This Twisted Game of Fetch

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This is Miss Sophie.  Miss Sophie and her “baby.” She has several–the blue lion, the monkey, the little squirrels in their tree, but this–THIS ONE–is her favorite.  I know they say dogs can’t see color, but my girl is very partial to pink.  There’s no explaining it, it just is.  She loves her pink baby, which is actually her second pink baby.  The first one I have tucked away in a special place because I JUST COULDN’T, y’all–it was her precious “I’m so tiny and I love this thing” first pink baby.  But she loved its stuffing out.  And so, this is number two.

It looks nasty.  Even after I wash it.  And sometimes it’s doesn’t smell so good.  But still, Miss Sophie loves her baby.  When I invite her to jump up on the couch and curl up with me, she looks and then runs off and gets her baby and comes back to snuggle.

She loves her babies.

She also loves for us to throw her baby for her to fetch sometimes.  You’ll know this is what is going on when she comes over with it in her mouth, bumping it against my leg, causing the squeaker to go off constantly.  Yes, she definitely wants me to throw it.

However.

She won’t let go of it, y’all.  It’s something of a game for her.  “Please throw this for me so I can run like mad to get it and bring it back to you for you to throw again.”  The only thing is that when I reach to take the baby from her, she won’t let go.  Sometimes she will drop it, and when I go to pick it up, turns out that is part of the game too, and she snaps it back up.

Ahh.  I see what you did there, Miss Sophie.

Please take this from me, but don’t make me let go of it.

But–

I do this too.

I whisper this to the universe–please, please take this away…..only don’t.  I can’t let it go. Not just yet.  But please…..really.  Take it.  

So it turns out this life of mine is a version of Miss Sophie’s twisted game of Fetch.

No wonder she and I get each other.  This life is hard sometimes.

And that’s when a nap on the couch curled up with someone who understands is definitely called for.

BYOB.

(bring you own baby)

Wishing you all someone who gets you and will keep on hanging out with you.  Even when you can’t let go.

Especially then.

Love to all.

 

The Birds Don’t Have a Weather App

The past couple of days have been unseasonably warm here in Georgia.  I’m not complaining, mind you, but while I enjoyed the warm air and I think my toes might actually have defrosted, I knew better than to trust it.

Sure enough, yesterday just before dark when Miss Sophie and I ventured out, there was a nip in the air again.

*sigh*

I know we haven’t had the snow to deal with like so many in our nation, but I live here for a reason.  (Well for several, but the pertinent one right now is that I don’t do snow.)

I thought I loved it when I was a child.  I think that had to do with how it caused school to be called off.  Just the threat of it sometimes was all it took.  As an adult though, I do not care for it at all.  Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s cold and slushy and just COLD.

This morning when I took Miss Sophie out for her morning constitutional, I opened the door, and the wind and cold took my breath away.

Do what?

Holding the leash in one hand, I immediately used my other one to open up my phone and look at the weather app.  I wanted to KNOW.  I mean I knew it was cold, but I wanted to know “how cold.”  (Because apparently my nose freezing up immediately and my breath coming out in visible puffs and not being able to feel my fingers wasn’t evidence enough.)

39.  Wind chill 34.

See?  I KNEW it was cold.

As we walked and I urged Miss Sophie to tend to her business a little faster, I listened to the birds singing.  I saw the cat Domino.  They didn’t need an app to know it was cold.  They didn’t have an app to prepare them for this cold weather.  They just existed.  I wondered if they were able to read signs that our people once paid close attention to.  I don’t know of many who can read the old weather signs much anymore.  We depend on the News Reports and the weather apps and there’s even that whole channel dedicated to weather and all that goes with it.

For goodness’ sake, I KNEW it was cold, and I still had to double-check the app.

It amazes me how dependent we as a people (okay ME) have become on electronics and the internet and all of these apps.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I do wonder what would have happened if I tried to pull out my phone and tell my Granny what the weather was going to be next week.  I’m thinking I might have gotten an earful.

The thing is today was cold.  Next week (according to the app) it will be warmer.  But I don’t trust it.  I know March 20 is the first day of spring, but I also know that Easter isn’t until April 5.  Granny always said there’d be an Easter cold snap.  That’s why folks who know don’t plant their gardens until Good Friday, two days before Easter.  And every single year, I’ve watched spring tease us and then step back and let that cold snap come right in and take over for a bit.  Granny was right.

Every single time.  Without an app.

