Saturday, July 31, 2004

Spree Update

Last night's shopping spree began with shopping!  We listened to We Are One in the car on the way because Cheryl was having trouble hearing it on her computer.  We got to Ross and went our separate ways.  She was looking for dresses.  I was ... not.  Across the aisles, I heard MY SONG. -- [trippy] -- Not only was Cheryl singing it throughout the store, but it's the song that stayed in my head all night long - even in my restless sleep.

At first I looked at the Ladies section for jeans and shirts.  But they only make "old lady" stuff for ladies.  Gimme a break.  Jeans that come up above the navel?  Shirts that hang wide?  Hardly a selection in my size.  I was discouraged right away.  Till I wandered into the Juniors section.  Oh yeah baby!  This is my style.  Will I ever grow up? ... No rush.

In the dressing room I tried on the blue/orange shorts [pictured] and Cheryl thought they were cute.  I thought they looked "too cheerleadery" because they flair a little too much - rather than hang straight. [I'm picky like that].  But then I looked at the tag and read it aloud. Funkie Punkie Groovy Girl.  How could I pass them up.  And the price?  Five bucks.  OK, fine, I'll just wear them low on my hips so they don't flair too much.

In about an hour we had tried on about 20 articles of clothing between us, got what we needed and checked out.  We walked out of there having bought completely different things.  She got some kick-ass dresses, down pillows and new bath towels.  Because of that, she left the store with two huge bags.  I spent the same amount of money and walked out with what felt like a sandwich bag.  Jeans, t-shirts, a tank, socks and yes, paaaaantieees!

It wasn't till I got home that I noticed the tags on two other items I bought.  I had to get a close-up of the tags.

1. Funkie Punkie Groovy Girl, 2. One Tuff Babe, 3. Flower Power Gypsy Girl

After that, we went for dinner and sat at the bar.  It was close to 9:00 so most of the barflies had a running start.  It was then that I remembered why I like to go earlier rather than later.  I don't handle drunks very pleasantly.  One old man [sorry guys, but I call em like I see em] asked if we were sisters.  YUP.  Then asked if we were twins.  NOPE.  Then asked who was older.  I'd had it.  I already had my back to him but I turned my head and said, "Oh NO, you did NOT just ask that!"  He had no idea why.  Duh.

Cheryl and I split a salad and a main dish.  When the main dish came out to replace the empty salad bowl, the guy on the other side of us announced, "Wow, you girls are really packing it in tonight!"  He went on with more about how much we "girls" were eating [which wasn't even much] and I said, "That's NOT the way to score points in a bar buddy."  It got to the point where Cheryl had to cut me off before I spoke again. 

There was a bookstore opening party on the same street so we stopped in there.  I took some fun pictures.  Later Cheryl said, "That was kinda boring."  I told her it's because she didn't have a camera!  I swear, a camera is a pocket full of fun.

Maybe I'll get to posting those pics later.  But for now, I'm running out the door with my new cami-tank and freshly painted toenails.  No biggie.  They'll be covered with my new kicks.  But they'll look damn good in yoga tomorrow morning.  heehee!

Friday, July 30, 2004

Shopping Spree

Wooo-fricken-Hooo!  I'm such a dork.

I just made plans with Cheryl to go clothes shopping tonight.  Other than my Pumas, I haven't bought clothes in ... about as long as I haven't taken a vacation.

Now, this is no high-end shopping spree.  I'm going for the basic necessities.  Like, shorts, cotton pants, jeans and other various clothes that will fit my shrinking body.  Along with t-shirts, tanks, socks and undies (because I still can't get myself to say panties without feeling like a goofball).

Wish me luck.  We're going for a drink first.  I so hope it doesn't end at the bar.  I really need clothes.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Happy Anniversary AOL-J

 

Graphic designed by SloMo.  Artwork provided by Judith Heartsong.

Click to listen to the AOL-J Anniversary song.

When I started my journal last September, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I don't think any of us really did.  But we just...did.  The love and support that I've received from this community is part of what makes me who I am today.

When Vivian first asked if I would dedicate a song for the Anniversary, I had just been diagnosed with mono.  I was so weak, I could barely hold the guitar.  And my breath capacity was very limited.  A month passed and I thought for sure I'd miss the festivities.

But Vivian was persistent and asked one more time [ok, maybe more than once].  It was only last week that I was finally able to play and sing an entire song without collapsing into bed from exhaustion.  So I made a last-minute phone call to some musician friends who were up for the challenge of recording on the fly.  Thank you Vivian, for not giving up on me.

Pictures (below) are courtesy of Robbie, who was also available at the last minute to join us for the first recording session.  She got to meet the musicians and hear the song...over and over and over again!  A million thanks to Robbie for her honesty, spirit and support.

Be sure to visit my website, designed and created by my good friend SloMo.  It always feels strange to say "my website" because to me, it's SloMo's website with my information on it.  She's the brainchild of that project.  Because of her, my music is being heard all across the country.  And in a few other parts of the world.  And now I have somewhere to go on vacation next week.

I learned a lot this week while recording.  At the very least, I really got that I wouldn't be where I am today without the AOL-J community.  With love and peace.


Click to visit Special Edition Anniversary Blog (SEAB), highlighting the events of the cyber-celebration marking the 1st anniversary of AOL Journals.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

New Duds

Ooooh yeahhh baby!  Hunny and I are both sporting some new duds on this fine summer afternoon.


First up ... My girl

I told you I was totally getting the Orange Hawaiian collar for Hunny.  Not only did we receive it in record time, but this was hand-delivered to us today at the dogpark. -- don't we feel special --  Thank you Danielle!

I'm loving the collar on her.  I was a spaz at the dogpark.  I'm like the proud mom whose kid just won first prize in a coloring contest.  Did you see Hunny's new collar?  Hunny come show <insert everyone's name> your new collar!  You'd think Hunny made the collar herself.  Now that would be something to spaz about!

Now I want to find the same-color-orange leash.  I'm hoping to get one custom made to match the collar.  It's a longshot - but I have to ask.


Next up ... Me

My half-price shoes arrived via UPS today.  The store I went to last week didn't have them in stock.  So these were shipped to me.  The store credit was a gift from my best friend from high school.  Actually, she bought me a pair of Pumas I wouldn't be caught dead in, so I exchanged them.  I do it every year.  She buys me whatever she sees - bad colors, wrong sizes, all of it.  This year she wrote in the note, "I hope these will get you a pair you really like."  I love her.  Thanks Beth!

Monday, July 26, 2004

Quick Check-in

I've been so busy - and exhausted.  I really need to slow down and take time to rest.  I can't afford a relapse.  But, it's just so fun to be out playing!

I'm getting a late start on my dogwalking day.  I still haven't picked up my prescription.  I've eaten but I'm already hungry again.  I still haven't bought summer clothes that fit.  Netflix is making a fortune off me.  I've had the same DVDs for three weeks. [hey, it's way better than paying late fees for rentals!]

But...

I'm almost halfway through my piles of email and lists of journals.  I'm having fun getting caught up with everyone.  So much has happened since I've been sick.  And I know so much more will continue to happen.

