Monday, December 30, 2013

A Fond Farewell

Hear ye, hear ye, the end is here.

I mean, the end of the Gold Puppy blog. I've been thinking about it for awhile now, wondering what in the hell I'm doing here these days. Most of my day to day thoughts, photos and my interactions with internet friends takes place on Facebook these days. When I post here I feel I am rewriting what I expressed more concisely on my page. I go on and on sometimes. Even so, whatever I'm trying to get across is not any clearer here than on FB.

I've got another blog where I can philosophize, shamanize, do my essay-esque writing thing. It's all supposed to be about healing on Chateau Seven. I assume even if what I feel like writing about has nothing to do with healing, I can figure out a way to make it seem like it is. So I will have blog space in which to express myself. I'm not cutting myself off cold turkey.

When Presley left yesterday, I cried for awhile. Then I went out, drank a martini and had a nice dinner. When I came home, I cried some more. And then I knew the time had come for the Gold Puppy. Everything has a life span!

Presley's visit he helped me let go of Jake to a much greater extent than I've been capable of on my own. I won't forget Jake, not to my dying day, but there has been something about my allegiance to his memory that is not exactly balanced. I feel a little raw, but grateful for the healing Presley brought. Releasing this blog is a part of the healing.

Those of you who wonder what I'm thinking about, please find me on Facebook. I am the only Reya Mellicker there … that's crazy, huh? All my posts are public, so you don't even have to friend me. You can go right to my page and look around. Feel free. Or check the Chateau Seven blog. I welcome the continuation of our connection through other doorways on the internet.

If I start a different blog, I'll post the URL here. I'm not going to delete the Gold Puppy, as I did with my first blog, the Gold Poppy. No, I'll leave it here to moulder along with other lost and forgotten blogs. It doesn't feel like I'll be in a mood to start anything new for awhile, but you never know. I can go on!

It has been a long run here! Impressive. But this river has run its course and it's time to say farewell, with lots of love.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dogs and spy novels


I would never try to pretend I don't have an addictive temperament, oh no. When I get into things, I always want to go all the way in. I have Pluto in my first house, opposing my Sun and Moon. If you know anything of astrology, this will explain my natural intensity.

I know this about myself, hence I'm pretty careful most of the time - these days. I wasn't always careful about how much I drank, for instance, or my caffeine intake. I was a total pot head for years. Over time, because I'm old, also due directly to Chinese medicine, it's not that hard to curb myself.

Except …

A few years ago, I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, a month-long program in fiction writing. The idea is to write 50,000 words in one month. Lots of people give it a go, trying to bust through writer's block or grease the gears of writing. I don't even read fiction so I thought it would just be fun. I wrote a spy novel. My heroine was Vega, a super spy whose Achilles heel was the fact that she couldn't control her facial expressions, hence she could not lie. The novel was named The Tell.

Fun, hey? Ummm … Instead of being a lark, NaNoWriMo became, for me, a bender of writing. I stopped hanging out with friends so I could write, I stayed up late, I got up at 5:00 a.m. so I could write, write, write. It was bizarre! I was flying high on NaNoWriMo.

After the month was over, I re-read the novel - it SUCKED. So funny. Since then I have not participated and will not participate again, no way. NaNoWriMo was crack. Whoa.

The other addiction I can't curb is my obsession with dogs. This isn't with all dogs, just the dogs who come under my care. I think of course of the Gold Puppy for whom this blog is named, Jake. He became, over his long lifetime, my everything. He was my best friend, walking partner, roommate and spiritual community. When he died, a friend said he was the greatest love of my life. What a sobering thought, though she was right - he was. He really was.

Since he died I have entertained the idea of getting another dog. The idea never got beyond the entertainment stage, not only because of the obsessive attachment I had for Jake, but because the day he died was by far the worst day of my life, way worse than any horrible thing that has ever happened to me. I've had a lucky life, but I've gone through some shit, of course. But nothing has ever come close to being so awful. I will not experience that again.

