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Gretchen and the Green Chair

Since I’m relatively new to the whole dog-ownership realm, it seems like every day I learn something new about living with dogs and training them. When we first got Gretchen, the first couple of weeks were kind of tough, what with the potty training and figuring out when and how to exercise her and who would come home when to let her out and whatnot. But I’ll never forget that first night we brought her home. The shelter had to keep her a few days to give her all her shots and let her recover, so I ended having to work the night that Jamie picked her up. I could hardly contain my excitement that whole shift, just thinking about how she had instantly won us over, and how I couldn’t wait to make her life happy again, after her being abandoned and then stuck in a shelter and all that. (Let me tell you, if you really, deep down want a dog but aren’t sure if you should actually get one yet, DO NOT go to the animal shelters “just to look.” Or else you will come home with a dog. It’s pretty much a guarantee.) When I walked in the door, Jamie was reading on the couch and Gretchen was laying on the floor, and I walked around and kneeled down to her level, and she got up and walked over to me and sat in front of me and just put her arms right up on my shoulders, giving me a doggie-hug. I just about lost it, let me tell you.

Since then, she’s given us our fair share of trials (all of the beds she’s chewed up, the neighbors she’s made mad, the walks she’s ruined by turning them into tug-of-war matches with her leash, and the middle-of-the-night puking sessions she has on a regular basis all come to mind), but at the end of the day, when she’s pooped from all her barking and baying and running and playing and chewing and romping around, when she’s so warm and soft and snuggly, you just can’t help but LOVE HER. So much. Because no matter how long we had to leave her in her crate, no matter if it was a rainy day and she couldn’t go on a very long walk, no matter how many times we yelled at her for digging through the trash, she ALWAYS comes back to us and lets us know how much she needs us. Dogs, in my honest opinion, really are just about the closest picture of God’s unconditional love that you’ll find anywhere on this earth. And we’re so lucky to have a little piece of that in Gretchen.

Well, anyway, one of our ongoing battles has been keeping her off the furniture. She adores curling up on the furniture because she can be closer to us and she can see everything a lot easier. And I think it’s probably a little cozier. We tried originally to keep her off altogether. Then we decided just to give her her own little “spot” on the couch, which we covered with a sheet to “protect” it (yeah, right). Well, then she just got too big for her britches, and started gnawing on the arms of the couch for fun and trying to sneak her bones up there to chew on, no matter how many times we scolded her and pushed her off (because those things are NASTY). And the dog hair was EVERYWHERE. So we vowed that when we got rid of our other couch and got the one we have now, that we would start enforcing the no-furniture-at-all-whatsoever-no-matter-how-long-you-stare-at-me-with-those-sad-eyes rule again. The problem was that we got this green chair (off craigslist for $10 at that!) that Gretchen pretty much decided was hers the second we brought it in the apartment. No, really. You know how old men have their special chairs, that they sit in to read their newspapers and watch TV and take afternoon naps? Yep, that would be Gretchen with this green chair. So we tried to keep her off it. We really did. And it worked for a long time, actually, even though we knew she hated being banished to her floor bed.

Well, the other night, she started sneaking up on the chair again. At first, we kept up with our usual absolutely-not-NO-MA’AM business, but eventually our resistance wore down because a) she doesn’t make a peep when she’s curled up in her chair and b) SHE JUST LOOKS SO DARN CUTE IN IT. So yes. We relented. We let her reclaim her throne. We’re suckers, we know.

Well, it was funny tonight, because Jamie took the green chair, and Gretchen was not having any of that. So what does she do? She climbs right on up there. Practically on top of Jamie. Until he eventually got so annoyed he moved to the couch. Yep, that’s how Gretchen rolls.

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But I ask you, oh you who judge, COULD YOU SAY NO TO THIS FACE?

Pshhh…. Didn’t think so.

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Tara - Props to you for even trying to keep Gretchen off the furniture.
I didn’t even try with Wendell.

Morgan, I absolutely adore this post. I have to admit that a few tears popped up while I was reading it. I love dogs…

admin - I know. Meee toooo…. I always say now that I’m just not sure how much I could really like someone who doesn’t love dogs. I mean, really.

