Oh Boy!

Oh, boy! 10 readers today. I keep waiting for the day I reach 100,000 total reads. I’m close; less than a thousand to go, and all I want to do is shut this thing down. I don’t write anymore, not really, and especially not on this blog. My posts get shorter and shorter. I used to write pages and pages. Now it’s a paragraph here and there every few weeks. I don’t have any real urge to communicate my thoughts to other people. I don’t care what people think of me. I never thought of myself as egoist, but in having lost the desire to write for an audience, I have realized that I was somewhat of an egoist. Maybe not in a blatant self-promoting sort of way, but it was there. I came up with excuses for my need for an audience. Artists paint for an audience. Dancers dance for one. Why shouldn’t I want to write for one? Not sure, but whatever itch I had has been scratched. Maybe it’s the futility of it all, knowing full well that in the scheme of things I’m the spot on the ass of the flea on the back of the hair on the dog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea. But it’s more than that. Something shifted and I really do not desire an audience at all, so really, what is the point of this? There isn’t one. I’ll reach 100,000 views and I won’t even give a shit.

Blogging has changed significantly since I started this. It was more fun back then. People actually communicated with one another via blogs. I met some cool people who commented on my blog and I read and commented on theirs. Now it’s all facebookified, with “likes” and “following,” which is just another marketing tool. I really can’t stand it.

It has passed its prime. Maybe I’ll wait until I pass that mythical 100,000 views, then shut the whole thing down. We shall see.

Changing the Name

I no longer want my blog to be Lara Gardner’s Weblog. I want a new name. I don’t want it to be my name anymore. I am going to change it.

I have lost my writing habit, and writing is a habit. The more habitual one is in it, the easier it is to answer the call of the discipline of writing. All of my habits came crashing to a halt the day Ava died and I have been struggling to regain them. I ran religiously every other day and it’s been like moving through cement to reform that habit. This was the first week since her death I was able to do it as before. I would regularly cook a soup on the weekend, ensuring lunches to last the week long. I’ve cooked three since her death, one this week. On and on, daily life changed and I haven’t been able to solidly regain my footing. I keep thinking of her. She comes to me at odd moments. I think of that exact minute and force my mind away.

But this wasn’t to be a post about Ava dying. It is about wanting to change the name of my blog. There are many reasons for this. Too many acquaintances think it is who I am, and it’s not, and this frustrates me. Perhaps if its name is not mine, this will lessen. Also its purpose has shifted. It used to catch the random bits, force me to build and maintain the writing habit, but I’ve moved that habit on to specific projects. It also began as a need to work through life’s lessons, a place I would mull over what I was experiencing and work out what it all meant. Over time, my boundaries shifted and I no longer desired to put most of those thoughts in a public sphere. Most of those posts have been made private and I keep a journal for them that is not on the internet. Finally, I’m bored with it. It isn’t what it was. It used to be a redesign gave it a charge when it felt sloggy, but this doesn’t work any longer either.

It might go through several incarnations. I can’t say for sure. All I know is that the name will change. Soon.

Tired, Tired, Tired, Tired

My insomnia is chronic. I wanted to say my insomnia is more than chronic, but it isn’t. Chronic is chronic; something can’t be more than that. Chronic is just one of those overused words. Acute? Unabating? Ceaseless? Persistent? Severe? Okay. I’m sounding like a thesaurus. That’s me. The 2 a.m thesaurus. Come to me for all your thesaural needs. Thesaural. Now there’s a word. I made that one up. I like it. I like it a lot. I can put it in my wallet and take it with me. I’m soooo tired. It must be apparent from what I’m typing here. I have dabbled off and on with morning pages.I don’t keep up with them, for two main reasons. First, the chronic, acute, unabating, ceaseless, persistent, and severe insomnia. Once I actually fall back asleep, I want to assure as many precious minutes of the stuff as I can. This means that consistently rising 10 or 20 minutes earlier is not going to happen on any sort of regular basis. The other reason is that most of what I write is silly nonsense. Silly, silly, silly. Foolish, stupid, unintelligent, idiotic,brainless, mindless, witless, imbecilic, doltish; imprudent, scatterbrained, featherbrained; frivolous, giddy, vacuous,inane, immature, childish, dotty, scatty, loopy, wingy, ditzy, screwy, thick, thickheaded, birdbrained, pea-brained, dopey, dim, dimwitted, halfwitted, dippy, blockheaded, boneheaded,and lamebrained. That time I did consult a thesaurus, as I think is evident. Because my brain is all of these things without sleep, I would not be able to compile such a list on my own. I might not even be able to during my sharpest hours, which really are rather dull these days because of the interruptions in my sleep. It’s amazing I can type. Or spell. My fingers do have an automatic bent to them when it comes to typing. They even know when I type a typo before I do and go back and fix it hardly before I have had a chance to notice anything is awry. Oh, and back to morning pages… I guess there isn’t anything more to say about morning pages, except I rarely write them, blasted insomnia being a big reason why.

I guess I should try to go back to sleep. It’s not yet 3, but heading there. For the longest time I thought I woke up at 4 or 5, but lately, I’ve decided to look at the clock and have determined that it is much earlier than I suspected. I also think I must lie awake longer, because light is usually creeping around my light-blocking shades and I’m still lying there awake. No wonder I’m so freaking tired all the time.

Being an insomniac and writing this in the middle of the night will probably not stop the immediate liker from a blog that isn’t really a blog. I swear, these sites must set up some computer to like stuff automatically. I’m not sure the benefit to it. Maybe they think I’ll click back to buyabigscreentv.wordpress.com. The likers and followers have gotten increasingly more commercial of late. I don’t like the whole like and follow thing anyway. I prefer the way it used to be when people mostly actually commented. But everyone is facebooking everything. Gag. Anyway, there is no way some of these sites could have had a human read what I say and like it as fast as they show up. I hit publish, and simultaneously I get an email telling me some advertising site liked me. Oh, boy! They liked me, they really liked me!! Whatever. I won’t click on a blog with a name that is obviously selling some crap and isn’t a person. Also there seems to be a proliferation lately of sites claiming one can make a million sitting at home typing stupid crap on their computer. Sure, right. Tell me some more whoppers. I’m gullible. I don’t sleep. Bring it on. Just wait until I nap.

More Pointless Rambling

I started writing something, but it was so dumb, I had to erase it and start over.

Driving around, waiting in line at the movie theater, being alone nearly all the time (not counting when I’m with my daughters, which is most of the time), I have thoughts of what to write. It happens all the time. Then I turn on my computer and away it goes. I keep a notebook and if I’m in a position to write something down, I do, but mostly, I just forget. I did write an HM with a slash through it in my notebook to remind me to write something about the stupid signs on Highway 26. They are red HMs with red lines through them. NO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. Um, I hate to break it to the genius committee that thought that sign up, if someone was going to drive some hazardous materials somewhere, that person is not going to give a damn about that stupid sign telling them no hazardous materials are allowed. It’s real purpose I think (in my cynical mind) is that it is to make all of us driving along look up and think, Wow, those road department people are really looking out for us. No hazardous materials. Next time I’m driving some, I’ll make sure to take another route. Dumb.

