Friday, August 27, 2010

Mrs. Drysdale Would be Canonized Today!

I got a puppy about six weeks ago. He's a boxer mix, I don't know what he's mixed with....maybe American Statfordshire terrier...or in other words, pitbull. He's cute, there is no doubt about that but he is also a pain in the ass. Sorry, he is. I know I'm not supposed to say that. What I am discovering is that among dog lovers any negative feelings you might have towards your dog' behavior are totally inappropriate and indicate that you are means a borderline psycho and need to have your dog taken away. But I maintain, he's a pain in the ass...cuteness is not enough to compensate for the fact that he is flat out, freaking annoying.

See, I like dogs but I like an orderly house better. I will tolerate clownishness, tom-foolery,whining if I take away the shoe you are chewing or take you to your corner while I try to mop the floor because I know he has feelings too. I realize that some of his behavior like grabbing anything not nailed down and taking it away into the corner to chew on , jumping up on us because he is thrilled to see us, trying to get on the couch, barking etc is normal and though I need to teach him not to, it doesn't mean he is a bad dog, he's a puppy and needs to be taught. But what I will not tolerate is complete disregard for what I am telling him. He will be a big dog and if he is going to live with me, he will listen.

For you see, I am the boss. This is my house. Yes dear puppy, if you are going to live in this house, you will follow the rules. It is non-negotiable. This is not a democracy, I make the rules, I own this house, not you. Hear me kids obey the rules and so will you. It will make things more pleasant me, but even more importantly will make things more pleasant for you.

You are probably guessing that the dog is basically disobedient and you would be right. Also, the things I do at the advice of the experts, are not working out real well for me. And no, it is not because I don't do anything right. It is not because I don't spend enough time with him or exercise him or provide him with entertainment. It is because the dog doesn't want to listen to me, he is stubborn and exuberant and he is most indisputably NOT anxious to please me. Despite what all of the dog books say about the dogs number one goal in life is to please their owners, it is quite obvious to me that he doesn't want to please me. Did I get a bad dog then? No, I don't think he is bad at all, I think he is a perfectly normal puppy....on the stubborn side, but perfectly normal. What I think is that this whole idea of puppies dying to please you is a bunch of bunk.....they have their own will just like any living creature. Furthermore, if they were so anxious to please their owners then why are there so many dog trainers and obedience classes?
Which brings me to this...I have been all over the internet trying to find advice about what to do about his behavior. And the advice that I find is always the same. Reward him with treats when he obeys, ignore him when he is bad. Know what is age appropriate for a dog and don't expect him to do the right thing until his brain is fully developed. In other words, when my puppy is biting me so hard that my arm looks like an alligator got hold of it, I am supposed to chuckle indulgently and attempt to distract him with a toy. Which for your information didn't work, he was after flesh and that was it!

Okay. I tried the treat thing. As I already indicated, he was biting me. And I don't mean the puppy mouthing and muzzling. I mean outright freaking biting me. I had little puncture holes all over my hand and my arms and legs were covered in scratches. None of us could sit on our couch or walk across the room my 6 year old was completely freaked out by him..... so I got out my trusty puppy training manual with the usual dog training gibberish (at least this is the conclusion I've come to!) which said to watch him and see when he is About to jump. He will obviously tense up and when he does you simply say no and give him a treat when he obeys. Wellllll....Puppy was definitely standing in the front of the line when they passed out brains. Because guess what happened! He didn't learn not to jump. No not puppy! Instead he learned to get ready to jump, not do it and get a treat.

The combination of not having much success with the dog using these methods coupled with the fact that beginning to think that there is simply a lot of flakiness out there in the dog community makes me hesitant to go to a trainer. I already know what they will probably tell me. Because I have been all over the internet and run into this 'politically correct' stance on dogs and dog training over and over without exception. It seems these people seem to think that you should never discipline your dog for anything. You should simply reward him for good behavior. In this way you will be showing him exactly what behavior you expect and because of his desire to please you, once he learns what to expect he will do it. Puh-leese!

I run into people constantly over and over again and ask them about their dogs over and over again and get the same story. He/she doesn't listen, they have gone to obedience class worked with a trainer etc... Now doggy listens a little better, but at the age of nine months is still biting, jumping, taking owner for a walk instead of owner taking him.....they've done the treats, the clicker training but it hasn't taken. But they know it is their fault, something that they are doing wrong because over and over and over pet owners are told if your dog is misbehaving it is ALWAYS the owner at fault....the dog is NEVER at fault. If you don't believe me go on the internet and look.

