Happy things

Today I cried. That was not happy, but I needed it. My son, not even two years old, came over to hug me and pat me on the head.

Later, I was cuddling with my son under a blanket on the couch, watching Curious George before his bedtime. Both of the dogs came up, Gilly lying down between my and the kiddo with his head on my shoulder, and Trip behind my curled legs. Cuddles with all 3 of my babies at once. Doesn’t get much better,

Even later. Trip snuggling next to me, sarm, his fur so soft, his paws smelling like Doritos.

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2013 in Review

I’ve seen several posts on Facebook about how terrible 2013 was for many people. I’m very sorry for everyone who had a rough year… but mine has been great! 2012 was more difficult for me, and I guess the first half of 2013 was a bit trying as well, but oeverall, the good definitely outweighs the bad.

January

On New Year’s Day, I turned 32. At that time I was undergoing fertility testing after 2+ years of trying to get pregnant with no luck. This was not very enjoyable. Fertility testing is painful, both physically and emotionally.

A good thing that happened in January was that we got the band together! I’d been wanting to try to form this group since Fest of 2012, and in January it finally came together, and I’m very happy it did!

February

In February we had our first practices with the band, and Rob and I took a trip to Mexico.

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

Being romanced by a pirate in Mexico

March

In March, Rob had a surgery that was designed to improve our fertility. I was pretty optimistic about the success of the surgery, but it was also difficult because it definitely was not guaranteed to help, and both of our doctors were already implying that IVF might be our best hope, which made it difficult to maintain my optimism. I was so proud of Rob though– he underwent the surgery very willingly and without any complaint.

In March my BFF also revealed to me that she was pregnant. Although I was of course really happy for her, I couldn’t help feeling simultaneously sad for myself– a most unpleasant state of affairs.

April

In April, we adopted our second dog, Gilly. I’m happy to report that things are still going great with him! Trip was jealous at first of his new little brother, and he still gets jealous over toys and cuddle time with us, but every day they are becoming more and more like a pack. They haven’t quite reached the point where they will cuddle together, but Trip will now tolerate Gilly being right next to him on the couch. He also gives Gilly kisses on the nose, which is pretty sweet. We’re still working with Gilly on his mouthing and jumping, but overall he’s a pretty well-behaved pup, and he is only 2, so he’s still a young thing.
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New Dog, Take II

After the debacle we had with our first second dog, I’m happy to report that things are going great with our second attempt at a second dog. Gilligan is a great boy. He’s about a year and a half old and came from a shelter in Alabama or Arkansas or somewhere in the South, and he hasn’t had a whole lot of training, so he does have a couple of bad habits. He’s still learning what he should and should not put his teeth on. (Should: food, dog toys, Trip– in play of course; Shouldn’t: shoes, furniture, people.) But luckily as far as chewing goes, he’s really only chewed up one of my shoes, and a corner of our ottoman, which was on its last leg anyway. He hasn’t chewed on any other furniture. And while he does still mouth at us in play sometimes, it is clearly in play and he never bites hard enough to break the skin, like Odo did. He also responds to us telling him “No bite!” unlike Odo, who was impossible to control once he started biting.

 Trip has also taken to Gilly a lot more than he ever did with Odo. We’ve had Gilly for about 3 weeks now, and they have been sleeping in a proper dog pile for at least a week– something Trip never did with Odo. By the end of his 3-week stint with us, Trip still only reluctantly got up on the couch if Odo was already there. But Trip seems to have accepted Gilly as part of the pack. 🙂 And how could he not, look at that face!

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A Day in the Life of an Introvert

This is an account of a fictional but pretty typical day.

7:40 am: 

I stop for coffee on my way to work. Since I stop there frequently, I know the baristas.  At least, I know them by sight, and they know me (and my drink order!)– as far as I know they don’t know my name. I walk in and see that it’s the dark-haired girl making drinks. I only know her name because randomly they wore name tags for a couple of days. The dark-haired girl’s name tag read “emily.” I like her–she’s nice.

But do I rejoice that I will get to talk to her? Nope! Instead, all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind: When should I say hello– right when I see her? She looks busy. Should I say my drink order at the register, or do I assume that they remember it when I hand them my reusable mug?

I overhear another patron asking emily about her vacation. Do they know each other outside of the patron-barista relationship? How, in interactions that last a few minutes a day, did they get to the point where they know about each other’s lives? I don’t know how to do that– I can make conversation, but it’s restricted to the niceties and talk about the weather. Which, granted, in Minnesota is actually an interesting topic, but still.

At any rate, I have cordial but superficial interactions with the dude and the dark-haired girl as I go about getting my coffee. They make excellent coffee, which is an introvert’s best friend.

