notes from a dachshund: why a Portuguese water dog?

Just the other day I was thinking why in the world did our president buy a Portuguese water dog for the White House? First of all, there is no Portuguese water in the white house. It has to be American. What will that dog drink? Bottled Portuguese water? Who will go out and buy that without a fanfare? Certainly not Michelle Obama! She can’t be seen buying Portuguese! That poor dog will have to give up his own water and  be converted. I know how hard it is to be converted. You know who decided to save money buy installing a filter on the water tap rather than buying bottled water. I liked the bottled water! Particularly Fiji water as it is sublime! Fiji water reminds me of springtime and mudlucious in the words of e. e. cummings  and catching frogs down by the shore. We used to do that a lot when she was rich. Now that our life has changed we go on walks in our neighborhood rather than to far away places that had room service and where the waiters always brought me treats! Oh!  How I loved those treats! Hamburgers swimming in butter and tasty chops with lots of  fat on the edges. Once I found some chocolate under a bed but that didn’t end well. Mostly those places loved me and paid me a lot of attention particularly during cocktail hour. How I love cocktail hour! All those tidbits being passed about. The thing about being a dog is that people have no reason to suspect you are perfectly capable of listening to whatever they say to one another. I have heard the most amazing stuff simply by sidling up to people. Actually, so has you know who. She does this thing of pretending to be asleep or in a trance so people forget she is there and just start babbling to each other. They tell each other everything that is going on in their head including some stuff that should stay in their head. Once she heard some people begin to talk about her and then she had to wake up as no matter how confident you are, hearing gossip that is mean about yourself is just not fun! What is fun is cosiness with warm meat thrown in. Let’s face it,  nowadays it is easier to be a dog that is loved than a human. I read over her shoulder in the paper today that during the depression of the 1930’s the divorce rate slowed. Humans today are so silly. Bickering is just a waste of time. Think about it. First, do what I tell you. Smile. Feel your face in a smile. It feels good, right? I must say I have a great smile for a dachshund. It is long and sweet and I have very pretty white, sharp teeth. Now try frowning or try growling, it is basically the same thing.  Feel how that feels bad on your face? Your face feels sad just doing it. We should be happy dogs with happy human owners because then us dogs would get more tasty treats! Forget the Portuguese water! Buy American! Smile! Take your dog to the pond! Lick your wife in the face!

notes from a dachshund: BOYS CAN’T READ THIS!

No one realizes how life is much simpler when you live close to the ground. I see things that rarely cross the eyes of humans and I know I am superior. I have known this for a while, actually.Despite the fact that my beauty surpasses most human women, I am a humble sort of girl and I can’t believe how stupid the average male human can be.They are still in the Neanderthal incantation that is for certain. The other night I had to lie through an entire evening listening to a woman friend of you know who talk about her guy. She couldn’t understand why he hadn’t followed her out of the restaurant when they had a fight. She drove back to her house and he never even called her! He told her the next day he thought she would come over to his house. Now that is just plain old silly. Of course a girl doesn’t just go to a guy’s house after she has walked out on him. The guy is supposed to follow her and say how much he loves her. When will guys get it right? They could have the most simple of lives but they just keep on screwing up!Girls just want to be told they are pretty and have their stomachs rubbed in a continual pattern.When girls turn and walk away they want to have their tails chased! What do human males do? They sit and eat their food! Ridiculous, really! If human males just chased the woman they loved and then caught them and then told them how lovely they were and  then scratched their bellies, they would get everything they wanted. When a human girl says she is sick of ” the relationship” she doesn’t mean it! What she means is that she wants more attention. It is that simple. Human men have no idea how easy it would be to have everything they want in a companion. All it would take would be a small chase and then a few licks!Today you know who went to the farmers market in Marin where she met a man she hadn’t seen for 20 years. He said,” There is the stunningly beautiful Lucinda!” and you wouldn’t believe the effect it had on her. She gave me four pieces of turkey jerky on the drive home and kept smiling in this funny way and looking at herself in the mirror at every stop sign and once during fast traffic on the freeway much to my chagrin! I swear I am sick of this. Why don’t people listen to me? Everyone wants the same thing. Food, sex and laughter. From my perspective I know what to do to get this though the sex portion of my life was violently removed some years ago without any informed consent from me! That’s one of the problems of being shaped like a wiener dog and having long red hair. Frankly(get it?) I don’t really care about the sex part anymore as I am a mature person who understands what is important in life though I see this isn’t the case for humans. Humans long for touch and that is a sad problem as they don’t see themselves as dogs. If they did they would get belly scratches whenever they liked.

