The Muse

Showing posts with label Dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dogs. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Links, Dogs, Writing, and Houses

My heavens, I thought as I read a post I had written on June 28, 2022; I do not remember writing this. 


It came back to me as I read it, though—I'm not entirely out of touch with reality.


Bless the heart of the blog reader who reminded me of it and thus gave me the link. How they found that post is beyond me, but I am so glad they searched and commented. Thank you.


As I mentioned in the last blog, I've been reading Steven Pressfield's weekly blog, "Writing Wednesdays."


I wanted to talk more about the Wilderness. You know, by The Wilderness, we don't mean the forest or running off to Alaska. It's that place we wander before finding our true calling. Or, there is another possibility: We know our calling but refuse to answer it.


All stories are about the Wilderness. (Good ole Joseph Campbell wrote The Journey of the Hero long before it was made famous by George Lucas in Star Wars. Lucas said that without Campbell—renowned mythology researcher and writer—there would be no Star Wars.)


The Wilderness is really the second step for the hero. After the hero finds his calling, he usually wanders for a time. (Maybe he wanders alone, worried, dejected, depressed, resisting, or procreating.) It could be that wandering has value, for he is composting, gathering data, letting it perk until it is ripe for the taking.


Even Jesus went to the Wilderness and was tempted. As did Buddha, Ulysses, and Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life. All stories contain the Wilderness.


We resonate with it. It reminds us that we aren't the only ones who have wandered.


Now advisors remind the wanders to "Find yourself." Do they know what that means? Do we?


And which self are we finding? Pressfield's "Find" is the calling of our soul to express ourselves. The meta-physicians might say it is the soul's calling to find our core beliefs, the ones that run us, and check to see if they still serve us. There are probably a few hundred more possibilities. 


(I wrote a small story once called Where the Tiger Belches, where a young woman sets off in the jungle to find that spot that is her calling. She believes it will be where a tiger belches,) 


I have noticed that the infamous "They" do not discourage people from being doctors, teachers, computer programmers, preachers, researchers, inventors, or other tech people. However, in the field of the arts, it is another story. "You will starve." "Get a real job." 


Aren't you glad some don't listen?


So, get out there and express yourself!


Love from Jo


P.S. Some say that dogs, too, like to have a job. (A calling?) Sweetpea's job is to sit by my feet while I am writing. She pushes me, too, to go to work. When I say, "Let's go to work," she's ready. That means going to the Wayback to my office. 


And then there is Dog Blog By Peaches, which someone commented on. Daughter dear told me that Peaches should write more on her site, as she inspires me to be happy. She's been silent for a time as she wanders around heaven.


Intro to Peaches' Blog: 

"My momma says that everybody and their dog blogs. I wasn't writing a solitary thing, but I'm correcting that right now. When momma got me, she named me Peaches The Pink Party Poodle for Peace. Now I'm Peaches, The Pink Party Poodle for Peace Pontificating. My pontification of the day is to tell you that the purpose of life is to have fun, hee, hee, and chase lizards. I love to chase lizards--never catch them, though, they taste like rotten toes."


P.S.P.S. And I finally got the search engine to our Real Estate Website--it only took a month.


                                                                 Our business card.



   Note, the "menu" is a list at the bottom of the page.


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Moon Over India


Once I took a train across a portion of India. The railroad car consisted of a plain wooden box with two platforms attached to the forward and backward wall, with a window between the two. The platforms were hinged and could be folded against the wall or pulled down for seats. With my head and shoulders on one platform and feet on the other across from me, I draped myself beneath the window. My two traveling companions didn’t seem to care that I had commandeered the window. I guess my position didn’t look too comfortable to them. But I loved that train ride, for I had a panoramic view of the Indian countryside played out like a technicolor movie.


At one stop, I watched little boys playing in the railroad’s water supply that was open and spraying like a fire hydrant. On the deck beside the depot, I watched a couple change their toddler’s diaper and use water from a thermos to wash his fanny. Toilet paper is scarce to non-existent in India. Instead, water faucets are installed beside most toilets, even ones that are a simple hole in the ground. You can bet most of our suitcases were filled with toilet paper, as we were forewarned.


As the train rolled along, I occasionally saw a dog with a stained ring around his belly and hind legs. In fact, every dog I saw in that area had the same stained rump. Curious. And then I saw the cause. In the middle of a ginormous mud puddle—more like a shallow pond, sat a dog.


