A series of small failures

Seeing Gogo
January 10, 2009, 11:52 pm
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Bethany has been inviting me to come see him at her Pack to Basics class ever since I dropped him off and surrendered him to her in early December. Today, I did.

Walking toward her backyard from the street, I could see him, leashed up with the little leader muzzle. He took my breath away. I led Pooka in. And there he was. 

He wagged his tail, looking at Pooka. Everyone was standing in a circle, with their dogs leashed. There were about a dozen dogs, from tiny Westies to a huge Newfoundland (still a pup with lots of growth to go). We took our place in the circle. He was looking toward us, wagging his tail. The aim of this class is to let dogs socialize. The instructions were simple: don’t talk to the dogs, don’t touch the dogs, and keep walking around the yard. She then gave me some instructions: don’t talk to him or touch him until after the class. 

We let the dogs off the leash and started walking around. 

He walked around, wagging his tail and sniffing other dogs. Someone said, “is that the dog that usually just hides?” Bethany said yes, he was, and that his former owner was there. Apparently he was behaving very differently. Much more social. 

He went and hid under the deck for a while. And then he came out.


Gogo coming out

Gogo coming out

And ran straight toward me. He started jumping on me. I kept walking. This was the hardest part. I wanted to pet him, to talk to him, but kept going. He played with Pooka! He played with other dogs. He seemed totally great.

I met his new mom and talked with her a bit. She is so sweet, and they are perfect for each other. I felt then that he really needs to be in a situation like this — with one person. He was so threatened by Tyler and his kids. He tried to fight his way to dominance of our whole situation, but it wasn’t working, so he did what he thought he had to. He tried to take them down. 

I really hope that he doesn’t feel the need to do that with Trudy. 

He followed me around most of the rest of the class. I kept walking. It wasn’t until afterward that I got to pet him and give him a little love. 

And then we walked out, and didn’t look back.

I felt a huge sense of relief. He’s happy, he’s safe, he’s well cared for. And he’s adjusting fine. And it’s time for me to move on.

Here’s a video of him following me and playing with Pooka:


recycling the television update
January 9, 2009, 1:35 pm
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That old television that stopped working had been sitting on the table for more than a month. When my parents got their new flat screen hdtv a couple of days ago, they talked the big burly men into carrying their old one down to my basement (yay!), and the big dead weight up to the car. I was committed to recycling it properly, but wasn’t strong enough to move it.

Once it was in my mom’s trunk (it wouldn’t fit into mine… it’s BIG), I knew she wouldn’t let it go until I finally did it. So even though I wasn’t feeling so hot, I googled directions to the Trans-Jordan landfill, one of two places around Salt Lake City where you can bring old televisions and computers, where they won’t eventually leach into the groundwater and poison us all.

I have always wanted to get lost in Herriman. Actually, I didn’t know Herriman existed. I saw a couple of silos, ancient wood shacks and barns. 

Heading back in the right direction, I saw a store called Nail Jail & More (nails and bail bonds?), and a sign advertising worms: $1.50 a dozen. Strange to see it juxtaposed with the hugest new shopping center in the middle of nowhere (or was it Riverton?) Is there no end to the growth in this valley? 

Finally, after about an hour of meandering, I found the Trans-Jordan landfill. They directed me toward the area where I should leave the television (plus an old stereo receiver and two directv receivers my mom was so happy to get rid of). I somehow dragged the television out of the trunk — in the end, it didn’t matter that it dropped. 

It was a nice little field trip, but I wondered: how many people live in Salt Lake/Utah Valley? And there are two places where you can go to do the right thing? And how many televisions/computers/cell phones etc. get replaced each year?

Here’s the flyer that tells you where to go, SL,UTs.

Does he have a microchip?
January 7, 2009, 12:28 am
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Gogo’s new mom called me today to ask me this question, so that if he did, she could change the info. You know, so if he ever gets lost, runs away, etc., he will be returned to her, not me. No, he didn’t have one of those microchips. Does that mean I didn’t love him enough?


Here’s one last video of him that shows more of that “look of love.” And then he moves on. Goodbye Gogo. I love you, little munchkin. Little Mister. Pumpkinhead. You belong to someone else now.

Do I really have the courage to see him Saturday at Pack to Basics? I’ll let you know.

Gogo has a new home, and his new name is Eddie! no, now it’s Dover!
January 2, 2009, 10:11 pm
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Gogo and Didi -- where it all started

Gogo and Didi -- where it all started


I’m torn. I want to be happy for Gogo, but is there just a bit of me wanting to be right, to say, “i told you so?”  Yes, it’s there, and I don’t like it. I am happy he’s alive. I’m glad I don’t have his death on my conscience.

