Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's Hotter Than a Hot-Button?

[Spoiler alert: I'm not going to tell you the question.]

I work with the public. I thoroughly enjoy working with -- and for -- the public. Sometimes there are odd things that happen, or dumb questions that get asked, but I consider these to be par for the course. After all, I do plenty of odd things and regularly ask my fair share of dumb questions.

But there's one thing... there's one topic... actually, one question... that I abhor. I can't stand it. Last week, it almost drove me to curse. It's a dumb question, asked innocently enough, but when I hear it... I spout steam and smoke and fire out of my nostrils. IT MAKES ME REALLY, REALLY ANGRY.

Enough about me. Let's talk about you.

Is there one thing that makes your blood boil? Is there a subject that you wish could be made permanently off-limits? Maybe it's the way something is said, the tone of voice or an underlying accusation, that gets your goat. Or perhaps it's a long-buried memory that isn't dead after all, and it rears its ugly head at the mention of an associated idea.

I got it again today. Out of the blue, as always. And I'm seething! I hate hearing this! May I curse now?! If only there were words that would blow off my steam, I'd shout them.

Everyone's got a hot-button, I suppose. Probably most people have figured out how to get over it, too. I mean, you have to be able to get over it. Whatever it is, it's going to keep coming up. That's life.


Okay, I'm feeling better now. Thanks for letting me vent. But do you ever feel this way? I'd like to know.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Just Talkin'

I went to a lunch meeting today that was as low-key as low-key gets. For a good hour, we sat around and told stories about animals we'd known (or heard about). It was easy to sit and listen, to chuckle together, and take turns talkin' while others listened.

I went to a different kind of meeting tonight, where two people had the spotlight to tell their stories. It was easy to sit and listen, to chuckle together, and let each of the talkers have their turns while the rest of us listened.

It's good to be heard sometimes. Call it validation, affirmation, or fellowship, but it's just talkin' and knowing that someone else is listening and appreciating. It's healthy to let a person talk out their thoughts once in a while, without judgement or answers or advice.

For me, this is one vital aspect of prayer. I know that I can trust God to listen, to nod His head and chuckle at the right times, to let me put words onto the junk in my heart and let it out. Hopefully, I don't have to do this too often or for too long at a time. Sometime after I've talked through my stuff, I'm ready to listen. That's when He gives an insight, or a challenge, or a straight-up correction. But it's delivered in love, and I know He's right and it's time to move ahead.

Thanks for listening. It's good to be heard.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Favorite Excuses

I love to walk. I love the woods. There are lovely wooded parks nearby. It's too bad I've got so many good excuses not to get out there and walk. Here are my top five rationalizations against going out to exercise:

5. It's raining. Okay, given that this is the Pacific Northwest, where we supposedly live under clouds all year round and we have moss growing between our toes, you might think it rains all the time. But that's not exactly true. Even on the rainiest days, there may be times of reprieve while the clouds soak up more vapor so they can unleash a new downpour. This excuse only works a few days of the year, therefore. Sigh.

4. It's cold -- or it's hot. During the winter, it sometimes gets icy or snowy. I don't mind snow, but I hate everything about being outside on ice. Driving, walking, standing -- none of these activities are performed well on ice. But just plain cold? As long as I'm walking and wearing appropriate clothing (especially a hat and gloves), I'm fine. And the summertime? We usually have a couple of weeks of really hot temperatures, but there's always morning or evening when it's comfortable. Bah.

3. It's going to get dark. There is about a four-week period when it gets dark way early. But since I only work part-time, I've got one morning and two afternoons a week that could afford some walking time. Grrrrr.

2. I should be [insert menial housework chore here]. Yep, I definitely could be doing that. But if I go for a walk and stir up those helpful little endorphins, I might actually feel like doing something for a few minutes when I get home. Hmpf.

1. The dog. One of the reasons I hired Polo was to be my walk-buddy, but he still hates cars. He is afraid of being trapped inside of a car. He's afraid of other cars driving nearby. He's afraid of any kind of noise a car might make. He won't walk more than a half block in our neighborhood, because then we're getting too close to a busy [noisy] street. If I decide to take him someplace in the car, I'll probably have to tug him at least part of the way outside and then lift him at least halfway into the back seat. And even if I can't smell, I don't want my car to remind everyone else that I've been lugging a wet dog around. Ugh.

Today, I was out running errands and realized that I'd be finished before dark and I'd be very close to a scenic little lakeside park. It's not a place I want to take Polo, because he'd be way too distracted by offleash pups. But I knew there would be other people around, so I felt safe going there alone. Guess what?

I did it! I walked for 20 minutes! In the cold! Without my walk-buddy! And I loved it! Endorphins are my friends. I should remember this fact. 

Another good reason to walk, besides the physical betterment that results? I can take pictures any time I want, and there are plenty of great things to see. Here are a couple from today's icy lake:

The second photo is kind of beyond the ability of my camera phone's, er, abilities. But it looks just impressionistic enough to be art, so there you go.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Doggyoga (or, why Polo isn't writing)

Polo just isn't as much of a writer as Blackie. He's not even as motivated to blog as Rufus was. In case you've wondered why this is, I offer this explanation. It's worth a thousand words, if not more.

This is Polo's main indoor pursuit. Yes, he is a pro. You might say that he's "prone" to practice this fine art.