Monday Musings: On pets, peeves and Downton Abbey.

Some things on my mind this Monday:
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This week, I officially cut over to southandsundry.com, so be sure to update your bookmarks. If you want to receive my posts by email, just enter your email address in the field under “Email Subscription” (above on the right) and click “Follow.”

Speaking of blogs, the reader stats for this site tell me how all of you find me — what country you live in, what websites you come from, and even search terms you use to find me. This week, I got a good chuckle. One of you searched for “yellow fever vaccination if only stopping in dakar to refuel” and landed on my blog. Ha, I feel your pain. My advice: always get the vaccine! Better safe than very, very sorry.

For awhile now, I’ve felt that something’s off with Oliver. He’s seemed, only at times, uncomfortable and unnaturally sensitive about his back end. I’ll spare you the saga, but for nearly a year we’ve endured numerable vet visits, specialists (including a brush with a $1,000 colonoscopy), food trials and medicines and supplements of all sorts. I now give him more powder and crushed pills than food. Well, I exaggerate … but only a bit. Last weekend, I finally learned that his pelvis is out of alignment. He was likely born that way, but soon we’re off to the doggie chiropractor. Heck, I need one too.

Here’s Pet Peeve #87: Servers who clear plates before everyone at the table has finished eating. Is that rude, or am I old fashioned? (Or both?)

Did you watch the finale episode of “Downton Abbey” last night? (Shhh! I haven’t yet.) I’m proud that everyone’s gotten into the series, but I’m a little mad at all of you who just discovered it. Back when season 1 was airing, I could buy the DVDs for a steal at $19.99. Now that it’s a phenomenon, season 3 is $39.99. Curse you, economics!

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I'm (not) gonna soak up the sun.

Oliver and I spent a few days at the beach last weekend, for the first and only time this summer. I had grand ideas of slathering myself in sunscreen and pitching a chair on the strand all day with a stack of reading material. Then I realized how much of a hassle that is. It’s hot. I’d have to shave my legs. I don’t swim in the ocean. And I don’t particularly like sand. I’ll take a pool over the beach any day. Plus, the older I get the less I really care about a tan.

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Life with a scaredy cat. Um, dog.

I don’t know about all of you but it’s been storming here like crazy. Thunderstorms every day at 4:00 p.m.

Not that I’m complaining, because it must be keeping Charlotte out of The Great Drought of 2012 that’s gripping the rest of the country. And I do love a good thunderstorm. (When inside though, not running through it with sopping shoes and clinging, wet hair while lightning cracks above me and hail pounds the pavement. Hey, we’ve all been there at some point.)

It’s been raining cats and dogs, you could say, which brings me to Oliver.

Oh, Oliver, love of my life. (Sorry, Raleigh). He came to me at a time when I needed something and someone to take care of, and though he keeps me on my toes (and money flying out of my purse), he’s made life funnier, more joyful and so full. I love coming home to his wiggly, crazed-with-energy little body, and I love snuggling with him while watching TV or going to bed.

(As I type this he is fully laid out across my lap, holding one of my arms nearly immobile in a way that makes typing difficult and pushing the laptop away with his sprawled limbs. Apparently I am inconveniencing him.)

He can be sweet and loving, and he can be an emotionally unpredictable handful. Either way, he’s worth it.
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A year in the life.

I need to pause for a moment in the middle of the (incredibly slowly told) South Africa story to mark a grand occasion in my life. Today, Oliver is 1!

It has to be true that people who own dogs are happier and live longer. Since O joined my household in March I’ve received markedly less sleep, but I’ve also laughed, loved and even socialized more. It took me three years to meet any of my neighbors, but I know them all now only because of the little man. Dogs bring folks together. Kumbaya.
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