Friday, August 31, 2012

Pushing Boundaries

Blogging Friends.... Life has settled down a bit around here!! As these words are being typed, my Grandma is away, temporarily visiting some dear friends of hers. She will be gone until Tuesday. Rose, of course has wondered about Grandma's sudden absence, occasionally wandering into "Grandma's" room!! Then, because life can be insane, on Wednesday, September 5th, we will all--including Rose!!--stay at this beautiful cabin!! For three days!! A mini-vacation!! I am looking forward to that....   

Boundaries. Parents set them for their children. Certain rules which must be obeyed. Boundaries are a positive, even though children may, or may not, see them that way. I never did!! Should somebody say: "Don't do this." Or.... "Don't go there." I would!! Yeah. I provided my Mother with some, if not all, of her silver hairs!! Alright. Mini confession over. We set a few boundaries for Rose, as well, like she is some child. Just a few. And one of these rules is that she never step "paw" into my sister's side of the bedroom. It is strictly enforced!! Rose "forgets herself" sometimes, though. Then this rule gets disobeyed. Oops. During Grandma's stay, my youngest brother--"Uncle Michael" to Rose--has been sleeping on a padded matt in our sister's side of the bedroom. Fun!! Like a sleepover!! This way, Grandma can have his blue-painted bedroom. Whenever things are new, or different, quite often, Rose likes to push the boundaries!! Such as jumping on our grandparents' furniture during her one day stay in June. Or, worse. Leaving "accidents" on our great room carpet following her adoption. They always occurred after we drove places, and "abandoned" Rose. Every time. She has since overcome this!! The other day, after I finished taking a shower, Rose was seemingly missing. I do not like it when we cannot find my baby!! I searched every room, people's beds, her hiding places. There was no trace of Rose!! Where is she? Then, I saw her. Lying on the feet of Uncle Michael's padded matt, as though she owned it, was Rose!! I silently gasped. A cockeyed smile most likely crossed my face. Then, I found the camera. I snapped a few pictures. Finally, I patiently scolded Rose, who, instantaneously, stood up, and left Uncle Michael's padded matt!! What a good girl....   

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

False Neglect

Blogging Friends.... This post was supposed to be "published" yesterday night. But, alas, I was exhausted!! I could hardly keep my eyes open, much less hear myself think!! Sigh.... I need to be "on" whenever I'm editing my work. Interesting. I do not need to be "on" when I'm writing!! My "brain juices" simply must flow!!

Routine. Canines abide by it. For they possess the ability to tell time, experts say!! And, who can blame these beautiful four-legged creatures? After all, owners feed them on regular schedules. They are walked at the same time each day. Even love and affection can be fit into a schedule!! I am guilty of doing that!! So when something colossal occurs, a canine's life can, to them, seemingly be turned upside down!! Upside down. Rose may have provided Grandma with her hearty bay-filled welcome-to-our-home greeting. However. Two days was enough for Rose. Enough. On Saturday, we all piled into our Chevy minivan, and drove to a museum-like location. No canines allowed. Rose, of course, disliked that!! She so badly wanted to come with!! Truly Rose thought it was strange that, immediately after Grandma settled in, we would be leaving!! Sans her. Oh, she was very upset with me!! Rose's Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder "relapsed". It does that occasionally. For Rose is a usually calm mutt, so hyperactivity seldom ever happens!! She ran from room to room, bouncing off our walls like Winnie the Pooh's Tigger!! Seriously!! Following our exit, Rose balanced her front legs upon the living room window, and those mighty vocal chords let out this pathetic series of high-pitched baying!! Which happens sometimes. My heart shattered like some broken glass as I listened helplessly to Rose's lonesome crying before we drove away. I hate leaving her under these circumstances!! Hate it. I said my silent prayer, which by now is routine, that God "be with Rose, keep her safe, and remind her that I'll never leave her, nor forsake her". Then, the next morning, on Sunday, we all piled into our car--once again--for church. Rose was considerably calmer that time!! Yes!! However, that afternoon, Rose became clingy to me. As though I were a refrigerator, and she was some strong magnet!! Strange. It was as though we had travelled back in time to when she was newly adopted!! Everywhere I walked, Rose followed. Plus, she was obviously fidgety.  What's wrong, Rose? I had zero idea. It's not like I am ignoring Rose because Grandma is here. I could never be that type of Mama!! I know my little girl's needs, wants, and behaviors. I understand Rose. She needs my loving. Needs it. So, I have stroked Rose's velvet-soft fur whenever possible. I've continued with her walks. I have given Rose several baby carrots. I am certain that Grandma now considers me some weird and crazy "dog person". But that is okay!! Because I am!! It is the truth about me which I cannot deny!! Anyway. Should you ask Rose what is going on around here, she would most likely whine: Nobody's paying enough attention to me!! Doesn't anyone understand that I'm the most important creature who ever walked this planet? Anyone? Will you pet me? Will you? Will you? Will you? This is animal neglect!! But. Do not believe one single word!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Where's Grandma?

