Category Archives: dog love

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!

 

Canine company

Look who has settled into his big blue bed on this rainy day! Finn usually spends the morning downstairs while I write, only traipsing up here when my husband delivers a second cup of coffee. My zoom-mates know to expect them.

I didn’t manage to bustle out the door for a walk this morning. It feels like a day to cocoon.

Cocooning is a luxury, a laziness, and a way to preserve health. I don’t know how to think about it anymore. All this isolation, even partnered and filled with canine company, might be getting to me.

It might also be a good day to whittle down the pile of papers next to the computer. Already a clipboard of novel-related notes surfaced.

A clipboard! Gawd.

On the top page clipped to that clipboard, I found a quote that feels relevant to today, to our time: Grief … is a form of moral intelligence and even wisdom.” Terry Patten, A New Republic of the Heart.

Phrases from the novel Pamela

They said eight inches

And we got eight inches.

Friends in writing sessions this week spoke to a person about missing winter and no surprise, for warmer temperatures are both alarming and disorienting. According to a recent study cited by The Boston Globe, “New England is warming significantly faster than global average temperatures, and that rate is expected to accelerate …” Also, Massachusetts is warming faster than the other Northeastern states.

So it’s not just a matter of mood, memory, or habit. Missing the cocooning beauty of snow is the least of it but there is also that.

We headed out in advance of the plows. To protect my socks and new (warm! comfie!) ankle boots, I made impromptu gaitors. They worked!

Next up: a fleece wrap for Finn. I’m going to cut up a cape I made for the boys back in their Hogwarts years, which is to say: their childhood.

A walk in Webster Woods

All the recent rain changed the landscape. Rogue rivulets. Impromptu puddles hoping to become ponds. Glistening leaves. It was slippery enough for me to wish I’d brought poles.

It’s hard to get lost in this patch of woods, but we don’t always know precisely where we are. All the fallen leaves obscuring the paths today didn’t help.

It’s hard to believe this small wooded escarpment lies within a mile and a half of the house. Almost every time we traipse through here, I think about how if our boys were raised in the 60’s, they would have known every inch of this area. It makes me a little sad.

This week we are 33 years together. There are certain patterns of communication. I say Which way and when K doesn’t answer I say Let’s go right and when it turns out we kind of went the wrong way and we got to where perhaps we meant to go K says This is where we would’ve come if I’d said what I wanted to which was to go left.

One of the consequences of making a choice is you might be wrong. But if you don’t assert a choice, do you get to be right?

I can think of worse thing to stumble over.

Since a brilliant variety of mushrooms made our last walk festive, I kept an eye out but there were hardly any. What few I saw were like the Puritan versions of Mardi Gras celebrants. Don’t get me wrong, they were still spectacular, which is not an adjective I’d apply to a Puritan.

The leaf below looked like a bird in flight.

This boy was happy. Finn’s pack instincts came to the fore whenever K and I momentarily diverged (for me to take the low route, for instance — when did I become so cautious?). At these junctures, The dog becomes visibly anxious. I love how it matters to him that we stick together!

Like footprints

Today I will: ** read ten Joy Harjo poems; ** boil up Friday’s chicken carcass for stock and then make mushroom soup (shrooms from the market — not to worry!), ** scoop up wet leaves and walnuts along the curb using a straight-edged shovel. We will

From the woods in Concord
Also Concord
Back to Newton

Finn gacked and gacked

There I was googling kennel cough and windpipe obstructions at three a.m. Finn was in distress. Coughing and coughing and letting loose pancakes of foamy mucous. Frequently, poor guy!

(Only on the rugs for some reason).

Called the ER at Angell at four but opted not to go, instead making an emergency appointment at our vet this morning for tomorrow. And then, lo! Finny coughed up half a kibble in one final pancake of slime and hasn’t coughed since.

Whew!

You know what else I’m grateful for this morning? Trees. Always trees. I know I’ve told you before, but the golden chain tree out front came in the mail as a twelve-inch long bare-root sapling on Arbor Day many years ago. I don’t remember exactly when, but the boys were little. Just look at it now!

Another favorite tree on our walk

I’m also grateful to have known Michelle. There is a lovely tribute over on Nancy’s blog this morning. Thank you, Nancy. You speak for a lot of us who are still missing that intrepid and generous soul!

And why do I say “still” missing, as if i should somehow be done by now?

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my brother’s stroke. He has come such a long way! Did I mention that he has started to be able to move the affected right leg? Amazing. His progress confirms the stroke advice to measure progress in months and not weeks.

Can’t wait to see him next month. In the meantime, there are quilts to post on Etsy, a Slave Dwelling Conference to attend, and butternut squash soup to make!