A Memorial Day Writing Assignment

It’s Memorial Day here in the US, and last night, I looked up the origins of the holiday. Apparently Decoration Day was the day established after the civil war to remember those who had lost their lives in battle – literally fighting for freedom. It was the day to decorate graves and remember the ultimate sacrifice that so many paid for others to be free. I have no idea how that actually worked back then, as the Confederate soldiers were actually fighting *against* freedom for their slaves, but somehow the holiday was established and eventually morphed into Memorial Day. It’s kind of ironic that the government decided to move the date so it would always be a convenient three-day weekend, and there is a movement afoot to get that changed, so the holiday has a more proper “focus” (rather than just the long weekend that marks the official start of summer for so many). I’m sure it will never happen, because people do like their long weekends, but that would be a better way to put the focus on the holiday itself, rather than the BBQ’s that are so prevalent on this particular weekend…

In any case, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be “in the trenches” so to speak, and know that your last breath could be any moment now without some sort of miracle. Would you think about why you’re there, why you’re fighting? Would your life flash before your eyes? Would you pull out that picture in your pocket and say a quick goodbye? Would you even have the chance to think or process that you’re going to die?

Yes, I know, this is all very maudlin, but considering the people who have died (and continue to die) in service, it seems only right to explore those questions and try to empathize with what they might have been feeling, at least to some degree. We can never actually be in another person’s head, but we can imagine what it might be like if we spend some time in that head space. I think we owe them a little time thinking about it, in any case. They did give up their lives, after all.

In light of that, I’ve given myself a special writing assignment that will be in effect on all Memorial Days from here on out, starting today. I need to write a scene wherein an officer is near death while serving in some capacity. It doesn’t have to be a full story, but it does need to explore the head space that my fictional officer might be in given whatever circumstances he or she happens to end up in that will ultimately result in his/her death. This is how I explore things – how I learn what others might be experiencing or feeling – I create a character, and then let them tell me their story.

I may or may not share these with anyone – after all, it’s really more of an exercise in empathy for me. No two characters ever end up alike (I don’t script my characters…I let them tell me who they are, so it all comes from my subconscious, not my conscious mind), so it should be someone different in completely different circumstances every year.

This will be a challenge for me, as my conscious mind sort of rebels against military service, even though I understand the necessity and strategy behind the “machine”. But this is one of the big reasons why I write – because it helps me understand and empathize with viewpoints that are sometimes dramatically different than my own. A way to expand my perspective, so to speak.

And yes, we are having ribs for dinner. It is a holiday, after all…

Remain Calm. You’ve Got This.

Last week was one of those “can’t win for losing” type weeks for me. Monday was fine – my Mondays normally are, oddly enough. Tuesday was rough though, and things just sort of spiraled downhill from there. Things broke that I didn’t know how to fix, so I had to learn how to fix them, which means I tried about five billion (okay, it was three or four, but the former is far more dramatic, don’t you think?) ways of fixing the problem before I stumbled over the easiest couple. It was stressful, though I think I did a fairly decent job of staying calm, and it was a great learning experience, which is what I try to remember whenever I need to do something I have no idea how to do.

Yes, it happens more often than you might think. I work in IT. Which basically means we spend a good majority of our time troubleshooting problems and figuring out how to solve problems that pop up out of thin air. It’s fun, but it’s also rather challenging at times, and it never fails to make me feel like an idiot at least once ever couple of weeks.

That’s not a bad thing. Gotta keep the ol’ ego in check somehow, eh?

In any case, keeping my “health as investment” perspective in place, there were several times throughout the week and weekend that I had to remind myself that while the stress of a challenge is good for your brain, stress from anxiety is bad for your health. I made a conscious effort to let that anxiety-based stress go (I wasn’t always successful, but I did pretty well, I think) on several occasions, and even re-prioritized some things on the fly when it became clear that it was either sacrifice my health, or put off the “thing”.

The net result had me ending up at Friday night still dealing with far more stress than I should have been, but a better outlook for Saturday. And after a brief bit of work monitoring early Saturday morning, I spent the rest of the day/night just relaxing and taking it easy. I did do the dogs’ nails and baths, but I felt like it, so I did it. I didn’t do anything I didn’t feel like doing, and for once, I gave myself permission not to feel guilty for just taking a “rest day”.

