Gwenevere

July 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm (Life, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

A little monster has been tearing through the house for the last three weeks. The hurricane is not expected to stop raging for years to come. She’s got a bit of Lena in her, stubborn and sweet and extremely clever. She sleeps a lot, is mostly housebroken and willful. She enjoys food, mischief, harassing the resident 13-year-old Jack Russell and is an avid fetcher.

Paul falling in love when first meeting her.

She’s grown quite a bit since this was taken.

She’s accompanied by the usual problems: Her defecating and urination habits are getting better, but not quite there yet. Bite inhibition is making slow progress because she’s a retriever and she’ll start teething soon. She knows sit, but is still confused by her own name, “Gwen.” She pulls on the leash and tries to lead you home when taken outdoors. Sleeping through the night is a recent development. She’s not quite grasped the concept of being a “floor dog,” i.e. a critter that doesn’t jump on people to greet them. She howls and whines and cries when I leave the room. She has a radar for trouble.

I wonder if I’m doing a good job raising her a lot. However, I’m convinced I lucked out and was paired up with an extremely sweet, forgiving animal. She’s a good girl.

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Enneagram

January 10, 2010 at 9:00 am (Life)

Funnily enough, this is probably one of the most accurate personality typing tests I’ve ever taken.

Main Type
Overall Self

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram Test Results

Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||| 62%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 5 Detachment |||||| 30%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 9 Calmness |||||| 26%

Your main type is 4
Your variant is omni

Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

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Hello, New Year

January 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm (Life) (, , , , )

So far, the New Year has been treating me well. I could be cynical and say this ought to be expected, as it’s only been 2010 for about two days, but I’m choosing to be more positive this year. I wouldn’t call it making outright New Year’s resolutions, since I find most of them to be trite, but it’ll have to do.

2009 was an interesting year, if you will. It wasn’t the best of times. Between havingĀ  really rough start with my first semester at college and Lena dying, I thought it would be an entire downhill slide. I was homesick and confused and unmotivated and generally not a happy camper.

Lucky for me, it had ups as well as downs. WorldCon in Montreal turned out to be a fantastic experience where I finally met my friend Cat and spent some time with Alex and made some important decisions regarding my self-esteem and who I am. San Francisco allowed me to meet up with Meg and another long-time friend. My return to college was made that much better by instantly bonding with a bunch of people – I now have friends I look forward to seeing and genuinely miss. I went to New York City for the first time in my life. I fell in love and subsequently I am no longer perpetually single.

I don’t expect 2010 to be easy. Right off the bat, I can think of several things that will be difficult: I am moving out of my aunt’s house and in with a friend right at the beginning of the semester. I have a hopefully pending transfer to California in sight. My academics are still a major priority in my life, but I have a great deal of emotional issues to sort through.

No matter how crappy my life feels, I’ll have to remind myself that I lead a very charmed life. I have a stable (if slightly dysfunctional) family, a support network that spans the globe and a boyfriend who is too good for words. I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, have the ability to attend school and live inĀ  country that is not constantly torn by war and fear. I have access to health care. I am well-traveled. There’s nothing I truly need (save for maybe a canine companion to keep me a little more even-keeled, because companion animals are glorious that way).

So here’s to you, 2010.

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Long Time, No Write

December 26, 2009 at 12:01 pm (Life)

I’ve been neglecting this blog since October. My life’s been a little crazy since then, mostly in the good way. Several choral performances and school projects took up a great deal of time, then I made some very good friends who needed support through this time.

I’m currently back in the UK, accompanied by Melissa. I am 21 years old as of eight days ago. I will be moving in with a friend come January. Lots of crazy stuff has been happening and I don’t know where to begin. However, I’ll attempt to keep better track of this blog from now on because I think it helps people get even a small idea of what the heck I’m up to.

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Happy Halloween!

November 1, 2009 at 9:56 pm (Fun, Life) (, , , )

This is a day late, but who’s really counting? Halloween was marvelous – I spent it with my friend A. and a bunch of her friends. I leave you with two pictures: one of a bumblebee named Bella and one of myself with a hypoallergenic cat.

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The end.

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Why Some Pet Owners Suck

October 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm (Life) (, , , , )

Today, on our way to school and work, C. and I got stuck in traffic. The traffic patterns at one of the pikes has been reset because they have been futzing around with construction a lot. So for a while, we were only inching along. At one point, we come to a halt. I make the mistake of looking out the window. What do I see?

