Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pets Go To Heaven (Because I Say So)

It’s been a sad week here at the Shabby Shack, as my sister’s Agatha’s beagle, Princess Rolo has crossed the proverbial Rainbow Bridge and is now merrily running around heaven, her little beagle brain blown by the fact that she’s got no fences to limit where she can romp around.

Princess Rolo has made appearances on this blog before: here and here. She’s maybe a strange metaphor I can point to between God and me – Princess Rolo was a brat in the beginning, but I grew to love her lots. I’m still a brat, but God loves me lots.

Additionally, one of my friends had to put her cat down two weeks, ago, and I just got word tonight that Winston, a dog I housesat back in October 08, also followed Princess Rolo across the bridge, so it’s been quite the sad month for pet lovers.

There are certain things I absolutely know for sure, regardless of zero Biblical evidence for them. Most of them are controversial, and now’s not the time to quote them, but I absolutely do believe that our pets go to heaven. Yes they do. Of course they do. Because it would make no sense that God would give us furry companions who touch our hearts, make us smile, sit on our feet while we work at the computer, or watch TV, never demand anything in return except food, water, shelter, tummy rubs and ear scratches and then NOT be there with us in heaven. That makes no sense. God wouldn’t do that.

(and yes, I’m well aware of that photo series between the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian church with their dueling signs debating the topic. You know that wasn’t real, right? Right? See, look : )

I used to think heaven was one endless church service, where we’d all sing hymns for eternity. That didn’t sound like fun, but then, life down here is not exactly tequila and lime chips 24/7 either, so when I did think about it, I reasoned that just because it didn’t sound like fun didn’t mean it wasn’t fun, and that when I do finally shuffle upstairs, I must change enough to where I DO want to sing my most hated hymn of all time, “Open The Eyes Of My Heart.” I seriously hate that hymn. (I also hate “Jesus Is King” and OH, was the worship leader at church today chagrined to hear that. Heh.)

Then I used to think heaven was just some amorphous white blob of light and energy that we dissolve into when we die, forever existing in a state of bliss but not existing as separate entities, which explains why dead people don’t come back to tell loved ones what it’s like up there, and that anyone’s near death experience can be reasoned away as brain synapses going haywire, as the brain thinks this is the Last Exit.

But I don’t like that idea either, as it still doesn’t sound like much fun.

I’ve heard it said that there’s levels of heaven, which I think is dumb. (I once did a verbal smackdown in a small group saying, “If it’s heaven, it’s all gonna be great, who cares WHAT level you’re on? Besides, if there’s no negative emotions, I’m not gonna be jealous, envious, or resentful of what you got in heaven that I didn’t get. Just the fact that I got there’s enough for me. Don’t need the heaven equivalent of American Express Points to enhance the experience. Now excuse me while I go snort some coke and knock over a bank and repent later! Thanks!” (okay, I didn’t say or do that last part. Thanks for believing in me.) )

Maybe God gives us the small pleasures in life – dogs, Griffith Park, sunsets at Santa Monica Pier, laughing with friends, the genius who invented ice cream with candy pre-mixed inside – to get us through this life, but also to give us a taste of what heaven will be like – a huge open bar, massive buffet, ocean views, and all the dogs you grew up with cuddling with you as you watch all your favorite movies. And none of the dogs will want to eat off your plate. Or pee on the rug. Or have bad breath.

I like that idea. I’m sticking with it.

Here’s Eugene O’Neil’s poem, “The Last Will And Testament Of An Extremely Distinguished Dog” which he wrote for his wife in the 1940s when their Dalmatian Blemie passed away. It’s a little high falutin’, but still pretty nice.



by Eugene O'Neill

I, SILVERDENE EMBLEM O'NEILL (familiarly known to my family, friends, and acquaintances as Blemie), because the burden of my years and infirmities is heavy upon me, and I realize the end of my life is near, do hereby bury my last will and testament in the mind of my Master. He will not know it is there until after I am dead. Then, remembering me in his loneliness, he will suddenly know of this testament, and I ask him then to inscribe it as a memorial to me.

I have little in the way of material things to leave. Dogs are wiser than men. They do not set great store upon things. They do not waste their days hoarding property. They do not ruin their sleep worrying about how to keep the objects they have, and to obtain the objects they have not. There is nothing of value I have to bequeath except my love and my faith. These I leave to all those who have loved me, to my Master and Mistress, who I know will mourn me most, to Freeman who has been so good to me, to Cyn and Roy and Willie and Naomi and -- But if I should list all those who have loved me, it would force my Master to write a book. Perhaps it is vain of me to boast when I am so near death, which returns all beasts and vanities to dust, but I have always been an extremely lovable dog.

