Last night was the first night of Yom Kippur. Which includes the opening prayer of Kol Nidrei. Which I love. I just love this night. I love the music and the prayer and the reflection. I love the time we take within the service to pray alone. To meditate. To be inside ourselves while we are inside this community. This is my favorite of all the Jewish Holidays and the only night that I attend each year.
This year, for the sermon, the Rabbi spoke about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after they had eaten the forbidden fruit and were hiding from God. They were hiding and then this friggin’ badass Rabbi starts talking about the concept of duality.
And then she segues into Internal Family Systems and quotes Dick Schwartz, who founded this amazing methodology of self-integration and acceptance and presented to the world this idea that all the parts of us—our Internal Family—are good. That, to coin his phrase, there are “no bad parts.”
And I sat in this community center—with floor to ceiling windows looking out on lush green grass and this weird and massive sculpture that looked like boat sails, kind of—that doubled as a synagogue on this most holy of nights and I thought--
Of course I am here on this night in this space listening to this Rabbi as she quotes Dick Schwartz and talks about integration and all our parts and showing up fully as ourselves. As she talks about not hiding. Just as Adam and Eve did not hide. When God called out to them, they said Hineni—Here I am.
Here I am. La Shana Tova. A good year.
So first let’s talk about my dog. (Do you notice a pattern here?) I was taking some new headshot pics the other day, with this cool camera timer app on my phone called...drum roll...Camera Timer! And so I was taking these pics, where I get to sit and my camera clicks 30 times! 30! And while this was happening my amazing puppy who is just so cute and smart, I mean really, like so cute and smart, came bounding over and so we had to play and I got to capture these pics, too, as my camera was clicking and I was playing. And so I got these awesome photos of me with my so cute and smart dog. So here you have it, this is why these pics, that are accompanying my writing about my brain are puppy pics and have nothing to do with my brain.
So my brain.
So my brain does this thing. This auditory thing. Kind of like a photographic memory but with sound. I remember what I hear. As in, if you tell me something I know it. And can say it back to you. Often word for word though I have the attention span of a squirrel and so lose interest before I am done with that playback. So paraphrasing is more my speed. But still…
I did not know I had this brain thing. That this was special, unique, something out of the ordinary thing. I mean I knew I could remember things. Phone numbers, songs, my entire calendar, every word in a meeting. As long as I care. When I care. Then I can remember it all. Except names. What is up with that? I can’t remember your name. But I will remember, verbatim everything that you said to me. Oh, and I will remember what you wore. Anyway…
I started realizing this was something when I went to law school. I went to law school after my second baby was born. As in three weeks after my second baby was born. She came with me, with my sister. Who sat in the student lounge and would knock on the glass of the classroom door and beckon for me to come out and nurse this sweet baby when she was hungry. She meaning my baby, not my sister.
I never missed a class. In 5.5 years of law school—at New England School of Law which offered this incredible program to students who had kids and allowed us to match our classes with our childcare schedule and gave us 6 years to finish—I pretty much never missed a class.
I sat in the front—except the second half of my pregnancy with my third baby when my stomach was so big that I couldn’t fit under those fucked up desk/chair things where the desk part folds down and so I sat at a table in the back of the room that they brought in special for me—and I read the cases that I should have read the night before but I had babies at home. And a dog. And a husband.
And so I sat in the front (when I wasn’t pregnant) and read the cases with one part of my brain while the other part listened to what the professor was saying. And I remembered it all.
I don’t know how to take notes. Like, what is important to write down? How do people know how to do this? I think maybe I don’t know how because I don’t really have to. Because of how my brain works.
My notes are something like this. Professor N. wore a blue shirt and sat on the edge of his desk and talked about Public Policy in Secured Transactions. And then, reading the prompt while studying for an exam, the entire lecture would download into my head.
That’s how it works.
It’s a download.
I coach people for a living. I am moving fast here. I coach people. Executives specifically. General Managers and other Leadership Team members. And some others as well. In family businesses primarily.
I also do that Divorce Mediation thing I have mentioned before.
