I walk my dogs very early in the morning. I get out of bed at 4:30 and let the dogs out into the back yard and get myself dressed. Then I feed them and let them back out in the yard again, in hopes of not having to employ my flashlight and my tummy-pack full of poopy bags on the walk. There is usually a lovely breeze by the Bay of Biscayne, while it is still dark. We do about four or five miles at a fast pace, except for the occasional stop for Kimchee. Brooklyn is the bionic dog with more parts than not made from titanium. She is dedicated to her walks and never slows down. Kimchee is another story. She has a voracious appetite for repulsive things. It is this appetite, which cuts down our time.

In the daylight, Kimchee eats a minimum of a dozen lizards a day. I know because her actions are visible in the daytime. I can’t see the things on the ground on the morning walk since it is quite dark. The problem is the infinite numbers of frog carcasses on the road.

Frogs do not look both ways before crossing the street.

Let me explain a frog’s plan for getting out of the way of an oncoming car. You know those movies where the beautiful young woman in high heels is being chased by a car at high speed? The beautiful woman runs down the road in front of the speeding car. This is her best plan for escape. She assumes she can outrun the car in her stylish high heels. I have yet to see one of these chases where the woman veers off the road into the bushes or trees where the car cannot follow. She stays right there in the middle of the road and runs ahead of the car. These women are using “The Frog Method.” I’m here to tell you that “The Frog Method” does not work. The car smashes into the woman or the frog every single time.

Kimchee’s greatest enthusiasm is reserved for frog jerky. She can really scarf. I get a tug and turn and she’s back walking again. She’s wily. She doesn’t chew. She’s learned that whenever she chews, I’ll realize what she’s doing and tell her to drop it. She is a very obedient dog and follows all my commands, but if I do not give her a command, she thinks she’s home free. She hides her treasure way back in her mouth, but usually I can tell by the tug that she’s scarfed something up. That’s when I have to use my fingers to pry out the frog jerky.

Frogs are supposed to be poisonous to dogs. I can only surmise that the car-flattening squooshes out all the poison, because Kimchee has never been sick.

Yesterday, I brought them home after a walk while it was still dark. I took off their leashes and went to fill their bowls up with fresh water. Then I noticed that Kimchee was chewing something. I told her to drop it and she did. It was a huge knucklebone from a cow, I think, or a pig. She had picked up that bone at some point and secreted it in her cheek, like a chipmunk. I never noticed that there was anything was in her mouth. She is taking on chipmunk behavior now, sneaky chipmunk behavior.

We have four enormous Fichus trees flanking our front yard. This time of year they drop zillions of red, sticky berries. They are fermenting now, which gives off a sickly sweet scent. The only problem they ever posed before was the sticky fruit would adhere to cars and the bottoms of your shoes and you’d drag it inside and get it on the rugs.

Kimchee decided this year to taste them and has taught Brooklyn the wonders of eating fermenting Fichus berries. Brooklyn and Kimchee now wander about on the bricks, scarfing up as many as they can. They stand by the front door acting as though they have to pee, when, in fact, they are simply jonesing for more fichus berries. My dogs are drunk by nightfall every night. They consume mass quantities of these alcoholic berries every day. I expect that when the berries stop dropping and their source of alcohol dries up, the dogs might go into some sort of distress. I’ll probably have to serve them a bowl of wine with their dinner now. My dogs are alcoholics.

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IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

211 responses to “Frog Jerky and Alcoholic Dogs”

  1. Matt says:

    It’s pretty obvious, Irene. Your dogs are obviously embracing their inner French poodle, and the sooner you reconcile yourself to this and learn to love them for who they are, the happier you’ll all be.

  2. Jessica Blau says:

    Irene, What time do you go to bed if you get up at 4:30?!

    Have the dogs shown up drunk at any of your hospital visits?

    I love the dead frog photo–the texture of the road almost matching the texture of the frog. Would make a great painting (done by you, not me. I can’t paint.).

    • Irene Zion says:

      Jessica Anya,

      Usually about 10 or so. I don’t sleep much. I’d like to, but, what can you do with nature?

      They seem to be totally sober when they work.
      That’s a work ethic there, eh?

      Yeah. I could paint that, but a person would have to be in there too. I only paint animals with people.
      It’s a thing.

    • reno says:


      i have you beat for reno wakes up at 4am! that’s right! you heard right! unfortunately, i don’t have the joy of walking any pooches that like booze and frog jerky. i have a swell idea. you should collect the dead frogs and make wallets, etc. i see a booming business for you.

      Irene’s Frog Wallets

      • Matt says:

        Put me down for one!

      • Irene Zion says:

        @ reno:

        Why do you get up at 4 AM?
        Is it on purpose, because you work out, or does your body just do that to you?

        I once got a change purse made out of eel skin, and I loved it.
        Then one day someone showed me the eel that they made all these things out of
        and it was so incredibly gross-looking that I couldn’t touch it anymore.

        I think that it’s important for “the business,” that no one know exactly what the circumstances are under which these “pelts” are harvested. They are absolutely truly “free-range,” that is a good selling
        point, nowadays. How they are “processed” is likely to be something that we can probably avoid going into.

        Now the last problem, as I see it, Reno, is who exactly knows how to use a sewing machine that works on leather. I personally go to Victor with all my loose buttons, (he is a surgeon, right?)
        I think I could advertise for someone who works with “leather” and owns his own sewing machine.
        He could get a portion of the profits, eh?

        I’ll just gather the “material” every morning and hand it over to the “tailor” and I even have an account on-line with the post office for sending things out.

        We could be rich, Reno, with the beautiful patterns on these frogs.
        We could be RICH!

  3. ksw says:

    as a literary critic, i fail to see the connection between the frog jerky and the alcoholism. i understand they both involve your dogs, but beyond that they are random events. a jaunty tail(sic) of your dog’s bowel habits would equally follow. what color is it after the berries? do you see frog parts in it? when your dogs are impaired do you still let them drive?

    • Irene Zion says:

      You fail to see the connection, ksw, because of the four fingers of single-malt scotch you drank.
      I will not tell of bowel habits of man nor beast. That is a promise I make to you.
      They are better drivers than I even when impaired, unfortunately for me.
      (I just got a red-light ticket in the mail!)

  4. Ben says:

    I used to play catch with Rainy with rocks in the yard. I really whipped them at her, but she seemed to love it.

    I don’t think dogs have any kind of sensation in their mouths… neither taste nor feel. They just kind of shove things in there and let their body figure it out.

    One of our cats is very dog-like in this sense (he keeps trying to eat push pins) though he is also a jerk, so he is not all dog.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Rainy Night must’ve had some seriously strong teeth! You really did play catch with rocks with her every day and she never chipped a tooth! You know, we did have balls you could’ve used, but, she was happy and you were happy, so what was the harm?

      But, Ben?
      I think perhaps you had better cat-proof your home of push-pins.
      That has got to be dangerous!

  5. sheree says:

    Lovely story lady! Thanks for the read. Trust all is well your way. Fantastic here in the desert.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I have a good friend that just sent me a picture of a HUGE rattlesnake in Tucson, where her daughter lives. They had to capture it and put it in a cooler, then in the freezer, then when it quieted down, they drove it far away from their house. We may have alligators, but no rattlers here.
      Funny though, I’m not afraid of snakes, but those scorpion things! Holy Moly! If I ever see one in real life, I’ll just explode!

      • sheree says:

        We have these where I live: http://phoenix.about.com/od/arizonapicturesandphotos/ig/Animals-of-Phoenix/Sunspider.htm

        These things do not run away from you. I had one chase me across my kitchen last year. It was beyond creepy! It was my first encounter with one, so i had no idea what the hell it was.

        • Irene Zion says:

          ACK! ACK! ACK!

          Please wipe the sight of these creatures from my memory forever!

          Please don’t let me ever see something like this again except in a movie where they are clearly FAKE!

          This is a combination of spider and scorpion here!
          And they run after you?

          (I’m sorry, I was gone for a little while, vomiting in the toilet, but I’m back.)

          Sheree, you must immediately leave this place where creatures like this exist in real life.
          You must also PROMISE never to mention them again.
          I will never look at that web site again.
          I will never look at that web site again.
          I will never look at that web site again.

        • Irene Zion says:


          They die immediately if sprayed with tap water, right?

          (Say yes no matter what….)

        • Richard Cox says:

          “Say yes no matter what…”

          Irene, that makes me laugh.

        • sheree says:

          My neighbor brought a dead one over to show me the other day. He had it in a zip lock sandwich bag.

          I seriously wanted to vomit the whole time he was standing on my porch with it. He came to warn me that they were starting to show up again in our area.

          The worst part of knowing these things are around is the fact that I suspect my little terriers of hunting them in the dark when I let them out at night.

          My little female eats all the crickets she catches, as well as spiders. I’m horrified at the thought of her catching and eating one of these things.

          To answer your question, yes Irene, they die immediately when you soak them with tap water.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh Thank you, Sheree.

          I will never look up the facts.
          I simply believe you and will keep a spray bottle of water at hand.

        • Irene Zion says:

          @ Richard:

          You’d better get to work now…enough with the laughing.

