Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's a Small Rubber Chicken

I find that items accumulate in spots around the house and become part of the scenery.  Somehow, if they sit long enough, we often don't question their presence. There's no need for a bag of cereal to be sitting beside me at the computer.  We have cupboards.  There's an egg timer.  I have no need to time eggs right now and I wouldn't use that timer if I did.  There's a key ring from Hawaii, a magic marker, a rubber chicken, one crayon and a school survey I should mail some day.  And, while it's good that I found them, why are those 2 keys to the shed sitting on the computer desk?  It's ridiculously cold outside; I can't see anyone suddenly needing to retrieve a fertilizer spreader or aging slip-n-slide.  I don't need any of these items to be conveniently located but they're all here.  It's the things I need to find that are often in more obscure locations.

Gathering these items up more regularly and preventing their accumulation might help but I sense that some items will remain adrift and alone.  When something doesn't have a role but we feel it should belong, it has to sit somewhere.  In our houseful of very visual people, if things don't remain in full view, they are often forgotten.  If we can see them, they stand a chance that we will some day integrate them into our lives.  Until that happy day, many of them will remain part of our domestic scenery.

Since I started writing this entry, I've put a few items away.  The cereal and egg timer are gone and the magic marker's in a drawer.  The survey still needs to be mailed, the rubber chicken continues to lie here and that one crayon (grey - not the most exciting colour in a crayon and we don't use crayons anymore) sits waiting for a use.  Things are a little tidier but not much and new pieces will probably arrive soon anyways.  This, I suppose, is evidence of the flow of a family's life in a place we feel comfortable setting things down.  It does get a little messy but I treasure that we have such a place and experience such comfort in it.


Monday, January 28, 2013

I thought their fur took care of that.

I've noticed a lot of dogs wearing clothes lately - sweaters, coats, perhaps the odd turtleneck.  The styles vary considerably and, with the wide variety of dogs there are, the sizes do too.  Dog fashion is not one style or one-size-fits all.

I'm confused as to why dogs choose to wear clothes.  If I'm not mistaken, they used to wear only fur.  I wouldn't expect that their physiology changed so rapidly that clothing suddenly became necessary.  Except for their new clothes, dogs look pretty much the same to me as they always have.  And I hope they understand that those of us who oppose the wearing of fur (myself included) are in favour of animals wearing it.  Perhaps, being as eager to please as they are, dogs have taken that message a little too far.  Or maybe they've simply succumbed to the targeted marketing efforts of dog fashion design houses, possibly delivered to dogs at frequencies only they can hear.  We can only guess at the pressure they are feeling to dress nicely.  I can only guess at their reasons for dressing at all.

While the issue of clothing for dogs confuses me, the need for dog footwear seems readily apparent.  I watched a dog trotting along a snowy urban sidewalk one day and knew I wouldn't want those little feet walking in my living space.  There are various reasons for that and I don't know that a quick wipe with a towel would be adequate to relieve my concerns.  That little dog wasn't wearing shoes, boots, or even socks of any kind.  I'm not sure how he or she could justify that.

I like dogs and don't want to put any more pressure on them but perhaps they could shift a little of their focus from clothing to shoes.  Or maybe they could buy coordinated outfits that include shoes; that would make things easier.  Dogs could still express their fashion sense and they wouldn't bring the outdoors in on their feet.  What a better world we'd live in then.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hoping for Friendship, Preparing for Contempt

I am entering a situation this evening where the potential exists to make new friends.  Earlier today, I felt somewhat excited about this.  The excitement was quickly followed, however, by a sense that I may be setting up myself up for bitter disappointment.  Making friends is a tricky business; there are no guarantees.  I do not want to go in with overly high expectations.

When a group of strangers is assembled together, no one can predict what the interactions between them will be.  Will some of them have things in common and instantly bond?  Will some have personalities that will always conflict with each other?  Will everyone get along and magic be created?  Will everyone keep pretty much to him or herself?  And there is that one big question in my mind:  "Will anybody like me?"

I suppose it's ok if I don't become friends with anyone in the group.  Friendships are special and they aren't ignited every time strangers meet.  There may be people there to whom I do not wish to get close and there may people who would find my quirks, neuroses, awkwardness and intermittent ennui somewhat exhausting.  Even I don't always enjoy my own company.  But still, when we wonder even a little if we'll make a friend and then we don't, it can be sad.  It's nice to meet up with another along the way with whom we can continue the journey.

Friends are so precious.  I treasure each one that I'm lucky enough to have in my life.  It doesn't matter, I guess, if we don't become friends with everyone we meet.  It does matter that we hold on to those we have.  We all have so much to offer each other.  And our quirks and neuroses can make for some really interesting conversations.  Just not right away.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seeking to Find A Photo When I'd Like to Find the Meaning of Life

One day last week, my activities had a clear purpose for a while.  I had lost an old photo that I knew had been sitting around the kitchen.  I had looked for it enough that I was trying to tell myself it was ok and I could stop looking.  I'm not really good at the "stop looking" part though; I kept looking and found it.

While it was nice to have the photo back, finding it was a bit of a letdown.  When I am searching for something, I know what my mission is.  I will look for that item, think through various places it could be and, at times, get very upset about its lost status and/or the lack of organization that led to that lost status.  I do, however, have a clear goal in mind.  I like that.

