Monthly Archives: February 2016

pet people

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

This saying has stuck with me from the first day I read it.  How a man treats an animal speaks volumes about the kind of man he is.  I remember one day how a young man was in my house and my puppy was jumping up on him to greet him.  The young man kicked the puppy away.  How does one do that?  It was obvious that the puppy was not being malicious.  She was not biting, growling or nipping.  She was saying ‘hello, welcome!’  Watching this display permanently changed how I viewed this individual.  It was inconceivable to me to be cruel to an animal, and a baby one at that… That to me was inexcusable.

When I look at the dating world, I find myself gravitating towards the pet owners.  If they are good with their animals, can love them and care for them, then maybe they are worth the time to get to know.  I have a theory, that if a man can have a small dog, he likely has a healthy self esteem.  However, those with big and scary dogs, I think those men are hiding something.  Perhaps hiding behind the fear those dogs tend to elicit.  I could be way off base on this one, but knowing the opinions held by my ex-husband, he would only want a big, scary dog, and has in fact made some terrible and negative comments about my dog to our children.  He is an aggressive person, and he wants people to fear him.  Makes sense that if he had one, his dog would take on the same persona.

I dated a man who once had a pug, just like I do.  He was a gentle giant, no need to prove his masculinity, and was comfortable in who he was.  This is the type of thing I am referring to when I think of pet owners.  If your pet tends to speak to who you are as an individual, then perhaps it is worth paying attention to.

What does it say about non-pet owners though?  I don’t think it fair to suggest that they are selfish or ungiving of their time or love.  Perhaps their housing doesn’t allow it, or their worklife could take them out of town for spans of time, making pet ownership as a single person unreasonable.  Maybe they have allergies.  I don’t have an answer to that one, at least not yet.

So, I think for the time being, as I try and navigate my way through single parent dating, I will test out my theories on pet people and see where that leads me.

solitude

We live in a world full of interaction.  We live in houses with other people, within neighborhoods of many other people.  We work with people face to face, on telephones and through email.  We commute to and from work on buses or trains full of people, stand in line ups waiting to give our coffee order to the barista, and in line ups to pay for our groceries.  We pass others at the dog park and on the biking trails.  We are constantly surrounded by other people, and with that, we are constantly surrounded by all the noise and distraction that accompanies them.

There’s a lot to be said for taking some time for personal space.  For solitude.  Quiet, peaceful solitude.

This is how I spent one of my days this week.  I enjoy spending a day out in nature.  I will wake early, load up survival gear, food, camera gear, and of course, the dog, and head out into the mountains.  During my time there, I am off the grid.  No cell service, no interaction, no noise.  Just the pleasing sounds of nature.  Calming, serene nature.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, or where I’m headed.  I don’t know where I’m going when I set out, other than a general area that I target.  I don’t know when I’ll come home either.  Whenever it feels right.  Sometimes I’m content to come back home around dinnertime, and sometimes I don’t leave the mountains until well after midnight.  I may spend the day driving the parkways, or I may spend it hiking.  Sometimes I spend it sitting by a glacier lake.  I’m always photographing something.  The one constant thing when I head out into the wilderness alone is that I don’t speak.  I have my own personal silent retreat.  It’s not as difficult as it sounds, and there is something soothing about the silence.

I think that we get used to the noise, as a generality.  For me it becomes sensory overload.  I need to escape it.  I don’t just desire to remove myself from it all, it is a requirement.  Amidst all the chaos that is modern society, there is a certain appeal to that cabin in the woods, even metaphorically speaking.  I am happiest when I am outside the city drone.  I am happiest when I can tromp through the mountains and watch the wildlife in their habitat.  Elk, moose, mountain goats and mountain sheep, eagles and owls, marmots, weasels and pine martens.  I am happiest being out there in my element, camera in hand and dog at my side.  I look forward to the day where this will become the norm, and those escapes will lead me into the city noise instead of running away from it with all the speed and energy I can muster.  But until that day, I will continue to find my solitude in my mountain retreats.

on valentine’s day

What does Valentine’s Day mean?  I think each one of us likely has a different take on this day.  Some will view it as a romantic holiday, others will see it as a day of heartache.  Others still will claim it to be a manufactured holiday created by florists and chocolatiers.  Some are in love with the idea of being in love on Valentine’s Day and others will be indifferent.  Those who are single may feel isolated or even bitter on the day that romanticizes love and relationships. They may feel that they are outcasts in a world full of lovers.  Others may see Valentine’s Day as a holiday for children, with memories of cutting out red and pink heart shaped Valentine’s for classmates and friends to share at the school Valentine’s party.  Some will be in relationships and feel isolated on the inside because their mate does not accept or participate in Valentine’s Day rituals, and may pretend that it doesn’t matter to them while on the inside they are hurting because they feel undervalued on this day made for lovers.