The dog staying with me for a few days right now is, and is not, like Jake. He has short blond hair and Chinese fortune cookie ears, but he's much smaller. Also, he's not crazy, he doesn't chew things, he doesn't worry. And he's a snuggler. Jake liked a bit of physical contact but then we would go off on his own. This dog loves being petted. Presley is an excellent dog! Already I am entranced. I wish to spend every second with him. I can feel the obsession sprouting in my heart. I will see clients this afternoon and I need to get down to Eastern Market to buy something for dinner. I find myself wishing I didn't have to be separated from him even for a few hours. I'm telling you, I have a problem with dogs!

Spending the day with Presley yesterday I was reminded - of course - of my obsessive relationship with Jake. I grieved for my old dog, also for the era of Jake, much of which was extremely difficult. I was a wreck all day. Presley stayed close, snuggled up next to me and did not judge me for crying.

This morning I'm clearer, as if a storm passed through me. It was a storm of grief. It seems to have done what it needed to do, thank goodness, because it was not pleasant!

I'm grateful for the years I spent with Jake. He was one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. But do I wish for another dog? I do not. Jake was my dog of destiny. He was The Dog. Living with him was a canine bender that lasted nearly 14 years. I love and honor him, but just as I won't do NaNoWriMo again, I will not have another dog.

It's a relief to settle the open question of whether or not to look for another dog. Thank you, Presley!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A happy Christmas Eve

Gold Diggers of 1933

Happy Christmas Eve!

What a great holiday season I have had so far. I'm in awe! I had a fun Halloween, an epically great Thanksgiving, and now I'm even enjoying Christmas! My goodness. The days when I had to self medicate with Hugh Grant movies seem to be over. I did see one Hugh Grant movie at Thanksgiving, but it was just for fun. I am watching movies, though, and there is a theme.

What I've been watching are movies from the 1930s, trying to imagine that time in America. My parents were teenagers during the Depression. How awful! It's hard enough to be a teenager in happy times. They, as the rest of the Greatest Generation, were forever changed by that experience. Teenagers during the Depression, young adults during WWII. They had it tough, they did.

The idea of the Forgotten Man haunts me. It is mentioned in all the depression era movies, it was so prevalent. My Man Godfrey, with William Powell, is a total fantasy - as they all were - but the most compelling depiction of Depression era homeless I've seen so far. He was irresistible

The rich people in these movies are depicted as extremely weird, all of them. In some movies, they are despicable, in others, adorable, but they all seem crazy. They're dressed to the nines, enjoy every luxury, but in order to do that in the midst of the Depression, there has to be a heavy layer of denial at play. 

First there was the "Great" War, after which people lost their minds for awhile: the roaring 20s. The Depression was a hideous National hangover from all that. It's interesting to think about.

The movies are fabulous, though. Great historical sociology. I highly recommend Gold Diggers of 1933 in particular. Busby Berkeley designed the song/dance scenes. They are so trippy! My Man Godfrey is awesome. I watched King Kong, too. He is the only character in the movie I cared about. It'll show you how differently we think about animals, for sure. And Fay Wray, screaming her heart out over and over. I wonder what that film did to her larynx? The character only takes the job because she is fainting from hunger, out on the street. She is saved by the insane, cruel director. Bizarre!

I had planned to watch Dinner at Eight with Kansas City born and raised Jean Harlow tonight, but was invited at the last minute to dinner on Tennessee Avenue. I'll take a walk with Presley, the dog I'm going to dog sit starting tomorrow, receive massage at the Willard Hotel, one of the most happily haunted old hotels in DC, then have dinner with the husbands. 

A great Christmas Eve. It will bring me back to 2013, almost 2014, as it should, from the crimped platinum blond hair, speakeasies, pencil mustaches and cigarette smoke of the 1930s. Oh yeah.

Happy festivals of the returning light. Shalom.

This is Presley, wearing a yarmulke.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy solstice


Even this late it happens:
The coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

-Mark Strand.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dark Side

I know that the hours of daylight are consistent from year to year. I know. But there are years when it seems like it gets dark earlier than it's supposed to. This is one of those years. Part of that has to do with how cold it has been this fall in DC - I welcome the wintery weather, I do, but somehow the cold adds to my sense that it's getting dark too early.

Perception is reality, yes? It surely is. This weekend is supposed to be freakishly warm. I wonder if that will make the days seem longer?