Tonight I’m thankful for the birds and the cat (and all the other critters–except the snakes and spiders, I can only be so charitable) who survive and even thrive despite the cold.  I’m thankful for whatever tips them off that it’s going to be cold so they can do what they need to do to be okay.  I’m thankful for the wisdom of the folks from way back–knowing about things like Easter cold snaps–that they passed along the line.  Most of all, I’m thankful that, even though it’s not quite here, there is a light at the end of the frozen tunnel–and its name is spring.

Love and warm wishes to all.

 

I Wanna Come Back As…..

Growing up I remember Mama being in the middle of her day to dailies, blowing upwards to move the hair out of her eyes, sighing, and saying, “When I come back, I’m coming back as a show horse.  This work horse deal is for the birds.”

Oh Mama.  You’re so funny.

I thought she was.  And yet, now I get it.  Bless her, she worked hard on loving us and proving that she did with good food, a clean house, clean clothes that fit, and all the hugs we could handle.  We never lacked for anything we needed.

Walking Miss Sophie

Walking Miss Sophie

Yesterday morning as I took Miss Sophie out for her morning constitutional, I was wishing she would hurry along and let the spirit “move” her.  Of course all she could think about was sniffing every square inch of grass and sidewalk and keeping tabs on the bricklayers as they worked across the street.  All I could think about was how cold I was.

My hands were frozen.  My toes were like ice.  I could no longer feel my nose.  And I looked down at my little ball of fluff and wondered, How are you not freezing?

I mean, I know she’s covered with a nice winter coat, but those paws–really?  How was she NOT in a hurry to get her business done and let’s go settle by the fire?

And I thought about how amazing a dog’s paws are.

Tough enough to withstand walking on all kinds of surfaces–hard, rough, soft, rocky, slippery–and in all kinds of temperatures–hot, cold, and everything in between.  She wasn’t crying or whining about the temperature or conditions.

And that’s when I decided–

I wanna come back as a dog’s paw.

All this winter, my feet have been frozen.  It’s almost more than I can bear–cold feet.  And it goes all the way up and chills me to the bone all over.  When Miss Sophie decides to lay on my frozen toes, I stop and give thanks, I’m so happy.

So yes, coming back as a dog’s paw might help with the whole being cold problem, but it’s more than that.

A dog’s paw is resilient.  And keeps on moving–even in the worst of conditions.

It holds up no matter the heat or the cold.  And it’s flexible.  Have you ever pushed on your puppy’s paw?  Amazing.

Because I know in this life, things are never predictable.  Our lives can go from hot to cold in a heartbeat, and THEY DO.  Tough times ARE going to happen.  Being flexible is the key to survival in a lot of my days.

To be able to hold up under pressure, no matter the circumstances, and keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

Yes, please.  THAT.

Tonight I’m thankful for my ball of fluffy love.  She’s quirky just like the rest of us, and I love her.  I’m thankful for walks and that we have a safe place to do that.  I do not take that lightly.  Most of all, I’m thankful for the memory of Mama and her laughter that has echoed in my heart and head today.

(I know this was a far-fetched train of thought, but I’ve been thinking a lot about being resilient and strong, especially when life throws you curveballs like rain and cold and really hard things.  Also, cold feet.  And puppy paws are really quite amazing.) 

Love to all.

Hopeful

Click, click, click.  I heard the clicking of her paws against the floor as I went into the kitchen to fix lunch for me and the littles.  Miss Sophie followed at a close pace.  It’s become so much a part of my everyday that I hardly even notice she does it.  I account for her in my feet’s personal space almost without thinking.  She’s there.  She hangs out.  It’s what she does, and she’s rather good at it.  Nothing gets made in that kitchen that she’s not in the know about.  Ah, the recipes (good and bad) she could share.

Today Cooter and our Princess were sitting at the counter eagerly awaiting their food.  After I got them settled, I started fixing my plate of leftovers to be heated up and feasted upon.  (Leftovers are pretty much my favorite meal, y’all.)

“Mama!  Look at Sophie!” Princess was loud and excited.

Cooter looked over and started laughing.  “She’s watching your every move, Mama.”

I looked down at her.  Nothing new there.

“Mama, she looks–” Princess paused for a second–“hopeful.”

“Yes, hopeful!” her brother echoed.

I looked down.

Miss Sophie--"hopeful"

Miss Sophie–“hopeful”

I’ve seen a lot of expressions on our precious pooch, but I’ve never used hopeful to describe them.  And yet–

spot on.

She DID look hopeful.

Hope?  FILLED with hope?

I’ll take some of that please.

This evening in the car as we were running from one thing to the next, I asked my crew about being hopeful and what that looked like.

My very literal children made faces that looked more pained than anything.

“No, no, no–I mean, what does it feel like?  To be hopeful?”

Cooter answered without pausing.