OK...gotta run so I can get back and try to get completely caught up, rest and maybe watch a DVD tonight.  I have so much to do before I leave for my mini-vacation to Camp SloMo next week.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Saturday Morning

Well, I crashed just after 1:30am.  I must be getting old.  I remember staying up till 2 and 3 reading journals, commenting, posting entries, and then getting up at 8am to do it all over again.

I woke up crampy this morning.  I was also a little discouraged.  I kept putting off doing laundry because we were supposed to get our housekeepers here this past week.  But that didn't happen.  So I've literally had nothing to wear for a few days.  I wore Fishboy's jeans on Thursday and his old shorts yesterday [see monkey pics].  I'm out of clean socks.  So I've been going sockless.  And I'm scrounging for shirts.

Anyway, I finally just bit the bullet and did two small loads of laundry today.  They're in the dryers now.  I walked Hunny and Opie.

Then I went to Smart & Final to return a case of water that tasted like tap water.  Supposedly it was on sale.  But, did you know we get charged extra for bottled water?  I mean, there's an actual charge per bottle.  So, these were $1.50 off the regular price but an additional $1.98 because of the bottles.  Almost eight bucks for water.  Water.  Earth's supply.  Water.  Is anyone with me on this?

It was my favorite brand [yes, they all taste different].  But because it was only labeled "drinking water" it tasted like sludge.  "Crystal-fresh" is in a league of its own.  I had one of each kind in my car yesterday.  I was about to throw up from the drinking water and had to wash it down with the crystal fresh.

Smart & Final is convenient and all, but there really isn't much savings in their prices.  When I went this morning, there was only one (very long) checkout line.  There were about four store employees stocking shelves like zombies.  The people ahead of me had two huge carts full of stuff they needed to divide based on which company was going to pay the bill.  They got the company information wrong and couldn't get their discount credited [or something].  And everything had to be voided out.  Thenthey goton the phone and started cussing someone out.  Finally they received the correct company information and everything had to be re-scanned for checkout.  Honestly, I thought these people were drunk.  Angry. Loud. Argumentative with each other.  I kept clear.  I didn't make eye-contact.  I didn't say a word.  And I kept a poker face.

During all this, a man who looked like he's never done his own shopping, ever, in his life, interrupted the cashier [who happened to be the only manager in the store], announcing what he needed from his list.  He expected the cashier to fetch it for him.  My dreams have been so bizarre lately that I checked my surroundings for obvious signs that I was awake.  I know not to pinch myself because it actually hurts in a dream, so that's no help.

I stretched my back to find another checkout line had opened at the opposite end of the store.  Already filling with more customers.  That's when I lost my poker face and actually chuckled at the absurdity.

There I stood, next in line with my receipt and my one case of sludge-water, wishing I hadn't made the mistake of buying it in the first place.  I considered abandoning the return completely but eight bucks is eight bucks!

I never made it to the front of that line.  Finally, another clerk opened a register and called me over.  It was like a circus act getting over there.  No one wanted to let the 'next in line' actually be next in line.  While handing the clerk my receipt and explaining the return, one of the drunks commented as he walked by, "Smile honey, it'll make you feel better."

Honestly, I'm really lucky he was already out the door when his comment registered in my mind.  Because I was ready for a fight at that point.  [attention drunks:  don't call me honey.  keep your passive-aggressive remarks to yourself.  don't look at me.  don't talk to me.  don't mess with me before i've had my coffee!]

I finished with my transaction and went outside, shakingoff the yucky energy.  I took one look at the PeaceMobile and laughed.  Guess the drunk was right...it did make me feel better.  And here I thought beating the guy to a pulp would've made me feel better.  Eh, six of one, a half dozen the other.

After that little fiasco, I walked my weekend client.  She paid me in cash - with a five dollar tip even.  Sweet little doggie.  It was right near Jamba Juice so I decided on a protein drink for breakfast.  YUM!

Just got the call...going to record a song tonight!  More about that later.

Off to fold clothes, shower and head out to the beach.  More blogging to come this weekend!  Thank you to all who responded with links to your journals.  They're still coming in this morning.  I have 52 new emails to read.  I'm looking forward to getting caught up with everyone.

HAPPY SATURDAY EVERYONE!

Threading vs. Waxing

Let's see...am I caught up?

Did I mention my most recent waxing experience?  I don't think so.  It was horrendous.  Just a week ago, I got my full legs and bikini waxed (like usual).  My underarms too.  That wasn't as painful as usual.  Probably because a lot of my hair stayed put.  For my face, I asked for threading - as suggested by one woman over a month ago when I was last in for waxing.  Unfortunately, she wasn't working the day I went to have it done.


Let me tell you right now ... threading HURTS ... way more than waxing!  To give you an idea...she tried to yank all the hair off my entire face with dental floss.  I had no idea I had facial hair in some of these torturous places.  Imagine a long thin rubber band.  Hold and stretch it using both hands.  Twist it as tight as it will go.  Now stretch it back like a slingshot and put pins and needles in it.  Imagine there are a hundred of you with the same pin-infested rubber-band slingshot.  Take aim directly at your face.  Shoot.  Again.  And again.  And again.

I wanted her to stop and give me a numbing agent.  That wasn't even the worst of it.  She said she needed to wax my lip and eyebrows because threading them would be more painful.  I didn't believe her - and I still don't.

I reminded her of my skin's sensitivity.  I rarely get my face waxed anymore because my skin usually burns.  She did a good job of taking extra care of me one time before.  But I don't think it really registered just how sensitive my skin is.  This was the worst I'd ever burned.  Not only was my upper lip numb for the entire week, but I had burn-blisters around my mouth and surrounding my eyebrows.

Within hours, the areas of my face that were threaded began to bubble up with irritation.  So, basically there was not one part of my face that was blister-free all week!

It was so bad, my facialist refused to touch my skin until it 'calms down'.  She suggested ice-cold water and Neosporin for a week.  Nothing else.  No makeup.  No sunscreen.  No lotion.  Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Ah yes, a good week to start flirting.

You Lucky Dog

You Lucky Dog - LA  -- Cool Collars for Cool Dogs

Wahoo!  I finally received a long anticipated link.  If you have dogs ... if your friends have dogs ... if your dogs have dogs ... you must buy one of these fabulous collars.  I know many dogs who are sporting these handmade beauties and they are wonderful.  Top quality.  Comfortable.  Colorful.  So many patterns to choose from.

You can't beat the price!  
Seriously, my favorite pet store has some cheesy, flimsy, poor quality mass-produced collars - that they're trying to pass off as handmade - for two and three times the price of these creations.

I say hurry and place your order
before the creators catch on and raise their prices.  Even so, I'd pay 2x what they're charging now!  But don't tell them I said that.  Off to place my order...


 ..:: You Lucky Dog - L.A. ::.. Dog Collars

Friday, July 23, 2004

Sunday Farmer's Market

Last week at the Sunday Farmer's Market.  Oooh, I love fresh coconut water!

 

I love Santa Monica.  You know I do.  But I've always had one pet peeve with this city.  They are just not very animal-friendly.  Miles of coastal beaches and not one section dedicated to pets.  One of the biggest property management companies has a no pets policy city-wide.  Dogs not licensed in the city of Santa Monica cannot enter the city's official dogparks.