But this coaching... I was in a session the other day and the person I was meeting with asked me if I had a recording device running. I thought he was asking because maybe it was mucking up our Zoom connection. “Is there something up with our Zoom connection?” I asked.
He wanted to know how I sent my recaps and didn’t miss anything we talked about. Like anything.
I recap all my meetings for my clients. Divorce and coaching and couples work, too. I recap the meetings because (1) it helps my clients because, especially in the divorce and couples work, we are meeting at a time of deep emotional challenge and it is hard to remember (for them) and so I remember for them and send them the recap and (2) I can then reference this recap at our next meeting and the last meeting will download into my brain so I can show up in the best way this time.
So, this coaching client, he wanted to know how I send my recaps and don’t miss anything that we talk about. Like anything.
“It’s my brain,” I said.
Then, I proceeded to send my recap to him and forget the most important thing. Until I hit send. Once I hit send, that last bit downloaded. Sometimes my downloads have a delay. (It’s a signal to noise ratio problem. This is technology humor. I had to google it).
Remember when I wrote a book about my dog. My Nava A Bedtime Story book about my brilliant dog.
Well, I also wrote a book about my Cat. My 20+-year-old-oh-my-some-days-I-don’t-think-he’ll-make-it-another-moment-he’s-so-old-and-frail-and-can’t-hear-worth-a-dime-and-then-he-jumps-on-the-counter-and-eats-my-food cat.
So this book, this book was inspired to be created in the same way that my Nava book was inspired to be created. Because my Rose in Massachusetts grandson and I would Facetime and play the Where’s Phoenix game. We’d look for him everywhere. Is he on the chair? Outside? Eating his food or drinking water from his bowl?
We’d go hunting over Facetime together till we found him. We played this game for a while ALL THE TIME! We also played with a yellow school bus and a lot of little Lego people, a writing for another day.
Where’s Phoenix? is my new children’s book. Published through Phase Publishing, it is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
It is an awesome book. And I’m not just saying this because I wrote it. And took the photos. And created it in InDesign. Ok… I am saying it because of that. :-)
Please buy my book. Your kids and grandkids and friends and you…you will love it. It’s sweet. He’s sweet. My cat. Phoenix.
Here are the links...and I included the Nava book, too. Because you know...you need both!
Where's Phoenix at Amazon
Where's Phoenix at Barnes&Noble
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Amazon
Nava, A Bedtime Story at Barnes&Noble
So first, look at this position my perfect puppy has placed himself in. Sleeping. He is sleeping while I was holding a mediation around my kitchen table. Like is this just so cute or what?
My puppy. My sweet and smart and a bit stinky (see past writing from 6/26) dog that I love, I was talking about him the other day, as in a few weeks ago, with this amazing Somatic Therapist that I see.
I see her to help regulate my nervous system. I de-regulate. More often than I realized until I started realizing that I do. And now that I know it, we are working through the hyper and hypo nervous system de-regulation patterns and teaching my body to stay in that middle space—called the Window of Tolerance. Mine is very small.
My middle space tolerance window is very narrow. This is part of the problem. What I am learning is that the more I can stay here, in this middle narrow space, the wider it will get. It’s a retraining of my nervous system through a reworking of my mind. And body. And soul. And heart. Oh, my heart, it is often breaking.
Needless to say, this is hard.
Anyway… I am with this amazing practitioner the other day, as in a few weeks ago, and talking about how crate training is going with my dog. This was before Moose got home from his board and train where he was crate training with someone other than me. So this conversation was purely hypothetical in terms of “my” crate training with my dog, but still we were talking about this.
And I was talking about the need for boundaries with this dog. Yes, I know, this is a shock, like when has anyone who has ever read any of my many writings ever heard me use the word boundary and dog in the same sentence. It makes me want to throw up.
Part of the issue.
So boundaries. I was talking to this amazing practitioner the other day, as in a few weeks ago, before Moose came home and sharing that this (hypothetical in direct relation to me) crate training was really hard and really important because I need boundaries from this dog.
I need him not to need me. I need to have my life that I am conscientiously creating for myself. I need independence and I need my dog to be independent, too. And that means he needs the ability to self-sooth. And self-regulate. He needs to have the ability to self-regulate. Self. As in without me.
