Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! (Drinky-Drink!)

I have some New Year's Eve Preparations to get working on, so I don't have time to write an extensive post today. But I do at least have time to send out an important message to you all.

This blog should do more than just wax on and on about me and my life. In fact, I think it should do much, much more. It should promote healthy living, intellectual debate and conversation, and raise social awareness. So I'd like to take a moment to alert all you party-goers about the perils and consequences of the demon-liquor.

Happy New Year, Everyone! Be safe!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Dog is Dying -or- Why Do We Have Pets, Anyway?

This is Bella.

She's a very old retired racing Greyhound. Jeff and I adopted her about two and a half years ago. Basically, Bella sleeps a lot. Now and then, she'll come over and stick her head on your leg and want to be petted and breathe her horrible, nasty breath on you. She likes company. She freaks out in the car and when visiting strange places, and has been known to chew on very important things just because she's so nervous. She likes her bed. She loves walks and being outside. And she never barks, except in her sleep. While she's sleeping, she runs and makes this muffled barking noise that scares the cats.

She started limping around in August, after she tripped down a couple stairs at the house my family goes to every summer. After not being able to figure out what was wrong for a while, she got x-rayed and we found out she has a tumor growing on her back left knee. And basically, there's nothing we can do about it but wait until she can't stand or walk anymore, at which point we'll have to put her to sleep.

This sucks, obviously. That was back in October, and things have only gotten worse, especially with this snow business. She slips all over the place and can't get up on her own, so I have to hoist her back up by her butt-end, which she isn't a fan of. She can hardly hop up our front step, let alone go up stairs. Forget walks. And, this is also very sad for Jeff and I; we love Bella, and we can't really wrap our minds around the fact that at some point, we're going to have to decide her life is not worth living anymore. It's too bad we can't explain this to her somehow. She has no clue that her life is in our hands.

Which leads to the question: why bother with this?

I was asking myself this question this morning around two a.m. when our cats were mournfully meowing whilst they tried their hardest to claw their way under the bedroom door. Actually, when it comes to the cats, I ask myself this question often, since, unlike Bella, they are kind of loud and do not have physical issues as much as severe emotional issues (and yes, they take after me in that sense).

And, actually, I think this question could be applied almost anywhere in life. It seems most of what we do has a lot of downsides and heartache, and not necessarily a ton of rainbows and unicorns to counteract the downsides and heartache.

All right, so this is super cynical of me to say, but to paraphrase Louis CK, the best case scenario in marriage is: You find the "perfect" person, you have children, you grow old together, and then he or she dies on you. And that's the best case scenario.

However, I think the real problem here is not that people get old and die, or that dogs get bone cancer and have to die, or that neurotic cats like to make lots of noise at night and make other people wish they would die (or, at least, play dead for several hours).  The real problem is we think life can be made safe, somehow.

I'm not sure where this idea came from. I think it's relatively recent. We think we can eliminate suffering, unhappiness, discomfort, etc., as long as we have the means: the gadgets, the medicine, the McDonald's. But the truth is, even in the best case scenario, you're still running the risk of death. We all are as soon as we're conceived, and it's not even like we had any say in it. But then, later, we do have some say in it, because we make friends, and we get pets, and we marry, and we have children, and that's some risky business.

In a different context, our pastor once said our church is a church that takes risks, because that's what God wants us to do. Basically, he said God's a risk-taker.  Which, in a way, is a little discomforting, since those of us who believe in that sort of thing often want God to be predictable and understandable. But, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, God is not a "safe lion." He takes major risks.

Oh, hey, here's a good example: the creation of humanity.

(Sorry: I'm not going to go into sin and depravity and the human condition this time.)

When God sees us suffering, I don't think he's indifferent or outside of emotion. I think he feels sad, because we're often sad and hurting. But for him, the risk of feeling this way is worth it to bring something into existence. And it seems that humans take after him in this sense, since they keep on with the procreation thing, even when there are methods to keep this from happening.

Existence is worth it. And since I'm already in existence, and since I believe in God and his ideas, I think he's right.

So this kind of works on my little, itty-bitty scale with Bella. It's sad to see her like this, and it's sad to know that -best case scenario- she'll live a few more months and not be too uncomfortable. Yeah, it was risky getting a dog, and it has done a number on our carpet, but for us, it was a risk worth taking. Bella's worth it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Revolution!

So, friends have told me off and on for a while that I should start writing a blog. Usually, I just kind of shrugged it off, since it seemed like a self-promotional sort of thing, which I tend to avoid. Not that self-promotion is a bad thing, exactly. I've just always had a problem with going: "Ta-dah! It's me! And look what I can do!" Maybe it's because, usually, whatever it is I can do is either not all that impressive to other people, or I mess it up somehow.

But recently I started to realize something: I am not a very disciplined person. This is a bad thing for people who like and/or need to write. I'm an "and" person: writing makes my life better. However, it's a hobby, for the most part, so that means there aren't actually any real deadlines or real people who demand that I finish such and such project or else. When I have free time, and I can write to my heart's content, I usually wake up in the morning and go: "Yay [if it's a good morning]! All right! Taking-the- dog-out-time! Breakfast time! Email Time! Facebook time! Website time! ... Oh wait. Writing Time... I mean, oh. Hm. Well, there's this... Well, I don't like that sentence... I.... What the hell...? Hm. Oh well... Hey, Facebook Time!" And suddenly it's dinnertime.

I read on Don Miller's blog that writing a blog helped him to actually write (yeah, crazy huh?). So that's awesome. He also wrote that it's helped him see the world and everyday life experiences a little differently. That's a good thing, too. And those are both things that I would like to happen this year.

The thing is, I'm pretty terrible at New Year's Resolutions, usually because the ones I pick are kind of lame. Well, maybe not lame, but the kinds of things that are impossible to fully accomplish because they're not super major. Like I've already mentioned: discipline and I are not so compatible anymore. (Which, on a side note, I blame on my husband's influence. I used to be very disciplined... and maybe a little compulsive.) So while I will probably still make these not-so-great resolutions, I think I want to make them a little bit beefier by making it harder to back out of them. So something like a special little blog should help, and it should get me writing more. At least a few times a week.

So that's all. Thanks for giving me a few minutes of your life. Here it goes.