29 March 2010

Saying good-by to an old friend


A few weeks ago, Ruby passed away. He was the most awesome house cat ever. He lived with Devi Mamak and her family in my favorite place, the Blue Mountains, Australia.
I met Ruby several years ago when I began my Aussie odyssey. Already an old man, he ruled the house with a velvet paw. He held court in his basket in the living room. Everyone that walked through was drawn to "make puja", stoop down to pet him before going on to the next task. He took all of this in stride, never lording it over us. He had a special physical characteristic, a missing a canine, so that his lip would often hook on his gum as if he were sneering, Elvis style.
I especially loved mornings. Each day Anthony, Devi's husband, the "man of the house" would make porridge for all of us. During this process Ruby would take the opportunity to make his needs known. He would stretch his arms up and "Meow" for his breakfast. Anthony would fill his bowl, but ever the optimist Ruby would continue to "Meow" for another morsel. Anthony would conclude this session with, "That's it Rubes, no more." At which point Ruby would counter with an "Ack!" and finally walk away.
But perhaps the best episode was one evening when Anthony elected to take the kids, Kalon and Dea, to their Yaya's house so we three teachers could have the night to ourselves after a long workshop weekend.
Moments after they left we heard a "thump' at the back door. When we opened the door we were treated to a dead rat. Including the tail the rodent was larger than the one-canine Ruby.
It was as if he were saying, "Ladies, the man of the house may have left but I am here to protect you. Here is a rat as proof."
I have never felt so cared for and protected. I will miss my friend, Ruby. May he rest in peace and always have the warmest bed and the most breakfast treats.

12 March 2010

Sleep in the middle of the bed

A few years ago, I made the decision to become single, again. This seems to be an on-going game of mine. I think I want a committed relationship, find a victim and push for matrimony. Then, when things start moving in towards the goal, I panic and run away. I think there are self-help books on the subject, but I don't want to read them. This time I finally realized that it was time to look at my behavior and possible desire to live alone.
After all, over the years I have acquired my own house, have a solo business which provides income that is deposited into my personal bank account and am quite capable of entertaining myself. I am, I realized, very happy on my own and can meet my own needs.
One thing though, I was concerned about flipping the mattress. When I had a partner there was someone on the other side of the bed. Now I sleep on the left side of the bed out of habit and ostensibly to be near the table that hold my books, iPhone and reading glasses. But this creates the problem of putting all the wear on only one side of the mattress.
So, I flip the mattress to move the potential "dent" from taking up residence in any one spot . On my own I can manage turning it side-to-side, but need help with top-to-bottom flips.
I woke very early the other morning, because my mind was talking to me. This happens when I particularly good idea or solution to an impasse is coming to fruition. My mind said, "Sleep in the middle of the bed." Still half asleep I dutifully scooched to the center of the mattress. It felt good.
I got up and went into the spare bedroom to fetch two extra pillows. I put those on the bed and got back in. It felt really good.
During the rest of the day I let my mind continue to talk to me about the situation. By the end of the day I realized that I have been, metaphorically, sleeping on one side of the bed for my whole life. I have been holding a space open for a partner, not fully forming my life so I would be able to compromise and flex when the time came to settle down.
The message my mind sent that morning was that it was time to move to the center of my own life. Hearing that gave me immense satisfaction and brought back the old saying, "Wisdom is accepting the obvious."

11 March 2010

02 March 2010

I'll take that as a compliment

I was at The BayHill Gym yesterday. It's a working-class place, no nonsense, no frills. I go every day that I am not traveling, except Saturdays when I work all day at the studio. I love working out, it makes me happy and keeps me sane. I like picking up heavy things.
I was talking to George, the owner, about a pain in my right shoulder. George is a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" sort of guy. He is a Vietnam Vet and a fireman. He is straightforward and well, really cool.
As we were discussing the possible reasons for the pain and what to do about it he said, "A doctor would tell you to lay off the shoulder for a few months but you aren't going to do that because you're a maniac like me. We don't back down."
A manic like George? Really...me?
I'll take that as a compliment.