Sunday, July 22, 2007

Nuns and puppy love

Yesterday (after the book was finished), Lily and I went for her first walk onto campus with some friends. We didn't get far when we ran into a couple of nuns who are here for graduate classes this summer, whom I had met a couple of weeks ago. They were so excited to see the puppy, but then one asked me "Do you have a minute? Sr. Mary So-and-so would be so SAD to hear she missed the puppy, can I go get her?" Of course I agreed to wait.

Most of these sisters are Nashville Dominicans, though 2 are from Ann Arbor. We have 4 of the Nashville sisters running our parish school. They are always among the most joyful people--I mean absolutely radiating a joyfulness--that you would ever want to meet.

So, the sisters returned, and before long we had about 7 nuns gathered, in their full Dominican habits (white robe with a black veil), loving on my puppy. And the joy being radiated was extraordinary. It was fun.

And it's good to have a dog. (And, of course, it is good to have nuns!)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I was standing at a register with my prepaid gift cards in the exact amount of the 3 copies I was buying (only 1 for me; 2 for friends taking advantage of my willingness to stand in line and obtain wristbands # 6, 7, and 8. With 6 registers working, the first 6 of us got to be waiting at the register as they counted down until midnight. Very exciting.

Even better was the fact that I went home, took my puppy on a potty break, got in my pjs and was in bed reading by 12:25. Woo-hoo! I read until about 4am, then started again not too long after Lily woke me up about 7am. Except for potty breaks and feedings (human and canine), I pretty much read all day yesterday, finishing around 4pm. The last third or so was slow going, as I was crying on and off.

What happened? Well, there was death, sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness, and new life, together with a lot of explanation about what has gone on in the past. Good, good stuff. But I'll refrain from putting the details here. At least for a while.

Friday, July 20, 2007

So excited!

Lily (the pup) does a thing when I start getting her food together: sprints a quick lap around the house, jumps, turns quick circles, wags her tail like crazy. The excitement is palpable. That's how I feel: Harry Potter book 7 will be in my hands in 2.5 hours (wag, jump, pant, sprint!). So excited!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Lily: Week 1

Well, it hasn't quite been a week yet, but this report is overdue anyway. Lily, my beautiful 12-week-old labrador retriever, arrived as scheduled to a McDonald's parking lot on the Rhode Island/Connecticut border. (I will post pix soon; I've taken several, but can't find the connection cord anywhere!) She is a very deep golden--almost brown, with maybe a hint of gold. I think her color is like a darkish golden retriever. The thing that is slightly weird about it is that she is a lab, with lab short hair, but golden-colored. She's beautiful.

The arrival was very smooth. There were probably 5 or 6 of us adopters waiting for dogs. Many of us found one another before the transport arrived. I talked for a while with an older couple who had always had dogs but had been without one for the past five years since their last one died. They were waiting for their 3 year old, a Katrina refugee.

Once the transport arrived, my girl stole everyone's heart (mine first!). She was the youngest pup arriving (though two of her littermates were to get out at the next stop), and she jumped and nipped and was all around energetic and adorable.

I got her into the car. I had a cardboard box in the passenger seat. I figured it would contain her (and any accidents!) a bit, but allow me more access to pet and comfort her than a crate would. It worked pretty well.

And every since, it's been wonderful, exhausting fun, but has been incredibly smooth. I got sold on crate training, so that what we're doing. I know, some people think it's cruel, but from wht I read and from what I can tell, she loves it. Don't get me wrong, she'll whimper to get let out, especially since I have her crate positioned right near my computer, so I am usually about 5 feet from her when she is crated. But generally, if I ignore her for about 5 minutes (or less!) she settles down.

And the best part: we have had no accidents in the house yet. She hasn't gone in the crate; she hasn't gone in the house. Woo-hoo! She has slept through every night but one, and that was really not her fault, but the fact that a car alarm went off and unsettled us both.

She can more or less sit, and she can sort of do "down." She occasionally retrieves (ah! instincts!), though rarely on command. She really doesn't know her name yet. But it will come.

Two of the most fun things for me so far. One is that a neighborhood friend of mine has twice brought her dogs over to play. Jake is an older pit/great dane mix--lovable but a big guy. Zoe is a 1-year-old pure pug, who thinks she's a big dog because she's been raised with Jake. She's a tad smaller than Lily, but they're close. You really haven't seen anything until you have seen these two full body dog wrestle, complete with puppy pounces and combat rolls. It's amazing.