I’ve had a wide variety of emotions about Valentine’s Day.  My exhusband never once in our 23 years together had the consideration to give me a Valentine’s Day worthy of lovers.  I was never once given a gift or taken out for dinner, had a romantic surprise waiting for me at home or a candlelight romantic evening despite my obvious hints and even my gifts to him.  I put up that shield and pretended that Valentine’s Day only mattered to the superficial, but in reality, that wasn’t how I felt at all.

The first man I dated after splitting up with my exhusband apparently was much the same way.  Valentine’s Day wasn’t even on his radar.  Having still been a new relationship, it was disheartening to me to think that perhaps there were no men in my world who cared about this particular day.  For years I put my effort into the children for Valentine’s Day.  I would make sure I had valentine cards and gifts for them, give them the gift of my time and help them make their Valentine’s for their friends and classmates.  I would make sure that their snack contributions for the parties were heartfelt displays of their mother’s love and affection for them and went into great detail to create heart shaped platters of fruit and dip or other equally or more creative food dishes.  I still make sure they have help with their valentines, and I still have a small gift for them to show them they are loved and that this day means something to me, and that they mean something to me.

It wasn’t until last year that I was given a Valentine’s Day gift.  The man I was dating at the the time was strong and handsome, sexy and loving, and he showered me with gifts.  For the first time in my adult life I felt truly important to a man on Valentine’s Day.  Now, I say in my adult life because I do recall one Valentine’s Day when I was a child that my father surprised not just my mother, but also my sister and me with flowers and each one of us with a heart shaped box of chocolates.  This was one of my fondest memories from my childhood.  I was probably around fourteen that year.  I remembered being hopeful that this was what I would have to look forward to when I was old enough to be married.  So I suppose that was just the set up that made me so disappointed in that man that I was married to that didn’t consider my feelings towards Valentine’s Day, and it set me up to feel unimportant and undervalued as a wife and companion.

So, with last year being my best Valentine’s Day, I suppose there isn’t anything to look forward to this year particularly considering my single status once again.  I still have gifts for my littles, and we will enjoy our day together.  I will make sure they know they are valued and very much loved on this particular day not just this year, but in every coming year ahead.  Because even if some think this day is just made up for merchant benefit, or if it’s thought that we should treat every day as Valentine’s Day, it still comes just once a year, and just like birthdays, it’s nice to feel extra special sometimes.  In that, I don’t see any harm.  I still remain hopeful that perhaps one day a man will walk into my life and make me feel extra special for that one day a year simply because he can.

what kind of person are you?

What would you do if you saw an animal get hit on the road, and the driver continued on without stopping?  Do you stop and help the animal or do you carry on with your day with little thought about the life that was just changed or perhaps ended?  Do you believe that one life is worth more than another?  That human life means more than animal life?

They say that you can tell a lot about an individual based on how he treats something/someone who cannot do anything for him in return.  I personally believe there is a lot of truth in that.  Those who can threaten a life, who can kill or hurt another being is not the type of person I welcome into my life.  These are they types of people that I have had to remove from my life simply for my own self preservation.  In doing so, I have found that there are compassionate individuals out there.  I find that in being around those people, it is soothing to my soul.  Those who stop to help the injured animals on the side of the road and help with their rehabilitation, those people are angels on earth.  Those who help the homeless by providing food, clothing, shelter and a listening ear, those people are making this world a better place to be.

So why are there so many people in the world who hurt others?  Why is there domestic violence?  Why do husbands hurt their wives?  Why can’t we cohabitate regardless of race, creed, gender?  Why must we always be at war with humankind?  Why do animal abusers do what they do?

There are a lot of quesions that I can’t answer.  There are so many things that happen in this world that hurt others.  These are the things that need to change.  If you cannot treat those who cannot do anything for you in return with kindness and compassion, respect and love, then it begs the question, why are you here?

I believe that every life has purpose.  Every being has a reason for its existence.  I want my existence to have a positive impact on the world.  I do not want my presence on earth to be questioned, and therefore, I have great pride in being one of those individuals who is kind to those who cannot do anything for me in return.