Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 28, 2008

Snakes and Snails....

Tow boys are talking about computers upstairs. I was able to turn up the volume long enough to enjoy the Obama speech, but it's over now and they're still talking. And they won't stop. I'd probably join them except I don't understand a word they are saying. So now I'm stuck down in the office with Luna and the cats, killing time on the actual machine rather than listening to them talk about it.

What is it with men and their fondness for excruciating detail, processes and technical paraphernalia? Has anyone else noticed this? For some men it's baseball statistics, tool collecting and the stock market. For others, it's movie quotes (usually Caddyshack), maps, and knowledge of wine. It doesn't matter what it is, really; it's all the same. Men collecting data, information, knowledge just for the sake of having it and maybe showing it off. I know it doesn't seem like a fantasy baseball-loving guy with a full workshop in his garage has all that much in common with a map-collecting guy with a cellar full of wine he can talk about in great detail. But they have a lot more in common than you think. The y chromosome to start with.

I know women with shades of this quality. But never through to the bone the way I've seen it with men. Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just too lazy to delve that deeply into any subject. Sure, I write - but only on a little blog every week or so. Sure, I knit-- but I'm not aiming for much beyond a hat or a blanket. Sure, I like wine-- but only enough to know that too much red gives me a headache. I always say that I'd rather not dedicate that much brain space to trivia. But I sure do love it that Wine Guy has the encyclopedic knowledge of wine, astrology, religion, and all the other things I'm so proud he knows so much about.

What do you guys think?

August 23, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

I love hard. That's the best way I can think to say it. With love (for me), comes need. With need (for me again), comes a strange mix of confidence and insecurity. I feel confident to be my goofy, childish self while, at the same time, am in constant fear that the object of my love will disappear.

I suppose I am quick to give up the goofy, childish part of me (plenty of people I don't "Love" know this about me). But that fearful insecurity part? I save that for the special few. Aren't they lucky?

Within all that goofy, childish neediness is my secret inner Big Sister. The one that never got to express herself because she was stuck in the role as the youngest sibling. You know, that person who gets teased, cajoled, annoyed and generally messed with - all the while being slightly worshipful of her torturer. I admit it. Sometimes I feel comfortable enough to exercise those pent up Big Sister muscles with those that I love - people and pets.

Anyone who has ever seen me "love hard" on my cat AppleButt knows what I'm talking about first hand. I absolutely, madly love my cat. With that love comes my unrealistic confidence that she loves me for being me, so I can do anything I want to her.

And let's not forget the foreboding fear that she will just not come home one day. A coyote, a thief, or even just old age. Anything could get her. And I would be devastated.

So when I want to show my love, I do it so expressively, so desperately that I'm sure she hates every second of it. I hold her, cradle her, raise her in the air and declare my feelings. Kiss her belly, make her dance. All the stuff you can imagine a cat detesting.

See our holiday cards from the last two years below if you don't believe me (the backstory on that is here):

But AppleButt doesn't really fight my annoying attentions; and if you've ever had a cat, you should know that they generally don't put up with crap if they don't want to. A quick flick of the claw and a wiggly squirm and they are outta there. But not AppleButt. She takes it in with a calm stare that I insist to anyone looking on, who is invariably telling me to leave her the hell alone, "But she loves it. She loves me." And I begin again.

It wasn't until this happened with Wine Guy for the first time that I was introduced to another possibility. This was when Wine Guy replied to my "But she loves me" comment with this little joking retort, "She has to put up with it. She's basically your hostage. It's not's Stockholm Syndrome."

I adopted AbbleButt when she was 2 months old. She knows nothing else but me. I am, as far as she knows, her entire world. Without me - no food, no shelter. So the option to just take off and find a better situation just wouldn't enter her mind. I've convinced her that I am, in fact, good for her. After a while, she starts to believe it and, voila - Stockholm Syndrome.

But I quickly put that thought out of my mind by dismissing Wine Guy's joke as just that - a silly joke. It remained out of my mind until recently - when we got the dog.

As many of you know, I've wanted a dog ferociously for years. So if you think I love hard on AppleButt, just wait until you see how I love on Luna. It was this hard loving that lead to Wine Guy's most recent Stockholm Syndrome reference.

Except this time I didn't dismiss it. In fact, I took it in quite deeply. He probably figured that out when I turned to look at him and said, "Oh my God. What if you don't love me. What if I'm really holding you hostage in this relationship and you've just become so used to it that you think it must be love?"

We both laughed at the idea. Ha, ha. What a silly joke. But that doesn't mean that I laughed it off. Oh no. I can already tell that my fearful side is just gonna let that one simmer for awhile. I suspect the thought will rear its ugly head again soon. And when that happens, I'm pretty sure I won't be laughing.

Better sign off now. Wine Guy is grilling some tasty-smelling chicken and I think it's almost done. (Oh, didn't I tell you that a good meal far outweighs my goofy, childish neediness?)


August 11, 2008

Short Attention Span Blogging

It seems like very 5 minutes there is some new website that everyone is joining so they can connect, connect, connect to everyone they know, used to know, or might know in the future. Friendster (remember that? or Catster for that matter), MySpace (so last year), Facebook (I suspect on it's way out), Twitter (so right now, or at least it is for me since I just figured out what the hell it is). Perhaps it's because I am often looking to kill time at work, but I end up succumbing to the hype and signing up for the next big thing. Only to let it fade away a few months later. I suspect I am not alone.