Oh, another thing I’ve thought of a lot is that we are all people. The person who puts up that sign. The police. The president. All of us. It is humans letting others decide how things are going to be, all of us agreeing to follow some social order, that allows it to happen. It doesn’t even occur to people while they are doing it. If I don’t do what is allowable in society, some other people by tacit agreement, will take me down, one way or another. We get the ticket for running the stop sign, we pay it or the people who give out tickets will eventually get me, be it through a higher fine or a bench warrant or whatever. That’s the unquestioned part. But what if all the people along the way decided they didn’t care that I got that ticket and didn’t do anything about it? What if we all stopped paying mortgages and all the people working at the banks didn’t pay theirs either or do anything when we didn’t pay? Who is to stop this? It’s all the people along the way agreeing to do what they do as a group that allows all the behavior control to happen. It’s too bad that more people don’t go along with some things.

Anyway, I had more thoughts, but I’m tired. Funny how people now use the new handy, dandy WordPress LIKE feature, a’ la Facebook and whatnot. I kind of miss the comments. I used to get all kinds of comments, but now it’s just likes, which is fine. I get it. But anyway, I think it’s cool that people like what I write. I like it.

In Honor of Autumn, Dogs I Have Loved

Seven years ago today, I lost my first child. I chose Autumn the day she was born from a litter of twelve. For the next 11 years and 11 months, she was by my side through travels across country, marriage and divorce, and the birth of a new human baby. In honor and remembrance of our lives together, I am posting a piece of the book I wrote about her.  I miss my dear friend, my love.

The day Autumn died, I woke up and did not immediately know this would be the day. She was lying in the living room, half on the hardwood floors and halfway on the rug. She barely looked up to acknowledge my entering the room, a sure sign something was off, but she had been listless for days because of the unusual heat.

The night before, she had been so hot. So hot that after I removed her from the tiles on the bathroom floor and placed her in a cold bath, the place where her tummy had been touching the floor remained warm for hours. Literally hours. A sick and dreadful feeling filled my stomach when I walked into that bathroom so long after putting her in that bath and could feel the warmth in the floor where she had been.

The heat of those summer days finished her off, I have no doubt of it. She could not withstand the hundred degree temperatures. The last few days before she died, I would come home and find her inert with exhaustion. She would not move. Her stomach would feel like an iron. I would then run a bath of cool water and lay her in it. This perked her up because she needed that cooling off. I don’t know whether her body was incapable of regulating its temperature anymore. The diabetes did so much else to her body; I could see it killing her thermometer too.

That morning, she was lying there and I didn’t immediately register how badly she was doing. I began to get ready for work, roused Milla out of bed, was busily doing my thing, when I made a horrific discovery.

Neon green ooze had leaked of Autumn. It looked like she had peed and was lying in it, but it was not yellow. The color was not anything I had seen from a living thing before, the color of a summer lime popsicle. My entire body went cold upon seeing that ooze. I carefully cleaned it up and moved Autumn into the kitchen. She was more listless than ever. She could barely stand. My throat was tight. It was beginning to dawn that she would not reach her twelfth birthday.

What was that, the desire for her to reach another birthday? All along while dealing with this wretched disease, I had wanted her to reach another birthday. After her initial diabetic episode, I was not sure she would ever reach her eleventh birthday. Then it was Christmas. Then I began to think maybe she would just keep living through a few birthdays, just looking like a skeleton.

I realize now she was gradually worsening, but having her there with me every day I did not notice the decline. Up until three weeks before her death she still liked chasing things. She couldn’t see while she was chasing things, so we had to accommodate, but she still liked doing it. She even seemed to enjoy looking for the ball or stick or toy she could not see.

That’s the trouble with living with a degenerative disease; you don’t notice the degeneration because you’re so busy managing it. And when the good days completely outweigh the bad, which Autumn’s did, it is easy to forget that the one you’re taking care of is on her way out of this world.

And for some reason I had arbitrarily decided that Autumn had to make it to August 16 and her twelfth birthday. It was like that day could save her somehow, even though I knew in my gut it was not true.

While lying in the kitchen, more neon green ooze came out and she just laid in it. It was this that made it clear to me that Autumn was finally really dying. I gave her an insulin shot. I tried to feed her, but she would not eat. She would not even eat wet food. More dread. More tightening in the throat and drying in the mouth.

I knew.

I debated taking her to work with me, initially deciding against it. Then as I bustled about, fitting into the routine that made forgetting easier for the moment, I realized that if I did not take her to work with me I would not see her this last day and I could not do that.

I worried about the office, whether anyone would care that I dragged in my skeleton dog. I worried about her needing to go potty. I finally decided to bring a towel and tell anyone who cared that this child of mine, my first baby I picked out the day she was born, was dying and if that person was heartless enough to tell me to take her away I would tell them to go to hell, but no one did. No one said a word. If I hadn’t had clients, I would not have gone, but I’ve figured out working on my own that I am the only backup, the biggest drawback to self-employment.  The clients who came to see me that day were extremely sympathetic.  One woman who came in shared a similar story of losing her own beloved pet.

I still have the bowl Autumn drank from the day she died. I cannot bear to put it back in the office kitchen. The day I returned to the office after she died I bawled when I saw that bowl. I had heard people speak of feeling “raw” and I now know what they meant. I felt absolutely exposed those first days after she was gone, like nothing was protecting me. Vulnerable. Words I had heard and sort of experienced, but not like this. No, this was worse.

Watching someone gradually die is the epitome of the expression a blessing and a curse. You are blessed with having your loved one there with you, but you are cursed with their disease. One minute you are wishing they would just finally go, the next minute you are thrashing yourself for the thought, the guilt a cloak you wear constantly. When they finally go, those moments creep up on you, those moments when you had ardently wished the afflicted would die, and you curse yourself, wondering whether your wishes contributed to their demise, knowing intellectually this is not possible, then reasoning emotionally that perhaps the dying one felt your anger and this brought their death sooner. Guilt:  a horrible, ugly poison.

I know guilt is not one of the traditional stages of grieving, but they ought to add it to the list for those of us who have lived with someone who has a degenerative illness. It has to be there for all of us. I cannot imagine anyone being a one-hundred percent perfect nurse to a degenerative patient, and those moments when you are not perfect come back to haunt you. Maybe only a little bit, but they are there. I like to think I’m an emotionally healthy person. I’ve managed to talk myself out of those moments, but they came up nonetheless and they can be brutal during the first days after the loved one dies. Like little bits of acid spray on the raw wound of grief.

Mostly though, I remember Autumn with tenderness and affection. Her body was so decrepit in the end, such a mess. A few months after her death, I watched a video I took of her two weeks before that day and her body was an emaciated skeleton. So sad. I took the video that morning because I thought that was her last day, rather than the day she actually died.

Throughout her life Autumn followed me wherever I would go, no matter how trivial or short the trip. Going into the kitchen for a glass of water?  There was Autumn, at my side. Going for a short visit to the toilet?  Autumn would rise from wherever she had been lying, follow me in, sighing heavily as she laid down next to me, then rising again thirty seconds later to follow me back to wherever I had been.

On that last day, when work was over, I picked Milla up from school and we headed south out of town for Dr. Fletcher’s in Albany. Debbie and Robert maintained a phone link, planning to be there for me in the end. I called Dr. Fletcher as well, to let him know we were on our way.

