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Then there is that dangerous human activity of bathing that the poor pug has to worry about. A shower finds my self appointed honor guard outside the door, eyes glued to the glass to make CERTAIN that the same person that went in, comes back out. Showers are not too traumatic however, they are relatively fast for one thing. Taking a bath is a whole other story. There was a time that I used to relish after a long hard day. A time when I lit aromatic candles, turned on soft music, perhaps poured a glass of wine and luxuriated up to my neck in fragrant bubbles with a good book in hand. Now a quick glance over the top of the pages shows me large worried eyes and a pained expression, which somehow breaks the mood! It is quite impossible to enjoy a good novel and get lost in the moment while a pug stares at your face to make sure you are not going to disintegrate and disappear down the drain in a froth of soapy water! I used to enjoy nothing so much as browsing my favorite bookstore, and then going next door to Starbucks to sit and read my latest purchase over a triple shot latte. However both the bookstore AND Starbucks have been completely taken over by Max (the pug). He struts into the store where he is known to everyone from the manager on down, and makes his way to the children's section where there are cozy pug sized armchairs placed solely for his convenience. Since the staff seem to share this belief_who am I to argue? Managing finally to negotiate the non-stop coos of "Oh! How CUTE " I make a more hurried choice of reading material than I used to and head for the coffee. There the staff has the system down to an art form. In a complex non-verbal negotiation, they signal through the windows that they know I am there and so is Max. Then they come outside with HIS bowl. Green, square, and with their emblem on the bottom. As an afterthought, they ask what I want (it has been the same thing for over seven years, but the pug presence seems to hypnotize them out of all forms of recall) After they have QUITE finished petting and cooing Max into a total frenzy, I MIGHT get my latte (on at least one occasion they completely forgot). Drinking it in peace as I look over my book however is quite a thing of the past. Drivers honk car horns and stop mid traffic to ask about him, or to tell me how cute he is. They always tell me this in somewhat accusing tones that suggest I might not have been aware of the fact. SOMETIMES they are kind enough to inform me that he is a PUG, which is always such a relief to know. It means that I am not just walking a pair of eyes on a leash, nor has he metamorphosed into an unknown breed since we left home. Such confirmations are frequent and so comforting! Families and teenagers, old people and babies find it completely impossible to pass him by.
I answer all the questions between sips of rapidly chilling coffee, and if I can keep my wits about me I don't actually forget the book when I get up to leave! "Max we need to go to the computer store" I tell him after I have buckled him into his car harness. He gives me a very long-suffering look. There is a reason for this. We drive to the computer store with him glaring balefully at me all the way. In my most cheerful voice I announce "Come on Max. We're here!"
Out of the harness and on to the leash and off we go. Now comes the cause of his disgust. For some reason, although the floor is perfectly stable for humans, not even slippery when wet, pugs can't walk on it! Max slithers and slides and occasionally even spread-eagles, spinning completely around to end up facing me on this floor, looking like nothing so much as a small pug rug.
After the second slip of the paw and the 51st withering look, we are inside the door and I can lift him into a cart. He gives a HUGE sigh of relief and licks me gratefully, convinced I have once again saved his life, and I am forevermore his hero. He now turns his attention to all the cyber-goodies with great interest. He is particularly fond of chewing on the $46 photo cartridges. The $7 color cartridges apparently lack that special flavor. I have had to learn a) to put the cartridges in my pocket out of harm's way and b) to smile and explain what I am doing to the store detective who has taken to following me around while I shop.
In similar fashion we negotiate the bank, the art supply store, the antique store and the printers, and without fail I will avoid the grocery store and just do without whatever little thing I thought I needed when I left home because I just can't convince them that this small prince-ling in the cart is any kind of a guide dog. I have seriously considered making him a little orange jacket that says "Keeper of my Sanity" on the side, but I doubt they would be fooled.
Home we come and while I am usually by this time quite glad to be back, I do not feel the need to check every wall, room, and fence post to make certain they are all quite where I left them. But then I don't have to, that little job is being taken care of. Finally I grind my OWN coffee beans and settle back for a well deserved latte, while Max, one eye carefully on me to make sure I do nothing rash, (like have a bath) sleeps in contentment, gently snoring.Our latest adventure has been wrapping Christmas presents. I never knew you had to LICK the glue sticks for them to work,did you? Max did! between science and art. In Scotland she worked in the sciences, as a researcher, but her artwork was so much in demand that she created Alexander Arts in 1964. Wearing a white lab coat by day, evenings often found her in attendance at various galleries where her art was on display.
When she came to the US her focus shifted and art became her primary pursuit. An all-round designer, with experience in Fashion, Interior, Graphic and Stage design, she first became known for her portraiture. Her sculptures and paintings are found in private collections all over the world. She did not forget the sciences, however, and when a number of friends started having cholesterol problems she began some serious research. She found that although a great deal had been written on the subject, the information was hard to get through for the lay person and not well cross-referenced. She also discovered that many life-style factors relating to high cholesterol were not well documented, or even ignored. Spurred on by a friend's dangerous LDL levels she began compiling information and "Living High on Lowering Cholesterol" was the end result.
Always a story teller, soon her fantasy figures and art work became a part of a collection of tales, and the writing has gone on and on. Marianne is currently working on several illustrated children's books for Bookmice.com Marianne lives with her son, Richard, who is confined to a wheelchair. Daughter Laura is a frequent visitor, and they are likely to get up to all kinds of creative mischief together since Laura is a talented photographic artist in her own right. Between caring for Richard, Marianne spends much of her time creating and illustrating her stories. Many of these are performed for charity.
She also writes for "Pug Pen", a magazine devoted to the care and doings of pugs. She is entirely owned by a pug called Max, who "helps" at the computer by resting his nose on her left hand while she types and promptly falling asleep! You can read one of Marianne's delightful Max stories below.
She is a board member of a local theater group and often creates the backdrops and other props for their plays along with producing and editing their newspaper, and managing their website. Her hobbies include trying to catch up with sleep and throwing parties every once in a while for no reason at all!