Monthly Archives: January 2013

Teaching a Dog to Be a Dog

When my Rat Terrier first came to live with us, she was shy around people, preferring to be in the company of dogs. However, it seemed like she didn’t actually know how to be a dog and mimicked my Shih Tzu. Today my RT more or less behaves like a dog rather mimicking the behavior of other dogs.

That was the first time I had ever encountered a dog that wasn’t a dog, or at least wasn’t a dog in my understanding of the term. I understood a dog to be a treat-loving, food begging, carpet cleaning, being that spoke a different language that I do, but somehow we’re able to communicate. Okay, so that’s not exactly how I view my dogs. Basically, my dogs are my best friends and I like to believe that I am theirs. That being said, a dog that startles at every sound doesn’t seem very dog-like to me.

This weekend my dad brought my Blue Heeler named Shelby. She’s been living with him since she was born and he was the only human she really knew. Her life consisted of my dad, her bother, her mother, her father, and their backyard. She had never gotten a treat before; nor had she ever played with an actual dog toy (she’s played with stuff she’s found in the backyard).

Now that she’s living with me she’s an indoor dog. She’s taken to being inside. She’s even taken to dog toys and she’s learned that counter-surfing is a sport that all medium to large dogs should participate in. The only problem is she won’t eat treats or people food–although she sure likes the smell. I should be happy for a dog that doesn’t beg; one that is happy eating her food and only that, but I’m not. Being used to three dogs who come running at the sound of the pantry door opening, I can’t wrap my head around one that doesn’t even know what a dog biscuit is.

Right now a dog biscuit lays untouched in her crate. I gave her a smelly-good treat and she liked it much better. I think she prefers treats that smell really good. That doesn’t bother me. I have plenty of smell-good treats that I don’t give my smaller dogs because they have a tendency to swallow them whole.

Okay, so I guess my Heeler knows how to be a dog, but she has a pickier palate than my other three girls. I can work with that. It gives me an excuse to indulge in her; to buy more expensive treats knowing that they’ll last longer since only one dog gets them. This should be an interesting ride.

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Depression and Other Dilemmas

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. I was busy supervising…I mean helping my fiance get ready for moving in. It’s been exhausting, especially since I’m still trying to get him out of his bachelor ways. We’re making progress, but it’s not as fast as I would like and our wedding date is fast approaching.

That’s not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about something that I struggle with and something that many people–unless they’ve battled with it–don’t really understand: Depression. Many people who have never dealt with depression think that it is simply deep sadness; that the person suffering from it is losing their faith; that the person needs cheering up, encouraging words, and a Bible study. I’m here to tell you that it is not the case.

Depression doesn’t mean that the person is losing their faith and it can’t really be called a sadness. Depression isn’t an emotion per se. When a person is depressed they often don’t know why they are depressed. Now there are some cases where depression follows a great loss, but there are other people who just have a chemical imbalance thereby making it a medical condition rather than a mental condition.

I am the latter. I’ve had a fairly good life, but I still battle with depression. I’ve gotten along as best as I can; I’ve been doing better since I’ve been “heavily medicated” as I like to joke. I recently started telling people that I’m depressed. Some people tell me that they couldn’t tell. Other people open up to me and tell me that they too battle with depression. Still others think that it is time to sit me down and set me straight. For me, there is nothing more annoying than a person who has never battled with depression before telling me how I can become undepressed (is that a word?).

It’s not just depression either. It annoys me when people give advice to problems they’ve never encountered before. You should do this. You should do that. They don’t understand that the person dealing with the problem knows what he or she should do.

Sorry if this post came off rant-like. I guess I am just letting off some steam.

To those who suffer from Depression or any other debilitating dilemma, I want you to know that you’re not alone; I’m in your corner. I know what it’s like. I don’t know if this will help you, but this has certainly helped me. I keep reminding myself that depression is like the ocean; the tide comes in and the tide goes out. When the tide is in, I tell myself that the tide will go out and all I need to do is ride the waves for a little longer.

To everyone I want to tell you that sometimes the best thing to do is not offer advice or a Bible study, but it is to put your arm around the other person and listen to them. Sometimes that’s all someone needs is a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on. Just let the person know that you’re there for them; let them know that they can come to you for anything and you won’t judge them. They’ll love you for it and they’ll come to you more often.

 


A Bittersweet Phone Call

I received a phone call from a really good male friend of  mine. He and I go way back. I had just joined the Native American Student Association (NASA) at my new University. I was thrilled that I was finally at a school with a Native population; people I could identify with. Though I only have a few drops of Native blood, I’ve always found them to be accepting people. I never felt comfortable among the Black or Caucasian ethnic groups even though my genetic make-up is more of these two.

