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dogs waiting on steps

dog

“we live in lonely times, and dogs can go a long way toward alleviating loneliness—but I think the more important truth has to do not with modern culture but with dogs themselves, and with the remarkable, mysterious, often highly complicated dances that go on between individual dogs and their owners. That dance is about love. It’s about attachment that’s mutual and unambiguous and exceptionally private, and it’s about a kind of connection that’s virtually unknowable in human relationships because it’s essentially wordless.” ~ Caroline Knapp, “Pack of Two: The intricate Bond Between People and Dogs”

The kennel where I sometimes board Java and Latte has a big fenced in area where customers can bring their dogs to play. I’ve never seen anyone actually use this fenced in area, so when Steve and I brought the dogs there, we had the whole area to ourselves.

Within the fence, there is a place to grill food, an automatic waterer for the dogs and water fountain for people. There are a few pieces of agility equipment and a pond that Java cooled off in right before we left. She didn’t seem to care that we hadn’t brought a towel to use to dry her off.

When we took the dogs off their leashes, first they walked around sniffing at things. As soon as Latte realized how much space she had to run in, she took off, taking a swipe at Java on her way.

dogs playing

Java will run full bore after Latte but she quickly realizes she cannot keep up with a low to the ground, running and dodging machine. So she tries another tactic, waiting for Latte to get close and then throwing her body into Latte’s path, except that Latte can change course and fake you out better than any football player.

dogs playing

The pure joy on Latte’s face when she is running is the best medicine for anything that ails me. Well, at least I think that’s joy…

dog running

When I get home from work, Latte and I play crazy running games and hide and seek in the house (much to my wood floor’s dismay). Latte runs from the living room, over the bed, under the bed — where she waits — until I get close then SPRINGS OUT and goes back over the bed and under the bed and around the living room — over and over again. I run after her, cut her off, dodge and dart, get down on my hands and knees as we bow to each other, ready to spring.

Latte is my laughter dog. She cracks me up with her antics and the way she will talk to anyone who will listen with a series of noises that are difficult to describe.

dog photo posing

Please don’t make me sit still for a picture

dog photo posing

Okay. Quick take a picture while I’m doing my happy face.

 

 

dog tired of being photographed

That’s enough of that. I’m out of here!

I can’t count the number of times that the happiness of a dog has flowed in my direction, but it’s one of the reasons I have dogs. Surely, it’s one of the reasons we all have dogs. We don’t spend nine billion dollars a year on dog food just to have dog hair all over our couches… Dogs make us happy, because if dogs do anything well, it’s being happy themselves, and happiness–bless it–is catching. ~ Patricia B. McConnell, Ph. D., “For the Love of a Dog”

But Java is my heart dog, my calm down and relax dog. She barks and tries to intervene with the Latte frenzy. She brings me her stuffed zebra or dragon so I will play with her too, but it is much more of a loping play and ends quickly when Java runs back towards me but then takes a quick left into the bedroom where she and her stuffed buddy go back to bed.

Dog fetching ball

Dog fetching ball

Dog rest time

Millions of us have been comforted by our dogs, there’s no doubt about it. Just petting a dog lowers your blood pressure and decreases your hear rate. No one doubts that dogs can influence our emotions just by being there. ~ Patricia B. McConnell, Ph. D., “For the Love of a Dog”

I can’t imagine what it would be like coming home from work, without these two waiting on the steps as I walk in the door, making me feel welcome and important as I arrive back home. OK. So they were waiting a bit long here and looking a little less than enthusiastic… Still, my faithful friends await me.

dogs waiting on steps

Sorry guys. Bad traffic…

The look they give me, that expectation that something good comes from me — games, walks, food, new places to see and smell, lap cuddles — how do I explain what this means to me except to say that everyone needs to know that they matter.

To my dogs, I am a magician, pulling rabbits out of my hat. And I think that’s a pretty good thing to be.

dogs

dog by Mississippi River

dog by Mississippi River

“Ooh, she may be weary
Young girls they do get weary
Wearing that same old funky dress
But, ooh, while she gets weary weary
Won’t you try some tenderness

You know she’s there waitin’
And anticipatin’
For the thing she’ll never, never have
Oh, no no
Ooh, while she gets weary
Won’t you try, oh, try some tenderness

“Try a Little Tenderness”  – Three Dog Night

Weary… Is someone out there fortunate enough to not feel such a thing? If so, I want to know the secret. Is it youth that has energy? Three Dog Night sings that young girls do get weary, so maybe not.

Or perhaps retirees that get to follow natural sleep patterns and go to bed and wake up when it feels right aren’t tired. But with age, well, comes age and interrupted sleep patterns, so maybe they aren’t energized either.

