Tag Archives: dogs

LOSS


loss n. the state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value

ImageEnjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

– Robert Brault

I can’t walk in the house these days without feeling a little bit like a stranger. Each night when I drive home I bite my tongue before I tell Graham that we’re headed home to her. When we walk in the door, there is no one there to greet us, no one there to be happy that we made it through the whole day successfully. No train delays or daycare biting incidents. We take our victory lap at the place we call home.

The red sofa is empty and you can see how ruined the leather is from years of hound sweat. That same sofa we were so proud of when we bought it to be the centerpiece of the living room in our first house 10 years ago in Rhode Island.  We would find her on laying on it as a puppy and would shoo her off only to find her there again soon after. I remember the day we finally gave up telling her to shoo because she looked so happy sleeping there. Now there’s just a mark, an indent where she used to lay. The sofa feels out of place without her on it and the spit stain she used to leave on the French door is still there just because I can’t bear to wipe away a part of her.   

We always complained about the dog hair tumbleweeds that littered our home, reminiscing of a time 10 years ago when our house was so clean, but dog less. We’d talk about how we’d rather have her than a clean house and then would hint at a day long into the future when the dog hair would be gone, not knowing that that time would be approaching much sooner than we ever wanted. We didn’t realize that all of the food that we dropped would litter our floor instead and that each time we had to stoop and pick it up instead of calling her name would remind us of her absence.

There were so many times she was there when no one else was. The nights when I was all alone in a tiny apartment while Dan was traveling and she filled his empty space in the bed. The times when things were rough and crying was all I could do. She was always the silent shoulder of support who would lick away my tears and stay by my side until I fell asleep. When I quit my job to stay home and care for my newborn son in a lonesome new town, she was my only companion and friend. Sometimes the only thing that got me through the day was the comfort of having her familiar and peaceful presence.

I’ve come to believe that the level at which loss manifests itself in your life is inversely proportional to how much you loved the one you lost. My life is like a curio box, a sort of frame work that is filled with all of the little moments and insignificant things I collect that eventually add up to the story that is me.  These little things are tediously important in ways I don’t understand and I sometimes forget how essential some of them are to my happiness and hope. Sometimes I change them or replace them when I feel the need to. But when I lose one or many unexpectedly, they are not replaced easily or in short order. The light shines through to mark the emptiness that asks to be repaired so that the story will make sense again and I am only armed with memories and time to begin the work.

 

 

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personality


personality n. the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individuals distinctive character

I’ve been home for some time as a full time mom raising a young child, as you already know from reading this very blog. I have too much time to think about things. My brain seems to run all day. While I was driving to our morning coffee and munchkin ritual today, I got to thinking about personality and the role it plays in our lives. It’s such an odd thing – this term personality that we choose to signify all of the good, bad and ugly things we tend to do regularly. It becomes really important in our day to day lives and interactions. I think this scene from Pulp Fiction best sums it up.

In certain situations, I have been described as somewhat quiet. Growing up I was rather shy and would frequently not know what to say. Yet when you get to know me, whether through my writing or by just hanging out with me, you soon come to find out my quirky, goofy personality – my collection of characteristics that make me Kim. I’ve never actually sat down and thought about what these characteristics are. I suppose I can be a pessimist at times, but I always hold onto hope – so I’m not super negative or anything. I’d describe it as having a firm grip on reality. I can be stubborn – I’d rather say “determined” and that has led me to achieving goals I set in my little life. I love to laugh. Whenever I reconnect with people from my past they always mention how much I used to laugh…even if something wasn’t THAT funny. I think I’ve made quite a few people think they are actually a lot funnier than they are. I am terrified of bugs…and I mean terrified. I once called my husband crying on a business trip because there was a bee in house…in the room upstairs, with the door closed…completely distraught because I was terrified of going near it. I frequently make my dog Stella eat spiders and other insects I find around the house. She’s like a 60 pound furry aardvark. I would also say that I am somewhat of an idealist. I expect a lot from people. I assume that most will do the right and honorable thing all of the time and get really disappointed when they don’t. But I am forgiving. I love a genuine apology. I adore honesty even more.

So that’s sort of a summary of my personality. Just a blurb. I guess I can add that I love hip hop and gangster rap. Being a 5’2 very caucasian female adds some humor to that characteristic when you drive a large orange Honda Element with the whitest baby in the world sitting (and dancing) in the back seat.

I haven’t really cultivated this personality of mine. It’s taken me quite some time just to admit to some of the characteristics that comprise “me.” I feel it would be inauthentic – which is another characteristic for my collection. I like things as they are – unforced and natural – like my son. It’s somewhat refreshing to be around a toddler for this reason. He can’t help but show his true colors all of the time – especially when you don’t want him to. He  is the most authentic person I know. Perhaps sometimes a little too authentic. He’s terribly stubborn and outspoken at times. He can be a bit shy with new people at first but warms up pretty quickly. He loves to dance and be the center of attention. He is in fact very much a ham. He generally doesn’t want his mom to be doing anything but paying attention to him – including running with the jogging stroller. His personality was so strong today that he screamed the entire 2 miles drawing several looks of pity from everyone that passed us along the trail…including the wild turkeys and dogs.

I can already see how my own personality is starting to rub off on him…in not such pretty ways. I suppose it’s a good thing he spends so much time with the dog. She’s very calm and zen…and protects me from all of the spiders and bugs. Having a second insect killer in this household is definitely a good thing.

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cynanthropy


cynanthropy n. a form of madness involving the delusion of being a dog, with correspondingly altered behaviour.

