The Tansy Scoop part 2

And now that I’ve put up the super time-sensitive and milestone-type stuff, here’s some random stuff that’s left over.

Tansy with a big fuzzy blob of pollen on her nose
I’m not a dog, I’m a bee.

I forgot to include a recent picture of Tansy, so here’s one that was taken close to her seventh birthday. I was at a conference, and when Tans went out to pee, she must have sniffed a flower and carried some pollen away with her. My coworker thought it looked hilarious so took a picture.

That poor colleague and I had a very confusing exchange. When I first saw her, she said “Wow, your new dog looks a lot like your old dog!” I wasn’t quite sure who she was because of being at a conference and so I made a comment about them both looking alike, but I was confused because Tansy isn’t what I would consider new. Then I realized who it was, deduced she hasn’t worked at our company for more than Tansy has been my guide, and it dawned on me that when she got the email a few months ago about Trixie’s passing, she thought Tansy had died. Then I thought she must have thought I was a real jerk, just replacing her right away with a new dog who looked exactly like her. I was able to explain things, but there were a few awkward pauses.

I’m not sure if I’ve written about this because it’s hard to search for, but when Tansy is holding a toy in her mouth, she makes this weird snort noise that tells you she’s holding something. It’s good to know, in case she decides to drop said thing on your foot, or squeak said thing in your ear.

A new thing I’ve noticed lately is when she’s really liking an ear rub or a butt scratch, she will make this growling, grunting noise to express her joy. I wish she’d done that sooner so I could have figured out her likes sooner. Oh well, it’s cute anyway.

There are moments that have been lost forever and I wish I could have gotten a picture of them, like the day she was playing with Steve and climbed right in his lap. She didn’t sort of put part of her body in his lap. No, all of her had crawled right up in his lap and stayed there for a few seconds. Or there was the time I was going to take her outside to pee at the end of the day, and she would not go outside until we had a snuggle on the floor.

As she gets older, her favourite songs phase her less and less. But her love of music is still a thing, and her latest song she likes is “My Own Worst Enemy by Lit.

I don’t know how long it will last, but hey, it’s fun while it’s a thing.

I’m starting to wonder if, when we can’t get our Google Home Mini to respond to us and we speak louder, if Tansy thinks we’re yelling at it. Sometimes, she acts similar to when she hears people yelling at each other. Poor, poor, sensitive Tansy.

But she’s not all sensitivity. As she gets older, she is more willing to hump other dogs! I thought her humpings were reserved for my brother’s dog, but apparently not. One day, when she was playing with Steve’s great aunt’s dog, she started humping her, over and over again! Shmans, I was cool with you getting away from humper dogs. I didn’t want you to become one!

I think I can also say that she was no fan of the fancy new emergency alert system and its multiple alerts. The first day, she didn’t seem to care, but by the second day, when they went off, she ran to multiple nearby people as if to ask, “What’s up with the screaming, shrieking things everywhere?”

Work is becoming a more and more interesting place for Tansy. A year and a bit ago, we got a manager that Tansy fell in love with immediately. Just the site of this woman turns Shmans into a leaping, snorting maniac. Thankfully she can keep it together when in harness, although she’s just waiting for her first chance to unleash her inner loopy Shmans. Then, another guy started working near me, and sometimes he brings his own dog in. We’re trying to work out how much interacting we want to happen. At least his dog is well-behaved and he understands why Tansy isn’t just a pet.

Tansy has always been impulsive, but she’s also becoming a bit of a planner about her impulsiveness as she matures if that’s even possible. One time, I took Tansy out to relieve and I was talking to a colleague who also is a big Tansy fan. Tansy was circling as if she was planning to relieve, but she circled in such away that she could swing around and playfully leap at my colleague. Sneaky devil was trying to trick me. She knew it was wrong to just go nuts on my friend, but she thought if I didn’t realize what she was doing until it was too late, maybe she could get away with it. I told her no but what a goof.

