Gone to the Dogs

Most dog owners that I know are responsible and keep their dog in fences or on leashes when outside unless they know that dog will not leave the yard or pose a threat to someone on the road. I thank you for that. For those of us who are runners, running down the road to have a dog come out of its yard after you with teeth bared, snarling and barking is NOT a good experience. Furthermore, if said runner is now telling the dog “no” and “go home” and you aren’t outside to hear it, you’re clearly not being a responsible dog owner.

Many people are scared of dogs. Many who aren’t ARE scared of strange dogs in that situation and things can quickly escalate. I am nervous about dogs that I don’t know. I always have been. I am nervous about dogs that want to jump at me or on me. I was recently taught to stop running and turn to face the dog, but before that, I would’ve have continued running and possibly invited an attack. I have heard about dog attacks within a 10 mile radius and even know people who have starting carrying while they run for that reason. I have read about dog attacks in running magazines.  I don’t feel like this is something I should have to worry about when running on a public road in a well populated neighborhood in broad daylight.

Please, if you’re dog doesn’t stay in its yard and defend its yard only, please keep it on a leash or inside the fence or at least stay outside with it so you know what it is doing.  The road should be as safe as possible for all.

I’ve gotten some great advice on how to handle this type of situation, with a myriad of choices from carrying a weapon such as gun, taser, or pepper spray (although I had previously heard that pepper spray did not work on dogs). One person who found themselves cornered in the woods by 3 dogs managed to get out of it by charging them while swinging his shirt over his head, taking them by surprise after throwing things from the ground at them, to no avail. I would welcome constructive comments on how to act when in these situations!! Preferably items that have worked in the past, please!

Learning to Fly

http://youtu.be/DrGuVa-4BVE

My whole life centers so much around music that it’s almost an obsession. Generally when I think of “Learning to Fly” by Pink Floyd I think of a guy I went to high school with who made his own video to it. It was really cool…and so was he, but I digress.  Anyway…today I think of this cute little baby cardinal who was apparently having flying lessons with his parents and either fell or stopped to take a break on the back of my daughter’s truck. She had stopped by to say hi and when she tried to leave, she found two very angry cardinals who were not happy that she was anywhere near her truck. The reason why caught the corner of her eye and she called me outside to “help.”  In between her toolbox and her back window was this adorable little feathered fellow who was getting himself quite worked up trying to get out of that nifty little dip he found himself in. We didn’t want to touch him for fear that mom and dad would abandon him so after a few minutes thought, we decided a box and a sales ad with which to shoo him into it would probably do the trick. With the intention of getting him into the box and then gently dumping him onto the ground for his parents, my daughter took the sales ad and stuck it behind him to try and scare him toward the box. Well it scared him alright, right into the air!! He took off on a short flight across the neighbor’s yard and then all of the sudden we heard a “thunk.” He hit the neighbors mini van. We were scared he had hurt himself until we got over there, and there he was, just sitting next to the tire calm as could be looking around.  Another short flight took him into the middle of their yard and away from the potential dangers of the neighbors back tire and my daughter made haste before he could find his way back into her truck. Hopefully his parents got him safely home once we left him alone. Baby animals are so much fun! I wouldn’t trade and experience like that for anything!

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“Doing” Father’s Day

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUwjNBjqR-c

I don’t really “do” father’s day. I don’t remember a whole lot from my childhood but I do remember the day my father left when I was 3 or 3 1/2 or something like that. I remember asking him when he was coming back and he said he wasn’t.  He didn’t visit me often after they got divorced and according to my mother I blamed her for his absence. That’s probably true even though I don’t have an intellectual recollection of it, but that story is definitely for another day. In any case, when my father did show up he usually had Harry Chapin playing which I always found ironic later when I was finally old enough to understand what “Cats in the Cradle” was about. My mother remarried when I was 7ish and I don’t remember spending a whole lot of time with my father thereafter. I know that there were several years that I did not hear from or about him at all aside from a birthday card once a year. He paid so much attention that I even go the same card two years in a row. I tried to live with him in between foster homes as a teenager but it was never for long and never ended well. I think, emotionally, he and I might have been the same age at that point but no matter how you cut it, he was certainly never prepared to be a father and I’m not sure he particularly wanted to either. I can fairly well assure you that while I would never wish for anyone’s father to be taken from them, it has to produce a better emotional world than having a father who chooses to be absent.  I wouldn’t really say I’m bitter about it. I think I am sometimes bitter toward him but it does not give me a general bitterness toward fathers. I enjoy seeing good fathers in action and appreciate them from afar, hopefully less than their children do.

My stepfather was no better. Although I know that some things seemed like a bigger deal when I was a child then they might now, my time with him still boils down to a feeling of inadequacy next to my half and step siblings, and being the undeserving victim of his unorthodox and sometimes extreme punishments on a fairly regular basis.  Once my half sibling was born, the extreme favoritism became apparent and things just escalated from there. One of my half siblings impressed the hell out of me today when posting their feelings on social media today; recognizing the loss of their father (my stepfather) while still acknowledging the damage he did to some family members. I know that was a BIG deal for them to say that out loud (proverbially speaking of course) because it was a HUGE deal for me to read it.

I’ve never had any real connection with father’s of my significant others, either. I haven’t spoken often or much with most of them, including the current one, other than in family gatherings. I did speak to an ex’s father on the phone recently who surprised and brought me near tears when he told me it was nice to hear my voice and talk to me and that he loved me.  That has affected me quite deeply for many days now, especially since I was never really sure if the man liked me or not.