A new chapter.

I realized the other day that I’ve started the past 6 or so blog entries with “so,” SO I promised myself I wouldn’t do it again!

I didn’t think that it would ever come to this point, but I’ve actually had a couple of people email me recently asking ME for photography tips and tricks. Who, ME?! Gosh, I still feel like SUCH a newbie, and it boggles my mind that anyone would come to me for advice. At first, I felt kind of awkward about dispensing what I’ve learned, because I’m afraid of sounding so… well, amateurish. But the more I thought about it, the more I figured that it’s not like there are a lot of pros out there reading this, and it’s mostly just people kind of like me who are starting from square one and just need to know the basics. And trust me, if you want to learn yourself, you will spend HOURS, days even, glued to books and blogs and forums and websites trying to make sense of it all. So I’m not claiming to have figured it all out. FAR FROM IT, believe me. And while I still don’t feel “qualified” to be any sort of teacher on this subject, I decided that I’m going to try to share more of the “how” behind the “what” from now on, for those who are interested in learning too. I mean, it’s the least I can do when I think about how much I’VE learned by reading other people’s blogs.

So come along this crazy journey with me. Why not?

A preview of a fun little technique I’ve been practicing lately that I’ll explain more about later:

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great day in the morning

We just got back a little bit ago from our first trip to the downtown farmers market they hold here every Saturday morning. All I can say is, what fun! It’s an absolutely gorgeous day, and it was nice to be up early on a Saturday for once (and to have the day off at that!). There was so much to touch and taste and look at, but we stuck with just getting some breakfast. Well, I say breakfast- I had pancakes, but Jamie opted for a Sudanese dish followed by banana rum gelato. At 10:00 am. But he thought it was pretty much the best thing he had ever put in his mouth, so whatever. I took my camera along, but I ended up shooting from the hip most of the time, because you find out pretty quickly that people get really suspicious of strangers taking pictures of them with really large cameras. Go figure. It’s really a hit-or-miss technique, and I definitely missed a LOT on exposure and focus, but there were a few gems scattered in there. At one point when we were sitting on the grass eating, I spotted this man pulling his two kids in a little red wagon, and it was the cutest thing, so I pulled out my camera to capture it, and I had hardly gotten it to my face when he saw me and said, “No! No! NO! Don’t do that!” And I just kind of put the camera down, startled, and he was like, “Well, I mean I’m sure you’re innocent and all, but we’ve had some issues with this.” Excuse me? I mean, I guess I can understand wanting to protect your kids, but do I LOOK like a dirty child molester or something? Really? So yeah, from that point on, I kept the camera low and away from my face so as not to draw attention to myself and cause someone to alert security.

img_0837cLove that banjo music!

img_0845cPretty AND yummy.

img_0852cHuman statue. This guy was AWESOME.

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img_0884cLOTS of music going on…. great atmosphere.

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img_0896cMy breakfast! Buckwheat pancake with bananas, peanut butter, dried fruit, granola, and apple cider syrup. Yessir.

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img_0913cThis is by far my favorite image of the bunch (shot from the hip! woot woot!). I love the movement, the slight angle, the contrast… and the doggie OF COURSE.

img_0915cCheck out that baby’s mohawk!

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img_0926cIN LOVE with these journals handmade with old book covers. If I didn’t already have so many cute journals that I bought because I thought their cuteness alone would inspire me to actually start keeping a journal but never really did, I would have bought one.

img_0930cYep. You read that right. Bike valet. Sweet.

So yeah, aside from Paranoid Parent, it was a fun morning, and the rest of the day should be pretty fun too. I want to finish my bike (hopefully I’ll have pictures to post soon!), check out the Utah Arts Festival that’s going on this weekend, maybe nap a little, and then go see “Away We Go” tonight when Jamie gets off work. (The first review I read had turned me off, because I thought it’d be a little too-cool-for-school and that it would annoy me, but I read some more reviews yesterday that said Jon Krasinski and Maya Rudolph’s performances were so genuine that they overcame any of the pretentiousness of the rest of the movie. So now I want to see it… and see for myself!)

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megan - that pancake looked a.maz.ing!! We just might have to do breakfast at the farmers market!!