Sunday, February 12, 2012

Three Faces of Love

Not on the scale today. And, for the record, I haven’t hit the gym in a couple of days BUT I did go day hiking yesterday: steep hillsides and working on coordination by dodging all the dog poop that the citizens of Hollywood leave lying around (near Runyon Canyon Park) on the sidewalks. Under signs describing the fines for not cleaning up after your dog. Draw your own conclusions. “Beautiful pigs” comes to mind.

I saw some friends last night that I literally (a word I do not sling casually) have not seen for years (face to face). I was greeted with “Hello, Sexy” and “Oh my God, you look so great!”. My heart was warmed. Another friend told me I “looked younger and less stressed” than I have in years. “Good,” I told him, “I feel like I wasted about 25 years of my life giving too much energy to my employers and those around me.”

When I was student teaching, the observer from the University of Vermont (UVM. Groovy UV. Go, Cats Go!) made the comment that I was “spendthrift with my energy” and this would ultimately cost me by leaving me with nothing for myself. Clearly, I didn’t listen. However, I am taking steps to undo it.

It’s Valentine’s Day in a couple of days, we just lost Whitney Houston (and yeah, that was a BIG loss) and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show kicks off tomorrow night (GO, MINIATURE SCHNAUZERS!).  Love is all over the place, sort of like those piles of dog poop on the sidewalks in the Hollywood Hills (Jesus, the only place I’ve seen filthier sidewalks was Paris).  And like those piles, it comes in a bunch of different forms: romantic love, love of a performer and unconditional love (from someone that leaves the piles of poop).

Wikipedia: “an algorithm ælɡərɪðəm/ (from Algoritmi, the Latin form of Al-Khwārizmī) is a step-by-step procedure for calculations. More precisely, it is an effective method expressed as a finite list[1] of well-defined instructions[2] for calculating a function.[

CBS Sunday Morning just ran a piece on math and science of online matchmaking, going to a mathematician to explain the algorithm: specific attributes are assigned values and the binary code (even THAT’S paired up) merrily skips along a field of daisies bringing two hearts together.

I now know why I’m alone: I’m a prime number.

I’ve worked in corporate America, variations in the financial services industry, for my entire adult life. Valentine’s Day would roll around and I’d see the bouquets being delivered. The rule seemed to be that the meanest, bitchiest women in the office were the ones who got the biggest, more expensive flowers which were prominently displayed for all to see. Of course, the overheard conversations running up to this big day “Oh, he’d BETTER send me flowers” so I guess this was a form of self-defense for their men. (Why is it that the good, decent guys are with the evil, bitchy women? You’d think they’d say to themselves, “I deserve someone who treats me better.”) I’d get a few “Oh, no boyfriend? That’s so sad, well, maybe next year” followed by snickers when they thought I was out of earshot (High school bullshit never ends, does it?). Okay. So, a couple of times (random days of the year), I went to the best florist on my lunch hour, ordered a dozen mixed roses (I love roses, especially if they have a great scent), filled out a card and went back to work. The bitch queens would be sullen for days afterward (more so than usual).

On a temp job up in Portland, OR, I had one boss who got a gorgeous bouquet for Valentine’s (I think it was Valentine’s) whose reaction still makes me smile. The surprise seemed genuine and she smiled, blushed and giggled the rest of the day (Disclosure: she’s an actress, too, but this was genuine).  Instead of tribute paid out of demand and  self-preservation, this was a gift given and received with affection, as it should be.

My favorite Valentine’s Day card of all time came not from a suitor, but from someone who had the other half of my brain; my late soul sister, Nancy Kurrelmeyer. I forget what the message was that came printed on the card but she wrote: “Be my Un-Valentine! Fuck them all! (Don’t we wish).”

And boxes of pretty good chocolate go on deep discount  (Although, I’m not eating that much sugar anymore. Dammit).

Whitney Houston: Here was someone who had the love (from a distance) of millions who wished her well and wanted nothing more for her than to be happy and to continue to sing because of what that voice brought to them. It wasn’t enough to counteract whatever demons tormented her. Right now Jane Velez Mitchell (aka Nancy Grace’s henchman. Both of these harpies need to be completely and permanently discredited, especially Nancy DisGrace. If someone were to exploit her grief as she exploits that of others, she’d never stop screaming about it) is on HLN foaming at the mouth and trying to build a scandal out of 1 unconfirmed “fact”: two loud thumps. The vultures are already picking the carcass. I enjoyed Ms. Houston’s voice, felt sadness over her multiple miscarriages, some joy when she became a mother, sorrow with her fall and hope when she seemed to be getting back on track. From now on, when they need someone to perform the national anthem at the Super Bowl, the NFL should just show the video of her 1991 performance.

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show:  Puppy love. Unconditional love. A dog doesn’t care if you bring it flowers or candy (although chocolate + dog = not good. Our Schnauzer, Lily, got into a triple chocolate cake when she was about 9 months old and barfed it up all over the white carpet in my parents’ bedroom. Her son, Max, cleaned out my Easter basket one year. He didn’t get sick, but his life was in danger for a couple of days from an angry 10 year old).  You never hear “Oh, he BETTER scratch my belly” when two dogs talk to each other.  When men, women, employers, political parties, sports teams and the decline of general intelligence all let you down, a dog will still love you. Even Hitler’s dog liked him (which while it speaks to canine unconditional love, indicates that dogs come up short on current events). And (I kid you not), her name was “Blondie.” God bless their “humans are great” hard-wiring. It takes a helluva lot to overcome that; sadly, the world is full of assholes who work very hard at it. Luckily, there are groups of people willing to dedicate their time and efforts to overcome the damage done by the assholes.

I’ve gotten the pained looks and the snickers when I’ve expressed my  eagerness to watch the dog show, but I don’t care. I like critters (and yes, I prefer cats. If you can show me a dog that can purr, you’ll have my attention) and I get to see a bunch of great dogs in action, including the time, about 10 years ago, give or take, when the judge said, “Go around” and the bull terrier she was examining jumped into the air and spun around. I am not making this up. Toulouse used to hang out on the couch and watch with me. Loosey liked dogs, especially Kodiak Kurrelmeyer. 

 Now that the first week of February is in the rear view mirror (too many losses in one week and we may have to extend that a bit now), the dog show presents an opportunity to put the bad memories and sad feelings behind and look forward to good things coming in the rest of the year.

In the meantime, a little something to start off the week. If you need to hold it as a Monday antidote, go ahead

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