“A wave.”

Wow.  Really?

“Yes, yes, a wave!” Princess said.

“You know, ’cause you’re hoping, ‘yes, it’s going to happen’ then ‘no, it probably won’t’ and then ‘yes, it’s going to happen’…..” Cooter explained.

“Mama, poor Sophie was probably thinking ‘she’s going to give me some food’ and then ‘oops, no I guess not’ and then ‘hey, I think she’s going to…..'” Princess did her best imitation of our pup.

And that was when both my children got distracted and started laughing all over again.

(For the record, Miss Sophie never had a chance.  The only “people” food she gets is what hits the ground that she can grab before I do.)

A wave.  I believe it.

And I love that image.  With all that is going wrong in our world right now, I could use a good soak in some hope.  Dip my toes in first, testing it out, and then just plop right down and let it wash all over me.

Hope.

A balm for the soul.

Here’s wishing you all a “puppy wishing for some ‘real’ food kind of hope,” complete with that precious expression.  May wave after wave of hope crash all over you until you are laughing and running towards it to ride the next one all the way back to peace and light.

Love to all.

 

Waving in the Rain

So Miss Sophie is very particular about her morning constitutional.  As I am limited as to how far I can take her in the mornings, there are days we go up and down our street, back and forth, until she is able to focus and make things *ahem* happen.

Rain, rain, and more rain

Rain, rain, and more rain

This morning it was cold.  And wet.  And raining.  I don’t mean drizzling.  It was pouring down as we went out for her to take care of business.  I was surprised to see the guys working on the new house on our street.  In this weather?  They are solid and hard workers, I’m not even kidding.  And skilled.  It fascinates me to watch them bricking up the house–they are true artists.

Because of the weather I was very eager for her to take care of business and for us get back in the shelter of our home.  Unfortunately, it took a few minutes for the rain to saturate through her lovely fluffy coat so she was unaware and happy.  She was all about sniffing the new smells and hopping over puddles.  Finally after a few minutes I saw signs that she was ready to “go.”  I breathed a sigh of relief and stood ready to wait with my bag in hand.  That was when I saw two of the house builders getting in a truck.

Nonononononono…..

But yes, they closed the doors and started up the truck.  Distracted, my particular girl gave up her intended task and watched them leave.

Oh me.  I was cold and wet and frustrated.  Having no idea how long it was going to take her to get situated again and thinking about the 100% chance of rain All. Day. Long. I was really frustrated.  And I found myself muttering under my breath, “I hate these folks working on these houses.  Man!”

Wait.  What was that?

On a fluff reality TV show where the word “amazing” is used almost every twenty seconds, a guest host came in and put a jar on the counter and called it the “amazing” jar.  A dollar in the jar every time that word was said.  By the time the episode was over, the jar was quite full of dollar bills.  Yep. Sounds about right.  They do say it a lot.

After I said what I did this morning, almost without thinking, I thought of that jar.  And it hit me–

those guys had no idea what I’d said about them.  They weren’t hurt at all by what I’d impulsively uttered.

But I was.  My heart hurt almost immediately.

When I thought of the jar, I wondered–

what if every time we utter a hateful word or have an unkind thought–

what if it helps to fill the Dark Side’s “jar?”

While I know those men didn’t feel a bit of hurt–they even gave a friendly wave as they drove past my bedraggled self and my wet pooch–I know something shifted.  My heart ached.  I wished I could take those unheard words back.

 

When they were working on the bricking yesterday.  It is amazing to watch.  They know exactly where to put each one, how to turn it, and they work as this amazing team, very efficient and organized.

When they were working on the bricking yesterday. It is amazing to watch. They know exactly where to put each one, how to turn it, and they work as this amazing team, very efficient and organized.  I don’t hate them at all.  I want to be as skilled and focused as they are.

Because I don’t hate them.  I’m actually quite impressed and thankful for them.   They are doing a beautiful job.

And yet, I think that somewhere, “Darth Vader” was probably cheering over the view of what he saw and heard me say.

I can picture him, fist pumping–“Another one for our hate jar!  Yes!”

I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t want to be a part of that.

Tonight I’m thankful for a reminder of the ripples our attitudes cause, even if they’re ever so small, and the reminder that every single word we utter and thought we have can change this world.  Even if it’s only in our own hearts, something shifts, something changes–

and I really want it to be for the better.

I’m sad for where my mind went in its frustration today.  I have a long way to go.  A major character flaw, and something to work on.

(Note to self:  When I’m wet and cold, I can go over to the Dark Side very quickly and quite easily.  No cookies required. Be sure to guard against THAT.)

