Turning a New Leaf

I spent New Year’s Eve with Brownie holding and reassuring her when the fireworks went off, eventually leaving her to go run after a stray dog on the highway.  Later, I returned to my pack to celebrate.


I almost don’t drink…but I made an exception for New Year’s Eve, and had a couple of glasses of red wine.  Jesus drank sometimes, and although I agree with Mohammed that it can generally put one in a state of mind that is not really conducive to achieving difficult goals, I went ahead and indulged – it is supposed to have health benefits in moderation.  Of course, it can also be terribly addictive, and some people are biochemically wired for dependence on it once exposed. 


Drinking is such an infrequent event for me that I didn’t have a corkscrew.  I spent a little time trying to invent one…



It’s an interesting engineering problem, and I wish I could say that I had been clever enough to solve it, but, I ended up rather inelegantly scraping the cork out of the top with a screwdriver.



I stopped at the red line on the top of the label.  It may still be under the legal limit, but there is no way that I had any business trying to do anything with that amount of alcohol in me.  About the haircut, well, no hairdresser will claim it…and rightly so.  Someone gave me $15 for a haircut, and I spent the money instead on Brownie’s blood work, and got out the scissors myself.


So, I slept the alcohol off, and in a more sober frame of mind, I sit down to formulate my resolutions for the new year.  It’s always interesting to reflect on the incongruence between who you are, who you think you are, and who you want to become…Well, first and foremost, I give thanks to my higher power… for the day, for being here, for being able to act, think, solve problems, love my family, and for the beautiful world that has been given to me to discover and appreciate, for caring enough to communicate and teach me.


Now, for the hard stuff…my shopping list for what I want is going to sound like the uncontrolled desire of a 2nd grader appealing to Santa who has not yet encountered the  concept of a limit, or the constraints of the real world.


  1. Dog training.  I would like to achieve immediate recall of all dogs under my care in all situations.
  2. I would like to lose weight, and achieve better cardiovascular health.

Intervention on 3 different levels:

a)      food intake 5 days a week, reward foods associated with reward activities

b)      exercise

c)      monitoring

  1. I would like to make another hike.
  2. I would like to finish writing my book, and become a more proficient photographer.
  3. I would like to personally intervene in a positive way in the lives of 24 animals outside of my pack.
  4. I would like to take concrete steps to improve the environment, planting trees and a garden.
  5. I would like to become fluent in Hebrew (knowing 1000 words, basic grammar and conjugation, and be able to write a letter to a pen-pal in Israel – maybe an elderly person with no family who would like to receive and write a letter sometimes),  and also in Spanish, writing 12 letters for Amnesty International and child sponsorship in Spanish. 
  6. I would like to build 4 projects…a cabin, a car part, a hearing aid, an EKG
  7. I would like to take better care of my parents and brothers.
  8.  I would like to devote one month of the new year to learning about human and animal physiology areas.  One month for muscles, one month for bones, one month for nerves, one month for dental hygiene, etc.  Taking concrete steps to improve each of these areas in my own body and the body of my animals, volunteering each month with a specific medical group of people and animals in need (paralyzed vet rehab for example).  These are rotations.


I think 10 is enough!


So, for this month…It will be muscle month.  Activities:

  1. Make a Hebrew/Spanish calendar that I can put colored stars on the days corresponding to steps toward each of the 10 resolutions that are achieved that day.  (1-red, 2-orange, 3-yellow, 4-blue, 5-purple, 6-green, 7-brown, 8-black, 9-pink, 10-gray).
  2. Contact the SPCA, and ask them if I can come 3 times a week, to photograph and assess injured animals, to try to identify muscular problems.
  3. Autopsies on wild animals.  Identification of the wild animal’s ecosystem.
  4. Identify a non-profit that works with muscle disease (muscular dystrophy, or another), contact, and ask for volunteer work, for example taking someone (Spanish or Hebrew speaking) who can’t drive to the natural science museum or nature center or zoo or dog training activity.
  5. Build the EKG and study the heart – the biggest muscle.
  6. Identify the muscle groups and dissect the forces acting on muscles in several different exercises that I do (one a day).  Assess personal muscle strength.
  7. Achieve muscle biopsies with microscope slides (need stain).
  8. Find a spanish class, and a hebrew class.
  9. Ask the members of my family what I can do for them – make a list of projects by the end of the month identifying needs (expressed and unexpressed).
  10.  Achieve call to me from the dogs in the house.

So, after a really late night, Spin woke me up early with a paw at the door so that I could go to Temple services and start the New Year right.  It was kind of funny because after all my thoughts and writing about animals last night, The Great Spirit sent 3 cows and a calf into the front yard this morning – the first time in a while.  They aren’t supposed to be there because of the newly planted trees, but they are desperate for grass.  I take the time to herd them out of the yard, and practice some pretty gratuitous "comes" with Chandler while I put on my shoes (he is pretty naturally in my face with with act).  I opt out of breakfast, and pick up Brownie to take her for a car ride to the Temple, listening to a Spanish rendition of  "If you love me, let it show, if you don’t then let me go."  I mentally map out the Spanish vocabulary, and arrive at the Temple for a discussion of  nephesh or soul – animals and people, what are the qualities of their respective souls?


Later that day, I plant a tree for the new year.  The Quercus Virginiana weighed about 100 pounds, and I think I burned about 300 calories digging the hole – good workout for the upper backs, I can definitely feel my rhomboids.


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1 Response to Turning a New Leaf

  1. Pingback: More next steps – 3 pounds | My Blog

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