baa baa black sheep



1. I don't really mind taking the dogs out several times a day. I don't mind getting them to sit, I don't mind herding them into the garage and putting on their leashes, I don't mind making them wait while I put on my coat and boots and hat. It stopped being a pain long ago and started being a habit that is just sometimes mildly annoying. Like flossing. I like that it is something my husband and I do together--it is probably strange/gross that I look forward to taking the dogs out to poop, but it is true. We put on our coats and shoes and walk through the garage to the backyard at the same times every day. We call across the yard to each other, we see the rabbits, we comment on levels of snow, we make mental notes of which lights are on in the elderly neighbor's house, because we worry about her.

I always take Cab, he always takes Monk. Cab is stronger and has even pulled me down while wearing a training collar (not lately, because he is Slowly Learning and so are my arms), while Monk is more difficult to lure into the snow to pee and/or poop. They don't go as promptly if we mix it up. If we pair the wrong human to the wrong dog, we will probably regret it.

Cab and Monk each have a side of the yard they prefer. Monk goes to the right, close to the big bush by the shed, while Cab prefers the left of the yard with the big tree.

Rituals, no matter how basic, are rituals. Even I need a few, to give shape to the day and familiarity to the passing of time.

I like seeing the same piece of sky, the same tree, the same grass, every day at the same times. 6:15, 12:10, 3:00 or 4:00 or 5:00, 7:00, 10:00. On weekends, 12:00. Give or take.

I think my favorite times are the first and last ones. I enjoy seeing how the day is starting, and I enjoy going out when the neighborhood is dark. I love how smooth the undisturbed snow rolls before us in our neighbors' yards. I want to stretch out my palm and press it into the dips and swells that rest quietly yards away. I love looking up at the dark sky and seeing where the stars have moved. I always find Orion first. I note his position, and how he is angled. I think, every night, of a trapeze. I think of forever tumbling, tumbling, tumbling; falling through that sky, never hitting bottom.

When we first moved here in the summer, the night trips out were loud. Insects and birds hummed wildly, the air was thick and warm. I hated how the grass was wet and sharp against my ankles. I hated how I wasn't familiar with the trees and sheds. One of the very first nights here I had a vivid dream about my husband and I being shot to death upon bringing in the dog. The memory of that dream haunted me everytime I stepped off the patio into the dewy, itchy yard for weeks. I would feel my breath catching in my throat. I would spin around over and over, convinced something was lurking just behind my shoulder. Monk would feel my fear, and press up against me, or lunge at the darkness with his hackles raised.

Nothing was ever there.

The fear passed.

Now I enjoy stepping outside, the familiar routine, the brief escape from ceilings and walls. Even when it is ten below, I enjoy stepping outside to stand and wait and be quiet. I think that is what, at first, I missed most about smoking. Every once in a while, I had a reason to stand outside, to connect with where I stood, to just be quiet and observe, outside of where I had been.


Dear Sister,

You are getting married today, and I hope that it is beautiful and everything you wanted. I
hope you realize I will be thinking about you all day, wanting everything good and
happy for you. I hope you guys will always grow together, and laugh together, and challenge each other, and learn together. I hope that your lives combined will be rich and full. I hope you
know how much I miss you and think about you. I will always be here for you, because I can
never stop being your big sister.

I love you so fucking much,


3. It's Friday. Should we do questions? I think we should. This week, well, is about over. And sometimes that is about as good as it gets, right? If it were socially acceptable (and safe, and weather was always good, and there were no outside reasons NOT to, etc, etc,), would you choose to go forever without a bra, or go forever without shoes? How often do you wash your hair? Are you reading a book right now, and if you are, how long have you been reading it?

I think I would opt to go forever bra-less. And I wash my hair every other day, as it gets dried out if I washed it every day. I sort of look forward to no-wash days, because the hair is easier to fix (usually) and I don't have to have wet cold drippy hair.

I'm currently reading Willa Cather's The Professor's House, and it's a short easy read. Except I have been working on it for three months now, because, well. I don't sit down to read often, lately. And I'm a fast reader.

So that's pretty ridiculous, to have to admit.

black sheeped


Blogger Jess said...

This is absolutely gorgeous. I love your ritual. And I wish all the best to your sister and her new husband.

For the questions--I would go without a bra. I wash my hair almost every day. And I just started a book two days ago.

8:26 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger el-e-e said...

You're right, ritual IS important, no matter how trivial it seems.

I would go braless - as much as I love being shoeless, it's not very good for the back muscles after a while. I wash my hair almost every day, too, except some Saturdays. I am not currently reading a book but the next one I start is going to be Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth. I read it a long time ago and want to read it again (NOT because of Oprah).

I "blog buddied" you. :) Come see.

8:30 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Pickles & Dimes said...

The part about taking out the dogs was just beautiful.

Congrats to your sister!

Questions: I'd go without a bra - definitely. I wash my hair every day because I cannot stand it otherwise. Right now I'm reading The Pact by Jodi Picoult and I started it yesterday.

8:48 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Tessie said...

