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August 27, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Dream, a Walk, and Hell Money

I had a dream. Of a bunch of people roaming around a city with John and I. Work people, Horde people, and even some of the Aspects. We were trying to find this Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown of this city, and we were walking in the general direction and having small adventures along the way. We'd brought Fezzik along, and he was very happy to be with everyone and gamely doing his best to keep up with all the people. I stopped to help him through some spots and just stayed with him while he rested a while when his hind legs weren't doing too well. He'd rest a bit and get up again and ramble some more. If folks were stopped to look at something we'd rest together outside with John.

Near our destination was a garden. A perfect garden with velvet lawns, massive trees, and a small lake surrounded by shallow, rocky ledges and a bit of a sandy beach under trees. We were admiring it a lot, when we heard this *splash* and some girl shouting, "She just fell in!!"

I could see a slender, short haired dog under water at the rock ledge end of the pond. She was struggling madly under water, but you could see, instantly, that she wasn't a swimmer. Fezzik galloped, rear legs hopping together as he now does, into the water and he powered out. Both John and I were yelling encouragement. He then put his nose underwater and came up with the girl-dog's ear in his mouth. She let out a squawl when her nose came up out of the surface and Fezzik determinedly dragged her, by her ear, to the shore, where she got her front legs on the edge of the rock and hauled herself out. Fezzik looked at the ledge, looked at me, and I took my Birkies off, as did John, and the two of us waded, thigh deep, in the water to get under Fezzik and lift him up onto the rocks. It was obvious he couldn't do that for himself.

He lay on the rocks, panting hard, not even able to really get up, streaming water, but he seemed content. Content enough that we asked the ladies that were with the girl-dog to just watch him while we had lunch. They were all ready to pamper the heck out of him and his tail was wagging a little as they fed him treats and we walked over to the restaurant that was right outside the garden.

I woke up and just cried. Even in my dreams, Fezzik isn't as strong as he used to be, but just as sweet and just as willing to try stuff even if it drained the hell out of him.

When the alarm finally went off, I had really puffy eyes. Bah. I tried cold water, but they just were going to be puffy. The price of feelings, I guess. I consoled myself with the knowledge that my eyes would be behind sunglasses. We managed some breakfast, and then we were off. The funny thing was halfway to the Open Space John realized that he'd not only forgotten Fezzik's leash, but Fezzik wasn't even wearing a collar. Oops. Well, we thought we'd just try it and see. I think we were still thinking of Fezzik as when he was younger and running off in all directions and very much harder to catch than he is now; but we were willing anyway.

Debbie and Matt were there just a little bit before us. Boris and Forden were bouncing about deliriously and Boris actually pulled Matt over to kiss Fezzik and make much of him. They really like him. And Fezzik really likes them and happily followed them as they charged into the water on the edge of the path. Then as they were let off the leash, Fezzik did his best to chase them as they ran on ahead and then as they came thundering back. Poor Fezzik, not even nearly as fast and wearing out his hind legs really quickly as he wanted to wheel after the various dogs we met on the trail and his legs couldn't do that very often anymore. But he was willing and trying and doing what he wanted to do until he couldn't and then he'd rest a little and do it all again.

It was mildly worrying in some ways, as he was clearly pushing himself pretty hard, but I don't know any other way for him to build strength back, either. We turned back when it was obvious he was slowing even more, and eventually got back to the starting waterhole and Fezzik lay or sat in the water while the other two dogs rampaged about. Finally, he got up and walked back to the truck and John lifted him in while I talked with Matt and Debbie a bit. I felt a little sorry that Boris and Forden didn't get their long, hard runs in today; but Debbie said that they cared more about simply getting out of the house than exactly what they did. So I felt better about that.

It was only tenish, so John and I went to Target in Boulder, him to get a frame, me to get some underwear that I could actually wear as I get bigger. It's really odd after nearly an entire life time of trying to stay skinny and be slim and fit and all that to actually be getting steadily heavier and know it's a healthy thing. Not only healthy, but necessary for the kid. It just feels so odd to be able to be 'fat' completely without guilt and even with some anticipation and positive feedback. Now that is something completely different.

