Sunday, October 19, 2008

Moose's Tale

Well, I have acquired for myself a fine young Labrador Retriever. He is a very good boy named Moose, and I adopted him from the Plano Animal Shelter.

One day I just got a jones for my very own man's best friend, and I determined that I would have one before the day was out. Well, by the end of the day I had picked out my friend, but I had to leave him at the shelter with the fear of someone else adopting him, because I needed to get my apartment set up for him with kennel and food bowls, etc.



Moose is yellow and beautiful. He is one year old, and although he has Lab-like energy springing from an inner fountain of eternal youth, he contains himself much better than some Labs I have known, even including my favorite childhood dog, Maggie Blanchard. Although he tugs at his leash, he has yet to drag my flailing body down the sidewalk, sacrificing my flesh in his pursuit of any one of a plethora of neighborhood squirrels (yes, Maggie did that). We are trying to learn many things, starting with the basic commands ("sit") and moving up through the sophisticated lessons of Caesar Millan (whose lessons are mostly for the human regarding dog psychology). He is trying hard to be good in between urges to eat trash or cat litter or to pee on the carpet. I had to teach him how to go up and down the stairs to my apartment, but he's got it down now.

Yes, I said apartment. Now my 704-square-foot one-bedroom is shared between me, Moose, and Coconut the Cat. No, they're not friends yet. Yes, I am aware that keeping a Lab in an apartment is a very strange decision, but I felt certain that my activity level would justify it. I started out taking Moose on two 30- to 45-minute walks each day, until the vet told me to cool it. I myself am guilty of that fountain of undying energy from time to time, so Moose and I make a good pair.

You see, Moose is actually heartworm positive. :( This means that he has been bitten by a mosquito carrying the heartworms. I don't know how long he has been infected. The shelter found him as a stray, and estimated his age at 1 year. I have no idea why he was stray: did he run away? Was he let loose on purpose? Did something happen to his owner? How long did he live the stray life? I don't know. All I know is that no one came to look for him once the shelter picked him up, and so eventually he went on the market for adoption. Heartworms can discourage people from adopting, but the animal shelter pays for the procedure to be done on animals who are adopted once they have stayed with their new owners for at least two weeks and gotten all acclimated. Moose will have the procedure in approximately three weeks. The shelter workers told me that I'll have to keep him absolutely as quiet as possible for 1 month after the procedure, but what the vet told me is that I should really try to keep him as quiet as possible from now (before the procedure) until one month after the surgery! Consequently, Moose is feeling a little stir crazy these days ... he doesn't know I'm trying to save his heart from permanent damage resulting in death!

When we went to the vet last week, Moose almost turned himself inside out trying to befriend every person and animal he met. He had two ear infections as well as one other issue (too personal to mention here) that we received prescriptions for. The vet told me he has allergies and needs to take Benadryl twice a day! Otherwise, Moose is an incredibly beautiful and healthy dog. People stop and comment on his appearance all the time. He is gorgeous, and his temperament is heart-warmingly wonderful.

Soon I will take him for play dates with other dogs, but right now I have to keep him out of overly-exciting situations, per doctor's orders. After the next couple of months go by, Moosey and I will be running together every day. :) And Coconut... well... My Precious will one day appreciate the company, she just takes awhile to accept change. She and I have a lot in common that way.

Obligatory Political Statements

So, I'm guessing you're tired of hearing about the pre-election activities, unless you have been a genius and kept your nose out of the news entirely. You'd have to be more than a genius, I think you'd have to be a superhero with powers of avoidance and invisibility (so no one could rope you into a discussion about things).

I know the big talks revolve around the economy and the whole energy crisis, as well as health care and such. The brutal battles are endless. The jargon is absurd. John Stossel (sp?) is pretty much the only person I've seen on television to successfully cut through the crap and reveal the empty promises of both candidates, making a striking comparison with their claims and the claims of the last several Presidents: they all want to promise the same things, and they're still not delivering results. Interesting. Janet of course would understand that the President wields very limited power and that most of it is about the Senate and the House. :)

In my weekly youth group meeting we were talking and one of my girls told me that she believes God would vote for McCain because she thinks that it would make sense for God to be more conservative. We all laughed at this a little bit, just because of the absurd thought of God being confined to the lines that all us voters subject ourselves to. It's hilarious to imagine God joining in the petty squabbles of Presidential candidates. We concluded that God would most likely write Himself in on the ballot.

