Thursday, September 18, 2008

Molly Dog

So we got a dog Tuesday night. I've already been experiencing buyer's remorse, but I hear that's normal, especially if you are not normally a dog person. Dang, dogs are a lot of work! We're house training her, so I have to remain hyper-vigilant about her "needs." I suppose this is practice for pottytraining Ben, whenever he decides he's ready.

She's actually a very nice dog. She doesn't bark or whine. She loves the kids. She likes her kennel. She loves me. She can already play fetch, and she's catching on very quickly to Sit. We went for a long walk to the park yesterday, and she got very worn out. I'd pause to let her go potty in a shady spot, and she'd lay down instead, panting.

I named her Molly. It seems to suit her. Unfortunately, Ben can't pronounce it. He calls her "Wah-ee." Ben loves her desperately, and he can even open her kennel to let her out to play (grrr).

I was very burnt out last night from the kids and the dog, and I was ready to give her back, but I've promised myself that I will wait two weeks before making a decision like that.

In other news, Anna is now 11 months old. Isn't that amazing? It seems like just a month ago, I was hugely pregnant with her. And now, she's cruising along furniture, pushing laundry baskets and trucks across the floor while walking behind, and climbing to the top of our Little Tykes slide and scaring the crap out of me. She's sleeping very well at night, though she still wakes up once for a snack and once for a hug and to be tucked back in. I'm sleeping much better.

It's a combination of the better sleep, physical therapy and more frequent T-Tapp exercises, but I graduated from physical therapy yesterday. I don't have to go back! It's been almost two weeks since I had a headache, and my neck feels fine. It's nothing like it was. It feels wonderful to be pain-free again. That was a rough time.

I'm going to try to get back into blogging again. I turned inward for a while, and I didn't want to push anything out onto the page. I didn't want to share; I just wanted to live in the moment. I'm hoping that I'm phasing out of that. We'll see. I'm not going to force it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Evolution of a Dog Person

I think I woke up one day many months ago and decided that I'd become a dog person. My infatuation with all things feline has been a theme in my life, but the slinky, sexy fur beasts have lost their appeal with countless pee incidents and my current cat's insistence on biting my children. Maisie Cat will not be the cozy companion for my children I hoped she would be.

Enter a dog. Every boy should have a dog. Every family should have a dog. Right? I mentioned my desire to get a dog to my husband, and he almost fell off of his chair.

"You.... want a .... DOG?!?"

We waited for the right time. Little Anna was too little and too exhausting, so we put off the dog search. Now she's almost sleeping through the night, she's oh-so-close to walking, and Dino sent me a picture of a puppy at the Marathon County Humane Society.

Dang it, Dino.

We knew it was finally Dog Time for the Mathis Family. The search began here at the Humane Society. We met a dog we liked, but he bit Ben right away, so we had to say no. We went home and scoured the internet to look at pictures of dogs at shelters in the neighboring counties. The next day, we mapped out a trek across Central Wisconsin, and we headed out on a four-hour drive to meet some more doggies.

I was waiting for a spark between me and the dog. Something that showed me that the dog connected with me, was interested in me and my family, that extra something special... And we found it in Medford in the lean body of a Boston Terrier. She ran right to us, licking our hands, dancing around our son, running back and forth between us. When I pulled her onto my lap, she licked me and instantly settled down and put her head on my knee.

We'll be bringing her home tonight. I'm a little frightened at the unknown, but I'm reading as much as I can about taking care of a dog, and I know my heart is open and ready to love a new animal. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Viva la Sobriety!

After the show was over last night, Dino said he couldn't wait to read what I write about my first rock concert. I hope he's not disappointed, and I hope he treats this with kindness.

I went to my first rock concert last night at The Fillmor in Downtown Wausau. The venue is beautiful and large and sparkling. Everyone I met was warm and enthusiastic, and I made new friends and had some fantastic conversations between sets. I even *gulp* drank some alcoholic beverages. My experiences are filtered through that boozy haze, and my head feels like it's filled with angry cotton balls this morning, yet I still have something I need to say.

Years ago, I made the conscious decision to retreat from the social butterfly life of my college years. The drama turned scary, and I needed to figure out a new path for adulthood. I grew introspective and began to live very much in my own body. I spent months invariably alone, listening to countless audio books, working on needle crafts, finding some quiet in my head. The peace I found was pervasive, and it's been very difficult to leave those years behind and move on to the next phase of my life.

I think I expected college-years-Cheryl to stretch out of her self-imposed cocoon and flutter about and party hard last night. It didn't happen that way. My ear drums quickly grew numb, so the music's lyrics blended into the background of loud excellent sound. I felt mute, my voice not reaching more than three inches in front of my face, and I became more quiet inside than ever before.

The music was great. Even I could tell that. Cool Hand and then SUNSPOT rocked that stage until it closed the place down, slamming the crowd with rough-edged rock anthems and what can only be described as superb musicianship. I was fascinated by the display of skill: they made it look so easy and fun! (I had to play piano for more than seven years before performing became easy and fun... I can only imagine what they've done to prepare). The "show" was good, and it was interesting to see the dynamic between musicians and between musicians and the fans.

It felt like pure escapism at one minute, but the next, simply elemental, a connection made between strangers with only a piercing glance and shared sound thumping through our bones. Discarded glasses and bottles littered the stage as that of candles in a cult ritual, the blue, red and yellow lights reflecting off the glass, glimmering like soft moonlight on water, standing sentinel.

I stayed until the end, watching and writing, talking and listening – observing, because that's what I do now, this Cheryl who is not 23 anymore. Me, the mom of two small children, the writerly person who is seeped in sarcasm and spontaneous joy. I tried to find within me the desire to get up and dance like the rest, but it just wasn't there anymore. The alcohol dulled my senses, and I think that was disturbing enough to keep me in my seat, maintaining tentative control over a foreign situation.

The effects of alcohol is an interesting study. To me, it felt like a slow snake venom through my veins. After the first drink, my cheeks went numb and showing expression took extra effort. My brain felt like it was sloshing about in my skull, and I seemed transparent to the crowd of rockers. They were a display of high-octane energy and enthusiasm, shared goodwill and willingness to scream along with the music. Most of the lyrics were seeped in the booze and drug-infused life of the rock and roll star and "living straight sucks" mentality, and near the end of the night, I craved sobriety more than I've craved anything before. I yearned for it, my drunken head ached for it.

I'll go again for the people, for dialogues with people who aren't in my everyday, diaper-changing, crayon-slinging life, people like Billie and Lacy who accepted so quickly for who I am. Friends made in a minute, all these people who came together for a night of communal fun and debauchery. That's what I'll go back for, time and time again, I'm sure.

I'll be going again to see Freedown, Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo, and the amazing Scott Holt on October 10. This time, I'll be bringing the husband, and I won't be drinking. Honestly? I act more like the uninhibited rock and roll lover more when I'm sober, when I'm feeling a serendipitous burst of joy and energy at a funny quirk one of my kids exhibits, more like dancing when I'm in the kitchen in my socks with my hands soaking in soapy dishwater. I'm more likely to start headbanging when a particularly awesome song comes on the radio, and I turn my living room into a mosh pit with the kids.