Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Nala’

Nala: Before and After

This is going to be one of my best posts ever. Are you ready?

Nala before her haircut:

20160125_174809

Nala after her haircut:

20160201_165915

You’re welcome.

Read Full Post »

Almost every day, I take a walk with Nala. We have a couple of regular routes that depend on how much time I have and what the weather is like and how my toe feels and how long it’s been since I last picked up the mail. In the past, this walk has also been a time to catch up with significant others, but for the last few years, it’s almost always been just for Nala and me.

Nala on her leash

Nala on her leash

I don’t take my phone on these walks. This wasn’t a mindful choice; it began because in the summertime I often don’t have any pockets, and it was a mindful choice not to have to lug a purse around for a simple walk in my neighborhood. But lately I’ve noticed how much I enjoy not having my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. It tells me how to get where I’m going. It lets me access my schedule. It lets me keep in touch with a host of lovely people. It gives me information exactly when I need it (and yes, I did check a recipe in the grocery store today in order to choose the correct size of cranberry bag). It lets me take photos that help me remember what I have done and where I have been.

I love my phone too much. I want to check my phone. I want to see what’s happening on Facebook and Twitter. I think of things to google. I flip into schedule mode at the drop of a hat. I want to see if anyone has texted me. I want to text someone. Hell, I simply want to know what time it is.

But I also don’t like my phone. I go to social events, and I notice when everyone has their phone out, and everyone is talking to people who aren’t there, via texting, instead of talking to the people who are there. I don’t think I judge (I know what it’s like to be shy, to want to avoid an awkward moment), but I do notice. Sometimes, when I am not at my best, I think, “Aha! This means I’m allowed to look at my phone too.”  But more often I think, “What’s going on here? How can we re-establish a connection right now?” Because that’s really what’s happened. The social connection has gotten difficult or a little slow for some reason, and instead of waiting it out and sitting with the slowness, we’ve retreated into our phones.

I like noticing. I like having some daily time when I remember what it’s like not to have the impulse to check. I like not always being available.

I revel in the opportunity to be actually alone. When my phone is there, it is a constant reminder that I don’t have to be alone. But sometimes the company provided by my phone can feel hollow. I remember that according to Facebook, my life is an uninterrupted stream of exciting events and cute outfits. According to Facebook, I live a magazine kind of life, and yet that isn’t actually what my life is like at all. My life is so much more complex than that.

I like having uninterrupted time with the people who are important to me when we just…talk. And sometimes we sit in silence. And sometimes the conversation is not the most scintillating thing ever, and most likely there’s something really exciting happening somewhere on the internet. And I don’t care.

Because it is in that space that conversations deepen. It is in that space that conversations spread out to become some of the most interesting I’ve ever had. It is in that space that I learn things about the world, and about the people in that world.

It is in that space that I get to feel what it is like to be you.

Read Full Post »

Six Years With Nala

Today Nala and I are celebrating our sixth anniversary of living together and being best friends.

20150613_160755

Doubtless everyone who reads this blog already knows how much I love this little dog. And how much she loves me.

20150609_231823

 

Someone asked me this year, “Amy, what would you be doing with your life right now if you didn’t have Nala?”

My answer was, I’d be traveling. I’d be nomadic. I’d put all my stuff in storage, and I’d go around the world with my laptop, writing as I went.

And then I said, “And after several months I’d be incredibly lonely.”

As romantic as it sounds, I’m glad that’s not what I’m doing with my life right now. And I’m grateful to Nala for providing me with the grounding that has encouraged me to stay in one place and learn to make the connections with my friends and communities that are so important to me.

20150602_130100

Nala and I share so many little moments of joy. Our daily walk. The twice-a-day celebration of her receiving her dog food. The wagging inspired by homecoming. The leap into the lap when I am feeling sad or stressed or otherwise upset. The careless flop onto the back, revealing the belly. The ridiculous way she runs up the stairs for absolutely no reason.

20150601_191853

I think of the list of things about my life that make me happy: my friends, writing, singing, dancing, reading, my apartment, delicious foods, travel, learning new things. It’s a great list. And Nala is at the very top of it.

20150611_185409

 

For me, Nala is home.

20150522_122433

20150522_122511

Read Full Post »

Living 100%

I’m back home from DC and the World Fantasy Convention, and I have that slightly hazy post-con mind with which many of you are probably familiar. I got to spend time with so many amazing people, and yet I felt like I didn’t have close to as much time as I wanted: another familiar feeling. But I did have many wonderful conversations, and I’m going to piece together a few for you.

But first, a dose of the adorable Nala.

But first, a dose of the adorable Nala.

I was talking about this blog, the way I do, and I always do a terrible job explaining what it’s about. But one thing I said sticks out to me now through the blur. I tell personal stories on my blog, I said, in order to illustrate insights I have had that I think might be helpful to other people. I don’t know that I’d ever put it into such simple words before, but yes, this is one of the reasons I keep blogging.

And because it is one of the reasons, I’m going to tell you a story that I told a friend this weekend.

My mom was in remission from cancer my senior year of high school, and she came to see me perform as the Narrator in the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I remember that she had an interesting reaction to that performance. She was proud of me and happy for me, but she was also … wistful. I don’t remember if we talked about it or not, and what we said if we did, but I do remember what I thought about it at the time.