On the way home we picked up more fresh, local peaches, and a couple ears of corn for dinner.

Home again, home again, and Fezzik only wobbled a little when we set him down on the driveway and was able to walk wherever he wanted to go. Not as bad as I feared. We went in and had an odd lunch of Dorito 3D chips and whatever we wanted to drink, and afterwards, John listed a bunch of things he wanted to do. I don't know if it was the 'lunch' or the mild walk, but after that I wanted to just go to sleep. So I took a nap until 2.

John did stuff downstairs, did laundry, did garden stuff, and did some car stuff. I woke up and was happily refreshed, but hungry. So I ate something real, with protein, no salt, and plenty of liquids. The salt from the chips really made me feel bad. I really can't eat badly, or I feel really awful afterwards, still.

I then did more laundry loads and then went outside and burned Hell money in thanks for the amnio ultrasound looks. I also burned some for one of Cera's ghosts, and some for a ghost that has haunted me for years. The last has been a really hungry ghost and it was time for it to be remembered, paid off, and let go. So I did. Felt amazingly lighter after. I have to think it's happier at peace, too.

I think I like this ceremony mostly because it's entirely from myself and for myself in symbols I relate to and have bought into. The functions it provides at an emotional level have to do with thankfulness, a kind of prayer with a physical component of sacrifice eventhough the sacrifice itself is neat and small and pretty, and a way of letting go of the things that I cannot do anything about other than pray. Like Fezzik dying, like the genetic health of the baby, and like the reality of differences between human beings.

Was talking with the bride of the wedding and how glad she was that the ceremony is shaping up to be something that she really feels that she owns, that she took part in and chose. So the symbols have real meaning for her, the vows are going to be very real for her, and the whole celebration is something she's starting to look forward to not only as a social, outer thing, but also as an inner thing. It made me very aware that people really are only affected and touched and changed by ceremonies they believe in, or feel that they own. People belong to churches to be a part of, understand, and own the religious ceremonies, trappings and symbolisms, to call it their own. When people don't want churches or don't think they can accept a religion because those things aren't what they are comfortable accepting or believing, then they usually are just left out cold or having to make their own ritual. Sometimes ones own rituals feel unrooted, floating in 'well, it's just what I wanted' rather than 'this is powerful for me'. I think the difference is important. I just don't know how one gets from one to the other other than, possibly, rooting it in an older ritual and then adding the touches that make it unique to oneself.

Which is what I've done with the burning Hell Money thing, as I think tradition says that it's only done once a year and only to ones ancestors. I have no idea if in the traditional ceremony it's even okay to ask for favors or to thank the ones remembered for the fortune one has had. And they certainly don't burn Hell Money for God Himself. I like to, it's kinda fun thinking of Him wandering over to the Chinese Heaven and spending a bit over there and having a chance to talk to folks over there and play in the River of Heaven or sit with the Shepherd and help him keep the stars in line.

Mixing my metaphors.

As ever.

I went upstairs after that and played angband and wrote while running downstairs every time the buzzer for the dryer went off to get another load in and out of the laundry. Eventually I got bored, so tromped downstairs to find John just about done rewiring our entire entertainment center. Very nice. Now the VCR, the TV as well as the DVD all use the Big Sound System. Fezzik was sprawled on the well padded carpet down there half watching John work. John popped pop corn and came back down and we watched Anna and the King.

It was an okay movie. Not great, not awful, and there was a plot, interesting characters and very interesting events. I was very impressed with one outcome which was very unhappy, but the unrelenting consequences of actions. Real consequences. That was oddly satisfying if sad. Also mildly unusual in American movies. I liked it. Was very amused at the ending.

Food again food again. Grilled pork chops, corn and peas and we gobbled it all up. Yum. John found the ice cream and we had that for dessert. Contented me went to sleep happily.

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