Category Archives: Spirit

Pollyanna versus the Ancient Judgements of Doom

Lyda here.

This week, someone I know put pesticide on their lawn to get rid of the bugs. They used a mild, pet- and child-safe spray to get rid of bugs that were biting the pets and children.

Who knew that this small thing would trigger such big stuff within me?

(My teachers. Because they are wise, they know stuff comes up, and because they are amazing, they gave me tools to deal with it. Seriously, y’all, go to USM.)

See, this is the story.

When I was young, our dog Happy ate some grass in someone else’s yard.

This was the sixties. No one in our little Iowa town had fences in their yards. Pets and children were free to roam about the neighborhood. But I digress…

Unfortunately, Happy chose a yard that had just had pesticide sprayed on it. She died of poisoning.

I don’t tell you this to bum you out.

I tell you this because, when my friend sprayed their grass, that day that my dog died came back to me, all the feelings and judgements as clear and powerful as I had felt them 45 years ago.

I remember searching with my little brother, and singing “Where oh where has our little dog gone?” as we looked. I hated myself for that, after our dog died.

I remember crying as I stood with my dad and watched the vet put our dog in the back of his station wagon and drive away. I remember she was panting really heavily, and I remember being sure that my dad and the vet could make her all better. And being furious that they didn’t.

I remember the man watching this, and saying something about spraying his yard to my dad. I hated the man for killing our dog. And my hatred scared me.

Today I realized that I was still carrying all of these emotions inside me.

All the powerful feelings and ancient judgements made by a child who did not understand why she was losing her dog.

Today I realized that I could let it all go.

Judgements and anger directed at this man who accidentally killed our dog. Judgements of the vet and my parents, who could not save her. Judgements of myself and my brother for making a game of it and singing as we searched.

I feel compassion for those adults, who watched the grief of small children and the suffering of a good dog, and who knew they were helpless to change the outcome. How hard it must have been to do the right thing, to put the dog out of her suffering, and to know that the children could not understand.

I feel compassion for those small children, facing death and not understanding. And compassion for those children who innocently made a game of looking for their dog, and who later hated themselves for it.

I forgive myself for all the judgements, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations of reality connected to this. And I forgive myself for judging myself for holding on to all of this for so long.

Rest in peace, Happy.

Finally.

Pollyanna reads on Discworld, part 3

Lyda here.

I finally completed the seemingly-endless Reading on Discworld Challenge which was inspired by the books of Terry Pratchett. I wanted to read new books for the challenge, which is why it took me so long. Oh yeah, plus getting my masters. And life. I already reported here on the books I read for item #s 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 15, and here on the books I read for item #s 6, 8, 12 & 14.

These are the remaining parts of the challenge that I completed:

3. ‘Albert grunted. “Do you know what happens to lads who ask too many questions?” Mort thought for a moment. “No,” he said eventually, “what?” There was silence. Then Albert straightened up and said, “Damned if I know. Probably they get answers, and serve ‘em right.”’  Mort

Read a book about something you’ve always wondered about. What is string theory, really? Who was Deep Throat? And, now that we’re thinking about such things (y’all know you are)… How have attitudes and morals about sex varied and changed by country and era? (That book was my sister’s college graduation present to me – my first graduate course, she said.) Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Pyramids” (mathematics, philosophers, why camels look smug, and what really happens to mummies), “Monstrous Regiment” (why military intelligence isn’t always an oxymoron).

I read “The Walking Dead  – Compendium One” by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.

What? I’ve always wondered about graphic novels – I had never really read any before – and specifically, I wondered about these graphic novels.

I love “The Walking Dead” TV series, and I knew from watching “The Talking Dead” that the graphic novels (on which the show is based) were different. Some of the characters and their character development are different, important plot points are completely different, and reading the graphic novels is a totally different experience from watching the show. They are both excellent, too.

7. ‘The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the date last shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.’  Guards! Guards!