  6. Zara Potts says:

    Bionic legged doggies are the best!
    I wish my puppy would do as I tell her. I have to use reverse psychology on her when I want her to do anything. I’m such a bad trainer…

    • Irene Zion says:

      It took a long time for her to recuperate from her second Tibial Patellar Leveling Osteotomy, but that dog can run like the wind now, just like she’s got regular legs.
      Are you already here in the States, Zara?
      It totally isn’t fair that you aren’t bringing Simon here with you!

  7. J.M. Blaine says:

    Oh goodness
    thank Heavens for your post
    My wife & I were just on the way
    to the pound to adopt some
    sweet wonderful magical
    when I read this entry
    & I said “Uh oh, honey wait – come read this!”
    & she did and said “Ick, dogs are like that? Absolutely
    not, no way.”

    So now we’re getting a ferret.

  8. 1159 says:

    Ignore him he’s been hit
    in the head a lot.

    As usual – this has your trademark.
    You could read an Irene post
    with no names and immediately
    know whose writing it was.
    To have a style, so few have that.

  9. Tim says:

    I hope when I said that I’d walk the dogs with you next week, you didn’t understand that I’d participate in the 4-in-the-damn-morning walk. Shit.

    • Irene Zion says:


      No worries, we can walk them just before you go to bed.
      It’ll be perfect!

      (You can be the second person.
      I need one to carry the spatula!)

    • Irene Zion says:


      We can walk in the sunlight if you want, but then the dogs have to wear their cooling vests and you, über-white boy, must wear a hat!

  10. Judy Prince says:

    I hope you’re proud of yourself, Irene Zion! You’ve turned your dogs into alcoholics. What will the neighbours say?

    The title of this piece is utterly irresistible—–I just HAD to read the whole post and right now, not later, even though my dinner awaited. Unfortunately for me, I got to the paragraph about the flattened frogs—–followed immediately by a blast of a photo of a truly flattened frog. Well, kiss that dinner goodbye! And the frog, too, from the looks of it.

    When you wrote this, I thought you were having a lovely time with the dogs, occasionally stopping to eat some Korean food out of prolly a non-poop-holding baggie, but NO: “We do about four or five miles at a fast pace, except for the occasional stop for Kimchee.”

    And then I thought you were talking about Brooklyn metaphorically being a bionic dog, but NO: “Brooklyn is the bionic dog with more parts than not made from titanium. She is dedicated to her walks and never slows down.”

    Oh, Irene, now I’m sick to my stomach, my head is aching, and ——– I really giggled up a storm throughout your story!!! Loved “watching” Kimchee sneak the frogs into his cheeks—-and the two dogs faking you out in order to get to their red “booze” berries.

    Thank you for the laughs, my dearest hooty writer friend!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Judy, my sweet,

      I had the hardest time getting a frog picture!
      My camera is broken, so I only had my phone and it doesn’t have a flash, but even with the flashlight the pictures didn’t come out.
      I actually had to go outside in the daytime!
      In the SUN!
      Oh my, not like me at all.
      I could easily live in a cave.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Irene, THAT was an awesome photo you took!

        I kept wondering where you’d get such an artsy-realist hilarious photo on the web, I mean under what would you google it? Bows to your photo-bility, and I wanna see more photos……well not more flattened frog photos……maybe a couple flattened turtles if that wouldn’t be too much to ask.

        • Irene Zion says:


          iPhoto could use that endorsement!
          I would have gotten a much sharper photo with a camera with a macro setting.
          The frogs around here have very pretty patterns on their skin,
          and, with a good camera, you can see that some of it remains,
          even after the squooshing.
          There are hundreds of squashed frogs on our roads, but I haven’t seen a turtle.

          @Richard Cox: Frog heads are even smaller!

        • Judy Prince says:

          Irene, you could always squash a turtle for the photo. I mean since squashed frogs don’t bother you.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Judy, the very idea!

          I didn’t squash these frogs, random cars did.
          And you can’t blame them, either, cause you can’t see the stupid things in the dark and that’s when they’re out.
          The idea of squashing a turtle is so repulsive as to make me almost lose my appetite!
          Oh the picture in my head!!!
          What are you doing to my head?

        • Judy Prince says:

          Irene, my darling, I love you. I also love winding you up—-because you react so beautifully! hee heeheehhhhhheeeeeehehehehe

          I often think happily about box turtles…..would see them as kids in what I suppose was California on a visit to my uncle and aunt. They weren’t dead (the turtles, not my uncle and aunt), and my sister and I would stare and poke and try to get them to come out of their shells, but they were wise little buggers and chose to stay inside. Or they could have been having a little party in there. Hoo nose?

          OK, now back to Real Life, Irene. I’m gonna have actors in the house for the next week or so! It’s a surprise, but you’ll find out about it fairly soon. AND—–I will be with dear Rodent in 2 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIPPEE! He’s busy writing a paper to present at a conference in England which’s great, but I do wish he had time to chime in on the many comments about poetry. He’s an encyclopedia (no, more a SND) of the stuff, and he takes a uniquely English as well as Scottish view that often differently illuminates what many USAmericans have read and been told about poetry and poets.

        • Irene Zion says:


          You can’t say that little bit and then drop us like a hot potato!

          Why are actors coming to your house?

          Isn’t Rodent going to be massively jealous?

          Actors are either handsome or burly or charismatic.

          I think Rodent had better get his ass home fast!
          Your marriage is at stake here!

        • Judy Prince says:

          Just a little hint, Irene, if you promise not to tell anyone, and if anyone who reads this also promises not to remember it or tell anyone before they forget it.

          Hint: It’s TWO actors. One whom I’ve seen act in two plays and thought was marvelous—-both roles comedy. The other actor is a female whom I’ve not met and haven’t seen perform.

          Hint done.

          Dear Rodent KNOWS they’re coming to my house, and he’s quite happy about it. Now that you mention it…………… the guy actor is kinda cute.

          But I heart dear Rodent and have done since we met.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Oh, BTW, Irene, whom or how do I tell the TNB admin people that I really really love the beautiful, colour-coordinated illustrations on the “Inside TNB” horizontal strip about halfway down the page???

          Now I know you might think I simply LOVE the “bodice-ripper” cover with the guy who has the rippling muscles and such, and you’d be damned right, but that’s only ONE aspect of an entire aesthetic panorama of blah blah blah judy’s lying she’s lying she just loves that guy with the never mind quit peeking at my thoughts

        • Irene Zion says:

          Okay, Judy,

          As to your first disclosure up there, you had better promise to write about the secret handsome actor and the secret beautiful actress. I was trying to figure out how to write actor for both, since that’s what they like now, but then I’d have to add lots of extra words explaining one was female and one was male, so sue me.

          I knew you ♥♥♥♥♥ Rodent, I was just teasing you.

          Okay, second part:
          I was very surprised to see that cover myself. My sister-in-law only reads books with covers like that. She gave me a stack once and I thanked her, but there is just something inside me that is repelled by those pictures, so I gave them to the library, as I do with all the books I read, but don’t feel a need to keep.
          I do read your thoughts, though.
          I read everyone’s thoughts.
          Sometimes it makes me blush.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Irene, I’d forgot you could read my thoughts—-but only some of them, apparently, or else you wouldnae asked about my surprise, you would’ve known it already.

          Yes, the word “actor” needs more words to fit some places than other job labels like “mail carrier” or “desk manager” mainly bcuz, for example, when a playwright notes on the “character” page (for purposes of hiring actors) she writes “male” or “female” for the characters; and when you say you want to hire an actor for the role of Bramble you need to alert folks to the gender of Bramble. Most of the time, tho, no prob, just “She conveyed several deep meanings in her interpretation of Bramble”.

          But I’m all for de-gendering titles. Went for “chair” instead of “chairman” right away, and opted out of “Mrs” “Miss” or “Ms” pretty quickly, too.

          Irene, my pet, is there not a flick of excited sinew in your body for the bodice-ripper covers? I mean sometimes over-muscley men are a major turnoff, but there’re sooooo many others that are gorgeous.

          My d-in-law introduced me to bodice-rippers, insisting that they’re great (and she reads every novel, I swear, of any kind, that comes out). While staying at their place I read all her bodice-rippers like they were Hershey’s chocolate bars with almonds that might be found by others before I could get to them. I went thru 3 authors’ books and begged to take one on the plane home. When I got home, I tossed it on the bedside table and never read another word of it or any other b-r’s. Weird, huh?

          Found out why lots of the b-r’s don’t entice me. One of the several formulae for making them work is The Mysterious Man’s “Flaw”, which means he’s usually very quiet, very brooding and does stoopid things that any normal woman would shove him out the door for. But, after 220 pages, we learn that he’s not the troubled son of the cobbler. No—-he’s the illegitimate son of Count Fribble who had abandoned him…..blah blah blah.

          Well, these deeply mysterious men, muscles or not, flawed or not, like Heathcliff, just don’t interest me. They don’t say or think anything!

        • Irene Zion says:


          You just didn’t think hard enough, or I would’ve heard your thoughts.