I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life I have tried to be a comfort to them in time of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain. Let them remember that while no dog has ever had a happier life (and this I owe to their love and care for me), now that I have grown blind and deaf and lame, and even my sense of smell fails me so that a rabbit could be right under my nose and I might not know, my pride has sunk to a sick, bewildered humiliation. I feel life is taunting me with having over-lingered my welcome. It is time I said good-bye, before I become too sick a burden on myself and on those who love me. It will be sorrow to leave them, but not a sorrow to die. Dogs do not fear death as men do. We accept it as part of life, not as something alien and terrible which destroys life. What may come after death, who knows? I would like to believe with those my fellow Dalmatians who are devote Mohammedans, that there is a Paradise where one is always young and full-bladdered; where all the day one dillies and dallies with an amorous multitude of houris [lovely nymphs], beautifully spotted; where jack rabbits that run fast but not too fast (like the houris) are as the sands of the desert; where each blissful hour is mealtime; where in long evenings there are a million fireplaces with logs forever burning, and one curls oneself up and blinks into the flames and nods and dreams, remembering the old brave days on earth, and the love of one's Master and Mistress.

I am afraid this is too much for even such a dog as I am to expect. But peace, at least, is certain. Peace and long rest for weary old heart and head and limbs, and eternal sleep in the earth I have loved so well. Perhaps, after all, this is best.

One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that, having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog! I have never had a narrow jealous spirit. I have always held that most dogs are good (and one cat, the black one I have permitted to share the living room rug during the evenings, whose affection I have tolerated in a kindly spirit, and in rare sentimental moods, even reciprocated a trifle). Some dogs, of course, are better than others. Dalmatians, naturally, as everyone knows, are best. So I suggest a Dalmatian as my successor. He can hardly be as well bred or as well mannered or as distinguished and handsome as I was in my prime. My Master and Mistress must not ask the impossible. But he will do his best, I am sure, and even his inevitable defects will help by comparison to keep my memory green. To him I bequeath my collar and leash and my overcoat and raincoat, made to order in 1929 at Hermes in Paris. He can never wear them with the distinction I did, walking around the Place Vendome, or later along Park Avenue, all eyes fixed on me in admiration; but again I am sure he will do his utmost not to appear a mere gauche provincial dog. Here on the ranch, he may prove himself quite worthy of comparison, in some respects. He will, I presume, come closer to jack rabbits than I have been able to in recent years.

And for all his faults, I hereby wish him the happiness I know will be his in my old home.

One last word of farewell, Dear Master and Mistress. Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved". No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail.


Goodbye for now, Princess Rolo, Sadie The Cat, and Winston. It's not forever.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Stunning Commentary Here.

Well, there was a post I was working on, but it was incredibly mopey, stupid, and incoherent and I shall not subject you to it.

But as promised, here's Ginger Puppy mauling her latest stuffed animal, Mr. Natural Bear, Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Don’t Forget To Charge Your Batteries

Here’s a list of the things I missed getting a picture of because my camera batteries weren’t charged:

1.The rain yesterday. I’m housesitting Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy, and Ginger Puppy does not like the sound of rain, and squarely situated herself under the desk alcove by my feet for most of the day.

Until the power went out! For five hours! That idea to wait to heat the left over pizza is looking pretty stupid now!

Drains were flooded, water was collecting on the garage roof, and trying to find a waterproof jacket and boots to go stomping out there to clean things up, all without the benefit of flashlights (which I couldn’t find because, hello, really dark inside the house) was amusing. I text Albert and Abbot the situation, and they call me from on top of a mountain in Aspen to tell me where the flashlights are, and that the gardener is coming to help unclog the drains. The fact that I’m taking this call while outside IN the rain, dressed in a puffy rainjacket that makes me look like the Michelin man, in boots that are way too big for me, is hilarious. I did manage to unclog two drains all by myself, and got quickly back inside and into dry clothes before my health is compromised. Yay me! Amy The Unclogger Of Drains! Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy didn’t even bat an eye. I think they prefer it when it’s cold, heh.

2. My Coldstone Creamery ice cream! I got it today, at the one near work! Guy behind the counter took the Red Cross coupon and didn’t bat an eye! I think he upgraded me to the larger size for free, too!

