Category: Relationships

A word from Dog

(a post from Jasmine)

Hi. Jasmine here.

I thought I’d pick up where Carol left off since she’s been quite the slacker the past few days…well, really, the past week or so. You humans and your habits. Hard to break bad ones, hard to keep good ones. Us dogs? Not an issue. For us, there’s no right or wrong. Instead, its a cinch. You guys tell us what’s right and what’s wrong. And, we get treats when we get it right! We understand you. Well, we understand what we want to hear. It’s not all this, like you think.

Now, about Kona…that little b—-h and her fancy bowl. Enough already. She gets her own special dining room, too. And then she has the gall to growl at me from within her abode when she’s done eating. B—-h. And a whole post about it? Really?

She’d better be glad she’s here because it was gonna be just me. I picked out the boy first. And then Ken picked out Kona. And then Carol decided she would come home with us.

That’s okay. Because I’m the top dog, the Getter of All Things. Need a dish towel? Got it. Looking for a shoe? No problem. A sock? Absolutely. I even clean up after Kona when she’s decided to bring dinner back up for a second round (I’ll keep it at that since you humans don’t appreciate canine gourmet).

Anyway, just wanted to chime in about me. What you see is what you get. No shame. Now, if I could just get my humans to let me sleep in the bed with them. And, I don’t understand this waiting-until-it’s-light-to-get-up-and-eat-breakfast thing.

Slipping through my fingers

Christian began middle school yesterday. It was different from any other “first day” we’ve experienced. For all of the others, he was a little boy. The changes from year-to-year were not so extreme.

He began this summer as a fifth grader, still in elementary school, shorter, with curly, blond hair. He had never been to a sleepover camp. He had never once discussed girls in that way

When I started middle school, I felt awkward in a foreign land, having spent my first five years of school in not quite the Outback. But, Christian was enthusiastically autonomous as he prepped Tuesday night, as he strode off to the bus stop alone Wednesday morning. It means a lot to his parents that Christian had such a great day–we had a great day. Middle school seems to suit him: It’s a bit rough around the edges, there’s more diversity, less rules, old friends, new friends. That’s all I may share. I’ve been sworn to secrecy.

(queue sentimental moment)

As I think of Christian growing up, I often recall this song by my favorite band EVER. Though it is intended for a daughter, it pretty much sums up for me the experience of seeing my son grow up before my eyes, how fleeting time is even though I am right by his side, almost every single day.

(queue needle scratching-across-a-record sound, interrupting said sentimental moment)

Christian would rather I consider a tune on today’s Top 40 list.

(queue blank thought)

Off he goes!

Queen Kona and her bowl

As I passed through the living room on Saturday, I noticed Kona snuggled on the sofa with her bowl. Well, her substitute bowl. Recently, she broke her beloved ceramic one as she toted it from the powder room to the sofa. Dropped mid-prance as she just had to see what her sister was up to. That’s right, I said the powder room. Kona eats in “private” since her little yet larger sister Jasmine thinks any food in any bowl is hers to eat.

It seems since Kona’s beloved blue bowl cracked and went the way of the trash can, she has become even more possessive of its simple makeshift replacement. I teased that perhaps we need to take her shopping to Petco to pick out a new one. Just Queen Kona and her humans.

Poor Kona generally puts up with her strong, confident, alpha sibling pretty well. But, gradually, she’s figured out the food thing. The BOWL thing. And, she no longer tolerates being bullied. So, this weekend, she stood her ground. Follow the play-by-play here:

Snuggling on the sofa

Jasmine sits up from under the dining room table when she notices Kona on the sofa. With THE bowl. She must claim it. Kona notices Jasmine.

Uh oh. Jasmine decides to approach. Kona clinches the bowl and lets out a slow guttural growl, “Back off, bitch.” Literally.

The human intervenes and diverts Kona’s attention. Crisis averted. There will be plenty of time later for gnashing teeth, high pitched yelping, and flying fur.

