everything other than Mexico and Aruba

Well, you've probably read about our trips to Mexico and Aruba if you're reading this, but other stuff happened as well.  Last semester, Brie became Captain of the RPI Women's Tennis team.  Will made the Dean's list, putting him in the top 15 percent of his class.  My aunt Elaine had her 80th birthday party.  My brother moved to Abu Dabi (aka Abba Dabba Du).  We took Diana, Will's girlfriend, shopping for prom dresses.  We continue to live with Kate's illness (news at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kdickie/journal).  Dave continues to work at Fidelity and enjoy commuting to Merrimack, NH instead of Boston.  We made it up to RPI to see the kids both play in Tennis matches on April 21st.

But this newsletter's topic is primarily the dogs, Tasha and Patric.  Mostly because they continue to amuse and astound us by how different their personalities are.  And that's most evident in one every-day activity, the morning walk.  Patric has always been the low-energy, let-sleeping-dogs-lie-especially-if-its-me type; Tasha's always been energetic (the polite term for "hyperactive"). 

The morning walk consists of a giant loop, a little over a mile in total.  Almost invariably, we reach the mid-point of walking down the driveway when Patric stops and turns his head to point back to the house, clearly if subtly using body language to say "You know, I'm pretty sure we're supposed to be going in this direction."  A tug on the leash and he grudgingly starts moving again, then he slows at the top of the driveway and stops, looking concerned, then turns his head back to the house.  "No offence intended, but I'm absolutely certain that this is the way we should be going."

Tasha in the meantime is zipping back and forth, almost pulling an arm out of the socket,  "Oh, look, a HOLE!  Maybe there's something in it!  WOW! This smells really interesting!  A SQUIRREL!  Maybe it will play with me if I bark loudly and chase it!"

Another tug on Patric's leash... a stronger one this time... and he'll start moving again, with a pained expression on his face that speaks volumes about how difficult it is for him to put up with this apparently undeserved torture.  Moving, but slowly, taking on what we've come to call his "boat anchor" persona.  You're not quite dragging him, but it's clear that if you don't keep tension on the leash your forward progress will come to a standstill.  For the first part of the walk, the only exception is when you come to an intersection where, if you turn, it will cut the walk shorter.  When you approach it, Patric will suddenly trot on ahead of you, turn down the intersection, and look back in surprise when you don't follow him.  "I'm quite sure this is the way home.  You really should come this way."  And, when you start pulling him back so you continue on the original path, his expression changes from quizzical to stubborn.  "You really should come this way, unless you're an idiot."

Tasha, in the meantime, is all "WOW... SUPER... LOOK AT THAT!"

At the half way point, Patric, with a grumpy, eeyore-ish, put-apon expression, will finally stop hanging back, making it very clear he knows that he's at the point at which he can't shorten the walk any more so he'll cooperate, but he's not happy about it.  The rest of the walk is Tasha zipping along and Patric sulkily following until we get back to the driveway.  Then, suddenly Patric will be out ahead, pulling forward on the leash while Tasha begins hanging back, looking concerned.  By the time we get to the garage, Tasha has a determined look on her face and digs in her heels... all four of them.  "I don't want to go inside.  Come on, it's so much FUN out here!  Please!  Please don't make me go in!"  And you actually have to drag her across the concrete floor to the inside door, and frequently have to pick her up and carry her up the two steps to house level. 
The weather has an amplifying affect on the walks as well. 


Tasha:  "???!!!!??? WHOA!  What IS this stuff?  Man, this is THE GREATEST."  Bounds through the snow in her "snow dolphin" mode.  "Maybe there's something under it!"  (Digs her head into the snow, pulls out, moves a few feet, repeats).   
Patric:  "Huh?"  Tentative puts a paw in the snow and sniffs.  "Cold and boring.  Great.  Can we go inside now and do something interesting, like seeing if food will magically appear in my doggie dish?  Or watch paint dry?"  As you pull him forward into the snow, resignedly plowing through it using his chest, "I'm... having... so... much... fun.  Not."


Tasha.  "YIPPIE!  Maybe there's something in the hole now!  WOW! This still smells really interesting!"
Patric:  "You know, they film horror movies in the dark for a reason."


Tasha:  "Oh, BABY!  Feel that stuff in your face!  And it makes everything smell so fresh and new!   COOL!  PUDDLES!"  Splash, splash, splash.
Patric::  "25,000 years ago, your ancestors were cavemen.  Because they lived in caves.  So they didn't have to go out in the rain.  Think about it."


Tasha:  "YA-HOOOOOO!!!!!"
Patric:  "You are the dumbest human being on the face of the planet."

But, regardless of the differences, we love them both.  Oh, and the kids too.