juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Most nights, I keep the blanket that August sleeps on right beside my pillow at the head of the bed. In the morning when I wake up, she's right there: her fur looks like crushed velvet, all mussy and soft and every which way; she's quiet, dazed with sleep. She doesn't look like that, act like that, after her long daytime nap—only in the mornings.

Today when I got up, Dee was about to take Odi out for a walk; I went with her and we made a trip out to the nearby farm stand/food cart pod. As we walked down, there was a light rain; as soon as we got there and got under cover, it started pouring. We got drinks—I can't drink Starbucks mochas anymore, they're too sweet for my tastes, but this had less sugar and it was lovely. We had them by the covered fire pit that made our clothes smell of smoke. When he gets wet, Odi's fur makes little raven-feather clumps; when the rain broke and sunlight hit him, by the heat of the fire, his fur let off gentle steam. The food cart next to us was one we'd never noticed before, Greek; we ordered from there and while we were waiting on it we bought fruit, including this-season Braeburn apples. When we walked back with our food, the sun lit fiery autumn foliage against a slate sky.

As Tumblr threatens but fails to make an exodus to anywhere-but-here/maybe DW and LJ, I think about how I still have a journal, still use it—but when I think of recording my daily life, I don't see a point: not for lack of audience, but because not much has happened in the last [period of time] that I'd want to remember. That's not entirely negative—my sister is doing well, and over most of her hurdles; my mental health is better than it was this time last year; things right now are a monotonous not-awful. But in my media blogging over on Tumblr, I notice how much I prioritize fictional stories—even when mine isn't awful, it's richer and easier to live elsewhere.

But today was different. Today seems worth recording. It's autumn, and comfortably cool, and beautiful, and this was a lovely day spent in it.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
Real autumn broke a few weeks back, and was a long time coming—so many sunny days—but we have rain now, and deep blue skies behind the yellow foliage. Gillian has been out and about for an hour or three every day, while August is busy with her daytime sleep and locked safe in my room. I have played American McGee's Alice: Madness Returns while sipping hot apple cider and buried under a blanket, with an open window (letting in wind and the sound of rain) at my back and a cat in my lap.

Indeed it feels as if lately the only thing I've not done sans lapcat is breathe. Cool weather brings August to me; at night she curls up between my legs while I read or watch TV before bed, finding the most awkward possible spot on the bed (hogging as many blankets as she can) so that when I finally turn off the lights I must twist myself around her into whatever space and bedding is left. When they're not cuddling, they're yowling: Gillian mostly, who—now that he has discovered the world outside the bathroom—complains mightily whenever he's trapped in that stifling prison. He has another month of quarantine, and so he shall just be forced to cope.

Odi is afraid of Gillian, who weighs eight pounds and is front declawed. We're not sure if this is because Gillian has the scary confusing soft e-collar of doom, or because Gillian has a few times actually gone after Odi when Odi gets too close. (Mind, August has swatted at him with actual, albeit blunted, claws, and he's not the least bit scared of her).

Autumn is for walking dogs. Dee's been walking Odi in the rain since the first day of it; I finally went with them a few days back, on a day when threatening rained turned into sprinkles turned into a jean-soaking downpour, and I would not live in any other climate in the world than this. Yesterday we walked down to St. Johns proper, went to Starbucks and took our drinks and the dog to the Willamette waterfront, blue and cool; we went to the library where we each had a book on hold, because autumn is for reading.

It's not all beautiful: my wrist issues have been flaring and thus I have a lot piling up that I want to do and can't—and moreover the fact that my body's throwing up yet another chronic issue just frustrates me—and the needy cats are lovely but also draining my energy. But: autumn. I can't argue with that, wouldn't want to; it is so beautiful, here.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
There was a brief heatwave here in the Pacific Northwest—we had a day each of 104, then 94, then 84 degrees. Last night I slept like shit (normal pain and nightmare* shit as opposed to "it's one in the morning why is it 90 degrees in the house" shit), woke at 3a. The room was deep and cold; I used my hotpad and watched Dark Shadows 214, the episode where Victoria encounters Barnabas in the Old House and he tells her about its building, its imported chandler and handpicked wallpaper and how so well built a house will last forever—and, as such, forever carry the memories of the evil that happened within. At its best, Dark Shadows is delightful: pulpy and compulsively watchable on account of its genre and episode length, but steeped in gothic, both its bombast and it's emotional resonance—and what's more gothic than a decrepit, beautiful, remarkable New England house? (Well one in England-England, I suppose.)

