Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best morning ever, or, why my dog is awesome

It must be the heat, but I've been getting up earlier these days without as much trouble as before.  It could also be the focused stare of my dog, who is usually up before me.  You know, that "will you get your ass out of bed so I can pee?" stare.  Dog owners will symphathize.

This morning I bounced (relatively speaking, which meant I only hit snooze twice) out of bed and was dressed and ready to go by 7:30.  That's WAY too early to be in the office in the summer, so I decided to take the pooch to the park.  She'd been in my pocket all evening before and again in the morning, just so tired of being cooped up in this heat that she was practically jumping out of her skin.  So, to the dog park.

The park was empty and the small dog side had shade, so we hung out there.  Sadie was in a playful mood, and I managed to capture one of her funnier performances; it's her victory lap, where she taunts the other dogs with her conquest of a Frisbee.  But there were no dogs today, which made it even funnier.  Enjoy, and watch for the little moment at the end where she hears me call her and she turns away as is if to say "Whatever, Jodi.  You're not the boss of me."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aggressive butterflies and other not-so-made-up paradoxes

Who is "they", anyway?  I'm not sure, but they told me that butterflies are aggressive.

Ahem.  Sorry - allow me to explain.

Today, while walking through the sweltering heat to lunch, I passed the beautiful little garden that sits next to my theater.  It's a lovely spot, and contrasts mightily with the black, sticky parking lot nearby.  There are always butterflies flitting about.  Today was no exception, except that the butterfly I saw was unusually beautiful and close and unafraid of me, so I got to study it a bit.  Of course, I must have looked like an idiot crouched over peering at a flower, but it was a nice little "stop and smell the roses" moment.   I thought of taking a picture, but then I decided I could be content with a picture in my imagination rather than on my camera.  That was a nice poetic thought that took me on my way to lunch. 

On the way back from lunch, lo and behold, the same butterfly was still there (at least I think it was the same one), busily working away to divest that stubborn flower of its pollen.  Ok, I said to myself, this is just too good to not try to photograph.  So I clumsily held out my phone, expecting the butterfly to flee, but no, that was one industrious little gal.  I managed to snare this rather awesome photo:

And back I went to the office, where a random conversation prompted me to show the photo to some coworkers.

Then I, in my weirdness, blurted out "Don't they say that monarch butterflies are aggressive?"

My coworkers got a huge kick out of this.  "Where did you hear that?"  "Who's 'they'?"  "Have you been wondering this for years now?"  etc.  I, of course, allowed that I may have made this up, but silently vowed to look it up when I got home.

So I just asked my good pal Lady Google to show me the goods. She delivered, and it turns out that I am partially right.  There are aggressive breeds of butterflies, like the Red Admiral, "a conspicuous and aggressive butterfly that often claims a territory, like a road through a woods or even a parking lot, and defends it against all comers."

With that little mystery solved (although I still can't remember from what "they" I heard it), I was of course left pondering paradoxes like "aggressive butterflies."  This, naturally, made me wonder if I really know the definition of paradox, so again I got some help from the interwebs and discovered that a paradox actually means:

A statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.

So aggressive butterflies qualify.  So do healthier Happy Meals.  Or a downgrade of the US credit rating. 

More random thoughts:  

I discovered tonight that my dog is afraid of sprinklers.  This would be funny if it didn't mean I have a wuss for a dog; when she sees things that frighten her, she hides behind me.  So much for my own personal doggy bodyguard.

Speaking of bodyguards, as I strolled through 'hood in the dark/dusk these past few nights, I've been pondering what would be the better self-defense weapon: my fraidy-cat dog, my keys (dutifully clenched so the keys are like spikes) or the bag of dog poop I carry on these walks?  Seriously, I think the latter might be my best bet. 

I wasn't the only one trying to get some "fresh" air at 9pm or later tonight.  There were kids riding their bikes and skateboards in the street, under the streetlights and the watchful gaze of their parents.  I wonder if this is our future as temperatures get hotter; staying inside when the sun is out, and coming out to play at night.  That sounds like a sci-fi screenplay that someone has already written. 

Speaking of heat, yesterday the 10-day forecast crashed my IPhone.  I'm not kidding. 

On that cheery note, I think it's time to call it a night.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A wedding, a world cup, and Harry Potter...week in review

There's nothing that makes a gal reflect and ponder quite like a wedding.  I imagine it's the same for everyone; if you're married, a wedding makes you think about your wedding, and your marriage.  If you're not, a wedding makes you think about the wedding you hope you will have some day.  Relationships, family, loyalty, pageantry, symbolism: they're all tied up in this strange tradition that we as humans have adopted as the norm. 

It's no wonder that so many plays and movies have been made about weddings; they are like chemistry experiments.  Throw a bunch of stuff in a tube, shake, and see what happens.  If you're lucky, all you get is a pleasant smelling, pastel colored liquid.  If you're not, the tube explodes.  Sure, you can regulate the temperature and how hard you shake things, but in reality, it's about the essence of the stuff you throw in the tube.

Happily, my brother's wedding was a rather mild concoction, which I hope means that the Walker and Beznoska families, are, at their core, stable compounds.  I'm sure there was a drama I didn't know about, but aside from the late arrival of the groomsmen, the groom stepping on the train, and a mother-of-the groom who could barely walk the day before the big event, it seemed to go smoothly.  Even the weather cooperated, gracing us with mid-80's temperatures and breezes after weeks of icky, sweltering heat.  Prior to the big day, we saw Navy battleships and giant container ships in the port, and the gals got the requisite mani-pedi's and hairdos.

The big news on hair day was my straight hair; so straight in fact that my entire family didn't recognize me until I literally stuck my face in theirs and spoke.  It's always a catch 22 when I straighten my hair; people say well meaning things like "you should do that more often!" which I take to mean that I'm totally screwed because there's no way I could ever make my hair look like that, and wait, are they saying my curly hair is ugly?  Sigh.  The curse of self-doubt.

Which brings us to my one regret from this weekend; I wish I could have gotten out of my head a little more.  It was a beautiful weekend, and I had a lovely time, but I couldn't shake a lingering feeling of inadequacy; I didn't lose enough weight, I didn't look pretty enough for the pictures, was everyone pitying me because I'm the mid-thirties spinster sister-in-law watching her little brother get married? These things are mostly in my head, I know.  How selfish and shallow they sound, reading them now.  After all, we all know that no one cares about our inadequacies as much as we do ourselves.

And the truth is, it was a hell of a good week. Bells from a nearby church just happened to ring out as the ceremony was winding down. I am over the moon happy for my brother, who gave an incredible heartfelt toast about "finding what was missing," and who absolutely made my year by dancing with my mom to "Barbara Ann."  I am so excited to have a sister-in-law by definition, and hope that we can become sisters-in-law in more than words over the coming years.  I loved seeing my brother's friends surround him with friendship and fun, and seeing my mom and dad enjoy their far-flung family.  My dad even danced with us, and he hates dancing.  I got to dip my toes in the Atlantic.  I did some serious, good thinking about my life and my future.  I saw the final Harry Potter with my bro, his bro-in-law and my sis-in-law.  The Americans ALMOST won the World Cup.  I came home to a clean house and a tail-wagging dog.

Really, there's not much to complain about. Yes, I wish that I knew the kind of joy and solidity in a relationship that my brother obviously has with his wife.  But if that's all I have to worry about?  Sheesh.  Time to get on with it, go to work, make plans, and keep hoping.   And reflect on how lucky I am to have had a week of family and love and celebration of two people who have found each other.