Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Light on Old Posts

Yesterday I found myself poring through the blog I kept when Paco went through bilateral tplo surgery.

I rarely look at the blog except for when someone has canine surgery questions, and the posts I forward are pretty routine ("Here's how you can make a sling yourself at home...") so I never go back and actually ready anything. But the question posed yesterday forced me to actually search through what I'd written for one small sentence, and I came across this:

"So one of the more unpleasant side effects of the surgery is that Paco now has 'cankles'. His hocks and ankles are so swollen with fluid that there's almost no distinction where one part ends and the other begins. I kinda want to get him some control pantyhose.

"Just look at the shame.

"The only way to relieve the problem is to massage them by by hand frequently in an effort to redistribute the liquid. It feels a little strange to rub the squishy, hairless parts of my dog, but it also feels cool, like petting a Sphynx or Xoloixcuintle [sic].

"Massaging him this morning I remembered that, ironically, when Paco was a puppy, I used to tell people he was an Ixcuintle [sic]. It wasn't a far stretch, since he was missing a great deal of hair due to mange (mostly on his head in an awesome imitation of male pattern baldness). I started the lie one day after a five year old girl recoiled in fear after I informed her she was petting a 'pit bull'. I mean, how can you be scared of a 5 lb puppy, regardless of what it is? But she was.

"From that day forward, for several months, we lived the lie. At the time I figured it was either my puppy's socialization or the truth, since it isn't easy for folks to give pit bulls a break (or even a chance, most of the time).

"Eventually, though, I realized there was no shame in Paco being what he was. He couldn't help it more than I can help being Mexican-Irish. We turned a corner, decided to turn our handicap into our strength, and we haven't looked back (or lied) since."

It's funny how words can bring you back to the time, place, and head space you were at when you wrote it, which in turn catapults you even further back as you were meditating and writing about events even years before that. And then to see yourself clearly in those two previous inceptions, armed with the knowledge you have now... what would they think of the present you? And would they be shocked to know you actually now have an itzcuintle?

In a random turn of events, I had an argument a few months back with a random woman on the BART platform who swore up and down that Xochitl was a pit bull. I just laughed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Best Birthday Ever

Normally I have an every-other-year-birthday thing going, meaning that one year I'll have an awesome day, everything will go right, I'll make a party and all of my friends will come, and then the next year everything goes wrong and I end up crying. It's been consistent since I turned 20 so I don't mess with it, just accept it and plan accordingly. This year was an off year, so I opted to skip town.

After a full day of research, we decided our destination would be Aaron's parents' house in Enumclaw, Washington. The whole reason we got Xochitl was so that she could be "the travel dog" (ie, small enough to ride in the cabin on a plane) and the dream was to take her up to the farm at some point and let her run free in the fields but she had yet to experience a flight (minus her homecoming trip).

In retrospect a million things could have gone wrong, but the entire travel experience just went perfectly. Nobody gave Xdog a second glance even though she was technically over the wight limit and the carrier didn't meet specs, no flights were delayed even though weather on both ends was sketchy, and we even landed early coming back.

Living in the Bay Area I tend to forget we have seasons, other than that people generally change the color of the clothes they wear, but up north it's most definitely fall. The trees were striking shades of gold, green, and red, and the air was crisp and moist (and occasionally rainy... but remarkably only so when we already wanted to stay in).

We made a trip into Seattle, saw old friends and met new ones, explored places neither of us had been, as well as Aaron taking me places from his youth. We got enough rest and plenty of exercise. Basically, it was pretty much the most perfect vacation ever.

Without further ado, the pictures...

My birthday present from Aaron's parents, a pink bb gun and targets to go along with it.
birthday bb gun


The view from Shavi's window
view from Sahvi's window

Xdog experiences her first fall
xdog in Seattle

We took the ferry to Whidby Island, had the most amazing day with new friends, their dogs, the beach, and golf course beers and somehow this is the only picture I have to prove we were ever there. Documentation fail.
Whidby Island

My birthday hike
queen of the mountain

And finally, the crocheted tequila bottle cover. Amazing.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Words Escape Me

I'm not quite sure what my problem of late has been but, for some reason, I'm having a hard time expressing myself. Actually, that's not what I'm trying to say. It's more like I'm having a hard time understanding why I feel the way I feel, and the inability to understand the cause makes it impossible to share with others.

For instance, the other day at the end of yoga class the teacher finished by saying, "Namaste." Tradition dictates the whole class will softly repeat it back to the teacher, but the woman next to me instead said,"God bless you." I instantly got mega-offended and my savasana meditation was blown. I laid there in the dark classroom, silently seething.

Afterward I tried to explain to someone how annoying this was but I couldn't. I mean, "Namaste" pretty much means "God bless you" but just not in English, so what was the big deal? What was it about hearing that particular saying in that particular setting that made me so mad? Am I that anti-Christian? If I classified myself an athiest it would make sense to boycott the whole "Namaste" tradition altogether, but since I don't identify that way and I regularly participate by saying the one thing, why not the other? Why is it okay to participate in hollow forms of other religions, like the Ganesh-esque tattoo I sport on my right arm? How would I react to the if I saw some Indian guy walking around with a tattoo of a Jesus fish sporting googly eyes? (Actually, I'd probably crack up)

Anyhow, the point is that I never figured out the answer, and that in itself left me more upset than the original incident.

This weekend we went up to Eureka to my grandfather's wake. As we drove up I realized I hadn't seen that side of the family since I was about 13, and that was nearly 20 years ago. The whole thing read like a high school reunion (rather, what I imagine a high school reunion would be like... I've never had the slightest inkling to attend one until I'm a mega-billionaire who has invented an untraceable gamma-ray-type weapon that will extinguish all those who have wronged me). Basically, no one had changed yet everything had changed.

What struck me most was my one cousin. We'd been relatively the same age growing up so had always been clumped together. As we stood chatting around the keg I realized how different our lives now were.

The whole drive home I couldn't shake it. As an exhausted Aaron napped I had plenty of head space to take in the whole thing, but I couldn't place it. I remembered looking around the house at photographs and piecing together the landmarks that make up a person's life. It wasn't pity I felt, but more like a kind of sadness or guilt. I searched for the source of the emotion and I tried to put my finger on what it was, but I couldn't. It's like I was blank, and the more I thought about it the more it escaped me.