A very exciting development, and part of the reason I've been blogging a bit less frequently, is that a long dry spell in my musical life has ended. For a couple of months now I've been in a band that plays groovy old songs and some originals, and they've even learned to play with me some traditional Zimbabwean mbira music. My bandmates are mellow, warm, smart, talented people, and for the first time in years I again have an outlet for that part of my personality that loves to perform and play music.
Now Florian and I haven't really had guests for a couple of years, in order to protect our friends from the maelstrom of tongues and paws and canine intensity that is our house. But the band needed a place to rehearse, and were forewarned, and still expressed an interest in meeting here once a week.
What began as a challenge has become a great opportunity for socialization, desensitization, and impulse control training. Fozzie, who has always been scared of shakers, is learning that they won't hurt him. He's learning that rather than launch on all the cool friendly people, he needs to sit before they'll pet him. He's learning that when Mom says Go to Bed or Stay, she means it--even when way more enticing alternatives are present in the form of a bunch of dog lovers standing around in his living room.
I generally still have to just have him on a leash attached to my waist for most of the rehearsal, for fear of him knocking over someone's guitar when I'm not paying attention for a moment. But he's getting to where, after they've been here an hour or two and he's emotionally exhausted from the excitement, I can let him off leash for periods of time and trust that he won't launch.
The whole thing feels like good practice for both of us in learning and enforcing boundaries.
Who would have thought that band practice would double as dog training class? I am lucky that deadheads tend to be such a mellow, dog-loving bunch.