Bull!!! Dogs (and not just bull dogs, any dog. Har! Har!) are living beings with wills of their own, not empty vessels waiting to be filled or computers that need to be programmed. They have minds and make decisions and sometimes they don't want to do what we say. No-one is going to tell me that my dog doesn't know when I do or I don't want him to do something. He knows perfectly what I want, at least concerning the things I have been working with him on. He wants to do it or doesn't want to, depending on the scenario, and he's going to try to get his way and that's it. I haven't 'done' something wrong. My dog is acting on his will and doesn't want to listen to me plain and simple. Sorry people, sometimes it is the dog and not the owner. So ha!

That being said, I by no means want to abuse my dog or use punitive behavior but unfortunately, as time goes by I find that I am reacting too harshly to my dog. He doesn't listen to me and when I follow the advice in the manuals and on the computer it doesn't work. But unfortunately, when I finally lost my temper and yelled at him, he listened to me for the first time.

When I finally broke down and lost it with my dog and yelled at him, he was as sweet as could be and tried very hard to please me.((While I in the meantime cried for an hour because I was so ashamed of myself.) And guess what? I don't think he was scared of me after that....I think he just realized that he had pushed me too far. For that is another thing extolled by 'dog people'. Dogs don't understand human behavior, when you yell at them, they don't understand what they have done, all they know is that you are yelling and it scares them. Again, I do think my dog knew why I yelled at him. As indicated by the fact that he sure as hell stopped doing it after that.

So what is my point? My point it that I wish I could find advice about how to train my dog that I feel is sensible. I don't believe in all of the sacred cows of the positive reinforcement camp. I believe that positive reinforcement. I believe that with some dogs, it is all you need. But there are other dogs who don't entirely respond to it. They are the dogs that are more hard-headed and willful. While they certainly don't need to be screamed at, sometimes they are because the owner can't find any practical advice on what to do with them outside of positive reinforcement training.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Something people have always said about me is that I complicate everything. The other charge, that I believe goes along with the first, is that I can be overly-analytical. And I'll have to admit that it's true. I have never been satisfied with half-answers and things only partially thought through. I've always felt the need to think things through to their conclusion.

Life is full of inconsistencies and disorderliness, conundrums and paradox, opposites that somehow magically end up to be the same thing. And I believe that when one arrives at one simplistic answer to explain everything, that you have closed yourself from the truth. Truth essentially involves balancing things that don't really make much sense. Finding the link in opposition.

And I feel an irritating, nagging need to verbalize these things, though it probably just can't be done. I guess it's like the Tao. It can't be spoken.

After careful consideration, I find that I simply can't agree with my detractors, or whatever they are, that it is wrong to be the way that I am. Yes, I complicate things, sometimes I don't let things rest, I keep gnawing on it until people may be tired of hearing about it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A writing prompt

I have been reading a lot about the process of writing lately.  While looking through different websites I have come across what they call, writing prompts.  A writing prompt is when someone starts a story for you and you have to finish it.  It is supposed to be for people who can't find anything to write about.  

I think that most of the ones I have seen are very boring.  They do not inspire me at all.  I think that I could write  much better prompts than the ones that I have seen.  

As a matter-of-fact, I thought of one last night.  For some reason, I thought of it after reading  the following sentence in Thomas Hardy's book,  Far From the Madding Crowd.  "...he saw a cat inside,  going into various arched shapes and fiendish convulsions."  

Okay, here is my prompt:

Goody Smith has just laid the dinner on the table.  Dogood,  Amity,  and Purity waited for Papa to come in from his study where he was writing a particulary fiery sermon.  After they had all gotten settled,  said grace, and were just getting ready to eat, their cat Tib suddenly sprang onto the middle of the table, sat down and began happily and noisily licking it's nether regions.  Father looked at it for a moment, his face turning red.  Then he swiped it violently from the table and said loudly,    "...........

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Writing again!

