I've always been very independent and in need of time alone. My mother reminds me often of a time when my Grandma was visiting us in California and somewhere between playing ponies or dress-up in my bedroom, I declared it was time to go out to the living room. As she exited first, I can only imagine the look on her face as I shut the door behind her, giving myself time alone in my room. Give me a break, I was five.
I'm no longer as socially inept and don't always close that door as much as five year old me begs me too.
To say I enjoy hanging out with myself sounds odd, but I guess I do forget how awesome I am and how much I enjoy it. But friends are a blast, roomies are a joy, my boyfriend being a constant- I'm not good at closing the door and saying maybe later. Perhaps its some FOMO but I could really channell some Hodor to get my shit together.
I guess where I'm going with this is when I do miss me, I find myself rereading previous posts I've written. Or editing pictures from my nikon and latest adventures. But since my laptop is still under repair and I can't edit pictures as effectively on my phone, tonight I found myself reading my blog.
That may sound quite absurd or get old real quick- but its funny how soon I forget what I've said and done, thought and felt, from the experiences I document. So by rereading my posts, I truly am hanging out with younger version me- sometimes whiney, sometimes too much information haha-- but nonetheless reminding me, of me.
A couple days ago, I reread the post from four years ago when my dad and I put our dog Ernie down. It was vaguely titled Decisions (curse creative me!!) and it took me to a more somber place than I had planned. Reminded me of last year when we had to put Zucca down on Father's day and that same day I had to drive back to Portland, stuck in the car with my miserable self and heavy heart. And now with my cat Roxi and pup Cooper, I found myself thinking, "dear lord, what pain have I set myself up for in the next ten plus years?!" Haha of course, dramatic me there because I know its worth it and wouldn't have if any other way.
"The price of love is loss.
But we still pay, we love anyway." -N2N
And there it is- inspired reflection hits and I must give an ode to the animals I've rescued and adopted-- for the hell they put me through and the lessons I've learned from them.
Although Roxi is the sweetest unpredictable monster I will never understand, she sure didn't start out that way. Her first day with me, she found solace in the empty washer machine, hiding. At the age of three and us being her forever home, she was definitely taking in her surroundings and only by room to room did she become confident in ruling the apartment. But as she hid in the bathroom, the closet, and then under the bed-- I would look at her and say hey, me too. Somedays living in the city, having me and Ian's car broken into, all I wanted to do was hide in my apartment. But slowly and surely, I ventured out around the area, determined my spots around NW 23rd and now find pleasure in being a little lost walking to my next destination. Our first apartment in Portland was perfect for feeling safe- on the second story, a code to get in the building, and a brewery just downstairs and around the corner so I didnt have to go too far. Very similar to Roxi's safe haven washer machine. As we moved into our house that we are renting, she didn't regress into my bedroom, under my bed, instead she blossomed. Now only one story, she perches up in the window on the back of the couch watching the birds fly by. I'm good at keeping the bird feeder full which gives her prime entertainment, sometimes going to far and latching on to the screen with her claws in hunting mode. She still greets us at the door, the way she did at our old apartment, but now we hear her meowing through the window as we walk up our stoop. She's sometimes a flight risk, sneaking out the door if your hands are full, thinking she's ready to take on the outside world. Now living between Hawthorne and Division, I'm not ready for her to do that... So we're experimenting with a cat harness. Haha, we'll see how that goes.
When I was considering adopting Cooper Douglas, I remember being very anxious (as I'm sure first moms are usually) and one of my guilty worries was Roxi. Is it unfair to her? Will she regress? Will she be an even bigger monster?
While onboarding Cooper had its ups and downs, Roxi surprised me the most. After a week or so of constant hot lava, jumping from couch to counter to avoid the eager puppy, she pretty much wanted to be involved in everything Cooper was involved in. Each routine, each activity, every stoop night on our patio, she made it very clear she has FOMO. Whenever we bring him back in from peeing outside, she too runs up to the door waiting for a treat for good behavior. Dinner time is interesting since she'd dead set on eating the puppy chow as well and sometimes trying to get at his bowl. Whenever we go to feed him, shes quick to appear from wherever shes been lounging to also be fed even if her dry food is always full during the day. She's not afraid to tell Cooper whats up, exert her dominance, and kind of taunt him from the foot of our bed as he sleeps in the kennel at night. All in all, she's taught me strength for adapting to change and being resilent.
Cooper was completely opposite. He ran the house the moment he realized it was his home. He taught me to trust my gut and that even though this is my first go at puppy parenting, that I intrinsically know what's best. And hey, if I don't- I'll figure it out. The biggest shift with Cooper in my life is the culture of getting to know other people through their dogs. Theres Vego on the corner, Bubaloo across the street, Roxy and her sweater on our way to Hawthorne, and Karma our landlords lab. People will stop by and ask how Cooper is doing or say hi if he's in the yard, but they don't know my name. And I don't know theirs. And we're all perfectly okay with that. We just love our dogs.
My favorite thing about watching Cooper grow up is seeing everything anew with him. The way he cocks his head to the side as you howl at him, how he chomped at the sky when he first saw rain, the way he rolls and scoots in the grass with his hindquarters dragging behind him. Life is so exciting for him and with him, I find happiness in the littlest things.
This last trek to Idaho was an emotional one for me. To hear Cooper's paws against my parents hardwood floor, to see him squirm in the grass the way Ernie always had (those labs!), to see my dad play fetch with him around the house and ultimately follow my dad around because he was so enamored. Sounds about right. My dad even brought up snow wondering is Cooper will love diving and sliding in the white abiss as much as Ernie did.
Between one thing or another, Cooper ended up meeting our neighbor Joy. Having his middle name named after her husband who just passed, who was also my PE elementary school teacher and dads best friend, Cooper Douglas cutely rolled in the grass at her feet and she told me about her nephew who coincidently was named Cooper Douglas.
"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." -Albert Einstein
When Coach Fisher passed away this last spring he too, like Ernie had, took a piece of my childhood with him. Square dancing, our Indianna Jones courses at school, or trying to teach me how to do a carthweel in my backyard... He was always there. I couldn't make it up to Moscow for the memorial but found peace in writing a card to Joy, even if I was a hot mess writing to her in the first place. I knew it was the right card when I couldn't keep my cool together in PaperSource.
Cheers and more beers to my 26th year, and all thats yet to come.
"The best is yet to come." -Frank Sinatra