It was a warm day, hot and yellow. Autumn lay on the front seat, curled up. I kept petting her and sobbing. During those moments I kept thinking to myself that in an hour and a half, she would not be there anymore, that I would drive home without her, that I would never see her again. Ever. The finality was like a cement brick to the head. I could barely drive through my tears.

When Autumn was little and she rode in the car with me, she would lay her head across my forearm as I held the gear shift. As we drove, I placed my arm on the seat next to her and she rested her head there, our last moment a microcosm of our life together, our last hour.

The sun was still fairly high when we arrived at Dr. Fletcher’s near 6:00 that evening. The air outside the car was hot, so I left Autumn in the air-conditioning while I went inside to let Dr. Fletcher know that we had arrived. Debbie and Robert had already arrived and were waiting for us.

It’s odd. Since that evening, I’ve had many moments of extreme stress where my body felt like it could barely handle taking another step, but my mind knew it had to and forced it to keep going, but that night I had not experienced anything like that in my life before, and it felt overwhelming, that forcing myself to go when I did not want to.

I returned to the car and carefully lifted Autumn from the seat. I held her close and walked over to a grassy spot next to the parking lot. She was so light, barely fur and bones. I held her closely in my lap. She did not lift her head or try to walk around as she had the many times she’d been there before. I just held her, and pet her, and told her how much I loved her. Milla crouched at my side, her hand on Autumn’s neck. Autumn had been a part of her life since birth. Debbie and Robert stood next to us, and Robert snapped a couple of photos.

Dr. Fletcher held a large syringe filled with pink liquid as he walked from his office and across the lot to us. He did not say anything, he just walked up and put the needle in her forearm, then whispered to me to talk to her.

She died almost immediately. I pictured her spirit fleeing that prison of a body, flying off into the ether, she left so fast.

Earlier that year, my mom had to put her dog to sleep. It took him several minutes to die. Autumn died so quickly, it just seemed like an escape. I truly imagined her flying away.

Dr. Fletcher helped me to place her body in the wooden box I had brought to bury her in. It’s a strange experience, carrying a box with you to hold the body of someone who is alive when you start out, but whom you know will be dead, so you carry a place to put them when it’s over.

I buried her in Debbie’s back yard. I wanted her in a place I knew I could come to for as long as I lived. I wrapped her in a special blanket and covered her with a shirt of mine. She looked curled up, like she was sleeping. I have seen a dead human once; that person did not look asleep to me, but very dead. Autumn was not like this. I know it sounds almost trite, but she just looked peaceful, resting. Useful words to describe how it is.

It took a long time to dig the hole, longer than I expected, plus it was hot and the ground was really hard. I had to pick with a pickaxe, then dig with a shovel, then pick again. It was after dark by the time the digging was complete.

Before I lowered the box into the hole, I opened it, and pet and kissed Autumn goodbye, even though she was not really there. I knew once she went into the ground, I would never, ever see her body again. Months later I would imagine losing control and going there, digging up the grave, and opening the box, just so that the last time I saw her wouldn’t have to be.

I found a perfect chunk of stone to place at the head of her grave. I surrounded it with bricks. A couple of weeks later, I came back and planted flowers all over the spot, a floral island in Debbie and Robert’s weedy back landscape.

When I visited the grave the following spring ten months later, the yard was full of wild and brown grass and weeds. Yet Autumn’s grave was covered with green, a grass that was a foot taller than the rest of the grass in the yard. It was a soft, green rhombus, Autumn’s little bed in the middle of the field.

Autumn was the first major death in my life that I actually remembered.  My grandma died when I was two, and apparently I missed her, but obviously a death at that age is nothing like death as an adult, or even as an older child.  The only other death I have experienced since Autumn is Robert’s, which broke my heart.  He died five years after she did, nearly to the day, of complications due to kidney failure.

Having now experienced the death of a close human, I can honestly say that Autumn’s loss was no less for me, and in many ways even more.  I grieved her closely for years.  Eight months after she died, I wrote in my journal that I was still mourning:

I ask myself why this grief can return so fresh eight months after her death. Then I realize that if she had been human, no one would begrudge my feeling this way, and I’m questioning the depth of my feelings because she was a dog.

I sat on the floor last evening near the couch and thought of Autumn and realized again that she will never be here. Ever. I hate the finality of that. I hate missing her so much. I hate the way it makes my heart hurt. I hate that I’m not allowed to feel this much pain because she is a dog and not a human. I loved her so much. I loved her more than any human until Milla was born. She was my first child. Of course I grieve. And I should not question that it has been eight months, or that she was a dog.

The idea for a book about her life tickled my brain shortly after she left me, and so I wrote down my memories of her death and illness while the pain was still fresh so I would not forget.  Then I had to put the book aside.  I could not write about her as a puppy without crying so profusely that I could not continue. Every so often I would remember something and take a note:  Don’t forget this about her! the note would read, whether it was the way she hopped up and down when I toweled her dry after a bath, or how she liked to hunt beetles. Autumn, killer of domestic bugs.

Autumn’s death was the first in a series of life events that nearly brought me to my knees, metaphorically speaking. Sad but true, the timing of her death in relation to everything else was actually fortuitous. Things went rather south with Bjorn once he entered a new relationship, and we suffered a rather protracted court battle for the better part of a year. During that time, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Bjorn’s new partner filed a bar complaint against me that lasted nearly a year. The area of law I practice changed drastically and my earnings plummeted to zero. Rather than lose the lovely little house into which I had poured so much of my energy, I sold it shortly before the economy crashed.

I am not so sure I could have managed Autumn’s illness while handling so many difficulties of my own. Yet perhaps I underestimate myself. It is amazing what one can endure when one has to, simply by placing one foot in front of the other, from one day to the next. Perhaps too, in living with her various degenerative ailments, I acquired the discipline necessary to meet further challenges.

Two months before Autumn died, I adopted an older greyhound. Her name was Edna, and surprisingly, she was a source of comfort in the months after Autumn’s death. She came to us having spent the bulk of her life in a kennel on racetracks. She had raced eight times and failed miserably at it, whereupon she was turned into a breeding dog. Edna had no idea how to traverse stairs or eat anything but kibble in a bowl. Teaching her these things and watching her make new discoveries was an utter delight. She brought us joy during those sorrowful days after Autumn’s death.

In April 2009 Molly suffered a severe seizure. The seizure was horrible. When I woke to her twisted body writhing on the floor, her eyes rolling in two different directions, feces and urine everywhere, I thought for sure she was dead. But she did not die. Three hours later, to the surprise of everyone who had seen her, especially the vet, Molly was 95% better. And she stayed better. The vet warned me that more seizures were to come, that she likely had a brain tumor and would continue to seize until one of them killed her, but that never happened. She never had another seizure.

