Monday, March 28, 2011

Sleeping Dogs

Every morning, we follow the same routine at my house.  I wake up first, let Gonzo out, let Gonzo in, and feed all the animals.  I eat my breakfast at the computer, make the girls theirs, and drive them to school on the days I work later.  Right now, Cathy is simultaneously having pancakes and getting ready for school.  Gonzo is behind me, full of food and empty of...yesterday's food.

So, when I was feeding Gonzo today, I was petting him as he ate and thinking what a special dog that he lets me do this.  Some dogs don't like anyone near the food bowl when they are eating.  I have even reached into Gonzo's mouth on occasion and retrieved something he should not have picked up.  He lets me, because he trusts me.  Even when he was hit by the car and his hips were broken, he let Wayne and I pick him up in a blanket and never barked or bit anyone, just seemed to know we were trying to help.  Because he trusts people.  And he's never had reason not to.  He has been loved and spoiled from day one, needing only to look at us to communicate his needs.  Abused dogs learn to fight back, to nip and growl, and attack figures who remind them of past abusers.

People also do this.  We all learn from past experiences and relationships; these can change our behavior forever.  We may not bite, but we pull back, withdraw, and find it hard to trust.  We follow, worried our owners will abandon us, if we've been abandoned in the past.  Sometimes, people behavior can seem crazy, to others and sometimes to ourselves, but it's never really crazy if we just put ourselves in the other person's shoes.  There is always a story that makes sense of what we are doing and why.  And if we can reach out and touch with love a poor dog who didn't deserve his bad life, we can do the same for each other, and maybe help bring about change.  Even shelter dogs can change, if they are loved.  People can, too. 

That gives me hope, for myself and for the people I know who deserve to be loved, but don't think they do.  My own personal issue is having difficulty talking when I am upset, about what has upset me, to the people with whom I am upset.  It got better this weekend, though I have a long way to go before I am as trusting and loving as Gonzo.  Can I just say again, what a wonderful dog he is?  : )

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nuggets of Funny

Okay, only two things to share tonight. 

The first is my favorite quote this week, which could have ended up in a "White Noise" redux blog, but was hands down the best thing heard all week, and so stands alone:  "Stop running!  My pants are falling down!  I repeat, my pants are falling down!   This is not a drill!"

And, the funniest suggestion all week was made by my baby brother Loren tonight, after another riotous night with family.  He is planning to make a facebook page for my childhood imaginary friend.  So, if I am suddenly in an open relationship with a Prince Jellygonda, of King Chapel, Mount Vernon, (occupation: Prince, contact info:  wish into a well and he can hear you), I hope all friends understand, even my grown up man friends.  I am a teensy bit embarrassed at the prospect of sharing my imaginary friend with the world, but am touched that my family remembers my obsession with a longago love I insisted was REAL.  I still remember wishing others could see him the way I could.  And now, on facebook, they will.  : )

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peas in a Pod

When I was a teenager, my Aunt Gerdi once looked at me and then at my brother.  "You two look so much alike, it isn't even funny," she told me.  I wasn't laughing.  It isn't funny, to grow up as the less pretty version of my brother Karl.  And yet, I wouldn't choose to look like anyone else.

In a family of six kids, I am the shortest and least photogenic.  My brothers are so good looking that when my friend Jeff D first met them, he kept looking from them to me, and saying, "But, they are model gorgeous."  I could tell he was trying to figure out where I came from.  Meanwhile, I was trying to figure out if my handsome brothers had turned him, and Jeff's upcoming drag show debut is for more than fun.  But, I do look like them, especially Karl.  My eyes are blue, his eyes are unnaturally blue, like those aliens in "Dune." 

We all laugh the same.  We kick each other to shut each other up.  We grab our stomachs and laugh silently, what my nephew Peter calls our "bullet dodge" laughter.  We laugh until we cry, at jokes no one else really understands or finds amusing.  "What do you get when you cross a dog eating baby with a 90 year old with leprosy?"  "Seven fingers."  See?  Makes no sense whatsoever.  Neither does "Aunt Erni basement rot" or the song we sing when Mark comes home for Christmas, "Carmelkorn, Carmelkorn, Mark, Mark, Mark."  My sister in law Katie fits right in, with her "It's all right to be angwy, Ewik." 

So, looking alike is only part of what draws us together as a family; what really are the ties that bind are all those inside jokes and stories, and shared sucky memories.  If I could change my appearance or fight off age with Botox and cheek implants and all the rest, I still wouldn't.  Because then, I wouldn't look like the people I love most.  I can settle for being the ugly duckling in a beautiful flock, because I love my flock more than anyone.