Upward Facing Dog

During my last year of college a friend introduced me to yoga, which turned out to be one of the most difficult and fulfilling workouts I’ve ever done. Over the last decade I’ve kept up the practice, though, not always very regularly. And since the whole issue with my neck started I literally haven’t done anything. I’m sure if I had tried to find some specific movement or modification I could have maintained my daily routine, but for three months I could barely move at all and I definitely couldn’t be in any position for any length of time.

After the more excruciating pain subsided, though, I still didn’t start back up. Part of that was just plain laziness and it’s hardly the first time I’ve fallen out of the habit of working out because of that. But mostly I was scared I’d hurt myself further. Not from the yoga itself, which is virtually impossible to do if you pay attention to your weaknesses and don’t push past your limitations.

No, it was because of Uschi. See all of my guide dogs have shown some degree of interest in watching me while I work out. Dolly just wanted to be right next to me and no matter where I’d put her in a down-stay she would slowly creep her way right next to my mat. I think it stemmed from watching me go through physical therapy for my knee and having to lie by the pool but not being allowed in. She never got in the way, so I didn’t really feel a need to correct her for breaking the down-stay. Actually, there was a great picture I had of her lying across my mat between my legs in a Warrior II stance; unfortunately, like most of her photos they disappeared in the Great ‘Puter Crash of Aught Six. Yara and Uschi are much more obvious about their curiosity of the actual workout. Always the observer, Yara would just sit and watch me, often with her head cocked to the side as if trying to understand exactly what I was doing. Uschi may well be doing the same thing, but what had me so fearful of her injuring me was that without fail whenever I was done and just lying on my mat she would rush right up and happily pounce all over me. Even worse, most of the time she would come at me from behind my head, standing on my hair and pinning me to the floor while she exuberantly licked every inch of me she could reach.

Admittedly, post-yoga meditation is not the only time she does this and in fact she’s quite happy to pounce on me whenever she thinks I’m prone. I’ve mostly gotten her to be less crazy about it, but it hasn’t completely stopped this weird habit of hers and if she’s behind me I have no leverage to shove her off. And it’s really hard to give a verbal correction with the threat of a dog tongue in your mouth. Yes, I could just crate her when I’m running through a routine. For the record, I did expect that this was going to be how we’d start to fix the issue and for the first few days that’s what I’ve done. But for the most part she has the freedom to go in or out of her crate as she pleases and I’d rather not confine her just for this. And really it’s not resolving the actual behavioral issue.

Anyway, I recently had a doctor’s appointment and was quite displeased to discover how much weight I’ve apparently gained. It’s not an alarming amount of weight, but it wasn’t a surprise either given how my pants have been fitting lately. Given that I tend to walk much less during the colder months this was a big motivational push to get back into an exercise routine. So, I started my morning yoga again earlier this week. I did the most baby routine imaginable and even so I felt it to the point that I seriously thought I might have pushed myself too far and hurt myself. I could have let that be my excuse to stop, but I am happy to say that I’ve diligently done at least 40 minutes of yoga every day since. I can’t quite tell if it’s helping the pain issues since it’s still a bit early and I’m also on a pain killer. I can say that I definitely feel like I’ve been working out in pretty much every area of my body. But the most remarkable thing I can report is about Uschi.

On her birthday I gave her a huge raw meaty bone to nom on after breakfast and she contented herself to the task so completely that I didn’t crate her while I went through my routine. When I was finished she was lying on her bed sort of lazily looking at me as best she could from her vantage point, but she didn’t hop right up and maul me with puppy gusto. Now one time is just a fluke, but I did remark that it was kind of amusing that she turned four and suddenly became enough of an adult to realize the taboo. On Thursday she was still on her best behavior and has continued to leave me be. She’s still pretty interested in watching me. In fact yesterday morning she spent a good portion of time doing her own version of Upward Facing Dog while I was stretching that I’m giving serious thought to training her to do it on command and get a photo of us both.

Four Years Old

Headshot of Uschi in harness on a white background

Uschi turns a whole four years old today! Unfortunately, pupcakes aren’t on the menu this year because I incorrectly thought I had a stash in the freezer. But there are other surprise goodies in store for the little shepherd and we’ll probably have a stop at Bettie’s Cakes later this week so she won’t be completely deprived of cupcake goodness. Alas, such is the life of a guide dog that today won’t be all birthday fun and in fact we have ourselves a mighty packed day. I’ll have my new spiffy red camera with me, so I’m sure there will be some cute photos to share later.

Yara is Seven!

Happy birthday, Yara! My retired second guide dog turns seven years old today. I made a mosaic from 1,000 different photos of her using one of my favorites as the base.

A mosaic image made from 1,000 assorted photos of Yara

I’m hoping to get out to Dad and Keith’s for a visit in the coming month, but by all accounts it sounds like she’s doing quite well and enjoying retirement.

Random Rundown

Apparently, I no longer blog about things. I mean, there are things to blog about, but I can’t seem to find either the time or desire to actually write them. Actually I’m not doing any better at any other online haunt so maybe it’s more accurate to say I just don’t bother with my computer for non-work or school things.

So, in no particular order here be some things going on around these parts:

  • Uschi had her yearly eye exam. Aside for being watery for no reason we can determine her eyes are completely healthy. The eye doc didn’t seem any more concerned than our vet about the watery thing since her eyes aren’t irritated and the discharge is clear. I was told to come back next year unless something changes. This was so much like my own eye doctor visits I had a moment where I thought perhaps I broke reality.
  • I finally broke down and read some of the DCnU comics. I am totally underwhelmed. What I read (mostly the new Batgirl, some Nightwing, Batman and JL) wasn’t bad. It was just…well, lacking.
  • I also watched Young Justice. Um. That was a mistake. I mean, it’s not as horrible as I thought it would be and I probably am not as disgusted with it had I watched it live. But much like the DCnU it has a lot of potential and it’s so not living up to it.
  • If that wasn’t enough to make me miss the DCAU something hard, I also discovered the new Batman series coming in 2013. It physically pains me to think about.
  • I’m taking Japanese this summer. The announcement of this on Facebook was met with far more intensity than I thought it would. I’m still not sure why. As it stands right now, I feel buried under the work. Probably because I’m currently a week behind. Oops.
  • I have been watching a lot of anime and reading a lot of manga, though. I count that as classwork even if no one else does.
  • Went to two cookouts this weekend. I think I’ve eaten my quota of food for all of June. Also, Uschi broke herself. And then got sick. But otherwise it was totally awesome.
  • A bird built a nest in the wreath on my front door. I was going to evict it, but then I discovered eggs and I couldn’t kill the unborn baby birds. All bets are off if any of them take a crap on my head, but so far they seem totally unfazed by the fact that their home randomly moves a few times a day. Uschi is mildly intrigued by their presence, but the bird hasn’t been stupid enough as yet to get close to her. It did fly in my house one day, though and that caused something of a crisis trying to shoo it back outside.
  • My dissertation has a due date. *panics*
  • Oh, my birthday happened. I was commandeered by some friends and had activities and foodstuffs thrust upon me. I also might have gotten a bit drunk. I don’t remember the drunk part so much, but the activities included a showing of Avengers and the foodstuffs were yummy. Then I came home and there were flowers waiting for me. All in all, it was pretty fun and it was a most gorgeous day, too.

My back is starting to make it known that I’ve been sitting here too long so I’m going to have to end this babbly stream of consciousness. I fully intend to post something proper one of these days, but when that might be is anyone’s guess.

Bye for now.

33

Today, I am 33. Happy birthday to me!