Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

We are having a sort of extended Christmas this year- Sectaurs came home Saturday so we've had fun visiting and relaxing. Yes, relaxing- for the first time in forever, my presents were wrapped two days early, not at midnight Christmas Eve. We had ham last night, so it's ham rolls tonight- and spaghetti for J.

Christmas morning we drive down to R.I. as usual- we'll visit with J's side of the family that evening, and get together with my side on Wednesday afternoon. We used to try to mash everyone in one day, but that was exhausting, and left no time for games, or conversations. J is working today but has the rest of the week off, which is a first as well.

Speaking of relaxing, I shocked certain family members when I asked if they would mind not having a tree this year.  With the babysitting Ameranth does here, our living room was feeling crowded with baby stuff, and I didn't have the energy to try to decorate in a child-safe manner. I assured them I would come up with an acceptable substitute to pile presents around, and that I would use some lights.

So here is our "tree area":
 (Spruce boughs, barberry branch, our traditional Santa tree-topper, all perched on a tablecloth covered highchair)  This works for me.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Subtitles for life

A snowy day and J having several days off in a row may be making the house seem a leetle too cozy- that, or Ameranth is just feeling her oats today.

J is on the phone to his boss (and family friend) from back in the day, and catching up. I hear him explain that I retired and am unemployed now= "Living the good life" he says.

Ameranth murmurs "my burden to bear" quietly.

J next moves on to "I'm 62 now"  and again I hear the editorial "Yes, I'm an old, old man".

I'm so glad we amuse her.

J just came in laughing to show me what he tried to wear earlier, snowblowing the driveway.
He couldn't figure out why this 'hat' was so hard to get on.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Talking the Dog

Anyone who has lived with a dog learns a foreign language, as does the dog. Some dogs are whiz kids and even learn sign language, and to speak on command. Boomer and I aren't on that level- we speak pidgin dog-lish- but we manage.

Boomer is a strange study in contrasts. He loves routine, but not rules. He is insanely jealous of anyone else getting my attention, muttering under his breath when J and I sit at the table and talk, or bouncing over to me if I dare pet Anna. When I pet him, and Anna or the baby are in the room, he squirms with joy, and flaunts the love. But if Ameranth picks up the dog brush, he quickly positions himself in front of her and sits quietly, his skin rippling with pleasure as she scratches his back.

When I get up to visit the bathroom in the early hours, if it's light out, Boomer will quietly walk over and meekly say good morning. I pet him, I go back to bed, he goes back to bed. I know he's already been outside, before J went to work. However, when he feels it's time, I hear a soft whine outside my door. If I ignore him long enough, he goes upstairs and wakes Ameranth, so most days I get up and let him out.

Next, we walk out to get the paper. He is allowed out off leash because he stays around and comes when called. Mostly. Anna does not, and if she catches us, he has to stay inside too. So we have to be werry, werry qwiet. I swear, the dog tiptoes to the door. Any other time of the day, he levitates and spins in circles all the way to the door, if he thinks there's a chance of going out.

Our conversations are usually short and to the point. He comes to the computer and whines- I look at the clock and tell he's not being fed. "It's too early, you have to wait" results in him lying down on the dog bed next to my computer with a long-suffering sigh.   "OK dinnertime" means another series of pirouettes as he makes sure I get the food, add water, and deliver it. I know people say it's the tone used that sends the message, but no matter how I say the word 'dinner', he knows what it means and is happy.

If he wants to go out and I'm in the kitchen, he stands still with his head pointing toward the door, waiting until I notice him. Other times, he comes up and I'll ask if he wants to go out- ears up and tail wagging= yes. Ears laid back and slowly sinking body means no. If the dogs get a little too rambunctious at night, we'll threaten them with putting them outside, and they immediately slink off and settle down.

He watches me too. If I pick up my glass and snack, or a book, he trots off to the living room to settle down there. Sometimes it's the computer room instead. And it's not just me- If Ameranth makes a move to put shoes on (because she's usually barefoot) both dogs think there might be a walk coming-if I tighten my laces at the same time- they are positive!

Ameranth has taught Anna more commands (turn around, wrong way, come this way, and watch out!) but Anna is a husky and a pretty smart one. Boomer is neither. He frustrates me with his jealousy/anxiety and his insistence on jumping on people in excitement that we just have not been able to change, but we always end up saying, "He's a good little dog". And he is.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Art Critics

Well, well, December already! I was about to say that the year went quickly, but that's not entirely true. Parts of it, and I, went slowly indeed. Sectaurs' birthday was yesterday, and as his brother told him, he did his job getting all of their ages in a row again. 31, 32, 33, 34. Until March when Ms. M "screws it up again".

Ameranth has been experimenting with various crafts this year, and the latest is painting. She made a very cute giraffe one for So, the little boy she babysits. No picture taken before his birthday party unfortunately. They are in the 'photobomb' style, you know, where someone pops into your photo just as you shoot it, or makes a funny face in the background. Hers are like closeups of animal faces, just the top of the head with the eyes and nose- very cute.

Anyway, she's been researching ideas for grownup gifts as well, and asked me what I thought of some abstract art she'd seen. Neither of us care for that style in general, and the conversation rambled strangely.

A: She just dabbed paint on randomly but it turned out to look like something..sort of.

Me:Well, the dabs were the same size and she did choose her colors.. I guess. I've never understood the appeal of abstract art- the colors can look nice and project a certain mood, but some of it is just paint dribbled on a canvas. Like those elephants that paint. That's not art.

A: But they say the elephants and dolphins choose which color to use.

Me: Out of what they give them. That elephant is thinking "why don't they give me a nice blue-gray? It would be just the thing for Mona's trunk in my painting."

A: Yeah, the dolphin is looking at his blue and green and saying "why does HE get the red? I wanted red."

And that is what goes on around here most of the time- interesting, often funny, mostly wandering conversations, punctuated by "what was I saying, no, before that? " and "what did I come in here to do?" and "did you feed the dogs?"- but not a lot of actual stuff getting done.