Showing posts with label Kidding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kidding. Show all posts

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Max week

It has been a week of/with/at Max. 

I'm so relieved Huck and Max seem to be getting along better. They're not cuddling together (yet), but they play (fight) quite nicely and they really bonded over their mutual panic this morning when I vacuumed the whole house.

Speaking of which, I had to go into Nu's room with a handful of plastic bags and a stack of laundry baskets just to be able to see their floor... I'm not exaggerating, and I'm genuinely worried about this child's ability to live on their own in a couple of years without hoarder-level dysfunction. (Finals week is coming up for Nu, and the stress has seemingly wrought havoc on them.)

Long conversations with sis and mom this morning, while the rest of the fam was asleep, about our India visit in August. One of the things we were discussing excitedly was if we should drive or take the train on some internal trips. And then friends began to text to check in because of the horrific train crash in northern India. It doesn't seem like anyone I knew was on either passenger train, but the huge death and injury tolls are sad and terrifying.

Pic: Huck and Max sharing (the path) by Scout's memorial. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Today I was busier than anyone ought to be at the start of summer--but there were huge deadlines to meet. And although I'd been working on them steadily for the past week, the final steps were still due. 

All done now (3:12 am): submitted MCTE materials, turned in Spring Term grades, approved pending NWSA proposals (and created and titled about twenty panels). Not a bad day's work. 

Remember when I wanted to set a timer to take regular breaks? Turns out I don't have to if there is a puppy who needs frequent potty breaks. So I got outside a lot too--it was gloriously summery.

Pic: Max gamboling. When you're so little, you can just slip through the fencing where mom's flowers are...

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day

Yesterday we made a little Scout memorial. 

Originally, I thought we'd scatter his ashes around the bend where he'd come bounding to greet me. The wild phlox is in season again, so all that's missing from the scene of my favorite photo is Scout. But then I began to worry that if we moved to a different house in the future, we'd be leaving some part of him here, so I decided to continue to keep his ashes on the altar. As Big A pointed out, that little space off the kitchen where the altar is really is where Scout spent a lot of time hanging out with me while I meditated, or he waited for me to finish my kitchen chores, or he hung out trying to convince me to give him pets or treats.

I went through a lot of memorial stones with words on them, but I knew even as I checked with Big A that he'd find them too cheesy/ersatz. So I went with a rainbow wind chime and a solar lantern, and we set those up yesterday. I think I'll add a laminated photo to the wind chime in a bit. It was comforting to have a space for our memories of Scout while indulging in nostalgia and family hugs. And when I took Max out for a potty break at midnight, the pretty, patterned light from the perforated lantern was a sweet and steadying presence.

Pic: Scout's memorial. In the background, today's picnic with EM and Nu.

Saturday, May 27, 2023


Max is tiny; the responsibilities are huge. 

One forgets the massive undertaking the care and keeping of little ones can be. 

He's absolutely adorable; the way he toddles around being curious about everything is my favorite thing. What it must be to be all of eight weeks old in the world! I keep thinking Scout, friend to all beings, would have loved to play with him. 

Max likes shoes and has made a little pile of toys, shoes and hand towels in the rumpus room... I'm hoping that the people who live in my house and love their Converses, Docs, and Campers will start putting them away properly out of fear of Max now. Ha.

Pic: Nu with Huck and Max in the backyard.

Friday, May 26, 2023

no way but welcome

Max is here. Welcome, little one! 

This is a crazy idea and the timing seems way off. But I feel my heart growing as I find ways to welcome Max into the family. JN whose idea this was initially is 100% this is the right move (I was drinking a non alcoholic cider slushie yesterday so I was fully present), the rest of the family seemed convinced too, and suddenly we have a new puppy.

So far: Max, who is all of eight weeks old, is very enamored of Nu; likes to cuddle me like a lovey and sleep on my feet if I'm in a chair; pooped in the backyard three times like a champion; peed in the house twice by accident; likes walks and tolerates a leash; learned to ‘aah cheppu’ (say aah)  and eat from a spoon; is afraid of train sounds in our backyard; likes treats, but does not care for chewy treats; has learned to play with toys; has barfed up a meal; has chewed through a charging cable; is definitely the best poser in the family…

Huckie has been ignoring Max for the most part, although she's the main reason he's here. That and the fact that Max needed a family and a home. Huckie has been so forlorn since Scout. Big A and I have been worried about her going into decline as she was uninterested in most things, not eating enough, and--this part freaked us out--doing things only Scoutie used to do like refuse to use stairs, lie absolutely still with a tail wagging welcome, etc. We hope Huckie and Max will be best-friend-sibs, but if that doesn't happen, that's ok too. I'm perfectly fine if she decides to live her best life out of spite; she certainly seems more animated already.

