Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Basketry and Irony

Somewhere around five years ago I was at Target when I was hit with the need to make an impulse buy (okay, one of many). I found an amazing tightly-woven basket on clearance – I think it was on sale for $20. It had a shape I couldn't resist. Tapered-square and modern and clean, a shape you would expect to find in a fine sushi restaurant.

It was quite large and sat nicely on the living room floor since the day I brought it home, holding nothing more critical than a few blank VHS tapes and some labels. Oh, but the value it added to the aesthetics of the room.

Then my husband sprained his ankle and Diesel was suddenly out of a mid-day walk. He had to wait as patiently as possible for me to return home from work at the end of the day to take him to the dog park for some exercise. Diesel got a bit bored as
Mark (my husband) checked for new motorbike accessories or VW alloys on eBay. He went in search of a stick to chew and came upon the basket with the square shape. It fit his needs sufficiently and he started gnawing on a corner. Mark, suspicious of the noise coming from the living room, hobbled through the house on a beagle search. Damage done. A mere ten minutes later I arrived home from work. Why did I finish my time sheet before I left the office? The basket could have been saved.

I was crushed at the state of square basket and was quite sure I wouldn't find another to replace it. Besides, replacing it would be wasting the 95% of unharmed basket and I didn't have the heart to do that. Just to cover the replacement option however, I spent an entire afternoon and $20 in fuel looking in all the local World Markets, Targets, and Pier 1s I could think of. No replacement available so basket repair was my other option.

That online search certainly didn't come easily either but I won't get into the gory details. A stroke of luck found me connected with East Troy Basketry, so I made the call.

The owner, Eileen, was an absolute pleasure to speak with. She didn't typically do repairs but understood my plight and agreed to give it a go. Thank you!

So I spent another $10 on gas driving the 80-ish miles to East Troy and back one Saturday afternoon. features Cleo, the shop English spaniel, on the About Us page. On a whim, I brought along some photos of Diesel (further evidence that I am an over-the-top dog mom) so she could see who damaged the basket. Being a dog-lover, Eileen encouraged me to bring Diesel along when I came back to pick up the repaired basket.

So I did.

She loved him and kindly insisted I allow him off-leash to meet Cleo and wander around her shop of baskets and basket-making supplies.

And all I could think was: Isn't it ironic that I'm here to pick up a basket that this beagle damaged and he's wandering freely around a shop of baskets?

Postscript: Eileen did an unbelievable job repairing the basket. Looks as good as new and I very much enjoyed my visits to her shop!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Are you contained?

I never thought there was another person more anal about a vehicle until I met my husband. It was a bit of a relief actually knowing I wasn't alone in finding the perfect parking spot on an edge or obsessing over a potential door ding. I found my match!

The idea of transporting a dog was a concern.

My daily driver, our 2002 VW Beetle Turbo Snap Orange Special Edition, became the dog transport vehicle, but not until we equipped it with a soft crate.

Diesel needed to be contained.

No scratched leather seats or clawed door frames for us. Random dog hair needed to be kept to an absolute minimum. So the permanent state of the OB (Orange Beetle) has been back seats folded down so the entire back of the car is an open hatch where the soft crate sits neatly inside. Diesel has a clear view out the front window, he's safe in his own space in case we need to come to a sudden halt, he has a snuggly (and removable for frequent washings) flannel sheet to take a nap on, and our car remains in like-new condition. For Diesel, it's like car-camping every time we go to the dog park. Wait a minute – it's been my life-long aspiration to have a car to sleep in at a moment's notice and here he is fulfilling my destiny on a daily basis. My dog prodigy.

Now that summer is here and our 1967 VW Karmann Ghia is out of storage that opens up a whole new world of dog transportation. Easy-care vinyl seats have found Diesel sitting in the passenger seat with his head out the window like a regular dog.

Ah, the dog days of summer. Those ears were made for flapping in the wind anyway.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Diesel visits work today

I force-feed myself vegetables everyday at work. Well, I actually do really like the peppers so perhaps force-feeding is a bit harsh. I put single servings of broccoli or spinich or peppers or all of the formerly listed into small Glad containers for convenience and/or fun. At 10:15-ish I break out my mid-morning snack which today consisted of a piece of string cheese and spinich. I eat the spinich right out of the container like you would eat carrots. It is truly a snack, not a salad. People who walk past my desk are used to this grotesque display. I was down to a couple of final leaves when I saw a Diesel hair (one of the black ones) gracing the bottom of the container. It was not repulsive as would have been the situation had it been your average human hair. It made me smile. Hi Diesel, how's my little boy?

I just hope it wasn't a hair that was coated in his monthy flea and tick preventative. That would be somewhat unfortunate.

Where's my hair, man?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Living in the moment

My friend, Debbie, forwards me her online prayer-of-the-day on Mondays. She e-mailed this to me a few weeks ago, just as spring was springing. I have it taped to my computer monitor because it's nice to read.

Prayer For Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bee is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in midair stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

- Robert Frost

I need reminders like this … or like Diesel, the master of living in the moment … to keep me in the present, to enjoy *right now.* I may try (and try again) but I can't say I'll ever truly master it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I need to try harder

So, yes, I get up on a work morning at 5:54, a.k.a. 6:04, and the first order of business is to take Diesel out for his morning snouting session. We typically get back around 6:30 (real time), perhaps a bit later if we take his favorite route of the wooded trail by the school. After that it goes something like this: make coffee, feed Diesel, sneak in five minutes of tossing a plush toy (lobster, purple bone, bull, stuffed moose, hippo amputee, heart rope, etc. … the choice is his) down the hallway because who can resist watching the beagle shake his head furiously as he returns said plush toy for another toss?, then on to the shower and make-up and hair-drying. By this time it's typically 7:40 and I still need to pack my lunch, eat breakfast (most important meal of the day they say), get dressed, kiss my husband good-bye, and be to work by 8. Which lately has been getting stretched to 8:15 (gulp).

What in this routine suffers the most? The getting dressed part.

I do arrive to work fully covered but not always with much effort. When is the last time I attempted to wear a skirt? Pre-beagle. When is the last time I actually *didn't* wear some sort of hoodie with a comfy top underneath? Pre-beagle. When is the last time I put forth much effort at all?

Well, it's not completely Diesel's fault. It's not like I got up at 6 A.M. pre-beagle to pour over my wardrode. I slept a half hour longer. More likely I haven't been shopping in quite some time so I'm not overly inspired.

But I do need to try harder. Tomorrow's Friday. Maybe tomorrow.