Sunday Stills April 28, 2019: A Dog’s Life

The theme of this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge, is called “A Dog’s Life”. I grew up with dogs, but don’t have any of my own currently (I have a cat). Therefore, I will introduce you to a very spoiled dog, who rules my parent’s house.

A dogs life 3

This is Krieger, my brother’s 100+ pound doberman. After my brother died, Krieger moved in with my parents, and my parent’s 8 pound poodle. He was already familiar with the house and my parents and Bella (the poodle) because my brother would drop Krieger off at my parent’s house while he was at work.

Krieger, taking the example from Bella, believes that he is a lap dog too, and tries to climb into people’s laps. He also takes up half the couch, but doesn’t mind sharing (see photo to the left).

He enjoys being played with 24 hours, 7 days a week. He especially likes when my father holds the chew bone for him (for hours). He likes to scratch at the treat cabinet whenever he wants a treat (which is all the time), and he likes to step outside the house and come back in immediately, because he knows he “deserves” a treat whenever he comes back in from being outside.

He barks at everything, including the many squirrels that frequent the trees in the front yard, because THOSE ARE HIS TREES AND HOW DARE THOSE SQUIRRELS USE THEM!

His only regret in life is that the poodle was master of the house before him, so he is only a beta and not the alpha. This is only a problem sometimes, when he would really like to finish his breakfast, but the poodle wants to eat some of it first.

A Dogs Life 1

The picture to the right is a picture of Krieger laying in the guest bed I use at my parent’s house. You see it correct: his butt is near the pillows. Of course he was laying in the middle of the bed, and even though he generously shared the bed with me (I had less of it than he did), I was sadly (for him) forced to make him leave after only a few minutes.

Normally, I would not be so cruel to the dog (becaues of course he is my ruler), but Krieger frequently has stomach issues, and that night it was in full force. After about the fifth expulsion in the general direction of my face, I just could not take it anymore.

After some general groaning and grunting, he agreed to leave, and promptly went into his own (dog) bed in my parent’s room. I wished them good luck.

Animals in my family are treated as members of the family. I often joke with my boyfriend that the cat is our “Overlord”. They tell us when we can go to bed (10:00 p.m. in the case of Krieger), and when we can wake up (6:30 a.m. in the case of my cat). Feeding time in the evening is 6:00 p.m. for my cat, (4:00 p.m. for the dogs) and when this is not fulfilled, then lots of complaining ensues. But that’s okay, because they are dogs and cats and they deserve it.

Do you have a dog or cat with similar experiences?

BOOK REVIEW: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

18693763Title: Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celeste Ng

Book Length (Audiobook): 10 hours 57 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Read Start Date: April 18, 2019

Read Finish Date: April 25, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

My Review: This is the second book that I have read by Celeste Ng (although this is the first book she wrote). The other book I read was Little Fires Everywhere. You can find my review here.

This book was fantastic. The characters were extremely well developed and really pulled me into the story. The opening lines really draw you into the story: “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.”

I don’t want to give too much away regarding the plot, but it is hard to review the book without mentioning some aspects. I do not think that the below gives too much away.

Lydia is the eldest daughter to Marilyn and James. Lydia struggled under the weight of her parents expectations. Marilyn, having had to give up her dreams of becoming a doctor (when she became a mother), tried to live vicariously through her daughter. James, who never fit in as a child (because he was Asian), tried to live vicariously through his daughter’s popularity. The problem was, that Lydia was neither popular, nor interested in becoming a doctor.

Nath, the oldest child and only son to Marilyn and James, lives in the shadow of his younger sister Lydia. His achievements are all but ignored.

Hannah, the unwanted third child, is basically invisible to her parents, as all their attention go to the favored child Lydia. There is a great quote from the book describing Hannah: “Hannah, as if she understood her place in the cosmos, grew from quiet infant to watchful child: a child fond of nooks and corners, who curled up in closets, behind sofas, under dangling tablecloths, staying out of sight as well as out of mind, to ensure the terrain of the family did not change.”

In the aftermath of Lydia’s death, the family and their relationship to each other is thrown into turmoil.

The story alternates between the past and the present to give a full picture of the Lee’s life together, and how they became who they are.

My younger brother died almost five years ago (a few days before his 29th birthday) in an accident (he was hit by a driver high on drugs who ran the red light). Some of the descriptions Ng gave of the family dealing with a child’s death really resonated with me. For example, Ng describes a scene where James is looking at his surviving children and he sees bits of Lydia in each of them. I often too experience this. I have the same teeth as my brother, and sometimes I think of him when I see myself in the mirror. Reading this book made me wonder whether when my parents look at me, do they also see my brother in my face? Do they see my brother’s eyes in the eyes of my sister, or his features in those of her son?

Ng’s descriptive language is so powerful and really makes you imagine what you are reading. For an example, James says something nasty to his son after Lydia’s death. Ng says something like, James’ words were like moths in the air that he wanted to catch and pull back, but he was too late because they were already crawling inside his son’s ears. I couldn’t find the exact quote again sadly.

Anyway, in conclusion, I highly recommend this book. Ng’s powerful storytelling with stay with you for quite some time.