Wednesday, February 28, 2007

10 Weird Things About Me

I was tagged by Joy for this meme.

1. As a kid I hated popcorn. We had it a lot as a family snack after dinner, and I never ate it. I think I was allowed 3 Bacon Crackers instead. As soon as I went to college, I started eating popcorn. Boy, did I freak out my family that first Christmas break when I oh so casually took a handful of popcorn and ate it.

2. Every fall I become anxious and unsettled and want to move. I think it's a throwback to childhood, college, and grad school. I want to start over with the new school year, even though it's been 20 years since I've been in school.

3. I really became a firm believer in pre-marital s*x after dating a guy with a thing for shoes and feet. It may work for some people, but I am the queen of tennis shoes, Tevas, and hiking boots. Nary a high heel in sight. That turned out to be a deal-breaker for the two of us (among other issues), and I was so glad I found out before we were married.

4. I have 5 siblings with whom I have civil or better relationships. The last time I saw any of them in the flesh was 4 years ago.

5. I studied mechanical engineering because my father was a civil engineer.

6. When we were little, we went to the library every week. For some years they had a limit of 10 books per library card. We all had our own cards, we all took out 10 books, and we all read them before the next week's library day. This includes both my parents.

7. Although I'm extremely messy and disorganized in my own stuff (and in my own work cubicle, when I had one at the corporate cube farm), I really want common areas organized in a sensible fashion. Unfortunately, I'm the only human in the house, so there are no common areas that must be organized or tidy. I do insist on no hard dog toys where I will step on them in the middle of the night!

8. My dog Sleek is a female Belgian Malinois. I was looking for a male Australian shepherd when I found her. Both breeds are dogs, and both belong to the herding group. Physically, they have little in common: Aussies are long-haired, drop-eared, bob-tailed while Malinois are short-haired, prick-eared, and long-tailed. They don't even come in the same colors!

9. My mother tried to teach me to knit multiple times, but it took a work friend to get me to really learn. She had me make an Icelandic sweater (similar to this, but in 3 colors) for my very first knitted project -- no scarves for her!

10. Eleven years ago I spent over $1000 (yes, 3 zeroes) for a bike. It has less than 1000 miles on it now because 6 months later I spent $50 to purchase the divine Ms. Fluff from our nearby animal shelter. Priorities!

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Today I walked my dogs past Blonde Streaks' house. Her dog is the one who bit my beloved Fluff. Blonde Streaks was out, so I asked her if she still had her dog, because Animal Control said she had told them she was going to get rid of it. Unfortunately, she replied in the affirmative. I will tell AC this and ask them to press for an abatement so the dog has to be removed from the city.

The real point, though, is how much adrenaline and tension flow down the leash. Even having that much of a confrontation (that is, not much of one) with Blonde Streaks is enough to send me into a heightened state of tension and adrenal arousal. Two houses later, the two toy dogs were tied out. We've seen them before, and, although they turn on each other from barrier frustration at being tied, they don't normally bother Fluff. Today, though, she was much more aroused by them and regarded them as a threat. Same deal at the park: even though separated by a fence, she was much more aware and concerned about a couple of golden retrievers who weren't even interested in her.

Emotions are still interesting, and the dogs I love are still wonderful.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Does Life Go On?

A blogger who does not believe in any sort of afterlife recently lost a much-loved but elderly dog. I thought about this quite a bit today, because some of my comments were among those deleted because he found their expression of belief in an afterlife painful.

My personal belief is that conservation of energy works. We may change form at death, including the possibility of going into a state of no physical form, but there is a form of energy in us, that IS us, that will survive the death of the physical form. I believe there is a good chance that the energy may incarnate itself again (and again and again) if it chooses to do so.

The question may be, why do I believe this? On the one hand, I may choose to believe this way because it's easier. If I believe I have a chance of seeing/feeling those I love again, that may make losing their current physical forms easier. Maybe it's the lazy woman's way to put off dealing with some of the grief that might come knowing that those who are gone are simply, irretrievably, gone. Add to that my own not-so-far-off-as-it-used-to-be mortality. Maybe I can't/don't want to face the idea that this is a one-shot deal. I think this may be a very real part of it, because I certainly don't see myself as being spectacularly successful yet in this life. If I believe I'll have addition opportunities for "getting" what I'm not understanding yet in this life, it takes some of the pressure off to achieve, achieve, achieve. I also grieve less for people like my mother, who died unhappy, thinking she'll be back and hopefully in a position where she can achieve some happiness and maybe some other things she would've liked to do or have (we're talking personality or soul development here, not financial).

