Thursday, October 30, 2008

VISIBLE CHANGES
For the past week, every afternoon, my designated "helper" at work has been coming in asking me about the holidays. He wants to know if I am ready for Christmas, for Thanksgiving, and I still can't even get my head around Halloween. Plus, I have been unusually disinterested in conversation, period.
This day, he is shelling peanuts and popping them in his mouth as he brings up Thanksgiving again. He asks me what my plans are. I tell him about how Halloween is (tomorrow! yikes!) coming up, and I have a big old box of Halloween decorations that I never even got out of the garage.
"I guess I just don't have the holiday spirit this year," I say.
"It's because you're sad," he says. I open my mouth to protest, but he waves his hand at me.
"You don't have to say anything," he says, "I know you are sad. I can see it in your eyes."
Then I realize how utterly transparent I am. Sometimes I think I am so tough, and I keep up this image that I am happy-go-lucky, smiling at my other coworkers and laughing with them, but just before my helper came in, I was fighting back tears and a dark feeling of hopelessness.
The other day, my best friend had to come over to borrow my shower. We were standing by my fridge and she is looking at the various papers and pictures I have hanging there. I point to the flyer for a 5K race coming up in a little over two weeks time.
"That's the race I was training for, " I told her.
"I know. You've been talking about it. What, you aren't going to do it now?"
"I don't even know if I can run a 5K now. I haven't been running in over three weeks."
"Why not?" Hmm. I haven't thought about how I would answer that question to someone else.
"I've only wanted to sleep the past few weeks. I haven't wanted to do anything but sleep."
She looks at me funny. "Oh, I feel like that too, sometimes." But she seems like she doesn't believe me.

There was a client of mine once at the veterinary hospital who was young and beautiful and lived with her handsome husband in a nice house. She was a stay at home wife, no kids. That in itself surprised me - why wouldn't you work? Then again, I find my life's purpose when I work, and not everyone is like that. Some have other purposes. Anyway, one day she and I were kind of talking about it, the whole not working. She told me that sometimes, sometimes meaning "often", she couldn't get out of bed because she was so depressed. She would stay in her pajamas all day under the covers. I thought that sounded like a luxury. I do not have the luxury to be depressed. I have two little boys and two big dogs and one big ol' man to take care of. It's go time, all the time.
About a year after this conversation, the couple missed a vet appointment. When the receptionist (Genea) called them, the husband told her that his wife had been found dead the night before. She was found in the ritzy neighborhood where she did housesitting. He became concerned when he hadn't heard from her before she went to bed, so he went to the residence and found her drowned in the swimming pool. No one was sure how she ended up that way. "She never mentioned going swimming....

Around this time, I had been very sad myself. I left the clinic for a lunchtime appointment with my therapist and ended up being held against my will in the psych clinic. My therapist said I could not go home without a prescription for different antidepressants and we had to wait for the psychiatrist to visit with me. "It's either that or I put you in a hospital," he said. I was supposed to be back at work and had to call and tell them I was held up. All this because I answered the questions "do you ever think about hurting yourself?" and "do you ever think about suicide?" honestly, which in retrospect I shouldn't have, because it was not relevant. I used to hurt myself when I was younger, and suicide fantasies are just par for the course, but I would never actually do anything like that, because of my children and my faith.
Now I don't want the medications that simply numb you. I don't believe in their diagnosis, but I do understand that I am usually at a lower plane, in terms of happy, than most people, and so my lows are way-lows. It dips down below normal. A couple of weeks from now, I'll be my bright shining self again. There is always hope, and things always find a way of turning around. I've been to the lowest of places, but I have always come back around, an old pro at turning the tides of these moods.
I leave my office, trying to be composed. A recently hired supervisor greets me, then puts his hand on my shouder, and looks me in the eye. "Are you okay?" he asks. I nod yes, but tears well up in the corners of my eyes. "Do you want to talk?" he asks, and I shake my head no and just smile at him, trying to fight back tears.
"Let's pray", he says, and together we bow our heads as he leads us in prayer, "Lord, hold up our sister with your strength and grace..." his arm on my shoulder, our hearts uplifted to God.
And I felt better, that day. There will be more days like that to come.

