Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Who moved my snow?

Yesterday when I came home at lunchtime to give Hunter a break, my driveway had been cleared of the six inches of snow we got on Sunday. I asked a few folks but no one fessed up so far. I have a feeling who it might have been, but am content to let it remain a small mystery. And grateful for it too, because although my back is healing slowly, I'm still nowhere near shoveling capacity.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The sun's so hot I forgot to go home

Gordon and Knatolee went to Sri Lanka and forgot to come back. Her travelogue includes photos of her hugging an elephant. She is a gifted artist and she hugs elephants and she can forget to come home from a vacation. I could learn to hate her if she wasn't so cute too.

When you put it like that, it sounds romantic

from 'Antilamentation' by Dorianne Laux:

You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sangil chukhahae, Nathaniel

Nathaniel is one year old today.

Kendra writes in Nathaniel's blog: "A year ago this Thursday, Jay and I were working on the nursery for a baby we didn't know yet. In central Korea, heavy snow was falling, and our son was being born.... We're having a traditional Korean Tol for him next weekend, so all manner of aunts, uncles, and grandparents are arriving over the next few days.We'll eat rice cakes, take hanbok pictures, and watch Nathaniel predict his future. The grandmothers will pray for him, and of course we'll give him his first taste of cake! It's a day of joy, but a day tinged with sorrow too, since every adoption story, no matter how joyful the ending, begins with a loss. I am sure that Nathaniel's birth mother will shed some tears this week, as will I, for that snowy day last February that made us all a family, half a planet apart."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Regrets, I've had a few...

I ran across an interesting (to me, anyway) paragraph entitled "Analysis of Regret." It's on the web but doesn't have an attribution listed and I have paraphrased it a little here. It takes a couple of read-throughs but makes some interesting points. So don't say you don't learn nuthin on this blog. I learned that all my regrets are because I'm attempting to live a life that is consistent with my values. At least I think so. Maybe I just regret so rarely coming out on top! But I admit, the part about regret being a safeguard against stupidity did get my attention. Just think how many more bonehead stunts I would have pulled without it.

Analysis of regret (paraphrased)

After one makes a decision, or even does something one likes, one may feel a certain amount of regret. Why? If the choice was rational, isn't the regret unnecessary? I disagree. I believe that regret is feeling on behalf of subjugated values. In interesting decisions, one is weighing values. Regret acts as a disincentive to subjugate one's values unnecessarily, and its effect even in rational decisions is another side of the same coin. Without regret, perhaps we might always merely choose a single value, or no values at all, or some weak compromise to sate a little of each value, in making a decision. Regret provides an incentive instead to try to achieve the best overall value fit. Eliminating regret eliminates a safeguard against stupidity.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Beginning to catch up the blog

My back is messed up since the car accident, and it's very painful to sit for long, so I will just work on catching this up in small pieces on days when I haven't sat all day already. There are catch-up posts on Jan 20, Jan 26, Feb 3, Feb 11, Feb 12, Feb 14, and Feb 16 so far.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Caught in the act

[Entry backdated]

Nancy and John left on a trip last night, so Emma is with us for the next ten days or so. I've been working quietly here at Nancy's house, with the dogs for good company. Uncharacteristically, they actually played with each other early this morning in my backyard, chasing each other over the piles of snow, leaping and boxing at each other.

As I've worked today I keep forgetting to restart the CD player when it stops. The song I've been humming a lot lately (Flow Gently, Sweet Afton) is one that Emma particularly likes. I was singing it softly here as the dogs nap nearby. Maybe it's just because she's a retriever and all the birds in the poem sound very tasty, but when I got to the part about

"Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds through the glen;
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den;
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forswear..."

Emma was dead asleep but her tail started WHACKING the floor like crazy. Hunter looked up like "what the heck is wrong with her?"

The 'caught in the act' part was when they came out into the living room to help me sort some papers, and for just a few minutes actually pretended to like each other...

