24 February 2012


It was February 15th, 1995. I was ten, sitting at a booth with some classmates, selling tickets to a school fundraiser. We were in a stock show lobby area. Mostly, it was a fun day, I would occasionally slip into the auction area and listen to the babbling of the auctioneer and watch the livestock saunter past.

Then something exciting happened. A man brought in a box of puppies. He left them with us, telling us to get rid of them for him because he couldn't take care of them anymore and was going to have to kill them otherwise. This may have just been a ploy for us to make sure they were gone by the end of the day. But it worked.

For the remainder of the day, I carried the runt puppy around with me. She was (obviously) small and sleepy. Her face was mostly black and her body was spotted and flecked.

I easily convinced my dad that we needed another dog, as we were down to just one at the time. I was even able to convince my mom to let me bring the dog home to show her, then she could decide. I knew that the second she saw the pup, it was easy.

So at the age of ten Valerie came into my life. She was a typical puppy. She gnawed on everything and nipped at heels. She peed on the floors. She cuddled and licked.

Val was raised in part by my cat Patrick. He is a very large grey tabby who, in his younger years, weighed a whopping 16 pounds of muscle. He would bring my puppy live mice and show her how to hunt them. The two would wrestle for hours. At least until she got bigger than him and then the game was for her to chase him under furniture.

When we were young together, Val and I would run around (her nipping at my heels) and jump over the four-foot fence around the yard.

She got into quite a lot of trouble on a regular basis. Mostly because she liked to roll in particularly foul-smelling things such as horse manure and road kill. She also had a habit of not learning from her mistakes and was repeatedly sprayed by skunks. During the summer, I washed her several times a week.

I took Val with me many places. We would hike together and she rode with me when I'd go four-wheeling. I even took her with me when I rode my bike. Once. She got blisters on her paw pads from trying to keep up. The first time she went camping with us was in Utah, when she was only about 5 months old. She had a blast, but she got tired on all of our hikes and I had to carry her a lot of the way.

Tennis balls were Val's favorite toy. She wasn't allowed to play with them inside, but whenever we were outdoors, she had one in her mouth. She would drop it near a person and whine and nudge it until it was thrown. She would do this for hours. Long after our arms were sore.

Val of course had some neurotic tendencies as are common in herding breeds. One of them was that she was terrified of thunder. If she was outside when the storm clouds came in, she would run away. She ended up at neighbors' houses many times. Cowering on their porches, hoping that they'd have pity on her. If she was indoors, she'd hide in the bathroom in the center of the house.

I remember her idiosyncrasies fondly. I wanted to keep her with me, but alas, I went to college then remained in the city. I didn't think it would be right to bring a farm dog to an apartment. And so I didn't see her very regularly for the last 6 or so years. The last time I saw her was last September. She had been growing some benign tumors and slowing down in general. I knew it was only a matter of time.

I did not get to see her another time.

22 February 2012

I want to write a bit about my dog. But I think I'll save that until tomorrow. Instead, I'll provide an anecdote about today.

My mother called me at work today to tell me that they had to euthanize my dog. I promptly took a lunch break and walked to the gas station. The woman who rang me up asked if my coworkers had given me a list, as if I'd taken orders. I could only chuckle. I got heaps of junk food. And to think I'd only just decided not to spend any more money on such things.

19 February 2012

I feel very adrift. It has now been four years since I graduated from university. And in those years I've had two jobs, neither of which related to my degree or even required one. About $200 each month goes toward the repayment of the education. And I will be paying it for years to come.

I am frustrated that I don't have much to show for my reluctant years in higher education. I am mad at myself for the major I chose- though it was, and still is of huge interest- because I cannot make money using it. Sometimes I think about going back to school. Or I wish that I had in 2008. But the thought still makes me sick to my stomach.

Perhaps I need to just take a few classes. Brush up on Microsoft Office or take some photography or video editing classes. Just so I have more substance to my resume than working with dogs.

I need to not work with animals anymore. I want to own one someday. Or at the very least be okay with sharing spaces with them. Right now, I'm simply not there. I like them, but I'm over it. I don't want this to be my life.