Wishing you all a day of filling the “amazing” jar instead of the hate one.  Let’s make it a good day and smile–and wave in the rain.  In the words of my brother, “It’s never that serious.”

Love to all.

 

Guest Post: Miss Sophie Writes…..

A note from the paws of Miss Sophie:

Miss Sophie Ru

Miss Sophie Ru

These people, I sure have a hard time figuring them out sometimes.  They know my name, and yet, they call me “No” and “Stop It” almost more than they call me Sophie.

And it’s not like I picked out that name for myself or anything–they chose it.  If I’d had my druthers I would be called Geraldine.  Yeah.  I like that name.

Anyway, yesterday they said, “Bed,” and I went and they gave me my treat on command.  I’ve got them trained well.  When I sit in my bed, I wait, and they give me a treat.  It’s a pretty sweet deal actually.  They left for a few hours and when they came home, I could hardly believe my eyes.

And I have pretty good vision.

The people brought a tree in the house.  You know, one of those things that lives outside that I like to sniff around and eat things out from under?  In. the. house.  Well!  I mean, these are the same folks who take their shoes off in the house and flip out if I go anywhere near the mud puddles way back in the yard behind our house.

I don’t get it.

It immediately started shedding, something I can proudly say I do not do.  It was pretty disgusting.  The Fella promptly vacuumed it up.  I actually chose not to bark while he was vacuuming this time, and the people didn’t notice or anything.  Really?  Fine.  Next time then…..

After all of the hullabaloo about getting this tree in the house, I watched as the Fella brought in a big box of things on the ends of green wire.  (I like green wire.  I like wire.  Twist ties are my favorite, but they never let me play with one for long.)  They spent much time discussing these things and untangling them.  It was torture.  They did all of this beside the tree which they put in the room I’m not allowed in.  Honestly, you mistake a rug for a piddle pad once or three times too many…..

After things were untwisted, the people talked some more.  The one they all call Mama, the one who sits up with me late at night, kept saying the letters, “LED” over and over and wrinkling up her nose like she does when she tells me my toy is “nasty.” (It’s not, it’s delicious.)  I don’t think she cares for whatever that LED thing is.  The Fella took several of those strand thingies outside and the littles went with him.  Then the one they call Mama twisted the rest of the wire thingies all around that tree.

Can you imagine what that’s even about?

When she was done, she stood back and then flipped a switch.

Wow.

They’ve been doing some pretty crazy things around here, like putting some lights in different places and putting these red and green things all over the place, but this was amazing.

It was all lit up, that tree, only there was no fire like what the one they call Mama turns on in the living room at night.  These were all sparkly and warm and I wanted to crawl right under that tree, drink from that big water bowl, and gaze up at the twinkly lights.    And look for treats…..

Tonight they went through a box, each one of them, and they hung things on the tree.  It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

That tree--INSIDE the house with lights all over it!  Have you ever heard of such?

That tree–INSIDE the house with lights all over it! Have you ever heard of such?

And they won’t let me anywhere near it.  I can’t imagine why.

They keep me away from everything fun–the trash can, the mud puddles, and now this–this tree.

I just don’t get it.

But tonight I’m thankful my people are back home and that it looks like we’re going to bed a little earlier tonight.  I’m thankful for the food in my bowl and the water in my dish, but I still think that tree offers a lovely new eating venue.

Most of all, I’m thankful for the happy faces and the singing of songs that keeps happening around here.  It seems like they are more relaxed these days.  And happy, relaxed people make for a happy Sophie.

Love and barks to all.

 

*Note from Tara: As I was stringing the lights on the tree this morning, I saw Miss Sophie watching intently from the other side of the gate.  I wondered what she thought of all of the goings on, and she was more than happy to share.  Tonight I’m thankful for that.  And for a word my Daddy taught me long, long ago.  Anthropomorphism.  I love that word.   Love to all.  

The Cacophony of the Week–Playing Catchup

Tonight’s catchup post is brought to you by a stomach bug/fever suffering young’un and a tired Mama.

First of all, this happened this week.

The green in our foyer.  I love this color.

The green in our foyer. I love this color.

This color, out of all of them, was the most stubborn.  It took three or four coats.  The first one looked like my littles had painted the wall.  It was such a thin paint.  I’m learning all about bases and the like.  Base C, and a color with as much yellow in it as this one–those take way more than just two coats.  But I LOVE it.  It just suits.  Us. The room.  This house.  It does.  And there’s a lesson in this.  The two colors I love the most, this green and the gold in the kitchen/living room–I had no samples for.  Not that I will give up trying samples out.  I like the ones I chose after trying way too many colors out, but these two I ran out of time and had to get the gallons needed THEN.  I took a huge leap of something and made the choice.  The gold without backup and the green with my Fella and Aub sharing their thoughts.

