What’s Under the Cover?

Recently, I’ve been hanging around with some awesome ladies.  Some that I have known a while and some new friends.   There are the elderly ones, those of my own age and some younger.  Once again, I become an observer of people who are not what you see visually.  You can look at a person and see an old woman and leave it at that.  But, after taking the time to listen, you find that you can never judge a book by its cover.

For example, I’ve met this wonderful woman, who I have seen before and known her only as a friend’s mother.  I assumed she’s mother material just like all mothers.  Now she’s older and that’s that.  After spending an evening with her, I found her to be spunky, strong, independent and hilarious to be around.  She has lived a hard life of sorts, raising three daughters as a single mother.  She’s worked her whole life in a time when women were considered lesser than men in the workplace.  Now wait a minute, I should say in a time when it was even worse for women in the workplace than it is now.  It still isn’t equal in my opinion. She recounted stories of her working days of how men tried to undermine her because they didn’t want a woman in her particular position.  She’s a soft-spoken woman so you would never think that she would stand up for herself.  But in her soft-spoken way, she handled these men with the might of a warrior.  She put them in their place and would not accept being looked down upon because she was female.  She’s had to be the strong one her whole life and she knows that there are times when men will take advantage of the unassuming old woman who just walked in the door of a car dealership.  They are eventually sorry for their mistaken assumptions when she tells them exactly the way it’s going to be.  They never saw that coming.  The treasures that she has lived need to be shared.  Younger people need to hear her stories because they don’t have a clue about how good they have it now.  It’s so refreshing to see the elderly and realize that were young once, they have lived a life and yes, they know about all the stuff that we think we should shelter them from.

I have a friend who just became a grandmother for the first time.  Her daughter is a hard-working young woman and is just returning to work after being out on maternity leave.  My friend shares the ‘goings on’ of the new young family.  Her son-in-law is not as prepared as he thought he was to be a parent.   The baby was born premature so it has been even more difficult these first few months than with having a full term pregnancy.  With that being said, the mamma has to go back to work and schedules have to be rearranged.  The daddy will need to take a more active role with the baby.  But, as my friend relays to me:  “I think he’s got a screw loose.  He doesn’t have a clue.”  My friend is the easiest going person with a great sense of humor.  The young family is preparing to go on a ‘vacation’ to visit daddy’s family.  As they prepare and begin packing the car, the son-in-law seems not quite up to the task and states, “I am on vacation.”  I had to laugh when my friend told me this story because her eyes got so big as she was telling me this.  Both of us were shaking our heads and almost simultaneously said, “Doesn’t he know there is no vacationing from being a parent?”  Oh My, mister, mister has a rude awakening coming.

A new friend of mine who is around my age, in her fifties, has a remarkable sense of humor and a glorious soul filled with love.  She is the true example of, “When life gives you lemons…”.  When situations get difficult and stress is riding high, her mind just grabs out of thin air the funniest responses.  She told me a story of when her mother was in the hospital after an accident.  She and her sister were in the waiting area of the hospital for several hours.  They both would go in and out of her mother’s room and check on her.  As they were sitting there, someone came out to let them know how their mother was doing and out of the blue, she said, “What are you talking about, our mother is in the room down the hall.  She’s been sleeping this whole time.  We have been checking on this woman because we heard of her troubles and thought we would just wait here and keep an eye on her.”  Of course, she was joking but the attendant didn’t understand and noted how wonderful these two women were for waiting and attending to a complete stranger. This woman makes everything fun and she makes everyone that comes in contact with her feel like family.  She is the most hilarious person to be around.  When I am around her we laugh and giggle and share off-color silliness throughout the day.  This is how she is every day.  I just love being around her.  It’s funny to watch younger women around her respond to her humor.  There’s a younger woman in her 20’s that works with her.  A young person at first doesn’t know how to react to a woman in her 50’s with such a sense of humor.  The younger ones think the 50’s crowd is old and stuffy and that we don’t know what’s what in the world because they are young and they have created everything new.  Hahaha, the joke’s on them because we are the ones who really know how to have fun.  The 20-year-old is now getting used to the silliness and is enjoying every bit of it.  Hopefully, she will realize that us old folks do know a thing or two or three.

I have friends of all different ages and each age group and individual friend has so much to offer this world.  Sometimes I think we should put blinders on when we meet people so that we can’t make a judgment by what we see.  Too many people are missing out on real, meaningful relationships because their vision is so short-sighted.  There are treasures out there but I think we have to close our eyes, open our ears and our hearts so that we can feel the abundance of love that everyone has to offer.  Love comes in all different forms.  The story of a person’s life is a gift of love, knowledge and a new way of envisioning this life.  Grab the jewels and keep them with you forever.  They will enrich your life to the fullest.

