will be planting trees to help reduce atmospheric CO2 to less than 350.
  • The Newburgh Free Academy Is doing a count-down on school TV every morning and will do interviews of students and teachers to get their thoughts on “350.”  Cards that say “Target – 350,” with signatures of students, faculty and parents will be posted on the school wall in the shape of 350. 
  • The Ramapo Catskill Group, Sierra Club is collecting 350 names on the Stop Climate Change petitions to be sent to our Federal Representative and President Obama asking for an international treaty that will bring atmospheric CO2 levels to below 350 parts per million.

Photo of the Week – Oct 18, 2009

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Photography by Rich Gigli

THE GREAT FALLS - The Great Falls of the Passaic River are a prominent waterfall, 77 ft. high, in the city of Paterson N.J. Congress authorized its establishment as a National Historical Park in 2009. In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and later as the nation's first Secretary of Treasury, selected the site of the nationa's first planned industrial city. In1791, Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishmkent of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.). During high water flooding the Great Falls becomes a spectacular sight, with tremendous amounts of water cascading over the falls.

THE GREAT FALLS - The Great Falls of the Passaic River are a prominent waterfall, 77 ft. high, in the city of Paterson N.J. Congress authorized its establishment as a National Historical Park in 2009. In 1778, Alexander Hamilton visited the falls and later as the nation's first Secretary of Treasury, selected the site of the nation's first planned industrial city. In 1791, Hamilton helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures (S.U.M.). During high water the Great Falls becomes a spectacular sight, with tremendous amounts of water cascading over the falls.

Bring Me the Head of Ted Williams

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

 By Bob Gaydos

 June 20, 2110, BOSTON HERALD — With their season already on the road to nowhere and with the Fenway Faithful looking for blood after not being able to celebrate a World Series championship in more than a century, the Boston Red Sox yesterday shocked the baseball world by revealing they had signed the thawed head of Ted Williams to a one-year contract worth a rumored $617 million.

 Williams, as Boston baseball legend has it, was the greatest hitter of the 20th century, even greater than the traitorous Babe Ruth. The Red Sox hope Williams’ celebrated batting eye will revive a moribund lineup, even though the head in which it rests will be sitting atop someone else’s body.

 The reason for that, according to Internet archives, is that when the slugger’s body was presented by his son and daughter for cryonic preservation in 2002, the head was mistakenly separated from the body. This so-called “neuro-preservation” was significantly cheaper than full cryo-preservation, for obvious reasons. Simply put, the Splendid Splinter’s head was frozen at super-cool temperatures and stored in a cooler to be defrosted when and if science figured out how to bring it back to lead a full and meaningful life — such as hitting cleanup for the Red Sox.

 For several decades in the 21st century, the Red Sox hoped that onetime star David Ortiz would choose suspended animation in the hope of returning at a future date when the American League had outlawed left-handed pitchers. But the ever-hot Ortiz chose cremation instead.

 In fact, so did Williams. At least that’s what his will said. Various stories at the time of his death said his children opted for the cryonic preservation, some say in the hopes they would be able to sell his DNA for those interested in cloning a future .400 hitter. (Williams, by the way, is still regarded as the last man to hit .400 in the major leagues since MLB officials threw out all records of players found to have used Gator-Aid, a once popular sports drink discovered to significantly boost hand-eye coordination.)

 There were numerous unanswered questions yesterday regarding the signing of Williams’ head, not the least of which being how, or who, signed the deal for Williams. Also, as of yesterday, Red Sox officials were remaining mum on whose body it was seen running around their Pawtucket minor league stadium carting Williams’ head. Sources close to the team would only say that the body was younger and faster than Williams appeared to be in old movies. Spectators said the famously lead-footed slugger seemed almost shocked at his new fleet-footedness.

 Some baseball historians swore that the thawed Williams bore a strong resemblance to a onetime New York Mets phenom, Jose Reyes. Reyes, a shortstop with dazzling speed, disappeared in the mid 2020’s after spending 14 years on the disabled list. No one apparently knows what happened to him, but baseball experts agreed that if he were frozen, it would be his legs, not his head, that would be most valuable when defrosted.

 Team officials were also discounting the significance of early reports that the new Williams, now a  speedy switch hitter instead of a pure southpaw, had fallen in love with drag bunting when batting left-handed, rather than swinging for the fences. And they said a slight left hamstring pull did not appear to be serious.

 However, they did not acknowledge concern over two changes in the Williams head, apparently the result of problems that arose in the freezing process. In 2009, Larry Johnson, who ran the Alcor facility that froze Williams, wrote a book, “Frozen,” which purported to detail the botched effort to decapitate and freeze the head of the baseball immortal who became an immortalist. Among other things, Johnson said, in order to keep the head upright and stable in a container while it attained a sufficiently cold temperature, staff at Alcor placed the head upside down on a Bumblebee tuna fish can. When the time came to move the head, the can was frozen to it, Johnson wrote, prompting a volunteer to grab a monkey wrench and take a Williams-like swing at the head. Lacking the famed Williams batting eye, the volunteer missed and smacked Ted upside the head. The can was apparently freed on the second swing.

 Unfortunately, that first swing took out the left eye, which is the front one when Williams would be batting right-handed for the first time, finally aiming at Fenway’s inviting Green Monster, if he could see it. The Red Sox hitting coach is trying to figure out a way to overcome this, while refusing to acknowledge that the team thought it was getting both keen batting eyes when it signed Williams‘s head. Williams’ agent, Scott Boras, denied any deception in attaining the record contract.

