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You know how I always find dogs–& a cat once, Josephine, & even a few birds–a crow, some chicks, an owl? Yea, well, today I kind of found a kid, or I nearly tripped over him, I guess. He was parked outside a Chipotle in a black leather jacket & a sign that said “need money for food & blankets”.

I stopped & stared at him. “What are you doing out here?” I asked, as if his answer couldn’t possibly be true. Answers, answers, the wrong answers. “Hm…”, I was thinking, thinking, thinking. “I’ll give you food, but not money,” I said, thinking that’s the trump that blows the kids story for booze money every time.

“What I really need is blankets,” he said. And that was a surprise. This was NOT a kid bumming for a habit. “I can buy you food. What would you like?” A burrito. I gave him money, he went in to Chipotle & I walked on. I strolled around Davis, in need of a day, away. I got coffee, a bagel, went to the thrift, but I kept thinking about this kid. Had I given him enough? Did it cover tax too? Would he be short, get stuck or freak out–all the thing’s I’d do if I were short money–have been short money–so I walked back to look for him, but he was gone.

“Let it go, let it go, let it go,” I told myself. “This is my day–let it go!” I walked. I enjoyed the sun, the spring weather, the students cruising around town, the Davis scene. I heard dogs bark a few times & looked up, like Pavlov’s obedient servant: Zephyr!? Trooper!? No, no, no. They’re home. Breathe, breathe, walk, walk, walk.

I went in a circle because there was the kid, leaning against a garbage can with his sign. “Hey! Did you get your burrito?” I asked. “Yea,” he said, kindly. “Good…so…” Was he alone? Did he know a shelter–yes and no. No to the shelter, “not my place,” he said. I nodded, I got it. I’ve heard that before. “Ok…well…you had dinner, so that’s good. I nodded. I stood there. He looked away. “So, take care,” I said  & walked away.

Suddenly, I wanted to be home with the dogs. The dogs I could do. I had done. I am doing; we are doing ok. But I started rummaging through the jeep–I treat it like I’m still on the road–tent, sleeping bag, boots, gear. I only recently took out the stove, and it’s been 14 YEARS since I’ve been out there, sleeping on plateaus, in the woods, under outcrops, outside of towns, behind buildings, in parking lots, and I still don’t unpack, all the way, like I need to be ready, just in case.

I found a couple fleece pullovers–a bit furry, but warm. I drove back, found the kid again. He seemed happy. “Stay warm,” I said, and left for good.

Driving home, stuck on the freeway, I thought I could have brought him home, perhaps. I mean why not? But I thought and thought–then thought rationally–and all this negative stuff overrode my good intentions–grown woman takes in lost minor, etc, etc…nothing good could come of that. And that’s true, and really sad. 

I only ever wanted kids for about 5 minutes in my whole life, and those 5 minutes were prompted by being terribly in love with a man who I thought I would love forever–who would love me forever. So, when he didn’t, I let it go, forever. Forever.

BUT, as far back as I can remember, further back the man I was in love with, I have imagined that one day I would find a kid, the same way I find dogs, cats, birds, lost sweaters. It’s just been a given, and a matter of time. I hadn’t thought about that in a while, but I remembered today.

It may not happen–I can barely take care of myself & the dogs, but it could. It might. I would, I think, maybe. Everything, everyone, needs to be found. I believe that. In the right time, I will find, I am finding, I have found you.

 

Here I was working away when Eddie Vedder began singing Hard Sun on Pandora. You know those weird moments, where you see something, or smell a bygone scent, or hear that one song, that propels you back in time? This is that song for me.

Suddenly, I am here: Mission:Wolf, Colorado, elevation 8,000 feet. No electricity, no phones, water from a stream. Closest town: 20 miles, mostly rough dirt roads. See that little one person tent on the left? That’s mine. There are 8 of us humans, & 20-something rescued wolves. The hybrids live down low, but the wolf pack lives on their own territory. Today I hear it has expanded greatly, but this was back in the beginning.

MissionWolf

Below: This is Hota Hill. I named it and as far as I know, it’s still the same. I hiked up there a lot. It’s nearly 9,000 feet. I could see forever and never see another man made anything.  If Hota Bear and I howl, the wolves will howl back from across the valley.

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This is Hota Bear. Hota is dog, not wolf, but he’s a rescue at M:W. This is our prayer pole.

Hota hill3

Below, I shot this balancing the camera on a rock. Me & Hota.

Hota hill

And that’s 1989. The year I ran away from home on a moment’s notice & found myself across the country, by myself at this wild grass-roots wolf rescue. Best spontaneous decision ever. xo

If you are interested in wolf rescue, Mission: Wolf still exists, MUCH larger now and more powerful, I hear, than ever.