I guess what I'm saying is can it be autumn now please.

No—but the break in the weather is a blessing. At the dog park this afternoon it was overcast and then a cool breeze came through; so overcast I could go in short sleeves, so cool it raised goosebumps on my arms. We never thought, when we started taking Odi to the dog park, that we would get to know these dogs and sometimes their people so well. There's a cast of regulars that we see almost every time we go, and it forms a safe bubble of dogs we know and people we trust, so we don't have to watch Odi with such an eagle eye and we can give other dogs basic commands. Neither did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to know so many dogs so well—and there are fewer pleasures that compare to throwing a ball for a really enthusiastic dog, or having someone else's dog come up to you to say "love me and touch me all over and make me think you might let me go home with you."

But I'm writing this because I'm feeling a bit ... emotional, and emotionally conflicted, I suppose. I've had one eye on the Readercon controversy, which dredged up a few days of "everyone sucks and sexism is everywhere and fuck the world" about the time that Woof died so really, fuck the whole and entire world; and then in a single day Readercon resolved that controversy with aplomb and Britain won some awesome gold medals in the Olympics and Curiosity landed, and people weren't shit, they were beautiful and they did good and awesome things. But this afternoon and evening I was thinking back over my experiences in therapy (for reasons), which I didn't notice until a few hours in was hugely triggering because wow, who'da thunk that thinking about the time I was ill enough to be in therapy could possibly be upsetting. Meanwhile it was hot and I was miserable, and then Dee and I spent a day in St. Johns to avoid much of the heat and we did Starbucks and book browsing and dinner and it was fantastic, and then the heat broke and the natural world was both tolerable and occasionally beautiful. It's all a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, a small and creaky one and not the high-tech wonder of the themepark, but still enough to make me nauseous.

I know that I will never be completely mentally well, and yet I always feel a little surprised when a bit of mental ick slaps me upside the head. This isn't even a major brainmeats malfunction—I'm pretty much coming out of my major depressive episode, fingers crossed and knock on wood. It's just ... me: sensitive and melancholy, and therefore too emotional receptive or at least thirsty for the opposite, and strangely confused by the whole thing. It's been years and years of this, dear me; it's been pretty much all of a lifetime: these feelings shouldn't come as a surprise. But they do.

At this point, for what it's worth, I'm doing okay with Woof's death. I took a few days off of going to the dog park because the thought was too painful, but on the whole this is a low-impact death, which is to say that it's not sudden and it was clearly her time. I'm moving on; now, the dogs at the dog park are a joy. We'll see if I feel the same whenever I make it back to Corvallis, but. Yeah. Today I threw balls for a Miniature Pincher and snuggled Alfie, this little Chihuahua (uh ... mix? I'm unsure) who isn't trying to be a big dog, he is a big dog in a little body. Love is always a dog.

* Conscripted into an largescale assassination squad—by which I mean: tactical nuclear devices. The real irony is that murdering hundreds and thousands of people, and the mental stress of being put in a situation where I was expected to do so, made for a distinctly unpleasant but not unbearable dream, whereas going back to school is pretty much my nightmare of nightmares.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Beautiful changeable spring weather, today. Took a walk while waiting on an install—I left to gray skies (rich as velvet, the perfect backdrop for all the verdant spring gardens) cut through with swathes of yellow sun that reflected off the pages of my book (Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, a month or two too early but still impeccable). I had planned to walk the height of the peninsula, but found myself walking the width towards downtown St. Johns instead, and the fewest drops of rain began to fall from the sky. I figured I might as well stop for a coffee and some reading time; as soon as I found a seat with drink in hand it began to pour outside, a slate blue sheet of it, soaking and solid. I read a chapter and left to pale gray skies and the beginning of sun, not a drop of rain but the street corners still flooded, listening to Vocaloid on my headphones. I came back to Odi in the kennel, wagging his tail; he whined and I ignored him and went upstairs, because that's what training is. On my flist were two [livejournal.com profile] damnportlanders posts, one bitching about bad bicyclists and one searching for people in samurai armor.

