We Laugh, We Cry

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It has come to my attention, yet once more, that the state of my life since adopting Chloe “dog diva extraordinaire” six years ago have brightened up stupendously. So much has she enriched, not only my life but the rest of my household, that to imagine waking up without her daily presence is just..well..unimaginable.

I can only conclude that this is the curse of having a pet that has become an entrenched part of the family, the agony of loss no different from that of losing a husband or child. We all dread the day of her passing because this will, for sure, leave an empty cavity in all our hearts.

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
~ John Grogan

So for now, there is nothing to do but enjoy every living minute with the ones we love (be this human or dog). Take the time to laugh, to embrace and once in a while, enjoy the silence that company brings.

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5 Random Facts About Chloe the Diva Dog

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1) Thinks she is human:
Although everyone can plainly see that she is of the canine family, she herself does not see it that way. Hence, when we humans sit down at the dinner table to partake in our food, Chloe the diva looks up at us with those judging eyes as if to ask, “human, where is my plate?!”

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen”
~Orhan Pamuk

2) Likes a tummy rub but LOVES a good scratch at the base where her tail starts:
This is when her eyes glazes over and she does this stupid tongue protruding thing…

“In times of joy, all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag”~
W.H. Auden

3) At sharp 6pm, she expects to be fed. Pronto..:
Otherwise, she will stare you down like a rattlesnake in heat..

“After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation” ~Robert McCammon

4) Loves a walk, hates getting wet:
When it starts to drizzle outside, Miss Diva will look towards to sky, look towards me, then runs to her bed. As if to say, “Human, how about YOU go for a walk…”

“It’s hard not to immediately fall in love witha dog who has a good sense of humor” ~Kate DiCamillo

5) Hates cats:
Need I say more?

Now, here’s 15 random facts about a human child I know who although is not as cute as the diva, can be pretty weird herself..

High on Lows

So It Begins

Today I am reminded of how surreal life can actually become. Take having children for example. Now, being a mom with four teenagers has it’s fair share of ups and downs, and no doubt, I am not proclaiming to be an expert mother and a perfect saint but I am pretty confident that I have done a pretty good job raising my lot. All that diaper changing, snot wiping, hair pulling…I can go on forever with what went on in my life’s chapter when my children were little but now that they are in their teens, all of a sudden, the tables have turned and instead of me instructing them to do things, I now have to listen to them in order for things to be done. Surreal. Surely. But frankly, I would not have it any other way. We have made raising confident and fun loving children intentional and looking at how far these slave drivers have come along, my husband and I can’t hide the fact that we are pretty plum proud. Here is a clip for you to have a taste of how crazy two of them are. Who knows! Maybe next time, they may just showcase Diva dog…

High On Lows

When the Dung Hits the Fan, I Open My Umbrella

ImageIt has come to my attention that Chloe-the-dog is very clear-cut, deliberate and intentional when the situation calls for her to…err….micturate.  To tinkle. To wizz.  To take a leak, pee-pee, have a go..Every time we go for a walk, within a period of 60 minutes she would have performed at least 8 random acts of peeing.  It is so fluky that this dog walker can only shake her glossy haired head and wonder each time, where in tarnation does all that flow come from?  Apparently, a dog tail-wagger’s size would carry with her a bladder the greatness of Navels, Valencias, Sunkists and Moros. Oranges. So just this last Monday, mellow ol’me took an orange from the fruit bowl, cut it in half and handclasped each as steadfastly as possible.  I then extorted the fruit with all of my might.  Really wringed the succker dry.  What I got was nearing one cup of juice.  Now, because it was a rainy day, exams are just over and I have nothing else better to do since my coffee girls don’t like to hang out on Mondays..ahem.. I took the effort of dividing all the squeezed juice into 8 portions and Walla! Genius!, I got the quantity upshot, or rather down shot of tail-wagger. 

Now, bear with me as I write the next half of the story. Before peeing Chloe does these reconnaissance acts. A look, a sniff and then cross-checking praxis to determine supreme spots to perform her squats.  Hilarious.  Cesar Millan says,

In some it is definitely dominance – I am here and letting you know. With others it appears to be almost friendly – Oh that smells nice; I think I will leave them a message.  Kind of like the Facebook for dogs.”