When the Sunday Farmer's Market first started, Hunny and I would walk there and then play on the lawn after I bought my weekly produce.  That was before all the retail vendors, the face painters, the live music, the yummy breakfast-makers.

There used to be a wooden fence on the lawn made specially for dogs, with a sign that read, Tie your doggies here.  For about six months this was our Sunday morning ritual.

Soon more people started coming.  Families with kids.  Locals.  Tourists.  Young couples.  Suddenly baby strollers took over the fence.  Parents locked their strollers around the dogs.  And eventually, the dogs were weeded out.

Here, eight years later, no matter where you stand on the lawn or at any of the entrances to the Market, it's impossible to miss one of these four obnoxious handpainted billboards.  And if that's not enough, the city has to post a warning of consequences if we 'break the law'.



This warning sign reads:

WELCOME
PLEASE
NO ANIMALS ALLOWED.
DO NOT TIE YOUR DOG TO A FIXED OBJECT.
DOING SO MAY RESULT IN A CITATION OR THE
IMPOUND OF YOUR DOG.

OK.  Clear message.  Heartless, but clear.

But then ... what about the big doggies?



How is holding ponies in captivity for four hours in the blazing summer heat [in the middle of the city] solely for entertainment purposes, any more humane and sanitary than city residents bringing members of their families (doggies) to their community farmer's market?

I happened to be there before the official opening time last week and things were already hopping. This Sunday I hope to get the full view of just how mobbed this place gets by 11 AM.  It's so overwhelming, I wouldn't bring Hunny anymore even if it were acceptable.

And now it seems they're starting to weed out our children.  This tree used to be filled with kids climbing on and off throughout the morning.  It was a great source of entertainment for them.  And a great relief for some of the parents.


Come on Santa Monica, what's next?  For starters, I suggest you get off your high horse and set the ponies free.  Then just chill out and enjoy the fresh produce with the rest of your community.  We're a great bunch ... pets included.

Finally - Cheryl-pics!


I do love these pictures - not only because of her glowing heart - but also because they were taken on the first day.  My first experience of her on the rings.  It was the day she bought her palm-guards and wrist pads.  I was just learning about the sunlight and the surroundings.  It was all so surreal.  And it was only one week ago tonight.  I feel like I've lived an eternity since then.




She's really good about stretching before and after a workout.  We could all learn a lot from her.  Me? I eat a chocolate covered banana, chalk up and go!  Actually, I sit on the grass and soak up the scenery while she does her freakish circus-stretches.  Gumby, dammit.


Come on!  How adorable is she?!

Sustenance

Protein and veggies rock my world.  Lots of fresh garlic too - nature's antibiotic.  I figure, I'm in for the night.  I don't think Hunny and Opie will mind a little garlic breath...considering what they choose to put in their mouths all day!

We're having a sleep-over with Opie.  Cheryl has a busier life than me.  Honestly, I don't know how she does it.  But she's constantly on the go.  So Opie's spending the night with us.  We're going to the beach tomorrow afternoon.  I'm working this weekend...just a few walks for a local doggie whose parents are out of town.  Perfect for a little extra spending cash for my upcoming trip.

Maybe I can buy some clothes that actually fit me.  I'm so lazy.  I just don't like going shopping.  I have to be in the mood.  Don't ask.  I don't even know what qualities define the mood.  It sort of just has to happen organically.  If I plan to go shopping, I'll dread it and keep putting it off.  But if I'm driving by Ross or Target and have a few minutes to spare, I could easily get lost under a pile of things overflowing in a cart.  Things I should've bought throughout the year but kept putting off.  Like socks, shorts, summer pants, hats, watches, sunglasses... Oooh, I'd better stop listing items.  I'm likely to run out the door looking for a 24-hour sale.

I actually do have to run to the 24-hour pharmacy to pick up a prescription.  I put it off all day.  I figured I could avoid those lines by going in the middle of the night when only freaks are out.  With my luck, everyone else has the same idea.

Don't worry...I'm not leaving yet!

Short Break [already?]

Still no Cheryl-pictures from the rings yet.  But I have the next best thing for your viewing pleasure:  Her dog, Opie.



I can't imagine anyone's hanging around AOL-J on a Friday summer night, but since I'm supposed to be power-blogging, I guess it would be appropriate to say I'm about to take a break for a shower.  Otherwise, I might fall asleep.  To keep me from going out to dinner with friends, I'm going to make a light meal for sustenance.  And tea for a jolt of creative energy.

Just thinking about all that makes me want to crawl into bed with a DVD.

I must resist!

Power-Blogging



It is my full intention to do some power-blogging tonight.  I've been so busy with life that I haven't really had a chance to do the writing I've been thinking in my head.  I might need to invest in a mini recorder or a dictation machine.  Everything I do...everything I see...I want to blog.  It's insane.  But by the time I get home, showered, fed and rested, it's time to start a brand new day.  If it weren't for my digital camera, I might forget what's been keeping me so busy these days.  I have movies from Netflix sitting here, collecting dust.  And they will continue to do so tonight...till I get my fill of AOL-J.  God help me stay awake and alert!

I know I keep saying pictures of Cheryl are coming ... and they really are.  But I'm such a perfectionist that I can't choose just one picture.  I can't find the best shot.  They each tell a different story.  I keep thinking I'll use the next one and then ... suddenly ... it's midnight.  But I'm going to choose at least one to post tonight.

Perhaps I should just do what Cheryl does ... take only one picture!  Makes for easy choosing.  This is the only picture she got of today's try on the rings.  I wasn't as strong as I was the other day.  I had just come from a full day of dogwalking - and I'd just eaten a chocolate covered frozen banana.  No joke.  I've never had one before.  It was amazing!  But in this picture, I can see exactly where the chocolate landed in my body.  Geesh, weeks off chocolate and still it knows exactly where to go.  Ugh.  Time for abdominal workouts.  Not to mention rebuilding muscle in my scrawny arms.  It's pathetic what a month of illness will do to my body.  I digress.

My favorite thing about this picture is my Peter Pan shadow in the sand.  Thanks Cheryl.  Great shot!

After two tries today, I completely understand the difficulty Cheryl had holding the steering wheel.  My palms were so tender - as if they'd been sunburned.  No blisters or broken skin...yet.  Let'shope I never see that day.

Checking In

Doesn't it figure?  I finally updated last night but AOL-Journals went down for a few hours.  All for good reason, I'm sure.  So this (lame) entry was stuck in a holding bin.  Now it's 'postmarked' Friday.  Ah well, Happy Friday Everyone!



Thursday night already.
  I swear, when I get to feeling well, I suddenly realize how busy my life is.  My hikes started up again, so my mornings are booked.  Honestly, I have no idea how I kept this up while I was in the thick of sick!  I haven't even had time to upload pictures from the past few days.  Let's see, where to begin...