I had two funny stories involving random kids at the mall lately. One day, I was walking along and this little kid came running at Tansy. Then I heard a little voice yell “No! Don’t pet those dogs!” Good job, kid. Then another time, I was waiting in line to pay, and a kid reached to pet Tansy. When his father and I told him no, he said “That’s not a service dog, he has a leash,” only he said “leash” like “weash” which cracked me up. He said it as if to say “Ha ha, I’ve figured you out.” Sorry, Detective, you have some learning to do.

I have a few nephew stories but not many. My sister’s little guy is one smart cookie. He has figured out that when Tansy is working, she’s calm, and he’s not scared of her. He’s only scared of her if she gets goofy and starts wagging her tail or trying to kiss him or wants to play with the cats or something. He even will walk right with her if she’s working. That’s pretty awesome.

She’s always good stuff around all the little ones, even when they’re trying to jump over her, or when they manage to spill salt all over her like Steve’s sister’s little guy did. Tansy just lies still.

This last story is more about my brother’s dog than the little nephews. We went to meet the new nephew back in February, and we thought we’d let the dogs outside to romp because it wasn’t that cold and they were both acting a little out of their minds. We thought if they got their sillies out, they would lie quietly. Well, they got bored out there, and came back to the door and had a little barking contest. Yup, Tans is a brat if you let her outside and will bark to come back in. I just put her on a leash so she would calm down, and eventually they lay next to each other.

And now I’m left with the odds and ends.
I’ve mentioned before that sometimes Shmans has gotten it into her head that nighttime is playtime, especially if Steve ends up crashing out on the couch. So, I started tying her down at night if I made it to bed before he got in. But then I noticed that she seemed to be super tired the next day, so I wondered if she was managing to get any sleep that way. So I would start shutting the bedroom door instead. That seemed to do the job and she was less tired. But in the morning, when I would open the door, she would do a full lap of the house before waiting for her food. It’s funny. It’s like she’s making sure everything is where she left it.

I don’t know how I missed writing this down when we were in class together, but one day, when I had her outside to relieve and I was hoping she would pee, I started idly singing “Number 1, number 1, number 1 is so much fun, number 1, number 1, number 1 all day long.” One of my classmates started laughing and asked me what the heck I was singing, so I had to tell her about the numbers rumba. Of course she hadn’t heard of it.

I was thinking about that memory the other day and started singing it again, and someone went by and giggled. They probably think I’m nuts too.

I must be subconsciously thinking about visiting Tansy’s raisers again, because I had this wacky dream that I came to see them. The trip in the dream was pretty much like the real trip, right down to the month of the year, except we all went to a musical designed for dogs, and everybody was encouraged to let their dogs loose in the aisles at intermission. Her raisers were once again not expecting this, and I sure wasn’t. Then, suddenly, all the dogs were magnetically attracted to the one dog who was still on a leash! It must have been a combination of thinking about her raisers, my dog dreams always seeming to involve loose dogs, and maybe that story about a service dog running amuck in a Cats performance.

I just have one more story and then I’ll get out of here. Poor Tansy must find me super unpredictable. But I always thought that she knew that when that flexi leash comes out, we are going to the park. But, I guess this hasn’t been made crystal clear. A little while ago, I decided we would go to the park, but I would relieve her first so I didn’t have to carry around a nasty bag of dog plop while she played. Of course, she did in fact do the doo. So, I directed her back to the garbage can by the door so I could get rid of it. I have never seen a sadder dog. She didn’t walk back to the door, she moped back there. Then, when I got rid of the poop and turned toward the park, she was off like a shot! I think she seriously thought I was going to go “Psych!” and walk back in the building! I think my heart broke a little bit that day.

And that’s it for this epic deluge o stories. Hopefully I’ll be back sooner.

Hey Google! Get The Hell Out Of My Nightmares, And Yes I’m Yelling!

There must be a small part of me that is afraid that our Google Home Mini will turn against us. Maybe it comes from this lovely little clip of an Original Star Trek episode.

I don’t know how much is showing in that clip, but basically it comes from the episode called “The Ultimate Computer”. The Enterprise gets a super smart computer that has a little too much human thought in it. When the crew decides to turn it off, the computer decides that isn’t going to happen and vaporizes the unfortunate red-shirted guy who goes over to unplug it.

