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Oh, Vladimir…

Like any proper former lover, I naturally engage in a bit of Facebook stalking…just to see what you’re up to…you know, to keep a weather eye out…

And I must say, lately things were rather tame with you. There was the cute and cuddly thing with the tigers, so presh! Of course, I seem to remember you shooting one of those little darlings in the not so distant past…and I also seem to remember something about a whale…or was it a polar bear?…whatever! Leonardo DiCaprio was at the summit and the magical power of Leo, my dear, smooths over all past sins! (we should all have such mojo…)

Then there was the nasty business extending the prison sentence of a former oligarch you broke parted ways with, and really, while I don’t approve, I find myself once again thrilled over the civility of our own relationship’s demise.

I see you you haven’t fully resolved that horrible business of thugs running amok over there. Interesting choice words, dear heart, “inevitable retribution”…not that I have any problem with the retaliation part, hell’s fury and lover’s scorn, yadda, yadda, but the inevitability of it all…as sure as the rain’s fall and the sun’s setting, one can always be sure of your wrath…maybe you should consider talking to someone about that…

And speaking of scorn, don’t think for a second I didn’t notice you whoring around with that ugly and dreadful Kyrgyzstan! So what if they name a mountain after you?! They don’t know, they don’t care, they don’t appreciate you like I do. And at the end of the day, their heart will always belong to the Ghosts of Leaders Past, whereas, my heart will always belong to you, ‘kay? Glad we have that settled.

And in full disclosure, I did place my bobble-headed replica of you in a place of honor…my desk…so that we can always be close…and so I can keep that weather eye out for you…naughty boy…

love you. call me…

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Puppy Dog, on the right, staring me down with her intense cuteness

Never put your dog to sleep during final exams if you can avoid it.

I am capping off the most terrible week of my life. Wrapping up projects, final exams, finishing papers, packing to move, mourning my dog and missing Sailor like I never have…

“To grieve”, in the Greek translation, literally means to have been robbed. And no truer words could describe where I’m at right now. It’s been a week since Puppy Dog  passed on and I am sure everyone around me right now wishes I would simply get over it, but it is hard to move on from such a profound loss when I have been conditioned to behave in such a way that accommodates having Puppy Dog in my life.

For instance: the other night I frantically drove home from the lab because I “remembered” I hadn’t let Puppy Dog out. Every time I come home, I still call for her. When I leave, I still close all the doors in the house and put the ottoman up on the leather chair to keep Puppy from crawling up on it. I wake up several times a night because I do not hear her snoring.

And it’s not that I think about these things, I know she is gone, it’s just that this has been my life for 13 years, the majority of my adult life, these acts are second nature to me and changing now seems like a foreign, utterly alien thing to do that also feels very, very wrong.

But every day is a bit better. I stopped crying days ago. I mean, I literally stopped and can do no more. The Opthamologist  informed me that my tear ducts were so traumatized and inflamed that they basically have ceased working.

I basically cried myself dry.

But I’ll recover. I am recovering. Friends have been plying with me with company and alcohol, but I’ve stopped the drinking for now. I certainly don’t need a depressant making me feel worse than I already do. I am surrounded by truly the best possible people to get me through this, except the most important person.

And of course I worry about Sailor being away on a boat, lacking the luxury of indulging in grief as I feel we all must at some point to ever truly get passed it. If I’m feeling this bad, I’m sure he feels worse. Puppy Dog may have been my girl, but she was definitely Sailor’s soul-mate in some way I could never be.

I hope he has the same support around him. I think he does.

So I’m moving on. This old dog is learning something new as much as I hate it being forced upon me and no matter how much I just want my fucking puppy dog back. And I continue to fail in understanding why this can not be.

The brain understands that all things must die and life is a greater cycle, yadda, yadda, yadda, but the heart fails to comprehend and is insanely angry at the injustice of it all. So in the meantime, I’m consoling myself with the memories, insanely cute puppy pictures, and the funny stories that always accompanies this crazy animal I was so utterly blessed to have shared a life with.

I have ceased the tears and resigned myself to an inevitable sigh a few times a day that I’m sure signifies some thing although I’ll be damned if I know at this point what that something is.

Exhale

“She’s gone.”

Didn’t need the vet to tell me that. Her last breath was like the sound she used to make when we rubbed her ears and then she was utterly still; still for a creature that hadn’t had a still moment in her entire long life, even while sleeping.