Pictures of Cheryl on the rings coming soon...I mean it.  For now, the easiest picture to post is the chalk on my hands from my first time.  I knew I'd love it.  I got all the way to the end.  It was a random try.  I chalked my hands, hoisted myself up on the first ring, and Cheryl gave me a good starting shove.  She cheered me all the way down the line.  I made it to the very end...but didn't have enough momentum to come back.  I was surprised by how strong I felt and how fricken fun it really is.  It's like an amusement ride.  Like flying - even with what little momentum I had.  I was only minimally sore the next day.  I'll surely be trying these again and again!

I've confirmed travel arrangements for a much-anticipated vacation to visit one little Texas Tornado in a couple of weeks.  I love traveling.  I love airplanes.  I love airports.  I love the feeling of getting on a plane in one place and getting off the same plane in a completely different place.  It's exciting.  Almost surreal.  I haven't had a vacation in...umm...vacation?  Let's see...I'm sure I recognize that word somewhere in my memory bank... Anyway, I'm way overdue!  I'm really looking forward to it.  And what perfect timing - during AOL-J's First Anniversary.

I'm also planning a trip back east with Cheryl in late September.  She and I both have family and friends there.  It's been afew years that we've wanted to take this trip.  But timing's been off for both of us.  This year, we're making it happen.  Lots to look forward to.

Work is keeping me busy busy busy.
  I love it.  I keep getting referrals and last-minute calls for walking.  I love summer for this reason.  Well, I love summer for many reasons - this is just one of them.


It's been brutally hot during the peak of day.  But I can't even describe how comfortable I feel in the PeaceMobile.  Driving in this heat used to wear me down a lot faster.  Now I have more energy and the dogs are more comfortable with the privacy glass and kick-ass A/C.  And now that I have a cooler, my food doesn't go bad as fast.  Although, my bananas passed brown and went straight to black today.  Haven't figured how to slow down the ripening process now that I've learned how to speed it up.  They all ripen at the same time.  I think the trick is to buy one banana from many different bunches.  All different ages.  Ah-ha!  I think I'm onto something!  Ugh, now I want a banana.

Funny how I'm really into bananas, coconuts and swinging on the rings lately.  Well, it is the Chinese Year of the Monkey.  I was born in the Year of the Monkey.  And when I was a toddler, my dad used to stop in the hallway with me in his arms and tell me to "Look at the monkey in the mirror."  I searched high and low for that monkey.  I thought I was crazy for not being able to see what he saw.  Later I realized I wasn't the crazy one.  Monkey, maybe.  Crazy, notsomuch.  Then again....

Monday, July 19, 2004

Boy-Crazy!

Freeepeace on the loose.  Look out.  I've been boy-crazy all week.

Over a decade I've lived by the beach.  I know it very well - the pier, the bikepath the boardwalk.  This beach is like my backyard.  But for some reason I've never noticed this part of the beach before.

Lately Cheryl's been raving about "the rings," describing how amazing these people are, swinging on them.  When she discovers something new and exciting, she goes full-force into learning about it [like me].  One day she came home with blisters on her palms so severe, she could hardly hold the steering wheel for a week.

I finally went with her this weekend to check out this scene - and I was struck by all the gymnastics equipment.  It's like an oversized playground for grown-ups - and kids.  Everyone's so friendly and supportive.  Gymnasts, yogis, athletes and people like you and me just hang out and practice there.  If I hadn't been sick with mono all summer, I'd have given the rings a go myself [former gymnast, you know].  Instead, I played photographer all weekend.

Which brings me to my latest fascination:  boys!

Why are boys so cute?  Cute boys are everywhere I go, everyplace I look, even when I'm not looking.  They're in cars, on the streets, in coffee shops, and now, at the beach [Ooooh, the beach!]  This isn't like me.  I mean, I can appreciate the beauty in a person, but this is outta control.  And the best thing about it is, I have my digital camera!

I'm telling you folks, you don't need a puppy, or a baby to attract men.  Just take a great picture of them in action.  Smile and say you'll be happy to email it to them.  And watch the magic happen.

For instance, check out this beautiful boy! 

He was trying to land a trick on the rings.  I snapped the pic and announced to Cheryl [loud enough for the boys to hear], "I got it!"

That was my mating call.  Worked like a charm  He came running over to me.  That smile is gorgeous but his eyes are amazing.  If only I got a pic without his shades.  But that would've been way too obvious.  First things first - I got his email address.

The first image in this entry is the one that earned me his email address.  I don't know if you can tell by looking at the picture but he let go of the empty ring with his right hand and swung on the outside of the pole to grab the other ring with his left hand.  The set-up was really cool.  He swung the second ring toward the pole while he built momentum on the first ring to get around the pole.  Whatever. Who cares? Did I mention, I got his email address?

Note:  Pics of Cheryl on the rings coming soon!  

Okay, I've got some emailing to do...

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Nine-Dog Day




I survived Friday's Nine-Dog Day - and had a great time doing it!


I was anxious about this day all week.
  It was challenging enough having two extra dogs every day last week but Friday's challenge had me spinning before I even got out the door.  A fellow dogwalker was on vacation for her wedding last week.  And another dogwalker took Friday off to attend the wedding.  So I had two dogs from one group and two from another - plus my own rambunctious group.


They all know each other from the park,
but until this week, they had never shared a ride together.  And truly, I had the biggest dog I've ever met.  His face is the size of Otis' entire body.  And his heart is the size of the universe.  He weighs more than I've ever weighed soaking wet, in a snowsuit, carrying luggage!  But still, my bark is bigger than his.


I considered splitting Friday's group
into two separate runs.  And at the last minute, I decided to wing it and see if I could handle the entire pack at one time.  It's one thing if these dogs were already part of our group.  There's a dynamic set up between them.  They communicate and work all that out in the first week.  Friday, they had to do it in the first few minutes!  And you know what?  They totally did.  It was amazing.  Guess who got to ride shotgun!

I knew it was going to be a raging hot day.  I rinsed my hair in cold water and put it up in ponytails so it would lift off my neck.  I left the house with my hat on.  And it stayed there all day.

On my way, I stopped for my favorite coffee.
  And for the first time, everyone who works there - the same people I've seen for a year - discovered I'm a dogwalker.  Suddenly, for some reason, this made them all friendlier to me.  It wasn't just, "Oh, that's nice."  They practically threw a ticker-tape parade.  I've never been greeted with such excitement and enthusiasm about being a dogwalker.  One guy could hardly believe it.  "You're a dogwalker?  That's what you do?  For a living?  Oh wow.  That's awesome.  I love dogs.  I wanna be a dogwalker."  [Now I know where to find extra help when I need it.]  He was still talking as I said my goodbyes, practically waving and blowing kisses.  As if I was being sent off to the Peace Corps.


Aside from the great fun we had,
it's also the most dirty I've gotten in a while.  Then again, I don't always wear shorts.  Maybe my long pants get just as dirty on other days as my bare legs did on Friday. 
Before you freak out, that's only mud and dirt on my legs.

One thing I didn't consider
when I put my hair in ponytails Friday morning was the amount of sun my open back would receive.  Hellooooo sunburn!  I didn't notice it till I hit the shower - or rather, till the shower hit me.  It's been so overcast that I haven't had to wear sunblock for two months.  But last week it got into the 90s.  I hope it cools off.  Otherwise, it's just too hot to give the dogs exercise - other than a stroll to the waterhole and back to the resting spot under the shade.