Gratitude for Dogs

The night is young as they say and I am enjoying the soft fog curling about the hills of Marin as well as the antics of “Rosie”, my small dog, who continues to entertain and delight me. I completely understand why studies show that people who live alone benefit from the presence of an animal. My Rosie adds an enormous amount of pleasure to my life particularly in the morning. Rosie sleeps patiently next to me in my bed yet somehow knows the exact moment I  awaken in the morning when she begins our ritual of dachshund/human love. She burrows under the covers right by my face and announces in her own way that she needs attention in the form of adoring belly scratches. I never withhold love from Rosie as whatever I give her is given back three times over. The sheer delight of our morning encounters never ceases to bring me joy and laughter. With Rosie, love seems so simple. The agenda is food, scratching, petting, walking and then sleeping. I know what to do for her, and she, for me. She looks in my eyes and says to me she understands what I feel and accepts it. I look into hers and know what it feels like to absolutely adore someone. A friend of mine said the other day that she loved her dog as much as her daughter and I understood. Rosie goes everywhere with me and often speaks to strangers. Sometimes people call my house and ask to speak to her as she is a very good conversationalist. She has advice on all matters of life including: dress, men, sex, children and , above all else, food. She really is not interested in wine which disappoints me. The other day she commented to me that I should see more of my friends in California as I seemed much happier here than in the east. She really likes my boyfriend as he likes her and sometimes that’s all it takes for us to like someone else. She tells me he needs to wake up and realize that love is all there is and I completely agree with her. What I have noticed is that sometimes people prefer to sleep very soundly through life and there is really not much you can do to wake them up. You can nudge them with your dachshund nose and look at them with your melting brown eyes and , frankly, if they can’t adore you they are fools!

scare me and I will do as you ask!

A friend of mine went to a benefit dinner recently where the hosts of the event were raising money for the blind. After the guests were seated , the chair of the evening announced that dinner would be held in absolute darkness so the guests would  “know” what it was like to be blind. The lights were extinguished and the dinner served by waiters who were sight challenged. The dinner guests reacted by not reacting so used were they to shock tactics to get their attention. My friend was really furious as he felt manipulated, and rightly so, by the plan of the evening. The darkness frightened him and he felt controlled and manipulated by the situation. Evidently others felt the same way as the usual amount of cash did not appear afterwards though no one spoke up at the time.  I don’t blame him. I felt the same way today at a training I attended for healers in my town. At one point in the program designed to help volunteers work with those who were ill with cancer, a woman gave a presentation which was focused on the process of grief.  She asked us to write on 10 pieces of paper the things we valued most in our lives. Many of us wrote these things down with thought and some pain as we remembered our loved ones and our lives. The leader of this exercise appeared again in front of us dressed in a dime store version of an angel: wings and a gilt halo atop her head. We all laughed nervously when she appeared. She stated in a strange voice, “I am the angel of death! Give me three of your pieces of paper!” We all looked through our papers searching for the ones we could give up without pain. She then asked for three more pieces and we gave her three more. Finally, we were all left with one piece of paper. Supposedly, written on this piece  of paper was the most important thing we valued above all else in life. She asked that we give this to her. I substituted a blank piece of paper for this request. Though I clearly knew this was an exercise, I was unwilling to go along with this woman as I felt manipulated by her strange costume and impersonation of “the angel of death.” For me , this exercise was not successful in teaching the concept which I was unsure of. Describing it here in my blog is difficult as it seems relatively harmless but in the room there was an enormous amount of mostly painful emotion. These women were imagining all over again the losses they had suffered in their lives or future losses they might suffer.I believe from what I have experienced with death and loss people learn how to deal with others who have suffered by empathic understanding of the sense of loss. To dramatize the feeling of loss in a false manner and by introducing comedy to the exercise this woman created a feeling of deep sadness within our group. I later commented to this woman on how I felt and what I had done with my slip of paper. Her comment to me in return was that ” I must have a lot of issues surrounding loss to have withheld my piece of paper from her.” I was surprised by this reaction as I usually expect another person to listen to my feedback and not take it personally. She went on to say that she was going to use my story as an example of a person who had “control” issues.  I found this inappropriate in any number of ways. I think both of us felt frustrated by the interaction. I find that in todays’ world the advertising industry has decided that shock is the only way to reach people for behavior change. I disagree with this being a Buddhist at heart. I think we all feel enough pain today to last a lifetime and that we feel better and do more good in the world by being shown compassion and loving kindness. I think  an exercise in loss shouldn’t be necessary in a group of volunteers who have already decided to give up a part of their time to work with those in pain. Perhaps no one has vocalized this before  during this exercise but in vocalizing my feelings I found solace in knowing everyone has the right to be heard and respected. A clear and organized presentation demonstrating the stages of grief would have been a lot more helpful to me.

