Big Greasy, Cheesy Sandwich – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, what is in your hand? Nevermind. Give it to me.

Me:  Well, that’s rude.

Stella:  I am sorry. Give it to me, please.

Me:  I’ll share a piece. You couldn’t handle the whole thing.

Stella:  Mmmmm. Bread. Cheese. Grease.

Me:  Butter, to be precise.

Stella:  Wonderful. A big greasy, cheesy sandwich. May I have another piece?

Me:  How about a pinch?

Stella:  Okay. And now may I have another pinch? And then another bigger pinch?

Me:  You are not going to eat my whole sandwich one pinch at a time.

Stella:  Awww, Lady Human, but one should always have a plan.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Happy 7th Birthday, Wiggles! – Conversations with Stella and Wiggles

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Why are you being so nice to Wiggles? And why are you singing that funny song? Wait, let me sing, too!

Me:  I am always nice to Wiggles. And I am singing the birthday song for her. Today is her 7th birthday.

Stella:  Sing for me!

Me:  I will when it is your birthday.

Wiggles:  I have never understood the word ‘birthday’.

Me:  It means the day you were born.

Wiggles: What is ‘born’?

Me:  It means the first day you drew a breath on this earth.

Wiggles:  And that is important?

Me:  It’s a way we have of measuring time and life.

Wiggles:  Is seven years a long time?

Me:  Longer for some than for others. But every day is the same length.

Wiggles:  It depends on what you do with the day.

Me:  Yes. Yes, it does.

Wiggles:  Then I will spend the rest of my special day up on my special table under my special pecan tree and it will not seem long at all.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

What Is Normal? – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Look around, Lady Human.

Me: We are normal again. Well, our definition of normal.

Stella:  What is normal? The ground was cushioned by frozen stuff and now it isn’t. But it may be again. Is that what normal looks like.

Me:  I don’t know what normal looks like. Last week was very odd, not what most would call normal. I think of normal the way some people think of vanilla.

Stella:  Vanilla is normal? What is vanilla?

Me:  Vanilla is the flavor of that yogurt I give you when you need a carb boost quick.

Stella:  Ooooh. That is vanilla? And vanilla is normal? I love normal.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Weird, Weird Ground – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Old English Bulldogges. Why are things so strange? Why can’t we count on stuff anymore? Stuff like the ground?

Me:  Why are you all walking so weird?

Wiggles:  You have to be careful, Lady Human. The ground has changed. Watch where you step.

Doodlebug:  Is that spot safe? I will test it. Yes, that spot is okay.

Me:  Is this because the snow melted? When we were covered with inches of snow, you all ran through it like it was nothing. Now you are tiptoeing over every square foot. I am confused.

Stella:  Most humans are, most of the time.

Miss Sweetie:  Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. It’s all right over here. Let’s run!

Wiggles:  No, not yet.

Me:  What do you think is going to happen?

Wiggles:  The ground may disappear. It did the other day.

Me:  Not exactly. Snow fell, covered the ground, then melted, and behold! The ground that has been there the whole time!

Stella:  A likely story, Lady Human. Allow us our doubts. And allow us to conduct our own weird ground experiments.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Drippy World – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, make it stop!

Me:  What do I need to stop now? Not saying I can. I just want to know.

Stella:  The drippy dripping. Make it stop.

Me:  Okay, several things are going on at once…

Miss Sweetie:  Lady Human, there is water dripping into a bowl on the kitchen floor. Is that my new water bowl? Because it looks kind of nasty. I want my old bowl back.

Me:  No, there is a broken endcap that froze during the Polar Vortex this week. Tall Man has gone to get the parts to fix it. Meanwhile, we are catching the water in a bowl…bowls…lots of bowls.

Wiggles:  Lady Human! Cold water dripped on my back when I went outside. I didn’t like it. Tell it to stop.

Me:  The sun is out. Snow is melting off the roof. It will stop when there is no more snow to melt off the roof.

Wiggles:  Not good enough!

Doodlebug: Lady Human, last night Tall Man left the sink water thing dripping. It was very annoying and disturbed my sleep. How can I be a wonderdog without my sleep?

Me:  You are a wonderdog?

Doodlebug:  Of course. How could you not know that?

Me:  I guess I haven’t been paying attention. As for the sink, he left the faucet dripping to help keep the pipes from freezing.

Doodlebug:  You are humans. Why didn’t you just tell the pipes not to freeze?

Me:  I think you are still confused about what humans can do.

