Tag Archives: play

Pretty Thoughts for the Season

Yesterday was a glorious fall day in the DC Metro Area. DH usually does morning walk duty with Sadie and Dub, but yesterday I bolted shamelessly from my side of the bed to volunteer. And by shameless, I mean that I muscled through the shame I felt to get what I wanted. On days when I don’t have to be anywhere, playing with the dogs out while DH makes breakfast for Pebbles and Bam Bam is a mouthwatering luxury, and DH knows it. Add an overpriced cup of coffee, and the minivan practically drives itself to the dog run.

Right. I drove them to the dog run. It undermines one of my primary excuses for getting the dogs (to encourage exercise) but supports the other – the play side.

Nothing marvelous or extraordinary occurred while we played. Dogs sniffed and were sniffed, Frisbees were caught. But my three-dollar coffee tasted SO good between chucks of Dub’s slobbery, muddy tennis ball into the glinting sunlight. And all while Sadie mosied about sharing the love, as she as wont to do whenever friendly strangers are in her midst. Sadie is the Blanche DuBois of dog run visitors.

"I've always depended on the kindess of, well, you know..."

With all the unmitigated quiet in my head, I had the presence to ask myself why I loved this moment so much. I didn’t used to love this moment. Not with giddy enthusiasm, anyway. When we lived in Manhattan with Samson, and DH was traveling for work, I could be positively grudging as I buttoned my coat up to my nose while waiting at the coffee cart with our first Brittany. I’d spill half the coffee down my sleeve and curse a blue streak while I trudged to the run at Riverside and 105th. Then I’d drink what was left while Samson poked his nose through the iron fence and pointed squirrels on the other side. Feeling guilty for having a hunting dog in the city, I’d let him out of the run (after checking carefully for park police) to chase local vermin, and then inevitably, he’d gallop away and I would spend the next 15 minutes running about in a tearful panic, hoping he didn’t make it all the way to 96th street and try to cross….   

That was the worry of my life in those days — Samson getting creamed by the cars turning off of West Side Highway onto Riverside Drive. I was getting my MFA, and one memorable morning, Samson’s self-guided hunting expodition made me nearly late for a seminar where I would get to meet Arthur Miller, up close and personal. I thought I was going to KILL him. (Samson, not Mr. Miller. I almost leapt across the table and kissed Mr. Miller on the lips, so brimming with life and creative potential was I on that fall day…)

As I picked up a steaming pile of poop before we headed home yesterday, I drew the somewhat reluctant conclusion that Sadie and Dub inspire nostalgia for more carefree days. Once I got them loaded into the back of the minivan, I edited that thought. They help me be more care-free today.

It’s pretty to think so, anyway.

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Filed under Brittanys, literature, writing

More Than a Feeling

This one’s going out to my well-intentioned mother, who I’m pretty sure still doesn’t quite get why we insist on having animals in our house.  

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Filed under Adopting Dogs, Humor

All Joy and No Fun?

I am not crazy.

I read an article in New York Magazine today and it’s in there. Somewhere in the article is what I’ve been trying to explain to people about this decision to get two Brittanys while working, raising two kids, and trying to keep my marriage from going into the great, gray Netherland of ambivalence. 

“It’s so hot,” I said to DH tonight, ripping into a bottle of white wine. “This weather is just… completely unreasonable. It really is, don’t you think? Unreasonable?”

DH nodded.

“I can smell myself,” I muttered. “I’m sick of smelling myself.” I sniffed. I groaned.

“Me too,” he said.

“You’re sick of smelling yourself, or sick of smelling me?”

He nodded again.

And before we could laugh or even make eye contact, Bam Bam and Pebbles started fighting and pushing over whose crown was whose in their new silly band collection.

The New York Magazine article confirms all of this. Parenthood is a grind. We do have moments of mind-blowing joy with the girls and these, to be fair, are not so few and far between. But it’s also hard work of the constant and mind-numbing variety.  In the middle of an important meeting, my shoulders can knot instantly over a maternal brain fart: you still didn’t submit the medical forms for kindergarten registration, or send the evite for Bam-Bam’s pool party!  And any attempts DH and I make to escape from daily life — when we try to fool ourselves into thinking we’re as fun, interesting, or driven as we once were — are folly. The plain truth is, we are on a domestic death march for the next 16 years.

Then there are Sadie and Dub. They inspire within me great joy and comfort that whispers to hell with it … in perfectly reasonable, daily doses.  I mean, I might as well march along (toward death? toward paying college tuition?)  in step with those things that offer random moments of disassociated delight, right? And peace.  Like yesterday evening, when I walked my two lively, panting, grinning dogs through the woods. I’m still filling an obligation to another creature! It’s productive! It’s even exercise! I watched them nose each other, take turns in the lead, reassure our little pack through body language that we were doing the right thing; that is, we were all having fun.

Because with 30-60 minutes of free time a day, my brain can’t even begin to focus on an intellectual activity. I have no chance of being interesting. Am I gonna knit?  Read 12 pages of a worthy novel or take half a yoga class?

Fuck it. I just want to have fun during the precious moments that belong solely to me.

Read it: All Joy and No Fun.  You’re welcome to come play with the dogs anytime.

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Filed under Kids, Marriage

Welcome to The Play Side

You’ll call this sentimental–perhaps–but then a dog somehow represents the private side of life, the play side.

Virginia Woolf

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Filed under literature