Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
|You Are Olive Green|
Friday, June 23, 2006
Little did I know what menace I was escorting, until I heard shrieking that scared the daylights out of all three of us and I was trying to figure out where it was coming from and get over to the path to help, when as we emerged, a lady saw me and cried out "OH! I THOUGHT THOSE WERE BEARS!"
Well, sure. If bears had big black high-plumey tails, and walked side by side on Flexi leads, in front of a woman sing-songing "GOOD dogs..." every 20 yards or so in hopes of alerting the actual bears.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
So as I finished up with an errand at the FOP office around 10 pm and made my way across town, I thought of this visit with anticipation. I always love being here, and I rather like that I have to succumb to the fact that I can't keep up the same production on FOP stuff (though I have to think hard about how I'm going to get things done later) because these 14 animals are my priority. I came in to a virtually silent house - no barking! - said hello to the kids and to Michele and Chuck, and sat quietly on the couch watching the chaos of their departure. Smiling to myself that at least for me, peace prevails.
I went downstairs to visit with the kids I hadn't greeted yet...and there was one nose missing. I opened the door to the backyard thinking she had slipped out (she's one of two dogs I'm not able to touch here - she'll tolerate my presence now and will go in and out as I bid, but will keep her distance at any opportunity). But she wasn't peering at me from the blue doghouse as she usually does. I looked around the backyard. A little terror gripped me - surely Hannah wasn't gone - and by that I mean gone in a cosmic way. Surely Michele would have told me if that had happened.
So I had to make the call as they rushed across town to the airport. Where the heck is Hannah. Just a little extra panic in their departure. I've looked all the usual places. I tell Michele I will call her back.
I go into the garage, just in case she slipped in there when Kiyah and Sassy came out. No Hannah. But hey, what's this. Oh, it's a pipe out of the hot water heater...and it's leaking all over the floor.
I go upstairs and find Hannah hiding behind the couch. Not sure if she has ever ventured into the upstairs, certainly not with me around. I make another call. Hannah's okay, but did you know you have hot water leaking all over your garage.
Multiple phone calls later, a plumber is dispatched, but I am talking to a friend of Chuck's and between us we decide it's pressure overflow and probably not an emergency right now. The pan I placed under the leak seems to have scared the pipe into quietude for now. I cancel the dispatch.
I start hauling soaked carpets out of the garage, count noses again downstairs, hand out treats. Come upstairs, count noses again, hand out treats. Make another call - all is well for now and we'll deal with plumbing again tomorrow.
It's nineteen hours after my day began, and indeed, peace prevails.
But this guy looked a little too energetic. As I approached I got the same grin a lot of other folks did, as this guy exchanged meaningful glances with drivers and shook his head sorrowfully at the message he bore in large letters front and back:
Sunday, June 18, 2006
And the dog is just wonderful.
But if the idea was to escape reality, I'm sorry to say that by the last heart-wrenchingly romantic scene, I was confronting my own realities all over the place and frankly was ready to open a vein then and there.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Sunday, June 11, 2006
So the only thing I have to say is that everyone who is engaged in such Deep Spiritual Conversation on this movie should just...go take a nap. I am utterly baffled that there is such strife over this story. It's a STORY. I didn't see the church or the Opus Dei or the Priory or anyone else involved as the good guys or the bad guys, but all deeply conscientious in their opposite motives. Admirably so, all of them. When I think of how many sermons are being preached on the impact of this novel, I really just find myself wishing there was a thimble-full of debate on the other 95% of movies that are deeply destructive and undermining of human and spiritual values but to which no church or creed would bother to blink an eyelash.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Today the items in my inbox were Charlie, Oscar, Loki, Matty, Buckley, Bing, Kramer, Davie and Foxy, Gem and Farley, Wolfie, Louise, Jenkins, Riley, Toffee and Banner, Rocky, Sadie, Trout, Bodie and Trace, Kodi, Layla, Vivi, Oliver, Kati, Dewey, Gilbert, Sydney, Alyeska and Minnesota, Spice, Julius, Bella, Dubbs, Pup-Pup and Sweetie, Ruger, and Brinkley. In today’s group of 40 dogs there were 28 distinct breeds or breed mixes, in all stages of life and learning. The job is pretty simple: attend. In all the ways that word can be defined. The complexity is in the endless variety of energy flows, constantly shifting and adapting, sometimes clashing mightily (god, I really hate dog fights) before returning to an equilibrium. It’s fascinating to be part of that independent organism of relationship that won’t ever again exist in precisely the same way as it existed today.
