Sunday, August 23, 2015

[Reading] Slow on Sunday Morning and I Never Want to Leave*

It's Sunday morning, laying in my snugly white down duvet I scan through my emails; I notice The New York Times Books Update is still unread in my inbox. Odd.  I never miss my Friday read of the Books Update. How did it get overlooked? Scrolling through the email I speed read the opening letter from the Editor of TNYT Book Review. She is a capable writer. I enjoy reading her weekly letters. I envy her job. What catches my eye though sits at the bottom of the email, The Short List.  I click on the link and it brings me to The New York Times Books section on their blog. Click on the same link in the blog, and it takes me to the Sunday Book Review ON READINGI read the article, clicking on various links for each book they are reviewing, adding the titles to my planner list for new reads. Somewhere along the line I am linked to the online print of the paper.

There I glance at a picture of Judy Garland dressed as Dorothy. I love the Wizard of Oz so I click on the picture. "Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles," the link takes me to an original scan of the Wizard of Oz movie review.  I look at the year 1939.  I'm intrigued. The year has a special connection to me.

Reading the review I am taken to a flat in New York, a little family of four sitting at the kitchen table, I imagine my Grandpa Field reading the review to my grandma before he heads off to work. My grandma listening while she feeds my uncle Bob. A sleepy 9 month old version of my daddy laying in the stroller next to her.
The twinkle in my grandma's eye from the delightful review echoes off the spoon entering my uncle Bob's mouth.  I wonder if she wants to go see the movie now that she has heard about it.  Was it talked about in her chats with other women on the block?  Did they view it as only a "children's" movie?  I wish I knew. I can't ask my grandma. My daddy is not old enough to remember... or is he???

I read the ads, the other reviews located on the page. I dabble into looking at the other pages of the issue.  I miss the feel of a newspaper in my hands.  Even when we got a paper on our front stoop or in the mailbox I didn't find the descriptions from the reviewers as entertaining as I did the writing of Frank. S. Nugent. Didn't he have such a great way of "Showing" us the movie?

This goes to one of my arguments of writing today in papers and print. We have ruined the English language. We make words that are harmless evil and politically incorrect to use, like the word Gay (see one of the ads on the side of a movie caption): which when reading the definition used to have it's number 1 description as: lighthearted and carefree.  This has been moved to #2 with the negative, demeaning definition: of a person, especially a man) homosexual.  Sad.  I loved the word as a meaning of lighthearted and carefree..

If you just graze over the movie review, please go back and read it. It's, as I said before, delightful. Next read the other articles on the page. Informative and entertaining at the same time. 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the August 18, 1939 edition of The New York Times. I will venture to say that I was born in the wrong era. I am more a "literature" reader and writer than a "fiction" one.  Gobbling up words from the past sometimes puts a damper on words of the future. I guess I need to stop complaining and appreciate that I can read editions of various papers online thanks to the futuristic capabilities of the Internet and computers. Can you imagine if you told my grandfather there would be such a thing what he would say?  I think he would say, "only time will tell."

A normal habit of reading my emails sent me on a journey of discovery, and that started my Sunday out perfectly.

*title comes from Maroon 5's, Sunday Morning.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fenway Feature: Life Lessons from a dog's view of life.

An hour ago, Kyler and Fenway headed back to Las Vegas. As they drove out of the apartment complex I started getting a little misty minded:  There goes my baby boy and the most adorable puppy I have ever been around. sorry dad, even more adorable than Cherokee, and that is saying something, I know.

Walking back to our apartment past the Rosemary bushes, the shade trees, the green grass, I started thinking about the last week and a half I was blessed to spend with Fenway and realized I had learned a few life lessons from him. 

Lesson #1 No matter how scared you are of new places you still have to poop and pee when you get the opportunity.