Go to the library and wander into an aisle you do not usually frequent. Pick a book from the shelf  and read it. One way to do this is to look in the new books section, and pick something from a category you don’t usually read. Just don’t interfere with the nature of causality while you’re there. Terry Pratchett book suggestions:  “Good Omens”, “Nation”.

I read “The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size” by Julia Cameron. (I actually bought this book, so I can use it over and over like her other books.) Y’all, I never ever read diet books. But this one is different. For one thing, it is written by one of my favorite authors, who wrote “The Artist’s Way” and many other awesome books about which I

just (blog post link #1)

won’t (blog post link #2)

shut (blog post link #3)

up (blog post link #4).

This book is really about expanding one’s creativity and shrinking one’s use of food as a block to emotions and creativity. It does not contain a food plan or rules. Instead, it give tools to use to explore one’s relationship to food and get free of old patterns and unhealthy habits. Those familiar with Julia Cameron’s work will recognize some of the tools, like Morning Pages, and find new tools, like keeping a food journal.

I’ll let you know how it goes as I try out the program.

13. ‘It may, however, help to explain why Gandalf never got married and why Merlin was a man. Because this is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author’s control. They might.’  Equal Rites

Read a book about sex, sexuality, and/or sexual politics. I think y’all can find one of these on your own. Terry Pratchett book suggestion:  “Equal Rites”, “Sourcery”.

I read “Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide” by Maurine Dowd. I wasn’t crazy about this book. Some of the science is out of date, and I didn’t agree with a lot of her conclusions. For example, she quotes a survey that found that 86% of women would quit their jobs if they didn’t need the money. This supposedly shows that women are less invested in their jobs than men are. But I immediately wanted to know: what percentage of men in equivalent jobs would quit if they didn’t need the money? I’m guessing it would be neck-and-neck.

But agreeing with her is not the point. She made me think, and that is the point. Plus, she is a good and occasionally funny writer. While discussing the ‘war between the sexes’ she says, “Will there ever be peace? I doubt it. But there should always be laughter.” And I’ll drink to that.

16. ‘To Rincewind’s annoyance the Luggage barreled after her, cushioning its fall by dropping heavily onto a slaver, and adding to the sudden panic of the invaders because, while it was bad enough to be attacked with deadly and ferocious accuracy by a rather pretty girl in a white dress with flowers on it, it was even worse for the male ego to be tripped up and beaten by a travel accessory; it was pretty bad for all the rest of the male, too.’  Sourcery

Read a book with an inanimate object as a character and/or an important part of the plot. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Sourcery”, or any of the books with the Luggage in them.

I read “Wizard’s First Rule” by Terry Goodkind. There is a sword that is essential to the plot, and is practically alive. Plus, there is a talking magical doll in it. I realize as I’m typing this that “talking magical doll” sounds really creepy, but in this story it actually isn’t. No, really.

17. ‘ “It would seem you have no useful skill or talent whatsoever,” he said.
“Have you thought about going into teaching?” ‘  Mort

Read a book that teaches you something. Something that will not come in handy in your everyday life. Learn something completely impractical.  Terry Pratchett book suggestion: “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” (you will find out more about rats than you ever thought there was to know).

I read “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! I feel as if I found my homeland – it is a land of truly weird stuff and wonderful off-kilter people, and Jenny is our leader. Also, I learned quite a lot of very bizarre and not-useful stuff, including things about taxidermy. See this post for my full review.

18. ‘… human beings, little bags of thinking water held up briefly by fragile accumulations of calcium…’  Pyramids

.

‘It’s not for nothing that advanced mathematics tends to be invented in hot countries. It’s because of the morphic resonance of all the camels, who have that disdainful expression and famous curled lip as a natural result of an ability to do quadratic equations.’  Pyramids

.

‘It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong… It is used. And one of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary and turn the unusual into the usual.

‘Because if this was not the case, then human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing big stupid grins, similar to those worn by certain remote tribesmen who occasionally get raided by the authorities and have the contents of their plastic greenhouses very seriously inspected.’  Small Gods

Read something spiritual, mystical, mathematical, or amazing. Something that will remind you of how magic and unbelievable the universe and everything in it really is. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “Small Gods”, “Good Omens”, “Wee Free Men”… really, any of his books.