          I think the bodice-rippers are the equivalent of day time soap operas.

          I just don’t have enough time left for such things.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Ya got me, Irene—-three times in a row. You’re right, you’re right, and you’re right!

        • Irene Zion says:

          You are good for me.
          I never hear that at home!

        • Judy Prince says:

          Ah, Irene, soon….very soon….you’ll hear it at home. Maybe from the grateful (drunken) dogs. 😉

          How’s the weekend been going for you?

          I’ve been cleaning the house in anticipation of the actors’ arrival. Not an easy job when the house hasn’t been cleaned since I moved in 2 years ago. Shows you where my priorities are. 😉

        • Irene Zion says:

          When I clean, things end up looking worse than before. I’m a disaster. I can’t keep my mind on one thing. I start something and get sidetracked and at the end of the day there are partly started piles of cleaning up all over the place and not one thing got done. Victor is a saint.
          I’m using Victor’s ancient computer now, which doesn’t have any tricks at all on it.
          Mine is at the Apple Hospital having two transplants at once.
          Poor baby.
          I mean to go paint today, but it looks like it’s getting too late and I’ll have to start tomorrow.
          I need to sit for hours uninterrupted when I paint, and that is just not going to happen on eat sushi early day.
          Victor is at Home Depot, which is wonderful, because he forgets the time when he stares a all the gadgets. I can’t go there with him unless I bring a book. I’d kill him. I’m not really patient about wasting time. I always have something to do.

          YOur house will be dandy! don’t think another minute about it. People just want to relax and drink some wine or something and have some snacks. Just go to the grocery store and you’re done.

        • Judy Prince says:

          At least you get piles of things *started*, Irene! It’s taken me 6 days to get ONE room tidied up, for goodness’ sakes!

          I know that Victor is a total doll—–but remember that Jordan Ancel said “There are no saints.” And I think he’s right, even though dear Rodent and your dear Victor come as close as possible to saintliness.

          At Home Depot (or UK’s equivalent, B&Q), I’m the one gawking at everything for hours; but Rodent’s getting more gawky now that he’s taken an interest in doing more mechanicky things around the house.

          Yes, you’re right AGAIN, Irene, about the guests just wanting to relax and have refreshments. Tomorrow to the grocery store, then!!! Thanks!

        • Irene Zion says:

          But Judy,

          NO room ever gets tidied up with me in charge. I just keep making piles in different parts of the house. Really I should not be allowed to try to clean up. All I do is lose things.

          We call Home Depot “The Despot” in our family, because it has won the heart and mind of my wonderful Victor who, I am very much afraid, loves it more than he loves me.

          Don’t forget something salty and something sweet and something alcoholic.
          That’s all you need to make people happy.
          Have a wonderful time!
          I can’t wait to hear the whole story!
          (I have no tricks on this decrepit old machine.
          (Oh, but I miss my own computer!)

        • Judy Prince says:

          You darling wonderful funny woman! Irene, you’re not gonna win this contest of who’s the Shittier Housecleaner, so give up, my love. At least your piles of stuff are attempts at organising. Mine are just 2 years of crap thrown on top of other crap.

          EXCELLENT advice, my dear: salty, sweet and alcohol. Sounds like one of my former boyfriends.

          I need your and other TNBers’ recommends for easy to prepare but absolutely universally adored salty things and sweet things. My tendency is to get huge decorated cakes and bags of chips. Sort of makes me sick to think about now.

          Yes, I will tell you about the actors’ visit, Irene! Another hint: it’s only one of several of the actors’ visits in the coming week.

          GUACAMOLE!!! Homemade!!! Where’s reno? I bet he’d tell me to toss in seared jalapeno peppers until my jaws melt.

        • Irene Zion says:


          Peanuts, Cashews, Chips, real Quacamole would be fabulous, Hummus,

          HUGE box of candies

          Lots of red wine

          Lots of white wine, put in fridge.

          lots of sake, Japanese only, put in fridge.

          Edamame, easy: buy frozen, heat, salt.

          make a lasagna.

          Buy pizza late at night to be delivered.

          Beer for the beer drinkers, cold, naturally.

          Make popcorn.

          Ice cream: Vanilla, Chocolate, Chunky Monkey, Coffee.

          That’s all she wrote.

          (You SO keep a cleaner house than I!)

        • Judy Prince says:

          Awesome suggestions, Irene!

          I’m making a list right now, and will go with: “Peanuts, Cashews, Chips, real Quacamole would be fabulous”—-and WOW yes to Chunky Monkey!!!!

          Oh, and Irene, there’s a no-sugar no-fake/sugar all-fruit drink called Naked (love the name!….can always say “Do you wanna get Naked?” at the grocery store), an all-berries one that rocks!! The cheapest way to buy it is half gallons (always in the fridge section).


        • Irene Zion says:

          If they are staying at your house, buy eggs and bacon and sausage and good bread and cereal and whole milk, cause everyone wants whole milk.
          I totally forgot about the other meals.
          Sandwiches are good for lunch. Just get good bread and lettuce and cole slaw and the pickles that have to be kept in the fridge. Buy packaged meats with long dates, in case it isn’t eaten and also buy some good chunky peanut butter and great preserves.
          Everyone wants a PBJ!

        • Judy Prince says:

          Yeeks, Irene, I hope they don’t stay overnight bcuz I only have one bed and one bedroom!

          I didnae realise that everyone in the world loves PBnJ sammiches.

          Just got back from the supernmarket with fixings to make guacamole (but they didnae have jalapeno peppers), 2 kinds of chips, salted cashews, smoked oysters (mostly for me), and 4 Naked “berry blast” juices, plus frozen spanakopita (for me, one in the oven now), and fresh beautiful fuzzy sweet peaches as well as blueberries. Already have some awesome petite sirah wine.

          You’ve been a fantastic help, Irene! I bet your parties ROCK!!

          This really isn’t a party, though, with the actors. My Real parties have been occasions for unbelievable social “disasters” that feed my store of stories endlessly.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Forgot to say, Irene, that I didnae find packaged meats with long dates. They only sell dates in the “fruit” section, and they’re not very long.


        • Irene Zion says:

          I forgot fruit, Judy.
          Watermelon is great now, and raspberries, but apples are cheaper for a crowd.
          Everyone likes a crisp fuji apple.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Quite right about the crisp delicious fuji apples, Irene—-but they’re not available at the supermarkets here like they are in California, for example.

          I purpose didnae buy any ice cream (oh my tastebuds YEARN for Chunky Monkey of the Ben & Jerry genius group) BECAUSE I know I’ll eat it all up before anyone comes over here. Same thing with the candies you said to get.

          Have yet to make the guacamole; too much to do today. On BBC (you can get it in USAmerica) today and available for the next 6 days, is a fantastic radio performance of JB Priestley’s “The Inspector Calls”. I’ve listened to the first ten minutes of the 90-minute performance and it’s marvelous. Saw the play in a huge modern Leicester theatre, and it was horrid. Then watched the old film with Alistair Sims as the Inspector—–wow—FANTASTIC! What acting and directing and staging and writing!

          Hugs to you and your “boys”, those sweet doggies.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Do they have Weight Watchers stuff in your Groceries’ Freezer section?
          They have round ice cream sandwiches that are FABULOUS and only 2 points, which means 100 calories!
          They also have cups of ice cream, but I just bought them and haven’t tried them yet.
          The ice cream pops are too small to count as dessert and they are also 2, so fie on them!
          You’ll love them.
          It’s not like some other diet stuff,
          it actually TASTES GOOD!

        • Judy Prince says:


          He drank one Naked fruit drink, and she drank nothing. Neither ate anything. They were great and are returning Tuesday and Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon.

          I have to get a white tablecloth.

          After they left I ate most of the homemade guacamole.

          Here’s the secret all revealed: They’re rehearsing the first scene (10 minutes) of a romantic comedy play I wrote, and I’ll video it and post it to TNB.

        • Irene Zion says:

          HOLY MOLY, JUDY!

          You’re having a play that YOU wrote PRODUCED and it’s being acted by REAL ACTORS!
          I am beyond impressed here.
          I want to know all about it.
          Can you give us a hint about the story?
          Have you written plays before?
          What have you written?
          You’re a playwrite?
          All this time I thought you were a regular person.
          This is really very exciting news!
          Live and learn.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Irene—you made me laugh like a little hyena when you said: “All this time I thought you were a regular person.” My family and friends would attest—-no insist—-that I’m Way Regular……or, prolly, Way Irregular.

          I’ve written a dozen 10-minute “witty romance” plays, as I’ll label them. They kept oozing out of my mind, though I never would’ve taken myself for a writer of “witty romances”.

          Since first seeing a live play, in college, I was hooked. During uni as an English Literature major, I loved plays most of all; loved analysing them, from Antigone to Huit Clos. Loved watching them, loved watching the same play performed by different actors, directed by different directors, staged by different theatre companies.