     Seriously, my little grand puppy gets freaked out by the weirdest sounds. He likes his routine. Then again, who doesn't?  He loves being in his backyard. Finding a spot for him to go to the bathroom during the day was a tough choice for him.  First we brought him to the designated spot for the dogs in our apartment building. He didn't like this. He didn't like doing his business, so to say, when other dogs were around.  He liked his privacy.

The lot across the street from us is being dissected into a major roadway, there are hundreds of feet of dirt trenched ditches where machines, that his human father was awed by as a child, were burying ginormous black pipe. These machines made a certain little puppy nervous. He doesn't like bulldozers and backhoes. still trying to figure out how he is Devin's doggie...
This made him not want to do his business even if other dogs weren't around. The air conditioners kicking on had him hightailing it back to the stairwell of our apartment building. Funny things like that. 
We tried walking down the intersection of the finished part of the road way and seeing if he could go there, one side is all dirt waiting for another apartment complex or whatever gets built there. Yeah that was a good place for Fenway- in the really nice bark of the brand new planting strip between the road and the sidewalk. That didn't work for me. I can't have him desiccating on new stuff even with the poo bags in tow. 

Fenway noticed day three and a half, that there was this worn out path right off the stairwell. So, he started following that each morning. (we found out that this was a path humans and bunnies used to access the property after doing their daily exercise routine, or in the bunnies situation where they hopped on to eat the green grass.)  I let Fenway lead. We headed to the other side of the construction trailer where there is nothing going on, just a great big acreage of empty land. Finally, he had found the place he felt safe, the place he could do his business and not be distracted by noises, dogs and machines. Yippee a place to pee! 

What I learned from this trilogy of scoping out spots was that no matter where you are situated there is going to be a place for you. Some place that helps you feel secure, comfortable, or less distracted. A space to call your own. 

Lesson #2:  You may have the idea that you are in control of all situations. Humans aren't as dumb as you might think they are little puppy.

When we would go out for Fenway's daily business breaks, I incorporated a nice mile, or so, walk into the routine. Fenway didn't want anything to do with this. Remember, I said he likes HIS routine. Walking a mile, or so, isn't one of them. He usually goes out into his back yard does his business and goes back into the house. Not with me little puppy.  We both needed the exercise, or maybe I just did. He would play fetch inside all day long if I let him so he was active enough. The first few days we would walk the route that we had tried for his bathroom breaks. The new roadway, past the construction trailer to the empty field back to the entrance of the apartment stairwell via the bunny trail. This way got boring and honestly too hot in the afternoon.

After walking back up the worn out bunny trail one morning, I turned left instead of head straight up the stairwell. Surprisingly, I found a sidewalk route that went around the perimeter of our whole apartment complex. Matt didn't even know it existed. I love when I find new places! Such a beautiful peaceful trail. Most of it overlooks acres of wheat filled fields with a green nature preserve filled with cotton tails (or punks as we called them in our family) and tall breezy grasses. Speckled through out the preserve are small ponds complete with egrets.  For a second I thought I was in Florida. I didn't even know Egrets lived inland.  Such a nice surprise. Off the sidewalk to the apartment side are gorgeous Quaking Aspens with their papery bark peeling off in tiny sections, bee buzzing blue flowered Rosemary Bushes, various grasses, rocks, grass and Crape Myrtles with their flaming hot pink firecracker flowers.  It became my favorite walking path. Fenway loved it only for seconds.  Along the path is a stretch of grass with a great shade tree. Before reaching this area Fenway would be trotting along, looking around and sometimes getting nervous with the hidden barks of big dogs in their tiny apartments. I thought ha ha, the jokes on them, here is a little doggy outside enjoying the open air. In Fenway's head, he had other thoughts. we would reach the aforementioned grassy area, he would sniff around and then plan himself down in the shade.  When he didn't think I was paying attention (the Egret is across the way) he would start inching his body around the opposite direction and try to turn me around as if it was my idea to head back towards home. I look at this adorable puppy and think: not always do you get to go back to the apartment when you want, no matter how tricky you think you are being Fenway. Ha, stop for a rest on the grass and then hightailing it back the opposite way doesn't work for all humans, especially this one. Muhahaha... 
I would turn him back around, jump start him back onto the sidewalk with a little pull of his leash locked into place so he had no excess leash line and start walking until I hit that half mile mark then turn around. From here it was all pull on the long leash line and Fenway running as fast as his little legs would move until we reached the stairs where I would have enough time to shorten the leash line again in case the darn cat next door was wandering outside (that's a whole 'nother story) all the while being ran up three flights of stairs his little haunch muscles straining in pursuit of his goal of getting to the door and having it close tightly behind him.
Man, I need to thank that little guy for kick starting me onto a great healthy fitness path.

