Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Me and Skye

You might remember me and Skye from here, shortly after we were united for life in a west Texas airport. Our bond has come a long ways since then and this past week it took a turn for the better when I collaborated with Jackson K9 to do some long distance obedience training. Tye recently announcd he's bringing back home visits and I dare to venture that with 1,203 miles between Weed, NM and Benton, KY, this is the longest-distance house call he's made to date. Hopefully not for long, though, as more people become aware that they can do this too!

After deciding that my original plans to get Skye involved in search and rescue wasn't going to work (I have no desire to be dropped out of a helicopter with my dog and a compass on a New Mexico mountain), I knew I had to do something. This dog needs a job.

That's what took me back to Jackson K9 for ideas, suggestions, direction and help. Based on Skye's out-of-this-world drive and my personality, we decided on obedience first and later personal protection and schutzhund.

I do not claim to be a dog trainer AT ALL. I get frustrated, I get impatient, I get mad, I speak in complete sentences and expect my trainee to know EXACTLY what I'm saying. And then do it. The first time. And then every time after that. You can see where this is going....straight to a disaster.

But after Skye and I's first phone-session with Tye last weekend, I actually had hope that I can do this. It certainly helps that I have a very willing and active participant. She l-o-v-e-s to work and is constantly waiting for my next command. And now that I have the support and guidance from Jackson K9 to know what command to give her, she's a much happier dog and I'm a much more confident pack leader.

You can follow our progress on the Jackon K9 Facebook page and here on the Jackson K9 blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Drowning in Reality

I want to run away.

I want to duck behind the curtains and disappear into the wings.
Call me when it's over, when it's intermission, if you need a prop or two.
But I don't want to be in this play anymore.
I want to quit.

I want to be absorbed into the porous vastness of society; I want to just be another face, another body moving in rythmic motion in a sea of people.
There's nothing special about me.
Stop looking.
Stop asking.
Stop peering into my all-telling eyes and wondering what's wrong with me. There's nothing wrong.
I'm just like you.
Holding my mask in front of my face so you can't see who I really am, what I'm hiding, what I'm not saying.

That's what I want to do. Did you know that about me? That I just wrote about living radically but I really don't want to?

As it turns out, I can't walk off the stage.
I'm running the lights
and the sound
and I'm prepping the actors and actresses ("Do you remember your lines?")
and I'm throwing props in people's hands before they run out to entertain
and I'm capturing images on my still camera and in my mind
and I'm handing out criticism
and praise
and touching up makeup.

Sometimes I'm more a part of this then what I want to be.

Let me run away. Let me disappear. Let me be obscure. Release me from the agonizing reality of this life; reality that makes bills and money and jobs and an argument over fried rice seem so insignifcant. If only those were the only elements in this play. I would give a lot for that to be true.

But it's not true.
Could it be any farther from the truth?

Scene two is beginning.
I can hear the music.
People are scrambling backstage.
The audience is waiting in breathless, silent anticipation. They are oblivious to my cowardly soul. They probably don't know I exist.
My name is being called, yelled, whispered.
I'm needed.

I don't want to go.
Have I told you that?
I want to run away.

If I do, you will never know the end of the story.
You won't know if Light wins against Darkness.
The good guys always win, right?
No, not always. Not in this story.
That's blasphemy!
No, it's reality.

I want to run away.
But I won't.
It would appease a temporary longing for peace.
But I would have to watch someone else finish my story.
Someone else would fill my shoes.

My name is still being called, yelled, whispered.
I will answer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living Radically, Radically Living

When am I going to start doing that?

At some point I'm going to have to cross the line from being mediocre to living radically. I'm looking at my life, the places in my heart that are most often hidden from view, your view, and I'm asking myself, "When am I going to start living what I believe in? When are my actions going to start aligning with the words coming out of my mouth?"

I talk about using my writing, about being called to be a "voice for the voiceless" but am I?
I get so frustrated when Tiger Woods makes headline news and the starving homeless don't even get a mention. But what am I doing about it?
I say that I want to make a difference. But I'm not.
I want to reach the world. But here I sit.

My heart is screaming at me - when are you going to start living what you believe in?!

When am I?

When will it no longer be enough to have knowledge, to talk about it, to dream, to hope? When will I actually be moved into action?

You see, there is no fault in trying and failing. I fault those who have never tried. I fault myself.

It's like...I'm waiting for someone else to take the first step, to hold their toe precariously over that line (MEDIOCRE vs. RADICAL) and set it gently down on the other side, so quiet it can't be heard but the reverbration of its echo can be felt bouncing off the walls of society and individuals. Who is coming with me?

"Holly, I just mopped the floor, don't step on it." My mother's voice against my stubborn 2-year-old will. I stepped on it. Again and again and again. My whole foot then just the edge of my toes easing over. Will she notice?

Will my community, my family, my friends notice? Will people meet me and know? Will they know that I want to cross that line?

So this is me telling you that I want to live radically. I want to make a difference; I want to affect change; I want people on my team who are doing the same thing.

