Posts tagged ‘pets’

The death of a dog

The death of a pet isn’t an elephant in the room you refuse to address. It is the absence of an elephant in the room. An elephant that wiggled its tail when it sees you, make its hips dance when you pet it and falls asleep outside your door everytime you ordered it to leave your bedroom because your new girlfriend can’t stand the smell of dogs on your blanket. An elephant that holds no grudge if you forgot to feed it. An elephant that would hold its pee until you are back from hiking with family and friends and still follow your every movement with its eyes, like it is concerned about your well-being. An elephant that would cry when you get hurt, whimper when you look angry and bark your assailant away when it senses you threatened. An elephant that would never look down on you, nor demand to be seen as equal. But would take your kindness with all the gratefulness and humility of a creature to its creator. An elephant that would lie in your arms quietly when you cry your goodbyes into its hair. Would still limp behind you when you take it to the clinic. And would not recognize the special doggy-treats as its last meal. It’s an elephant-sized absence you pretend not to notice, a wall taken off by a tornado. Like walking around your room as if there isn’t a sniper shooting at you every time you passed by the door. It’s an absence full of grief. Full of fear – the fear of not being able to make it go away by not acknowledging it [it’s only a dog, after all. People lose their kids!!]. And — guilt: born of a sense betrayal of a friend incapable of doing the same to you. To Riley, who has been a good dog for the 18 years he lived on this earth. He was put to sleep on 15th September 2014.

September 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm 4 comments

Blogging [for the sake of blogging] – Western style*

Been trying to lose a bit of weight lately. I drink more water, avoid eating after 7pm [save for the occasional grape or yeQorQoro tuna] and take the most round-about way home, walking fast while everybody else strolls. I have, I repeat, too many demons to run away from! [Worked for Haile Gebreselassie, didn’t it? Speaking of, are we winning any medals nowadays?]. This struggle to faintly resemble the acceptably-sized mass has paid off. I can see the “anGwa” on my deret and the white guys that are checking me out are almost a quarter of the black men that swear by my butt.

So, typical to that form, I’ve been craving for all kinds of food I can’t afford or get to nowadays: dulet.. yeSoof fitfit.. dulet. My attempt at distracting myself from the thought of food, and do something that would benefit “ager” and “hizb”, has only got me as far as the second stanza of “Etemete”:

M’lady, my jasmine-smelling sister
[tell me]
What did that guy say to you last night?
Nothing, save for divorcing his wife and marrying me
He isn’t gonne divorce his wife and marry you
But he’s sworn on his shield, sword and honor

A murder of crows
made its abode above my house
figuring I wasn’t there

So, like a man jerking off to a woman on Playboy, or Randy Marsh on Season 12: Episode 6 of South Park, I give up the futile-attempt at translating cultures/feelings/”wesh meTs” through the weak-medium of language and go looking for pictures of food to appease my – literal – hunger. Here is one I checked out this morning.

Don’t get me wrong. That metro-bus advertisement is right! Thou shalt never “let food” take over thine life! But it sure beats the hell out of boredom when you can’t have sex take it over. Speaking of which [again- food not sex. Sorry guys], I may have mentioned how I had my brothers taste everything I ever cooked and push themselves away from the “gebeta” with sour-looks on their faces when I was 12-15. My older sibling Israel, known in the Qidiste-Qidusan of the family circle as the boy who once run to the kitchen screaming “woyne wete arere”, was better than me at getting my working mom’s [non-existent] “recipe” dead-on and not starving his younger siblings when our serategnas decided to go “ager bet-zemed tiyeQa” and never return. Until I discovered the magic of western cooking – throw everything on the pan and let it sort itself out!! – I sneered at and acted too feministic (busy studing, busy waxing the floor) to lower myself and learn the art of “wet wutweta”.

After coming to America, however, I have realized that I actually know how to cook a decent number of our cuisine, and not badly too. True, I usually serve it to non-abeshas who hadn’t had Ethiopian food before. [Bihonim.. bihonim]. I guess all that time I was sitting in the kitchen watching my mother sweat over a labor-of-love meal, with an extra-serving of Qibe, that she isn’t likely to get “egzer yistilign” for.. I was learning. Learning where to position the “mandeja” so the wind can keep flaming the fire; how not to drop the “sini”, or what’s in it, however hot the china maybe; how to avoid crying your eyes out, lest it shall be observed to you this means you weren’t a “seyit” … “a balemuya seyit”, while peeling “Qey shinkurt”. Learning and mastering the delicable art of being a woman/a wife/a mother in the company of the neighbours, the warmth, the gossip. Yekesel chis, maragebia/margebgebia, yebuna kurs. And Itan.


The thought of the Ethiopian kitchen almost makes me wanna pack my bag and move back home. Home, where Yemender awdeldai would know who I am and what sort of education I am likely to have had by just glancing my way. Home, where its perfectly normal to “miss call” a friend to have them call you back so you can ask them for money. Home, where bulla, dulet and yeSoof fitfit are but a mini-bus ride away. *dramatic pause*. Home!!