I certainly earned my pay last week.
  And I'll do it again and again.  I still say, bring it on!

Friday, July 16, 2004

Live and Learn


Well, that little 'Good Samaritan' deed I pulled last week ended up costing me $45 and a fight with my friend - we'll call him Fear.  First, it's Fear's AAA membership.  Fear was angry that I didn't tell him about it.  I did call him three times trying to get his permission during the incident...but never got hold of him.  I thought I left a message - but according to Fear, he never received one.

Fear said he gave me the card to use at my discretion - which I did.  He wouldn't have minded if I used it for me - again, which I did.  I questioned, what if I were with Cheryl?  Of course he says she's part of me so it would be okay.  If it were any of my friends, that would be okay.

So wait, let me get this right...I can help a friend but I can't help a neighbor?  This situation would be different if I knew the woman I was helping?  What a lonely world.

I once locked my keys in my running ignition.  I didn't have AAA.  I had a locksmith come to my car and I only paid $25 out of pocket.  Why then would it cost a Premiere AAA Card Holder $45 for a simple lockout?  I say someone's getting duped by the A's.

Of course, had I known it would cost anything [even a penny] I might've chosen an alternative way to help the woman.  It would've been cheaper for us to call a locksmith for twenty-five bucks.  Well, now I know!

Over a month ago, I was about to write a check to AAA for my own membership.  Fear insisted I take his card to save me money.  Yet, if I'd just spent that $45 on a membership, I would've made that generous offer in my name.

I still won't think twice about helping a neighbor in need - God knows I've been helped over and over and over again.  I'll continue to give back when I can.  But I WILL think twice about doing so in the name of Fear!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Life is Beautiful

I always say everything is perfectly timed.  We're always at the right place at the right time.  There are no mistakes.  Even 'mistakes' are what's supposed to happen.  And there's always the choice for love.

After getting an early start this morning, I finally had enough energy to stop for that overdue gift I've been promising one special little boy.  There were a few places I could've chosen to park but my car specifically took me to a certain structure.  Even the walking route I chose seemed a little particular, but I didn't think anything of it ... until I came across the following scenario before I got to the store:

A Big Blue Bus [Santa Monica's public transportation] was stopped, loading people on and off at the corner of Fourth St. and Santa Monica Blvd.  There seemed to be a bit of commotion around the front curbside tire of the bus.  When I got closer, I noticed the bus had completely flattened a skateboard.

On the curb I saw two young boys - one holding a skateboard, the other empty-handed.  A few people were trying to explain to the bus driver that he needed to back up just a little so they could scoop the crushed skateboard out from under the enormous tire.  Clearly, the bus driver didn't want to oblige.  It took a few moments for the skateboard to be returned to its Middle School owner.

The boy inspected his skateboard and just as suspected, it was rendered useless.  Tears filled his eyes as he threw it to the ground.  My heart was breaking for him.  Concerned about his well-being I called out to him:  

Me:
  "Hey kid ... Are YOU okay?"


Boy:  "Yeah" 

He shuffled his feet toward me, giving his skateboard a light kick.  

Me:
  "Is it broken?"


Boy: "Yeah"

Me:
  "Can you fix it?"  

Boy:
  "No."
 

The boy picked up the remains of his tattered skateboard.  He started to leave as the bus driver closed the doors and pulled away without even so much as a 'sorry kid'.
 

Me:
  "How much would it cost for a new one?"
 

Boy (discouraged. head hanging):  "Thirty bucks."
 

Me:
"Let me see?"  [I examined the skateboard]  "Could you keep the wheels and the bindings and just get a new deck?"


Boy:  "Yeah, that's what I'd do. It's thirty bucks for a deck."

I looked into the boy's disappointed eyes.  All I could see were shattered dreams of summer fun.  Without a thought I reached into my bag.

Me:  "I can give you thirty bucks for a new deck."

Boy:  "Really?"

Instantly the boy's eyes shifted.  The disappointment lifted.  A pinkish glow filled his face as he smiled and thanked me with all sincerity.  It was as if the sun had just come out for the first time EVER.  He turned the corner to catch up with his friend.  I went in the opposite direction.

No names were exchanged.  No strings attached.  No stipulations.  I didn't say "do something nice for someone today." or "work it off."  I didn't even question whether he could afford to get a new skateboard on his own.  It wasn't about the money.

I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.

And surprisingly, I had thirty dollars cash in my wallet.  Not twenty.  Not forty.  Thirty.  What's thirty bucks?  Produce for the week?  A movie for two?  Dinner for one?  So I'll walk an extra dog or two.  Big deal.  That's nothing next to a happy kid on his summer vacation.

I imagine the boy felt great but I can guarantee his joy doesn't compare to the bliss I experienced for the rest of the day...even this moment...and probably in my dreamy slumber right on through tomorrow.

Had I chosen a different route, had I been a few seconds later or one minute earlier, I would've missed this opportunity to choose love.

Later I found exactly the gift I was looking for [Mia, check your mail next week].  I won a coupon for a free 24 oz. smoothie at my favorite juice bar.  I bought lunch at Baja Fresh and earned a coupon for one free taco on my next visit.  And I had $30 credit to put toward my favorite 60-dollar-pair of shoes (Pumas, y'know). When I got to the store, I ordered the shoes and found out they were half-off.  So, I saved thirty bucks afterall.

Life is beautiful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

For Your Consideration

Members of the AOL-J Academy, I submit the following Journals for your consideration in the following categories of the 2004 AOL-J Awards. Remember to vote by Thursday! [link below]


BEST J-BRAT ON THE BLOCK
The Daily Blog
Andrew and I 'met' way back when we were both newbies to AOL-J.  This kid has got it going on!  He's intelligent, witty, funny and very computer savvy.  He does all of his own troubleshooting and if he can't figure it out, he knows who to ask.  If you haven't been to his journal - which has been through a few incarnations as he grows - please be sure to check him out.  He is my hands-down nomination in this category.  

THE J-TEEN SUPREME
Dreaming Of Reality
Michael writes from the depths of his soul.  He holds nothing back and leaves us all thinking outside the box.  It's tough being a teen in today's world.  His journal, his thoughts, are all windows into the life of a teen today.  The tragedies, the questions, the wonders, the excitement ... all of it.  No question about it - he's the #1 Teen on the Scene in my book.

MOST ORIGINAL
Lotus Martinis
I love Gigi so much that I could see myself nominating her in every single category!  But since we're trying to spread the love, I'm choosing this category because she is a unique work of art.  The way she expresses herself through her words and her original comics is extraordinary.  I'm in awe of her endless creative talent.  She's had me laughing, crying, screaming and cheering all in one entry.  Besides, did you see that comic she made of me-n-Hunny?  She's my idol!

THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD
The Peach Pages
Peachy tells it like it is,with flair and a little bit of spice.  How many of us have cheered her boys in baseball?  Or sobbed with her about a neglected child?  Or shivered over a scurrying scorpion loose in the house?  She takes us on a wild ride in every entry.  Peachy makes reading fun.  And you know it's a big deal for this 'non-reader' to say that.

