Wednesday, October 20, 2010

my biggest faults

Still very new in town and being quite socially isolated, I've got plenty of time on my hands to ponder life, the meaning thereof, my dreams and the faults that impede me from achieving them.

One of the biggies is procrastination. This will see me pass whole afternoons doing all manner of things (hey, one thing I ain't is lazy!) except the stuff I had told myself I should do, like blogging and e-mailing lost friends, or making another attempt at breadmaking. I long to master it yet somehow I never get around to practising, which is all I really need as you can see from my last ok-ish attempt.

[Though one thing I have indeed mastered is the no-shampoo thing. I'm happy to report that my hair and scalp have adjusted and I've found the right quantities of baking soda (went up as high as 2 tablespoons to beat adjustment build-up but now down to one) and cider vinegar (2 teaspoons) to get my hair squeaky clean. It can be a little dry but I just rub a few light stokes of rose oil on the ends. I think I'll do another egg treatment again soon too as it was really fabulous. Overall, my mop has way more body and waves now. Oh and another happy side-effect of my month being shampoo-free? The eczema on my hands has improved a lot!]

Anyway, yes procrastinating is silly but mine doesn't usually impact anyone but moi. Unlike what is probably my biggest fault: impatience. This particular failing is la force motrice (driver) of my dark side, which (in case there are those of you who don't know me that well) has quite a nasty temper.

Anyway, I'm not proud to say that this particular fault showed its scowling face last weekend while A's parents were visiting. See his father drives me a little nutty, but I try hard to keep Mean Me in check because dad also has a bit of a temper and it would be a bad scene if we ever really 'got into it'.

I was doing pretty good, letting stuff slide and focusing on A's mom. However, the final straw came Sunday night when I was cooking dinner. I chose to make, for his pleasure (I had made mom's favourite lentils the day before), a soup from his native land. Was he excited, grateful, touched? Don't know. What I do know is that he took it upon himself to breeze in and out to badger me about how to cut one of the ingredients. Tired and hungry (dinnertime is 9 p.m. when the in-laws are around), impatience finally got the better of me and I told him he could either do it himself or leave the kitchen (he chose the latter).

By the time we sat down at the table, steam was not only coming off the bowls but out of my ears as well. Undeterred (or, I sometimes suspect, spurred) by my apparent mood, he proceeded to comment on the kale not being cut thin enough. (Though he did concede that it tasted good). I slurped up my bowl and went back to the kitchen to clean up.

I often struggle with my impatience around the G-dog too. I've spent what now, 3 and a half years training this pretty mutt and yet she still wreaks havoc on my sensitive shoulder muscles and sometimes lunges like a wild wolf at other dogs on the street. I blame Alain for having consistently untrained her (he could never be bothered to use the commands and rules I taught her).

Looking for dogsitters/boarding facilities yesterday (we dream of getting away, for a weekend even but also to visit Montreal and Ottawa before Christmas, hopefully), I found a brilliant blog by the owner of a particular chain of training/boarding centers. I've got to get Alain to read at least this one post about "Luring" (using treats to make the dog do things), as it is Grace that tells Alain when she wants a cookie, by looking at him in a certain way. And he gives it to her! Unbelievable.

Anyway, she walked quite well the day last week when she and I went all the way to Parque del Retiro (Madrid's huge, gorgeous, main park - click the photo here for a few more shots before my battery died) which is an hour's walk each way.

The only bad thing was how she growled at me like a wild beast when I gave her a rawhide to chew while I ate my lunch on the grass next to her, right after arriving at the park. She was scary! We usually only ever give her rawhides when we go out, but she never eats them, always hides them till we get home. At which point we take 'em away. I guess that's why this particular day she decided, "I am eating this and you are NOT taking it away!"

Though I did win in the end, as I packed up my bag, stood up and walked away and she followed with the bone in her mouth. The thing is that she had never been to this park before and was quite interested in exploring. Having to carry that thing around obviously wasn't much fun so finally I told her to sit and "leave it" and she did, without a word! Patience can pay off and is safer for one's fingers than trying to wrench a bone from the mouth of an animal.