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Archive for the ‘Love Stories’ Category

The workers at the cemetery have begun to feed Captain, but this dog will probably end up a minor celebrity in the neighborhood and get superfat from all the biscuits and treats.  And that’s ok.

 Dog stands guard over deceased owner’s grave for six years

An extremely dedicated dog has continued to show its loyalty, keeping watch on its owner’s gravesix years after he passed away.

Capitan, a German shepherd, reportedly ran away from home after its owner, Miguel Guzman, died in 2006. A week later, the Guzman family found the dog sitting by his grave in central Argentina.

Miguel Guzman adopted Capitan in 2005 as a gift for his teenage son, Damian. And for the past six years, Capitan has continued to stand guard at Miguel’s grave. The family says the dog rarely leaves the site.

“We searched for him, but he had vanished,” widow Veronica Guzman told LaVoz.com. “We thought he must have got run over and died.

‘The following Sunday we went to the cemetery, and Damian recognized his pet. Capitan came up to us, barking and wailing as if he were crying.”

Adding to the unusual circumstances, Veronica says the family never brought Capitan to the cemetery before he was discovered there.

“It is a mystery how he managed to find the place,” she said.

Cemetery director Hector Baccega says he and his staff have begun feeding and taking care of Capitan.

“He turned up here one day, all on his own, and started wandering all around the cemetery until he eventually found the tomb of his master,” Baccega said.

“During the day he sometimes has a walk around the cemetery, but always rushes back to the grave. And every day, at six o’clock sharp, he lies down on top of the grave, stays there all night.”

But the Guzman family hasn’t abandoned Capitan. Damian says the family has tried to bring Capitan home several times but that he always returns to the cemetery on his own.

“I think he’s going to be there until he dies, too. He’s looking after my dad,” he said.

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Everything is a test
to see what you will do
Mistaking what’s before your eyes
you have to start anew!

– some wiseguy, Buddhist I think

When I am lucky, or shall I say fortunate, I get little reminders when grief, fear and anxiety take over:  Remember.  Remember. Remember.

Oh wow. Yes. OK I remember. Back to the drawing board.

When I actually take the time to listen to that inner voice I stop everything.  I go to a quiet place, then finally address that neglected business of grounding and centering myself so that I may return to operating at the soul level, instead of  the ego level where attachment to outcomes feels normal and expected.  When one is living from the heart instead of the head there is no fear, only love.  Attachment disappears because one returns to serving the greater good, whatever it turns out to be.

Woulda been cool if the place had actually looked like this

Several years ago I attended a Hogwarts School of sorts. Yes, magic school, some call it witchraft, or the more sympathetic “Wicca.”  I am not, nor was I ever, a “Wiccan.”  I’m just a garden variety witch, and you can take that at whatever level feels comfortable for you.  We’re all magical practitioners crafting our lives; it’s just that some of us know what we’re doing sometimes. Remember?

It’s not so much that I learned anything “new” at my Hogwarts, since I’d been an armchair occultist for at least a decade.  What I did get is a practical anchoring, which increased my soul memory, which, well, thank God/dess, meant I could actually get some work done and have it stick.

At least, some of the time. It’s so easy to forget.

The Headmaster at this Hogwarts didn’t look like Merlin. Oh no, there were no cliches at this Hogwarts, just a lot of silliness and a little learning. His was the simple kind of teaching that stuck, the kind you took home and unwrapped, sometimes even years after he gave it to you with a pretty bow on top.

This Dumbledore was bald and flaming, and hilarious to boot.   He was a roaming Safe Place for seekers, and believe me there were a lot of those.  Seekers, I mean.  Safe places and people are hard to come by. Attending to his students took heaps of loving, patient energy and sometimes you could see how drained he was. Still he smiled and just kept on trucking. Fortunately witches know how to regenerate, so in his words it was “all good.”  It was his calling and he was great at it:

Me:  It’s so easy to forget all this.  Then when I remember, it’s like, damn it, now I have to start all over from the beginning!  What do I do when I drop the ball?

Dumbledore:  You pick up the damn ball!

Me:  (Laughing)  Yup, just start over. Goddammit!

Dumbledore:  Don’t think about it!  Don’t beat yourself up, you don’t have that kind of time. Just pick up the ball and start running! There’s no time! Oh, wait, that’s right, I forgot there really is No Time. HAH! Whooowee!

Don’t beat yourself up over it. 

I suppose that lesson was new for me, the one about not beating myself up. At least it’s one of the few that actually stuck: There is no time to fuss over a dropped ball.  Fussing only wastes more of that time you regret having already lost. You need to ground and rechannel that fussy energy toward your next soulful move because the game is still on, the clock is ticking and you can’t waste any more of your Time Outs. Everyone is assembling for the next play and, well, are you lining up, or aren’t you?