That’s right, someone’s run-over pet.

The poor cat had probably been hit by a car and managed to drag itself off the road before it croaked. It was clearly someone’s pet – well-fed, otherwise in good shape, still fairly young. I couldn’t see its face, thank God, but it lay on its side, legs splayed as though it were running and twitching in its sleep, blood caking its mouth.

Until recently, my family basically always had a pet. We never had cats, but Lena was a regular old escape artist of a dog and whenever she disappeared, it felt like a little part of me died. She was a Golden Retriever – that means a BIG dog, the kind you can see in case it streaks across the street in front of your car. However, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it totally unexpectedly or that you would be able to break in time not to hit her. Much like Winnie the Pooh, she had more fluff for brains than anything and she certainly wasn’t gifted with common sense. We always understood that having a pet escape and run about was a dangerous thing – most dog owners comprehend this matter. Cars are not safe to be around as a pedestrian, why would that be any different for a four-footed family member?

What I DON’T get is how this seems to be too hard for a lot of cat owners to understand. A cat, dear friends, is a PET. A cat is an animal. No matter what you may think, cats are not smart; most dogs have more common sense than a cat ever will have. Cats are, above all, arrogant and will not understand that a ton of metal will crush them. Some cat owners place way more faith into their cats than is ever warranted. Let me repeat: it is a RARE instant for a cat to be smart. Frankly, cats are also nowhere near as FAST as you think they are. A car is faster, bigger, meaner.

What I’m trying to get at is this: If you love your cat, don’t let it out. Just don’t. Unless your cat’s a Main Coone (thus a huge bugger), it is small and almost invisible, especially in the US where everyone drives SUVs which are generally higher than most European cars. People’s reaction times are slow. A cat doesn’t stand a chance.

Today, I saw someone’s beloved family pet dead at the roadside. I’m very sorry for their loss. But I can’t help but wonder if they really loved that cat since they let it out of their house in a high traffic area. Since I no longer have a pet of my own, it makes me resentful that someone would gamble with their pet’s life that way.

This cat lost the gamble and its carcass probably traumatized a bunch of small children who were on their way to school this morning. Please don’t be that cat owner.

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Grumpy

September 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , )

grumpy This was my expression throughout the majority of the Torah services, Yizkor and Musaf and the beginning of the Avodah (at which point, we left).

I have realized I am not cut out to be the member of a congregation as large as this. There were well over a thousand people present. This means it is loud, people are always talking, it is hard for me to concentrate on the actual prayers and it is super crowded. There was absolutely no room for me to move during the Amidah. Someone behind me was constantly basically shoving their book into the back of my head.

Again, the rabbi felt it was appropriate to ask for money. During Yizkor. OF ALL TIMES, DURING YIZKOR. Did it ever occur to him how incredibly rude that is? People have passed away and we’re trying to say prayers for them, and you’re asking us to reach into our pockets? The man moved further up my list of Obnoxious Things And People I Dislike. This is a rather affluent community, I’m sure he could have asked for donations for Israel Bonds or their synagogue at some other point. His stories and interjections were absolutely moot, pointless.

If there is a God, S/He will not make me go back to this place. Ever. Please, please, please let me have transferred to a different school and a different community by then. I can’t deal with this again.

I made sure to email all my professors about my absence, so everything was alright on that front. I finally managed to weave my way through the automated phone system operated by TriCare in order to inquire about getting new contact lenses through someone here in the area. It seems they are willing to cover it, but I apparently still need to talk to someone back in Europe as to how exactly we want to proceed. Simple, people – I need to see an experienced ophthalmologist who can deal with eyes that have been operated on, have a high astigmatism and off-the-charts diopters. Ugh. I hate life.

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Yom Kippur

September 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , )

I did manage to find a place to go for Yom Kippur. However, it’s not somewhere I see myself going back to after my obligation for Yom Kippur is over. The congregation is large, impersonal and conservative. The latter wouldn’t bother me too much, but it’s a little . . . restrictive, in a way. It’s the kind of place where you’ll see older people and young families and very little in between.