As the oldest (sadly, the oldest by far) person on the crew, I feel my years at the end of the day. I get home pretty tired and aching, and yet I don’t crash on the couch in a befuddled coma, like I used to every Friday. Instead, I get home and I. . .mow the yard and I do the laundry and I clean the kitchen and I give Hunter a good grooming. And I know I can get up early tomorrow and get into the list of many other things that need to be done because I won’t be using all my energy trying to recover from psychic trauma from Friday or preparing for the Very Special Encore presentation on Monday. The thing about dog fights is that when they’re over, they’re over.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
He looks so sleek afterward, and it happened that I had cut the grass the same day, which Hunter really gets a kick out of. So a huge case of the sillies ensued - he flung himself to the ground again and again and frapped about the yard generally.
Monday, June 05, 2006
It turned out to be a really nice day, so positive and pleasant. A few scuffles among the dogs but they were easily managed, and it was just so fun to be working with people who enjoy being there and enjoy the dogs. And Hunter did just fine his first day back. I only kept him there the first five hours, then ran him home, just to make sure we ended successfully. He showed no anxiety at all and enjoyed the day.
Now you may have heard the screams from up here last week when the Alaska Aces won the ECHL Kelly Cup, bringing home Alaska's first professional team championship in 26 years. So our afternoon activity at the daycare was to print out booster placards that showed a puck with the Aces insignia and a congratulations message. We wrote each dog's name on a puck and taped the placards up on the windows. I mentioned this to Michele last night and she just dropped her head and said 'oh my god, it's just like nursery school.' No, it's a LOT more fun than nursery school...
(Disclaimer: So sorry if I have disillusioned anyone else here who gets Notes from the Universe and may have thought until just now that each message is written uniquely for you and not for the whole herd. The Universe has to multi-task.)
That same morning, I drove on out to Chugiak to pick up mail. As I dug through the pileup of the last few weeks, I noticed on the sorting table a plastic packet with an illustrated card of St. Anthony (patron of miracles, as I'm sure you know), and one of those cheap little medals on a chain. I picked it up and flipped it over to read the prayer on the back, which read in part "Help me to humbly accept all of the bountiful blessings I am about to receive."
So I don't know exactly how much benevolent Providence one can expect by swiping icons of the saints, but I took him.
The tiny sign in the left lower corner reads: MONA WAS A CANNERY GIRL. Here's the Anchorage Daily News story.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
But then I stayed awake for another movie I hadn't ever seen, Million Dollar Baby. Clint Eastwood's oeuvre these last 10-15 years makes me glad he's put it all on his sleeve and let us watch. What a story.
But it evoked something very unexpected in me. One of the oldest wounds I've carried in this life. Something about the scene where he disconnects Maggie's air...took me back to the week my brother died. I've talked about this before, and in the last year there has been a comforting sense of reconnection with him as though he was never truly lost to me. But there's a deep wound in me about the days between his accident and his subsequent death, and it's about my unwillingness to forgive.
And all of a sudden I am faltering about writing it down, so this may be the skeleton version. In that last week of Barry's life we spent quite a bit of time at the critical care unit. He never regained consciousness before he died. And we would spend long hours in the ICU waiting room, taking occasional turns going in to visit. My foster sister at the time was a particularly needy person and my father especially was very attuned to this in multiple supportive ways. One of those ways is that during that week, I wasn't ever allowed to go see my brother without taking my sister along. She was too afraid, she said, to go in alone. So if she wanted to go in, I had to go with her and stand there while she was fearful and useless and all contact was inhibited. When I tried to slip in alone, my father lowered the boom on me and directed that I don't go without giving my sister the opportunity to visit since she couldn't go alone.
The time in that room felt powerful and important, and I wasn't prepared to say the most intimate things I wanted to say, or touch or hold my brother with all the whimpering self-absorption in the room. So I never got to say anything that I really wanted to say.
I remember riding home from the hospital one of those nights, with my face pressed against the cool window glass, feeling just quietly sick at heart because I so badly wished I could talk to my brother. I don't know how anyone else in the family experienced it - I've never asked and I don't remember how everyone came and went through those days. I hope at least that everyone else got to say what they needed to say, and that no one else experienced the despair that grew in me as the grains of my brother's life slipped away and I never said one important word.
I suppose I haven't talked about this much (except to therapists) because the adult Peg thinks it unseemly. After all, that week wasn't about me for damn sure. I think I'm not angry anymore, but I have kept my silent distance from my sister all these years since so that I don't test that theory overmuch. I still need that protection. What remains is just a place that's numb and empty and there's nothing especially wrong about that. And when I think of how much regret there is in me around this experience, I realize there are about a million more regrets since. But most of those are regrets because there was an element of my own bad judgment, something that I signed up for that allowed me to be injured or experience harm or loss. Realizing as I do now that the love didn't die with my brother and that it's accessible and real right up to this day 30 years later, I am a little puzzled at how bitterly I have wept over this particular ancient chapter tonight.