Experts say that change is hard on canines. Whether it be a new environment. Or divorce. Whether it be the arrival of a new baby. Or some move to another home. Whatever mental and emotional adjustments required, it is hard on canines, experts say. They're like people this way. For canines love routine. And, such as with human beings, every dog adapts to change differently. Yesterday afternoon, my Grandmother arrived for a visit from California. She will stay here throughout the course of two weeks. Two weeks. I was curious within my mind how Rose would handle this temporary change, fretting that it might confuse her. To Rose, Grandma is a perfect stranger.... And now she's invading our home!! But I ignored one truth. Rose is my sociable girl, and seemingly has this set-in-stone opinion about mankind: Everybody must love her!! Not a "dog person"? Too bad!! Rose will transform you with those magical colossal brown eyes of hers!! Like they possess the power to bewitch, or something!! And it works.... Nearly every time!! How does she do that? When Grandma arrived, I was walking Rose. She knew that something was happening. Immediately. However, we kept right on walking for two reasons. That Grandma step foot into our home sans a welcome of high-pitched baying. And, so when her suitcases were being carried, Rose would not escape out the wide-open front door!! Plus I was extremely nervous. Extremely nervous. I get this way whenever Rose meets new people!! High-strung like some child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Which never helps Rose!! Must. Calm. Down!! Rose's meet-and-greet with Grandma ran as smoothly as can be expected!! Once our front door was closed, I unhooked her red leash. Rose bound toward Grandma, and let out this brief series of baying!! Her happy sound.... This means that she likes Grandma!! That evening, my tired Grandmother slipped away and changed into her pajamas. Once Rose noticed Grandma's absence, she stood up from her lying position. Rose walked over to the white Lifetime chair where Grandma had been sitting. Her black nostrils peered beneath Grandma's seat. Rose's head turned this direction and that direction. It was as though her mind was thinking: Where's Grandma? She was here a second ago. My nostrils can still detect her scent!! Where is she? It must have felt to Rose as though Grandma had disappeared into her magic lamp like some genie!! Once Grandma returned, Rose was satisfied!! Our "new" family member had come back!! All is right with her world!!     

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Freakishly Accurate

Blogging Friends.... Sigh!! I have been dealing with some "Blogger's Block" lately!! So much time, such little inspiration!! Hopefully, my posts have not been lacking....

After note: This was written yesterday evening/last night.   