          With the perseverance and support (ok, she shoved me into it!) of a roommate, I applied for and got a semester stint in a Drama course as “grader” for undergrad papers. My terror, which my roommate shepherded me through, began with getting the needed “professor” recommendation for the position. I asked my former Theatre teacher, Kenneth Rowe, (professor for the only course I got an “A” in!) who was largely responsible for Arthur Miller’s ultimate fame. Miller, as I, attended U of Michigan (Ann Arbor). I’d love to say that Rowe linked me to playwrighting fame, but in my painful shyness and ignorance of my self, I simply wanted a recommendation for the grader job. Rowe talked with me and wrote up a recommend, and it worked.

          Then, after nearly 30 years’ teaching all levels of English in the Chicago City Colleges, I was fired. The Cook County College Teachers Union initiated an arbitration, I was reinstated, and taught for two more years, then retired. In that incredible YEAR OF FREEDOM from work, I worked continuously, writing short plays, researching for the full-length play about Shaksper the woman, and wrote articles for newspapers and magazines. One of the newspaper articles was published, and two of the short plays were produced.

          The evening that I witnessed the actors and director rehearsing my play at Chicago Dramatists, I had another epiphany. THIS, I thought, is heaven on earth!!!!! What creativity the actors and director had! What insight into portraying the characters! What joy to hear the words I’d laboured and laffed over being hilariously spoken!

          That was 10 years ago. I kept writing little plays and researching the Shaksper the woman play. And I wrote the play, “Feathers in Your Teeth”, that I aim to post to TNB. That was 10 years ago, and I only “stumbled upon it” in old files a couple weeks ago.

          ‘Twas a thunderboltly-given recent idea to hire actors—-and to be a director! And now a video-taker and editor! I LOVE IT!

          My aim’s to get “Feathers” video’ed and edited before I leave for England (and dear Rodent!) in 10 days. Intense work with brilliant creative people—-what more fun could a body have?! 😉

        • Irene Zion says:

          Are you kidding me?

          YOU have ten days to do this?
          You are crazy!

          I am so proud of your crazy, though.
          Are you staying in England, or coming back here?

          I want to know everything now.
          Can’t wait for you to post “Feathers!”

        • Judy Prince says:

          I’ll be in England for 6 months, Irene. Oh, I’m so glad you want to see “Feathers”! And I’m so glad I’ll be seeing dear sweet Rodent!

          I would love to know the entire story of your meeting the haloed Victor for the first time. Had you posted it some time ago, and I missed it?

          Just finished the homemade guacomole scooped up with mushrooms and celery and radishes. Nice!

        • Irene Zion says:

          So long?
          Oh well, you can’t tell on the internet, I guess.
          Gotta go get with rodent again.
          Separation isn’t good.

          (I haven’t told that story yet. I will sometime.)

          Guacamole is good for the soul, Judy, good for the soul.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Yep, my sweet Irene, guacamole’s good for the soul—–but it’s Chunky Monkey that I druther eat!

          You’re right; the internet will, thankfully, make it seem as if I’ve not gone away. And, thank goodness, as well, for Skype-ability with dear Rodent every day for these past 3 months apart.

          I’m glad you’ll tell the story, Irene. Hearing about how folks met the first time is totally delightful and magical—-and often damned funny!

          Get some rest, my dear friend, the dogs’ll be awaiting you in the early a.m.

        • Irene Zion says:


          How did you come to refer to your husband as “Rodent?”
          You have to admit that it is an unusual nickname.
          It isn’t his real name on account of it’s been in his family forever, or anything, right?

        • Judy Prince says:

          Irene, when I met him, dear Rodent signed off on posts to poetry lists as Rodent. When I asked him why, he said it gave him more street cred than “Dormouse” which’s what he’d previously called himself on the lists.

          The pore little Dormouse (in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”) kept getting pinched and having hot tea poured on his nose by the Mad Hatter and March Hare, and they even tried to stuff him into the teapot, so I figured I’d go with calling him Rodent for these TNB posts. He rather enjoys the character he’s become here as Rodent.

          No, it’s not his *real* name. That’s a secret. But it can be figured out from some of the comments he’s sent in to TNB.

  11. Ann says:

    what do you expect if you name a dog Kimchee?
    I guess I know understand how the video game of Frogger was developed.
    Love your stories.

    • Irene Zion says:

      You know, Ann?

      I know there is a game called Frogger, but I thought it was a board game.
      I don’t know squat about videogames.

      Victor named Brooklyn.
      I named Kimchee.
      We always have a jar or two in the fridge.
      She likes her name.
      I know, cause she smiles all the time.

  12. Lorna says:

    Booze hounds. Ha, love it. 🙂

    • Irene Zion says:


      It totally isn’t my fault!
      I knew they were eating the berries like crazy, but I didn’t know why until a couple of days ago when Victor explained the sickly sweet smell.
      It’s okay, though.
      They can have some wine with us every night.
      It’s not like they can go out to the 7 -11 and buy some Mad Dog 20/20….

  13. Simon Smithson says:

    Irene, do you know what a cassowary is?

    Over here, they are a species in a lot of trouble. They eat lots of unripened fruit and it ferments in their stomach – then they sit down drunk in the middle of the road and get hit by cars.

    • Zara Potts says:

      I shouldn’t laugh at that.
      But I am.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Oh. oh. oh, Simon!
      Fie on the cars that hit the beautiful cassowaries!

      I have pictures of Cassowaries and their poop!
      There are trees that can only grow if their seeds go through the digestive system of a cassowary!
      The seeds are a lovely blue.
      I’ll send you a picture.
      Can you get e mail in the states?
      (Anyone else who wants a picture of cassowary poop can just e mail me….)

    • Don Mitchell says:

      Cassowaries are mean muthas, too. About once a year, a cassowary kills somebody, usually a kid, in PNG.

      Are you sure you don’t mean Emus?

      • Irene Zion says:


        Papua New Guinea? That is my best guess for PNG. Did I get it?

        No, we were in north eastern Australia on a Tropical Flowering Tree Society excursion.
        (That’s a long story for another time.)
        They did tell us to keep our distance.
        Apparently the kick they give is quite powerful and actually could kill a person.
        Still, they are pretty, and their poop with the bright blue seeds interspersed is actually not icky at all.

  14. Richard Cox says:

    I love the bit about the fermenting berries. It reminds of marula/elephant drunkenness. I was going to post a link to a story like that but then I read it and I decided not to. Blah.

    However, I did not enjoy the bit about the eating of the frog jerky. Gross. Oh, your writing of it was wonderful and descriptive, but neither dogs nor anyone else should eat a flattened frog. Ever.

    I always marvel at squirrels who see my car coming and decide the safest course of action is to jump under my tires. After all, the squirrels were perfectly safe in the yard where they previously were sitting, right? I used to question this behavior, and the behavior of all small mammals, when a lovely girl once and famously remarked about a cat,

    “Don’t give her such a hard time. Look at the size of her head!”

    • Irene Zion says:

      It’s true, right, Richard?

      These animals aren’t any smarter than the ingenues that appear in our B movies!

      (Great quote, there. I’m going to torment Lenore with it referring to her cats. It’ll make her crazy.)

    • Judy Prince says:

      Richard, you keep truly awesome company. DO give her my thanks for saying: ““Don’t give her such a hard time. Look at the size of her head!”

  15. Jordan Ancel says:

    I love your dogs’ names. I’m a little afraid to ask how you named Kimchee. Brooklyn, I can only assume, is because of the NY accent?

    I love dogs. My dog is always entertaining me, especially when it comes to the things he eats when I’m not looking.

    He once got into some baked rumballs…

    I think yo may be onto something with this frog jerky. Perhaps you could package it? It’s obviously a tasty delicacy.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Yes, Brooklyn got her name from her accent.
      Most people don’t cotton on to that, Jordan.
      You are one savvy guy!

      If frog jerky ever got popular, I could totally corner the market!
      I need someone who majored in business….

    • Irene Zion says:

      Jaizus, Jordan,

      I dinged you good in my comment, and I have to tell you!
      Pay attention!

      • Jordan Ancel says:

        Yes, you did. Sorry, don’t know why I missed it.

        I figured her accent was very distinct.

        I don’t think you need a business major. You just need good marketing. Maybe a catchy jingle.

        • Irene Zion says:

          I’m going to go out on a limb here, Jordan, and say that dogs do not have accents.
          A Scottish dog will sound like an Australian dog will sound like a Tibetan dog.

          I do need good marketing.
          I don’t know how to go about that, though.

          (Can you see that? That’s an unhappy face. I can’t seem to make it big enough to actually see.)


          Jordan! You’ve been kidding me all this time!
          God, this is embarrassing.
          I didn’t get it until now.
          You are just too smart for me.
          I don’t know why I thought I was kidding you.

        • Jordan Ancel says:

          Oh, Irene, you can’t kid a kidder. 😉

          “Go Green! Go Frog Jerky!”

          There. Marketing accomplished.

        • Irene Zion says:

          You devil.
          You pulled the wool right over my eyes.
          I feel like a dope.
          Oh well.
          I’ll get you next time.
          I’m on to you now!

        • Jordan Ancel says:

          I’m innocent, I tell you.