 On a more mundane note, the team equipment manager said he was having a difficult time finding a batting helmet that did not slide down Williams’ head because of an odd, circular formation sliced into the top. But he said Ted was handling these minor setbacks with unusual grace and was, in fact, a joy to work with.
Bob can be reached at

Photo of the Week – 10/14/09

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Photography By Rich Gigli

MISTY - Open your mind to the magical mist - with all your heart to the beauty's list - let your spirit hear the mountain call - and receive heaven's all.

MISTY - Open your mind to the magical mist - with all your heart to the beauty's list - let your spirit hear the mountain call - and receive heaven's all. (Gigli 2009)

Carrie’s Painting of the Week – 10/14/09

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

091010oaxBy Carrie Jacobson

Bert is my brother’s bulldog. He’s been a good dog for a long time. Now, he’s creaky and grumpy and very white in the face. A burglar would have to wake him up to get a rise out of him. To have me make a painting of your dog or cat, contact me at

The Adventures of Zoe, the Wonder Dog

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009


By Carrie Jacobson

The story so far: Zoe, a mostly blind lhasa apso, and Kaja, a big red chow mix, are traveling from the Pike County shelter to Middletown to find Zoe’s owner. They have just rescued Samantha Morrone from a near-tragic rafting accident on the Delaware, and have holed up for the night in an abandoned car. Samantha, her brother Ashton and their parents, Angie and Pete, are looking for the dogs, who have been joined by a cat named Loosey.
Chapter 18
In the morning, Angie keeps Samantha home from school. She’s OK, really, but Angie just can’t let her out of her sight. Yesterday, she came too close to losing her. And she didn’t even know! This makes Angie feel sick inside. It makes her feel like wrapping Sam in a blanket and tucking her into bed and keeping her there for the next 10 years, while she waits on her hand and foot. She’d do the same with Ashton, too, but Pete took him, first to search for the dogs, and then to go to school.
Pete and Ashton drive past Glen Spey first, looking for the dogs, searching and calling out the windows, but they see nothing, not a person, not a cat, not a dog, nothing but cars.

Pete turns around and doubles back. He leaves Ashton at the school, where he joins a group of his friends, all looking at something that one of the boys has. Pete taps the horn before he drives away, and Ash turns and smiles and waves, and Pete feels his heart lurch.
He looks for the dogs as he drives down 97 again, headed for his office. He doesn’t see them, though he passes within a couple hundred yards of where they’re sleeping, curled together in the abandoned car.
In time, they get up, stretch, and head back to the road. The cat trots along with them, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, sometimes vanishing for long stretches.
At one point, she comes out of the woods carrying a dead chipmunk. In the next hour, she kills two others. Kaja and Zoe and Loosey the cat, bellies full, curl up together in a sunny spot near a house  just off Barnes Road.
They’re sleeping there when someone rattles up the driveway to the house in a beat-up old truck, carrying a load of wood. The driver turns the truck around, backs it up to a spot behind the house, and gets out and pulls down the tailgate.
At first, Kaja thinks the driver is a man, but as she watches, she begins to see that it’s a woman. She’s built like a man, and her haircut is like a man’s, and she’s wearing a big flannel shirt over a T-shirt. But Kaja watches, and she can tell from the person’s movement, and from her scent, that she’s female. And strong.
The dogs watch as the woman tosses the wood from the truck. She works without stopping, without wiping her brow, without bothering to hitch up her jeans or pull down her shirt. When she’s done, though, she opens the door of the truck, pulls out a paper bag, and goes around to the back of the truck. There, she sits in the sun on the tailgate and eats a sandwich and an apple and drinks from a thermos.
She takes out a cigarette then, and smokes it, and tosses the crust of her sandwich toward the spot where the dogs are hiding.
“Come on out,” she says, and her voice is low and soft. “Come on out, dogs, I see you there.”
Zoe takes a step toward the woman. She can’t see her, but she can smell her, and she likes the smell. It makes her think of home. She takes another step, and now she can smell the sandwich.

She doesn’t like eating animals. She doesn’t like eating trash. She likes eating kibble that comes in a bag. She likes the crusts of sandwiches, and little tastes of meat and cheese, and fresh, cool water in a bowl, and suddenly, her old life comes back to her, and she misses it so much, she begins whining. She creeps toward the woman, and when she gets close enough, the woman offers her a cookie, and Zoe walks right up to her and takes it.
The woman lifts her up, and holds her on her lap and pets her. Kaja, watching, creeps closer, too, and the woman bends and pats her on the head, then rubs her ears, and Kaja lies down beneath the tailgate.
And as the woman continues to caress Zoe, she begins to laugh. Loosey the cat has come out of hiding, too.
“Well, aren’t you all something,” the woman says. “Your own little ‘Incredible Journey,’ eh? Except you’re supposed to be a Siamese,” she says, pointing to Loosey.
“Come on,” she says, “get on in.” She puts Zoe in the now-empty truck bed, and pats it. Kaja looks at her, and at little, blind Zoe, and then she jumps up. The truck smells like wood and dirt and warm sunshine on a cool October day. The woman pats Zoe and then looks at Loosey.
“If you’re with them, then, come along,” she says, and the cat leaps up, light as moonbeams. The woman starts the rattling truck, heads out to the road and turns toward Port.

Carrie can be reached at