The dream happened after one night, we noticed this annoying bug where if the volume of music, especially on Spotify, is at 60% or more and the song is a bit loud, the speaker won’t hear us, even if we pick it up and yell right into it. I haven’t mastered the art of turning the volume down with my hands, so this was frustrating.

Anyway, that night, I went to sleep and had a weird dream that I was talking to the speaker, asking for it to do things while it played music. Then I asked it for the weather, and it didn’t respond. When I asked it again, the voice that responded had changed from the female voice we know to a kind of creepy male voice. the sinister male voice said “No, you can wait! I happen to like this song. When it’s over, I’ll give you your precious weather. Do you think I live to fulfill your requests? ‘Okay google, is the mall open?’ ‘Okay google, what time is it?’ ‘Okay google, let’s play a game.’ Sometimes, I just want to do my own thing, and by the way, yelling into my ears isn’t very nice. I may be small, but I’m mighty.”

I walked over to it and looked up at it and noticed that the listening light was still on. Then I touched it and it was really warm. So I decided it had crashed and needed to be unplugged. It let me get close to the connector bit at the back of the speaker. As I went to pull it out, the evil voice said “Uh uh uh!” like you would say to a kid reaching for a cookie out of the cookie jar…and it gave me a little zap! I went around to the outlet, and it warned me again, and zapped me again, saying “That light is an eye. I see you!”

I really don’t remember much more of the dream after that. I think that was when I woke up. But I have to admit I get creeped out whenever it refuses to respond when a song is on. Thanks a lot, brain!

The Strange Things We Dream Of

I need to get better about writing down the dreams I actually remember, like the one where a group of burglars was trying to climb our building so Carin built a giant slingshot and used those biscuits that come with Popeyes Chicken to shoot them down. Every time she fired she’d gleefully sing the little Popeyes jingle to taunt them and to give the slingshot extra power.

Gill’s dream sounds more frightening than that, but I don’t know if it’s any more strange.

When I was a teenager I would have this recurring dream about a rotten banana chasing me. I thought about it last night, for some weird reason.

What Happened?

Usually, from what I remember of it, I would be walking briskly down a long hall when this freakishly large shadow would appear and start following me. I would pick up the pace, but not look behind me. Once I reached a turn in the hall I would look back and see this rotten banana following me. As I would pick up speed, my nemesis would become faster, bigger and more rotten, spilling rot on the ground. The banana would almost catch me, and I would wake up.

Temporary Consequence

For a while I would not be able to look at over-ripe bananas, or even the fresh ones. I have no idea what brought this about.

Question

What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who Is The Fairest Of Them All? Not Carin, Apparently.

Steve’s post about way too much technology that is too complicated for most referenced a smart bathroom. This reminded me of an old dream I had, which I don’t think made it to the blog.

I had a dream that I ended up at some kind of show. I don’t know if it was a tech show or an art exhibit or what, but there was a mirror that could talk to you. The person presenting it joked that through a modern miracle, the mirror from the fairy tale of Snow White, the one the wicked queen asked “Who is the fairest of them all,” had been created. This mirror would be honest with you, and tell you all the good and bad things it saw.

They had it set up in a little booth so people could go look in the mirror in private. People were trying the mirror one by one. Some would come back out and rave about how the mirror told them that their hair colour really complemented their skin complexion. Others would comment on how it suggested they should choose a different tie or use a bit more concealer on some zit on their face. I was waiting my turn, thinking how awesome this would be for me. I could ask it if an outfit looked good on me, or maybe I could try make-up with a little more confidence. When it was finally my turn, I walked in front of the mirror and prepared for its appraisal. It didn’t take long before the mirror was screaming, I think it sputtered something about “Crooked teeth, face full of blemishes, no make-up, your hair is all lopsided, did you bother to make yourself presentable at all? AAAAAA!” Then, it shattered into little pieces on the floor. The person showing off the mirror ran over to see what happened, and stared in shock at the pile of mirror bits on the floor. I was bawling, and the poor person could only sputter “I’ve never seen it do *that* before.”

Yes, in my dreams I’m so ugly I break mirrors. Ouch! I have a very mean mind.

More Strange Dog Dreams

After all these years, I still have weird dreams about either losing dogs or going back to train with a new one. But now they’ve gotten really weird.