Stella:  Well, you are obviously not in charge of dripping. If bulldogs were in charge, we would have clamped that endcap shut with our big old bulldog mouths and licked all that snow off the roof by now.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Send It Back – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human!

Me:  Yes?

Stella:  I am tired of all that cold stuff on the ground. Please send it back to where it came from.

Me:  The snow?

Stella:  Is the what the evil stuff is called? Where did it come from?

Me:  Well, truly frigid air from the Arctic plunged down from the North Pole and mixed with some moisture and froze the moisture so it fell out of the sky as ice crystals and the ice crystals called ‘snow’ landed on the cold, cold ground and stuck.

Stella:  You made that all up, didn’t you?

Me:  No. I mean there’s a whole lot more to it than that, but…

Stella:  Pack it up and send it back. I am tired of it.

Me:  That’s not something I can do. It will leave. It will melt. The temperature will get above freezing…

Stella:  Is that the trick? When will that be?

Me:  Maybe another day or two or three.

Stella:  Not good enough. Our toes need to be snow-free now.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Thawing It Out – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. And I do not want to stay out here too long, Lady Human. Whatever are you doing?

Me:  Thawing out the chickens’ water. As long as this cold spell lasts, I’m going to have to thaw their frozen water several times a day.

Stella:  How come they don’t mind the cold?

Me:  They are covered with down feathers. It’s like wearing a warm blanket all the time. The county agent says that they are good to about 20 degrees below zero, so they ought to have 20 degrees more leeway tonight. It’s only going down to zero.

Stella:  Zero. As in nothing?

Me:  Well, temperature is on a scale, so it’s all relative.

Stella:  If you say so.

Me:  I know you don’t understand.

Stella:  I understand one thing. It’s freaking cold.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Hunkered Down – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, the grass is missing. Someone covered it up with a big white blanket.

Me:  That’s the snow I’ve told you about.

Wiggles:  I don’t like it. It squished between my toes.

Doodlebug:  Someone was careless. Was that you, Lady Human?

Me:  Did I cause the snow cover? I can honestly say that I did not.

Miss Sweetie:   Well, someone caused it and I think they should take responsibility because it is amazingly cold, and my toes don’t like it.

Me:  As in when you take responsibility for going potty in the house?

Miss Sweetie:  I never take responsibility for that. Anything I do is on you, Lady Human.

Me:  I sort of figured that. Listen, for the rest of this week, there are not going to be any sunbaths even if the sun appears.

Wiggles:  Awwww.

Doodlebug:  You’ve lost the sun again, haven’t you?

Me:  No, that’s something else that I am not in charge of. Also, it is already down to 7 degrees and is supposed to get down to 2 degrees tomorrow night. So, no lingering during bathroom breaks. Go out, do your business, come right back in. I will be timing you. Until this is over, we are hunkered down.

Stella:  Hunkered down. That sounds heavy. Just the sort of thing a bulldog can do.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Stuck – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Potty time, Lady Human! Now! Now! Now!

Me; Okay, hold your horses.

Stella:  No horses here. Only bulldogges. And a cat. Yuck.

Me:  Uh-oh.

Stella:  I don’t like that sound.

Me:  The gate on the door won’t open.

Stella:  Let me butt it with my big ole bully head. Hey! Why didn’t that work?

Me:  The bolt is stuck.

Stella:  Unstick it.

Me:  I’m trying. I think it’s frozen. Like frozen with ice.

Stella:  Unfreeze it.

Me:  Tall Man has a heat gun he can use.

Stella:  Tall Man has a gun that shoots heat? Wow! Tall Man is cool!

Me:  I can’t budge it, We’ll have to go out the back for you to potty.

Stella:  But that’s my rain spot.

Me:  So?

Stella:  It’s not raining. I can’t go out there. That just wouldn’t be right.

Me:  How right is it to need to potty and not have a place to go?

Stella: You make a good point. Frozen door gates. Birds flying in circles and attacking berry bushes. Pottying in my rain spot when there is no rain. Lady Human, the world has gone crazy.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

SHUT UP! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Did you hear that? Of course not! Everybody’s yelling at the same time! SHUT UP!

Wiggles:  That’s rude!

Stella:  No, you’re rude!

Doodlebug:  You are both rude! I’m the only one allowed to talk!

Miss Sweetie:  So everyone shut up and everyone is rude. I am glad that is settled.

Wiggles:  That’s rude, Sweetie!

Stella:  No, you are!

Me:  Okay, y’all are caught in a circular rut going nowhere. Now I’m going to say it myself. Shut up!