It was lovely, and if I’d gotten to bed just a little earlier on Sunday morning (forgot to turn my heated mattress pad on, so had to wait for the bed to warm up), everything would have been perfect. Still, I went into Sunday with a much healthier headspace than I’ve had lately. I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to, but it’s okay.

It’s okay.

I was talking to someone at work last week about some pretty big changes coming up this next fall. This person was worried about what might happen and hoping it would turn out okay. My automatic reply was, “Of course it will. It always does, because there is no choice – the work has to be done, so somehow, someway it will get done, no matter what else is happening”. Things always have a way of working out in the end, whether we can see it ahead of time or not, and also whether we’re even around to see it at all.

So anxiety-based stress is really pretty much pointless, all things considered. Things are going to work out the way they’re going to work out, and for every negative, there’s always a positive somewhere, if you look hard enough for it. I used to be far better at remembering that and not stressing out over things. I’m not sure what changed or why, but I really want to get back to that attitude as my “default setting”.

Remain calm. You’ve got this.

So simple, and yet so true, if you nurture and maintain the right attitude and perspective on things.

Gone to the Dogs: This & That

If the perfect bone exists, it's gotta be in this basket...

If the perfect bone exists, it’s gotta be in this basket…


Murphy sez: Hey – it’s Friday again! And we made it a whole week without fighting. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it Mica?

Mica sez: Sure is. Not that you could tell by the way you tore into your own leg the other night. What was that all about, anyways?

Murphy sez: I don’t know what came over me! One minute B let me lay outside in the sun and I was soaking it up after being housebound for two days ‘cause of the rain, and the next minute, J got home and I ran inside to see her and she was not amused by the blood. She bandaged me up though, and told B where to find the leggings so he could give me a thicker one when he gets home before her. I don’t normally chew through the thick ones, just those thin ones she was using for the daytime when I’m in my cone.

Mica sez: That’s some nasty habit you got there, Murph. Hopefully you can kick it someday. I mean, that kinda hurts, I bet. It was kind of a busy week though – maybe that’s why you got all chewy with your bad self. What with meeting J’s parents last weekend, and then the whole putting recycling out last Tuesday night…not to mention three late nights in a row where our routine was busted due to J’s lack of planning. No wonder you were kinda on edge.

So good I can't be still long enough for a picture.

So good I can’t be still long enough for a picture.

Murphy sez: You know it. J’s parents seem pretty nice though, and they’re calm, so that was a fun meeting. J should plan better, so we have her to ourselves late nights during the week. I mean, we’re usually sleeping while she’s writing her stories, but still. Routines are good. They make me feel all warm & fuzzy.

Mica sez: I think that’s the blankets you keep tunneling under at night. I don’t know how you stand it – it’s gotta be like five million degrees under there, and you’re snoozin’ away like it’s nothing. I bet you like that J’s been having to turn the air conditioning on in the afternoons lately, eh?

Murphy sez: You’re just jealous ‘cause I’m such a hot dog. Get it? Hot dog! And funny, too. Hey Mica, do you think that bunny we almost caught the other day will be out by that one house later tonight? He was only like two inches from my nose when he bolted in front of us. I think J should let us walk out at the end of the leashes so we can catch dinner. We’d be good hunters, don’t you think? And she’s mixing some raw food in with our kibble now anyways – we can contribute!

Less TV, more walkies, please!

Less TV, more walkies, please!


Mica sez: I don’t know about funny, but you’re definitely silly. And apparently you weren’t listening – J wasn’t real happy about the prospect of walking a couple of bloody dogs home if we get to unstuff one of those live stuffies. I’m thinking she’s not gonna give us much wiggle room on the leads. It would sure be more fun if J wasn’t such a control freak. Except that’s what gets you your routines, I s’pose.

Murphy sez: Yeah, I guess. I still think we could catch our own rabbit and squirrels. Those pesky squirrels are so smug, runnin’ up in their trees and watching us walk past like they own the world. Kinda like that Marvin-dog we met last Saturday through the neighbor’s fence. He’s kind of an odd-looking little dude…like a cross between a German Shepherd and a Dachshund or something. I tried to pee on him through the fence, but he was too quick. I’ll get him next time.

