Puppies are so much fun

I’ve been up for 4 hours.    During that time, I’ve accomplished this much – I read a few pages about creating something for my class, I read emails for my class and I tossed a ball, endlessly tossed a ball, tossed a ball over and over and over.

That’s what I’ve done.    Because someone will not only NOT take a nap, he can’t be more than an inch away from me while he’s awake, unless he’s chasing the above mentioned ball.

I love this puppy.    I have loved him from the day he crawled into my lap and wrapped his paws around my arm and made me his.    But I could so seriously use a break sometimes.

I never had kids because I knew I was way too selfish for that.   I need me time, I am the princess and the high maintenance soul in this house.   It’s been a struggle for me to so rarely get that me time anymore.     I know he’ll outgrow the intense need to have the ball tossed constantly, that at some point he’ll learn to settle at my feet and once again I’ll have time to read, knit, write, whatever – without having a ball spit at me, and him barking in my face.

I’m not one to wish away time, except for Winter, that can go to Hell in a hot minute and be over now, every single year, but I really can’t wait for the day when he’s dog and not so much puppy.

Also, this is just me venting.   🙂

Training will commence when he wakes up – because he FINALLY gave in!

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Late nights and keyboard catastrophes

Note to self – do not attempt to edit your online courses after 2 am.

I teach online, and on campus.  I am an adjunct, which translates as “peon.”   I have basically no rights and nothing is guaranteed.   I was assigned two classes online and one on campus this semester.   There’s some work involved in getting a class ready to go, even if it’s one you’ve taught a hundred times.   Two weeks before the start of the semester, I got a phone call.  The Dean was calling to tell me that she had to take one of my online classes away because someone who is probably full-time needed one to fill out their contracted number.   I wasn’t happy, but there’s nothing I can do about it.   The sop that was thrown to me was a late start class – if enough students registered for it to run.   I’m a really good online instructor.  I don’t say that just because I like to pat myself on the back, I say it because of feedback I’ve gotten from students.  They love my class.   I put a lot of myself into it, I try to be very present, I try to make it as much like an on campus course as I can.   I really love my job.  So I kept watching the late start class and yay, there are enough students signed up that it will run.

Okay, that’s the good part.   The bad part is that I have a week to get everything in THAT class ready.   So last night, being the night owl and good professor I try to be, I spent an hour working in that class “shell” fixing dates.

Only problem was that I was in the wrong class.   I changed the dates in the class that started this week.

Ooops!   Many emails and messages came my way.   I fixed things as soon as I realized my mistake and handed out bonus points to make up for any stress caused by it.

I hope that the students will learn a couple of things.   First, even professors make mistakes.  Second, it’s not a bad thing to own up to those mistakes.   Third, if you ask someone what happened, instead of accusing, you get bonus points.   Bonus points are always a good thing, and measured in many ways.

My job is teaching accounting.   My vocation is teaching.

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Beginnings

It snowed last night.   It was only about an inch, there’s talk of a blizzard this weekend, and so my winter anxiety begins along with the talk of snow.

Classes start tomorrow.  I have an afternoon class this semester.  Afternoon classes tend to be more difficult than evening classes for me.   Maybe it’s because I’m a night owl, so a class that starts at noon is an early class for me.   Maybe it’s just a different mix of students – evening students tend to be older and more serious, day students tend to be younger and less interested in the subject, and more interested in their phones.

This isn’t a blanket description – some of my most difficult students have been women in their 40’s and one veteran who told me I couldn’t fail him because he was a veteran.   I respect and admire all those who serve and keep our country safe – but that doesn’t guarantee you an A in my class if you never show up, never do any homework and never take an exam.   Some of my best students have been millenials, those kids who are working hard every day and wondering why they don’t have what their parents and grandparents have – because no one has told them that you don’t get all the “stuff” till you’re in your 30’s or probably your 40’s, unless you’re really lucky.

But I do get a plethora of “Mom and Dad are paying my tuition and I don’t give a flip” students during the day.   I’m not terribly patient with them.   Put your damned phone down and pay attention, or don’t cry to me when you don’t understand the material that I covered 10 minutes ago while you were texting your friends about how boring this class is.

So I go into the first class with high hopes and the full expectation of those hopes being dashed by the second week.   Also, weather is predicted, something like 18 inches of snow for next Wednesday.   If that holds, we will have one week of classes, Monday off for MLK and probably Wednesday for snow.   I love starting off already behind!

Meanwhile, Maverick and I continue to work on heel in our own way.   He is very quick to get into position on my left side.   He is also very quick to grab treats from my hand when we go “forward.”   Baby steps – a few steps without a treat, around a corner, start over, and I’m a happy woman.

