A Visit With Santa

I was forced into taking the four-footed one to see Santa today.  No she did not threaten to drag my around if I didn’t do it.  Nor did she bark up a storm.  As a matter of fact she wasn’t even in on the whole Santa deal.

A friend of ours asked us to accompany her and her dog to the pet store.  So we did.  Little did we know it was take your picture day with Santa at the store.  So blindly we went, thinking we were going for a nice outing.  We were not expecting a line up of pets in all varieties.

See the four-footed one is a girl of action  and movement. Waiting is not her strong suit.  And curiosity may get the best of her as well.  So many new animals to meet and sniff and potentially scare.  I have no clue how poor Santa handled all the noise because the four-footed one wasn’t the only one expressing her views on waiting or what have you.

When picture time came, the four-footed one wasn’t sure what to make of the old elf.  She sniffed him, sneezed on him and decided his boots needed to be watered.  By her bladder.  Needless to say, we didn’t get a  picture a because Santa wanted to change his boot so and take a break.  And the four-footed one had reached the end of her leash with this nonsense. Hopefully Santa won’t hold it against her, after all she was surprised by the whole thing!

Hmmm

I’ve been to a lot of places all around the world and I’ve met a lot of people, and the one thing I’ve come back with is that just when I think I have things figured out, I realize I haven’t the slightest idea what’s really going on. There are so many undertows and currents to get caught up in it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just teasing you.

Sometimes even veterans of a certain place will be unsure of how serious something is. It’s just the nature of the beast; the world needs balance which means sometimes everything is unbalanced. It’s what keeps us guessing and at the same time teaches us that not every dance is the same steps. Life long learning I guess.

To be honest I’m grateful for this because it means that not all of the stories have been told yet. There are still things to explore, mysteries to uncover and boredom is hard to find unless you are happy to stay where you are doing the same things with the same people. That’s just not for me.

The one thing I do know is that when I am stumped for answers and find myself confused with things, there is one thing that holds true: the best luck I ever found is in Beloved. He has the same curiosity and desires to be going around to different places, meeting different people and stilling come back to dance that awkward to watch dance that works for the two of us.

Fine Dinning And Fine Conversation

While having a lovely meal with some friends, I couldn’t resist asking one of my friend’s what happens to all the cosmetic fillers people put in their bodies after the person has died.  What I wanted to know is if there would be proof long after a person was deceased that said person had used fillers.

Now a brief aside here, all of my friends are used to these odd questions, typically posed while we are sharing food and/or drink.  In other words it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary and everyone, well other than Beloved, was okay with this question.  Beloved was repulsed by the question.  Mostly because he had been enjoying his food and does not want to think of decay while he is eating.  I know, he is odd.

I am still waiting for an answer to this question, by the way, as my friend didn’t know.  But she promised to check with a few other doctors who do that work more than she does.

And this one, innocent question I posed lead to a most delightful conversation about what to do when you don’t know a loved one’s wishes after s/he has been deceased.  My doctor friend causally tossed out the fact that bodies are never released to families any longer, instead just funeral homes etc.  The reason being is that some people would not deal with the remains appropriately.  She shared stories with us about people who basically lived with their deceased relatives, unembalmed etc. for years.

By this point Beloved was no longer interested in eating and so he pointed out that in some cultures, those who aren’t “afraid of growing old or dying”, have ceremonies where they bring their deceased relatives out each year.  Mostly bones of course, but still.

It was around this point the waiter came and asked us if we were finished, not because the restaurant was busy or because we were loud, but rather because he disliked the conversation.  So we paid our bills and left, heading to my friend’s house for coffee and such and to carrying no the conversation.  We also made a note that we wouldn’t be dinning at that establishment again because we were a bit miffed with the waiter.  Although Beloved did point out that the conversation wasn’t one to inspire ones appetite.

Of Awkward Moments And Childlessness

A strange thing happens when people encounter a female who happens to be childless. The strange thing is a period of awkward questioning that for some reason people feel entitled to ask the childless female. I am guaranteed to have these odd exchanges at least a few times each year.

I’m not sure why the general public, strangers to be honest, feel it is their right to ask me about why I do not have children. Some feel embolden to remind me that it is my duty to supply offspring for my family. My lack of getting onto this particular project is no doubt a failure on my part and thus must mean I am somehow less of a female than my counterparts who have children.

Just the other day while out with a friend, a woman asked if she could borrow a chair from our table as her table seemed to be missing one. As we did not require the chair, we agreed that she could take it and thought that would be the end of our interaction. However this woman, who was waiting for people to join her, decided to make small talk about her children. When my friend agreed and said she knew what that was like, it led to that awkward pause where the woman than pointedly asked me if I had any children. I told her I did not and she proceeded to ask me “why not? Why not have children for your spouse and family?”

