Small Things 4-23-15

1.  So picture this.  A whippet–elderly-behaving, though only middle-aged.  Of a breed known for sloth and languor. Also wimpiness. ie: she doesn’t like cold. Or heat. Or walks more than, say, 1/4 mile long. The extreme anguish of, having toenails clipped nearly does her in. She doesn’t like eating big chunks of food.  Or, you know, treats that require her to chew.  She’s a princess.

Add to the household a puppy.  Who’s, you know, puppy-ish.  With puppy teeth & puppy endurance–only & also, this is a cattle-dog puppy.  Known for toughness (ie: kick a cattle dog in the head with a cow-hoof & they’ll just come back for more.) Seriously valiant.  Smart, and totally insane with the desire to enforce every rule ever. (Once they’re grown, anyway. As puppies, they’re just wicked strong-willed.)

You’d expect horror on the part of the whippet, upon being confronted with household-addition.  Right? Like her world, her perfect world, has ended and how did she end up in this BuffyVerse hell-dimension where everything is wrong.

Except, no. Actually, Nellie is discovering her inner alpha-dog, and is playing the puppy into exhausted oblivion each day. And night. And really, whenever she can. Nellie is chasing and cajoling, and teasing, and biting, and leaping-lightly-over, and tormenting the puppy until they both fall into happy, snorting slumber.  Nellie thinks the puppy rocks, and the puppy thinks Nellie is a goddess.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything more adorable than a tough-as-nails cattle pup playing with an elegant-as-shit whippet-princess, but it’s awesome, and I couldn’t be more pleased (and surprised.)

Who knew? Nellie’s just been bored out of her skull all these years.  Stupid humans.

2. The kiddo, on the other hand, is pretty intimidated by the puppy’s determination to herd him, via grabbing on to his cuffs and yanking.  He also really hates me raising my voice to the puppy which is–sometimes–PUPPY!–unavoidable.  But it’s traumatic for him to hear mama yelling about anything, I guess. ::sigh::

He’s trying.  He loves it when the pups play together, he wants to be in the middle of it.  Until all of a sudden he is, and then he panics. And he enjoys throwing things for puppy to retrieve, though he’s not crazy about getting her to drop the toy for him to pick up.  But he really really doesn’t like being around the pup when she’s being reprimanded.  And, sadly, this is a dog that has gotten & will continue to get LOTS of reprimands until she figures out that humans aren’t for herding.  (Especially somewhat fearful 4yo humans without a lot of dominant-dog experience.)

I bought bitter apple to spray on our cuffs.  She licks that shit up.  Literally.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  Bring it on, she says in her puppy growl.  You think I care that my mouth tastes like dead things? Bring it on.  I STILL eat your pants. Tasty dead things. And more importantly, you WILL go where I want you to go… Gr.

Gonna be an interesting few months…

3.  Kiddo has, however, thanks to his loving papa, discovered the giddy joy that is Captain Underpants (tra-la-laaaaaa!)  Never did it for me, but then, I am not a 4yo boy.  And he is.  Oh my, is he ever.  Paroxysms of giggles.  Every night.  As he’s drifting off to sleep he’s murmuring horrible potty-humor to himself, and I’m laughing to hear him on the monitor, appalled & absolutely delighted in equal measure. Also very grateful that his father has taken on the Captain Underpants reading responsibility.  Not sure I’d enjoy it as much if I had to be reading it!

4.  I’m getting a ton of writing done these days, which is nice. In between scolding the puppy & reassuring the child, anyway. I keep feeling like if I could just have 8 uninterrupted hours I could finish something, but honestly, I’d likely just putter around on Pinterest for 4 of those hours.  Still. Four hours would be nice….and I do like Pinterest…

5.  In family news, I’m expecting a new ‘step’ grandson soon, which is beyond exciting.  Honestly can’t wait.  Any day now.  And can I just say that it’s sort of wonderful getting to step in & pretend to be a grandma? I know I’m not ‘real’ grandma, I’m just grandpa’s wife; but as someone who became a mother rather late in life, I’m well aware that there’s every chance I’ll not be around to meet my son’s children.  So getting to be an honorary ‘grandma’ to his nieces & nephews?  Priceless experience.  I am the luckiest woman in the world.


And really, at the end of all this? It’s SPRING. FINALLY. And things are starting to be ok again. This was an awful winter. Really hard to get through. really hard to believe it would ever end. But it did. And I’ve been planting kale and spinach in the garden. And I’m going to go buy some marigolds soon. Maybe tomorrow. And my tomato starts are things (far too many things!–where am I going to put all of them???!!!) of beauty.  And it’s not winter anymore.  And I’m not sure I can fully express how relieved I am that that’s the case.

Happy spring, everyone. Hope you have puppies & gardens galore.


Small Puppy 4-13-15

Photo on 4-13-15 at 1.40 PM #2

This is Xena. Sleeping by my chair in my office, after a hard morning playing, eating, and playing some more.

She is marvelous.  Also, smart as I’d hoped for. Only 8 weeks old & we haven’t had a mess in the car OR the house yet. Slept through the night–without even needing to get up & pee–in her bed next to ours. Also, while we figured Nellie wouldn’t mind the new addition, so long as we safeguarded her special place (ie: our bed) in reality, as far as we can tell Nellie honestly doesn’t care that she’s now sharing her house with a puppy. Ignoring her almost completely, living the bed-dog life–which is probably about as easy a puppy introduction as I’ve ever even heard of.  She doesn’t seem to feel threatened, or insecure or even slightly cranky about the whole thing.  Nellie has her drawbacks (sleeping 20 hours a day!) but she’s a very good, very even-tempered dog.

