All That Really Matters, a Crack in the Armor, and Leash Training

Sheena is a beautiful dog, but she is as stubborn and willful as she is beautiful.  We decided (or should I say Jerry decided, because I am not at all hyper like he is in the evenings) to take the dogs out on leashes, which we haven’t done for some time.  Clara and Lilo were not too bad, although Clara always does better on a leash with her harness.  I should have taken the extra minute or two to put Clara in her harness.  I refuse to use choke chains or pinch collars on my dogs, although I’ve seen a lot of people who handle Malinois use choke chains or pinch collars to keep the dogs under better control.   Clara simply wants to run.  The aim is to get her to stay back and walk politely which she does when she knows she has the harness on and I can pull her back if I need to.  Lilo was her usual self, laid back and trotting along with her peculiar little bow-legged, sideways gait.  I wonder sometimes if she tracks sideways because she’s cross-eyed or because she’s bow-legged, or maybe a combination of both.

The few times I’ve had Sheena on her leash she has been relatively obedient for me.  She does surprisingly well in spite of her lack of socialization and formal training.  Then again, Sheena is a bit of a cling-on with me anyway, so that makes leash training, even with a conventional collar, a breeze.  Until Jerry takes her leash.

Sheena did not want to be on the leash with Jerry.  I can’t blame her.  I don’t like it either, and he only has me leashed in a figurative way.  I had Clara, and without her harness she was enough of a handful.  So Sheena decided that if she had to be with Jerry, she was simply going to sit and dig her big, splayed feet into the ground.  I never knew this about Huskies until we got Sheena.  They have huge, insulated, clompy paws that are reminiscent of polar bears’.  Sheena is a huge klutz on dry land, but surprisingly graceful on snow and ice.  Sheena, however, does not do anything Sheena does not want to do. It’s funny.  She’s just as stubborn as Jerry is.

Yesterday was a very pleasant day.  Steve-o got rid of that monstrosity of a hoopty Mitsubishi that I had been hoping he would do ever since he ended up with that piece of mess.  Somebody was even dumb enough to give him money for that POS, which I welcome, but fail to understand.   Now all I need to hear from him is that he’s spending his weeks keeping up his GPA, and his weekends cooking up that taco meat and shoveling it into those tacos and burritos.  I don’t want him to work at Taco Bell forever, but a few hours or so on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays- until  he finishes school- is not too much to ask.   If he could do 20 or 30 hours a week at $9 an hour, that would certainly help, and they don’t even have to train him because he’s worked there before.  Then he can worry about buying his own food and gasoline and cigarettes for a change.

Adding to yesterday’s pleasantness, I had an unexpected, but welcome, conversation with an old friend.  I still have a heart in there somewhere after all.  I know, I know, how things could have, should have been. Wish in one hand and crap in the other, which one fills up first- but it’s nice to know that old connection is still there, and that I do have at least one friend that is thicker than water.   Since my true friends are few and far between and delightfully rare, as I have said before, I should take care not to neglect them.

Memory and imagination both serve me well- probably too much so- but hearing a voice from the past and even engaging in surface-level pleasantries was a rare delight.  There are a lot of people I have to talk to and with out of necessity, but very few I enjoy talking with.  I hope sometime in the near future that we can talk in private over dinner and a drink rather than a little too publicly over the phone, but that might be a bit hard for me to take.  I would be the one in need of the leash instead of the dogs, and that’s not a place where I need to go.

Balance is the key word.  Usually I am quite the example of reserve and restraint, but it’s been a long time since- well, a lot of things- but I miss intelligent conversation the most.  I also miss being treated like a lady and not just someone’s housekeeper/babysitter/gofer/indentured servant.   There is something to be said for spending an evening in civilized conversation with a friend versus spending an evening effectively alone cranking up the MP3 player with the noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the lovely infernal racket of Drunk and Stupid meets Boxcar Willie. 

I have to be careful how far I let my mind wander, and I need to set some boundaries on just how much lingering in the garden of memory I’m allowed.  Still, there’s nothing like a bit of an oasis in a very hot, vast desert.

I have to find a balance between maintaining those relationships that challenge me and energize me (very few and far between) and tossing the albatrosses around my neck overboard.  I tend to forget when to toss the albatross.