For the record I do not have a husband, not in the legal signed off a piece of paper sense. Not because Beloved and I have some type of “immoral” relationship, but because neither of us feels compelled to prove the validity of our relationship by a license. I have a license to drive my car, another which says I can legally own my four-footed wonder. I have no need for a license to say I can live and love Beloved. (I’m not big into being told that I need to have these pieces of paper and if I could have my four-footed companion without needing the paper, I would, but alas there are laws.)

Okay so now that we have cleared that up, I also was not aware that I was supposed to provide a child for anyone. I wasn’t aware it was some sort of duty as a female. So I looked at this stranger with the battle light in my eyes and I guess she didn’t like what she saw there as she backed off saying she was “sorry for being nosey” and that “it wasn’t any of (her) business”. I suspect she was just aiming for small talk, and for people of a certain generation I suspect that children tend to be a safe topic.

For the record I do not, nor will I ever, have any children for a variety of reasons which includes my health, the potential issues of passing my condition onto my children and finally because I enjoy the freedom I have in my life. I am sure that having children is rewarding and very fulfilling, but it does not make a woman any more of a woman. It is not the stamp of approval that says “you’ve finally made it as a female”, although at times society does make it seem that way.

I’m wondering if I should just buy a shirt with something like “to quell your curiosity, I do not have children, it does not make me any less of a woman thanks all the same.” Or maybe it’s about time the society understands that there are a myriad of reasons why people are childless; for some people it’s a heartbreaking reality that they should not have to discuss with strangers, for others it’s a choice that should not have to be justified to strangers. Hopefully some people will read this, remember it and maybe help those of us without children avoid all those awkward moments going forward.

Final Conditions

A family friend once said that he believed there was nothing a person could not be conditioned to accept. He based his theory on his career in the military, where intense training taught him to react without thinking, to ignore the danger and heed the command of a call as needed. He truly believed that a human could be conditioned to respond or accept anything in life, with enough time and intense training so nothing would come as a surprise or shock to the person.

Of course he never put the theory to test, although I saw glimpses of his theory in his children, or rather how he and his wife raised them. His children learned to sleep alone, in a dark room, at a very young age. Night lights were not an option because the children should be conditioned to not require that type of false comfort. Instead the children should be conditioned to accept and enjoy the darkness, which would encourage a deeper sleep.

When his children were learning to ride their bicycles they were conditioned to expect to fall, scrape their knees, get a little bloody and so on. After all failure is part of the learning journey. I didn’t see much more of the children as they were growing up, mostly because I had gotten on with the business of getting on with my own life.

A few days ago I received a text message from his youngest son, asking if I could meet him and his brother for a chat. They had questions, and given my area of study, they felt I might be able to answer their questions, or at the very least point them to someone who could help them out. He didn’t say what type of questions they had; he didn’t provide anything other than a location, date and time. I guess he assumed that I was conditioned to expect working with knowing only what someone felt I needed to know. (Clearly he didn’t know me too well, but I didn’t make an issue of things because we barely knew each other, what with all the passing years.)

It turns out that the man was dying and he felt ill-prepared for death. He wasn’t sure what was expected of him, what customs or rituals should be performed and what words should be spoken. This then was why the son had asked to meet with me. To sort out these issues and the issues the boys had themselves, such as what were their responsibilities as their father was in the process of dying.

Very few of us will have the luxury to be prepared for death, to meet death on our terms after we’ve tied up all our loose ends and such. Death often comes for us before we are fully ready for it. I told the sons this very thing and asked questions around faith and beliefs. Evidently faith and beliefs around rituals, religion and such were not something that the boys could really speak of. They had no idea what religion their father might have been comfortable with. And the nature of the questions (and the way the questions were being asked) by the boys indicated to me that they had no real concept of what they would like or not like in a way of helping them deal with their father’s death.

When I expressed to their father that I had no means to prepare him for death, I also expressed to him that no matter what he did, it would be the right thing for him given his circumstances and ideals. He seemed to accept that as an answer he could work with. His sons came to their own way of coping with his death process, based on their own ideas and what they know of their father.

Perhaps with enough time, enough detachment to the material and physical world, we can become conditioned for everything. We can be fully prepared and able to accept things as they come. But perhaps in order to be conditioned for death, we must first admit it would require giving up a lot of things we aren’t really ready to give up yet. (And no doubt we’d each be forced to confront our own fears of death, how brief our lives really are, and what it means to actually die. I somehow think most of us would rather not contemplate these things.)