Then four months later, Molly seemed to deteriorate before our eyes. She fell down the stairs to my then-boyfriend’s basement. She had been having difficulty with stability on slippery floors for some time and those stairs were covered in linoleum. She stopped wanting to eat. We thought maybe hard kibble was bothering her so we bought wet food for her. Molly gobbled that up like a starving beast and we thought things would improve, only the next day she did not want to eat wet food either. We fed her some by hand and she ate that, but the next day she wanted even less. Two days later when we took her outside to go to the bathroom, she slipped and fell going up the back porch steps, and the next day when she went out to go to the bathroom, she urinated, then lay in it.  Clearly something was dreadfully wrong. My dear, sweet, fastidious dog would never go anywhere near her urine if she could help it. We bathed her and I made an appointment with our vet.

Molly died the next morning. The vet said she had a large tumor in her spleen that had burst and her belly was full of blood. She said we could operate to remove the tumor, but Molly would likely not survive any surgery — there would have been no benefit in trying to save her life. She was fourteen years old.  Her body was old and worn out. Trying to keep her alive would have been selfish and cruel.

I am so blessed this creature was a part of my life for almost twelve years. She was always there, quietly in the background. Molly loved a lot of people. She was always so excited to see my mom or my good friends. She loved my boyfriend and enjoyed his company, following him around the house for a snack or to have her rear end scratched. She took a bit of time to warm up to a person, almost like she was sizing them up to determine whether they were worth her friendship. Yet once she decided she liked you, she always liked you and would remember someone after months or even years of an absence.

Upon hearing of her death, a close friend of mine said to me, “She was such a good friend and such a polite and gentle dog. What a blessing to have had her for so long – she loved you all dearly.”  These words were simply true. I am grateful Molly came to us. In her quiet way she was a fixture in my life for over a decade. Of the hundreds of dogs I could have chosen from the humane society that cold, winter day, I am so thankful I chose her.

In winter of 2009 I moved to New York. I had been telling Milla for months that after school let out for the summer, I would get her a small dog of her own. During the school year, we would prowl shelters and pet stores, seeing what was out there, looking for a new friend.

One afternoon in April, we stopped in a dog store after going out to a movie. While there, a small, impish, white maltipoo greeted me with enthusiasm and delight. She climbed up on the railing to the display area, hanging over the bars begging me to pet her.  She was utterly charming.

The store owners brought the little dog into a fenced area in the middle of the store so we could play with her. Milla and I sat and enjoyed her company for a half an hour before she wore herself out and settled in for a nap. As we rose to leave, I reached over the bars and lay my hand on her side. Something traveled between us in that moment. I felt her entire body relax beneath my fingers. She sighed and stretched her legs. I fell in love.

After we left I could not get the little dog out of my head. She was ridiculously expensive and I had determined we would be adopting a shelter dog. However, I kept thinking of her and early the next morning, which was Easter, I decided that I would call the pet store. If they were open, I would offer them less than half their asking price for her, the same price I would pay to adopt a dog in New York. If they accepted, I would go and get her. I called the store, they were open, and they accepted my price immediately.  Milla and I rode the subway north to Washington Heights and brought her home with us. I named her Ava.

I was already in love with this delightful creature. There are some just dog things, such as the way they trot in front of you with their ears back, heading where you’re heading, that I adore in this dog of mine. I love how wherever I go in the house she follows me, like Autumn did. It was one of the hardest things to lose when she died.

Ava also has her own unique quirks that I specially love about her. She sits on my feet. If I am in a place and standing and talking or sitting and talking to someone else, she perches on my foot. She will do this when I am saying goodbye to Milla as she leaves the house to go do something and I am staying home. Ava sits there on my foot, as if to say I am staying here with herYou go have fun. We will be here when you get back. Then as I move into the house to do whatever, she follows me. She likes to sit on the corner of my bed look out the window or watch me while I’m sitting at my desk. She hovers with her paws over the edge of the bed frame, her head rested on them, looking at me.

Ava makes distinct faces all her own. The most common is what I call her happy face, her mouth slightly open, tongue out, eyes bright, often one ear cocked. She’ll turn her head slightly as if to ask Do you want to play? In these moments I stop what I’m doing and play with her. In the morning, when she wakes up, she has the most incredible bed head. Her eyes are all sleepy, her hairs all akimbo. She’ll crawl to the top of the bed, as if the effort is more than she can bear, then sigh and relax as we snuggle and pet her.

Later, wild dog comes out, chasing bears and fozzies, rattling them mightily from side to side until they are dead. Sometimes she brings them to us and requests that we throw them. We do, because watching her little sheep butt run away to get them is one of life’s greatest joys. She does not like these stuffed creatures to see anything. Within a half an hour of getting a new stuffed toy she removes its eyes. Perhaps she does not want it to see her remove all its innards piece by piece. More likely she loves that the pieces are hard and fun to chew.

After Ava has a bath she runs through the house like she’s on fire, ears back, bolting from room to room. What is that, dogs running after baths? I understand their desire to rub themselves dry on the floor, but the running around after, I wonder why.  Almost every dog I have ever owned has gone running after getting a bath. However, none of them have run like Ava does. The others have all just gone for their run to dive into their rubs. This one just runs like a bat out of hell from room to room, then comes and stares at me with the happy face, tongue lolling out, eyes bright. Then off she goes again to make another round.  It’s hilarious.

Ava isn’t thrilled with the bath itself. She is actually one of the more obnoxious dogs I have had to bathe. It’s a good thing she is small and easy to hold down because she really hates it and tries to escape. Yet she is intrigued by the bathtub, or rather, people showering or bathing. When Milla takes a shower, it is a guarantee that Ava will be in the bathroom standing on the edge of the tub, peeking around the shower curtain, her little sheep butt wagging its mini tail. When either of us bathe, she comes and stands and looks in. Maybe she is curious why we would want to do something so hideously awful. Or perhaps she just wants our company. Maybe it’s a little of both.

Ava truly loves to snuggle. She is thrilled at her ability to jump on the bed. She could not always do it by herself, but she grew and figured it out, and now seems to take great pleasure in both jumping on and jumping off. I can jump on the bed!  I can jump off the bed!  See?  I launch myself many feet past the bed!  Aren’t I skilled?

She will jump on the bed if I am lying there and come and lie across my neck and sigh. She’s my little doggie stole. She’ll snuggle there a while and get kisses from me, and strokes and rubs. She knows I do not like her to lick me. She does not even try anymore.  My ex-boyfriend lets her kiss him — I think it’s gross — but Ava knows he doesn’t mind so she licks him all over. The only time she licks me is when I get out of the shower. She will come in and lick the water off of my feet  until I dry them.

This dog makes me happy. That’s the simple fact of it. She came along when I was very sad. There were so many reasons, many of them huge, for my sadness. One the biggest was grief over the loss of the dogs who had lived with me. I would have dreams about them, dreams they were still alive or still lived with me. Vivid dreams. Then this little dog came to live with me and I suddenly felt the desire to laugh again. I laugh every day living with her. She’s a happy, wonderful little spirit. Frankly, I’m completely smitten.

Years and years ago, I may not have even been out of my teens, I read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. I don’t remember much of it at all. I read it because it was a bestseller, and I don’t even recall its premise beyond the title.

However, I remember one thing vividly. Peck argued that humans can never really love a dog, or any other animal, because to love as he defined it requires reciprocation in kind. My feelings in response to his position are unchanged: I wholeheartedly disagree.  Life is full of different kinds of love. Some loves are equally reciprocal, usually with the person we choose as a mate, but also with certain friends or even family members. By Peck’s definition, I could not truly love an infant or a small child or someone who does not love me back in the same way and with the same articulation.

