Archive for December, 2007

hopelessly odd?

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Still single after all these years… and I do occasionally ponder on the why. I usually end up concluding first that it is more important to me to be happy, and also that I am just far from normal so the number of men who are a “match” is a small pool indeed.

Mix in a little of the health issues that persisted for a while (massive fibroid tumor and anemia), the persistence of excess weight, and being self employed with a skew towards women clients students and fellow volunteers… the odds decline further. The recent revelations about being literally surrounded by men in my family with Asperger syndrome, from my first moments, and the picture is more interesting as well challenging.

But basic interests and priorities are a large piece.

As an example, yesterday I had what I considered a very fun first date – 1 1/2 hours of walking at Barton Dam, slipping on the ice, trying to walk next to the paths that were mostly ice, falling twice, and thoroughly enjoying myself and the company of the man I was with.

Compared with some other first dates in fine restaurants and coffee shops, or a movie (one of the most confusing choices of venue to me – why sit alone in the dark with someone and not speak? It makes more sense to me to see movies alone, and spend time engaged with friends in a non-passive activity….), this was the sort of date I could thoroughly enjoy.

So I suppose that makes me hopelessly odd. And a cheap date….

And perhaps helps to provide the answer of why I am happy and single.

Nala went along, and she was in heaven, and certainly very tired afterwards. She had almost no trouble running back and forth on the ice, stuffing her snout into hills of grass, and at one point pulling out a dead shrew from one of the mounds. I get some clear pleasure in being able to wear out this dog. But her dog friend is back in town, so I hope they will get a chance to play today.

Me? I have a bruised right gluteous maximus with a slight muscle pull beneath (piriformis) from falling near the second bridge, some tight quads from walking with tension, and a smile from an enjoyable morning.

Free Aung San Suu Kyi

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

My friend Jesse Richards produced this lovely video in support of Aung San Suu Kyi, of Burma.

A wonderful combination of music and images. a powerful political statement that has apparently helped spread the message of oppression….

did you notice it is Christmas?

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Just back from a walk downtown and the only places open were the Chinese restaurants…
Lots of parking, just a few pedestrians, cloudy and not too cold and the sidewalks were mostly clear of ice and snow. A fine day for a walk, if you don’t mind a somewhat desolate street scene.

Nala and I tried a long walk in the woods yesterday, but the paths were solid ice and with an excited dog on a flexi I couldn’t relax and just walk. But 6 of the causeways – i think that is what they’re called – were open on Barton Dam and the negative ions and the sound and the sight of all that rushing water made the treacherous walk to the dam worthwhile.

Since Zomba was a therapy dog I have a whole basket of costumes she would wear to Hospice. Antlers, bunny ears, a turkey head, angel wings and halo, and just before she died I bought her a superman outfit for Halloween, but she never got to wear it.

So I decided to try Nala out on just the Santa hat – and she wore it for the entire walk downtown. Impressive. Perhaps her former owners (who had three girls) dressed her up sometimes? I regret not taking more photos of Zomba in her silly costumes – which were certain silly and goofy and maybe the sort of thing no one should ever do to a dog but people smile and laugh in ways that make it all worth while for a few minutes of silliness.

So here is Nala in her first Zomba hand-me-down outfit and if it makes you smile, that is all I can ask for.



And snuggling on the couch after a nice walk.


Thrift Shops

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

I know that there are more than a couple people who read this blog who also indulge in thrift shop shopping with some degree of passion. This is a blog for you. I actually enjoyed the photos more than being in a thrift shop — which as a kinesthetically sensitive person is mostly too overwhelming to enjoy as all those energies and stories clash and bubble all around me….

This blog is a collection of the strangest oddest peculiar “WTF” sort of finds with mostly clever commentary and themes. Enjoy.

I went back over the last month, and found it great fun. Live Journal has a lot of options on how to view it, if you want an easier view to scan through, try this link. Just use the arrow button to scan backwards.

Your welcome for providing a way to waste (I mean enjoy) an hour or two on the net….)

The biggest shopping day of the year?

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

I try and specifically not participate in such days, as they are so offensive to my values and concerns about the effect of rampant consumerism and waste.
I did by a bulb for a friend, and a rawhide for my dog. Oh yeah, and a new car….

Well not exactly. But I put a deposit down on a Smart car. Specifically the Smart Fortwo Passion.


Altough this is my preferred color, this is the most deluxe version the one I want is more like this


It won’t be available until late next year, so I’m in line and will be saving my $$.
Seems a perfect combo – save the truck for hauling stuff and lending it out, but do my basic driving in a small car that gets over 40 MPG. It is also far safer than what I drive now, and the safest small car I’m aware of.

I think it is OK to buy a new vehicle every decade or more, this will just be my second ever. My Mazda truck in 1987 and Ranger in 1995 Still not much of a consumer….

Good Solstice

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

It is the shortest day of the year, my LED lights are shining on the porch, I’m glad to have a day to take it easy and have the birth over and my brother home from the hospital (he goes back in a few weeks for open heart surgery…)
And the excessive Christmas hype will soon be over for the next 8 or 9 months….

From now on it gets lighter, we have true winter until late March. And I have a dog who doesn’t get easily cold, who will walk in the rain and now (and sleet), and fun events over the next few months.

Happy to be at the end of a hard and interesting year, and grateful for the turn of the wheel.
Time to cook some Indian spiced tempeh and broccoli.

