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Tag Archives: zen

Cat-lovin, baseball-watchin, hot dog-eatin

3 Oct
Will and Kate

Will and Kate

I updated my profile picture on Facebook on Wednesday. I posted a picture of me with my sister’s cat, Miles. A friend of mine from Seattle commented about how amazing it is I’ve done an “about face” from hating cats to loving them. I’ve heard similar comments from my co-workers. It doesn’t bother me. Why would it? It’s the truth. But it felt like a weird thing to bring up.

I never hated cats. I’ve just always been a dog person. Still am. I think when I was younger, cats freaked me out. Those sinewy bodies, their fickle affection, the claws, the hissing, the claws, the claws, the claws. But I have found cats to be an acquired taste, like whiskey and coffee. After getting to know more about cats and spending time around some exceptional ones, I learned about the joys of holding a cat while it purrs, how excited they get when you scratch their lower back or under the chin, their exceptional personalities. I love them. And due to my job, they are a huge part of my life now.

So what’s the big deal? I changed my mind.

It’s not just the cats thing though. It’s comments like: “I can’t believe you love baseball, despite having been a moody, artsy teenager” or “I can’t believe you play sports in spite of your lifelong ineptitude” or “How can you love hot dogs so much when you used to be a vegetarian for eight years.”

BECAUSE I CHANGED MY MIND.

And thank God, because I live for the Mariner’s, weekly softball or soccer. I didn’t pursue a career as a poet, and I couldn’t be more happy and fulfilled right now saving furry lives on a weekly basis. I guess what bothers me about these statements from other people is they make me think they’re saying, “THIS isn’t who you are. THAT way you felt years ago is who you are.” Or maybe they’re saying who I was and what I believed so long ago wasn’t who I really am. But I think it’s all me.

I’m an evolving piece of work. I love that at the age of 28, I feel like I’ve lived a couple of varied lives. The moody, punk-obsessed teenager moping in suburbia. The aspiring poet/barista/student living on her own for the first time in Seattle. The Mariner employee who made the decision to stop being scared to speak up and try new things and stand up for herself. The ingenue in New York who had NO sense of who she was or where her life would go, desperately clinging to a failing relationship and floundering through heartbreak. Now a softball playing, karaoke singing, boxing veterinary technician.

I hope to God that when I’m 38 I’m not in the same place doing the same thing with the same interests. Sure, I’d love to keep some of them around. After all, I’ve held on to a number of passions and friends from my past lifetimes and been a happier, better person for it. But my mind is open to the world around me. I’m willing to be convinced, to adapt, be willing to say, “I was wrong about that.” I’m stubborn, and it’s been hard for me to do in the past. But adaptability and an open mind are two of the things I aspire to most in my life.

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The Balance

9 Nov

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been feeling down lately. It’s a multitude of things, but mainly it’s the omnipresent 20-something oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life blues. It’s not knowing if I want to stay in New York, but also not knowing where I want to go. It’s daydreaming at work of flying to Paris, living in Montmarte, and taking real good care of a box of window flowers. It’s all nonsense, but it still gets me down.

The problem is when I’m feeling down, I feel so low to the ground, there’s no farther down to go. I’ve always thrown my full weight into sadness. I always think of a stanza from “Elegy for Jane,” one of my favorite Theodore Roethke poems,

“Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.”

That’s exactly how I feel when I’m down. To get into English major nerdery, Jane takes the action of casting herself down. She does it to herself. Yet that adjective “clearest” indicates that there’s nothing mentally wrong with her. It almost seems contemplative.

Anyways, when I’m down, I like to read blogs about how to be happy, how to cheer yourself up, how to become one of those shiny women who seem to have it together. I study Buddhism. I try so hard to find ways to be more complacent, to be at peace, to wake up every morning smiling, and return to bed at night satisfied. But don’t we all strive for happiness in one way or another? Aren’t we all in one way or another trying to become happier? I’m just more type A and obsessed with it.

Then I came across this amazing post about how to survive a personal apocalypse. I was already well aware of the whole “This too shall pass” mantra. The thing where you tell yourself that struggles will eventually subside and that happiness will happen again. But what struck me is how she mentioned that sadness will come again too. That when you’re happy, you have to accept that one day, you won’t be. It sounds so pessimistic, but to me it’s peaceful.

There’s no way to be happy all the time, and it’s not healthy to strive for that. It’s all part of the balance. It’s why I love rain so much. Rainy days have their own feel, and their own sense of quiet life. When the rain clears, and it’s sunny again, we all appreciate it more, we all feel more thankful. But without the rain, the sunny days get mundane. I’ve lived in Nevada, and I’ve experienced that phenomenon first hand. So the sad days are like that as well. They make the happy days brighter.

So in sadness, I often think how it will be over, and I will be happy soon enough. But I think in happy days, I should live with knowing that I will one day be sad, angry, frustrated. It’s all okay. It seems so simple, but it struck me as something truly important to know.

26 Before 26: Do Batting Practice

1 Jul

Just like Matt Kemp

In my 26th year of life, I am attempting 26 new things that I’ve never done before. Full list here.

Boy oh boy, I needed this.

One of the best and most pleasantly surprising things about my 26 before 26 endeavor has been the eagerness and enthusiasm of others to hear about it and to help me. I keep a copy of the list on my phone, and anytime anyone hears about it they immediately want to see it. They go through the list, laughing at some of the items and becoming overly excited about others. I haven’t been as diligent about my list, because life gets in the way. But a new friend from my soccer team, Dave, saw this on my list and insisted on taking me to the batting cages at Chelsea Piers. I was happy to go.

