Seventeen

Happy Anniversary to my husband and best friend. Seventeen years together. Ten of those years chronically sick. Five of them an expensive roller coaster ride. Thank dog we were both emotionally and financially fit before it all began. Even in my recovery, he continues to help me learn how to be a normal person again. I won’t lie. We had a fantastic celebration. There was jewelry, lobster, gluten-free french fires and a gluten-free chocolate melt down lava cake. I think I did all right in choosing a life partner.

(It’s an iphone shot. Selfies are not my specialty.  Realism transcends craft and becomes art. )

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Wild Dingo | writer | designer | storyteller

Once upon a time, there was a boy who married a girl who worked for herself. This was an attractive feature to the boy as he was a bit older than girl. It meant that he could potentially retire early on her income. It was a good plan. Even the girl thought so because she enjoyed her work.  Then the universe had a full-belly laugh. The girl got gravely sick and retired early. Not knowing what to do next, the boy and girl moved to Switzerland for a few years, because that’s what people do when they are too young to retire but too sick to work. Oh, readers! There’s only so many sentences I can write about myself in the third person. Self-narratives can be healthy up to a point. Then it’s just creepy.

When I decided to return to work, I knew I would have to overhaul this blog. It once served as my business contact and it will again. But coming back from Lyme disease is a bit like waking up from a coma. With the brain fog now clear, information that I haven’t been able to process in the last 5 years is suddenly flowing into my brain faster than I can deal with it. This can be quite uncomfortable, as waking up from Lyme disease is a bit of an ego-rebirth. Who are you now? What do you want to do?  How are you going to do it?  Why do you want to do it? These questions can be difficult to address, especially in this ever-increasing savagery of the political environment. Let me tell you readers, there is never “going back” to a life after Lyme disease.  You only go forward. You change. Change is hard.

One of the things I discovered as I embarked on my web redesign is that I don’t want to return to my old job as it would definitely not be as challenging. Instead I took a step back and enrolled in courses that interest me and have been in school ever since. I don’t know how long I’ll be in school but I have taken on some fun ghost writing projects in the mean time and we’ll see how it goes from there. All that anxiety of who I am after Lyme disease suddenly disappears when I’m in school. To me, learning environments are nurturing. School is always a good place to begin your self-discovery. It’s especially a great place to escape the unabashed cruelty of politics.

Change is not just difficult for the individual, but also difficult for those around her. Much to his chagrin, Mr. Wild Dingo had to embrace giving up four-course dinners and entertainment to support my ego growth spurt. I found my old “business” license plate in the shop attic. I dusted it off and propped it up in the office which gave Mr. Wild Dingo a big smile. Maybe he won’t get fancy dinners, but at least he’ll have an income to support his European wine habit in retirement. Now that’s something to smile about.

Why I Left Social Media

Pause on Facebook

Is there nothing more tragic than a silent loquacious writer? Yes, I know, I’ve been internet-quiet these days. Since I “woke up” from the Lyme-induced fugue state I’ve been in for 5 years, I caught up with the news to discover Facebook not only contributed to the election chaos in our own country, but in 2 other countries as well, causing a rise of hatred and violence through the platform. It’s one thing for a company to be so short-sighted to not be able to predict the worst possible use of it’s technology, it’s another to completely wash your hands of the mess it  created. Years went on before Facebook has done anything remotely contrite to make up for the harm it caused. Now after being investigated in the US, the company finally decided to do “as little as possible” about the multiple issues the platform created.  Maybe Zuckerberg’s famous slogan “Move fast and break things,” can be revised to, “Move fast and break countries.”

But that’s not all that’s really irked me about the platform. Other than it’s  uncomfortably targeted advertising, invasion of privacy and it’s viciously addictive design, Facebook acquired a few other platforms, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, whose founders exited shortly after the acquisition after business disagreements– mainly over advertising on those platforms. Facebook quite literally steamrolled the companies to fit within Facebook’s monetization strategies.  To be fair, Zuckerberg, whose card bears the slogan “I’m CEO, bitch”  was always clear about his intentions. The more I learned about Zuckerberg’s behavior and business dealings, the more distasteful it became to me.

 

 

In addition, that mobile phone number that Facebook has been hounding you for for years to enter? (Thankfully, I never supplied my number.) That mobile phone number is absolutely used for targeting ads. I find this to be the worst violation of privacy. There’s a real pattern of continued privacy violations and thoughtless product development.

To be honest, I was never really a social media butterfly. MySpace never appealed to me. By the time I started treating Lyme disease, my own  (in person) social network crumbled. I used Facebook at that time to feel connected to human beings. I just can’t ignore how dangerous this platform is anymore. I simply cannot support it. While I keep my accounts open on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it’s not likely I’ll use them with vigor going forward.  If or when I see Social Media companies make a better effort to address social issues created on their platforms, I’ll consider using them again. Until then, feel free to find me here, on Wild Dingo, where I never target you for advertising, where I don’t even have a subscription base and I really don’t want your phone number.

I am woke. I hope it’s not too late for the rest of the country.

 

Happy Juicy-versary

Hello readers! I know. I know. Woo think I would furgit my favorite criminal’s anniversary? Pshaw! Nefur! We had a lovely anniversary celebration at one of Juicy’s favorite training locations when she was a wee puppy, the beach. It was lovely reminiscing all the times she took off from a down stay with the cracker in hot pursuit. Remember all the times egged-on Loki to  prank all the other wee pups? Yes, that’s my Juicy, always full of giggles and creative mischief.   Continue reading “Happy Juicy-versary”

Stolen Time

Mr. Wild Dingo says, “The best time is stolen time.” So we stole an extra hour at lunch for some shenanigans in Santa Cruz.

