On Winston, knitting and fitness --
Yes, we changed young Bug's name. He's as cute as a bug, which is probably how the name came about in the shelter, but the name just wasn't working, in part because 'Bug' is too close to 'Buddy', but in larger part because I've never understood the phrase 'cute as a bug'. I find insects and arachnids fascinating and somewhat alien, but not cute.
We bandied about names for a few days, briefly considering Kojak because of a perceived resemblance to Telly Savalas, and rejecting several other names outright. "You know, when he gets that inquisitive, thoughtful look on his face, he reminds me of Winston Churchill."
The Woman! How could you? I thought that I was your Churchill! I must now despise this usurper!
We call him Win for short, because he's a WINNER.
So angry. So very, very angry. And I don't like that he tries to sniff me in personal places. Dog never tried to do that. She respected my privacy. He needs boundaries, the Woman.
It's a sign of friendliness and affection, Buddy.
In a shady side-street bath house, perhaps. You do know that I still remember how to, how shall I delicately put this, demarcate my limits, yes?
This one's smart. He caught on to 'easy' after about five tries. He will not lunge for that ball, no matter how enticingly we wave it in front of his muzzle. We have to constantly modify the order of commands we give him when we're practicing our obedience lessons. He learns them like they're pieces of a dance routine. "Sit - down - sit - look - down. Got it. I don't even need the hand signals."
Here he is with his friend, Miss Josie Kat, his neighbor at Pit Bull Hall. We took him out there a week ago to play with her. We're hoping that she finds a home in the East Bay, maybe on this side of the hills, so that we can get them together for play dates. (We'd settle for her just finding a home ANYWHERE. She's been at the Hall for a long time.) That's another big difference between Winston and Lucy. Win likes playing with other dogs, something that was just too hard for Lou.
With everything that's happened in the last month, I haven't really had quiet time to think about my old girl. I'm only starting to do that now, to miss her. I miss the howls of joy when we'd ask her if she wanted to go for a walk. I miss her peculiar, goofy preference for hot concrete over cool, soft lawn. I miss her intense concentration when we'd give her strange commands like "out of the kitchen" or "let the cat drink from the water bowl first". I miss the way that she'd quiver from nose to tail when we had her in a sit-stay, barely able to contain her ever-present glee. The staff at VMS sent us a lovely book with condolences in the end pages a couple of weeks ago, and one of the notes in it said something like "Lucy was a joy, because she was so happy to BE."
We've been saying that Winston's smarter than Lucy was, but I think that's a misrepresentation of her intellect. She was smart in her own way - as smart as she needed to be to make us happy - and maybe more willful than we knew. She knew all of the commands. She also knew that staring blankly at us for long enough meant that we'd give up and let her get away with not obeying them.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently, because I want to reassure myself. I want to feel that I'm not trying to replace her, to make light of the loss of her by comparing her unfavorably to the newer, and in some ways 'better' dog. I emerge from these frequent reveries with the same conclusions. It wasn't too soon, because Win needed us and we needed something bright in our lives after those weeks of darkness. He's not a replacement dog, because Lou was irreplaceable. He's not even a better dog, because that'd mean that we were judging them by the same standards, and that's not fair to either of them. He's simply a different dog.
He's also not a perfect dog. See how little progress I've made on my fluffy angora sweater? Guess who wants that angora in his mouth? (Hint: Buddy loathes angora.) I spent two hours untangling and rewinding 100 yards of it the other night. We keep reminding ourselves that he's barely more than a puppy, just a year old, and that he's a little mouthy as a result. It's just that he's got such a big mouth.
It's about seven inches down from the back of the neck now, with about an inch to go for it the armscyes to be deep enough for layering a shirt underneath. I'm pretty close to the point where I'll separate the sleeves, and also fairly close to closing up the v-neck. It should fly off the needles at that point, and in a good way, not because half the stitches and a ninety-yard ball are in a pit bull's mouth.
I'm in the early stages of my annual fitness restart. I ran on Saturday, and Accountant Boy and I lifted weights yesterday. My goal for this week is to make it to the gym just two more times. More would be super, but I'm trying not to set my expectations too high. Next week's goal is to feel good enough about my progress to call my trainer and schedule an appointment. My last call to her, a voicemail message, went something like this:
"Yeah, uh, Amazon? It's me. Hey, I'm not going to make it to my session tomorrow, because my dad suddenly, uh, died. And I'm O.K., so don't worry about me, but the funeral's tomorrow and I'm standing by the bathrooms at Costco in a business suit with a cart full of liquor because it's my job to get everyone drunk and keep them drunk. Did you know that they'll open a checkstand for you if you walk up in a suit? Weird, huh? I think it's because A.B. and I look like FBI agents. So, yeah, not training tomorrow. Look, I gotta go because I hate people who talk on cell phones in stores, and now I'm one of those douchebags. Talk to you soon, O.K.?"
I should maybe call her back.
Monday, February 25, 2008
On Winston, knitting and fitness --