Guest Author: Student Files

This blog started because my students and I participate in something called “Genius Hour” where we design our own projects and learn about one of our passions. My passion when this started was training Percy. I still love talking about him, so I am still posting.

This year, one of my sweet babies is working on building confidence in her writing. She is making a guest appearance today with a poem inspired by some of her photography. This is a big step for her in sharing her work and I hope you enjoy it! From here on out for this post, it is all Wonderful Student. If you have some love to share, drop WS a comment and I’ll make sure she sees it. See you next time!

 

Each day brings something new
A new outlook on life.
We all move closer to the end as we age,
But some things seem untouched by time.

The rising sun does not initially appear.
The sky lightens slowly.
A soft orange and yellow breaks out across the horizon and stretch onward,
Melting into a delicate, new blue everywhere it can reach.

The scattered light falls upon clouds,
Bathing them in oranges, baby pinks, and infant purples.
They stretch farther than life,
Taking displaying their hues.

The dawn allows itself to be captured,
In small ponds close and nearby,
To see its own reflection
Before it steadily breaks to day.

The rest of the world holds a breath,
Appearing black as night against the lit up heavens
To highlight their glory
And capture the moment.

We all change and grow older
So does the sky.
While it seems the same every day,
Each moment is unique and breathtaking.

Each day brings new hues.
New clothes pass and take their spot in the sky
Or leave open a wide, endless blue
That fades in and out.

The sun changes slightly
Scattering her beautiful rays in different ways
Reaching new and same spots
Creating art in the sky.

A picture can capture one in a million moments
As the earth spins on
As no moment will be the same
Just as we are all unique.

Dogs in cars.

Now that oldest child is starting to drive, I get to pay more attention to the (canine) passengers of other cars instead of the drivers. I’m not much of a people watcher these days. I adore seeing dogs everywhere, even if it is just a head through, or hanging out of, a car window.

Years ago, when I lived in another town, I would regularly see an old truck with a man and a dog inside. I don’t remember the driver, except that he was a man and relatively tall. I remember the dog, though. This dog was huge. He often rode right next to the driver with one leg draped around the man’s neck, pointy ears brushing the headliner. The first time I saw him, I thought it was a human with a weird hat. Nope, it was a Great Dane. I saw them often. I suppose they just cruised around for fun. I see the value in that. I wouldn’t have been able to walk a dog whose legs were longer than mine.

Now I am in  my own situation with a dog whose legs are as long as mine. How must we look to other drivers and passers by? I’ve see the wide eyes of children when Haas managed to poke his giant head out of a window. Since Dad’s truck is having some challenges, I have had to transport Haas in my car. It’s a tight fit. Haas has figured out how to wiggle just right and get into the back seat. He can’t sit up straight like he can in the truck though. I discourage that as much as possible as the only thing I see in the rear view mirror is a fantastically fuzzy face, dripping with drool and taller than me. The general reaction when we hit a drive through is just “whoa.”

I hope some kid sees Haas or Percy when we are out and about for a spa day or going to class or having a special trip to the toy pet supply store. I hope they feel that sense of wonder and curiosity of how anyone could have a dog that is as long as the whole back seat. Maybe they wonder if I am growing my own Clifford. Maybe it is just a smile that kid can look back on when he or she is 40 and say “I don’t remember that crazy lady very well, but I remember her dogs taking up the whole rest of the car.” Maybe they’ll adopt their own giant dog and give those that are hard to adopt another look.

New Year, Same Old Us

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I gave up my half-hearted attempts in about 5th grade when I failed, again, to keep my desk clean and organized. I’m good with goals, though. I dig the connotation that goes with “goals.” If I meet a goal, I get a reward or something.

This year I want to put my goals out there for a little accountability. It also provides an excuse to write another list, so, win! Add in the dogs and it is a double win!

  1. Have at least one dog pass the test to graduate group obedience classes. Drake and Haas are now the bad boy bunch with Percy causing minimal issues these days. I would love for Drake to stop hitting and for Haas to not eat my home from the foundation up. Obedience classes should be a great start.
  2. I am going to take each dog for a walk at least once per week. Hmmm. I think part of my brain may be trying to sneak in a fitness resolution. Fine. We’re not running and absolutely no burpees!
  3. Start my own YouTube channel with anti tutorials for quilting. It would be a “what not to do” so beginners feel better. On second thought, that might lead to profanity which is not a good example for my students. Maybe I will just settle for making dog beds for the demons.
  4. (I like odd numbers and wanted to stop at 3, but my most excellent mother hates them and I don’t want her to either throw things at me or to stop reading so…) I will untie my shoes before I take them off.

