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div dir=”ltr” style=”text-align: left;” trbidi=”on”>When I got my sweet little mutt Pelu in February, it immediately became clear that we were destined for each other through a series of remarkable commonalities. I love Twizzlers…she loves Twizzlers. I love chips (the salt, the crunch, what's not to love?)…Pelu loves chips. I love gummy bears…and, why, what do you know? She loves gummy bears too!

Pelu has a remarkably diverse palate. Have you ever seen a dog who loves fruit? Vegetables? Well, sweet little Pelu does! Just like me.

Our commonalities continued…Pelu made it clear that she detested being out in the rain and would employ any means possible to avoid getting her feet wet. When I tried to take her out on rainy days (overcoming my own loathing of being out in the rain and getting my feet wet), she would lock out her joints and I would have to drag a sitting dog down the street as she squirmed frantically to get away from me and back home. Ah, sigh, a girl after my heart.

That, however, was back in the days of her earlier youth. Now, at nearly a year old, she has apparently overcome her fear/dread/loathing of rainy days and getting her tiny feet wet. I greeted this revelation with a very certain response: DARN IT!!!

Pelu's new non-minding of rain became depressingly clear when I took her out on this cold, dreary, rainy morning and she pranced happily along, looking for squirrels. Whaaaat??? Where were the locked out joints? The squirming as though she was being tortured? The darting back toward the house, pulling with more might than you might think a furry 11-pounder could pull with?

Apparently, 30 rain-soaked minutes later, soaked through to my socks and my layers of sweatshirts a  regretable soggy weight, I realized my little nugget has overcome her rain-issues.

This doggy mama, however, has not.

Now to enjoy a day full of eau de wet dog. [sigh] [sigh] [sigh]

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7
Oct

Another Brush with Crazy at the Door

Posted on October 7, 2011 by lingbo in Brush with Crazy, Funny, Random with No Comments
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IF I was worried that I could only have brushes with crazy when I'm out and about…say, at the dog park or coffee shop…well then, that fear was allayed tonight.
Doorbell rings.
Me: Hello?
Random Guy: Is Bill there?
Me: No. There's no Bill here.

R
andom Guy: Bill??!! Is that you??
Me: No. There is no Bill here. There's a Bill next door though. Black door on the left.
Random Guy: Where?
Me: NEXT DOOR! The black door to the left.
Guy: The black door to the left?? Where would I find that?
Me: [silence] [pounds head on wall] [why me?]
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5
Oct

Lessons from a Dog #2: Time is Relative

Posted on October 5, 2011 by Sara in Puppy, Random with No Comments
You know that whole thing about one year of a dog’s life being equivalent to seven human years?

Yeah, so recently, I left Pelu in her crate for five hours (we’re still housetraining phase and she’s too young to be trusted outside her “den.”) Five whole hours. I felt terrible and and guilty and worried. Then, in a sharp spiral down into anxiety, I thought of the 1:7 human:dog ratio. Which then made me wonder, “Five times seven is…what…35? OMG. Was my five-hour absence actually 35 hours to Pelu?”

Could it be true that a five-hour editing session with my critique partner was a day and a half to my sweet little puppy?

I guess we’ll never know for sure. But it sure does help explain why she’s so incredibly happy to see me when I get home after what I perceive to be a relatively short time 🙂

Pelu mid-yawn. She’s had a tough day of playing at the park, eating, and taking an earlier nap.

If I was going to get all philosophical about this, I’d wonder, what can we do about our perception of time? Why does editing seem endless but popcorn and a movie fleeting?

What about you? What drags? What flies? What do you do about it?

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9
Sep

A Rain-Soaked Family Reunion

Posted on September 9, 2011 by Sara in Random with No Comments
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div dir=”ltr” style=”text-align: left;” trbidi=”on”>I’ve been at a family reunion this week in the Poconos. My extended family is flung far and wide and we’re rarely in the same place at the same time. Which is why I was looking forward to this week so much.

Well, that and the really tasty food. And the downtime. And the lakefront. And sun and rest and boating and swimming.

OK. So maybe there were a lot of reasons.

One thing I hadn’t looked forward to (or even considered) was five straight days of rain. Torrential rain. Incessant rain. Unstopping rain. Until everyone and everyone was damp and moldy and never dry. It seems Hurricanes Katya and Lee collided on the heels of Irene and that all combined to create a hell of a lot of rain. Which lead to 15 people being housebound in a very small cabin with my cousin’s two (adorable and very high-energy) kids.