We went on a Wednesday night, after a crappy Wednesday day. I went into work slightly hungover and proceeded to have a bad luck day. I was mainly having issues with catheters. Catheters were so scary to me for such a long time, but once I got the hang of it, I felt so proud. But Wednesday, every catheter I put in would kink and I would lose the flow. It’s heartbreaking, to see the flash, to slowly insert the catheter, to pull the stylet…nothing. No blood. I’d pull the catheter out and see it had bended all weird. Everyone kept telling me that it sometimes just happens with catheters, but I would look down at the blown vein and beat myself up. I was having such an off day with those effing blue catheters.

So I headed to the batting cages to meet up with Dave. It’s a pretty good deal, really. $2ish for a token which gets you ten pitches. Dave went for the medium pitch cage, but I wanted to take whacks at the slow pitch softball cage since that is what I encounter in my Pac-12 softball team. There was a pair of girls who had rented the cage for an hour. They were dripping with sweat, taking turns in the cage. We got to talking with them, and they make it down to the pier once a month to rent the cage for an hour and go to town.

“We’ve got a lot of rage,” one of them told me breathlessly.

Once they left, I took my turn in the cage. It was much easier than actual softball. I knew exactly when the ball was coming and where it would be. I also didn’t have rows of Pac-12 dudes cheering me on. I love my Pac-12 dudes, but I want to do so well for them, I stress myself out. This time, it was just me and a machine. Somehow, nothing feels better then making contact with a bat, hearing that pop, imagining where that ball would go on a real softball field. Such a perfect stress release, and I made a mental note that I must rent the cage out sometime for myself.

Afterwards, Dave and I grabbed a beer at a bar next to the golf driving range. It was perfect weather down my the water, and it was hypnotizing to watch those golf balls sail out towards the water, like a meteor shower. A couple of Dave’s friends showed up so they could practice their golf swings for a tournament they put themselves through, known ominously as “The Cup.” It’s an epic battle amongst old college friends which never fails to entertain me when they start talking about it. There’s even a draft.

I told them that I’d never actually gone to a driving range, and maybe I should put it on my 27 before 27 list. But why put off until tomorrow what you can do today. They invited me to come along and hit a few. I was pretty horrible, but after they gave me a few tips, I don’t think I was so bad. It took a couple of swings before I finally hit the ball, but when I did, one of Dave’s friends Adam said something along the lines of “Yay bucket list.” It took me far away from the worries of a 22-guage catheter.

The next day, my shoulders were so, so sore. But I was relaxed, and 15 minutes into work, I had to place a catheter into a squirmy King Charles Spaniel. I got it right away.

Quality Advice from Dr. G

27 Apr
image

SPROUT! I want a Brussels Griffon. I want one real bad.

The above dog has nothing to do with this post, other than the fact that I took it at work, and this story also takes place at work. Honestly, I’m just trying to lure you in to read my blog, because I’m sly like that.

So the worst part about working in Veterinary Medicine is the people, the clients that inevitably come with their dogs. Ironic, right? People get into this field, because they want to spend their day with animals. Yet so much of the time is spent dealing with people. And people, in general, aren’t that pleasant.

Some people are wonderful though. Like Dr. G. He’s my favorite doctor at our clinic. He’s older, so a lot of us call him “Pops” which has always been a goal of mine…to have an old man friend whom I call Pops. He’s a lifelong Yankees fans, so we’re always discussing our teams. He continuously attempts to bring me to the dark side, make me a Yankees fan. With other Yankees fans, I find this sort of thing annoying; with Dr. G, it makes me smile.

He’s also the only doctor that doesn’t lose his temper, that doesn’t freak out at clients, never blames any one else if things go wrong. His interactions with clients are legendary. For example:

“Dr. G, is my dog going to die?”
“Well, yeah, one day. We all are. I just don’t know when your dog will die.”
“What am I supposed to do?!!?!”
“Stop worrying about your dog so damn much.”

He’s the only one who can get away with saying this sort of thing.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a client who was persistently calling the front desk, driving us all insane. She was sobbing about how her main vet had left the practice, how someone in her building told her the food she fed the dog was garbage, how she was a single mother and couldn’t afford vet bills. Basically, she called to complain about things that don’t concern me, and I can’t fix. She just wanted someone to whine to.

Finally, she stopped in to the clinic and demanded to speak to a doctor. She was crying and yelling, but she didn’t want an appointment. We only had Dr. R and Dr. G available. Dr. R was doing an emergency emesis, so I approached Dr. G. He rolled his eyes and said, “Oh, these fucking idiots.” Then he straightened his embroidered scrubs and asked, “So, how do I look?” I gave him the nod of approval, and he headed out there.

20 minutes. This woman ate up 20 minutes of an important man’s time. She ranted. She cried. She whined. He sat there. He nodded. He told her his food recommendations. It did not look like fun.

Eventually she left, and I followed him back into the treatment area.

“That was amazing, Pops. I don’t know how you handled that woman for that long.”
“Let me tell you something I learned a long time ago,” he began. All of treatment turned to listen to the wise, old doctor. “It takes two people to argue. One person can complain and cry and scream all they want, but if you sit there calm, you aren’t in an argument, you aren’t upset. The second you raise your voice and give in to anger, they’ve won. They pulled you into a fight. So I listened to that woman’s crazy rant. And even though I sat there for 20 minutes and could only think, ‘Go fuck yourself, you crazy bitch,’ I didn’t say it, and she didn’t get to win.” All of treatment erupted in laughter and applause.

I lose my temper with clients every once in a while, but I’m really trying the Dr. G method of dealing with it. It really does work. I’m not as good at it as Dr. G is, but I suppose I have 40 odd years to perfect my craft.