October has come and gone and somehow I missed the mention of Sumo's 7th birthday on October 4th, which would make him a dignified human male in his forties, not really deserving of being infantilized as happens so often simply due to his size and cuteness. Sumo keeps impressing me with his astounding self-confidence, and self-reliance, even self-containment. This guy does not need much attention from anyone. At home he is content to hang in one of his favorite spots, usually on top of a pillow of mine, while outside he just relishes his freedom to follow his nose, run ahead and explore, with no fear, but total abandon. When we approach our park I believe the mice run for cover and the birds with their excited chatter warn the ground squirrels of Sumo's imminent approach. Sumo will fly ahead, if allowed, to check on every single spot he ever suspected or encountered wild life, all the while keeping track of my whereabouts. He knows that park and our 'hood like we know our inside pockets. I do not believe either of my dogs would ever get lost downtown. Today Sumo happened to come upon that one long haired gray cat that loves to hunt in the park, supposedly not a feral cat, but belonging to a neighbor. Of course Sumo ran excitedly after the cat, but stopped just about mid-air to respond to my call (I had gotten worried about near by traffic.) Sumo is a very good boy. Because love goes through the stomach Sumo got extra helpings of roast chicken and a special trip by bike up to the dog park for the two of us only.
October 23. we celebrated Isabella's anniversary, a day I will never forget, 6 years ago, when I brought home from the shelter my first dog ever. Oh, I was nervous, unsure, worried and very aware of the responsibility involved. I knew fully well that I hated to have to go out for walks, I was concerned about not just my emotional availability, but also my financial capability of caring for another. (Considering my client who payed $12,000 to the vet only to lose his pure bred Australian Shepherd to some strange genetic disease within 10 days, my concerns were and are well justified!) I waited to pick her up for two days when I was unscheduled for several days and had full availability to dedicate myself to the acclimation of my new furry companion. In those first days I remember I would get up with the first light, something like 6 am. I would dress in a hurry in order to go out with my girl, terrified her bladder may be ready to burst. In those days I would walk the 'hood with Isabella for a good 5 hours and one day for 7 hours straight. As we got home Isabella, after 7 hours, Isabella finally crashed with all her 4 limbs splashed out across the floor. 6 years ago we still had laws that did not allow the presence of dogs in restaurant patios, so really we mostly meandered as I had heard that a tired dog was a good dog. My worries about her destroying my home, chewing on furniture or shoes and making a mess of my papers were totally unfounded, Isabella was and is a very good girl with a good sense of what is proper and what not.
She decided early on that people ought not to be sitting on the ground and would get rather agitated about the not so uncommon street folks, transients, in our 'hood, but she got also upset with me when I lowered myself to her level. Since, she has adjusted very nicely and has been sleeping communally with no problems, all of us in one big bed. She has retained though her sense of right and wrong. When the cat got up on the roll top desk she knew right away that was wrong, she did need nobody to explain it to her. When strangers approach at dusk or in the dark she will alert as well. But I also watched her tell Sumo off, literally nudge him to stop barking at a friend.
We have been dealing with Isabella's physical challenges now for at least 2 years. Things are better if not good. Of late I give her a lot more leeway. Rather then drag her along, I try and let her set the pace and lead the way. She loves it and becomes very purposeful and adamant in which direction she wants to proceed. It is quiet a change from the Isabella-girl that followed Sumo everywhere, who had made Sumo the focal point of her world. She no longer can keep up with his pace and I believe she has given up and taken some of her power back. Their relationship is something to behold as they don't fight, don't hold grudges but rather accommodate it each very nicely. More often these days Isabella will pick up a scent, she has a very good nose, and Sumo will come back to her to check it out. Isabella easily picks up the scent of meat from hours ago, or the scent of other animals on someone's clothes, or the scent of wild life I spotted, but they missed visually. Isabella is smart, I can point and she will look in that direction. The other day inside the community garden, now barren, I called on them and while Sumo jumped up several feet to race to me on the shortest route, Isabella could not jump and looked to me. I pointed the other way and I watched literally the light of comprehension go on in her eyes as she turned away from me toward the exit to come toward me. I love that girl! I love them both, or rather all three of my furry companions. I am blessed, if sometimes challenged as well.