But when someone explained to me that Twitter is basically just teeny, tiny little blogs (I believe they used the term "micro-blogging"), I was intrigued. As many of you know from reading my blog, I tend to go long. Sometimes loooooooong. I accept that my writing is really not web-friendly in that it doesn't cater to short attention spans, but I figure that if anyone enjoys my "voice" and what I have to say, they'll stick around and take a little time to read it. If not, I have fun writing it anyway and, as I've said before, writing (and editing) help me get a handle on what is really going on versus what my overactive, slightly paranoid mind tries to convince me is going on (see this entry if you want to know more).

Because I tend to go long, I write less frequently than I would like. It takes a lot of energy to assemble my thoughts and hopefully come up with a post that has some sort of beginning, middle and end (I was a film major so I like structured stories). And then I feel bad when too much time has passed between entries. Especially when life goes by and some entertaining little things happen along the way that probably warrant a post, but usually don't get one.

So I decided to use Twitter as a way to send you all little micro-blog updates when I feel like it. Call me lazy or whatever, but I figure it's one more distraction to keep me from working, and maybe you guys won't feel like I've abandoned the blog if I don't write for a week or two. We'll see.

So feel free to follow me on Twitter, or just come back here and check out the "Updates From the Battlefield" on the top right. God forbid we not stay connected!


August 3, 2008

It's a Girl!

Dear Friends and Readers,
Dating Trooper and Wine Guy are proud to announce the arrival of their newest illegitimate family member, Luna (aka Lunabelle, Lunatic, Moonbeam).

Name: Luna (previously called Myka)
Age: Approximately 3
Size: Medium, 35 pounds
Born in: Tijuana, Mexico
Adoption Date: Friday, July 25, 2008
Adopted From: Local rescue group

Luna's Story: In December 2007, a passerby in Tijuana spotted someone stuff seven puppies into a garbage bag and leave them in a dumpster. Their mother was also thrown out on the street. The passerby contacted a local rescue group who cared for the pups and their mom until they could be sent over the border for potential adoption. The veterinarian's intake report stated that the mother was covered in mange and extremely malnourished, but that she was "sweet" and "listens well." It also noted her skills as "a good mom!" (exclamation point from original text).

The mother (now called Myka by her rescuers) and two of her pups were brought to San Diego in January 2008. Four months later they were transferred to another rescue group that would hopefully have better luck finding them homes (her other five pups remain in Mexico, awaiting their turn to cross the border). Myka's two puppies went to a nearby foster home and Myka stayed with the rescue group coordinator and her other eight rescue dogs (not to mention five of her own dogs). She got along pretty well there, playing with her rotating pack and enjoying the security of a comfortable bed and a daily meal.

That all changed in July 2008 when Myka and her foster family were brought to a San Diego dog park to meet a couple who thought they might take that next big step in their relationship and adopt a dog together. Yes, that would be us.

I'd like to say I fell in love with Myka right away, but there were a few expectations I first had to put to rest (more on that some other time) before I could see the truth -- that she is the most perfect animal to ever exist on the face of the earth and that she was meant to be mine - er, ours.

Once we made up our minds, we set about finding her a new name - something that connected us to her more than some random name chosen by a relative stranger. Actually, I had no problem with Myka. In fact, the name is very similar to one I had always considered using for my daughter. Call me overly optimistic, but I wasn't quite ready to give up that dream. Not yet anyway.

So we went through many brainstorming sessions and Internet searches trying to find the name that would tell her story. At some point we started joking about her being a "hippie dog" now that she lives in the hippy/beachy part of town. One of us (can't remember who) threw out the most stereotypical hippie name we could think of - Moonbeam. Hah, hah.

But the more we said it aloud, albeit in jest, the more we started to kind of like it -- at least in theory. She is silver, like the moon. She used to roam the dimly lit Tijuana streets at night, scavenging for scraps of food and protecting her fatherless pups from danger. Even after having her pups torn from her teats, she managed to hang on to a sliver of that moonlight. And now that she's safe and sound, that moonlight is allowed to shine. (Yes, I have been mentally dramatizing my dog's "shady past," slowly but surely turning the brief summary of her life I read in her vet records into a film noir/telenovela tale of tough bitch surviving on the streets of TJ. Feel free to send me suggestions for a title to this story, tentatively called Luna of the Night.).

Hopefully you get the name in theory by now. Well, at least Wine Guy and I did. But could I really picture myself at the dog park shouting, "Here, Moonbeam! Sit, Moonbeam! Good girl, Moonbeam!" No, I couldn't.

So we kept thinking and circling the idea of a moon-inspired name. Then it hit me. She's Mexican. She speaks Spanish. Moon in Spanish=Luna. The discussion ended right there; actually, it ended once we agreed, after much insistence from Wine Guy, that her "official" name be Luna Moonbeam. But she only gets called that when she's in trouble.

As you can imagine, the addition of Luna to our household has elicited many blogworthy relationship issues (division of labor, philosophies on discipline, the bedroom exile unintentionally imposed on our cats, who are suddenly the best of friends now that they have a common enemy). But for now I prefer to focus on the wonderful stuff. I'm sure there will be plenty of time to bitch and complain once we all settle in.

You know how new parents tend to act as if their babies are the most beautiful, intelligent, advanced lumps of flesh ever born? That used to bug the shit out of me. But if my behavior and one-track-mind over the last week is any indication, I just may be the worst offender. And I love it.