Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's a wonder I get anything done around here.

It’s a mechanical life I lead, lately. Spring and summer fuels me with an incredible amount of energy but I contentedly collapse at 10pm. Now, it's nearing the end of winter and its numbing routine.

Home from work. Greet happy Boston Terriers. Change into yard clothes and algae/seed-caked Sauconys. Clap shoes on driveway. Check on birds. Play with excited Boston Terriers and give them the cookie they expect. Feed Koi. Clean the kitchen and get dinner started. Glance at the mail. Check e-mail and phone messages. Turn the volume up on the TV to hear Oprah and unhappy local news. Unload the dishwasher and decide whether to post on the blog, or not. Sort laundry and put a load in the machine while thinking of possible ideas for a post, realizing I’m a pathetic grasshopper. Fetch camera and a paper bag. Take care of yard poop patrol. Throw the hula hoop for Bella fifteen times. Drop the poop spoon and bag and watch the birds. Take a few pictures, 99% of which are trash.


Tend to the birds, i.e. wipe the feeders, add sunflower seed, nuts, niger seed, and prepare their special treat of Zick dough, worms, and raisins. Throw hula hoops and golf balls another twenty-five times. Do this all before dinner, and that dough smells good enough to eat.


Chat with Mocker for a little while to calm him down.



They’re all worth it. The sweet Nuthatch amazes me as I watch him pluck a nut and carry it away with the clumsiest bill I’ve ever seen.

And this is how it goes - day, after day, after day, after day. It’s tiring, particularly during winter doldrums and when the atmosphere, so dull, messes with my brain. Sort of casts an unwanted spell on my body and mind. My eyes glaze over during picture-taking and I sigh. With every slow, mechanical step I take, I remind myself of the excitement that spring will bring. A multi-vitamin might help, too.

Does this sluggish routine sound familiar to anyone?


She stole the Carolina Wren’s two teaspoons of dough and worms twice last week. Silently, right behind my back, she lapped them up from a little dish on the deck. Licking her chops, she looked up at me, “Go ahead and holler. Won’t bother me because I have no regrets.” When Chloe likes something, there isn’t much that can stop her and she needs to be watched closely, like a hawk.


I snatched a paper plate of dough before she could run with it. She reveled in getting the empty plate just because... “I have your plate.”


Bella looks to me, S-s-ee? She's a thief. You n-n-need to punish her.

Some nights, it's all about the dogs. I thought about putting this post together last night while sitting at the computer, viewing my photos, browsing a few blogs, but it was impossible to read. A diversion is what I needed and Bella knew it.


Will you play w-w-with me or not?

Two front paws pull my left hand off the keyboard.

Play with me?

Please, my needs attention. You are glum. Let’s have f-f-fun.


Maybe if I be c-c-cute? Demure? Stop the computer.

I resisted for a while.

This was her last, possible ploy and it worked.

I f-f-feel tummy rumblings and I’m gonna let it blow.

Oh, the cloud. I had to get up and go. Seriously, this is true. She got her wish, that sweet little twit.

I believe your pets know when you need a break and have more intuition than you think. We should listen to them more often.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I believe completely that our pets tune in to us with a sense that we don't possess. Thankfully, they don't all communicate with farts!!

I'm in a big schlump too. I'm so sick of the dark, I could spit.

Hang in there May, spring and rebirth are coming.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh your girls are soooo funny. Great post Mary. Your nuthatch is great too.

Carol Michel said...

Mary, I don't have any pets, just plants. I used to help take care of the neighbor's Boston Terrier when they went on vacation. "Princess" was one very stubborn dog, and wouldn't go back inside until SHE had decided she was done playing.

But I know what you mean about ruts. We need a NICE spring day to bust us all out of it!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens (check my blog, I accoladed (is that a word) you tonight)

Beth said...

you are so funny and your pictures are great--I love that nuthatch.
Think spring!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Put 'em all on Zick dough--one big pot, shared by all.
Could it be you're spending much time on everything else except yourself?

Anonymous said...

I think the winter makes lots of people feel gloomy...but spring is coming...I have daffodils and a tulip tree blooming!!

And just who could pass up a chance to be cheered up by that precious face..Love your girls!!


Anonymous said...

Love your photos and these bird shots are stunning! The nuthatch is such a cuttie and glad it's still doing alright!

Susan Gets Native said...

I seem to recall similar slumpiness this time last year.
We just need to hang in there. Even when we want to spit.

A dog can always be called upon to gas us out of our reveries.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I'm not energetic at all these days. I miss my walks and being in the yard. We're getting close now though. We gotta hang in there.

Love your pictures of your dogs and the birds.

Anonymous said...

Mary, enter that chickadee picture in some contest. The colors are stunning! All the shades of gray. That's how we all feel right now. A truly stunningly beautiful picture!

Anonymous said...

love your pictures, especially that long beaked nuthatch...we don't have them where I live. I was wondering if you buy your mealworms or raise them yourself?
I have a gaggle of Canada Geese that come calling every day, about 16 or so of them looking for a handout....they don't mind the cold and snow at all.
stay well, Anita

Cheryl said...

I want those dogs...they would fit in so well with my Nella. I think our dogs do know what we need. I know when I am sad or unwell they seem to just know what to do. I would not be without them.
Winter brings the dulldrums to lots of people. I am fortunate, I am not one of them. Every day is a bonus. My husband is the opposite, winter is something he just has to get through to get to the other bits.

Spring is not far away now Mary and you will frolicking just like those little lambs!

Thanks for another great post...going back now to look at those gorgeous dogs again.

Jayne said...

Oh heck, my life is so routine, you could set your watch by my daily goings about. Routine = peace in our home. I am all about peace.

The Zick dough does smell good enough to eat so I can't blame Chloe. It has been a long, dark winter this year, and I am also longing for more sunlight and the color green again.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

I know what you mean about the pets. I have a cat sitting right here in front of me staring at me as we speak. I wonder if she is telling me to get off the computer?

The Quacks of Life said...

cute doggies!!!

look so happy

RuthieJ said...

A woman's work is never done!
You're so amazing Mary, you can even find humor in the mundane! And your funny pups always save the day! (the last picture of Bella is priceless!)
P.S. Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner--Spring Ahead on March 9th, so even if spring isn't here by then, we'll at least have longer evenings to look forward to

beckie said...

Alright Mary! You have a bad case of Seasonal Disorder something,something! Get a full spectrum light and put it in a lamp that you sit by most often. It REALLY does help. The Bostons are wonderful!! We had one for over 10 years and was such a part of the family. We still miss him and have kept his favorite ball.
Great writing...made us feel exactly what you were feeling!

Unknown said...

So that is what you do with Zick Dough! you crumble it and put it on a paper plate. Ahhh will have to try this.

My Lily does the same to me. If I am on the computer to long she will ram my arm off the computer mouse and will not let up till I tend to her. I think there is something our pets know that we do not.

And Mary your bird photos are getting better every day. Maybe ther is hope for me yet.

Anonymous said...


My old blog was shut down, so here is my new one:

Mary said...

The bird pics were great! I love that black and white chickadee shot! I laughed at the "99% of which are trash". Doesn't it amaze you when you sit down at the computer to download and realize that you took over 100 pictures and that you now have to wade through and throw out so many of them looking for the one good shot?? What did we do before digital cameras???

Peg Silloway said...

The February Blahs are a fearsome foe, but fresh air and the promise of daffodils help hold them at bay. And when we're down, there's no doubt our animal friends try to comfort us.

When the late afternoon doldrums hit, suddenly a fluffy cat appears to swipe her lush tail across my face and then lie on my forearms. Makes it kind of difficult to keep working on the laptop; thank goodness there's a touch pad as the mouse is out of the question.

I agree with the others - your chickadee photo is worth framing!

Mel said...

Black and white pic is just beautiful! I would frame it and take it to wherever I need a beautiful view, some peace and quiet. It's a powerful picture in a way.
I love your pics and stories every time!
Great post!

NatureWoman said...

I am in such a snit it isn't even funny, Mary! I love your photos, always, and your stories. Glad I didn't have to smell doggie farts!

Anonymous said...

Ok, how does 101" of snow so far this season sound to you? We can barely see out of our windows here in northern new england! It takes me longer to get dressed to take my little terrier mix Zoe out for her tinkles than it does for her to get the business done! And I DO understand the persuasive "power" of terriers... we often think that we should have named her "Asphyxia" ....phew! Great post Mary! hugs, gretchen

Donna said...

Chloe and Bella are so funny and SO cute! They get very persistent when they want some attention ~ that's how Otis and Riley are!
Love your bird pictures.

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

You're so funny!! I can always count on you to make me smile! Love the pictures and the story.

Larry said...

I get into that mechanical mode too.-Sometimes you have to force yourself to break up a routine.Pets can be wonderful diversions for us. They bring out a certain side of us that might have stayed put if it weren't for them.-wonderful doggie characterizations you do!

KGMom said...

Your doggie tempting series is a classic, especially that last shot with the closed eyes.

I also love the mockingbird photo--the clarity in the bird's eye.

Unknown said...

I'm right there with all those who are in a winter slump. I'm tired of the cold and snow. It is difficult to get motivated this time of the year...but Spring is right around the corner...

Q said...

Dear Mary,
It is that time of year. Winter weary I call it! Spring migration will begin any day now. Hummers will return soon. Last week I actually went through some of last spring's photos and admired the Baltimore Orioles. Hummingbirds were at my house on March 18th last year. Way too early I thought.
You take care of so many others how about a day just for Mary? A mini retreat into the woods? When is the next birding outing planned for you? How about a spa day? I do the spa day for any sort of reason.
Talking with Mr. Mocking bird is good for the soul. He looks as if he is listening.
Your girls are the best. They are darling and love you so much!

Throw caution to the wind and bring flowers to work. Leap day is coming up do something WILD...
I have my kites up. I am looking forward to March.

JeanMac said...

What a post!

Alyssa said...

Yes, these pugs always seem to want to be laying on top of me. Even when I'm sitting up! They are nice little warm blankets.But they do seem to resent the computer or a book. I don't blame the girls for wanting that Zick dough - I thought it was cereal or the makings for cookies when I first saw your pictures. It looks yummy.

I agree that our lives become very mechanical and "by the numbers". I guess it's up to you to do something different or unusual every day. I plan on something fun to look forward to. Even if it only means looking through a new catalog, using special bath stuff, lighting a few scented candles, or having a couple of spoonfuls of natural crunchy peanutbutter! (Speaking of catalogues; I recieved one you might like. It's called Duncraft and has all kinds of things for birds and bird feeding etc. Maybe you know of it, but I was very surprised at all the neat stuff. They have a website too you might like: duncraft.com ) Chloe and Bella looked wonderful and very sweet and maybe a little sly ;-) Just keep clanking along Mrs. Mechanical Man!!

P.S. I wish I had such lovely hands and nails like yours!!

Kathi said...

ove the B&Q chickadee photo - it is to die for! Your BT's are so cute; what faces!! (How come Bella stutters? Does she have some unresolved traume from her puppyhood?)

Rotts are a gassy breed, too, but luckily, I have no sense of smell, so Grace's emissions don't disturb me at all.

Public Service Announcement: Here's reminding all dog owners that the high fat content of "Zick dough" makes it a doggy "no-no." Risk of GI upset or pancreatitis, besides general weight gain.

Nice post, Mary. It fits my end-of-winter blahs mood.


Anonymous said...

You know I enjoy seeing the "girls" with their sweet faces and expressive eyes that tell the whole story. Sometimes my cats look like that and then I have to pick them up and give them a hug or maybe a little treat.
Your bird closeups want to make me hold them in my hands. That little nuthatch sure is comical.
Yes spring is coming, but not quite fast enuf, oh to see a dandelion blooming would give me hope.
Nature Knitter's Mom [Betty K]

Susie said...

I think many of us are suffering with "winter doldrums" We're beginning to see signs of spring everywhere here. The days are sunny and nice, but I'm still in winter mode. Loved seeing all your pictures. They're always a treat.

dguzman said...

I'm glad the kitties and the bunny don't toot for my attention. Your photos are great. That nuthatch blows my mind; did you ever send that pic to Bill of the Birds?

Love the black-and-white treatment of the chickadee. Nice!

Oh, for a day at home... although I admit I would not get many of my chores done...

Cathy said...

Oh, Mary. I know I'm reading a great post when my laptop is bobbing up and down because I'm laughing so hard. Thank you dear Mare - for the smiles of recognition, for some of the prettiest birds on the internet and the most seductive pup faces that ever wriggled into our hearts.

Honey - if this is boredom - I'll take a case of it, please.

kate said...

Hmmmm ... this is a familiar scene. I suppose size doesn't make such a difference when it comes to dogs! Lytton knows how to knock my laptop cover closed or open. If I continue to ignore him, well, he just tries to climb onto the chair. At that point, I usually give up.

You've made me laugh ... I enjoyed this!

Sherry said...

Great post Mary. Who could resist Bella's cute face? Loved the photos! Spring will cheer us up..

Kerri Farley said...

Oh my Mary...this is FUNNY! I can completely relate to the winter doldrums...In fact I kind of posted about them today. I don't know if they are winter dolrums or not....but I have been in a FUNK....but hopefully the FUNK is on its way OUT!

Fantastic post, as usual!!
That chickadee picture is absolutely stunning! And who cares if most of our shots are trash...Thank GOD for digital cameras!! I don't know how anyone could afford to have photography as a hobby before Digital :)

PS - you need to write a BOOK!!!