 

Dog Parks are not for Humans

 

 

For the past few months, I have been taking my dog Shadow to the dog park.  I’m a newbie at the dog park.  I’m still learning about how the dogs interact.  Besides being fascinated by dog behavior, I am becoming ever more fascinated by the semblance of characters that are human.

People are very serious about their pets, as they should be.  I love my dog and he’s part of my family.  The dog park is great stimulation for a one-year-old puppy who needs to get rid of stored up energy.  Shadow has no attention span when it comes to the park.  He starts chasing after one dog and his head goes back and forth, searching for what else is happening along the way.  He darts from one end of the park to the other.  I cannot keep up with him.

When you mix different dog personalities it becomes very interesting.  Certain dogs don’t have tolerance for specific dogs.  I’m learning that they all have unique personalities, the same as humans do.

Speaking of humans, my fascination with their interactions at the dog park piques my interest even more.  One lady brought her young dog into our off-leash dog park and Shadow wanted to play with him right away.  The owner was very nervous as she shouted, “Now, don’t you use your mouth.”  My question was, “What else are they going to use?” Dogs play by mouthing each other along with using their paws to spar.  That’s what dogs do.  This particular owner was extremely over the top because the dogs were playing nicely.  Did I mention that she brought an air horn with her in case there was a boxing match between the dogs?  I was astonished at the level of fear she brought into the park with her.

I came across a different owner the other day.  Her dog looked like a Doberman but he was small and fat. I thought maybe he was a mixed breed but she was sticking by her story.  I thought Dobermans were a taller, sleeker breed.  Once again, he wanted to play but she didn’t want him to use his mouth either.  I found her to be a bit eccentric. I commented on how shiny her dog’s coat was and she went on about how people give their dogs raw eggs to make the coat shiny.  But, she explained that if eggs are clogging the arteries of people, it certainly cannot be good for the dogs so she used cod liver oil instead.  That’s what her mother gave her when she was little.  Hmm,  I wondered if it made her skin shiny.  I don’t know.

Moving along to the characters that I have met, there’s a little dog, kind of scruffy, who doesn’t like Shadow at all.  I don’t know why but he has never liked him.  Whenever Shadow approaches, the dog snarls at him and Shadow retreats.  There has never been an altercation and I stay close to Shadow so as to be able to break up a situation if need be.  The owner of this dog continues to yell at Shadow.  I was allowing the two dogs to interact because I felt this was a teaching moment for Shadow to learn boundaries and cues from other dogs.  As I stated before, I stay close to avoid conflict.  The other owner clearly stated to me that his dog is not very social but he continued to yell at Shadow.  I subsequently put Shadow on the leash and escorted him to the other end of the park.  I shared this interaction with another woman.  I was aggravated because I was at an off-leash dog park and I had to put my dog on a leash because Mr. scruffy isn’t very social.  I was ranting and raving about why a person would bring a dog to the dog park who isn’t very social.  The owner of Mr. Scruffy happens to be an attendant at the dog park and he should know better than to bring his anti-social dog to the park.

Another owner came in with who I believed to be his mother.  This man did not want any dog near his dog.  His dog just wanted to play.  I approached the man, trying to be kind and ease his fearfulness.  I asked him about his dog and he wouldn’t answer me.  His mother, who was cloaked in a long fur coat with a hood to the point that you couldn’t see her face, barely responded with the dog’s name but I couldn’t understand what she said.  I continued to try to speak kindly to the man and he kept shooing Shadow away.  He was a mean type of person and eventually, I gave up and put Shadow on the leash and led him away, muttering out loud that the other dog apparently isn’t allowed to play.  I was so irritated and went to the other end of the park and told my friends why Shadow was once again being ‘punished’ by being put on the leash at the off-leash dog park.

Most people that I encounter here are very friendly and cohesive.  Our dogs get along very well and we have all become our own little pack.  But, you never know who is going to come through that gate and what baggage they are going to bring with them.

We are talking about a dog park.  You know, a dog park for dogs to run free and play.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s not a place for the mentally deranged, over the top, off-kilter types of people.  Dogs feel the energy of their owners and that spreads to the other dogs.  Most times, the dogs come in happy and ready to be free but I wonder if some of the dog altercations are coming from the negative energy that the owners bring with them.  I’m going out on a limb here and blaming the humans.  And, that’s all I have to say about that.