Stella:  Rude!

Me:  Well, I reckon a bulldog would know about that.

Stella:  You are right, Lady Human. Therefore, as queen, I will repeat myself.  SHUT UP!

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Cat Stuck Her Head in Where? – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde Bulldogges.

Me:  NO! UN-UH! NOT IN THERE!

Stella:  Who’s in trouble now?

Me:  Not a bulldog.

Wiggles:  That’s unheard of.

Miss Sweetie:  It was MoonCat.

Doodlebug:  I missed it. What happened?

Miss Sweetie:  The cat stuck her head in the big cold box.

Wiggles:  Lady Human, you didn’t let me do that. And I tried.

Me:  I didn’t let MoonCat do it either.

Miss Sweetie:  And there are wonderful things in that secret place.

Me:  Listen to me, everyone. Only humans get to stick our heads in the refrigerator.

Stella:  What about paws?

Me:  No.

Wiggles:  What about tongues?

Me:  No.

Doodlebug:  What about noses?

Me:  Your nose is part of your head, so the answer is no.

Stella:  Paw are not on our heads so we can stick those in the cold box.

Me:  No.

Stella: Come on, Lady Human. If you are going to make rules, the rules have to make sense.

Me:  Okay, how about this?  Nobody but a human is allowed to stick any part of anything into the refrigerator.

Stella:  I liked the confusing cold box rule better. More wiggle room. Right, Wiggles!

Wiggles:  Yup.

Stella:  Remember to share.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Naked Spot in the Bowl – Conversations with Stella and MoonCat

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady, Human, tell the cat to be quiet. She is being loud again for no reason…again.

Me:  What’s going on, MoonCat?

MoonCat:  Bowl. Food.

Me:  There’s still lots of food in your bowl…

MoonCat:  No. There is a naked spot. I can see my face in it. So disappointing. I will have to sit here and voice my disappointment.

Stella:  Lady Humans, are all cats crazy or is it just MoonCat?

Me:  Other people have told me that they have seen this same behavior with their cats.

Stella:  So they are all crazy.

Me:  Just because bulldogs lick up every crumb right away…

Stella:  Which is the right way to eat, by the way. And, by the way, my whole food bowl is one big old naked spot, so how about covering it up.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Whole Enchilada – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, may I have some of that?

Me:  I guess a little won’t hurt…hey!

Stella:  Gulp! Mmmm! Was that all? That was pretty small.

Me:  You gobbled the whole thing! You didn’t even chew!

Stella:  It was what you humans call ‘the whole enchilada’. What else was I supposed to do?

Me:  That was not an enchilada.

Stella:  Uh-oh. What was it? Was it edible? Because I edibled it.

Me:  It was…emphasis on the was a sausage biscuit.

Stella:  Well, not anymore. What else you got?

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sky Dancing – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Birds, birds, go away! Don’t come back another day!

Me:  I like the birds.

Stella:  Even the one that pooped on your hand the other day?

Me:  I try not to hold grudges over that kind of thing.

Stella:  So, may I poop on your hand?

Me:  No, ma’am, you may not.

Stella:  Not fair! And what are those crows doing up there, circling and swinging this way and that way? Hey, it looks kind of pretty. I wish I could sky dance like that.

Me:  The birds have been active for days like I’ve never seen before. Or maybe I just never noticed.

Stella:  I’d be careful if I were you, Lady Human. When looking up at sky dancers, always keep your mouth shut. You never know…

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bird Bombed – Chapter 2 – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Lady Human, where are my crackers?

BOOM! BOOM!

Me: What was that?

Stella: No, I ask the questions here. What was that? Quick! Hide under the bed! No! There is just room for one and that one is ME!

Me:  Something hit the window.

Stella:  Where did Tall Man run off to? Just when we need him.

Me:  He’s run outside to check on what caused the noise. Wait here.

Stella:  By myself?

Me:  What was it?

Tall Man:  Birds. Had to be. There’s no sign of them now.

Me:  Birds have been flocking and circling all day.

Tall Man:  Maybe they’ve gone crazy.

Stella:  Crazy birds? No, thank you! I’ll just stay inside from now on. Lady Human, you can slide my crackers under the bed, please.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Bird Bombed – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Run, Lady Human! Run! They’re coming! All the birds in the world are coming!

Me:  Naw. Not all. Just twenty-five or so.

Stella:  What do they want?

Me:  The berries left on that bush there.

Stella:  Tell them to take the berries and go away!