8:15 am:

I get to work and get settled in, and open up my email. There it is: a message from Auto Forward, with the subject line “Fwd: (612.XXX.XXXX) 01:18 Voice Message.” It’s a voicemail. Oh, crap on a cracker, I think as I put in my headphones to listen to it. As I listen, I evaluate whether I can justifiably respond by email instead of calling the person back. Maybe the caller will leave an email address in their message, thereby giving me permission to respond by email. No such luck. Or, maybe it’s one of my students, who has questions that require web links or attachments?  Nope, it’s a parent–strike two. Even worse, they don’t specify their questions in their message– it’s just “I have some questions about the Montpellier program.” So there’s no chance I can just call and hopefully leave the answers on their voicemail. No, there is simply no way around it– I am going to have to have a phone conversation.

As I pick up the phone and dial the number, I can feel my heartbeat speed up and my body temperature rise. Why! I know I will have the answers, and more often than not, the parents I speak to on the phone are pleasant and thank me for answering their questions. This is the case today– the mother I speak to tells me I’ve been very helpful and thanks me for my time. There’s no rational reason to be nervous, but there’s just something about this method of communication that causes me stress. It’s infuriating.

We no longer have 2 dogs

This is both sad and a relief. We had several incidents of biting; both my husband and I got bit several times, with about half of those breaking the skin. It was really scary because he didn’t give any warning signs like most dogs do… there was no growling, bearing of teeth, or snarling before he went in to full on biting mode. The first bite happened the day after we got him, when my husband was home alone with him for the first time. We have no idea what set him off, and it didn’t seem like aggression really, but my husband received 3 bites that day. We called the rescue that we got him from, and were informed that we had every right to surrender him back to the rescue… but that their policy is to euthanized dogs who have bitten a human. We both felt strongly that we didn’t want that to happen, and that since the obedience classes were starting in a few days, we’d at least give it a bit more time.

All was relatively well after that until Christmas day, when we were at my parents’ house and the smoke alarm went off. That set Odo off, out of fear I’m sure, but I received a bite on the arm (not a bad one, but it did break the skin slightly) and my spouse received a pretty bad bite on the chest. A few days later, he bit my husband again, luckily no skin breaks, but then the next day (New Years Eve) he came after me, again, with no discernible trigger. I received a bite on the leg (my jeans protected me and that one didn’t even leave a mark), on my breast (didn’t break the skin but there is a bruise) and on the arm (broke the skin in several places and looks pretty nasty).

New Dog

This past week has been very busy. We brought home a new puppy (pit bull/American bulldog mix) last Sunday, and man, I’d forgotten how much work a new dog can be! Our new puppy, Odo, is not even that young—he’s 7 months—but he and Trip together are kind of a handful!

The week was also difficult because, as is not unusual during times of stress, my spouse and I had a big fight. But we talked it out, and ultimately I think it will be good to have 2 dogs. Odo and Trip play really well together—they love wrestling, running in the yard and playing tug. One of the main reasons we got the second dog is that Trip has soo much energy (even though Odo’s the puppy, Trip is usually the one instigating the play!), and we just can’t take him to the park every day, which is the only thing that really tires him out. So far, it seems like Odo will help with that! Trip is still not sure about accepting Odo as a member of the pack, especially sharing cuddle time with him, but I think he’ll get there. It’s hard being an older sibling.

Odo’s a cutie pie. He loooves cuddling, and will immediately jump up on the couch next to me or the spouse when we sit down, curl up and go to sleep. (Trip doesn’t like that because he’s usually not fast enough to get a spot by the human, if there’s only one of us on the couch, or if we are both there, he seems to want his choice of human.) Odo also likes to cuddle under covers—we’ve been letting the dogs come up in our bed with me when the spouse leaves for work this past week, so we don’t have to re-kennel Odo or worry about them chewing stuff up downstairs. Odo jumps up into bed and tries to wiggle down under the covers . I’m kind of afraid he won’t be able to breathe, but it doesn’t seem to bother him.

Fest 2012! Opening Weekend Recap

Fest 2012! Opening Weekend Recap

I’m finally getting around to recapping Opening Weekend.

It was good. Really, really good. We had amazing weather (mid-70s and sunny), and things went remarkably smoothly for opening weekend. Yes, there was a huge CF at the entrance Saturday morning, and yes, we were a bit rusty with some of the harmony parts and also remembering repeats, so there were a couple of mishaps with music. But by the end of the day Saturday, we were getting back into the groove, and there weren’t really any major problems within our group or with Fest management. Amazing!

I did have a garb malfunction on Saturday—one of the straps on my bodice came unsewed, and when I went to get my needle and thread to repair it… I couldn’t find my needle. So I had to safety pin it for awhile. But later I happened to randomly find my needle, so I shored it up for the rest of the day and reinforced it Saturday night when I got home.

Besides my needle, I also managed to lose my site pass and my fan on opening day. Crikey! Luckily, some kind soul had turned in my pass at the information booth, and the front gate people know our group so they let me back onsite without the pass until I could retrieve it. Yay! I never did find the fan, but out of the 3 things I lost, that was the most expendable at the time.