And Xena’s absolutely a people-dog. She’s very excited to be doing whatever it is I’m doing–whether that’s playing or reading or writing or cooking–it’s all good, and she’d like to be right there while it’s happening, even if she would prefer a good chew toy while she waits for the next activity.

I’m terrifically happy with this pup, with this decision, with damned near everything right now.  Life is already pretty darned good, but it’s just perfect with a puppy in it.

2. And it’s 70* outside today. Perfect weather. We’ve already spent time outside & we’ll be spending more once the kiddo’s done with ‘quiet, alone time’ for the day. Hard to stay indoors with the weather like this.

3. Of course, into each perfect day, some rain–or at least a tick–must fall.  First one of the year pulled off puppy’s neck while on the way to the vet for tick-killing drops.  Sheesh. It’s gonna be a bad year for ’em up here, I’m thinking.  Also called the tick-spraying guys to get out here & spray us!

4. Got to spend an evening this weekend babysitting my (honorary) granddaughter.  She’s marvelous, adorable, and possibly the easiest child in the whole world.  Also got to see a bit of the extended family, which was doubly nice since we missed out on seeing many of them a couple weeks ago.

5.  And my own wonderful child was just a joy to travel with this weekend.  A trip to the Museum of Natural History to see dinosaurs & moon rocks, helping me babysit, being self-sufficient when called for & ready for together-fun when it was time, eating whatever was put in front of him, laughing and exclaiming at everything, sleeping easily despite sleeping in two places he’s never before spent the night–4.5 is a truly delightful age. And he’s a truly delightful kid.

And I am a truly fortunate woman.

Small Things 4-7-15

1.  Sap run is over. We didn’t get much at all, a trickle here & there, but it all added up and I think we got enough syrup to last the year.  What a weird end-of-winter!

2.  And it is, finally, the end of winter, thank all that’s holy.  This was a rough year for me.  Mattie’s death.  The unending snow and bitter cold just went on and on.  We’re almost completely melted out now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see dead grass.  Three cheers for springtime! Who needs flowers when you have BARE GROUND!

3. The boy bought me grow-lights for xmas, and I spent much of last week constructing the mini-greenhouse of my dreams.  (Ok, it’s just an IKEA shelving unit with lights and heat mats, but it’s awesome to have a dedicated space for all my seed starting stuff!) Tomato starts–ALL 55 of them!–are starting to germinate even as I write this. Or so I hope.

Also growing mushrooms out of a box, and my citrus trees are taking over. A successful beginning-of-the-growing season, all in all.  Shall get going on sweet potato slips soon…

And put in a new sweet potato bed, deeper & bigger for the sweet potato crop.  Yeah, I’m ready for a serious garden adventure this year.  Have to get enough sun in the next 6 months to last me through next winter, because this year, I obviously didn’t do a good job of stashing away enough vitamin D during the summer.  What a brutal winter emotionally. Oi.

4.  But I am pulling out of it.  Though I think much of this is out of sheer giddy anticipation for…PUPPY!

We decided we won’t ever be getting another cat. I simply can’t guarantee it wouldn’t be able to get out, and, well, it was awful losing Mattie like that. I won’t do it to another cat–or to myself.

But I CAN keep a close eye on a dog.  And a dog who KNOWS she’s a dog, and wants to, you know, be around the people? That would be pretty fantastic. Nellie is a very sweet lump of unconscious bed-warmer. If she’s not eating, she’s up on the bed (and if she had her way, food would be served to her on the bed.) I can’t even persuade her to go outside for a walk without physically dragging her outside. Which is not a lot of fun for either of us. I mean, I’m happy her life here is so perfect, but I’d also love to be doing doggie things with a doggie friend.

Therefore, meet Xena!

GuinevereAShe’s coming home with us next weekend a couple of days after she turns 8 weeks old, and I’m very excited!  I’ve been in contact with a cattle dog rescue, since I’d always rather rescue than buy from a breeder, and when an ACD momma came into a Kentucky pound with eight puppies, I was all over that listing!  We aren’t sure who dad was, but the pups might well be pure cattle dog, which would be nice.

My previous dog, Sydney, Empress of the Known Universe was a cattle dog/chow mix, and I’ve missed that intensity and loyalty, though I’ll confess the fighting dog aggressiveness mixed with herding dog stubbornness was its very own set of problems. I’m hoping Xena’s all herder, as it’ll make everything a lot easier, but no matter who she turns into, I’m super-excited to have a new friend coming to hang out with me and be my best buddy.

And for the record: I have the most tolerant and loving husband in the world. Because–PUPPY!!!!! (And The Boy doesn’t even like dogs.)

5.  And the writing’s going well. I can’t find enough time to do all the writing my brain is prompting me to do. I got a couple more manuscript requests – from queries I sent out in September. Ahem. But I’m finishing up a rewrite before sending this one out again.  See if I can’t address some of the problems people are having with the story before handing it over again.

And it’s a good feeling, getting requests, even if the timing leaves me a bit bemused.  So, it aint over til it’s over, I suppose.  And in the meantime, I’m writing up a storm, editing up a whirlwind, and revising up a hurricane.

Plus, it’s raining puppies…