Me:  I like watching them. See how they don’t all land at once. Some swoop in while others wait in the trees. They take turns at the bush.

Stella:  How come they came now? The sun is setting.

Me:  There’s a cold front coming in. Colder air will be here by morning. The old people used to say, “When birds flock together, there’s a change in the weather.”

Stella:  Let’s go in. I don’t like it when there are so many at one time. And don’t let them in the house.

Me:  They don’t want to come in the house. They want to fly free…Oooop! Well, that was on target. Nice shootin’, birdie.

Stella:  One of them pooped on your hand! Yuck! Why aren’t you offended?

Me:  I’ve been bird bombed before. Once in San Antonio by the river…

Stella:  Blah, blah, blah! I told you to go inside! Now you have bird poop on your hand! Well, not me! You can keep your bad bathroom habits to yourselves, birds! Here they come again! Run, Lady Human! Run! But don’t touch me until you’ve washed your hand.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Return of Jerky McSquirrelyFace – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. HE’S BAAACCCKKK!!!!

Me:  Who?

Stella:  The one and only Jerky McSquirrelyFace himself. He is sitting up in that tree, laughing at us and we aren’t even being funny.

Me:  Are you sure it’s Jerky? I have not seen him for quite a while.

Stella:  Of course it’s him. Jerky, remember? He is throwing pecan shells on my head like that’s a thing that should be done. And they aren’t even full of pecans. They are nasty, empty, rotten shells that I can’t eat when they’ve bounced off my precious bulldog head. He could at least throw some that are worth eating.

Me:  He’s probably saving those for himself.

Stella:  See! He’s rude AND selfish. What do humans do when things are thrown at your heads?

Me: Wear a helmet?

Stella:  That’s what I need! Get me one of those, Lady Human, and make it bulldog sized.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Hiding Sun – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. The sun went missing for days on end. It disappeared and none of us knew where to find it.

Me:  Well, not exactly.

Stella:  Yes, exactly.

Me:  The sun wasn’t missing. The sun was there the whole time.

Stella:  Then why couldn’t we see it?

Me:  It was covered up by clouds.

Stella:  What are clouds made of?

Me:  Water droplets.

Stella:  And what is the sun made of?

Me:  It is a fireball of burning gases.

Stella:  So, you expect me to believe that puffy water droplets stood in the way of a fireball. Really, Lady Human! Human explanations make no sense. Bulldogs know better than that.

Copyright 2021 H,J, Hill All Rights Reserved.

Acting Up – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Wait! Am I? No. Yes. No. Who am I? What is going on?

Me:  Stella! What is wrong?

Stella:  Nothing. Everything.

Me:  Stop bouncing on the bed. Settle down!

Stella:  I am settled down. No, I’m not. Jump. Jump. Jump.

Me:  Why are you doing this? What’s the problem?

Stella:  I don’t have a problem. You do. You do.

Me:  I’m not the one jumping on the bed.

Stella:  Well, maybe you should be. It might make you feel better.

Me:  Here. Does that feel better? If I rub your shoulders like that…

Stella:  Well, yeah…ooh, yeah, that’s better. Just keep doing that.

Me:  So what’s wrong?

Stella:  The humans are crazy.

Me:  What’s new about that?

Stella:  Nothing, but it makes it hard for me to go to sleep.

Me:  You go on to sleep. I’ll stay up if need be.

Stella:  You’ll do that?

Me:  Sure. I do it all the time.

Stella:  Wow. Okay. Just let me know if you need help handling crazy humans.

Me:  All right, Stella. Good night.

Stella:  It’s a good night if you say so, Lady Human.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

When You Make Up Your Mind – Conversations with Stella and Miss Sweetie

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:  Okay, Sweetie, in or out, one direction or the other.

Miss Sweetie:  Hmmm.

Me:  Make up your mind.

Miss Sweetie:  I don’t have one of those.

Me:  A mind?

Stella:  See, Lady Human, I told you.

Me:  “Make up your mind” just means you decide something. Don’t halt between two opinions.

Miss Sweetie:  What if I go outside and I don’t like it? It’s a little windy.

Me:  Then come to the door and I’ll let you back in.

Miss Sweetie:  But what if I come back inside and inside is boring?

Stella:  Then sit around and be bored until next time.

Miss Sweetie:  I’m not sure about this mind making thing. I’ll just sit right here in the doorway until I get a mind.

Stella:  Nope. We’ll be waiting too long for that. The house will fill up with flies and skeeters.

Copyright 2021 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.