Home alone with the animals and our new doggy portrait

by Rob Tiller

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Sally went to Ashville with her tennis team to compete in the state finals this week. They’ve had success this year competing at the 4.0 senior level, and Sally’s feeling good about her game. I was happy for her, but a little melancholy to be home alone. I missed her.

So did the animals. The first day they spent time sitting by the front door waiting for her. The cats showered me with affection that they would normally give to her, and Stuart was much more excited than usual when I came home from work. Our routine called for a pee walk outside and dinner, which are certainly high points of any dog’s day, but even after dinner he wanted extra petting.
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Stuart was immortalized recently in a drawing by Sally’s cousin, Alison (Muffy) Brush. Muffy turned out to be really talented, and we were very pleased with the work. It’s based on some of my photographs, but captures his essence much better than the photos did. As our dance friends will note, he has beautiful turnout. I think Sally’s frame selection really works.

Stuart is 10 now, and showing his age. He’s a basset-beagle mix – a bagle, or perhaps a beset. He still likes people and being petted – he’s met many people during elevator rides and is quite popular in the building – but unlike in his younger days, he’s wary of other dogs. Anyhow, as we often say, he’s a good dog. Handsome, too, I think.

I was somewhat the worse for wear from our trip to the Outer Banks last weekend. For the first time in many moons, I went for a substantial run – four miles – on Sunday. It was a lovely day, sunny and mild, and I felt fine, even when I got my heart rate up to the low 160s. Only hours later did I begin to feel pain in my knee, and more and more soreness in my quadriceps. The next day I was so sore I could barely walk.

Also, according to my usual pre-morning-shower weigh-ins, I somehow gained 6.8 pounds between Friday and Tuesday. This was a shock! Did I really eat that much? I enjoyed Keith’s food, but I consciously kept from stuffing myself – no second helpings, for example. I snacked on pistachios, which were kept in a bowl that somehow never emptied out, and that may have had something to do with it.

Anyhow, I was gimpy and heavy, but things improved over the course of the week. On Friday, I got to the gym when it opened at 5:30 a.m. and got in a mega-workout: 30 minutes of lunges, squats, step-ups etc. a 50-minute spin class (a major aerobic accomplishment), 25 minutes of upper body work, 10 minutes of core exercises, and 10 minutes of stretching. By the time of my morning weigh-in, I had lost 3 pounds from the previous day, and six for the week.

On the drive back from Corolla, Sally and I talked about possibilities for our next adventure. We try to do something fun outside the usual routine every month or so, and the next four week interval brings us almost to the July 4 week. The Fourth is on Thursday, so if I can get off that Friday, presto, we’ve got a four-day weekend. We’ve been wanting to visit Gabe in Colorado, and also wanting for a long time to visit some of the beautiful country in southern Utah, which is within driving distance of Telluride. I took on the job of researching the possibilities of fitting this into a July 4 trip.

Saturday morning I decided to skip yoga and go on a little photo safari to see what was blooming at Raulston Arboretum. There were some beautiful flowers, and it was quiet and calm. I made a few images I liked. 13 05 31_1883
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