Backup Plan

Book ends

Book ends

Tisen is a one-human kind of guy.  Or, at least, he has trouble showing affection for more than one person at a time.

Twiggy, on the other hand, seems to treat everyone as her new best friend.  Her dad commented that she didn’t even seem to care when they went out of town,–she didn’t miss them.  I laughed and said, “It’s not that she doesn’t miss you, it’s just that she always has a backup plan.”

As I watched Tisen stress over whether he was losing out on any portion of affection that he felt was his while Twiggy lied contentedly on the floor, I suddenly wondered if Tisen was living whole-heartedly while Twiggy lived with one foot out.

Book ends looking the other way

Book ends looking the other way

Let’s face it–Tisen is all-in.  He’s put everything he’s got into me.  I am the the center of his universe and if I’m gone, or even if I’m there but paying attention to something else, he feels anxious.  While this seems extreme and dysfunctional, at the same time, when I leave and come home again, Tisen goes nuts.  He experiences a euphoria of joy that his wagging tail cannot keep up with.  He throws his body against the couch and runs along it, thumping his tail down the length of it.  He grabs a toy and is so joyous, he cannot stand still.  Eventually, having burnt off the burst of energy that comes with me returning home, he climbs into my lap and has trouble deciding if giving me kisses or flopping over for a belly rub is his first priority.

Twiggy's demonstration of how interesting she finds me

Twiggy’s demonstration of how interesting she finds me

Twiggy, on the other hand, looks up when I come home and wags her tail a few times.  When I sit on the sofa, she stands, stretches, and then climbs next to me and demands to be petted.  She occasionally looks curiously at Tisen, as if she’s trying to make sense of his antics.  I am just a friend that passes in and out of her life periodically.  But, her reaction is not far from her reaction to her parents coming home from a trip.

This seems to be the core difference between having a backup plan vs being all-in.  If you have a back-up plan, you don’t have to worry about what happens if the current situation changes.  If you don’t, when you’re all-in, when things go your way, it’s a huge celebration.  But when things don’t, it’s conversely depressing.

I remember playing Canasta with my family once when I had an incredible hand.  I was ready to lay down my entire hand and win the game except for one card.  I just needed a good draw on my next hand to be able to go out and win.  I started sweating waiting for me next turn–if someone else went out first I was done.  I had no backup plan.

And boy, when I won, I felt like I’d just won the lottery!

Balcony Shooting

On weekends like this one, I’m grateful I have a view from the balcony. Although I’m a bit overloaded on shots like these, having been the sickest I’ve been in a lot of years all weekend, I don’t know what I would have had to post today had it not been for this wonderful view.

Granted, I found myself really wanting to move the building across the street (or at least run up to the roof to shoot over it).  But, since I was barely standing up straight and the sun was setting quickly, it seemed improbable that I would make it up to the roof in time.  And, since I am not embodied with any superpowers that might allow me to move a building even on the best of days, there wasn’t much point in contemplating that possibility.

One effect of shooting from the balcony with the building across the street in the foreground is the extreme distortion that occurs, making the building seem like it’s bending towards the center of the frame.  This is a consequence of using a very wide angle lens and being so close to the building.

I used the-built-in level to make sure I was shooting straight (I do try to be a straight shooter), but the distortion was so great that I ended up changing the angle slightly in post-processing to try to make it look a little straighter.

These are also processed using HDR. Each image is actually a combination of 5 images with 5 slightly different exposures.  This allows me to get some of the detail in the buildings in the foreground at the same time I have the detail in the bright parts of the sky.  I’m starting to like HDR for these kinds of images the more I get used to it.

Tisen, it turns out, is a great companion for someone who is sick.  He was quite content to cuddle on the couch with me for endless hours.  He likes the down comforter and the animal print pillow almost as much as he likes me.  On the rare occasions when I made it off the couch, he would just lie there like he was in heaven.  Unfortunately, I was only able to get a blurry shot of him.  I’d blame it on being sick–couldn’t hold the camera steady–but I think most of my iPhone images of Tisen are blurry, too.

If I were guessing, I would say that Tisen feels needed.  He makes a great heating pad and seems to know just where to cuddle up against me to make me feel better.  I had no idea when I brought him home that he would some day be a nurse.  If he could take himself out for walks and feed himself, too, he would be perfect at it.

Goodbye to Lucy Lou

Lucy, one of our two foster dogs, was adopted today.  Her brother, Rex, was adopted on Saturday.  I was happy for Rex with only a little sadness, even though he was my favorite.  Then something happened.  Lucy bloomed.  Removed from the shadow of her big brother, she came into her own.

She went from being terrified of the elevator to pushing at the door like she owned the thing.

She was suddenly sitting like she’d understood all along but was too nervous to sit in front of her brother.

She figured out walking on a leash didn’t mean towing me.

She learned to amuse herself.  First, she decided the socks on the bedroom floor should be piled on the couch.  Then, she decided to move all linens from her crate to the couch, too.  She started with the heavy quilt draped over her crate.  It weighs almost as much as she does.  She grabbed it by a corner and wrestled it off the crate, one inch at a time.  She managed to get one corner of it up onto the couch, adding to her pile of socks she’d collected.  Then, she hopped down on top of the rest of the quilt, took the corner in her mouth and tried to jump up on the couch with it.  She couldn’t figure out her own weight was preventing her from performing this feat and ended up in a wrestling match with the quilt, growling at it while she tried to figure out how to get it into place.

Finally, she gave up and went for the first blanket in the crate.  Then the second.  Then the towel we’d put underneath for extra padding.  She had a massive nest on the couch plus the large quilt draping down to the floor.

When Pat came home and sat on the couch to print a document he needed, she jumped out of her nest, barking at the printer across the room.  I laughed and said, “Maybe we can teach her to retrieve your printout?”  30 seconds later, the printer stopped and Lucy ran over, grabbed the printout off the printer, brought it to within 3 feet of Pat, and dropped it on the floor.  It was almost scary.

Sitting on the couch with her cuddled in my lap, she gazed up at me with her brown eyes and I started thinking thoughts like, “Maybe she could just sleep with us tonight?”  Then, I remembered she had an audition with a potential new owner this afternoon.  I rubbed her belly and tried not to think of it.

Pat came and took her to her appointment.  He came home without her.  He liked the family that took her.  I am happy for Lucy.  But, part of me wishes she could have left a couple days earlier when I was less attached.  The shelter says we broke a record for the shortest time to have a foster dog.  Turns out it’s not a record I was prepared to break.