Atta Boy! Atta Girl!

Long-married couples with dogs joke that they ought to greet their partner with all the enthusiasm and love with which they greet their dog — at least now and again. “Oh HELLO! How’s my big boy? Are you such a good boy?”

On this morning’s walk I realized that it wouldn’t kill me to praise myself with the same enthusiasm that I praise my dog — at least now and again.

Finn doesn’t react to Marmaduke dog from the brown duplex. “YES! What a good boy!”
I restrain my tongue recently at a couple of critical junctures. “YES! Atta girl!”

Two loud city buses lumber past and Finn doesn’t lunge. “YES! What a good boy!”
I take off my semi-decent pants and new sweater before bleaching the toilets. “Atta girl, Dee!”

Finn lifts the paw irritated by a piece of salt. “YES! Good, good boy! How smart you are!”
I start following query and MSWL hashtags on twitter. “Smart move, Dee! Keep at it!”

(MSWL stands for Manuscript Wish List. It’s a good resource for finding out what kind of books agents are interested in).

You get the idea.

Meanwhile, the slow down of sewing continues. Same with taking pictures. I hope this is some sort of mild seasonal arrhythmia or a function of writing-focus. But it’s weird and disorienting.

I backed and basted a small geometric study in vibrant colors and started quilting it. It’s crib-sized but I don’t expect grandchildren any time soon or perhaps ever, so why?

That’s the winter talking. Don’t mind me.

You wrote a post in spite of feeling mute and grey. ATTA GIRL! You have nothing, really, to report, but you reached out. Good, good girl!


31 thoughts on “Atta Boy! Atta Girl!

  1. Linda

    I was laying in bed when I read this. I have been struggling with getting up in the mornings. I have nothing on my calendar till next week. There is always things to do but with Omicron and winter it is hard to feel like I have a reason to get up. Somedays it’s just to get a cup of tea. Thanks for writing this. I felt like I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Atta girl I got up!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Atta girl you posted this comment! Some days getting up and getting a cup of tea is monumental. And I hope in your case this too shall pass.

  2. deb

    Finn’s face looks like you owe him a cookie. Your Attagirl, Attaboy made me giggle cause I was just re-watching Perry Mason… “Very good, papi.”

    1. deemallon Post author

      Finn almost always expects a cookie. The bus and marmaduke triggers mentioned above? He got praise AND a cookie!

      Ah, Perry Mason. Worth a rewatch. Especially since we seem to be between shows of interest.

  3. RainSluice

    yup. I’ve been listening to my inner voice saying,”I think I’m getting jealous of this damn dog”. lol
    I can relate to so many of these feelings. It is disorienting for me to even pay attention to any some one thing and not another – because (?). I mean why do I have to analyze each blase experience by wonder what’s really going on in my own head – – – is this the “over-thinking” thing? May we recover from this winter, soon. Your writing of this forbearance that I think we are going through, in one way or another, is affirming and helpful. Thank you Dee. xx

    1. deemallon Post author

      David Sedaris has a hilarious piece about his parents lavishing all this love on a dog they got after all the kids left in contrast to how they were treated. We’re bad but I don’t think we’re that bad.

      The politics of the day is a major waiting and breath-holding experience. The suspense and fear infiltrates everything even when I think it’s not.

      And you’re a good girl, Maggie! Of course you are!

  4. Jen

    That’s the winter talking.
    Yup, I TOTALLY “get” that 😓😐
    It will get better….Spring will come!
    ( Grandchildren; who knows!? I’m in the same boat. …meh.)
    Sending some sunshine your way🌞
    Atta girl!!!!

    1. deemallon Post author

      Hey Jen. Thanks. What I haven’t said is that even though it’s still January, the lengthening of the days is very observable.

      But thanks for the sunshine and cheerful emojis!

  5. Tina

    Love that it is already the end of January .. driving to Jessie’s this morning was a slippery mess but it’s the end of January!! We got this ladies .. atta ladies we got this. Dee you do d good 👍

  6. Nancy

    This was great Dee! Atta girl! Do you want a cookie? Huh? Do you want a cookie? Atta girl!
    I’ll keep this in mind as I move through the days. Tonight I stopped to get gas on the way home. I didn’t want to. It was late (I worked the closing shift), it was dark, it was in not the ‘best’ neighborhood…but I needed it, so…Atta Girl Nancy! lol Finney-Boy looks gorgeous in these pics.

  7. Dog Star (Betsy)

    Thanks for making me laugh! I need to try this on myself to get more art done and lesson the winter blahs. Maybe I’ll try it on my spouse, aka Mr. Magoo, and he’ll help clean the house more.

  8. Nancy

    Maybe. But, I am just recently ‘back’ to work, so building stamina. Others, who have really worked the past two years…I’m awed by them.

  9. ravenandsparrow

    Yes, this is an inspiring post. More “atta girls” for me for getting on the computer and at least checking in. The light is clearly increasing every day…come on, me. Let’s get a move on.

  10. Diane Hartmus

    This was a pleasure to read. I found myself thinking “yes” many times.

    Long ago, I was telling you about feeling mad at myself for not fighting over losing a security deposit ( I think) during a really challenging time in my life. You stopped me in my tracks by asking me what I would say to a friend in this situation. I knew right away that I would tell her she needed to be kinder to herself in the midst of turmoil. You asked “so why won’t you do that for yourself?”
    It was so clear, and yet I had never looked at it, or other similar situations, in that light.
    It was rather life changing for me. I try and engage this thinking always now. Not always successful, but it has given me important tools for self care. I have shared it with many other people.

    Your thoughts and advice are still very much appreciated, although now when I read your posts I so wish we were close enough for a visit.

    1. deemallon Post author

      I don’t remember that moment so it is moving to read about. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure you imparted lots of wisdom to your daughter!


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