BEST THEME-BASED JOURNAL
The Single Woman's Guide to the Universe
Find out what men and women REALLY want.  Or what NOT to do on a date.  And how NOT to market yourself in an online dating service.  Shoot for the stars and survive heartbreak with NuttyNikki and her witty antics.  Some are so bizarre they almost seem unreal.  She speaks for all of us.

LADY OF THE BLOG
Unhinged
This one is easy for me.  I think Andrea would rather be nominated in THE MOST LOL MOMENTS IN ONE BLOG category - which she deserves as well.  But she's certainly a daily must-read for many of us.  When she updates, I rush to her Journal to get caught up.  She writes quality craptastic material. [her word, not mine.]  And she appreciates her readers.  She also spearheaded the What If online writer's support group...while writing her novel.  Hello?  Can you say OVERACHIEVER?  Oh yes, I bow to the Lady of the Blog.

THE ROOTIE TOOTIE FRESH 'N FRUTIE AWARD
Everybody knows...
Newbies step forward!  Since Danielle was bold enough to leave her link for consideration, I'm giving back to this newbie member of our community by nominating her in this category.  She's got animation, photos, linkage and she's all about AOL-J right now.  Lots of enthusiasm...cheerleader-style.  I'm looking forward to seeing her grow in this community.  Welcome to AOL-J Danielle.  


Help Help Help!!!
  I'm looking for a place tonominate some of my other favorites!  -  Ha!  I just started listing all my faves and realized it would take forever to set up that link-fest.  Instead, see my sidebar.  And please help me with the remaining categories.  What are your suggestions?

CLICK HERE for a full list and explanation of the categories.

CLICK HERE to cast your one-time-only vote.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Sunday Reflection

I spent the rest of Sunday reading old personal journal entries from a few years ago.  I do that from time to time, when I'm looking for self-reflection.  It's a powerful thing, reading words written by your own hand.  There's no denying them as truth.  It was a deep, cathartic experience.  I read aloud for about eight hours.  Hearing my voice speaking my own words helps me process the learnings.

Reflection - Nov 15, 2001
[note: vulgarities unmasked and unedited]

Humble am I as I sit in the dark, flashlight in hand, asking my maker to show me the light of my core.

"Ask yourself." God says. "Who are you? You tell ME."

Wow ... such power. To actually take my own fate into my very hands.

My heart races - my throat closes -
I shudder to think of the infinite possibilities.
My writing gets smaller as I shy away into myself.

"Come back." God whispers

- There's a grave silence -

Moments pass ...

I drift ...

"Helloooo" God beckons.

I take a deep breath

HOLY SHIT!
"You mean, I have to call the shots?"

"No," God replies, "You GET to call the shots."

Ohhhhhhhh ...

Recognize your birthright as a privilege.
Take your life into your own hands.
It was your choice to begin with.
Somehow, somewhere you forgot that piece.
So - who are you?
Not "what" are you
Not how are you doing.
You are a human BEing, so BE who you are
Know Yourself
Show Yourself
There is no separation

You are no better than anyone
(But you are way better than you think)

At the same time
No one is better than you
(But they too are better than you/they think)

Friends and Bananas

Later Saturday
Unfortunately my Good Samaritan deed made me run late
.  I missed my leg waxing appointment and I barely made it to my hair appointment on time.

Soon, all that was forgotten because I spent the rest of Saturday with a new friend and her 16-month-old.  We had a lot of fun.  But I told her I was scared to hang out too much because I was falling in love with her son.
[damn maternal instincts].  He and I share an undying love of bananas  - or "bah" as he calls them.  My friend said I could join them anytime.  I must resist.  [Who am I kidding? I can hardly wait to see them again.]

Early Sunday
There's nothing like an early morning beach walk and stop at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market for a leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning.  I'd forgotten how good that feels.  I just don't think I can live without fresh coconut juice on Sundays anymore.

Lately I've been a big banana freak.  Before this new 'healthy lifestyle' I could take them or leave them.  Today I love them. I can hardly get enough.  When I want a snack, it's a banana.  When I want food of substance, it's a banana.  Well, I was out of ripe bananas.  I found out quickly that the Farmer's Market doesn't sell bananas.  It's about the only fruit they didn't have.

My roommate bought a lot of bananas for us this weekend.  A LOT.  Like, they take up an entire shelf in the kitchen.  But none are ripe.  I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home today - specifically for ripe bananas - and they didn't have any.  All of them were greenish-yellow.  Not even CLOSE to being ready to eat.  How can I speed up the riping process?  Anyone know?  I mean, I know to put avocados in a brown paper bag.  But, just what is it that makes a banana ripen?

Saturday Morning

Apparently my energy is returning because I didn't nap the entire weekend.  However, I did hit the bed running this afternoon and fell into a deep coma-like sleep.  I guess I needed it.

Saturday I took an early morning walk with the girls and our pups.  We dropped Hunny off at her groomers and then spent some time stalking an ex-boyfriend.  Not mine!  Geez.  I was just the driver.  Huh?  What?  I know nothing.


Then I spent way too much time self-washing my car - including vacuuming the inside. What was I thinking?  Not only did it cost more (because I had to keep depositing quarters), but it also took much longer.  And I botched it up so much that now I need a real car-wash!

As I was finishing up, drying the spots and streaking the windows, I noticed the man next to me trying to explain to a woman just how simple it would be to unlock her door if he had a coat hanger.  They both caught my eye, so I couldn't just ignore them.

Me: "Awe, bummer. Did you lock your keys in your car?"

Her: "Yeah."

Why couldn't I just leave it at that?

Me: "Do you have Triple-A?" [smacks forehead]

Her: "No ... Do you?"

I was like a deer caught in the headlights.  My eyes widened as I was trying to think of a way to slip out of there.  Before I knew it...

Me: "Yeah, I have Triple-A.  Let me call them for you."

UGH!

That was my Good Samaritan deed for the year.

AOL-J Awards Nominations

HELP!!!  Time is closing in on the AOL-J Awards Nominations.  We only have until Thursday and I'm at a loss on so many of the categories.  If you want your journal - or any other journal - considered for nomination, please leave a link in the comments thread.  Don't be shy!  I need your help!

Please also email me with that link and other suggestions if you'd like.  I'm going out of my mind just trying to keep up with life.  My head is spinning from all these fun categories.  But remember, this is my brain on mono.

Don't forget to nominate your favorites in each of the categories.  Go here to vote! [important note: do not vote until you are ready. You'll only be able to enter/vote once]

Friday, July 9, 2004

Healthy-ish

OK, I'm a spazWe all know this by now.  I don't have cancer.  Sheeeeesh!  As a matter of fact, aside from the mono and its ailments, I'm pretty damn healthy.  Go figure.

I wasn't impressed with my Ob/Gyn though.  She made me actually regret canceling the original appointment I had...with a male doctor.  But I didn't let her intimidate me.  I kept asking questions until I got a full understanding of what she found, saw, suspects, etc.  [A far cry from my first visit with the ENT surgeon, huh?] 

