If We Were Having Coffee // Getting out of the City

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’m not feeling all that great today. I’m recovering from yesterday’s hike, too many hard ciders afterward, too many snacks all day, and staying up a little too late last night. My body isn’t what it used to be and I wasn’t very careful or considerate of it this weekend and now I am paying the price. Copious amounts of coffee are being drunk and little more than laundry is on the agenda for the morning in apology and I hope that by the early evening my body and I will have come to an understanding.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The temperatures are still summer-like but there is a definite autumn-esque breeze coming through the open windows. It will be cold brew as usual and a healthy spoonful of creamy coconut milk—from the can, not the carton—for flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“There is so much hope in a cup of coffee.”

@ellacalm

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am sorry I missed our coffee date last week. It was my fiance’s birthday weekend and I decided to unplug and spend the long weekend being present in every moment with her. We went to dinner at one of our favorite out-of-the-way seafood places and had another dinner with her family at a new favorite Italian place. We cooked together at home too and snuggled up on the couch for movies. She opened her gifts as the arrived and I think she liked them all, and then we got away from the city and spent a day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that we went hiking again yesterday too. We went back to Deer Creek Canyon, the same trail we hiked on our anniversary. We went back because it was an easy trail and our dog, Lola, needed to start slow for her first hiking day with us.

A bit of background on Lola: She’s, (we believe) an Australian cattle dog and basenji mix. She is energetic, smart, strong-willed, defiant, independent, and painfully shy. She is affectionate and loving, but very much on her own terms. She’s not especially food motivated and even my approval means very little so training and socialization have been a challenge. It’s as if wants to be a good dog, but only her own vision of what a good dog should be.

When we got her we thought she looked like the quintessential “Colorado dog”. The kind of dog you take hiking and camping. The kind of dog you take to dog parks and on road trips. The kind of dog that can be trusted off leash, that is well-trained, happy, confident, a dog that is a true life companion. We quickly realized after we got her home that she was far from what we’d expected.

Lola is certainly active enough but she required—still requires—a lot of work on her manners and confidence. She’s easily spooked, distrustful of strangers, and far too trusting of strange dogs. Hiking was out of the question. There was no way I could trust her to be safe and obedient on a trail, until now.

Yesterday she went on her first hike with us on a trail shared by people, dogs, and even mountain bikes! And she did so well! She didn’t try to run away from the bikes, and she, for the most part, ignored other dogs and people going by. This is a major improvement from even a few months ago where walking her around the block could be frustrating for both of us. I think we’ll take her again next weekend. I think getting out of the city does just as much good for her well-being as it does for mine.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the work week was…okay. I’ve been trying hard to get ahead of my schedule and get things done now so that I might have more free time in the next few months but because I have to rely on others to be available and to show up it’s been about 50% days where I get shit done, and 50% days where I have nothing to do. I’ve decided to start overfilling my calendar a bit in advance of inevitable cancellations and rearrangement. I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.

As far as my route goes, new kids are being added all the time which always fills my driver and me with anxiety. You never know if the new kid will get along with the others or if they will come in and disrupt the delicate balance you have achieved through careful interaction and strategic seating charts. We’ve been lucky so far. Each new kid has agreed with the peaceful and quiet environment I have cultivated, but we have another one starting tomorrow and I worry our luck may run out.

I did have time for reading and writing, it was only my mind I couldn’t get to focus. I made some progress though and that has to be good enough for now. I hope to do better this week and I am giving myself every opportunity to by uninstalling most of the apps from my iPad and plugging y phone in well way from me for at least two hours a day. I made an effort to clean up my “creativity room” and am pledging to spend a half an hour in there a day making little things with my hands. No screens allowed.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m looking forward to this evening. We’re going to have an early dinner and a showing of the 90s classic Clueless at our favorite theater. Afterward, we’ll pick up a bottle of wine to drink while we scarf down the last of the spicy chip-chocolate bark I made earlier in the week and watch the season premieres of The Duece on HBO and Shameless on Showtime. A perfect end to a particularly perfect weekend.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it’s actually about time I start preparing for the evening. I need a nap—a “coffee nap” actually—a long shower and a little Sunday pampering time before we go no to mention there are still dishes in the sink and laundry waiting to be folded.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you got to do things for you and not just for others and not just because you had to. I hope this weekend was restful and that you won’t stress about tomorrow until tomorrow comes.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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Feet and Paws and a Good Patch of Grass

My puppy, Lola, loves to go outside. So even though I am tired, even though it’s hot out, and even though I am busy, I have to take her. If I don’t she will become an absolute terror in the house. She’ll find things to get into and she will run circles through the kitchen and jump all over the furniture. Taking her outside is better for everyone.

Despite that I am never really “in the mood” to take her outside. Like I said, I’m tired, it’s hot, and I have other things to do, but as soon as we get out there I can’t help but be cheered by her obvious happiness at being outdoors. Her tail is wagging, she’s panting and tugging at the leash. She wants to feel some grass under her paws!

Outside everything smells so good and the ground is littered with a million edible things. There are rabbits, and birds, and other dogs to run after and if she’s good I will let her run off leash in the tennis court or the grassy area behind it.

We go to the grassy area a lot.

Lola’s favorite thing in the whole world is the feel of grass.

When her paws hit grass she changes, she becomes confident and free. She becomes half-wild too. She tries to run and jump while still on leash and it can be hard to calm her down enough to unclip the leash. Once free she runs through the grass, she eats the grass, she digs it up, she rubs her face and, eventually, her whole body in it. It’s annoying sometimes but it’s also pretty cute.

I try to get her out in the grass at least once a day. I know she needs it and because she loves me so damn much and tries to be a good dog I figure it’s the least I can do. She deserves it.

One thing I have learned since having Lola is how to appreciate a good patch of grass. Her excitement gets me excited and next thing I know I’m running through the grass right along with her. She runs circles and figure eight’s around me while I try my best to catch her. I’ll throw a ball or a stick and the game turns into one of “keep away”.

Eventually she gets tired, especially if I mess up and forget to bring water (whoopsie). She’ll stop quickly and lay down, panting hard and looking like the happiest dog in the world. I always lay next to her, which is a pretty big deal because I am afraid of bugs. Then she rolls over for belly rubs. Once she’s rested enough we begin the running game again. We do this a few times before I start to get afraid she will get too comfortable off leash and run away.

One the walk back home and she is happy and content. and much more well behaved. I look at her and wish I could be so happy in life.

You see, dogs teach us to be happy with what we have, wherever we are. For them, gratitude is an instinct. I wish I could be content with nothing more then a patch of grass. I wish I was happy to run in circles and dig holes. I wish I didn’t need anything else. Then again maybe I don’t need more than that. Maybe I am the one complicating things. Maybe all we need to feel true happiness is nothing more than a cool patch of grass to run in.

Then again my dog eats her own puke, what does she know?

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Beneath Your Feet”