Black Hole

Sometimes necessity really is the time for the impetus to try something different.

lazy coffee

Ignore the mise en scene

It’s a super lazy Saturday morning here. This is the first day I will not have walked over eight miles in 45 days. And don’t get me wrong. I could easily walk that distance, and more, but I am consciously choosing not to. To the dismay and expense of my dogs.

In fact, I’ve done an average of just over nine miles per day for the past 45 days. I know this because I checked this morning and because I’ve become a bit obsessive about it. The month isn’t over.

I’m not whining. Not really. But I am tired. I’m also tired of a lot of other stuff, but again, not going to whine.

I slept until 8 am this morning, got up and let the dogs out, then we all went back to bed until 9 am. This counts as a mini-vacation these days.

Upon arising, and after feeding the dogs and lingering around the yard for a while, I decided I would make a cup of coffee. Then I realized I had no cream in the house. I am not a black coffee kinda gal, although that is preferable to coffee with milk. I have milk in the house, purchased specifically for my current cereal and oatmeal fetish. I don’t even care for whole milk in my coffee unless my coffee is made by a barista who adds special syrups and such to a latte. And while a teaspoon of sugar mutes the horrid taste of coffee at home with plain milk, much less skim milk, I still don’t like it. So I decided to experiment based on something I read years ago.

I made my coffee in my french press, then I poured it into a mug and added a dollop of butter.

I also added a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cardamon.

It was delicious.

No, really. It was fantastic. I didn’t even need any sugar and even if I had cream in the house, I wouldn’t have added it.

Yes, I suppose I could’ve gotten my lazy ass out and purchased cream. I could’ve even walked a dog or two down to the store a half-mile down the street. However, that would’ve necessitated a change of clothing.

lazy saturday outfit

I used to be a fashionista …

I opted instead to drink coffee with butter, drink it on my couch while watching Camm and Rhys wrestle each other, look at Facebook and pet Youke laying beside me on the couch while Brady growled at anyone that came near his his timeworn Wubba toy.

It’s been a chaotic, frustrating and busy few months. But again, no whining.

Youke is still perfect, except when he’s not. The moments of non-perfection are precipitated by:

A. Brady going someplace and Youke is left at home.

B. It is past Youke’s preferred dinner time and his Human, and Brady, are not home.

C. Youke is worried he will starve.

D. Camm also went someplace and is not there to bark some sense into Youke before he makes a Very Poor Choice.

E. All of the above.

If anyone did not choose E. All of the above, you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

Youke cleaning bowl

Perfect Dog licks out my cereal bowl.

So, the combination of lazy day at home + caffeine kick has allowed me to actually make a blog entry. Sorry for many missed months because y’all missed out on some brilliant, biting and witty stuff, but it remained trapped in my head as miles + four dogs of my own + too many commitments for others + constant sense of impending doom = Human that is too exhausted or doesn’t have time to sit down at computer and relate droll stories about her calamitous life.

Instead, I’ll share some favorite pictures of late.

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I get to experience some of nature’s most beautiful finery when I’m out dog-walking.

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We don’t get to go hiking nearly as much as I’d wish, but such a centering experience when we do. I love being in these moments with my dogs.

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Utter relaxation when we come back from an adventure.

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Oh, the irony …

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Such intricacy. So delicate, yet so strong.

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Because Halloween is just around the corner and who doesn’t need to see a few werewolves in the woods?

 

Pickles and Dogs on a Saturday Night

Pickles

While I have never been one to stress out because I didn’t have big Friday night or Saturday night plans, I’m pretty sure that when I was in my 20s I also wasn’t expecting to be spending a Saturday evening happily munching away on pickles and sharing them with my dogs.

I’m pretty sure that my “normal” friends think I’ve completely lost it and have fallen into the abyss of Crazy Dog Lady. And perhaps I have. But I cannot say that I’m unhappy to be intermittently tossing a bite of pickle to a dog, then having a bite for myself, then tossing another bite to another dog, before taking a bite myself. We finished the entire jar that way.

I suppose I could be dressed nicely and drinking cocktails with fancy people instead of in a hoodie and with a dog licking pickle juice off my leg.

Weird? I suppose. But not that weird for me. I had an excellent role model for this. My mother.

Today has been fairly low key overall. Went to an agility trial, made a huge donation, came home and napped.

Sleeping baby dog

Except that during today’s particular nap, Rhys was curled up on top of my chest.

This is not an easy feat when you are nearly 40 pounds and measure over 21 inches at the shoulder.

While I had fun at today’s agility trial, doing the agility just wasn’t a priority. I opted to sleep in instead of arriving first thing in the morning for the Jumpers runs I’d entered because although officially the second day of summer, it was barely 50 degrees when I let the dogs out at 6 am. Despite that, I still opted to don a bright pair of yellow shorts, because – damn it, it’s freaking summer! Naturally, I was cold for much of the day.

