WOW Portland and back again in about 24 hours. I went for a graduation and brought Horace down with me, since I want to be able to travel with a dog some of the time, and because getting it together to have him boarded was too complex considering he just got his rabies shot on Wednesday. Anyway, it went well, and Portland was nice, as always. I saw my pal Trixie and after walking around and being out for two hours yakking Horace promptly tinkled on the floor of her comic studio and I panicked and caught about half of it with my hand. Trixie’s only disappointment with the whole situation was that no one took a picture of me using my hand as a pee bucket.

I realized I had not been down for a year since Strudel’s grandpa’s memorial service. A year marks me realizing I was not spakked out about dogs anymore either. I wanted a dog for yeeeeaars and was researching training and breeds when I found out I was pregnant with Franny, and then about 5,000 things happened after that (which I should really write down some time OH WAIT) and this brings us to the present day I suppose. Eleven years later, SJ gets a dog. Ok.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with the timing, though. I know because I have heard it come out of people’s mouths that sometimes dogs are like practice for kids. I could not be more excited that my babies are very LARGE (132 and 77 months respectively) and that I frontloaded that work. Why not start with the hard part first? There’s one for my headstone. I certainly feel some of my old toddler-management skills coming in. Is the dog 1. fed; 2. pooped; 3. appropriately occupied? I keep snacks in my purse. I bought a baked lamb shank and laid a towel down in the backseat for the drive. Man this dog likes to chew. Also I have lost my mind and bought dog puzzles for him at work so he has to work a few minutes for every mouthful of kibble. I think it’s going well. I’m trying to be uber effort now for pay off later, when he is grown and trained. I am trying to be patient with the people who are giving me dumb unsolicited advice. I am trying to be patient with people who don’t ask and just whoosh and pet him when it is pouring and I am willing him to PEE PLEASE PEE STOP STARING AT THE MAX AND EVERY BLOWING CANDY WRAPPER.

One thing that is nice is that it completely made me realize something was missing in my life: joy. I was happy enough, I wasn’t depressed, but I was kind of out of gas when I took a break at the end of February. 2011 was very tiring and I was running out of things to say, which as you know is completely unlike me. And now I have this little simple creature in my life and I don’t have to worry about what college he is going to go to or who he is friends with at school and who broke my favorite serving bowl? (Answer: Not Me.) Now I laugh and laugh at his dumb doggy ass running circles on the carpet and I feel better and I have more energy and it makes me more patient and happier in other areas of my life. Joy–I have not felt that in a long time. It’s worth finding.