Saturday, June 6, 2015

Alone with the Dogs

I'm sitting here drinking coffee answering some messages, and I suddenly realize that I am alone. Well, as alone as one can be with four dogs in the background, playing and barking and hitting my chair as they chase each other around the couch. I don't get much alone time anymore, and that's been really tough. I need that time to regain my peace, my inner strength, my calm in the chaos that is life. And when I don't get it, I find myself bursting into tears over the most insignificant things--a random commercial, the end credit song of a movie, the news, a red light. I need my alone time to cry things out, so I can recoup and feel refreshed and strong enough to keep fighting through all the daily things that I think I can't fight against. So I'm here, now, alone with the dogs, without my ears in, and I feel calm. 

May is a hard month for me, but this one had added pressures. Having lost my job the end of April, that had me bummed, yet relieved at the same time. I wasn't bummed about not working there anymore, because let's face it, that place was a sinking ship and I was lucky to get a seat on the life boat. The panic was not having money coming in. May also signifies the anniversary of my beloved Mom's passing, and that marks the whole month with a black armband. Mother's Day is a day of mourning, since we actually lost her on Mother's Day 2011. Also, I lost my beloved Mother-in-Law in May as well. Two very strong, very compassionate, very family oriented women gone in the same month, different years. How do you just bounce back from that? You feel the dread creeping in when April showers are still giving birth to May flowers, and it sticks with you for 31 days, lingering slightly the first week of June until you finally start to come out of it. You have to. You gotta keep moving, if not for yourself, then for everyone who depends on you to be strong, smiling, giving, caring. You have to do it for them, even if you just feel like you're going through the motions. Eventually it sticks and you feel the sluggish motor turning over, the cogs and belts moving and pulling you through the days until you're running again, like a new motor built from reconditioned parts. Almost fresh, almost new. Almost.

May also signified the end of my beautiful daughter's three year journey through grad school. A celebration in the middle of black armband month. Swap that black for a rainbow for at least a day. Shake off the dark clouds and mourning for sunshine and cheers. I wanted to cry over everything, from the speakers I didn't even know, to the family who accepted their deceased child's diploma, to someone who was having trouble finding a seat. (That's the lack of alone time coming into play. I guess I could cry with people around, I am mostly human after all. But then you have concerned family asking what's wrong, then they want to hug you, and all of that caring makes you want to cry more, it becomes an endless cycle and you just don't want to go there. It's like being stupid enough to think you can watch the movie The Family Stone without bursting into sobs, especially now, especially in May, especially after what happened in May.) But I was proud to see my beautiful daughter get her MFA, after three years of hard work in Chicago. We had a nice visit with her there, and I decided I rather like Chicago. The walking, the trains, the taxi cabs, Uber, Montrose Beach, the people, the laid back hustle and bustle that is almost constant. I will ignore the two separate shootings that occurred in the very neighborhood we were in at the time; in fact, we saw the cops while we were walking back from getting ice cream. But I guess nowadays that can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason. She's going to stay in Chicago for possibly a year, a choice I support because it's hard to go back home after being on your own for so long, and with no license or car the public transport is perfect for her. I look forward to visiting her again, perhaps during a different month next time. It was a nice distraction from all that was wrong in Georgia. I read, I walked, I became a Netflix binge-watcher. I got to see my girl...and yes, I missed the hell out of my dogs. 

Cut to June 1, my 30th wedding anniversary, when I had a working interview at an office. When you're not working, the days tend to bleed together and when I told them I could do a working interview from 8-1 on Monday I didn't even realize it was my anniversary. I was offered the job before 1 pm. I still left at 1 to celebrate with the man I married. This office should understand, because they are big on family. So June came, the black armband came off, and the sun shone. Yes, it's stressful starting at a new office. It's hard when you're a dental assistant, because every time you go to a new office, you have to adjust to not only new instruments and products, but new ways to do things and new philosophies as well. You have to really let go of "At my old office we..." and just know, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Once you get past that, it's the same repetition, different office. And you can't beat three days a week--in a dental office that is fanfuckingtastic! Most are a minimum of four days, but some stretch to six days a week, and I'm even seeing quite a few going to 10-12 hr days. So three eight hour days a week, and the rest of the time is mine. Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming...

I am, however, not complete. I am not content. I am still restless, still feeling like I'm living someone else's life, like I'm not where I need to be. I'm not. This isn't where my life is supposed to be. I'm supposed to work with animals. Dogs, cats even, and I even dream of working on a farm sanctuary with goats, and cows and sheep and chickens and roosters and horses and any other animal that needs refuge. The world is an ugly place to animals, and I know I'm supposed to do my part to make it better for them. Confucius say "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." Well I WANT that! That is my destiny. Maybe I'll write about it, too, even better. But I want to be surrounded by the peace and love of animals. And I won't feel like I belong in this world until I am. Even now, as I sit here alone, I am surrounded by four dogs who love me and are happy to have me in their lives, as happy as I am to have them in mine. It's what I live for. Don't get me wrong--I love my husband and my sons and my daughter, and my dad and brothers and sister and everyone else I miss terribly in Ohio and Virginia. They are my world, my support, my pride and joy. But animals are my calling. And because they love me, my humans understand that and support it. 

Family is important to me as well. But some of my family members wear fur. And I'll never truly be alone.

 “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Maya Angelou

Friday, June 5, 2015

Just 4 Fun

Top 25 Most Played Song on my iPod (this will show my eclectic taste in music)

25. Hot Rod Lincoln--Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen 49 plays

24. Fuck You--Cee Lo Green 49 plays

23. Bad Things--Jace Everett 50 plays (the best thing about True Blood was the                   music!)

22. Moondance--Van Morrison 52 plays (an all-time fave of mine)

21. Walk Away--Tom Waits 52 plays (I can really identify with this one, plus I love his          voice!)

20. Zoot Suit Riot--Cherry Poppin' Daddies 52 plays (this one makes me want to take           up swing dancing!)                        

19. Kryptonite--3 Doors Down 53 plays (love their music, lyrics, voice, very relatable)

18. Out of my Head--Fastball 53 plays

17. The Little Things--Danny Elfman 53 plays (Got this from the Wanted soundtrack)

16. Great Balls of Fire--Jerry Lee Lewis 54 plays (love me some oldies!)

15. Mother--Danzig 56 plays (didn't really listen to this in the 80's--of course when it        came out I had a toddler in the house. actually discovered it watching Matt play            Guitar Hero!)                                

14. I Don't Wanna Be--Gavin DeGraw 57 plays (the One Tree Hill theme song! One of           my workout go to songs!)

13. I Don't Wanna Know--Dr. John 57 plays (another True Blood favorite)

12. Surfin' USA--The Beach Boys 57 plays (another oldie, the epitome of past                     summers!)

11. Athena--The Who 59 plays (another all-time fave of mine, this is what it's like to           be in love)

(here we go now, entering the 10 ten most played songs on my iPod! are you excited yet???  I am, and I already know what they are!)

10. I Will Love Again--Lara Fabian 59 plays (just listen to her voice, catchy tune)

 9. I'm Ready (Live at Merlotte's)--CC Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis 59 plays (a            True Blood bonus track, really enjoy this one)

 8. Friend Like Me--Robin Williams 60 plays (Aladdin Soundtrack. Will always                      remember Robin Williams this way. Fun, full of life, leaving a legacy of laughter)                

 7. What I'm Lookin' For--Brendan Benson 63 plays (got this one from a commercial)     

6. Jump in Line--Harry Belafonte 66 plays (most people remember this from                     Beetlejuice.)

5. Big Bang Theory Theme--Barenaked Ladies 67 plays (love the show, love the song!)                                                                                         

4. Make Me Wanna Die--The Pretty Reckless 69 plays (Kick-Ass Soundtrack. Great             song!)

3. A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)--Elvis Presley 80 plays (Very first       concert I ever went to was Elvis! Had a huge crush on him, watched all his movies,        cried when he died. Another oldie!)

2. Everything Falls Apart--Dog's Eye View 82 plays (another all-time favorite, because       it's life. It falls apart, we put it back together and it falls apart again. Gives us               something to do)                       

And now, the moment no one has been waiting for! The most played song on my iPod is...

1. It's Not My Time--3 Doors Down 82 plays (More great lyrics, great song!!)

Not sure how they decide which 82 play song is first, but this is how it shows up on my iPod. If you've never listened to some of these, you should give them a try! Keep an open mind, you mind find a new song to sing in the shower. You can share what songs are #1 on your iPod or phone or whatever you use, if you want to. I'm always open to new music! Hope you enjoyed my list.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why I Hate Surprises

Because I'm a control freak.  Because I hate being put on the spot.  Because it will take me a day to think of a good comeback.  Because sometimes the only thing you can do is curl up into the fetal position and wait for the surprise to disappear.  Because I hate change.  Because once it happens, it is over, and where do you go from there?

Now when people think of surprises, they think of good ones.  A diamond ring dangled on a proposal, a birthday party, an unexpected windfall, a vacation, a raise, a new car, a present of some kind.  All of these are good things, great things even, but still things I don't want to be surprised about.  On the rare occasion when someone has said to me "I've got a surprise for you", my stomach knotted and I prepared for the worst.  I have always hated surprises. 

