just don’t…

Text, Photography and Artwork: Copyright © 2014 Beth E Peterson. All rights reserved. So… Don’t Be a Thief. Everything on this site is my own personal intellectual property, unless otherwise stated. If you like what I share, please use the share buttons provided. Do NOT copy and paste my work.

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Rainier: A Caring Soul

Beth and Raini 3-31-14

To the end, even in her dementia, she still was trying to take care of me. If you look, you’ll see her mouth is open a bit. She and I were warbling to each other when this shot was taken.

On April 1, 2014 I had to say good-bye and good journey to one of the most caring souls I have ever met. It did not matter that she was not human; Rainier cared.

I first met Rainier (pronounced like the explorer and the mountain, rah-Near) when I was car shopping. I wanted to go look for a dog, too, but later… after I had replaced the deathtrap that my fun red V-6 sports car had become.

I was at one local dealership talking about what I wanted in a vehicle, when the salesperson and I began talking dogs. I told him about the lovely husky I had the privilege of living with for 16 years, and said I really would love to get another one, or perhaps a husky cross. He laughed.

It turned out that his basset hound had been unexpectedly ‘caught’ by a husky and he had one puppy to still find a home for. As he told me a bit about her, I really wanted to meet this pup. She sounded just like my kind of dog: independent, curious, and with a happy, sunny personality.

We met at a local business a few days later, and I fell in love! This little girl with the long back, the short legs, the happy face and floppy ears was darling! She even had a perfect husky widow’s peak! She was three months old when she came to live with Lynn and I.

Rainier at 9 months old

Rainier at 6 months old

Naming an animal in my household always takes some time until the personality of the critter tells me their name. With Rainier, it didn’t take too long. She was such a mountain goat, I immediately thought of the mountain ranges I’ve been through and the individual mountains I’ve seen. Mt. Rainier, in the Cascades (Pacific NW of the US), jumped into my mind and wouldn’t let go. Especially as I watched this stubby legged beastie climbing to the backs of the furniture to the tippy top. :-D

Throughout her life, she quite often had one or the other of her ears flung back, For what ever reason, it just happened a lot. And she was even more adorable than usual when it did. web-Raini-3-31-2014-b

Raini ended up bruising one of the growth plates in her leg (you can see how the one leg is so crooked in the photo above).  This came about because she was determined that she could fly. She would climb to the back of the loveseat we had in the den, then jump as far as she could…. over and over again. Silly goose bruised her growth plate so badly her leg quit growing months before it should have. So, even though it was hard financially, I got her the surgery she needed to lengthen and straighten her leg and bone.

The vet students at the teaching vet hospital adored Raini and completely doted on her for the week she was there. They even nicknamed her; she became “The Dog Who Perpetually Runs Downhill.” *chuckle* You see, Rain had inherited her mom’s short, thick front legs, and her dad’s longer, thinner back legs. With her long back, it was very evident that her hind end was about two inches higher than her shoulders.

In terms of climbing, it was a very good thing she never learned to climb wire fences the way my Siberian princess, Shanza, had. As it was, Raini would stand on her hind legs at our four foot fence, with her front paws being just able to rest on the top rail. She’d jump up and down when there was a person, cat, other dog, or birds to see, talk to and/or bark at. It was hilarious. She could never get more than six inches off the ground.

And her bark!! Her basset-given deep chest could give out such enormous barks that one feels the need of a different word to describe them! She literally could make the windows shake in half the house when she thought bad guys were outside.

Ah, yes. For you see, as happy and friendly as she normally was even with strangers, she had had some nasty experiences with some of the kids and teens in the neighborhood (years ago). She was determined they know that she’d (figuratively) eat them if ever they gave her an opportunity. Her protectiveness only increased when first Lynn, then myself, slipped into the genetically-induced sucking mire of autoimmune disorder flares.

Days when Lynn was in such pain, or just feeling plain out-and-out unwell, Raini would lay with her and comfort her. When Lynn’s skin broke down and lymph fluid began to leak out, Raini would gently wash the area (until I could get there to clean and wrap it). Later, Rainier would do the same for me.

Raini also became attuned to Lynn’s  bio-electric fields. Although it had been years since Lynn’s last seizure, as her health declined the seizures returned. Raini quickly came to recognize when migraines and seizures were imminent and would come get me.

Ah, I could tell you Raini stories for a long time. But, unfortunately, my arthritic hands are beginning to get pretty painful typing this.

Raini lived well. She lived each day with an openness and joy of spirit, and she extended that to nearly everyone she met. I love her and know I will meet up with her again, when it is time for me to take my own journey from this world.

Raini's Beautiful Spirit

Having gotten to know Raini’s beautiful spirit will enrich the rest of my life.

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What’s that you’re feeding yourself??

