What I’m reading…A Vagabond Song

My lovely 91-year-old grandmother recently fell, breaking her hip and landing in the hospital for surgery and then rehab.  Looking out of her upstate NY hospital room window this week, she watched as the leaves began to change colors and float from the trees.  She recalled a poem she adored from the 6th grade.  She remembered just the first line, “There is something in the Autumn that is native to my blood.”  I learned then that she and I both share a love of the fall.  We googled it and the beautiful words below, from a 16th century poet, are what we found.


There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carman

What I’m reading…

Great vacation read…I finished it in one week while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

“I have to finish this page before going back into the water!!!”

“What do you want?!? I’m reading here!!!”

I have now read all 3 books in the series (‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl who Played with Fire” are the preceding books in case you’ve been living under a rock and are not familiar).  Very easy, quick reads once you get used to the Swedish people, street, and city names.  I chose to completely skip over them and not really try to sound them out or keep track of what was what and where was where.  Worked for me!

The underlying current running through these books is empowerment of and justice for marginalized women.  It is a graphic and possibly horribly exaggerated depiction, but very effective and entertaining along the way.  It’s the type of thing where you may not agree with the heroine’s actions, but you support the outcome and understand where she is coming from and why she does what she does, however crazy it might be.  The heroine represents the warrior in all of us, finding unknown strength in the face of increasing and seemingly impossible adversity.  Somehow she always comes out alive and on top.  (Hmm, do I smell a yoga class theme in there somewhere?)   I love happy endings!

Read this book and be inspired to find your inner Warrior Queen!

From antiquity to modern times, there are many stories of female warriors, of Amazons.  The best known find their way into history books as warrior queens, rulers as well as leaders…

Stieg Larsson “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”

Warrior I on Playa Bonita, Dominican Republic

What I’m reading…

About 6 weeks ago, we decided to foster a Basenji Hound/Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix named Eddie.  The original agreement was to foster him for about 3 months, but there’s a chance we may be asked to keep him.  I have always been an animal lover and always had pets growing up, so I have sort of obsessively watched Dog Whisperer for the past couple of years and have become hooked on Cesar Millan’s no fail techniques of “rehabilitating dogs, training humans” and the “power of the pack”.  Especially his work with pitbulls- a breed very near and dear to my heart for whatever reason.  So when we got Eddie, I thought I’d be a natural- no experience required.  HA!  I found myself to be a damn fool when he started to lunge/bark/growl at dogs and people.  He’s not an aggressive dog, but is intensely sensitive to energy and is very easily excited.  I panic, pull on the leash, yell “No!” like an idiot…none of it works.  (Now I know he’s only mirroring ME and projecting MY energy coupled with the frustration of perhaps not enough exercise.)  So I went back to Cesar for more guidance…

Here are SOME of my favorite things about dogs that I’ve learned from reading this book:

  • Dogs come into our lives for a reason- often to show us who we really are and teach us lessons.  For me, it’s to teach me to be a more calm, assertive, confident leader- especially when faced with challenges and things that I cannot control!
  • Dogs need a lot of exercise.  “Dogs are descended from wolves: in fact, the DNA of dogs and wolves is almost indistinguishable…the genes of a canine are crying out for her to go out and wander with her pack, explore new territory, roam around, and search for food and water.  Imagine how it would feel to have those ancient needs embedded deep inside you, then to have to live your life locked up alone in a two-room apartment all day.  Millions of city dogs live like that.  Their owners think that taking the dog for a five-minute walk to the corner to poop and pee is enough for them.  Imagine how those dogs are feeling in their souls.  Their frustration has to go somewhere.  That’s when they develop issues.”  Cesar says that a commitment of  one and a half hours per day of walking is necessary for a balanced dog.
  • They are a direct link to Mother Nature, using their “sixth sense” to read and interpret the world around them as energy… after all everything is energy!  “All animals communicate using energy, constantly.  Energy is beingness.  Energy is who you are and what you are doing at any given moment.  That’s how animals see you.  That’s how your dog sees you.  Your energy in that present moment defines who you are.”
  • Dogs live in the moment, always.  “It’s not that they don’t have memories-they do.  It’s just that they don’t obsess over the past, or the future.”
  • Dogs don’t need a lot to be fulfilled.  Only 3 things are needed to have a balanced, content, fulfilled dog: Exercise, Discipline, and Affection (in that order!) “Animals are beautifully simple.  To them, life is also very simple.  It’s we who make it complicated for them by not allowing them to be who they are, by not understanding or even trying to speak their language, and by neglecting to give them what nature intended for them to have.”

Dogs in poorer, underdeveloped countries are the most balanced.  They are often strays, traveling in packs, wandering all day, hunting/scavenging for food, sleeping in dirt, eating garbage.  However, they don’t attack humans, fight with other dogs, have phobias of certain types of floors, fixate on balls and squirrels,  or bark incessantly.  They just live their lives.  Its the dogs here in America that display the “issues” that an expert like Cesar Millan would be called in to “cure”; dogs who have fancy jackets, fancy leashes, fancy collars, special bedding and travel carriers, expensive food, veterinarians, dog walkers, groomers, and human “owners”.  The lesson here is clear:  LESS is MORE.  Simplicity=balance=happiness and contentment.  Choose simple!