Mica sez: Yeah, I would’ve taken him on without the fence between us. That guy was asking for trouble, if you ask me. I don’t know why you were so calm about the whole thing, but I was willing to go along until the lady with him started yelling. I don’t even think she was mad, just loud, but man…it was kinda trippy. Probably a good thing J made me go inside so I couldn’t start something. Coulda been fun though.

Murphy sez: Nah…people are the only ones worth fighting over. Although we managed to contain ourselves the other night when the neighbor and his friend were out smokin’. Barely.

Mica sez: Just wait until this summer – he has parties almost every week. Lots of people to bark at – it’s good exercise, and the best part is, he doesn’t even care if we make noise. Although the other neighbors kinda might, on account of their kids. And J doesn’t care much for barking unless we’re actually trying to tell her something. I tell her all the time about people passing by outside, but she doesn’t seem interested in that either. Just people who knock on our door, and now we have that sign…

Murphy sez: You are kinda loud, dude. Maybe you should be quieter like me. I only bark when I want something – like when J’s mixing up our food, or when I need to go out. Or at the vacuum. Vacuums are evil.

Mica sez: You could write a whole post about evil vacuums, Murph. This post is getting kind of long though, and I think it’s time for you to go crawl into one of those blanket forts. We can talk about vacuums next week.

Murphy sez: Fine – if you say so. But I think we should share something useful. Like how to kill vacuums. Then we could be heroes! I need to think up a superhero name…

Bellies up!

Bellies up!

Tune in next week for more Murphy & Mica! Or subscribe to get us in your inbox – use the subscription link in the right sidebar and pick “Gone to the Dogs”. Like these posts? Consider a donation to our favorite charities – the shelters that helped us when we needed it most! 

Murphy’s shelter: Donate to The Rimrock Humane Society
Mica’s shelter: Donate to Help for Homeless Pets

As the Dogs Turn…

You know, if we finally make this adoption happen, I swear I’m starting a new “dog blog” (with a catchier name than that, but I don’t want to make that public unless this works out). Because considering everything these guys have already been through, they’re gonna have a lot more stories to tell…

Last Wednesday night, Mica and I went to meet the new dog (we’ll just call him PA, for “Prospective Adoptee”, shall we?). There was a bit of snarking and posturing on Mica’s part that was at least partially my fault (nerves), but no actual fighting, which was good. So we went back on Thursday and walked with PA again, and it went rather swimmingly. We set up a home visit for Sunday (yesterday, as you read this, today as I write it).

Mica snarked a tiny bit at the beginning of our walk through “his” neighborhood, but after that, all went very well. We took the dogs back to our backyard, turned them loose, and aside from Mica being his normal excitable self for the first few minutes (and PA ignoring him, thankfully), everything was still going really well. Just normal dog-stuff, peeing contests, and exploring. Then PA decided to push his luck (it had to happen sometime), and tried to hump Mica (a dominant move – and don’t give me any of that crap about how pack theory is dead, because I’m sorry, I don’t buy that).

Needless to say, Mica took offense. I saw it escalating, and I couldn’t see any way for either dog to really back down (I knew Mica wouldn’t), and I stepped closer trying to stop it. In hindsight, that was a bad move. It might have still escalated into a fight, but it might not have, too, and the outcome would have been the same even if it had. I should have stood back and waited.

In any case, ten seconds later we were prying dogs apart and checking for injuries, which thankfully were small and not serious for either dog. PA didn’t seem bothered by it at all…he was back to his normal happy-go-lucky self five minutes later.

Mica, on the other hand, was pretty freaked out by the whole thing. He was shaking (but he often does when stressed – we think he has neurological or nerve damage from something in his past), but more importantly, exhibiting fear-submissive behaviors. Wagging his tail fast with his head/ears down puppy-style, refusing treats until PA had his, and generally just trying to stay away from PA/out of the way for the duration. We made sure both dogs were at least somewhat mellowed out before PA left, but even after they’d been gone for awhile, when I reached down to flip Mica’s collar ring flat as he laid on the floor, he about jumped out of his skin, poor dog (yes, he’s fine now…it just took him awhile and a walk to work through that adrenaline & the ensuing crash).

I think their relationship could go either way at this point. Mica’s fear could manifest as submission, which will make PA the dominant and they’ll figure out how to work from there (which is fine – I don’t care who’s on top, so to speak, as long as I know so I can reinforce it). As long as they can work that out *without* Mica being afraid of PA all the time, we’ll be good. If Mica ends up both submissive and perpetually fearful, that will be a major problem.