Over the past several years as my health has crashed into severe disability, I’ve been struggled off and on with depression. Although it begins as situational depression, it can ever so easily tip over into clinical depression…the kind that stops you in your tracks.

The good thing is, I know how to work to keep myself as positive as possible. It is hard, and there are certainly days I don’t handle it as well as I could, but overall, I keep my spirits up pretty decently with the help of family and friends.

Today, two different friends talked about the news, and the hype and tragedies that are slammed into our faces (and brains) over and over again. To one of them, I wrote the following: If you feed yourself tragedies, you will become a tragedy. If you feed yourself things that uplift you, make you happy, or even open the doors to joy, then you will become an uplifted AND uplifting person. Word.

Lobo - ink painting by Beth E Peterson, All Rights Reserved.

“Lobo” — not my best drawing or painting of a wolf by any stretch, but I had this ink painting I’d done years ago handy. So it’s the one that got used. *chuckle*

Or to illustrate it a different way (which I like ’cause I like to tell stories)…. As I told one of my nephews some years back, imagine that there are two wolves under your table. One is a wolf that values beauty, balance, loyalty, and respect. The other wolf thrives on dissent, anger, fear, hatred, paranoia and ugliness.

You *must* feed one of the wolves. Your only choice is which one you choose to feed. And eventually, that wolf will be out from under the table, where everyone can see it and know your choice.

Or, of course, there is also the old programmer saying of “Garbage In; Garbage Out.” Or, I’ve also heard it as “You are what you read.” … which is a little limited for a what I really am getting at, which is more about attitudes, mental health, and coping with this tragedy overload that the media, especially, perpetuates. (And yes, I include the internet media including social media in this.)

I want to be a happy person. That really is one of my main goals in life. Another is to experience as much joy as possible. In order to do this, however, I have found I must monitor and limit what I listen to (including music), what I read, what I watch.

Now, I often am researching distressing subjects, which goes against my happiness but is needful in order for me to be an informed individual about the things I care about. So, yes…angst enters my life. But knowing this, I can make sure to give my favorite, happy and life-loving wolf extra treats and snacks, while I also limit how much time I spend with the downer wolf at any one session.

Ah…. I think I’m up for a treat! Someone pass the chocolate-covered hazelnuts, please!! :-D

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I Used To

I used to sing and dance
I climbed mountains
I trained horses, dogs, and even rats
I helped people cope with the problems they faced in their own lives.

I used to help the developmentally disabled
to eat
to dress
to bath
to move from place to place without falling.

I used to paint and draw
There was skill in my hands
I used to throw pottery and create sculpture
My body was strong.

I used to write
Clear-headed, organized
I used to be able to explain to others using nothing but words.
(I used to pretend I was a poet, but that was long ago
I’m really not, so I quit pretending.)

I used to…oh, I used to.

And then there is now.

Now, I am shackled by a body that cannot do
All I used to do.

I guess that means it is time
for me to learn, not what I can do,
but what I can be.

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Survey Says… Well okay. It just asked…

I just completed a survey about what news-type topics I think are the most important to focus on at the present time. I thought I’d share my responses with you.

A stack of surveys. Attribution: The Bees (flickr)

A stack of surveys. Attribution: The Bees

Now, just to be clear, my answers here are the tips of some very vast icebergs about what I think on these topics. Health permitting, I’m sure that eventually you’ll see me write more on each of the below. Be warned!! ;-)

You chose 3 topics you feel are of vital importance. Please tell us why you chose these 3 topics.

Food, Farming, and GMOs: Because without healthful food, we destroy ourselves at the most basic level.

Climate Change & Clean Energy: Because the first thing we need to do for our future is recognize we must adjust to a world that is changing, and to stop contributing to that change.

Income Inequality: Because without the truth of how the 1% is using its wealth to cause rifts within the 99% (divide and conquer) stress on individuals, families, communities and even globally will escalate.

Did we leave any topic out that you’re really passionate about?

How **deeply** (and dangerously) our civilization is tied to petrochemicals, from fuel, to food production and distribution, to plastics (which are everywhere, including our healthcare equipment and even medicines), to clothing, to the technology we enjoy today, usually without a second thought.

That we need to remove the possibility (and reality) of “the government for the people BY the people” becoming nothing more than a facade for a plutocracy.

That real education is not about tests and test scores. It is not about Core Curriculums.It is about teaching our children critical thinking skills and teaching them how to LEARN on their own, not memorize arbitrary factoids to please a system.

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Office Dog’s Abuse of Power, Oh My!!

Rainier as a Pup

Rainier the Wonder Dog, ’cause everyone wonders what kind of dog she is!

See that sweet puppy face over to the right? Doesn’t she look innocent? And kinda funny with her short legs sticking out at odd angels and one ear flipped back?