Except when I was running dogs. Four dogs to be exact. And not doing it particularly well. Hence, the large donation to the club I made today in entry fees and in exactly one qualifying score. I think. I didn’t check before I left.

I’ve been entering Rhys in a few runs here and there mainly because most of the organizations are allowing some sort of toy in the ring to play with your dog. Obviously it’s then a non-qualifying run, but it’d be a non-qualifying run with Rhys anyway at this point.

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This is Rhys when his brain is fully engaged and functioning. This was not Rhys today.

Doing the Agility Things is hard for Rhys. There are so many things to remember and so many things around and just overall, there are So Many Things. It makes a dog’s head explode.

Rhys is a Thinker. I love that about him. He disguises it though with an exterior of bluff and independence. I’ve found that he really does like playing agility, but it is really hard to concentrate on All the Things going on All the Time and still Do All the Things.

He’s getting better, but it is exhausting.

Tired baby dog

This is Rhys after agility class and just prior to conking out on the ride home and then conking out once he is home. I feel like I’m making his head explode on a regular basis.

Which is why we’ve been doing a lot of other things lately.

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Hiking with my dogs is the best meditation and the thing that balances all of us.

Dogs again

The only rule I have for the dogs is that they need to check in with me and they have to come if I call them. I love watching them be their naturally athletic dog selves and how they use their noses. It is also interesting how they engage with me even when I’m not asking them to. It’s like hiking with four excited little kids who are constantly pointing out things and asking questions, roughhousing, tugging on my hands to see if I saw that thing over there, and then running and skipping just because it feels good. And we all sleep well afterward.

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Agility on the other hand is exhausting, but in a completely different way. I think that agility is draining, rather than recharging. Even for Brady who is my one dog that absolutely loves to play agility. They all like it to some extent and it’s a fantastic way to engage them mentally, but I also think it can take a lot out of them.

It certainly took a lot out of Rhys today. He was in the ring maybe for a grand total of 90 seconds and ran around like a chicken with his head cut off for most of it, unable to properly process how to put two obstacles together in a row. The one good thing he did was when I asked him to run the dogwalk and perform his contact criteria. I simply wanted him to be successful, at something. And he was. But asking him to weave in a trial atmosphere is simply not in his wheelhouse right now due to all the other Stuff that is involved, such as strange dogs, strange people, dogs he knows, people he knows, different smells, tents outside, dogs and people walking around the rings, grass instead of dirt …. just so Much Stuff.

The thing that touches me to my soul about this dog is that after a day like this, he wants me, his Human.

Everyone was more than willing to nap when we got home. As usual, Youke hopped on the couch with me, securing his sweet spot nestled up against my side. Brady, who doesn’t typically want to be on the couch with me but who has been more needy of late, put his head on my chest for petting. Rhys had climbed up to the back of the couch, one of his favorite spots. But he looked at me and he looked at Brady. I knew he wanted to climb down and nestle up against me. Rhys tested by extended a paw downward and touching me, while looking at Brady. Brady stared back at him and sneered a bit. But I knew who needed his Human most. I gently pushed Brady off and asked him to lie down. As soon as he did, Rhys slowly lowered himself onto my chest and curled into a tight ball. He let out a huge sigh as he nestled his head under my chin.

This is the dog that does not care to be touched when he is in “work” mode and isn’t really into letting most people pet him.

We napped like that for a couple of hours. Youke adjusted his position a few times, but Rhys didn’t move, other than to let his body relax a bit and expand from a tight little ball to more along the lines of draping my upper body with his body.

Later this week, we’ll go get our zen on.

Dogs

 

 

Poopy Butt and Other Tails

Youke had his 11th birthday this past weekend. We celebrated with a hike, a nap, a little bit of Ball and yummy food, not necessarily in that order.

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The happiest 11 year old dog on the planet

Interestingly, Youke and I share a love for many of the same things – mostly naps, hiking and yummy food. I do not share his Ball obsession. I especially do not care for slobbery Balls found on the muddy edges of a trial, but Youke thought it was a wonderful treasure, therefore I indulged him on our hike by tossing his newfound toy a few times. But he lost it to first Rhys, who carried it around for almost a mile before forgetting it for something critter-related, and finally to Brady. Brady went off into the woods with it for some private squeaky time, but emerged finally with it dissected in half and with the squeaker mysteriously missing. Ball was therefore ruined and No Fun.