Not only that, but the rabbi started being a solicitor for various funds in the middle of services, which I thought was incredibly inappropriate. We’re RIGHT smackdab in the middle of Kol Nidre services. And you ask people to put money into Israel Bonds? REALLY? YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA? He also started harping on our need to support Israel and donate and blahblahblah.

I have no issue with charity. I do have an issue when a religious official uses his role to push political agendas; it’s not something I have ever seen a rabbi do and I hope I’ll never have to see it again. It’s not something I associate with Judaism, the begging for money and propagation of political things is more a Christian phenomenon. Or it was until now.

The whole thing just made me incredibly uncomfortable. A religious official is supposed to offer advice, not preach from the pulpit about how I as a Jew am obligated to support Israel in every possible way. That’s like someone telling C. that she has to support the Pope because she’s Catholic despite the fact that dude’s batshit crazy, not to mention assbackwards on basically every matter of social importance. I am in no way obligated to support a country simply because I am part of a religious entity. I will not publicly support a country and a government on the basis of this.

I appreciate Israel’s existence, but I do not agree with a lot of their policies. I believe displacing Palestinians is wrong. The way Israel was founded is very much akin to the Europeans marching into North American and displacing all the American Indians. I don’t believe military action is necessary all the damn time and I am absolutely horrified at the sense of entitlement that many European and American-born Jews have when they make aliyah, and how perfectly acceptable the racism towards Palestinians is within those Jewish communities in Israel.

So, no, Rabbi Whateveryournamemaybe, I am keeping my money out of Israel Bonds and in my damn pocket. This kind of conduct does not leave me feeling spiritually cleansed, forgiven by God or enlightened. It makes me think I ended up an awful place for a very emotional time, and that makes me sad.

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Dogless

September 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm (Life) (, , , , , )

This state just makes me feel intensely lonely. The cat is not really the best companion you could imagine. C. doesn’t know anyone who has a friendly dog I could take for walks. One family has a dog, but she’s just as ill-tempered and unfriendly with everyone as Odin. I am terrified of applying to the local chapter of the Humane Society to be a dog handler for their shelter for fear of being rejected on the basis of everyone wanting that position.

I hate this and clearly need a job that won’t take me traveling afar, to be done with college and to live somewhere else. And all this whinging of mine makes me fear the years to come in which I probably won’t be able to own a dog.

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So-so

September 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm (Life, School) (, , , , , )

Another successful day. I was at the college at an exceptionally early hour, but that turned out to be okay. One of the guys came over to talk to me because he was just as early as I was. Polishing up my social skills: success! I picked up both the recordings of the pieces we will be singing in chorus this year and the soprano part, so I should be alright. I also signed up for a practice room. I only filled out one time slot, on Tuesday, but I might check back for a second because I just don’t know how much I will have to practice just yet.

After my last class, I headed over to the student services building where I picked up the form I’ll need to fill out in order to get a confirmation letter from the college that I am enrolled in the fall semester. For what I need it, I do not know, but my father requested it and so I hopped to it. It’ll cost me five bucks. I can deal with that, even though it’s like, uh, I’ll be picking it up, so it’s not like you guys are paying postage. Seriously?

I am still a little jet-lagged, but what else will you expect? I made it until 09.30pm yesterday and then collapsed into bed. I felt a little ill, so I couldn’t sleep at first. Downed a phenergan. Sleep was imminent. I have found that packing my stuff the night before allows me to sleep a little longer if I want to. I might even start laying out my clothes like an elementary schooler again if it saves me time and stress in the morning. Getting to school early saves me a lot of money because I only have to pay for the bus fare in one direction. I am also still waiting for the books I ordered to arrive. I need my schoolbooks, Amazon. I can only deal with irritated professors for so long. On the other hand, I don’t feel as though they have any right to be snappy – schoolbooks cost a fortune. Even with the discounts and the books being used, it still made me cringe; it’s no wonder everyone is heavily in debt. Jesus.

I have also started keeping a hand-written journal again. I figure it is a quaint, if slightly anachronistic, thing and that such written forms keep for a while. Who knows? Maybe my future self may need it or find it good for a laugh. If nothing else, if anything happens to me, there will be something in paper for people to hold on to. I would know that feels; Lena’s box has been in my bed ever since I picked it up from the vet because it helps me sleep better. It makes her memory feel a little more tangible, even as I hurt inside.

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