The worse thing would be if Mica’s fear manifests as aggression. If he’s constantly lashing out at PA just to make sure he attacks before he’s attacked, that won’t work at all. I don’t *think* that will happen (PA didn’t attack him when they fought, he attacked PA), but it’s a possibility.

So…there are a lot of ways this could easily still go wrong, and one way it could easily go right (with several shades in each category, of course). The kicker is, even if Mica does accept the submissive role to PA, he’s still not going to put up with that whole humping display (or any physical display, I dare say – he has personal space issues, from before we adopted him, so he takes these things more personally than other dogs). So that’s something we’re all going to have to work on getting fixed…and it might take awhile, because PA is not going to give it up overnight (or easily).

These are both rescue dogs, so they both have behaviors and…well, personality quirks that are the result of their past lives, and we just have to let them decide whether they can get past all that and learn to live together, or if the baggage they carry is just too much to fit into one house.

PA is coming over again tonight so he and Mica can take another little walk together, and then spend some more time in the backyard. If they do okay, we’ll either plan another backyard “date”, and just go from there. Baby steps. If it doesn’t go passibly okay (ie, if they’re fighting constantly, or I see a lot of fear aggression from Mica, or more “pushy” dominant moves from PA), then I may just pull the plug. I really want this to work, but I don’t want to do any further damage to either dog’s psyche while we’re at it. They both have enough issues to deal with on a daily basis.

Cross your paws, if you will! Here’s hoping they’ve calmed down and can work things out more “civilly* this week…

2015 in Review

Normally today’s post is when I’d go back to my 2015 resolutions and see how I did (okay, normally I’d have done that Monday, but last weekend got away from me yet again – funny how they do that). I’m posting the link there so you can go back if you want, but the year got derailed almost as quickly as it started, and just spiraled right out of control from then on out. I had challenges in pretty much every part of my life, and I’m annoyed but not too proud to admit that I didn’t deal with them nearly as well as I should have. In any case, I’m not going to go back point by point on last year’s resolutions, because it seems…pointless, given the year I’ve had.

But, water under the bridge. I learned a lot, made some pretty significant changes, and kept going, which is ultimately all any of us can really do.

I also started three serial novels in newsletters that are not, and will not be finished. To those who may have actually been reading along, I apologize for that. It was a great idea, poorly timed, that got caught up in an existential writing crisis of sorts, and while I could go ahead and force myself to finish those stories, I’m not going to. In fact, I’m leaving behind serialization altogether in the new year, as well as several other writing projects that I was working on for the wrong reasons.

As a matter of fact, I don’t plan to publish any of the stories I wrote in 2015. They weren’t wasted, by any means – in fact, all three are very significant in the fact that each of them revealed something very important to me about myself as a writer and the direction I want to move in as far as storytelling goes. Some hard decisions came with those realizations, but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I kicked off last year with a new tattoo – my first in 13 yrs or so. You wouldn’t think you could learn much from getting an image inked into your skin, but I got two more tattoos as the year went on, and I actually did learn a lot about myself, and who I have been vs. who I want to be in the process. The last one especially was very…defining for me, and even a relief, in a way.

My job has changed over the past year too – “evolved”, if you will. I make a point not to talk much about specifics of my job or the people I work with online (for obvious reasons), but as difficult as it was there for awhile, I end the year very contented/satisfied with what I’m doing and the environment I’m in.

In my personal life, I did a lot of things wrong last year. But the biggest “sin” was putting my obligations (most often self-appointed) above my personal needs. I spent a lot of time resenting all sorts of different things, and way too much time trying to decide how to deal with it all rather than just…well, dealing with it all. It took a week-long “vacation” just this past month to get my head screwed back on straight, and as annoyingly enlightening as it was, it really clarified things for me and allowed me the “reset” I desperately needed. Hopefully I can carry those lessons through the next year and not let things get so mentally “out of hand” again.

Surprisingly, the key to prioritizing/managing my personal life has simplified itself through the menu “plan/system” I adopted this past fall (the only one I’ve ever managed to follow for more than a week or so). Odd how inspiration comes from the strangest of places, isn’t it?

In any case, the year is basically over, and I’m ready for the new one to start. Onward to 2016!