(Scout was named for Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird; Huck was named from Huckleberry Finn; Max is named for Max from Where the Wild Things Are--well, we already have a "Rumpus Room," nothing left to do but let the wild rumpus start, I suppose.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

but I haven't told all the stories yet

It has been a month.

I'm sorry to sound like a broken record, but I can't say it out loud to other people (except Big A)... I miss Scout. I miss Scout. I miss Scout. 

I do keep telling stories about him to everyone... and sometimes if the person I'm telling the story to is a stranger I might never see again, I tell the stories in present tense as though he were alive. 

I have so many stories. How we called him the 'writing wolf', because he'd wake up and hang out with me to write. Or how we called him 'wolf puppy' when he'd writhe on his back and bare his teeth. and how--we don't have a name for this--but how he'd get upset at raised voices and bark at the person who was being mean. 

Pic: Scout running to meet me--just about two years ago. This may be my favorite (grainy, fuzzy) picture of Scout.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

being back

A puttering-around and recovering kind of day...

For me that meant watering my million indoor plants, cleaning the kitchen and kitchen appliances, changing the bed linens to summer friendly fabrics and patterns, sweeping and mopping the ground floor, and so on. I'd planned to vacuum the whole house, but Nu saved me.

(Nu saved me, that is, by leaving disposable contact lens cases and clean and dirty laundry and books and toys and trash all over their bedroom floor, so I kind of gave up on domestic goddess-ing at that point and contented myself with just getting the ground floor done.)

Then Big A came back early from Milwaukee, so there was a lot of squealing, and a long Sparty hike, and a long soak, and so much jabbering. Nu came back from school and tidied a little bit. It was Big A's Boss Day, he picked Sushi, and after a family hang out, it was early bedtime for everyone (except me).

Pic: Merely one pile of the yellowing and browned leaves I picked off my plants. Thanks to Nu who did some emergency watering while I was away, they're all alive. I'm hoping I can nurse my plants back to fullness soon. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Home: In two pics

I brought my midwestern travelers home!
I love that there are some families and parents in this picture too...

Reunited with my babies! They took this selfie looming over me as I was falling asleep on the couch around 8:00 pm.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

"All the world's a stage"

I'm in bed mode now, so just four more days before I head for home. I can make fake it. (Look at me with all my theater and acting references.)

I've been checking in with students and our chaperone, and basically everyone is simultaneously having a great time and also ready to go home. Good to know I'm not the only one.

Also, the last time I did this, At came along as a student and Nu came along as my companion, and I made breakfast for them in my flat every morning and we weren't apart for Mothers' Day. Guess it makes sense that this time would feel different and difficult.

Pic: A Comedy of Errors at the Globe Theatre. Not my favorite Shakespearean play, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would because it was a different version from the one I saw in May 2019.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

London: up, down, and all around

I sleep badly and irresponsibly in every time zone. 

Last night, I stayed up past 2 am GMT reading every obituary I could find for Dooce. I was devastated to hear she had died...  by suicide... the day before... and how little coverage there was. which used to cover her breathlessly hasn't even mentioned her death. I realize she'd done some TERF-y stuff lately, but the silence is depressing. 

I don't know when I fell asleep, but we were on for a tour around London today. We read landmarks of poetry at various London landmarks. The top favorite, I think, was Patience Agbabi's "London Eye," which cleverly references Wordsworths's Westminster Bridge poem

Nicole and NGS, thank you for your podcast rec of Stuff the British Stole! It's going on my class notes for tomorrow.  

Pic: Our Thames river cruise with the London Eye in the background. I told my students how lovely they were about not complaining when I asked them to pose for pics. (At and Nu would never.)

Monday, May 08, 2023

Let's do this!