To me, the only good surprise is being scared shitless.  Does that even count as a surprise?  I don't know but that adrenaline rush from someone jumping out at you in a haunted house is excellent!  That I can take.  There's nothing in this world that can match being scared to death. 

I don't know why I've always hated surprises.  I don't know if there was something that happened in my childhood that since has rested dormant in the repressed recesses of my mind, lying in wait for a good hypnosis to jerk it back to the forefront of my reality.  Maybe a creepy clown jumped out at one of the birthday parties I attended as an incredibly introverted child and scared the dread of surprises into me.  Or maybe someone said that to me with a very different idea of what constitutes a good surprise, and it left a sourness in my throat. Or still maybe it's because I hate being the center of attention, all eyes on me, because that's what a surprise does.  It marches you to the front of the classroom where those privy to the secret watch with baited breath for your reaction...which is what? Disbelief? Happiness? Disappointment? Feigned joy? Chants of "Speech, speech!" ring out for you to comment on this horrid encounter you've just been tossed into against your will. Well, I really can't recall, I just know I hate them.

I quite enjoy quiet surprises--when I found out the gender of my babies, either through birth or the doctor, waking up to three inches of snow and a quiet world, getting an email from someone I thought had forgotten about me and finding out they missed me, too. Are those surprises or unexpected events?  Are they one in the same? I may never know, but since I enjoy them by myself in peace and privacy, they are good.  

I will never be a fan of surprises.  They mostly fall short of what I really want, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or pretend that I love what I don't.  And what do I want?  For someone to understand this about me and accept it. That would be a good surprise. 

Dirty Paws

It is another cold, rainy day in Georgia. My backyard is pine straw and mud, which means when the dogs go out and actually venture off the deck, they usually are waiting by the door with muddy paws. That's 16 hairy feet I have to wipe before they can enter. They are usually fairly good about waiting their turn, they know the order, and although they hate when I do it they know it has to be done.  Because sometimes life is messy.  Sometimes its soggy.  Sometimes it's dirty paws.

With a puppy in the house (Crash, my grand-puppy, almost a year old but it will be hard to think of him as anything but a puppy no matter how big he gets) sometimes the order turns to chaos. Sometimes he refuses to leave the deck until he absolutely cannot hold his bladder or his bowels another second. Sometimes one of them poos on the deck itself.  We make our guesses but just like with kids no one's talking and everyone looks kind of guilty except Jack who just looks oblivious so you can either yell at all of them or none of them.  I choose the latter. Poo on the deck is the least of my worries.  Coming home to poo in the living room, and dining room, and hallway...well, that's another story to be dealt with on another day. Sometimes in his mad dash for his best bud Maggie (who sometimes doesn't go down but watches over the rest with a powerful stance, sniffing the air, sometimes pacing, ever-protective of her best bud Crash) Crash will fly right past the other dogs and me, leaving small muddy prints from the sliding door until landing in the recliner, his refuge when his Grandma starts yelling. There he sits with an innocent look on his little adorable black face, as if saying "It wasn't me. I was in the chair. See?" He hates when I yell, he hates to get in trouble, and fortunately for him he's so damned cute no one can stay mad at him for long.  Not even when he lunged at my face and hit my nose with his teeth, leaving a bruising mark and tenderness for a couple of weeks. He was playing of course, with his usual puppy exuberance, and I certainly can't fault him for that. But still, I'm left with his paw print trail, and if there's one thing I can tire of quickly it's cleaning up after dogs. I know, I know, I bring that on myself, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

But that's what happens. Things get marked, they get dirty, dingy, fogged, and we have two choices--leave it and live in the muck and mire, or grab a rag, some cleaner, and get down there and wipe it up. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of muscle, scrub a dub dub, and sometimes it doesn't completely come out. I no longer remember the original shade of my carpet, but it never ceases to amaze me that almost every new house comes with light colored carpet. Really? That seems like a good idea NEVER. One answer would be imitation hardwood, but with that comes other issues, like furball tumbleweeds, toenail scratches, dogs slipping and sliding...well, it's always something. That's life, after all.  If it's not one thing it's another. If you've cleaned it up, chances are it's gonna get dirty again, and so begins still another repeatable cycle in your own little circle of life, and as much as I tire of cleaning paws I am thankful that I'm still able to do it. I can get down on the floor and get back up again, with relative ease and range of motion.  I can chase that puppy and get him chasing me.  I can still do what needs to be done to keep that cycle going, one of many in my circle of life. I'm grateful.  I'm 48 with all of my original equipment, and I can emphatically state beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing else I've owned still works after 48 years. My Presto Air Popper came close, at 20+ marriage is going on 30, also quite the feat, but sadly no cigar. I would love to squeeze another 48 years out of my circle, but I plan to make the most out of whatever I have left. Life is for the living. Breath is for the breathing. Dirty paws and all.