Monday, October 27, 2008

FESTIVAL (post script)

but I did not mention....
how the priest walked in...
and he was really....really...hot
like charismatic, in this well trimmed suit
very handsome
and I thought,
"Wow, I am so glad I never joined this church"
I would be sinning in the pews every Sunday....
FIRM

I have this friend who keeps telling me I should change my religion.
This all started because he had this idea I should have a "sancho".
Probably, it all started when he was the friendliest person in the group of guys I work with. Right off the bat, he played getting-to-know-you games. He became a person I could trust with my work secrets. We commiserated about my boss and he told me histories, tales of morale, workman's complaints. Can't get no respect.
He told me stories of home. I told him stories of home. We talked of making plans. I talked to his wife on the phone about maybe hanging out some day. He told me a story about his past, other baby mama, how he was a dog, and his wife a saint. Her capability to forgive superceeds mine. I told him about some of my issues. He probably knew more than he should.
At any rate, about a year ago, he finished all our talks with, "You know what you need. You need a sancho." For those unfamiliar with this spanglish term, it means, "one who takes care of your wife while you're away". At some point, he began suggesting the sancho be him.
I tell him I can't have a sancho. When he questions why, I tell him this:
"I have a relationship with God. To have an affair with someone is incompatible with this relationship."
"Whaddya mean?"
"It's against my religion"
"Well, then change your religion"
I consider this. Not forsaking my God, but this idea that if the rules don't fit, you can just chuck them out the window. To me, God's love for us parallels the love parents have for their children. Just because it is unconditional does not mean nothing is asked of us. The conditions by which one abides when they want to stay in a relationship with God are not unlike a teenager coming home by curfew, because their parent asks for it. I could not reconcile an affair with my faith, and my faith will come first.
Lately he has started ending our talks with "Have you changed your religion yet? Well, when you do, come let me know."
I think he is being silly. I think that maybe he is trying to make me feel better, or just trying to be a flirt.
The other day, he shows me scratches across his face. "See this?", he says, and tells me a story about his wife getting mad at him, how she caught him taking a phone number from a girl who he was flirting with at a party. Once a dog, always a dog....
He points to a wound on my face. "See, we're in the same boat."
But we aren't. My wound happened because my dumb ass forgot a curtain rod was in the closet when I went through it for something, and it fell and busted my face. Coincidentally, my husband and I had a terrible fight the week before, so he makes assumptions.
He tells me he could make me feel like a teenager again. I tell him I would hope I am more mature than that.
I almost tell him about my theory of intention and right doing, but he doesn't get what I am saying, so I leave it alone.
I think of my friend Kerri, though. She was a best friend for a time in another state, and slowly we began the husband-bitching sessions that women get into. She took it to a new level, though. Eyes brimming with excitement, she told me how she discovered having an affair was the answer to her marriage. "It makes it so much better!" she says. I doubt it, and not long after, her husband makes her mad enough to throw it in his face during a fight. He divorced her, and she acted like that was what she wanted all along.
A year later, she was crying over the computer to me about how much she missed him, and how he broke her heart. I point out that she did cheat on him, quite willingly and with abandon. "I only did it because I loved him and he was breaking my heart!"
That is no excuse. Well, it is an excuse, but only one. It was a lesson in "decide what you want, and pursue it with intention." If she really wanted his love and attention, would giving hers to someone else fix it?
Today, my friend nearly choked to death on a dust bunny. He was violently coughing and had gone to spray water down his throat in an attempt to dislodge it. He was retching in a room and I sent his friend in to check on him.
A few minutes later, he comes, butt hurt because I didn't save him from dying, that I wasn't rushing to do CPR on him. I mention I sent his friend in....
"But I didn't want him to do mouth to mouth, I wanted you."
Then he tells me, "God is getting me, " grins, says it differently,
"I think Jesus is getting even with us."
"Not us, you," I say, pushing him out the door with a smile.
"I told you, I'm not changing my religion."
DOOR WIDE OPEN

