You ever get one of those birthday cards that say something along the lines of, "I got you a present, but it wouldn't fit inside this card?" Well, Boxer, this is a version of that card. "I got you a present. In my head. And am sending you its virtual version."
Also . . .
As well as . . .
(the fondant shot glasses are probably a wee bit gross, though)
* * *
So come on, Party People, tell me, what one thing would you buy Miz Boxer for her birthday today?
I live in a strange neighborhood. Because New Mexico rarely meets an architectural zoning law with any consistency, I am surrounded by homes that run the gamut from million-dollar Taco Bell Mansions to properties on which their long-time landowners stubbornly cling to acres of cobbled together pre-fabs, trailers, and busted up barns and outbuildings.
More disturbing, however, is the tendency of these folks to play what I call musical canine chairs. Because I do a lot of running, I'm well-acquainted with the furry beasties that reside behind my neighborhood's fences. And those who regularly jump them, like Axl, a good-natured hulk of a Malamute who, if he sees me, jumps his bounds in a single leap and hitches along for the duration, his tongue lolling out in sheer joy because, well, that dog was born to run. He may lumber on ahead a few paces, but he will never leave me entirely. He is a dog impossible to shake, so when I'm done, I call the number on his tag and tell his owner that Axl is out front of my gate, come get him. And his owner does, apologizing profusely, but I don't mind. I have half a mind to ask if I can have Axl, I love him that much.
But a good percentage of my neighborhood dogs are here today, gone tomorrow, replaced with something else. It's so odd. Surely, not everyone is involved in fostering? Nor can they be so incapable of training their animals that they just keep trying different ones on for size until something clicks? I don't get it. I can count on one hand the number of households whose doggie denizens have remained the same for years. The rest are a revolving door of breeds. Not added, mind you, but substituted.
Take these fellers. For several years, the only dog who resided behind this fence was a spunky yellow Lab. Then came a Border Collie, who I last saw just last week. Now THESE dudes, two Akita-looking things (Troll?) with bad attitudes. Lab and Border Collie nowhere to be seen.
If I give you a snack, will you promise not to take my hand off?
Of all the saints that populate the Catholic pantheon, my favorite is St. Teresa of Avila. Because she was kind of nuts and because I have always thought that had I been born in 16th century Spain with little options, I would have established a rockin' order of nuns, too. With the exception of not getting to dilly dally around with cute boys, there is a lot to recommend the life.
And I certainly understand the ecstasy that lies behind agony, as well as the devotions of silence. Which is why my church is outside, in the mountains. Can God hear me there? Probably. Although I think he's getting a little tired of me huffing and puffing his name in vain.
I took my niece to a doctor's appointment the other day (on occasion, along with Aunt Moi the Buyer of All Things Cool, I also get to be Aunt Moi, Chauffeur).
In the elevator up from the parking garage, she remarked: "I hope they have good magazines. It's the worst, having to wait forever and all they have are golf magazines and Jehovah's Witness pamphlets."
"What do you consider 'good magazines'?" I asked.
"Like, you know, celebrity gossip magazines. All the stuff you shouldn't read but want to anyway but are too embarrassed to buy and bring home."
Oh, stop. You know you would have fought her for the People, too.
Not that I ever would, mind you. Elephants are one of my favorite animals. Not only are they magnificent and powerful, they are also highly sensitive and intelligent. All qualities I admire in any creature—animal, vegetable, or mineral. I would never, ever wish an elephant harm, much less attempt to eat it.
However, when things become just a tad overwhelming in my life, it's a mantra I repeat over and over in my head: "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Kind of a gross visual on the one hand, but highly effective on the other. The way my brain works, if I can "see" it, I can usually figure out a way to do it.
And because I'm busy eating, I may not be around an awful lot, but I'll drop by when I can. In the meantime, if you have any personal mantras or tricks of the brain you use to deal with stress and keep yourself focused, I'd love to hear them.
Like many teenagers of my generation growing up in the late 1970s, early 1980s, I was terrified of becoming pregnant. Schools did not tolerate unwed teenage mothers and the few girls that did manage to pull an "oops," as we called it, were expelled and shunned. On the other hand, like many teenagers of my generation, I was able to make an appointment at any time with my family physician, discuss my birth control options, and pay for them out of my own pocket, with no parental involvement, just like I paid for my concert tickets and hamburgers after school with friends and the books I wanted to read—just like, once I was an adult, I also made sure I had enough money to pay my rent, utilities, and groceries.
Unlike many women, however, my terror of becoming pregnant wasn't just societal or situational, it was deeply personal, almost philosophical. I don't know if it's genetic (all the other women in my family have children) but I knew from a very early age, around 8 or 9, that I never wanted to be a mother. As I grew up and my feelings solidified and strengthened, I realized that I was the only person responsible for my decision. Did I—do I—have a right to make it? Yes. Did I—do I—have a right to make someone else pay for it? No. It was personal, not social, not cultural, and not, God forbid, political.
And you know what? Never once in all these years, have I ever felt that I was being denied access to birth control or that my doctors did not take my health care concerns seriously. Where is this white male religious establishment pointing a gun at my head, forcing me to either be abstinent or to breed like a bunny? I've never seen it. I still don't.
So tell me, why do I need to stick up for Sandra Fluke?