What a limiting view of human capacity. I absolutely loved my dog. It did not matter that her adoration of me was different. My love for her was there, and it still is. Autumn was a gift and I will love her forever. She helped to teach me selflessness. She brought me joy. She increased my humanity. For this and so much more, I will be forever grateful.

How to Crap Your Pants in One Fell Swoop

This morning I came into work (early, I might add). I turned on my computer. I usually just send it to sleep, and it wakened without any issues. Then in the corner a little box popped up from my anti-virus program to remind me yet again that I needed to reboot for changes to take effect. What the hell. I’m in early. Why not?

Why not, indeed.

When the computer came back to life, it was not my computer. I logged in as me, but everything that defined this computer as mine was gone. All the programs. All the files. All the everything. Gone. Gone. Gone.

Commence crapping.

This is how to crap your pants in one fell swoop: Turn on your computer, reboot at the instruction of a sinister little box posing as one of your friends, and discover all of your work, work that is not backed up because every time you tried it would freeze your computer so you stopped trying, gone.

I’m now backing up using an online program. Thank goodness for system restore and thank further goodness it worked. I’ll get back to you all later and let you know how it goes. Google docs? You’re my new friend.

Priorities

Sleep or work on the book? A deadline is looming. Usually sleep wins. Tonight book is going to win, at least for a time. I managed today to channel some irritation into my character who is feeling a bit pissy herself. It was a useful tool, this directing of energy into someone in the book. I’m tired though, so eventually sleep will win out and it is therefore necessary to sign off from this now.

Logging into wordpress, I realized today just how shitty my stats are lately. Used to be 100, 200 readers a day. Now I’m lucky to get up to 25. I suppose that’s the consequence of rarely writing on here and even more rarely writing anything beyond stupid little quips like this one. No one bothers to notice. But honestly, I don’t care much, not much at all. Baby, teen, book. These are the priorities. Typing that last word less than 8 times would be nice too.

Spammers

The spammers on WordPress who really, really want us to post their comments and crap are getting more clever. I wonder what third world country the drafters of these gems call home.  Some of them go to great lengths to get me to believe they are a real person with a real comment and not just someone trying to infiltrate the system.  The problem is that their comments have absolutely NOTHING to do with anything I wrote, and their grammar, spelling, and style are atrocious.

For instance, in response to a Pure Med Spa post, one spammer wrote:

I go there every summer. Been there 6-7 times. Speaking of the rorest and comfort, it’s excellent (and I’ve been to many other 5-star hotels so I can compare). Since you can find almost everything on the website, I’m going to tell you what the website does not: the rooms are very comfortable, very clean and nice, you will find many restaurants for your taste, many bars to keep you hydrated and happy all through the day, all kinds of water sports, archery lessons, water games, water gym, a fitness center and a friendly and caring staff. The food is great in the main restaurant you can find anything, from Turkish traditional food to sushi, and there are other restaurants as well (Turkish, Italian, sea food and barbeque restaurants). As for the beach and the sea, you can find beaches with clearer, bluer sea elsewhere in Antalya, such as in Kemer. The sea is a little bit wavy and therefore not very clear, you can come across seaweed floating on the water. But it’s great on the beach, you will find watermelon and corn service, iced towels that will relieve you from the hot weather. The nights could be a little bit boring, there is a show after dinner and there’s a disco, foam parties on certain nights, but for the ones who are looking for a crazier nightlife, the hotel staff is taking you to Lara to great clubs and parties.The pool area is very nice, around th olympic it’s quiet and peaceful, there’s a huge bar few steps away. There are enough sunbeds for everyone, and you get towels which you can change for clean ones as many times as you want during the day. Note that the rorest is a really big one and it is a 10-minute-walk from the beach to your room.I would recommend that you try to book a room on the upper floors and with a sea-view.The farther the room is from the elevators, the better the sight is (well you’ll have to make a few steps more but if you enjoy visual beauty, it’s really nice from the balcony at night especially if the moon is out!!) But there are also honeymoon villas, a VIP place, which make your vacation turn into an even more luxurious dream! You can order everything to your room, and your balcony opens up to the swimming pool, you won’t even have to step out of your villa but staying there is more expensive.I think you’ll really like it there. Here’s link to the website in English: If you have other questions, feel free to ask.Addition:Sorry, I have no idea about where to find the cheapest price. The prices are totally different for strangers.

That’s quite the comment!  It bears no relation to anything in the post. I think some computer algorithm pulled the word “spa” from the title and then they inserted this little travelogue, hoping I’d believe it was real. Problem is, the Pure Med Spa posts are NOT about traveling to a spa. Not even close. They are about what ripoff artists the owners are.  If this commenter goes there often, they are probably missing a few thousand dollars and have been burned by lasers.

The other common type of pretend comment are the blow smoke up my ass comments, those who want me to believe and be therefore excited by the fact they are telling me how wonderful I am as a writer.  Oh, you’re so great! Your post is the best ever! Then they offer some small suggestion. This is all written with wretched grammar and even worse spelling.  SPAM.  Here is one of these:

Well, the actual post is in fact the best on this worthwhile topic. I agree with your results and will thirstily look forward to the incoming changes. Just stating thanks won’t just be satisfactory, for the wonderful clarity inside your writing. Let me at once seize your rss to stay knowledgeable of any revisions. Good work and a lot success inside your business endeavors!

Thirstily? That’s pretty intense yearning for what I write. The funny thing about this comment is that it was in response to a post about my winning lottery national via an email message. Kind of apropos, in a perverse way.

Then this, in response to my article on long term nursing.  Obviously, an algorithm or whatever pulled from the word breastfeeding, but no human read anything I wrote. It says:

try the feed play sleep routine, i.e. brefoe bedtime give your baby his usual vegies and milk then let him play for about an hour or so and then let him sleep. if he wakes go into his room without turning on the light do not look at him but reassure him that you are there until he calms down and let him settle him self he may a cry a while but this is normal.it will get easier if you stick to it I did with my children and they still wake every now and then but they know I am there if they need me they are now 4, 7 years and 10 months.

First of all, I think this opinion on childrearing is a bunch of shit and that letting children cry it out teaches them not to trust. But that’s not the point. Note the lack of capitals at the beginning of sentences? Note the run-on sentences? “Brefoe” and “Vegies.” It’s not a real commentator. It also bears no real relationship to what was basically a post-feminist argument, and not a parenting article. Spam.

Good luck spammers, trying to figure out a way through. I have to give WordPress credit. They caught all but one of these and dumped them in my spam folder. I saw them because I check spam for real comments.

The Tin Shed (NE 14th and Alberta)

This blog needs something. It’s crapped out in the last year. Gone from a trickle to a drip. Part of it is that I don’t really feel like working out my own bs here anymore. I thought I did. I started doing that again a while back, but it felt weird. The other big reason is that I have an infant and work and having an infant is s full-time job in and of itself without the addition of a job outside the home. Plus, sad but true, I must not be such a full blown artist devoted to my writing because given the opportunity to sleep, I choose sleep, every time. Today I specifically set my alarm to get up earlier to write, so I suppose there might be hope for me yet, but it’s dicey. I have even toyed with the idea of shutting this blog down, but then where would everyone go to bitch about Pure Med Spa, Brite Smile, et al?

