Ode to Leap Year 2012 – Memories of Max

Leaving my suburbia neighborhood this morning, I saw a woman walking her two female Brittany Spaniels. My mind decided to poke into some memory modules, and I started reminiscing about our Brittany, Max, from our family.  Max died about a year and a half ago.  He was a smart dog with a quirky, charming character.

Life was not dull with Max around.  He was a runner dog and that caused some chaos, concern, grief as well as produced hysterical moments. They are excellent liars – the runner dogs.  Max used to get this particular look on his face, a knowing look indicating a luscious rendezvous with his girlfriend dog, poker playing dog buddies, or most often the horse shit in the pasture down the street.  He would be sweeter, agreeable, each time before he would run.  On those particular mornings, I would let him out in the backyard, and within seconds he was gone.

One of the funnier times was when someone had called the pound and the dog-catcher was looking for Max.  I caught glimpses of him traversing through various backyards.  Max, a fugitive on the run, with the neighbor lady tattling to the dog catcher guy, “Hey, he is in my backyard.”

I stood frozen while I contemplated how much the bail would be to release Max.  I finally roused myself and decided to go back inside my house and wait for the verdict.  Astonished, I heard a familiar scratching at the back door.  Somehow Max had double backed and made it to the safety of his own yard.  I quickly ushered him inside, closed all doors, the drapes, and we huddled in the backroom willing the pound truck to move on down the road.

One of my more poignant memories of Max occurred shortly after my marriage ended.  Missing my Max moments, I occasionally picked him up from my ex-husband’s house.  Overall, a simple task – no drama necessary.   Pick Max up and take him to my new home.  However, memories and lost dreams ebb and flow, take on a life of their own, and containment of powerful feelings is futile. This happened one night after I picked up Max, and I wrote the following:

“Later I picked up Max from the old home. Without warning, I suddenly felt thrown to the outer universe, and a fit of magnanimous emotion overwhelmed me.  The sensation amazingly engulfing, and did not want to stuff my face with food to try to manage the moment.  Sorry to report I stopped and bought a pack of lucky strikes.  Me and Max in the van stopped in the park behind South Junior high, I dragged on a cigarette and in a timely moment the Celtic station was broadcasting.  A poignant Irish love song of unrequited love and passion embraced us under the starry night with brilliant Venus sparkling knowingly.  Max and I have such a tumultuous relationship. Who knew that my Saturday night would be spent smoking a cigarette in a park with the dog who tortured me with his runaway habits during the deployment.”

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Lenten Journey

Last Wednesday evening I turned on the TV to watch Law and Order:SVU.  I get caught up in watching several of the crime shows as I enjoy seeing the mystery unravel.  Lately, I have wanted to stop because the crimes are always graphically described and involve horrific abuse against women and children – hence the name SVU – Special Victims Unit. The images mess with my mind and soul too much.

We have entered the Lent period, which I regard as a unique time for reflection; we begin to leave the cold, dark winter months and enter the spring.  I am turning the TV off and plan to use that time to listen to music, read, work on my writing, and get out snail mail or emails to family and friends.

A Little Self Talk

I wrote this in an email to my friend, Nancy, regarding my seekingthespark2 blog.  We worked together on the Habitat for Humanity Build in Guatemala the fall of 2010.

Dear Nancy – I think I am going to add a category to this entitled something like “Living between the sparks”  I get hung up on waiting until something really “sparkly” happens and do not see the proverbial forest through the trees, or is it trees through the forest?   I miss opportunities to write because I think it does not quite fit the Spark theme.  Let loose the reins Susan!  Or maybe I don’t need to add a category at all, just write.

Another wonderful friend, Connie, and I have also discussed this.  The tendency to wait for those ultra big moments that I decide fit into the strict parameters of  how a “spark” moment should look and feel.

The very creation of this blog serves as a good example. As I played with WordPress and spent hours agonizing over the perfect blog name and theme to use, I created several sites.  The original was “seekingthespark.”   In my mouse clicking frenzy to get this project set up, I accidentally deleted the wrong site.  Acckkkkk! I immediately emailed WordPress support to please make the  “seekingthespark” name available again.

I became disturbingly fretful. “Connie, I cannot write a blog if I don’t have the right name or theme!”  During one of those frenzied moments, Connie smiled, hugged me and simply kissed the top of my head.

Meanwhile, I created a second blog, you guessed it, “seekingthespark2.”    Now WordPress support has indicated they could make the first name available again, but I think I am going to forge ahead.  The “2” on the end of the name is a reminder to me that attention to detail, theme, and structure is admirable, yet turns into a bottomless pit of never quite set up correctly,or  good enough.  The result, my hands remained poised over the keyboard, frozen – hesitant to write.

Let loose the reins Susan!