I had dreams of writing, even when I worked at the Zoo. Then, I used to think I’d write my memoirs. I figured by the time I’d put in 20 or 30 years I’d have enough memories cached away to make some interesting stories. I even had a title for my autobiography: Dead Mice In My Pocket. Catchy, right? I mean; if you saw that sitting on shelf at Barnes and Noble, you’d pick it up, wouldn’t you?
When you work with exotic animals, you get used to having a lot of odd things in your pockets, dead mice being only one of them.
It was a great career; I had a blast, made lasting friends and have treasured memories. Animal training is every bit as rewarding and heartwarming as it looks on TV. Exotic animals are not pets, but the emotional bonding is the same, at least on this human’s part.
I worked with sea lions, wolves, some big cats, birds of prey, many different types of reptiles, wild dogs, porcupines, and so many more. I get asked all the time, ‘which one was your favorite?’ They all were, for very different reasons.
Akela, the timber wolf, was such a funny pup. We took turns babysitting him off site for a few weeks, before the hospital had room to quarantine him. Those were some rough shifts let me tell you! Daytime TV, a wolf puppy snoozing in my lap, and I’m getting paid? Sweet!
Harpo was the first sea lion I worked with. He was already elderly and blind by the time I started, and he was the one all trainers started on. Harpo was the equivalent of the solid, reliable plug you put first-time horseback riders on; won’t startle, won’t bolt. But he was no push-over, if you weren’t consistent or clear in your training, he wouldn’t work for you. Same with Corky, the harbor seal.
Honda, the small-toothed palm civet. Get it? Honda…Civet… oh well, I didn’t name him. He really was a sweetie, but he bit so many people he intimidated most. I learned from Honda that sometimes the loneliest ones are the ones that look the scariest at first. Honda was a big love once you knew how to work with him, and not let him bite.
Jezebel, my sweet Harris hawk; she was nothing but joy to work with. She came to us a naïve, untrained bird, and became one of our most reliable free-flight birds. I’d go running up to the top of the stadium to catch her as part of the show, a glove on one hand and a dead mouse for her in my pocket. The best part was hearing the squeals as people seated close by watched her eat; she was not dainty and entrails frequently went flying. Nature in action, people, it’s what you came here for.
Every day, I was grateful. “Man, they’re paying me to cuddle a cheetah!” went through my head more times than I can count. I’m still grateful, and yeah, I do miss it. But, right now, I’m content with my dogs, cats and chickens. Oh yeah, and one fish. I tell Max (he’s a Betta. Get it? Betta Max? **sighs**) he’s lucky he’s so small, or he’d get thrown at a sea lion.
Not really, and Max knows I’m just kidding. He’s shaking his fins at me right now.
I was lucky enough to have that dream career. When I was a kid, if you asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always answered, “Animal trainer!” For eight years I lived that dream, and it was glorious. Really.
But what happens when you’ve reached a goal? Do you stop setting them? I loved my job, but I stopped growing, and I needed to get away from an environment that was entirely too comfortable for me. I didn’t think in these terms when I was going through it, but in retrospect I can see that I needed to grow in ways that my animal training career and lifestyle couldn’t provide. So I uprooted and transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, and learned about new goals, and how to grow.
What’s your dream job? Do you have it? Are you seeking it? Have you reached your goals?
I love hearing from you! I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read and comment and I value your insights and opinions.
I had surgery, a hysterectomy, on Wednesday. Everything went well, I’m healing nicely. I want to send out huge thank you’s to all who offered prayers, good thoughts and healing vibes. I firmly believe you all helped me get through something that was, if not very dangerous, very stressful, and I am grateful to each of you. In the grand scheme of things, this wasn’t earth-shatteringly important, but it did cause me some worry and anxiety, and it was a good lesson in how to cope.