fall in love for the right reasons

What the Hell does that mean? I really hate that phrase particularly when people say it who have small and mean mouths. What could possibly be the “right” reason to fall in love? That you found the object of your affection fascinating? That you were irresistibly drawn to that person for reasons you could never articulate?That when you were with that person you felt calm and content or crazy and agitated? There doesn’t appear to be a right answer here for any one particular person as it is different for everyone. The one constant is the desire of most people to want to find someone with whom they feel safe and secure and beloved. I happen to believe that in every relationship there is a lover and a beloved. I am always the lover. I am changing my ways and am going to take on the beloved role now that I am a true adult. It must be nice to be the beloved. You sit there and bask in the admiration of the lover who is always considering what it is that might make you happier, more comfortable or more cosy. The beloved has no problem knowing what name to put on the form at the hospital where you must fill in the name of whom to notify in the event of an emergency. I remember once taking a boyfriend to the hospital for a test very early in the morning. We had been dating almost a year and I felt things were pretty solid. I watched him fill out his form very carefully and then asked him whose name he had written in the space for notifying someone in an emergency. He looked up at me rather sheepishly and said that he had written the name of his ex wife in that space. I felt really angry at first and then I just felt sad. I have an “ex” as well but I would never put his name in that space on my form as we just don’t have that type of relationship.I know a lot of single people like me who have sadness around this issue.We all want to be in love for whatever reason there might be. When we believe in love we are very frightened underneath it all as getting older doesn’t make losing at love easier, it makes it much more difficult. Just as real wounds heal less fast in older people, so do wounds of the heart. Younger people don’t want to know this as most hope the pain of relationships will lessen as one ages. No such luck!

Heart Attack From a Broken Heart

I read somewhere the other day that women sometimes had heart attacks when they broke up with a significant other. Perhaps it was people in general. I can’t be certain but it makes me wonder about the pain of relationships  and the actual physical damage this pain could do. The heart pain is so bad that it makes you believe you will never ever survive it even if you remind yourself a billion times a day that it will get better in time. It seems to hit in waves of remembrance which feel like waves of actual physical pain starting in your heart and then sometimes flowing out into your chest. You have a hard time breathing for a moment. You feel a certain panic filling your thoughts. It is hard to detach and practice Buddhist breathing or even to remind yourself why you can’t be with the other person. When you love someone you love them and that’s all there is to it. Funny who we chose to love…I don’t completely understand the whys or the hows of it. I think, for me, there is a “child” connection where I feel an instinctive connection with a person and that connection feels safe to me. When the connection is broken I feel as if I have suddenly lost my best friend.

