Figuring It Out

As you all know, I have been grieving my dog. It’s been hard, and I’ve not felt inclined to do much. Creatively, I’ve been drained. I’m working on figuring it out. In the meantime, we were in the process of refinancing our house and that closes next week. We’ve been also been looking for a trailer for camper, and we also get that next week. It was a litte insane and overwhelming and also frustrating. Never going back to Camping World, that’s for sure, and not a fan of Blue Dog, RV, either.

Anyhow, we went looking for one kind of thing, found another, then another, and pretty quick got all kinds of ideas and then we were miles and miles away from the original plan. But if we can hold on to this fifth wheel for a couple of decades, then it will be good. At this point, I just want to be able to get away more, a little less expensively than at hotels, and more privately, be able to go to the middle of nowhere Natureville and relax and write.

Merlin got sick after Voodoo died and that was scary. He had to get subcutaneous fluids and shots and antibiotics. I think he’s super sensitive to our emotions and also to losing Voodoo, so basically it was an emotional problem, or so I think. Figuring it out, too. So far he’s better, though and hopefully on an even keel.

In the meantime, life goes on. I’ve been avoiding news coverage because am discovering that doomscrolling really brings me down. I’m looking for an easy knitting project to be focused on to help build the creativity. It helps. Been reading a bit more, too. Not as much as I want, but at least more. For a long time I was having a tough time reading anything. I just had to fight to finish. Wasn’t in the mood for TV shows, except Hallmark, which are really low conflict and predictable. I needed that. Apparently anything else pushed my anxiety up, which is totally ridiculous if you think about it, but there you are.

I received back the editorial letter for Shatter of Light and plan to start on those next week. This week is the big grading project for my class and so that’s where the focus needs to be. Have to get those done and then I’ll be good to go again. I haven’t actually taken any sort of break from teaching in the last three years. No summers off for me. But I’m glad for the job and getting to work with the students. Most of anyhow.

Been trying to get some cooking done. Which reminds me I need to go marinate a flank steak. Never tried cooking it this way before but I’m hopeful. Still working on figuring out how to like sweet potatoes and squash. Savory is the key, I think. I don’t like sugar on them, so I need to go with other flavors. And roasting them maybe.

Gonna dive back into the grading now. You all have an awesome week! I hope you’re all healthy and safe and cozy. (We are in the middle of a big ice storm, so I’m hoping the power stays on and my husband gets home safely and hoping he doesn’t go back to work until the ice melts).


  • Diane

    Roasting -seasoned with thyme, rosemary, salt & olive oil. Can add chunks of onion to baking sheet also. 400′ for 45 minutes. Can use in cold salad with lime mustard vinaigrette too.

  • Mitchell Stewart

    I have followed your sorrow over these past two entries. I hesitated to write. I have walked that path. But, as shared as the experience is, we all take it alone, and only time can temper the sharpness of that loss. A dog comes into the house and, if we are worthy, burrows into our soul. But, dogs, even a great dog as I can attest, only live forever … until they don’t. They share their lives with us, and also their deaths. The burrow they created in our soul becomes then an empty hole — some large, some not as large, but always there. Implacable time fills the hole only partly. Fourteen urns sit among the books of my study. Fourteen pictures gaze on me as I write. I am now more hole than whole, I suppose. I have in my losses found some solace in my friend, Vicki Hearne’s essay “Oyez à Beaumont”, but then Vicki was a dog trainer as well as a poet, and we shared Airedales in our friendship. Still, you, also a writer, might find some comfort in it. The essay is strewn around the internet or you can find it in _Animal Happiness_. In this moment, though, I write to say I understand your sense of loss, the absence that is always present. Take care, Mitch

    • Di Francis

      Hi Mitchell~

      Thank you so much for your kinds words. I’m going to track down the essay. It’s strange. I have the two other dogs and they are so different from Voodoo and I love them. But those differences remind me of what’s not there. Of what I miss. The present absence. You’re right about that. There’s a story by Tim O’brien called “The Things They Carried.” it’s about soldiers in Viet Nam and is about the physical things they carried and the other things–memories, emotions, loss …. As much as it hurts, I’m willing to carry this loss. The tradeoff is forgetting and I don’t want to do that. I never want to forget.


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