You would never know that this wonderful creature, Rainier by name, could be a stone-cold abuser of office dog power.  Alas, my lovely puppy had a dark streak hidden beneath her velvety fur!

The following video is not for the squeamish at heart or of stomach! I warn you!! And I am NOT responsible for any snorted coffee or tea spat across your keyboard! (Okay, maybe you won’t find it as worth of such incidents as I believe it to be, having experienced the coffee up the nose, myself. But then, I think practically everything Raini does is wonderful, lol)

The video quality stinks, but I still hope you enjoy! :D

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Lost and Regained

A friend of mine, Allison, blogged about losing writing then getting it back. At the end of the post, she then said she’d “love to hear your stories about dreams that you have thought were lost that you are getting back to or when you have realized a dream.” I wrote the following in response to that, because, Yes, I’ve been there!!!

I am an artist, no two ways about it I love to create — visually and sculpturally as well as writing, I wrote my first book at about the same age you wrote yours. Then I discovered clay in our pasture… and once I had a horse of my own, both lessened as I spent every free moment during daylight with the equines and nighttime reading.

But I always wanted to be an artist (like my dad) and still did a fair amount of watercolor and copious numbers of drawings. Off to college I went and earned a BFA in studio ceramics and planned to take some time to build my portfolio for entrance into an MFA studio ceramics program.

AND Life Happened!

I ended up spending 2 years in wretched pain, unable to move much. This was my first serious autoimmune flare, although back then it wasn’t recognized as such. Alas, with the pain went any chance of working in clay… I thought I’d lost the love of my life forever. Painting is great, but clay RULES. I couldn’t even hold a pencil or pen for more than a few seconds. Even so, I thought up story after story…but never got very far with most of them.

AND Life Happened!

The flare broke, and I was courted by someone who had gone to the same church as my family, when I was still too young to remember. He was charming and suave, and good-looking…. and eventually I was firmly on his hooks. The experience with this master manipulator (and later discovered to be a serial killer) was one that should have ended in my death at his hands, but my mom knew something was off — something was wrong — and she got help to break me away from this man’s control.

AND Life was Happening Again!

I decided, since health-wise I was still on shaky ground, to help others…especially those who were being manipulated into giving pieces of themselves to another. So I picked up the necessary undergraduate classes, plus a bunch of social work classes before beginning my Master’s in clinical psychology.

Working on my MA was one of the best times in my life! I had a graduate assistantship, which was actually fun, learning (which I love to do), and most evenings I was painting again.

After earning my degree, I went out into the big bad world to earn my living. I had hoped to begin work on a non-fiction book that I had begun planning soon after getting away from that manipulative killer. But a day doing therapy or psychological testing leaves you little to no energy for much else. Especially as I worked mainly with sex offenders and adult victims of molestation.

AND Life Happened!

I eventually burned out. For the next several years I took temp jobs and entry-level jobs doing physical labor, and my mind began the process of putting together that non-fiction book on extreme interpersonal manipulation. It got written…took years of research and I have no idea how many drafts, but it was written.

No publisher wanted it, though. I may be good at the creative end, but marketing is something I have had to learn. I hate it. It shows,  suspect.

Looking back, I see how horribly dry the writing was; I was writing to two very different groups of people — the professional mental health crowd and the average person-on-the-street. Because of that, the writing stank. The info is golden, but the presentation has the stench of a three-day-dead codfish sitting under a sink. (And yes,I kinda want to rewrite it again and try again to get a publisher interested At some point.)

All this time, however, I was writing other things as well, this time on a website I owned, designed, and coded. Topics ranged from cooking to how to ship artwork to (of course) extreme interpersonal manipulation.

IN the Meantime, Life Happened!

I was working direct care for a DDA (developmentally disabled agency) — I did one 48 hour shift (with sleep time) over weekends for a nonverbal man with a history of behavioral outbursts. (Because of my background in psych, I usually was assigned to homes with more behaviorally disturbed folk.)

My sister, one day, was casually looking over what opening there were at About.com for Guides (experts)  in the various topics, She saw they had a posting for a psychology guide (as they were then known). The next day I went online to apply, but there was no listing for a guide to psychology…. but there was one for pottery!

I sent in my sample and was approved to go through the next phase of training, before a final decision would be made as to whether I would get the job or not.

I GOT IT! Which meant, I GOT CLAY BACK!!! Proceeds from that job paid for a new wheel and kiln. Oh, the rapture of being at a wheel again, listening to the clay and having the clay listen to me. It was like the rejoining of long-lost soul mates!

So now I got paid to do two of my most favoritest things! Clay and writing! It was through About.com colleagues that I found out about NaNoWriMo, and through NaNo I found so many new friends! AND…. I finally know the story I want to tell, and I believe for the first time I have the chops to write it the way it is meant to be written,

After all, I’ve only tried to write a credible novel…oh, say…..fifteen times before this!

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