Between now and January 1, 2014, I'll be working a lot, socializing hard, and dog sitting. The brief, end-of-the-year days will pass quickly, I'm guessing. I'm ok with that!

These are the days of your life, the Voice in the Shower says often. The days are short, but very full. My life is very full of wonders. I'm grateful beyond belief. And yet when the nights are long, right around solstice, I feel weary. I want to sleep until spring equinox. Also, I get worried - about nothing, mostly. I think it's instinctual because my worries certainly don't reflect anything real. Worrying is a bad habit, it surely is. During the day I'm usually able to talk myself out of it, remembering that worry, too, is a thought form. But my dreams these days are full of the anxiety I so carefully reject during the day.

It's not getting dark too early, and at the moment there is nothing to worry about. Yet, perception is reality.

Tonight is the longest night. Tomorrow Brother Sun will be born anew, and the days will begin to lengthen. Hurray!

The moon refused to come into focus, but the church spire did. Spooky cool.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

La mère

The Old Post Office building, visible now from the National Mall, now that the leaves are down.

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of my mother's death. I've been thinking about her, feeling sad that she never got to experience old age. She did make it into her 60s, barely, but she was quite ill by that time. My guess is that she was too ill to enjoy the last few years of her life. It's a shame because I think she would have loved it. She would have loved being free of all hormonal imperatives that attend adulthood. I think she would have relished the let bygones be bygones vibe that's accessible at this age in a way that isn't possible earlier in life.

It's ironic because when we were kids, she swore she would live to age 100. The day before yesterday would have been her 93rd birthday. She would still have seven years to go, had she been able to fulfill her promise. It's mind boggling to consider.

The day she died was a horrible day for me. My boss raped me. After that I went to a bar and drank shots of Jack Daniels until I passed out - apparently - since I remember nothing after the first few shots until waking up the next day in my own bed, alone. Someone must have taken me home.

I'm sure you can imagine the state I was in when the phone call came the next morning from my sister, telling me my mother had died. I have tried, but been unsuccessful in my attempts to understand why those two horrible events were linked in time. How could both things have taken place on the same day? I will never know. It's one of the things I worked on for years in therapy, but all that work was more about accepting the timing rather than coming up with a theory as to why.

Last year when we unveiled her gravestone was the same day the children at Sandy Hook were murdered. Likewise, it is not possible for me to understand how those two experiences could have happened the same day, even though that's what the calendar said.

I had such a weird relationship with my mother. It boggles the mind.

I'm thinking of her tenderly today. She is long removed from this lifetime; her spirit has long since flown away. But I hold her in my heart, with lots of love, on this anniversary of her death.


Monday, December 16, 2013


Rockefeller Center

I've been blogging for a long time. I think about quitting at least once each year. But I always decide to continue because I like the discipline, such as it is, of thinking about, writing, and posting a mini-essay. I used to post every day. Now I'm more sporadic.

Once upon a time this blog was the way in which I connected with many other bloggers. I do most of my meeting and greeting these days on Facebook where I'm very active. But I still like writing here, and there are people not on FB who come here to see what I'm thinking about. It's well worth the effort.

After last week I'm more convinced than ever that I will, for the time being at least, continue blogging. I went to New York City to meet, in person for the first time, blogger I met somewhere in the mid to late 2000s. We recognized each other almost immediately, as sometimes happens, but we didn't meet face to face prior to now because she lives in South Africa.

Usually when I meet blog friends, there is a warmth that accompanies the meeting. We already know each other, hence meeting in person is just the next phase of an ongoing conversation. It's so easy! I have many blog friends who became "real" friends in this way.

Every now and then, something more than that takes place at these encounters. Something Happens. Though by now I've met quite a few bloggers face to face, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times the meeting itself was magical, more than a sum of its parts. This is what took place in New York last Thursday. I am still trying to find the language to describe it.

The blogosphere was the portal, a doorway that enabled me to become acquainted with people who are really important to me now, people I would never have known existed otherwise. Please don't ask me to explain why - or how - I have no idea. But I am in awe of the possibility that it could happen again. Hence I have no plans to stop blogging, no way.


Tamara and I, in Times Square