Stuff I Could Say…

And here you thought last week’s post was late…

I could regal you with how busy life is right now as an excuse, I suppose, but you’d be bored (confession: I did start typing it out, and *I* was bored reading it back to myself), and then you’d fall asleep and hit your head on the keyboard, possibly imprinting a letter or two from the alphabet in that skin right above your eyebrows. So not cool.

I could tell you that I finished writing a draft this past Sunday, and you’d be all “YAY!” until I told you it was for one of my alter-egos, and then you’d be all “yay?” until I mentioned that this particular draft needs a *lot* of work before it will be even remotely ready to publish, and I need to write a novel to go with it as well, because the story is way, way bigger than I’d originally envisioned, and then you’d give me that side-eyed look that tells me you’re a little confused, getting bored again, and would love it if I’d just move on to another subject already, thankyouverymuch.

I could tell you about the flock of wild turkeys that were holding up traffic the other day (heck, I could show you that one, since I actually took a picture while stopped at a stop light, or you could save me the trouble of posting it here, and go check out my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page – feel free to friend or follow, I don’t bite. Much.). They were pretty much just…doing what turkeys do, wandering around probably looking for food. No, I didn’t hear any gobbling, but that’s probably the fault of Adelita’s Way and the excellent sound system in my Outback.

I could whine that there is no way I’m going to be able to finish watching the fourth season of Falling Skies before it leaves Amazon Prime in three days. Dammit. Dare I hope it’s leaving so they can put it on Netflix? I was never a huge fan of Noah Wylie until I stumbled over this series, and now I have a bit of a crush on his character. Then again, I’ve always had a soft spot for the strong-yet-reserved history professor types…

I could mention the giant pumpkin demon that hangs over the table where I sit while hubby and his gang are playing pool on Wednesday nights. His long arms grab at me every time I brush by (can’t keep his bony hands off me, the lech), and the flowing robe effectively blocks my view of the table and game play. He does create quite an effective cave-like setting though, which seems to give me good writing mojo. I should do that awkward selfie thing before they take him down, eh? Is it a selfie if I don’t actually take the picture myself? Hmm…probably better not risk looking like one of those self-absorbed teenie-boppers…

I could probably make you hungry by mentioning that I have a pork roast in the crockpot for dinner, and butternut squash in the other crockpot. Mentioning the Brussels sprouts in the third crockpot might lose some of you though (which is really too bad – they’re excellent, IMO). Maybe if I posted a picture of the whole stalk of sprouts I found at the grocery store this past Sunday? I mean, even if you don’t like sprouts, you have to admit, a whole stalk of sprouts is pretty cool lookin’. But…I’m lazy, and I already posted a pic on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook last weekend. Are you seriously telling me you don’t cyber-stalk me? I’m hurt. sniff

I suppose since we’re talking sprouts (and cyber-stalking, which is only mildly more interesting), I should mention bacon just to wake you back up. What’s that you say? Bacon, sausage and all other processed meats are unhealthy and cause cancer? Um, yeah. Duh. Now you’re boring me. Pass the sausage, and some maple syrup to dip it in, please? Waffles are just incidental (though still good). It’s all about the meat, really. *snicker*

One last thing: Bacon. You’re welcome.


Mental Calisthenics

A modge-podge of things this week, because my brain’s been bouncing all over the place this weekend. That’s what happens when I manage not to stress or obsess about anything – my poor mind doesn’t know what to do, and starts looking for something to focus on/obsess over. It doesn’t really handle “free time” too well…

Something I have been sort of obsessing over in the back of my head for quite some time now (years, in fact) is summed up very nicely in this blog post at Brain Pickings:

In Praise of Missing Out: Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on the Paradoxical Value of Our Unlived Lives

Yes, the title is a mouthful (eyeful?), and if that intimidates you, you probably want to skip the article. For those interested though, it basically talks about how we’re constantly thinking about the paths we didn’t choose – ie, when we choose one thing, it means we don’t choose another…and humans generally give at least some thought to the “Option B’s” we leave behind (or don’t, in some cases). I know I often think about the “other lives” I’d live if I’d made a different choice at once crossroads or another, and in some cases, I struggle with it. This post actually kind of made me relieved that it’s not just me…and I ordered a copy of Phillips’ book which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

I also loved this post by KD Sarge this weekend, because it’s just…so very, very true:

Procrastination Bites

Also, I’m really not fond of cupcakes. The cake part is generally okay, but I really am not big on frosting (or anything that sugary), and it seems like most cupcakes are all frosting. Way too sweet for my taste.

