You know what I did this morning? I took some blogs off my blog roll because I was tired of reading the whining. Some blogs dip into whining, and that's fine, I do it too. But there are some blogs that are just. so. whiny.! I have enough people in my life (work) who whine, why would I want to voluntarily read that crap?! No thanks. And now, I am no longer bothered. Also, sidenote: I'm not one of those fervent readers who bothers to send a nasty note to the blog owner. I just stop reading.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, yesterday Trooper did something really cute. I had a pile of laundry-esque stuff that was sitting in a corner of my office (a blanket, a discarded bed pillow, and a large sweater - some needed to be laundered, some needed to be thrown away), and Trooper wandered in with all his Troopiness, bone in his mouth, took a look around, and walked over to the pile. Well, it was more of a couple of bounces, but you know. So he plants himself right on top of everything that shouldn't have been on the floor anyway, and decides that, well, it's unattended, so therefore it must be his so he might as well just....slide....right....on....down. He lays there nonchalantly, chewing on his bone, a look of distant satisfaction in his eyes.
And suddenly, I wanted to be him, but instead of being him, I am resolving today to ease up wherever I'm at. In a rush? Ease up. Organizing papers? Ease up. Need to take a break from work? Ease up and write a blog entry. Make whatever I'm doing a more comfortable feeling.
Now, off to write a statistical methods section...ahhhh. :)
I attended a mandatory meeting this morning on campus, and then came home to rest some more. I don't feel awful, but I certainly don't feel productive or awesome. I was feeling better this morning but right now I think a nap sounds pretty good.
Yesterday the dogs were SO SORE from doggy daycare. I think they ran them hard out there, playing fetch with different toys for hours on end. I'm glad they had a chance to really stretch their legs. My schedule right now is not permitting a lot of one-on-one quality attention. It was funny to watch them around the house yesterday; they took everything very slowly and played gently with each other. It was like I had two different dogs in the house. Today they are back to normal. I am planning on taking them out there at least once a week (much more than that is too expensive - for a full day for both it is $28) just so they can get lots and lots of exercise.
Back to the regularly scheduled...nap.
Staying home today was a great decision. I woke up with a massive headcold this morning. I canceled my class this morning (11 a.m.) and am now at home, incubating in my own mental stuffiness and sinus drama. I mainly did not want to infect anyone else.
Today I will work on a manuscript, finish grading a homework assignment, clean the house, walk the dogs, and rest rest rest in between all of those. Here's to being healthy and well -- may all of you be in good health today; and if not, I wish you well.
I can tell when I've been gone too long when I'm greeted on my blog hosting site with a request to re-log-in.
Sorry about that.
Today I took the dogs to a local doggie day care that we hadn't tried before. The staff was a little surprised at my willingness to drop off my dogs and leave, fairly unconcerned. I don't know about other dog owners, but my dogs kind of do their own thing and they are well socialized, so it's not like I'm worried that they will not be invited to the birthday party. They'll play with anyone and everyone, furry or otherwise. I took a tour of the facilities, signed the necessary waivers, and walked out the door. When I picked them up at 4:30, they were happy as clams and gladly climbed in the car for the ten minute drive home. Since I don't have a fenced backyard, I think they really enjoy running around in the open-air runs with the other dogs. The staff goes outside and plays with them, too, so they have a lot of interaction throughout the day.
After we picked the dogs up, we noticed a new winery had opened up down the road. So, we dropped the dogs off and headed back to the winery for tastings. I love arriving at wineries when no one else is there, just us and the owners. The man who owns the winery came out with a big happy smile on his face and introduced himself as "the janitor...also, chief winemaker." We laughed heartily as he led us over to the tasting bar. We told him we are amatuer wine makers, and we always enjoy chatting with vinters about their techniques. This particular vinter, from Lima, Peru, was very friendly and sweet. He extended an offer to us to come back and taste his off-the-shelf wines (the ones he is still messing with in the production room), and encouraged us to bring our own back. We were duly impressed with his wines, and his winemaking philosophy. We bought a bottle of each, promised to come back with friends, and drove back down the shaded driveway out to the main road.
So, in the middle of the week a few weeks ago, I was petting Trooper when I felt something very strange under my fingers. I lifted his ear up, only to find a section the size of my palm with oozing, matted fur. I brought him into the kitchen and wiped it with a wet paper towel in an effort to see what in the world was going on. It rubbed away - sorry - a little blood and mucus. I didn't know what was wrong because I couldn't see anything obvious - it was just oozing. I applied some Neosporin (it works just as well on dog injuries) and waited a day. A day later, it was still oozing and looking like something I shouldn't have been touching - seriously, it kind of looked like something I could catch. I made sure to wash my hands thoroughly every time I got near it. I called the vet and made an appointment.