So in an effort to breathe new life into the thing, I’m going to use it to post my non-foody opinion about restaurants in Portland and nearby.  I eat out way too much, why not use it for something more than a hit on my pocketbook? It can be creative inspiration.  Then someday if I ever get enough reviews, I’ll make them into a pamphlet for no one to read.  I plan to change the look of the blog too, when I can find the time, but for now, this is it.

First review:  The Tin Shed, NE 14th and Alberta, in Portland.

The Tin Shed is my daughter’s favorite restaurant, namely because patrons can bring their dogs if they decide to sit on the outside porch. I give The Tin Shed high marks for service.  Nearly every time I have gone there the service has been impeccable. I say nearly because once I went there and had a server who visited our table maybe once after taking the initial order, but that was an anomaly.

Last night I ate there with my two daughters (age 9 months and 11 years), my mom, my three-year-old niece, and my dog.  The service was fantastic. I’m not sure if this is a regular feature of the restaurant, but it seems like I always get a primary server, and then everyone else really helps out. This was definitely the case last night.  We never had to want for drink refills or anything. The server brought the children their food as soon as it was ready, which was great considering the three-year-old wanted to climb on the table and baby was starting to grab everything in sight.

Immediately upon being seated, the server brought our dog a bowl of water. She spilled it minutes later, but the service was still canine thoughtful.

Oregon had 100 degree weather for about five minutes, then as is often the case here, it got cold again (I think it is about 60 degrees out right now). We were seated out on the patio because of the dog (doggie customers must sit at patio seating), and the wind started to blow. We asked management to turn on the heater above our table. They did so, which led to patrons at other tables asking for their heaters to be turned on. The patio toasted up nicely. The server also pointed us to a closet filled with blankets we could use. Now that’s cool (or warm, as the case may be). We were all snuggled up at our table in blankets under a heater in July. Good, old climate change.

The food was delicious. I particularly like a dish called Baby Beluga. There isn’t any beluga in it.  It’s rice, avocados, spinach, raisins, and a few other vegetables, with a yellow curry sauce. I get the sauce on the side because it has a pretty good spice kick and I’m a wimp, but on the side, I can tolerate it just fine in smaller amounts.

The children each ordered noodles with butter and Parmesan. The Parmesan was the real stuff, not that powdery, disgusting crap.  The noodles were swirly, which the children loved. Good stuff. Mom had the stack sandwich. My daughter’s dad has gotten that before and both he and my mom give it rave reviews.

I only have one small complaint. Our table was next to the entrance, and up on a curb. I tripped on the curb sitting at the table, and my mom actually tripped and fell backwards about five feet into the planter behind her.  If she had been holding my baby, both of them could really have been hurt.  The host said there was supposed to be a planter there.  I suggest they return it there pretty immediately, or they might have a lawsuit on their hands. It’s really quite dangerous.

Actually, I take it back.  I have another complaint, although it did not apply last night.  Any time I have eaten indoors, the music has been too loud. When music is so loud that conversation is difficult, it’s too loud. Restaurant lately seem to like to play music really loudly. I personally hate this. I find it extremely distracting. I never like it. If I wanted to go to a disco, I would go to a disco. I do not like to shout to my dinner companions, and if I’m eating alone, I like to read, and I don’t like reading in a disco. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I can’t stand it, and it is one reason I have passed up The Tin Shed on occasion.  Other than that and the unsafe curb table, I really like the place and recommend it.

Pretending This is a Better Waste of Time

I’m ashamed to admit how much time I can waste on Facebook.  I only signed up about a year ago.  It was a nice tool for keeping in touch with Portlanders after we moved to New York.  Then it became a nice tool for posting information about the baby.  Lately I find myself surfing around friends’ friends and seeing if I missed any potential friends.  I also respond to nonsense.

I read somewhere that studies have shown that surfing these sites releases some neurotransmitter similar to getting a drug.  We keep coming back for more to get that neurotransmitter, but it doesn’t provide the satisfaction of a good, real conversation.  I think I relate.  I crave connection, but with all our running around, it’s hard to get together with people.

I was sitting here tonight, reading down the News Page again and thought to myself that if I’m surfing useless Facebook information, I’m not working on my article, I’m not working on my book, I’m not writing on my blog, I’m not sewing the Presidents Day dress I want to make for Isabel.  I’m wasting time.  So here I am, writing this useless piece of information about my wasting time.  Such a better use.

Right.

I Used to Be Prolific

I used to be prolific on this blog. Now I’m not.  I wrote and wrote and wrote here.  Now I don’t.  It can’t do for me what it used to do, isn’t the place where I can write what I need to write much of the time.  I have toyed with the idea of ending it, but nah, I don’t need to do that.  I like its place.  There is still stuff to be said here.  I have other outlets I can use for the other stuff I can use instead.

I thought of a story while running yesterday. Often these running brain stories fritter away after I stop running.  Last week I thought of one with a mailman and a person in their house and their conversations, but later it seemed stupid.

But the one I thought of yesterday I kind of like.  It’s filling out, taking shape. Tonight I actually wanted to work on it, so I will.  It might take more time from this blog, but I don’t mind.  I like getting ideas that I want to write about; they give me something to look forward to.

Baby Blog

When Milla was a baby, I kept a diary of her first days in pen and paper format.  Since she was born, blogs have appeared on the world scene.  I started keeping track on this blog because honestly I had nothing else I was interested in writing about and this seemed as good a place as any to write about her.  However, someday when I actually feel like writing about something other than Isabel, I would like to have this blog for that purpose so I set up a blog especially for Isabel.  It is called Days of Isabel and can be found here if anyone is interested.  In the meantime, this blog will continue to be what it has been.  I will leave up the Isabel posts, although they are transferred completely to the other blog as well.

Pregnancy Brain

I heard someone say or I read somewhere that “pregnant women are stupid.” I have to agree. Having gone from a person with so many thoughts running through my head I had to start a blog to deal with them all so I could focus on the other stuff I wanted to write, to someone who can barely compose a coherent sentence, let alone an entire blog piece, all in the span of just under 8 months, I have to agree.

The end of the first trimester and beginning of the second were the worst.  I look back at my blog posts from that time.  The number of posts start to dwindle.  The topics become more inane.  In fact I wrote about the fact that my brain seemed not to be functioning as it had previously.   And I just wrote about the concern, but there seemed to be no real pressing urge to change it.  I was sitting there muddled in a fog.

Gradually over the last few weeks I have started feeling somewhat clearer, but by brain in no way compares to how it was when I was not pregnant.  My energy levels certainly don’t.  I have always been the sort of person who has a list of 20 things to do and gets all of them done with time left over.  Now?  Now it’s a feat if I remember, oh yeah, I have that appointment today, and manage to dress and get to it on time.  Then that’s it.  I’m done for the day.  I also used to clean the house once a week.  Now it seems it takes seeing pink around the drain in the tub to remind me to clean mildew, or the dog chewing up a roll of toilet paper to force me to drag out the vacuum cleaner.  About the only thing I’ve remained regular on in the housecleaning department is keeping the kitchen clean.  Of course, our kitchen is so tiny, if it isn’t kept clean it’s a disaster within 2 days so the “mildew ring” shows up sooner, so to speak.