To hold the light on the planet is to hold love in your heart and your life. To think loving thoughts, to perform loving actions towards others, to feel love in your heart for all, to be rid of your ego, to stop all judging of others, to stop the blame game and take full responsibility for your actions and to stay positive in your thoughts. This is how we should be living our lives all of the time.

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Newt (noun)–a small, slimy, cold-blooded reptile with a primitive brain.

Newt Gingrich is not a lobbyist, or a womanizer, he insists!  No: He gives “strategic advice, from the private sector.”  He’s a consultant, especially to women’s ladyparts, and besides, he only actually married a few of them, and only dumped those when they got sick after he found someone newer/younger/dumber to put up with him.  

Those things “happened to him.”  They happened because he loved his country so much. Very unfortunate.  But God forgave him, the GOP will forgive him too!  And now that he’s getting older, slower and even uglier, even less likely to score now that he can’t pay off his account balance at Tiffany, Newt Gingrich has pledged to give up chasing tail, which is a bit like saying he’ll give up liver for Lent. While he’s at it though, he’ll also deny women abortion, oppose gay marriage, and decry Sharia law despite the fact he probably doesn’t even know what it is.*  Fixed!  He can run for president now! 

(Psst: Mr. Gingrich didn’t actually sign that pledge. Three other GOP presidential hopefuls have signed it, however.)

An advertisement for an online dating service called Ashleymadison.com which describes itself as the “the world’s premier extra-marital dating site”

Right wing talk show host Michael Savage has offered Newt Gingrich $1,000,000 to drop out of the race, but I don’t think Newt will accept it.  Men of Newt’s calibre are very weird about power. And what about those 85 ethics violations that got Newt run out of Congress, are the party faithful going to forgive him for those, too?  Actually, the Powers behind the GOP are hoping senility has set in with those who’d otherwise remember how much of a sleaze Newt was while he was Speaker of the House.

Newt’s battery operated blowup doll seems to approve of recent developments. Either that, or she “found some pills, and she eated them.”  Huh, you’d think by now they would be able to get the eyes right on those political wife androids.   Anyway, I wish those two a lifetime of happiness, just not in the White House. Egad. 

I didn’t watch the Dimwit Derby the other night.  I just couldn’t, because the GOP Clown Show is all the proof you need of how desperately the elites want us to re-elect Obama in 2012.  No matter which Republican candidate takes the nomination, he will be a non-choice, and on that I’ll place my last $10,000.

* There is no one “sharia law.”  Sharia is Arab for “The Path” and consists of principles and precepts whose interpretations can vary from country to country, even from village to village. A few rural backwaters in some Arab countries have brutal interpretations of what “justice” and “propriety” mean.

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This is really funny and sweet.

H/T Huffington Post

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Happiness is warm goat cheese and box seats at the ballet! 

We caught the tail end of the Lincoln Center festival and saw the Mariinski Ballet (formerly Kirov) perform Anna Karenina, under the direction of Valery Gergiev, the artistic directtor of the Mariinsky Theatre. This was the company’s first visit in a decade.  It was the first time I’d seen a Russian ballet performance since Petruschka, at the Northrop, in the 1980’s. OMG that’s over 25 years ago!

I was happy with our seats the last time we were at the Met (Dress Circle), but this time was really special:  A private room for eight on the Parterre level that we shared with another couple and four young Russian women.  Apparently this is the only level where one can come and go as one pleases, which is very nice if one has to visit the bathroom often.

But first, we ate! We enjoyed a long, liesurely dinner outdoors at Josephina’s.  I had the goat cheese salad and  Spooky had the duck, and we had creme caramel and limoncello for desert.

Yekaterina Kondaurova made a great Anna, all dark, limp and doomed.  She was good in the first half, but I really couldn’t get a sense of her dancing due to her gloomy, drab costume that hung almost to her ankles.  It wasn’t until the second half, when she was wearing lighter costumes, that her sewing machine-like precision came out (watch her here  to see what I mean). 

Her partner Andrei Yermakov, for all this athleticism and grand gestures, was less convincing. I couldn’t feel any emotion coming from him, so maybe he didn’t like his ballerina? Or was he just more into his own performance?  No matter; there was so much more to look at.  The male corps, decked out in military garb, was fun to watch.

My favorite dancer of the bunch was Svetlana Ivanova, who was adorable as Anna’s niece Kitty.  There’s something very special about this soloist. I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is, but she’s so expressive, lyrical and graceful that whenever she was on stage I ignored everyone else.  Maybe it’s her emotional fragility that comes across in her dancing.