Gotta love the climate of our Land of Enchantment. With recent temperatures down to 13 degrees at night and welcome snow (moisture much needed in our arid high desert mountains) above 8,000 feet, my door and window have been wide open all day, while we still have had no need to turn on the heat. I was getting too hot just now, sitting in my sweater outside in the sun sipping my coffee and consoling myself with an Eclaire, just about the cheapest ($1.50) treat available at Whole Foods.
After an exchange with a woman about my age, at the park, while walking my dogs, I ended up walking away from her, heading as fast as possible toward Whole Foods, yes, for consolation. The woman, dressed in drab, olive green, I assume Navy Surplus army fatigues with a matching Fidel Castro type cap was nice enough to offer my pups the last bit of her tuna tortilla. We got to talking about the election results and the woman once again, we had met and talked a few times before, started to espouse her radical ideas she must have formed due to having grown up in the deep south and then having gotten radicalized in the sixties. While I suppose that she is right in that the patriarchy is at it's most dangerous, like an abusive husband, at the very time that they realize their loss of power and dominion over another - violence can never ever be the answer! Like a Jungian animus dominated, crazed woman she spouted slogans and labels in the service of advocating a violent rebellion. This woman was though not crazy, spoke coherently with eyes bright and shiny and plenty of passion. I will never stand for violence. I told her so and walked away as I wished her well.
It bothers me this talk of violence, this acceptance by some, too many, especially Christians approving of warfare (government sanctioned violence) or from within the Occupy movement where supposedly extreme measures were warranted by extreme situations. After Gandhi liberated India through non-violent means, after a mature Nelson Mandela brought about a mainly peaceful transfer of power in South Africa, we have no right to fall back on archaic (and asinine as Vietnam Vet Ray Masterson would call it) means of resolving serious differences. The white male patriarchy will die out, they are already being replaced by a younger, more tolerant, more educated population, this is what our last election showed us clearly. Impatience for a new world, a more tolerant, a more for people - less for profit oriented world will yield nothing. Impatience has never been a sign of virtue. We have to chose the moral high ground, we have to do what is right and what is kind and keep our long term goals in sight; a better world, more just for all!
November 6th, Election day, I needed to get up at 4 am to present myself promptly in my position as Election Judge (no longer Clerk) at a nearby polling station. Trouble was I had dropped my deceased Mom's ancient plastic alarm clock. No
matter how many new batteries I replaced, the clock would come to a stop
eventually by 12, a mystery to me. So I tried my cell
phone alarm, but it rang once only during at least 6 trial attempts, another
mystery. So I got my client (yep, I was desperate) to lend me her alarm, only the sound was not
exactly alarming! I often wake up in the early morning hours, but will I wake when I really need to? I
asked the precinct Election Judge, my boss for this Election day, for the extraordinary favor of a wake up/back up call. In my anxiety I gave her, out of my mind, obviously running on automatic,
my old, long since replaced phone number, one I have not used in 20 years which did show something of
my state of mind!
I did not treasure the idea of riding my bike in the pitch black darkness of night, dressed appropriately, befitting an Election Judge and the solemnity of the day's occasion. Due to daylight savings time two days prior, dawn had turned on the light already on the horizon, while the air did not feel frigid, but invigorating as we had experienced unseasonably warm temperatures this fall and earlier in spring. My half hearted hopes of encountering some wild life, such as another coyote or maybe a bear, found no fulfillment though.