Facebook.  For dogs.  Really..I will go with that logic and claim that diva-dog is a total Miss Social when it comes to leaving her cue cards behind.  That every morning as she steps out of the house, she intentionally makes her Sunkist go into overdrive. That every morning as her and I brisk-trot that sidewalk, her side pull to pee is intentional and purposeful.  To leave her mark on earth and proclaim to those canines who had come before her and to those still yet to pass after – “Hello Snout-bookers! Newsfeed My Timeline and I Will Notify Your Wall!!”

Yet again, perhaps there is some lesson which we can drip off from Chloe-the-dog’s intentional and purpose-filled bladder.  Perhaps the lesson here is that when we take up on any sought after venture or any deliberate deeds in life, we must expect and look forward to releasing a little bit of ourselves into the situation.  Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” That just like doggie’s practice of leaving her bouquet behind for the next furry butt that comes along, we sometimes won’t possibly be around to witness what or how our choices, our decisions, our undertakings, our schtick can or will affect those around us.  And it is OK.  Because when we intentionally and willingly release ourselves with a clear intention of doing good to others without selfish gains, that decision to “lose ourselves in the service of others” can only reach out and restore the goodness in others.  Shauna Niequist said,

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”

Perhaps the trick to any successful endeavor is to give in to that element of risk because in relaxing our grip and demands over situations, role, people, circumstance, affairs, etc., we can gaze up long enough to focus, to calibrate, to sharpen our view and then on find our bearings.  That nothing in life is full proof but the only way to come out unscathed from the other end is the ability to release life’s pressure “one squirt at a time”.  Because life is all about change and the risks that comes along with it.  Change is necessary, is inevitable, is compulsory and just like a dog’s pee that lasts only until the next one comes along to leave it’s number, we must expect to lose ourselves and welcome change.  Perhaps we just need to learn to embrace the fact that when we let go and let God, then truly can we find peace in transformation.  There is a poem written by Annie Johnson Flint and part of it sings,

“One day at a time, with its failures and fears,
With its hurts and mistakes, with its weakness and tears,
With its portion of pain and its burden of care;
One day at a time we must meet and must bear.

One day at a time to be patient and strong,
To be calm under trial and sweet under wrong;
Then its toiling shall pass and its sorrow shall cease;
It shall darken and die, and the night shall bring peace.”

Chloe…wanna go potty?

Dedicated to my gorgeous gf Rachel Lewis (whose mom still whispers in her ears) and my buddy Las (who smokes too much). XOXO..

It’s Not FaceBook But How Can I Unfriend You?

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I have pondered much lately on the passage of human friendships; the budding, the blooming, the display and soon after, the drying sojourn.  I brood and I compare the dynamics and intricacies of this person-to-person rapport against the  consanguinity of my liaison with my pet licker.  The inner workings of relationships we build with our fellow homo-sapiens, obviously very different to that with an animal because as humans, it is never that simple. 

“It’s not that I don’t like people. It’s just that when I’m in the company of others – even my nearest and dearest – there always comes a moment when I’d rather be reading a book.”~Maureen Corrigan

We are not that simple, people are not that simple, and motives are never that simple.  Our elaborate make-up and the nature of how we are made allows us a more symbolic method of communication in that we can reason, articulate, introspect, problem solve, and manipulate, all at our own choosing.  Choice.  We are afforded choice and the ability to choose.  And when we apply these endowments to the act of forging friendships between one human to another, the results can be something exceptionally beautiful but also sometimes unsightly.  The complexities of expectations, demands and stipulations all under the mask of ‘friendship’ never looms too far behind and when left unobserved, steps forward and takes charge.  Murray Gell-Mann writes,
“Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex nonlinear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole. ”

Ahh…the complexities of human behavior.  The perplexities of the human mind.  The way we think and act paints the abstract picture for others to appraise us.  How many for us know of that one person amidst who stilly manipulates and easily takes offense?  Or another who no massive passing of time or large vessel of words can appease their quest to seek affirmation?  I can only conclude that the way I deem them to be is not what they appraise themselves as.  Which then begs the question – What landscape am I painting of my self?  Is it a pretty picture or the opposite?  Too complex.  Too multifarious.  Too elaborate.  Henri Nouwen said,

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

An apt observation indeed. The establishing of friendships is a perilous exercise because there are risks involved.   How can we safe guard ourselves from the pain and disappointment of gaining a friend and loosing them at the same time?  How can we be open to those we hold dear and not risk being judged?  How can we prolong a friendship when we know that to gain them means to lose your soul? And how can we find that one person who is willing to leave footprints in our heart?

