Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I Never Had To Walk Alone

I wrote this post a long time ago and never published it.  I reread it last night while I watched our dog, Sadie, try to figure out what to do with herself.  She was in pain and my heart was breaking.  Today we said goodbye to her after over 14 years.  Her body just gave up.  She was a good dog and she loved all 9 of her lives!  She was my constant companion and sometimes a pain in my ass but I never had to walk alone!  We walked about 6,000 miles (this is my best estimate) together and I admit, I'm going to miss her!

Just chillin' to the music
Instead of changing everything to the past tense I'm leaving it as written.
Here's to you girl....

I never knew having a relationship with a dog would be so complicated.  Let me start by saying I was a reluctant dog owner. Yes, we have owned one and sometimes two dogs for over twenty years!  When I say it that way I am amazed I lasted this long.  I am not your usual  "I love my dog... can't imagine life without it... let me spoil it.... aren't dogs the best?" dog owner.  Well, maybe I am... a little.   I enjoyed my dog most of the time and resented her and found her to be a major pain others.  Am I alone here?  In spite of my occasional resentment, I learned a few things from being a dog owner and observing her through the years.

Routine is a good thing
In retrospect we should have named her Pavlov.  She could be the poster dog for Pavlov's dog.  There is comfort in having a routine.  Sadie has always been the ultimate creature of habit.  Open the back door, she springs up and runs out.  She has her "go to" spots in our yards and goes to them in the same order every single time.  Her life is mostly a series of predictable actions and reactions.  I think this makes her happy.  She even knows when we vere off the usual walking route and tries to lead me "her" way.

Seize the Moment
Sadie is always up for anything...except a bath.  She can be sound asleep and if I get the leash and rudely awaken her from her slumber she is up and ready in a second.  She doesn't have to put her makeup on, brush her hair, check her calendar or worry about whether it will be too hot or too cold, she is ready!

Sadie probably knows there are times I resent her.  She probably also knows my heart is heavy every time we have to leave her at the kennel or with a friend when we travel.  I hate disrupting her idyllic life.  In spite of having been left behind many times, she always welcomes us home with her tail wagging and love in her eyes.
She is my fierce protector in Nova Scotia, just ask anyone up there with a large dog.  Any time a large dog comes near me, Sadie pounces to my aid with growls and barks at the intruding dog.  She is especially alert when TJ is out of town.  I think she takes a deep sigh of relief when he gets home. She is off duty and can finally relax.

Sadie in her happy place!
Any being who can wear a leg cast for 3 months and come out the other side with as much life as Sadie, has a lot of patience.  She never gave up, much to my dismay.  Ok, that's the reluctant dog owner in me coming out.
Hunting dogs naturally have patience.  Waiting on point until the clueless hunter finally comes to see what treasure the dog has found takes a lot of patience.  Sadie will stand at point watching a rabbit in the yard for a long time.  Every muscle in her body is quivering but she waits for just the right moment to pounce, unsuccessfully on the rabbit.  Patience.

I can do no wrong in Sadie's eyes.  Those are probably the only eyes in the world that I can do no wrong!  She has unwavering faith that every morning I will let her out, feed her and take her for a walk.  She knows that her needs will be taken care of every day and so far they have been which makes her trust us.  Sometimes I think she wonders about me when I take her to the vet.  She looks at me with those teary eyes as if to say, "What did I do?  Why are you brining me here?!".

Grace Through Pain
Sadie forged on with her life when all of us thought it was over.  She learned to eat, drink, walk, use the bathroom and sleep while wearing a cast on her leg for 3 months.  She still tried to run to the back door when we opened it so she could stalk squirrels and rabbits.  I know dogs can't really complain, but to see her never give up and never really complain was amazing.  Grace through pain.

Even at the end, when I knew she was hurting, she looked at me with those brown eyes as if to beg,
" Make it better."  A more helpless feeling I have never known.  I hope she is running like the wind on the great sandbars in the sky.  Walking without a dog on a leash will take some getting used to and be a daily reminder that she is gone.

Friday, March 18, 2016

It's Here!

is here!
"Winter is officially over!", at least in south Texas.  All it took was a couple lovely weeks of sunshine followed by four days of heavy rain, a few warm days and spring has sprung.  She also left a layer of dusty yellow pollen on every outdoor surface and some indoor surfaces of the negligent housekeepers like me.  Every tree and bush outside are showing off their brilliant brand new green foliage just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Except for the stubborn pecan trees!
Dressed for St. Patrick's Day
Sunday also marked one of my favorite days of the year.  The day daylight savings time begins! We gained an hour of patio time which will be enjoyed until the inevitable swarms of mosquitoes hatch and execute their evil plan to ruin our outdoor haven.  Our winter hibernation is over, the world is coming back to life!