This is the Eliphante house in Corkwood, Arizona.  I would put up a link, but I don't know how.  You should check it out!  It was built by an artist completely out of whatever object they could find.  The way things are going for me, the only way I will probably ever own a house is by doing some thing like this.  :"

Well, I'm writing again.  I have finally started a novel and I think I'm going about it the right way this time.  

Let me regress for a moment.  I'm not sure that when I tried to write my tragedy/trinity novel before, that I was actually going about it the wrong way.  It was more a lack of knowledge about the writing process that stymied me I think.  

I know a few things that I didn't know then.  I know that I only want to write children's novels, I'm not interested in writing for adults.  If I had known that when I started Tragedy, it would have helped quite a bit.  

I now know that it is common to start a novel and get halfway through it and suddenly have everything change inside of your head, necessitating in the entire novel needing to be written over again.   And I know that if this happens to you it does not mean you have done something wrong.  

I know now, that writing a novel is very difficult (al least for me) and that when it was flowing easily for me, that was a gift and I know that the trick is to keep writing when things are no longer flowing.  

I know now that if I keep on going, no matter what, I can eventually get something written.  And so that is what I have been doing.  (25,000 words baby!) I am not writing on Tragedy, I have started something else.  I am having a lot of fun writing it.  Something tells me I will get back to Tragedy some day. 

Now:  I wonder if this happens to other writers?  My setting took place in the woods... so I started reading about woods and mountains, plant and animal life, etc... so that I could describe my setting more accurately.  

This eventually made me want wolves in my story and there will probably be bears too,  so I began focusing more on wolves.  Well, this led me to wonder about the evolution of the social behavior of animals and wondering what would happen if generations of animals spent time in human communities;  in which ways they would change?  So this has led me to animal etnology.  (Though I haven't read i yet.  It's on my great, big, getting bigger all the time list.) 

And of course, thinking of a civilization in which mankind and animals interact peacefully and with respect for one another, has led me to put Native American society and religion on my list.  

Somehow out of all of this, I have ended up reading about eco-friendly houses and that is now on my list as well.  In my perusal of the internet, I came across the house near Sedona, Arizona called the Eliphante home above,  and that has been incorporated into my book...oh!  And tree houses!  That look like gigantic japanese lanterns!

Another subject on my list, though I don't think I need to read about this, just think about it, is how language would influence a society.  For instance, a society that had no word for can't orhas 100 words for beauty but only one of ugly.   In other words, what words the society I am imagining right now will or won't have.  

There are other leaps and meanderings as well  but I won't get into all of those.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Besides, I want to go back to my story!

I'm having fun and I feel good because I think I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  And when I publish my book and make millions of dollars, I have learned so much about tree houses, that I am going to live in one!  Maybe I'll live next to Angelina Jolie!   (But no pet chimps!)

I plan to put an excerpt up soon, I'm not quite done with it yet.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Warning! This is a very silly post! If you choose to read it have no-one but yourself to blame.

I am getting ready to write fiction again for the first time in a long time. There are probably not too many people left who read this blog who know that at one time I was writing a story called Tragedy. I was very, very excited about it, probably more excited than I have ever been about anything and was very sad when the story eventually left me. I tried and tried to bring it back and couldn't and it broke my heart.

I think I am ready to try writing again and I hope this time that I don't make the same mistakes I made the last time. First of all, I want to have this one planned out a little better before I officially begin it so I don't lose the thread in the middle. Secondly, my Tragedy story amused me but I didn't really have my whole heart into it.. I did when I started but somehow when I was writing it, it changed and became merely a vehicle for some clever, fun, cerebral sort of writing and I somehow lost the core of it. I don't want to do that with this. You never know I might resurrect Tragedy some day and finish her though she will probably be a short story and I will use this following little segment to base my story upon. I think that probably X is the only friend that I have left that would remember this story. This was my favorite.