I have an uncanny sense for knowing when people are talking about me.
Claudia the "Crazy Cat Lady", my psychic friend from Oregon who would often trade readings for veterinary work on her twenty cats, told me before I had a little touch of psychic ability myself. "Just enough," she said, "To, like, know who is on the phone before you pick up, or to have premonitions, or have meaningful dreams."
I've been told that by other "fortune-tellers" who have looked in my hands. I know what it is they are seeing, the touch of a "psychic circle" that begins in the meaty part of my left hand, but then fades. Just enough to know, not enough to do anything with.
However, it does give me just this edge of intuition, which I have learned to pay attention to over the years. When my cheeks start burning, I know someone is talking about me. The closer in vicinity the people are, the hotter my cheeks get. This happens at work fairly often and each time, information was disclosed in which I learned that it was, in fact, happening. Behind my ears begins a burning when someone is talking about me in a way in which determines my future.
Today, I feel a door opening. My heart feels like a barn door flapping in the wind. I have a sense that it has something to do with this blog, and an intimate stranger. The feeling was strongest between ten and noon this morning. I felt like someone was looking through me, through my words. I don't feel violated in any way - like my friends always say, "Her life's an open book, you just never know which page she's on".
I am just really curious who has my door open....one of the five hits between my last look at the blog last night and a midday curiousity...who could it be, knocking at my door?
Leave me a note next time...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Howl Part 1 by Allen Ginsberg

Reading many Kerouac biographies is fueling greater interest in the work of Ginsberg. This is the first part of the poem, well illustrated with strange figures.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FESTIVAL