We’ve been preparing for this awful moment at the vet for months but what you don’t prepare for is coming home that first time and being confronted with the enormous void that now exists in the house.

Sailor flew home to be with Puppy Dog at the end and had to fly out this morning to be back at the boat. So now it’s not only that he is gone, but she is as well.

I’ve never felt Sailor’s absence so intensely. I realize this now because I had Puppy and she was an enormous vessel in which to pour in a lot of love.

But she’s gone now and all this love for her is still there. I wonder where it goes if she is not here to receive it.

I do. I have. It’s made. It’s literally eyeballing me from the calendar as I type.

After an agonizing conversation with the vet and consultations with fellow pet fanatics, Puppy Dog’s time has run out. She’s nearly twice the average age of her breed, she’s traveled far and wide, and she’s had an epic life most dogs could only dream about.

So here’s the rub: this life is being somewhat cut short. She has a good month left in her. Maybe more but that’s doubtful. However, I am moving across state in a month and Sailor is out to sea in a few weeks for the whole summer. So we’ve decided that it is more fair to have both of us with her at the end rather than put her through the stress of a possible move and/or wait until such time that she is in (what has been described to me) what will be excruciating pain.

The vet has been called. An appointment made. Services pre-paid (nothing says heartless like whipping out the credit card after a beloved companion is gone). And a flight arranged for Sailor to come home.

And it’s on the calendar. Staring me down.

It feels unfair. It feels cold and calculated. It generally just feels shitty. I tell myself that if it were me, say, if I had an inoperable brain tumor or some other such malady, I would want control. I would set a time and a place. Make myself comfortable. Be surrounded by loved ones. And hopefully go gently into that dark night.

So Puppy Dog will be given appropriate pills to make her calm and comfortable (she never did like going to the vet). She will have her bed and blanket and her favorite Sailor t-shirt. And she will be with both Sailor and I who love her to the point of insanity.

She will be cremated and her ashes will be distributed amongst Asbury Woods, the island back in Maine, her favorite woods up in Northern Michigan, and I am even sending some to a friend to be sprinkled back in Italy, where I first met and fell in love with her. A little part of her will be in every place she loved even if she is no more.

So I am trying to focus on loving her now rather that starting to miss her before she’s even gone.

The boy is back in town!

…and by boy, I mean man, and by man, I mean my favorite feisty neo-facist dictator, Vladimir. Yes, Vladimir! Lovely, Lovely, yummy-yummy Vladimir…..purrrrrrrrrrrr.

Just when I think Vlad is but a fond memory stored in the dark and scary recesses of my dark and twisted mind, he re-emerges, turning up like the bad penny he is.

Of course, all of this was spurred by the terrorist bombings in Moscow yesterday. And while president, Dmitry Medvedev, said the government would consider revamping anti-terrorism laws to try to prevent further attacks, Putin responds by promising to drag the bombing masterminds “from the bottom of the sewers” and that the “terrorists will be destroyed!”

um, can you say hot?

This is the Vladimir I adore, the tough-talking, swaggering mound of man-pie ready to kill you with his thumbs for so much as looking cross-eyed at him…infinitely more preferable than the stodgy Prime Minister warning about spring floods and a boring, old oil export duty.

Nice to see you back, darling, especially in such fine, fine form….call me

Lessons Learned from a 24 hour trip to Maine and back:

upper-hell1. US Airways sucks ass, per usual, but this abusive relationship is done. I am breaking up with them once and for all. They can find someone else to torture with their ineptitude.

2. The Philadelphia Airport sucks it even more, seriously, how much can a person hate one place on the planet?

3. #1 + #2 = 9 (as in Dante’s ninth circle of Hell)

4. Getting anywhere is usually more than half the battle anymore

5. Dark & Stormy’s are ass kickers

6. Given #5 I expect Turkish Prawn left a mighty big boot print somewhere on my booty

7. Holy Hell, does this chick have the most rockin’ voice ever! No kidding, I heard her at a party and she rocked Motown like a world class diva. Hear for yourself and if you don’t absolutely love her, you’re a tone-deaf Philistine who shall be dead to me.

