Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

For 12 years our yellow lab drove me crazy. Did I love him?  Yes.  Was I the one who fed him, walked him and picked up after him?  Yes.  But did he drive me crazy?  Yes – and I drove him crazy, too.  I loved him, and sometimes my heart swelled for him, but the times he had accidents in the houes, shed all over my clothes, would get out of a gate that wasn’t quite latched all the way, and would bark (literally) at shadows drove me crazy sometimes.  But there were times too — especially when I was healing from my illness – I took comfort from him sleeping near me while I rested on the couch.

Today we said goodbye to him.  It was time.  He had arthritis, dementia, incontinence and was basically unhappy (ears down_ all the time and lived only to eat twice per day, which isn’t a great life.  So after discussing it for months, we did it today.  It was incredibly peaceful.  The vet had a room with a couch and a carpet and pleasant lighting.  She spent 10 minutes petting him, then gave him a sedative.  When he was so drowsy his tongue was hiding out of the side of his mouth, she administered the sedative while we petted him and told him he was a good boy.  He died moments later.

That was three hours ago, and even though I am not a big lover of dogs (I like dogs, I just am not a worshipper of them) I feel awful for him and there is a hole here.  In short, it is painful.  I miss him already.  Hopefully he is at peace.

The book I wrote about my experience as a dog owner when I like dogs but am not crazy about all things dogs.  There won’t be a sequel – it’s too painful right now 🙂

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Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

I love movies (like Moonlight) where the director believes in the intelligence of his/her audience while telling a powerful story and delivering a powerful message.  For me, “Fire at Sea” was that way.  It was a movie that was comfortable delivery subtle comments and with letting a scene slowly unfold, where it is comfortable showing the doctor give an ultrasound for five minutes or just showing four workers stare out at sea.  It is a wonderful, powerful movie and the most beautiful film that way since “The Great Beauty.”  Some observations (with some spoilers):

  • The beginning of the movie we see the boy making a weapon and hunting birds, but at the end of the movie he is merely singing to the bird – shows our ability to change our ways.
  • The doctor makes a comment that it is the responsibility of all of us to help the immigrants (who are dying).
  • The doctor, during the ultrasound, can’t make out the sex of the second child since they are too intertwined.  “But don’t worry, we’ll get it.”  He patiently, patiently seeks the sex.  I see that scene as stating we are all intertwined and too intertwined, and it will take patience and diligence and care and perserverence to resolve our/this problem.  I also see the scene later in the movie where the woman takes a full five minutes to carefully make her bed as again emphasizing that things take time and persistence and patience.
  • The boy is having struggles rowing – his friend throws his a lifeline so he is not crushed by the boats, then rows him to safety.  That is, we all need a helping hand and we need to offer a helping hand.
  • The boy has a lazy eye, so he works to correct his vision from 20/100 to 20/30 by wearing the eye patch. Later, when he is sea sick he is told to to go the sea when there are high waves to get his sea stomach.  That is, we have a problem (the refugee crisis) but we can fix it with work.
  • The woman wishes for a little health that day, like we all want to be healthy and happy (including the refugees).  It’s not too much to ask.

I’d love to watch this movie again – these are just a few observations off the top of my head a day later and I am sure there are more.

It is a tragic tale but one that also offers help and a nudge for us to help.  I wish we in the US were helping more (at a time when Donald Trump wants to do less!) – I am going to write my congress person about that.  Those poor souls – and the scene of the people dead at the bottom of the boat was awful but moving, like watching the Holocaust images in some ways (and to the people who died in such misery, the result is the same).

The movie makes me want to move to Sicily 🙂

Finally, it has been a great year for documentaries.  OJ: Made in America, 13th and I Am Not Your Negro were all wonderful and deserving; my vote for Oscar this year though is this one (“Fire at Sea”).

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

Good advice from Wife M

We were waiting for dinner with my parents and I was standing next to two young women while Wife M talked to my parents.  The way the line worked, I was facing right the women, who were two feet away from me.  Silence bothers me, so I asked one of the women what her drink was since it looked cool, and that started a conversation, which I quickly brought in Wife M (it turnd out the second woman happened to be standing with that woman but was with another group).  A minute or two later, the woman’s male partner returned, and I said, “Hi there, I was just asking…”  At that moment, I paused, not wanting to offend them.  Was it his girlfriend?  WIfe?  Friend?  Life partner?  WHo knew?  As I thought through this, I decided to say, “she” so then finished with, “what she was drinking.”  That launched another conversation in which I again made sure I was including the guy plus Wife M.  Soon, it was time to go into the restaurant and the conversation ended.

Later, Wife M said, “You have to be careful talking to people.  They thought you were hitting on her?”

“Are you kidding?” I said.  “She was half my age and I am with you.”

“First of all, you look young for your age, and second of all, that doesn’t stop a lot of men,” Wife M said.  “THey realized eventually that you weren’t hitting on her, but it was awkward at first.”  We realized at that point that my hesitation made it seem like I was thinking of an excuse to cover up that I was hitting on his partner/friend/wife/girflriend.