I’m basically a healthy person, and surgery was last on my list of desirable options. Even though I work in healthcare, and understand intellectually that these procedures are safe and routine, the thought of surrendering myself to nurses and doctors I didn’t know freaked me right the f*** out was unsettling. I’m a Type A, something of a control freak and letting someone I barely know cut me open, while someone else I don’t know at all keeps me asleep and alive was not emotionally easy to accept. I spent most of the last month or so fretting. Yeah, it wasn’t very helpful. My mind knew that I’d be fine, I had no huge risk factors, but my emotions and fear-driven lizard brain were all screaming “You’re gonna DIE!” Sometimes calming the internal lizard can be like trying to put out a volcano with a teacup a little challenging.
You’re all familiar with phrases like ‘give it up to God’ or ‘let it go’ or even ‘you create your own reality’ right? There are any number of self-help books, gurus and websites who tell us that the universe will give us what we want, we only have to ask. Have you ever read someone’s glowing report of how ‘the universe provided this’ or ‘I prayed and got my answer.’ But, how do we ask?
I had worked myself into a bit of a state. “What if they find something really wrong down there, something they’re not expecting? What if something goes wrong during the anesthesia? What if I have a stroke, or a heart attack? What if I die on the table?” Seriously, I thought every one of those things and more. I was worried about bad things happening during the surgery, and after; wound infections, internal bleeding, you know, sometimes having too much medical knowledge is too much. I was so nervous I would cry when no one was around, I worried, I even thought about cancelling my surgery. I stopped meditating, and that only made things worse. I reached a point where I just wanted everything to stop, I needed to make the right decision, but I just didn’t know what that decision was anymore. To cut or not to cut? Surgery would help, would likely cure what I had going on, but there was no guarantee it would fix everything.
And then, one day when I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw a couple inspirational pictures. The gist of the messages were ‘you create your own existence.’ Something clicked within me. “Huh,” I thought, “if ever I needed to be able to create my existence, it’s right now.” Then, I heard my spirit guide. “You can do this.” She told me.
“Do what? Create my existence? That would be awesome, because I’m sure not liking how I feel lately.” I answered.
“Then, change it.” She said. “Here’s how.” She showed me; it was beautifully simply and incredibly hard; she summed up in one word, Trust.
What is it you truly desire? What reality would you create if you could?
I needed a perfect surgery and recovery, I needed for everything to go smoothly and easily, but I was expending far more time and energy worrying about, and visualizing everything that could go wrong, and being afraid.
The universe (or God, or whatever label you prefer) listens to us every moment of every day. This one point is key: The universe is always listening to you. Always. Now think about the day-to-day chatter that runs through your brain; what phrases do you tell yourself over and over? What does the universe hear you saying about yourself?
What was I asking the universe for? What was I telling it I wanted? Fear, pain, anxiety. I started asking for it months before my surgery, and it gave me exactly what I was asking for: more fear, more worries, more stress. Again, not very helpful. As my spirit guide said, I had to change it. It would take a conscious effort of will.
I took some time to rearrange my thoughts and tell the universe how I really wanted my surgery to go. I pulled out everything I had in my spiritual bag of tricks and put it into play. I smudged, I meditated, I spoke with my spirit guides and I poured Reiki over the whole process. The message I got back from my spirit guides was: “This will show you that ‘it’ really works, you really do create your reality. You can do this, but you have to Trust. Trust that this will really work, Trust that you can make this happen. You have to let go of all that fear and anxiety, and replace it with love and trust.”
When asking the universe for something, it helps to keep it short and simple. I adopted “Uncomplicated surgery and recovery” as my intention. I said it out loud, I visualized it in meditation, and I offered Reiki to it, frequently. If I found my thoughts creeping back to the negative, I brought them back into line by restating my intention. Even if you’re not a Reiki practitioner, you can meditate on and visualize the outcome that you want, the energy will get where it needs to go. When stating your intention, always keep it in the present, in the now. Instead of using “I will xxx” or “When…” phrase your request to the universe as if it already exists. In my meditations, I always say, “I am a best-selling author” never “I will be a best-selling author.”
Here’s the trickiest part: You have to let go of the outcome. Yes, you’ve spent all that time visualizing and asking and meditating, it seems counter-intuitive to then just ‘let go.’ We want what we want, or we wouldn’t expend the effort to try and bring it about. But if you get attached to the outcome, you start to attach definitions and restrictions. The more defined and detailed your outcome is, the more desire and want you attach to it, the less likely it is to manifest.