See, see where this is going.
My daughter and I were mirrors this past week. At a family vacation up in Dillon Beach. The entire Rose crew went. My husband and I, our kids, and grandkids. An awesome dog that I consider my granddog. But alas, my dog did not join in, he is still at summer camp in Oregon (he comes home next week, I can’t wait, I will obviously write about him a lot, be prepared.)
My daughter and I were mirrors. We did not plan this, this mirror thing, though we do it quite often. We did plan to do cartwheels. That was a plan. We did not plan our timing or our movement or our direction. Just that we were going to do cartwheels on the beach. And this is what we did. Mirrored cartwheels.
This makes me laugh. The mirrors my daughter and I do quite often when we dance or move or speak or move or dance. Or do cartwheels. These mirrors are joyful mirrors. They make me laugh. A lot.
But today I want to talk about those other mirrors The reflecting back of those challenging things about ourselves that we can’t see without the mirror being held up for us. I want to talk about those mirrors.
One level removed.
Because I don’t want to talk about the, you are the person in front of me, the person reflecting me as I stand here in this moment, person. I want to talk about the person or people that those people in our personal sphere interact with outside of us. The mirror once removed (think cousins) mirrors.
I am realizing more and more through the triggers and reactions I have around the friends of friends, that these one-step removed mirrors offer just as transparent an image for us to examine as those first-generation mirrors that we have.
And for me, these days, these one-level down mirrors are actually better teachers. I have it going on with the obvious mirrors. I have practiced this part. For years. For years I have been aware of the gift of our clan mirroring back to us those things about ourselves that we need to see more clearly, heal more deeply, love more…more.
But this new mirror, the once removed mirror, this second-generation mirror one step outside of our direct connection with each other mirror, this is a big one. And it snuck up on me.
This is how it goes.
When I friend of mine, someone I love, a person I care about, shares an interaction/challenge that they have with another person, my first thought is I hate this person. I hate everything about them.
And this got me thinking. What is it about this that elicits such a strong first reaction of immediate dislike.
My ego mind, that doesn’t want to explore the truth, will say that I don’t like how this other person treats the person that is a friend of mine, that I love, that I care about. That my immediate distain for this person of this person of mine is that they are hurting my person and so I don’t like them.
But when I can drop away from my ego protector, champion of all things not having to do with the evolution of my soul and who won’t allow me to get to the truth of me, when I can drop away from my ego, well then, there I am. Here with them. With my person’s person. I am here with them. I am them. I am these other people I don’t like that hurt the people I love. They are just doing it in a more obvious way whereas my way is camouflaged and so it looks like I am not.
This is a hard place to stand in. In having to see yourself outside of yourself and not liking it. This other person of the person that you are in relationship with, they are ugly and evil and selfish and manipulative. And also smart and capable and you hate them while also you have compassion for them and their own struggles and challenges and inabilities to show up.
You hate them and love them both, in their relationship with your person. Because they are you in your relationship with your person. Maybe not exactly. Often not exactly. Just pieces. But those piece, they are clear.
“I do that,” I say. And my ego says, “oh no, you’re good.”
A while back I pulled the Peacock card--
The Peacock symbolizes transmutation. He lives in the woods where he consumes, among other things, poisonous plants which he has the ability to transmute into this amazing iridescent plumage. He is an alchemist of the highest order. *
The Peacock invites us to take information and circumstances, both negative and positive, and alchemize them into a harmonized energetic field that blesses our lives. And he teaches that to do this requires us to accept our pain with as much love and gratitude as we do our happiness. When we do this, we begin to experience everything in life as happening for us rather than to us. *
This gift of the pain of the transformation is one that I have always been able to understand. I believe this is because of my unwavering belief that the Universe, she has my back, and so if the ride is chaotic and deeply painful, it’s because she knows that is exactly what I need to move me along. And boy, she moves me fast. Probably because she knows I have the attention span of a squirrel so she’s got to get me going.