I’m too old to start over even if I could, and whatever fiery passions of youth I once had are pretty well extinguished.  As the old joke says, “In my youth I wanted a nice BMW.” -” Today I’ll settle for it without the W. ” 

Besides, anyone interested in dinner and conversation with a crusty old cougar like me has likely long-since been relegated to the “coyote-style” crowd, so crossing the line in a carnal fashion is highly unlikely to occur.  It’s not as if I am still some horny teenager or twenty-something, and all of my friends are significantly older than me.   Hopefully the POMC is enjoying “Willie on Demand” while he can (even though in conscience I can’t approve of him fornicating) because there will come a day when Johnson won’t stand at attention any more. 

Unless of course, by the time Steve-o gets old, Medicare is still paying for geezers’ pecker pumps.  That would be his luck.

God Gave Us Neal Schon, Sanity is Relative, and We the Unwilling Doing the Impossible for the Ungrateful (Again)

No, I did not mean my commentary on Neal Schon being God’s gift in a blaspheming sort of way.  The guy has an incredible gift, OK, and for some reason I mellow out pretty good when I’m listening to old Journey stuff.  I needed a LOT of mellowing out this week- so I’ve been zoning out to old faves such as “Now You’re On Your Own,” “Of a Lifetime,” “Karma,” and so on.  There is something way therapeutic about that grandiose funky fusion rock of the 70’s.  It’s one of those clandestine pleasures that rates up right there with showering in the middle of the day when you can- for no logical reason, but just because you can.

I am trying not to succumb to the yearly holiday depression that coincides with Jerry’s bleak holiday despair.  It hasn’t been easy this year, especially with money being so stinking tight.  That is depressing even without drunk and stupid meanderings, but add that into the mix and even I get lonely and truly start wondering why I am still being permitted to suck up valuable oxygen.  It’s been so long since I’ve had a meaningful conversation with another adult that it’s almost pitiful.  To make things even worse, now that it’s winter, Jerry doesn’t go to the campground on the weekends, so he gets drunk and stupid at home and I have to deal with him.  One would think that in my loneliness I would appreciate the company, but there are few things more dreary and lonely than catering to a drunk all weekend.  The only conversation that comes from Jerry most of the time is his whining about what I’ve done wrong,  what I haven’t done, or what I can’t afford to do.  I don’t want to fix him breakfast and serve it to him in bed only to hear his dissatisfaction with normal breakfast fare and his lingering desire for Porterhouse steak.  I might be able to get the Porterhouse from time to time if you cut back on the beer and smokes and quit blowing your money on bullshit, but I dare not bring that up.   Logic does not generally compute with Jerry unless he can conform it to his point of view.  In his mind I should (somehow??) make more money to pay for him.

Perhaps I have vestiges of normal female desires to feel cherished and wanted by a member of the opposite gender, even though I know that for me that doesn’t happen save in my own imagination.  I don’t have any illusions regarding my awkwardness and plainness and just plain lack of any sort of carnal appeal. I’m thankful to have three hots and a cot as it were, and to expect anything more than bare necessity and survival is asking too much.  I was taught from my earliest memory that I am only as loved as I am useful, and here lately I haven’t felt terribly useful. Even so there are times when I would so enjoy an evening with a friend, conversation that doesn’t focus on everything I’ve done wrong, or everything someone else expects me to do for him.  When Jerry does speak coherently, I usually can’t wait for him to shut up and stop whining.

This morning he was whining about Sheena.  Sheena knows when the girls are supposed to go out in the morning.  She gets excited and starts woofing and whining to be let out.  I’m grateful that she is good about letting us know when she needs out.  So Jerry starts in with, “Spray that dog so she shuts her mouth,” and so on, but I have to admit I ignored him after that.  I’m getting good at tuning out the whining.  After I let the dogs out, I wandered back in with the spray bottle, pointed it at him, and replied, “I want to see.  Maybe if I spray you, you’ll stop your whining.”

I can handle canine vocalizations, but Jerry’s incessant whining- mostly regarding things I have no ability to change or improve- has already gotten on my last nerve.  Sheena is a headstrong dog, but she’s infinitely more trainable than Jerry. Sheena also whines a lot less.  Sort of on the same subject are some old 70’s movies for “trainables.”  This one is long, but from today’s point of view horribly politically incorrect, and therefore, hilarious.  I almost forgot there were so many different slang terms for the male member.

We the unwilling, doing the impossible, for the ungrateful.  This is my life in synopsis, the extreme Cliff’s Notes version. If I were to opt for traditional burial I would insist this be inscribed on my tombstone, but since I am going to be cremated I guess it doesn’t matter. 

I am thankful for the Prozac, believe that.