Friday, August 30, 2013

My Strange and wonderful Spaniel Part: 747

It's been quite a while since we've had an installment from the Strange and Wonderful Spaniel series. It's not that she hasn't done anything strange and/or wonderful, it's just there's been so much going on that I keep forgetting to write it down. So, what has the little fluffy nut been up to that warrants a Strange and Wonderful Spaniel segment?
Hermione Sophia is a girl. We all know that right? She knows that. She acts very prissy and I'm pretty sure if she were a human, she'd be one of those little girls who always wore frilly pink dresses. She'd probably want to be in beauty pageants too or a ballerina. That way, everyone could admire her beautifulness and grace.
Also as a testament to her girliness, all unaltered boy dogs are very interested in her. She's spayed, but for some reason she attracts them. Do you remember Joey? We saw him at the park the other night and he was doing his bestest to woo the ever unwooable Hermione Sophia. We've also come across this miniature Poodle named Shadow who is absolutely smitten with her. It got so bad I had to leash her and run away. His mom wouldn't take a hint. But, that's not the point of this post.
My point is that, Hermione is undoubtedly a girl and a girlie, princess girl at that.
However, she's developed this strange habit that makes me shake my head every time she does it.
Does everyone remember the struggle I had potty training Hermione? I think there are a lot of reasons for that, but that's for another day. Well, thankfully, she's completely house trained and always lets me know by yelling at me, that she has to go out. I'm so proud of her figuring out that she needs to be verbal that the yelling doesn't even irritate me. I don't know how she figured out that "woof woof" means mom will take me out, but she did and she is quite insistent about it. She won't stop "woof woofing" until I get off my butt and take her out.
We moved in stages from not saying anything at all and just peeing to woofing and if mom ignores my first woof then I pee. To then, woofing until mom gets the stinking picture and she takes me out. It took me a while to figure out her signals because Hermione can be quite a vocal dog and it was difficult for me to understand that she wasn't barking because she wanted a toy that was under the couch.
Anyway, now that we have our communication sorted-well, now that I understand her-she does her business outside. This, is not her strange behavior. It's a wonderful behavior I suppose. Since she's figured out a way to tell her blind mom that she needs out, but the strange part is that...
she lifts her leg when she pees.
I'm not talking kind of pulls it out of the way or leans sideways. She literally cocks her leg like a boy and pees. My boy dogs don't even do this. Okay, Roscoe has started lifting his leg more recently, but Otis doesn't and he's not even neutered yet.
I don't know where she learned this behavior since, as I just said, the boys don't really do it. Maybe she does it to move her beautiful feathers out of the way? I've seen her cock her leg when she's pointing at a bird or even an insect, but it's just been in the last two months or so that she consistently lifts her leg when peeing. I suppose I'll never know why, but it's just one of the reasons why she is my strange and wonderful Spaniel.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Attempted R and R

I now realise why spas make so much stinking money. I've always loved going to the spa, but figured if I can make my own soaks and wraps, then I should just do them for myself. Sure, there's something to be said for a nice massage which you can't give yourself, but massage college ruined me for massages. I'm really picky now about massages because I know too much and I'm afraid to spend money on something I'm going to hate for an entire hour. So, I've just steered away from them since graduating. However, I've always enjoyed a nice long bath with smelly things in the water-good smelly, not Nala rolled n fox poop smelly-or just soaking my feet.
When Tenie used to live nearby, wherever we lived, we used to do "feeties" once a week or so. This meant, feet soaking, nail painting, foot massaging it was great. ever since she's left, I don't really have a "feeties" partner anymore. Carmen paints my toes, but the rest just isn't a part of it any longer.