...whereupon as soon as I took the picture, Hunter got up and pointed his nose in the corner and pretended Emma didn't exist, or me either for that matter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Movie: Firewall

Harrison Ford in yet another role as big-honcho-in-big-trouble-with-family-in-peril, played yet again as a slow-stoked fire that turns into a conflagration of payback before it's done. His physical acumen in this is not very believable (he's a computer security guy at a bank, for chrissake - the smackdown at the end is satisfying and yet one thinks he can't be this up on his fighting moves on a daily basis). But of course for me, the best part of this movie is that he tracks his family via the Global Pet Finder collar on his little dog. Which works in the movie exactly the way it's advertised to work in real life. Again, there's a suspension of disbelief required (who takes the dog along on a hostage relocation?) but it yields one of the better lines in the movie when an annoyingly barky Rusty finally gets himself booted out of the criminals' van to the screams of the wife and kids - comic relief miles behind them, the young secretary who is helping Harrison by following the dog on the tracking web says "Hey, they're slowing down...." as the little dog stands abandoned in the road. As per formula, one of the good guys gets wasted early on, but everyone else is happy and hugging at the end. Woof.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I have a car... payment

It's not much but at least it's mine parked in my driveway. The Tercel was totaled and I callously abandoned at a salvage auction my faithful little car that took me so many thousands of miles. I am sad.

Also I am overworked and overwhelmed right now, more than usual I mean. And tonight I have the option of working on catching up the blog or going to see the new Harrison Ford movie.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Tao of Emma

[Entry backdated]

I got this email from Emma today:

"My mom just told me I was invited to come stay with you (and that Mr. Hunter who pays no mind to me) soon, very soon, whatever soon means. I am just a dog, and to me, it is either now or not at all."

After-Christmas angel

[Entry backdated]

LeeLani arrived this morning with a fabulous quiche to put in my oven, homemade chocolate-dipped strawberries, baguettes for French toast, and a mission to put an end to Christmas at my house. She stayed about four hours while we had a lovely civilized breakfast and then took down, resorted and packed all of the decorations and the tree, and got the boxes back down into the crawl space. I had threatened to drag the whole business out into the street and torch the damned thing for Mardi Gras, so she arrived just in time.

There is no doubt in my mind that while I could do this alone, I could not...do this alone. I think of many situations through the years that people have given me such a gift of time and energy, and those moments are what stick with me, even if small by comparison to other sacrifices we make for each other in this life. I think of Kari coming to help me pack up and move (from more than one house). Becky doing the same (from about twice as many houses as Kari). Pat and Keith taking time this week to run me around on one day when I had to shuffle dead cars and rental cars and new cars - I had the day scheduled tightly into nine transportation legs but in only two did I have the right car/driver ratio. These seem like small things but when people are so tremendously busy, it matters to me. The gift is not measured only by what it did for me. Its real value is in the sacrifice of other things in that friend's life - things that got put aside in order to show me that caring in practical terms. I need to work on catching up that score.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Moose on the loose

[Entry backdated]

Emma has been in some significant rear-end pain for a few days, and the vet thinks she might have gotten kicked by a moose or sustained some other blunt injury. We were skeptical about that (and actually still are, in terms of how that would happen with no one knowing it, as Emma is not quiet about intruders of any sort). But as to the actual opportunity, these pix from Nancy this morning make that possibility plain on a visit from a crabapple-marauding moose. (The easily-hopped fence is five feet.)

Darla follows with her own backyard pic of their young husky Riken having a close encounter too. Right after she took this picture, the moose hopped the fence into their yard, but did not seem bothered by the dog, and Darla was able to get Riken inside without incident.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hard hit

[Entry backdated]

After waking up the last few mornings feeling the stiffness and pain from being jolted in the car collision, this morning I woke up feeling a tremendous burden of depression. I am very used to going through this life with anxiety, worry and apprehension as my daily companions, but this was very specifically different in the sense of being dragged down, and it scared me. I never do well in situations where I have been wounded somehow and am simultaneously having to put up a full scale offense on so many fronts to manage overwhelming details. Nancy has been a champ to manage so much of it for me - the person responsible for the accident is inexplicably filing against my insurance, the car's been totaled and I'm hunting for another one and wondering if I can get decent financing (my first try for a car loan out of bankruptcy, but my credit score is great so I am trying not to worry), I'm making the phone calls and getting the police stuff done and etc.....but I am driving around in my rental car and feeling that I'm the one that's been broken and detached from the world.