There is no city like this one, and few places that I would rather live.

Odi is settling in well, by the way! The first day was exhausting, but now that the OMG EVERY SINGLE THING SHINY NEW has passed things are settling into a more manageable routine. He's still a puppy, mind—goodness but he is such a puppy. The mind of a young dog amazes me. They don't yet know how to filter things: this effects me, this I can ignore. His first ringing phone, his first bicyclist, his first cat were all overwhelming, so direct and relevant in his dog brain. Jamie—my family's dog—doesn't seem to notice these things at all, anymore, televisions and passing cars; Odin's only just starting to filter them. His energy is halfway boundless. His intelligence is impressive—watching him go from constant hand-biting to reacting to "no" to, now more often than not, opening his mouth and lifting it towards a tempting hand or pant-leg and then turning it away so deliberately that you can almost hear his interior monologue of "wanna but not suppos' to." We can tell when he's getting tired not because he settles down but because he gets more rambunctious and less obedient. He's taking to crate training with aplomb, has only had two accidents, both caught mid-stream and occurring in his first few days here. and has pretty much picked up on "good," "no," and variations of "get it" and "bring it." His favorite game, other than chew the rawhide until has been reconstituted with dog slobber, is to carry a toy back and forth between Dee and me when we're at either ends of the downstairs hallway.

I haven't been doing horribly well, lately—my back just won't get better, and I guess I should stop expecting it will, but that's .. sort of soul-destroying, in the way these things are. I think it's fair to say I've been depressed, leaning towards the major depression side instead of the dysthymia side, complete with fucked up sleep and eating patterns and a shameful inability to do difficult things like clean my room or shower. It's a blessing that Odi is Dee's dog—not that I haven't been interacting with him, not that I don't try to be at least a little useful (mostly by playing with him, so she isn't quite so constantly interrupted and consumed by the dog), but that I can sometimes go upstairs and it can be just me and my cat, quiet and alone. But while a dog is no miracle—while there aren't miracles—I think there are fewer things in the world which are so full of pure joy and energy as a 4-month-old puppy.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)

Meet Odin
Meet Odin (Odi for short).

Dee adopted a 4-month-old Lab/Border Collie puppy today. Adopting a puppy has been a long-time idle desire, and became a whirlwind plan of action while I was in Corvallis; she met Odi yesterday, and put a 24-hour hold on him; today I came in on the train and we went to the shelter immediately after and now, behold: dog.

Odi has the body of a leggy black Lab—he actually looks a lot like Jamie—including all-black fur; his muzzle is narrower and longer than a Lab and he has Border Collie half-floppy ears. He's missing one eye, and no we don't know how or why: he came to our local shelter without it, and there's no record of how it was lost in his file. It's all closed up and healed, and he seems to notice it not at all, so we don't imagine it'll do him any harm. Here is his original adoption page, not that it gives much more information! Dee's meet Odi post is here.

He's been here about five hours, which tells you not very much about a 4-month-old puppy except that puppies are energetic. He's teething like a beast and we have to do a lot of [body part and/or clothing] for toy substitutions, but he's smart. He's already picked up on "no" as a command word, and sometimes even obeys it; he's figured out that he's not allowed upstairs or on the couch (one or both are privileges he may earn in the future, but he'll be downstairs-only and crate trained for now). This mix purportedly gets the smarts of the Collie and the desire to please of a Lab, so I think he'll do pretty darn well.

But really, who cares! I know what we're here for, and what we're here for is puppy pictures. These are half-blurry snapshots because 1) I'm tired and 2) it's a puppy, but there ya go.

+2 )

Meet Odin


(August, in case you were curious, is very glad I'm home and very put out by this beast in her home, although she has already been downstairs and, however, unenthused she is so far, she's not particularly scared, bless her. She's grown so comfortable here; she knows this is her home, even if there are strangers or big black dogs. It's also worth noting she lived peaceably with a dog at her previous home; I expect she'll coexist fine with Odi once everyone has calmed down. Which ... may be a while.)


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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