I've been having this painful nagging in my right foot for some time now and really need to look after it. A massage is probably in order, but that just isn't going to happen any time soon since we have to worry about dog yearly vaccinations and such right now. I've been using one of Hermione's unused tennis balls to roll my foot on and it's helped, but if I do any amount of walking, the foot hurts something fierce especially the next day. These are all symptoms that Plantarfascitis-definitely  spelled that wrong- starting and that is the last thing anyone wants or needs. So, after a day full of walking and one client yesterday, I decided that I needed to bust out my giant mixing bowl and soak my feet in Epson salt. If you've never used Epson, salt I strongly suggest you go out and buy yourself some. There are so many amazing things you can do with Epson salt and its healing properties are unbelievable.
I  got to work assembling the things I would need for a luxurious foot soak giant bowl full of hot water, Epson and Dead sea salts, essential oil of my choice (last night I chose cinnamon) and a towel to cover the floor. There always tends to be splashing no matter how careful I try to be. While the bowl was filling I laid the towel out in front of the spot where I wanted to sit. Just as I turned around to head back into the kitchen to check on my hot water situation, Nala promptly began circling as if to lie down on the fluffy towel. I told her to "off" pointed to the "dog couch," said "bed" and she hopped up. Not three seconds after I left the living room, she had gone back and sprawled out. I eventually convinced her that the dog couch was much more comfortable.
Once the water was hot enough an the bowl was full, I grabbed a wooden spoon and began stirring the rest of my "ingredients" into the water. I wasn't gone long and really "gone" doesn't really describe anything. Our kitchen is practically the same room as our living room and is this tiny space that only one person can stand in. I walked back out into the living room, bowl in hands, and found that my towel was missing. I returned the bowl to the kitchen and checked the living room rug and found that Otis had scrunched it up so he could sleep on it. I moved him off and put the towel back down and went back to get my foot soak. Upon arrival  back in my spot, I discovered that the towel  had vanished again. Back to put the water on the counter and back to find the towel being used as a death shaking toy for Hermione.  Removal of towel, return to spot, get bowl and practically run back to the towel, praying that I wouldn't dump the water. Thankfully, on this third attempt, my towel was where it was supposed to be an I was able to set the bowl down. However, Nala soon decided that I had lied about the dog couch and that she wanted to lay on my feet.
Problem was, my feet were currently occupied. So, she flopped down as much on the towel as possible and leaned her entire weight into the bowl. I had horrific visions of hot water and essential oil sloshing all over her, but thankfully, the water stayed contained.
I spent the next little while with feet soaking, Nala snoring pressed up against the bowl and the rest of the dogs snoozing away. It turned out to be a relaxing time, but the effort to get there was ridiculous.
I can now see why people go out of their homes and pay for someone else to do these things for them. I may not have kids, but my dogs serve just as well. My feet feel so much better and I'll have to soak them again tonight, but I think I may just use the bath tub this time.
Then again, Otis and Rufio like baths, maybe they'll get in there with me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Delicate and Dainty...

...she is not.
Nala maybe agile in her harness, but once the working gear comes off and she is released for a free run, all grace, ease and agility goes out the window. She is probably one of the most clumsy dogs I have ever met. She's fast, but I have seen her slide on her face down a hill more times than I can count. She falls off of walls that she tries to jump on; trips over her own paws when running; tramples unsuspecting doggie victims because she can't slow down fast enough; and is a "bull in a china shop" in all senses of the phrase. Last night's free run was a perfect example.
Last evening, Carmen came and met me and we took all four dogs for a very much needed run. Usually, I walk two at a time on my own, or sometimes just one at a time, but they all seem to really enjoy when they all can let loose together. All bets are off once those leashes come off. Otis stays on leash until we get to the leg of our walk that takes us through the park because he's not fast enough to come back if a cyclist comes flying out of nowhere. Not to mention, the little bum is a garbage can on four, stumpy legs and consumes everything he walks past. He'd eat himself sick if I left him to his own devices; sucking down dried leaves, twigs and grass as he charged past. It's amazing how he can eat on the run. The funny thing is, that little, short fellow is more graceful than Nala is, and that's saying something. Frenchies aren't exactly known for their agility. So, my point was that, leashes off and dogs take off, but Otis trots along on leash until we reach the park.