Also, 65 days till Spring!   Not that I’m counting!   (damn skippy I’m counting!)

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Randomly ranting about rescue

I think, if I see one more “adopt, don’t shop” post, I am going to throw up, loudly, explosively, and messily.

In the past few days, I’ve had 3 encounters with dogs at the park that have not gone well.  I am no expert in dog behavior, see previous posts about training with Maverick if there’s any doubt about that, but I know enough to know that what you don’t know can get you bitten.   I always ask, from a good distance, if it’s okay to approach a dog I’ve never met.  If the owner says no, I smile, thank them, and keep moving.  They know their dog, I don’t.  I will never ever say, “it’s okay, all dogs love me,” even though most of them do.   I will never approach a dog I don’t know unless I know it’s okay to do so.

Two little dogs and one German Shepherd – each time I asked and was told that it was fine to say hi.   Two little dogs and one German Shepherd have sniffed my hand, and then snarled and snapped – I am old but quick in the face of danger and damn, I can move fast when teeth are approaching.   In each case, the owners have said, “OH!  I didn’t expect that, but he (or she) is a rescue and we think was abused so we’re not sure what the triggers might be.  You might smell wrong, or maybe it’s your hat, scarf, underwear, who knows?”

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!   You DON’T know, so don’t TELL ME it’s OKAY to approach your dog when you have no clue what will set him or her off.

My best friend rescued a yellow Lab.   He was abused, we know this and we know some of what was done, but not all.   He is an amazing, wonderful dog – now.   It’s taken a lot of training, a lot of love, and a lot of patience to get him to where he is.   I would not recommend approaching him without doing exactly what she tells you because you may lose a hand.   When I met him, a bond clicked into place and there is little that I can’t do with him – I can hug him, when no one else dares – I was one of the first people he gave a kiss – and I love him as much as I love Maverick, and as much as I loved Max.

I am not opposed to “rescuing” a dog.   I am opposed to people acting like they’re sainted because they didn’t go to a breeder, because they took in an animal whose background they know nothing about, and then exposing other people and the dog to situations where they have no clue about how that dog will react.   Was it my underwear that set off the German Shepherd?  I have no idea.  AND NEITHER DO THEY!   Telling me, after I was nearly bitten, that “oh, she’s weird like that sometimes” is not going to make me feel better if I’m bleeding.

We don’t meet the criteria for most rescues.   We also knew what kind of dog we wanted, both with Max and with Maverick.   We wanted the temperament of a Golden Retriever.  We went to a breeder and we bought a puppy.   There was no better dog on this planet than Max.   Maverick, right now, is a handful and a half, but I know that when he’s grown, he will be equally as awesome as Max was.   I know that because I know his pedigree, his bloodlines, his history – what he likes, what will make him scared, what will make him uncomfortable.    I knew in my soul that Max would never bite anyone.   I know that Maverick will put up with far less than Max would, and I know the signs that he’s had enough and it’s time to leave a situation.   I know this, because I’ve known him since he was a few weeks old.

Don’t judge me for shopping.  I won’t judge you for adopting as long as you know what you’re doing and don’t put me, or my puppy, in danger.

 

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Stupid weather

We were scheduled to start tomorrow with a private trainer but the weather is not co-operating.   I hate Winter.

So after a great deal of thought, we’re going to start over.  Again.

And I think it’s going to be mostly on me.   That’s okay, I trained Max with little help, I can train Maverick.   I’m still grieving, I miss Max more than most people can imagine.   Maverick is not replacement.   I love him as hard as I loved Max, maybe more.   I felt that bond snap into place the first time I picked him up, just as I felt it with Max.   Max was independent – he loved me but he didn’t need me.  Maverick most definitely needs me.   And I need him.

Tomorrow we’re going to start slowly working on “heel.”   We’re going to do crate games – because he doesn’t want to go in for me and it makes me sad that he seems to view it as something awful.   So, setting goals, and having low expectations, key words for awhile.

Where’s my planner?  I need to write down our routine!

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And a wonderful walk was had

by me.   It seems some days that training a puppy is two steps forward and three steps back.   Lately, walking has been singularly unsuccessful.  After another day of having my arm yanked out of the socket, or so it seemed, I decided it was time to take a break.   Maybe I expect too much.  Maybe he’s not ready.   Maybe there are too many distractions.  Whatever the reason, it’s become less than joyful to take a walk with Maverick, for both of us.

So today, I took myself to the park.  I walked 4 miles, down from my previous 6 before Maverick came home, but up from my recent 1 or 2 with him.   It was a good walk – something I’ve missed, a time to just be with myself and solve the problems of the world and feel good about sweating off some pounds.

