Saturday, February 06, 2010
I love it when my SP friend Ambudman posts her wonderful videos of beloved Weaver -- one of the cutest dogs ever. And: she has a new Weaver blog today!!
My husband had posted this blog of our Charlie (yup, that's me in my golden retriever coloured coat as well: doesn't show the floating fur as much) on you tube: hope you all enjoy it!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Right now I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Committed", which is a kind of cross-cultural and historic survey of marriage. And I'm finding it really interesting, both from a personal perspective (we're in year 31, but I did have a diastrous first marriage) and from a work perspective (I do a fair bit of divorce law).
Gilbert is, of course the author of the best-selling "Eat, Pray, Love". "Committed" arose from her compulsion to marry the new partner she met on that earlier odyssey (both of them profoundly reluctant, after their own disastrous divorces) in order to satisfy the requirements of US immigration. It took about a year of constant travel in exile to get the necessary documentation lined up and she spent that year researching and reassuring herself that marrying the man she loved would not be a huge mistake.
The book is witty; it's thoughtful; it's silly; and it's profound. Gilbert considers the relative stability and contentment of the traditional arranged marriages among the Hmong isolated mountain villages in northern Vietnam which commence with kidnapping: the concept of individual choice and romantic love is completely hilarious to these Hmong women. But, Gilbert points out, romantic love would likely have been an equally irrelevant concept within the pragmatic unions of early American agricultural communities.
She contemplates infatuation in the context of watching teenage Buddhist monks flirting in Laos; describes candidly the process of negotiating her own prenuptial agreement (she and Felipe have very different attitudes about money); and reviews all the most recent statistical data with respect to marital resilience and divorce proneness for various demographic groups. And she considers the history of her parents' marriage -- the painful compromises her mother made to provide her with a stable childhood, sacrificing her own career to do so; but equally, her father's willingness to tolerate a huge degree of control by his wife over almost every aspect of his life also in the cause of marital harmony.
What does it take to make a marriage work? What does it mean to say that a marriage is "working" and why is it (at least some days) so much work? And why do we do it: why is marriage still so important to most of us?
Here at SparkPeople many of us are exploring commitment to health, to well-being, to ourselves as individuals, and to community. We know how tough commitment is, and how hard to sustain. Gilbert's new book offers a fascinating and very entertaining account of commitment in marriage specifically, but it also helps illuminate what commitment is about in any endeavour. And commitment, she suggests, is in its essence and paradoxically a most evanescent construct! Possibly one of the reasons we seek to achieve a committed relationship with one other person is because when we begin to understand the nature of commitment within marriage we also begin to understand what commitment means in all areas of our lives.
"Maybe creating a big enough space within your consciousness to hold and accept someone's contradictions -- someone's idiocies, even -- is a kind of divine act. Perhaps transcendence can be found not only on solitary mountaintops or in monastic settings, but also at your own kitchen table, in the daily acceptance of your partner's most tiresome, irritating faults", writes Gilbert.
Romantic enough for ya?? Maybe not, but this is certainly a compelling read: and I recommend it!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Yup, love dogs too -- particularly my own golden retriever, Charlie, whose call name is "Heart of Gold". Prophetic, that was. Best dog ever.
But I also love other people's dogs whether they have hearts of gold or not. And once in a while those other dogs -- even if I've never seen them before and am unlikely ever to see them again -- will look at me as if they realize just that.
So here's a silly story with no particular significance which has stuck in my mind since last September.
I was driving south to work in the curb lane and was passed by a pickup truck with a most raffish looking dog in the passenger seat. The dog's head and shoulders were right out the window and he had a big goofy grin on his face. Truck Dog seemed to be of diverse origins, a houndish rust/white/black tri-colour but close to Great Dane in proportion. One of his ears stuck up and one flopped down. The big fella was thoroughly enjoying the sunny day and the breeze with all of its enticing scents.
For about three miles the truck kept pace with me. Kids were walking to school, some with parents and dogs accompanying them. Other dogs were out for walks with older owners. Truck Dog looked over at me and for several seconds gazed directly into my eyes. He grinned joyously. I smiled back. His message seemed pretty explicit. "Hey, this is gonna be sumpin'! Just watch me!"
We went past a medium-size sheltie mincing daintily like a model on a catwalk. "Good one!", Truck Dog signalled. And "WOOF WOOOF WOOOOOF!!!" he uttered with vocal ferocity completely belied by the entirely amiable expression on his face. But the sheltie missed the humour entirely. Flinching at the volume, she lost her elegant cadence and her owner snapped her head around indignantly. "Yup, it's working!!" The Dan-ish grinned at me conspiratorially.