More importantly, it lead to severe flooding in the area. When I hear “flooding,” I think, “uh-oh,” followed by, “that’s terrible.”

It’s another thing however, to actually see it. To see people’s homes under water. To see roads that you drove on to get here (and that you’d like to be able to drive on to leave) underwater. Unusable. To see normally charming streams and rivers and our beloved lake swollen and muddy and angry. To see debris washed across roads, boats submerged and drowning, and all sorts of refuse in places it doesn’t belong.

We lost electricity and I felt my first flurry of panic–what would do for food once the refrigerator was no good? How would we cook (on our electric stove)? How would we manage without water (the water to the house is controlled by a pump powered by electricity). No toilet? No shower? No stove? No phone? No INTERNET???!!! What would we DO???

Then you see families staying in emergency shelters and you feel stupid for contemplating your comparatively lame concerns.

Honestly, the scariest element was the loss of control. There was absolutely nothing we could do to get electricity back on. To ensure that our cabin wasn’t swallowed by the lake. To make sure that we had water or light or food.

Which lead me to consider this: It seems that we modern day folks spend an awful lot of time feeling in control of our lives–or suffering anxiety due to a loss of control. Then nature comes along and smacks us down.

“You think YOU’RE in control?!” Booms an omniscient voice “THINK AGAIN!!!”

My cousin reminded me that we still had a gas grill outside. And suddenly a summer BBQ treat was a priceless necessity. My aunt reminded me that we could scoop buckets of water from the lake and manually “force flush” the toilets. We had candles and matches and our cabin wasn’t underwater. We would be OK. And we were.

But that feeling of loss of control, of loss of independence…the feeling of complete and utter helplessness…that will stay with me for awhile.

26
Aug

The Worst Smell in the World

Posted on August 26, 2011 by Sara in Random, writing with No Comments
Here is my latest entry for Courtney Miller-Callihan’s super fun, summer-long writing prompt contest.

You may remember that she challenged folks to share their craziest re-imagining of their summer vacations a few weeks back (and this inadvertent yogini composed a modest Haiku an an entry). Earlier this week, I attempted to double the fun with a dual writing prompt contest entry. It seemed to be the perfect end to the writing fun.

But who can resist the challenge to write about the worst smell in the world?

Not this girl. That’s for sure. 🙂

***

The worst smell in the world wasn’t the acrid aroma of alcohol and vomit as my boss lay on the floor of the public restroom purging after her latest bender. Nor was it the industrial cleaners that seem to be an innate fixture of any public restroom. 
No, the worst smell in the world was, in fact, the stench of failure that clung to every fiber of my Ann Taylor aspirational suit and soaked slowly into every cell of my being. Of knowing that working my way through college and killing myself over the past ten years in a series of entry level positions had led only and entirely to this undeniable fact: I worked for an alcoholic, pill-popping lunatic who actively loathed me. There was no silver cloud in sight.

 

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24
Aug

A Dual Entry for Agent Courtney’s Writing Prompt Contest

Posted on August 24, 2011 by Sara in Random, writing with 2 Comments
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div dir=”ltr” style=”text-align: left;” trbidi=”on”>Here is my latest entry for Courtney Miller-Callihan’s super fun, summer-long writing prompt contest.

You may remember that she challenged folks to share their craziest re-imagining of their summer vacations a few weeks back (and this inadvertent yogini composed a modest Haiku an an entry). 

This is my second try and I thought I’d step it up a notch by going for a dual entry for her #6 and #8 writing prompts: “Three things you’d bring with you to a deserted island. Assume food and water are not an issue, and that you will be stuck on the island, Gilligan-style, for an unknown period of time. Defend your choices.” AND “This was the first thing Anna had ever won.” (Listed respectively.) 

***


This was the first thing Anna had ever won and she could not believe that this was where it had led: Stuck, Gilligan-style, on a deserted island

“Thank you! THANK YOU, oh benevolent reality TV gods!” She yelled toward the heavens, throwing her arms outward in the universal gesture of all-encompassing joy.

Finally, after nine weeks without a shower, no bathroom, no phone, no family, no friends, and the joys of social media a very distant memory, Anna’s dream of winning “Last One Standing”—CNC’s hit “Survivor” series spin off—was within reach. Only one other competitor stood between her and one million dollars. It was so close she could taste it.

