Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Family of Me and my Dogs

Has anyone ever timed the length of time a dog can wag (whip would be a better word) his tail without stopping? Don't their muscles get tired?

It doesn't seem so. Instead, it seams to have something to do with the length of time expectation and hope can be kept active--in Brody's case, a pretty long while if food, play or scratches are concerned.

I love to watch my two dogs run around my large back yard, even if they have worn a path. Tailless Gracie is so compact, wider than Brody, basically bullet-shaped. Brody's tail always curling upwards, both dogs laughing and tongues lolling sideways like little pink flags as they run. They never trot or lope. It's BAM! they are off at full speed, sometimes playing chase, sometimes running to me.

This weekend a gate inadvertently got left open and they went running around, fortunately to the nearby houses. More fortunately, none of the neighbor dogs were out. Brody doesn't like most other dogs. So they had a nice runabout while I was getting ready to run some errands.

I went to the back door to call them in, and oops. dead quiet. Went out the front door and BAM! they raced towards me. I was thankful. They also are beautiful animals, I think.
They were so GLAD to see me. And after all the gate was open--and you don't punish dogs who run to you.

So they came in and settled, I closed my bedroom door (they like to sleep on my bed when I am gone. Gracie chews and swallows chunks of bedspread. I am on my third.) And left.

I used to give them chews sometimes when I left, until I forgot something one day and went back to the house, only to hear them in a gargling, snarling, snapping over and over on the floor fight over the chews. Like his food, Brody finishes quickly. With a lot stronger jaw, he's finished in five minutes. Gracie gnaws for almost an hour.
So they don't get chews anymore unless I'm home. Gracie deliberately settles at my feet with hers. Brody will try for it anyway. Then I Alpha up and he retreats, tail wagging furiously, hoping for another one.

Overall they are happy dogs. I notice they actually will sleep a few feet from each other occasionally now. They are never going to be snuggle buddies.

Brody slept on the bed with his former owner. He still has hopes with me. I like to waken slowly in the mornings. A dog on each side of the bed will pop up expectantly. And yes, for 30 minutes or so, they are permitted. Then I say,"Outside!" and Gracie thunders over my mid-section in her race with Brody to the back door.

It was comical the morning I opened the door and it was pouring. I have a covered deck and I shoved them out anyway. Five minutes later, I looked out the window and they were just sitting on their haunches, staring at the rain. Uh-uh. No way. Ain't happening. Brody had a dry post to pee against---frowned upon, but there you go. Gracie? I left them another five minutes, met them with a giant towel. Brody, predictably, was dry, but Gracie was soaked. So she was a Good Girl. They got treats.

We always had one or two dogs when I was growing up, but I have only had one at a time, and female, as an adult.

They are family. Someone to talk to at the table --and I would eat at the table in self-defense if I were not already so inclined to eat at one. The dogs would consider it a friendly challenge if I didn't sit at the table, carefully guarding my plate like a resident of the Big House. Not really. They stay down. At my feet. Watching every mouthful. The tricky part is if I forgot something or get up for more drink. I push the plate towards the middle of the table and leave my chair pulled out. They can calculate to the second, I've found, when my back is turned. I have several strips of missing bacon, in particular, to document this.

Rainy days are hard on me and the furniture, but I hope we get some iffy downfall today. We need it so very much.

Got Gracie a new tug rope. She still loves her old one, which unraveled to mop status. Can:t play with Brody in the house. Gracie and I understand we are tugging. Brody assumes it is a game of strength where he eventually takes it away. Some teeth and nips are sometimes involved. He's such a guy.

On the other hand, he understands fetch. He will actually bring the toy back and let me throw it again. Gracie thinks all the toys are hers and tries to take them away. And she won't bring them back. So Brody goes outside when we play tug; Gracie goes outside when we play fetch.

Overall, I think we all are happy.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Crimes We can't Localize

I am on the family phone plan. My DIL was justifiably ticked when she had an overcharge on my phone number of $140. Turns out my phone number was used one evening to make three overseas calls when I was probably asleep.

How? I don't loan my phone to anyone. It always is in my possession. At writer's club today, a former engineer says thieves have way to steal numbers from my phone in my purse, much as the readers in gas stations. He tells me some protection supposedly is from the rubber/plastic guard around the phone.

I don't care if it really works. At least it will keep batteries in place if I drop it.
I'll get one. I figure I must have been careless somewhere, but can't remember where it would be.

I HAVE started getting scam mail on my cell phone, like the Point Bank thing. I just delete.

A friend--yes, she is, just blunt--says I am a techno scam magnet.

Yes, I guess I am. But.

They have caused me trouble and aggravation. So far, they have gotten not one red cent.

Now they are bothering my family. That's not good.

Okay. We have 2nd amendment rights. How about a privacy amendment? I'll have to think about it, but Americans should have it. You folks spilling it all on FB, go ahead.I just hide that crap.

I should be able to use the internet without telling you my favorite color and my social security number.Frankly, this is just emotional. If someone rips off somebody for their life savings on the internet, we need laws that at the least will put them int prison for oh, 30 years.