The other isn't quite that fun, but it is pretty cool. I bought a dog toy that is shaped like a football and is designed to be filled with treats. The dog has to shake it to get the treats out. I fill it up with a few treats and a little kibble and I put it on the floor. Lily attacks it like crazy. She swats it, she pounces on it, she grabs one end of it and shakes it ... it's hilarious! Makes me wish I had a video camera! (No, I'm not going there!)

Anyway, it is good to have her here. At least it feels that way right now!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

It Ain't Easy (Being Green)

Slowly, over the past year or so, I’ve been going greener and greener. It’s hard to say that out loud, even in the merely analogical sense in which blogging something is saying it out loud. I think it’s hard for two reasons. One, I feel like an idiot for not having gone greener sooner. Second, I know how hard it would be to get as totally green as I’d like to be, and I know that there are things that I don’t even know about, so it’s a little embarrassing to admit that you have such a goal. It opens you up to being called out.

In my time in North Carolina, I had several housemates who were much more into these things than I ever was. Their passion for such things as vegetarianism, composting, eating organic, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and minimizing car use was pretty irritating at times. But it was also formative for me, as it turns out. Funny how the things that irritate us can come to be among the things we hold dear.

I decided it was important to me to live close enough to work so that I would walk. I actually bike occasionally, too, but I never drive. My former housemates would probably chuckle at that, since I used to drive pretty much everywhere.

I also greened my power. All my electricity comes from solar and wind power. If you are in Rhode Island, you can do this here. (There are other options, but this is the best, because it is local, non-profit, and comes from completely renewable sources. It’s also tax-deductible. If you need to do baby steps, they have a 50% green option.)

I compost, and I have a small container garden—mostly herbs, a few tomatoes and peppers. I also bought a share in a CSA with this farm. Well, half a share; I’m splitting it with some friends. But I’m thrilled to be buying local and entering into the discipline of my eating choices being shaped by what the earth gives rather than what strikes my fancy when I am standing in the supermarket produce department. It also makes for some pretty produce-heavy eating, which has to be good for me.

It also seems to me that all eyes, as it were, are turning to this stuff. I found this on a friend’s blog the other day, as she and her husband are attending to how much energy use goes into both shipping and storage (I hadn’t thought of that!) to keep our fresh foods fresh, even when they are local.

It's not easy, but it's important to keep trying to become better and better stewards of this world given into our collective care.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A New Moment

Well, it finally happened. I finally broke down and called the cops on my neighbors.

I was actually awake and in the kitchen (putting tomorrow's oatmeal on to soak) when I heard the popping begin. Actually, at first it scared me silly. Then I realized it was just fireworks. I looked at the clock. After 1am. Hmm, I thought, that's pretty inappropriate. But I figured it wasn't THAT loud, THAT big a deal, and it would soon pass.

The next round was a little louder and a little longer. I walked outside to see if I could tell where it was coming from. Behind me and 1 or 2 houses over. Hmm.... My hand drifted to my pocket, checking to see if I had my phone. And then the screaming bottle rockets started. Then the bursts blossoming about 40 feet over the trees. Pretty, but scary. By now, 1:20.

At this point, I actually didn't hesitate. In fact, I felt more than a little "under fire." I dialed 911. The operator connected me to the police. I was half apologetic ("Sorry to bother you with this, but it seems a little inappropriate, especially at this hour"), but the officer said "I hear it in the background. Hang on, I'm putting you on a recorded line. This is happening in a BACKYARD?!!!! We'll send someone right over."

Now, I'm sure that if it came down to vindication, the recording would have served. But I noticed an odd interior shift that can only be chalked up to my credibility being on the line. You see, I had been rooting for the fireworks to stop, so I would be justified in not calling. Now, suddenly, I was rooting for them to keep going until the cops arrived. I can't quite be sure, but I think they did. At a certain point, I was still hearing firecrackers and I thought the lights were not so much the lights of fireworks, but more the flashing lights atop a police cruiser. They reflected oddly against the smoke that had filled the neighborhood.

Either way, all is quiet now. I just feel a little twinge of tattler's guilt. And of course I'm haunted by the idea that if I were a better neighbor, I would have talked to them directly rather than calling the cops. But I'm not sure that people shooting off that many fireworks at that hour deserve that kind of respect.

I suspect this won't be the last time I call the cops on my neighbors.