Accusations. I have been dealt many from time to time throughout my life. Some are falsehoods. During which I defend myself. Adamantly!! Which, only makes me look guilty!! Why is that? Others are true. And no denial in the world could prove them wrong!! This Summer, my nine-year old cousin has given me one of those true-cannot-argue-against accusations. "You have a crush on Iron Man!!" And, he always says it teasingly, singing that sentence, as though Tony Stark and I are Jr. High lovebirds!! Nine-year old immaturity!! Ya gotta love it!! I certainly do!! When my ears first heard this accusation, I giggled. Somewhat sarcastically. "Is it that obvious?" I asked him. Still singing, he said: "Yes!! You have a crush on Iron Man!!" Wow. My "secret" is out. I have a crush on Iron Man!! I suppose this means that I am an easy read. Because, really?! All I have done is devoted most of my Summer to impersonating Iron Man!! Happily. Which, I admit is weird, considering the very fact that I'm a girl!! I never should have been even allowed to impersonate Iron Man!! Never!! My cousin wanted to be Iron Man!! And, I never would have accepted this "role". If it were not for my acting like some spoiled-rotten child whose Mommy said "no" to candy at the grocery store. If it were not for my slow, low tone of voice, quivered bottom lip, and slumping shoulders. If it were not for my one pathetic whine: "But I wanna be Iron Man...." True story!! I conned the kid!! And, he let me be Iron Man!! But, in my own defense, I was joking!! Which makes it okay.... Right? Hmmm. Nonetheless, I impersonated Iron Man that day--all day--guilt free!! Yep. I was like that spoiled-rotten child with the candy. Mommy caved.... And I got my way!! The following day, I took a dose of maturity. I need that sometimes!! I offered Iron Man to my cousin. But then he told me something that I will remember forever. Forever. He said: "You're the best Iron Man!!" Aw, sweet!! But I replied: "Oh, I am not the best Iron Man. I'm not Robert Downey Jr.  He's the best Iron Man. I'm just impersonating him." And I was. I have impersonated Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man on a ridiculously obsessive level. Even for me!! I lowered my voice, which was not at all that difficult to achieve!! I made both mental--and physical!!--notes of the character requirements regarding being Iron Man. I watched both movies. I studied pictures. And.... I observed Iron Man. Every week, I excitedly anticipated my impersonation of the superhero. Excitedly anticipated it. I conceived ways that I could improve Iron Man. I was always working on him. My version of Iron Man is close, but a far from perfect copy of Robert Downey Jr.'s. And that's okay!! Because I am no Robert Downey Jr.!! Nor do I wish to be!! Nope!! I want to be me!! Whoever that is!! Yet, somehow, in an unusual and palpable way, Iron Man now feels a part of me. I must be unable to comprehend this. Because I cannot explain it!! Tomorrow may be my last opportunity to ever again impersonate Iron Man. I am feeling both emotional, and grateful at the same time. I'm also nostalgic. I own an Iron Man action figure--a children's toy, really--that stands, right hand repulsor blast out, on my bedroom shelf. He will eternally commemorate this Summer. It was a good run.... Alright. So I have a crush on Iron Man!! Big deal!! According to psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo: The piece of shrapnel lodged near Iron Man's heart doesn't stop him from using his powers to protect and defend others. "He has taken a bad experience and turned it into something positive," she says. A woman drawn to him appreciates the antihero, the underdog who relies first and foremost on his wits. Oh. My. Goodness!! "A woman drawn to him appreciates the antihero"? Plus "the underdog"? Whoa. That is a freakishly accurate description of me!! A freakishly accurate description of me!! Especially her part about the underdog!! I am a colossal believer in second chances. Heaven knows that I have been given plenty throughout my life!! The underdog not only needs second chances, but, eventually, he earns them!! Kind of like Tony Stark.... Rose is my "second chance" girl.... In more ways than one!! She was adopted at age three, rescued from our local shelter. Before Rose, I owned Shadow. My German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross. Although I never stopped loving Shadow, my feelings toward her altered over time. I began to slowly take Shadow for granted. I let petty behavior annoy me. I was impatient with her. I deeply regret all of this. Rose is my second chance, that Sleeping Beauty who is, as these words are being typed, curled up on her comically-sized dog pillow. And I am grateful, so very grateful. May I never take this amazing second chance for granted....

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Blogging Friends.... This post was supposed to be "published" yesterday night. But, alas, I was exhausted!! I could hardly keep my eyes open, much less hear myself think!! Sigh.... Oh well, here it is now!!    