When I walked into the room my eyes fell on a bronze man with long, jet black hair, high cheekbones, and a wonderful smile. I was instantly drawn to him, but I admired him from afar. Later on in the semester we developed a friendship and even flirted a bit. I was a Sophomore English major and he was getting his Master’s in English. We were both writers. We just clicked.

He and I never really hung out together outside of school. Sometimes we’d chat online. He let me read some of his stories; I’d let him read some of mine. At that time that was the extent of our relationship as he was engaged–on and off.

We lost touch with each other and then we’d get back in touch. Sometimes we would talk to each other for a couple weeks, a couple months, or even a year. I dated. He moved back to the area. When I was having relationship problems I’d call him. Once when I could get in touch with my then-boyfriend, I talked with my friend the entire weekend. He invited me to come spend some time with him. “Things might happen though…” he warned me. Loyal to my boyfriend, I laughed off his offer.

Then my boyfriend broke up with me and I went running to my friend. He comforted me and I comforted him. I stayed the night at his house once. His daughter was home; she didn’t know I was there. She had a nightmare and ran into the bedroom, jumping on me. He quickly shielded me so she wouldn’t know I was there.

We talked after that; we lost touch; we’d get back in touch; lose touch again. I moved. I dated. I fended off my ex. Perhaps I dated to get away from my ex. But my friend was always on the forefront of my mind. I loved him. I told him a couple times that I loved him. He was flattered.

I broke up with my ex and met another guy–my now fiance. At the beginning my now-fiance and I had a no strings attached relationship. We kept each other company on cold nights and warm nights alike. We’d be there for each other.

I loved him, but I still thought about my friend. When he’d come to town I’d be overjoyed to see him, but he never hung around long. I found other male friends. All liked me; I liked all of them, but we never stayed in touch.

I contemplated getting back together with my first boyfriend. I cried to my now fiance. I called my friend and asked him what I needed to do. He gave me advice; I knew he was right.

He promised me that we’d go on a date. A couple times he promised me that we’d get together. He always cancelled. My heart always fell. I realized that even though I cared for him and I knew he cared for me that the two of us would never be together.

My now-fiance broke things off with me to be with what he thought was his soul mate. By that time I realized that I was supposed to be with him and I was thrilled when he called me and said that things didn’t work out. He and I got together and now we’re getting married.

My friend wanted to know if getting married was what I wanted to do. I told him this was definitely what I wanted to do. Though he told me he was happy for me, I could hear the sadness in his voice. It broke my heart. It didn’t break my heart because I regret not getting together with him; I am very happy with my fiance. It broke my heart because well…I can’t place why. It isn’t something that I can put words to.

The best way of describing it is it was like talking to a dying friend. The friend knows he is dying and was calling to talk to you one last time. It is so final. It is over. You’re never going to hear his voice again.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. It’s still kind of raw, but I wanted to get it down while the emotions were still there because I feel that this is honesty. Later will be after I’ve thought about it; analyzed it; made it “pretty”. So forgive me if this doesn’t make any sense to you.

Until next time…


Calling All Blog Muses

All day I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about on my blog. I thought of several things: how cats don’t seem to adapt to new environments and other pets as well as dogs do, moving (yet again), finding a job, wishing I could be a full-time writer, and so on. Unfortunately, none of them seemed like something I actually wanted to write. So now I’m sitting at my desk calling to all of the nine blog muses: Cleo, Tabby, Edna, Enid, Penelope, Cassie, Talia, Ursula, and Midi. Yes, I just made up those names, but who knows I may write about them sometime.

As I was driving home this evening I came up with a new dog story idea. It’s based on an incident that happened to me. I was walking across campus talking to my mom on the phone when I saw a couple and their dog. Two people were petting the dog. I did a quick assessment of the dog, his body, the way he held his tail, and his size and concluded that he was definitely part wolf. I told the owners he was a beautiful dog, then corrected myself and said, “Or is he a wolf?” as some wolf or wolf hybrid owners prefer their pet no be referred to as a mere dog. The woman quickly replied, “Dog. We’ll say dog.” I nodded, but I do believe that the “dog” was part wolf, but since wolves have a bad reputation and it was a college campus I figured that they didn’t want it advertised that they had a wolf. Once I flesh out this idea I’ll write more about it in the future.

I guess I found a couple things to write about. I’ll try to write more next Wednesday, but I can’t guarantee it. It’s supposed to warm up next week and I want to get some packing and moving done before the temperature drops again.

Until next time…


Somehow It Works

Samuel Beckett wrote a short piece of prose titled, “Lessness” (http://www.samuel-beckett.net/lessness.html). The work consists of two parts totaling 120 sentences. However, the work only uses sixty sentences. Basically, Beckett took sixty sentences, drew them at random, and then arranged the sentences in paragraph form without ruining the order the sentences were drawn in. He did this for both parts, making each part unique.