We had a great day at the dogpark - what with my new lease on life and all.  I had energy today.  Actually, I was all yackety-yack with other dogwalkers - talking so much I told my own self to shut up.  It just feels so great to have energy.  And since I don't know how long it'll last, I feel like I have to speak while I can.  So I basically caught everyone up on my life and got caught up on theirs.

Tomorrow is a big grooming day in FreeepeaceLand.  Hunny's getting a bath and haircut.  I'm getting my legs waxed and my hair cut.  And the PeaceMobile is getting washed and vacuumed.  I'm looking forward to driving a clean-smelling car for the weekend.

A fellow dogwalker is getting married next weekend (Celeste's mama).   She's taking all next week off.  I'm filling in by taking two of her dogs to the park with us all week.  Two big-huge dogs.  It'll be interesting to see how the dynamics shift as these rambunctious fellas join us, filling the PeaceMobile cargo area.  In addition, I'll also have another dogwalker's dog (or two) on Friday.  Not to mention all of my own.  Umm...potentially, I could have nine or ten dogs next Friday.  Ha!  I wonder if the CRV will be big enough.

Oh hey, the check cleared!  Bonus!  [Ok, so there just may be a next time afterall]

I'd better try to get some sleep.  I feel a bit wired.  I just know it'll catch up with me and knock me out if I don't keep it in check.

Thanks for your support and the reassurance in my previous entry.  At least now that I've done some research on Hodgkin's Disease, I understand a little of what my client is dealing with...which was the whole purpose of starting the research to begin with.  I swear, I need a map to stay on track sometimes.

Good night all - Happy Weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2004

Ugh!

Ugh.  Ob/Gyn tomorrow morning.  No wonder I can't sleep.  My doctor referred me to this appointment - so I have to go.  I'm so not looking forward to it.

I've gotten myself freaked out about illness and ailments.  One of my clients just informed me that she has Hodgkin's Disease...again!  She has to start another round of treatments next week.  Wow.  I had no idea she was even sick.  Because of this, she said she'd need to cut back on her dog's park visits.  Why? Finances.

Geesh, she and her dog are more important to me than a financial cutback.  Especially when it comes to personal illness/wellness.  I'm no corporate entity.  I have a heart.  I have the means to offer a temporary sliding scale.  It's the least I can do.  She's been a great client.  She's a great person.  The work I've done for her has helped me get to where I am today.  And I know I provide a great service to her and her dog.  It's a win/win situation!  So our schedule will not change.

But, when I read her note, the word Hodgkin's rang through me like a familiar song.  I immediately began my obsessive research when I got home.  Come to find out, I have all the symptoms of Hodgkin's Disease.  Then again, I have all the symptoms of just about every other disease, illness and ailment on the 'net.  Including prostate cancer - Hello??  Impossible!!!

So why doesn't this ease my worries?

Because I remembered why I was referred to the Ob/Gyn - "to rule out cancer" - and that scared me even more.  Of course, I completely forget that I've been diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis - an illness that affects the lymphatic system.  And all the symptoms are similar to the cancerous cell activity of Hodgkin's.

Damn me and my need to know everything! [well, don't really damn me ... just damn, dammit!]

Sometimes the internet is a scary place to be when you're me.

Oh great, another opportunity to choose ... love or fear.  ::sigh::

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Wednesday Already?

I'm sorry it's been so long... I've been busy.  I was feeling well.  I had a few good days.  But today, I'm down for the count again.  Every time I try to write, I get sidetracked by fatigue and crawl back into bed.  Sometimes I don't even make it to the bed and I rest right here at the desk.

Zzzz...

I'm going to try to sum up the last few days as quickly as possible.

The weekend flew by...but not without a hitch.  Hunny, Celeste and I spent all of our time together.  They came with me [and stayed in the car] while I took care of the weekend clients.  We had some nice walks.  And we spent some time at the Venice dogpark - that's a treat.  I usually stay away from the park on weekends.  You know, it's like going to the office on your day off.

Zzzz...

We all had a lovely early morning walk along the beach on the 4th with Cheryl & Opie and Jennifer & Roshi.  After that, Cheryl and I went to the Farmer's Market for fresh produce and breakfast.  The crowd was a little overwhelming for me so we only stayed long enough to enjoy a fresh young coconut juice and split a veggie omelette [pre-cut, two separate plates and two separate forks].

Later I slept and then decided to join friends at a beach house barbeque [my former house ::sigh::].  Watched some neighborhood fireworks with Jen and quickly discovered little Roshi needs to be sedated at this time next year.  Poor little guy.  He hid in a corner all night.  Hunny kept him company by eating all of his chewy bones. [that's my girl]

Zzzz...

I took Monday off!

Went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 on Monday morning, thinking we'd beat the crowds.  Apparently, everyone else had the same thought.  I'm no movie critic and wouldn't be able to give it a review to save my life.  But I can say, it should be mandatory viewing for every American before the next election...no matter where you stand politically.  And no, I'm not up for a debate.  I know where I (firmly) stand.  Thank you.

Zzzz...

Saw my doctor yesterday.  Lost more weight but we're not concerned - yet.  I'm sure I appeared more frail just because my pants looked like sandbags falling off my body.  I keep putting off the clothes-buying process - mostly because I'm too tired to shop.  But also because I don't know where my weight will plateau.  Five pounds on this body increases clothing size.

But I'm still eating healthy and exercising.   I was feeling good yesterday.  You know how that is - like going to get your hair cut on a good hair day.  Doc said I look better than the last time she saw me.  Of course, that was the day I fell asleep in the examination room...and then almost passed out while she was taking my blood pressure.  Every day has been better than that day!

Zzzz...

What else? 

Oh, update on the crazy weekend client.  I called her the day after she was supposed to arrive home and she actually returned my call.  Right away she apologized for not leaving a note and said there were no land lines in the house she was staying at - just cell phones.  ::shrug::   I didn't ask.

She was ever-so-grateful for the love I showed her pets because they were the happiest they'd ever been when she returned - even though I never remembered their names.  Still, thanks to my excellent care, I'm it for them.

I figured I didn't have anything to lose so I expressed my concerns about her apartment, the mold and the rotting food.  She appreciated my 'consciousness' and said it wouldn't be like that the next time!  I didn't have the heart to tell her there wouldn't be a next time.  ::sigh::  She really is nice.  And she really loves her pets.  Perhaps a bit of 'consciousness' is all she needs.

She gave me a check for the correct amount.  I haven't been to the bank yet.  But still, like I said, I see this as a bonus.  And finally, I got their names - and I've written them down!

Zzzz...

OK, it's back to bed for me.  I hope to update more frequently as the summer progresses.  But I'm taking things moment by moment.  I've been trying to make random journal rounds.  But I'm still way behind.  I don't want to be too far out of the loop.  If you want me to see specific entries in your journals- or in other journals - please feel free to email the link.  I'm still slow getting to emails but not as slow as making the AOL-J rounds.

FYI - this unedited entry took me all day to compose - thanks to rest, food, water, supplements and more rest in between paragraphs.  No wonder I'm so far behind in journals.  ::sigh::

Goodnight all.  Peaceful dreams.

Zzzz...

Saturday, July 3, 2004

War in Peace

Isn't it just like peace to start a war?

