Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Marking my territory, the natural way of course!

The theory goes that some animals piss and mark their territory.  Apparently, it works for them; something along the lines of the scent keeping other animals away.  If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I've been working on my garden.  Have been for years.  What does marking territory have to do with this?  Well, there are several factors that contribute to the success or failure of healthy blooms, or just plain flowering, for that matter.  The obvious are sunshine and water.  Then there's the cruel decapitation factor.  Yes, I mean decapitation by deer.  Their mouths are flower bud guillotines.  I'll spend days watching the slow process of budding and it'll be so close to bloom and then a sudden chop!  Deer have no heart or manners.  Mostly, I'll just have to take my squashed heart, hide my tears and return home cursing those monsters.  Please stop if you think deer are so cute. Why don't you try planting something only to have it be eaten away a couple of days before they bloom?

So anyway, this year, I got a gardener.  He seems quite knowledgeable on keeping deer away.  His first attempt was to put dog poop around the plants.  Did not work.  He assured me that he had another fail proof plan - to smear the dog poop on the underside of the leaves of my plants.  He said it would smell for a day or so, and it would keep the deer away after that.  Well, it's worked.  Mostly.

This past week, the deer rummaged through my favorite decorative sedum, they ate my yaro buds (a flowering herb that apparently deer do not like), and they chopped off the top of my black eyed Susan.  I don't even know what this flower looks like.  I've been waiting for it to bloom.  Needless to say, I am not happy.  My gardener came to re-treat all my plants with the dog poop but somewhere I did not feel satisfied.

This past weekend was Eid and my family got together and while we sat outside my friend's home, we were discussing deer and how to keep them away.  My friend said that she had heard human pee could be used to mark territory.  We all joked.  I told her to get her whole family, herself included, to get their act together and start contributing in a real sense with their pee!  My friend joked back and told me to go do it first and to report on how efficient it was. Everyone laughed.  I said, why not and then everyone laughed about avoiding cups in my bathroom because you never know what I might have used them for.

As my husband and I drove home, I told him that it would be worth a try.  Animals do it!  Maybe the deer won't even get close.  They may never have to taste the dog poop on the leaves.  I am not trying to be kind to the deer.  Secretly, I wished they tasted the dog poop and were disgusted and never came back, but with pee, they would hopefully smell the pee from much further away and not even bother.  To be very honest, I don't really know what I expected or how to go about marking my territory.  They don't sell pee at the stores, do they?  I didn't look, but I figured asking would raise some eyebrows.  Who knows?  It might get one arrested?  All I knew was that I needed to collect my pee which means I needed to pee in a cup.

The adventure so begins.  I took my warm cup of pee outside and lined an area of my garden closer to my sedum.  Some of the pee got on the sedum.  I thought to myself, "Ha!  There you go deer.  Dog poop and human pee.  Deal with that!"  I felt quite smug.  So, this peeing in the cup and marking an area of my garden continued 3 more times.  I tried to talk my husband into going outside and doing his business.  He asked me what the neighbors would think.  I told him to do it when no one was watching, obviously.  He just shook his head at me, and I wondered what husbands were for, if they couldn't perform such a small favor.

It was 11pm when I poured my last cup of pee outside.  I gave up on my husband helping me but I was happy and grinning from ear to ear.  I just had to figure out a way to keep this up though.  Four cups of pee didn't give me much area, and there's the whole wait factor between one pee to the next, but I was determined.  As I was figuring out my strategy for marking my territory, it dawned on me that the whole thing started as a joke.  Would this effort work at all?  Perhaps I should Google it, and so I did.

I found an article about human pee and plants.  Do NOT pee on plants because the acidity will kill the plants.  There was a whole bunch of warnings about using full strength pee.  If you are using pee to provide nitrogen for plants, make sure you dilute 20:1.  That's 20 parts water.  I had just spilled some full strength, fresh pee earlier that evening on my favorite sedum.  Noooooo!  In my attempt to save my plants, have I gone on an accidental killing rage?  Death by pee acid.

The article continued to talk about using early morning pee as it contained more hormones and stuff.  Great, I'd been using evening pee.  The kicker is the article stated male pee not female pee should be used to mark territory because male hormones could imply aggression?  Apparently, a guy should use his morning pee and pee high (at the level of a deer) at a nearby tree.  Oh, and get this.  They did not even know for sure if it worked as they didn't know anyone who had tried it.  Is this a joke?  Seemed legit, but oh my!