Two friends and I went to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. Hey, we were in India. It was a must, right? I was so na├»ve. I didn’t know it was a mausoleum. In the 1600s, the emperor built the Taj Mahal for his favorite wife, to the tune of, in those days, 32 million dollars. (In 2020, that would be one billion.) The love story between the emperor and his wife is heart rendering. She was so beautiful that he instantly fell in love with her, and although she was not his only wife, she was the “Jewell of the Palace.”  When she died of complications in giving birth to her 14th child, he was so heartbroken he grieved for two years. And then he watched over the building of her mausoleum for another 10.


Upon walking through an archway, we were struck by a shimmering image of the Taj Mahal so brilliant that it appeared to be vibrating. Not only was it made of white marble, but semi-precious stones were precisely inlaid into the marble. The effect was not only exquisite, but gave the structure an ethereal quality. The two towers beside the building are structurally engineered to tilt. Upon viewing the building from a distance, the towers looked straight.


We were required to wear footies over our shoes when we entered the building, which was surprisingly small, a simple marble room with a tomb in the center. And beneath it, another room with another tomb exactly beneath the first. I learned later on the emperor was also buried there. The reflecting pool in front of the Taj Mahal contained no water. They told us it was only filled for special occasions, and since it was about 120 degrees that day, we understood why it was empty. I am not exaggerating about the temperature. However, we weren’t unduly uncomfortable and only learned the following day that we had endured 120 degrees Fahrenheit. So, you can understand why the dogs cooled their heels.


Six of us, led by a couple who regularly made the trek, journeyed to India to see an Indian guru named Sai Baba. We had viewed a film where he supposedly created verbudi, a sacred ash, from his hands. So, it was a bit troubling when we were there to see trinkets sold outside the ashram that looked exactly like the ones he supposedly explicitly created for a devotee in his audience.


What did I learn? That no person is my master. 


I once wrote about a phenomenon I witnessed in India and again in Hawaii. That was the grapevine. This surprised me that people just appeared and offered information when you needed it. One morning as the six of us were having breakfast in the courtyard of the house where we were staying, someone yelled over the board fence—we couldn’t see them, and they couldn’t see us—but the voice told us that Sai Baba had moved from the little town where we were staying to his ashram in Puttaparthi. So, what did we do? We threw our simple mattresses, that we had purchased, onto the roof of a taxi, climbed aboard, and traveled to Puttaparthi. We did have one meal there, but basically, because we were afraid to drink the water and eat the food, instead, we ate toasted cashews sprinkled with cayenne pepper and drank lime soda from a bottle. (And we left the mattresses for the next visitors.)


From the ashram, Florencia, Sherri, and I went to the Taj Mahal. After Sherri got homesick and went home, Florencia and I traveled a bit more—like Copenhagen, “A wonderful gem of a town,” where it was so cold we donned wool sweaters. Florencia had been married to a military sailor who said you could only drink alcohol when the sun was under the yard arm, so at the end of the day, before we had our customary glass of white wine, one of us would ask the other if the sun was under the yardarm. Florencia would say, “Somewhere in the world, it is.” And that would give us permission. Florencia was a perfect traveling companion. She is gone now, but maybe where she is they serve white wine and don’t care where the yardarm is.


What sent me off on this trail? My honey and I watched a documentary the other night titled “I am Salt,” about an extended family that spends 8 mounts every year on a desolate mudflat in India, farming salt. Fascinating. I did not know salt required such hard work. Everybody worked on sitting up camp, digging the pump and hoses out of the mud where they had buried them last year, made ponds, and ran a pump constantly to bring the saltwater buried in the ground to the surface to fill ponds. As the water evaporated, leaving behind the purest white salt, they had to tend their crop, building berms to hold the water, ditches to move it, tamping down the soil, adding grass, so the crystallizing salt had something to grab hold of. It was laborious work. As I watched the momma’s making flatbread, I wondered what they ate besides bread, and I thought of the babies in India. The babies didn’t fuss or squirm as one would expect of an infant. I had observed that fact until our ride back from the Taj Mahal in a First-Class railroad car. Onboard, a young couple had a young child, less than a year old. They looked affluent, immaculately dressed, and the baby acted as one might expect of an infant that age, jumping on their lap, active, squirming, taking in its surroundings.


I concluded that nutrition had a hand in this.


Why did I call this "Moon Over India?" Well, our travel agent said that a visit to the Taj Mahal during a full moon was exquisite, and that we would be there during a full moon. We don't know what it looked like that night for we were wiped out from the day, and languished in a hotel room that night.

That vibrating image was the picture I have carried away. It was enough.


