54th: Play not the peacock, looking everywhere about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly, and clothes handsomely.
Today's Search Engine queries:
THE NEW ALARM CLOCK
17 October 2004
I don't need an alarm clock any more.
Now that the days are starting to get shorter, the sunlight shining on the wall of the house no longer wakes me. It's just as dark when I get up as it was when I went to bed.
It used to be that I woke up naturally between 5:30 or 6 because I was going to bed around 11. For some reason lately I've just been staying up later...putzing around. Not doing anything special. Certainly not working, but watching TV or doing something on the computer or something.
It's also getting colder, so I'm now sleeping under the blankets instead of on top of the duvet.
All this combines to make me sleep later than 5:30 or 6. I'm in my nice little cocoon and it just feels good to snuggle, it's dark outside, and since I haven't set an alarm clock, I find I'm waking up more like between 6:30 and 7.
Lately I've discovered that I seem to have an alarm clock I hadn't bargained for, and it's not Sheila.
As I was lying there this morning, burrowed under the duvet and blanket, snuggled down in my pile of pillows, I slowly became aware of an incessant tap-tap-tapping.
It was Kimba's toenails on the linoleum outside the bedroom door.
Kimba the blob.
Kimba who used to spend all day curled up in her basket, and all night curled up on the landing of the stairs until I trip over her in the morning (black dog on navy blue carpet--not good in the dark!)
Something weird is happening to Kimba: she's discovered that she's a dog.
Sheila is a force to be reckoned with. This big bumbling puppy burst into Kimba's world with a wagging tail, a wide grin, boundless energy, and totally oblivious to the fact that Kimba hadn't been a dog in a very long time.
Sheila was just so happy to have another four-footed furry friend to play with that she didn't notice that the four-footed furry thing was really a crotchety old lady who hadn't played in so long she didn't know what "play" was.
Sheila set about teaching Kimba to play. Of course she didn't realize she was teaching Kimba to play. She was just having so much fun herself that it never occurred to her that Kimba wasn't enjoying it as much as she was.
I began to notice a slow change in Kimba. After several weeks, the tail that she kept so firmly clenched between her back legs began to actually wag.
Now when she barks at Sheila, it's usually a play bark, not a "go away and leave me alone" bark. (She's never used her play bark before and I'm not thrilled to discover that it is ear piercingly high pitched. I'm afraid that crystal is going to shatter any day now.)
They wrestle for hours at night now. Usually directly under my recliner and I'm sure one of these nights they're going to tip my chair over just as Ken Jennings finally misses a question on Jeopardy.
Last night Sheila was walking around, a formerly stuffed toy hanging limply from her jaws. She would shake it furiously and I actually saw Kimba grab hold of it and tug for a minute.
Kimba? Tug of war? thud.
She's probably losing weight, which may also help. Years ago when she first got here, she was such a whirling dervish that she drove us all crazy with her nonstop, OCD/ADD behavior, literally bouncing off the furniture and walls and anything else she could bounce off of.
My solution to slowing her down was to overfeed her. As she put on weight and got older, she began to slow down. My plan worked (I figured it worked for me, so why not the dog?)
By the time we had lost all of our dogs but Kimba, she had become such a blob that I just used a "self-feeder"--a tall inverted jar of kibble--so she could help herself whenever she was hungry. It allowed us to be gone for a night or two without worrying about her. She was happy with the idea because she could eat when and how much she wanted.
"She could stand to lose a few pounds," the vet always told me, probably realizing by looking at me that this was unlikely to be a high priority for me--the doggie diet.
However, when I began to work with becoming "top dog" in Sheila's life (yeah...right. And a useless goal that was!), the books talk about setting regular times for feeding and so I removed the self-feeder. Sheila would now have to rely on me for her food.
And so would Kimba.
As a result, I am monitoring how much food Kimba is eating, and, along with her activity with Sheila, pounds are dropping off.
Diet and exercise. Imagine that. Whoda thunk?
Yesterday I went to feed her and she actually stood up on her hind legs in her excitement to get the food. Not far up on her hind legs, but definitely up on her hind legs. No way could she have done that a year ago.
She's actually becoming--I am ashamed to admit it--a kind of likeable little dog. I find myself petting her and talking to her lately. (Don't tell my family, please--they'll never believe it)
With all this activity, she is suddenly more aware of life around here. And she knows that I usually get up at 6 a.m. So if I'm snuggled down under those blankets, she gets worried and leaves her post on the landing of the stairs and begins to pace back and forth in the upstairs hall. Sheila gets down and walks with her and then jumps back up on the bed again.
There is no "snooze alarm" on my new alarm clock, so I eventually have to get up. Then Kimba's newly discovered tail begins to wag and when I come into the kitchen, she gives little jumps at the prospect of getting breakfast.
Who is this dog and what happened to the blob that used to live in the corner?
PHOTO OF THE DAY