        • Irene Zion says:


  16. Mary McMyne says:


    I’m pleased to see someone else’s schedule also revolves around her dog’s. I usually get up more early than I would like to admit for my dog’s sake, but right now Vala, my border collie rescue, is undergoing the final stages of heartworm treatment. This means I get to sleep in. However, I am still required to fawn over her indelicately, and, also, to sit indefinitely at my desk during thunderstorms so she can hide in the cubby beneath my feet. Today and yesterday we have had thunderstorms. Bad ones. My back hurts.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Our long-lived standard poodle, Rainy Night, was terrified of Thunder and fireworks. The only thing good that came to her for getting old is that she went deaf and was never afraid of them again. She went deaf slowly, so she learned to get by just fine minus one sense. I love thunderstorms, so we could finally enjoy them together.

  17. Mary McMyne says:


    I’m pleased to see someone else’s schedule also revolves around her dog’s. I usually get up more early than I would like to admit for my dog’s sake, but right now Vala, my border collie rescue, is undergoing the final stages of heartworm treatment. This means I get to sleep in, because she can’t have walks. However, when she recovers, I will go back to early rising. And in the meantime, I am still required to fawn over her indelicately, and, also, to sit indefinitely at my desk during thunderstorms so she can hide in the cubby beneath my feet. Today and yesterday we have had thunderstorms. Bad ones. My back hurts.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Heartworm is a horrible disease.
      I’m so glad you caught it in time to save Vala!
      I just hate mosquitoes.

  18. sally b says:

    Love reading your “stuff”. Your mind is a wonder. I must admit though that my mind has gone off on a tangent – the beautiful woman running in the stylish high heels. That bit of theater has never made sense to me either – you might as well just save her a lot of stress and have her stand there and get whacked. HOWEVER, I’m sure that if the beautiful woman was wearing your polka-dot high heels there would be no problem. She would be able to out run the car and also “leap tall buildings in a single bound” because those polka-dot heals have special powers.

  19. Irene Zion says:

    Well, yes, they do, Sally b.
    They have very special powers.
    Nevertheless, should a car ever try to mow me down,
    regardless of my footwear,
    I would veer off into someone’s heavily treed yard
    and the car couldn’t get me!
    I wasn’t born yesterday, you know.

  20. Andrew Nonadetti says:

    When I first read this, I took it to mean that you and your dog occasionally stopped for kimchi during your walk. It was still funny. 😉

    When we first got our Lab, I called her our shit ninja. We would walk her – broad daylight, middle of the night, whenever – and she would find a way to go from a playful trot into a full front-roll in the stinkiest shit (sometimes literally) she could find. This is while on the leash, mind you. It was a gift, like sleight of paw. Clean, cute puppy – whoosh – little walking sewer trap.

    Sigh. Dogs. Don’t want to live without them. Thanks, Irene.

    • Irene Zion says:

      You know, Anon?

      Victor has been trying to mulch our vegetable waste out in the yard, but Kimchee eats all of it. The bottoms of asparagus, mango skin and pits, the bottoms of broccoli, avocado skin and pits, cabbage and lettuce bottoms, brussels sprout bottoms, everything.

      We have two very productive loquat trees in the yard. They are a delicious tropical fruit that I have never seen in the stores. The dogs, both of them, actually pick the low-hanging fruit off the trees to eat them. They’re full of seeds, too. My dogs never get sick to their stomachs. Go figure.

      I’m so glad these two don’t have the desire to roll in poop like your shit ninja. We had a newfoundland back in the day who weighed 145 pounds, big, for a girl. She used to break down the kiddie gate to the laundry room and raid the cat litter box. She’d pick up the cat poopy and carry it away from the tile floor and place it on the carpet. Then she would roll in it. This was in Illinois, it was arctic cold most of the time, so I had to squoosh her into the little one person shower enclosure to shampoo her off. She didn’t like that.

      I couldn’t live without them, either, Anon.
      Nope, not a single day.

      • Irene Zion says:


        Yesterday, Tim and Victor and I polished off a whole watermelon, and Victor threw the rind out in the yard in the bushes.
        Kimchee ate every single piece of watermelon rind.
        Every single piece.
        She liked it and she doesn’t even get a tummy ache.
        Strange, eh?

  21. Lenore says:

    they got their alcoholism from you.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Na uh. They watched you drinking sake over Thanksgiving and you got so silly and happy that they became alcoholic just to be like you, Lenore.

  22. Melissa(Irene's friend) says:

    Your boys should meet my grand-dog Rory. He eats lizards like they are steak. Yum. He tears down bushes and trees to get to them. He is a little King Charles Spaniel. The way their yard looks you would think he was a wolf.


    • Irene Zion says:


      You have to hand it to these dogs who can catch lizards.
      Lizards are really, really fast and run in haphazard directions.
      If only these dogs would use their genius for the good of mankind….

  23. lonny says:

    ‘I can only surmise that the car-flattening squooshes out all the poison’

    i think that says it all
    it is impressive just how often squooshing things helps
    be it to get out poison, make things fit where they shouldnt, or make things more delicious

    i like to smoosh things also but we dont need to get into semantics

    mom by the time you wake up in an hour i will no longer be awake to respond to your response
    please dont be offended
    just assume i have some wickedly clever response and call it a day

    go team

    • Irene Zion says:

      Dad has this huge wrought iron squoosher that has a handle.
      He uses it to squoosh meat and fish when cooking it at high heat.
      Lord, but that man loves his gadgets.

      Yeah, I’m all walked and showered and now I have to brush down the dogs because they work today.
      But you live three hours earlier there, so that’s a good excuse.

  24. Jude says:

    Haha… very funny story Irene. Love The Frog Method! The visual on that particular part of your story is hilarious!

    We have a Possum Method in NZ – stunned by the car lights, they make fine targets! Us Kiwis don’t really mind seeing splattered possums all over the road as it means one less tree they’ll strip naked.

    I can’t believe you get up at 4.30am to walk the dogs. You are one dedicated dog mama!

    • Irene Zion says:


      We have zillions of possums in this country too.
      They are our only marsupial!
      They seriously populated Illinois, where we lived last,
      and, yes, they use the same Possum Method that they use in NZ.
      Different parts of the country have different squashed animals.
      I hear that out in the desert areas armadillos are using the Armadillo Method.

      I wouldn’t pin any medals on me, Jude.
      I’m already up anyhow.
      I don’t sleep much.

  25. Haha, good lord… You have some strange animals. Frog jerky and fermented Fichus… Wow. Really, wow. I didn’t know that frogs were poisonous to dogs. But then again, lots of things are poisons to lots of other things, and that doesn’t stop them. My cats will eat anything. Pennies? Yup. String? Oh yeah. Pebbles? Of course. They just poop it all out without noticing.

  26. Simone says:

    Kimchee… mmmm… when I first read this line:

    “We do about four or five miles at a fast pace, except for the occasional stop for Kimchee.

    I actually thought you meant this: http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/dswills/2009/02/on-kimchi/

    Ha ha!

    There’s also a myth in Africa that Elephants get drunk on the fermented rotting fruit from the Murula tree.


    • Irene Zion says:


      You are one of several people who thought we stopped before light every morning for some korean spicy cabbage! I think that’s hysterical in itself!

      Thank you so much for the video of the drunk African animals.
      Everyone should watch it.
      It’s short and it’s really, really silly!
      I want a Murula tree in my yard!

      • Simone says:

        Ha ha! That is really funny! K-I-M-C-H-E-E…..!!!

        It’s my pleasure, Irene. I loved the ostrich in it! Marula trees grow almost everywhere in South Africa, but mostly in the ‘bushvels’ or ‘savannah’ areas.

        There’s an AWESOME alcoholic drink called AMARULA. It’s similar to Bailey’s cream or Cape Velvet, and it’s great over crushed ice.

        Should I ever come to the States and pass your way I’ll bring you a bottle.

        • Simone says:

          Ooh, found a link for the Amarula (and forgot to post it above):


        • Irene Zion says:

          Doggone it!
          I was writing a long thing to you and then I stopped to look at your link and lost the whole thing.
          I always forget to make a new screen.
          Anyway, Simone,
          As far as your first comment goes:
          I think the ostrich is hysterical! The whole thing is a riot and everyone should see it.
          One thing I don’t understand is why the film makers put in those starched, stiff, tall birds in it.
          They just stood around judging the partygoers and didn’t partake of the party refreshments!

          I tried, (your second comment above,) to sign up for the Amarula club, but I couldn’t get the country and date arrows to work.
          I’m going to see if I can buy it here.
          We were in South Africa about a year ago, but we didn’t see this drink.
          I wish I had!

  27. Irene Zion says:


    It just makes no sense to me. We have a friend whose dog had to have repeated operations to remove large stones from his belly. Why would a dog eat a stone? Frequently?

    I hear dental floss is really dangerous for cats especially, that it gets all wound around important parts.
    That sounds like an urban legend, though, doesn’t it? What’s it going to wind around? In the mouth, down the throat, in the stomach, through the gut, out the anus. Yeah, I don’t think I believe that one.

    You should take your cat to a huge jewelry store.
    You set it loose, “accidentally,” and it rummages through the store scarfing down diamonds!
    This is a really good idea, David.
    Give it some thought!

