…but fruit flies like a banana.
In thinking about a way to explain my big blogging gap of about 1 year, I recalled one of favorite examples of bathroom graffiti that I saw in the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe, NM in about 1980 or so. I’m not sure how this applies to the pandemic, but it seems apt.
I can see a pattern emerging in my updates. I get motivated over the holiday break and write a few posts. These days they tend to focus mostly on work-life balance, probably because the only time I have to update this post is when I get that right.
Time has become a bit abstract for me these days: Have we actually been dealing with COVID-19 for 2 years now? My, how time flies. But it also is crawling ever so slowly, and it is hard to imagine the before-time when I didn’t need to remember to bring my mask, worry about eating in a restaurant, or make complex plans to see our granddaughters. I used to fly nearly 2x each month to various scientific meetings, but I still haven’t been on a plane for about 2 years. And I’m enjoying not flying now and wonder why I spent so much of my time getting to airports, standing in TSA security lines, and spending too much money on coffee and muffins while I wait for my flight. I used to worry about my frequent flier status (I think I was Platinum before the pandemic) and now I really don’t give a shit… There are much more interesting things to worry about.
My last post from about a year ago was an introduction to the process of making a new backpack for myself, because I needed something to distract me from zoom meetings. I thought that I would provide updates every few weeks to show the progress and to try to document my thought process in developing the plan. But like many good plans, this one did not go as planned.
About the same time as the last post, I managed to convince my wife that I needed a new German Shepherd Dog. One of the motivations was to have a new canine running buddy during the pandemic. I have always loved GSDs, probably because my first dog when I was a baby was a GSD called Zara. My mom was a professional cellist, and she studied with the great cellist, Zara Nelsova. My childhood Zara left a deep impression with me, because she was very protective, even to the point of not allowing baby sitters to get near me. Eventually, she was too protective, and my parents needed to send her to a “farm”. Until recently, I had thought that it was the “farm” that no dog wants to visit, but my mom told me that it was an actual farm and that Zara was really working as a shepherd!
Fast forward to about 1 year ago, when we fostered to adopt a wonderful GSD from the GSD Rescue of Georgia. I immediately fell in love with this beautiful 2-3 year old girl, and I named her Zara. She was skin and bones, infected with heartworm, and pretty skittish after being found with a rope tied to her neck that indicated that she had gotten away from a bad home.
Zara got along great with our little Dachshund, Merle, and our cat, Dedos. She was still nervous but loved walks. After a few weeks, I decided to try to go on a short run with my new running buddy. Before, I realized that this might not yet be a great idea, Zara got spooked by one of the many things that scared her, and she very quickly herded me to get us both away from the danger. I was not paying enough attention, and I went flying right onto my left shoulder.
Until this time in the pandemic, I had been very careful not to go to places that were not absolutely necessary, but I needed to visit the Emergency Room and was told that I had broken my shoulder. The next day, I went to an orthopedic clinic and was told that it would be about 3 months before I could go running again or do much with my shoulder.
So much for my work-life balance, because I soon discovered that most of the things that I do that are not work involve moving my shoulder.
Fortunately, my shoulder healed well, though I still have stiffness and a bit less range of motion. Zara and I took advantage of that time to take long walks together several times a day. Those walks were bonding and therapeutic for both of us. During the peak of last year’s shutdown, many of my male friends were just shaving their hair, but I took the other path of letting it grow. My hair reached ponytail length just about the time that I broke my shoulder, and that was another thing that I could not do. Fortunately, my wife was happy to help out with the ponytail for a month or so. Now, I’ve invested so much effort in the hair growth that I’m keeping it as a memento of what we’ve been through over the past few years.
A few months ago, I managed to carve out a few hours each week to work on the backpack, and I finished it before the end of 2021. I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I’ll start test driving it over the next few months. I always find things that could be improved on designs, and I’m expecting that this will be no exception.
Zara is feeling more and more at home with us these days, and like the saying goes, I think that she has rescued me as much as I’ve rescued her. She is going through a bit of delayed chewy puppyhood now that she is comfortable with her life, but I’ll do my best to give her other treats to enjoy other than the pack that has taken about a year to finally make.
Happy New Year!