Notwithstanding—the language of the lawyer in me–this unwavering trust in the Universe, none of this is easy. At all. It’s pretty awful. Like terribly awful. Unbearable. Heart piercing painful. And I have to remind myself many times when the transformation ride starts up, that this is a gift, this is a gift, this is a gift, don’t close your eyes to this ride.
And, when I am able, I take this full-hearted breath and thank the Universe for the lessons. Because I have grown in this current growth spurt. And am pretty close to being mostly good most of the time, which is really good.
And I was thinking the other day, ‘ok, what is the next piece of wisdom that the Universe is weaving for me’, as I am curious what this next step in my transformation will look like.
And then, recently, I pulled the Tarantula card--
The Tarantula represents a moment when a great decision must be made. It involves prioritizing your life’s deeper purpose, or dharma. A habit or routine from the past is sidetracking you from your dream, yet a voice inside is begging you to refocus your attention. In order to find true happiness, you must choose dharma. Until you do, satisfaction will be fleeting. The Tarantula hovers, patient and calm, like an old friend that knows your inner soul. It already knows you’ll choose wisely. *
And I thought, ‘oh, here you are.’
And so here I am.
I noticed this the other day. This sense that there is this last piece of this puzzle. Or rather, that the puzzle is complete but I’m still searching for another piece when really, I just have to leave the game. I think I need a better metaphor.
Here’s where I’m at/what I’m just realizing.
For a while, like a long while, like for a most of my life while, my understanding is that you do the work, you have the ah ha moments where you see with clarity, you heal the trigger wounds and, we’re all good, right? But here’s the thing, we have to still break the habits. They don’t break on their own.
What?? They don’t break on their own?!?! Like oh my friggin’ God, they don’t just go away on their own.
I thought they did. Truly. Like I thought that once those things hidden in the shadows had that bright light shined onto them, well, we’d be good. Heal the wounds, love the younger me’s, accept the old now me, and the patterns that feed those other me’s... well I won’t need them anymore and they’ll just gracefully fall away.
This is so not happening.
The patterns, the habits, the comfort moves and motions, I still want to do these. I still do do these.
There is a difference though, and this is a big one—and, I know, the first step in the undoing of them—I know I’m doing these things and they don’t feel good.
And I am not ready to let them go quite yet.
Amazing Peacock photograph by Robin Catherine Lawson, taken during the Thomas Fire, December 2017, Ojai California.
* Card Deck for the Peacock card— The Untamed Elemental by Tasya van Ree
* Card Deck for the Tarantula card—The Animal Spirit Deck by Wild Unknown
I need to talk about my dog.
First of all, he got his face trimmed and I mean, look at that face!
Moose is at summer camp. Up in Oregon. A Board and Train camp. With this beautiful family/brilliant dog training couple that I met when Nava was just a puppy and they were a couple and now they are a family.
I found them because, before Nava, I trained all our dogs. Well really, I trained Ruckus, our first dog—with some help from this crazy ass woman who held the dried liver dog treats in her mouth so she could leave her hands free and when Ruckus did what she instructed him to do she would drop a treat out of her mouth and into his. It was quite impressive and somewhat disturbing—and Ruckus trained all of our other dogs. Ruckus, of the hairy stinky Poodle mouth and the eating of the diapers and socks, was brilliant because he was a Poodle and Poodles are brilliant, and once he knew the Rose routine, every dog after followed along.
Gabby learned from Ruckus and when Ruckus died and we bought Mac—because Gabby was a Weimaraner and she needed to not be an only dog so we got her a puppy—and Mac learned from Gabby. And when Mac became a dad—because Mac-a-daddy-did—his daughter, Tank learned from both of them. Then we were dog free for a free minute and then we got Nava.
Yes, this is about Moose.
So Nava. I found her because I was looking for a Doberman breeder that bred for health and wellness because of this fucked up Doberman disease called DCM that is causing Dobermans to drop dead and I wanted to find a breeder that had clean lines so my dog wouldn’t die like Mac did.
So I got Nava. Who died like Mac did.