Don't forget that review you've been meaning to write--you can be honest, and remember, adults like children's books too. They are fun, and who doesn't want to know what they would find if Inner Earth really did exist. Please go to Amazon, click on book, scroll WAY DOWN of left side of page, and viola' there is a place to write a review. A click on the book cover will take you there.

  Two in a series, however, each stands alone.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

For the Love of Dogs and Other Incredible Critters


Now for the blog. Here we go…

Abraham Lincoln loved dogs, and dogs loved him. 

“When Lincoln was elected president, he was concerned that Fido would be fearful and unhappy with the bustle of Washington. The Lincolns arranged for the John Rolls family to care for him. Lincoln specified that Fido could not be tied up alone in the yard, must be allowed in the house whenever he asked to come in and allowed in the dining room at mealtime. To help Fido feel at home, the Lincolns gave the Rolls the dog’s favorite horsehair sofa.

Abraham Lincoln’s dog Fido
"I am in favor of animal rights, as well as human rights, that is the way of a whole human being." 
--Abraham Lincoln

Talking dogs are now a rage.

Owners are presenting dogs with buttons that represent a word. The dog sends his communication with the press of a paw.

I watched a Sheep o’ poodle—something like that, a Sheepdog/poodle mix. This dog had 29 buttons, and she knew their meanings.

I watched as she pressed “Mad.” “What are you mad about?” the owner asked. “Stranger,” came next. “Ouch,” next. “Ouch? What hurts?”


The owner examined her paw and found a foxtail stuck between her toes.

Awesome. That foxtail was a stranger to the dog.

I talk to my dog, but I’m not doing the button thing. I’m afraid she will begin bossing me around, although both dogs do that already. However, it would be nice to know if something hurt or what they were concerned about. 

I find animals fascinating. And there is a lot of inter-species interaction. (When they have developed a friendship.) Our cat Obi licks Lafayette, the coon hound. But let the dogs see a strange cat—ho ho, not good. And a bunny in the yard—that makes them salivate faster than a steak.

I once saw a video of a polar bear playing with a husky. Chimps adopt kitties, and Zoos place a companion dog in with wild cats. Yipes. 

Animals love to please humans, except when it interferes with their desires. Or if they encounter a stranger, or an intruder, or like to announce, or take the center of attention. 

Like us.

Farm animals learn how to deal with the other animals on the farm and take the human’s food—well, being penned, they must. And regarding cleanliness, they must rely on the humans again to clean their area. 

Both the human and the animal probably think the other is stupid.

The dog, however, has a bit more savvy regarding human beings. He is non-judgmental. Oh, he can be hurt by humans, but has a great deal of tolerance for their owner’s bad behavior. He knows how to connect, how to communicate, how to be a friend, and how to love. Dogs love a job, and they perform theirs to perfection and will work for a human if they human knows how to teach him. 

I’m even learning about Blackie, our adopted chicken, who has free run of the back yard. I saw her agitated, going round and round the little chicken house, where the young pullets are penned.

The second-story door is open to the nesting box, and finally Blackie went in and laid her egg. She was like a pregnant woman about to give birth. I hope it was easier for her.

Blackie roosts on a chair with a paper under her, and in the mornings, I pick up the paper—chicken toilet.

The birds are partaking of the chicken food, and I have a stainless-steel watering dish with a hose steadily dripping in it. The other morning five birds were having a free-for-all fun bath in the watering dish.

This week I completed my paperback version of Where Tigers Belch. I’m calling it a novella for it is short and to the point. 

It follows The Alchemist’s genre in that it follows a young person’s quest to find their purpose.

In my case, a young woman’s quest is on a jungle trail. And her spot will be where tigers belch.

I don’t know much about tigers, except they are the biggest cat and are camouflaged with stripes. But orange? Why orange? Well, it’s pretty. You might wonder how an orange cat is concealed in the jungle. First, mammal’s fir cannot make green, but it makes orange very well. To most colorblind animals, a tiger looks green. 

 Viola’ big cat, not seen.

Tigers do not have the long-range running ability, so getting close to their prey is essential–thus the need for camouflage. And although we feel sad when a tiger kills an antelope or a deer, they miss 9 times out of 10. 

Why the title Where Tigers Belch? I just like Edward Abbey’s poem: 

“May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles, and poet’s towers into dark primeval forest where tigers belch, and monkeys howl…beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”

Making a Kindle book is easy—but have you tried to make a paperback book? I thought it would be easy since I had done it before.


The ending of Where Tigers Belch gives me a smile.

A muse wrote it.

Link to Where Tigers Belch

Click on the cover

Whoa, I just hit my video link and the whole kit and caboodle came up here. Well, that makes it easy.