The air is turning crisp, and a hint of coldness lies in the predawn rising. It's the arrival of fall, and pumpkins, in everything October. The hint of Halloween is heavy on the air, as restless children pump their arms and legs in high excitement on jeans-and-jacket days. It's the candy, and the costumes, and the comfort food when we come in at night.
It is also a time of gathering, of celebrating, of churches across suburbia planning fall festivals. Last week I took the kids to our church festival, and we had a lot of fun. They got to ride ponies and eat chili prepared by my friends from bible study. Kaleb smiled the whole time, and all week has been pointing at his chest, proud, saying, "Kaleb rode neigh."
In every moment lies a little treasure.
Today I took my little treasure out to another festival, held at the Catholic church by the apartments I used to live in. At night I would run with my dog through the suburban streets, just outside FM 1960, the most dangerous road in this town. Halfway through our run, we would reach the church grounds. The air was always dewy and wet, and I would let him off the leash here to romp with me through the soccer fields, sometimes splashing mud along our legs as we dashed in excitement.
This church promoted serenity in their architecture. The buildings wrapped around a central outside courtyard, with shady trees and benches underneath along smooth sidewalks. Rascal and I would venture in to have our moment of solemn grace, then dash back out into the night and the adorable artistic townhomes around the corner.
It struck me that I had never been here during the day before. It was a different atmosphere, losing its shroudy glow of quiet spirituality, but with a glowing fire of faith instead. The theme was "Street Shoppes", and booths lined the sidewalk along the edge of the courtyard. Vendors displayed shiny glowing boxes, festive Christmas wreaths, handmade soaps, glittering beaded necklaces, rows of blooming plants and little wooden Santa figures.
I wonder what Jesus would think about this. Would he feel like he did during his little "episode" at the Temple? Would Jesus have a problem with the rows of expectant vendors selling Santa wares across our church courtyards?
I know that essentially it is not the same. What Jesus seemed to be mad at, to me, is the fact that faith was being sullied by this constant giving of money to get closer to God, to all the rules that seem to interfere with a pure faith. During the festivals at the temple, the Jews had to buy an offering (an animal to sacrifice in death), and to to that, they had to change their money at the vendor booths along the edges of the Temple. (The trading always worked in the vendors' favor, naturally). There were all these conditions to the obedient faith, all these things you had to do and buy, to have a relationship with God.
We don't have to buy these things along the booths. We could look at them as "the fruits of the spirit", giving to others what we have in abundance, and blessing them with our gifts, like the gift of cooking in bake sales, the gift of creativity in jewelry sales. We could be offering God our best, and sharing with our community.
That's the way I want to think about these fall festivals, that it is giving and not being cheated, it is God's grace and not the sum of our offerings that allows us our relationship with God.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A DEEPER LOOK
CANTON AND SURROUNDING AREAS (postscript)
The last day in Canton, we woke up to a phone call from the hotel management that 1) we were parked on a handicapped spot (the paint had worn off and we couldn't see it in the dark when we pulled up that night) and 2) our tire was flat.
We went out to look and sure enough, that was one flat tire. No air in that baby at all.
With less than two hours before ring time, we had to make a plan fast. We checked out of the hotel and made it to the gas station next door to try to air it up enough to make it to the tire shop. No dice. There was a big hole somewhere.
I am sitting on the curb and Lara is pushing me to figure out what I am going to do.
We've already decided that she is going to stay with the car until AAA gets there to change out the tire. She is going to handle that, and I need to decide if I am going to make it to the show, and if so, I've got to go, now, and figure out how to get there.
It is only about a mile down the road but I can't walk my dog across the highway with all his gear and my show clothes. She keep asking me what I am going to do, and for some reason I don't want to tell her what my plan is.
I am just going to sit here and wait for a miracle.
That is what I keep thinking when she asks me, but I don't tell her that. Instead I half heartedly agree with her plan to walk over to the hotel and try to hitch a ride. I start walking, wondering how this plan is going to work. Am I just going to hang out at the hotel hoping I see someone loading up for the show as well and ask for a ride? What if I don't see anyone in time? I know there are other dog show folk there, but how do I know which rooms they are in? What if I don't see anyone in time?
That's when it hits me. God helps those who help themselves. God doesn't want us to sit around waiting for a miracle. He wants us to make miracles happen.
And my miracle is right in front of me. I notice, finally, that the van that has been gassing up in front of us the whole time we were talking has dog kennels in the back. I talk to the man and he doesn't mind taking Scout and I to the show. He was just getting ready to head back to the hotel for his Dobermans that are showing that afternoon, and lets Scout ride in one of the kennels and helps me load up my gear.
He drops me off at the show grounds and wishes us luck. I am standing there with my clothes, my tub of brushes, and my dog. I had left my grooming stand and crate with Lara in the car, bringing only the bare neccessities. Now I am wondering how the heck I am going to do this. The dog can't come in the bathroom when I change. It is going to be a real pain to try to show groom him on the concrete floor.
So I make another miracle happen. I walk right up to some other Aussie owners, ones I gave the eye of the competition to the day before, and introduced myself. I am not above dropping my breeder's name to help these people place who I am. I explain the situation, and they happily allow me use of an empty crate, their grooming stand, and let me in the circle of four women there, all preparing their dogs to compete against mine, but with a spirit of goodwill.
We all walk down to the ring together, dressed in our "seventies business casual", as Lara describes our show outfits. The one who made the most friendly overtures, Kay, gave us some pointers on how to to the "L" pattern the judge was doing that day, an unusual pattern for shows. We all practice our turns and hand switches as Lara finally shows up, right about time for Scout to go in.
We get a yellow ribbon this day, third in the class of four. I walk out pretty disappointed that I paid all this money to come spend the weekend here and couldn't even make it out of my class.
I had just decided that perhaps Scout and I should turn away from conformation in favor of agility, something he might be better at, when a woman stops me out of the blue.
"Your dog should have won that class," she says, and when I start to sadly agree with the judge's decision, she says it again. "No, really, he should have won that class."
And right there, it starts up again, the random intermitten reinforcement that is just enough to keep me going, four years into it with this dog who just can't "finish", who earns just enough points to make me come back for more, but more often than not, leaves me wanting.
Maybe we'll sign up for intermediate agility. Maybe we'll finally take his CGC test, or turn our heads to obedience instead. Maybe I will get a handler for him for conformation, someone who can get the major wins that I will never be able to get. I'll still keep scanning the upcoming shows for something that might turn our luck around.
And in the end, it always comes down to a crapshoot anyway. The dog that won the class Saturday was fourth, behind Scout today. Another day, another judge, and by some miracle, maybe some more purple ribbons to come.
But meanwhile? Meanwhile, I am just going to love him, and accept us as a team, for better or worse. Above everything he is and could be, he is a well-loved family pet. That is something that, win or lose, no matter how many ribbons he has or will never earn, will never change.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A DEEPER LOOK
CANTON AND SURROUNDING AREAS (con't)