There is a lot of standing and therefore stagnant water along the cycling trail that we try our hardest to keep the dogs out of and from drinking. We know these spots so always grab collars and walk the two big dogs past. That's another reason why Otis stays on leash. If we pass any of those water spots and he's free, his little French Piggie instincts kick in and he's off hoovering mud/water/sludge down as fast as he can. We managed to get past the two first sludge pools unscathed and met up with a little Chocolate Lab. She was 11 months old and considerably smaller than my two brutes. However, their size did not deter her and we spent some time letting the three big dogs chase each other around. Eventually, her Dad moved on, but she refused to follow; she was having just way too much fun with Ranger Roscoe and Princess Graceful. So, we followed along, assuming that they would turn down a different branch of the path. But, that was not the case.
The dogs thundered through the under brush, Nala crashing, thrashing and bull dozing her way through. Hermione pranced after them, but was smart enough to stay out of the way of Nala's stamping feet. At one point all three Lab, or Lab crosses in Nala's case, disappeared and I had to bust out the whistle to get them to come back. Strangely enough, Ranger Roscoe was the first to appear, galloping towards me with his ears flapping and tongue lolling. He skidded to a halt in front of me and sat patiently waiting for his recall treat. It took Nala and little chocolate girl much longer to reappear. In fact, Roscoe had already returned, sat, had his treat and been sent off before the other two came crashing out of the trees. The little Chocolate girl prancing daintily along while my moose flailed and stomped her way to me. Upon arrival, I caught a whiff of something awful and automatically knew that their interest had been caught by something much more interesting than the pouch full of kibble I had. Someone had rolled in fox poop.
Trying not to touch anyone's face, because that is usually the area they shove into the funky stuff, I managed to determine that it was my perfect Golden angel who was the stinky culprit. Again, I was surprised it wasn't Roscoe who had rolled in it because he loves fox poop. Nala probably body slammed him out of the way. After that smelly business, I figured all bets were off. Forget trying to keep them out of the water and the mud. Nala was going to need a bath anyway. It also had just rained so I was hoping that the water would be less stinky and would wash the fox gunk off of her face. Maybe the long wet grass would help too?
As we carried on, Chocolate girl's dad kept trying to separate himself from us, but his little muffin kept coming back to us to play. Nala even introduced her to the joy of splashing enthusiastically through belly deep water. At first I felt bad, but her dad informed me that she had swam across the river the other day and he had to wade in after her to get her back. So, perhaps, my dog didn't corrupt her. The mad frolicking continued, with Nala face planting as she came hurtling down a tree covered hill; rolling ass over tea kettle after her attempt to leap on to a wall failed; and skittering to a stop just in time before she knocked me over after coming back to the whistle.
"And, that is what happens when a working dog is off duty." I joked to carmen as I sent my poop smeared, mud covered, soaking wet guide dog off again after a perfect recall.
"Do guide dogs get off duty time?" Chocolate Lab's dad asks.
"Yep. You're looking at it." I said, nodding my head towards the dog who was once Yellow charging down the cycling path at top speeds; mud flying, drool streaming and fox poop stinking.
Our walk continued on from there with Chocolate girl and her dad carrying on their own way and us heading into the park. Nala was still running hard, but I think a lot of her pent up energy had burned off and she wasn't quite as clumsy. I think part of it comes from her being so excited that her paws can't keep up with her brain. Not to mention, she is a really cute dog, but the Golden Retriever in her gives her this barrel-like body and she has Labrador legs which makes me wonder if her coordination is a bit off because of her shape. She's not exactly aero dynamic.
Miraculously, by the time we got home, all evidence of the fox poop, including its awful smell, was gone. She was still pretty muddy and wet, but a good rub down with a towel took care of that. She's probably due a bath, but I'll wait a bit before going down that road. I'm sure we'll be out running relatively soon and she'll get all gross again.
