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Something from Nothing

May 6, 2015

Twyla Tharp Quote: Filling this empty space constitutes my identity

I have been reading choreographer Twyla Tharp’s book “The Creative Habit.” She is big on habits and rituals, thus the title.

The quote above jumped out at me, so I had to turn it into a graphic immediately. I hadn’t really thought about creativity like that before. Something from nothing. The empty page. The silence before the spoken word. The stage, waiting for actors or dancers to appear. Those are our offices. Those are our fields.

10 Reasons I Should Lose My Technology License

May 1, 2015

1. I saw two old friends in the past 2 days and took zero selfies. I’m not even sure if the visits even happened now.
2. I have 60k miles on my car and JUST figured out I can plug in my iPhone with Spotify to listen to music as I drive. I have spent the past four years listening to NPR instead.
3. I have Apple TV and I really have no idea on earth what it is for.
4. I skipped Mom 2.0
5. I keep telling people that SharePoint can do things that it absolutely cannot do, then I spend days reading forums trying to figure out how to do them.
6. I still haven’t moved to WordPress.org
7. I have an iPhone 4 and am pretty disinterested in getting anything else yet (I also have a 5, for work).
8. I have one phone for work and another for home. Call me Hillary.
9. I have never promoted a blog post on Pinterest.
10. I can eat whole meals with friends and not look at my phone once.
11. Bonus: I did not put a photo on this post.

Why should you lose your technology license?

Adventures in Dogwalking, Part 843

April 27, 2015

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This one is mostly for Kizz, but the rest of you can listen in because I’m nice that way.

Abbie Lynn is an intense little dog. It’s just her nature. She feels things very much. She’s wired to take action. Part of that intensity manifests as a certain amount of dog aggression. Not all dogs, not even most, but enough that I keep a grip on her at all times. It happens primarily when she meets another leashed dog, and I can almost predict what types of dogs will set her off (oddly enough, big blonde dogs like golden retrievers, and other pit bulls).

We have been working and working on it, and she has made great strides in the past few months. I am always so proud when she sits for her treat instead of lunging at some poor passer-by dog.

Today we saw a guy with a big black pit bull approaching. Her exact least favorite kind of dog. I dashed off the sidewalk and into a parking lot – I mean it was obvious I was avoiding the man and his dog – and got at least 50 feet away. I made her sit. She waited for her treat.

The guy came toward us. I looked up in disbelief because I thought my body language was obvious, but no, he wanted to Prove A Point. His point was Our Dogs Can Be Friends!

As he loped up, I said, “These dogs shouldn’t get too close together.”

But no. He wasn’t going to listen. He brought his dog RIGHT over to Abbie Lynn and let them sniff. All dog body language pointed to bad. Stiff tails. Rigid spines.

I said “This isn’t good.”

“They’re FINE,” he chortled. “They just need to say hello to each other.”

“You don’t know my dog,” I said, just as Abbie turned into a white ball of fury. She snarled and barked as I held her back. He pulled his dog out of harm’s way and Abbie continued lunging until they were about 30 feet away.

“You really should listen,” I said, as he gave me a helpless, goofy look.

I am still so mad I’m almost crying. I’m training my dog as best I can. I don’t know what I can do to train PEOPLE – though I think this guy may have learned his lesson.

Sensory Processing Disorder, Weighted Blankets, and Feeling at Home

April 9, 2015

I don’t know if everything is a disorder. They call this thing Sensory Processing Disorder. The inputs and outputs get confused. Look at this list. Isn’t this everyone?

If I can feel the tags in my shirts and they drive me insane, that isn’t a disorder to me. It’s just normal. I think manufacturers should do something about their damned tags. Is that not reasonable? Why do you want to drive a significant portion of the buying public insane with your sewn-in tags? I don’t just mean sewn-in, I mean incorporated into the seams. What the heck? You can’t remove the tags without leaving a hole in the seam. Man, that’s just not right.

I’ve never been diagnosed. I never asked. I just did the normal thing and avoided physical activity and the cologne aisle at the department store.

I don’t steal, normally. But I tell you what I have done as an SPD person. It’s a crime, but a small one. I have taken the air fresheners out of public places like bathrooms, and I have thrown them away. I know. Technically stealing, but it’s a public service. You’re being poisoned by those things. You just don’t know it. I do. I can feel it because I have a headache for three hours afterward.

The dog daycare has started putting this room freshener on the counter that spews out scent. It looks like a small stereo speaker. It has a purple light. And it KILLS me. If it hurts me, what is it doing to dogs like mine, who can smell a treat in my pocket from across the street? I don’t know if I can go back anymore.

I have always known I liked being weighed down. I looked forward to dental X-rays, because having that lead apron on me made me feel so good. It was like being home. It was so good that I didn’t even mind the little cardboard X-ray holders cutting into my gums.

At the County Fair, I always loved the Tilt-a-Whirl, not for the thrill of it, but for the extra gravity being in a centrifuge provided. Aaaah. Home. Totally worth the couple bucks it cost me.

When I first saw a weighted blanket online, I knew I needed one. I finally ordered a blue fleece 10 lb blanket filled with the little glass beads like Beanie Babies have in them. God knows how you clean the thing, but I don’t care.

I bunch it all up on top of my chest and I sleep like a baby. I’m an adult. You might say I have Sensory Processing Disorder. I just say I have super sharp senses. And I like extra gravity. It feels normal to me. Goodnight.

Thank You, Kelly

April 3, 2015

I remember being irritated at Kelly. Not big irritated, just enough to make me sigh and refrain from rolling my eyes.

