Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Tanka or Why I Love my Dogs

I was awakened rudely by my favorite Border Collies last night. They had one of their frequent mid-morning meetings with the neighbor dogs, though it was more likely a party since it was Friday night after all. They barked and barked, then took a break. In the pre-dawn quiet, I heard owls hooting. A pleasant sound! Calming. Soothing. Lulling me back to sleep... when the barking began again. Drats! (Not what I really thought). I was awake. So, being wide awake and not wanting to confront or contemplate the usual mixed bag of my rambling mind I did what any rational human does in a cold, dark room when they should be and wished they were sleeping. I began counting syllables.

3:50 a.m.
Incessant barking disturbs
a peaceful slumber.
Hooting owls soothe my brain but
I count syllables, not sheep.

This tanka (5/7/5/7/7 syllables per line) began life as a haiku (5/7/5 syllables per line). I had three or four third lines but only now remember one which is definitely not Vegan. I apologize, Mary. I offer it here to show that I was not pleased at having been awoken for the third time in a week by my partying pets. The line was "dog chops, anyone?"

Know that I truly love our dogs, but after these two lovely mutts pass on one day to the great Dog Farm in the Sky, I will never again have another dog as a pet. I feel strongly about it, can you tell? My boys are nearly grown (and getting older every day!), so I can confidently assure you that there will be no tugs of the heart to convince me to get another dog as a pet, nor will I feel like I'm a bad Mom if I don't get the boys a doggy replacement when the time comes, as more than likely neither boy will live at home.

Cats, fine. I occasionally have my sleep interrupted by an errant cat who escaped the mudroom and forgot where it was, but she's 17 years old now and her days are limited. It's not a weekly thing, thank heavens. And honestly, she's not that loud. Our really lovey, favorite cat, Hobbes (don't tell me I shouldn't have a favorite--I already know this and do anyway), will be with us until the end of his days--for another dozen years or so. Cats are so easy compared to dogs. My post, my opinion.

Friday, January 08, 2010

It's a New Year, Right?

Okay, so here I am, in case you were wondering. I'm baaack. Just please don't count on me hanging around long and writing regularly. I have a bad habit of showing up to write a marvelous personal essay, only to duck and cover for the next few (few? several?!) months.

By now we're all aware that this is 2010. Is that 20-10 or 2,010? Does it matter? Nope.

My 'big' news that isn't, I returned to school online last fall. I committed to taking six classes within a year. I took two last semester and have started on the next two for this semester. You see, my life wasn't busy enough. I needed a challenge.

Seriously, I had thought of returning to school on & off for a dozen+ years. With a major birthday milestone looming (in three years to be precise), I figured it shouldn't be put off any longer. Kind of like now or never.

I began volunteering last summer for PLENTY!, a non-profit in Floyd County that gathers food (produce, day-old bread, assorted other good stuff) from various sources and distributes it to shut-ins and single moms. This is one of the best things I've ever done (other than marrying Scott and having kids, that is). I love it. Scott joined me soon after I became involved. Our live-in individual (and sometimes Emerson) goes with us to deliver food to the folks on our list once a week. It's been a highlight of the week to 'check-in' on new friends who are grateful to receive whatever it is that we bring them. I'm telling you, it's a complete do-good, feel-good experience. By next summer, I'd like to be more involved in one or two of the sister off-shoots of the non-profit. But we'll see if it fits in with my schedule and my life. A lessons we've learned in recent years is to not over schedule ourselves--even with good stuff!

Our sons are getting older (Spencer's pushing 20 & Emerson is 14 1/2!), as they are wont to do. It's time for Scott and I to work towards What's Next. We have lists in our heads and in a chunky little notebook that we go over occasionally. We have dates where we talk about which place we intend to travel to first and should it be by RV, by car, or should we just pull up stakes and live in Europe for a little while? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions. Meanwhile, it's so much fun to make plans that we're reading a travel-related book together.

Speaking of plans, we're definitely planting more potatoes next year and sweet potatoes as well (like we did a few years ago). I really don't need any seeds, though I'm sure I can find something I want. Looking at a seed catalog is, for me, about as good reading as the newest best seller. And often more hopeful.

Until then, our everyday lives in Floyd County go on. This time of year that means an occasional snow & ice storm (better known as 'wintry mix'!), accompanied by the requisite power outage. Scott gives guitar lessons 5 days a week (from home on Mondays) and performs regularly, I complete paperwork, read & take tests, and dabble in the forex market for some real excitement, and together we are Service Providers to a live-in individual (4 years this June!). Emerson is still home schooling and in 9th grade (this task is accomplished mainly by Scott, I just teach Biology). Spencer has a very nice girlfriend, Amanda from Indiana, they take turns living in our 'rustic' cabin (no running water!) or in a nice home (not far from us) where he routinely has a long-term, on-again, off-again house sitting job. He still works at The Harvest Moon and he's a part-time college student.

It's 2010. And just like the company... Life is Good.

Photos courtesy of Flickr/Creative Commons