Think of it this way: I needed my uterus removed, but it would have been really stupid for me to try to tell the surgeon where to make the incisions, or how to operate. Even though I have a nursing degree, and a fair amount of medical knowledge, how helpful would it have been if I’d insisted the anesthesiologist only use one drug, or that he could only start an IV in that vein, never this other one? When you ask the universe for something, then try and tell it how to give it to you, it’s like trying to tell a surgeon how to operate on you. It just doesn’t work. You ask, then get out of the way and let the universe do it’s job; don’t try and micromanage!
I did everything I could on my end to ensure that surgery would go well; I started making better choices about my eating and exercise habits. I rejoined the gym, and was pleasantly surprised to find that, although I’d added quite a few extra pounds, I could still do a good 45-50 minutes of cardio. In the process, I lost 6 pounds! Yeah! If I worried, I repeated my intention, and I consciously made the time to offer Reiki daily. In the end, though, I just had to Trust, I had to let go of my control and allow the surgical team to do it’s job to bring about my ideal outcome. My stress level dropped amazingly, and I felt calmer, clearer and started to look forward to ‘the big day’ and how good everything would turn out.
Day of the surgery, and I feel the stress creep back in. It’s harder to find my calm, and I’m a little snippy with the admit nurse. I take a few moments to center, and I apologize. She was gracious and compassionate; blessings on her! I have a few quiet moments, so I ask my spirit guides to be near and they tell me “We’ve been here all along.” Their loving presence is comforting, and I relax. I smile and joke with the nurses and doctors. My surgery was robot-assisted, and no one got my jokes about being operated on by Toasters. How could it be there was not one Battlestar Galactica fan on my surgical team? Tragic. Hub rolled his eyes at me. “Give it up, hon,” He advised.
Then, it was time. The drugs started to flow and out I went. My last thoughts were “I trust that everything will work out for the best, and I accept whatever happens.” I woke up in recovery, I had wonderful care from excellent nurses, and I was home by 8:30 Wednesday night. As I fell asleep that night, safe in my own bed, my guides said, “Now do you believe us?”
It really does work. Try it for yourself! You’ll probably be surprised. Remember: Simple is best, and don’t try and imagine what the process looks like. Imagine the finished product and let the universe work out the details.
Reality check? I realize that everything likely would have gone off just fine, even without all my spiritual practices. I AM healthy, but my mental state…oh my! If nothing else, my meditating gave me calm acceptance, and it certainly lowered my stress, which decreases the hormones associated with stress, which reduces tissue damage and inflammation. Lots and lots of scientific evidence supporting this, as well as personal experience that demonstrates attitude is key to recovery.
Do you want to know the weirdest part of this whole experience? The pregnancy test. Even after I told them my husband was ‘fixed’ years ago, and asked, were they aware the surgery was to remove the baby incubator? Yes, go pee in this cup so we can make sure you’re not pregnant, or we’ll cancel your surgery. I guess the universe has a sense of humor too.
What have you asked the universe for? What kind of answer did you get?
Emma Meade has nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Many thanks to Emma, who shares with me a love of things paranormal. Emma offers up reviews of books, movies and television shows with a paranormal slant. So many I couldn’t begin to catch up. Be sure to check out her blog, especially if you’re looking for your next good read or celluloid adventure.
The rules of the Kreativ Blog award are: You must thank your nominator and link back to her page, tell your readers seven things about yourself, then nominate seven other bloggers. Share that blogging love!
Since it is Weird Weekend, I thought I’d share with you some of my weirder experiences:
1. I used to work in an upscale lingerie and sex toy boutique; entertaining and educational all at once. I’ll never forget the guy who disappeared into the dressing room to try on women’s latex bondage wear. He came crawling out on all fours, paused in front of the mirror, patted his behind and asked, “Do you think my mistress will punish me when she sees me in this?”
3. I am sort of, not really, kinda prepping for the zombie apocalypse. No walkers are making it into my neighborhood, and my neighbors share my dislike for the undead.