From the green of the foyer to the pink of the soon to be library.  Yeah, we go from Kermit to Miss Piggy.  That makes me smile.

From the green of the foyer to the pink of the soon to be library. Yeah, we go from Kermit to Miss Piggy. That makes me smile. (and it looks better than this picture shows)

And turns out I love what happens when I make a choice without obsessing over it.  Is there a lesson in this?  Perhaps.  But I’m a really slow learner.

 

Cooter took this picture of his empty cake saucer.  He loved his chocolate cake.  There wasn't a chance to take a picture of it before it was eaten.  He's just that fast.

Cooter took this picture of his empty cake saucer. He loved his chocolate cake. There wasn’t a chance to take a picture of it before it was eaten. He’s just that fast.

And this happened.  With a child with severe food allergies, we don’t go to a lot of restaurants.  And we especially do not do buffets.  The risk for cross-contamination is just too great.  The last buffet I remember us going to, looking back, I realize she had a mild reaction.  That was before the bad one that made me wake up and start carrying an epi-pen everywhere.

Wednesday was the day I met Mr. A. A. Law in person and finished handling some business for my Great Aunt and Mama.  For those who might be wondering, I behaved myself.  I apologized to the women whom I inadvertently took my frustrations out on via a bad attitude when I spoke on the phone with them last week.  I was prepared to have a conversation with Mr. Law if the opportunity presented itself.  It did not.  And I’m okay with that.  But I acted like I was raised to behave, and that’s all that concerns me.

His office was right across the street from Side Tracks, the buffet restaurant that my Great Aunt used to take us to.  Cooter, who made the trip with me–exactly because he figured we’d have to eat out and he really wanted to,  joined me there for a trip down memory lane.  He’s been there before, back when he ate baby food sitting in his car seat/carrier.  He doesn’t remember going at all.  When his little eyes got over the disappointment over so many vegetables (he’s a self-proclaimed fruitatarian, y’all) and he chose some rice, catfish, and a biscuit, he saw the desserts.  Cake and pie slices wrapped securely under plastic wrap.   He looked, with his eyes popping, “Whaaat is thaaaat?”  “Dessert, buddy.”  “Can I have some?”  Sure, I said.  And he was off.  He carefully perused and chose a slice of chocolate cake.  Bless him.  The joy in that little guy that day is a memory I hope to treasure for a long time.  He took pictures of the plates on the table and he was fascinated with my catfish bones.  If I may for just a minute indulge in a bit of pity pot sitting, food allergies stink.  I wish I could take our Princess too.  I wish we could go in a restaurant without mapping out a game plan first.  I wish I didn’t have to quiet my anxieties every time we have a meal prepared by someone else.  But we do.  And I will do it over and over to keep her safe.  And maybe my meal with my little guy was all the more special because we can’t do it all the time.

And then there’s this.

"Sophie!"

“Sophie!”

"What?"  :)

“What?” 🙂

Miss Sophie sure worried us all after her fairly routine surgery.  She wouldn’t get up and walk around.  I called the vet.  Twice.  One time at 11:30 at night.  He is a kind, understanding person, and I’m thankful for that.  He knows I’m overprotective and a worrier, but when Miss Sophie wasn’t up and walking around three days after surgery, I knew something was wrong.  Turns out maybe she doesn’t like accessorizing.  When I took her cone off, she got up and started moving.  Slowly at first, but then she was back to her old self.  And that little face and wagging tail on the one who barks and pouts when I leave the room–I am thankful for her.

 

Lastly, I was reminded today of what little good it does for me to worry over things.  Things in the future.  Now, don’t think I’m going to stop.  I’m a work in progress and change for me will take as long as the rerouting of Highway 96 out my way will take.  LONG time.  Still.  Lesson learned.  Again.  I’ve been worrying for a week over how to fit things in and do what we were supposed to do today and tomorrow.  I just about had it all figured out, after much worry and figuring and planning, and then this morning at 4 a.m. I heard a little voice next to my bed.  “Mama, I feel like I have to throw up.”  Followed by proof.

And just like that.  Plans for today and tomorrow cancelled.  (Tomorrow’s cancellation was validated by a fever this evening.  Yeah, we’re staying put for a while.)

All that worry for naught.  I do that a lot.  Burn a lot of energy and wear myself out doing just that.  Worrying.

But with Anxiety Girl as my BFF, how could it be otherwise?

Wishing you all a day filled with surprises and good things as full as the dessert bar at Side Tracks.

Love to all.