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November 12th, 2012

Sunday Morning BDC

(I know, it's been over a year since I've blogged. Don't faint....and don't get too used to it, either.)

I'm a mom of two now--my li'l Bugger is ten months old today(!-how did that happen?!) and CC is four and a half. And I'm still teaching full time, writing, and trying to stay on top of Mt. Laundry. Life is really, really hectic (hence no blog update in over 365 days). I have friends who carve out "me" time for themselves: mani/pedis, yoga, working out; but whenever I have time without the kids I'm trying to grade papers, or write, or have a complete conversation with FabHusband, or catch an episode of "Walking Dead" or "Homeland" (and if I blog again before my kids are in elementary school those shows deserve their own post).

Anyway, I'm not so good at kicking back.

Except...I do this thing on Sunday mornings, and no, it's not what you think. The lapsed Catholic in me feels guilty for not getting everyone in my family up and out to go to church somewhere, but I do this instead.

Black Dog Club.

BDC is me and a couple of girlfriends who (yes! you guessed it!) have black dogs. We meet at a dog-friendly woodsy park not near any of us, let the dogs off-leash and do about a mile and a half loop through the trails. There's a pond for the swimming dogs to splash in, a meadow for the running dogs to race in, a pine grove for all the dogs to sniff, and lots of trees and crunchy leaves and other dog people. 

We don't make it every week, and sometimes several weeks go by before schedules line up, but it's been six years since BDC began and we've walked in all kinds of weather--freezing, freezing cold, rain, sticky heat, crisp fall days and soggy spring ones. Although motivating to get out on the early side of Sunday can be tough (the park is about 30 mins from me, and we'll meet around 9), by the time I'm in the car, I'm looking forward to it. My BDC routine is singular to that experience: On the drive to the park, I listen to a financial advice show on the radio sometimes. Or the puzzle on NPR. Or the acoustic Sunday morning show on one of the local radio stations. (Typically, I listen to music when I'm driving to work, or am talking to CC when we're in the car together.) The Dictator, our dog, shivers in the backseat until the car warms up. On the ride over I don't think about what I have to do when I get home, or the errands that need running, or the book I'm working on. I just drive. On the walk, my friends and I will catch up on our various busy lives, but just as often the conversation revolves around the dogs and what they've just rolled in or the shenanigans they've pulled at home. Or the trees that have been knocked over in the last storm, or the water level in the pond. And sometimes we just walk and don't say anything. There are two little bridges that cross streams, and another seasonal stream that necessitates using rocks as stepping stones. And we always meet more dogs: delightful wiener dogs with giant dog companions, retrievers, water dogs, Burmese Mountain dogs, and a disproportionately high number of Rhodesian Ridgebacks. One time, we saw a coyote.

At the end of our loop, we discuss what's on tap for the rest of the day. Maybe it's watching football, or a family party, or going to brunch, but getting ready for the upcoming week is always on the list--each of us typically hits a supermarket on the way home. We clip the leashes on the dogs--inevitably one of them doesn't want to leave and requires some cajoling--and go to to the cars. 

On my drive home, I still listen to the financial show. Or NPR. Or the acoustic show. But I usually call home to check on the kids or find out if there's anything that FabHusband wants me to add to the shopping list. The Dictator, in the back seat, curls up and snoozes.

It's not church, or a mani/pedi, or yoga, but right now, it's enough.

(Yesterday was the last walk for one of our BDC members. Franklin, one of the founding members of our group, is moving to North Carolina with his person. We'll miss you, buddy! He's on the left in the photo above; the Grafton, aka, The Dictator, is in the middle. That's Rosie on the right.)


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- Barnes & Noble, Framingham, MA

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