Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Dog Ate My Blog is that "writing every day" thing working out for you?

The truth is, I have not written anything longer than a status update since January 3. Part of it has been the mistake of thinking that inspiration needs to precede action. Part of it has been the unwillingness to be bossed around, even by myself. Probably the biggest part has been that I've just been very depressed.

And then there's the dog.

On January 6, we adopted the lovely Juno Xenia from our local shelter. She's a black lab mix, lean and elegant and glossy, something like a canine Audrey Hepburn. If Audrey Hepburn wanted constant belly rubs, had massive separation anxiety, and was afraid to pee in the yard (thank you, electric fence).

I knew having a dog was going to be a lot of work. We'd been thinking about it for a year. We read, talked, and studied about it beforehand (although apparently not enough). I had a rosy vision--we would whisk our raggedy pup away from the gloom of the dog version of a Dickensian orphanage. She would be our pet therapy, entree into society (everybody stops to talk to you when you're walking a dog) and beloved baby. I had ulterior motives: I figured if something happened to me, she would either stick around to comfort the family, or race through the Pearly Gates first to greet me on the other side. That happens more often than you think.

But it's been more of an adjustment than any of us anticipated, and by "any of us," I mean, "me." Her separation anxiety makes it hard to leave her. She won't go into a crate, at least not willingly, and she will not stay there. She has her comfy bed, her food bowls, and a full length mirror in our master bath, so that is where we imprison leave her when we do go out. But it's an increasing pain in the ass to get her in there, because she now knows what it means.

Then there's the whole pee in the yard thing. She got zapped by the electric fence and now she will barely go in the yard, much less do her business there. I suppose if I got a shock when I sat down on the can, I'd be a little reluctant to go there, too. Fortunately, she knows that when we go through the garage, get into the car, and pull out on the street, she has made it safely across the barrier and can pee and poop with abandon. So every time I want to get her to go, or even just to exercise her, it's like smuggling the damn Von Trapp family across the border into Switzerland. If the Von Trapps had muddy paws and liked shitting on their neighbor's lawn. Which, if their neighbors were Nazis, I couldn't blame them for. But I digress.

So it has been a little bit of an adjustment here. Juno is 90% delightful, but the other 10% is kicking my ass. I am trying to remember when my son was three weeks old, and I was trying to nurse him. He chomped down on his food source, which happened to be attached to me, from the corner of his mouth. Picture Popeye with his pipe. Then he swung his head back and forth. Picture a dog trying to rip open the corner of a garbage bag. It hurt. I looked down at that tiny, precious being, and hissed, "Why do you hate me?"

Of course, he didn't. And things got better--he now eats much more tidily and efficiently, although I literally no longer have skin in the game. I can only hope things will get better with Juno, too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Eye Survived 2012!

Happy New Year, everyone! Did you enjoy all the brilliant, witty, incisive posts I wrote over the holidays? No? That is because I wrote them all in my head, and only the people who live in there got to see them, but they would like to assure you that they were fabulous. Oh, and also to ask you to send a care package of Xanax.

Anyhow. I'm back. I have two New Year's resolutions. The first is to live, in both the strict literal sense, but also the more enthusiastic sense. To go out when I could have stayed in. To take the call instead of screening it, or make the call instead of putting it off. To reach out more, even when I'm not sure of a good reception. To stand out when it would be safer to blend in. I will not be attempting to skydive or ride a rodeo bull. Or ski. I will, however, eat potato chips more, and with french onion dip, the real kind, not the kind made with organic dried minced onions and Greek yogurt. I will not pass up dessert.

The other resolution is to write every single day. Even Sundays, even vacations, even when I have a streaming cold. Even if it's just a paragraph, even if it's just a blog post.

Aren't you all lucky.

One of the blog posts I wrote in my head was the other day while I was out doing some post-Christmas shopping. I'm not a big shopper, because I'm not good at fashion and also because I have almost everything I need. But I was shopping, because my husband had done some of his Christmas shopping at a store that offers "Cash" as a bonus for making purchases. His annual shopping done, my husband handed over his store cash to me, and I noticed it had to be spent between Christmas and New Year's. So off I went.

It was my intention to buy either black pants or black shoes. With the exception of jeans and underwear, almost everything I wear below the waist is black. Because it matches everything, and because they don't make Garanimals for adults. Like I said: I'm not good at fashion.

I learned a few things. First, even if a pair of pants looks like black jeans, if the tag describes them as leggings, you should believe the tag. The second is that Jennifer Lopez does not have my picture pinned to the bulletin board above her desk as inspiration when she is designing clothes.

So, I did not find pants. I meandered over to the shoe section, which, like much of the store, was teeming with shoppers and looked like zombies had torn through it on their way to an apocalypse party. The clearance section was curiously untouched, and I am cheap a frugal shopper, so I headed over there.

I was in the market for some semi-dressy shoes that I could wear with pants or skirts. My (black) pumps gave up the ghost over a year ago, and I've been making do with wearing pants and flats. But I have several (black) skirts that I would like to wear to church, and the church I attend has long services that involve a lot of standing. I don't mind this, but I'm reasonably confident that I would mind it much more in stiletto heels. Jesus did not wear stiletto heels and I don't think he expects me to. So: semi-dressy, not quite flat, but not towering. Not boring, but not overly embellished. This was a challenge: in the clearance section, the cute shoes are all in a size 5, and the shoes that might actually fit you look like they were designed for burly cross-dressers who idolize Liberace.

Yet there, like a beacon shining from the next-to-bottom row, was a pair of Dana Buchman shoes in a size 9. Black patent leather, low wedge heel, criss-cross straps across a peep-toe. Cute. Perfect. And on clearance for just two dollars more than the amount of store-cash I had. I tried them on. They looked darling. They fit. But they weren't totally...comfortable. They fit okay. But not like a dream.

This was when I wrote the blog post in my head. It was about life being too short to wear uncomfortable shoes. No matter how cute, or how low the price. I walked virtuously away from the shoes, ignoring their pitiful, squeaky patent-leather voices crying out to me. I walked around the store some more, looking for something else to blow my bonus cash on. A percolator. A gravy separator. A tabletop foosball game. Anything.

But there was nothing I wanted. I wanted the shoes. The heart wants what it wants, people, even if it's not what the feet want. And even the feet kind of wanted them. I ambled slowly back to the shoe clearance rack. What if they weren't there? What if someone else snatched up what I had failed to appreciate? But as I approached, I saw the zebra striped box sitting demurely, unnoticed, on its low shelf. I grabbed it and sped to the checkout as if my shoes and I were on the lam.

So, what's the lesson in all this? There's supposed to be a lesson. "Life is too short for uncomfortable shoes" is a good lesson, but it no longer applies here, since I bought the shoes. Maybe the lesson is, "Answer the things that call you." Or, "Embrace the things you love, even if they're not perfect." Maybe the lesson is to extract your own lesson, or that reading this post consumed five minutes of your life you'll never get back, and what, exactly, are you going to do about that? I don't know. I hope there is some meaning in this post, and I hope you find it, and then walk away thinking about it. Preferably in adorable shoes that fit you just right--or at least well enough to keep you moving forward.