Roscoe and Hermione required a good towelling too, but Otis was perfectly dry and clean. I was a bit surprised by this since he loves him some mud, but I think the park was relatively mud free. So, Otis didn't get the chance to get too dirty.
I think it was a relatively successful outing. All four dogs are completely "knackered"" as the British would say-all snoring away. I think Nala is particularly worn out, but I think she probably ran the hardest...and rolled/thrashed/flailed/crashed the hardest, so it's probably justified.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Totally Smitten

It's been about five months since Nala and I qualified (AKA graduated). It's amazing how quickly some relationships come together and how easy it's been with her. Jetta and I eventually worked well together, but it took over a year before the two of us were completely bonded. I don't think Nala and I are fully bonded yet, but we're definitely on our way. She never ceases to amaze and surprise me and I really appreciate her.
Yesterday we headed to the Pilates studio. My first client showed up early so I took a cab there instead of walking. I would have preferred to walk-I just like the exercise and it also chills Nala out while I'm massaging-but I didn't want to leave the client sitting there too long. Nala was a bit restless for the first 15 minutes of the massage or so, just shifting positions a lot and sighing, but she soon settled in. I didn't have much time between client 1 and client 2, so she just stayed lying at the foot of the massage table while I changed the sheets and talked to the second client. I had more time between client 2 and 3 and I was also alone in the studio by then, so I took her leash and harness off to let her roam about while I got ready for the next person. The funny thing is though, she didn't go very far at all. She did poke her nose into a garbage can at one point, but a "hey, leave it" from me sent her trotting on. She made one circuit of the studio, checking things out and returned back to me. She stood and watched as I changed the sheets and then I went and sat on a little couch that is in the waiting area. I thought with her gear off she'd wander around a bit more, but instead she curled herself into a ball at my feet and stayed there until client 3 arrived.
Both of my previous dogs would have wandered off and probably gotten into something they should not have. If not, they would have found a spot to lay down in that wasn't on my feet. It made me feel good knowing that she had the choice to be elsewhere, but she chose to sit with me. She was excellent for clients 3 and 4., Aside from some light "woofing" in her sleep you'd never know she was there. Thankfully all of my clients thus far have been dog people and think her deep sighs, snuffles and sleep woofing are cute.
After a fairly full day, I cleaned up the treatment room and headed home. Nala was definitely keen to be on her way and did a great job navigating rush hour. As we walked I began to notice that I let her make more decisions than I ever let my first two dogs make. If she chose a certain path to walk, I didn't question her and just let her go along. I've learned that there's a difference between keeping on your dog and making sure it doesn't misbehave and letting the dog take the lead, so to speak. For example, on the way home there comes a point where you can either turn left and walk down a busy street home, or you can turn right and walk behind the buildings along a pedestrian cobble stone street. Nala always likes going right and I just let her. I give her the cue any way so that she doesn't think she's doing whatever she wants, but ultimately, I let her guide me the way she wants to go. It can also get confusing back on that cobble stone street and I used to make Glacier walk a very specific path, but with Nala I let her pick the path and she does a much better job than I ever did. Of course there are times when she decides to be naughty, like when she stopped to slurp a little kid on the nose when we were walking by, and those are the times when I am supposed to stop her or re-direct her so we can carry on.
I don't know if there's more trust there between both of us. she likes working and that makes it easy to like working with her. I feel like somehow we've worked out the balance of dog doing her job and human overseeing that job and that allows us to work really well together. It also seems like when we go out and work, just the two of us for the day, we are even more bonded by the time we get home.
I'm totally smitten with this dog of course, but even more so with the amazing working relationship we have even after such a short time. She makes me feel like we could move mountains together.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fringe Festival

Yesterday Carmen and I went into the city centre to join the throngs of people out experiencing the Fringe Festival. This festival takes place every year in Edinburgh and is one of the biggest festivals in the world. When we first moved here, Fringe was going on, but it was the tail end and Mr. K and I thought that we weren't quite ready for anything like that since we were all jet laged and such. Last summer we weren't really motivated to go because it can be really crowded, but this year I vowed that I would go down at least once. So, Carmen and I went.