What I learned from those walks were, no matter how much control you think you have over situations you don't. Sometimes you will be prodded, pulled and poked into a different route because someone else has a higher plan for you that will take you out of your comfort zone, open your eyes to new experiences and prod you to a better life. 

Lesson #3Your food always looks better when someone else wants to eat it.

This morning was my final lesson. I was worried that Fenway wouldn't want to eat his food in the time that it would take before Kyler was ready to leave for Las Vegas. Usually Fenway eats after he plays catch which is always after the morning business break, his lapping of early morning water and a good ear scratching.  This means he doesn't eat until around 9 o'clock.  Kyler was anticipating leaving at 9. I tried to talk Fenway into eating, but he just wanted to play.  My mind wandered back to when the kids were little and didn't want to do something, like do their chores, eat, or just go out to play.  I remembered how I used to trick them when it came to eating that I was going to eat their delicious food all gone and would start forking up the food and pretending I would eat it. They would in turn get super upset that I was eating their food and take it away from me and start eating it themselves.  I decided this might work with Fenway. Brilliant- worked like a charm. Imagine me, laying on my stomach, mouth towards the bowl saying, "yum, my food," and this long wiener dog brushing my face away with his little wet nose then diving into his own dog bowl to eat his food. When he would walk away, I would go back to the charade of being over his bowl saying, "my food. yum."  Back he would come, look at me with his accusing glance, nose his way in and push me out.  Dogs, like children, are so easy sometimes.

How many times do we need to do something, yet we want to do it on our own time, not on the time of another?  Your boss needs a brand new project completed, before another project; you have been working on the aforementioned project for weeks. You want to finish the first one, yet, you know your job is probably on the line if you don't do the new one he wants completed first. How do you change gears? Like me changing Fenway's plans, we have many ways to encourage ourselves to do what we need to do, even when we really don't want to do them. There is that old saying "fake it 'til you make it." 

I guess I faked it, 'til Fenway ate it.

Lessons Learned.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Early Morning Gutter Drain

Have you ever noticed that the best writing you’ve ever done is never underneath the sun? It’s always in the pitch of night. The timing never, ever right?

This is where I currently reside, standing at the kitchen counter, barefoot and rocking some coral chevron pajamas; microwave digits glowing green at 3:17.  Its dagnastic early, my eyes are heavy, but my brain is a flurry of thoughts, lyrics, and meaningless emotions until I put them down on paper. I’ve already bled out one poem, meant only for me to read. Sorry folks.

As writers, you know those poems, the ones that speak so clear of your emotional state that if other people read them, they might get frantic about what you will do to yourself after they read all the darkness formed in the couplets. Yeah those.

Forget it you tell them, it’s just feelings. Not always your feelings, just ones you somehow picked up when you were out and about participating in life. If those don’t get spat out, they will bobble like a toy boat sitting on the edge of a sewer drain after a heavy rain. Never actually going down over the edge, but bucking and pitching until you type them out. They are never a permanent pain. Yet, they need to be released or you will sink like the titanic drowning in other people’s emotions.  Empathy is the one thing you can never completely release down into the sewer. It lives, breaths, and builds inside every single day until once again your fingers touch the keys. Your heart, a vessel for other people’s pain. Hopefully, they believe you.

Now, I’m drained, the night has passed. Back to sleep or just relax??