Consequences. We all have to face them from time to time. Because, there will be consequences for our actions. It never fails!! These consequences can be resulted from some colossal form of bad behavior. Or nothing smaller than childish disobedience. We screw up. Participate in something that is wrong. And then we pay the consequences. Every time. For nobody is perfect.... Right? Not even canines. Two mornings ago, I was taking a quick shower. As soon as I'd finished, I immediately observed that Rose was missing!! Uh-oh. Don't panic. I'll find her. She's around here somewhere!! My bed? No. The great room? No. Mom and Dad's bedroom? No. Outside? Not likely. Then, somebody considered Uncle Michael's bedroom. The door was closed. She turned its knob. Standing there on the other side, waiting--patiently--yet looking rather co nfused, was Rose!! Poor girl? Well.... Consider the believable facts in how Rose got locked behind that wooden hollow bedroom door. It was not because somebody accidently closed it on her. Uh-uh. Rose's black nostrils detected something, something tempting, something of bread "crusts" and butter. She is my "food lovin'" Beagle cross, after all!! And nobody was watching that hound!! Rose wandered freely toward Uncle Michael's bedroom, where, placed upon his couch, lie her "treasure"!! Why not go after it? I am continuously scolding Rose for licking Uncle Michael's plate clean. Will she ever learn? Answer: Never!! However, the other morning presented a rather unique challenge!! We have been experiencing some high outside temperatures. So, Uncle Michael's window was open with his blue fan on full blast. And the air current sucked that door closed!! With a loud slam!! I can only imagine Rose's reaction during that moment in time. Her facial features are so expressive!! Front legs propped up on Uncle Michael's couch, teeth chewing those toast "crusts", jaws working away, when the door slammed closed!! I imagine that her brown velvet-soft ears perked, and forehead furrowed. She had reached the point of zero return.... There was no going back. No going back. Her "bad dog" behavior was reaping its consequences!! And, as resulted, she had become self-incarcerated!! Really?! Fortunately, I arrived just in the nick of time to rescue my little girl!! Or.... Bail her out!! The following morning, Rose was caught--"red pawed"--licking Uncle Michael's plate clean!! Again. What am I going to do with her....?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Unsolved Mysteries

Blogging Friends.... I hereby declare that this is my 200th post!! Wow!! The only words which I can use to express regarding reaching my 200th Blog post is this: It is amazing, truly amazing, that for a girl with Attention Deficit Disorder, plus short-term memory loss, who, until eleven years or so ago, would never finish anything, I have come a long way!! A long way. As have my writing skills!! And the results are real!! So real. I am eternally grateful for my faithful online community in Blogville.... You are all wonderful!! I have 33 Followers.... And counting!! Plus, Beautifully Unique has earned six awards.... Wow.

When you adopt a rescue canine, especially an adult "second chance" dog, there arise countless mysteries. Was she abandoned once? How many homes did he reside in? Was she abused? Such mysteries vary depending on the rescued "second chance" canine. For every story is different!! Every story is different. These mysteries that do present themselves are--and forevermore will be--unsolved. Unsolved. For each and every adult four-legged canine possesses a past. If you are me, who can't stand unsolved mysteries, this not knowing, this uncertainty, will drive your mind crazy with questions!! Crazy!! If you're me, you search for clues along the way--subtle hints--and transform into this detective!! Like Sherlock Holmes. And I've somehow always been this way!! For I have an insanely curious brain!! I use my strong sense of observation. I see. I listen. I smell. I take everything in. Everything. I heed attention to seemingly minor details which most people ignore. I produce theories. I debunk them. And I recreate those theories. I know, I know, I'm weird!! With Rose, my theories have been: Was she owned by negligent people? The busy type who were constantly preoccupied, and never provided her with love and attention? Because Rose seems needy in this area. She hates it whenever I "abandon" her. Normal behavior for a canine.... Right? It is called "Separation Anxiety"? Think again!! Rose literally develops Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, bays, and runs rabid throughout our house during the few times whenever I leave on back-to-back outings!! Break. My. Heart!! Every time!! Was Rose an outside-only canine? Because following her adoption, the only location where she preferred--initially--was our securely fenced backyard. Is that how she escaped? Out the backyard? Is that what lead Rose's future shelter's respective dog catchers to discover her aimlessly wandering some local busy street? As time has passed by, my queries have grown. They've been bonded together like bricks that construct some building. Did her former owners have babies and children? Because Rose is wonderful with little ones!! Was there a lot of angry shouting as though her former owners were enduring some nasty divorce? Because Rose dislikes any yelling, and will silently slip away when even one person rises his/her voice. Or did they constantly shout at her? Hmmm. Because she walks away, tail tucked between her legs, head bowed, during such rare occasions. Did Rose's former masters have a calico cat? Because our neighbor down the cul-de-sac owns this tri-colored feline. A calico. "He" will walk by "his" green-painted house from across the street. Teasing poor Rose!! "He" will roll on "his" side in the fresh green grass, as if thinking: You can't get me.... Rose freezes, stock-still, utterly mesmerized by that feline!! She will whine. And bay. Her happy sound!! It is as though my mongrel has reunited with some long-lost friend, or something!! Rose never behaves this way with any other feline. Never. She always wants other felines, and pulls on her red leash for them. But this is different. Very different!! Rose's colossal brown eyes will become alert, her velvet-soft floppy ears perked, forehead furrowed, and.... She is bewitched by that calico cat's beauty!! Bewitched!! Every time!! It never fails!! Unsolved mysteries. Unanswered questions. Each one intertwined, somehow leading Rose to me. Yet. Each one also driving the Sherlock Holmes within me completely crazy....