I wasn't packed for The Empire Writes Back: Cosmopolitan England trip at 9 am, but by 9:45, I was all packed. It helped that I had a mental list and the physical list I'd shared with students to work with. Also it's a work trip, so I don't have to look "cute," just capable--so I've relied on my work uniform of pants and blouses. I know from experience that when I take off with Big A for our annual honeymoon, I stress about what to pack a lot, lot more. I have a carryon only again. I overcame the problem of how to take two weeks of shampoo and body-wash in my carryon by buying some nice bar soap and a shampoo bar. (No idea how they work yet, though.)

I'm not worried about Nu, because they have At and Big A and L to take care of them. I am worried about Huck because although she has everyone to look after her too, she's so lonely now and I don't want her to think Mama died too. 

Speaking of which, once I was packed I had nothing to do but worry about the million different things that could go wrong with my meticulously laid plans for the next two weeks. But I just checked in on student travel journals and their excitement is catching... Let's do this! 

Pic: My students and I have matching scarves on our backpacks so we can ID each other even without faces. 

Sunday, May 07, 2023

balance sheet

Things I've done: Stocked the fridge, used up all the fridge veggies, watered all my plants, finished class prep for the next week, talked with/texted everyone, cleared brush, distributed the morels we found yesterday, read a ton, cried about Scout, spent extra time with Nu and Huck, fought with Big A, made up with Big A, took long soaks and longer walks...

Things I've not done: actually packed for the two-week trip to the UK my students and I are leaving on tomorrow. Yikes.

Pic: Walk with L in Baker Woods. Trillium in the foreground! L and I found this patch right as we were wondering if we would see some. It was like we had magically summoned them. Trillium! 

Thursday, May 04, 2023

visits (pasts and futures)

I had to visit my CASA kids at the Luce Road school today. I got such a running tackle-hug combo when CD spied me walking down the hallway. Then their aide reminded them to use "walking feet" in the hallway, and I remembered how I love elementary school sociolects. And then CD began announcing loudly and proudly to everyone that I was their case worker. OMG. I love kids and their lack of filter and the weird things they're proud of. 

I also got various random kids stepping up to me to shyly say hello. I had to wonder at the combination of shyness and speaking unprompted to a stranger they didn't have to speak to. I was chuckling on the inside and all grown up on the outside. The whole thing was such a delightful interlude. 

This had been Nu's school ten years ago, so there were flashbacks to my serious kindergartner and of bringing puppy Scout to school and being told he had big feet so he'd be a big boy, etc. And then I saw Nu's first grade teacher, Ms. G. I remembered how Nu told me and Big A not to smoke (we don't) because Ms. G's parents had died from smoking. Ms. G thought it was hilarious--not her parents' deaths, but what her students' parents remember ten years on. And THEN, I saw one of MY students from five years ago, whom I had mentioned in class just this morning (for the random reason of them having been a picky eater on our London trip). That was truly bonkers.

Today brought many smiles. And Big A will be back home tonight too...  (Just seven more trips to Milwaukee before his job moves back to Michigan. YAY!!)

Pic: Wandering with Huck in the backyard... there's grass growing inside this tree hollow!

Sunday, April 30, 2023


Someone's turning 24 (24!!) in a couple of days. We celebrated today because 24-year-olds are busy people.

Biryani, cake, and presents at home and then we headed to a showing of How to Blow up a Pipeline. Just saying the title out loud when asking for tickets made me feel a bit anxious, honestly. I kept asking the kids--does it have a "How" in the title? I told them I didn't want to be like that long-ago friend who used to refer to To Kill a Mockingbird as How to Kill a Mockingbird

My Spring term class starts tomorrow. Somehow in this nightmarish, tear-soaked week, I've managed to finish prepping and sharing course materials. Early.

Pic: At with cake and presents.

Friday, April 28, 2023

in the aftermath

There's just been a lot of sad sleeping around here, including--especially--by Huckie. JS kindly offered to hold a puppy playdate with her Maeve, but it rained all day, so we had to cancel. 

Although I've been home this week, I've been working on finalizing prep for the course that starts on Monday. Thankfully, Big A is back today, so I'm not solely responsible for caring for all the sad babies.

Pic: Huck fast asleep with "Buddy" who looks like a baby Goldendoodle. Buddy used to be Nu's but we decided Huckie needed a lovey. (She wasn't really hugging him, I slipped him under her arm.)