Somebody please tell me if every election has been about this, but for some reason it seems like this one is way more about what people want to get for themselves, rather than the difference between right and wrong. Has "What's In It For Me" always been the mantra? I think that's what the candidates are appealing to most, and it makes me sick. I don't particularly want to vote for anyone! I want to stand for something that's true... And I guess they're both finding themselves prone to bending the truth here and there. I just want it to be about what's right for our country, individuals, and the world. I guess it doesn't work that way, though.

I will vote, I will. I feel like it's my civic duty. But that's all it is ... just a duty. Not an impassioned decision made with moral conviction to be pro-somebody.

Disappondment

It seems like these days everyone I meet thinks I am 3-5 years younger than I really am. This is nice, I admit I am not in a hurry to age visibly.

I wish I felt so young.

There is nothing worse than disappointment. Some of the most searing losses I've experienced in my longer-than-it-looks lifetime have been the disappointment with people that truly held a lot of faith in.

It hurts worse to be disappointed with myself -- day in, day out. This makes me feel old because all I can see is wastedness. I don't know why this happens, but I know I'm not the only one to go through it. I've concluded that disappointments are a chief motivator of self-destructive behavior. It's a spiral: think a bad thought, believe it's true about yourself, and then start living accordingly.

When Christ set me free, I'm convinced it was for freedom from this downward-trending cycle of living as though "This Is What I'm Worth." It is so easy to think that we should spend our days berating ourselves for all our failings. Yes, we fail. But we are so loved. We are so precious. We are so created in the image of God, for the purpose of of His pleasure, to bring glory to His name, to do Good.

Addictions, compulsions, impulsiveness, obsessions, overindulgence, negligence: I can identify all of these in my life, and the lives of so many I know. We live in quiet desperation, growing more disappointed in ourselves each day, fearing to share our thoughts with others, trying to patch over the wounds with everything but the salve that it needs ... until one day we reach crisis. And we fall. And everyone knows. And then it's too late. And the disappointment has become contagious.

But it's not about how others feel about me or you, it's not about what people think of us. It's about not letting that discouragement take us so far from our true form -- distorting the truth about who we are, and Whose we are. What He says about me is true, and what He has sacrificed for me defines what I can become. If He will help me, I will break this cycle of creating so much noise all around me to block out the Enemy within me. Then I will open it up to His power, and He will defeat it, instead of watching as I apply my own random First Aid of destruction.

Please, when you feel desperate, don't hold it inside. You will try to fix it yourself. It will not work. You will make it worse. Christ came not for the healthy, but the sick. If you feel sick because of yourself, He came for your healing.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Oktoberfest!

Well, it is finally beginning to feel like Autumn in Texas! Even some trees are trying to change colors. They try so hard -- it's really cute. Because we don't have the stark definitions between seasons that one might find in such a place as ... oh ... Maryland, for example, we are forced to celebrate the changing times with our own embellished punctuation. This means we try very hard to keep up with changing our decorations in a timely fashion, try seasonal-flavored things in their proper turn, and celebrate even the smallest holidays with a great vehemence. I love holidays ... they help us so much to mark the passage of time, to make memories with loved ones, to forget about what's not important and capture all those smiles and people who are so important. Michael and I pored over the pages of last year's October edition of Martha Stewart's magazine. We got very excited about some ideas we have for pumpkin etching, glittery skeletal things, and cookies with delicious filling and caramel apples.

For today however, we mostly focused on trying to get organized. You see, my apartment is terrible evidence of the fact that I am a busy lady with 1 million things on my mind other than maintaining a living space. It is just beginning to become very important to me that I create a space that is a haven, a getaway, a place of healing and help for myself as well as others. I want to make a home like this, but the flip side of this concept is a lot of work. I may as well start practicing now, while I am single with many independent choices. Someday my life may consist of choices shared 50/50, or 20/20/20/20/20.... You get the point. If only setting new habits were more immediate and much less overwhelming. Mom, I am finally starting to understand the ownership that you felt over the appearance of our home, and why you felt that it was such a reflection of the very fibers of your character if someone saw a messy house. Not that our house was ever messy... But anyway, environmentalism, I guess that's what I'm getting into nowadays. Creating the right environment that says what I want it to say -- no, what I believe it's supposed to say.

I am very excited about the future...
1) October: My sister's birthday! Finishing my training for my new job!
2) November: Going home to Maryland! Thanksgiving!
3) December: NEPHEW!!! Christmas!!!!! Home again home again, jiggedy jig.

I am very excited about new work from
1) Robin Thicke
2) Ani DiFranco
3) India.Arie
4) FEIST!!!!
5) Michael Ruiz. :D