Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Photos from their party include a great closeup of a miniature pinscher in false eyelashes, glitter eye makeup and pearl earrings, plus a wonderful Big Bad Wolf in granny's clothing, and a terrific Yoda costume.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
What else is there to say. The horses are beautiful, the countryside is beautiful. Kris Kristofferson and Kurt Russell really do look like father and son - I'd have a tough time making that choice given my extreme preference for the GQ (geezer quotient). David Morse comes back in a reprise of every villain he's played (we get it, you aren't the good doctor from St. Elsewhere anymore). And that darned little Dakota Fanning is a real actor.
Besides some pretty cinematography, there are two moments of exceptional filmmaking in this movie. I've never seen a horse race filmed from the perspective of just a little above and behind the horses as they run - the immense power of those hindquarters is so transfixing that you forget the giant screen is actually filled with horses' butts as they dig in and push themselves to their limits. The other moment is when the horse has its accident. The fluidity and grace of the animals in powerful motion is so horribly corrupted in that crashing fall, you felt a physical shock wave went through the theater as everyone bodily recoiled. There is no warning, it all takes maybe a second and a half, and I've never seen anything quite like it.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
The picture she sent is also grand, and gives a glimpse of the immense, thick whiskers she has on her flews and over her eyes. I call her Catfish or Fishface a lot, partly for the whiskers and partly for the distinctive perfume she carries from eating a lot of salmon meal and salmon oil to help with her dermatological and allergy issues. Though right now she smells like oatmeal and strawberries because she had a bath before she came here. Poor doggie has to be bathed every other week to help her cope.
Of course I often call the duo "Catfish Hunter" for its classic twist. Oh, and her letter? reads
Dear Auntie Peg, I am doing well at home with Nana today. I like being at your house. Even though I miss my family, this is surely the second best place to be. Love, Emma
She's an awfully polite guest to write her bread-and-butter notes before she even goes home!
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Now, I don't think that any of the proposed rescue scenarios would have truly worked. And I recognize that such incidents play out with no human intervention or knowledge, all over this great land, to species large and small in the myriad ways of nature. But when it plays out on the bluff across from a city of a quarter million people and you can see it and you can do something, then for god's sake, you DO something to end the thirst and the terror and the desperation. You don't suddenly pretend that Alaska has some high-minded policy of non-intervention, for a species that is "managed" to the level that can damn near predict the second when folks in McCarthy will be able to pick up their dinner forks...but we can't possibly spare a bullet to hasten the inevitable for this one that suffers for days before our eyes? I am so ashamed of this debacle I don't even know what to say.
The patience part was simply that I made my demand and then I waited until it happened. It was without exertion but not without effort.
For now, it's just a matter of these next few months should at least bring some relief in not having to work days, nights and weekends just to get by. It will basically be the equivalent of one full-time job, with some extra hours here and there as both businesses have pressing demands. There is a small retirement benefit, some leave, no health coverage. But one of the biggest consequences to my health has just been the fact that I've just been working constantly, so this will help.
All cards will be thrown into the air again in January.
I didn't feel the relief until just a little while ago, in the small hours of Sun morning. My mom is spending the weekend with Becky out in Palmer, to give them a chance for a visit before my mom return East next month, and to give me some caretaker respite. After running around today doing various things, I was tired and thought I'd lie down for a few minutes before feeding Hunter, and I didn't wake up for over two hours. Woke up feeling that all the strength had gone out of me, in a physically over-exerted, nauseated way - a feeling I recognize as when all the fright/flight hormones have begun to dissipate. I held my furry dog and the tears I've been holding in on various scales finally started to seep out a little - something I haven't had the privacy to indulge in a long while. But unfortunately the habit of containing it has become pretty strong, as I couldn't just cut loose either to get it all out of my system. I imagine that's where all this blood pressure stuff has come from over the last few months. And I would think that will come right once I am actually living alone again.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
He never engaged me - always kept looking over my shoulder or past me, even when he climbed obligingly into my car. Since he was wearing tags, I had him home within about 15 minutes. Latte's family was very happy to see him, but concerned that he's getting out of his 6-foot chain link fence. I think he's probably just climbing it. He'd come across once of Anchorage's largest arteries and was nearly at the next one when I caught him.
Got home later and then had to head out again for an errand, and down the street there was another loose Lab, this one a very small yellow female so pale she was almost white. She was just plain lost. Shy, skittish. Wouldn't come to me, but would walk six feet from me and accompany me down the middle of the street. We walked all the way back to my house, where I sat on my neighbor's steps and the dog finally touched her nose to my hand briefly. About that time some little kids came from the opposite direction on bikes and started calling to her. She was just too confused - evidently unsure she wanted to go with these little hooligans - but when I shouted down to the kids, they said yes, she was theirs. I started walking down the street toward them, issuing responsible pet owner instructions at 8-year-old's level (never abandon the teachable moment) and finally Vanilla recognized her own corner and her own kids and within moments was trotting down the sidewalk next to the little boy's bike.