When I got home, it was an hour of ball playing to make up for the lack of exercise for Maverick, but aside from him barking at me the whole time, it was a good hour, too.

I’ll figure out the walking thing, but not today.   And probably not tomorrow either.  I need my walks, and we need to enjoy them, not have them be an exercise in frustration.   We’ll get there.

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Planners and plans

About a month ago, with the grand idea of getting totally organized about this puppy training thing, I bought a planner just to record our progress and our failures, to write down what worked and what didn’t.

I started out well, I wrote down my goals and plans – in a notebook, because putting them in the actual planner was too much like making a real commitment.  I was going to start on January 1st.

Life got in the way of that plan.   I’m calling a trainer tomorrow about lessons, and that’s my excuse for not totally committing to putting this all on paper – yet.   Perhaps tonight, when the house is quiet and someone isn’t barking at the coffee pot, I can write things into the real book.

I got another planner, too, one for stuff that has nothing to do with puppy training.   I got a refill for the planner I use every single day, no matter what.

Why, I wonder, do I need so many planners?  Maybe I feel in control?  One of them is a coloring book, so it’s kind of my excuse to color instead of really planning anything.   Whatever the reason, I do love buying planners.

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Another year older, another year wiser, another year gone

It was not the best of years. There were too many losses and not enough victories. My best friends lost parents, had spouses diagnosed with strange illnesses, had surgeries. One is still dealing with a medical issue that has been causing her difficulty all year.

 

Too many pets crossed the Bridge. I always think that if we get past January, we’re safe. It was February that Max got sick. I still remember that day – he wouldn’t get up, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t move from the rug by the door. I think I knew then that he was dying, but my head wouldn’t accept what my heart was saying. The next few months are a blur, still – grief takes those memories and dims them, or we wouldn’t be able to function. I can feel his fur when I lay beside him, telling him it was okay, go find Duke, wait for me – I’ll be with you again one day, you’ll run to me and we’ll dance together in the field and Daddy will laugh and we’ll all be together again. I miss you so, my Beautiful Boy.

May – a month that never holds many smiles for me – brought us Maverick and a touch of joy, a bit of healing to my shattered heart. June brought him home, my bright, happy, curious, confident little guy – my little red angel with so much mischief in those eyes, and so much love in that heart – all for me, only me, his Mommah who can’t be away from him for a minute without him looking for me. My shining Little One, who makes me smile on the worst of days.

Work was a test of my patience. More bad news – friends losing parents, friends fighting medical issues, more deaths.

I thought we’d come through the worst when we got to December, and then the news from home that my brother in law had suddenly died.

A trip to NY, reconnecting with family – maybe my heart, that was broken so badly when my mother died, can finally heal.

My hopes for this coming year are simple. Let us be well, let us leave old hurts behind, let our hearts heal.

Let us all be okay.

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A shameless plug

One of my dear friends just started a blog

https://steven-speaks.com/?%3F%3F

and you really need to follow her. 🙂

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A sparkle of light in a pile of darkness

It’s been a long, sad, week.

The backstory – my sister and I haven’t spoken in several years. A lot of stuff went on when my mother died, a lot of lies were told, a lot of lies were believed and a lot of people chose to believe the worst about others. (I most likely was as guilty as the others. ) It often seemed as if I were alone against my entire family, with little support from anyone.

Time went on, hurts festered, nothing was said because talking about things is NOT how my family works, and years passed in silence.

Last week my brother in law died, suddenly. I loved that man, he was a genuinely nice guy who was almost universally loved, although he had a sharp wit, and could be as sarcastic and impatient as easily as he could spend hours explaining something to a child.

There was little discussion about me going to his funeral – I knew from the minute I was told of his death that I would be there, that I had to be there, that nothing would be right for any of us if I wasn’t. The weather – I checked obsessively – because I hate snow and that would have been the only thing that kept me away.

Wednesday came clear and bright, with nothing but rain in the forecast. A six hour drive took me home. Home to a sister who can only be described as fragile. This has taken a toll on her, and it scares me.

We hugged, and talked, her kids, her grandkids, and me. We laughed and cried and it was like nothing had ever happened except overnight we all got a bit grayer. I left yesterday morning, after coffee and talk with my sister, more hugs, and a promise to keep in touch.

I intend to keep that promise. I rarely make New Year’s resolutions but this one I make and this one I’ll keep – I will call the two strong women who helped shape who I am, monthly, if not more often, from now on. My life is better with them in it – for all their faults and quirks, they are who they are and I love them with all their cracks and flaws.

So out of sadness comes some peace. Thank you for that, Douglas. See you on the other side.

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