Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice! It was the first really warm day today, too. This morning I was complaining about the sweat dripping off my body parts, but then on my commute, NPR interviewed the mayor of Corpus Christi, Texas, about how they were coping with recent flooding. He said they were holding steady for now, but as the weather was soon to get "really warm" (which is what, for Texas? 100 degrees? 300 degrees?), he said conditions would get worse as the flood would start to "steam". And then the mosquitoes would come.

I am uncomfortably warm right now, but not literally "steaming". And we have a lot of mosquitoes, but they don't bear any diseases. Complaining rights forfeited here!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The hugging line

TS, the volunteer coordinator at the hospital where Starbuck serves as a therapy dog, sent us a link to this article about a program called No One Dies Alone. The author, Charles Wohlforth, wanted to learn about the program of volunteers who sit with the dying at the Anchorage Hospital, to ensure that no one dies alone.

I reached out to volunteers of the No One Dies Alone program to learn about this work. They simply sit with patients who otherwise would have no one with them as they pass away.

I wasn't sure if I would meet busybodies or saints. The volunteers turned out to be regular people unafraid of being near life's deepest mysteries.

Their stories reminded me that living fully requires us to pay attention to moments of meaning and intensity, not avoid them. That's how you discover what life is worth.

I've been thinking a bit lately about touching in general. Specifically, I've been struggling to form a coherent personal policy on human touching. I'm a hugger, but I try to respect non-huggers. I especially feel bad when non-huggers don't tell me they are non-huggers and awkwardly accept my hugs because they are too conflict-avoidant to say anything, so I try to read body language. My goal is 100% respect for anyone who does not want to be touched!

Then there is the kid issue. Little kid hugs are the best! But I want them to learn that they don't HAVE to hug anyone out of courtesy if they don't want to, ever. I think it is terrible when they are told, "Go give Aunty Elsabetta a hug!" when they really don't want to. I think humans have an absolute right to bodily autonomy, and kids should learn this from the get-go. There are also legitimate concerns about inappropriate touching of little kids, and some schools have even banned teachers from hugging kids! They started with suggesting high-fives as an alternative, and now it is being suggested that they ban high-fives as well! I work at schools sometimes for outreach/education, and I won't refuse an offered hug. I hope I never get in trouble for it!

There are so many anecdotal stories and studies showing how human touch is healthy and necessary, but there are so many people who are uncomfortable with it, that I don't ever want to cross that line! It's even a conflict in romantic relationships. The hugger feels neglected, like their partner is unaffectionate. The non-hugger feels smothered. It's unfortunate!

Dogs are the best at navigating this, because when a dog is up in someone's business who doesn't want them there, they feel more free to say, "No!". And when someone wants to cuddle a dog, they feel more free to reach out. Why can't people be this frank with their fellow humans?

I'm glad I found DL, who likes to cuddle with his ladies. :)

Well, one thing I have learned is, just ask!. It is amazing how much time and angst people spend trying to read each other's minds, when we could just ask with words! I remember bumping into my friend and neighbor MR while walking Roo and Linden shortly after we had to let Autumn go. I told her the sad news, and she said, "Would you like a hug? Or do you think it would be too hard?" She understood something about me that I had not even understood until that moment... I would have considered myself an inveterate hugger, but in that situation... yes, it would have been a bad idea! I would definitely have started crying in the middle of the road, on a -20F day, and wet my scarf, and it would have been very uncomfortable!

A few weeks later, I saw her in our building at work. I was more healed by then, and informed her, "I'll take my hug now!" She gladly delivered. :)

Last weekend, I had an opportunity to utilize my lesson. One of Roo's and my Friends at the Denali Center, who has a spinal cord injury and only has minimal use of her hands, was due to leave shortly to have surgery at another hospital. The surgery may restore more of her arm mobility! We came by to see her and wish her a safe trip and successful surgery. Before I left, I lifted Roo's front paws and placed them on her bed, so she could pet Roo's head. Then I asked, "Would you like a hug from me?" She said yes, so I did. <3

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cool summer days

We've had frost warnings the past several mornings! The ladies and I find the weather to be extremely pleasant... sunny and cool. I love cold weather! I love to snuggle and eat rich foods. :)

Like moosey pasta!

And chicken sausage and kale pasta!

And cheeeeeese!

Who likes cheese? WE LIKE CHEESE!!

Tonight, I'm going to make moose stew. I cut up the meat and put out the potatoes and onions last night:

Dang, I forgot to assess the carrots. I hope I have enough carrots!

Cricket gets very hurt and offended when I kill mosquitoes:

I used to think she was some kind of Buddhist dog, but then I caught her killing them herself, so who knows? Anyway, after I kill them, she turns her back to me and sulks until I hug her and apologize. I give her the "bad" kind of apology though, the kind where you say, "I'm sorry that what I did hurt your feelings" because you're not actually sorry for what you did. I'm not sorry for killing mosquitoes! I do have plenty of sincere hugs though!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Notes from here and there

Oh my cod! Cod is back on the market, and at a crazy good price!

We've had it three times now: stewed in curry sauce; pan fried with lemon, olive oil, and garlic; and braised in black bean sauce:

We should all welcome cod into our lives!

In other news, it must be well and truly summer. The second generation (tiny, fast, and vicious) of mosquitoes have appeared, and so have bluebells:

Quick storms have been coming and going, and sometimes they come with hail!

Starbuck-a-Roo does not like thunder. :(

Cricket wants a bellyrub!

Starbuck-a-Roo is sooooo sooooffft that even her ankles make a nice pillow!

No local tomatoes yet, but the ones in the supermarket are looking pretty again!