Dog Envy

My sister, a retired kindergarten teacher, recently started a dog walking business. The featured pooch is one of her clients. I imagine it is a very rewarding job. Dogs are always happy to see you, especially if they think they are going out for a W-A-L-K. I envy my sister some days strolling in the open air while I am schlepping to work in the dark.

My neighborhood is perfect for dog walking with its park-like setting, and ample sidewalks. Every day there is a new little puff-ball cuter than the last. Dog owners look so peaceful just following along behind their masters.

Fluffy tails, floppy ears, fuzzy-wuzzy puppy dogs in all shapes and sizes; morning, noon, or night I see them trotting through my neighborhood, walking their owners. Big, small, squatty, tall–I feel the tug on my heartstrings, and I want them all!

Sadly, having a dog is not going to happen in my near future. My life is too hectic and household space is too limited. Half of the time, we cannot even find the cat.

“Where’s Licorice?!?!? Has anyone seen her today?”

“Did you check the closet?”

“How about the dryer?”

Cats like to hide. It is one of their favorite games. Licorice is jet black, so if she has tucked herself under the bed, or if she is lurking in some dark corner, you cannot see her until she opens her eyes. Usually after I spend twenty minutes frantically searching for her, and calling her name, she silently appears, right behind me. It is a little creepy.

Licorice

But she gets me. I wonder if a dog would. She sits on my computer when she wants attention, or grabs my leg when she wants affection. She love bites me when she is tired of being petted, meows when I forget to feed her, and stares at me when her cat box needs changing. Cats are excellent at keeping distracted humans in line.  

Is it true that you are either a cat or a dog person? Can you be both? I think that I have always been a cat person with dog envy. Perhaps I lack the level of commitment required to be a dog a person. All of the dog people who I know treat their dogs like their children.

Dogs seem to be so much more demanding of time and energy than cats do. Cats are amazingly self-sufficient. And then there is dog breath and drool. And there is dog hair that seems to be everywhere.

Cats are very neat. They clean themselves, no bathing required.The short haired variety do not even require brushing. You can leave a bowl of food out for a cat, and she will only eat what she needs.

Adopting a dog is something I will have to work up to doing. I like to think that when I retire I will become a dog owner. But then, I will want to travel more. Will a dog hold me back? Dog people always find a way to take man’s best friend along. They take dog friendly vacations. You see, there is no commitment here!

For now, I am content to covet the dogs of others with my eyes, and to be thankful for my very independent, and somewhat faithful feline. I am simply suffering from a temporary affliction known as dog envy. I am certain it will pass, and that Licorice will never need to find out about it!

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

 

Advertisements

Nocturnal Creatures

I am an insomniac, always have been. I credit this with my writer-ly beginnings. As a child, after my sister and I–who shared bunk beds, she in the top bunk and me in the bottom–performed our nightly monster check, she would drift off to sleep, while I laid wide-eyed staring at the springs on the underside of her bunk. Maybe it was because I was the one who did the monster checking while she, the oldest, dictated the course of the search.

“Check the closet!” She commanded.

I obediently crept over to the closet, carefully turned the door handle. It creaked open ever so slowly. Certain that any monsters lurking there would leap out at me if I opened the door too quickly, I used stealth.

“No monsters!” I announced.

“Check under the bed,” she replied.

Now, this was the worst, because everyone knows monsters favor this location. I slid down, and lay on the cold, wooden floor, with my cheek pressed to the floorboards. I reached out with a shaky hand to lift the sheet that covered the dark monster lair.

“Clear!” I reported.

“OK, good. Now, get me my glass of water.” She said.

Having a bossy older sibling gets old fast. Most nights I did as directed because there was hell to pay if I deviated from the plan. But sometimes, I could not help myself. On occasion, I contaminated the water-glass. Once, I put the rubber stopper from the tub in the bottom of the glass. She did not discover it until she got to the bottom. Another time, it was a tiny dab of toothpaste. Truly, I was surprised she did not detect this straight away but, she had after all just brushed, so there was that.

Most nights, while my sister peacefully slept, I lay awake with my mind racing. The single thing that would quiet my mind was creating elaborate bedtime stories where I, of course, was the heroine. I would add new scenes to these tales each night, and the stories would never end.

I still struggle with sleep issues. Only now, if a story enters my mind, I have to start writing it straight away, or else I might forget the important details my nocturnal brain invents. Some of my best writing comes of these sleep deprived nights.

There is peaceful stillness in the single digit morning hours. I have witnessed them all, especially 3am the witching hour. Usually I am alone in my wakefulness in the house, but not alone in nature. Now that the weather has cooled, I love to leave the windows open, enjoying nature’s air conditioning. But living next to the forest has a downside.

