Thursday, March 30, 2023

What The Dog Does All Day

The council came through and did their annual tree-trimming along our street, so now we have a bunch of knobby-knuckled hands waving upwards in front of our houses. The council does this to keep the trees smaller and restrain the root systems, causing less damage to streets and utilities. It's bizarre looking, though, isn't it?

I had some funny encounters with kids yesterday in the library. Kids -- especially middle school kids -- are very suspicious of long or thick books. Yesterday I had one girl say it outright. She came to my desk and asked, "Do you have any short books?"

I said, "No, we only buy long books. It's a school rule."

I try to explain to the kids that just because a book is short, that doesn't mean it's easy or fast. A 7th grade boy came in yesterday looking for short books and picked up Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" and "The Stranger" by Camus.

"It's only 120 pages!" he said of the latter.

I said, "Yeah, but those are not easy books. A short, difficult book will seem long, and a long, engaging book will seem short. You need to think about what you want to read, not the length of the book."

But would he listen to me? No.

Then again, maybe he's into philosophy, or will be after he reads those books. Maybe they will spark something in him. I'm willing to keep an open mind. More likely he'll come back complaining about how boring they are.

Meanwhile, I was wrestling with submitting our home leave reimbursement request. Dave sent the school our receipts for our airline tickets (from our February trip to Florida) and they kept bouncing back. The accountant said she couldn't see the total amount we paid, which I didn't understand at all. It was RIGHT THERE on the receipt.

But then I realized that Dave uploaded the receipts to a school computer system that cut off the bottom of one page, eliminating part of the charges as well as the total. It wasn't his fault -- we're supposed to do it that way -- but clearly the system has a problem. So I e-mailed the complete receipt to the accountant, et voila! Payment on its way.

Home leave is a blessing. We can only claim it once every two years, but it helps.

Want to see what Olga does all day? We have security cameras that record little videos when they detect motion within our house. I set them yesterday to save the videos when she came home from her walk, and I got a total of 51 clips, each anywhere from four to 30 seconds long. It was a little more than 12 minutes of video altogether, mostly of Olga scratching around on her dog bed. I condensed it to three minutes.

She looks a little stiff, doesn't she? I gave her half a paracetamol in her food last night (yes, the vet says it's safe) and she slept very soundly. I think she's been a bit on edge because Dave is gone. She likes the pack to stay together.


Frances said...

Yes, Olga does look a bit stiff....rather like me when I get up from sitting!!

Moving with Mitchell said...

Poor Olga does look a bit stiff, but still so adorable. When I was a kid, I only wanted long books. Maybe I was just trying to avoid Camus and Kafka.

Ed said...

So much that strikes my muse. I've had that book length battle with both of my kids who when they were younger, refused to read books I know they would love because they considered them too long. Eventually they both discovered the error of their ways but on their own time and not because of the many times I told them.

I've never heard of home leave. Is that a nationwide thing or only your particular employer?

Having had a dog, I probably would never had been tempted to capture them on camera because I think he lived a pretty predictable life. But if camera had been a thing back then, I would have put one on the farm cats. They seemed to live very mysterious lives.

Bob said...

I love Olga's method of stretching the hind legs!

Ms. Moon said...

I am thinking the dog walker must have given Olga a good work-out. Poor thing. I can so relate to that stiffness.
Those trees do NOT look happy but I suppose they know what they're doing when they cut them.

ellen abbott said...

old lady dog, stiff and slow. I don't think I ever had a problem with long books.

Ellen D. said...

Olga is so well behaved even when she is left alone! My daughter's puppy is often getting into mischief if she's left loose on her own!
I have always loved to read and I never checked out a book based on size. At least your students are trying to read something and that's good.

The Bug said...

Olga gearing herself up to jump up on the sofa is me gearing myself up to get out of my recliner. Ha!

I remember in high school deciding to read Ivanhoe instead of 1984 (which I've never read - oops) because I wanted something I could really get into. OR I wanted to lord it over my classmates who just picked the short book.

Debby said...

Oh, she moves like an old lady, doesn't she? But she is quite fussy about her bed. All of them.

Red said...

Been through all that with kids. I wonder now many kids actually read the challenging books?

NewRobin13 said...

Olga does look stiff, and she moves slowly these days. I hope the med helped.
Short books? I think the answer should be, "No all of our books are very tall." LOL.
The trees look stark, stretching their bare branches to the sky shouting, "Why why why does this happen to us?"

Sharon said...

I loved watching Olga find the perfect spot for a nap. She does look a bit stiff. I can relate. I feel a bit stiff every time I get up from sitting too long.

Anne said...

Poor Olga! I see a dog in considerable pain. Can't you get her on some long-term arthritis meds?

Beth Reed said...

Ahhh Poor O;ga, she does look a little stiff and Bored! Poor Baby Girl. Her day seems as boring as my night last night. I couldn't relax enough to fall asleep until close to midnight and I was so bored. I tried reading, counting, getting up and walking around. Today I am as foggy as our outdoors. Rain and Fog here in Texas today.

So glad that you figured out the receipt. It is good that you do get a little reimbursment. Every little bit does help.

Have a great day.

Allison said...

Great video of Olga looking for comfy places to lie down. I am impressed that you got the music to end with the video. I'm not technically competent enough to do that.