Writers, beware. You'll be hearing from me soon on a project I've had mulling in my head since January. You know if it's been around that long, it's bound to be a good one!

Everyone else, I'll be divulging it soon and then I want your feedback, your prayers, your participation in what you can do.

It's about me living radically and calling you to join me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You made a what?

I commented to Elsie last night how nice the living room looked after Micah had cleaned it.

"And I didn't even ask him," I added. "That's part of my pledge to be nice - to not be so bossy."

Micah stopped dribbling his nerf ball and laughed. "You actually made a pledge to be nice?"

I told him that yes, in fact, I had.

"You're really not that bad," commented Elsie and Micah agreed.

Still, this pledge-to-be-nice experience has proven something. When you set your mind to do something, you can actually do it!

I feel so much less stressed, less frustrated and just all around more pleasant since I promised myself to committ to being nice, encouraging and using my words and actions to edify.

Not that it hasn't been easy! There have been times I've literally had to bite my tongue from a quick, cutting response and even once I told mom, "I have something rude I want to say so bad...but I'm not." And I didn't.

So here's to day three of being nce. Of letting Micah decide whether to put the score on his sixes or twos in Yahtzee and telling my mom what I think but doing it graciously.

It's possible. It really is.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The post about boredom

It's Day Two of my pledge to be nice and it's been a success! I've held back sarcastic digs, criticism and I've resisted the urge to be bossy. You might not have known I could be/do all those things but now you do.

It's a fault, really. I promise.

I've been on the ranch for almost four months. I absolutely love being with my family; that probably won't change.

But over the past few weeks, I've reached a new respect for them and I've realized that I don't have the mental strength to survive here for as long as they have.

I remember having phone conversations with mom and her sharing about loneliness and feeling as if she had no purpose on the mountain. I didn't really understand. Now I do. And I told her that the other day. I even semi-apologized for not being as sympathetic as I should have been.

Let me say this - it is beautiful here. It is serene. It is paradise-like. It is quiet. The mountains are reassuring to me; the landscape is comforting.

But sometimes they start closing in. The wildness starts being more untame and there are times when I'm brutally reminded that it is wild, not completely tameable. I have to maintain a healthy respect but I want it reciprocated and most of the time it's not.

My family is much stronger then I am. And I've told them that. I want to run from the mountains; they've learned to somehow harness the wildness and use it for their benefit. If nothing else, they haven't given it the satisfaction of winning.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Memory

Yesterday mom and I were sorting through boxes and boxes of books and it was like walking into a vault of memories. I promised all the books that very soon they will all have a place on many bookcases in my house.

But in the meantime they're all in totes and boxes. And while I was hefting one over to another side of the room, I thought of my friend who has been dead for 36 days.

It was August 2009 and I had pulled into Silver City, New Mexico with my best friend and fully loaded U-Haul, which was obviously weighted down in the front.

It was the second day I'd ever seen Sam Conn in my life. And he walked over to my U-Haul and said, "You brought all your books, didn't you? And they're in the front of the U-Haul, aren't they?"

I nodded, perplexed.

"How did you know that?" I asked.

He shrugged and laughed.

"We're writers," he replied. "We read books and we take them with us wherever we go."

Yes. Yes, Sam Conn, we do.
It's not for lack of things to blog; it was the lack of tact to blog them. But I've made a pledge to try and be nicer and so far today progress has been good.

I've had so many blogworthy things on my mind recently.

Taking risks versus the fear of failing.
A memory.
Being bored.

So the next four days, I'll tackle the above four topics. I promise. My head feels clear (finally!) to relay what I've been thinking about without serving it up with way too much (too much!) sarcasm and/or criticism.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm rude

Maybe you know. Maybe you don't. But I have the ability and perhaps even tendency to be rude, blunt and exacting especially when I'm irritable and for some reason lately I've been on the irritable side of good-natured.

And as my family duly notes, I go all out when I'm in a bad mood.

For example, mom and I argued about how to make fried rice last night. I had printed off a recipe from the internet and she came into the kitchen saying how there was a much easier way. She started explaining but I, admittedly, was losing interest in the details.

"I just want to know how to make fried rice," I said shortly. And as she's talking, I'm thinking, "When is the last time she's made fried rice? Is she qualified to be giving such detailed instructions?" So I asked her.

Not the best idea. She left the kitchen and I made the rice my way.

Later at dinner, I was sitting next to a young kid who John'd brought to help us load and haul bulls. As the meal progressed and the kid kept talking, he mentioned how he had a "female" in a particular town. I looked sideways at him and sarcastically asked, "Really?" Micah and Elsie were giggling.

Further in the conversation he was talking about how he had a "female" in two or three different towns, blah, blah, blah.

I interrupted him.

"Why are you calling them by gender?" I asked. "Because that's offensive."

Do you see what I mean? Rude!

Today I'm trying to be good; trying to curb my...abrupt harshness with people, my family. Wish me luck! (and everyone else around me too!)