Foxes like to play and “yip” at 2am. Last year we had a litter of five fox kits living in the woods behind our house. They played just like puppies, but only after dark.

We loved watching them frolic. Naturally we named them all: Boots, Tippy (she had black tipped ears), Squirt (the runt), Brownie, and Trooper (the leader). By springtime they had grown up and moved on, or so we think. I am not sure which one I hear calling in the night, but I like to imagine it is one of the pack.

Owls prefer to converse at 4am. I woke the other night to hear “hoot-hoot-hoot-hoot,” followed by a distant answering “hoot-hoot-hoot-hoot.” The hooting grew closer as the chat went on. Owl courting, I guess. This is went on until 5am. Someone was playing hard to get.

And I notice that every time I am awake, so is my faithful companion…

licky 2which is just as well, because I need someone to share ideas with, while my spouse soundly sleeps.

It no longer makes sense to try to get back to sleep. I now know the futility of this. Instead, I take these “interruptions” as a sign that there is something I am supposed to be writing about, that my brain does not appreciate the fact that my body is choosing to ignore great thoughts. After all, my brain is in supposed to be in charge. Unlike the monsters who hid under my bed as a child, the monsters that lurk in the corners of my mind are trickier to eradicate. It is best to let them live on the page, and keep them out of my closet, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitten Therapy

Sweet

When my daughter Katherine and I began volunteering for HART, Homeless Animal Rescue I had no idea how much these cats, and little fuzzy kittens would rescue me back. When I am holding one of these little guys, all of my worries simply fade away. HART helps homeless cats and kittens through foster care, and medical attention, to finding permanent loving homes. If you cannot adopt, please consider donating your time or resources.

cute

Happy #Caturday! And thanks for reading.

Artistic in the District: Part Six, A Special Interview

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Emilee Williams, a very intriguing graphite artist, born in Guatemala, and now living in Maryland.

An artists resume:

Emilee’s artwork has appeared at the Annapolis Mall, the Anne Arundel County Library, at Barnes & Noble and at the Salem Avery House Museum in Shady Side Maryland, where Emilee says she finds inspiration. She also contributed to a snowflake project for the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

Emilee signing "Tiger Stream"

Emilee signing “Tiger Stream”

Emilee was most excited about her very first gallery showing at “Wimsey Cove Maps & Art” located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland. Her work will be on display at “Wimsey Cove” until the end of May. Although this is her first gallery art show, it is surely only the beginning of a long career.

When I called to speak to Emilee, she was working on her homework, but not for college, not yet, and not for some time. Emilee is eleven years old, but she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up. I would say she has had a wonderful head start.

Emilee in traditional Mayan dress.

Emilee in traditional Mayan dress.

Inspiration and motivation: 

Emilee began drawing when she was about three years old. When I asked where she finds her inspiration, she mentioned books and movies.

“I had a cat phase last year,” Emilee said, resulting from her love of “The Warriors”, a series of books by author, Erin Hunter.

Emilee’s current fascination is with dragons, in particular “Night Fury Dragons”, due to her love of the film “How to Train Your Dragon.” She was describing a black and white drawing of a “Night Fury” dragon she has on her bedroom wall, where she colored the eyes green and the gums pink, “because he was smiling.”

Wall display at Wimsey Cove Maps & Art

Wall display at Wimsey Cove Maps & Art

Early exposure to the arts:

Along with the encouragement and guidance of her parents, Emilee has benefited through knowing and working with artistic friends and neighbors within the community: Elizabeth Ramirez, the owner of Wimsey Cove Maps and Art, Mrs. Sheckels, Emilee’s art teacher from Shady Side Elementary School, and family friends who belong to the Muddy Creek Art Guild.

Emilee’s preferred medium is Graphite, drawings made with a graphite pencil, which she sometimes embellishes with colored pencil. Although, her large format acrylic painting, “Tiger Stream”, which she completed at a summer art camp, is attracting some serious attention.

I asked Emilee what she would say to young artists like herself who wish to follow their passion. “Go with your gut,” she said. “Draw what you want to draw. Don’t listen to anybody else. Just do your own thing.”

Emilee at her Mall display, Annapolis, MD

Emilee at her Mall display, Annapolis, MD

For information on purchasing Emilee’s artwork visit Wimsey Cove Maps and Art at 103 Annapolis Street, Annapolis, MD 21401 or see the gallery online: https://www.facebook.com/WimseyCoveMaps.

Thanks for reading!