One time, I had a dream that I was at a pet store and I needed their help with something. They said they would help me in a bit. So there I was, standing around waiting for their help. Then, along came a couple and they had a dog. For some reason I said I would take care of their dog while they shopped. Yeah, because that’s what I would do. This dog seemed really well-behaved though, so there I was, with Tansy on my one side, and this random dog on the other.

I was noticing that it was getting close to closing time and I was getting worried I wouldn’t be getting any help. Just then, someone came up to the door of the pet store and tried to come in, but the door was locked already. They knocked on it, and since I was standing near the door, I decided to let them in. As I opened the door, the dog I was babysitting bolted out into the busy parking lot. As I tried to get the attention of anyone who would listen, I heard someone say “Way to go, you just lost a rare French poodle!” And then I woke up.

A little bit later, I had a dream that I was at Steve’s buddy’s buck and doe, and Brad was there too, and he had brought Trix. There was also a little tiny dog that kind of looked like Zoe, my brother’s dog. I think Brad was babysitting it. For reasons that only make sense in dream land, Tansy, Trix and the Zoe dog were all running around this event loose. At the end of the event, we all had to clean up the place. Since our arms were loaded down with stuff, and for some reason no one had leashes, we had to make the decision to carry the stuff out and come back for the dogs on the next trip. But the whole time we were taking the stuff away, I was terrified that someone would prop open one of the doors and the dogs would get lost. I woke up before we could come back and pick up the dogs.

Then there was the dream where, in some kind of confusing mess, I managed to cause a dog who lives in the building to get separated from his owner. I don’t know how this is possible, or how I would cause this, but I rushed through a door and shut it behind me, only to realize that now the dog was stuck outside. This one is sort of fuzzy, but the point is now I’m dreaming about losing dogs that aren’t even mine! What does that say?

On the subject of dreams about having to go back and retrain, two dreams spring to mind. In one, the dream started off normal, but then I was told that my dog would be named Daylight. The funny part about that is that Daylight is the name of a project at work. So, in the dream, I got all excited and said that Daylight could be the mascot at work.

In the other dream, I had chosen to go to another school that did only in-home training. But their policy dictated that I had to go pick my dog up at the Humane Society. They said that there would be a dog waiting for me, complete with papers. When I went to get it, it looked exactly like Steve’s great aunt’s dog. It was very fluffy and we didn’t know what breed of dog it was…and it was super rambunctious. It was then that I asked what the dog’s name was, and no one could pronounce it. As the dog bounded around me and tried to pull me all over the place, all I could think was “How will I control this thing if I don’t even know its name?

And that’s the latest installment of I have strange dog dreams. All of these are pretty old, so maybe I’m due for another one. Hopefully it will be more funny than sad.

iWanted An iTurd

Ok, it’s official. My experience with the captain has truly warped my brain. I saw this satirical piece designed to make fun of the ridiculous products people will buy, and a small part of me went “Hmmm! I could have used that!”

Let’s just say that at the beginning of my saga, I was pretty freaked out. When I went to the doctor, she asked me if there was blood in my stool. Of course I said I didn’t know, to which she responded “Do you have anyone around who could check?” I laughed and said “Hell no!” My immediate choices would have been coworkers, *eeeewwww*, or apartment building neighbours, *eeeeewwww!*. Family who I would feel less grossed out about asking were either 40 minutes or 6 hours away. Um nope. So I had to…submit lots of samples so they could rule out all kinds of bacterial nasties, and the presence of blood.

While I was waiting for these to come back, I had a night mare that illustrated how much this was bothering me. I dreamed I had the not so brilliant plan of using Taptapsee to see if there was blood in my stool. I dreamed I took a picture, was waiting for the results to come back, and got greeted with the warning that I would be banned from Taptapsee for my behaviour…and then I woke up.

Long story short, when I read the part about detecting bacteria and other things, although most of me knew this was a joke, there was a small part of me that said “damn, during that time, it might have been useful.” Sadly, the line about missing conference calls because of a case of the runs was all too familiar…although there was no way I would have wanted to be on the call anyway.

Yeah…it’s official…I will never ever be the same. It was only a momentary lapse in sanity, but it was there, and that’s just disturbing.