The dancing was very good.  However, I can understand why the reviewer at the New York Times didn’t like the show.  The music was melodic but kind of weird, almost undanceable.  Worse, the ballet ignored most of what made Tolstoy’s novel most interesting; i.e., all the side stories that added context, depth and meaning to what Anna and Vronsky were going through.  As a result the ballet was nothing more than a black/white morality play: Wife succumbs to an affair, despairs, dies.  Whatever. By the end of the ballet both Spooky and I were thinking  just throw yourself in front of a train already. 

As for the show as a whole, it kept my attention throughout, which is saying a lot.  I typically get restless 3/4 of the way through a show no matter what it is.  Usually I’m hungry or bored or I have to go to the bathroom or I’m uncomfortable from sitting. However, this time I made it through the whole show with only one bathroom break and was very comfortable.   Maybe it was the box seats, but more likely because it was the ballet. 

I love the ballet:  I took 2o years of lessons, from the time I was five years old until I blew out my knee and got pregnant. I even spent a summer teaching after I graduated high school. Even today, I’m wistful and nostalgic about my pointe shoes, which I still keep in my little dance suitcace with wads of sheeps wool. 

Last night’s show made me want to take lessons again, and I think I will.  Will I be one of those grannies at the barre someday? I hope so.

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Another chapter in my personal saga, continued from here

Spooky’s house was full of strangers.  Floor washers, carpet cleaners, painters, kitchen renovators, furniture movers, gardeners, floor installers, plumbers and electricians, appliance installers and interior decorators were tripping over each other to get everything done by summertime.  It wasn’t long before we dismissed the decorator and decided to finish it ourselves. 

With his wife gone Spooky wanted everything cleaned or gone so he could start anew and learn how to love the house again.  It was almost as if he were trying to scrub her essence out of the walls so he couldn’t feel her anymore.  First to go was the sofa he’d been sleeping on for six years. Then the parlor furniture, and then the bed she’d been sleeping in. I was happy to see the tile and carpets professionally cleaned, and I was happy to get rid of anything she’d touched. However, I drew the line at hiring a professional to wash the kitchen cabinets, and so scrubbed them down myself, with bleach. By then he’d already spent tens of thousands of dollars on contractors and new furniture and besides, she kept coming by anyway.

We moved Spooky’s books out of the dining room and had hardwood floors put in, just in time for the new dining room furniture to arrive.  The chairs and sofas in the Florida Room were sent out to be reupholstered in a completely different color. Habitat for Humanity took some of the old furniture, and family took some of the rest. The painters were happy to get free TVs.  I really don’t remember what we did for furniture during that time, but we probably stayed at my house because there was no where to sit!

Spooky changed the doorknobs to the upstairs suite. “If she comes in, just run upstairs and lock the door,” he said. It was too soon to change the locks on the house doors because his ex still had two closets full of clothes that still needed to be moved.  She’d already taken all the household items she wanted, yet nearly every day we came home from work to discover she had taken something else: Artwork, cookware and bakeware, things she’d earlier said she didn’t want. Every day was a little bit like coming home to a robbery. Spooky took it in stride until he realized she’d taken the good can opener, and when the artifical plants disappeared – including a tree! –  that just about did it. We changed the locks and put her clothes in the garage.

We hired Spooky’s niece and nephew, both artists, to do the tile work in the kitchen and some of the painting.  They did a beautiful job, and when the granite-countertop people wanted to feature our kitchen in a magazine ad we stipulated that the company would need to give them credit for the tile and paint job.  The company said “We don’t do that,” so we told them to forget it.

I moved my personal belongings one car load at a time, hesitant at first. What if something terrible happened? What if she tried to move back in?  At first I kept everything in the bedroom suite with the doors locked. The less she knew about me the better. As the weeks passed I grew bolder and began to take up space in the kitchen, and in the bar, and then the library.  I was getting spoiled from having such a huge kitchen, a butler’s pantry and a wet bar, with 5 sinks within easy reach.  Compared to my little galley kitchen it was heaven.  I even thought about learning to cook!

Spooky gave instructions I’d never in my life heard before, things like “let the gardeners do it” after I pulled a few weeds out of the yard.  That took a little getting used to . . . uhhhh maybe 5 seconds of getting used to.  This was a big house with a big yard, and if we were to maintain it ourselves we’d never be able to do anything else!

When friends and family toured the work in progress, the women – only the women of course – asked me about the housekeeping.  “You’re getting help with this . . . Aren’t you?”  They actually looked concerned. I hadn’t thought about it, but realized I should. The house was huge, but designed in such a way that it didn’t need that much attention. Grey floors and granite countertops are wonderful that way.  “We’re pretty tidy,” I said, a little lamely. “We probably won’t need it.”  I made a mental note to talk to Spooky about splitting the chores.