In desperation, at 11:15pm, I go to my husband and tell him about the pee spill on my sedum and a small part of my phlox.  He suggested I go outside and pour water to dilute the areas.  So, there I am at 11:15pm outside in the dark, pouring water on my plants, hoping to dilute my stupidity.

The good news.  A couple of good news.  I don't have to pee in a cup anymore.  I'm glad my husband declined my request to pee outside.  Apparently, if you get caught, you'll be put on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life!  Ya.  I don't think my husband wants to be on that.

That's my story for this week.  I hope you all enjoyed the read and I'm sure you guys have a better head on your shoulders than I do!

Best to all,

Friday, June 16, 2017

To Color or not to Color

Tomorrow will be my 45th birthday and as the years have gone by they have left their marker on my hair - thinning and greying.  I don't think there's much I can do for my hair not being as thick and healthy, but there is a remedy for greying.  Hair dye.  If you've read my previous post of "my journey to beautiful" you'll remember that I started coloring my hair, more as a beauty trend (big mistake I must add) in my early 30s.  In the process of recovery, I had to go to a salon in America and allow my hair to grow out and after that, I can't remember why I continued.  Did I notice the grey more?

Long story, short - I'm almost fully grey.  I have to color every 2-4 weeks to keep my face looking young.  For most women, it's part of their schedule.  For me, it was part of my delayed schedule.  I would color every 3 months or longer.  I would wait for a family member to tell me that I needed to color my hair.  The hassle of it.  The time spent irrespective of whether I did it in a salon or at home.  What is the price of beauty?  I used to think that I just didn't want to spend the $100 or so to color my hair.  Now that I do it at home, it's an $8 box of hair dye.  Price point was just defeated.  Yet, I'm left with this constant chore and I wonder why I have imposed it on myself.  I wonder why society essentially has imposed it on me.  Women have to look younger and to do that, we have to color our hair.  I wonder what would happen if I let it go.  I would be all grey.  Sure, people say I have a youthful face, but youth is perception.  Isn't it to some extent?

I saw a video a few weeks back of a woman who decided to go all grey.  Basically, she let her hair grow out and was comfortable in her own skin.  For someone who has struggled with beauty all her life, I struggle with the concept of going all grey and looking older.  Age and women is not a good combination.  I struggle with my sense of combatting norms and traditions.  I've always sought to secretly fight the "rules" and yet, this is a rule I'm struggling to fight.  I want to stand out there and say, I'm going grey and it's my choice.  Deal with it!  I want to say that with confidence.  Will that day  come or will I succumb to my own vanity and sense of holding on to an illusion because the world does?

I haven't colored for a few months now.  There's over an inch of grey and it's becoming obvious.  I often wonder what I will look like, all grey.  Will I get used to it?  Will it be my rebellion?  My statement to the world that I don't f*&^ing care.  I feel my inner strength is tested here.  I need to get used to a new face.  So many paradigms to deal with.  While I shuffle my thoughts, let's hope my strength to not color wins out.  Every time I think about this, I fail and in a moment of weakness I color and the cycle will start again.  How long will I hold out?  I don't know.

What if women never colored their hair?  What if?

Best to you all,

Friday, June 9, 2017

An ode to my car

This was obviously written over a year ago and saved.  Let's see where this post goes.  PS.  My car's name is Buddy.

Dear Buddy, I was in Florida this weekend  and driving a VW.  The car was much younger and hotter.  Granted he didn't talk to me, he had a quiet strength that slowly stole my heart.  I'm not looking to marry him but I realize that I am missing something in my life. You are wonderful but I've come to understand that there's more out there.  I'm sorry. I wasn't planning on cheating on you. In fact, I had picked a companion that made me miss you more.  However, that's not how the chips fell. I was given a VW instead of an Altima and his touch made me feel whole again. I had contemplated being with you til death do us part, but dear friend, I apologize. Soon, in a couple of years we may have to part ways.
There is no greater blow than to be deserted by the one you love but I fear the blow may be worse. As much as I loved the VW this past weekend, I am looking for something else now. Something far more sensual. My next car will be a beautiful hot and sexy Xylene.  Sometimes, it is what it is.
I hope you understand. I will continue to be on your side for a couple of years but please don't misunderstand my philandering. I'm being as honest and unhurtful as I can.
I still love you. You have brought me countless joys and we have had some amazing journeys together laughing and singing our way to destinations. You will always be my first love.

Hmmm.  I should write a today post.  After all, it is over a year later.

Dear Buddy, It's me again.  I'm so over the VW.  I guess, I am still holding on to what we have.  But then you had to argue with me and pick a fight over my wandering eyes.  I tried to explain to you that, it's just an iPhone 7.  How can you be jealous of him?  Sure, he's new and enticing, but he's a phone and you are a car.  Not playing fair with him has caused me to look again.  Hey, it's your fault.  He was trying to play my podcast and he asked you for help, but did you help?  No.  You just kept turning your blue tooth on and off and on and off and on and off.  It's not funny Buddy.  He was hurt and to be honest, so was I.  I asked him to play the podcast.  He didn't just do it to bug you.
Well, yet again, you have pushed me to look.  My eyes have wandered through several car lots and several one-drive stands.  Sorry.  I couldn't help myself.  You knew what I was doing and you knew why.  Now, when they have officially release the younger, hotter, sexier female version of you, I think you know Xylene is just one car drive away.  Are you hoping I stay now?
You do know that your newer version has Apple car play.  That means Xylene could potentially be best friends with my iPhone and I don't have to deal with the random fighting.  I see you have played my podcast yesterday for the whole ride, with no complaints.  Seriously Buddy.  The games must end.  I do love you.  You have been my friend through thick and thin, but I need to know that you are not going crazy on me and that you will not be jealous of any new friends.
I'll be honest here.  I'm fighting with wanting to grow old with you, because it's not completely your fault.  I get it.  I'm also fighting to move on.  Our relationship lacks trust and security that your newer version can offer.  Blind spot detection.  Adaptive cruise.  Come on Buddy.  Help me out here.  You have been my trusted steed.  I do love you, so help me God or you would have had new owners by now.  I'm holding on.  I'm trying.  Please hold on with me.  We have a very special kind of love.  I don't want it to fade as yet.

If you are reading this, you probably know that I'm nuts, but that's beside the point.  In my journey with Buddy, and through my writing letters to him, I have realized one important thing.  I would have given up my car a long time ago.  But Buddy is not just a car.  Note to self:  do not name your car.  It takes a personality all of its own.

Best wishes to you all,

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's not Wimbledon!

I used to be an avid tennis player.  If I had to quantify it, I used to play about 20 hours a week.  There was one weekend I played 9 hours of tennis in the same day, going from match to match to match.  Yes, I used to be crazy.

I ran for the ball and held out my racquet way ahead of me and fell, like a baseball slide.  Yes, I scraped my arms and I still have the scar on my pelvis from my skin being peeled through my tennis skirt!  I remember an orthodontist friend of mine who said to me that he was really concerned for my hands at that moment.  I make a living on my hands being a dentist.  This was 10 years ago.  I guess priorities change...

Living the tennis dream was everything to me.  I wanted to make it to sectionals and regionals and win it all with my team.  My dream was to do it in the 4.0 leagues.  Or even the 3.5 for that matter.  I can't remember.  The closest I got was to make it to play offs and after a grueling 3 set match that I won, my team still didn't place number 1.  We didn't move ahead.  Having such a dream, I still never considered switching my team.  I stuck it through.  I was sought after as a 3.5 singles player and I enjoyed the mini fame it got me.

Change is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes.  It makes you re-think the world.  A few things changed for me.  I was bumped up to 4.0.  I was playing in my dream league.  This was the tennis that I had fought so hard for.  This was the blood, sweat and tears of my tennis dream.  It came with a price.  A hefty price.  First, I couldn't hold my own as a singles player.  The level of play was much, much, much higher than 3.5.  I, who had 23 out of 25 wins in the 3.5 level surely could have some merit. No.  I played my best game yet.  All my balls hitting mark, exactly as I wanted them and willed them, painting the lines, and yet, all balls returned back, more fierce than before until I would lose the match 0 and 0.  That wasn't the worst part.  I could sense a loss of camaraderie.  These women were not playing for friendly competition.  They were playing for fierce competition alone.  After my loss, that pretty much guaranteed my chances of play.  Not!  Around the same time, 2 other events took place that pretty much cemented my tennis breakdown.  My coach moved to another club and took part of the team with her.  My team in the next couple of years was split.  Some players climbing the ranks to 4.0 and some sinking and some moving to the other club and some staying and well, I was tossed and turned in this shuffle.  I tried to stay in the same club and that didn't work out too well.  I tried to move back to my old coach and everything was just falling apart.  I also got a divorce and priorities rapidly change after that.

