Wednesday, February 23, 2011

After a long few weeks, and a difficult weekend for my family, last night I found myself cozy and asleep in my own bed. But not for long.

Around four in the morning, I woke up from a vivid dream with my mind racing. This has happened to me several times before, and usually I wait until first thing in the morning to record what goes on in my mind at night. I have a folder on my hard drive reserved for my crazy dream memories that may one day turn into a story. But this was different. I couldn't go back to sleep. After tossing and turning for over an hour, and knowing that the carpool would sneak up on me soon, I grabbed a pen and a notepad from my bedside table. I scribbled in the dark, words, names, images, phrases. When I finally got it all out, I tossed the paper on the floor and fell immediately back to sleep.

I should be working on a critical plot point in my manuscript-in-progress. My poor characters have been sitting for too many days, stressed, bored and waiting for me to come back to them. And instead I've spent the past hour trying to make sense of my own chicken scratch, hoping these ideas won't be lost forever.

Here's hoping for a better night's sleep tonight.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This is Indy. This picture is from the summer, right after he'd been shaved. Right now he is a furry mess.

When you're young, and you get a dog, you really don't have any idea what all it's going to entail. Before we were married, Charles gave me a puppy. Lois. She was sweet and tiny, and we loved her and babied her. Years later, married, out of college and in the working world, we acquired another puppy, because we didn't want our oldest to be lonely while we were at work all day. Also sweet, also tiny. (I angled hard to name him Clark, so our dogs would be Lois and Clark, but Charles wasn't having it.) We named him Indiana Jones-- Because, according to Henry Jones in The Last Crusade, "The dog's name was Indiana."

I taught sixth grade at the time. I was chatting with a student one day, and he told me about his parents' chihuahuas. He said they were kind of old and grumpy; his parents had them before he was even born. I couldn't imagine that at the time, what it would be like to have an 11-year-old son and still have my two little doggies.

Fast-forward not quite that far, but to the time when I have six and four-year-old children, and 14 and 10 year-old-dogs.

Lois has had plenty of health problems, but she'd doing pretty well right now. For the past few years, our Indy has been, well, let's just be honest, fat. We've tried diet food and measuring food, short walks and long walks, trips to the vet. Finally today we got the diagnosis I'd been expecting: he has hypothyroidism. The good news is that it's treatable. The bad news is, while completely unrelated to the weight problem, he also has a collapsing trachea and what the doctor equates to COPD, which is not curable. It's not life threatening, but he will have a nasty-sounding, hacking cough for the rest of his life.

I'm relieved with the news today. I had feared worse, and I wasn't sure how we or the boys would handle it. Lois and Indy have been a part of our lives for so long, I don't what it will be like when they're gone. Maybe I'll blink, though, and the boys will be old enough to drive, and our puppies still be tootling around, old and kind of grumpy.