Thursday, August 27, 2015

Video du Jour: How to Age Gracefully

Disney Dog

Graphics featuring these three dogs appear on Facebook regularly.  Usually they're just humorous.  Today they have a great deal of meaning. 
A lot of people think of their dogs as an accessory, and while I absolutely disagree with that, I have to admit, I had in my mind the perfect dog(s).  If I had a large breed, she'd be white with large black spots, maybe 4 or 5, and one black ear.  She'd be a mutt, with shortish hair and a pointed nose and ears. I'd name her Dori.   If I had a midsize dog, it'd be some sort of doodle.  Cropped short, perfect coat for my allergies, and a solid color, perhaps the color of gingersnaps. I had a plethora of names picked out.   If I had a small dog (in other words, if I didn't win the lottery and have a house with a yard) I'd get either a miniature schnauzer (who I'd name Scout) or some sort of mini-poodle mix, which I also had a number of names for.  I MIGHT get a terrier mix... (which I'd also name Scout or Sir Dydimus if it were a male)

So there it is, just like women who have checklists for men, I had a checklist for my dog.   Now the entire list went like this:
1- short or clipped hypoallergetic coat
2- calm
3- perfectly house trained.

and because I lived in an apartment, under 20 lbs.

I did get a dog under 20 lbs.

This is not the dog I planned on.

This is the dog I've fallen in love with.

She's a little larger now (not much) with one ear that droos and the other that stands straight up.  I've clipped her a little for the summer, and trimmed  up the long hair that flopped over her eyes like some sort of emo kid.  But she's still a scrappy, three legged mutt with rusty rough fur, more like
Tramp than Lady.

And as much as I love her, so does everyone else in my apartment complex.

Cinnamon... her original name was Ingrid, I called her Cinnamon at the shelter when I was playing with her, it was totally spontaneous, and I have no idea where the name came from except that perhaps in the sunlight her rusty grey-brown coat looks like it was sprinkled with cinnamon... made herself at home pretty quickly here.   She quickly gained the reputation of being the friendliest dog on the property.  She seemed to instinctively know who wanted to play and who wanted to just sit quietly and pet her, and she approached everyone on their level.  She was the same way with the dogs:  Playing and wrestling with some, and lying down next to and being careful not to intimidate the small ones.

Neighbors with new dogs brought them to Cinnamon to be socialized.  Often, Cinnamon was a new dog's friend.  People I never knew knew me:  Cinnamon's mom.  Not Kate, just Cinnamon's mom. They stopped to talk about how amazing it was that she got around so well on three legs, how happy she always is, how sweet.  Some of the neighbors have said they've thought about getting shelter dogs after meeting Cinnamon. One of the neighbors has.

My neighbor down the hall has miniture schnauzers.  Neither of them is named "Scout".  But Frodo, the younger one, is Cinnamon's best friend.  They romp and play like puppies, and when ever we go out of a walk, Cinnamon stops and pauses to look at the door to the building where Frodo and his owner come out of for their walks.

At home, Cinnamon is a pleasure.  She loves to play fetch with me, and always returns the toy after it's thrown.  She also plays by herself, which is great for me when I've got a lot to do.  The only one who isn't completely happy with Cinnamon is the cat.  Sophie is a great deal more reserved than Cinnamon, and doesn't particularly like being cornered, held down and licked.

Cinnamon thinks every living creature is put on the earth to be her friend and play with her.  The other evening, it was a grasshopper.  When I tried to bring her away from it, she snatched it up in her mouth. I was scared she'd eaten it (not because I was worried for her, but because I was worried for the grasshopper) and tried to get it from her before she killed it, but she wouldn't open her mouth, and she didn't kill it.  She walked a little distance from me and gently put the grasshopper on the ground, unharmed.

Of course, the same persistence in wanting to play with every living creature isn't helpful when that creature is one of our many local skunks, but so far I've been able to prevent an actual encounter, no matter how insistent she's been about meeting the "stripped kitty" on our evening walk.

Cinnamon is my reason for getting out of bed (like it or not) on some Lupus mornings.  She gives me reason to NOT stay in my studio for 12 hours straight.  and I think I'm at my most peaceful just gazing into her big brown eyes.

So yes, I could have held out for a "pretty dog".  But then I would have missed out on the perfect dog for me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

the places I've been with my daughters.

Yesterday my computer died.  I'd been anticipating it for some time, and had been backing up everything on a stick for the day I could no longer get it up and running.  At the same time, I'd been window shopping (actually, now that I think of it, there's a pun there) and looking for an affordable alternative.

This isn't the first time I've bought a discontinued model because (a) it's cheaper and (b) the new model lacks the features I want.  But after watching a movie on the bigger-than-a-laptop screen and playing a few games (and deciding Mac is still better) I've settled down to the business at hand:  moving files and seeing what's where on my stick.

During that time I've come across a lot of photos (all in a "cherished photos folder") that have been times when I've felt extreme joy.  Most of them are of places I've been with my daughters.

This week's trip with Tay was an important one for me.  It's no secret that we don't always get along.  Over the last few years, it's been Cay who wants to go places with me, go on hikes, do different things.

and Cay's moved on to wanting to do things with her friends, her school chums, and her co-workers... which is as it should be, but still makes me a little sad.

Now Tay is not going to step into that spot, not going to want to go all the places I love to go and do the things I love to do (I've also got friends I like to do things with) but those moments were we are together... me and any of my daughters (or all at once!) have been times to treasure.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that they're all grown up now.  Sometimes it's painfully easy.

But there are those times, times like our trip to Denver, times like Wakulla Springs, times like hiking at the Randall Davey, when I cherish our new relationships, our new ways of being together, even more than the times I was "mommy"... when now the relationship is one of choice and consciousness, something more like friendship.