Mostly, though, I don't think the evidence supports the one-shot deal theory. We describe our friends as being more than just their physical attributes, often in ways that indicate we feel our friends transcend their physical forms. We feel an anima, a spark of life in them. If/when the physical attributes stop, why would we assume that more than those physical attributes stop? Why would the spark die just because the body does? During life, at least part of that anima needs to be with the body at all times to keep it going, but often part of it seems to wander, whether in dreams or daydreams, out-of-body experiences, or deep sleep or meditation. Why wouldn't all of the anima be able to leave when the body no longer needs it? Dead bodies seem heavier than live ones. Perhaps part of the anima also acts as buoyant force to keep the body able to move on its own.

Another branch of my theory is that we all are interconnected on some level. I believe that many of us live and die mostly unconscious of the level of connection, but that education and experience can help us achieve awareness of the connection, or at least awareness of the possibility of connecton, even if we can't quite feel it. Again, because I feel this connection exists, in some ways we cannot die in the finito sense because the whole would be less than whole with bits and pieces of it continually dying and leaving holes in the whole. This gets me to where I have to stop believing in time as absolute. I believe that we here blogging or reading blogs have chosen to act as if we believe in time and that time runs only in one direction (international date line and speed of light travel notwithstanding). In reality, I think, there is no time. I'm always an infant, a teenager, a young adult, a middle-aged adult, whatever age I get to on this round of the mortal coil. I can't really grasp that logically and describe it because I think our language is inadequate to the task. We're too time-tied, or at least I am in language.

As usual, I don't know how to wrap up my thoughts into a tidy package for a conclusion. I guess, I can just say it's better for my already questionable sanity to believe we go on after death than to believe death is the ultimate end. I think the latter would be a hard way to live.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


My neighbors tell me that they are nominating me for sainthood. They are heading out of town for a week in an hour or so. I usually feed their cats, bring in the paper & mail, etc. This time is much more “special” because 13 (or more) year old GrayBoy has a UTI. This means he’ll be staying inside, with his litter box, and needs antibiotics in his little mouth twice a day. Have I mentioned I’m allergic to cats and rarely touch them because of that? Have I mentioned that the smell of cat poop makes me want to hurl? And that the thought of dealing with the litter box is one reason I have never really wanted to own a cat? Or that GrayBoy usually tries to bite me when I do touch him? And that the only neighbor I am comfortable asking for help with GrayBoy spends half the week 3 hours away from here taking care of her parents? It’s going to be a long, long week! But, that is why I’m nominated.

Update: in the 6 hours since his owners left, GrayBoy has puked 2x on the carpet, used the litter box (solid only, should I be concerned? Esp. with a cat with a bladder infection? Or assume he's found another "convenient" corner to use, which I know he sometimes does?), and had most of one dose of antibiotic, almost destroying the dropper in the process. His sister sneaked into the house and had to be escorted out as she can be destructive. The week is looking longer.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bits & Pieces

The publisher did not answer her phone at the time she had suggested we talk, nor has she responded to my email asking her what time on Monday I could reasonably expect to reach her. I sense this is not going well.

Despite my allergies to horses, spent much of the day at a horse expo. Fortunately, I didn't have to use my (new) inhaler. I did some EFT at one point which took the fluid level in the lungs down to manageable levels and kept me from feeling asthmatic. Going for a second, longer day tomorrow should be a trip. It's quite a hoot parroting what people have said about the saddle being sold in our booth.

I've been trying to eat a bit better quality of food (more veggies, less processed sugar), and my body is starting to adapt. Tonight at the grocery store, I looked at my usual sugar highs and really didn't feel like buying them. And I didn't buy them! This is pretty big news for me. Of course, I still have to come up with a gluten-free dessert for our women's group meeting Sunday night.... I'm thinking about coconut sticky rice, which has the added benefit of being vegan (this is a tough crowd to cook for!)