Words also used to flit off my tongue.  I had a thought and a response to everything.  Often these thoughts had some intelligence behind them, and I would analyze and think around all the angles.  Not anymore.  Now I don’t even have the thoughts, let alone intelligent ones.

I have some great writing projects I’m working on.  They are like cars with broken batteries.  I give them a jump.  I get them going for a bit.  Then they stop again and languish, waiting for AAA to come and jump them again.  Only AAA takes its own sweet time.  I took months completing and revising a short story I’m pretty pleased with.  I was at the query phase, ready to send letters to the magazines I had chosen.  Incidentally, choosing the magazines took weeks.  Then I started to write the query letter, but it didn’t roll off the fingers as such letters had in the past.  I had to write something saying what the story was about.  Stuck, I stopped for the day, then took a trip to Portland, and I still haven’t finished.  It’s on the list.

The list.  I’ve started making these because I forget things.  I was never much of a list maker in my personal life.  As an attorney, I had lists.  I had calendars.  I am extremely organized.  But I never had to in my personal life.  Now I do.  If I don’t make a list, even the stories and non-fiction pieces I’m working on are forgotten.

I realize pregnancy has hijacked my brain.  I realize at some point the thoughts will return.  However, I also realize that soon there will be a little baby to take my attention and getting these things done will be a practicality nightmare.  This realization is somewhat overwhelming.  Will it be years before I get my brain back?  Will the stories I have been working on be dated by then?  I feel the urge to complete these projects, but can’t seem to get them done.  However, I have stopped just lying in bed in the morning when I can’t sleep after I had to get up for the tenth time to pee.  I have started coming here and writing a little bit now and then.  So maybe there is hope.  I guess it will be obvious by the number of posts I make here.  Or not.

My Response to a Comment

I received a comment from a reader of my post yesterday.  I have posted the writer’s comment here and responded individually to specifics.

“You might think that the fact that you use words as “vilify” makes you an authority on something which you obviously know nothing about.”

By phrasing your opening line with the words that I “might think” something, you limit logical denial.  However, while I “might think” using the word vilify makes me an authority on something, I don’t.  My use of the word is as a verb to describe behavior of certain people.  How is it you prove I have no “obvious” knowledge, because I did not give a history of religious bigotry in an opinion piece?  I need not give such a history; your own letter proves my point in its last line.

“You vilify Christians in the same breath you claim we vilify you.”

Show me where I say anything about Christians and show me where I vilify anything.  I am making a valid criticism of organized religion.  You jump to conclusions and take it further, ascribing my criticism to Christianity, then claim I am vilifying, all in the same breath.

“You don’t understand us, but yet we are supposed to understand you.”

Again, this comes from nowhere.  My fundamental thesis requests that we look hard at religion, that we seek understanding.  You miss this point entirely and as you do in your entire letter, making assumptions and jumping to unjustified conclusions.  You state I want “you” to understand me; does this mean you think I am in a minority and want religions to understand me?  Is it something else?  I offered an opinion, I did not ask for religious tolerance of what I had to say.

“It seems that whenever any group of people creates a movement with the same rhetoric you espouse, you want to play with a different set of rules and on a different playing field.  Your attitude and language mirrors that which you abhor in Christians.”

What rhetoric is it that I espouse, that we should look at religion’s place in furthering intolerance and bigotry?  I suppose you are right that I want to play with a different set of rules on a different playing field because I am not arguing we use intolerance and bigotry in making this examination.  And again, where in anything do I specifically mention Christians?  Where do I show abhorrence?  In asking we stop intolerance and bigotry?  Is that abhorrence?  It seems you are the one with the attitude, as well the one who is jumping to conclusions and making assumptions.

“Have you thought about that?”

Why yes.  See my previous response.

“You make leaps and bounds and speak with hyperbole, and use circular reasoning to prove your point.”

Ironic, considering this exactly what you have done through this entire diatribe. Making leaps and bounds?  You have done so by assuming I speak only of Christians.  I said religion.  Does this mean only Christianity qualifies in your narrow mind?  And where exactly is my hyperbole, in claiming religion is used as an excuse in most bigotry?  This is not overstatement; it is truth.

“I don’t think you’re going see people give up on religion.”

Did I make such a request?  No.  I said we need to look at religion honestly to see its place in bigotry.  I did not say do away with it.  Read my words, don’t jump “leaps and bounds.”

“After all, religion is a word that people don’t understand.  What we really focus on is a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

As is typical with those of your ilk, you think the only religion is yours.  There is no response to your narrow-mindedness.

“You don’t have to understand us or believe the way we believe, especially with regard to sin and our own sinfulness.  But, then again, we don’t have to understand you or believe the way you believe, either–even if you don’t want to believe that there is such a thing as sin.”

Again, as with this entire pointless rant, you make assumptions based on your own beliefs, not based on anything I have said.  And again, there really isn’t much one can do to respond to your own imaginings.

“So, I will respect you and let you live the life you want to live; but, please, respect me and let me live the life I want to live without the name-calling and generalizations.”

Name calling?  Where in what I said did I call anyone any names?  You are deluded.  And if this entire letter is your being respectful, I would hate to see what you consider disrespect.

“The proposition was voted, and unfortunately for you, you are in the minority.”

Yes, thanks to religion and the hatefulness of most people like you, bigotry is alive and well.  Thank you for proving my point.

Wacky Head

I guess I should just accept the part of myself that no matter how many times it happens, I will only remember that when I’m starting to chomp at the bit and get a little wacky in the head it means I haven’t been writing, even if I’m just writing nonsense like this.  It is probably even further evidence I should be writing nonsense like this rather than trying to write anything intelligent.  Part of the reason I have not been writing lately is that I can’t seem to think of anything intelligent to say.  I can’t even think of anything not intelligent to say.  My brain has been a vacuum.  Well, that’s not true.  But it’s been caught up in wanting to leave Hawaii and not much else.  The foolish thing about this is I should just write even if what I have to say is pointless because it helps to leak off some of the pointlessness thereby leaving room to possibly think of something a little less mundane.  And so it goes.

So here I am draining off the air, releasing some of the unimportant crap in order to clear my head.  We’ll see if it works.  The way things have gone in Hawaii over the last couple of days, all I can really think of is my escape and whether I will make it off this island.  I actually had the completely irrational thought that Hawaii would not let me go, that I would die here.  I told my boyfriend if this happened I want him to fly me to Oregon and bury me there.  Just don’t leave my body here.  You can see why there isn’t room for intelligent thought.

Blogging to Ease Off

Busy busy.  Feast or famine, right?  I went for weeks with little to do except going to the beach, taking Milla to school, and working on some stuff I’m writing.  I would apply for jobs, go to interviews, and other interim things, but for the most part, I was bored out of my skull.  Then Boyfriend came to visit and we decided to move together to NYC and life suddenly hit warp speed,  I decided definitively to apply to grad school at Columbia.  I met a publisher who liked my work and offered me some editing assignments.  My housemates have a friend who needed help in her costume shop.  I have been writing pieces on Huffington Post and wanted to keep going with that.  Literally, all this hit at the same time and I was suddenly buried in things to do, so much so that I felt enormously pressured.  On top of it, my darling Milla went to visit her dad.  He has some changes going on in his life and it will be good for them to spend some time together until I get there, but I miss her like my arms are missing.  Yikes!