    • Don Mitchell says:

      Irene, you just haven’t lived until you’ve pulled a long piece of dental floss, ah, out of a cat. And not by mouth.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick.
        I’ll bet you’re really careful where you throw away your floss now!

    • Haha, good idea.

      I’m not sure about the dental floss, either, but our cats eat lots of hair. Sometimes they poop it out, but it’s so long and stuck together that they walk around with a rope of poopy hair… Gross.

      • Simone says:

        Ok, both of those images are just plain… disgusting! *reaches for chunder bucket*

        • Irene Zion says:

          You know, “chunder bucket” must be a South African thing, because I have never heard that phrase, but I have no trouble at all translating it into USA english.
          Funny, that.

      • Irene Zion says:


        There’s a tube of greasy stuff they sell here that’s to stop hair balls.
        All my cats I ever had thought it was the best thing ever, so it’s not hard to get them to lick some off your finger every day.
        Can you get it there?
        If you can’t, I’ll buy you some and mail it to you.

        • We get pet products here, but they’re inferior in quality. We’ve never really had a terrible problem with hairballs, though. These are Korean street cats… They can swallow and poop metal without noticing. In and out.

          Thanks for the offer, though.

        • Irene Zion says:

          “swallow and poop metal in and out?”
          They sound like the kind of cats you want to stay far away from, David.
          The juvenile delinquents of the cat world.
          Do they commit crimes and stuff?

        • Oh god, I love them… but they’re monsters. Monsters. One is deviously clever, and the other frighteningly stupid. Together they create chaos. The dumb one once flipped over all our plants, and managed to land them into the fishtank. Chaos.

          But these street cats need love. This is a country – after all – where they’re boiled for medicine and not protected by any real laws. If I was raised on those means streets… well, I’d probably be a deviant bastard, too.

        • Irene Zion says:

          You know what, David?
          Yesterday our biggest Koi jumped out of the water and landed on a begonia that Victor had only just planted and squashed it.
          Victor walked by and said to himself: I wonder what happened to crush my begonias…then he noticed this huge koi lying in the middle of the plant!
          But, as luck would have it, Victor ripped off his sandals and socks, (I know, sandals and socks, what can I do with him?) and tore into the atrium and ran through the water scaring all the other fish and grabbed the piscicidal koi and placed him back in the water and he swam away!
          That’s the second fish that was saved by Victor’s quick action and good timing.
          Anyway, the plants being knocked over by your cats into the fish tank made me think of this.

          When you leave Korea, what will happen to Deviously Clever and Frighteningly Stupid? Can you take them with you?
          Leaving them there without step-parents just seems scary for them.
          (But you still have to grab your girlfriend and get on the fishing boat, regardless!)

  28. My cats eat frogs, they have of course survived. My dogs show no interest in them tho we have yet to see truly hard times. I had to rescue a frog from our living room that a cat chased in the other day. I put it in the tank with our turtle who was definitely not happy with the room mate. I took it down to the stream and gave it a new life under a witness protection plan. I’m sure it’s thriving. Ohio frogs must be non-toxic too.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hi David!

      Your cat eats frogs?
      How big is your cat?
      I thought cats were very good at catching and eviscerating animals, but mostly brought the carcasses home as a gift for their people.
      I’ve never heard of cats eating frogs before.
      Maybe it’s only some kinds of frogs which are poisonous?

      I’m really glad witness protection took in the frog.
      They can be so picky!
      I would have liked to have watched you trying to catch it in your house!

  29. Susan Gomez says:

    How timely. Apparently after recent floods, Greece is overloaded with kamikaze frogs, streets are shut down and boy could your dog have a field day.
    Maggie, our little pound dog also eats things that are vile according to most peoples’ appetites. Once she ate a frog, spittin’ image of your photo, and we were told it was poisonous. Maggie is 17 years old now, and I guess nobody told her because she’s still working the neighborhood and is on a steady diet of worms and the occasional road kill. Go figure.
    I absolutely adore the image of the woman in heels trying to outrun the chase car. I also always wondered about that as a survival technique, possibly because I can’t even walk in heels, but really, how fast might you possibly go?!
    I loved this piece…humorous and familiar. So glad we’re in touch again.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I saw that story on the web news the day after I posted this.
      I thought that it was pretty funny.
      There are other places that have the same trouble with blankets of land crabs covering the land, I think it’s Guam.

      The “Frog Method” these actresses use is always the same.
      They are always dressed to the nines and wearing high heels
      and screaming, of course.

  30. Amanda says:

    ha! A former housemate’s dog could find bread in a blizzard. No joke; once, the dog arrived home from a January walk with a loaf of cornbread in its mouth. I can only imagine how off the rails things would’ve become if boozey berries were added to the menu…

    • Irene Zion says:


      Where in heaven’s name could the dog have found a loaf of cornbread to swipe?
      I’m telling you, these dogs are getting smarter than we are!
      That dog was so smart, she probably had a keg of beer in the backyard!

      • Amanda says:

        A bootleg hooch-pooch operation!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Yeah, but Amanda, I’ll bet they’d only serve dogs.
          Canine racists!

        • Amanda says:

          Yes, but they also lick their own butts and apparently dine upon dessicated frogs, so it’s probably ok that they keep all that hooch for themselves. I’m not sure I trust a dog to wash its paws after “using the restroom” or “touching the money”, and dang, the way they use their long doggie tongues to wash the glassware. Eeeesh…it brings chills

        • Irene Zion says:

          Well, Amanda,

          You make some good points there, but people swear that the saliva of a dog can cure skin ailments. Seriously. Look it up.
          Maybe the glassware looks a bit cloudy, but maybe that is the anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-biotic substance in their saliva.

          Never question an urban legend, Amanda.
          People will mock you.

        • Amanda says:

          ..and if there is one thing my Friday does not need, it’s a mocking!

        • Irene Zion says:

          You know what your Friday needs, Amanda?
          A lovely mojito full of sweetness and lime and rum and lots of muddled mint.
          Trust me on this.
          Maybe two.
          That’s the ticket.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Damn! I can’t edit without my own computer!


          You also need cashews.
          Mojitos and cashews.
          Gotta have something lovely and salty with a mojito.

  31. Slade Ham says:

    The concept of drunk animals makes me giggle. Literally. I have a feeling that I am about to spend the next several hours YouTubing just that.

    Thanks Irene, for what is about to be a totally wasted (yet entertaining0 Thursday…


    • Irene Zion says:


      Scroll up to Simone’s comment!
      She has a link to a crazy video from Africa of all these drunk wild animals.
      It’s a scream!

      (My Thursdays are always entertainingo!)

  32. reno the drunk frog says:



    a dozen lizards? does she catch these dudes or are they already dead? if they’re alive that’s quite a feat. hmm. i’m very interested in those berries. i’ll give you my address and you can mail oh, i say, around 17 pounds of them. you know, just experiment…

    • Irene Zion says:

      reno the drunk frog,

      The lizards are very much alive and fast as lightening!
      Golden Retrievers are supposed to be slow, but she can catch them as though she were a cat!
      Then she just pops them right in her mouth.
      I’ve saved a few with the “Drop it!” command, but really, it’s hopeless.

      You wouldn’t like the berries, they stink.
      I wonder if Simone’s Murula fruit is tasty?

  33. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    Oh, if only you’d posted a video of your boozed-up doggies!

    Could be the sun-baked frogs and fermented berries have medicinal properties.

  34. Irene Zion says:


    I hadn’t thought of that.
    I’ll bet they are medicinal,
    after all, both the doggies
    are healthy as can be!

    I broke my camera!
    Go look at Simone’s video.
    She wrote a link to it.
    You’ll need to scroll up a bunch.
    It’s African animals drunk.
    You’ll love it!

  35. Dana says:

    Very amusing Irene. Chipmunks and squirrel seem to employ the frog method too, although rarely in high heels.

    My pooch and I have been having battles on our morning walks too!
    She’s always got her nose low to the ground and squished frog (there’s never a shortage of those) are a favorite of hers too. A pre-emptive “no” from me will deter her and a “drop” will get her to release most anything. Goose poop is apparently quite the gourmet treat too.

    But the other morning I have no clue what she grabbed. All I know is that she truly enjoyed it and would not release it for anything,… and it was crunchy. I had my fingers halfway down her throat and no dice. We walk the same route every morning and each day since she’s slowed to a crawl there and sniffed enthusiastically at the same spot. I have a sneaking suspicion it was a baby turtle. yipes.

    But at least my dog is not a drunk. 😉

    • Judy Prince says:

      Thanks for your thoroughly hilarious comment riffs, Dana: “goose poop” and your dog sniffing enthusiastically at what might’ve been a *turtle* oh dear!

    • Irene Zion says:


      I thank GOD we don’t have geese here!
      When my daughter was living in New Jersey, she kept taking us and her kids to this huge park.
      The place was crawling with geese and enormous piles of soft green goose poop.
      It was everywhere!
      You had to look down when you walked to step around all the piles.
      She had a dog who would both eat it and roll in it!
      It was a thoroughly disgusting experience which my daughter made us do every time we visited.
      Thank Heaven they’ve moved to New York!
      I never want to see a goose again.