“Just be aware of that,” she said.  “You don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable.”

Since then, I’ve been really careful, and appreicate that Wife M told me that.  It is also a little discouraging – I’ve been appreciating that in middle age that women don’t approach me anymore (it has been 6 years since a woman approached me, something that used to happen semi-regularly when I was young, which was hard since I had to risk hurting someone’s feelings by telling them I was happily married), but also appreciating that I could talk to women withouth them thiking I aws hitting on them (I am friendly, and a lot of women used to mistake that for flirting, which always annoyed the sh*t out of me since I was happily married).  Turns out, I was only half right, that women still might think I am hitting on them when starting innocent conversation, and Wife M is right – there are a lot of creeps out there willing to approach women who are young enough to be there daughter.  I am not one of them, but women who don’t know me have no way of knowing that.

Sigh.  The creeps out there make it harder for the rest of us.

Good advice from Wife M

Am remembering how it felt to be in high school

I loved high school.  My mom and dad were yuppies working their way up the corporate ladder so were fairly high strung, but I loved wearing jeans and tennis shoes to school, hanging out with friends and peers during the day, then returning home in the midafternoon to eat, play basketball and hang out with friends.  I was pretty savvy with saving money and liked to work double shifts on weekends so I had the week to just hang out.  I need to get back to that again. To simple feelings.  To getting to work early, going with the flow, then cutting out on time to hang out at home.  How do I get back there?  Is it possible?  I hope so…  It seems like I should be able to manage work so it does not consume my thoughts all the time.  

Am remembering how it felt to be in high school

Wife M and I married 22 years ago this evening :)

We were married in the summer of 1994, which was a warm one for Seattle, including Seattle’s first ever official 100 degree day in July.  It had been a very busy summer for us – M made her own wedding dress, and I was in graduate school and working multiple jobs.  One of my jobs was working as a host at a waterfront restaurant, and because it was a warm summer every day was very crowded and busy, so I was working very hard (often double shifts) on top of school so was very tired much of that summer although I have fond memories of the entire summer.  

What I remember most of the morning of the wedding was driving the car to the hotel before the ceremony so we’d have it the next day, then walking the half mile to the church on a beautiful sunny morning thinking how strange it was that I was getting married that day.  

Our reception was wonderful and it was at a fancy women’s club in downtown Seattle and completely funded by M’s grandma, which I appreciate so much (and wish she were with us so I could tell her that once again).  We were all so young, and M and I were so happy, and we served only wine (not hard booze) and the reception was in the evening (versus late) so we were all in high spirits for the entire evening.  

Another thing that was fun was that we had freak thunder storm just prior to our rehearsal, which was fun, then had the rehearsal dinner at an upscale chicago pizza style restaurant on Capitol Hill, which was a lot of fun. Again, all of us were young — our friends were in their teens and 20s, and our parents were in their 4os and early 50s — so were a lively bunch.

I really loved the entire day, and can’t imagine being married to anyone else.  I’ve adored wife M since our first date, have never regretted my loyalty to her, and seriously doubt I ever will 🙂  If I could change anything about our marriage, it is taht I wish M’s grandma were still alive (she passed away in 2006).

Wife M and I married 22 years ago this evening :)

Happiness is getting into a flow at work…

It is so important – in Business Development as much as anything — to get into a flow at work, where I become highly productive with minimimal distractions.  Part of the keys to doing this in Business Development is to get the ducks in a row — get a list of Decision Makers together, develop the message, anticipate the common questions and have collateral ready at the finger tips to send quickly if they ask before scheduling the next steps.  Today I am in a groove – I am making calls, reaching out to people, have everything at my finger tips.  It is awesome!!!

It is much harder to get into a flow with larger companies, where there is a tide of crushing emails taht arrive, where there are endless numbers of meetings and conference calls, and lots of reports.  This is especially true in Sales, where so many Sales people don’t know how to actually keep things going through email, so want to have a “quick chat” that disrupts flow.  I love email because I can let it sit until I have a moment to review it between other things, so in essence it makes it easier to have flow – not just for me, but for everyone.  QUick chats are rarely just quick chats, and they often put a barrier between what might otherwise be flow.

Happiness is getting into a flow at work…

Feeling grateful for vacation (instead of regret that it is over)…

For two glorious weeks we’ve been in Amsterdam, Scotland, England and Ireland in cities and countrysides I never expected to see.  Now the vacation is over and we are nearly home.  I am not feeling regret that it is over but happiness over the experiences I’ve acquired. There was a time when I would have focused on the “I don’t want to go back,” but my therapy really trained me to look at the positive rather than the negative.  Am loving the year I spent in therapy, which originally was to help me recover emotionally from my illness but gave me countless other life skills, as well.

Feeling grateful for vacation (instead of regret that it is over)…