Let's get those laws.

Or, given my emotional climate today, let me identify and shoot the person. This is inegregible.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Planting when the tears are close

I don't wear pink ribbons for breast cancer, even though I have friends who are survivors.

I will love you fiercely, but until a dying friend of mine asks me to wear the colors, I won't.

Breast cancer usually is healable now, but not always. I'm loving two incurables--a woman with small cell lung cancer and a man in the last stages of pulmonary fibrosis. I suspect both have led more productive lives than mine. I am left to remember them. I don't know why.

I am very tired of writing these blogs, but they have been a very big part of my life for some time. Surely things will get more happy.

I am not yet 70, doing well, living well, exercising. I am beginning to think I am jinxed. Except I don't believe that. If the younger folks in my life also begin to die off, I will rethink.

As I am losing these dear friends, we have had rain and the advent of another spring. I will plant flowers and tomatoes and peppers and attempt to find more productive activity for my dogs than digging in my raised bed.

It helps to grow as we lose. At least I have found it so in my own life.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Aging Into The Good Stuff

What I miss most about aging, frankly, is talking on the phone to someone in synch. We never have a lot of them, but we all have a few. I have two left. One in Oregon. One in East Texas.

I can, when we have time, talk an hour with these two friends about anything from gun control and global warming to the name of the bigger than usual blue and grey blue jay thant just drank out of my new birdbath.

Actually, we don't talk gun control. All three of us have three different opinions and believe their are more. We prefer friendship to all these ideas.

Funny, but as I age, I don't talk relationships because I have lost two damn many to age and illness. My two friends have, too. I'be been single forever. They have been married forever. None of us needs to discuss that.

One, though, loves music and ballet as much as I do. The other one and I share wild and domestic flora.

I know women are supposed to natter on about our families. The two of us with grandchildren do share their activities. Not the parents. The kids. We both know we get to play strongly with The Grandkids. More sedately with The Children.

I used to have a number of friends close by. Some have moved, some have died, some have disconnected. I am developing new friendships as we speak, but none with the plants, the art, the music, the essays, the books, the same values. Right now, those are just two friends I talk to.

It isn't lonesome yet, but it looms. I don't want chitchat. I want meaningful conversation. Ideally, conversation than can be discussed, disected and marveled at with a third person.

My ears are still fairly good. What I dread is a time when the interesting conversation fades, and fades, and fades.

I am years from that. Not so many now.

Funny. I guess for some it can be a time of peace and letting go.

For me and others like me, it is the time to learn more, do more, work harder than ever.
I don't want my aging to be a sump tank but a think time. Damn. Less energy, more need.
Aging is a fact. Living is a choice, at least, living well. I've learned some stuff.

Might as well keep talking and writing.

I never want a future with (shudder0 BINGO. I know I am a snob.

We have to draw the line SOMEwhere.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

white noise

As I age, I find moments when I have absolutely nothing I need to say to anyone. If I knew how to ccorrect a printed post under the new rules without creating a spare, I

Enjoy your peace and quiet.

Cupboard Love as genuine affection

When I see these posts about dogs' undying love and unconditional love and devotion, I snort.

I love my critters, and they love me. And if they can steal my food, isn't it family?
They look so wounded when I throw frozen chicken parts at them. (Which not only didn't hurt them, it didn't hit the furniture. But I still was hungry.)

And if I ever have a heart attack while carrying a sandwich to the table. both will leap over my dying body and fight each other viciously for the scraps of meat, cheese, bread and veggies involved, down to the last lettuce leaf.

Neither will eat the lettuce, but the winner will run to the living room rug to lick any remaining mayonnaise off the leaf. Then they will give me attention.

"Oh, look, she's not yelling at us this time," one might say to the other.

They might nudge me, lick any remaining food spots off, and then realize I am now largely inedible meat. And they will be sorrowful.

They are such great dogs. I actually expected them to understand the ethics of stealing food from ME, their alpha.It's wrong to steal food from me. Especially after they have already been fed.

So wrong.

They understand training, they understand rules. They understand consequences. (I suspect throwing frozen chicken quarters was a little over the top.)

They will behave so long as my eye is on them, then, in a lightning strike of canine cunning, grab and run--under the couch, under the bed. They eat in leisure and don't come out till my mood lightens...or they hope it has.

When I cooked another ham and melted cheese sandwich, the alluring smells pulled them out prematurely. Wagging all the way, up they pranced.

"That smells so good! May I have some more, please?"

I think I growled like a Rottweiler with Strangers Approaching.

They quickly disappeared under couch and bed.

After I had eaten and all was quiet, they re-emerged, ready to forgive me for my bad mood.

I can only say if I were playing Timmy in the well, and one or the other were playing Lassie, they would find Timmy's lunch pail, eat every crumb and only then set out to save the kid.

And if I were found,, they would smile and wiggle over the petting and fussing.

But what they would be waiting for from Timmy(my persona) is Treats.