I read “River Flow: New & Selected Poems” by David Whyte. I love his writing. It feeds my soul. I discovered his work at school, where several of his books are required reading. Which shows you how awesome my school is.

19. ‘He [Vimes] wasn’t strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (Did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)’  The Fifth Elephant

Read a detective novel, a crime story, a mystery, or a thriller. Terry Pratchett book suggestions: “The Fifth Elephant”, “Thud!”.

I read “Warbreaker” by Brandon Sanderson. It’s not a traditional mystery, but it definitely fits the bill. The plot twists like a corkscrew, the characters are unique, the ending is surprising, and the world is fascinating.

————————————————–

I post about this so I can keep it straight in my own head. Which is a rather chaotic place sometimes. Witness the digressions…

Pollyanna is speechless

Lyda here.

I apologize for my last post. I don’t know what came over me.

Today, I will count my blessings for these things in my life:

  • My job and the people I work with – really, they are great, y’all, and I know I’m lucky
  • Bunnies on the drive to and from work each day
  • Bird sightings: Today a buzzard, yesterday a hawk, hummingbirds in the garden…
  • Horses – warms my Texas heart to see them on my drive
  • Fiber in all its shapes and forms… I feel more sane when I am running it through my fingers. For me, knitting is an excuse to play with the soft pretty yarn; whatever is completed is a bonus. Quilting is a way to make something beautiful and useful, and have fun doing it.
  • The dog greeting me with joy every time he sees me.
  • Laughing with my roommates.
  • Movies and books and TV
  • Friends and siblings who love me despite my weirdness, occasional crankiness, and frequent hermitness
  • and of course, my son the Sith Master…

That’s just 10 out of the zillions of blessings.

Pollyanna versus the Money Monster

Lyda here.

Oh, that old Money Monster keeps growling at my door. I’ve been working on taming it for more than three years. It still growls at me, but the actual bites have gotten less.

Things were bad. Really bad. “Life completely fallen apart and losing everything” bad. I felt the Monster crushing me in his slavering jaws, and I surrendered all hope.

Fortunately, I have amazing friends and family. They didn’t let me spend the rest of my days curled up under a park bench.  They helped me, pulled me, pushed me, to deal with the immediate stuff. They were there for me every time I started to give in to the despair.

Once the immediate crisis was resolved, I still had to deal with the fallout. I just felt overwhelmed. I had to take one day at a time, slowly rebuilding my life from the ashes.

This book, Money Drunk, Money Sober, by Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan, helped so much. I have been working my way through it over and over again. Every time I get flustered or frustrated, I just return to the book. I cannot recommend it enough. It should be required for everyone.

Even figuring out where to start rebuilding my financial life was scary. This article helped me. My favorite part is The Prioritizer. This works for anything, not just financial goals but life goals. It can help you prioritize organizing, what movie to see first, or anything else.

There are tips of all kinds at CNN Money: Money 101.

Making manageable realistic goals helped a lot. Baby steps. I’ve been paying off debt for three years. It continues to be a priority. Now that I have the debt-repayment in hand, I can focus on some other steps.

Like improving my credit score.

This week I went on Credit Karma and checked my credit score. You can do it on their website for free. You can also see and print out your three credit reports.

I can see that I’ve got some old stuff on my reports that should have been cleared, so my next step is to work on getting these items removed.

One step at a time.

I’ve made a lot of progress, but it feels like there’s still a long hard slog to get where I want to be.

But I know I can get there if I just keep moving. Slowly is okay. Pausing for a while is okay. Even moving back a bit once in a while is okay. Crawling under a park bench and staying forever is not an option.

One of these days, I will look that Money Monster in the eye and realize that it isn’t really a monster. It’s just a beast, and a beast can be tamed. A beast can become an ally. The Money Beast and I can work together.

One of these days…