It is Labor Day as I write this, a holiday that deserves a lot of attention. There is controversy about exactly who got it started, but forces gathered in 1882 to pay tribute to laborers and workers who rarely get attention and acknowledgement. It feels especially important now, given the Writer’s Guild of America strike and the current cosmic forces changing work as we’ve known it in the past.
Here’s the thing about that: I have an outline written about what to say next–the importance of laborers and unions, then, transitioning to the work that dogs do, from sheepdogs to the companion dogs that enrich our lives. But, apparently my brain is going on it’s own kind of strike, because I’ve written what should be the next paragraph about ten times and keep deleting it because it’s not good enough. I finally figured out the problem: I want the day off. Which is ridiculous, because, as you’ll see below, I’ve spent the last few days as if on vacation. But, still, who I am to break a picket line, even if it’s in my own brain? I concede. (Jim approves, as a former union organizer.) I expect my brain to be back to work soon. Stay tuned.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: It’s been a very different weekend than expected. We had planned to spend much of it at my favorite trial, the Midwest Championship Sheepdog Trial in Hudson, WI. Here’s a photo of part of the field from year’s past:
You can see why I love being there, it’s so beautiful. If you squint, you can see the tiny dots of a dog and a group of sheep below the gates. What you don’t see is that the course extends a long way to the left, and also to the right. It’s a huge, sprawling course, one more similiar to that used in the World Trials in the UK than to ones run in the states.
But, sigh, the weather forecast was for high 90’s for much of the weekend, and Jim and I made the difficult decision to not go. Temps that hot could kill Skip (literally, with his heart condition), and make life exceptionally hard for me with all my medical adventures. So we stayed home, which meant not putting in our volunteer shifts as planned, and making life even harder for the hosts to fill in the gaps. I still feel badly about that.
Last week it was 100 here, and insanely humid, and I could barely stand letting the dogs out to pee, so I just couldn’t imagine living through being outside all day, much less working the dogs. The good news is that it hasn’t been nearly as humid as last week, much, much easier on all the mammals involved.
The bad news is I am still suffering from a major case of FOMO, although not so much a “Fear of . . . ” as a “Regret for . . .”. I love the trial, many of the people involved, the area around Hudson itself, and am bummed to miss it. And, it turned out to be much less humid than last week. But, there you are: You make the best decision you can at the time, and go with it.
Once we made the decision I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and told Jim I wanted to act like we were on vacation in a new city. We did just that: On Thursday we went to the Meat People Butcher in Monona, picked up one of their now famous sandwiches, and munched away at Olbrich Park, followed by walking around Madison’s premier garden, Olbrich Botanical Gardens. We live far west from the other side of town, so don’t get there much. I didn’t last too long; I just can’t walk all that far right now, but savored every minute of it. The water lily display was especially beautiful in the warm summer sun:
Friday we spent at home (more time to work on the novel revisions!), then went out to our “Cheers” equivalent, Bistro 101 for dinner. Bartender Gina is a big dog lover and makes a mean Mock Cosmo for me. Saturday we went to the little town of Paoli for a breakfast snack at the Seven Acre Dairy Cafe and strolled around the Paoli Art Fair. So much talent! We couldn’t resist bringing home this “yard art” crane, who is now hunting mice and snakes in one of our front gardens.
The afternoon was spent mostly on the couch, watching soccer and the US Open tennis (Alcaraz! Keys!), reading a great new book, What An Owl Knows, and dealing with the endless parade of emails that sprout up in our inboxes like weeds.
Sunday we ate your basic American breakfast at down-home Grandma’s Cafe, and went to dinner at upscale Sardine in downtown Madison. You can’t get a much bigger range of restaurant experiences than that, and we loved them both. In honor of Labor Day, we gave all of our servers 50% tips. Well earned, and so appreciated. Today, as soon as I post this, we’re going to see a movie, Oppenheimer. Seen it yet? We saw Barbie awhile ago but didn’t want to do a Barbenheimer. (Favorite Barbie scene is when the Kens play guitars to “seranade” the frozen-faced Barbies. I laughed so hard I probably embarrassed Jim. I can barely count the number of times, a gazillion years ago, when that happened to me. The ultimate in awkward, probably for the men too. ((Note to guys: Don’t do it.)))
The dogs have gotten lots of grooming (brushing out Skip is like sweeping the beach; you get the same amount of undercoat every time you do it), and work on sheep when it wasn’t too hot. Here’s Skip after cooling off in a friend’s water tank recently. Photo title: Dog with tongue.
Last good news: After gashing my hand with a piece of broken glass hiding in soapy dishwater, I can actually type easily now for short periods when I take off vet wrap and free my fingers. It’s been a week, but it’ll be another one before I think I’m out of the woods. It all probably would’ve healed faster if I’d not been stubborn and gotten stitches, but, you know, who wants to go to the ER at 9 at night? I considered taking a picture of the kitchen sink area, aka, Horror Movie Scene One, but figured I’d better spend my time staunching the bleeding.
I hope your weekend was just what you wanted it to be, that you avoided extreme heat, floods, mud, fires, and heaven knows what else. Sloppy kisses to your dogs, and my eternal appreciation for being part of our village.