Friday, September 30, 2011

Puppy Perfects Another Trick

We have a tiny kitchen in our house. As in, there's no room for two big dogs to sit around the kitchen just waiting for scraps. None. Especially not for Puppy.

So one of the first "tricks" or commands our dogs need to learn is "Out of the Kitchen." So, while you think this pair is just laying there looking cute, they are really testing me. If you look closely you can see that the dog on the left has half a paw over the line onto the linoleum, and Puppy has part of her snout over the line. Not enough for me to yell at them, but enough to let me know that they're waiting.

What are they waiting for?

At the time I took these photos, I was cutting up leftover steak to make sandwiches for the boys' lunchboxes. The dogs were counting on getting some scraps. But they had to wait.

Which leads us to the next trick in the repertoire...


As in, we put down the scraps of steak and make them literally wait until we say "Okay." I can't take credit for teaching them this trick, as my husband is the one with the more twisted sense of humor sometimes. But it makes for a very impressive trick.

While Puppy seemed to understand "Out of the Kitchen" pretty quickly, this "Wait" trick took longer to master. You can see the expression of disbelief on her face even now - "Are you kidding? You're doing this to me AGAIN?"

But the next trick is even more impressive. And even more cruel...

The dog has to sit with the piece of steak on her nose until we say "Okay." At the signal, she then tosses it into the air and catches it to eat. If it falls on the floor, she can't eat it and has to try again. This dog has gotten very good at catching food. Any food. Every time.

Puppy? Not so much. She can't catch. Or won't catch. She likes to sniff each piece of food before eating it, as if we were trying to trick her into eating medicine or something.

Someday maybe she'll learn to catch. For now I'm just glad she understands "Out" when I ask her to leave the room, or I'd never get anything done!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Another morning with fog as thick as pea soup and a calendar jam packed with things to be done. So un-motivating... I thought thought a little chocolate might be in order with my coffee. Always coffee.

What do you do to jump start your day?

(and which color m&ms are your favorites?)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The "H" factor...

...And by that I mean Humidity. Simon Cowell may be looking for the X factor, but I'm more concerned with the oppressive H factor at the moment.

The air has been so waterlogged here for the last few days you can almost drink it. My Puppy is drooling nonstop, the lights in the bathrooms are acting wonky, my middle child woke up feeling unable to function (or go to school) this morning, the fog was so thick on the way to the oldest child's bus that it was like being in a horror movie where zombies might emerge from the fog at any moment...

Humidity sucks. And sucks the life right out of me... just like a zombie, actually.

So unable to think of anything clever on my own, I'd like to direct you to some blogs not suffering from the high humidity...

1. Check out this awesome video that Jennifer Shirk posted for her Motivational Monday - I watched it with my oldest son before school this morning. Awesome.

2. Oh, and I need to go find this book Lisa Gail Green featured this morning - Anna Staniszewski's MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE! Sound like something my daughter and I would both enjoy ;-)Link

3. Rosemary Gemmell at Reading and Writing has posted a link to the Mills and Boon New Voices contest - if you're an unpublished, unrepresented author you can enter before October 10 - check out the M&B FAQs here.

4. Sommer Leigh at Tell Great Stories reminds us that this is BANNED BOOK WEEK, now through October 1st. She has a link to a video by Judy Blume and promises personal posts this week about banned books... at the Banned Book website, there's a list of the 10 most "challenged" books of 2010 - which I was shocked to see includes the Hunger Games series, one of my favorite series of recent books. Not that I should be surprised, but did the people wanting it banned actually READ the series??

What blogs are you reading this morning, and how do you handle humidity? (or did the zombies get you first?)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Bird's Eye View of Cape Cod

Last weekend, my brother-in-law took an aerial tour of the Cape, and I just had to share some of the photographs. In addition to showcasing the natural beauty of the coastline, they also show that coastal erosion is a problem along the entire length of Cape Cod.

(Nauset Light Beach, Eastham)

(Race Point Light, Provincetown)

(MacMillian Pier Beach, Provincetown)

Tours like the one he took are available right out of the Chatham Airport on George Ryder Road. Call ahead for reservations.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blurring the Line between Dream and Reality

Have you ever found yourself in a dream where the surroundings felt so familiar they made you wonder: Is this a real place? Have I been here in real life?

Many times we do find ourselves in familiar settings during the course of our dreams. Your own home. The house you grew up in. A familiar road you drive down every day. The halls of your school, or at your desk taking a test you never studied for.

But - at least in my dreams - there are also settings unique to dreamscape, places you visit only when you are dreaming and people you only meet within the context of those dreams.

Last night, I dreamed of visiting a place and people that I haven't seen since my first child was in preschool. And even while I was dreaming, I was trying to remember why it all seemed so familiar. Was this somewhere I'd actually been in real life? Even after waking up, the place and people haunted me, leaving me to wonder if they were from the real world or the dream world.

It wasn't until during my first cup of coffee that I was able to pinpoint the inconsistencies that meant this house wasn't based in reality. This was a recurring dream I used to have thirteen years ago, a place I visited in my dreams when I was stressed.

But until that caffeine hit my bloodstream, I really couldn't tell.

Maybe this is because I'm a writer, and live in dreamworlds in my head even when I'm awake, sitting at my computer, banging away at a new story. But that blurred line this morning gave me pause. (thank god for coffee!)

Help me out. Does this happen to you, too? Have you ever been in a dream that seemed so real that you wondered if you were really awake?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wherein Blogging Plays Second Fiddle...

It's true.

Blogging isn't *gasp* the most important thing in my life.

