A bird in the hand

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Before the puppy madness began I was spending some time working on our outside spaces. This is our side porch, and since we park in the back it the entrance we use primarily. I’d post a before picture but it would be too embarrassing to show you the messy jumble of miscellaneous junk I’d allowed to accumulate there as we were moving in. Sometimes it was easier to dump stuff on the porch than to find a better home for it. Anyway, I cleared off the junk and set up the grill. There isn’t room for chairs on this little porch but it needed something else on it so I potted some herbs in pots I painted, then let Dorothy and her friend next door paint our old, recently-replaced front porch mailbox a bright yellow color and set it out to use as an exchange spot for messages to each other. The girls loved this project. Then something was still missing–I thought the window looked like it needed curtains, but curtains on an exterior window seemed a bit odd so I thought of pennants instead. I made the little string of flags out of scraps from Aunt Stephanie’s room and I think they look very fresh and cheerful there. They tie in the colors of the pots, the little girls’ mailbox, and the mustardy-gold I painted on the exterior door. Why not?

We traveled over the weekend. We had campground reservations at Rough River State Park but they were cancelled by the park several days before our trip due to flooding. With a weekend already blocked off for travel but the weather unappealingly hot for camping we decided to move forward some travel plans we’d intended for later in the summer. Saturday we visited Kentucky Down Under where Dorothy got to pet an emu, a kangaroo, and encounter this beautiful bird. The park had the feeling of a place that is still up and coming but we enjoyed the several hours we spent there. If I had it to do over I’d have packed a picnic as the cafe food was not very good–let that be my tip if you go. After the park we drove on into Bowling Green where we dined at the surprisingly good 440 Main on the charming town square and stayed the night at a hotel. The next day we visited the National Corvette Museum which I think has my husband vowing to work harder and earn more money…for a Corvette. Oy. It was a fun weekend getaway just a car nap’s drive from home. On the way home we shared our favorite memories: Rob liked the Corvettes (go figure), Dorothy enjoyed the hotel pool more than either paid attraction, and I most enjoyed our dinner at the nice restaurant. What can I say?

Our puppy may now have a name. I really think she’s a Pippa, but Dorothy seemed wedded to her suggestion of Isabelle. I pulled some Mommy magic today and had her convinced that naming the dog Pippa was her idea. She’d totally embraced it, started calling her that, and even proudly introduced the dog as Pippa to the next-door friend, but then Rob came home surprised by her change of heart and totally foiled my plan. “Is that really what you want to name her? I thought you were naming her Isabelle?” not realizing I’d already carefully achieved buy-in and was not pressuring her to pick a name I preferred. Then I think Dorothy got the impression that her father actually preferred Isabelle and has firmly switched back to that. Sigh…
Bella, which would be my top choice for a nickname if the dog must be named Isabelle, is the most common dog name, according to this web site. No fewer than three people have told me that they know other dogs named Bella. This will drive my crazy. I don’t like to do things like other people. No amount of channeling good memories of the trip I once took to Italy will stop me from writhing at the idea that people will think I chose to name my dog the single most popular dog name currently in existence.  Rob and I carefully chose names for our children that didn’t even make the top 1000 baby names the years they were born. That was not an accident. I think we’ll call her Belle for short as opposed to Bella, with the one letter’s difference (and nod toward France instead of Italy) at least making the name slightly more “beautiful” (pun intended) to me. And if I show up at the dog park and can’t get my dog’s attention since all the other doggie owners are calling their pups by the same basic name, well, I guess I’ll just have to remember that allowing my 5-year-old to choose the name and venting my frustrations on the blog instead of in her earshot was the right thing to do. Belle it is.

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