NOW, Brian used to be part of a dragon singing quartet. If when you hear this, you are imagining something akin to a barbershop quartet, you couldn't be more wrong. First of all, there is nothing in the world like the singing of a dragon. The voice of a dragon is powerful and disturbing in a way that you simply couldn't understand unless you've heard it. Some would call it hallucinatory. Some might call it wierd but if they think it's weird then they don't really get it.
The dragon pipe is the perfect accompaniment for a dragon. Dragon pipes are a wind instrument as the name suggests, which comes in 16 pieces which can all be put together in different combinations. Depending upon which mouthpiece and which chamber or chambers the dragon adds and how many, a completely different sound can be made. It is the most versatile instrument ever made and humans and others have tried to fashion their own but theirs don't have the same effect. The chambers are too small and they simply can't achieve the same resonance.
Now, the group could have been a huge success but they weren't together long because, I ashamed to say, they fought all the time like children. So they went their separate ways. John took over the family business of raising gourmet steer, oxen etc...bred specifically for the palates of discriminating dragons, as the advertisement said. Perry and Bart began experimenting with a new form of music in which the traditional and new music of all races were mixed. This music became become very famous, you may have heard of it. It is called Dragon fusion. One flew across the ocean and was never heard from again. As for Brian, he took a sabbatical to explore different religions and to dabble in the occult.
But tonight 4 of the 5 members were meeting by prior arrangement (they met once a year, somewhere or another) in a pub frequented by dragons. Due to the fact that Dragons need quite a bit of liquor because of their great sizes( though not as much as you would think, dragons become intoxicated easily!) not all pubs were able to acccomodate them. This pub happened to be near one of the Dragon's lairs, Johns, and kept liquor for him there as a courtesy. It ended up being very lucrative decision on their part, as he was a very good customer! As a matter of fact, the other dragons noticed that John had gotten quite a paunch since they had last seen him, though they were all too polite to mention it.
So there they were, reminiscing about the old days, all the time getting drunker and drunker, merrier and merrier. Having rather loud voices, they were overheard by people and others in the pub who were all drunk as well and they began boisterously encouraging them to perform a few songs. The dragons were reticent and bashful at first but finally agreed to sing just one song.
So while 3 of the dragons, Brian, Perry and Bart, began to sing a plaintive ballad, John flew home to get his dragonpipes. It was a beautiful summer evening with twilight about an hour away. They were feeling very sentimental and once they started, they couldn't stop, it was like old times and it turned into a concert that was talked about for years!
After singing several ballads, accompanied by the dragonpipes which were assembled to sound haunting and flute-like, the dragons rested and and prepared had another drink.
Then John re-assembled the pipes to make a sound that was similar, though more melodic, to that which a foghorn makes. While John played the dragonpipes mournfully, the dragons began singing a sort of martial song. Now, one of the things that is so impressive about a dragon concert is that dragons sometimes fly in intricate patterns while they sing. Dragons are taught these complicated formations from the time that they are young, it is a favorite past-time in their culture and these four dragons were exceptionally good at it as they had a very strong telepathic link. Consider yourself very lucky indeed if you ever get to the opportunity to see dragons fly like this.
So, while John played deep, low, booming notes on his pipes the dragons rose in the air and began arcing gracefully back and forth, criss-crossing each other and crooning while they went. Then as the tempo of the song began to pick up, John began beating his tale against a barrel to provide rhythm and the dragons began to scream in loud agonized voices that seemed to stretch across the sky leaving ragged echoes. Their swooping became larger and grander and faster and then, one by one, they began diving straight down out of the sky into the crowd howling and blazing and wailing eerily and then pulling up at exactly the right moment before they crashed into the people who, as you might imagine, quickly sobered up.
Then the dragons flew off to a distance to let the crowd recover and hummed ominously while John reassembled the dragonpipes. When the crowd had grown hushed and expectant, John began playing his dragonpipes again, making an murky, warbling sound, similar to the sound made by whales underwater. The dragons answered with druidic-like chanting and swooning harmonies and began flying in closer, chanting all the while. This time the dragons flew around and around, always opposite each other so that their voices were coming from all sides and began to scream with ragged emotion, the echoes seeming to wrap around the audience and enter into them.
They were singing as the sun went down and when it was dark they began streaking across the sky, their flames flying behind them. Dragons have a trick of being able to eat certain rocks which change the color of their flames, John had gotten some for them when he went to his cave, so they tore across the sky with Sapphire and and Emerald and Scarlet flames seeming to burst out of them while John's piping grew more and more frenzied.
They were all magnificent, but none so sublime as Brian, for he had seen Trinity and had come undone. He had not only seen her but felt her because he seemed to have some sort of telepathic link to her which normally doesn't happen between human and dragon. And he was singing to her, and for her, he was inspired by her and hoping that she would understand.
When the last echo had faded, the audience paused for a moment and then went wild, yelling and screaming, stomping and throwing their hats in the air. Each and every one of them were to remember this to the end of their days as the most incredible thing that they had ever seen, but none of them were ever able to describe it.
Trinity had noticed Brian as well, he had stood out to her brilliantly. She was deeply moved his songs and felt that she could fall in love with someone who sang like she felt if only he weren't a dragon. So when the concert ended, Brian hungrily caught her eye and Trinity moodily waited for him, waited for him to free himself from the other dragons and the rest of the audience not really knowing what she was waiting for.
And then they began to talk and she knew why she had waited. They talked all night until the sun came up, thus setting the pattern of their affair. They had so much in common! They liked the same books and the same music! They shared the same wicked sense of humor and sense of drama. They both liked to stay up all night, they both found danger romantic and safely dull. They each had a propensity for accidentally setting things on fire when they were mad and that had to be more than just a coincidence. And they could communicate at a level deeper than any words that can be spoken.
Their love was very bittersweet, as their relationship could never be consummated due to their size differences. Theirs became a courtly and satirical sort of love. She called him her troubadour and he called her little dark one. She wove him garlands of flowers to wear around his wrist, (it would have taken her too long to make one big enough for his head) and he brought her pretty trinkets and baubles.He wrote her poetry and she slept curled up inside the circle of his arms. She felt safe for the first time in her life. And most of all, with him she could fly and after that she was never the same!

