Never doubt a dog in the snow

Never #doubt a dog in the snow - www.alliepottswrites.com

“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” – Kin Hubbard

The white death dropped over the weekend, covering my home and the surrounding area in a blanket of ice and snow, which melted and only to become more ice. Lamont and I debated how or dog would take the change in weather. I maintained that having spent the first few years of her life as a stray, she would turn a nose up at the stuff now as there are reasons I refer to her as Her Royal Highness.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time - aka before
It seemed like such a good idea at the time – aka before

Opening the door, it was my intent to take a photograph of her reaction to the wintery mix and quickly return inside. I stepped out on our porch wearing only a set of pajamas. Her Royal Highness followed. She took one dignified step forward. Then another. Her nose touched white stuff on the ground. There was no bounding around. No rolling around, digging, or otherwise acting mystified. I knew it! Snap went my camera. “Okay, let’s go back inside,” I called and turned expecting her to pass me, only too happy to return to the warmth indoors.

Her Royal Highness had other ideas.

The frozen ground crunched as she trotted down the street as if it was a beautiful 80 degrees F rather than 20. “Where are you going?” I called. “Get back here now.” I should have saved my frozen breath.

“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” – Mark Twain

With no other choice in front of me, I took off after her, bare feet and all.

Her Royal Highness looked up and wagged her tail misinterpreting my presence to mean this stroll around the grounds was now sanctioned trotted further. I shouted her name a few more times. She sniffed a bush. My feet burnt with the cold as I closed the distance between us and could only imagine what I must look like to my neighbors – my hair, still wild from sleep, was now covered in ice crystals and bit of snow. My toes leaving tiny naked prints where I ran. I called some more, repeating the command to return while infusing my voice with my best mom tone. Her Royal Highness, still the embodiment of confidence, sniffed another bush as if she hadn’t a care in the world.

“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking tartar sauce with you.” – Zig Ziglar

Great. This is what I get for thinking she wouldn’t be able to handle a bit of cold.

dog in a blanket
After – aka blankets that weren’t offered to me

I was still several feet away when she suddenly turned around and walked, most regally, back to our yard, up the stairs, and inside where she promptly buried herself under a blanket. My boys, celebrating her return, joyously covered her with even more blankets. She burrowed deep and was asleep long before the feeling completely returned to my toes. Clearly, I won’t be making a living wage on the casino floor anytime soon.

“A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” – Marilyn Monroe

There are a few lessons to be learned here. There are the obvious ones: don’t let you pet off leash in an open space, even if cars aren’t driving and only nuts like yourself are out and about, unless you are confident they will respond to voice commands or always wear proper footwear even if you only think you will be in the elements for a split second, but the bigger one here is there is no glamour to be had in publicly doubting another and even less fame in doubting one’s self.

*quotes courtesy of http://www.brainyquotes.com. Photography is my own.

Fear and Loathing in the Hot Days of Summer

ocean courageI took an extended weekend on the beach with a handful of friends. We’ve known each other a long time and they pretty much know everything there is to know about me. Including my near irrational fear of getting added to a shark’s sampler pack as I dabble my toes in the water.

“If you get eaten by a shark, I’ll be sure to take everything I’ve ever said back at your funeral,” one would say before diving head first into the breakers. Because equal parts support and ridicule are just what friends are for. I watched enviously from the shore as they floated on their backs, looking oh, so, carefree. I’d forgotten to pack my shark repellent. Shame on me.

A battle launched in my brain. My logic side shouted – Just go. My creative side rolled its imaginary eyes.  Don’t you know what can happen out there? One accidental nibble and it will be open season on us.

The chance of that happening is next to nil and you know it.

But not zero.

Not zero, but still. . . Go on. What’s the worst that could happen?

I get bitten. Duh.

Is that really so bad? Think about it. Most attacks this close to shore are survivable. Sure, you might not be all in one piece, but you’d have a story to tell. You could get on the news or even the talk show circuit. Imagine the improved visibility. That shark bite could be just what you need to launch your writing career into the stratosphere.

Yeah. Um. I think I’ll stick to my existing plan.

Bah. Well, then we have a problem to solve then because it is only getting hotter out here.