4. I follow conspiracy theories. I don’t believe every conspiracy theory, but I enjoy reading about them, and following the author’s research and documentation. Some of my favorites: Roswell – I think a UFO really did crash there. UFO’s in general, abduction phenomena, crop circles, love it! Remote viewing and the military – Men Who Stare At Goats is watered down, but yeah, I think this one is plausible too. Not a conspiracy, but Bigfoot, he’s practically a neighbor here in the Pacific Northwest. Friends of mine swear that they heard one on a motorcycle trip; for a half an hour they could hear it howling and moving about on the side of a mountain. I believe them!
5. I’ve had two sort–of near-death experiences. The first one still vivid to me: I had multiple high fevers when I was very young. During one of them, I found myself floating near the ceiling, looking down on my body, lying on the couch. My mother was kneeling next to me, and her head was down on her arms. I realized she was crying, and then pop! I was back in. The second one, I fell into an empty pool when I worked at the zoo, and was knocked unconscious. Days later, after the concussion and general fuzziness started to fade, I had this urgency of needing to get out of Southern California, that I had other things I needed to do in this life. Within months, I’d quit the job I loved and moved to Seattle. Within a year, I was in nursing school, and within two years, I met the love of my life, now my husband. It was the start of a spiritual journey that is still unfolding.
6. I have found that if you tell the universe what you want, she will provide it. But be careful what you wish for. Found that out once when dating an ex-Navy SEAL.
7. I have found that if you approach what angers or scares you with compassion and an honest attempt at understanding, it can effect change not just in you, but also in what you are confronting.
Now, I pass on the Kreativ Blogging Award to these wonderful writers. Please visit their blogs and say hi:
What came out on DVD this past week? John Carter! Hub bought me the BluRay disc; he is so wonderful! Watched it once already, may have to pop it again soon. It helps that Taylor Kitsch runs around in essentially a loincloth for most of the movie.
What’s that? You didn’t see John Carter? The bad reviews and the fact that Disney took it in the shorts for a most expensive flop kept you from the theater? Why bother with a movie that caused the chairman of the Walt Disney film unit to resign? Well, don’t cry too hard for Disney, they’re raking it in with the Avengers, and will almost certainly continue to do so with the string of Marvel movies due to come out.
So why the disparity? Why was John Carter an epic fail (a $200 million loss!), when Avengers, also full of CGI effects and spectacular eye-candy is still going strong? The story?
On the surface they are really quite similar; fighting, escapism, and effects can be a winning trio, so where’s the disconnect? Essentially, they did to John Carter what they did to Starship Troopers (Another favorite of mine! More on ST in another post). They took an existing story, the basic elements of the plot, character and place names, and then wrote up an entirely new story. They even published a novelization of the movie! They did pair it with the original Edgar Rice Burroughs tale A Princess of Mars, though.
I was so excited when I saw the trailers for John Carter! Early in the year, Hub and I were both pumped for the cinematic embodiment of our childhood years. Hub loved comics like I loved the Barsoomian stories. Hub was not disappointed.
I was. I couldn’t help it. As we sat through John Carter in all it’s 3D Imax glory, Hub kept leaning over and whispering, “Is that in the book?” “No.” “Is that?” No.” “Is…” “No.” From purely a story standpoint, I think Avengers and John Carter are roughly equivalent. They’re not supposed to be deep, they’re supposed to be escapist entertainment, and they succeeded in that. But John Carter deviated from A Princess Of Mars by so great a degree that, if you were expecting the ERB version, the Disney script can only suffer from the comparison. It would take me another whole blog post to list the many, many ways that Disney altered, twisted and flat out re-wrote this story, start to finish. Instead, I will give you this sample.
In A Princess Of Mars, John Carter falls in love with Dejah Thoris; almost from the moment he lays eyes on her. He literally follows her from one end of the planet to the other, to rescue her. He kills a lot. Really a lot, like, thousands of people along the way, and would “gladly depopulate Barsoom” for her and her alone. He is emotionally pure, he’s never been in love, and his devotion to Dejah Thoris is his only motivation throughout the entire series. The Disney Dejah Thoris must tearfully beg a widowed, emotionally scarred and indifferent John Carter to fight for her, multiple times. She deceives him, more than once, to try to trick him into giving her aid, which he only reluctantly gives her because she is his ticket home. It changed the entire subtext of the story; it just couldn’t win me, no matter how much I enjoyed Taylor Kitsch in the garb of a Tharkian chieftain.