When I find the missing item, when the small cosmos of that crisis dissolves, I am again at sea in the great unknown universe of life.  It's easier to look for a picture.  It's easier, I suppose, to become focused on a lot of things than to deal with the larger questions.  I know that it can be somewhat painful to lose and look for something.  I also know that it's very hard to feel like one's floating and has no direction.

I wonder what it would be like to have defined goals and to pursue them with the same determination I have when looking for a lost item.  I know I'm not the only person who wishes she simply knew what she was supposed to do.  It can be kind of overwhelming to try to figure it out.

We all go through our days, years, lives doing, well, stuff.  I wonder how much of that "stuff" is undertaken with purpose and how much is undertaken to keep busy, to avoid the larger questions or because that's what we've always done.  Life is complicated.  Keeping busy is relatively easy.  There is always something we can find to do.

I guess we can try to set up some small goals in life and work towards them.  As we accomplish them, we can move on and set new ones.  Maybe we don't have to figure out the whole meaning of life at one time.  We can do our best, we can be kind.  Hopefully we won't have to hide out in our busyness, our obsessions, seeking to shield ourselves from larger questions.  Rather we can try to live into the answers, whatever they turn out to be.


On Some Joy Experienced

Within the last minute, I returned from the gym.  Walking to and from the gym was challenging on its own today; my ankles seem to work hard where's there snow on the ground.  But I made it home, if somewhat slowly.

While at the gym today, I experienced something really good.  I call it "Joy."  It was a wonderful feeling.

I don't know that I'm really good at feeling joy.  I guess I take things pretty seriously a lot of the time.  There are definitely things that bring me joy but I struggle a lot too.  Unexpected joy like I felt today is very welcome.

All I had to do today was use a machine that I hadn't used before.  While I really enjoyed the sensation of using that machine, I am more excited about something else.  I am 47 years old and it is so simple to still embrace more of life's offerings.  It's easy to kind of close down our frames of reference and pick and choose activities from what we've already done, from what we already know.  It's great if people enjoy living like that. But there are always new things to learn, new activities to try, and new vantage points from which to look. To me, it seems important to keep open to and to seek new possibilities throughout our lives. We never know what may become a source of happiness for us.

I anticipate that in the next day or two I will experience the feeling of "Agony" after today's new activity.  That's ok; the pain will wear off.  I hope to go back before the end of the week to use that machine again.  When we find a way to feel joy, it's nice to embrace it.  Perhaps it's not ideal to embrace fitness equipment in flu season and people often stare when we do but, metaphorically at least, we can try to embrace joy in all seasons.  And hope that people keep wiping down those machines all through the year.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Letter of Apology - As Requested by Theodore


As we both know, our relationship since Sept 7, 2011, when we first met in the IKEA parking lot, has had its ups and downs.  I think if we are both completely honest, both of us have done things that, in hindsight, we know we should not have done.  Your chewing, the time you bit me, the mealtimes when I've hit you on the head with carrots - we have failed each other on occasion.  Now is not the time to go into all of that though.  I will keep to the point and focus on the issue that has caused me to write to you today.

I did not mean to drop you, Theodore.  Your safety and well-being are a priority at all times and certainly when I am carrying you back to your home.  I hope that you are not sore today from the fall and I understand that you may be upset and perhaps humilated by it.  I am sorry.

While I do take responsibility for what happened, I must note some factors that could have contributed:

1. You had completed a thorough washing of yourself just prior to the event.  I wonder whether this had left you especially slippery.  Perhaps you could adjust your bathtime schedule.  We can work on this together.

2.  At times, you move around a lot as I carry you.  I'd like to remind you that you are a somewhat large and definitely powerful rabbit and it can be challenging to anticipate and respond to your every move.  As you know now, such fighting and flailing poses a danger to you.  Please consider the consequences of your actions.

3.  It's possible that you wanted to get to your bathroom quickly.  Falling out of my arms and landing on the hard floor did not assist you in getting to your facilities any faster.  While neither of us wants you to have a bathroom incident outside of your home, you have permission for that to happen should it be necessary.  Don't let pride lead you astray, Theodore.

4.  While you are an excellent "lap rabbit" and enjoy extended periods of affection sitting on various laps, you are not a rabbit who carries well.  I will explore the possibility of a transportation and elevator system to take you to and from your home without human involvement.  This might be the best choice for you.

5.  Perhaps you didn't want to return home yet and I was insensitive to your needs.  It's often hard to know what you want, Theodore, and if this was an act of rebellion, it didn't work.  I still don't know for sure what you wanted and you risked serious injury.  We have to work on better ways to communicate than that, my friend.  I believe our relationship is worth it.

Again, I am sorry and please understand that I am only pointing out these concerns in the hope that we can prevent this event from being repeated.  I let you fly through the air and I have to live with that.  Please understand that this was in no way an act of revenge on my part for the Purple Blanket Incident.  I have accepted your apology for that and will be looking for a pretty way to patch my blanket.  What happened last night was bad but unintentional, my beloved pet.  I look forward to interacting with you in the future and I'm glad that you are a part of our household.  If I ever meet another rabbit in the IKEA parking lot, I'll take it home too and hope that it's even half as wonderful as you.  And if I meet a monkey there, well, I'll figure that out when it happens.

Kind Regards,

(For readers other than Theodore, I did meet him in an IKEA parking lot.  That was where his former owner and I agreed to meet for the transfer.  I didn't see any monkeys walking around in coats that evening.  JAHD)