Thursday, July 31, 2008

It is I, Mo-Dean! (The "Fight Back Fun Martina" mix)

Where have I been, you ask? Funny story...

So, there I was out on the Ave, waiting for the number 99 bus. It was Friday (a payday) and, as I am wont to do, I was making a run to the store to pick up a celebratory repast of veggie hot dogs and cheap wine. Anyway, I'm waiting there, kinda pissed off, because Tri-Met is always late, when suddenly the wind kicks up something fierce and I am blinded by a bright light. Long story short, the next thing you know, there I am in the belly of a big old UFO!

What? Those are the lyrics to a B-52's song? The hell you say! It all seemed so real...

Okay. So, really, the month of July has been really rough. Work has been insanely busy, my old lady cat was diagnosed with kidney failure, I've been broke, and (worst of all) grossly neglecting all of my friends. I'm surprised I have any left. Crap, I hope I have some left! To cap it off, somewhere around the middle of last week I came down with the mother of all bronchial infections. It is finally starting to ease, but the husky voiced viral residue is still skulking about like a thug under one of those creepy, yellow Long Beach street lights. I've managed to share the "love" with a family member who is now sick too. Like I don't find enough things to feel guilty about. Suffice it to say that things have not been going well. If I had balls, I'm sure someone would have delivered a swift kick to them.

More insidious, however, is the rut I've felt stuck in even before the frightful fortnight began. I know I'm not alone. This feeling seems to hit everyone somewhere around my age. When I look into my heart (and, most days, even in the mirror), I don't feel so old. Then, I look at my birth certificate and think "Crap, what the hell have I been doing all this time? What do I have to show for it? Where did the two roads in the wood diverge to become this dead end???"

Don't get me wrong. I have a good life. I have incredible family and friends, a good job, a nice enough place to live, and I am now (almost) debt-free. But what mark have I made? What will the world remember of me when I am nothing but a pile of dust? What will I remember when I am old and looking back at my life? What kinds of fabulous stories will I have to tell? I know they won't be all about work deadlines I've met or how I saved my company a gajillion dollars in temp costs by designing a (if I do say so myself) kickass new system of book distribution that involves uploading and auditing macros, but very little actual manpower. God, I hope not!

I want to remember that I was happy, that I had fun, and (as pollyanaish as it sounds) that I contributed something that in some way left the world better than it was when my short life found it. It's not going to matter how skillfully I climbed some corporate ladder I never really cared about anyway. I may be too old to be trustworthy, but I'm not too old want more. And, so, I have made a resolution to make the rest of the year my own personal happiness project.

I've been thinking for a while that this blog needs some kind of overhaul or structure or something. I'm not yet sure what that will ultimately mean. Maybe it just means writing about the things that make me happy, but I really do think that (for a while at least) that may mean exploring what it really means to be fulfilled and focusing on the positive sorts of things that foster growth, creativity, play, gratitude, well-roundedness and (as hokey as it sounds) joy. Maybe I'm just still high from an earlier Yoga Bootie Ballet sesion, but the time has come for fun Martina to fight back. So, from here on out, it's all sunshine and unicorns. Oh, and rainbows. And butterflies and kittens. And probably candy (but not from strangers - unless it's Halloween - on Halloween all bets are off). And, just so you know, I will begin dotting the "i" in my name with a smiley face, which of course, you won't be able to see, because everything here is typed. But don't worry, you can still picture it that way in your head. See, imagination! We're getting creative already and a creative brain is a happy brain, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lily Strikes Again

The avian killing spree continues. After ten days of quiet, tonight I found half a beak on the couch - a BEAK. Do you know how disconcerting it is to find bird parts laying around your home? Sadly, it wasn't completely unexpected. The only real surpise was that I found it out in the open instead of stuck under the pillow where my little furry friend usually hides her booty.

We were all out on the back porch enjoying a delicious dessert of sweet buttermilk biscuits with lemon curd, berries and cream after a belated birthday dinner with a friend, when I heard Lily at the door. Because I will apparently never learn, I forgot to do the all important poultry check before opening the door. Before I knew it, she had rushed into the house with a newly dead sparrow. Then, after much running, hiding and making it abundantly clear that she was not going to give it up without a fight, she proceeded to eat half of it (the top half, to be exact). Eventually, all that was left were some feathers, the aforementioned beak half and my growing disgust. I don't know what is worse - that my dog is a super gross or that I can love her as much as I do despite her deviance.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Furry Face of Death

Lily Dog
Originally uploaded by Martina
Pets can be really delightful. It's one of the reasons I seem to get suckered into adopting every stray that lands on my doorstep. They are good company, they love unconditionally. Studies have even shown that they lower blood pressure (though I always have to think that actually enjoying animals has to play a required role in there somewhere for it to work - otherwise they'd just be an annoyance). Sure, they sometimes lose their furry little minds and chew up a favorite pair of shoes and lord knows they can drive a person up a wall with their innate ability to somehow make their ten pound frames take up 2/3 of a queen sized bed. Over all, though, they are on my short list of things in life that make me happiest.

But, then, there are those times when they are just plain gross.For example, this morning, when I heard a muffled bark outside the screen door and found Lily standing there bright eyed, ears erect, carriage proud as she begged to be let in with the special prize she found in the garden. Upon closer inspection, it became clear that she was brandishing not a chew toy, but a dead sparrow.

After being denied entry to the family manor and turning down a trade of some barbequed pork that came with last night's traditional Independence Day Chinese takeout, she took to wandering the garden with her precious. At some point, just carrying the bird somehow morphed into chewing. The precious had been deemed delicious enough to eat. Lily and the precious are now one.

So now, I not only share my home with a killer, but one with the foul stench of house sparrow on her breath. This is doubly disturbing after having hand raised Nelson, Jimbo and Johnny (may he rest in peace) a couple of summers ago. I can only hope this sparrow was not a relative.

The American Kennel Club describes the papillon as "a small, friendly, elegant toy dog of fine-boned structure, light, dainty and of lively action; distinguished from other breeds by its beautiful butterfly-like ears.". NOWHERE do they mention "murderer of sparrows" or "enjoys eating young birds' livers with some fava beans and a nice chianti".

Technically, papillons are a kind of miniature spaniel and spaniels were bred as hunting dogs, so I guess it can't be completely unexpected. That still doesn't remove the "ewww" factor, though. Now she has acquired a taste for feathers, I fear the killing will not end here. No more wearing my purple feather boa and plumed showgirl headdress to bed. I will sleep with one eye open. The worst part is that she is probably just charming enough to get away with it, because in the immortal words of Bart Simpson: "No one suspects the butterfly."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How fun is this?

Whose photo could that be on the upper left? Could it be...
MINE? (It is aptly titled "Starfish with White Thing", because I did so well in Marine Biology back in college.)