The breeder’s website said, health and wellness—she had clean lines for 40 years! but this disease sometimes also just shows up—and a family dog/pet. A family dog/pet… She was so not a family dog/pet. My soul dog was the most high drive dog I ever had. She should have been a police dog. Or a search and rescue dog. She should have been a Marine. She wanted to work. All. The. Time.
And she was smart. Too smart for us. My I-love-you-lets-cuddle-this-is-how-we-train rhythm so did not work for her. So I found Karin and sent her to camp. In LA. And she came back ready to rock and roll. And then Karin trained me.
When I got Moose, at first I did not think I needed a Board and Train. Because Moose is not a high drive Marine style Doberman, he is a god you are so brilliant and easy to train Poodle. But alas… I wanted a crate trained dog this time.
I have never had a crate trained dog. Me of the ‘family bed’ and the ‘you hold your children all the time,’ and the child led parenting and my dogs are my kids and when I put any of them in the crate they cried and so did I and then I took them out, that me, well that me cannot crate train a dog.
I tried with Ruckus. It lasted a quick minute. I bought a crate for Nava. Gifted that away.
And here is Moose. I bought him a crate, too. And watched the videos and got the treats. And put him in and he cried. And I cried. And I took him out and held him in my lap.
But you see, I want to leave my house. And he is a puppy. And I want to leave my house. I am saying this twice.
So summer camp in Oregon. Because I want a crate trained dog.
Before we were planning to get Moose—because we weren’t planning to get Moose because I was not going to get another dog after Nava died—Nava died :-(—because my heart was broken but then we got Moose. But before were planning to get Moose—who I didn’t know we were going to get until I saw him online and knew he was my dog—before we were planning to get Moose, we were planning some trips. I was planning a trip back east to see my kids and grandkids and we were planning this upcoming family trip to Marin County, to Dillon Beach, to this awesome house on the ocean so that my three kids and their partners and the grandkids can all come together for this once a year coming together.
So my Moose, he would have had to board anyway and so why not send him to summer camp in Oregon where he can crate train because I am a crate trainer cop out drop out and I need a ton of help on this. Like 100% help. Like someone else has to crate train my dog. And while he is there, he gets to do other fun stuff, too. Like leash train and long down stay train and recall train. And he will come back home when we are done with our trips that were planned before we planned for Moose. He will come back home as his best, most confident and brilliant self.
So that’s where Moose is.
He’s at summer camp in Oregon.
Visit my Facebook page to see the full crate success video!
Thank you to Blackwood Canine, The Driven Dog, Karin Chan Wright and David Wright! You are the best!
I had a session with an amazing practitioner/sage/channeler of the Devine Guidance.
And I was sharing that this is bullshit. This human stuff. And that I am so done with this. Even with all the process and growth and understanding and appreciation for where I’m at now, when it comes right down to it, this game of life, it’s a bullshit game and I don’t want to play it again. And I better learn all my last lessons that my soul needs to learn in this Earth experience this time around because I am so not coming back to this again. To Earth. To this School of Survival.
My sage/wisdom weaver friend, she responded that Earth is not a sophisticated planet. And we are a really young species. It is a ‘survival of the fittest’ place. An ‘animals eat other animals’ place.
And I’m thinking, us humans, we eat each other, too, albeit in a quite different way (most of the time). And for my soul, my spirit, my psyche—this Earth place dynamic, it’s killing me. I am going to find a kinder planet for my next incarnate journey. I am done with this shit.
For a while, it was an ‘I’m done with this shit right now.’ Kind of a malaise but more. The ‘this is bullshit’ feeling and the ‘I have to get off this ride’ feeling and the “having to play this bullshit game for another 30 years is impossible for me” feeling.
For a while that was how I was feeling.
But a lightness now seeps in at the corners of my eye. My mind’s eye. A lightness and a sense of possibility that there is still much greatness here. Still much beauty and joy and deep love to experience here.
And these moments, they come often now. For a while they seldom showed up. For a while they didn’t show up at all, then they started to seldom show up. And now, these moments show up more often.
And they string together, too now. These little bits of moments that make me smile and laugh become longer moments in each day.
