I realized this morning that I am not blogging, because every time I think about blogging, I think that Carol is not around to read my posts anymore and it makes me sad, so instead of writing, I go do something else, like playing solitaire or eating candy. She, of all people, would shake her head at this behavior, I think. She understood that the only day we have is the day we’re in and that we should appreciate it. I don’t know whether she also knew that the only way through sad is to let yourself be there, but I know that, so it’s time I started acting like it.

I’m sad that Carol will not read this post.

And that said, I’m really happy that it is a beautiful day in Arcata today. Suzanne was gone through most of the month of May, off adventuring in Europe, but she had a really delightful house-sitter, with whom I got to exchange the morning greeting every day of, “There might be sun today. It could happen,” and the evening farewell every night of, “Well, maybe tomorrow.” So much fog. So cold. So gray and dreary. Sigh.

This is the weather that Suzanne told me about eons ago, but it is not the weather that I’ve ever had in Arcata. It’s the weather that made me rule out ever living in Arcata, in fact! Or, I should say, “was” the weather, because now we’ve had three days of sunshine and it’s been glorious. Does the weather relate to the fact that I’ve been making lots of little adventure plans instead of sticking to my commitment to write, write, write? Yep, absolutely. The only day we have is the day we’re in and even though I know I need to write, write, write, I am actually going to do a bunch of other fun things instead. Or, I should say, as well, because I’m not giving up my write, write, write commitment, I’m just not going to not enjoy my life while I’m doing it. Double negative adds up to a positive, so yes, I’m going to enjoy my life. And write!

Little plans: an overnight camping trip near a river, so the dogs can play; a day trip to Santa Rosa, so that dogs and I can have fun while S sees her eye doctor; an incredibly swift four-day trip to FL to celebrate occasions with family; a three-day camping adventure in Oregon to escape from fireworks on the 4th of July. S’s making bigger and even more exciting plans for farther out in the future, too, but I’m holding off on those, because I do need to write. Or rather, I do need to earn some money.

Am I making smart choices when it comes to writing –> making money? Absolutely not! Not really a surprise, I guess. But that’s not just about not doing the work, it’s about the choice of projects I’m working on. I’m now 20K words into a cozy science-fiction romance which has actually stopped being cozy and become more of a science-fiction mystery adventure. The practical thing to do from a writing point of view is always to write romance, and also to always write series romance, and… well… yeah. I keep thinking I want to be practical, but I guess it’s just not my strong suit. I quite like this story, though, and am having fun with it, so I won’t bother regretting my choices for now. (If you want to read it as I write it, I’m posting first draft chapters to the Rescuing Ceres category on my 1000words at a time blog.)

Proof of how beautiful the day is:

A cute dog in a field of buttercups

Sophie, playing in a field of buttercups.

Sophie and I finished our dog training class yesterday, with a field trip to a park where she got to play on some dog agility equipment. I promptly signed up for the next class in the series, because I think she really liked the class overall and I know she loved the field trip. Her big success on the field trip, IMO, was staying in a crate without complaint for the portions of the event where the dogs needed to be crated. It took me the third time of putting her in the crate to realize that the proper command for the request is, “Load up,” which is what we say to the dogs when we want them to get into the car. She completely understands “load up” as meaning, “enter this enclosed space and wait patiently for something to happen,” and when I told her to “load up” with the crate, she went straight in, turned around and waited, exactly as one would hope. For her first time at using a crate, I was super pleased with how well she did.

She also did a pretty great job on jumps, although she knocked the bar over a couple times, and a great job with the tunnel and the balance beam, and an exceptionally great job with all the optimism equipment, ie boxes of noisy things to jump into and out of, plus wobbly things to jump and balance on. If I had to pick a favorite for her… well, actually, her favorites were all the ones where I was crouching at the end waiting for her to knock me over and give me kisses. Those were her favorites. She was not a super big fan of any of the ones where I needed to use the lead to show her where to go, ie running around cones, running in circles around a center point.

Here’s an obvious thing I learned about dog training from this class: it’s really about training the person, not the dog. Some of the skills we haven’t worked on, like sitting for a heel, are skills we should work on, just because they’re gateway skills to other things that are more fun, like jumping. But all of it is mostly me needing to figure out how to tell her what I want, because she’s both smart and willing. It makes me think of Anne Sullivan, trying to teach Helen Keller to communicate.

I did think, though, during the field trip, that if I was a dog trainer (never going to happen) and/or had my own school of dog training (never going to happen), all of my teaching would revolve around trust and relationship-building. During the jumps, I let Sophie off-leash, because, as the instructor said, “She’s not going to go far from you.” She didn’t, although she did hop over to visit another dog for a few seconds and then returned promptly when called. With the tunnel, the other instructor said, “She’s a real mama’s girl, if you’re at the far end, she’ll go through.” Yep, she did without hesitation. We don’t have the skills that obedience or agility competitions measure, but it’s such a huge advantage to have the foundation of trust that we have.

Anyway, the class was fun for both of us. I’m not sure I could sum up what we learned, but we enjoyed ourselves.

Somehow my quick little blog post, just to break the non-blogging cycle, has gotten kinda long. And I’ve got words to write on Rescuing Ceres, so I think I’m going to get back to it. TTYL!