Posted in Whimsical Wednesday

Grandpets are the new grandkids

With the younger generation waiting longer to start their families, people like me are having to wait longer to have grandchildren. I’m okay with it as long as they keep letting me call these creatures my grandpets. None have objected, but I do notice their sideways glances when I walk in announcing “Gramma’s here!”

And like any proud Gramma, I brought pictures….

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Thunderpaws was so named for the size of his tremendous feet. I like to call him T-Paws. He was such a good boy when he arrived, we were convinced he might have been perfect. That is, until he ate the carpet. Well, he might not be perfect after all, but he’s a very loving boy.

Thunderpaws has us all wrapped around his heart, which is at least as big as his paws!

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Frank is a clever little pup. He has his own social media account on Instagram as Frank The Tank but I call him Frankster the Prankster.

Last month he learned to drive. As far as I know he hasn’t had any accidents or moving violations, but he likes to stop at all the fire hydrants.

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Mufasa is my grand-rabbit. He might be named for the fluffy mane around his neck, or maybe because he’s a brave little bunny. My own dogs are leery of a running vacuum, but Mufasa hops over and sniffs the windy nozzle. He doesn’t seem to mind when his dog-cousin, T-Paws, comes to visit, either.

Admit it. That little bunny face made you smile.

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It’s not like I bring a lawn chair to watch their sports at the dog park, or take them out on their birthdays. Hey, I haven’t completely lost my marbles. But sometimes you have to make do with what you’ve got, and for now I’ve got grandpets.

Peace . . .

Posted in Meditative Monday

Everything I learned about body positivity I learned at the dog park

Sabbie runs into the park in circles. It’s all about the ball.

Throw the ball! Throw the ball! Don’t just stand there, throw the ball! What are you waiting for? Throw the ball!

Mosh gets so excited he can’t believe they’re actually there. He drives Sabbie nuts.

Sabbie! We’re at the park. Can you believe it? We’re at the park! Play with me! Play with me! Come on . . . play with me!

As he settles into it, it’s clear all Mosh ever really wants in life is someone to chase him. He doesn’t care if your fur is white, or mottled, or toasty brown with the little burnt tips on your ears and toes. In fact, I’ve never met a dog who cares if another is purebred or a mongrel. It’s what’s under the fur that counts. We could learn a lot from our canine friends.

DSCN0639There are dogs in wheelchairs and three-legged dogs, and blind dogs too. The great thing about dogs is that they don’t leave anyone out. Everyone with a nose and a butt are welcomed to join their circle.

Ever seen a dog tease another one about his age? No, I didn’t think so. If you’re willing to play, join in! If you need to take a break and watch, that’s fine too.

I’ve seen little terriers humping (or trying to, anyway) Great Danes. The heart wants what the heart wants. More importantly, I’ve never seen any of the other dogs care.  Why do some people care so much who someone else loves?

Are female dogs concerned with their body image? No way. They know they’ve got it. If she swings her tail in just the right way, it doesn’t matter if she’s the shape of a German sausage, she’s going to have that boy-dog on a short leash.

A dog doesn’t care if you’re sporting a diamond collar or a fleece sweater or little rubber boots. Well . . . okay, those boots are kind of weird. But he knows your human put those on you, and those humans? They have issues.

Peace . . .

Posted in Weekly Photo Challenge

I’d rather be…

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It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.
— Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

In response to this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, I’d Rather Be…
To participate or check out other interpretations, click the link.

Peace . . .

Posted in Whimsical Wednesday

If dogs had hands

What if dogs had hands? You know . . . with opposable thumbs and the whole nine yards.

Mostly likely they wouldn’t be practicing Chopin on the piano, or sharpening any craftsman skills.  Picture toddlers that never grow up.

The first thing they’d do would be to go in-and-out-and-in-and-out all day long. They’d hear a dog bark and they would throw open the door, let it bang against the wall, and tear out into the yard barking — at any hour of the day or night.

UntitledThere would be no training them to shut the door quietly, if we could get them to shut it at all. They wouldn’t be trainable at all, because they’d have free access to all the treats they could eat. I’d hold out a milk bone, command them to sit, and they’d look at me, walk into the kitchen, and grab a handful of chips. They’d walk over to the tv, flip over to Animal Planet, sit on the couch and mindlessly let the crumbs fall between the cushions.

Can you imagine trying to walk a dog who could reach up and detach their leash whenever they wanted to veer off the sidewalk? Instead of barking at the mail carrier through the closed door, they’d open it up and chase her down the street.