Amusingly enough, KD’s post made me feel like I should clean my shower this weekend (a couple mentions of pulling hair out of the drain), but in a hilarious twist, I didn’t actually do that. Instead, I procrastinated on that particular project by reorganizing two drawers in my kitchen. Because that makes perfect sense, right?

An interesting post by the always funny Perry Block shed some light on why my husband’s attitude on tattoos has always been…lukewarm at best (he was born in the 60’s, which Perry explains was still the wild-west of body art:

Tattoo Breakthrough

When I got my first tat, they were just starting to become more trendy, but they were still a sort of “badge of rebelliousness” and a tribute to how tough you were, and I’ve always been sort of a laid-back rebel. The kicker with tattoos is (and anyone who has one will tell you this), they’re very addictive. You get one, and all you can think about is your next one. I stopped after the fourth for awhile out of respect for my husband’s dislike of them, but I still thought about what I’d get next. It was a good decade until dear hubby put me out of my misery and encouraged me to go get that next one, and I knew exactly what I wanted, and where. I’m already planning my next appointment, probably sometime in September.

And finally, this enlightening post gave me an epiphany about my attitude towards phone calls:

Phone-Reluctant Introvert 

I don’t hate them like this person does, but I struggle with them, and this post does an excellent job of explaining why. For me, it’s not even the intrusion so much as the fact that I simply cannot communicate well when my auditory system is the only one involved. I do hate calling people when I know it’s a cell phone, for precisely the fact that I know people will feel obligated to answer, and I hate the idea of interrupting people while they are shopping or working or…not somewhere it’s convenient to take a call. With landlines, I know if they aren’t home, they’re busy and I can just leave a message and it wasn’t an intrusion. With a cell, I’m always afraid they’re doing something else, and I’m butting in on whatever that is, and the sense of manners and politeness that was drilled into me as a child is just completely mortified by that knowledge. So I rarely call cell numbers outside of work (and then only when people tell me to call them there) – only when I have absolutely no other choice.

This is why I don’t have a voice cell plan either – my cell only has data, and I use Google voice for free texting. If people want to call me, they have to call my landline, and if I’m busy or out, I don’t answer, and if they don’t leave a message, I assume it’s not important and they don’t need a call back. When I am talking on the phone, I’m pacing and moving and “doing things”, as the blog post author writes. It helps me focus on the conversation, which really is interesting, I think.

Email, text, or some form of social media is generally the best way to communicate with me, though I understand that not all people are like that, and I do try to accommodate others when I can…or at least meet them half-way on the way they like to communicate best. I certainly don’t expect everyone to just cater to my needs, but it’s still fascinating to know that my communication style is probably inherent to my personality.

So there you have it…just a few of the things that have caught my attention recently. Never a dull moment in the gray matter, I tell you what…


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On Newsletters, Concerts, & Rolling With It…

So…my newsletters are late this month (they’re supposed to be out today). All of them (four – me, my two alter-egos, and BSB). Because the serial story installments aren’t finished (one is, two are not). And the reason the one that is done hasn’t been sent out yet is because I have a mental quirk about doing things in groups, if they belong to a group. Like the newsletters. I do them all at the same time and then schedule them to send and that’s that for another month. Then again, I normally have the serial installments done close to the first part of each month, so I don’t have to worry about finishing them close to the newsletter deadline…

This month, we had some holidays, some family stuff, and a lot of unexpected dog health stuff to deal with all in the first two weeks of the month. Needless to say, when I had the time to write, I often didn’t feel like it, and when I finally forced myself, it was to get my weekly blog serials done.

Yes, I’m overbooked, and yes, I did it to myself. I do this *every single year* with the writing…and then I get behind, and I kick myself for doing it, and I swear I won’t do it again next year. And I begin the year with good intentions, and then I get an idea (or three), and it all just spirals downhill yet again.

Planning ahead would probably help this considerably, and I am a planner, which is what’s so weird about it. I am ultra-organized in pretty much every aspect of my life – except writing. I’m not really sure how to fix that, since I do *try* to organize that, and always end up just throwing my beautiful organization out the window…

The artsy side of me isn’t all that responsible, apparently. It really bugs the intellectual side of me, but reasoning with the artsy side is just…pointless, really. Which is also annoying.