I left Nala at home and brought the dreaded white stick because I was worried Nala would get trampled. I also thought that it might be a bit too stressful for her. It's funny how you grow and mature as a handler. If this had been the Jetta era, I would have taken her with me, crowds be damned, but I've come to realise that sometimes it's better for the dog to stay home. I think it helps preserve their working life and we all know that I have all body parts crossed for this working relationship to last a long time.
We didn't pay to get into any of the shows. There are comedy acts, plays and concerts going on constantly, but there are also a lot of free things you can experience as well. Also, for me, just being in the atmosphere of it all was what I was looking for. We wandered along the streets, examining what the vendors were selling and stopping to listen to a few street musicians. It's all sanctioned and everyone has to have a license to perform on the street. There was one fiddle player, who I assume was from Ireland, who was really good. He played the fiddle and accompanied himself on a drum that he hit with his foot. There was also a female piper we stopped to listen to. I'm sure there are women who play the bagpipes, but she's the first I've seen since we moved here. There were also several guitar players/singers, clowns, some guy making balloon animals and pretty much any other kind of performer you can think of. At one point a group of actors, trying to promote their evening performance came rushing past yelling and hollering while one of their cast members was being pushed along in a grocery cart. anything goes in Fringe. There was even one guy who paints portraits using spray paint. I've heard of him before and we stopped to watch him.
A lot of the vendors were selling jewelry or hand made crafts such as wood working and knitted items. Some of it was really nice stuff, and some of it was crap. There was one necklace I fell in love with that I stood holding for about ten minutes trying to figure out how to make it myself. The guy was asking fifty pounds for it which I was not about to pay, since I know I could make it for less than half of that. Sneaky salesman though, handing me one of the most expensive items. There was a guy who made bee and humming bird hotels; someone else who made jewelry that was insect themed; hand painted scarves; people selling prints of their paintings and so much more. I can't count how many vendors had Scottish themed products such as tweed jewelry, bags, furniture Etc. The thistle was out in full force on magnets, hats, prints, scarves, bottle openers Etc. It would have been really easy to spend way too much money, but I am proud to say that I only paid for bus fare and threw a few pounds into some of the musicians' open cases. I really don't need more stuff.
By the time we had spent just over three hours browsing items, listening to performers and attempting to avoid death by trampling, I had definitely had my fill of the Fringe atmosphere. I'm really glad we went and I'm glad to say that I was there, but I really don't need to go back. I grabbed the business cards of a few of the vendors that I liked, like the woman who made the insect inspired jewelry-mostly because she had fairies she had made-and I'll just look them up online.
As for Nala she was all sorts of excited when I got home, as was all of the other fuzzy creatures. I think she was a bit put out that I didn't take her, but I think if she knew what she was missing, she wouldn't have been so miffed

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Morning

I have said many times that I really enjoy mornings. I think I need to amend that statement a bit: I enjoy mornings when it's too early for anyone else to be awake. That's mostly true for where we're living right now. Most mornings I get all of the dogs out before the work goers and school crowds are out, but this morning I managed to get out right in the thick of it. It totally stressed me out.
Someone had left an entire spare tire lying on the sidewalk in the middle of the night and I tripped over it. Otis and Hermione want to greet everyone and most people at that time of the morning don't even want to smile at the people passing them. Someone else left a giant garbage bag  full of what I can only assume was clothes or blankets in front of our flat building door. I tripped over that too. Then, there was some idiot riding their bike down the sidewalk who had the nerve to ding her bell at me and then say irritatedly "excuse me." That last one really got me because the sidewalk is the one place where I should be safe from cyclists. I've been hit by one crossing the street in front of our flat and so many have nearly run me over or been rude when down on the multi-purpose use path (which the cyclists think belongs to them), but there should not be cyclists on the sidewalk. I nearly flung the freshly picked up poop I was tying off at her.