I think it's ironic - yet predictable - that an entry entitled Peace (with a question mark nonetheless) would evoke such rage.  Everyone will always have opposing views.  No matter how peaceful I try to live my life, there's always that dichotomy.  Duality.  Again, it's an opportunity for me to choose ... love or fear.

I can look at this as a reflection.  I thought for sure the peace sign would stir up anger [even if it were on an economy car, or my bike or skateboard - some means of transportation other than a gas-guzzler].  But according to one commenter, it doesn't matter what symbol or message I choose to put on my SUV. [small, bottom of the line, 4-cylinder, 2-wheel drive SUV that is].  Still the SUV alone becomes the rageful symbol.

I'll admit - I even said it the other night - when I see that big ole peace sign as I approach my car, it makes me a little nervous.  It's a bold statement.  It's a big label to wear - scary.  It makes me think about who I am and what I believe.  It reminds me that I'm accountable for my own actions.  I know what the symbol means for ME.  And that's all that matters.  But there is definitely a stereotype that goes along with that symbol - with any symbol.

Think about what comes to mind when we see symbols such as a Fish or an Om or a Rainbow, just to name a few.  Even the American Flag stirs emotions.  That's not even mentioning symbols that are known for evoking rageful emotions - i.e., the swastika.

But, there is free speech - and this is my message.  As Donna commented:  "good thing we have freedom of speech hey?!!"  Yeah.  It really is.

I make no apologies for the SUV I drive.  I love the safe feeling driving in the city.  I love the reliability.  I love that I worked hard to earn the biggest purchase I've ever made.  I don't own a home.  I don't spend frivolously.  I live a simple, meager life - by choice.  And I don't condemn those who choose to live otherwise.

I'd like to thank one commenter for another opportunity to grow.  Without her reflection I might not have gotten to this deep level of appreciation for who I am and what I believe.  I don't condone the way in which she spewed and lashed at me personally.  But I'm not without rage.  When something digs under my skin, I'm the first to react.  I hear her anger about the economy.  It's my opinion that her rage goes much deeper than the economy.  For that, I have compassion.

This is my journey to peace.  And you are all welcome to join me...or not.

Friday, July 2, 2004

Peace?


Behold the new addition to the PeaceMobile.
  No matter what angle I look at it, I just don't feel it today.  With this on my car, I really have to track my road rage.

To take my mind off of how sick I feel, how bored I've become, and how thoroughly disgusted I am with this new last-minute client, I picked up my guitar and played a few songs.  I didn't realize how much strength I was using just to sing.


After a few songs [on partial energy] I feel weak, tired, my throat is sore and I broke out in a cold sweat.  But it was worth it.  I miss singing.  Playing my music is what helps keep me sane and motivated.  It's like a personal meditation.  So, not being able to play/sing whenever I want, has been more than frustrating.

Today's experience with this new client put me over the edge of insanity.  They live in filth and disgust.  She left no emergency information, no local contact numbers or no numbers where she could be reached - out of state.  She neglected to write down all of her pets' names [as I asked] so I have no choice but to call them sweetie, love, boy, girl, kids...whatever they will respond to.

But the bonus:  She left NO MONEY.

The even bigger bonus:  Her apartment should be condemned.

I put my health at risk every time I step near that place.  The smell of mold, mildew and steamy pet stench is overwhelming.  It's rancid.  How did I not notice this yesterday when we met?  "Forgive the mess, I'm getting married."  That's all I remember from yesterday.  What the hell does that mean?

I'm sure there's no mistake in the missing emergency information.  It's so bad that if I did have her phone number, I'd call her and tell her she needs to come home now to take care of her own animals because I won't do it for one more minute.


I even got the name of another petsitter who is available to help me this weekend.  But because I don't know if I'll get paid for this job, I can't hire her.  I'm tempted to bring the animals to their vet for the rest of the weekend.  She would have to bail them out when she returns.  But that would be more work than I care to engage.

So now, I'm stuck caring for these pets.  This is where my heart has to rule.  I can't take out my frustrations on the animals.  They are obviously loved and well-trained.  [But now I completely understand why they're also crazy and needy].  But I can't spend a lot of time with them because the smell of mold gets into my clothing, my head begins to throb and my throat starts to close up ... just from their long coats alone.  My eyes are still burning from this afternoon's visit.

And you don't want to know about their food.  From the looks of things, I can pretty much guarantee I won't see a penny from her.  I gave her a great price-break...but not THAT great.  Still, I'd almost rather she take the money and sanitize her place, buy new pet food and get her dogs groomed.

The woman seems like a nice person with a generous spirit.  I have to rely on that experience.  But I knew I didn't want this gig.  I thought she was a friend of my friends when it turns out, they just met while walking their dogs the other morning.

Another hard lesson learned in the world of self-employment.

Off to visit them one last time for today [then three times tomorrow and again on Sunday]...

Thursday, July 1, 2004

Quick, Mindless Update



Mama Celeste
- visiting for a sleep-over this weekend.

Whoa whoa ...
busy, tired, overwhelmed, bored; all of it.  I'm so tired but I haven't been able to sleep.  I really suffered the consequences of eating that ice cream the other night.  I'm sick again - not just tired.  I'm hoping to get in to see my doc in the morning.  But you know how that goes with an HMO.  I have to call first thing in the morning in hopes there was a cancellation.  Otherwise, I'll see her next week.  I'm sure I can wait. I'd just like to know what the heck's going on this time!

I know my resistance is low.  The mono makes my immune system weak.  My body can't fight the common cold the way it normally would.  But I'm so over being sick, I could pull my hair out.

Business is booming.  This is the busy season.  I can't afford to be sick much longer. I know...I know... It will take the time it needs to take.  [I'm really ready for it to be on my time!]

I met with the potential new clients the other day - on time even - and I really liked them.  I think they liked me too. They seemed really surprised by how quickly one of their dogs took to me. That's always a good sign.  But they had a few other dogwalkers to interview before making a decision.  I hope to hear good news before the weekend.  Let's hold the space for that.  Ommmm...

Today felt like Friday all day.  Perhaps it's because I'm boarding a fellow dogwalker's dog till Sunday.  I've also committed to caring for two dogs and two cats in Venice all weekend - starting tonight.  Lots of walks and visits.  Also, today was the last day of my morning hikes for a while.  The family is going away for the summer.  I won't see them for two months.  Yeah, seems very much like a Friday.

A few of my clients are taking Monday off as a holiday.  I'm considering canceling with all my dogs and taking Monday to rest too.  Otherwise, I won't have one full day of rest till next weekend, since I'm working through this weekend.  I knew it was going to be a busy, long weekend.  I'm just taking it one moment at a time.

I finally bought a cooler for my car.  Now I can pack a real lunch and not worry about it spoiling.  My poor bananas go from green to brown practically overnight.  Once the heat of summer really hits, the cooler will make a huge difference.

And wait till you see the new addition to the PeaceMobile. I hope to take pictures tomorrow. That reminds me, I have to take pictures of Hunny's new collar that her Auntie Danielle gave her.

Sorry if a lot of this doesn't make much sense.  I just felt like checking in.  And if I spend any time editing, I'll fall asleep before I hit save.  Good night!