Good People, Bad Things And Trying To Explain The Unexplainable

Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s an age-old question, but when it becomes important in your life you tend to spend some time thinking upon this. Sure good things happen to good people, and in that line of thinking you could argue that sometimes good things happen to not so good people. You may even allow yourself to consider that good things may happen to bad people now and then. It’s just the nature of things.

The flip to that of course is that bad things must also happen and it stands to reason that if good things happen to those who aren’t so good as well as the bad people then surely sometimes bad things must simply happen to good people too. You can think of it as a type of natural balancing act if that helps.

But what if the reality is that bad things don’t care who they visit as long as they are able to visit someone? What if we say that good things care about people and what they will bring into people’s lives? The opposite of that of course would be that bad things do not care what they wrought into a person’s life. Or maybe we can give bad things even more power and claim that they do care provided that it’s a negative impact into someone’s life.

I’m not suggesting that bad things or good things have this power because they don’t. Unless we give the power to them through our thoughts and beliefs, thus breathing a type of life into an otherwise lifeless concept. Not that there is anything wrong with doing this if that is what helps you make meaning of that which is meaningless and inexplicable.

The thing is we all cope in our own ways. We make meaning and assign ritual to things in a way that works for us with some influence from our communities and greater society. When we are children and something truly wonderful happens to us, we may take note of what we were wearing and assign the concept of luck to the outfit. If something else good happens to us when we are only wearing part of the same outfit we wore when we were “lucky” last time, we can narrow down what specifically is bringing us this fortune and from there we can wear our lucky clothing item whenever we need it.

Until that moment when our lucky item fails us, leaving us confused and adrift in turmoil and churning water. At that point we are confronted with the either the failure of our item, the failure of our belief or something else.

If it’s a case of a failing item, we simply must find another one, going through some form of ritual and logic to reach for the next good thing. And if it is us that have failed with our lack of belief, or perhaps not believing enough in a way that is respectful, we can change there can’t we? We can petition the item, or whoever manages these things, to have things change. We promise we will be good and never take it for granted any more. We won’t joke about our lucky item etc.

But if we have neither of those thoughts, then we must accept that good and bad come into our lives. Fortune and misfortune are part of the human condition and we must find a way to cope with this. It’s similar to the process of finding our lucky item in the start, but on a grander scale with more to risk if carried out incorrectly.
Since time immemorial bad things have happened to good people, horrible things have happened to wonderful people and the reverse is true as well. There does not have to be a reason that we understand. There does not have to be an end game to this…it simply is the way of things.

Flooring It Or Invasions Of Different Kind

The floor can be a place full of fun and magic. If you are a young child, just learning to explore your world, the floor is one of the places that hold all types of magic and fun. You may find tasty things or shiny objects on the floor. Or if you happen to be a four-footed companion and you happen to live in my house. Because my floor, try as I might to avoid it through cleaning and diligence, ends up being a place of deep mystery. Oh I’m not talking about mysteries of the Universe here, although that may explain a few things. Such as how does red thread suddenly end up on a light grey area carpet when I don’t own or have anything with red thread in it?

Yes friends, mysterious thread, thread of colors I do not own, have been randomly showing up in my house now for a while. And during this time of the Unexplained Thread Appearance or UTA as I like to think of it (makes it sound more official doesn’t it?) I have been trying to sort out how this happened. I vacuum the floor; I clean the floors with mops and water. I have even checked the dog’s feet just to be sure she isn’t the one behind the great mystery.

Beloved swears I am covertly checking out what our guests are wearing. You know from their socks all the way up to shirts, sweaters and ties. He says I’m just about at the point where if someone were to come in wearing red, I’d pull out my bagged red evidence thread to try to match the colors. (I’m not that bad. Yet. I don’t think.) The thing is from all these UTAs happening, no one who has come into our house has ever come in wearing any of these colors.

I mean I’d remember if someone came in wearing green the shade of mucus. And don’t think for one second that I wouldn’t be questioning why someone is wearing a mucus-colored article of clothing either because I would. I mean how do you stop yourself from blurting out something like “oh wow they do make shirts the color of snot!” (I seen that smirk there, the sly grin on your face as you realized that yes, you’d be saying or at the very least thinking the same thing.)

I’d say Beloved was planting these UTAs just to mess with me, but they happen when he’s not around as well. Like when it’s just the dog and I in the house and I’ve finished cleaning the floors earlier in the day. The dog will suddenly be on the floor licking at something and I will look down and there is another UTA. Just suddenly there on my once clean floor. And nothing in the house is the same color as the UTA.

Are aliens trying to communicate with me? Is there a race of super tiny beings living in the house who are trying to have fun with me as I go crazy trying to find the source of the UTAs? Does anyone else have this happen? These, my friends, are the mysteries of my floor that I need to get to the bottom of. Well that and how is it that cereal from a closed box is somehow on the floor too!