[Or, if you are a Homer Simpson, Alaska!]

LeTamemut tena yist *winks at Wello Dessie*. Cher ensenbit.

*Studies show that next to Pets and Fashion, cooking is the most blogged about topic.

August 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm 2 comments

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

With half an hour to go before my “punching” time, I was standing outside the building, telling a colleague [who was smoking too] about my love/hate relationship with cigarettes. “I don’t even like the smell”, I whined, “I am not addicted to it. And it’s sucking my wallet dry. God only knows why I don’t want to give it up. Do you know that I sometimes wonder if I smoke just to…” somewhere in between, I have noticed my companion was only with me in body. His attention has gone somewhere totally else. I followed his mesmerized gaze and saw the subject of his intense focus was a pretty girl in a blue and white north-face jacket, walking a dog that could pass for her on two legs [it was blonde, and skinny and with a snazzy hair cut that would shame her 200 dollar jacket]. He was not only breaking the 3 second-stare code, but was breaking it in the most unsubtle way imaginable.

My black-Friday car-accident has brought this colleague and I closer, and every time we meet in the “smoking area”, it has become customary for him to ask “any more accidents lately?!”. So I thought teasing him would be in order. “Take a photo”, I said, “take a bunch. It lasts longer”. That brought him cackling back. He said he was actually looking at the dog. “I mean I like girls,” he added, didn’t deny, “but dogs are my passion”.

I’ve had occasions to meet this colleague of mine outside work, by virtue of his living [not unlike myself] a few blocks from where we were standing. And every time I saw him, he had two mean-looking mongrels that were almost half his size and seem to do the dragging, instead of the being dragged, by the leash tied to their necks. I’ve noticed how he lights up, too, in a way he doesn’t usually light up, when conversation turns to mutts. His usually “drunk” voice becomes full of authority, his demeanor animated and the impression he gives one is of someone who has less of a life than moi.

In such a manner he started talking about the dog that walked past now: the cute blond one with the fashionable hair trim. He told me not to let the “girly” look fool me. That that dog was of a higher caliber than your average “bobby”. Its ancestors, he said, were hunters, making it the best guard dog this side of the world. The only down side, he added, is it has a small head, thus a small brain, which makes it pretty useless for dog-quiz shows. Pretty. Blonde. Dumb.

[Why am I not surprised?!]

Then he moved onto one of his mutts, who he said does a bit of “guarding” on the side. “He walks the kids to the bus stop!”, declared he, proudly, “When the kids come out to go to school, I open the gate for him, and he walks them to the bus stops. Never lets anyone go near there. When they get on the bus, he comes walking back and no questions asked.”

Fast forward 4 hrs.

Break time was almost over, and I was walking back into the building, trying to shake the smell of my second cigarette off my person. Shannon, an artist colleague [and a dear friend] came out looking all droopy and sad. I asked what was up. She said her cat has been sick for a few days now and she was worried. She’s told me about this cat of hers. How she got hooked on it after this animal showed a side of it you don’t usually attribute to felines. “The first time I cried,” she has said, “I .. don’t.. cry .. that often. That first time, my cat came around and gave me a real concerned look. Like she wanted to ask me what happened. And she slept next to me longer than she’s ever done. That’s how we bonded. I have always thought I was a dog person. I adopted her just because my sister’s cat gave birth to a liter-full and couldn’t afford to keep them. But that night..” [shake of the head, wistful look, sighs].

I tut-tutted, asked if she’s taken her to the vets [she hasn’t; but it’s only been two weeks since her annual checkup] and hoped, upon departure, that whatwashername feels better soon. It was afterwards, wondering what it would be like to own a dog or a cat, that I wondered if the universe was trying to communicate something. Haven’t I received my belated November 2011 Reader’s Digest issue only a few days ago?! And doesn’t it have a big portion on cats and dogs, with a slide show that named me not just a cat person, but an introvert as well [*sticks tongue out at blogger friend*]. Amn’t I in bad need for a distraction? And doesn’t my building happen, just happen, to be one of those few buildings that welcomes pets and their owners [for a nifty 400 bucks a year?!].

If the universe was trying to communicate something, far it be from me to bury the head in the sand and pretend I didn’t hear. But is a cat/dog what it wants me to adopt?! Or is it a roundabout way of asking me to subscribe to one of those co-parenting websites and evaluate my options while I look for the ideal sperm-donor and make up my mind about wanting to be a mother.

Were I to get a pet, do not I need to plan ahead? Make my life and room ready and pet-friendly? Save enough for food, medical bills, grooming supplies?! What do I know about cats? And dogs?! What does any Ethiopian know about them?!

What the Ethiopian knows about cats and dogs… (more…)

February 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm 14 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

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"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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