gender differences

My daughter was commenting the other night on how different men and women were when congregating in groups of friends. She said when her boyfriend went out with his guy friends some good business happened as they got together in a collaborative way and made it happen. He would come home and tell her about the new project they had cooked up or a new song they had all written together.  She was trying to understand why this didn’t happen when she was with her women friends and explained it by the “hunter-gatherer” instinct in males. She believes that men collaborate better together as they learned this as cave men when men had to work together to bring home the bison. Women have not yet learned this as we are still competing for the men not believing we can makeit on our own now and get our own bison. The end result is that when we are together with other women we are still competing with each other rather than collaborating with each other. Those were not her words, exactly, but they sure made me think. My daughter is a supreme feminist as I am,  yet she had noticed this  and did not like it. I remember when I was teaching communication in a business school how easy it was to work with the men students as I would give them feedback and they would thank me. My women students would argue with me and defend themselves, not wanting to be criticized. They ( the women) viewed my feedback as criticism rather than helpful feedback on how to get a job. I remember trying to word things differently for both sexes but I always remember knowing I was the same as my women students. I know I act differently with men than with women and that I prefer the company of men as they are easier to be with for me. There is no competition and an easy acceptance that I enjoy.I find this reflection an interesting one and that’s all I have to say on this subject for now.

Why we have Mothers Day

Today I went to the garden of a friend in Bolinas where there were a few wonderful women visitng for the day.I  wander ed about her garden and into her studio where she had many, incredibly lovely paintings she had done. As I was meandering around the place a woman came up to me to chat. She was dressed as only women dress who have reached a point in their lives where they know what they like and what pleases the eye. The particular shade of green she  favored was like a wonderful moss blanket growing around a happy rock in a woods where there were still magical things happening. Her face reflected calmness and a certain peace that comes from a warmth fed by slow fires and good books. This new friend of mine explained that Mothers Day had originated from  “Mrs. Howe”  who had gathered women around her during a war some years ago and asked the mothers not to send their sons to war. She believed that if all the mothers in the world decided not to allow their sons to fight, war might be stopped. I thought this was a wonderful story. I think many of us could do more to stop the fighting that is in constant motion all over our world. As mothers, we have a voice in what happens in the world and imagine if all of us prevented our sons from going to war and our daughter as well? Would the wars begin to slow down and eventually cease? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Don’t believe the positive news and this from an optimist!

I mean it!  Though I would consider myself an optimist, I will not believe the positive news on the economy in the news media as it is improbable. There is no way the world can turn around on the head of a pin and become solvent, safe and economically sound in this short a period of time. There is no way our banks can become stabilized or our economic markets, balanced. We are simply unwilling to wait out this recession as we are all impatient with pain. I see people out in the malls carrying shopping bags and it makes me worried. I think about their credit card balances creeping up again and the amount of debt they are carrying. I think about how they will face their mortgage payment or rent due bill and I imagine the fear that will undoubtedly hit once people realize their spendable income is depleted and their assets have not grown.  In this country and perhaps in the world  people do not like to look at the future in terms of their own mortality but this is an exercise I have been practicing recently. I imagine how long I will live with all good luck and then I map out how much money I will need to live that long a period of time. I take into account the possible rate of inflation in future and come up with a figure I will need so that I will be self sustainable. It used to be clear to me that my future would be sound and money would not be a fear I needed to have. I think that many of us have realized that life as we knew it may not be the same in the future. Many of us have done the same exercise I have just described and realized that some changes will have to be made.I am not the biggest fan of changes in lifestyle, don’t get me wrong. I have been fortunate enough to have lived a great life and to have been able to do almost everything I wanted to do. I am doing a different kind of future reflection these days having just experienced my 60th birthday and noticing what has come up for me in terms of fear. I have always thought fear to be the most debilatating of emotions as it has the power to paralyse us right in our tracks and prevent us from moving forward or even sideways. I think fear is becoming an emotion we are losing track of as it is so appropriate at this time. We should be fearful about the world as we know it because it is only by being fearful that we will effect change and focus on stabilizing our world. I really believe we need to recognize that our lives are permanently changed and our behavior needs to change as a result of this. I feel like a punitive school teacher sayiing this but in my heart I know it to be true.

There’s a lot to be said for shelling peas on the back porch and then making the most delicious, bright green soup for dinner.I took my first trip to the Marin farmers market with a friend yesterday and decided that the $28.00 I spent was the best bargain I had made in almost my entire life. Not only was I satisfied in body but my mind was alive with the positive energy of the place, the young farmers as well as the young mothers buying fresh produce for their kids.A happy time that was priceless!