8. #5 + #6 + #7 = a fabu going away party

9. Miss Portland, miss Maine, miss friends

10. Damn, I hated coming back here.

A Jew, a Muslim and a Christian walk into a bar…

No, seriously, they did. Embassy workers and the cheeky lads were kind enough to invite me to dine with them. I played my part of the shocking and bedeviled American and more wine was probably sprayed from laughing than was properly consumed. Not a bad way to enjoy the afternoon.

Welcome to Den Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag….

pict3004Do remember though that you must respect Low Sidewalk and High Sidewalk. High Sidewalk is for walking, Low Sidewalk is for cyclists and you best mind your P’s & Q’s when tress-passing on the Low Sidewalk because the Dutch are armed with bells and they are not afraid to use them.

Next stop: the local grocery store. The Netherlands are damn expensive and eating out will put you back a pretty penny or four so I hit the market and pick up enough food to crowd into the mini-bar when I get back to the hotel. Nothing terribly noteworthy about Dutch grocers except for the staggering variety of dairy products. Takes up nearly a third of the store. A clerk was kind enough to explain the varieties of milk and for what foods they are specifically engineered.

If this entry is disjointed it is because that was my experience. My hair and sleep cycle did not meld with The Hague. It’s all now a bit of a blur due to sleep deprivation and the strange habit I have of viewing a new city through the lens of the last city I visited. Hence, the Netherlands is viewed through Iceland who was viewed through Ireland who was viewed through France who was view through Morocco and so on and etc.

So my summation is this: the Dutch are groovy kind of folk. They like their bikes retro, their cars small, and their dogs breed-neutral. They have a complicated style of dress that only years of study in the areas of architecture and Dadaist art could I then begin the assimilate. They serve a cup of coffee with a cookie which is exactly how life should be.

The Dutch will take the time to tear up an asphalt covered street only to be replaced with brick laid in a herringbone pattern. That’s a lot of brick. That’s a lot of patience.

pict3014The architecture is Baroque on top of Baroque on top of more Baroque with snippets of astounding Art Deco and modern structures. But all building have the same M.O: large windows with, often, no curtains drawn. They suck up as much light as they can during the day and and rarely bother to draw the shades at night allowing for seriously people watching in their natural habitat. When asked about this, a local store clerk informed me that Dutch people did not assume the worst of people as Americans clearly do.

Attached to these large windows, however, are retracted candy-colored striped awnings just begging to spring out. The most common color are white and orange which I can imagine make the place reminiscent of Newport, Rhode Island the summers of the early 1900’s where the Astors and the Rockefellers and other Masters of the Universe would keep “summer cottages” (read: massive mansions constructed before the introduction of the income tax). I would actually consider a trip back here just to see these awnings in full glory.

I like these people. Their national color is orange, they’ve adopted mint tea from their citizens of Moroccan descent, they ride their bikes rain or shine, hell, I saw a family of four commute to work on a tandem bike with attached side car. Amazing. This in a city with the best public transport I have ever seen.

The only complaint I can conjure is the weather, well, that and a disturbed hotel-roommate. The weather has either been pissing rain, misting rain, or blowing rain the entire week. The only reprieve was the last day when the sun finally broke through and the temp reached a lovely 50 degrees. Rain however, was not enough to keep me from visiting the beach.

I’ll get into that tomorrow though. Right now, I’m still so jet lagged, I’m ready to call it a night even though it’s only mid-afternoon.

You know, after all this time, I have no idea if Sailor reads this blog? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. I know I wouldn’t want to know the inner workings of my twisted mind anymore than was necessary. This blog is best read by strangers.

But Sailor is away on another high-seas adventure. I’ll see him for a few weeks in March and then, not again until July. Such is life of a college student and her mate.

And Valentines Day is this week, I’m feeling all soft and mushy. So I am dedicating this next week of poetry posts to the man I love.

I am deeply, deeply, sorry for this y’all…

Harlem Night Song

Langston Hughes


Come, Let us roam the night together
Singing.

I love you.

Across
The Harlem roof-tops
Moon is shining.
Night sky is blue.
Stars are great drops
Of golden dew.

Down the street
A band is playing

I love you.

Come,
Let us roam the night together
Singing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wow.

I’m feeling pretty proud to be an American today. Something I haven’t felt in a long time. I wasn’t sure if we as a country had it in ourselves to exit the tunnel of fear, racism, and hatred we have been living in for the last eight years.

We elected a black man to be president. We almost elected a woman to higher office. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the highest voter turnout ever.

I am verklempt. But I’m holding my head high.