Mike O'Brien said...

Ah, sweet Olga. It's nice to catch a glimpse of her 'at home' days.

I used to find the sight of such chopped off branches hideous, till I read William Logan's fascinating book "Sprout Lands", about coppicing and pollarding. Those trees were pollarded. I still think they look disfigured, but understand that there were once good reasons to treat a tree thus.

Had to laugh about long and short books. As a voracious reader, I always looked for the longest books in the library.

Chris from Boise

Kelly said...

Life can be tough trying to find just the right place and position for comfort. Sweet girl. I'm glad you gave her something for a good night's rest.

You're absolutely right about the length of a book not being a predictor whether it's good or boring, easy or hard to read. They'll have to find that out on their own!

Boud said...

Like Chris, I used to wonder why they chopped our street trees like that, in the town I grew up in. They looked terrible, but later I found it was a good tree practice for street trees. I still don't like the looks though.

What a huge benefit, getting a home leave expense! Is that to keep people happy in their jobs, if they can see US family with travel paid now and then? I also wonder if it's a tax benefit to the school rather than raise salaries and expect employees to fund their own travel.

Olga's day looks pretty uneventful -- biggest decision when to get on and off the sofa!

Margaret said...

The trees look rather alien to me! I love long, absorbing books but they are intimidating to start.

Margaret said...

Long but absorbing books are difficult to start, but once in, they do go fast. I've only read Camus in French and enjoyed his works; they are heavy and disturbing though. The trees look alien!

Rachel Phillips said...

My friend from London, England, worked for 4 years in an international school in Mexico City. She received home leave once every two years. I am recalling this for Ed above who asked the question about home leave.

jenny_o said...

Great music to go with the video 😀 Olga does look stiff but from my own experience I would say that doesn't necessarily translate to a lot of pain, just a bit until the stiffness gets worked out. Especially, as another commenter pointed out, just after having had a workout with the dog walker. I always think how much better it would be if our pets could talk to us about how they are feeling!

Linda Sue said...

Old Olga, i can relate- this is how I move through life these days but not as cute. Nice of you to hire a guitar player to play for her all day...

Andrew said...

Olga does look stiff after getting down from the couch but once moving around she improves. Some of our street trees receive a similar treatment.

Jeanie said...

Your trees look only slightly better than ours after the tree butchers came by. But once they leaf out they'll look TONS better!

Sweet Olga. I hope she doesn't hurt too much. She does look a little stiff. I know that well!

River said...

I can see Olga is wishing someone was at home with her.
If the school rule is only to buy long books why is there one with only 120 pages? Ha ha.

Steve Reed said...

Frances: Yes! I think when she gets up from the couch it always takes her a little while to "get going."

Mitchell: I never minded long books, either. More opportunity for "full immersion"!

Ed: Home leave is offered through our employer. Because we're an American school and have many international employees, the school pays for faculty members to go back home every two years. (Even the Australians!)

Bob: We call that "the dismount."

Ms Moon: Yeah, she's sometimes stiff after a walk. Or a walk and then a period on the couch!

Ellen: She IS an old lady. In her 80s in dog years!

Ellen D: Yeah, she mostly just lies on the couch.

Bug: Bravo for tackling "Ivanhoe"! I haven't read that yet. It's funny how Olga prepares herself for the couch climb.

Debby: Yes, multiple beds! LOL

Red: Well, in this particular case I don't think it will happen, but I suppose some at least try.

Robin: Oh, that would have been a good response! I wish I'd thought of it! LOL

Sharon: Exactly. I think the action of her walk combined with the inaction of sitting on the couch afterwards produces some stiffness.

Anne: The problem with long-term meds is they upset her stomach. We've tried supplements, meds, a variety of things, and we still cycle between them as needed. I think she's somewhat achey but I disagree that she's in "considerable" pain.

Beth: I'm not sure she's bored, honestly. I think this is what dogs do -- sleep, walk around. It's just their thing!

Allison: It took some fiddling with the music clip, which was only a minute long. I had to use it three times over and then clip it at the appropriate points and splice the ends together. I'm making it sound more complicated than it was.

Chris: I think you may have mentioned that book before -- or someone has. I should read it. I find pollarding even MORE cruel.

Kelly: I think a generation of kids learned that from Harry Potter, but these kids haven't all read the Potter books.

Boud: Well, the tax benefit question is interesting -- I hadn't thought of that. It's definitely an attractive benefit and an aid to recruiting, though.

Margaret: Your comments posted after all! Maybe it just took a while? Anyway, bravo to you for reading Camus in French. I'm not sure I could do it even in English! (Though I've never tried.)

Rachel: Yes, I think it's a common practice in international schools -- a way to boost faculty recruitment.

Jenny-O: To be honest, Olga has ALWAYS been a little stiff when she first gets up from the couch. Even as a young dog it took her a while to get going. I think it's because she's so muscly.

Linda Sue: If only he'd learn a less monotonous tune!

Andrew: Yeah, that's it. She just has to "warm up."

Jeanie: Yes, the trees will look a million times better in just a couple of months. It's amazing how quickly it happens, actually.

River: She's only home a couple of hours by herself in the morning and afternoon. The dog walker has her in the middle of the day, so she gets plenty of company and activity when we're at work.

The Padre said...

Best Video On The World Wide Web !!