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Furry Little Inmate

Blogging Friends: I would like to thank you once again for your comments on the other day's Robert Downey Jr. post. Learning about his past was, at times, emotional. But recounting my feelings on Beautifully Unique--they were honest and raw--was even harder!! I did not write this with any expectations that people would comment. Robert Downey Jr. once said: "Go for broke and exempt all clichés if possible.". That is what I feel like I did by "publishing" this very, very different Blog post!! And you, my dear sweet Blogville community, exceeded every expectation!! I am feeling so grateful....

I figured that following the other day's lengthy, hardly humorous Blog post, I owed you all something funny!! And short!! This story truly did occur. However, I have added some bit of fiction to it!! Enjoy!!

It has gradually become my conviction that life has a sense of humor. An ironic, sometimes witty sense of humor!! Life happens, producing certain situations that entice collective belly laughs. You need not search for these moments. Because they will come!! So, why not play along? Last week, while I was putting some finishing touches on the other day's Blog post, we shampooed every carpet in this house. A colossal task, but it needed done!! Meanwhile, Rose was not allowed in her usual location: my room. Besides, "our" bed had been covered with stuff. Covered. So, I placed Rose's comically-sized pillow on the "boy's bathroom" floor. With dog toys strewn about. It was the perfect temporary location for my mutt. She could see and hear me type. Her water was nearby. And, she takes up little room!! So. I had a little fun with this!! I pretended that Rose was incarcerated. She had few freedoms. Eating? Allowed. Drinking? Allowed. Urination and/or bowel movements? Allowed. Exiting her "prison cell"? Not allowed!! And, sitting on this very nearly-broken white Lifetime chair, placing my right hand pointer finger to this very black computer keyboard--I rebelled against typing class!!--I was Rose's "prison guard"!! That's right. I must be a terrible Mama to incarcerate her own little girl!! Just terrible!! But, alas, it had to be done!! Right? Rose was, for the most part, a cooperative furry little inmate, switching positions on its tile floor, and seldom ever leaving her "prison cell". My submissive girl.... Meanwhile, I was an alert, firm, yet empathetic "prison guard"!! I took my "job" seriously!! Rose was, like any other unjustly incarcerated creature. Confused, wondering what she had done wrong. Answer: Nothing!! Our house was disarranged, and she is confined to this.... "Prison cell"? Poor girl.... I provided Rose with continuous verbal praise, as she slept away her day!! Hours passed, and I typed. Occasionally, Rose would peer through the "boy's bathroom" doorway, revealing her wrinkled-faced, "goofy" grin. Why can't I walk around the house, Mama? Did I do somethin' wrong? She seemingly questioned. And all I could do was praise her. This was part of the "job description"!! Which, I also took seriously!! She was, however, allowed a walk. Up and down our suburban cul-de-sac!! Then, like some grounded child, she returned to "prison". Obediently!! Rose was released on bail at the end of that day for an enormous financial cost. How large a sum? I am not at liberty to say....    

Monday, August 6, 2012

"Lost In Narcotics"

Blogging Friends.... This is a lengthy post. I apologize for that!! But, grin and bear with me!! I needed to get every emotion regarding its subject out of my head!! At last, I feel free!! This Blog post also required four days to write!! Sorry for the delay in "publishing" it!!

This Blog post is dedicated to my Mom. I am sorry that you've had to live with my "laundry list of character defects" all these years. Truly. You are a wonderful mother, who was right about me all along!! Everybody is hopelessly flawed, but never too far from self-improvement!! I love you!!