I find myself with “father envy” from time to time. In particular there is someone I deal with occasionally at work who has a father that I consider to be a bit on the exceptional side. Have done business with him as well, I have come to know that he is caring and compassionate and that he, along with his beautiful wife of similar qualities, set a beautiful example of love and ethics for their children and their grandchildren. He’s a fortunate man, to have a father like that and even more fortunate because he recognizes it!! So many do not see what they have and it is so gratifying to watch this family’s interactions from the sidelines and see that they know what they have and hold each other dear accordingly.

A couple of days ago I realized, probably with a little help from Him, that God is the only true father I really have. You would think I would pay more attention to him knowing that. Ironically (although I believe there are no accidents), an ecard, or meme, or whatever they are showed up in my news feed that spoke of how it’s difficult for some to celebrate Father’s Day because their father’s are absent or dead and that God is a father to those people. I am now kicking myself in the rear end for not having had the wisdom to save it because it would’ve been my visual aid for today’s post. If I find it later I will add it to this blog because if it affects one person the way it did me, it will have been worth posting.

Love your fathers if you have them and if you don’t, then don’t begrudge that pleasure from those who do. Feeling some of their joy with them may help you find some in yourself. For those outstanding individuals who choose to be active male “fatherly” role models in anyone’s life, may you be lifted every moment of every day by that decision and to you I wish a very Happy Father’s Day.

The Fosters

There’s a new show on Monday nights called The Fosters. The timing was impeccable because I am, admittedly a 90210 junkie. I was 15 years ago and I am now and I was VERY unhappy to learn that the show was done and although I don’t watch much tv, wondered what I would DVR in that Monday night slot to watch later. Enter this show. It’s far to early for me to pass judgement on it but I feel compelled to watch mostly, I think, because I was a foster child off and on as a teenager. I’m curious to see if this show can really depict how children tend to feel in these situations and if I can find a kinship with any of the characters as the show moves forward.

As a foster child, I never felt fully accepted in the homes I was in. More specifically the one I was in long term. I guess it’s hard for some parents not to show favoritism toward there own children over someone else’s, regardless of the circumstances. My stepfather couldn’t either and subsequently I also never felt accepted at home after my first sibling was born. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time feeling accepted anywhere, even now.  I used to think that I would be a good foster parent and that it was something I should do, I guess to balance things out from my past. I’ve learned as a parent that it’s probably not for me. I could definitely erase that favoritism thing but I would become far to emotionally involved and I know that it would take away my ability to think rationally in certain situations, which is often more necessary in fostering situations than “normal” parenting situations.

I have a friend from high school who was my best friend when I was in my long term foster home. That friend is now a foster parent with somewhere around 10 children total that are a combination of birth, adopted and foster children. I sometimes like to think that being my friend was what planted that seed in this person. I guess I’m always looking for little ways I might have changed the world. They seem to provide a loving and compassionate home where each child is indeed treated equally. Those children will be all the better for it.

My kudos to Jennifer Lopez for being the first, that I know of, to pioneer in this direction for family drama. I’m kind of tired of watching spoiled, self-entitled teenagers and young adults on television anyway.

Mother’s Day…1980something

Okay so here’s the “story for another day” I mentioned in my last post.

I don’t remember how old I was, but I must’ve been no older than 12 because I stopped living at home by the time I was 14 and I don’t think my parents made me go to church anymore after I turned 12. I was a healthy child who did a LOT of wood hauling and snow shoveling and I spent most of my free time in the woods. One Mother’s Day, I woke up before everyone in the house and decided to go pick flowers for my Mother.  I was usually up before everyone else in the house anyway since my internal school alarm was set for 6am. Yeah I know, what kid has an internal alarm? In any case, I went out and picked some lovely wildflowers for my Mother on her special day, but by the time our church service got started I was wiggling and itching and clawing at the insides of my legs and arms. So much so that my Mother sent me to the church basement to sit with the preschoolers because I couldn’t keep still! We had no idea what my problem was until after the service when she and the Reverend came down to check me out. Lo and behold, my arms and thighs were covered with big red itchy welts that she called hives. I was scared!! The only hives I had ever heard of were homes for BEES! It didn’t take Mom long to figure out that it was the ragweed I had picked (one of the afore mentioned lovely wildflowers) and once she convinced me I wasn’t dying, she, the Reverend, and his wife proceeded to “lay hands on me” and pray.

Now I don’t mind telling you that at that point in my life, I don’t know what I believed. I pretended to believe what I was told because that’s what good children do right? But my grandmother was always sending me all this “Jesus stuff” in the mail and I got a bible for almost every birthday and my stepfather was fond of occasionally making me write passages from the Book of Proverbs whenever I got in trouble, as my punishment, so I can tell you that I wasn’t God’s biggest fan. In any case, fan or not, I pretended to pray with them and repeated the things I was told and afterwards I could run through fields of ragweed barefoot with no problems whatsoever. In fact, I didn’t have an allergic reaction to anything until I was in my mid to upper twenties.  Now I believe in God and don’t try to run so much, although I have been known to practice shameful avoidance from time to time. Ironically I had forgotten about the laying on of hands”until I started having allergic reactions to things. You’ll never convince me it didn’t happen and I can only assume He had purpose in suddenly removing my immunity allergies as an adult. They aren’t horrible and I don’t have to take any kind of daily medicine for them, but when I will be running near the woods, or more specifically, the Ragweed Forest, or mowing or silly things like that, that involve greenery, I take a pill and wonder just what His purpose in my allergies is.  I guess He really does giveth, and taketh away.