The dogs don’t seem to make any goals except to see how gassy they can be before we make them go outside. Do you have any goals for this bright and shiny new year? Let me know in the comments below! Like and subscribe today! (I’m practicing in case I ever start a weird YouTube channel but I would still love to read your goals or reasons not to have them)

Meri, Meri, Quite Contrary…Quit tormenting me.

Meri is one of our original terrible two on four feet. I don’t write about her much because I prefer the dogs. Before Meri, I was a cat person, but it is only 90% her fault that I’m not crazy about her.

When the husband I were still newly together a hundred and a half years ago, we adopted a cat, Bosco. He was my baby and spoiled rotten until I became pregnant with the Mayor of Angstville (Oldest Child). Then, Bosco spurned my company and remained annoyed with me for about three and a half years. When Youngest Child showed up, all was forgiven as she was his baby so I wasn’t quite so awful. Those two were thick as thieves until Bosco’s stroke and subsequent passing.

Between the husband’s cat allergies and my grieving heart, I didn’t want another cat, at least for a while. When we went fishing at a trout park that following summer, we came home not with fish but a cat. This is the 10% that isn’t her fault. Meri didn’t choose her timing.

The kids fell in love with the pretty beggar who deigned accept their offerings of cheese and lunchmeat. Despite my objections, she came home with us and now bears the name of the trout park. Meri loved Dad and tolerated the kids. She and I clashed immediately. Meri hated when I was on any form of technology and demonstrated her displeasure by sneaking up and biting the back of my head. It happened more than once, to the delight of the other humans.

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I imagine Meri is contemplating my destruction in this photo.

It’s been a few years now and the hag and I have come to a bit of a truce. I let her out when the boys are free and she gives warning before trying to impersonate a zombie and eating my brain.

I have noticed that Meri’s relationship with the family is quite different from the boys and our previous feline. We all have full conversations with the cat and seldom are they happy. It’s not unusual to hear an argument from the other parts of the house. HOw a six-pound cat gets such volume is impressive. Most of them consist of something like this:

Human: You’ve already been fed twice today. NO. MORE.

Meri: No!

Human: Yes, you have!

Meri: NO, MROW!

Human: Too bad, Hag.

Meri: NO! (then sounds I am pretty sure are profanity)

Human: Do you want to go out? The boys are out back.

Meri: Merow, no, now, yowl

Cat heads out the front door and all is peaceful…until the boys come back in.

Meri is pretty, though, and has the softest fur I have ever petted. I admire her self-confidence. I don’t like her. She’s terrible, but she isn’t going anywhere.

Percy is no longer the most obnoxious dog in the house.

If Drake was human, he’d be a 3 year old. I am not figuring “dog years.” I am judging this based on behavior. Lately he has been hitting a new high of obnoxiousness. I still love him, but oh, my!

Partially due to training and partially due to just age, my giant pain who is Percy is calming down. Drake, however, is ramping up the terrible. He is currently declaring his annoyance at not being allowed to go outside. It’s noisy in here.

Someone is accessing our backyard so Drake has to spend a whole hour not getting to do what he wants when he wants. It starts with soft, high-pitched whines that morph into a strange howl/bark at the door. This dog is never quiet. When Drake is left alone for a whole ten minutes without attention from man or beast, he climbs up on the couch, flops down with his head on the arm and sighs his distress. Then, he groans a long drawn out moan like someone told the boys cheese was no longer a thing. 

Drake doesn’t even sleep quietly. Unlike Percy, Drake enjoys his naps. Often we hear barks, yips, yelps, and something that rather resembles the eventual draining of a clogged bathtub.

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Life is dark and meaningless when you can’t do what you want.

Then, there’s the slapping. I’ve never had a dog who slapped people and other canines when he was miffed. I’ve experienced that behavior with cats, but not dogs. I can’t even blame the evil Meri for that bad habit because she avoids the boys without fail. Earlier, Drake and I were having a discussion about appropriate behavior. He had his sweet face on and was draped upside down over my lap. (For some reason, he prefers to spend most of his downtime on his back.) I explained that slapping and hitting wasn’t okay and he needed to stop. Haas walked up to investigate and Drake whacked him across the face mid-lecture. Obviously, this dog listens well. When I threatened to ground him, he smacked my arm. Drake is currently in his crate to calm down.

This is a radical change from the independent, nonviolent, slightly stand-offish boy we brought home 10 months ago. I am telling myself he is just now comfortably settling in but I will be glad when this toddler phase passes.

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Drake in nicer days.

 

Why I do the things I do

This week I didn’t have a plan for what I wanted to write. It’s not that the boys didn’t do something strange or disgusting. They did. It’s not that we didn’t experience triumphs in training. We did. I didn’t have a plan or start gathering ideas. This is unusual for me. I like writing, sometimes. I love writing, most of the time. This week I was just going to take a pass. Few people would miss my weekly musings.

So, why am I writing so many words just to say “I’m not doing it and you can’t make me”? It’s not like I am getting a grade for this or making any money. I’m not. There is still some meandering before I get to the point. I figure my few-but-tremendously-appreciated readers have three choices. 1. Keep reading to follow the somewhat questionable path of my musings. 2. say “This chick is weirder than eating Reese’s pieces and mozzarella as a snack so I am leaving the table. Call me when you have a cute dog picture” and then bow out. 3. Skip to the last paragraph for the punchline/answer.  Do you, darlin. No judgement here. I love you whatever you choose.

I started writing this blog for a couple of reasons. Both are self-serving. I wanted to write as a way to maintain my mental health. I have to be better at taking care of myself if I want to help others. Writing helps me not overthink everything. The other reason was to minimize how many people had to hear yet another dog story but still get to talk about one of my favorite subjects.

I realized I was overdoing it when someone at school noted: “there’s always a dog story.” My excuse was that Percy was my Genius Hour/Passion Project I complete along with the kids so it was school related. People were getting tired of it. I didn’t want to annoy people or become tiresome, but I still wanted to share my delight in my dogs. Thus, I started this site. People could laugh at my boys, scoff at my frustrations, or just ignore it if they wanted to. It’s fine.

This brings me to tonight. If I didn’t want to write, why is this here? It’s Percy. He’s the reason. Tonight I sat on the couch not wanting to write, not wanting to play with the boys, not wanting to grade or vacuum or do laundry or the other million things on my list. Percy brought me a rope. Hard pass on catch tonight. He gave kisses. No. He knows me better than I do, though.

Big brown eyes keep staring at me and he keeps putting pressure on my legs and shoulders. I didn’t train him to do this and I am sure it is coincidental, but it helps me feel better when I am not quite feeling right. Every few minutes, he makes eye contact with me. It makes me feel loved.

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Just write, Mom. You know you want to.

This is why the boys are worth a muddy house right now and overworked dustpan and vacuum cleaner. They always make me feel loved. For those who can’t have pets for whatever reason, I’m sorry you miss this.

Percy (and Drake and Haas) made me write even if I didn’t want to. I wrote for me. I wrote to show how thankful I am for Percy, Drake and Haas. They let me be part of their pack. I still don’t like the cat. I bet yours is wonderful and I like cats in general. Mine happens to be just terrible. But that’s another post for another day…

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Drake and Haas “sharing” the couch. Haas now knows how Mom feels when he sleeps with her.

Today’s list

This is the time of year that can be a challenge.

First: the weather.  Will it be 80 when I get out of school or do I need a parka? Will my backyard be a lake or… nope, the backyard will be a lake. I like to refer to this time of year as “carpet shampooer season.” It becomes my best friend and the only way to avoid growing a mud monster of my very own.

Second: Parent-teacher conferences. It’s not that I want to avoid parent contact. I get to tell parents how great their kids are. It’s the long days. At the 12 hour mark, I am feeling as if I have been away from home for forty years. I’m too introverted for that. The worst part of those long days is that I miss my trouble-making boys. For some reason, I am not allowed to pack up 250 pounds of dog and bring them to school. I know it isn’t a good idea, anyway. Drake is in a slapping phase. I hope it is a phase, anyway. I’ve never known a dog who got annoyed and hit whoever or whatever he was mad at. I caught him trying to smack Oldest Child the other day just because he didn’t want to go to bed. It’s better than biting, but why are my dogs so weird? Maybe a couple long days will be a good thing.

Third: Campaigning politicians. The television and Spotify ads are bad enough but now they are coming to my door. Normally a giant head that fills the window next to the door is enough to deter even the most persistent politician. The barking helps. Then, if they see all 3 of my boys through the storm door and still want to talk, I am impressed. Today’s visitor was smart. She complimented my boys and even remembered their names. Maybe I’ll remember hers in return.

Now I am off to spend some extra cuddle time with the terrors so I can stockpile the love for the rest of the week.

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This is a rare picture. It features both Dad and all three dogs being calm! I checked to see but it isn’t snowing…