Locks of love

As I drove into the cul-de-sac yesterday evening, I noticed our neighbor’s daughter being pushed in a Cub Mobile by a child I did not recognize. As I slowed down, said boy ran up to my car with a huge grin on his face. It was then I realized that he was MY son.

I had been preparing myself for this. I mean, Ken had texted a photo of Christian mid-haircut. Mid-chop. I was still surprised. All through dinner, we kept commenting on how different he looked, how mature he had suddenly become.

Since he was a tot, and his blond ringlets began to sprout, we’ve been reluctant to give into to more than just a trim. We relied upon Christian’s mop of toehead curls to pick him out of a crowd. This is the end of an era. Time to grow up.

Half done


The new do

Not my battle

One must choose your battles, so they say. Especially as a parent.

When a child is younger, it’s easy to encourage him to make the right choice, your choice. So sweet, so innocent.

But, as time passes, there’s a turning point when he realizes he has a say. San Francisco, July, 2008: Seven-year-old Christian had a say. With his very own spending money, he proclaimed, he would invest in whatever and however much he wanted to from the hotel vending machine. Not my battle. Go for it, son.

The current version of Christian’s bedroom is also not my battle. There are minimal standards (after all, who do you think I am ?): No dirty clothes, trash, or food. That’s it. Otherwise, it’s a man cave-in-training. His refuge.

Christian begins middle school next week. There will be battles. As parents, we must consider each one carefully. Sigh.


She’s been to the chapel!

Wow. My niece, Aliette, is a MARRIED woman. All in the blink of an eye. She grew up, went to college (and graduate school), and wed George in an intimate ceremony late last week in Scotland.

When my eldest brother, Bob, announced his wife, Marisol, was pregnant, I was over the moon. I was going to be an aunt! At seventeen! That was the coolest thing ever! Especially since I always thought one had to be old and married to become an aunt or uncle, but I didn’t. I counted down the days to her birth and played out in my mind what it would be like to meet her for the very first time, to hold her.

As the years passed, I may not have been able to share in those fleeting, fast moments as she grew into an adult as often as I would have liked to, but that’s okay. Aliette is beautiful and smart and will do well in life. I mean, she already has. I look forward to one day visting her and her love in Scotland, England, South Africa or wherever they find themselves settling in.

So, congratulations to Aliette and George! Here’s to a lifetime together, with all of its ups and downs (I can say that–I’ve logged almost twenty years in matrimony), great adventures, tasty meals, unforgettable sunsets, and peaceful reflection, when the house is finally calm after the day’s bustle, and you talk quietly and laugh at the nonsense that had muddled your routine. What counts is that you found each other and have each other. Now and forever.

My brother walking his little girl down the aisle.

(Photo courtesy of Pieter Ferns)

Funnels of Love

No, not those funnels. Rather the type that invaded our house last Tuesday. Hard, plastic, evil funnels attached to cute, cuddly puppies. Better known as Elizabethan collars, they are really torture devices for both master and pet; they bruise legs, mark up walls, and have turned both the dogs and monkeys into intolerant, impatient, crabby, crazy creatures. When in her kennel, Jasmine now barks incessantly, her high pitched, “I need attention and now” bark. Unless, she is tired or asleep. Sweet, lovable, “all I want to be is a good dog” Kona has converted into an instigator. The problem? They are prohibited from the rough and tumble play that only canine siblings can appreciate.

People suggested alternatives. They mean well, but anything less would be toast and rendered useless as we attempted to stop a frustrated dog from ripping open a suture. Consider that within the first twenty-four hours, we had reinforced the evil funnels with generous amounts of duct tape.

So we walk to manage the chaos. Walking is both good mental and physical exercise. My parents walk for hours at a time. They have walked all over the world for more than fifty years. I have meant to ask what their most interesting walk has been. Christian tugs the girls along on separate jaunts around our neighborhood each morning. Our evening routine once again involves a walk. We reconnect, which is important. It makes us better parents. Even time away from the pups includes walking; our tour of national parks and monuments this summer will involve hiking.

Kona and Jasmine are now genetic cul-de-sacs. Ken says one day they will thank us for this. But not anytime in the immediate future.