When to back down

Spring miscellany
Lunch prepared by Kelsey and Alex, a few weekends ago.

I’ll turn 29 this week, and so naturally, I am thinking about death.

And about how we’re supposed to improve, at least morally, with age and about how that doesn’t ever really happen. Because here’s the thing: Kids are jerks, sure, but adults are just jerks in a different way.

For example, I picked a fight at brunch a few weekends ago. (In my defense, I was hungover for the first time ever, which felt timely, as I am lurching toward the grave.) It was a fight over identities and definitions. I knew no one would agree with me, but I felt like ruffling feathers. It didn’t go well. Everyone thought I was a bigot by the end of the morning, and I still felt like emptying my stomach in my sister’s tidy bathroom. But I let the lectures roll in. I let the topic die. We played cards and everything was fine.

The special thing about this relatively unpleasant scene that I caused was how calm I felt afterward. In my youth, being wrong or being told I was wrong affected me profoundly. It’d ruin my entire month. I’d agonize over it.

But now, almost 29, I feel I am gentler and less self-assured. I still have strong opinions, of course (you can’t praise a pug or a French bulldog in earshot of me without getting the sternest of lectures). I still hate being wrong. But I’m learning to let the thing die. (Learning, Guion! I said learning.)

I’m still a jerk — but in a different way. Not sure if that’s something to celebrate but I am pondering these minute emotional shifts. Life is short. Soon we’ll all be gone. It’s good to let things go, when you can.

Sweet Kelsey

Happiest of birthdays to my wonderful sister Kelsey! The sweet one, the go-getter, the consummate athlete, the heroine in all of my scary childhood dreams. I love you and I’m thankful to be related to you. Can’t wait to see you soon!

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Kels

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Kelsey and Alex at their rehearsal dinner

Looking for her lover

A weekend with the family

Betsey! Soon to be India bound! So good to see her after so long.

First, I had a sleepover with Betsey. It was wonderful. She is so much fun and so wise.

Family game of knock out. I am stupendously bad at basketball.
Kate and Sam, feigning friendship.
Kate takes on the brownie batter.

Then, on Friday, I took a half-day at work and drove home for an early celebration of Dad’s and Kate’s birthdays and to surprise the siblings. (They were surprised, but a little disappointed that it was me, because Dad had led them to believe that he was bringing home a puppy.)

It was so nice to be back there, to wander around Fisher Farm with the dogs, to eat dinner with the whole family, to drape ourselves over furniture and be totally unhelpful to mother, to sleep in the harem again. I have missed them all.

Birthdays and dogs: Missing Emma

Today, as I turn 23, I am musing on dogs. Of course.

My dog obsession has reached nearly unsustainable levels. Just ask my sweet, patient husband. I talk about dogs all the time. I dream about them. Dogs are the first and last thing on my mind every day. It’s embarrassing and bordering on psychological mania, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. (My boss, a fellow dog enthusiast, and I talked about it and mutually agreed that it would be in our company’s best interests if they blocked PetFinder for both of us.) We can’t have dogs in our current apartment and we’ve committed to living here until May 2012. I may not make it that long, but I am going to undergo a Year of Patience and Character-Building while I wait for my own dog.

I think a lot about our childhood dog, Emma. I picked her out of the litter, around my birthday, and I was responsible for choosing the breed (Australian Shepherd). We loved her a lot, but we also didn’t give her everything she needed. I have regrets. I was young and I didn’t give her enough attention. I also underestimated an Aussie’s need to have a job. I was too busy being 15 and worrying about boys and stuff. Her barking and herding were natural expressions of her breed heritage, but we saw these traits as nuisances and weren’t caring enough to give her appropriate channels for her energy. When we moved to our new house, my parents gave her away to family friends who lived on a farm. Emma, however, was allowed run around unchecked and was soon killed by a truck she was chasing. I wish she were still alive so I could re-adopt her now. In many ways, she was an exceptional dog. Her intelligence was remarkable and I still subjectively believe I haven’t seen a more beautiful dog in my life. She deserved better, and today, I just want her back.

So, please excuse me while I mull over my regrets and tear up at the last remaining pictures I have of her. I know. I have a problem. But look at her face! My sweet, crazy birthday dog.

Emma as a puppy.
Kelsey and Emma at our grandparent's house.
Sam and Emma were primarily family rivals for the position of the youngest child.
Dad was responsible for undoing all of the obedience training I had done with her.
She was really terrible about riding in the car. She started drooling and foaming and we had to give her Dramamine.
She was very happy, though.
Pride Week.
She did love family camping trips.
I always felt like she was one step ahead of me.
I named her Emma after the Austen novel. They were both unbelievably pretty and arrogant.
On squirrel patrol. Miss you, Em.

OK. Done with the self-indulgence. But I do miss her often. Anyone have any tips on how to stave off dog mania? I can’t keep living like this. Just ask Guion.