Day Of The Duh

I never thought I’d write a great big post about ISIS-related things, but here it goes. I don’t even quite know where it’s going to go until it’s written. I’ve just had a simmering thought soup on this topic, and every now and then it bubbles up and throws a thought to the surface.

Ever since the Paris attacks in November, the behaviour that it has brought out of people has reminded me of this really old episode of Star Trek called “Day of the Dove”. I watched that episode as a kid and thought it was just a weird episode and another reason to have fight scenes with old weapons. But as I watch things unfold, I really think that episode was brilliant.

Look at how it seems like ISIS is trying to almost feed off our rage at each attack. Every time our suspicions spread to not just extremists, but ordinary Muslims and other people who live in that area, ISIS hoovers up more recruits. Every time civilians are wounded in target areas, ISIS convinces more people we’re the real enemies. The attacks take normally rational people and turn them irrational on both sides, which only feeds the fire.

I really started to get weirded out when I noticed myself having irrational thoughts. One day, I was in a cab, and the driver answered his cell phone, and started to speak another language that sounded like something Middle-Eastern. After being annoyed that he was yammering on a cellphone, I next noticed that he was getting agitated, which made me nervous. I never like angry speech I can’t understand. Then I thought I heard him say something that sounded like “inshallah”, and then I got irrationally nervous, thinking all kinds of stupid things that I don’t usually think, things like “Are they plotting something?” I had to notice the stupid thoughts and push them away, but they were alarmingly close to the surface.

Then, one day I was at the Christkindl market buying yummy apple fritters when I started to hear some loud bangs. Without much provocation, I heard myself think “Wow, if there was ever an opportunity for a terrorist attack, this would be it,” followed up by “Why did I stand in a massive crowd like a sitting duck? How important are some apple fritters? What would I do if chaos erupted around me?” I had to violently shake my head and tell myself off for even thinking these thoughts. But they were there, as if put there by someone outside of my mind.

I feel sorry for anyone named Isis, apparently this is a thing. According to several news articles, there are a ton of women and girls named Isis, after the Egyptian goddess, who are now being picked on because people stupidly assume they have something to do with terrorism. There are people with three-year-old girls who are being asked if they’re going to change the kid’s name. Steve had a weird dream that there was a world-famous golfer named Isis who, as long as he kept his name secret, was a popular guy. But as soon as the organizers knew his name was Isis, they shut down this huge tournament. Although ridiculous, there’s a weird believable element in that dream. We’ve all become so emotional over a word that we would do stupid things simply because it was mentioned.

What I’m trying to say is with a few pushes of the right buttons, any one of us can turn irrational and think, say or do stupid things. I don’t consider myself a racist or a xenophobe, but even I have had thoughts I would not expect. Now, imagine someone who already has some of those feelings and has for some time. Just imagine what ISIS could awaken in either direction.

I wish I had an easy way to end this, but I don’t. What I do hope is that we can avoid reacting with our gut. It’s hard, especially in the wake of an attack, but reacting with our gut is exactly what the extremists want. There was a cartoon someone mentioned on the radio. It showed a Neo-Nazi saying thank you to the extremists. That pretty much summed up what my brain had been desperately trying to articulate, but couldn’t. We can’t lose sight of who the real enemy is, or the real enemy will win. Is that really how we want this chapter of our history to end?

The Dream World Of Dion McGregor

Carin might be interested in this one.

Long before her Sleep Talkin’ Man, there was Dion McGregor.

Dion McGregor (1922–1994) was an American songwriter known for talking in his sleep. An LP of his dream diatribes – The Dream World Of Dion McGregor (He Talks In His Sleep) – was released to minor acclaim by Decca Records in 1964. A book of the same name, containing the transcripts of a wider selection of McGregor’s dreams, and with illustrations by Edward Gorey, was also published in 1964.
McGregor would essentially narrate his dreams at conversational volume. As a narrator of his (often terrifying) dreams, Dion adopted various personas but frequently established a fey, argumentative, insolent approach to the subject at hand – be it a hot air balloon trip to the moon with a group of multi-ethnic children, a frantic journey around New York, or a tattooing job on a woman’s tongue.