As we headed into Tyler that afternoon, I was starting to feel really terrible. During our time at Tyler State Park, I had been unusually thirsty, and now I was experiencing a terrible headache and had a strong desire to lay down. I am not sure what was wrong with me exactly, but Lara was convinced that mexican food was just what I needed. She knew of a place that might be dog-friendly, or at least we could eat near the dog, and it was on the south end of town. We were coming from the north and for a small town, there were a tons of lights and congestion. I felt awful and it took about all I had to keep driving.
We tried a cache on the way, and even though we looked hard, we couldn't find it. This was a premonition of things to come. I guess I was just having a really off day.
We sat on the deck of the mexican food restaurant, and even though I was totally into my burrito dinner, soda, and girl talk, (he-llo queso with taco meat!) I couldn't stop obsessing about my dog. It was a nice day, about eighty degrees outside with a breeze, and the windows were half-open in the car, where he had to stay (apparently it is not that dog-friendly). I had requested we sit outside in the patio, even though they didn't typically use that area this time of day, so I could keep an eye on the dog. That is exactly what I did, and every move he made I interpreted as some kind of discomfort. It was completely irritating Lara, and even when she asked me to stop worrying, I couldn't let it go. It's the whole vet tech thing, or mom thing, always worrying about the dangers of particular scenarios, liking leaving a dog in a closed car, of heat stroke, of not being able to let go of the need to keep things safe for my little ones.
When we left, we tried caching again, but luck, or skill, were not with us. I finally started to feel a little better, but looking all around, up and down, for little urban micros was just not comfortable with a full stomach. We did meet some really nice couples at a park we stopped at, who came over and introduced themselves because they wanted to pet Scout. He was quite the hit at the park. We finally had to explain geocaching to them because we just looked too odd looking underneath the bleachers they were sitting on.
Eh, then I just wasn't in the mood anymore. We did get one find after all that, one easy cheesy but interesting virtual that had been recommended to me called Rose Hill Tombstone. We had a good time driving through the cemetary it was in as the sun was setting, and got off some great shots of Jesus there in the setting sun before I had a gastronomical situation and had to get somewhere more private in a hurry...
Now it was time to start looking for a spot to engage in Lara's newest hobby, stargazing. We decided to start heading out west towards Canton on the backroads but to keep an eye out for the perfect place to set up the telescope. The sun was just starting to go down and time was of the essence, because the idea was to be all set up when the stars started to come out.
When we would come to a crossroads, we kept elected to take the road less taken. The road that looked less populated, was away from any lights from the town, stores, lots of cars. The road that may or may not take us back to Canton. I lost all sense of where we were but kept trying to make sure I was headed in the right direction - when in doubt, go north, or west. It was getting darker and we were getting more desperate for the perfect place. We started taking little side roads off the back roads, side roads that would turn out to be filled with potholes, or dead ends, a bunch of roads that led to nowhere.
We kept seeing these signs for historical markers or cemetaries, but when we would reach where the sign indicated, we could see nothing. We even backtracked to one thinking surely...surely this would be a perfect spot....nothing. Finally we came to a place that was BOTH a historical marker and a cemetary, with ample parking, that was actually there, which was good timing because our bladders were about to explode.
While she was setting up the telescope, I was taking care of some personal business. Then the dog starting limping, which luckily turned out to be thistles stuck in his pads, but I was kind of torn between putting him back in the car or taking him with me out to the middle of the graveyard where Lara was. I was still kind of caught up in some text messages when I realized Lara was having a meltdown because I had left her all alone when she had wanted to share her hobby with me.
Ah, we weren't seeing things the same way, and she was really upset and I really didn't know how best to calm her down. She packed everything up and was insisting we go back to the hotel, since I was so tired, but by this point, I was into what we were doing and wasn't really wanting to go back without seeing this stargazing thing in action.
Finally I convinced her I was willing to share her interest, and by this time we had made it back to Canton, and I decided to try going up this little hill I had seen behind the dog show grounds.
So, after all that driving and drama in the darkness, we end the day where we started it, at the First Monday Trade Days grounds. We got the telescope set up and the moon looked like a slick sugary candy to me. Mostly I watched Lara, moon glowing large against her profile, as she tried to get a good view of twinkling stars. I was fascinated by the way she looked to me, but I could not get the camera to recreate the image I was seeing.
I'm glad we went. It was the perfect place for this kind of activity. I will remember this part of the day for a long time. Someday I hope we can find that old cemetary again, too, because that was a cool place.
Stargazing seems like a pretty neat hobby. I couldn't stop thinking about my microscope that I use every day at work, and how all this time I've been thinking about how with it, I am looking in at a world so small most people aren't even aware it exists, but in it, organisms are eating, reproducing, fighting, living out their little lives. I feel like I imagine God must when He looks down at our world.
Up here, though, there is a whole other world, a great giant world we can see through the telescope, and gain an understanding of life and God and how amazing this universe is. Through its lens, we can get a deeper look at ourselves and our place in this great galaxy.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A DEEPER LOOK
CANTON AND SURROUNDING AREAS
Tyler State Park

