Sunday, July 31, 2005

I wouldn't have the nerve to make this one up

So I keep seeing that "What Science Fiction Character Are You?" quiz popping up here and there, and I finally went and did it. (That sound you hear is me scraping the bottom of the barrel on ways to avoid doing real work.) Turns out I am Galadriel:

"Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others."

Yeah. I choked on my coffee too, like you did just now.

My nephew Shane got me grounded, though. He's Gandalf, and told me to put that pipeweed in my pipe and smoke it.


I took this picture of my buddy Nugget last week. Was messing around with the long lens and really should have had a tripod - couldn't keep it still as a hand-held - but I loved this pose in the warm evening light.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A unanimous verdict

So today I am hanging out with the East Side Gang. Dogs upstairs, dogs downstairs, dogs everywhere - that's what I'm talkin' about. Petsitting while my friends go dancing at a wedding in Talkeetna, where I suspect wedding dances are quite festive - I mean, this is a place that auctions off its bachelors.

This week I've been tired and careworn, grieving the loss of a friendship that just didn't have to be lost. I've done my internal work quickly - recoiling in pain, yes, but I never felt anything but loving and centered toward the person who's rejected me, relatively certain that I'd really done my best and with absolutely pure intention in every encounter we've had. The loss remains as does the love. Note to self: Being expendable to someone doesn't actually make you worthless. I'm guessing someone's already written a book about that.

But before I get too complacent, I decided to consult the most reliable judges of character that there are. And how often do you get the chance to convene a literal jury of them too. I asked the twelve dogs here to tell me if I'm just blowing smoke. The verdict is in and the fact is they know who I am, and they think who I am is actually kind of swell. And that was before the rawhide chewie treats, so they were not swayed by any misconduct. So I'm thinking my cred is only getting better and better as the night goes on. And they are healing me in a dozen ways.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

My big brother

Today would have been my brother Barry's 51st birthday. He was young and wild and as genuine as anyone I have known in this life. I think of him always as this photo captures him some months before he died in 1976.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Flying home

Very likely she has always understood
what I have slowly learned...
that love is hard,
that while many good things are easy, true love is not,
because love is first of all a power,
its own power,
which continually must make its way forward, from night
into day, from transcending union
always forward into difficult day.

And as the plane descends, it comes to me...
that once the lover recognizes the other,
knows for the first time
what is most to be valued in another,
from then on, love is very much like courage,
perhaps it is courage, and even
only courage.

--Galway Kinnell, from Mortal Acts, Mortal Words

Monday, July 11, 2005

You know you're getting old when... can't read a hopscotch chalk anymore.

I walked down the street to the mailboxes tonight and amid all the drawings on the sidewalk there was the most complicated hopscotch chalk I had ever seen, with 40 squares. I stood there trying to figure out how you would even play (I could see my way through the 8th square and then it turned into some sort of hell). The two little girls were up on their porch so I just said "How do you do this?"

And then we played hopscotch. I have to admit they lost me on their logic a few times, but I had to allow that some things have changed in the 32 years since I last played and quite possibly they were more informed than me, but still....Part of me was just glad to know that kids anywhere still play this.

Monday, July 04, 2005

A cold one

Kari and Dirk the exceptional grill dude put on a most excellent July 4th chow today, of which I'm sure the founding fathers would be proud.

Now I'm quite fond of the whole
Molson beer talking 'twin label' campaign ("Why drink something that says nothing when you can drink a beer that says it all?") Last time I got serious with a half rack, I got both "Friend to All Animals" and "I Take In Strays," so quite possibly the Canadians have a real corner on the beer-bottle oracle gig. Always open to a message from the universe, I passed over the St. Pauli Girl and the Moosehead and the first Molson I pulled out said


How ironic, I chuckle.

A...little while...later, the second one said


Even the damn beer bottles have to yell to get my attention.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Eastern girls vs midwestern girls

Nancy and I have had a protracted discussion about how much of her life's world view revolves around the emotional commerce of baking and delivery of chocolate chip cookies, and how much of mine...does not. This conversation is worth way more to me in the tears shed from laughter than any actual attempt to carry out her wish to use this device as part of my meeting a nice guy that she knows.

From that same wonderful midwestern perspective, Nancy once wrote a summary of me that makes me sound about as enticing as dating one's sister, if one's sister was a Boy Scout in good standing: "Loyal, funny, caring, loves animals, smart, hard working, thinks up really cool things, is very involved in the welfare of others.....a good human being that is worthwhile to know and relate to."

I can see now why you'd also need the cookie bribe.

She said she was raised that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach. I said... actually I said something so reprehensibly vulgar (even for me) that I should never have said it the first time let alone repeat it now.

Alas, we remain women separated by a culture barrier.

But she was absolutely right when she said I had to experience the concept firsthand in order to get a better understanding... She just put in front of me a glass of milk and two huge cookies that are hot from the oven.

I can't even describe what these are like. It rivals the inspiration that wrote the garlic poem.

But if I could produce something like this, why would I use it to interest a man when I could use it to rule the planet?

Book: Sight Hound by Pam Houston

I love Pam Houston but this just isn't a novel, it's not got the strength of plot. The perspective (every chapter written by a different character, recurring throughout) is really interesting but by its nature is jumpy. If it were 20-30 pages in the chapter so you really got your teeth into that person's (or dog's, or cat's) perspective it would be a better book, than executed in these brief hops. There is so much depth of love, grief and hope in this book, it would be better if it were not in those snips that only seem to give promise of what is beneath. It felt light and unfinished for such deeply touching heart matter. And yet there are those Houston incredible turns of phrase that make one's heart soar, just from what she does with the sheer words.