Thursday, October 25, 2018

Wanted: Four-Footed Best Friend

I love dogs. And happily, most of my life has been filled with fluffy tail wagers, spotted barkers, wonderful walkers and cheerful chewers. Since my sweet Jilly died suddenly, I’ve felt loss and grief, as you can read in my other dog blogs, but there’s more to it. 

I feel lost without a four-footed best friend. Yes, I am an animal person. I’ve had many cats, too. And once a week, my son’s dog comes along on Meyer Monday’s and I get to take her for a walk, feed and play with her. But as a true ‘dog’ person, I miss my pack. 

I grew up with dogs.

The first dog I remember was a cute Beagle. I was very small but I remember him sitting beside me. Our next dog, a black, Standard Poodle, was adorable. True to his poodle roots, he was happy, energetic, fun and loyal to us all. If you’ve never been around a standard poodle, you’re in for a treat. Smart and entertaining, they are irrepressible and need kind, firm training. But I call them the ‘tigger’ of dogs for a reason. 

My two Golden Retrievers were both sweet, loving and wonderful family dogs. One was definitely calmer and easier to train. She loved to play frisbee, swim in her very own wading pool and cuddle with the cats. The other, a field dog golden, was energetic and smart with a mind of her own. She loved to chase birds, swim in the ocean or any available body of water, play ball and go for long walks. 

Jilly was, of course, wonderful, too. But she was also special because she came to us from Guide Dogs as a career changer. Smart and energetic, Jilly had a few training quirks but we worked together forming a strong bond of love. She loved to chase squirrels, eat tomatoes and strawberries out of the garden. She especially loved to walk. And so we walked to the park almost everyday.

Along the way, I’ve taken dog training classes, helped with rescue dogs, and done lots of dog sitting. And although, I’m really glad to see my son’s dog, Apple, every week, I know someone is missing from my life.   

Where, oh where, is my new doggy?

I didn’t think finding my new dog would be so hard or take so long. I’ve searched and searched online but I haven’t seen my new friend, yet. 

I know many rescue groups are bringing in dogs from Asian countries, but I really want to help a dog from right here. I have a granddaughter, so I need to be careful of certain mixed breeds. But surely, there’s a 12-18 month old Golden or Lab out there who needs a good home?

Jilly was so special to me, the first place I looked was where I found her: Guide Dogs. I’ve applied for another Guide Dog career changer, but because I’m just me, and not part of a therapy association, I’m afraid, I’m low on their list now. But maybe, just maybe I’ll be chosen again. I sure hope so. 

What I do know is this: I am a dog person looking for a four-footed best friend. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Good Kind of Tired

Life revolves from inward to outward, fast to slow, busy to not. This cycle isn’t just mine, of course, it’s the way of the world all around me. From the seasonal growth of spring and summer to the seasonal rest of fall and winter, movement happens whether we want it to or not. 

I’ve shared my ‘seasonal musings’ many times before. While I love spring and summer, fall has been my least favorite time of year most of my life. This year, spring hit with death for me. And, as autumn leaves fall this year, even with the nationwide difficulties, I feel an odd sense of optimism.

Working hard to hardly working. 

Last week, my studio time was spent pricing, packing, loading, unloading, setting up, and taking down my work. It was a weekend show called Art In The Burbs at a local high school. I was excited to be juried in. I was glad to be sharing a booth with another ceramic artist friend. We both did well on sales which is definitely worth a happy dance. 

But it was also a huge amount of work. And the whole process from inventory and wrapping up my porcelain for transport to meeting, greeting and selling was stressful. Ahead this week is unpacking from the weekend, doing sales inventory, editing a group newsletter and gallery sitting. 

Right now, it’s nap time. My granddaughter is here peacefully sleeping. I am cozily sitting on the window seat dozing, clicking around and, obviously, writing. One thing I’ve learned about naptime from my granddaughter is to take some time to rest, myself. Something I never did when my kids napped. But now I know one of the best ways to actually get more work done is to take time to stop. 

I feel a good kind of tired today. 

I tried a new kind of show and it worked out well. I learned a lot about setting up and manning a booth for 16 hours over 2 days. What seemed overwhelming in the beginning, was not in the end. I have a holiday show and gallery show coming up in the next few months. And the curious thing is, I’m not worried. 

Just like this weekend, once I got there and started setting up, I was surprisingly calm. 

The air feels like it’s clearing. 

Maybe it’s the seasonal change. Maybe it’s not. But watching the leaves fall this year, is not making me sad. It’s like a crispness is sweeping through my soul.  

The emotional smog that’s covered my life for months, feels like it’s lifting. 

I feel a small sliver of hope lighting and lightening my way.  

Friday, October 5, 2018

How to deal with fury and fear?

It’s been an awful week in this country. Watching the bravery of one woman who dared to come forward to save the sanctity of the highest court in our land. Listening to an experienced federal judge shout, insult and refuse to answer questions put to him showed him to be totally unqualified for the Supreme Court. And then, our president ( lower case, intended) mocked her in a speech, which, showed him to be not fit for his office either.

How do I deal with the onslaught of fury and fear that I feel? Where can I find information to help me understand, process and move through all this?  

The answers came directly into my inbox. 

Several authors wrote insightful emails that not only helped me out of the trench of anger and fear, but illuminated the darkness. Here are quotes from their emails. 

Lissa Rankin with psychologist, Robert Augustus Masters, PhD. Robert’s on the ‘boy’s club’:   

“I’m inviting men to stop toleration this faction, even if it includes your boss, your political rep, your law enforcement buddy, your drinking pals, your brother-in-law, your father. And I’m also inviting women who are caught up in this faction-through misplaced loyalty, fear, blindness-to also cease toleration such men and speak the fuck up.”

Tara Mohr on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony:

“I want all of us women to see what we watched today as a play, a kind of narrative-crafted, sculpted, with a point of view that is meant to have a particular impact on us.  

The story could have been shaped as one about investigating(truly investigating) a potential crime, or as a story about rape culture in teenage life, or about the patterns of abuse we see amongst powerful men - or all of those. But that is not how the story was shaped for us. The title was given: “Is she telling the truth?”and that question was made the central theme. 

The shaping of the story is intended to shape us as women. It is supposed to teach us that the first question to ask a victim is not, “How can we help?”but “Are you to be believed?” It is intended to imprint into our hearts that if we speak up, we will be met not with compassion, but with skepticism from our fellow human beings, when we most need their support. The story is crafted to vilify for us the caricatures of the conniving woman and the good guy wrongly accused. It is here to teach us women to become skeptical of each other, and then, even worse, to become suspicious of our own memories and experiences.

So, my request today to all of us is this: see the play being performed for your inculcation, and choose not to swallow its narrative. Instead, choose consciously what you will make of what you saw, or heard, or read.”

What do you choose? 

I choose not to feel like a victim. I choose to see myself as a survivor and a champion of truth. 

Here is the truth: Abuse, bullying, violence towards someone else smaller than you doesn’t show power, it shows weakness. And your weakness is what you really fear. 

Stop. Now. 

No more excuses. No more denials. No more temper tantrums. Man up, America.