Lunchtime Shenanigans from Julie Starling on Vimeo.

Not too shabby for 11 and 12 year old pups, huh?

PS. Dear readers, I know you’ve been wondering where we’ve all been. We’re all good. Still working on the last 20% crap of this business called Lyme Disease. I anticipate I will be in that 80/20 most of the rest of my life and that’s alright by me.  In the mean time, I’ve been back in school firing my synapses and activating my right brain. We’ll be back soon to our regular shenanigans. I know you all are hanging on the criminal’s daily crimes and the cracker’s daily jobs.  They both continue to exceed their career goals and expect a promotion but I’m pretty sure they already broke the glass ceiling in terms of their “Drive the Human Crazy” career.

The Canicular Season is Here

“Woo know: never to bother a husky while she’s cooling her pawsies during the canicular season, mom!”

Hey readers, it’s July 2! Did you notice that Merrium Webster’s word of the day? That’s right! canicular comes form the latin word canicula, which means “small dog.” But there’s more to this story involving the Roman mythological figure Orion and his dog! Yup, you read that right!  Who knew that Orion had a dog named Sirius? I sure didn’t! The constellation Sirius occurs during the hottest summer days from July to September which became known as dies caniculares or as we know it in English: “the dog days” of summer!

The more you know Internet, the more you know what you don’t know. Funny how that works, huh?

On another note: it took exactly one year to get these two dogs back to healthy state. It’s now a “pleasure” to pick up their poop. Yes, Internet, a pleasure as opposed to last year’s disagreeable diarrhea debacle. I cringed as they both waded in the town’s river lapping the water with an unparalleled voracity and contemplated making them get out. Instead, I just started them back on sprinkle of diatomaceous earth on their dinner as a worm prevention. Ya gotta live a little Internet. So do dogs!

Have a cool canicular season readers! Remember to keep your dogs cool at home. Never leave them in a hot car.

Bewooty!

We met this bi-eyed bewooty today at the beach today! Her name is Katinka and she’s barely 2 years old. Incredibly tolerant, Loki just chilled as she flirted shamelessly with the cracker, trying to steal a kiss or give him a tap on the snooter. Continue reading “Bewooty!”

Heart Attacks and Money Pits

If you ask me, a Siberian husky’s main goals in life are to give you regular heart attacks and a spend all your money.  Juno is not just achieving her goals, but blowing past them, leaving them in the dust and me and Mr. Wild Dingo, barely alive from regular heart attacks and broke. This is Juno, above, last Wednesday. She found a stick and pranced around the yard, mocking Loki for having a better toy than him. I couldn’t help but smile so we goofed around a bit with it. I know sticks can be dangerous to dogs, but this one was soft and it seemed harmless. Continue reading “Heart Attacks and Money Pits”

Happy Loki-versary!

Happy Gotchya Day to our best friend and family member. You had a ruff start in life. Numerous families. Nobody understood you. For the first five or six years, we sensed you were always wondering when, not if, you would be kicked out. Eleven years later, you’re still with us. “They” told me to give you back. That you were too much dog for me. Thank dog we listened to our hearts. “They” were blind. They could not see the potential in you nor your intense desire to do the right thing. We not only saw that potential and insane drive to work, we reveled in the marvel of what would become the dog who saved our home from burning down, chased away numerous vicious dogs and wildlife, nightly-patrolled our fences and doors, and yes, even guarded against the justifiably-uninvited person or two. I’ll never forget the day you wouldn’t let me go to bed because I left the garden door open. You always have my back, even for the smallest things. Daddy-O, you’ve earned your wisdom whiskers. If not for your ruff start, then certainly for the patience you showed with me as I slowly learned “loki-speak” so I could give you what you needed to become the ridiculous but brilliant, brave but afraid of flies, serious but silly dog you are today. You’re the cheese Big Boy. The man. Our best friend and family member. We love you to the moon and back. You are the light of our lives. Happy 12 years young and 11 year Gotchya day Loki!

 

Her Turn

Vets and vet techs who know the dramatics of huskies have always recognized Juno’s unusually calm behavior whenever they examine her. If you poke her in a sore spot, she’ll simply whimper and kiss your hand. Though she is stoic like the breed is known to be, she’s not very vocal like huskies. This dog once ran around with a nail straight through her paw with nary a sign of discomfort, just a big smile on her face, while you and I would be screaming in agony. But the minute she’s stoned, the real husky comes out with relentless whining! “Woe is me!” Continue reading “Her Turn”

Yesterday…Today

Yesterday:

“Sigh. Life is hard. Especially when my body guard is in the shop getting his smile brightened. I have nobody to protect my jodhpurs and gum drop nose. If woo could only recognize how hard this is for me, it would be so much easier for woo, Momma.” Continue reading “Yesterday…Today”

Scenes Around the Garden

Spring is the best time in our mountain garden. The cruel hot summers can be a challenge to gardening so we generally choose heat-tolerant plants that will bloom in heat. Catmint is generally a hardy plant for heat but when it comes to gardening and me, Murphy’s Law always applies. If it’s hardy, it’s going to give me a hard time. And boy has Catmint given us a doozy of a time. Everyone else with Catmint? No problem. Their shrubs look fantastic. Ours always struggle. Continue reading “Scenes Around the Garden”

Same Circus, Same Clowns

Yup. We’ve been in this rodeo before. Over ten years now. It never gets old.

Of course, the clown (unidentified, but we’ll call him MWD) rewarding the criminal with cookies (seen in his hand) may have something to do with crime rates at Wild Dingo. I’m no sociological statistician–just the ringmaster at this circus.  I call this sideshow, “Cookies for Criminals.”