His next target came into view about half a mile later. It was a reasonably large boxer but with a worried forehead and timidity in its round shoulders. Instantly, even noisier and even more aggressive barks emanated from the pick up truck -- and the boxer leaped sideways, looking fearfully over his shoulder. This time the Great One swelled his chest with pride and opened his mouth wide. "Almost too easy", he smiled across at me knowing full well I thought it was funny too.
Long before I could see it and way down the road my temporary travel buddy had identified one more victim. He looked over as if to say, "This is gonna be the best yet!!" A ludicrous mini dachshund puppy probably only a few months old -- little more than a caterpillar wearing a bright green furry dog sweater -- was waiting at the bus stop with its owner.
Loudest, most aggressive barks possible. No quarter given for youth, size, inexperience -- just merciless "leader of the pack" stuff. Imminent attack. Or that was what it sounded like. The tiny pup leaped vertically four feet, trying to bury itself in its owner's arms. Missing completely, it somersaulted spectacularly end-over-end backwards in the air. The owner stooped and snatched it up instantly, the poor little pup unhurt of course but paralytic with fear.
As he sped past the bus stop Truck Dog swivelled to settle his haunches on the dashboard, turning back to watch as long as he could. Tongue lolling, he was practically falling out of his window with hysterical laughter. I got one more complicit glance ("I told you it was gonna be funny, right??") and then Truck Dog's owner was abruptly switching lanes to cut me off and turn right.
They barrelled west down the country road in a cloud of dust. For a few more seconds I could just see my friend's tail wagging ecstatically through the rear truck window. And they were gone.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I've been thinking recently about how much I enjoy birds -- probably because of all the birds we have had at our feeders over the past couple of weeks. It's been great to see the gold finches in winter plumage at the window finch feeder; the woodpeckers and nuthatches and chickadees on the suet block; and the cardinals and jays at the big feeder. I can watch them for hours. According to family stories I've had a particular affinity to birds ever since I was a very small child. There are lots of interesting birds here in Ontario, summer and winter, but I do also love the egrets and roseate spoonbills on Sanibel Island, and I'm hoping to get there again for a few days in March.
So here's a bird story which is almost incredible -- but really did happen.
Quite a number of years ago when my own kids were very little, my husband and I took them for a week to a cottage resort near Haliburton in northern Ontario. We hadn't been there before. The minute we got out of our car, a female chipping sparrow came right over to me and "told" me unmistakeably and urgently to follow her to the water's edge. Fluttering expressively, she led me directly to her nest in a small bush overhanging the lake. One of her fledglings had fallen in and was spluttering, close to drowning: it must have happened just minutes before. The mother bird was asking for my help and she was touchingly confident I would understand her and would deliver. I lifted her baby out of the water and back into the nest. That mother chipping sparrow greeted me loudly and effusively every time I came out of the cottage for the entire week we were there. I told her it was ok: that we mothers had to stick together.
The following summer we took our kids to a different cottage resort miles and miles away in another area of northern Ontario. We had just unloaded the car, and I was stocking the fridge with our groceries. I looked up and there was a small bird -- perhaps a summer warbler -- fluttering at the kitchen window and trying very urgently to communicate to me. Immediately I ran out of the cottage, following the bird. This time it was my four year old son who was in imminent danger of drowning. He must have been so hot from the long car ride and so excited to be on vacation that he had gone into the lake without adult supervision. Wading out into the unfamiliar lake, he had not expected that the bottom would drop off so suddenly and he was submerging --quietly slipping under the water. I was just in time. This mother bird had alerted me to the danger for my "fledgling". She flew about our heads, celebrating his rescue with exultant warblings and swoopings.
So strange but so true.
My son is 22 now. And you'll understand: last weekend when I poured niger seed into the finch feeder, put a fresh block of suet into the nuthatch feeder, and set out the chopped peanut and sunflower seed for the blue jays, I was just making an instalment on an old and continuing debt!
Friday, January 08, 2010
Completed my three sessions for week one this morning -- and realized that I've got a bit of twinge developing in my right knee. Not at all alarming -- but noticed it.
And so I focused during my weights session on lower body -- keeping the hip flexors, hamstrings and quads strong will help stabilize both the knee and hip joints.
And in addition, worked on abs: strong core is important too.
Next week I'm going to take Podrunner to the track rather than the treadmill so I can concentrate more on the mid foot landing and short stride -- once set to a certain speed, the treadmill almost compels a heel landing, I think, because the conveyor belt is moving. I've got to learn to use the POSE short stride to move myself forward rather than "keeping up with the conveyor belt": which is not the same thing at all.
Really really enjoying working on this project! And looking forward to Week Two.
Get An Email Alert Each Time WATERMELLEN Posts