Every loose dog I've nabbed this whole summer and fall has been wearing ID tags. Good humans.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Really I came for the violence. The first three deaths are wrongful but the rest all had it comin'. They threaten your employees, blow em away. Threaten your family, blow em away. Bully you at school, beat the shit out of em. Try to finish you off? Kill, kill, kill, kill, and...kill. (Go home, eat dinner.) For the kind of week -month, year, life- I'm having, this was very gratifying. Problem? BOOM. No more problem.
Okay, I really came for Viggo Mortensen. Upstanding family man, Indiana pure but a dagger in disguise. Sigh sigh sigh. His ability to inhabit a character is compelling. You see just a hint of the change in him when his real identity surfaces, the voice is a bit more edgy, the broad open face a little hooded, the eyes with a different past behind them. But the movie's best performance is from William Hurt, who is only onscreen for a few minutes but in that time delivers a fully developed character both funny and hideous. In the scenes between Mortensen and Ed Harris, I just kept thinking how much I want to see them playing father and son - I never thought about their physical resemblances and the nuances of expression that seem to be cut from the same cloth.
Okay, I really came for Viggo Mortensen. And all that boom, boom, boom. You won't look at a bowl of chunky tomato soup the same way again either.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
Can I also just say, looking at this photo, how much I love my dog. I love him so much it feels my heart will burst, or break. For the last six months, I have been going through a rather spiritual experience with another doggie friend Jenny, who has been teaching me patiently (because I am so slow to learn) about communicating with dogs. I believe this is deeply impacting my relationship with Hunter too - at least I don't think this is entirely coincidental. In just the last few months, there are new precious routines with Hunter that we hadn't had before - especially the morning wakeup, which now involves him curling up next to me in bed for a little quiet talk and some hugs before the day starts. And more precious than anything else, is that this dog now meets my gaze at times, and doesn't break it in distraction or agitation or just inability to stay connected. Our eyes really meet now, often, and when we're alone and quiet in the evening, sometimes minutes go on and he doesn't stop looking, doesn't stop engaging me just with his eyes. This is brand new for us. There are some windows opening, and I know now that there is more which lies beyond for us to find.
[This is today's Writer's Almanac poem.]
Give up the world; give up self; finally, give up God.
Find god in rhododendrons and rocks,
passers-by, your cat.
Pare your beliefs, your absolutes.
Make it simple; make it clean.
No carry-on luggage allowed.
Examine all you have
with a loving and critical eye, then
throw away some more.
Keep this and only this:
what your heart beats loudly for
what feels heavy and full in your gut.
There will only be one or two
things you will keep,
and they will fit lightly
in your pocket.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Nancy took the gestalt approach in interpreting this and said that in the middle of my life's upheavals - some of which have resolved but with at least a few still in full flail - this represents the part of my current life that is dying, that has to be buried and grieved in advance of the changes still coming.
Oh. More change. Yaaaaaaaay.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Ever since I read this Helen Hunt Jackson poem in a Sunset magazine when I was eight years old, there has not been even one October since without a day (or more) like today where the words spring into mind. For me a day's perfection is set at +39F, and this morning we were there. Took our first walk back at the bog for a while now - colder temps mean the bears have moved on, and the thinning leaves give better view into the woods off-trail, so that moose encounters are less of a surprise. My dancing dog, so delighted to be back in our regular surrounds. Brilliant blue sky. Our breath on the air. The nice older gentleman from Corpus Christi taking photos at the trailhead, trying to catch leaves in flight - "We don't have this weather at home." We don't either, not for nearly long enough anyway.
This is just like April, only with a different promise. Feel these moments slipping through fingers before we plunge into cold white sleep.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
The night before as we were setting up the auction, I had called my boss Deeta and told her she really needed this quilt - the black cat in each frame reminded me so much of DC, and it also had Deeta's colors in it, in all those variegated greens and purples. During the auction, I took a chance on bidding up someone who I was pretty sure would want the quilt, but then I got left hanging at $700-which-I-didn't-have. But I made my peace with it - figured at least I'd have one of the most beautiful things ever shown in our auction's nine years. (And it would have been cheap at double the price.) And so I waited.
Then Kari came along, and did a very kind thing and bumped the bid to $725 to rescue me... Then after the auction closed, Deeta finally showed up, and she bought it from Kari.... So everything turned out as it should, and I can probably even visit the quilt.
The one I got was one I really wanted - one of three first-quilts created by a local Girl Scout troop. These little girls aged 8-10 did a fine job, and the first time I held this one I wanted it because it's heavy felty flannel and just so darned cuddly, and a nice size for snuggling on the sofa. I wanted it in order to use it, and use it I shall (and already have). For a tenth of the price of the other one, it will mean just as much to me. Tonight when it was time to come to bed, Hunter didn't come up, and I found him on the sofa snuggled up in it too.