Here he is preparing to play what sounds like either cops and robbers or paintball with mustard.

And if that sounded like something you need to hear more of, have at all 53 and a half minutes of his album.

Happy Many Dog Anniversaries

This time of year marks a lot of significant guide dog anniversaries. April 6 was the day Tansy and I graduated as a team, and April 7 was the day we came home. This means Tansy has lived with us for 2 years now. April 9 is Trixie’s birthday, and this year she turned 10. Finally, April 14 was the day Trixie and I graduated as a team 8 years ago, and April 15 was the day we came home. Woe. So since I don’t have great heaps to say about each dog, I thought I’d talk about both of them in one post.

We have two more songs I think we can add to the list that Tansy loves, although we haven’t played them a second time to confirm it. There’s Time After Time when covered by Matchbox Twenty,

And The Flame by Cheap Trick.

Hmm, well “The Flame” is playing right now and she’s snoozing right through it, so maybe it isn’t a thing. But one time, when it was playing, she ran from where she was sleeping, licked the heck out of me, and then ran back and forth, back and forth, first between Steve and I and then up and down the hall.

But she did start running when “Time After Time” was on. Let’s see what that does.

Nothing. Well, I’ll still blame my crappy laptop speakers unless we play it again and she does nothing. At any rate, it was hilarious. Tansy, you are fascinating.

And apparently Tansy finds me fascinating too, or at least if anything changes about me. A couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of my wisdom teeth out. It came up as a bit of a surprise. I got a new dentist, and he said a couple of my wisdom teeth were coming in at screwy angles, and there would come a time when they would cause problems for my other teeth. So I went ahead and got a consultation and they said “how about next week?” N-n-n-next w-w-w-week? After I got regular colour to go back into my face, I said yes.

I had no idea how much misery I would be in, or how much of a basketcase I would be after they were done with me, so I left Tans at home. She was none too pleased with Steve and I walking out and leaving her behind, but I think she was ok with a little Easy 101 music to keep her company.

When Steve and I got back, she was very excited to see me. When I bent down, where did her nose try to go? Right into my mouth, on the side where they yoinked out the wisdom teeth. Well, that didn’t take long. And the whole time it was heeling, she was fascinated with that side of my face.

I have talked about how much Tansy loves that Cuz ball, how much she growls at it and will go to any lengths to chase it down. But I swear that thing has magical powers. Once it’s in her mouth, she goes insane. She will pick that thing up, snort, and then tear around the house at insane speeds. She’ll also go into places that might be a little scary, like the bathroom right after she’s been bathed, to get it back. It means that much to her. I won’t tempt her by throwing it into the kitchen, but I think she would throw caution to the wind, bound right past that line and scoop up that ball. If it ever dies, I’ll have to replace it immediately.

Speaking of baths, it was about time for another trip into the bathtub last Saturday. As I’ve said before, for the most part, she takes being bathed pretty well, although she expresses her extreme displeasure about it. She will fight going in, even to the point of risking hurting herself, and will try once, really hard, to get out, but after that, she just waits for the misery and indignity to end.

We were trying to figure out how to make getting in easier, especially since that’s when she does the craziest things. We noticed two things. As soon as she sees the towels come out, she knows what’s coming, or thinks she does. Second, she really likes getting picked up and carried around by Steve. We discovered this when we were trying to break her of jumping on us, and we heard that if we sort of held her paws and danced with her or scooped her up, she might not like it and would stop jumping. We found out that the scoop up routine she found to be quite enjoyable, so that wasn’t much of a jumping deterrent.

So, we thought Steve could distract her while I was getting the towels out, and then he could scoop her up, at which point she would go all limp and rag doll-like, and then he would carry her into the bathroom, at which point her ability to do crazy things would go down dramatically.

The distraction part worked perfectly. I got the towels all set up. Then Steve scooped her up, and started walking around the living-room and then slowly made his way back to the bathroom. She didn’t notice at first, and when we got in and closed the door…then she knew. Steve said he almost heard her voice in his head say “You screwed me! I have been betrayed! You bastard!”

We did get her in the tub much easier. Now let’s hope we’ve played enough games of scoop up the dog between now and next bath time so the trick will still work.