I would like to point out that I know that at one point in the story, that it sounds like the dragons are farting. I will change that if I ever decided to submit it for publication but for now, as I am rather fond of the image, I will leave it.
Also, something has changed with blogger and I don't know how to manage it and I'm too lazy to figure it out. I don't know how to take these pictures out. When I go into the edit mode instead of getting the computer mumbo jumbo that I can then delete, the actual picture is up there and I don't know how to delete it. So that is not the picture I want, well it was but it's too big. Maybe later on when I feel left-brained (how about never!) I'll come back and see if I can do something with it. Unless anyone wants to tell me how to do it! (Hint! Hint!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Hierophant

How someone reacts to the Hierophant card is very revealing. Traditional tarot decks show the Heirophant to be a pope-like figure giving a benediction to 2 supplicants kneeling at his feet. People who have felt oppressed by the church, who are not in agreement with it or have had bad experiences with it, which is a typical tarot reader, will view this card in a negative way and generally feel it as something repressive.

Because of this, many of the new decks have attempted to expand the image of the Heirophant by changing it to a more shamanic figure. Most people find this image less repelling but I think that working with either of the energies can be productive.

When I work with the traditional pope like image, I find myself thinking more in terms of how I fit into the larger society in terms of my spirituality. This very much limits the meaning of the card but in some instances it is the best interpretation. When someone such as myself, has unorthodox spiritual beliefs, there is often a price to pay. This price can range from having people view you as a little bit kooky to being cut off completely from community with others who view tarot card readers as evil or subversive. When one works with the tarot, coming out with it can be a big decision.

One of the uses of tarot is meditaion. Proper meditation on a tarot card can instruct, improve and help one to clarify where they stand in terms of an archetypal principle--with amazing results I might add. Meditation on the Heirophant can bring up very spooky thoughts for me. I have always related to the witches rather than the witch burners. I have related to the people tortured for heresy rather than the inquisitors. Meditating on this card has helped me to name these fears which is the first step in dealing with them. It has helped me to affirm my beliefs and to to remember why I have these beliefs.

One of the things one needs to be careful about when exploring these thoughts and feelings is that one does not develop an 'us against them' mentality or that one does not become someone who is completely close-minded about anyone who ascribes to more traditional beliefs. We have something that we can learn from anyone. And the spirit can be found anywhere.

When I work with the more shamanic energies something changes. It causes me to use my own spiritual beliefs as the reference point and instructs me to understand how these beliefs have caused me to construct my perceptions and the way I relate to the world on a spiritual level. I find myself searching for places inside of myself and outside of myself where I can find that sense of 'oneness' or connectedness with something larger than myself. Medication on this principle helps me to develop a spirituality that is more personal and meaningful. Meditating on the helps me to deal with woundedness instead of wallowing in it, which as I said is the danger of the other.