We did not do our best planning Saturday night for springing ahead.  We went out with another couple to Provisions, one of the top 100 Houston restaurants.  We indulged like it was our last supper!  I've never had foie gras before, at least not the kind that isn't a pate' like substance.  This was the real deal and it was decadent!  Seared and seasoned to perfection!  It melted in our mouths.  It was also the most expensive thing I've ever witnessed anyone order in a restaurant.  We lingered over our foie gras, perfect wine and conversations.  Dinner ended right about the time we usually go to bed.  We said our goodbyes, poured our tipsy, happily satiated selves into our Uber car and made it home just before midnight.  It was then that I realized as I turned our clocks ahead to 1 a.m..... 9 o'clock Mass was going to come very early!

You call this foie gras?

This is foie gras!
We trudged through the next day missing our hour of sleep recovering from our indulgences of the night before.  We finally felt human by late afternoon and were able to fit in an entire round of golf before sunset!  I love daylight savings time!

 In no particular order, here are some top reasons daylight savings time makes me happy.

-Patio season
-More hours in the day for people like me who aren't morning people.
-The dark mornings have fooled the screeching bird outside my bedroom window and silenced it. Then again, maybe it has flown off to it's next migratory stop and is pestering someone else.
-TJ and I can play guilt free, late afternoon golf  after he's put in a full day in the home office.
-The beginning of daylight savings time means that until June 22nd the days will continue to get longer and longer!
-Daylight savings time is one step closer to summer and we all know what summer means....Nova Scotia time!
-We spend a lot less time watching TV and more time outside doing things like, walking the dog, playing golf, doing the outdoor chores we have put off all winter and drinking wine, or Fresca during Lent,  on the patio!
-I am sure we live a healthier life due to the extended and more active outside time, unless you count the wine on the patio.  Just anticipating post Lent indulgences.

I know there are some parents out there who are not loving daylight savings time though.  It's hard to get the kids to go to bed when it's still daylight and even harder to wake them up in the dark.  I remember being that kid who longingly looked out the window from my bed and watched the kids whose parents did not make them go to bed at the regular time during DST.  Once school was out, the longer daylight hours were spent running the neighborhood, playing hide and seek or chase until the dusk and mosquitoes chased us inside.  Those were the days my friends!

Enjoy that extra hour outside everyone!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Four Weeks Down, Two to Go

"How's that writing class you are taking?" you all want to know, right?  We are in our fifth week and while I've done a lot of writing, I doubt any of it will be shared in its entirety here on the blog.  Most of the stuff is impromptu and very rough!

 "What color is your jealousy? Write as if you were your jealousy for 10 minutes...go!".
It's like teaching someone to swim by throwing them into the deep end!  I must admit I had no trouble at all writing about my first crush in the class after Valentine's Day!  I could have gone on for pages about his dreamy blue eyes and blond hair, our awkward silent conversations on the telephone, the notes passed to each other through mutual friends, and the pitter-patter of my young heart every time our eyes met.  It was true puppy love!  On the other hand, writing about a typical school morning when I was 6 or 7 was a challenge.  I have very few memories of any school morning routines other than making my bed every day.  I shared a room with two of my sisters.  There were two twin beds and a crib in between the beds in our room.  We would shove the crib back and forth, with my younger sister still in it, in order to have enough room to tuck in our sheets and bedspread.  This usually resulted in one crying baby, two arguing sisters and some banged up walls.  Maybe this explains why making the bed is still not one of my favorite chores!  Having to write about something I have very little memory opens the door for some poetic license.  I am surprised at how an impromptu, 10 minute writing exercise can seem daunting at first then something clicks and before I know it the time is up.  Surprisingly, I've ended up in some interesting places!  I guess the class is working.
We only have time for two of these in my class.
One interesting suggestion our instructor made in class was to lower our standards.  Yes, those were her exact words.  The theory is... our fear and our inner critic keep us from writing.  That damn inner critic!  We all want to be perfect or as close to it as possible.   We want to be able to write a compelling, well constructed piece every time we sit down.  Anything less is unacceptable.  Truth is, writing is just like anything else.  The more we do it, the easier it gets.  It's like the side crow pose in yoga...impossible at first, but after many failed attempts, it can be done.  All it takes is a lot of practice.

One of our daily exercises is to write "morning pages".  We are supposed to write 3 pages with an actual pen and paper, every morning, before we even have that first cup of caffeinated motivation.  My writing hand is cramped and numb by the second page!  Who writes that much long hand anymore?  Supposedly, the computer is not as effective at transferring those profound thoughts from our heads to the paper as pen and ink.  I'm trying!  I have followed directions and lowered my standards assuring that my morning pages are pure garbage!  I also blame them for the lack of blogging.  After churning out 3 pages of drivel every morning, I am ready to practice golf, not writing!

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