Archive for January, 2008

Not a Cat Picture*

Empress Lyza

Empress Lyza, in her La-z-boy reclining throne, commands, “Bring me bacon, cook-slave!”

Lyza was 14 in November, and is still fine and feisty. Her only complaints are that she’s stone deaf, which isn’t a problem for her, and she has old-age asthma. While her eyes are a little cloudy now, she does not have cataracts, her glowing eyes are just from the camera flash. Lyza is a retired show champion Tibetan Spaniel; we adopted her from the breeder when she couldn’t have puppies.

*Picture is posted per the little-known blog regulation that mandates all blogs post a periodic cat picture. We at Smug Puppies hope that dog pictures are an acceptable alternative. If you don’t like it, Lyza will rip your face off.

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2008 by Jeri
Under: dogs | 18 Comments »

Living with Depression

As I’ve mentioned in response to excellent posts on a couple of other sites, I struggle with depression. Although I don’t usually talk about personal topics here, nor am I as entertaining and eloquent as Dooce on the subject, I do want to collect and share my thoughts in this forum.

I have battled depression since adolescence, probably since I was 14 or 15. I didn’t know what it was back then, and wasn’t diagnosed until my mid-20s, but it seriously impacted me. I was quite a handful, my moods must have given my parents and college roommates whiplash.

There is a difference between situational depression (my dog died so I’m down in the dumps) and clinical depression (which is ongoing, intractable, not responsive to the ups and downs of life). The variables are usually duration and severity – but please, if this at all applies to you, visit a trained mental health professional to help with that evaluation!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: health, inspiration | 8 Comments »

State of the Union Address

I don’t often blog about politics because it’s such a divisive subject – even among my immediate family, convictions vary widely.

Last night, watching the State of the Union address, I was struck by a couple of things.

What is the point of this big event? There was nothing new announced, nothing groundbreaking or earth-shattering explored. (OK, maybe an actual number for troop drawdown was new, but otherwise…)

Everyone gets dressed up, and attendance for key members of all branches of government seems to be nearly mandatory. The VIPs and guests of honor come to town, and are carefully seated where cameras can easily find them.

The president stands up, and runs down his platform, pretty much adhering closely to party line. Euphemisms and political cliches are rampant. He gets a little cranky about executive-legislative non-cooperation, but gets really excited about a few of last year’s accomplishments. He’s frequently interrupted by partisan applause, more rarely by bipartisan approval.

Then we hear a response from a key, impartial member of the opposing party. While prefacing her comments with the proposition that support for government should be bipartisan, she, too, pretty much runs straight down the opposition party platform.

A representative number of candidates with wooden smiles and perfect hair spend a few minutes onscreen; they, too, emphasize their respective party’s talking points.

At the end of the evening, nothing new has been said. Neither the president nor the opposition party has gained any ground, reached any consensus. No one has solved any problems, no one has proposed any innovative solutions.

So, why is it such a big deal? Why do all the movers and shakers show up for a rehash of old news? I have a theory; it’s a pep rally for our elected leaders, lacking only a hyperactive cheer squad.

One other question: how is it that the State of the Union is strong? Have I missed something during the last year? We’re facing an impending recession, the federal deficit is outrageous, foreign support for US policies is lukewarm-to-hostile, protests rage in the street about immigration and the war in Iraq, and approval levels for the existing oligarchy are at an all-time low.

It must be some alternate definition of strong.

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: Politics | 12 Comments »

Ficlet: Only Driftwood

This weekend, inspired by Eric, I logged back onto Ficlets for the first time in months and wrote a couple of ultra-short fiction pieces.

I’ve included one of them below – I am pleased with how it turned out.

Only Driftwood

This morning I took a walk on the bleak, deserted beach; not even the seabirds wanted to scavenge in the stinging, horizontal rain.

I usually try to follow the high-water mark. It is easier to walk there, and the seafoam sometimes carries treasures.

Today, though, I walked back near the driftwood margin; it blocked the wind a little. Driftwood has always fascinated me. The bleached, twisted shapes speak of desolation and endurance.

I stumbled, lurching, and looked down. I’d tripped over bones, a hand, fingers partially buried in the sand. It seemed like a desperate skeleton clawing its way out of the earth.

I breathed deeply… be calm. I knelt, and without touching, looked more closely. A silver bracelet circled the dessicated wrist, inscribed with the word “Faith”.

It was disconcerting; I’d thought this was a good place to hide the body.

I brushed sand back over the unfortunate bones, relic of a different time in my life, and headed back up the beach to warmth.

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: writing | 14 Comments »

More Hijacking: Books

Many of us are book-lovers… shoot, that’s why we like Scalzi & his site!

What is the most striking book you’ve read in the last year or so, and why? And for extra bonus points, if you’re a writer wannabe like me, which writer’s style do you most admire?

I read so fast and so voraciously, it’s hard to remember very far back — but I think the most striking recent book I’ve read was Dust, by Elizabeth Bear. While I’d love to be able to write like Connie Willis, my style doesn’t really go that direction; I’d say that a better target for me is Kristine Smith.

Posted on Monday, January 28th, 2008 by Jeri
Under: blog meme, reading, writing | 2 Comments »