For all our LBGTQ+ brothers and sisters. While we should celebrate their lives all year long, each year we especially dedicate the month of June to raising awareness of their lives and their struggles, and honoring their contributions. This has been a June like no other, but even in the midst COVID and all the other uncertainties, I hope that each person who identifies as LBGTQ+ has had someone say to them, “I’m glad you are who you are, and I am glad that I know you.” And my message to each of you is that you are loved.
Jude, over at Travel Words, has challenged us in February to focus on photography involving patterns. This last week in February she has asked us to use pattern as background for a more substantial subject. The challenge in composing the shot, of course, is to let the patterned background enhance the photo, rather than compete with it or overshadow it. Below is a photo of a friend knitting. I wanted to focus on her hands, with her shirt as the background pattern.
Here is the fundamental issue: Most dogs do not like to be forced to go out to do their business when it is raining. Even dogs that love to swim and fetch things in water don’t usually appreciated water falling on them from above. It’s a totally different sensation than leaping joyfully into the water for a lovely swim or to retrieve a favorite stick. But neither you nor they really like big messes left on the carpet. They are highly embarrassed because they know it’s against the rules, and they very much want to please you. You, of course, don’t want to clean up the mess. So. They need to go out, but often neither of you are very happy about it. Even when my husband and I were still living in our house, our dog Zoe refused to go potty in the rain even if we forced her out the back door. She would spend her whole time huddling under the eaves for shelter, no matter how long we left her out there. We tried not giving her breakfast until she had gone potty. Even that didn’t work. I would always end up having to put a lead on her and take her out. With the lead on, she didn’t have much choice but to follow me and once outside, she did indeed attend to business. Eventually, after we had had her for awhile, we didn’t even try to force her out into the back yard. I would simply suit up with my rain gear and take her out for a walk.
Years later, as many of you know, my husband and I moved back to the Bay Area of Northern California and into a 22 floor retirement community. All of us in the building who have dogs need to take them for walks both for exercise and to give them the chance to go to the bathroom. Also, as many of you know, after my husband died, friends in the building who have a labradoodle, and I who have a miniature Schnauzer, started sharing the 3 walks a day of our dogs. (See the 2 preceding posts below.)
When it’s not raining, I walk the dogs anywhere from 0.5 – 1.5 miles in the afternoon. That gives them plenty of time to do their business. When it’s raining I tend to stay close to the apartment so I can get home quickly if needed, but I still need to give the dogs enough time for multiple chances to go potty. Taking some photos along the way keeps us all moving a little, which also helps.
The particular afternoon of yesterday (see post below), it had been raining for hours with no signs of letting up, and my phone said it was going to continue to rain for at least 120 more minutes. About 4:00 I finally figured there was no sense in waiting any longer, especially since at the moment it wasn’t raining terribly hard. The dogs and I went out. We stayed out about 15 minutes. I took some photos, they did what they were supposed to do. We all came home and dried off,
And no more than 15 minutes later? You guessed it: the sun came out in all its glory. The dogs, of course, being inside, didn’t realize that the rain had stopped so soon after our walk. Which was probably a good thing, as they are both very good at looking at me reproachfully. Also, thank goodness, dogs tend to live in the moment, so they probably wouldn’t have had something to say about it. But still………
Sigh. At least I got some good photos. (For more photos from the walk, see yesterday’s post below.)
I am, perhaps, unusual in that I like taking pictures in the rain. The rain water on objects, in addition to the light that is peculiar to rain storms, seems to intensify the colors. More importantly, I suppose, is that I don’t mind going out in the rain. I have the necessary rain gear due to my love of hiking and the necessity of walking dogs, so I only get rather damp.
The dogs, however, have a different opinion of going out in the rain and of me stopping every minute or two to take a photo. They sit there, only somewhat patiently, with their heads down, sneaking a pleading look upwards every once in awhile that says, “Would you please, for God’s sake, take me home where it is warm and dry.
*Disclosure: I actually only own one dog, a Miniature Schnauzer. Good friends in the building own a Labradoodle. We share the walking of the dogs (three people, three walks/day = one walk per day per person). We also share the dogs in other respects, such as loving them both. And they behave as if they are littler mates. It’s a great system.
A picture of Teddy, the Labradoodle. and Zoe, the Miniature Schnauzer. Teddy doesn’t actually like the rain, but he doesn’t mind it too much. Zoe, on the other hand definitely doesn’t not, I repeat, not, like rain. It probably has to do with the fact that Teddy has enough oil in his fur that the rain drops mostly sit on the surface of his coat and he simply shakes them off. Zoe, on the other hand. has hair, not fur, and the rain soaks immediately right down to her skin. She looks rather like a drowned rat and is about as cheerful as one as well.
*Further discloser: I did not have them with me the other day when I took these photos of an old lamp post on Piedmont Ave in Oakland. The lamp posts, by the way, are over 100 years old.
I especially love how the rust shows its colors where the paint has worn off.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week for churches that follow a liturgical calendar. It is the most holy week of the Christian year and leads up to Easter Sunday. I have posted about Holy Week before, but each year the internal experience is a little different because our experiences of the past year have necessarily been different.
This is the first Holy Week since my husband’s death so this Holy Week is fundamentally different to start with. But adding to the already high emotion of the week, we lost two members of our retirement community over the weekend. In a retirement community that provides care for the rest of your life, it is natural for deaths to occur. But there are 250 people in our community and the grief of a death is not felt equally by all. The deaths this week, however, both hit hard. One person lived with his wife just two apartments down in our short hallway, and the other death was of a dear friend of both my husband and I. Both were 15 years older than my husband, so they had had a full life. But that doesn’t really soften the emotional blow of their passing. I feel the loss, and I grieve. But I also feel an additional lack, for normally I would be remembering these lives with my husband beside me and we would be able to tell the stories of our friends and grieve together.