Around one pm, we pulled up at Tyler State Park. We had never been there and wanted to check out the park, do some hiking, and find three geocaches. One of them was a multi-cache called A Deeper Look. It took you to four places within the park that go unnoticed, and each waypoint had information about the park and natural features in the direct area you were standing in.
The first waypoint was about two hundred feet from the ranger station. We didn't bring any of our supplies, and made the quick find. It was interesting to read the information in the thermos jug we found that told us about the Civilian Conservation Corps role in creating a small wading area for children and the old fire rings.
The next waypoint was 0.65 mile further into the park, so we drove closer. Lara kept saying she didn't mind hiking but I was telling her that my previous experience caching in state parks was to conserve energy and park as close as you can, because trails lead you further places than you are intending, or that you might spend time walking down a road in the park instead of hiking trails, and that was a time drain.
Our second parking area was close to both the second waypoint and another cache, Prairie Dog Getaway. We found the second waypoint of the multi, another thermos jug with a card telling about the bridge you can see in the back of this photo I took of a friend's travel bug that I wanted to leave at the cache.
We hiked up a greenbelt area and then climbed a small hill to the prairie dog cache, and found a nice, large ammo can underneath a large fallen tree that made a nice place to sit for a while and enjoy nature. Scout posed for photo ops with the travel bug and cache.
After this, we headed to the third waypoint, and then on to the final. We were so excited to finally have the coordinates (each thermos jug had, on the card inside, coordinates to the next step of the journey). We took off all happy, even though finding a parking spot for this leg was tough. We were parked near an access road that was blocked off, some kind of digging going on. We headed down the main road briefly before heading up another greenbelt, then a turn off to the right that led back to the blocked off access road. The scenery was nice (top and bottom pictures), but we could not get closer than about 450 feet from the final cache.
We all three tried to get into the woods and only ended up getting frustrated and covered in little green sticky seed pods. We had them all over our pants, and Scout had them all in his freshly groomed coat. He was trying to lick them out of his fur and kept coughing, and apparently they were deeply imbedded in Lara's pants. I had on jeans, so I was doing slightly better.
We decided we had gotten too intimate with nature. After trying a couple different angles, we realized we could not access the cache and after all that, would have to take a DNF on it.
Note - after logging my DNF online, I saw that the next person behind me, that same day, logged it as "Found", even though he only completed the first two steps. I am not sure if doing the same thing violates my own cacher's set of ethics.
We did have a great adventure, but the seed pods were almost the end of Lara. We pulled up at the parking for the third cache in the park, and she decided to abstain and hang out in the car pulling seed pods off her pants. I did that one on my own with Scout. We crossed a wooden bridge and ended up in the forest by the lake, and I had a mild freakout because I heard a large animal moving slowly through the forest. I found the cache, and also found large prints in the ground and lost the trail back. We crashed through the bushes, Scout giving me a "mom, please.."pained look and getting more thorns and burrs in his coat.
After this, we discovered the joys of the dog brushes. I pulled a few out and I brushed Scout, then helped Lara brush the pods off her pants. We were much happier chicks, blasting Erasure and checking out the park on a grand geocaching adventure.
After this, we took on Tyler. More to come later...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A DEEPER LOOK
CANTON AND SURROUNDING AREAS

6:15 pm Friday night
"How soon can you leave?"
"My bags are packed and I'm just waiting on you."
"On my way"

