Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Book: Life is Good! by Trixie (and Dean) Koontz

Life is Good! goes beyond the little truisms we've all seen about life interpreted through a dog's eyes. Dozens of beautiful and funny photos of "Trixie (who is dog)" herself, great camera angles, interesting layouts. Her idiom is conceived well beyond typical dogspeak, yet has some unique aspects that let you know English is her second language...as well as her opinion of it in general ("Hate; hate; hate semicolons").

She discusses everything from how Tolstoy was just as burdensome when she read him the second time in the original Russian, to what dark things in life should be met only with a "ha-ha-ha!"...except "Do not ha-ha-ha at mailman who has COME TO KILL US ALL. Hide behind sofa, hope for survival." It's a ton of fun both as clever literary device and as philosophy. You'll feel like you got a belly rub.

Proceeds of sales go to
Canine Companions for Independence.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

On spirituality

Being generally respectful of others' beliefs while personally having been kicked out of organized religion (more than once) has certainly colored my perspective. I seem to have found something comfortable in my free-lance eclectic spirituality (that probably won't be nearly so comfortable when I burn in hell).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Petsitting at Michele & Chuck's

I do miss my own dog, but it was wonderful to walk in here tonight and have 12 happy dogs greet me - including a teeny little Amber biscuit who dashed across the room, hopped up on the back of the sofa wagging her tail, and gave me furious kisses. A tiny gem among the giants.

This house is healing for me. There is so much love in it even when the people who make it so aren't here. Each of the special little greeting moments reminds me that these dogs are loved and secure as individuals, not part of some vague herd. Michele was beaming when she left - she said it just made her feel so good when I walked in and everyone was so excited to see me - she knows they are more than just merely okay.

The feeling in this home is the kind of feeling I want to create in my own home. And I've had it from time to time over the years. Strangely, it was more when I lived alone - it was never when I was partnered with someone because those important, loving, accepting, safe spots were never something I was able to create with another person and have it be ours to rely on and ours to share. And I don't know if I can fully make that space while my mom lives with me, which sounds terrible to say, though it's something I aspire to do. It's probably just from some sense that our relationships with our parents don't always allow us to be who we are at our core.

But the feeling I got tonight when I walked in, tired and spent and...and now finally able to let a few raw defeated tears escape because I'm safe enough here and no one will see and in the morning I'll have the game face on again...the feeling I got is the feeling I have seen on another's face at my own door in the middle of the night, to come in tired and burdened, be cared for and made comfortable, have dogs be companionably about, and know that for a little while this place is as much home as any other could be.

That's the peace I want to give to other people. Don't know how I will do that or whether I'll ever have the circumstance to make that so. But the sense of rest and healing that I always feel here is something I want others to know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A nice morning

As much as I miss my dog while he's away, this morning was nice... going to bed at a reasonable hour, sleeping undisturbed and with no need to be subconsciously vigilant every moment, opening my eyes at 4:30 am as usual, realizing I was alone, and going back to sleep until nearly 7 am. I've been so tired for so long.

In my fantasy life, the cup of coffee I'm holding would have Bailey's in it, I'd bring the newspaper back upstairs, crawl back into bed, then read and nap the rest of the morning. No wonder I live in my head too much - it's way better there.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Friday, June 10, 2005

There's a hole in my sidewalk

There's a Hole In My Sidewalk
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I *see* it is there.
I still fall in... it's a habit... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

As much as I love the sunrise

...there is much to be said for an Alaskan sunset when the day won't surrender without one last fight. It's about 11;30 now, some clouds have rolled in here and there through the evening, and out my bedroom window as the midnight sun sets in the general direction of Earthquake Park and the great one Denali beyond it, the clouds are limned in rose gold below and suffused in deep plum above, no part left untouched by that dying blaze. The pinks are turning to near scarlet now and the gold is too bright to look at in thin, sharp jagged lines - like lightning strikes set parallel to the horizon. High above all that, the sky is still light gray-blue, still calm, knowing it only need bide its time while the plums turn to dark lavenders, the reds are gone entirely, the golds turn to a deep blush of peach. Part of me wanted to rush out with a camera but the image will not capture the heart-filling of the moment.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

An unbridled love poem

I descend into aromatic madness
unhinged by tantalizing braided bulbs.
With cloves of kryptonite
your heady kiss disarms me.
This is garlic fever.

On forgiveness

Good people are often reticent to bestow that gift. Not because we're unforgiving, but because we want to say instead that there is nothing to forgive. We make the injury smaller than it was, we make our own feelings less important, we don't want to see ourselves in a position to give or withhold favor to another human being. Sure, we can accept an apology freely. Trifling in real forgiveness is a different matter.

But there are reasons that from time to time I insist on that exchange.

When I ask to be forgiven, it's because I know that whether or not what I did was intentional, whether it was large or small, the wrong cannot be fixed or helped by me. It can only be undone by another's willingness to undo it. I am humbled from that helplessness.

When I am asked to forgive another, it binds me to let go of that injury, rather than tend that wound privately and keep it a little open always. I cannot feed it if I have forgiven it - I have said out loud and in another's hearing that the thing is undone. I am humbled again, by yielding my pride.

Both asking and receiving forgiveness requires immense trust and courage and unselfish love. That humans can do this for each other at any time they choose is pretty astounding when you think of it - that we can personally be agents of these small acts of redemption... I think of forgiveness as one of the few moments in which we are capable of the divine, and that sometimes the words must be said.