I learned about Robert Downey Jr. The good, the bad, and the ugly as they say. That's right. I read about his past. But what would possess somebody like myself, a 28-year old sheltered Homeschooled graduate, who was this oddball, skinny-legged, pig-tailed, Walt Disney animation-watching girl during much of Robert Downey Jr.'s addiction years, to learn about it? I am so weird!! Why would I wish to feel and comprehend what it is like to live life as an addict, when I've never smoked one single narcotic? Oh. And, I detest the taste of wine!! Detest it. Am I insane? Swift answer? Yes!! But I'd gained this colossal curiosity--which, in my own defense, I pushed aside for one entire month--about Robert Downey Jr. and everything regarding his past. Including a healthy fascination in narcotics. A healthy fascination. Allow me to elaborate. I may be curious about the chemicals that Robert Downey Jr. put into his body, but it stops there. It stops there. You will never find me smoking any narcotics!! Over my dead body. I just become interested in the weirdest subjects, that is all!! Nonetheless, my curiosity refused to disappear. Refused. Every time I pushed this newfound fascination of mine aside, my curiosity grew, swelling up like bread dough in an oven. Bigger and bigger and bigger.... So, after spending one month debating whether or not I wanted to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s past, I purchased a book on impulse. Entirely without thinking. I had reached my decision, at that very moment. I am going to do it. I am going to learn about the life of an ex-drug addict!! Nothing would stand in my way!! Nothing. When I showed the book to my Mom and sister, their reactions were equally hesitant. Noticeably so. My Mom said: "Is it gonna be all about all the crap he took?" Sheepishly, I replied: "Oh, yeah, probably. But he's better!!" Then, something came alive within me. Something called boldness. I now strongly desired to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s past. Strongly desired. It intrigued me now!! I could no longer push this aside. To my Mom, I declared: "I was gonna learn about his past eventually, anyway. I can either do it on the computer, or I can read about it in this book." And I was serious. Mom visibly did not care much for my quest, being a loving, protective mother, but I earned her support!! Approval, however reluctant. For that I am grateful!! Eternally. Mom has never been a controlling parent. She's allowed me to express myself on more than one occasion!! For I am the daughter whose handwriting is unlike anybody else's!! Unique. Or the teenager who was infatuated with Darth Vader!! Odd!! Mom simply did not wish for me to learn about narcotics. And, now that I'm more educated in this subject, I don't blame her!! Because what I learned about narcotics will stay with me forever. Forever. While reading about Robert Downey Jr.--who smoked his first marijuana at age eight--later slip further and further into addiction, I felt like scolding: "Robert!! What were you thinking?" Trust me. It was a strong temptation!! But, I swiftly realized that, doing so left zero room for empathy and compassion. Zero room. So I had this breathing exercise while learning about Robert Downey Jr.'s self-destructive life. It kept me sane!! Inhale. Exhale. Softly chant: "Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.". I participated in this breathing exercise repeatedly. Repeatedly. Based on personal observation--which is all I have to work with--Robert Downey Jr. was an insecure, tormented soul. Narcotics served as a "blanket" toward happiness. But it was false. Definitely not real. Everybody reaches a point in their lives when they feel the strong urgency to figure themselves out. There are unanswered questions. Such as: Who am I? What's my purpose in life? Why am I here? What Robert Downey Jr. went though as this marijuana/cocaine-addict young adult--again based on observation--was that deeply personal journey. And everybody's unanswered questions uniquely vary. Uniquely vary. But not everybody's unanswered questions are clouded by narcotics. His were. How can you embark on such an already confusing, sacred, emotional season of self-revelation.... While addicted to narcotics? Impossible. Every Hollywood actor needs perseverance while attempting to seek recognition for their gifts. Robert Downey Jr. possessed the God-given acting talent to make it and thrive!! Unfortunately, however, nothing he worked in became box-office hits. Sadly. His acting performances would be compelling, in huge part because he gives "110 percent". But. Box-office disappointments are hard to accept. Especially when you give so much of yourself!! Then, Robert Downey Jr. would become dejected, and, as resulted, smoke narcotics/drink/party throughout the night. Inhale. Exhale. Softly chant: "Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.". My sanity is still intact!! Keep reading. Remaining