Category Archives: education

Dog Ownership: An Eight-Foot Love Triangle

We’ve all heard it: a dog is “Man’s Best Friend.”

This is never more true than in my own house. We have an eight-foot triangle. See, I love my dog dearly, but she has made it abundantly clear in her almost twelve years that she doesn’t love me. She loves him, my husband.

And not in a oh-he’s-alright kind of way. In an I Dream of Jeanie I’ll do anything for you, master and may I lick between your toes for 25 minutes now, master? kind of way.

dogs

I get a lot of shots of this, her rump.


Rejection on a professional or creative level is hard to take; rejection in relationships is torturous. But rejection by your dog, the one you’ve had since puppyhood, is the worst.

Sure, she wags her stubby tail and flops her ears back when I come home. For a minute. Like as a favor to me. After a few seconds, I see in her eyes a glimpse of Good enough? We done here? before she trots off to find him.

dogs

And another rump.

If she sits by me on the couch (see how nice I am, she can sit on the couch!), the quickest way to have her leave is if I pet her. And who does she roll on her back for, showing her fuzzy tummy every morning? Him.

It’s not like my husband loves her more. In fact, I think I love her more, but he gives her more treats and more steak off his fork and well, she’s basically a cold-hearted food slut.

She’s so obvious about her preference that it’s possible I’ve gotten a tad resentful. It may be true I no longer fill up the water dish immediately or restock the dog biscuits. I have to protect my own heart, you know.

I hope to start anew some day, wipe the past clean and have my dog lavish me daily with affection.

Yes, some day I hope to get a new dog.

Does your dog show favorites? Tell me I’m not alone!

Nothing Gradual in Graduating

Today, the Kid graduated from her elementary school (it goes to 4th grade here, then to middle school). She’d gone to this same school five years, since kindergarten, probably the longest she’ll ever go to the same school God willing, she won’t become a 5th year college grad.

She had the annual tug-o-war…
4th grade tug-o-warand the “moving up” assembly…4th grade moving up assembly
ending with her…officially graduated.

Some may complain that this generation of kids gets way too much acknowledgement, awards for showing up at school, ribbons for participating in your third soccer game. No one applauded the end of my 4th grade or 5th grade or 6th grade.

Even if these moments are the equivalent of a torturous Barbara Walters interview (“that must have been hard, losing your dad at 3…”) and I’ve run through my allotment of Kleenex, I’m glad we’re stopping to notice. I’m glad someone is making us stop and pay attention to this milestone.

How many have we buzzed by in this kid’s 9 years? And how many more will we, accidentally or because we’re tired or busy or preoccupied or stressed out?

No, I say let’s all take a break from our personal, inner world of drama and our busybusybusy and focus our eyeballs on what’s happening right in front of us, in our very homes and neighborhoods: a kid graduated, a dog napped more, a baby napped less, a friend moved, a teen took drivers ed, a grandparent slowed down, a cat didn’t come home, even a tree didn’t sprout leaves like it used to.

Time marches on. You can squeeze your eyes shut, walk your feet faster, fill that calendar as much as you want or you can take long baths, plan big, slow vacations or breath in as deeply as you want. Time? Still marching on.

But if we’re all left feeling like spectators, let’s at least take a moment to do just that – spectate. With eyes and hearts wide open, we can watch and see and soak it up until we’re fully saturated and leaking out our eyes and cannot soak up anymore.

No, it doesn’t feel gradual at all. It may have slowly crept up on us, predictably coming along, but then BLAMMO, we’re hit right in our sweet spot. Ready or drunk not.

Leaving us happy and sad and proud and fully and completely saturated.
final bus ride
Congratulations, all you graduates out there! You are loved!

In the sun and in the clouds

[I’m writing this outside at Bainbridge Bakers, and a sparrow keeps hopping up on the chair next to me as he looks around. You’re a bird, wouldn’t a tree be a better lookout? But it’s as if a companion joined me for tea drinking, so I won’t complain about that.]

I’m in a mood.

And my brain keeps arguing with me. You should be happy. You should be relieved. Not bummed out, you freaking idiot.

My brain is kinda mean. Is yours?

My play was performed.

My kid turned nine.

School started.

And I didn’t even have a mimosa this year. That tells you something.

But I also know that while I can get busier and distract myself by plunging into something new, those blues will still be sitting there in the chair next to me, softly chirping, until I have a conversation or twelve with them.

Like running awhile…and then walking. Thinking of other things…and then listening.

And like everything else, I know it will naturally change and be replaced by something else eventually, I promise, Hubs!.

[By the time I’ve finished this blog post, the bird has hopped away and a person has asked to sit in the chair for some sun, next to me but turned away. Another companion, except we’re parallel sitting. My husband would strike up a conversation. Not me. But I’ll sit by her and feel less lonely, shifting a bit already.]

Landscaping, Bainbridge Island-Style (with goats)

Bainbridge Island Parks and Rec recently hired a new crew of landscapers. They are good workers, always on the job, and have a friendly disposition: goats.

For the past several days one of our local parks, Fort Ward, a running favorite of mine with its waterfront route and shady forest, has hosted 260 goats on its hillsides to eat back the ivy.
If you are not a goat fan, I advise you just skip this post because, well, I couldn’t get enough of these guys. There weren’t just goats; there were baby goats, people.
They were baaaaa‘ing, chewing, jumping, watching, nuzzling, napping and lots of other goatly behavior.Watching and learning.Goatly cuteness.And yet more cuteness.They sometimes took milk breaks. Hafta stay hydrated.This one keep bleeeting and got stuck in brambles for awhile.Cozy siblings.A gorgeous mama.Hill o’ Goats.Quite the horns, eh?Goat teamwork, always good.
I know, you want goat landscapers on your hillside, too. But I’m told this team is booked through August on a traveling work tour. They leave Bainbridge Island tomorrow.

Would it be too weird to follow them and become a goat groupie?

For more information, check out the articles on Inside Bainbridge about these goats here and here.

And if this weren’t enough, maybe you need a tiny bit of video?

Summertime Parenting

Are you like me? Are you going to be home with your kid(s) this summer and don’t know what you’re going to do? Are you starting to worry about how you’ll get anything done?

Mostly, are you worried about how you’re going to maintain a low-level buzz and still be able to drive to all those playdates?

We have one more week of school, if you can even call it that. More like chaperoned field trips starting and ending at a school. And I can feel the anxiety starting to creep into my chest. Ugh.

Every summer, I hope for a productive, fun-filled, educational summer, and what happens? Somewhere after the hopes form life happens, I get tired of arguing and things just slide. All things slide.

Remember when slides were a good thing?

Do you know that Gershwin song are you my friend with knowledge of musicals or not? that goes “Summertime and the living is easy”?

That is just plain wrong. Summer is the hardest, especially around here. Where does everyone go? Somehow everyone who refuses to coordinate schedules is gone at the same time. And everyone who swore they were open for playdates are suddenly booked up with camps, camping trips and vacations. Gone, baby, gone. Leaving my kid with the mantra, “Mom, I’m BORED.”

We have some camps lined up, I’m hoping for some camping trips and creative home projects, and this year I will enforce some kind of reading to be happening around here, beyond reading instructions on Epic Mickey wii games.

Yes, I am hoping once again. Which usually means I’m in for a letdown. Why must it be best-summer-ever or suckiest-and-boringest? Guess which one ends up most likely?

Are you all planned up for summer? Winging it? Trying anything new?