In my opinion, this is why the movie tanked. The story is not so much worse than the Avengers, a little less mature, perhaps, but for what it is, it’s certainly appropriate. It’s as much a visual treat as the superhero fight fest. Seriously, if you haven’t, you should see John Carter, just for the effects, the costumes and the creatures. But the many multitudes of us who read and loved the stories were disappointed to find it so warped out of recognition, and that spelled it’s doom in the theater.
I was on the fence (briefly, it’s true!) about getting the DVD. And then, I heard the best thing ever – a conspiracy about why John Carter was such an epic fail! No kidding, and by this time I was over my pet about the whole rewriting of the story, so I was really happy when Hub brought home the BluRay. Plus, I got to watch Taylor Kitsch again, a definite plus.
Richard C. Hoagland was the guest on Coast to Coast AM on April 2nd. If you’re not familiar with him, definitely check out his website, or Facebook page. Love him or hate him, he’s got some interesting ideas and theories. I really like him. Yes, I’ll admit to it! I’ve bought his books, and probably will do so again. Do I accept all his ideas? Um, no. But back to the subject: Mars, Barsoom and the fall of John Carter into movie history as a major flop.
During this episode of Coast to Coast, Mr. Hoagland expressed the idea that the reason John Carter was such a flop was that it details ideas about an ancient civilization on Mars/Barsoom that neatly coincide with his own.
A little background: Monuments Of Mars is about the famous Face on Mars, the Cydonia region, and a whole lot more. Mr. Hoagland discusses at length something he calls ‘hyperdimensional physics.’ I barely squeaked by in physics, so while I found his theories interesting, I’m not really qualified to say if they are accurate or not. I will say, he speaks very compellingly, and while I can’t regurgitate them, when I read them, they appeared to make sense. I remember thinking that they had a beautiful symmetry to them, at the micro and macro level.
So on April 2nd, Mr. Hoagland talked quite extensively about how it appeared that Edgar Rice Burroughs had extra insights into life on Mars. “How did he know that?” he asked. He suggested that the director of John Carter, Andrew Stanton, had deliberately put images and hidden messages into the film to reveal ‘the truth’ about the lost history of Mars/Barsoom and the civilization that once flourished there.
Now, I love the idea of a lost civilization on Mars. I’ll even say that I found Mr. Hoagland’s book on the subject to have more than enough data to justify taking a deeper look at our next nearest neighbor. If you remember, I posted a few links to articles about Mars in an earlier post , and more evidence keeps cropping up that the Red Planet is more complex and truly has the potential for life right now. We already know at one time it had an atmosphere and running water. Heck, photos show that it has seasonal running water now, not just in it’s distant past. In Monuments of Mars, Mr. Hoagland has photos, taken by rovers and satellites that show structures with a suspicious regularity. It’s enough to make me wonder, and want to know more.
Here’s where I break with Mr. Hoagland. During the show, he referenced episodes in the movie as if Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote them. ERB’s Dejah is little more than a pretty prop, captured and dragged across Barsoom for John Carter to chase and rescue. She is not a scientist, she did not discover the ‘ninth ray’ and the Therns do not travel planet to planet via hyperdimensional physics. Dejah Thoris is a princess, and a figurehead of her people and nothing more in the original story, she’s off-stage more than on. Richard C. speculated more than once that ERB had additional insight into life on Mars, then referenced a portion of the movie that was never in the ERB’s story. It’s kind of hard for the original author to have hidden knowledge if he never wrote about it in the first place!
However, he tangled this with Andrew Stanton’s take on the story, and that the director was also revealing parts of Mar’s hidden history. At one point, he makes the statement that the city of Helium is exactly what they see now, in ruins, on the surface of Mars, and this inclusion in the film was deliberate. Now, the powers that be do not want the general public to know about the secret history of solar system and hyperdimensional physics, so the film has been sabotaged to keep us in the dark. Hmmm, I have to say, that’s a bridge too far for me.