My Wonderful Dog – the Placebo Effect

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Nothing is calm and easy with Nala. She was alone overnight for the first time, although she had three major walks/playtimes during the day to prepare for it. We had a lovely walk in the warmth (40s) and sunshine over to Barton Dam. She ran and sniffed and leaped about (on leash of course) for 1 1/2 hours and it was great fun. Then she had 1/2 hour with her English Setter friend Fin, running even faster in the snow and crashing into each other and wrestling. She had the afternoon to rest and a short walk with me, then a longer 45 minute walk with my niece and her boyfriend who fed her and left her for the night while I was at the hospital for the birth.
I had arranged for two walks in the AM if I didn’t get home in time, but I was there by 6 AM and she was happy to see me. After doing the basic morning deeds she was happy to go to bed with me for a few hours, the change in schedule seemed like no big deal.

It was a busy day with little sleep, and late in the afternoon she started vomiting. She seemed really freaked out and kept running away from me, my other dogs would come to me to vomit, knowing I would soothe them and hold them when they were ill. She acted like a guilty bad dog. Was she previously yelled at for vomiting? She finally upchucked some identifiable stuff that might have been the cause – aluminum foil, some fabric, and some unidentifiable orange pieces. I don’t know what that was. And I haven’t used foil since she has been here….

She was still freaked out – gulping water so I had to stop her, and trying to vacuum up every bit of leaf, dust, etc. that was on the floor. I took her outside and she tried to scarf down the dried dead plants along my walk, and was desperately trying to eat as much snow as she good. She vomited a few more times outside, and then I brought her in before she ate something stupid.

At this point she was shaking and crying in obvious distress. Hmmm.

Lots of options came to mind, of course an emergency run to the vet’s was possible. But I decided that her shivering was from eating so much snow so fast, and she was more scared than in actual pain. I also felt that the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica was likely to help, so I got that and convinced her to lie on the living room carpet with me.

I did some hands on calming and gave her the first dose. I saw the emotional response first, less crying, easier breathing and no shaking. The symptoms returned in a few minutes, and I gave her the second dose. Again, a clear and positive response, and a longer period of relaxation and calm, until the 3rd dose. With that she laid down more relaxed, let me fully palpate her stomach and chest, which relaxed as I worked. I could see her come back into her normal self, and her crying and seeming panic was over. She was normal again, and itwasn’t until another 1/2 our that she had a slight return of symptoms so I gave the final dose. She was fine from there on.

I love using homeopathy with pets. The placebo effect doesn’t work on them, the results are clear and unambiguous. It wasn’t until I started using homeopathy on my cats that I came to believe it can work. That was about 24 years ago, and I’ve used it for myself as well as my pets ever since. Zomba and Ambo used to go into a sit whenever they saw a homeopathic bottle come out — they loved getting remedies. By the fourth dose Nala was happy to let me shove the globules into her mouth, or lick them from my hands.

We are still at the beginning of this wild puppy ride. I’ll spend some time this weekend further puppy proofing, and setting up her crate finally so she will have some time with that before her spay which is scheduled for Jan. 4.

She is sleeping well now, we had a lovely walk downtown and she was at her best behavior so far. I see big improvements with her obedience – walking easily, very little pulling, leaving objects and dropping food she picks up, not jumping on people she meets, and more. She has become a dream to walk with – healing, slack leash, walking without too many stops to sniff.

We went into Dogma Catmandu and there were three dogs there already, she behaved well. They had bones all over the floor, and she lay down to chew. When it came time to go, she willingly dropped the bone and walked by the other happily chewing dogs with no trouble.

She is a good dog, needing much more training and attention still, but responding well.

new life

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

Sylvia was born yesterday morning and I was there to help.
She is a beautiful healthy girl, with big beautiful hands one of which she insisted on keeping up near her face even as she emerged into the world.

Every muscle in my body hurts, which is nothing compared to what the mom went through. It is often an marathon event to have a natural childbirth, and it is amazing. I love to be part of it, but it is also hard physically. I’m a hands-on sort of labor support person, if massage or pressure or physical support will help I figure it is the least I can do compared with what the mom is doing.

Four births a year, or fewer, is as much as I can do. I imagine that at this point I’ve attended over 150 births, or parts of births. Maybe just over 100 where I was there until the end. I’m still amazed at how powerful women can be.

I’ve been asked to attend two births in 2008, so far, one in March and another in July. It is an honor.

FOX news

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

I showed the movie “Outfoxed” to my CHS class on “The Politics of Change”. Today they said that it helped them see the news differently and one student said she has started watching some of FOX’s newscasts and observing the bias. They said it was eyeopening, and helped them to see bias in the media elsewhere as well.

Today I got this link from Robert Greenwald, more FOX distortions.

There is a petition to sign on his web site.

And if you are local and want to borrow Outfoxed, let me know, I bought a copy to share.
Today I rented a copy of “Who Killed the Electric Car” and they really enjoyed that.

Arbor Teas

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

I found a package on my porch the other day, my order from Arbor Teas for African Honeybush and Rooibos – all organic, all packaged with the environment in mind, and delivered for free within Ann Arbor!

My friend Curt introduced me to the Rooibos tea, a full bodied tasty bark that he simmers for 10 minutes rather than steeps. He is from S. Africa, and we became friends when he was in Ann Arbor for a few years. I visited Curt and his wife a few years ago in Munich. He would share the Rooibos his mom would send him from S. Africa. Rooibos is perfect with a bit of honey. It has caught on in the fifteen years since I first experienced it, although most people steep it for a few minutes so they miss the fullness of flavor that is possible by a longer treatment. That and the Ethiopian blend that they sell at the Blue Nile are my favorite “teas”. I like herbal infusions (steeped 3-8 hours) but not many herbal teas (which are actually correctly called tissanes – tea is about the actual plant and herbs aren’t tea!)

I just enjoy the small world idea that after searching the internet for Rooibos a company in my neighborhood sells the organic version and drops it off on my front porch. Curt left Ann Arbor for the big city, which he prefers, but can he get that service there?