We were at BlogHer – probably 2007 in Chicago. Kelly had just asked, from the audience of a panel discussion about something completely not related to race (in my opinion) why women of color weren’t better represented.

I thought, whatever. Why is she going on about this? It wasn’t something I had considered or ever had to consider, but I already knew Kelly and liked her, so I checked my snark impulse.

When a whole group of women gathered around her after the discussion ended, eager to keep talking, I thought “Hm. What’s up with that?”

I thought it would all blow over. BlogHer was such a cool thing and we were all cool people and certainly none of us were racists, so there were probably no problems to overcome. Right? Right?

Kelly didn’t drop it, though. Fueled by her desire to make the world a better place and most likely encouraged by the feedback she got from that comment, she started writing more about race and justice and What the Hell She Was On About. You can read some of her posts on race here.

And because I liked her, I followed along. Prodded by her thoughtful posts, I began to dig deeper into my own prejudices, of which I have many. I could no longer let my assumptions about race go unchallenged.

Whenever I had a thought that began “Black people [insert stereotype here]…” (rinse and repeat with other races, religions, backgrounds, social classes) I found myself asking “Is that true? How do you know? What kind of evidence do you have? What makes you think that?”

It isn’t comfortable to confront the ugly, ignorant parts of yourself, but it is good to do so. It’s like you walk around wondering why the world smells so bad and you find that you have dog poop on your own shoe. It’s nasty to find and nastier to deal with, but once you clean your shoe, the world is a better place.

I don’t think I ever would have bothered to look at my privilege and prejudice if it weren’t for Kelly. She’s so smart and funny and beautiful that you kind of have to listen to her, annoying as it can be. She’s also brave and dedicated and strong as hell. I’m glad she came into the world 44 years ago today.

Happy Birthday, Kelly. Keep on doing what you do. I’m thankful for it.

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And besides all that, this picture makes me laugh so hard.

Determination

April 1, 2015

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Abbie and I were walking through the alley behind the grocery store this morning. She likes walking there because it gives her a chance to flirt with the employees who are standing around on break and maybe get some affection.

She ducked her head down and stopped to sniff something that looked like the sole of an old boot.

But it wasn’t a boot sole or any other part of a boot. It was, rather, a huge hunk of dirt-coated, well-aged roast beef. Who knows how it got there? Fell out of the trash? Got dropped when the food bank van came for a pick-up? Abbie did not care. Today was the luckiest day of her life, as far as she was concerned.

She began to hoover the nasty old meat down, pretty much without chewing. I was yelling “Put that down!” as she attempted to swallow the thing whole, knowing I was going to try to stop her.

I grabbed her face. I tried to pry her jaws open. They were clamped shut like a bear trap. I put my finger in front of her nose, assuming that if I had my mouth full and someone stopped my nose up, I would open my mouth, and if it worked for me, it would work for her.

Wrong. She was not giving up. She glared up at me. She had the Eye of the Tiger. She clamped down even harder. She even growled a little.

I determined not to let her eat some spoiled alley meat. I grabbed onto as much of it as I could and pulled. She pulled back. I was suddenly locked in a game of Alley Meat Tug-of-War.

Do you know how hard it is to hang onto a greasy meat flap when your 60-pound dog is fighting for the right to party with some delicious chow, especially when you don’t really want to have your hands full of greasy spoiled meat?

We tugged and pulled. She kept gaining on me. She wasn’t going to let her prize go without a fight.

Finally, I conceded. The dog had me beat. 1.4 seconds later, the nasty hobo meat was in her belly and I was wondering what the hell I should wipe my hand on (for the record, there was nothing. I let Abbie lick my hand and called it clean).

I spent the day waiting for the inevitable consequences, the volcano of badness spewing from one end of my dog or the other. But guess what? Nothing! I guess all that hard training she has put in eating cat poop every day has strengthened her system.

Tell me again why I waste my money on that premium grain-free dog food?

Once a month, whether I need it or not

March 29, 2015

Looking back over my post history, I have been posting about once per month. A monkey with a typewriter could do better.

It’s so different from the early blogging days when I had to hold myself back from posting more than once per day…but that was before all these other outlets for my blather. At least I Instagram daily, mostly pictures of flowers and Abbie.

Part of it was that winter was awful. Or that I was awful in winter. I have been eating too much, started drinking again and barely exercised other than twice-daily dog walks. I’m fat again, have had entirely too much red wine over the winter and am so incredibly disappointed in myself.

Ok, I’ll say it: I’m mad about menopause. It has been driving me pretty literally crazy.

But Suebob, you say helpfully, you were pretty literally crazy before menopause.

Shut up and bring me a popsicle, I snarl in response, mopping my sweaty brow.

Because I most certainly have a sweaty brow. Hot flashes at least twice per hour, every hour of the day and night. My friend Kyle wanted to know what it felt like.

“You know when you have the oven up to 450 degrees and you open the door and that whoosh of heat comes out? Like that,” I said.

I also started getting arthritis. I hobble out of bed on stiff feet walking like a pelican. My hand joints are getting knobby. My neck crunches like a bag of potato chips.

Yes, my friends, I’m having a big old pity party and you are the guest of honor.

I’m considering my options. I had dinner the other night with a woman who went on hormone therapy to cure her night sweats and sleeplessness. Did I mention sleeplessness? Because gah. It stinks. And crabbiness. She had crabbiness. I may have a tiny touch myself.

I might try it. Until then, I’ll be here with my blue chilly towel around my neck and a fruit icee in my hand.

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