But I feel like I failed him.  I wasn’t willing to work with him. Sure, I could have gone into deeper debt to send him to camp, but bottom line, I didn’t believe in him. I knew, deep down, that he wouldn’t stop biting Tyler’s kids, and I was worried he would bite others, possibly even me. Night before last, Elliott’s new pug bit me on the upper lip. He was just playing, and didn’t mean it. Just a tiny needle of a fang, but man, it hurt. Gogo’s bites, I don’t even want to think about them, especially on a beautiful little girl’s mouth.

So, now, he’s been through a month of Wasatch Canine Camp and has done some training with kids (muzzled), and Bethany’s mom is adopting him. Gogo has been renamed Eddie (which means benevolent protector). 

Just heard from Bethany. Her nephew wants to name him Dover. So, Dover it is. 

Hello, Dover! Please don’t bite anyone else!

Bethany has invited me (several times) to visit him at Pack to Basics, her Saturday afternoon dog socialization class.  I think I’m going to go, and bring Pooka. She could use a little socialization. Bethany says that as long as I don’t get too affectionate with Gogo, he should be okay.  Maybe I should be more worried about myself and how hard it’s going to be to see him and then leave him again.

It’s been really weird to surrender him and yet be able to watch his progress. Sort of like an open adoption. (I just watched Juno.) Bethany has a blog, where I’ve been reading updates on Gogo. There are even videos! Gogo on the treadmill is pretty funny. It was really hard to see him panting and stressed out at first, and to see him hiding in the corner, avoiding the other dogs. I just saw this ad for him today. So, now he has a home. I asked her to guarantee that he wouldn’t be around children, and he is. I have to just let this go. She saved his life.

You’ve come a long way, Gogo/Eddie/Dover. From the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico, to the snowy mountains of Utah. Here’s Gogo just before we left Puerto Rico, fat and happy on the beach.

new year’s resolutions
January 1, 2009, 11:51 pm
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Part of living my life and not letting it live me is to actually set goals. 

One is to go vegetarian again. I got a little unexpected inspiration on that front today tuning in to Iron Chef for a few minutes. I love Top Chef, but Iron Chef? Weird production. As they unveiled a secret ingredient the contestants had to incorporate into their dishes, the lights, the music and the unveiling of the ingredient — suckling pigs — I was horrified. They might as well have played the music from the shower scene in Psycho. The little pigs piled on a cart looked demonic. Was it the fear pulsing through them during their last moments? Seriously, the eyes were frightening. One of the contestants was a trained butcher, and the narrator said it was a joy to watch him work, masterfully placing the knife exactly where he should for each cut. I realized I had frozen in a gasp, forgetting to breathe, completely tensed up. Bacon, I don’t care how good you taste.

Last month, in the Dharma Mittra workshop at Flow, he inspired me to go veg again. It lasted a month. I wanted to be a vegetarian to honor all life. Killing animals hurts our souls. You can’t find peace when you’re eating meat. “As long as you are involved with violence, your meditation will go nowhere,” he said.

Another resolution is to live my yoga. So I’ve started another blog, yogadose.wordpress.com, for a daily dose of rasa, that nectar or  juice that restores our essence. I want to share what inspires me, and bring yoga and meditation back into my daily life. 

I want to be careful what I put into my body, since the body is the gateway to the soul.

I also want to get outside myself and volunteer. It looks like I’m getting a volunteer spot at the Sundance Film Festival! Sweet! I’m psyched.

I want to support myself doing something I love. One goal is to get a page up on Etsy with my jewelry. Friends keep asking me to make them things, and I love to do it. So why not open it up to others? Creating makes me feel alive.

I want to feel free to love without fear. 

I want to get back to the creative, fearless child I was before the abuse and the indoctrination.

I want to develop my intuition and vision.

Oh, and I want to get out of debt.  I want to get out of my parents’ basement and live in Salt lake City.

and so much more.

endings and beginnings


Looking forward to the future

Looking forward to the future

I am so glad to say goodbye to 2008. I want to kick its ass on its way out the door!  


But first, I want to take an inventory of sorts. Here’s what happened, and what I learned.

The year started in Puerto Rico, and centered around work. My restaurant, Natural High, was doing okay, but we had the worst tourist season since before 9/11 and it was clear to me that the restaurant couldn’t survive another dead summer. Even the supposed busy time  — which normally lasted until April — wasn’t busy enough. I stopped teaching yoga so that I could devote all my time to the restaurant, but nothing I did was enough. I had already decided to leave in April… I had wanted to leave the previous September, after a visit home during which I accepted that as much as I loved Puerto Rico and the restaurant, I needed to get a job that actually paid enough to get me out of debt, but I let Tom and his mom talk me into seeing the season through. After all we had invested, we needed to follow through, they said.  I knew I was leaving in April, and I brought Pooka to Utah in January and had an awesome week watching Ted and Sharon’s boys with my mom. I got to bond with Cooper — a priceless experience that is the main thing that has given me some comfort since his death.

