Thursday, April 29, 2010 I make the rules.....ya think???

One of my sons is a fan of novelty T-shirts and so I'm always on the lookout for unique and quirky examples. A few years ago I came across one that had what appeared to be one of those 'Hello my name is' tags you get when you go to a cheesy conference. The 'name' on the 'name tag' was 'Inigo Montoya' with another 'name tag' underneath that said 'you killed my father' and a final one saying 'prepare to die'. I guess two things matter for you to appreciate it - first is that you need to be a fan of the movie Princess Bride. Second is you really need to see it to get it. However, I digress.

Tonight I came across a man wearing a T-short that caught my attention. Not because it was quirky nor unique but because it was worn by a purported adult (maybe 35 or so) and was particularly offensive. I expect some people - the wearer at a minimum - found it quite funny but it didn't make me laugh. All I could think of was, you may have that but I'd bet anything that you don't have a date for tonight (or for any night). And you probably wonder to your sad lonely self why you don't have a date, why you can't get a 'good' woman and why you're stuck in a dead end job with little opportunity for career advancement. Can't possibly have anything to do with the decisions you make with respect to your wardrobe can it???

The saying? "I've got the dick so I make the rules."

gimme a break.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Obedience School

Tonight was the last of six sessions of obedience classes for Bailey. He's a smart puppy and so things have been pretty good - even though I don't work with him half as much as I should - but tonight was "the" night. Tonight was the exam.

As we went through out paces - and honestly is obedience class for the dog or the human??? - it was such an odd feeling knowing that someone was judging 'our' behaviour. Did he break during the sit/stay? Did he get distracted when the trainer walked by with the squeaky toy (his absolute favorite by the way)??? Will he 'measure up'? Will I measure up?

It's a very bizarre process. I know that this judging and evaluating is pretty much bogus. After all, the goal of the classes - ultimately - is to sell us on more classes (next step advanced obedience). Of course we need to learn and improve, otherwise the word of mouth advertising - the best after all - would fail miserably. And so there have been improvements. Some amazing improvements too.

Take Rocky. The chihuahua who arrived at the first class snarling, growling and barking at everything on two and four legs. At 'graduation' Rocky was able to sit (albeit off to one side) for the photo shoot along with all the other dogs. {ps... don't you just LOVE that the littlest dog in the group was named 'Rocky'... I LOVE it}.

So comes the graduation. Each of us comes forward, receives our diploma along with a scorecard indicating where we need to pay some specific attention to training, etc. And you can feel the .... tension .... in the room.

Winston. Dusty. Max. Henry. Then Bailey.

I take Bailey up to get his diploma and they tell me that he's done an amazing job (odd considering that he absolutely HATES to heel in class - does pretty good on our walks but when it comes to class ... nah, not so much .... so I spend a fair bit of time dragging him around). I shake hands with the trainers - SO formal - and they hand me his 'diploma' and scorecard and we return to our seat. 18 is the best you can do (6 questions with a max of 3 per question) and it's with an odd sense of judgement that I turn the page over to see his score.

I know he's improved from 6 weeks ago even though we absolutely haven't practiced as much as we should. Plus there are all kinds of conflicting messages since I'm the only one taking the training but not the only one spending time with him at home. But he does sit patiently in front of his food until I give him the OK to eat. He's a great dog and I've learned alot of tips/tricks in these classes that I need only to apply. So why the need for approval from those I pay to teach me? It's quite odd. And I know it doesn't matter.

oh yeah ..... he got 17 out of 18.

that's my boy !

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fire pits and anonymous notes

In Celtic spirituality there is a concept of a 'thin place' - a place where the veil between the sacred and the secular is so thin that one can have a glimpse of the glory of God.

In my life I've had a few thin places. As a child it was the beach in front of my family cottage. As an adult it was in front of the Icon at St. Agnes or in front of the fire in my backyard. Several years ago - during a particularly dark time - I spent hours and hours, night after night, in front of the fire. It saved me. Being able to sit quietly in the backyard late at night in front of the fire has been a God-send. It is my thin place.

Sadly, today when I got home from work I found an envelope that had been mailed by, obviously, a neighbour. It was addressed to our residence and inside was a printout of the Toronto Fire Department website indicating that the open air fire pit I have in my backyard (chiminea) are illegal in the city. Sad because I can no longer sit in front of my fire and glimpse the glory of God. And sad because a neighbour felt that they couldn't simply come and tell me their issues with the fire but felt the need to send an anonymous message.


But I truly believe that as one door closes, another opens - surely God will lead me to a new thin place. Let's pray it's soon.