      • Dana says:

        Judy – you’re always so sweet! Hope you have a wonderful time with your actor friends. 🙂
        The weather appears to be cooperating for this weekend at least. Fingers crossed!

        Irene – Yesss! Canada geese. The beautiful bird described so lovingly in Michener’s “Chesapeake” is a huge nuisance now. When I was in grade school I remember taking a school trip to see the geese on their migration. It was magical. Now they’re EVERYWHERE. It must be too hot for them in Southern FL, but I have no doubt they’ll adapt… Ick. Meanwhile I’ve only seen two hummingbirds so far this year and we usually have swarms.

  36. Irene Zion says:


    Oh, I just hate the crunchy things! I have a hard time jamming my fingers into her mouth not knowing at least what it is.
    We have land crabs here. The really creepy ones that run sideways? Oh, I do NOT want to get my fingers on one of those. Enormous spiders, that’s what they are!

    I’ll bet anything that your dog is a closet drunk!
    You think a dog that quick and intelligent doesn’t know how to out-smart you?
    Doubtful, I say.

  37. Brandy says:


    Oh, your pups sound quite sneaky! I lost my Ozzy a year ago this month. He was also a ‘finder’ in the yard, in the house. He would gingerly pluck up fallen grapefruits, pine cones, sticks, and any dead thing (especially squirrels). Unfortunately, he wasn’t obedient. Mostly he would make me wait whilst he chewed on squirrel brain. He informed me that it was quite the delicacy, but I declined. Whenever he got super happy, he would find something to pick up and carry (flip flop, empty milk container–whatever). I never figured out why happy=pick something up, but it was one of his quirks. We also had a camphor tree in the yard; also blessing us with a multitude of berries. They DID make the dogs sick, and further, their shites were RED. But they DID NOT have moth problems. Just to clarify.

    Now the only pet I have is a Matthew-Cat. He likes to eat roaches. Although it creeps me out to see one lonely spiny leg on the carpet, or one wing. Eek.

    I think you may have quite the market for Irene’s Fresh Roadkill Snackies. 🙂

    • Irene Zion says:


      Ozzy must have been some sort of Retriever.
      My Goldens, when faced with a visitor, MUST HAVE SOMETHING IN THEIR MOUTHS TO SHOW THE VISITOR!
      It’s some kind of Obsessive-Compulsive-Retriever-Thing.

      Was Ozzy a healthy dog, in spite of his appetites? (Except for the camphor thing.)
      My dogs never get sick, (except for the two torn ACLs, but that’s not sick, that’s injured,) regardless of what they eat.

      I wish my dogs didn’t have moth problems.
      They don’t have moth problems.
      I guess we don’t need a camphor tree after all.
      What does a camphor tree look like?
      Does it smell like camphor?
      My Dad used a “chapstick” product that was all camphor.
      I loved it. It was an HUGE tube, not like the piddly chapstick tubes.
      I called the company and wrote them and everything, but they just stopped making it.
      OH! I remembered the name! Camphor Stick! (For real!)

      I say Matthew-Cat! Have at it! A piece of a roach is one hundred times better than a whole roach.
      Honestly. Can you argue that point, Brandy?

      Reno and I are starting a business.
      It’s either dog treats, or wallets.
      Depending on the availability of a leather tailor with a sewing machine.

      • Brandy says:

        Ozzy was a black lab!!! And I think you may be right. I always kinda wondered what was crossing his mind “OhhhMamawheresmytoyORsomeTHINGineedtofindsomethingtoSHOWyou”–all the while his tail was a lethal weapon of destruction.

        He was incredibly healthy, cast iron stomach. He never had any issues until he came down with cancer at age nine. We thought it was a snake bite; his leg had swollen up. It took him within a month. I miss my guy, but he was a very spoiled happy fat man. 🙂 He had a good life.

        Camphor trees are very pretty, they become quite huge with spreading branches. Their berries are bright red, and will also ferment. The berries smell like camphor, but in a more pleasant way.

        I feel cheated. I only have a piddly chapstick. We should petition!

        I agree. Bits o’ cockroach ARE better than whole (live) ones. I’ve become quite adept at killing them with my swiffer–360 degree pivoting, perfect for ceilings!! And of course here in Florida, roaches are aggressive. You’ll never convince me that they don’t have GPS.

        Let me know about your side business. I’m sure the Matthew-Cat would enjoy tasty frog jerky.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Did Ozzy only want to show off what was in his mouth?
        My dogs want people to admire whatever it is they are holding, but they get downright depressed if the person thinks they are being offered the thing.
        They only want it to be admired, not stolen!

        I know I have one somewhere that I was saving. I remembered the real name now!


        That was it. I don’t suppose anyone else remembers it.
        It was a tube, metal, about 5 inches long and about one inch diameter.
        You pushed the camphor ice up by putting your finger in the bottom and shoving it up a bit.
        It had a little metal cap.
        It reminds me of my dad, so I think I may be a bit obsessive over it.

        • Brandy says:


          Ozzy didn’t mind if you threw whatever was in his mouth; as long as he could go pick it back up, stealing a treasure would get a sad-head-turned-sideways look.

          Camphor Ice. It sounds like a new cocktail. I think I’ve just had a long day at work; but now I’m Google-ing it.

        • Irene Zion says:



          You might just as well have brought back my father.
          I’m buying a ton and the scent will bring my dad back to me, if only in memories!


        • Brandy says:

          Aww. You’re welcome–from another Daddy’s girl. It sounds like you have some really good memories. 🙂

        • Irene Zion says:

          I’m crying here, but it’s from happiness.
          (Don’t be concerned, I cry easily, just ask my kids.)
          This really means a lot to me.
          If I think of it logically, perhaps it means TOO much.
          But, oh well, this is me and this is my life and I’ll feel how I want to feel.
          I’m old, so I have a certain amount of leeway.
          And yesterday my last living Aunt (93) died.
          (92 good years and then one bad one.)
          So that makes me the oldest generation in my family now.
          I could cry just about that.

          You are wonderful.

        • Brandy says:

          I still have my Dad, but I almost lost him when I was 13. I don’t think anything that reminds of you someone you loved can mean too much. As for your age; you can’t be old–for some it’s just an impossibility, and I think you’re wonderful, too.

        • Irene Zion says:


          Have I mentioned that I adore you?

  38. Carl D'Agostino says:

    Funny. We have ficus trees in Miami and yes the berries are a mess and so are the bazillions of leaves and no grass grows under them because the branches block out the light. Kinda like protecting territory like lions and monkeys and such. But I’ll tell you a secret. Butterflies LOVE rotten fruit. They get drunk. So put a dish of them out on a table. Of course you will love the colors but will have to take personal responsibility for introducing alcoholism to social insect fabric of your community. Another tidbit, bears love psychedelic mushrooms and they know that they are tripping. However if you live in a forested area it would probably not be a good idea to leave some “rooms” by the berries in your back yard. I will allow you and your other commenters to speculate on the reason.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I spelled Ficus correctly and “Word” corrected me to spell it incorrectly.
      Now, I can go back and fix the two thousand times I wrote it, but I am so lazy and
      my computer has to go into the Apple Hospital for “two to five days,” tomorrow.

      The berries have almost stopped dropping now, but next year I’ll put out a bowl here and there, where the dogs can’t reach, to get some more pretty butterflies. I have no compunction to getting insects drunk. I already get my dogs drunk, apparently.

      I don’t think there are any bears on Miami Beach.
      There are bears in the ZOO in Miami, but it’s a long walk to the beach from there.
      I think I’m safe from bears, but thanks for the warning, Carl!

      (I’m very excited that there is a Miami Person commenting here! YAY Miami!)

  39. Amy says:

    I can attest to those fermenting berries, cuz they stick onto my car 3 days a week when I go to torture Irene. Trying to not bring them into the house is nearly imposible! I say let the dogs eat them, then it’s less work for you to clean up. It always amayzes me what dogs love to eat! I love the analogy of women running from a car in high heels to a frog crossing the street. Very clever! I always wondered why there was so many frog carcasses in the road.

    • Irene Zion says:


      The Frog Method holds true for quite a few small-headed animals, apparently.
      I’m really sorry about all those sticky red berries cemented onto your pretty car.
      They are fabulously beautiful trees, though, eh?

      (Amy “tortures” me, cause she’s my personal trainer. I have a personal trainer because I have no gumption and won’t do anything unless she makes me. I’m weak-willed. So sue me.)

  40. Don Mitchell says:

    Irene, pardon me for being a pedant — but I think you’re talking about toads here, rather than frogs. They are different animals. Toads can be poisonous, but I don’t think there are any poisonous frogs in North America.

    True, the morons who let pythons loose in Florida might have released the odd poison dart frog.

    That picture sure looks like a toad to me. Notice the intermembral index — the hind legs aren’t long enough, relative to the forelegs. Also the skin is very toad-like.

    I speak not as Toad of Toad Hall, but as boy from Bufo land.

