Creative Time


A friend just sent me a message that she was jealous of my creative time. So that's what you call it, I thought. Of course, today was not a good example as I had no time to myself having spent the morning at the ENT in Hanover, N.H. and the afternoon getting a pneumovax titer in Randolph, V.t. But yesterday, home sick, I had plenty of time on my hands. I didn't feel up to doing much, however, I'm not one to let time go to waste -- that's how I accomplish creative endeavors -- in bits and pieces: sketching a drawing in the wee hours, snapping a picture between phone calls, writing a lede over breakfast. So, even while I sat at the kitchen table snorting saline solution and holding my aching head in my hands, I couldn't help but seize an opportunity when I saw it.

A few weeks ago my mother had told me about a site called http::/ It also has a facebook presence at The site basically asks people to submit photos of their dogs caught in shameful acts: tearing apart a stuffie, jumping on the table, begging for food. You are then supposed to write a note in the voice of the dog fessing up to the shameful deed. The photo gets posted on the page where people comment, vote, enjoy. As soon as she told me I knew I had to catch Waffles in one of her misdeeds. Her favorite is knocking over trashcans. I kind of forgot about the whole thing until opportunity presented itself. There, sitting at the kitchen table, I heard the dull thud of the large Rubbermaid trashcan hit the tiled floor. Sick as I felt, I reached for my camera and paper and marker, wrote the note, taped it to the can and righted it, so I could snap a photo of Waffles knocking it over again.

I knew I wouldn't have to wait long. Waffles trashcan tipping happens probably 20 times a day. She waits until she thinks no one is watching, sneaks over, peers in, then applies some pressure, rocking it over. If she can't get it to budge she lets out a war cry, circles around and tries again.
The challenge, however, was my stuffy head. I forgot to adjust the camera settings so my pics kept coming out blurry. I positioned my chair close to the can so all I had to do was lean over after each failed shot and right the can again. Then I just had to turn my head away or bury it in a book and a few seconds later, bang! But, I had to have my camera ready. If Waffles saw me with my camera aimed, she thought I was looking, so the trick was to be quick. That's how I spent my creative time yesterday.

And, I'm not sure why. I knew all of this was fodder for the blog, so it was not lost time, but I can't quite explain why it was so important for me, amidst tissue and cold medicine, to capture a photo of my dog doing something I shouldn't be letting her do in the first place. Somehow, although my ears hurt and I was worried about all my neglected tasks, this struck me as fun. It seemed like Waffles was enjoying herself as well. Instead, of hearing my "No, Puppy! Down, Puppy!" I was actually helping her out in her task. And, Waffles definitely deems this her task. It is a job for her. Every morning I hear the domino effect as each trashcan in the house falls over one by one -- thud, crash, bang! She doesn't root around beyond an initial glance, she just wants them tipped over in expectation of a big score.

So, this is how I spent my creative time yesterday and this post and hopefully a pic on Dog-Shame is the result. I do a lot of interesting things with my dog -- attend pug socials, enter kissing contests, dress in matching costumes. I travel 60 miles or more to dog parks so they can run for 20 minutes. I have literally "Gone to the Dogs" and I can't quite explain the payoff. I think the outings, the socials, the doggie play dates expand my sense of community, but yesterday as Waffles and I played tip-the-can no one was around. It was just me and my dog engaged in our own creative endeavors. While we as a society may never quite figure out why that time spent together is so appealing, I know it is never a waste.