a time to heal

Last Friday, March 13th, my parents’ divorce hearing took place and, once the papers are filed, they’ll be divorced after 60 years of marriage. It’s been a rocky 60 years and my sister and I discussed on Sunday how our parents’ marriage shaped our lives and our personalities.

For example, we all tend toward depression and dark thoughts. We’re all thin skinned and sensitive to possible slights. All 5 of us take any comment very personally and have very little “bounce back,” or resilience.

I believe my parents’ relationship occupied so much of their time and emotion that they had very little left for their kids. We went along for the ride, unable to participate in a lot of extracurricular activities, had few opportunities to excel, as the focus of the family was on the marriage relationship.

If the conservative viewpoint is correct, marriage exists only to provide for the children’s future, which is of greater importance than the parents’ relationship.

I’ve often wondered, over thirty years, where I would be if someone had taken an interest in me. If, instead of being teased about my weight by my father and brothers (I look at pictures and I wasn’t fat — the teasing was just cruelty), I’d been encouraged to engage in a sport.  If, instead of being called stupid and following the school’s guidance-counselor path designed to move the most kids with the least effort, I’d been tested for my true aptitude.

Probably the most marked similiarity for all five kids, and both parents, is low self-esteem — courtesy of each other. So now my task, at 54 years of age, is to get past all this. I’m considering counseling or hypnosis, and perhaps will check on a group rate. Maybe all it will take is improving my Free Cell percentage. <g>

Yesterday I created a couple of flower beds between the house and the training building. I’m putting all the old soil from flower pots (combined with a manure / compost mixture) into the beds and will be using fresh soil in my deck flower pots this spring. My ordered flowers haven’t arrived yet (of course — too early!).

Today I’m going to work at the cottages, cleaning up fallen leaves, dropping some grass seed, and figuring out the best place for flowers. I need to be able to easily water the flowers, so they need to be within 50 feet of the cottage, but I also need to be able to mow with my riding mower so the beds must be incorporated into the present landscape.

In the meantime, I’m working on a couple of writing projects as well. Though I’ve not seen my first or second contributions to DogSport magazine (first is due any day, second is published in May) I’ve got a third article in the works.

The editors want to do an entire issue on obedience and asked what I could contribute. I suggested an article on “how you enjoy an obedience trial and separate yourself from the stress and anxiety.” I also suggested that, rather than having one author provide a list of “tips for the new exhibitor,” that every author in the magazine provide a list of tips to be included as a sidebar for every article.

In my opinion, no one author knows all the tips, nor will one author come at the “tips” topic from every point of view. By having every author provide tips the magazine provides a greater reference pool.

Last evening I was reviewing my early outline and decided to scrap it in favor of a new approach. For me, writing is often a task of first examining myself, then disecting my opinion of the topic, clarifying my viewpoint, organizing so that others may follow along, and presenting it in a positive and encouraging attitude.

I’m going to start again with the idea of the “centered” exhibitor who doesn’t let the extreme highs or extreme lows of a dog obedience trial draw her away from her core beliefs, nor from her enjoyment of the day and the people.

And, because I missed both of my training days at the shelter last week for family obligations, I need to get all this stuff out of the way by Friday so I can devote some time to training shelter dogs. Our supportive pet-food store, We Luv Pets, is having a fashion show — highlighting their spring ’09 doggie fashions — and has offered to “dress” some of our shelter dogs this Saturday for their fashion show.

The store has been great to us and we want to help them have a great event. I’ve not been at the shelter in over a week and I’m certain the faces have changed, so I’ll need to assess the dogs for suitability and get some volunteers lined up.

And our friend Anne Deliman, from Irish Ridge Pet Grooming, is trying to promote her Canine Follies on April 25th. This event is scheduled for an antique opera house in downtown McConnelsville (Twin Cities Opera House) and participants will teach a trick or skill to their pet and then present it to the crowd. It doesn’t take much pet training to wow an audience, but we’re offering 2 training workshops prior to the follies.

The Morgan County Humane Society is involved, using this as a fund-raiser for their efforts. I’m hoping that Anne gets some folks interested. It sounds like great fun but she’s battling tough economic times and a local mentality where dogs aren’t thought of as bright or biddable. She has my blessing and I’ve made myself available for the workshops.

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