I try to think of my job as a means. I can make money and save for a trip. Or work here until I find the perfect job. But it seems to be sucking me in. I make only slightly more each month than my bills, so saving is a very slow process. And I'm burning out. I just want to sit in front of a computer for days on end (not as a job), or wander alone in some vast mountain range. Anything, really, but this.

I realize it's a luxury to be bored. I realize that in perspective, I'm fine. I'm successful in that I have a job, minimal debt, an apartment, a vehicle. I have a family that does still care about me, friends and a boyfriend. I am able to buy things I want rather than only things I need.

But I want more. Not money per se. Just something different. I want to truely live. Not just be.

I wish to no longer be bored or boring. I wish to be a better friend. And I resolve to spend money on only things I really need with only very occasional deviations. I will travel outside of the US this year. It's a promise. Five years since Kenya. Five years too long.

16 February 2012

On Sin

My life has changed a lot. I used to spend a lot of time agonizing over how I might be offending God. The importance now is how I can be good to others and also to myself.

I need to redefine what I see as a sin. (This topic was brought up by my boyfriend.) I no longer see masturbation or sex as sins, obviously. Nor cursing or porn, drinking, (some) drugs, and obviously not obeying my parents. I still, of course, think that murder (of any kind- capitol punishment included), lying, cheating, adultery, stealing, assault, vainity, and (some) pride. Surely there are others.

I like to quote the book Silence by Shusaku Endo. "Sin is not what it is usually thought to be; it is not to steal and tell lies. Sin is for one man to walk brutally over the life of another and to be quite oblivious of the wounds he has left behind." So I shall work harder not to talk poorly about people who are not around to defend themselves. Or at all. And I try to think through my actions and how they affect others.

I don't want to be selfish, but I also know that there are some things I just must do regardless of what others think. The important part is considering them. As I did before I changed my name. I asked my parents if they wanted to have input. They didn't. I changed it without them.

I also think it is a sin to withhold things from people in need. That is, I think it is a sin to be rich without sharing. And that may well mean that I'm on the borderline of that sin just because I have some money in savings.

Basically, I desire to be a good person without agonizing over any sort of eternal damnation. I just want to been seen in a positive light by those around me and perhaps even more importantly, by myself.

14 February 2012

I've posted a bit over here that you may find interesting.

09 February 2012

I am ashamed. Of myself. Of society. I'd like to blame society for the shame I feel in myself. You see, my neighborhood is close enough to downtown that it has a fair-sized population of homeless people. And I avoid them in every way. I see them bedding down on the thrown out furniture in the alley, and I don't take that shortcut. I see them with signs on the corners and I look straight ahead. I'm ashamed because I do have some money. I have food. I have shelter. But I cannot help them out. Even if I were to share what I have with one today ,and another tomorrow, they'd still be out there. I'd only be helping minimally. If I knew it would help solve the entire problem, I'd give my entire savings (not very much, currently) and live on the streets myself. But I know that it won't help. And so, instead, I do nothing. And I am ashamed.
I follow several bloggers who update daily. And I used to do that - sort of- on my transition blog. I kept at it for a whole year even, only skipping a few days. But that was minimal writing and not creative writing.

I'd of course like to write more. And I have heaps of excuses as to why I do not. The thing is, I probably couldn't keep it up. I am not prolific (anymore). And I don't want to kid myself or anyone else.

That said, I am going to try to write and post more. Again.

I think I may need to do themes or take suggestions or do some active research. Anyhow, I do yearn to write, so write I shall.

01 February 2012

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately. I follow a couple of blogs on the subject, and I've even talked about it to a few people. Someone random at work asked me what my hobbies were and I mentioned writing. And he said that he used to like to write, in high school. And it got me thinking: so did I. And I still do, but I'm not nearly as prolific as when I was in school (high school and university). And now I'm so distracted by the wonders of the internet: facebook, the sims social, tumblr, youtube, ebay, etc. And I work 80 hours a week and I want to spend time with my boyfriend and with my roommate and with my other sparse friends. And that leaves me no real time to write. And I suffer for it. In my head. Occasionally I write in my notebook and occasionally I post those writings here. And occasionally I update my angst-ridden emotional/poetry blog from my phone. Beyond that I'm only a wannabe.