I had been one hundred percent alive on that stage during that performance. From the opening bars when I descended from the ceiling of the stage in what amounted to a mechanical box through to the finale, I’d felt energy pouring through me, along with that feeling that I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. And I had the impression that watching me being so fully and utterly alive and ME was a bittersweet experience for my mom because she had never had the opportunity to do that.

She was diagnosed with another cancer later that year, and as she was dying, I watched her venture outside her comfort zone a little bit. She flew with my dad to Hawaii once or twice and had a beautiful time, whereas before she’d never felt comfortable with travel. She spoke at the memorial for one of her support group members, even though she’d never liked speaking in public. And in these small actions, I could see the shape of who she might have been or become shimmering in front of me like a phantom.

And then she died.

And watching this, here is what I decided. When I die, whenever that should be, I don’t want to see that phantom of myself. I don’t want to see the most awesome version of Amy who I was too afraid to be. That is why I work so hard–and make no mistake, it is hard and sometimes punishing work–to learn about myself and to push myself and to figure out who I can be. It’s not about being perfect or easy or comfortable, and it’s not about straining upwards towards an unreachable ideal. Rather, it’s about trying to be the best possible version of myself, whatever that might entail in this moment.

Or in other words, it’s about being one hundred percent committed to this business of being alive. I don’t want to feel wistful because I’ve never had that.

Instead, I want to revel in it.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been very tired lately, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve come down with a cold. I’m taking it easy for a few days, and I don’t have the brainpower to tackle the post I wanted to write today, so instead it is obviously time for some adorable dog photos.

Nala shaking my hand.

Nala shaking my hand.

Nala is a very food-motivated dog, so the main problem with doing tricks with her is that she gets so excited, she has trouble focusing enough to figure out which trick I’m asking her to do. Instead she tends to wave her paws wildly in the air and/or wag as fast as she can. But with a little bit of patience, she is happy to shake hands.

The Nala blur.

The Nala blur.

I know this isn’t a great photo, but I love it because it captures how excited Nala gets. She just can’t stay still. This is a different trick in which she grabs my hand with both paws.

In other news, it seems like fall has come along with my cold. When I took Nala outside today, I shivered and realized I’d have to wear heavier clothing if I actually had the capacity to leave my house today. It’s getting dark earlier, and the time change is less than two weeks away. I’m wearing boots again, and the house has held steady at 80 degrees Farenheit today without any A/C. (Yes, I live in a very hot location in a very hot apartment. Who knows what this experience may have done to my already poor temperature regulation abilities.)

I generally dislike cold weather, but for the first time in my life, I am so ready for winter.

I’m also going to take this opportunity to opine on this year’s general disdain towards all things pumpkin spice. I guess it’s supposed to be funny? Are peppermint, egg nog, and gingerbread flavors funny in December? Personally I think they’re tasty, just as I’m happy to be able to order my favorite pumpkin spice chai at the coffee shop again. I’d order that drink all year if I could. As it is, I limp along with the occasional vanilla chai in the spring, but it’s not the same.

Anyway, is the pumpkin spice hatred because of ridiculous marketing? Occasionally I feel like there’s this whole slice of American culture that I’m missing out on because I don’t watch television commercials. I’m pleased to miss it, but once in a while I have a conversation in which I have to plead ignorance and change the subject. In any case, I have trouble seeing how pumpkin spice marketing could reach anywhere near the ridiculousness of Christmas marketing, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

And now it is time for me to rest some more. Until Thursday, my friends.

Read Full Post »

Cute Dog Day

Every now and then, I need to declare a cute dog day. This is one of those days.

Here, have a cute dog photo:

Nala!

Nala!

Read Full Post »

I’m writing this on Monday, the 16th. Today is the five-year anniversary of bringing Nala home from the shelter.

Here are the two of us on that happy day:

I look so thrilled.

I look so thrilled.

Anyone who has seen the two of us together knows how devoted we are to each other. And Nala is great at bringing out my inherent silliness. My quirky relationship with her has inspired much gentle teasing over the years…and then it began to rub off. I am no longer the only person who tells Nala she is only six. (I remind her of her age because I feel her grasp of numbers and time isn’t the strongest. And because it entertains me every single time.)

20140611_200058

Sometimes I call Nala my Wisdom Dog. Her life is relatively simple, and it’s all about love. She is sad when I leave, and she is beside herself with joy when I come home. She is enthusiastic about making new human friends. She gets so much happiness from rolling around on the carpet and chasing her cow around the room and licking her already completely clean Kong. She takes pride in her fierce barking that protects our apartment from strange noises. She is a happy little dog, and watching her be happy reminds me of all the things I have to be happy about too.

20140610_143510

Nala is my best friend. I don’t mean that in a sad, isolated kind of way; I have so many lovely people in my life, and they are each special to me. But I spend the most time with Nala; she is here all day while I work, she is here at night when I go to bed. She is here when I write, here when I’m bouncing up and down with excitement, here when I cry. She is a dog, which means there are so many parts of me she can never really understand. But she knows some essential part of me better than anyone else.

20140520_185538

I have often said that adopting Nala is one of the best decisions I’ve made. Every decision in life has its tradeoffs, and this is no exception. But when it comes down to having an easier time finding a place to live versus having Nala in my life, I don’t hesitate. She enriches my life beyond calculation with her presence.

20140527_100720

Nala teaches me how to love every day, and that is a beautiful thing.

Best friends.

Best friends.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,978 other followers