Unfortunately, the other remaining competitor—who insisted on being called Axl even though Anna was 99% sure that could not possibly be his given name—was a bearded barbarian who made the off-screen life choice to live as veritable ruffian in rural Appalachia. No bathroom? No phone? No family or friends? These were non-issues for Appalachian Axl. Thus, he was a formidable opponent. And formidable opponents were a concerning hurdle for Anna on her path to victory.

But surely, the tangled path of near-misses, physical injury, and the last-minute salvation that had brought Anna to being one of the last two standing, would now carry her over the finish line and into that glorious seven-figure bounty that tantalized her with its nearness.

Anna had come so far since the day she’d won a spot on the show in the wildcard round after entering a contest online. Since she’d never won anything before and this boon had come in the wake of a very bad breakup, she had told everyone that it was meant to be. The chance to escape to an exotic, unspoiled location had seemed to be exactly what she needed to jolt her out of her post-break-up depression. The chance to win her favorite reality series—bragging rights for the rest of her life, not to mention who knew what kind of attendant opportunities—and an inordinate amount of money were mere bonuses.

Anna crouched low and slowly coaxed the small fire she’d started into a more-respectable blaze. Wisely, she had chosen matches as one of the three things she could bring with her. It was a choice that had served her well as two of her competitors bit the dust within the first week. Her other choices of sunscreen and a sleeping bag had also been well-researched lifesavers. While former contestants had suffered severe, health-impairing sunburns that prevented them from performing crucial daytime survival activities and insomnia-induced limited mental functioning that had led to poor choices and missed opportunities, Anna had steadily plodded onward, the end each day heralding another small step toward winning.

Anna watched the yellow flames lick the driftwood and dried seaweed that she carefully fed the fire. She focused carefully on taking slow deep breaths, on grounding herself mentally. The key to getting this far was staying intensely present on every task, allowing their natural progression to lead her toward her goal.

“Never look ahead and never look back.” She repeated her mantra, aware that it would make a perfect last shot before cutting to commercial.

The fire glowed calmly in front of her, warding off the evening’s chill and providing a comforting light that cut a swatch into the too-near forest and its lively population of wildlife. For the first time since she’d been dumped, she felt strong and capable. That alone was worth a million dollars.

6
Aug

Writing Prompt Contest Entry

Posted on August 6, 2011 by Sara in Random, writing with No Comments
Got inspired by Courtney Miller-Callihan’s writing prompt and was surprised where the story took me. Love when that happens!!

***

I opened the last box, and inside found a slim stack of photos. Tired and sweaty, I blew the bangs off my forehead and slowly straightened in the hot attic. The over-bright Technicolor shades of the photos told me they were from the early ‘70s even before the bell bottoms and embroidered peasant tops did. My mother—young, beautiful, and sporting the era’s trademark shag cut—stood smiling in a backyard. She held a toddler on her cocked hip. Blond and chubby-cheeked, the baby bore a striking resemblance to my young mother…and to me.

The fine hair on my forearms rose. The certain chill of dread that precedes any cataclysmic finding that you later wished you didn’t know, ran through my belly.

I flipped it over and read my mother’s handwriting: “Serena. First visitation. 1972.”

I slowly replaced it at the back of the stack and flipped through the rest which ran sequentially, annually, through the next three years. At the bottom, there was a well-aged envelope whose seal no longer held. Centered above the flap was the name, “Greater New York City Adoption Agency” in a cobalt blue print that had faded over the decades.

Hands shaking slightly, I removed the folded stack of papers and numbly read the words that confirmed that my mother had given a baby up for adoption when she was 18. This baby—Serena?—now an adult, was my sister. My sister that I’d never met, and until moments ago, hadn’t even known existed.

Confusion and chaos washed over me. A flood of questions cascaded into my brain, faster than I could catalogue them. Foremost I wondered why my mother had never told me. Realization crystallized: My mother had intentionally never told me—yet she had left this information for me to discover, certainly knowing that the task of cleaning out her house after her death would fall to me. With her gone, I could never ask her why…how…what the circumstances were…who the father was…how she knew him…why…why…why…

It was then that another emotion rose—rough and raw and unexpected, it crowded the others out: anger.

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