However, despite all of that, I got inside and something clicked. It was all my perception this morning. I could let those things ruin my entire day or I could move on. The thought struck me as I folded a freshly washed sheet, still smelling of laundry soap and the coffee brewing fragrantly in the kitchen. Once the sheets were folded, I popped a cinnamon raisin bagel into the toaster and the aromas of that mixed with the coffee and clean laundry made me calm down and realise that there are more important things to worry about in life; things I can control. There were things that needed to get done and stewing on why some moron was driving on the sidewalk wasn't going to help.
Not every day can a person pull themselves out of a slump, but it's pretty amazing how powerful your own positive thoughts are.
Since my olfactory "Ahah" moment, I've managed to throw a load of laundry in the dryer, get my dissertation work done for the day, work on some travel arrangements and just calm down. I think the latter is the most important right now. I've been running on "Jess whirlwind" speed for a few days now and if I want to continue to be productive, and sane, I need to breathe in the coffee and cinnamon raisin bagel fumes and calm down.
Do you ever have those times in your life when you put yourself on over drive without realising it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rufacus Maximus

I knew it wouldn't be long before our newest family member would be given his very own nickname. We can't seem to name our animals one thing and stick to it. But, I think this one is quite fitting. Well, I suppose they are all fitting, but let me explain why Rufio is sometimes fondly called "Rufacus Maximus."
I don't know if you have ever seen Siberian cats, but they are big. Most domesticated cats won't ever reach 20 LBS and be healthy, but the Siberians do. Rufio is nearly six months old and he is basically the size of a regular cat. Of course he's not quite filled out yet and very much looks like a gangly teenager, but the length of his body and height is basically that of a full grown cat. Hence, the "Maximus" part.
Rufio has also discovered that he is a great hunter. Siberians are known for their jumping abilities. The way their hind legs are designed in relation to their front legs, means that these cats, despite their larger size, can jump great heights. Rufio can jump clear off the floor and land on the kitchen counter that is higher than my waist; much to our dismay. He's been able to do that for a while now, but recently he's become more coordinated and his put his great jumping skills to work.
In the UK windows dont' come with screens to keep creep crawlies out. At first when we moved here I couldn't understand why, but now I do. Because most of the buildings are historical it is impossible to make standard screens that fit all windows. If companies had to make screens, they would not be able to keep up with the customization of it all. Not to mention, i they could the price o the things would be astronomical. So, when you actually get warm weather in Scotland and you have to open yoru windows, be prepared for little visitors to fly in. These visitors usually drive Hermione crazy. Her little Spaniel instincts kick in and she hunts the bugs down. The problem is that they all flew just out of her reach. Now however, Hermione does not have to be teased by the pesky flyers any longer. Rufacus Maximus is on the job.
Last night, Rufio was lying on the couch with Mr. K while Mr. K talked to his mom on the phone. As per the normal recently, our living room window was open and a giant moth that could potentially make off with someone's small child flew in the window. I dont' know why but moths freak me out. They're harmless sure, but they're all fluttery and they run into you...and....eeeewwwww!
Well, Rufio spotted this new intruder and instead of stalking it around the room, trying to swipe it unsuccessfully out of the air, he leapt off the couch from a lying position and snagged the unsuspecting victim straight out of the air. Now that is some mad hunting/jumping skill. Hermione had gone to bed with me by that point, otherwise I think she would have finished the job on the ground. Since she wasn't around, Rufio promptly murdered and devoured the moth and went back to snuggling with Mr. K on the couch. I think our days of rogue bugs are over.
So, you see. Not only does Rufio's size, but his blood thirsty, bug murdering skills make him appropriately nicknamed Rufacus.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Bad Blogger

It always seems like the summer months my blogging regularity drops off. I've looked back over the history of this blog and it's the same nearly every single year. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's the nice weather that keeps me outside as opposed to tied to my laptop or maybe life is just busier in the summer. Whatever it is, it's been much too long since I last wrote.