Then again, maybe they’d learn to throw frisbees and balls to each other and they’d stop nagging me. Maybe instead of waking me up in the morning to be let out and pour a bowl of kibble, they’d simply do it themselves. Maybe they’d actually get up and make a nice pancake breakfast with sausage and eggs for the whole family. Yeah . . . highly unlikely.

What would your pets do if they had hands?

Peace . . .

Posted in Whimsical Wednesday

You’re kind of a big deal

Walking in the door, there are two black wagging tails, four eyes looking up, and eight paws padding back and forth and jumping off the ground.  Sabbie especially will jump and jump and jump, careful not to land against us, but unable to stay on mother earth.  They wiggle and snort, sometimes pouncing on each other in their excitement.  There are groans and growls, all to distract me from putting away my coat and purse.

It’s like watching the crowd at a Taylor Swift concert. In my dogs’ eyes, I’ve achieved celebrity status. I’ve arrived. I’m kind of a big deal around here.

If you walked into my house it wouldn’t be any different. I’ve seen the pizza delivery man get a pretty good reception too. So let’s all walk around this week like we’re a big deal.

Because we are. If only in the eyes of my dogs.

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Peace . . .

Posted in Meditative Monday

Everything I need to know I learned from the Dog Whisperer

Cesar Millan is a well-known dog behaviorist, author and television personality. He teaches humans how to be the pack leader for their dog with calm assertive energy. If you watch carefully, you’ll learn everything you need to know to lead a pretty well-balanced human life.

Here are his 10 Principles for Achieving Balance, adapted for humans.

Posted in Lore

Coffee, a Good Friend and a Dog

As I sit in the quiet of my own thoughts, I am reminded of one of my best practices, “Be your own best friend.”  I love to sit on the couch before the house wakens and watch the sun come up.  The sky changes hues, the clouds shift, and the world comes alive.

There is no one else I would rather be with in these moments than my self.  We sit, the two of us, in our honesty and peace, and share a steaming cup of coffee, perhaps with cinnamon or cream.

“How delicious,” I say, as the warmth fills my chest.

I remember the week, with its lists and rush and habitual planning.  I wince.  “Remember what I said to that guy at work?”  My self smiles, and remembers.  “He knows you didn’t mean it like that,” she says.  “You probably didn’t sound as crazy as you think you did.”

My self is practical, and forgiving.  And she’s right.  The guy probably doesn’t even remember what I said, much less how I said it.  I reach for a doughnut hole that Bubba brought home the day before.  It smells delicious and pairs well with the coffee.  My self smiles.  “Don’t forget how well you’ve been taking care of yourself.”   I haven’t forgotten, and I promise my self that I will savor it and eat something healthier later.

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The dog lays her warm head on my knee.  Her brown eyes are irresistible.  I trace her forehead with my fingertips.  The sky is beginning to lighten.  The clouds are purple-grey.

Funny stories from the week return.  Bubba using foreign accents just to hear me laugh.  A coworker teasing me on the phone.  My self chuckles, and says, “What would it be like to see nothing humorous in the world?”  For a moment, I feel guilty.  “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that I shouldn’t make idle fun at every turn.”  My self thinks this over for a moment and replies, “I suppose there is enough suffering in the world that one should find humor where one can.”

We balance each other.  Me, putting my best foot forward in the world, and my self justifying the way I do it.  She eases my guilt, my shame, my embarrassment.

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Blue is beginning to break through the clouds.  White, fluffy puffs race across my window, right to left.  Silhouetted branches dance in the wind.  Cars begin to move on the street.  Voices.  A stirring from the bedroom.

“I could take a walk.  You know . . . get a few steps in before I start the day.”

My self considers this.  “I’ve been looking forward to this time all week.  The peace and quiet.  Just the two of us.”  We guard this tranquility jealously.  I tuck my cold toes under my leg.

“We have all day to get more steps.  We can go to the dog park later,”  I say.  She smiles.

“I’m really happy with how my resume turned out.”

“You did a nice job.”

“I hope they think so.  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Nor I without you.”

I think about how far we’ve come, my best friend and I.  She isn’t always my best friend.  At times she is my own worst enemy, letting anxiety and fear mushroom to the surface.  But for all the times I’ve despised her, she is the only one who is with me every minute of every day.  When it seems the world is against me, she is there still.  When I’m in a crowd, or on stage, or in the dark, she abides.

Sometimes I see her looking back at me from the mirror.  If I could remember when I was a baby, I would remember loving seeing her there.   Babies gaze into mirrors, laugh at them, touch them, and sometimes try to kiss them.  When does that end?  Is it with our first bad haircut?  Our first pimple?

