By which I mean, the last year. I was VERY relieved to see that the giant wolf did not eat the world this past solstice, since if it was ever gonna happen, I would have thought this would be the year. It would just figure.

Fortunately, by the time solstice rolled around the bad things that were continuing to happen had started to be the sort of things that are funny when you talk about them later, which was a definite improvement, believe me!

Oh, there was some good stuff. Louie the Squirrel grew up and met a girl-squirrel and started a family. There were a few amusing weeks where he lived outside, but would break into the house and steal nuts from his dish whenever he was hungry – nothing like taking a nap on the couch and being startled awake by a squirrel landing on your face!

After Bryan and Gallahad died we started losing chickens to predators – coons and foxes, and the 3pm schoolbus were the major offenders. So we decided that we had to get another dog.

This is Ulster. He is a Big Brown Dog. (We’ve told him that’s a compliment.) People say that raising a Chocolate Lab is like raising an ADHD child. Actually, although I don’t know much about it, I think it is more like raising a mildly autistic child. Ulster is very, very focused on [whatever it is he’s interested in], to the exclusion of all else. It isn’t that he doesn’t listen – he doesn’t even hear. So training him is being, let us say, a challenge.

Fortunately, he kicks arse at his most very favorite activity, Playing Fetch. So whenever I’m frustrated and can’t find anything to praise him for, I can just go toss something across the yard and bingo – good puppy. Anyway, he’s only just coming up on his first birthday, he really is still a puppy. He’ll calm right down in ten years or so.

Thing about Ulster is, he is a Dog. A dog’s dog. Doggie doggie dog. He likes fetch, he likes going for long walks gallops in the fields, but what he likes best of all is playing with other dogs. He tries to play with the sheep, but they don’t like it. It doesn’t matter how many toys he brings Freyja, all she does is butt him and run away. We bring him over to The Ed’s to play with their ever-growing menagerie of pups, which is great because everybody sleeps well after, but he has no one to play with at home.

So, Ulster got a puppy for Christmas.

This is Hera.  She is a St. Bernard, about seven weeks old in this picture.  Ulster loves his baby sister.  He was so excited when we brought her home, and he plays with her very well.  She chews on his face.  She’s eleven weeks now, and going in for her second set of shots this morning, so I’ll find out what she weighs.  A LOT, is my guess.

Hera is going to be a cultured puppy.  She has been to the theatre, when I went to get measurements for a Moliere double-bill I’m starting to costume, and she is helping me with an installation I’m doing at ARTspace.  I am knitting myself into an egg.  There is a story about it here.*  So as you can see I am still actually hiding, I’m just now doing it in a very public venue.  I choose to consider this a step forward.

*There are no pictures yet, as I just started working on Tuesday.  Sonya at the gallery is taking pictures every day of the progress, and the Chatham Daily News took some pictures too, so I will be able to post some eventually.  The pic with the article is Velcro hiding in a sweater – which, appropriately enough, is now being unravelled to become part of the egg.  The sweater, not the cat.  Obviously.