It is a place of deep joy for me when I reach the end of some of my days and think to myself that this was a really beautiful day. Sometimes the joy is so big that it’s almost painful. And this, this is joyous, too.
This life experience/survival of the fittest/Earth School of Survival game, I believe I won this round of this game. I made it to the top of the mountain/out of the tunnel of despair/up from the “how am I ever going to get out of this” hole I thought I was in for the rest of this lifetime.
And while I still have moments that fold into the grief in me, they are the fleeting moments now, and the light in me is the bigger part.
It’s a beautiful place to be.
My photo today is of the things that I love right now. Some that make me laugh. And some that give me pause and resonate as truth to me here in this moment. Which is all I really have, really.
I started writing this piece on my way home from this amazing embodiment class that my daughter Teagan offers each Monday night in Santa Barbara. This embodiment class is about landing in the body. I take this class as often as I can. And on this night I landed pretty squarely into myself. I voiced this on my way home, dictating to Siri the appreciation that is unfolding for me for this vessel that houses my soul in a very different way than I have had for most of my life.
For most of my life I have had a love-hate relationship with my body. A secret hidden hate coupled with this mostly love for my body. There was always this conflicting juxtaposition because, though I found great fault in this body of mine—on a quite regular basis—I was/am quite proud of it.
I had/have a beautiful body. And didn’t realize that the hate of it was quite deep and quite strong because the love of it was quite deep and quite strong, too.
My body served me quite well. More than well. My body outdid herself. I performed in it, on the stage and in film and Tv. Print ads and photographs for artists seeking nudes. I modeled for drawing classes and walked the world in clothing that adorned my shape in ways that implied that I felt good. And I did. In that projecting-outwardly-and-receiving-outward-validation-in-return way, I felt really good. Like really, really good.
And this beautiful body of mine, it has been incredible for the things I wanted—and still want—it to do.
My body, it has been pushed to the limit in dance and in swimming running cycling and rowing and in movement and pole and in climbing and hiking and stretching extending bending and flexing. Anything my mind wanted to do, my body did it. Really well.
And I have not nurtured or cared for this body the way it deserved for most of my life.
I starved it. My body. I starved it. For years. And binged and purged it. My body. I binged and purged it. For years. I picked at it, my creative rendition of cutting. Mostly at my feet which is its own irony since, as a dancer, my feet are my trade’s foundation and yet, there I was, desecrating the mechanism for my movement. As a dancer you would think I would have loved on my feet more. But no.
I starved it. And binged and purged it. And picked at it till I hurt it.
And I broke it into pieces. My body was just pieces rather than being the whole.
I broke it apart into pieces at first in the mirror in the dance studio. Just my arm, or the line of my leg. But soon the pieces were just me anytime I looked in the mirror.
There I was. A piece at a time. And, of course, only the pieces that I didn’t like that day. My thighs because they didn’t allow my pants to fit just right. Lately it’s my neck because it looks old. And always my waist because…well just because I don’t like my waist.
That was the theme when I would find my pieces in the mirrored reflection—an “I just don’t like you” theme. And then I told this reflection of this piece of me in the mirror, “I don’t like you.” I said this to myself, to the mirror, to those parts of me that were the only parts I could see. “I don’t like you.” What a terrible way to start each day with this partner in body with me.
So, you see, I had a serious love-hate relationship with my body. And a deep distrust of whether it’s a safe place to land. This deep distrust, I believe it came before the hate part. Before I knew the hate part, I think deep in my bones, in that somatic way of wisdom, I knew it wasn’t a safe place to be. And so being grounded in it has always been a challenge for me and I mostly lived above my body for a lot of the time.
I work with some amazing practitioners and one of the themes is self-love. Another is internal safety. And I am focusing in on learning to ground into this space that is my body that is this container for me. And I am spending more and more time in this body of mine.
This is new for me. And, at first was very uncomfortable. But more and more, when I do land squarely into me, this feels really good. It feels so very good to be landing here, in this body, in this way.
I started this work over the winter. When things that were deep inside me started to come up and the opportunity for self-exploration felt doable and possible and practical and necessary and terrifying and did I say necessary? Because it was/is. And the goal was/is deep self-love and internal safety. With a focus on this now aging body and to not judge this book by its cover but to celebrate this amazing body that I have because of all the things it can do, rather than all the ways it can look.