“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.” – Michel de Montaigne

Pressured by my body’s aversion to excessive heat, my brain got to work. I tried to look at the problem differently. What was it that usually sent me running back to the shore while my friends passed beyond the breakers. My friends aren’t dummies. They are fully aware of what calls the ocean its home. What did they do differently? They don’t look down, I realized. They look at the top of the next wave or just out ahead.

I always looked into the waves, looking for a shadow to appear, and once spotted, my imagination filled in all the terrible things that could be that shadows cause (other than a cloud). My imagination, that thing that works so well for me most other times, was holding me back. So, stop looking down, I told myself.

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” -Ruth E. Renkel

I focused on the horizon and not at the waves around me, a trick my dad had taught me years ago to combat seasickness and took a step. Then another. The water hit my knees. Then my waist. Then my shoulders. I lifted my above me and dove into that blue-green water and swam.

I only managed to stay out there a few minutes, but it was longer than I had the day before.

But apparently, not everyone’s weekend was as relaxing as mine. While I was away, there had been an incident at the shopping mall near my work. My neighbors, a family of four, were lunching in the food court when they heard a “thunderous sound.” Crowds of people began rushing to the exits in a panic. A man reported seeing a gun. Others reported shots fired, but no casings were found, nor victims of a shooting. However, that doesn’t mean that no one was hurt. At least eight people were transported out of the mall with injuries, likely caused by falls and or the press of terrified people as they tried to make their escape. In this case, fear was the more destructive weapon.

My neighbors were not among the injured, but instead now have to explain to their sons, one of whom is only as old as mine, why any of this could happen. Why things like this (and worse) keep happening.

Fear. That’s what it comes down to.

Fear is what kept me from enjoying my time with friends fully. Fear is what causes me to see danger in each unexpected shadow. Fear drove ordinary people to push their neighbors. Fear is a root cause as well as an end result in a seemingly never ending cycle. Seemingly. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” – Zig Ziglar

I am so tired of being made to feel afraid. So while I am aware of my surroundings and recognize the things their shadows may hide, I will try to keep my eyes on the horizon, of what can be, and not look down. And maybe, just maybe, if you join me, we might just get through these breakers, one step at a time.

quotes attributed to http://www.tinybuddha.com. photography is my own.

Caution – Don’t feed the bears or the doubters!

English: Do not feed the bears An unusual warn...
English: Do not feed the bears An unusual warning for Southern Scotland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A woman I had worked with for more than ten years recently left my company after being offered a position with a great deal more responsibility and fancy new title. She was excited to advance her career but was incredibly nervous. The company she was going to had picked her for the position after only a few brief meetings and some words on her resume. What would happen if she got there and they all found out that she was not able to do the job as advertised?

The days from the time she turned in her notice and her last day passed quickly. Those of us who she was leaving behind had to be trained on her tasks so that at a minimum we could cover the work until a longer term replacement could be found. She grew even more apprehensive. We were planning for life without her. If she failed now, she couldn’t count on a spot remaining open for her.

I was working remotely on her last day and so was not able to send her off in person. I wouldn’t have even gotten my initial interview with the company had she not been the one to pass my resume along to the hiring manager so a brief note along the lines of “and thank you for all the fish” didn’t seem adequate. (Yes that is a reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy cover art
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy cover art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While looking for inspiration I came across a quote by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

While this quote might have been originally directed at women, it is an observation that should not be considered to be gender specific.

I have come across of number of blogs and listened to presentations in which the author or presenter felt compelled to describe, in length, all the reasons they shouldn’t be considered anyone’s role model.  I have to wonder why they are so afraid that another person might try to emulate them? They have families, friends, or colleagues who care for them and are at least moderately successful in their profession. They wouldn’t have an audience if others didn’t find that they had at least something worthwhile to say. Why shouldn’t someone look to them as a possible mentor?

I know from personal experience that hiring new staff is no easy task. The last thing anyone wants is to have to start the process over due to a poor hire. My former colleague would never have been offered the position if the company hiring her didn’t believe that she was capable of doing the work. To be successful in her new position she was going to have to silence her doubts and embrace the unknown.

In earlier posts, I wrote about how grateful I am that I have a strong support network. However as much as they have helped me, ultimately they have their own goals and pet projects. The person who is chiefly responsible for ensuring my success is me.  It is healthy to possess a moderate ego. If I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else?

Let the bears of the market find easier meat elsewhere. I am feeling bullish.

Enhanced by Zemanta