I'm a bad blogger.
So, what's been happening?
Well, first thing is first: Mr. K came home from the hospital, but we still have no idea what's going on. He's still uncomfortable, but we're waiting for some test results to come back. Hopefully, we'll know soon and the poor guy can get some help.
Massaging is going great. I don't have a huge client base yet, but I've had a few repeat clients and my hot stone kit arrived this week. That means I can start giving people hot stone massages. If I could massage myself with the things I would. If you've never had a hot stone massage, might I suggest you get one. If done properly, they are the most Heavenly thing; even better than chocolate. I'm really enjoying the work and the treatment room is perfect. It is a bit small, but it's not any smaller than the cubicles we had to use in massage college.
Nala's a super star too. She just lies in her spot during the whole massage and doesn't move. Every once in a while the quiet is interrupted by one of her big sighs, but it sounds like a sigh of relaxation and not boredom. We walk to and from work and it's about 2.5 miles each way. We both enjoy the walk and she, of course, is a superstar in that arena as well. She finds poles so I can cross, ignores dogs, navigates obstacles and somehow gets around all of the construction that seems to be constantly everywhere.
As for the rest of the fuzzies: everyone is good. Otis has discovered that he's a boy dog and so we are thinking that the big "snip, snip" is in order. He's fine most of the time, but honestly, a day before and after the full moon and he's a complete nut. He follows Hermione around, drooling all over her fur and trying to woo her. She's certainly not interested. Not to mention, she's fixed.
Rufio is growing up so fast. He turns six months in about a week and it's amazing how big he's gotten. His colouring is really starting to show and you can see all of the pretty highlights he has. He's getting a bit cheeky though and we suspect he's moving into a sort of teenagerish stage.
Roscoe and Hermione are good too. We've talked about taking Hermione to be trimmed. I had originally thought that I didn't want her fur cut because once you cut it you will always have to cut it, but she's got some wild hair. She's really good about letting me brush her out, but as soon as I get close to the feathers on her back legs, she leaves. Since she doesn't let me brush those out, they are in desperate need of some cleaning up. She has little mats starting and that's the last thing we want her to have. She's also become a lot more affectionate as of late. We don't know if it's because she knows Mr. K's not feeling well or what it is, but she's much more attentive.
The old man of the house is still here, keeping everyone in line. He and Nala play a lot and if I take them both running together, Nala makes sure she exercises Roscoe. If he stops to sniff a bush or eat grass, she comes flying up behind him and starts chasing him. The two have actually become good  companions for one another. just the other morning I accidentally locked Nala in the bedroom and she barked once to let me know she was trapped. Roscoe sprung off the couch and began racing back and forth between the bedroom and living room, grumbling under his breath until I let her out. It's nice to see them getting along.
As for me: my dissertation is coming along. I've got a few participants now and an extension so I think it's doable. I've started enjoying writing it again. So, that is good. I also had my thirtieth birthday on Saturday. The funny thing is, I really don't feel any different. We were talking about 30 and how some people freak out, but for me it's sort of to the point in life where it's more about the life stage you're in than the number of years. I seem to be perpetually stuck in the "student" life stage, but hey, education is good right? We also talked about how some people have years that they'd like to go back to because they were good years. At one point in my life I felt like that. I really wanted to go back to the three years I spent at the school for the blind because I felt like those were my "glory days," but now, I don't want to go back to any year. There are so many years ahead with their own adventures that I don't really need to go backwards; forward is good for me.
That's about it really. Since I left this for so long, I'm sure there's way more I could write, but I think I hit the main points. I won't make any promises of writing more often, since those never seem to get met, but I definitely won't abandon this blog. I'm sure when the weather turns colder and I'm stuck inside instead of out in the sunshine, I'll write more often.