I have three kids. They have to outrank anything on the computer, as they are related to me and my poor Dell, although I love it dearly, is not.

Right now all three are intent on rearranging each of their rooms and, in conjunction or by extension, most of the entire household. Which is fine in and of itself. Except for all the dust and dirt and tumbleweeds and dead spiders that keep turning up every time we move a piece of furniture or try to clean out a closet.


This is what I get for spending too much time at the computer in the last year, and not enough on that other job... what's it called again? ... oh yeah, housekeeping. As in, my own house.

Oh well, a little dust is not the end of the world after all. But once you've got the furniture moved, it's hard to turn a blind eye to the rolling tumbleweeds. Or the ones stuck to the walls behind said moved furniture that are no longer hidden...

On the bright side, doesn't my daughter's "new" room look great? All stuff we had in the house already, completely rearranged. The word on the left wall that's partially visible is "IMAGINE." It used to be surrounded with mermaids that we'd collected over the years. Now only her sea turtle project remains.

I wonder what she's going to start imagining next.

Hopefully not about rearranging more furniture.

What are you up to this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Puppy Likes to Dig...

Puppy on the beach, April 2010

When Puppy was still a little thing, she decided she really liked to dig in the sand. We hadn't had her long before the weather was warm enough (and she was strong enough) to walk up to the beach. She was kidn of afraid of the waves and wary of the sand as well, but soon decided the sand was safe enough.

She developed a cute habit whenever we went to the beach - she'd throw herself down and stretch her body as far as she could, and then dig with her front legs into the soft sand. The front legs would move together, in tandem, throwing sand down toward her belly and rear legs. We'd never had a dog "dig" quite like this, and it was adorable to watch her in action...
Puppy in the hallway, September 2011

These days, the Puppy would rather spend her beach time running and playing in the water. The only time she lies down is when she tries to "hide" in the ocean, with just her head jutting above the water line.

But she still digs in her dreams.

She still lies on her side and moves her legs in that odd tandem motion - even though now she 's doing it while lying on the hall rug, or (mostly) on the linoleum kitchen floor.

It's not about throwing the sand around, evidently. It's about that freedom of motion...
...except that she's getting a little too big to move too freely. She just doesn't fit in her favorite spots as well as she used to.

She's still adorable to watch, though!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Starting something new...

Spring may be the traditional season of new beginnings, but anyone who has kids knows that Fall is the time we all start something new. A new classroom, new teacher, new friends, new sports season... all new each fall and by spring it's all getting old.

So, as the mother of three kids who are all in the midst of new adventures, I thought I should also embark on something new. Not that I've completely forgotten about the WIPs sitting on my hard drive, still unfinished after a summer full of neglect... but I also have new ideas rattling around in my brain that I want to take out for a spin, see if they're as interesting on paper as they sound in my head.

Along the lines of trying new things, I'm testing out the new Blogger interface as I type. Falen Formulates Fiction posted about it today and made it sound not so scary... so thought I'd give it a whirl as well. If you haven't noticed the little clickable link at the top right of your Blogger screen - or if you've noticed it and like me tried your hardest to ignore it - give it a try. Falen says you can nix it if you don't like it, but my old interface has been so buggy and slow lately I figured I'd give it a shot. So far so good.

What are you going to try out this Fall that's new and different?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Waking Up full of Awesome" - this blogger is onto something...

A Facebook friend linked to this August post on the Pigtail Pals blog, entitled "Waking Up Full of Awesome." If you're a mom of a little girl go read it now:

I totally remember being young and thinking I was invincible.

LinkThe first person to tell me I wasn't was actually not a mean girl but a teacher. The mean girls soon followed suit, wearing down my self-confidence, and the media kept the erosion going. Middle school... high school... it's not all easy.

It's been a long road back to awesome, and there are still days I totally doubt myself. And other days where I feel confident and sometimes even a little - dare I say? - awesome. Really.

My own daughter just turned 11 at the end of last month. Most days, she is still convinced of her own awesomeness. Which is good. Hard for the mom, maybe, but a good thing for her. But sixth grade is a hard year to hold on to the "awesome." I think we all need to be aware and remember just how hard it can be to be that age. Or any age.

I want her to hold on to that awesome as long as possible. Or forever.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh, Wait! Is This the part where I'm supposed to Write?

Hi there! I'm ba-a-a-ack! Miss me?

Wait, that's not me - that's one of the kids enjoying his summer vacation. I'm the one sitting behind the wheel of the minivan, waiting to drive on to the next activity.

Whew. It's been a busy summer around here! Between all the different camps, sailing classes and regattas, people visiting us on the Cape, us visiting people elsewhere, etc., etc., etc., ...I barely had time to sit on the beach, let along think about writing. And blogging? Umm, yeah, sorry about being m.i.a. for so long...

...but we did get to visit Vermont, and see my sister's new farm and her own personal swimming hole... which probably looks a lot different now, post-Irene, but was pretty serene the day before the hurricane:
...and my eldest son participated in a few regattas with his sailing team both on Cape Cod and (gasp) over the bridge.
...and my middle child played a few summer concerts with his band, NonCompliant, pictured here at the Kids Day Concert at Barnstable High School in August. He also had an awesome time at summer camp in Rhode Island and had trouble transitioning back to boring old home life.

Well, thank goodness there's school to fill that void, right?

... and here they are headed out the door for their first day back to school. Today. Gone. The house is so unbelievably quiet I can barely stand it. I may have to turn on some music to fill the void. Or write.

Maybe I'll write.

What are you doing, now that summer vacation has come to an end?