1) braless (no boobs, no problem!)

2) I wash every other day, although I wet my hair and apply conditioner EVERY day.

3) Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. I started it earlier this week and I think I have one chapter left. It's a quick read.

8:49 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Shelly said...

Best wishes to your sister! Congrats!

OOH! I love these questions!
I would go shoeless. I hate shoes. I love to run around barefoot even though I slammed my left big toe into the bathroom cabinet this morning and it still hurts. Am klutz. And I found a wonderful, super comfy bra right before Christmas so I no longer hate wearing a bra.
I wash my hair every day, because otherwise it's greasy enough to fry a turkey.
I'm reading A Place of Execution, which is excellent. I think I started it last weekend. I'm about a third of the way through.

9:32 AM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Mommy Daisy said...

Congrats, Sister!

1. I don't think I could go braless all the time. But I could go shoeless. I hardly ever wear shoes at home (or anyone else's home for that matter).
2. I wash my hair EVERY day. I don't like it otherwise.
3. I'm reading book 7 from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. I started it 2 days ago. I started the series during Christmas break. I wanted to be sure to read Prince Caspian before May when it comes to theaters, so I decided to read the whole series.

12:21 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger CAQuincy said...


Um....I don't know about bra/shoes. Prior to children it would have been going without BOTH. Becoming a mother has forced me to need support (as my lovely babes sucked ALL the elasticity out of my girls) and to be quick on my SHOD feet. I guess I'd rather go without shoes at this stage.

I wash my hair every day. I might skip a day here or there. I can't do ANYTHING with it unless it's been freshly washed.

Um....I've been RE-reading a lot lately. Right now it's The Thorn Birds (for the UMPTEENTH time). I started it yesterday and will probably finish it by tomorrow (this is because I forced myself to pay attention to my lovely children today instead of the book). I bought "Atonement" a few weeks ago and decided thirty pages into it that I didn't like it and wouldn't finish it. That is NOT like me at all. Usually when I start a book, even if I HATE it, I read it to the horrible, horrible end. I think this is the second time in my LIFE I've not finished a book. SO not like me! Maybe I just didn't have the patience that week. Perhaps I'll pick it up again in a few months.

Woah. Too much info that you probably didn't really care about, huh? Sorry about that!

12:22 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Artemisia said...

Rituals are so important! Your post is so lovely and so illuminating. Thank you for writing about the ordinary, everyday rituals. Those are sacred, too, aren't they?

Best wishes to Sister and New Hubby!

1. Braless. No question. I am small enough (yay!) that I can sometimes manage a braless day in the middle of the week at work. I love it!

2. I wash my hair nearly everyday. Otherwise it is impossible to manage, and I don't feel like I am clean.

3. I just started two books for fun: Nourishing Traditions by I Don't Remember, and Food Politics by Marion Nestle. For the Thesis I am still reading Coming Home To Eat by Nabhan. I started out strong, but just can't seem to finish it. So, I've been working on that one for over a month. Bah.

12:58 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger Shelly Overlook said...

As to the dogs having their own side to poo on, have you ever heard of being able to train your dog to just go in one spot in your yard? I've always wanted to do that so cleaning the yard every week isn't such a search and destroy hazard.

1. Braless (tiny boobies can be a godo thing)

2. Every day

3. The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp (love it!) for about a week. I don't have as much time to read as I'd like and it's also over 600 pgs.

1:18 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger desperate housewife said...

I really liked that part about falling. And obviously, really enjoyed the part about overcoming an irrational fear.
I would ABSOLUTELY go braless. I do it all the time, already. I mean, I'm always nursing, and all those flaps and clasps are so time consuming. And also, I'm so LAZY. (And saggy, but what are you gonna do?)
I usually do every other day, unless I've worked out and gotten really sweaty. My hair is always better on the non-wash day, too.
I'm reading the Bible right now, actually. I mean I always kind of am, on and off, but it's one of those daily Rituals that used to be important to me, and it feels good to make it one again.
I also just finished The Boleyn Inheritance, which I thought was great. I'm a sucker for some sultry historical fiction!

3:41 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger PixelPi said...

I would like to strangle whoever invented the bra. I am braless any time I can get away with it.

I wash my hair about every 2-3 days, as it is very dry.

I am reading about 4 books at once right now, but enjoying only 2 of them. The other 2 may end up unread.

Oh, there's an award for you over at my place.

6:36 PM, February 08, 2008  
Blogger velocibadgergirl said...

I would go shoeless, for sure. I love being barefoot. Also, I have ridiculously large boobs, so braless would SUCK.

I wash my hair every other day. I always wear it up, and it's so thick that it's never dry all the way through the day after a shower, so I wait until the next day. Unless I get really sweaty, then I wash it every day.

I am reading A Crack in the Edge of the World, which is about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I've been reading it for about a week. Usually I get through books pretty fast, but right now all my free time at home is spent getting ready to move to our new house, and so I'm only reading it on my lunch breaks at work. It's pretty cool, though :)

9:29 PM, February 09, 2008  

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