Thursday, April 27, 2023

pick me up

L took me to our daffodil hill yesterday as a sort of pick me up so I would get out of my thoughts and the house for a bit. The daffs were gorge although seemingly a bit past their peak season... Between L having trouble with her leg and Scout's sickness, we haven't done a lot of hiking this year. 


I expect that will change. 

What I did not expect was the call from the crematorium telling me Scout's ashes were ready to be picked up (we were told it would take a week). I was happy to pick up within the hour; it feels oddly comforting to have him back in whatever form. Predictably I cried before and after... but I smiled at the end of the day when I saw that I'd made a note on my calendar to "pick up Scout" so breezily as though I was going to pick him up from the vet or the groomer's.

Pic: MSU Radiology Gardens daffodil hill with L yesterday. Does that cloud in the center look a bit like Scoutie?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


I wrote a long-ish post on Facebook to share about Scout as though telling everyone I know would make it seem more real. 

Mostly stuff I've been sharing here for weeks... with the addition our perfect last day... We'd made grilled cheese, had fried bananas and icecream (his favorite), and took a family nap in the rumpus room. Scout went from At and me on one couch to Big A and Huckie on the other, before curling up with Nu on the floor. We took another tiny walk in the backyard and then Dr. R came. Scout went too quickly. The Doc said it would take 10-15 minutes, but it took Scout barely a minute. My baby must have been so ready.

I'm glad I shared on FB. There was so much love for Scout and so many well wishes on his onward journey. They had just started at the crematorium, so this was a send off with people all over the world wishing him well as I listened to the Aditya Hridayam over and over. I had mentioned on the post how he'd never managed to make a kitty friend despite trying very hard, and it led to the sweetest blessing from a high school friend: "may he finally make friends with the kittens... they are definitely friendlier where he is."

Sunday, April 23, 2023

the boy with a blaze

Stuff's getting real. When Nu headed up to bed tonight, they said wonderingly that this would be the last time they would be saying goodnight to Scout. So yes, a lot of "lasts" today. Also a lot of locking myself in a room with Big A and just sobbing, sobbing, sobbing.

But also such a good day when we got to do all the things Scout loves, and he had a bit of an appetite so lots of treats and pancakes and pizza. We went for a slow walk in the backyard and he even did a little jog back to me. And--I thought I'd never see it again as he hadn't done this since his E.R. visit--he did his "wolf puppy" bit where he wriggles on his back growling softly and then I ask "is that my wolf puppy with a fuzzy belly?" and rub his fuzzy belly. (I didn't actually rub his belly, because that's where his internal bleed is, I rubbed the little blaze on his chest instead.)

And I thank the universe for friends who have been checking in on us and sending love. And sometimes accommodating weird requests from me. Like, I'm not sure if an afterlife exists, but I was nevertheless in a panic this afternoon because Scout wouldn't know anyone there until I remembered one of my favorites--Big Murphy our old neighbor who'd taken puppy Scout under his wing to teach him all the doggie stuff. So I messaged NGF (my bestie and also the person in my will in charge of making medical decisions on my behalf in case Big A is unable) and asked if she could ask her Murphy to look out for Scout and she immediately said she'd let Murph know to look out for Scout and hangout with him. And now I feel there's a plan beyond the vet and beyond the goodbyes.

I guess it's tomorrow now. I've gone over the plan over and over in my head, but I'm not ready. 

Pic: Scout at two weeks old. It would be another six weeks before we could bring him home, but we'd all fallen in love and I was already calling him my "blaze-y boy" although Aunt R said he looked like a "potato."

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Bunnies and Fried Bananas

Bunnies: That time one early, misty morning when Scout saw a bunny (or "baila rabbit" in Nu speak) for the first time. He was so overcome by wonder, he gave himself a shake and promptly sat himself down as if deciding to take some time to process this magical being. He's since chased many bunnies in the backyard, but that first one was a vision.

Fried Bananas: That time when Scout was crying... scampering between the rest of us eating Thai takeout in the rumpus room and the kitchen until we got up to look... It turned out he was crying because he'd helped himself to the fried bananas, but he'd now nosed the container too far across the counter and couldn't reach his self-bestowed treats anymore. He usually gets some banana after dinner most days.

Pic: First road trip with At, Scout, and Nu together; circa 2013.

Max week

It has been a week of/with/at Max.  I'm so relieved Huck and Max seem to be getting along better. They're not cuddling together (yet...