3. Ginger Puppy mauling her new stuffed teddy bear toy. It’s hilarious to see the stuffed teddy bear’s smiling face when it’s scrunched in her jaws.

The camera batteries are merrily charging away. The drains are cleaned, and survived the second bout of rain today. And the bear is not all the way mauled, so I will attempt to get a picture for next time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Short and sweet

I went to my monthly prayer group tonight, and the dinner was from Panda Express. So there's a huge vat of fortune cookies, which cracks me up if you consider the context: We believe in God, but here's a fortune in your cookie, just in case it might have more bearing on your life than the Almighty.

So of course I grab one, and it says GOOD THINGS ARE BEING SAID ABOUT YOU.

Yay! Thanks God In A Fortune Cookie.

Then, because there's a huge vat of them, I grab another one, just for kicks.


Hmmmmm, God? Whatchoo doing in my fortune cookie?


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Calm Change Right Before Your Eyes

After all that hype, I didn’t make it to the Santa Monica Pier for my annual Amy’s Yearly Plan Of World Domination That God Promptly Laughs At. My time this weekend was spent trying to find a screening of Up In The Air that wasn’t sold out, it took me three tries before I could finally do it. Plus I was gifted a very large bottle of Don Julio tequila for Christmas, and when you have that much good quality tequila, it seems kinda dumb to go pay for it elsewhere. The weather’s been nice at night, so maybe I can craft my plan at the house looking at the city views this week sometime. We shall see.

Normally, I spend my New Year’s at Native Chick’s place, as she does a time capsule thing that’s kinda nifty. But she didn’t have it this year, and just as I was thinking it was too bad, because I would’ve liked to have what my time capsule sheet was for 2009, I run across it in one of the boxes I still haven’t unpacked. I took it with me last New Year’s and didn’t even remember it. Funny how that works.

Native Chick usually had all sorts of stickers of fun things that you could decorate your sheet with, but for some reason last year, all that was left were word stickers like the word art scramble that you sometimes see on people’s refrigerators. Which made my 2009 sheet look a bit like a ransom note. Heh.

It’s called “Promises for 2009” and divided into categories of Promise: Career ; Promise: Romance ; Promise: Spirit ; Promise: Art.

I had written down in the Spirit category that “I will do my best to get to know God to know God, not to know me.” And while it’s grammatically suspect (it was written after several New Year’s Eve drinks) the intent was admirable, which is that I wanted to know God for who He was, not for what He could do for me.

I don’t think I achieved that in 2009 (though I did make it through the Old Testament for the second time, yay me), so it’ll just carry over for 2010.

In the Art category, I wrote “Everything I write will be entertaining and accessible to the widest amount of people possible. And if it sparks conversation afterwards, the more the better.” I neglected to mention that it would be QUALITY stuff I was writing. Because you could look at that promise and say, wow, you wrote Transformers 2. Heh.

But in the Romance category, the ransom note stickers I put up there were “Calm” , “Change” , “Right Before Your Eyes.” And I wrote down, “I will not force it. I will not invent it. I will not ignore it.”

And while I’m not about to get into my personal life here (nor do I think I ever will. It’s a lose lose situation.) I like that as my motto:

I will not force it. I will not invent it. I will not ignore it.

I am absurdly optimistic about 2010. I have gotten myself out of commitments and entanglements that were distracting me from my true focus. I’ve spent most of the holidays rewriting the Christmas monologues with the hopes of finding a publisher. I know it’s not going to be easy. There may even be a few of you reading who are smiling at your computer screen going just you wait, chickie. It aint that easy. There’s a few blogs out there from wannabe screenwriters that I do the exact same thing to, so it’s all fair at the end of the “publish post” button.

I think I was hopeful at the beginning of 2009, as it looked like some things were going to blow up that didn’t take off as far as we hoped. So I have every reason to be bitter, angry, despondent.

And yet I’m not. It’s the weirdest thing. It could be that I’m getting too old to really let bitterness take over my life (and I know that sentence doesn’t make sense either.)

But to be bitter strikes me as one of those, been there, done that things. It doesn’t improve your situation. I’ve improved my situation by divesting myself of distractions. All systems are go to make 2010 The Year Amy Wrote Her Ass Off.

So I think I’m gonna add on to the 2009 Promise:

I will not force it. I will not invent it. I will not ignore it.

I will go for it.

Let’s see what happens.