The last three months in Puerto Rico were difficult, full of long hours, contention (I learned this lesson — never go into business with your ex!), and stress, and yet, I accomplished something important — I supported the struggling organic farmers on the island by buying everything we could from them, and connected up the locals who cared about organic produce with the farmers before I left. Natural High was more a crusade than a business, and I will always treasure it, despite the way it turned out. And honestly, I wish Tom the best. I hope that re-opening the restaurant inside Freshmart will be well-received and I really hope he will be successful. I have to acknowledge that the restaurant’s debt that I put on my credit cards is the reason I came to Utah, and because of that simple act, I got to be here with my family when Cooper died. 

It was so hard to leave Puerto Rico. I missed four planes before I finally got home. I spent the last week wandering around barefoot (I had sold my car) and sleeping at random friends’ houses. People kept saying I wasn’t meant to leave, but I knew I was.

One of my greatest struggles is learning to live my life without letting it live me. Another way to put it is to choose my path rather than to follow someone else’s.  Staying in Puerto Rico was following Tom’s dream. Leaving was choosing my path.

In May, I reconnected with a close friend in Moab and spent a few days hiking and rafting and starting to love Utah.

In June, I went to my ex’s wedding in San Francisco and witnessed a gorgeous celebration of love between two women, who were supported by both their families. And I was there at just the right burning man moment (they met at burning man), with two fake fur coats for them, just as the weather started to turn cold and the wedding was shifting into the reception. It was unexpectedly heart-breaking being there, as I still love Heather, but it was also beautiful and joyful. I’m grateful that we’re still such close friends and that she wanted me to be there.  Five months later, however, Californians voted to pass proposition 8, threatening Heather and Stacey’s marriage. I will do everything I can to help people see that Proposition 8 is misguided and wrong. I can’t wait until people lose their prejudice. Love more, and fear less!

When I got to Utah, I didn’t feel ready to fall in love, but I wanted to. I missed being in love — it had been about a decade. The first step was distancing myself from Tom so that I could be free to find love.  And I did!  And it’s absolutely amazing!  When I moved to Utah, I asked the universe to bring me someone positive, kind, smart, hot (can’t help but ask!), funny, who was either divorced or widowed with children. And it happened… within two and a half months. I tried the match.com thing, which was appalling. So depressing!  And craigslist… holy hell. But then I got on Facebook and Twitter. And along comes Tyler, the sweetest, kindest, most positive and loving person. The energy was — and is — cosmic. He became my best friend almost instantaneously. It’s the kind of relationship where we want to be our best selves when we’re around each other. I’m so happy to be part of his life.  Meeting Tyler was possibly the best thing that’s happened all year. Thank you universe!  (You just have to ask.)

Another big event was resigning from the Mormon church. What a burden lifted! Though I hadn’t been a practicing Mormon in decades, I was still feeling stifled by them. And when they inspired millions of their members to promote bigotry by campaigning for proposition 8, I had to take the formal step. I feel so much less anger in my life. I don’t think of myself as a mormon anymore. If anyone asks, I say I’m not. I don’t say I’m an ex-mormon. I’m just not mormon. Yeah! I am letting go of that story, all the conflict and shame and frustration associated with it.

Recently I started the process of dealing with abuse from my childhood. I think that being in a loving relationship and being free from the mormon church made this crucial step possible. Telling my family was horrific, but I’m glad that they know and that I have their support. I just realized that healing from this is necessary, because I’m developing a relationship with two young children who deserve for me to be loving, healed, free of anger, and aware of how everything that happens to them as they grow up influences their future.

There have been some painful events — losing Cooper, and giving up Gogo (thank you, dear Bethany for rescuing him and training him to be a happy, well adjusted dog!), and dealing with my debt, karmic and financial, but I’m so grateful to be here, to get a chance to start over (thank you, Mom and Dad, for the beautiful home!), to meet new friends (Tyler, David, nakedJen!), and to reconnect with family, even though it has been tough at times. 

I started writing again, most notably for yoga journal, which makes me happy. And starting to blog again in October changed everything.

Things are lining up to make 2009 happy, prosperous, and promising. So glad to be alive and in it.

Pooka update
December 27, 2008, 7:28 pm
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Pooka is doing great. Eight days after being attacked by another dog, her tubes came out today and she is healing really well.  Check out Pooka in the snow the day before the surgery.

Pooka on Christmas day, one day after getting the tubes installed:


Pooka with the "noodles"

Pooka with the "noodles"

Close-up of a tube, noodle, ziti — take your pick:


ew. ziti, anyone?

ew. ziti, anyone?


And today, there are just a few icky holes in her back that are just barely weeping.

For background on the attack, the festering wound, and some stuff about me you may not want to read: On dog bites and trauma.