There is so much we share that the world will never know.  A random act of kindness is made more precious by keeping it between the two of us.  She is the only one I can trust with wicked gossip or spoken confidentialities.  My self even holds secrets from me too, revealing them only when I am ready to know — she can be very sly!

We celebrate together.  We never wait for others to acknowledge our birthday.  If she wants a party, I plan it!  If I want a special meal, she comes up with a menu!  If we want a gift, we go shopping!  No one knows how I want to celebrate better than my self, so why would I place that expectation on anyone else?

I value this relationship I have with my self, and make time for us.  It requires life to slow down.  It necessitates waiting and listening until her voice is clear.  It takes being honest with my self and accepting what she says with love and understanding.

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The dog’s wagging tail tells me that Bubba is waking.  My cup is cold and empty.  Heavy blue November clouds now hang in the sky.  Our quiet time is coming to a close.

I reach for another doughnut hole and my self says nothing, but I know she’s thinking it.

“What?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.”

It’s true.  Best friends don’t have to say anything.  They just know.

Peace . . .

Posted in Family

The Measure of a Great Communicator

The nice thing about being with someone who has been a bachelor most of his life is that we can live somewhat autonomously.  That is, he does his thing.  I do mine.  We don’t nag about when the other is coming home, or synchronize what we’re going to eat for dinner.  If we’re hungry, we eat.  If I want to cook I do, and if he wants to cook . . . um . . . he brings home takeout.  But sooner or later , just like every other couple, we need to plan and compromise, and that takes communication.

The measure of a great communicator is how well she is understood, not how well she is heard.  Talking louder will only get you heard.  Real communication will get you understood.  My favorite book on relationship building is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.  It is, of course, marketed to parents, but I say the title should be How to Talk so  ____ Will Listen & Listen So ____ Will Talk.  Readers can fill in the blank.  They would have sold a lot more copies, and there would be a whole lot more people communicating.

 

Cover of "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen...
Cover via Amazon

 

How to Talk So Your Spouse Will Listen
& Listen So Your Spouse Will Talk

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How to Talk So Your Doctor Will Listen
& Listen So Your Docter Will Talk

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How to Talk So Your Boss Will Listen
& Listen So Your Boss Will Talk

 

I’m serious.  This should be on every business management reference shelf.  After all, children and adults are all just people.  No one wants to be ordered around or controlled.  We want respect and freedom to choose.  We all want to know that we are heard.  The methods in this book absolutely work for all of your relationships.

At a previous job, my manager’s manager had something she asked me to do.  It wasn’t an altogether unreasonable request.  It was a good idea, and I was the right person for the job.  It just wasn’t the right time for the job.  There were higher priorities, and I knew it.  I said to her, “That’s a great idea!  Would you like me to do that now, or after I finish reporting the monthly inventory?”

Either answer would have been fine.  After all, she was my boss’s boss.  But I knew as well as she that the inventory was a higher priority.  In the end, she felt heard, I let her make a choice, and the work got done in the proper order.  I also got to show her that I am a person who communicates.

I could have told her “Sure, no problem!” then rolled my eyes and talked about her behind her back, but I chose to understand and be understood.  Talking and listening. That’s communicating.  The best things I learned about management I learned while parenting, and this book was a great resource.

Another method of communication I like to use is to relate to people the way they relate to you.  I try not to swear around people who don’t swear.  If someone is very casual and calls me Hon, I have no problem calling them Dude.  If someone is very straightforward, maybe even blunt, most likely they won’t want me beating around the bush.  People who are in a hurry, will not want me babbling about the weather.

And sometimes you need to talk in the language they understand.  Not like French versus Italian . . . but especially in my home, I need to use language a bachelor can relate to.

For instance, yesterday at the dog park, Sabbie wouldn’t take the new balls we found lying around.  She only wanted to play with the ball we brought from home.  Bubba didn’t understand . . .

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Bubba:  Why won’t she bring that ball back?
Me:  It’s not her ball.
Bubba:  But it’s just another ball.
Me:  She isn’t invested in it.  It’s like when you meet a girl at the bar.
Bubba:  Ah . . .
Me:  If you just bring her home for one night, you aren’t invested.  But after you play with her a while, get used to the way she smells, and bounces, and snuggle up against her at night, you start to worry that you might lose her.  So you don’t want to play with the other new girls.  You’d rather stick with the one whose smell is familiar, even if she smells like dog slobber.
Bubba:  Oh yeah . . . that makes sense.

Okay, maybe that didn’t come out exactly like I wanted to, but I got my point across.  You see, to be understood, it helps if you know your audience.

Peace . . .