When I read about this, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at it. All I needed to do was write sixty sentences and draw them at random. I found a generator (http://textmechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html) that picked the sentences at random so I didn’t have to cut the slips of paper out and then put them in a hat. That was the easy part.

The more difficult part was writing sixty sentences. I thought it would be easy, but I found that it was harder than I thought. I had to write sixty sentences that were related, but could work together no matter how they were ordered. I’m not used to that. I’m used to writing a story and usually how the sentences are written out are usually the order I want them in.

How I did this was used the first sentence I wrote to set the tone and theme for the work and then the subsequent sentences were written with that tone and theme in mind. I finally finished the sixtieth sentence tonight and then I copy and pasted the sentences to the generator and let it arrange the sentences for me.

I thought the story was going to random and in a sense it is random, but strangely it works. The work is a little weird, but I like it. Tomorrow I’m going to read it to my writer’s group and see what they think. I might even challenge them to write their own.

Check out Lessness and see what you think. Maybe you can even try your hand at this type of prose. If this type of prose had a name, I wonder what it would be called: A Samuel Beckett Story, Beckett Story, Beckett Prose, 60 Sentence Story…I could go on and on with titles. Perhaps I may simply call this type or prose “Somehow It Works.” Hmmm that has a nice ring to it (I know I’m strange).


Dreaming About Writing

Many times I wake up in the morning and think back on a dream and say, “I bet I could turn that into a story.” In fact several of my characters come from people I see in my dreams.

However, this past few days I’ve been dreaming about writing. In one dream I was in a movie and as the beginning credits were rolling I thought, “I wish I had written this.” It’s funny. I was actually jealous of a “movie” that my mind created. Then this morning I had misplaced my blue notebook that I keep in my purse. In this notebook I keep ideas for stories until I can transfer them to the computer. In the dream I was upset because I didn’t want anyone to steal my story ideas. In fact another one of the people in my dreams–I think my future mother-in-law–told me that I needed to find it before someone found it. Then she reassured me that even if someone stole my ideas I would have proof that I thought of the story first.

It seems like I am now eating, breathing, and dreaming writing…not that there is anything wrong with it. I can think of a lot worse things to dream about. In fact for several weeks in a row I had dreams about dead people. Perhaps these dreams are only the beginning. Perhaps more dreams about writing will come to me. 

Sorry this is such a short post. I have more to blog about, but I wanted my dreaming about writing to be separate from the other. So until next time…


2013 Goals

“Make a New Year’s resolution list that includes 10 goals. They don’t all have to be writing-related, but at least 3 of them do. Then refer to this post often this year and update it as you complete your goals.”

I know, it has been quite a long time since I’ve written. Shortly after I started blogging again, I got put on new medication and I moved out of my apartment. Needless to say I got out of the habit of blogging and I’m trying to get back into the habit. Sometimes I wish I had a deadline or at least a wingman (or woman). Who knows, maybe after I get married next month (yes married!), I’ll find someone in the town my fiance lives in who also likes to write. Until then, I guess I’m on my own.

The above quote is a Writer’s Digest Writing prompt. I subscribe to the WD Newsletter and once a week there’s a new prompt. I decided that I’d use that prompt to help me get back into blogging. So here are my goals for 2013:

  1. Write a blog post at least once a week until May in hopes that by the time May comes I’ll be back into the swing of blogging.
  2. Stop blaming myself for every little thing that happens. Similarly, stop apologizing for things that I had no hand in.
  3. Finish my novel Heat Rises, get it edited and self-published. Also write two additional novels (or finish the other three novels that I’ve started).
  4. Steampunk my study at my future husband’s house.
  5. Participate in my groups on Experience Project by writing stories about my experiences.
  6. Let God lead in my life rather than trying to lead my own.
  7. Spend more one-on-one time with my rescue dog. Since my Shih Tzu and my mother’s Toy Poodle mix are a lot more social/secure, my Rat Terrier often gets overlooked due to her insecurities.
  8. Tone down my OCD and control freak tendencies. Just because I’m not doing a particular task doesn’t mean it won’t get done right.
  9. Complete various scrapbook projects and enter them into the county fair in August.
  10. Write in my journal more than twice a month.

When I make goals/resolutions, I try to make ones that I know are feasible and that I can attain. For me the worst thing to do is set goals and not be able to follow through with them. Perhaps, if I finish these goals by the time June comes around, I might create another set of goals for the rest of the year. However, let me not get ahead of myself.

Did anyone else create goals/resolutions for the next year?