It’s a good movie, but I can’t buy the conspiracy angle, and I love a good conspiracy theory. I would however, really like to see better images, and even a manned mission to Mars to find out once and for all if at one time it harbored intelligent life. I consider that well within the realm of possibility, and in that sense, I do think Mr. Hoagland is on to something.
We have, here on our own little blue planet, records of craft that traveled the air, the sea and even between the planets, in the Vedas of ancient India. The Vimanas are described as craft, vehicles, chariots, even ‘aerial cities’ powered by wind, gas, or lighting that are described as ‘flying…to solar and stellar regions.’ Just mythology? Or historical record? Such references appear not once or twice, but over and over again, in multiple texts.
Again, we see indirect evidence of a technologically advanced civilization that has been nearly erased. What do you think? If ten or twelve thousand years ago, a race had powered flight, and not just interplanetary, but interstellar flight, do you think there might be ancient ruins on Mars? Wouldn’t you like to find out for sure?
While just like in John Carter, I’ll never see the twin, mile high spires that mark Greater and Lesser Helium. Thoats and Tharks remain where they belong, on the page and on the screen, but, I’d settle for a paved floor or stone wall on Mars. How about you? Do you think it possible a space-faring race once thrived on Earth and Mars? Or is it all just science fiction?
Wild Wednesdays will return! However, I’m putting them on hold for a few weeks. Extra days and longer hours at work are keeping me from getting my weekday posts up, but Weird Weekends will continue.
Thank you for reading, and I promise, there’s more animal training, zoo tales, and garden adventures in the works. By the end of the month I will have plenty of free time for writing, and after my surgery, well, writing is probably all I’ll be good for, at least for a little bit.
I’m really not much for astrology. I say that only because I haven’t taken the time to really study it. I have seen some really interesting correlations between personality and sun sign, but I don’t really know how well current stellar occurrences correlate with current events. I’ve heard more than one astrologer state; “I predicted that because of xyz.” However, I haven’t taken the time to follow up and find out if they were correct.
However, current events in the sky have had me pondering the whole question of astrology. A couple weeks ago I wrote about the annular eclipse we had the ‘super moon’ before that, and of course we have the big alignment of our sun with the center of the Milky Way at the winter solstice on December 21st, 2012. Now this week, we have another unusual astronomical phenomena, and it’s also a relatively rare one.
June 5th to June 6th, 2012, the planet Venus will cross the face of the sun. The last time she did this was June 8th, 2004. I say relatively rare because this particular event always occurs in pairs about 8 years apart, every 120 years.
It started me wondering again, if maybe the Mayans weren’t on to something with their calendar. I don’t really buy into the doom-and-gloom apocalyptic aspect that some ascribe to this. Because the Mayans never said the world was going to end, they said it was the end of an age. Which also means the start of a new one.
I find it intriguing that in this particular year, which was so significant to a culture that had intricate knowledge of star movements, and the passage of time would have such a large number of unusual celestial events occurring within it, each one with it’s own distinct significance.
I’m not sure what that means, but in browsing through some different websites that describe what the astrological significance of this Venus transit means I found out that these transits tend to signify an expansion of consciousness, are generally marked by shifts in communication and commerce. For example in the 1519-1526 transit, Magellan’s travels demonstrated that the Earth was a globe, and not flat. From 1631-1639 national mail service was established in Denmark, and the 1874 pairing brought about the telephone.
Currently, we have seen the rapid expansion of the Internet and the advent of the smart phone. People now have a whole new way of connecting and communicating. We’ve all seen the results of this new, near instantaneous communication in the news. Now, with global banking and currency systems trembling, some financial experts are suggesting new financial systems need to be explored. This is apparently related to the fact that these transits occur during either the sign of Gemini or Sagittarius.
However, Venus is named for the Roman goddess of love, and so love in all it’s aspects will also be affected, as well as relationships.
I’m actually kind of excited to see how it all plays out. If you’d like to check out the websites I read through, visit them here: