walk 19

friday, 5:25am. 56°, mostly cloudy.

i've been thinking a lot about posture lately. i read a lot of eric cressey and tony gentilcore; they're personal trainers and strength coaches who do a lot of back, shoulder and elbow work (they have found themselves working with a lot of major league baseball players, so you can imagine that with all the throwing and torso rotations going on, they're bound to specialize in those areas).

my scapulae have been really sore this week. that tends to be where i hold my stress anyway (and i've had some this week, taking on yet another thing at work, though this time it's my own doing), but they've been sorer than usual.

most people sit in flexion all day. that is, they lean over their desk, back arched, shoulders hunched forward toward their monitors.

i don't. i stand for most of the day at work. and at home, my desk, chair and monitor require me to sit up to get the best view and to be the most comfortable. i often even stand for things most people would sit for at work, and i'll pace around the living room to watch tv until jb reminds me i should come sit next to her.

to further indicate that i stand a lot, i have a repetitive stress injury in my tfl, which is a short muscle on the outside of your hip. when that sucker flares up, i either have to sit or stand; transitioning between the two is too painful to bother. standing still, while it keeps the pain away, is doing more damage to the muscle. so if you ever see me sitting during a time it would be more appropriate to be standing, that's probably why.

anyway.

i'm consciously walking taller, pulling my shoulders back, and being aware of my stature and personal space, even during the 5:00 hour. it's helping me be more alert and more awake, too. not a bad thing.

friday, 5pm. 69°, cloudy.

walks are such a great stress reliever.

i had a great workout this afternoon. two minute treadmill walk warmup, half mile at 6.8mph / 0 incline, .1 mile at 4mph / 5 incline, another half mile at 6.8mph / 0 incline, three minutes' rest. 3 sets of 50 rope jumps, 15 kettle bell swings (12kg), 15 SB/DB chest press, 15 SB/DB chest fly, 15 SB/DB pullover (0 rest between exercises, 30 seconds between sets), three minutes' rest, rowing intervals (1 minute at 100% followed by 30s rest, for 10:30).

but i still came home frustrated from work.

so rufus and i (and david sedaris in the headphones) went for a long walk. we saw some people, sniffed some poles, pooped under a tree, and breathed in the air. breathed in the air. breathed in the air.

walk 18

thursday, 5:25am. 60°, partly cloudy.

the city i grew up in, springfield, mass., had streetlights every 20 yards or so. this was great, until the mayor of the city started lending city money to his friends to open up businesses downtown, then lending them more money to pay back those loans. springfield had a bustling downtown entertainment district, but suddenly couldn't afford to keep all those streetlights on.

that made it great for people who finally could see the stars, but not for the increasing crime rate throughout the 1990s.

the suburbs here, however, are somewhat devoid of streetlights. there are lights in my neighborhood, perhaps every 100-150 yards. the halos not only don't overlap, there are wide swaths of space that aren't lit.

i wear a fairly bright led headlamp when we're walking in the dark.

it still not bright enough to block out the stars, which makes it perfect for seeing cats cross the road and people walking toward us, but still allows us some nature.

i sure do love me some sky.

walk 17

wednesday, 5:35am. 52° partly cloudy.

it must be hard being on high alert for extended periods of time.

taking these early morning walks is sort of a transition to awake for me. sure, if i hear running footsteps (like, say, because someone's jogging before work), my adrenaline might kick in and set me on alert until i'm certain a threat has passed, but a dog is almost always on high alert.

when we go out for our morning walk, rufus bends low to the ground. sometimes he'll sniff the ground for 10-15 yards at a time, but typically he's always looking around, too. every approaching being (including squirrels running up trees) is a cause for a "let's get out of here" whine.

when we get home and rufus climbs on his dog bed in the office, where i do my morning writing and catch up on correspondence before breakfast, he's keenly aware of if i move my chair a few inches, whether or not i'm getting up (he always assumes i am, as he starts to get up to follow me).

sure, he has his carefree moments, laying on his back while his tummy is getting rubbed, for instance, but he'll stop eating if one of us comes home during his dinner, and he'll stop in the middle of fetch if he hears a dog a couple of houses away.

i just can't envision what it's like to not be able to relax.

walk 16

20120320-170659.jpgtuesday, 5:30am. 52°, clear.

stars seem more threatening in the morning.

i've always been a morning person. while i've been known, at times in my life, to burn the candle at both ends, you can typically count on me to be ready to go early. and by early i mean that "sleeping in" is 6:30 or 7.

but for some reason, i can wrap my head around stars at 10pm more easily than at 5:30am. at night, they show the way. in the morning, they threaten to keep away the daylight.

we can always hear cars out on the major road a couple of blocks away, but lately there hasn't been any stirring around the neighborhood on our early morning jaunts.

the vernal equinox hit early this morning. i think rufus felt something a little different in the air. he sniffed more than usual, looked around more than usual.

maybe something is out of place; the weather has been acting rather odd lately.

i'm looking to try something called central bark – they haven't launched it yet. if you sign up, i get to try it earlier rather than later. check it out here.

happy tuesday. go do some winning.

tuesday, 4:15pm. 77°, partly cloudy.

it's a great day for a workout with the dog. as you might imagine, a labrador retriever likes retrieving things. tennis balls, say.

we'll still have a 20-foot section of tree trunk down in our yard for a few more days. (long story, no need to tell it.) it acts as a good hurdle. the warm-up is leg swings, a couple of sprints with jumps over the trunk, then box jumps onto the trunk, and some push-ups.

the workout is throw the ball, race rufus to the ball (he'll win 99% of the time), then back (this requires a jump over the trunk). next, throw the ball and do push-ups until rufus returns (usually about 12-15). Do it 15 times. It's about a 20-minute workout, including the warm-up.

i think that workout calls for steaks and portobello mushrooms on the grill.

walk 15

monday, 5:20am. 57° cloudy.

(1) in addition to the codeine allergy i picked up from my mother, i apparently inherited a mango allergy, which took 35 years to show up.
(2) it took four benadryl to get the swelling down. i'm still shaking off the clouds and metabolizing the drug.

and so, fresh air and coffee are fighting to do their work. it ought to be an interesting morning.

i think cats are malicious.

[i grew up with a cat. well, two cats, but not at the same time.]

bluffy was the runt of her litter, a 7-pound, indoor-outdoor cat who would often let the neighborhood dogs chase her before she'd turn and swipe them in their noses and send them whimpering home.

cleo[patra] is an indoor cat, and when we brought rufus to my parents' house last weekend, she took one look at rufus and disappeared into the basement for two days.

but it's spring, and the neighborhood cats are out. they do things like walk down the middle of the street in the dark, daring something to attack them. i think we have a few more months of focus exercises to get through before rufus won't jump out and attack a cat.

and i just don't understand that, because most cats aren't a big enough snack for him. once you take the skin, fur and bones away, what do you have, a pound of meat and organs? i mean, sure, if a cat just showed up at the door dressed and cleaned, yeah, but walking down the middle of the road taunting you? why not just flip the bird and walk on by?

we're announcing the launch of the blog today, so if you're new here, welcome.

walk 14

sunday, 7:20am. 43°, clear.

today marks two months since rufus came home.

it's hard to believe it's only been that long, considering how much of our lives and thoughts he consumes.

we seem to be settled into the zip ties (we're having a crate built we think will be better, but it's coming slowly) as a method for keeping the pup safe in his crate, and our thoughts have moved from, "oh, crap. i don't really want to open this door and find out what the dog got into," to, "hey, bud. we're home. how was your day?"

some people require a shower to wake up in the morning; other people require a cup of coffee and a crossword. i'm coming to understand for me it's the walk. preferably with a cup of coffee, but that fresh air to start my day, and the little bit of movement to loosen the joints and stretch out the muscles is perfect.

forcing myself to write in this space for a few minutes doesn't hurt, either. it's a good transition to life every morning.

whatever that cat did to rufus yesterday, he wants no part of another one. a cat sat up on a a stoop railing this morning and rufus wouldn't even so much as start in that direction.

it's going to be another sunny, warm day. i'm going to tighten the bolts on the day-old grill, and see what it has for us.

sunday, 1pm. 72°, sunny.

grilling season is officially here. rufus hung out outside with us for five hours while we primed the grill, prepped the food, and had a small gathering. small man (the 7-year-old son of a couple of friends) would only eat a couple of hot dogs, and so he spent most of his time playing with some of the wood we have around the yard. rufus spent most of his time laying in the sun with a bone.

the adults consumed meat, in large quantities.

while most were cleaning up and prepping dessert, small man and rufus and i walked around the block. rufus apparently found himself a doughnut on the ground.

lucky dog.

walk 13

saturday, 6:45am. 46°, cloudy.

i am such an instigator.

i could tell from rufus's alertness 20 yards away that there was a cat nearby. when we got to the tall pines with the low cover, i egged rufus on. it took him a few minutes to find that cat, but when he did, he pounced.

fortunately, i'm strong. ever try to rein in a 75-pound dog full of adrenaline rushing away from you while you're carrying a cup of coffee and a 6-foot leash?

i think both animals survived the attack.

i need to look up why dogs and cats are sworn enemies (except when they're not, of course). i know that birds are food for cats, and mice are just fun to play with. but you'd think a 75-pound dog wouldn't so much as make a snack out of a 7-pound cat, and a 10-pound dog would lose handily in a fight with one. so what's the deal there? food competition doesn't make sense, either, because in the wild, dogs are pack animals. cats would eat rodents and other small creatures, while dogs would take down a moose or a deer or something.

more and more birds are returning to the community. the morning walks are getting noisier, but with good noise. music, even.

happy st. patrick's day. be safe!

saturday, 12:15pm. 58°, sunny.

it was an afternoon of fresh air for everybody involved.

i plugged my laptop in on the deck and set up the syracuse basketball game. i took care of some work, and intermittently threw the tennis ball while rufus intermittently went to bring it back but mostly just lazed on the deck. he hung out in the shade while i assembled the new grill.

it's going to be a long, fun, relaxing season.

walk 12

friday, 5:30am. 47°, raining.

these are the mornings when many dog owners let their dogs out back, make some coffee, have a shower, and let the poor dog, who'd been cowering under the three inches of overhanging gutter, back in the house.

me, i still need my morning walk. ok, our morning walk. rufus likes the opportunity to stretch his legs and relieve his bladder after eight hours just laying around.

something tastes different this morning. maybe it's the raindrops in my coffee.

i wear a camping headlamp when we walk in the dark. there are a couple of streetlamps and some front yard lights along the route so it's not really for us to see so much as for us to be seen (i tend toward dark colors, and i'm walking in the dark with a black dog). the led lights bounce off the raindrops and make for some pretty interesting visions in front of me.

rufus has a little "can we go home now?" turn. we got about halfway down the street and the rain picked up, and after his final pee, he stood perpendicular to me and looked up. that's the signal to just turn around and get out of this crap. he doesn't even sniff at anything on the way home.

friday, 4:40pm. 61°, clooudy.

rufus is not on the cool list.

or jb and i are not.

a block and a half into a warm but overcast afternoon walk, we came across what appeared to be a convention. four dogs, five adults and a smattering of children. this must have been an organized endeavor.

i don't love parties. i also don't love not being invited to them.

actually, i'm pretending. with that many kids around, i probably would have brought one home to throw on the grill for dinner.

just kidding, fbi.

we're getting excited to shore up the blog this weekend and launch on monday. if you have some resources to add to the links at right, give us a shout, or leave a comment on any post. we're also happy to try out and blog about new products, but we're going to be honest with our readers, so make sure you have an awesome product before asking us to review it.

ta-ta.

rufus mommy days

thursday, 3/15/12, 8:00am

it's slightly chilly out, i'm thinking low 40s. today is a rufus mommy day. rufus is delighted as he won't be spending much time in his crate. on a typical week day i wake up at 6am, head downstairs to greet josh, rufus, and my cup of coffee. i try to be showered and dressed by 6:45 and then take rufus for a second pre-breakfast walk between 7:30 and 7:45. afterwards i try to catch some of the Today Show while rufus and i hang out a little longer. before i leave the house, rufus gets 1/2 his breakfast in his bowl and he gets his day snack kong. i put both in his crate along with some of his stuffed animal friends. i ziptie his crate shut for his safety and i send him kisses and tell him when mom and dad will be home. then i head out to my day and miss him until my return.

on rufus mommy days we take extended morning walks. he can tell i'm not in a rush to get home. we have a park visit and sometimes a visit with family. on these days i'm grateful for the time we spend together and that i don't have to see his sad face when he goes into the crate. we can play, he reminds me to laugh and enjoy  our shared simple joy of being alive. i love rufus mommy days... and he just wagged his tail in agreement.

walk 11

thursday, 5:35am. 36°, clear.

sometimes machines just stop working.

it's clear this happened to the lawnmower with a "free" sign on it. it wasn't there yesterday morning (i know because we walked the same route), and the cut of the grass and the treadmarks on the lawn point to a lawnmower that just stopped working and, rather than be wheeled out of the garage down the driveway, simply had a "free" sign affixed to it. Getting asphalt parking lot surfacing in Houston TX can be a little expensive but one such company saw our lawnmower and decided to give us a discount for it!

there's something afoot in our neighborhood. like desperate housewives afoot. like the guy with the cigarette and the plastic bag walking down the street at 5:40 every morning who refuses to say hello. or the people who run out of one of the houses and around the corner at 5:45; not jogging, just hustling out, like walk of shame, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out sort of running.

the clear, cold sky still reminds us that it's winter. the temperature will swing 35 degrees fahrenheit during the day. it'll be everyone starts to get sick time at the gym.

i'm envious of the outside of everybody's getting today; it's my late day at work, so hopefully i'll still have some sunshine.