Ms. Stella - My Own Beloved Canine

Dogs are in their heyday – a veritable canine renaissance is occurring as I write this. They have their own boutiques and wardrobes, gourmet food and superstores. They wear rain coats to keep their fur dry and have special sections of the park just so they can run and play with their fellow dog-kind. There is an entire industry of groomers and pet photographers that make a living off of primping up their fur and making them pretty. They have entire charities existing to save them from the harm of puppy mills, hoarders and general mistreatment. It’s even safe to say that some dogs have it better than some humans. The top 1% of dog society probably lives better than I do…so would it be so “mad” to want to be a dog?

I suppose many years ago, before dogs and cats became only second to humans as domesticated animals, being or acting like a dog would have appeared as somewhat alarming. Perhaps someone with this type of madness would drop down on all fours and begin herding people or animals. Maybe they bit random followers or sat by the front door keeping watch and barked when strangers came by. Perhaps they chose to live in a glorified hovel called a doghouse in the backyard. I do believe that although some dogs still perform the aforementioned duties,  the majority of canines live a much more luxurious life these days (do you know anyone who houses their dog in an outdoor shed?) and that having the delusion of being a dog would not be that far afield from being your average college student.

Let’s examine this, shall we?

College students sleep quite a lot, as do dogs – over 10 hours a day. I fondly remember my slumber as a college student. When you have minimal responsibility in life and the only reason you really have to get out of bed is to read Ulysses and sit for an hour to listen to a professor ramble on about Kant, you sleep really, magnificently well. It’s that deep kind of sleep where you wake up feeling new and refreshed. (Once you have a child or a job, this never happens again.) My dog sleeps very much the same way I used to so long ago. She is a 60 pound figure of peace laying amongst down throw pillows on my memory foam mattress…the bed I worked half my life to afford…for at least 10 hours a day. It is arguably her bed as she sleeps in it far longer than I do. So one point for dogs in that respect. My bed in college was a glorified twin cot…which was an upgrade from the top bunk of my freshman year.

College students don’t tend to eat very high quality food – mostly what can be scrounged up cheaply or found at the school cafeteria – cold pizza, cereal, ramen noodles. One would think that humans would win out on the food argument, but unfortunately I have evidence of the latter. Recently as I was in the pet store buying some supplies for Stella, my own personal Holstein – doppelgänger, I scoped out the selection of kibble being offered. Honestly, I don’t think most college kids could afford to eat what some dogs routinely enjoy. $40 seemed the average for the medium-sized bag. This food had organic lamb and rice or bison meat – no chicken beaks or grade B meat. I even noticed Gluten Free dog food – because dogs get celiac too, apparently? And it’s not as if most dogs even exclusively eat only kibble. They get half of what their humans eat most of the time. Since most students will have to do a minimum of dish washing and microwaving, the dogs win this point too as their lack of opposable thumbs means they will never lift a finger in the kitchen.

Well, college students have indoor bathroom facilities, you say? Have you ever been outside a college watering hole on a Friday night? Well – there is a bathroom in the bar, but let’s just say some collegiate members have been frequently known to squat when they need to – males and females alike – especially if the bathroom line is too long. I would think that fraternities and sororities could support this point as well. I have heard stories but have no firsthand experience with the Greeks so I would call this one a wash between dogs vs. students.

I could go on for days but, all in all, I wouldn’t say wanting to be a dog is completely crazy or even very much delusional. They have to be one of the most loved species of animal in existence and are finally coming into their own. It’s quite arguable that dogs are treated better than a good percentage of humans. However, they mustn’t rest on their laurels. If the internet is any indication, it would appear that the cats are hot on their heels…

he_knew_to_much_540

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nard


nard n. the Himalayan spikenard

Wikipedia’s description:

Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansi; also called nardnardin, and muskroot ) is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of China, also found growing in the northern region of India andNepal. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. It is found in the altitude of about 3000–5000 meters. Spikenard rhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and anherbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.[1]

Lavender (genus Lavandula) was also known by the ancient Greeks as naardus, nard, after the Syrian city Naarda.

The scent of Spikenard attracts cats, a strange phenomenon in itself.

I am at a loss as to what I should write about this one. The most interesting thing about this plant is that it attracts cats and can be used as a component in catnip. I’m a dog person. I’ve never had a cat, only dogs. I will admit that cats are way smarter than dogs, as judging by the 3 cats that sit on my back deck and taunt my dog everyday. Stella (my dog) goes to the same window everyday and barks as if this was something new although it happened the day before. The cats seem to get enjoyment out of it because she’s behind a door and they know she can’t get to them.

However, I am looking for unconditional love from my pets, not intellect. Cat’s seem to have their own ideas and agendas. They wander around out of doors on their own and are more independent than dogs. They have their own lives and adventures. I respect cats. If I had a great childhood, I might want a cat…but I need the love of a dog.

I’m not going to argue about whether cat people are better than dog people…or vice versa. I think they are just different types of people. There are a prevalence of cat videos and photos all over the web…more so than dog videos and I have frequently wondered why. I think it might be because cats exhibit more human qualities than dogs. Most of the videos and photos of dogs show them being goofy or stupid or with babies. Cat videos show more curiosity, vindictiveness, calculation…hence the adjective “catty.” Cats are more female while dogs are more masculine…there may be some personality analysis behind your preference, but I’m not qualified for this.

This word also brings to mind the TV Show, the Office…which I can no longer watch because Steve Carell is gone. I don’t like Andy running the Office and I find it unfunny and trying too hard, which is something the old Office never had to do…but Andy’s nickname is ‘Nard Dog, so it’s an interesting allusion to my mental wanderings.

In conclusion (and having nothing to do with the plant definition of this word) cats are smarter than dogs, but dogs are more loving and loyal…and The Office was way better with Steve Carell despite the combination of Nard and Dog in Andy’s nickname…well, I can’t say I haven’t made a new word association, albeit random.

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