Being stuffed up renders Greek salad tasteless. I can taste the onion if I really bite a piece of it, but the kalamata olives and feta cheese are remarkably taste-free. Sad, really.

Time for bed. I got 5 hours of sleep last night, spent close to 8 hours on my feet on a concrete floor, and can't breathe. I need some rest!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Longer than I Thought

I hadn't realized how long it's been since I posted (thanks, "Joy" for your note -- I'll try to reply later, although this may answer some of your concerns).

Things are going okay, other than no money coming in. I will be talking to a woman about a part-time editing position. It's only about 1/2 to 1 day per week, though, so not much money. The good news is that I should be able to continue it even after getting a "real" job. I still don't know what I want to do for a real job, although I'm not interested in going back to engineering or major, major corporations (I spent nearly 19 years working for Fortune 100 companies). I have an idea for a business of my own, but there are a lot of unknowns in getting started. I'd love to have a partner, but it couldn't support two people at the beginning (how soon before it can support one is still a question). I also don't know anyone right now that I think would be a great fit for me as a partner, both in terms of knowledge and compatibility.

Anyway, I've started taking yoga which is very nice in terms of stretching, relaxing, and learning to be present in the moment. My instructor had a great quote yesterday, but I can't remember from whom. It was something along the lines of "The gift of a lifetime is to be with yourself." That's not right, I know, but it's got some of the right words in it. I will try to get the real words and author from her. Update: The quote is from Joseph Campbell and reads "the gift of a lifetime is becoming who you are." The instructor is a really sweet woman, and she makes me smile every time she says the word, "belly" because she says it with the same inflections (beh-LEE) that I use when I'm telling Fluff how cute she is with her pink and white and spotted belly.

I've also gotten back in the swimming pool which feels good, although they do use a lot of chlorine in that pool. Keeping my skin in good shape is a little tough with that added to forced air heat at home. Today I had an interesting experience. I wanted to join a woman in a swim lane. I tried to ask her if she minded, but either she didn't hear me or she blew me off. She was swimming counterclockwise laps, going up on the right side of the lane and then back on the left side (from my POV outside the pool). I got in on the left side since she had all her stuff stacked on the right side and made sure she saw me. I then start swimming up the left side of the lane. At the end of the first length she asked me what I was doing and why I wasn't swimming circular laps. I told her from what I had seen, almost everyone in that pool swam parallel laps when only 2 people were in a lane. She told me she felt that wasn't very welcoming, but added "whatever" and took off swimming. To me, her one-person circular laps had felt very unwelcoming, like she was firmly establishing that both sides of that lane were hers, all hers. Apparently she felt otherwise. Maybe she's done more "official" training swimming. I've never done that much group swimming, but it seems to me that it takes time to figure out when you can or cannot pass in circular swimming or to make sure one particular person is in front because s/he is known to be faster, etc. Parallel is much simpler when it's just two people.

I'll be helping out at a TTouch booth at a local equine event this weekend. Must remember business cards!

Oh, I forgot to mention that my girl Sleek seems to be getting worse in the heart murmur department. She's up to a grade IV out of VI. I'm looking at over $500 in diagnostic testing next month (soonest we can get into the local canine cardiologist) to see what is the thing to do. Ugh. The symbology of Sleek's heart being her weakest link is fascinating. She loves the people she loves very intensely and is very loyal. On the other hand, cats and small varmints would consider her to have a very black, evil heart because of her desire to pursue and kill them. Frankly, I don't think there's any malice involved. She's not interested in torturing them. She just loves the hunt and the kill (for those of you with cats, to the best of my knowledge she has never actually killed a cat, although she did catch one once and when young had gone over 7-foot fences to go after them). In some ways, she is a very primitive kind of dog who could have gone feral successfully. On the other hand, she can go downtown in large cities and just look at her surroundings with calm, confident interest. She's well-behaved in almost every circumstance (probably would have been ill-behaved in a cat show) and a favorite with vets and their staffs because she does not bite or threaten to bite (one time a tech was trying to get a blood sample from Sleek's front leg. Sleek twitched and threw the syringe across the room. When they came back with another syringe, Sleek tucked her head under the arm of the holding tech so she wouldn't see and twitch again). I think she'll see 13 (her birthday is in late April), but I have my doubts that she will see 14.