Unfortunately, my vet (from a two-vet practice) had left the office permanently to work at a nearby animal shelter full-time (good for her!). I really miss her! So, this was the first time with the new vet. And, I recognize that it was more of a familiarity thing than anything else, but I just didn't really groove on this vet. She was young, didn't have much of a sense of humor, and didn't inspire confidence in me. She couldn't tell what was going on, so she decided to shave Trooper. She brought another technician in, and the three of us held him down as he struggled and yelped with every touch of her razorblade. After a few minutes of struggling and not really getting anywhere, she straightened up and said, "Okay, we have two options. We can keep struggling and I can try and see what's wrong, or we can sedate him and I can fully clean the wound and see what's going on." I gave my permission to sedate him. After all that drama, it turns out that he just had a "hot spot" that had become infected from his constant itching (unknown to me - he must have been doing it when I was away at work).
But, the funniest and heart-wrenching thing that occurred after this $200 vet visit was Trooper's sedation recovery at home. He couldn't quite get his legs to work, and it took about 4 hours for the sedative to really wear off. So, I carried him to and from the front yard, supporting his back end so he could pee. Otherwise, he laid on the living room floor and tried desparately to make his hind end work in tandem with his scratching needs. He was so cute and I just wanted to snuggle with him (which is totally what I did). Trust me, he never stays still this long!
Tonight I donned a heavier jacket and double-walked the dogs. It was sprinkling and windy enough to whip the cold air right through the fabric of my clothes. As miserable as fall weather can be sometimes, I love autumn. I really do.
And tonight as we were walking down the quiet neighborhood streets, I remembered how last year at this time is when I started cuddling my jacket hood into my neck and walking with Cosette, and the year before that. This year, though, Trooper joins the walking parade. For some strange reason, I tend to walk the dogs more in the fall and winter than I do in the spring and summer. I think it is because I'm outside with them so much more in the spring and summer, water retrieving until they tumble back to the car, exhausted. In the fall and winter, however, we spend our mornings and afternoons hiking local trails. But, I love taking the dogs for a walk at night. I'm not sure why. It's not particularly pleasant, what with the wind and the cold hands and the shivering breath in the frozen air. But in another way it is very pleasant, because it brings an opportunity to feel the change of temperature from the indoors.
Just like at my grandparents' house for the past twenty-some even years, I'd have the same experience at Christmas time while the entire family was packed into a three-bedroom, two-bath brick house with a metal carport, and the temperature control would be set at 78, and the kids would yank it down to cool the house down, and the older adults would crank the heat back up, and the house was full of life and energy and excitement, and it was palatable and real. During the height of the evening, I'd push against the metal screen door and take myself outside, out into the freezing, still night air. I'd suck in a deep, lung-shattering blast of air, grateful for the experience in my throat and the coolness on my hot face. And I'd stand out for a minute or two, looking up at the stars and wondering about all the rest of the families around me, spending Christmas with their loved ones. I'd start to shiver and delay my entry just a few more moments, savoring the coldness on my cheeks. After a few delicate moments, I would sneak back into the house, shaking off the shivers and my coat. I'd feel the rush of the heat to my face, instantly warming my body and tingling my toes, and I'd begin to savor the sounds and the energy emanating from the house again.
A few years ago my grandmother passed away, and this year my grandfather passed away, so my hands will no longer touch that screen door handle and escape for just a moment, only to be enveloped back into my family once more, savoring the chill in order to experience the heat more fully.
Perhaps that is what feels so familiar to me, that experience that is so solid and real. While walking the dogs, I'm uncomfortable but I'm loving the intensiveness of the chill, and am imagining myself in all the warm houses I pass, the families gathered around the tv screens, a board game, their pets, doing laundry, tucking the children in goodnight. I warm myself in the cold night with the knowledge that when I walk into my own house, my shelter from the elements, I will have everything there that I need and I will experience those feelings more intensely because I made myself slow my steps on the dark, cold pavement.
Let me preempt any concern or discussion about this video I've posted. Trooper does this naturally. No matter what he is chasing or what he is after, this kid jumps like there is no tomorrow. I simply made a compilation of his jumps. He will do this even if I throw the ball long distances, as he will bounce all the way there, mis-judge the distance, flip over himself, flop on the ground, and then bounce all the way back. I recognize that it is probably dangerous to his spine or hips to be doing this, but, like I said, he does this anyway regardless of whether or not I'm filming. I think there may be a chance he's made of rubber. Enjoy.