Tag Archives: be nice

You’re Kinda Like Me

The other day on Facebook someone posted a little kid’s response to the question, “What do you want to be doing when you’re 100 years old.”  They responded by that age, they’re going to dislike people, live in a tiny house with their tiny pets.  I thought, good for you.  I’m half way there.

I’m not going to make it to 100.  I already prefer hanging out with animals over people.

If I could move out to the country, to the middle of Nowheresville, I’d go tomorrow.

One exception.  There would have to be a coffee shop.  My husband likes to talk to people.  I’d be okay with miles of fields, trees, starry nights and my farm animals.

This is why I love my time at the farm sanctuary.  There’s very little one-upping, high-stepping, no impressing or brown nosing.  It’s purely a come as you are society.  And although I can say it’s quiet.  It’s not quiet.

Turkeys are gobbling.  Roosters are crowing.  Horses are neighing.  Geese are honking.  Donkey is braying.  Alpacas are singing.  But what’s missing is the roar of the television.   Horns are not blaring.  People aren’t yelling into technology as they communicate with friends.  Ear buds are not leaking out the bass….all about the bass.

The other part about the sanctuary I truly enjoy, which is true of much of the animal kingdom, is how everyone has figured out how to get along.  From the smallest chicken, to the largest pig to the tallest horse and strongest cow.   Homo sapiens could use a lesson from Rafiki, the Mandrill from The Lion King, on how to get along with others.  Think about it for a moment.

Humans are like bruised peaches.  Or overly ripe bananas.  Our porcupine sensitivity extender quills are set to the highest rating and we’re zapping ourselves off the sensitivity charts.    It’s either, “this” or “that.”  There is no compromise and you must pick a side.  No, Marie Antionette, you will not have your cake and eat it too!  I’ll give you the coffee bean but not the grinder to make the coffee, figure it out, which do you want?  Bean?  Then better get some rocks to grind for coffee.  We are all in this together, maybe we should learn to blend, bend and balance.

Revert back to kindergarten and one of the first things we all should have learned: Be Nice.  Be Nice to Everyone.

Walk through a sanctuary yard and you’ll see chickens napping with pigs.  Turkeys hanging out with Guinea Foul.  Llamas standing with goats.  Great Pyrenees dogs with alpacas.  Little kittens hanging out with everyone, well they truly run the place, let’s be honest.

Then when you consider the greater animal kingdom, look at how many species are similar to another.  Certainly they don’t worry about identifying with another creature.  Rafiki could provide the next lesson to humans on this concept if we were to be so lucky.

Do you think the rhino might really be trying to be a unicorn with their cleverly placed horn?  Maybe they were the trial run?  Or the warrior unit of unicorns?

What about the donkey?  She is just a delightful, impish horse.  A cross between a miniature and a Welsh pony.  Don’t you think?  Have you ever met a miniature horse?  They think they’re Clydesdales.  There’s nothing miniature about them.  Small and mighty, I know, I take care of 5 of them at the sanctuary: Cash, Flash, Summer, Goldie and  Gypsy.

Panda bears and raccoons.  Black and white, with those clever bandit masks…hiding their facial features.  Both are round, fuzzy and rolly-polly.  What are they up to really?  Their pockets are no doubt filled with lost treasures.   Speaking of bears, you know there is a contest of biggest and baddest bear between Kodiak and Grizzly…brown, large and in charge.

And what about a leopard, jaguar and cheetah?  Big spotted cats that love living life in the fast lane.   They’re obviously all on the same branch of the family tree.  I hear reunions can be a bit of a challenge.

Or a dolphin and a porpoise….gray, slippery, sparkly looking creatures that live in the water.  They splash past ships and zip around like crazy nutters, flinging their glistening bodies through the air like an arrow shot from the water.

Crocodiles and alligators, the leathery looking, tough skinned, snap you in half faster than a spring loaded booby trap critters.  Similar, yet different species.

One that always confuses people: alpacas and llamas.  One is taller and the other one looks like it would be happy living as a house pet.  Lots of furry fluff to snuggle into, big eyes and a long neck to hug.  Which maybe, they could have been the trial run at creating a giraffe.

Beyond the animal species that look alike there are species and couples that are just better together.  Think about your own household, community and neighborhood.  Cats and dogs build special relationships.  Thank to the internet we have seen a multitude of images of different species snuggling and playing together: birds and cats, dogs and hamsters, goats and sheep, chickens and cats, dogs and sheep, rats and dogs, dogs and horses, cows and people.  Think of the combination and it’s out there.

We could take a page from the animal kingdom and learn to get along.  It doesn’t always have to be this or that.  It’s called having a circle of friends. Take a breath.  Sit down next to the llama and say, “what’s up.”  Learn something new from our neighbor.  It’s okay to find out you and the cheetah down the way have the same spots, it’s called being human.  Share the friendship.  Make the connection.  Say hello.  Be kind.  Open the door.  Put the phone down.  Be a human.

Happy New Year – Whatever THAT Means

I couldn’t sleep last night.