And then as Spring sprung I fell into a deeper hole than the hole I was already in that I thought was deep already, and my body became this dangerous place. My body became the enemy.
I couldn’t look at it. I dressed in the dark of my closet space. I closed my eyes coming in and out of the shower. When I caught a glimpse of me, I cried.
There is the saying, it is always darkest before the dawn. I googled it. It’s not really true. It’s just a metaphor. But it’s a good metaphor. And it seems to be true for me in the metaphor way. What follows my darkest moments are always the brightest lights of clarity. When I am deepest in it, I know that the clearest wisdom is on its way.
The deeper I go into the hole, the higher I climb out of it.
And that’s the goal. I feel it. My soul feels it. For its own growth and for this loving acceptance of this body. To gain this deep, deep reverence and love for this body of mine—this amazing and capable and strong body of mine—I had to go all the way down to the bottom.
I had to hate this body fully before I could love this body greatly.
It’s like the balance tree. The idea of the balance tree is that the branches can only grow as high as the roots are deep. The one can’t be without the other. This feels like that. And my dark and light metaphor is the backdrop for my beautiful balance tree. My beautiful body tree really.
My new puppy stinks. And I love this stinky smell of him. Truly. I love dog smell. I’ve loved the smell of all my dogs. Every stinky one of them.
I swear my Weimaraner, Gabby had the sweetest puppy breath for her entire 14 years of life. The rest of my family will insist this is not the case. But I know what I know. And her breath was sweet. The sweetest. It was. Really.
So, this puppy, he stinks. And I like it. The whole stinky mess of him. My husband likes the puppy smell part, the other stinky parts of this pup, not so much.
So, we give him baths. Because to my husband the not-so-great stink outweighs the puppy parts. So, baths it is. Which my puppy really likes. Poodles are water dogs in case you did not know.
That foo foo poodle cut that die hard poodle owners love and most everyone else thinks is ridiculous, that came about to help them float so they could jump into the water to retrieve the ducks shot down from the sky.
In late 16th- and early 17th-century Central Europe, particularly in the region that’s now Germany, Poodles were bred for use as water retrievers. The word poodle is derived from the German pudel, short for pudelhund, which means “water dog.” Pudeln in German means “splash,” and is also the root of the English word “puddle.” * (How cool is all this info!)
So, Poodles, in that era, had these unusual (foo foo) clips out of occupational necessity: an unshorn Poodle’s thick coat could weigh it down in the water. With the bottom half of its body shaved, the animal was more buoyant and could swim more freely. The long mane and hair around the chest were left intact to keep the Poodle’s vital organs warm in the cold water, and owners also kept the hair around the joints to protect them from cold and injury and to help prevent rheumatism. Shaving the hair around the face left the Poodle’s mouth and eyes free so it could fulfill its retrieving responsibilities and tying the hair on a Poodle’s head into a “top knot” also kept hair out of its eyes. Owners eventually tied these knots with brightly colored ribbons to help them identify their dogs from afar. *
Who knew, right?
Ok, enough history, but now you know so when you see a fancy poodle walking down the street, no shaming, they have a job to do even if there is no lake for miles around.
So back to my dog.
Way before my Moose dog we had Ruckus, our first poodle. He was a Standard Poodle. He was a massive, 100lbs of Standard stinkiness. Especially around his mouth because of all that hair and the food and the water and the dirt and God knows what else he put in his mouth (actually I know what else he put in his mouth because he used to eat socks and underwear and baby diapers and diaper cream… so...) and so his mouth was stinky. More stinky than all the short haired pups that followed.
And now we have Moose, a Poodle again, with that hairy Poodle face so that when he drinks water his face is wet, and when he eats his food, his face has food, and when he digs in the dirt and gnaws on his bone and…well you get the picture.
My stinky puppy, I don’t mind this. I kinda like it. Ok… I like it a lot.
*Slate News and Politics 02.2004, The Genesis of the Poodle Hairdo
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.