This morning, I knelt on the floor at my dad’s house to rub noses with his dog, Gizmo. Gizmo is, I think, a mix of cocker spaniel and poodle* — golden, soft, fluffy, with an extremely endearing underbite, and a passionate devotion to his person, my dad. With his person out of the room, he was willing to come be loved up by me and maybe even play a little.

When Zelda saw what we were doing, she decided to come play, too. Within minutes, she and Giz were both chasing after a squeaky skunk, racing down the hallway after it, shoving one another out of the way, even playing tug as they were bringing it back to me. Zelda was play bowing, batting at the toy with her paws, even mock growling, and Giz’s tail was wagging a hundred beats a minute.

If I’d had a tail, it would have been wagging even faster than Giz’s.

So Sunday before last, Z was sick and getting sicker. Not eating, hiding under the table, lethargic, no energy. Not even interested in going for walks. I’d been bracing myself for the worst and it felt like the worst was coming even faster than I could have imagined. Last Monday, I decided to stop the medication she was on. On Thursday, I got the news that she had no signs of a UTI and so I also stopped the antibiotic she was on. She started getting better immediately. Yesterday, at my dad’s suggestion, I took her to his vet. Instead of recommending an ultrasound and x-rays, which was where I was at with my vet, his vet put her on estrogen.

Wow. Just wow, wow, wow, wow.

The vet said it would take a couple weeks before we’d know whether it was going to help with the peeing problem, but watching her play with Gizmo; having her almost drag me out of the van to go for a walk in the rain; seeing her lick every last speck of food out of her dinner bowl, then nose me and look expectantly for more… I will buy stock in doggie diapers, I will plan on doing laundry as often as it takes, but oh, it’s so nice to have my energetic dog back!

a cute Jack Russell terrier in the grass

Zelda, attending R’s commencement ceremony. She listened about as well as some of the students around us did and was much less chatty. But it was a very festive atmosphere!

In other news, R’s graduation was lovely. New College students treat commencement as a combination costume party and picnic. It took place at sunset, by the water, and while there were appropriate speeches, suggestions to go out and change the world, and professors attired with dignity in their academic robes, the students were celebrating.

sunset with silhouettes of people

New College commencement

R had been torn earlier in the day whether he was going costume-party or dignity, but he went with the costume and I got to watch — with immense pride — my six-foot four, bearded son accept his diploma while dressed as a lobster. I’d been thinking prior to the moment that despite the whistles and cheers and yelling of the audience, I’d probably only be able to bring myself to applaud until my hands hurt, but as it happened, I yelled and whooped for him with the best of them. I’d worried that I might cry, but I think it is actually impossible to cry when watching a lobster graduate. There was much beaming with pride, though. He told me later that his favorite part of the evening was all the parents of the kids he works with coming up to him and asking to take his picture to show their kids.

And then another nice thing happened this week: I was taking care of some basic business stuff, including checking to see whether the Italian translation was finally available, and I remembered that I’d scheduled free promotions for the other translations. Instead of going to Amazon and looking for the German translation, I used Google and it took to me Amazon-Germany, where I discovered…

screenshot of German bestseller list

A German best given-away-er

I could have used Google translate to read the reviews, but I didn’t — I just enjoy knowing that they exist. And that for a brief moment in time, Ghosts — or rather, Die Gabe der Geister — was an international best-given-away-er.

*edited to add a message received in my email:

The Giz is pissed at you. He is not in any way genetically related to any Cocker Spaniel. He is a ferocious peek-a-poo, a descendent of a fierce line of savage Pekingese who mauled Cocker Spaniels every day. He will probably bite you the next time he sees you.