CS Lewis eloquently said,

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

Perhaps making friends is a human choice after all.  Perhaps it is not essential, non fundamental to accumulate a field full of friends because all we need really is a handful.  A handful of those who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness.  Perhaps not everyone we meet are called to be a friend to us but instead we are actually called to be a friend to them. Perhaps.

In the meantime, Chloe-the-dog sits by my side and is my kimosabe, my pal, my buddy.  She may not articulate her feelings, she may not know how to cure me, heal me and she definitely abandons me when her time is up but there is something in her stillness that comforts me. There is something in her quietness that calms me. That as she gives so much meaning to my life, one which in turn, I offer my companionship. No expectations.  No prejudice.  Perhaps that is the essentials of all human friendship.  And that maybe, is the crux of the matter…

Dedicated to my buddies out there (you know who you are) who have sat with me, listened to me, cried with me and rejoiced with me.  I am eternally grateful for our friendship..

The Miracle of Chewing a Hobnob Cookie

20130511-214900.jpgI must confess that there are days when I get into a fuzzy funky mind trip where my brain goes into spew mode and begin a rendition of notions, interpretations, impressions and solutions.  Brainstorm abstraction aria in A-minus.  I get so many ideas.  Ideas on steps to take for the betterment of mankind.  Ideas on measures to take for the improvement of my fellow beings.  Ideas on how to write sententious words on my blogs so that no matter who reads my words, the world would be a nicer place to live in.  Ideas on how to improve my Chicken Tikka Masala dish so it tastes more authentically northern Indian.  On and on it goes like a mighty gush of the Yangtze river. Fyodor Dostoyevsky in ‘The Idiot’ quotes,

“There is something at the bottom of every new human thought, every thought of genius, or even every earnest thought that springs up in any brain, which can never be communicated to others, even if one were to write volumes about it and were explaining one’s idea for thirty-five years; there’s something left which cannot be induced to emerge from your brain, and remains with you forever; and with it you will die, without communicating to anyone perhaps the most important of your ideas.”

Wow.  Dostoyevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer and essayist.  His literary works explore human psychology during 19th-century Russia amidst a troubled political, social and spiritual climate.  If I boldly bring it to 10/05/2013, perhaps I can draw some parallelism with Господин Dostoyevsky.  Almost.  I am not yet a novelist, I am sometimes a short story writer and I am definitely a mumbo jumbo essayist in the making.  But just like him, human psychology intrigues me amidst the troubled political, social and spiritual atmosphere of 21st-century earth.  However, I do wonder what he meant when he said what he said.  Was he also plagued with incessant thoughts and ideas?  And if so, what did he do?  Write?  Novel? Walk his dog?  How did he calm himself?  Did he act on any of his own postulation?  Or do all good, great ideas die, without being communicated to anyone? Maybe I am just being idiotic.  The Idiot. 

Then I have to clam myself by latching on to what always works best.  And it is not Chloe-Bear over there.  I latch myself onto a nice warm mug of hot chocolate and a wholemeal Hobnob cookie.  That’s right.  Food.  Sweet food.  Very bad for the waist line sweet food.  Micheal Grant quotes,

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.”

Truly I would like to run to the beach, listen to the crashing waves and hide out with Sam but instead,  I settle on the sofa, curl my legs under me and sip.  I chew and I sip.  It is a very conscious sipping and chewing. Then slowly, after all that sugar kicks in, then my senses returns and I feel the warm gaze of diva-dog on me.  Her impenetrable gaze is so focused not on me per se but on my cookie. The only time her optics move is when my hand moves.  To my mouth and from my mouth. Target back and forth.  Ah..classic.  Maybe yet again, I can learn something from damp snout.  Maybe the trick to tackling my situation after all is to focus and target one thing at a time.  Maybe overwhelming ourselves sometimes is OK as long as we have something or someone to latch on so as to gather back our senses.   After all, Albert Einstein said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” How true.  I have thoughts and ideas, and this ability is good.  It just means that I am human and I have a purpose here on earth.  And despite feeling smothered, dumfounded and bewildered, I know that I am on the right track.  And I know that before my time on earth dries up and I go have hot chocolate with my Maker, I would have lived out and fulfilled at least 1% of my ideas.  And it’s OK.  Because sometimes, 1% is all it takes to make a difference.  Chloe, want some crumbs?