Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Continued Adventures of Life with Ellie, or.......How to Lose a Day, or.......

The past few days have been somewhat unproductive, not just in relation to art -- but nearly anything really -- so you must bear with me as I divert (again).  Does it make my periodic whining more acceptable if I acknowledge that I realize I can be a whiner sometimes?  (Insert amused chuckle here.)  Sometimes I just can't help myself:  life and it's participants are simply too interesting, funny, tragic, endearing, etc., etc.  It is usually quite tongue-in-cheek anyway.  Really.  It is.

On Saturday afternoon I was drawing away on a mostly-completed horse piece, quite focused actually, and came to the last inch of my Faber Castell Polychromos Warm Grey #6 in it's pencil extender.  No problem:  I went to the drawer of greys to get another, only to find there wasn't one there.  What?  When it was all said and done, I think I searched through fourteen pencil drawers and ten pencil cups, as well as across two somewhat cluttered table tops.  No Polychromos Warm Grey #6 to be found.  I was dumbfounded, and if you could see the number of grey pencils I have, or pencils in general , you would marvel at this too.  (Some of you obsessives know what I am talking about.)  I considered substituting another color or combination of colors, but felt I had already used too much of the elusive #6 in the drawing -- and still needed to use a great deal more.  I mean really: how could one have approximately 400 different colors across four brands, and probably well over 1500 pencils in total, and not a single Warm Grey #6??  Amazing.  Time to do a pencil order.


But let me not belabor this point any further:  I moved on.  Sunday morning I drove Ellie (my golden retriever, in case you have forgotten from my previous post about her foibles -- I'll get to her soon) out to the lake and took her for a very brisk, 50-minute walk.  After all, a tired pup is a good pup.  When she and I returned I decided to utilize an idea shared by artist Cynthia Haase and make a "black box", in an effort to set up a western-inspired still life with classical lighting and a broad range of values.  By late Sunday my box had been painted and was dry, and potential articles for the still life had been sifted through.  I planned to put the arrangement and lighting together on Monday as well as complete my photography and editing.

Not to be........and here is the "I-can't-believe-my-dog-did-this......albeit accidentally" part.  On Monday morning that damn dog.......I mean, my 9-month-old, 60-pound Ellie came happily bounding into the bedroom at about 5:30 a.m. to wake me, as she always does.  My face was lying quite close to the edge -- though I can only guess, as I was peacefully asleep -- and she exuberantly planted her front paws on the edge of the bed.  And yes......one of them went firmly into my left eye.

Well.  I'm sure I don't need to tell you -- this was quite a rude awakening!  Though there were those few moments characteristic of waking up during which I didn't quite realize what had just happened, I soon was lucid enough to know that something was not right with my eye.  (Of course as goldens tend to do, Ellie's entire body was wagging obliviously at the side of the bed -- she just wanted me upright and moving.)  Eventually I stumbled to the kitchen holding my face, and even Ellie seemed to perceive at some point, "Okay; my human is not feeling the love right now".

Mind you, I really tried to put on my big-girl-pants and get on with the rest of my day.  That is how my Dad raised me:  buck-up and get on with it, you know?  But, I don't think "agony" is too strong of a word here.  Blinking or keeping my left eye open, the stabbing pains, the blinding headache behind the eye, and the sensation that the entire area was quite bruised -- all were agony.  So after several hours of finding myself seemingly incapable of staying off the couch (also during which time, just for icing on the cake, Ellie vomited up her entire breakfast on the living room floor), I went to see my doctor.  In short, she diagnosed a cut on the inside of the upper eyelid, an abrasion above the cornea, and "quite a gouge" on the cornea -- which would account for my slightly blurry vision -- followed by, "you are in a lot of pain".  Just her validation of my, yes.....agony.... made me feel a bit better.  (It was quite fascinating really: she placed dye in my eye, turned off the lights, then shined a fluorescent blue light in my eyes -- much like when the crime dramas are searching for blood spatter.)  I left her office sporting a very large, white eye patch, and the admonition, "Be careful driving: with only one eye you have no depth perception".  And need I say?.......the evening was agony.

Ellie, this morning -- in her blissful puppy world, clearly not experiencing any remorse    : )

Okay; so fast-forward a bit and beyond how my beloved dog stuck her paw in my eye, made me lose an entire day, etc.  Since I awakened this morning the pain in my eye has been significantly less than yesterday, so I may be able to proceed with my still life plans sometime soon.  The entire time I have been writing this Ellie has been lying at my bare feet with her head resting on them, her tail thumping happily on the floor whenever I move.  The last time I engaged in a lengthy 'Ellie-vent', in mid-December if memory serves me, I bemoaned the fact that for three months she had not stopped causing trouble long enough for me to accomplish any work.  Just for the record though, she now will lie on the floor at the base of my drafting table and nap for extended periods..........And in the past several weeks she has shredded (and I'm sure ingested bits of) only two throw rugs, three crate pads, the green felt off of four tennis balls, 1/2 roll of paper towels, countless stuffed toys (she doesn't get those anymore), half a plastic frisbee..............

So, we are getting thereAs is true for all of us, Ellie is a work in progress.  (Insert knowing smile here).

I love my dog.  Thanks for listening.


  1. Oh my you have been in the wars. I bet the phrase youthful exhuberance is starting to wear thin lol. I hope your eye repairs itself quickly and you can get your portrait finished. Just wondering if perchance the elusive Polychromos Warm Grey #6 went the way of every other object that hadn't been nailed down LOL

  2. Hang in there, Lynda! Ellie is going to be a GREAT dog. I totally empathize with you, since we took in our Catahoula-Lab mix, now 80-lb. pup last August. He is now a little over a year, and we're starting to see real signs of maturity, although I still don't feel confident enough to put all the throw pillows back on the chairs and the books back on the lower bookcase shelves :) At least now I'm able to get a few hours of work done at a time! Hope your eye is much better, and you'll be back to full productivity soon!

  3. Hey, Elizabeth......I never considered that. There WAS a stretch of time that I was periodically prying pencils from her vice-like jaws. (Hows that for blaming the dog??)

    Thanks for the buck-up, Karen. I know you are right; she will be absolutely wonderful.....someday. Our previous goldens seemed like they were old forever, and I rather forgot how daunting a pup can be. Its quite.......SHOCKING. : ))))

  4. Trim that puppy's nails and off to obedience school with her too! I hope your eye heals quickly.

    We have a Lab/Golden Retriever mix (now over 100 pounds). When he was a puppy, he and our cat conspired against me. The cat would sit on my drawing board and push pencils over the edge- then the dog would promptly eat them!

  5. Hahahahahaha.........Barb, her nails are kept trimmed, and she IS in obedience school! (I think its going to be a lonnggg adolescence.)