7:00 pm
Stuck in traffic in Conroe
Highway lane closures, construction
We stop at an urban micro geocache,
Tucked away near the place that water flows
A camo nano, with three DNFs on last logs
But I make quick work of it
Looking under the surface of things
To find the "something different"
"You're getting pretty good at this!"
Today, at least

8:00 pm

We finally get to Centerville, and food
Whataburger never tastes so good
And we settle into deep conversations
About life, women, love, our selves, our men
People we used to know
As she and I went to the same high school
Hung out with peripheral friends
We put life up to the microscope
As we cruise down life's highway
10:30 pm
Finally arrive at the Super Eight
So tired but stay up late
Talking and watching hotel TV
Get up in the early morning
And head to dog show
At First Monday Trade Days grounds
Scout tries, but it's not enough
This day he takes second out of four in his class,
"Open Blue, Dog"
Funny things you only hear at the dog show,
Snippets of conversation that make sense somehow
Like "Do you want to do that open bitch?"
Or "Oh, we're thirty minutes past Carol"
After the dog show, it's bison burgers from the Dairy Palace
And refreshing back at the hotel
Before heading out east to Tyler State Park

Monday, October 06, 2008

There's a Story in Every Moment...
The trick is in the telling....
About every three days or so, my fingers begin to twitch with impatience. They want the keyboard, to feel the pressure of the keys pressed down, to feel the words flow out. They want to tell all the stories that lie within my heart.
Last week, I had to ignore the twitches. At work, every moment was busy with preparing for a presentation that meant a lot to me. I could go into the latest in the square dance between me, the behaviorist, the fat cats, and the corporate suits, but I am not really sure who won this round and things have changed a little. One of the fat cats is gone, and this time there were more corporate suits, but I feel like I didn't really get to hear their impressions and one of them could have access to this little bloggy, so I will just stop here. It was really just more of the same - that I need to do more, but am limited by fat cat management and lack of a staff, and that my data must absolutely go to press and we are working on it. The corporate suits this time seemed genuinely behind promoting my work and were discussing the best platform for me to present seminars on my data subject matter for conferences next year after my paper gets published. I am happy about that because I feel like at least they take me seriously, as opposed to the fat cats that block me at every turn. I do think my data has the opportunity to make the world a better place for animals, so I would love the chance to get it out into the world.
At home, the twinges were dampened by a little boy who is having an Elmo freakout. Any time he saw me near the computer, he wanted to sit on my lap and watch Elmo videos. We watched the "Elmo Potty Time" video on Youtube soooo many times in the past week and he never stops laughing at it. He also figured out how to crawl out of his crib and our nights are interrupted by constant chasing and putting back in place of renegade toddler, who then cries "ELMO! ELMO!" from the confines of his crib.
Meanwhile, back at the "farm", I am having a Mason-Pearson meltdown. I am showing the dog this weekend for the first time in at least half a year, and somehow during that time managed to lose my fancy-schmancy dog brush that I absolutely must have to whip his coat into shape with my fancy-schmancy doggy blow dryer. I have just a few days to find the brush and all the assorted show things and mentally prepare for the weekend.
I am taking a girlfriend with me out of town to the dog show, for some serious girl talk and creative endeavours. I am hoping our time will involve some hiking, some geocaching, and some nature exploration, as well as some writing. What I foresee is a hike in Tyler State Park to a beautiful location where we can sit down with our journals and just free our minds and relax....
But not too much relaxing. I have come to realize that my dog shows better when I am nervous, so I am going to try to keep the nerves intact in order to energize him in the ring.
Visualize purple ribbons for me...please!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Street Scene
Fall is here
Last week, Northwest Suburbs of Houston
So many feet on the street tonight. Must be twenty five people outside, the most I have ever seen. Fall weather, a light wind, a mild sun. Brown leaves tickle the concrete, unconcerned by the games that surround them; a pickup game of basketball midway down the street by new people, recently moved into the house where the punk-kids used to live, who always yelled at the dog, and a game of catch and toss with the older boys in front of our house, with the neighbors peanut gallery across the street observing. A young girl pulled a red wagon carrying her younger brother and my youngest son, who was sharing his Elmo with his wagon buddy this wonderful fall evening.

video

Post Ike Bloom
I wonder what it is...