Some of you may have noticed that this blog post is also late. The reason for that is far simpler – well, somewhat simpler, anyways. I could have written it Saturday, but I was having a bit of a “reflect and regroup” day. Sunday was crazy-busy, because hubby and I went to the Alice Cooper/Motley Crue concert here in town, so I had about four hours less than normal to get all of my normal Sunday housework done.

A few notes from the concert, including about a hour in line (it was sold out):

– “Oh my God – we forgot glitter!” (overheard in line…amusing, since I spent most of the day just waffling on whether or not to shower and put makeup on for the concert…I did, but it was a close call)

– “I was smart – brought my own beer.” (from a man in line a couple feet ahead of us, who promptly dropped his plastic cup and spilled all but the couple of sips he’d taken off the top before the line even started to move)
Our main entertainment venue has about the worst sound ever on a good day, but it was actually worse than usual last night, which sucks. The last time Alice was here, he played the Alberta Bair, a smaller local theater where our symphony performs, and it was spectacular. This time…the stage show was awesome, as always, but the sound wasn’t even close to what it should have been. I should note that I’ve heard it sound just fine on very rare occasions under the hands of master mixers – the Volbeat/Five Finger Death Punch concert was absolutely awesome, and the only different was the sound techs (and maybe their equipment?).
Alice Cooper’s stage show is never disappointing. I just wanted more (and better sound). And I wanted the girls in front of us to stop blocking my view, dammit.
Motley Crue’s sound was even worse – the mic (or the lead singer’s voice, not sure which) kept cutting out every third or forth word), for very muddled lyrics. Not that it mattered much – the music was mixed poorly and there really was no balance between the lyrics and music, so if you didn’t know the songs, it’s not like you were going to really “hear” them.
The drum-kit roller coaster was incredibly cool. So was the light show.
The pyrotechnics were…really loud, really bright, and made me feel old for wishing they would just stop already. My ears have since recovered (more or less), my eyes, not so much. Extra eye drops today, thankyouverymuch.
Skunky weed is so…not cool. Whoever was toking up near us last night had some of the nastiest smelling weed ever. Seriously, dude…if you’re gonna bring it out in public, splurge for something more mellow to share with the group. No one wants to smell that cheap (I assume/hope) crap at a concert.

On a possibly related last note: The Taco Bell nearest the concert venue was hoppin’ afterwards…

So…that was…well, it was fun, but not as much fun as I’d have liked it to be. And we had to adjust Lucy’s dinner/insulin schedule just a bit, which seems to have screwed with her blood sugar a little. Just gotta wait and see if it was actually the schedule change, or just her body still adjusting to the insulin. Either way, the hubby’s off work this week, so that will make a difference too. It’s pretty amazing how even the slightest thing can make a huge difference in blood sugar (rarely thought about unless diabetes is in the picture).

As for rollin’ with it…that’s exactly what I’m trying to do at the moment. There are a lot of changes that come with having a diabetic dog, and a lot of routines that have to be added and adjusted for. Hubby and I are also making changes in our workout/evening habits, which are good, but still create stress during the initial break-in period. There are changes afoot in my professional sphere (good changes, just…changes) as well, so among all of those, life has been pretty topsy-turvy lately, and I’m really not fond of topsy-turvy, overall. This past Saturday I was attempting to make some sense out of things, but didn’t get much farther than realizing it was going to be awhile before that could logically happen. And reminding myself that it hasn’t been topsy-turvy for all that long, and I can roll with the changing tides a while longer.

It seems so simple in theory, doesn’t it?

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The Lucy Saga Continues…

Last week, I mentioned that Lucy-dog went blind, and we were taking her to the vet on Tuesday. Well, we saw three different vets – or I did (Lucy saw two). The first one diagnosed possible uveitis (and infection/inflammation of her eyes), and diabetes. The second vet got me set up to start injecting insulin on Friday. The third vet diagnosed and prescribed steroids for the uveitis, which by then (Sat) had gotten worse and put Lucy in a lot of pain.