    I liked this posting. Kimchee for a dog name — wonderful. And people who don’t get up early and walk are missing some cool things. I’m glad to know that you do.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Don, I love that you’re a pedant!
      Who else is going to tell me I’m wrong?
      I’m from Brooklyn.
      The only wildlife was the Norway Rat.
      I don’t know from frogs and toads.
      I know they’re different, but I can’t tell them apart.
      We have both of them here.

      Why does every vet tell you to immediately hose out your dog’s mouth if she picks up a frog/toad? Then run the dog in for emergency help which may or may not save his life?
      Vets seem to believe this poison stuff.

      This morning the streetlights were out along the Bay and it was a simple moon.
      There was a breeze and, truly, it was a glorious walk, beautiful in every way!

      • Don Mitchell says:

        The vets are right. You don’t have poison frogs, but you do have poison toads.

        Most toads have poison glands that can excrete a poison when the toad is disturbed. The poison sits on the toad’s skin. And so if a dog or other animal has the toad in its mouth when the poison (which is a whitish substance) is on the skin, it can be bad for the dog.

        I remember, as a boy, finding a neighbor’s dog dead with a bufo toad in its mouth. But it was a small dog. I’m sure that all the size/dosage relationships apply here — you have big dogs, and they’re not attacking live toads.

        I checked my toad memories against Wikipedia and discovered something I didn’t particularly want to know, namely the (human) act of “toad-licking.”

        • Irene Zion says:

          Believe it or not, I actually have read about “Toad Licking.”
          That has got to be the grossest way to get high yet.
          Can it possibly be worth it?

          So the squooshed toads apparently lose their poison in the squooshing, huh?
          Otherwise, the dogs would get sick.

          It’s funny that Kimchee chases and eats lizards, but live toads and frogs she just looks at and watches – so far.

          (Victor acquired this enormous pudgy BUFO toad that’s stuffed or something. It’s unquestionably not alive, I’ve poked it. It’s repulsive. One day it is going to “disappear.”)

  41. Irene:

    Do you get up at 4:30 by your own freewill, or do your dogs wake you? Woof. That’s hardcore. But hey. As we both know, dogs are totally worth it.

    • Irene Zion says:


      I wake up at 1, then at 2 then at 2:30, then at 3:30, then I usually give up around 4:30.
      The dogs have just gotten used to when I get up.
      They used to sleep later, back in the day when I slept like a regular person, sort of.

      The walks in the dark are better for them anyhow, since they are so furry and hot. Keeps them cooler and happier.

  42. Irene,

    Your Kimchee and my Monty sound like the same dog (except mine won’t drop ANYthing I tell him to). He finds all sorts of dead and disgusting things on every single walk–mostly run-over squirrels. He carries around old fast food bags in his mouth when we’re walking (which makes us look trashy, I think). He recentlycaught a whole, live blue jay and kept it hidden in his mouth until we got home.

    And he eats the messy berries that fall on the deck from some sort of cherry tree (they’re not edible cherries, as in edible for humans). This is convenient, as otherwise, they would stain the deck and the floors.

    Must be a golden retriever thing. At least yours listens to you!

    • Irene Zion says:

      Lord, Elizabeth, you made me laugh out loud with the part about the trash making you look trashy!
      That was really funny!

      Did the blue jay survive being secreted in Monty’s mouth all the way home?

      My Newfie from ages ago came inside from the yard with a really full mouth, but closed. I told her to drop it and she put her face down on the rug and opened her mouth and a baby bunny rolled out onto the rug. I think she wanted to raise it, but we brought it to the University of Illinois vet school and they knew how to raise a baby bunny without its mom. She was so gentle with it. I can still see the whole scene in my head.

      My dogs listen, but they still try to slip things by me. They think it’s okay to do stuff I wouldn’t like if I don’t see them do it. Kind of like kids, I guess.

  43. does frog jerky taste like frog legs? or does frog jerky taste like chicken?

    • Irene Zion says:

      Wait a minute,
      I’ll ask Kimchee, Mary.

      She won’t tell me.
      She thinks I should test it for myself.
      Not going to do it.

  44. Gregory Messina says:

    I love that you labelled the woman being chased by car as the frog method. And that you’re dog is clever enough to hide things in his mouth.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Hi Gregory!

      Thanks, but honestly if you see these frogs running straight ahead of the car, the first image you get is the scenes in movies and TV where the damsel in distress gets whacked by the evil car guy for running using the same method.
      They’re good dogs, but sneaky is part of being a dog, I think.
      Do you have a dog?
      I think everyone in France has a dog and takes him to the cafes with him.
      It looked that way the last time I was there.

      Your gravitar makes me want to fly to France and sit down with you and talk and share some wine in your living room.
      (Don’t worry, I won’t do it when I’m not invited.)

      • Gregory Messina says:

        Irene, if you ever come to Paris, you are welcome to have some wine in my living room!
        But you won’t find a dog here. The apartment is too small for one, and I’m not sure if they have professional dog walkers in Paris.

        • Irene Zion says:


          That’s how I could live in Paris!
          I could be a professional dog walker.
          I think it would be easier there, since no one picks up after their dogs there.
          (No poopy bags!)
          Although, if anyone cared, I’d throw that in anyhow, since I’m used to cleaning up after my own.

          You’re on, when I next get lucky enough to get to Paris, I would love to sit and listen to your stories and laugh over a nice glass of wine!
          Thank you for your invitation, kind sir.

  45. angela says:

    frogs and small woodland creatures seem to have the same method. i swear, around where my parents live, possums and whatnot wait for cars to come before they decide it’s a good time to cross.

    frog is yummy. i don’t blame your dog for munching on them.

  46. Irene Zion says:

    But, Angela?

    Frog legs are yummy, but this is flattened to the point of desiccation.
    I just doubt that can be yummy to a human.
    I mean, the skin is about all that’s left.
    I know it’s yummy to dogs, though.

    I do not understand the “Squirrel Method,” though.
    They run out half-way, then they run back to the curb, then back out to the middle again, then back to the curb and then when your car is just about there, they run under your tires!
    And everyone feels bad about killing a sweet little squirrel so they carry around guilt forever.
    It’s not right, is it?

  47. Christine W. says:

    Hairy guys, frog jerky and alcoholic fruit: sounds like a frat party!

    • Judy Prince says:

      Now you know you just *had* to get a comment on your comment, Christine—-love it!

    • Irene Zion says:


      It does sound like a frat party!
      But they’d never start one at this early hour,
      unless they are still having the party late enough
      to be morning….

  48. Joe Daly says:

    Dogs eat lizards?

    No. Freaking. Way.

    I’ve got lizards in my back patio, and the dogs are always trying to sniff around where they run off to when we go outside. To my knowledge, they’ve never caught one, but now I’ll know not to freak out if/when they do.

    Btw- what kind of music do the dogs listen to when they’re whacked out?

  49. Irene Zion says:

    Lizards are really hard to catch, Joe.
    I can’t imagine how my lumbering Golden is doing it.
    She never gets sick, although her breath is not pretty afterwards and I usually give her a treat to change the scent.

    We never have music on.
    We had five kids who always had friends over for decades.
    All we want is silence now.
    I think they hear their own music, though.
    Or, at least they seem to be dancing to it….

  50. Kimberly says:

    I’m going to meet you and your alcoholic dogs in a few weeks.

    This makes me exceedingly happy.


  51. Irene Zion says:

    I am so beyond excited, Kimberly, the beautiful!
    Lenore told me it was a possibility, but not to get my hopes up.
    (But they were up, I can’t help it, they’re always up.)

  52. Ed says:

    I believe everything except the chipmunk part. What I know about dogs is that they totally, I mean TOTALLY, live in the present. Going for a walk? My favorite thing! Found a flattened frog (or, more likely, toad)? My favorite thing! Berries that make you drunk? My favorite thing! I really believe that’s how dogs’ minds work. So,…

    Hiding something in her cheek that her mistress won’t find is a little hard to sync with this. More likely: Found something to chew? My favorite thing. Can’t wait. Let’s chew on it.

    Or maybe you have a really, really exceptional dog.

  53. Irene Zion says:

    You see up there where it says “non-fiction?”
    Well that, right there, is how you can tell that I am standing here on a stack of bibles with my right hand on my heart, assuring you that my Kimchee is part-chipmunk and did hide that knuckle bone of which I spoke in her cheek for heaven-knows how long, until she deemed it safe to start in chewing on it because my back was turned.
    She was, however, not bright enough to understand that when I turned back towards her again, I would notice that whatever it was she was chewing did not come from my hand and, therefore, must be contraband.

  54. Are they eating geckos? lol. Twelve a day? Wow!

    For some reason, I always remember this poem I once read in a Garfield book as a kid:

    My Buddy

    My buddy’s a toad.
    He’s kind of muddy.
    He’s flat on the road.
    But he’s my buddy.
    My buddy to stay.
    Until he’s peeled up
    And sailed away.

  55. Irene Zion says:


    They do not touch the geckos, for reasons I cannot explain. They are free to roam the house and eat as many bugs as they can stomach.

    I really love the poem you remember from Garfield.
    Thank you so much for sharing it, Nickie boy.

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