my favorite mornings…

today was one of those mornings.

Because it’s winter time, it’s still dark when I get to the park with Aggie. And today was cold. I think the forcaster on the radio said 13; pretty cold for Missouri. Then again, she also said it was overcast – but I only saw a few clouds.

We just had a full moon on the 10th, so it’s just noticably waning and still hangs there like a lamp lighting the path. With just a dusting of snow, it was perfect. Just enough snow to cover the ground and make the “snow squeak” under my boots. Only my cheeks and the tip of my nose really felt the cold; and my fingertips, until they warmed up. At least for the first portion of our walk. About half way around the path turns north again. I planned it so that I was on the more open side when that happened, with a clear view of the moon – I also got a northerly breeze in the face, but not so much that it ruined the moment.

It’s a bit exciting knowing you’re the first person in the park in the morning. Writing it out, it sounds pathetic, but it’s true. When it has snowed during the night, it’s much more obvious that you’re the first crossing the bridge because there are no other footprints. It gives the illusion that you’re the only person in the world… which I very much love… if I could only block out the distant sounds of the city. Even distant, they are still there. It’s still a dream of mine to live where I can’t hear any, any traffic.

Then right before Aggie and I left the park, we met with Doc, Shelby and their person. Matt is often kind enough to bring another dog, Gracie, who belongs to a colleague of his and who is often in the park herself, but can’t make it every morning.

Aggie knows these dogs well. Very well, in fact. I walked with Matt just a little ways because the dogs felt like playing. Aggie doesn’t always do that, so it’s nice for her to use a little more energy and they were all feeling frisky from the chill.

Gracie is just a little bigger than Aggie; maybe 7-10 lbs. She also tends to be a dominant dog. The play between them became a skirmish. A quickie, dominance fight and Aggie surprised me by cowing Gracie. It was done almost before it started, but we still separated them, and Aggie and I left.

I think it surprised Matt as much as me. And I should feel like this, but I wanted to praise Aggie. I was proud of her… that’s terrible, but true.

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sweeter 32

So this year, my birthday is on a Saturday. It’s not my “sweet sixteen”, but my “sweeter 32” birthday.

I’ve decided that I need to do something – anything – that I’ve never done before. Not necessarily anything that costs a lot of money; just something.

Hopefully some of my friends will start working on ideas after I’ve explained this concept this weekend when we get together. I’m starting a list.

merle’s door

I just finished this book this past weekend. It’s pretty good, as far as dog books go. I’ve been reading/listening to more of them lately. Marley and Me, A Good Dog, and Merle’s Door all tell a story about a dog, but also cover lots of issues at the same time: History, biology, behavior (human and animal)…

I like alot what Kerasote has to say about encouraging an off-leash lifestyle for your dog. I free Aggie as much as possible and we go months without her wearing a collar.

I’m the first to admit that sometimes it backfires. I don’t live in the middle of nowhere where she’s very safe to run where she wants. But she most of her decisions are safe, healthy ones.

But I’m coming to the conclusion that, just as with people, these things depend on the dog’s personality. A dog that doesn’t pay attention to stimuli other than it’s nose is not going to hear the car that hits it.

And yet our society is becoming more and more controlling of our dogs. Crate training is supposed to be healthy and reassuring to dogs because they are “denning” animals, descending from wolves. But wolves don’t den unless they are whelping mothers.

Alot of people will disagree with me, but I don’t like crate training. I don’t like forcing my dog to become a robot and I don’t like her remaining a puppy for the rest of her life. I want her to be smart enough to make good decisions and learn. Playing like a puppy is fun, some of the time; just not all the time. I like that Aggie is competent. I like that she’s still learning. I can trust her not to wander when the gate to the yard is open. She’s completely trustworthy inside my house for hours.

I don’t like how unfriendly our society is becoming towards dogs. People say that dogs are dangerous and we have to control them to keep the public from being bit. But most dog bites happen within a home, by a dog known to the bitee. In fact (and there’s a reference I’ll add when I find it), you’re about as likely to be poisoned as to be bitten by a dog.

I did go to Ted Kerasote’s website and have begun reading his essays. This one is really important for both dog people and those who live around them = everyone!

www.kerasote.com/maddogs.html merle1

Philly… here they come

My brain is off today, because yesterday I had to take a day off of work to help my brother and sister-in-law pack the moving truck to get her to Philly. They left this morning. My dad and his neighbor came to help and it went really fast. It always does with Mr. Null around. He’s so fun! Actually, he drove Andrew’s sporty, little Scion to Wentzville and I made sure Andrew got a pic. Afterall, I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen Mr. Null drive a car – it’s always a truck or van.

Risa begins her new job in Philly soon and Andrew will be moving in with me for the rest of the time it takes to finish his PhD. He’s almost done, so it won’t be too long. He’s worked so hard!

But today is Friday and I didn’t want to come to work because my brain said “WEEKEND!”

I have so many crocheting projects all of a sudden, that I want to work on. My fingers are itching to do them instead of other things:

1. Finish Risa’s Philly afghan, since she’ll be cold without Andrew

2. Scarf for a friend that I have to do this week, since I’ll see her next weekend

3. Shawl and an afghan for Mom

4. Finish an afghan for another friend by the end of the semester. She commented on the color of one I started a few years ago, but I ran out of that yarn and haven’t yet finished it, despite finally having the yarn. But she’s graduating soon and I want to get it finished before she leaves!!!

5. Andrew was commenting that I haven’t made one for him yet either. Which, at one point, I started one. But we changed our minds on the yarn and colors. He never chose another pattern, but maybe I should just pick something for him and make it. At the time of the first attempt, I think he was thinking luxurious and masculine – to catch a girl. This was in pre-Risa days. Now, of course, he needs something that says still-very-masculine, but taken.  🙂

storks and such

I found out today another of my friends is pregnant.

I keep thinking that this past summer we walked downtown Columbia, to different  places for lunch, and all that time she was growing a… I usually call them parasites – don’t be offended. It’s a science thing.

It just seems weird.