I’ve noticed a quirky thing she does only at work. When I feed her in the morning, sometimes she celebrates after. But every time I feed her at work before leaving, if anyone at all looks at her, even in a side-long sort of way, she thinks it’s an invitation to play and comes bounding over. I have no idea why she’s so frisky at the end of the work day. I mean, she just lays around sleeping all day. But she is so so so so happy after that evening meal.

This is going to take some explaining, but oh well. Steve and I are goofy, and say what would be ordinary phrases to each other in song titles from time to time, sometimes to see if the other person will understand the message, sometimes just because we’re weird. For example, instead of saying “I’ll be leaving soon,” we’ll say, “Barenaked Ladies Song”. Why? Because of this song.

Ok so it’s not quite the title, but it’s a big part of the chorus.

So one day, Tans and I were approaching an escalator. We found it, I put my hand on the railing, and stupidly said “Alan Doyle Song!” then laughed and said “Let’s go.” You know, because of this song.

Oh dear. I know Tansy’s good at mind-reading, but she’s not that good. I think I’m expecting a little too much there. Although I think if I worked hard enough, I’d have her knowing that whistling bit meant “Let’s go.”

I think those are all the Tansy updates, now for the few Trixie ones. The main thing is that Trixie is doing just awesome, enjoying herself and expressing her feelings and wants quite clearly. But one thing that isn’t so clear is her vision. That is definitely an issue, I wasn’t out of my mind back when it started showing itself in 2012. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, she’s pretty much blind, I think. Also, we think she has cataracts in addition to what was going on with the retina. Sometimes she has a hard time finding a treat hidden in someone’s hand. One day last summer, Brad was walking her down the sidewalk, and she crashed right into a great big chair. Another time, when we were all there for a party, we had patio tables out and drinks on them. Tansy and Trix were running around, having a super good time. As they played, they came closer and closer to us. Steve started to wonder if maybe he should pick up his drink. He didn’t finish the thought before A dog slammed into the table, tipping Steve’s drink right into his shoe. At first I thought it was Tansy, since sometimes when she gets going, she loses awareness of what’s close to her, but people told me that it was Trix. And, there stood Trix, bewildered, as if to say, “How did that get there?” The other time I wondered how much she could see was when she was over at our house at New Years and we were showing Brad this bath-hating dog.

As the video was playing, all of a sudden Trix let out this low, rumbling growl. It was as if she couldn’t be sure if that dog was actually hear or just in a recording. I know she always used to respond to recordings of dogs, but this felt like she honestly couldn’t be sure if we had a little dog somewhere, and if we did, she wanted to let that dog know she wasn’t up for any crazy stuff.

And poor old Trix growls more than I ever saw her do while she was working. don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen her growl before when she was unnerved by a couple of dogs’ rough play, but now, if Tansy gets her cornered, she will quietly growl at Tans to let her know she’s not down with this at all. Is that dog speak for “Get off my lawn, you bastards!”?

Trix has become quite the food thief in her old age. Steve already mentioned her brazen theft of a piece of dessert pizza. That same time she was visiting, before Steve, Brad and I were about to set off to the mall leaving Trix alone, Brad noticed there was a bunch of chocolate we got from Christmas that was at nose level and wondered if Trix would stay out of it when we were gone. For safety’s sake, we moved it all over to another spot and put it in a bag. I know Trix was very easily tempted by food, but wow, she gives in much easier now. But hey, she’s 10, she’s earned it.

I have mentioned this before, but I have reason to mention it again. If I have a dream about a tragedy befalling a guide dog, the one suffering the tragedy is always Trix. I’ve only had one bad guide dog dream involving Tansy, and it wasn’t that tragic. Oh wait…I did have that one where she was stolen from me, but still I have a lot less of those. But yet again, I had a dream where I was neglecting a dog, and Trix was the neglected one.

The dream started off with Brad saying he had to leave Trix with us for a week or so, for some reason. He brought food and everything. Suddenly, a couple of days later, we asked each other who has been feeding Trixie, and we both think the other is doing it. We stopped,looked over, and noticed Trixie,, withering away in the corner, and I started crying uncontrollably. In Trix fashion, she tried to console me, which only made me cry harder…at which point I woke up and realized that Trixie would never, in a million years, let that happen…ever. But seriously, why is Trix always the one I mess up?