Anyway, life has not been conducive to daily writing on the blog, althugh I am getting writing done, just not here.  But I feel like I need this as a mental outlet and when I’m not getting it, the pressure seems only to increase.  Luckily today I was able to take an additional day off from the costume shop.  This is a good thing because I have started to feel like I’m coming down with something.  I woke up coughing twice last night and it took a while to stop.  This morning I was buried in the throes of sleep when Boyfriend sent me a text message at nearly ten that woke me up.  Thank goodness!  I would have kept sleeping all day at that rate.  My body is telling me to find a way to ease off.  Okay, so here I am.  Blogging to ease off.

Published!

So how cool is this?  I submitted an article to Huffington Post and they accepted it!  It is a piece I wrote here on this blog about Sarah Palin.  If you’re interested in viewing it, go to the link here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lara-m-gardner/lowering-the-glass-ceilin_b_128346.html

If you like what I wrote, feel free to hit the buzz up button.  The more hits I get on that, the more likely the post will make it to a more visible page.

Ginormous Headache

My head hurts like nobody’s business, right at the base of my skull in the back.  I slept wrong.  I wear this eye pillow.  It was cockeyed, plus my regular down pillow had slipped under my shoulders, so I awoke basically balanced on this little lump of eye pillow and my skull screaming in pain.  Every time I turn my head, I see white light and feel like vomiting.  The only thing that alleviates the pain is to stab my thumb or a finger deep into the tight muscle.  Unfortunately because of the angle, my arm cannot twist that direction very well.  I’ve tried stretching my neck to the front and back, left and right, to no avail.  This is so much fun.  I think I’m going to have to try an NSAID, and I generally avoid taking medications for such things.  Only for this, I don’t care.  It hurts that much.

I don’t know why I”m blogging about this.  It’s kind of a ridiculous subject.  But I told myself I would write some blurb every morning and all I can think about right now is this headache and Vantucky.  I know.  It’s silly.  There is a town next to Portland called Vancouver.  Portlanders call it Vantucky.  The reasons for this are self-evident.  Boyfriend is going to Vantucky this morning and he called me on the way. For some reason, the word Vantucky is stuck in my head, along with the headache, and the lyrics to Judy Garland singing I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.  It’s quite a combination, I can assure you.  The song is getting annoying.  It’s been crawling around in my head, worming its way through the neurons for days now.  I’m ready to be rid of it.  I will have to listen to something else over and over and over in an effort to make it go away.  Then that song might get stuck, but at least it will be a different song.  Last week it was Cape Verdean Blues.  I did not mind that song being in my head.  It flittered around, showing up periodically.  I would hum bars of it here and there.  It did not sit insiduously on one line for hours like the chasing rainbows number.  No.  It was a pleasant visitor.  Chasing rainbows is like a houseguest who has overstayed her welcome, leaving empty dishes around the house with food stuck in them and her underwear in the bathroom with the crotch up.  I want her to leave me.

I’m off to take drugs to try to obliterate this headache, then I need to take my baby to school.  Hopefully by the time I return home the drugs will have kicked in and this pain will have been alleviated.  If not, I’ll poke a nail in my hand.  It would probably feel better than this wretched headache.

I Cannot Think of a Clever Title for this Post

I have not been writing as much here as I usually do because I have been working on a book idea that I have.  It’s an academic book so I’ve been doing some research in an attempt to solidify a thesis argument.  I have also been researching grad school programs to determine whether it might be worth my while to turn this idea into a dissertation (it’s that sort of book).  It might be useful to turn it into a dissertation because I could get a degree that would allow me to teach if I wanted to.

As an undergrad I wanted to become a university professor.  I entered the honors program at my university because it was designed to determine whether one would be interested in that track.  After spending a year on my subject and writing the thesis, I decided I was not interested enough in any one subject to become an expert on it.  Since then, I have often wondered how different my life would be if I had made that choice instead of law school.  I have considered attending law school one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.  I decided to attend law school because I thought it would be a way to make money while writing.  I realize that for me, making money should never have been part of the equation.  It’s one of those life lessons that are often talked about, but have little meaning until you experience them yourself.  Actually, thinking about it now, if I had chosen grad school then, it would not have been the right choice because I was not fired up enough about any one subject to become an expert on it.  Oh, I probably would have liked my job better than I liked being a lawyer, but it still would not have been just right for me.

Since I have had this idea for a book/dissertation, it is nearly all I can think about.  I believe that if I had been this fired up about a subject when I was considering graduate school as an undergrad, there would have been no question I would have gone that route.  I would have wanted to pursue something that arduously if I was passionate about it.  This latest is a subject I have been thinking about, talking about, and even blogging about for about 8 months now.  The friends of mine I’ve told about it kind of go hmmm, like Lara is nuts.  I just can’t get it out of my head.  Lately, I see and hear more and more around me that make me want to write about it even more.  The idea is solidifying, taking form.

This is how it was for me when I had the ideas for the papers I wrote in law school that eventually became law review articles.  One of them started niggling my brain in a constitutional law class.  The professor had made a passing remark about something and I started turning it over and turning it over, wondering and thinking.  I finally went and spoke to one of the con law experts at our school, an absolutely brilliant constitutional law professor.  After discussing the thought with him, I still kept thinking about it.  I went back and asked him if he would advise me if I wrote a paper about it.  I had already written my A and B papers.  I did not have to write about this, I just wanted to.  He agreed to act as my advisor and I wrote the paper and published it.  I was similarly fired up about the subject of my A paper, and I got it published too.  I feel just as excited about this latest idea.  Maybe I can turn it into something.  If not, I can at least write about it and try to convince a couple of people that my argument has merit.  Rather than sitting around on the computer lamenting myself, I have been working on this book, giving it shape.  It is preoccupying.  I need to find a temp job, or some job, but I keep thinking about this and wanting to work on it instead.  Ah, the muse…

Some who read me may have noticed a rather large number of my posts disappeared.  Well, they are not gone, they are simply marked private.  This means they don’t show.  Why did I do this?  Ah, hell.  I don’t know.  I was having one of those days when I wanted who I have been, at least parts of me, to go away.  So I hid everything I had written.  I periodically go back and unhide certain posts when the whim strikes, but like I said, having a project to focus on has been quite useful for my overactive brain, leaving me little time to worry about myself, or to repost my writings, as the case may be.  It’s a good thing.  I don’t imagine people are going back and reading old posts anyway.  My saying this is not me being a martyr; it is me being realistic.  If I thought anyone really wanted a post, I would put it back out there.  I just doubt it’s that important.  I am not some famous author, after all.

Aaaaanyway.  Didn’t my professors tell me never to begin sentences with aaaaanyway?  Maybe not.  Anyway, if I don’t post, it is not because I have jumped off of a bridge or drowned in the ocean.  Rather I am likely holed up in the library here where I cannot check out books. Or I’m online researching grad school programs.  Rest assured, if I decide to kill myself, I will write about it first.