I had no work obligations this past weekend and no specific plans for the day but figured I’d spend it Doing All the Things. Approximately 90 minutes after I’d gotten out of bed though, I realized I needed a nap. I justified this in part by acknowledging that Youke, the Birthday Dog, also enjoys naps. What better way to celebrate All Things Youke by starting off with one of his favorite things? A nap with me and a big cuddle session. That turned out to be exhausting, so after 90 minutes of napping, followed by 20 minutes of eating, we decided to nap again. But first, I gave the dogs some marrow bones to gnaw on for a while.

Somewhere around 3:30 pm, I realized that Youke probably didn’t envision his entire 11th birthday celebration as a long nap, so off we went to commence the hiking portion of the day.

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Of course, every birthday should include a special feast. While I declined to share in the sardine portion of the birthday feast, we did all share some mini cupcakes, which are a birthday tradition for Youke.

All that celebrating and feasting proved a bit much for some dogs’ tummies.

Of course, Youke and Rhys, my two smooth coats, were completely unaffected.

My two rough coats with floofy tails, Camm and Brady, however, experienced a bit of diarrhea.

Poor Brady did something to his tail a week ago and has been suffering limp tail syndrome, also known as swimmers tail. Youke experienced this many years ago, but from actual swimming. Brady had not been swimming. Since dogs can experience this from overuse of the tail, my theory is that Brady sprained his tail muscles while playing Ball the previous weekend. Thus, no Ball for my tribe for over a week now. Well, with the exception of the yucky abandoned Ball Youke found, but very little throwing and catching was involved, and even then, only with Youke.

I first noticed that Brady’s tail was hanging straight down and he wasn’t wagging it. Given that Brady’s tail is a Thing of Glory and is often carried aloft like a flag, this was very sad to see. In Brady’s case, it seems his tail was actually painful. He yelped when on our hike I pulled some brambles and sticks from it. Despite the pain and inability to use his tail much, he otherwise ran and acted normally. And after our hike he seemed to have loosened up enough so that by the next day he had a slight curl to it again.

Luckily, he was able to lift it enough by the time of the upset tummy incident after too much partying to not sully himself.

Bradylook

Tail is feeling better now

Camm was a different story.

After racing outside to relieve herself late Sunday morning, I noticed a streak of unpleasantness in Camm’s pantaloons.

“Uh-oh Camm. You have Poopy-Butt.”

She turned around to look at me, surprised.

“It’s okay. Everyone gets Poopy-Butt now and then. Nothing to be embarrassed about. But you know what happens when you get Poopy-Butt!”

Indeed, Camm does know.

Camm knows because a few weeks after she came to live with me several years ago, she had a series of unfortunate tummy events, resulting in several episodes of diarrhea. It was then that the phrase, Poopy-Butt was born. It was also then that Camm learned what happens when you have a Poopy-Butt.

Dogs with Poopy-Butt get hauled upstairs into the tub and get a bath.

At first, this was a completely shocking event for Camm. So shocking, so sudden, that she really didn’t have time to protest too much. On the second trip into the tub, the very same day, she tried to register her dismay and indignation at this unceremonious picking up and being plunged into a tubful of water and having her skinny ass hosed down.

“Camm! This is happening and you are going to have to deal. This is what happens when you have Poopy-Butt! You get a bath!.”

Camm is an especially brilliant dog who processes information rapidly.

By the third episode leading to the necessity of a trip into the tub, she was leading me upstairs, standing by my side while I ran the water and jumping into the tub to get her hind end lathered up with whatever fragrant shampoo I had on hand that hadn’t cost me $15 for color-treated hair.

So, when she had an unfortunate stray bit of poop clinging to her gorgeous little rear end this weekend, and I exclaimed that she had Poopy-Butt, she knew exactly what to do.

I opened the door into the house, she ran upstairs and stepped into the bathroom. Since it’s been a while since she’s had Poopy-Butt, I did have to lift her into the tub, but she was perfectly accommodating as I soaped her up with some lovely clove shampoo made especially to enhance brunette coloring and sprayed her down with the shower hose. She was perfectly still as I wrapped her rear end up in a freshly laundered towel and rubbed her down before releasing her to play with her amazed and shocked little brother who monitored the entire episode from the doorway of the bathroom. The same little brother who writhes and slides in the tub, while making growly noises when he requires bathing after rolling in something unfortunately fragrant and putrid.

Camm had one more episode of loose poop later on Sunday. I asked her if she was a Poopy-Butt again. Her eyes widened and she looked at me, then started heading toward the stairs to go into the bathroom. I asked her to come toward me so I could check. When she did, I lifted her little rear end up and checked.

“Guess what?! No Poopy-Butt! Yay! Poopy-Butt free Camm!”

Camm’s eyes lit up and she barked her sassy bark and then went and rolled her brother over. Because she could.

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Camm’s floofy tail and a special photo bomb by Brady’s floofy tail

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Gloriously Poopy-Butt free