So, Lucy is now on insulin for diabetes, and prednisone for a really bad eye infection, and I’m trying to monitor my poor dog as she deals with both meds (incidentally, the corticosteroids raise blood sugar while the insulin is trying to lower it, so color me confused as to what symptoms I should be more worried about when I see something concerning). It will be a lot easier once the glucometer I ordered gets here…hopefully by the time I get home from work today. Then at least I’ll know what’s going on with her blood sugar levels, which will help me either rest easier, or be firm with the vet about her insulin dosage.

There’s a whole bunch of info I’ve been sifting through online, and other things the vets gave me to think about that have me concerned, but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m tired of it all, and just want it to go away. But I’m not tired of Lucy, and I don’t want her to go away, so we’ll see where it leads. Later this week, she’ll have to spend a day at the vet’s for a blood glucose curve – where they get her blood glucose reading every 2 hours to see how the insulin is working and adjust the dose from there.

At least she doesn’t even feel the shots. Being blind, she can’t see them either, so they don’t bother her, which is a godsend. And she is feeling better, so that’s something. I think the steroids have helped more than the insulin, honestly.

I wish I had something more scintillating to talk about, but this has pretty much been my whole world lately, outside of work anyways. We did watch “Big Hero 6” the other night, which was kind of odd in the way that they did it, but overall a good animated film. And we started “Kingsmen” last night, but it ended up being too long to finish in the time we had for it, so we’ll finish that tonight. The part we’ve seen is good, if a bit slow in spots.

We started season 5 of Covert Affairs too, but it’s so dark, I’m not sure we’re going to continue with it. We both miss the light-hearted banter between the characters, and that seems to just be gone. I hate when that happens.

This week, more vet stuff, more dog monitoring, and hopefully more improvement. I need to get back to writing too – had to set it aside because I just couldn’t focus with everything going on last week, but now I’m behind on serials, and I really do need to get caught back up on those. I ended up taking more time off work than I wanted to last week for vet visits & just general Lucy stuff, and that put me behind there as well. So…catching up is the name of the game this week.


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On Beautiful Things

I took some pictures late last week to illustrate today’s post, and then decided at the last minute (12:12am, to be exact), not to use them. The fact is, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, and the things I think are beautiful, you may or may not, and if you do, it may well be for an entirely different reason than mine.

I started thinking about things I consider “beautiful” and why when I was admiring some pottery at our local renaissance fair a week ago or so. I was thinking about how the different artist’s work affected me differently, and some “spoke” to me more or less than others. I have some theories that still need to percolate before I try to express them, but the overreaching truth is, it matters who handles the clay. And that’s not to say any of it is better or worse than any other piece, but merely to say that what makes a piece of pottery beautiful to me personally is more than anything I could actually describe satisfactorily.

I have been trying for days to put words to what called me to the tiny little brown pot/vase that now sits on my desk at work. I could tell you that it’s the lines of the piece, the gentle curve that leads gracefully up to a longish neck, or the glaze that somehow came out in the subtlest of pinstripes that give the piece dimension and movement. I could even tell you it’s the imperfections, the little mistakes that maybe happened during firing or when something was jarred in transit and marred the glaze.

The fact is though, it’s all and none of those things all at once that I find attractive about that tiny little pot. There is a quality about it that maybe wouldn’t draw the attention of anyone else, but every time I look at it, it’s almost mesmerizing to me. Does it have that effect on other people? Probably. But certainly not all.

This past Saturday, my mom and I were perusing the local Strawberry Festival vendors, and there was an older lady there selling her tole painting pieces. Most of it was stuff that…looked to me like most other chairs and tables and platters and such, but then on our second pass through, I saw a wooden box that for whatever reason, I found incredibly, undeniably attractive. There’s really nothing special about the pattern or painting, but I find it soothing and restful to look at, and it puts me in a calm, relaxed state of mind just to see it. I bought it, of course, and my mom brought up the fact that sometimes, we just have to surround ourselves with things we find beautiful, even if we have no other practical use for them (like my tiny pot – I’ll use the wooden box for stamps).

I don’t really have a point to all this, but it did make me think about what we perceive as “beautiful” or “attractive” vs what other people see. The filters we all bring to the table with us are so incredibly complex that it’s amazing any of us ever agree on anything as far as beautiful and/or attractive.

In any case, I’ll be writing a book this fall where beauty and what it is is the central theme, and I can’t help but wonder whether my character and I will agree on what is beautiful and what is…not. It should be a very interesting and intense journey we take together…

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