Now, on a more metaphysical level--and forgive me if I don't explain this very clearly, it is something that I have a very difficult time articulating--reality itself is somewhat dependent on perception. The dominant viewpoint is the one that determines reality and this world is ruled by linear left-minded people who have imposed their view of reality on everything. Now don't get me wrong! I'm not bitching! I love left brainers because they have brought us modern medicine and built bridges and invented the automobile and my personal favorite--Computers! And our favoring this type of thinking has made these things possible. In other words our leanings have created the present reality that we live in.

This concensual reality is also the realm of the Heirophant. The Heirophant interprets reality and teaches it. Not just religion but reality as well! When your perceptions are not entirely congruent with the acceptable perceptions of reality you may find the Heirophant card to be somewhat oppressing as well. Because unfortunately, less linear and more diffuse thinkers are largely denigrated in the Western world and are thought to be of less value than the lefties. (I'm going to say lefties and righties from now on.) Because of this, they can be left feeling like their perceptions are not valued. They may learn to doubt themselves and to feel a 'stranger in a strange land'.

I'm going to post this without a picture for now. My computer is acting weird today and I don't feel like messing with it anymore.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I think I believe in God. I'm not sure. At one time I called what I felt inside of me 'the still small voice'. I talked to people when I was young--remember, I am part of the Bible belt--who told me not to complicate things or try to figure God out--just listen to the still small voice and know that that is God. And so that is what I did. I believed in God and didn't really think much about it.

Then, ( I now realize in retrospect), I became manic and I developed what a psychiatrist would term, hyper-religiosity. I became fascinated with the Bible and with God and anything to do with God. It was like an itch in my brain. I didn't even know what I was looking for but I knew I would know it when I found it. I was frantically reading anything that I could get my hands on.

At this same time, I was taking some science classes as well. I was taking a chemistry class to be exact and I was learning about units of matter and the bonds that hold atoms together. One time my teacher said that if you broke everything down to its smallest components we would find that everything is made of the same basic material, if everything that we were made of was laying on a table we wouldn't know which used to be a person or which was once part of a molecule of oxygen.

This really excited me and I got really 'cosmic' thinking about it all. I thought about all sorts of weird things and was still reading and reading and reading. It was at this time, (Benjiboper) that I read The Tao of Physics which has many concepts in it and is one of my favorite books and tied in with the science classes I was taking.

The author, at one point said that if the nucleus of an atom were made the size of an apple, then the elecrons would be circling the atom at about the circumference of the length of a football field. So, there is a lot of empty space inside of matter. In fact, if you were too take all of the space between things out, we would reduce down to the size of a pencil point. I asked my chemistry teacher about this and he told me that everything we see is actually an illusion, that everything is mostly empty space and what we see is the light reflecting off of the protons, electrons and neutrons as they circle about the nucleus of an atom.

It was at this time that I began to think of God as these forces that held everything together and 'decided' what these atomic components would be. For me God basically became a sort of glorified covalent bond, If it had an intelligence, it was an intelligence beyond anything that we could comprehend, a cold sterile being. Nothing that I could really relate to. Nothing that cared about me or anyone else....just a thing.

Yet I still experienced that still, small voice. I still found myself saying little prayers or feeling that God was with me or feeling guilty when I did something wrong, feeling like God was disappointed in me. Sometimes I could feel my soul like a suppplicant thing wishing for forgiveness and then feeling a cold place when I remembered that the God inside of myself no longer was.

By this time I had reached a point at which I looked at the idea of a God with human characteristics as a sort of societal construct. The reason I was having all of these thoughts and feelings is that these thoughts had basically been built into my psyche at a young age and will sort of always be there no matter what I do. I completely dismissed the idea that God was trying to speak to me and thought of this as apparent 'God issues' I have from growing up in the midwest.

By now, I was reading Carl Jung, who explained my feelings to me like this. He said that we have an area of our psyche that is in touch with the collective unconscious where our God consciousness is located. Basically your experience of God represents some struggle within you as you try to define a relationship with a higher power. How you feel about this and how you respond and move forward has to do with issues that you have. But the reason you have to define God or related to God is because we humans are hard wired for this because other words--we have a still, small voice inside of us.

It's very strange how it all came around full circle. I have much more sophisticated ways of explaining things now, but nothing changed. It was just like the people told me long ago...don't try to figure it out. And I don't any more.