Even the dog, who usually snores louder than Eric, was having trouble falling asleep. I think we were thinking of the same thing:

Damn those New Years resolutions!

There we were tossing and turning. My back hurt. My left foot had a strange scratching, burning sensation….which rather than look, I figured a spider was biting me – so I whipped my foot around in the bed. The heating blanket was too hot, so I tried to suffer through it – while I thought about stupid resolutions. The dog sighed and rolled around – obviously worrying what he was going to commit to for the next 12 months.

He’s got it easy. He already knows how to tell us when he needs to go outside. He doesn’t chase the cats. When encountering a strange dog, who is barking and carrying on, Tater sits down and looks at the other dog since it is obviously just out of the nut house. Lucky for us, Tater’s parents took care of the farting problem, so we don’t have that issue to contend with. Yeah, a 180 pound Mastif, farting — could singe your eyebrows right off. I don’t know what he’s pondering for his resolutions, perhaps more drool control.

I continue to wrestle with the sheets, the cats, the sweat – because I haven’t the energy to turn off the stupid heating blanket. Lucky for the cats, I’ve now created a sweat lodge under the blankets. Both are sleeping soundly under the covers.

Who invented the idea of making up New Year resolutions? Why New Year’s Eve? I get it – a fresh start. A new beginning. Well the pressure of it all is enough to put the weak hearted into a mild catatonic state of reflection. Besides, everyone has the same list of resolutions:

1. Loose weight.
2. Work less.
3. Eat better.
4. Spend more time with family.
5. Save money.
6. Get organized.
7. Learn something new.
8. Try not to stress as much.
9. Work out more.
10. Try something new.

The first week of January at my local gym – I always walk in and there are 20 new people. It always baffles me: “who ARE these people?” Oh, that’s right. The good intentioned. The New Years Resolution Group. Give it two weeks….and we’re back to normal. If gyms were smart, they’d put together a fitness program for the New Years Resolutioners (NYR). Ease them into it.

I remember last year there was a NYR gal – she jumped in with both feet, two arms and a bucket of good intentions. She had her new outfits, new sneakers, new towel, new water bottle, iPod and super cute gym bag. I figured someone must have given her the “complete package” for Christmas. How would that go over? I love you honey, here’s a gym membership, all the fitness gear required and a class schedule. Good luck! Hope the gift giver was on the same program, but I doubt it. Within a month she was gone.

In case you were wondering – I did some quick research on how the whole thing got started. According to an article written by Gary Ryan Blair, “The History of New Years Resolutions” :

The tradition of the New Year’s Resolutions goes all the way back to 153 B.C. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.

The mythical king of early Rome, Janus, was The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking back at the old year and forward to the new.

Interesting. Well, I have some ideas on new and different resolutions for the New Year. Now, I am not saying they’re MY resolutions….but they could be someone’s out there in the big, big, world:

1. Don’t fart in elevators. (there’s two of us in here and it wasn’t me.)
2. Stop picking your nose in the car at stop lights. (we see you.)
3. Quit talking on your cell phone at restaurants. (yes, we hear you.)
4. Be nice. (It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.)
5. Don’t get your photo on http://www.peopleofwalmart.com
6. Never get a “significant” other’s name tattooed on you. (just a bad idea in general, as chances are 50/50 you’ll split up.)
7. Try not to get your drunk videos, where you break your teeth doing a keg stand, on You Tube.
8. Remember people can see when you roll your eyes at them.
9. Lock the bathroom door on the plane. (duh)
10. Drunk karaoke isn’t always a good thing. (hint: don’t sign up for American Idol.)

Needless to say, the bedtime sweat lodge I created, didn’t help me come up with any new ideas on New Year’s resolutions for myself. As I continued to toss and turn, listen to multiple levels of snoring and snow falling off the trees – hitting the roof with a THUMP – I decided one thing:

You should be your best self every day.

It shouldn’t be the first week of the year that you try to be a better person. You should try and be a good person every day, to yourself, your family, your animals and others.

And when people ask me, as they always do, “what are YOUR resolutions?” That is exactly what I’m going to tell them. New Year resolutions are about making changes – so why is it people turn it into a competition? No doubt, when people ask you for your resolutions they’re thinking:

I need some resolution ideas.
I have more resolutions than you.
My resolutions are better.
Your resolutions are weak.
Everyone says that.
Bet you won’t stick to THOSE resolutions.
Too bad you’ve got so many.
My resolutions are so much cooler than yours.

Drives me nuts. The competition of life is exhausting. That could be a resolution itself : to stop getting into life competition and just be yourself.

I decided, I’m fine the way I am. Sure, I need some adjustments. It’s like a chiropractor visit but different. My spirit needs some adjusting. Trying to implement giant changes in your life, I think, will have a high probability of failure. Nobody wants to be caught in the cycle of failure – that would be depressing. Small adjustments – lifestyle changes so to speak…are much easier to manage.

So if you are wondering what my resolution answer will be tonight:

To be my best.

Period.