We kept the blue grey tile and the storm grey carpet, but mixed in shades of sea, sand  and sunset to give it the beachy look it deserved.  Colors like Seafoam,Ocean Air, and Seapearl. Surf and turf, I called it.  Sky, driftwood, sea shells and dried beach grass. By summer we needed a breather, and what a lovely place to just lie about and breathe!  I planted flowers, herbs and tomatoes. My African violets bloomed like never before.  

It was a mellow summer, subdued and relaxed. The music piped throughout the house and every dinner was better than the last. We didn’t entertain much because we were still in stealth mode, but his family came by often and fortunately they liked me.  More like they hated his ex, which set the bar pretty low, but after the initial shock wore off they were relieved that – for the first time in years – Spooky looked happy. I was happy too, more at peace than at any other time in my life. I grew more chatty and sociable at work and found myself genuinely enjoying the company of others. I remembered to call my mom and dad. I found myself without time to blog anymore, because I was just too busy. I had a life now!

Traumatized, obviously.

I waited until Bunny left for college to finalize my move, at least the personal belongings part, since to this day I’ve not moved the furniture. It sounds like a big deal but mostly it consisted of relocating my four cats.  Spooky and I each took two and they yowled like we were trying to kill them, and skulked around the basement for a few days before coming up to check the place out, at which point I could tell they were intimidated by the high ceilings.  Believe it or not the place was too big for them!  Fortunately over time they got used to their new digs and returned to their normal activities; i.e., sleeping.  I think they like Spooky’s house better than mine now because they don’t have to fight over sunbeams.

Stuffed moose with port

By first snowfall I called it Home.  My own house lay empty but for the furniture and Bunny’s things. Renting a U-Haul was on our list of things to do, but neither of us felt any rush.  It was a bad time to sell with the economy in the dumps and the place needed some work anyway.  After the divorce is final, I thought. And not until then. There was still no indication of when “then” would be.

To be continued . . .

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I took this photo with my phone after the show

It didn’t matter that I had an awful birthday due to a really bad work situation, because we planned to celebrate in May anyway. We were going to the Met!  It was the first time for both of us, and definitely not the last. 

But first, we had to check into our hotel:  A corner suite on the 15th floor of the W Hotel with a panoramic view of New York City.  I knew we were going to stay someplace nice, but a four room suite?  The place even had a guest bathroom.  The night hadn’t even begun and I was already blown away.

Our room.  No, really. Photo from hotel.

Were they reading our minds?

I think I’ll stay right here, thank you

We had originally planned to do some sightseeing, but with a room like that we didn’t want to go anywhere.  So we roamed our digs and just hung out.  We kicked off the afternooon with champagne and french fries (why not?) at the hotel eatery and took our time getting ready for dinner.

Spooky was in full black tie and I followed sartorial suit with an evening gown. I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of it – that’s me in Spooky’s tuxedo jacket after the show – but it was lovely:  Black silk, floor length, with a little cowl neckline and rhinestone clasps on the shoulders and in the low, low back.  My shoes were black satin Furla stilettos that, amazingly, I could walk in.  They didn’t even hurt my feet until the end of the show, while waiting for the limo to take us back to our hotel. Stilettos on cobblestone are not the best combination!

It was a cloudy day.  This is the our sliding glass door to our patio

Can you believe the view? I took this with my phone but the photo doesn’t do it justice.  In real life NYC felt much closer.

This is from my camera on telephoto. That’s what it felt like.

This is what it looks like on a sunny day.

Spooky asked for a romantic seat and we got it: In the corner, with a view.

We ate at the restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera.  I understand it’s a 5 star restaurant? I didn’t know there were that many stars.  But they earned their stars:  The service and food were both amazing.  We had two servers, but the “trainee” had 25 years of experience! We were incredibly well taken care of:  They stayed out of our general line of sight until one of us made a face that looked as though we wanted something and there they were.  And they had their own help!  Spooky had the salmon and I had the filet mingon, and we both had carrot ginger soup and it was all perfect.  How do they do that?  For dessert we had espresso and an assortment of sorbets and you know what?  We were all done just in time for curtain. Perfect timing.

Photo from the NY Times

So how was the show?  Exciting! We had front row seats in the Dress Circle.  Orfeo ed Euridice was the evening’s event, a romantic tragedy sung in Italian. We were able to read subtitles on little screens in front of us so we could keep up with the plot. The singing was beautiful, but the dancing was tedious, and I say that as a dancer.  Which reminds me: When we return to NYC we’ll be going to the ballet. It’s been so long since I’ve watched one!

It was a long night, a really good one, with champagne, chocolate and romance. We took our sweet time packing the following day, enjoying the patio and the morning mists. I kept the kalidescope as a momento. On the way home we stopped for Italian ice – I had the cannoli -and thought, this was the best birthday present, ever.  I mean, besides last year.

 

Relaxing on the patio

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