Perhaps it is people who follow some suppliment or health regimen or do yoga and/or meditation that feel rested. I’m giving all of those things a try, plus massage, and I do think they are helping a bit. It hasn’t been long enough to know for sure or give up on them yet, which would be my usual pattern. I’ve vowed to give these practices a year’s trial.

untitled-31

This tired I’m feeling is like a deep in the bone marrow kind of fatigue. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say it is soul-exhaustion. Or more accurate yet perhaps, that it is coming-out-of-winter weariness.

My body and brain resists taking in anything more. Facebook and Twitter depress me with the volume to scroll through. Emails fill my inbox unread. Blog posts I bookmark to read are replaced with more recent blogposts until I have a stack of about one hundred “intentions.” I myself write blog posts and take photos that sit, unshared.

My thoughts feel tender-footed. They want to soak in a pan of warm water, with epsom salts preferably, waiting for tendons to relax and let go.

Is this all just me? Tell me it’s not, even if you have to lie.

dog on Mississippi River

Not to sound morose or overly dramatic, but there are some moments that it seems I can literally feel myself dying. Of course, we all are dying in a way as we age. But generally, we don’t FEEL it — the body going cell by cell. Oops! There goes another one!

bicycling

Maybe I’m just not used to being so limited by my body. It has generally felt strong and capable. But the creaking and groaning have escalated to a volume recently that I find difficult to ignore.

horseback riding

Neck and shoulder pain are old news, although there are days now where I can’t manage to even turn my head. And now hip pain has joined the chorus, creating a clamor of the sort of decibel that is rocking my world. It’s not even pain in the hip joint but at the top of the hip bone and sometimes the ribs. What the hell is that?

I have gone from “I can do okay with this pain” to “This is bullshit!” followed by “I just want to go back to bed.”

dog in the woods

And yet, I remain on my feet, moving, because there’s that dying feeling, which is followed by thoughts that there’s not much time left, and I don’t want to waste what remains by sleeping and babying my aching body. And in reality, movement is the only thing that brings relief.

Walking the dogs. Bike riding. Horseback riding. Anything that takes me away from a chair, a desk, a screen.

dog walking in the woods

I don’t have any great answers to this dilemma of what seems to be two undeniable and unchangeable facts: 1.) I support myself and my animals with a desk job. 2.) My desk job is causing me pain and weariness.

For now, I’ll keep trying to give myself a little tenderness.

horseback riding

dog walk on Kings Island

dog walk on Kings Island

I started writing a very different blog post about a week ago but couldn’t get it to say what I wanted it to say, lost interest in it, and began writing this. I’m not sure this is any better but since it’s going straight from head to page, there will be less analysis involved.

And maybe that’s best.

GLBTQ Youth Summit

The Youth Summit I volunteered at on March 10th looked like it was a great experience for the youth, which is what matters. Less significant is that I was hoping to hear kids talk about what they are going through in their schools and communities. I was hoping to use that climate reading to know where, perhaps, would be the best place to focus my energies with volunteer work and activism. I didn’t come away with a clear answer but was just happy to be around so much youthful energy.

As a room monitor, I was told to be enthusiastically welcoming. I tried. Introvert enthusiastically-welcoming is probably not as bubbly and obvious as they were looking for.

I was in a session called “Activism Through Art” that was led by two high schoolers who were confident, fun, and amazing. They presented examples of activist artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zanele Muholi, Kara Walker, Keith Haring, Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera, and drew attendees into small group discussions about topics like how they saw art and activism working together and what types of symbolism they saw in the art they’d been shown. The session ended with attendees using the art supplies the young women brought to create their own art.

So I still don’t know exactly what schools today are like for GLBTQ youth, but from the number of kids attending, who ended the day by talking to their legislators about their concerns, I take it that legalizing gay marriage and new school policies against bullying have not solved everything.

One Day of Spring Teaser Weather

On a lighter note, last weekend (March 12-13, definitely not the more recent March 19-20) the weather was gorgeous, with a high on the 12th in the 70s. I spent almost that entire day outside. First riding Luke…

horseback riding horseback riding

Then going on a bike ride with a friend (unfortunately no photos, but do have photos of a Friday night bike ride)…

bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka bicycle ride in Anoka

The weather worship extravaganza ended with a dog walk…

dog walk on Kings Island dog walk on Kings Island Writing

I’m struggling to get back to some SOLID writing after sending my 260 page manuscript off to my son for his input. The book includes some things he wrote and things I’ve written about events we went through together so I need his viewpoint before I go any further.

So I’m trying to get started on a new project. I have an idea for a shorter piece – a simple ebook – but it appears getting started on a new project is not simple, no matter how short and light-hearted I imagine the finished product being.

I also have another book’s worth of writing that didn’t make the cut for the first book. That actually might be easier for me to start working on than the ebook, as the idea is a bit more concrete.

I did have a solid writing routine going. I had daily time set aside, and I didn’t allow myself to think about other options for filling that time. I need to get back to that.

That means pushing past how wiped out I feel (perhaps caused by the usual “it’s been winter for five months and I’m tired of being cold” feeling).

I need to push past that.

And put my Java face on…

dog walk on Kings Island

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