Life is Too Short to Sit on the Porch

Last December we had to say goodbye to one of our miniature dachshunds. She was old, and had been abused before she came to us. We gave her 9 good years, as she did us, and I’m glad for that. She was a sweetheart, and I miss her often. Norah, our other doxie is 11 and still going strong. She had been growing accustomed to the quiet life that she and her senior “sister” enjoyed, and I’m sure she misses her, but with no more fighting for mom’s attention, she was in her own version of heaven. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

Little did Norah know, Bill and I had been keeping an eye on PetFinder for a puppy to add to the family for several months. Not long after BoneZ passed we found what we hoped would be our newest family member, Darwin Atlas. We adopted Darwin, who is an Australian Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog mix, when he was 11 weeks old. He is full of energy and very jealous of anyone who takes my attention away from him. I’m not sure Norah has completely forgiven us yet.

I love Darwin. He is feisty and curious, handsome and smart, but I’m pretty sure he only loves me because I have opposable thumbs. He spends his days flopping toys into my lap to play Tug of War, or to throw out for him to catch. All day. Every day. If I let go of the toy, he looks at me sympathetically and flops it back onto my lap. “Poor mom dropped the toy. I’ll help her.” If that doesn’t work, he will yip in the highest pitch he can achieve (in case you’re curious, it is impressive) until I can’t stand it anymore and I throw it again. I told you he’s smart.

Those thumbs are also useful for filling his food dish, although I’m sure he’s not against eating it right out of the bag, filling his water dish, putting on his leash for a walk, and for gently chewing on when bored.

Someday I’m sure he will love to snuggle with me on the couch without any demands of play. Maybe one day he will protect me from danger without a toy in his mouth expectantly waiting while I fight off an assailant. Maybe one day……but for now I’m just a pawn for his endless games.

It’s fun to have a puppy in the house again, much to Norah’s chagrin. He keeps us busy, and that’s never a bad thing. He’s full of life and reminds us not to take anything too seriously. He’s reminding us to love hard and play harder.

Life is too short to sit on the porch.

You Can Sleep When You’re Dead

Earlier,  I was thinking about what I would write about today. I was laying on the sofa, looking out the window at the brilliant blue sky, and freshly budding trees. There was a gentle breeze flowing through the house, and the birds were chirping outside. We had just returned from church, and there was plenty of day left. I starting thinking about the beauty of a good nap……..and I fell asleep.

It was perfect napping weather, and since we were very busy yesterday, we had no big plans for today. I was still enjoying the peaceful feeling I get from the mass we had just attended, was surrounded by my family in the comfort of our home, and the weather was gorgeous. What better reason to enjoy a little refreshing slumber?! After I awoke, we spent much of the afternoon on the deck. We grilled up some dinner, listened to a baseball game, and started a bit of light work on the backyard. It was a perfect day.

Not to mislead, I think almost any day is good for a nap, but not all result in a perfect day. Rainy and snowy days are also great for a snooze. Many times, days like these make me feel tired just because they are overcast and glum. However, there are also pro-sleep factors that occur, as the  pitter-patter of rain on the house is a soothing sound, and the cold that comes along with snow, makes curling up under a warm blanket all the more tempting. The weather creates little desire to go outside, so a pajama day, along with a movie or TV series marathon, is always a treat. If only we didn’t have obligations to attend to, on a majority of those days.

For those who are not yet experienced in the art of a good nap, there are several rules required to be successful. If you haven’t already discovered your favorite napping spot, then you’re already behind in this game. I suggest you start testing potential locations immediately. I find the sofa to be most comfortable, but many like a reclining chair, or a wide-seated chair with an ottoman. I make sure I always have the mobile phone within reach, in case someone calls (getting up to answer it will completely ruin the napping experience), or for using the alarm. Make sure a blanket is nearby for an easy pull-down-and-cover maneuver, if needed. Let the dogs out beforehand, so they do not sit by you whining to go out, then make sure said dogs, and any interested cats, are comfortably positioned around you. Now lay down and relax. If you have any skills in this sport, you should be dozing within minutes.

A few other helpful tips would include never taking a long nap after 3PM. You’ll just feel messed up for the rest of the night. A twenty-minute cat-nap may be just enough to help you make it through till bedtime. If you don’t set an alarm, and sleep longer, you’ll probably regret it. I always do. Two words. STAY AWAY. My favorite time is right after I take the kids to school. The house is quiet, the dogs are snugly, and when I wake up, I’ll still have plenty of day left to do the things I have to do.

If only we could convince children of the beauty of a daily nap. I mean, seriously, they have no idea what they are missing! And whoever said “you can sleep when you’re dead,” obviously never experienced a glorious nap, in beautiful weather, on a perfect Sunday.


The Reminders of Spring

I love Spring. The fresh air has finally arrived. It smells like life renewed. The trees are budding, the bulbs are beginning to bloom. The world around me is becoming colorful again.

There is so much joy in my heart for the simplest of pleasures. An open window, the sound of a light breeze. A blanket to ward off the slight chill in the air. A cup of coffee. A book. A dog snuggled up on my lap. Comfort clothing. For me, this is a sweatshirt and shorts or capris. The sweatshirt keeps me warm, while I can finally rid myself of longer pants and socks. Although it doesn’t seem like much, after a long winter, it feels freeing.

Even the dogs enjoy the change in the air. They stand, or sit, in sunny spots on the deck, lifting their heads to the oncoming breeze. Closing their eyes. When I open the door to call them in, they look at me from their cozy place. They don’t move. The cats sit on their perch by the open window, leaning into the screen to get the full benefit. Or stand by the door when I open it, to take a peek outside.

The sounds of the neighborhood coming back to life. People coming out of their winter hibernation. Lawn mowers whirling, the smell of fresh-cut grass.  Children playing. Dogs bark as walkers pass by. Strollers and wagons come out of storage. Laughter and conversation, as people return to their patio sets. Birds.

At this time of year, I am always reminded of God’s wonderful creations. God’s love. Hope, faith, joy. That after every storm, after dark times, there will always be light. Growth. Renewal. Color. For this, I am forever grateful.