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When life gives you raisins

BehindBars

When I started this website I had big plans.  Though I didn’t know how my plans would play out, I knew that they must be played perfectly.  Nothing else was acceptable.

My mother is always telling me that I put too much pressure on myself.  I tend to disagree.  The problem, I think, is that I don’t pressure myself enough.  You see, I am a perfectionist with very high expectations and a very good imagination.  While those three attributes might work well when used alone and in small doses, put them together and you get a girl like me; roaringly enthusiastic and easily discouraged.

In other words, I’m disappointed a lot.

In January, things started off with a bang.  The response from friends and family about my new website had me walking on cloud 9.  I was electrified.  I was writing every day, for hours on end.  I wrote by hand on the subway, leaning into the tight little alcove where the doors and the seat barriers meet.  I wrote at home, curled in my blue chair with the sun on my back, an animal tucked into my hip.  When I wasn’t writing I was thinking about writing and when I went to sleep I dreamt in a string of words. Words, words, beautiful, glorious, thrilling words.

Then life was lived and things were said and sometimes even people who think they mean well can deliver a blow that snuffs out a flame that only moments before had learned how to burn bright in the wind.

Months have gone by and still, still I am forcing out posts, sentence by sentence, word by excruciating word.  You know what it’s like when you’ve been constipated for days and you’re sitting on the pot breathing so hard there’s sweat breaking at your temples and then finally, finally something bursts forth and you think, Yes!   But no, no, the fruit of your labor is the size of a small raisin.  And your heart breaks a little bit.

That is what writing has become.

However.  I will not be so easily defeated.  There is something… there is something in there, just right there, I can feel it.  So when the Universe gives me raisins, I will give them to the Internet.

Blog Lite

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*she dreams in a ray of sunshine*

Valentine has taken over my writing spot for the week.  She’s keeping it warm for me.  My J-O-B has a lot of stuff going on and no one is more sorry than I am over the fact that posting this week will be very light.  Last night I was so tired that I fell asleep across the laundry pile I was supposed to be folding.  It was only eight o’clock.  The next three days will be equally long and exhausting, so forgive me if you don’t hear anything from me until Friday.

One day, maybe, in a land where dreams come true, I can spend all of my time curled in my blue chair, the morning sun warm on my back, while I write and write and write.  But until blogging pays the bills, it’s off through the rain and cold I go.

xo

Guilty As Charged

Valentine and Theo are, without a doubt, the center of the universe as far as Mike and I are concerned.   Our daily lives revolve around whether the dogs have pooped and whether or not they’ve had enough exercise.  We worry that they’re too cold or that they haven’t had enough to eat.  We delight in seeing their little faces whenever we walk in the front door and we love bringing home new treats for them.  Mike teases that the way I mother them is dangerous because there was a point when Theo gained too much weight and it was because, in my worry that he wasn’t eating enough, I overfed him until he gained an extra two pounds.  Two pounds might not sound like much, but two pounds on a Dachshund is like fifty pounds on a person.   I’d been over-feeding Valentine as well, but that bitch* could eat her weight in chocolate and not gain an ounce.   Theo, on the other hand, has a slow metabolism and because his back is so long, extra weight could put stress on his spine that could cause fractures and then he’d be paralyzed and if he survived it would surely cost us a million dollars in vet bills.  It’s a serious thing when Dachshunds get fat and so that is why my mothering is deadly.  And that was a long story for a short point:   The dogs are my practice babies.

Last night, after we’d put the dogs to bed in their crates, brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and curled up with an episode of Law & Order, a long, low howl reverberated from the living room.  It was followed by a sharp succession of ear-piercing ruffs.  This has been Theo’s bedtime routine for the last four nights. He waits until we are in bed with the lights off and then he starts in with a howl followed by barking.

“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”
“Why is he doing that?”
“I don’t know.”
“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”
“What should we do?”
“Ignore it.”
“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”
“Is he trying to tell us something?”
“He’s trying to tell us he’d rather be sleeping in our bed, but that’s not how it works, so he’s going to have to get over it.”
“Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!”

The baby books say to let Baby cry for fifteen minutes and, if after fifteen minutes, Baby has not put himself back to sleep, Mother may go in and comfort him.  So that’s what we did.   We let him “Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!” and after about thirteen and a half minutes he stopped ruffing.  As soon as he was quiet I whispered:

“I seriously don’t know what we’re waiting for.”
“You can’t leave a baby in a crate when you go to work.”

They’re practice babies.  It sounds kind of awful, but it’s true.   I’ve never in my entire life loved something small and furry the way I love those little dogs.   Every day I am amazed that I have enough love in my body to love them but every day it’s there and it’s bigger.  I hear people say that about their kids all the time and I am sure that the way people love their kids is at the very least one hundred times more than the way I love my dogs.  Does that mean that when I have children I won’t have room to love my dogs anymore?  A staggering number of perfectly wonderful dogs and cats are given up every year because their owner has a new baby and just can’t deal with them anymore.  It must be very frustrating to have a new baby at home and have your dog suddenly start humping the coffee table, peeing on the sofa cushions and chewing bald spots into his fur.  At least I imagine that’s what’s going on when someone decides to get rid of the dog now that they have a baby.  Or maybe it’s just that now you have a baby and two other baby-like things that aren’t actually babies and your priorities change.  I have no idea.  But the whole thing makes me nervous.  What will they do when I have a baby?

Let’s take a little tour of my writing chair…

1

Well hello, Valentine!  So you’re the reason why I can’t sit back and get comfortable.  Aren’t you a little chair-hog?


2

And here’s Theo, curled up behind Valentine.  He’s an even bigger chair-hog than his sister.


My hope is that when we have children the dogs will come to see the babies as precious pack members that must be fussed over and adored and protected from danger.  Like the way Chip, my cousin’s five-year-old four-pound Chihuahua, came to see her new baby:

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If we are that lucky, it is then my hope that our children will come to love the dogs as if they were treasured little old great-grandparents to be treated with gentle hands, quiet voices and adoring hearts.  After all, by the time our children are old enough to know Valentine and Theo, the dogs will most likely be just that:  Little old incontinent doglets with stinky breath, grumping and gurgling and leaving strings of slobber behind when they kiss you good morning.

*bitch [bi*ch] (noun):  female dog, wolf, fox or otter.