My boss wore purple with bright orange hair, while my co-worker wore greenish yellow unevenly hacked off, wild hair. Unable to resist the day's pay, this young girl stuck her nose in to some kind of cookoo comic book every chance she got. I had squeezed myself in to some undergarment several sizes too small, not worn in years. Over it I wore layers of silvery/gray elegant rayon and silk and my favorite 2-stranded white pearl necklace. I brought enough snacks for a week it seemed inside two bright red canisters. Most returned home with me. We worked 14 hours straight, unable to leave the building, unable to check in on the progress of the elections. Nothing that might compromise our professional, neutral stance was allowed; no computers, phones, newspapers, or magazines.
Most of the day I served helping voters feed their paper ballots in to the voting machine and rewarding them with stickers and my enthusiasm for having done their civic duty. After a bit of an early morning rush voters trickled through, there was barely ever a line, any waiting any problem of any kind. Well there was the woman that wore a Pro Life T-Shirt - illegal and a man that resorted to a newspaper for help in voting - also illegal, and one kid wearing an Obama T-shirt.
Most endearing was a dad I had watched enter the polling station, hand in hand with his 4 year old daughter. I observed them get their ballot, go to a booth, as it happened right near me. I then heard them talk and heard the little girl say "Obama" as I watched her fill out the oval of her choice. Dad talked some more with his daughter as he progressed down the ballot and they came over to me to surrender their voter permit, a dinky piece of paper, but important in our system of checks and balances. As they fed their ballot in to the machine, their vote got counted, I was able to reward them with their sticker, proof of them having voted. The girl's focus and seriousness really touched me. Dad did not just drag his daughter along, but engaged his daughter, only 4 years old, and made his daughter aware of choices and I believe empowered her as a girl and future woman and citizen.
Most of the day I spent near that voting machine which also meant near an official Republican Observer, but unable to discuss political matters - a kind of hell, definitely for me. We had received 950 ballots, the voting machine registered 363 ballots, we ended up destroying 600 unused ballots. We were 5 that worked that precinct for 14 hours, the voting machine did cost thousands of dollars and then there is the expense of the technicians and the supplies and others I am sure I have not thought of. All of it for 350 votes! Seems to me that one vote costs us too much. But at least we now have a good system with check and balances all the way through that should make voting a breeze with barely any lines and any waiting. I want to believe in our democracy and I was honored to play a small part in it with actually great enthusiasm and impartiality.
Rachel Maddow (msnbc) brought it home to me:
We are not going to reverse Roe versus Wade.
We are not going to repeal Obamacare,
nobody will be refused insurance due to prior conditions.
Medicare will not be turned in to a voucher system
We are not going to spend more on the military
than it asked for.
We are not self deporting.
We are not going to start a trades war with China.
We are not going to bring Dick Cheney back.
Nate Silver was right.
Romney was wrong.
We now hear that Romney was shell shocked by the results.
Bill Maher says it like only he can: 'When even Michele Bachmann can't run as a proud Republican, your brand identification has reached "pink slime" territory."
Romney lost in all four of his home states: MI, MA, NH, CA. Obama won in both his home states: HI and IL.
Romney was so deluded, he never even considered losing. He had no concession speech on hand. Imagine him and his realizing the extent of their delusions, oh it goes so much further and deeper then this election. He must have believed in god having ordained him to the presidency of the United States. His house of cards must have collapsed, his mind ought to have a rare opportunity to glance a peak at Maya, the world of illusion and the world of projections we all live in. Romney's spiritual advancement though is a concern between him and his god.
My world has just gotten a little bit saner with the resounding defeat of Romney's and the extreme repugnant Republican's right wing agenda.
Mrs. Obama in Kenya, our President's Grandmother
Duckworth (D) a disabled Iraq War veteran was elected to
represent the 8th congressional district of Illinois in the U.S. House
Same sex marriage is on it's way in and so is decriminalization of pot.
The '3 strikes - you are out', or is it in (prison) rule got relaxed in California.
Romney will not get to appoint the next Supreme Court Justices, instead we will be able to rely on our President's good judgment on a matter of extreme importance due to the long lasting effects of those positions.
Bush has done enough damage, his administration's advisors will not be able to continue their ill fated attempts at dominating the world to benefit US interests, based on US exceptionalism.