Cheer Up

I looked straight at my doctor today and said, “Oh, you know…I’ve been a little sad lately….” And then my mouth opened up and poured a heavy list of life happenings into his hands, before I said, “but you know, I’ll cheer up….”

He nodded, wanted to add more medication on top of what I’m already taking to “cheer myself up” but seriously, it’s just more upon more. I remind him that depression is not sadness, but he’s too busy talking. I let it go. This  journey has been longer than my short time knowing the doc.

“Sadness is more or less like a head cold – with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”Barbara Kingsolver

I often blame myself–I am NOT working nearly hard enough as I should be, so of course, I’m not successful! Then I blame my circumstance: teaching killed my spirit and created a fear in me I never knew I would endure. Public anxiety, much? For god sakes, get over it, already! But then…

I flip, I flop, I am up, I am down. I work, I work, I work, then I stare at the computer like it’s a slot machine that will DO something wonderful, cheerful, miraculous, uplifting. I wish, I pray, I get up, I take a shower, I walk the dogs, I measure success in tiny, tiny teaspoons, and then I pour then on the floor.

Depression runs in my maternal family. There, I said it! (Please don’t tell my mother. She would be horrified.) Family maters stay in the family, which is to say, we do not speak of them, ever.

This is how my mother was raised, but my own stubborn determination to shove back at depression, and later–after 4 super fun years of inner-city subbing — acute social anxiety, rage internally.

It’s an all-or-nothing battle of beliefs: I have good sales, I am up! I don’t have a sale, I am bad–also, I have failed, I don’t work hard enough, I am not focused enough, young enough, determined enough, I am down. There is no practical inference of how bad bad is.  It’s just ALL bad.

The doc has been trying to get me to go to this group thing: meditation, yoga, group hugs, bio feedback…I want to chew my arm off rather than go, but I promised–though I’ve promised before–that I will go. I will go. I will go….and all I want to do is walk, sip coffee, stare at the sky, breathe. That I can do.

I tell myself it is a journey–what a cliché. What I really believe is that happiness may not truly be for me. It may not–and I say this after many, many years–be attainable. This is not to say I am never happy! I am.  I have known some great joys, but they fall upon me like leaves from a tree. I hold them for a moment and then they float on.

Valentines, Whatever.

Valentine’s day is always better with someone special….DUH. For the rest of us, not swooning over new love or even better, old love, it is a day we are forced to reflect on or avoid, or both. But for fun, let me share some things I really do love about being single…no, really. 😉

1. I am the master of the remote control–if I were dating this might be a battle.

2. I don’t have to watch CNN, ESPN, FX, EVER. And no one heckles me if I happen to flip past, & then, flip back to Private Practice or Gray’s Anatomy.

3. Other than the dogs, no one snores around here, that I know of.

4. Not that I would, but if I want, I can double-dip into the yogurt, ice cream, peanut butter, cake batter…I don’t even really have to BAKE the damn cake. I can just eat batter with the spoon…hypothetically.

5. No one pees in my bath tub, for any reason, EVER.

6. I can dry laundry over the heater without reprimand of stringing skivvies around the house.

7. My skivvies may, or may not, be lace. It really doesn’t matter.

8. I never have to wonder what he’s thinking about, if we’re happy, if we’re getting married, if he’s leaving, if he’s…anything.

9. I can change my mind at any given moment to do, or not to do, nearly anything–other than walk the dogs, which is not negotiable, apparently.

10. Quite often, I really do love the quiet & comfort of my very own home. Me & the dogs.

Happy Valentines Day, d xo

 

Trooper’s Teeth, Part ll

It’s been just over a year since I found Trooper, my newest rescue dog, crawling down a gutter, and it’s been less than that, last February, since he had his BIG dental surgery–I think it was 21 teeth pulled. Oy. I thought we were done. I thought that was going to be it, forever. But Trooper’s been gnashing at his mouth again and in moments of real pain he runs around the house whelping with his body curled sideways in a panic, then he crawls under a chair and hides. It’s awful. I took him back to the vet. He needs more teeth pulled. *HOLY CRAP*. And of course it’s Christmas & 12 days before my dear, dear landlord bumped up our rent–Happy New Year!

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The vet estimate. Love the huge margin of “what ifs”. *Whew*

Gotta love the invoice: $168-$445, plus, follow-ups, antibiotics, meds…it’s Trooper we’re talking about, so if there’s another cost to be had, he will surely create it.

But it is Trooper. My tiny little furry, bundle of ewok love. The dog that yaps at me at dawn, because, hey, going outside in a freeze sounds good at 4am; the dog that can’t hear a thing but manages to appear at the door when I come home wagging until he falls over on the linoleum floor. He’s the dog I clutched so hard I nearly sqooze him too tightly the day he got out and I found him a whole block and a half away–scariest Trooper moment EVER.