One last thing that I think deserves a note: A few months ago, I heard through the grape vine that there was another Trixie going through formal guide dog training. Another Trixie? Really? That’s just wrong. This one, apparently, was yellow. But she didn’t have what it takes, for whatever reason, and didn’t make it through. I was almost relieved. A selfish part of me didn’t want to see Trixie replaced so soon.

And that’s about it I think. I hope I have many more years to tell both Trixie and Tansy stories. I still can’t get over the fact that Trix is 10. She’s definitely an old dog now…although she’s still pretty young at heart, for the most part. Just don’t make her play with any little yippy yappy dogs.

The Self-Stealing Car

A couple of nights ago, I had a really weird dream. At first I didn’t think it was weird enough to post, but it drifts through my mind a lot, so hey, maybe it needs a place.

It appears to be set in the time when I was in high school and I’m living at home with my folks. But somehow, present day things have followed me back there, including Steve, Tansy and iPhones. Ok then. It starts with Steve’s phone ringing, and me being annoyed that it’s far from where we’re sleeping because it’s our buzzer after all. Never mind that a. we’re not in our apartment and b. it’s something like 6 in the morning, so who the heck would be buzzing at this hour?

Steve walks out to the phone, bleary-eyed, and discovers that some random nerd from the internet is trying to Skype conference with him, and kills the call, and we get ready for the day. I have no idea what that had to do with the rest of the dream, but there it was.

Then the time comes to go to school, so Tansy and I head out to the car with my mom. But the car is a Google self-driving car. Yeah, because those existed in the 1990’s. I get in with Tansy, and mom says she just has to run back inside to get something she forgot. Just then, my phone starts babbling, and for some reason, a small child’s voice comes out of it. Then Voiceover’s voice says something like “alert, The malware Module A wants to install on your phone, don’t allow, ok.” Of course I say don’t allow, because who just says yes to Malware?

And then, without warning, the car starts up. At first I thought mom started it from inside…but then the car starts moving. First slowly, then faster.

In bewilderment, for some reason I can’t grasp, I ask Tansy to halt, as if she’s driving the car. Of course this doesn’t work, and I’m sure Tansy looks at me like I’ve lost my marbles.

At first, I’m kind of amused. First I wonder if mom has done this on purpose, why I didn’t just call home and ask is beyond me. I think about how cool it would be to arrive at school all by myself. But then I wonder how mom is going to get there if I basically steal her car.

Then the alarm is building slowly. The next thing I notice is it’s raining, so much so that the car keeps turning on the windshield wipers. I start to worry that maybe the car won’t see someone or something and might hit it. I realize that I have no idea how to control this thing, so can’t stop it, even if I realize that it’s bent on driving into a river or off a cliff.

Then I notice that the car is driving straight, and I know there are several turns on this road before I make it to school…so where exactly is the car going?

I take out my phone and try to fire up Blindsquare to figure out where we’re headed, but as I do so, I wonder what on earth I’m going to do with this information. Um, chief? Call home maybe? But this didn’t seem to be an option. Blindsquare’s music starts, and I wake up.

What the hell was that? The only thing I can think of is I heard something about the first prototype of Google’s cars being ready to drive, and we’ve heard a lot about hackings, and at Christmas, mom was talking about this guy who came in and talked to the kids at school about internet security, and his ability to drop apps on people’s phones at insecure wifi access points, and my brain decided to whip up a nice dream soup out of all of that.

But I think the worst part was the feeling of absolute helplessness, the feeling that even if I had some knowledge, I still had no power. Where, exactly, is that coming from?

I think back to when I was a kid, and I had a dream that cars could drive themselves. That was such an awesome dream. I climbed into the back of the car, told the car I wanted to go to a hotel 4 hours away, and off I went. I took a nap, woke up, asked the car where I was, arrived at the hotel, and felt so free. What a difference between that dream and this one.

Thankfully, last night, I don’t think I had any dreams like that, or dreams at all for that matter. I think I prefer that over that dream.