I opened my practice and soon tennis became a vague memory.  I tried to hold on, but I couldn't.  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I know thinking to myself, as a consolation that although I would never reach my dream, it wasn't like my dream was a Wimbledon trophy.  This was just a league match in a mini world with an opportunity to go and duke it out in Florida or California with other leagues from the country.  It's nice but it's OK.  It's not worth the intense, I will not smile, competition.  Maybe it was all pay back time for when I was younger and more intense and intimidating myself.  Oh well.

Age talks back at you as well.  When I would try my hand at tennis, my knees would give way when I ran like I used to.  I would suddenly just crumble into the ground watching the ball that I could have easily placed in my youth bounce one extra time.  It is very strange when you are so much a part of a sport that it runs in your blood and one day it's just not a part of you anymore.  Maybe I'll get back to it.  Little at a time.  Maybe.  But for now, I keep telling myself that it's not Wimbledon!

Best to you all,


A brother's wedding speech

I got married over 4 years ago, so between the toasting and the roasting, the memory of what my brother said may be a tad fuzzy, but there were some great take home points.  I do recall him talking about how it's traditional to say good things about the bride (his sister, myself) but that he was going to break from convention.  Great!
I would like to bring up one of the concepts in a phenomenal book I read a few years ago:  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  I didn't consider my brother's wedding speech as such at that time.  I don't even think my brother intended it that way, but in looking back, it was a bigger message camouflaged in a story about my belligerent youth.  In reality, the speech wasn't about me, at all.
There was mention about how I always got my way and how my life seemed carefree.  Something about how picky I was about how people pronounced my name.  Then there was the realization that perhaps I too had my issues.  Perhaps I was shadowed constantly as his sister, rather than my own self.  This is where the message comes in.  It was really about empathy.  Didn't think a motivational lecture would be slipped through with comic relief, but so we have it.  I reflect back.
In life, I feel most people are self-centered.  Let's call them the centrics.  There are a few that are empathetic.  The thing with being centric is the notion that only you have problems.  If you do acknowledge other's problems, it's only to show that your problems are greater.  The other interesting thing about centrics is their belief that nothing good or great is happening to them and all the goodness and greatness is happening to other people.  It's the basic misconception that plagues our society.
How do we know the size of someone's problems if we didn't walk a mile in their shoes?  How can we discount, the supposed happy faces hiding issues unless we asked?  Similarly, how can we undermine someone's good fortunes without truly realizing the efforts that it took them to get there.  Somewhere, my brother had figured out that perhaps living in his shadow had caused me to be the way I was.  Perhaps.  Perhaps he moved out of his centric zone and realized that maybe my life wasn't as perfect as it seemed.  In that lesson, was a lesson to me that perhaps I need to move out of my centric zone too.  Not just with my brother but with everyone.  Everyone has a story, a reason and I do need to seek it and understand where they are coming from.
I am reminded of a friend of mine talking about her 3 year old son (not at the wedding).  She simply said, "he hasn't discovered the other people yet."  So, while I think about my life, I also think about others.  The far side grass may be greener, but we don't know it, unless we go there and see for ourselves.  Are we focussing on their one blade of green grass in a vast yard of yellow?  I know I'm exaggerating, but let's be fair.
Recently, I can't remember the exact example, but I was dealing with someone or thinking about a professional and thinking about how great their life was.  Seemed so carefree and easy and they seemed to be making so much money for seemingly so little work and then it hit me.  I hear it all the time about doctors.  Patients think they make so much money and they hardly do anything.  HA HA HA.  For real?  No one sees the years of hard work and sacrifice it took to make that journey to the top.  Then I rethink my thoughts.  Another mirage.  Another grass is greener explosion.  We just need to reconsider the other side.
As with my thoughts, I wandered into the notion about people who just have it easy because they do. You know?  Inheritance?  Maybe long term family wealth that allows them to do whatever without any work.  Sure.  They are there.  But why would we want to waste our valuable time and resources thinking about that?  Be happy for them and move on.  Live your own life, not a life of comparison.  If you are comparing, do so to learn and grow.
My brother talked about how I pursued what I wanted to pursue in life.  I act.  I pay the violin.  I do what I want to do because I want to do it.  Perhaps in his empathy, he has realized that life can be lived, so maybe I have taught him some things and in return learned to continue to live and be empathetic.  Centrism must go!
My brother did not talk about gratitude though.  Interesting.  Most motivational lectures should have that critical part, but then my brother was doing a wedding speech.  Or was he?  Regardless, in the wisdom of a comical speech, there was the motivation for all of us to be better human beings.

Best to you all,