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Trooper looking a bit glassy eyed after a pain pill.

So, we’re going back into surgery, if we can, by the skin of our teeth, if we can drum up the money–& even if I can’t, I will find a way, eventually, because he’s my guy. (Zephyr too, of course! But even at 13 1/2, he’s got gorgeous teeth, seriously, nicer than my own, but he doesn’t drink coffee, so there’s that.)

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Trooper at the beach on a spunkier day in September. How cute is he?! 🙂

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Zephyr, this last September xo

When I found Trooper: http://snowflowerstreet.blogspot.com/2011/12/lost-dog-found-dog-3-weeks-in.html

More Trooper stories here:http://dogsnotdiaries.blogspot.com

thank you, d xo

If you feel so compelled to donate towards Trooper’s dental surgery, THAT would be awesome! Donate button up top! Thank you!

Today

Trooper went to the vet today for a sore mouth, but came home & now has a stomach ache–I can hear it roiling–& he’s crawled under my vanity–a place he’s never gone, after I had to force the antibiotics into him, because he wouldn’t eat ANYTHING….sigh.

He bit my finger so hard it’s throbbing. Glad to know those back chompers work…

And today–TODAY–is one year (!) since I found him &…

It scares me when my guys are sick.  It makes the world feel slippery…

Papa was sick this week too, back in the hospital for his heart, and mom was trying so hard to keep a brave face, and we are all of us–mom, dad, me, papa, trying to keep good brave faces while the clock ticks onward.

And there’s nothing I can do about any of it, except try and breathe, try and keep my footing while the ground shimmers and shakes beneath our every step.

breathe…

It’s not a good day when I’m walking the dogs, sipping coffee, & yet want to strangle both of them & cry. It’s a sign–a big flashing red neon with audio yelling, you have GOT to let it go. You have to drop what you aren’t handling and take care of yourself before you snap. You just have to.

I have avoided, stressed about, cursed myself for, battled with or neglected so many things like an impending heart attack–which, by the way, I actually thought I might be having a few weeks ago. Next stop, the cardiologist, no joke.

1. I have to get rid of this cat. She’s darling, quiet, simple, and yet her presence is stirring up the dogs, & this whole cat box thing is just grossing me out. Find her a home. Let her go.

2. I hate walking the dogs together. It stresses me out and makes me nasty. It makes me a bad dog walking mom, because they each want to stop at every. single. god. damn. bush & I never get to walk more than 10 feet without stopping. I have to walk them separately and this will mean watching one of them look positively rejected and pained, because going for a walk is the best thing about their day. One. At. A. Time.

3. I am not the ideal entrepreneur and I might well never be. I’m not going to be featured on Etsy, and I can’t remember the last time I even made the front page. I don’t sleep or sleep too late–in desperate attempts to stay off  anxiety of any given day. I stress. I fret. I get overwhelmed with how behind I am with my business–and mostly how far ahead, beautiful, stunning, well photographed, updated, blogged, pinned, newslettered and promoted other shops are–and how young. They are all so very young, hip, beautiful, and can photograph their clothes on themselves. They look like ads for Anthropologie. I can’t Photoshop away enough years to compete. It just isn’t going to happen.

I can still have two beautiful shops, I just have to give myself permission to let them be what they are, the best I can do amongst everything else, and let it be. My customer service is stellar. So I have that.

4. My life, my house, my existence is never going to look like a Pinterest board. My desk is elbow deep in papers, there are dust bunnies blowing across the wood floors, my wardrobe is so frighteningly disheveled I’m taking boho chic to a whole new low in boho recycled whatever. I am never going to run errands in those beautiful 4-inch leather sling backs I adore. My hair is never going to achieve Brazilian blowout chic, but more like Supercut’s special-of-the-week that’s been flattened because I never walk without a hat even though my skin is WAY beyond skin cancer redemption. I hate the sun in my eyes and I can’t wear the fab Jackie O sunglasses because I need them in prescription.

5. I need a part-time job, one where I go out in the world and they pay me to do something, I’m not sure what, so I can afford to keep my apartment, my dogs, my life. I have a dusty English degree. It wreaks of antiquated quaintness, like Avon perfume or an 8-track player.

I feel like “Tall, grande or venti?” will be my new version of “Would you like fries with that?”

6. I have to let ideals go and be okay with what is. That’s what this whole list comes down to. Living in the mess, but staying a course, even a zig-zag one without so much emotional attack on myself. I’m not sure how that works, but taking notice, creating a comical self-deprecating list and then laughing at. It lightens my inner critic to beat it to the punch. It’s a start, somewhere in the middle.

P.S. I can see a dozen or more edits this piece needs. Not. Going. To. Happen.