sane was a promise which I made to myself. An important given. A must. Partially because everyone who knows me understands that learning about certain dark subjects such as narcotics and the life of an ex-drug addict can consume my mind. Producing nightmares. Plus a jittery, impatient, unpleasant-to-live-with version of myself. Oh. And the mood swings!! Nobody wants to see those!! Uh-uh. Nobody. I also set out to prove myself. Because. People did not want me to learn about Robert Downey Jr.!! I can participate in this undertaking. I know what I'm doing!! I can learn about the life of an ex-drug addict. And walk away completely unscathed!! For the most part, I remained true to my promise of sanity. For the most part.... There was a chapter devoted to Julian, Robert Downey Jr.'s junkie character in "Less Than Zero". I have not seen this film, but my opinions still count.... Right? I hope so.... Because here they come!! My opinions are really quite strong!! Consider yourselves warned!! It makes me sick whenever I hear or read fanatics' praise for Robert Downey Jr.'s "performance" in this movie. The chilling sensation is soaring through my stomach as these words are being typed. He was a drug addict. "Playing" some.... Drug addict? Nice. Real nice. That famous image--which cannot escape my head--of Julian sitting, smoking something, was, most likely, accurate. Robert Downey Jr. gives his "110 percent" to acting.... Remember? He was already knowledgeable about narcotics. So everybody can honestly say that this "performance" was not acting!! Nope!! Based on personal observation, Julian was probably the only character when Robert Downey Jr. did not need his God-given talents!! Ew. Midway through the chapter about "Less Than Zero", I lost my sanity. Temporarily!! I had read this quote by a female co-star: "The scenes were so true to life. It was all happening to (Robert Downey Jr.). You had the feeling: 'Is this guy going to make it? Is what happens to Julian going to happen to Robert?'. Gasp!! No breathing exercises could prevent my temporary loss of sanity. Not this time!! Because that final sentence: 'Is what happens to Julian going to happen to Robert?' threw me, emotionally. It was beyond my control. Or anybody's, for that matter!! I was now suffering through an erratic breakdown of some sort!! One that I will not soon forget!! It was an odd breakdown--weird, even for me--a borderline mood swing!! Within my mind, I had already established that Robert Downey Jr. could have killed himself. I had already established it. With every narcotic that he took.... Disgusting. But reading about Julian--who dies in the end of "Less Than Zero"--reality hit me. Hard. What happened to Julian could have happened to Robert Downey Jr..... I stood up. I marched halfway down a hall. Then, I stormed into my youngest brother's bedroom--where he had been watching something--and begged: "I need Sherlock (Holmes). Now. Play me some of our favorite scenes from 'A Game of Shadows'." My brother refused. Initially!! But I was desperate. And nobody wants to see me that way!! Nobody. I finally demanded: "I need a 40-something, very, very sober RDJ--NOW!!" I meant it. Not a 22-year old version of Robert Downey Jr. as some drug addict, playing this junkie. No. I wanted Sherlock Holmes!! I needed Sherlock Holmes. Fortunately, my sweet brother is long used to his crazy sister's occasional erratic behavior. Everybody is!! With few questions asked, he obliged. My brother and I have several favorite scenes from "A Game of Shadows".... And, between the two of us, we can quote every line!! Soon, I was laughing with Sherlock Holmes' witty idiosyncrasies, plus marveling at Robert Downey Jr.'s brilliant acting!! I felt better now. My breakdown was over!! I simply needed some visual proof that Robert Downey Jr. survived!! He has a career. And, more importantly, life!! For days, that breakdown would soak into my brain like water through some sponge. And, it has continued to absorb everything from the "Less Than Zero" chapter. That film which I never saw!! There is, however, a touch of humorous irony to my breakdown. Humorous irony. Because life is funny!! When I demanded "a 40-something, very, very sober RDJ", what character did my erratic mind request? Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr.'s character who drinks.... Embalming fluid? "Sober"? Hmmm.... Pretty funny!! It did feel sort of weird to learn about Robert Downey Jr.'s self-destructive behavior, when he is still alive. Honestly!! It felt as though I owned some time machine, and travelled back twenty-plus years ago!! I was reading about Robert Downey Jr.'s past, yet I could foresee his future. And it looked promising!! While nearing the conclusion of Robert Downey Jr.'s addiction issues, I quietly chanted: "So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!! So-Bri-ety!!", my right fist pumping vigorously. It was 2001. He's 36. Sobriety was so close that I could nearly feel it rising on the horizon. I could nearly touch it. I was ready for this all to be over. Ready. I felt as though I'd been sitting alongside Robert Downey Jr. on some wild roller coaster ride, with dips and twists and turns. I was exhausted. And I had had enough. But Robert Downey Jr. was, as he phrased it sometime in 2010, "lost, lost in narcotics". For far too long. Addiction is a mental illness, this ferocious monster that will--and often does--swallow its "victims" whole. This ferocious monster.... See, I understand addiction. I shouldn't, since I've never walked that road, or known anybody who has. But I do understand. And I somehow always have!! You are addicted to something that has a mighty hold on your psyche. A mighty hold. I understand the reasons, however foolish, why an addict just cannot quit. They just cannot quit.... I think that sobriety is a mindset. Like happiness. You cannot simply wake up one day--especially following a lifetime dependent on narcotics--and expect to be clean. It is this timely process. Which begins with an attitude of I want to change.... In Robert Downey Jr.'s case, that is exactly what happened!! The actor had been driving for days, bag containing narcotics, and craved a burger. His body contained drugs, as well. At this point, I could taste sobriety like some sweet, fluffy vanilla cake. I could taste sobriety.... It was there, even closer than ever before!! Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. felt as though he would go into cardiac arrest. Desperate, the actor then did something that nobody would have imagined. Nobody. He sought help. From strangers. And.... He threw every narcotic into the ocean!! Robert Downey Jr. never got high again!! Mmmm. The unthinkable to so many people. And it happened!! Sobriety. At last!! During this saga in Robert Downey Jr.'s life, I found myself feeling joyously ecstatic!! Joyously ecstatic. He would now be on the road toward recovery!! Robert Downey Jr. finally found his sanity!! While reading about his potentially life-threatening near-cardiac arrest, I could feel my own heart pounding rapidly, adrenaline and fear flowing through me like some rushing river. You can only cling tight to addictions for so long until they kill you. And suck away your final breath. Until that ferocious monster swallows you whole. I kept awaiting a drama-filled, fight-for-your-life wake-up call. With paramedics involved, or something. Not that I was even the least bit disappointed!! Robert Downey Jr. still could have killed himself.... I shudder at that very thought. Reading this part was surreal, too, on a deeply personal level. Because I think that I know which narcotic(s) were within Robert Downey Jr.'s system during his last time being under the influence. A cold chill washed over me at that very moment. For the first time in my life, I no longer felt like a sheltered, 28-year old young woman. I have grown up.... Speaking of maturity. What I didn't expect--I'd never see it coming, not even in a million years--was how powerful an impact Robert Downey Jr. would make on my life during this experience. How powerful a positive impact!! Allow me to explain. It turns out, that Robert Downey Jr. and I are quite a lot alike!! Personality. Idiosyncrasies. And.... "Character defects". It is kind of freaky, really!! When Robert Downey Jr. was smoking narcotics, he could not have cared less about the consequences. This happens when you are an addict. He obviously did not respect anybody, no matter what his most loyal friends did to help. Again, the pattern of an addict. He was stubborn, refused to listen, made lame excuses, and lied. Oh. My. Gosh!! That's. That's. That's. Me!! I possess a bad reputation around here. I procrastinate doing what everyone knows is right. I use my short-term memory loss for negative purposes. That learning disability which I despise, because it makes me feel middle-aged. Then I would lie while using my short-term memory loss as some believable excuse, er, lie!! "Oh!! I forgot!!" would be a common act for me. Which worked. Until my act was caught!! I have not cared about broken promises, no less that Robert Downey Jr. did. I have not cared. I have not cared. I have not cared.... Hot guilt bubbled within my conscience at that self-revelation. I could not believe this!! I felt as though I'd been punched in my solar plexus by a shirtless Sherlock Holmes himself!! What? How did this happen? I have always been known for my excuses. But. Lying? No. No. No!! I have always been such an honest person!! When did this happen....? Now, I have been eliminating excuses. "Doing right". And.... I am working against my lying habit. This third problem will take a little longer than the others!! Changing habits is an incredible process, after all.... I do not lie on this Blog, lest anybody think that. I hide nothing!! This is the one place where I am free to express myself. Truthfully!! And, coincidentally, this Blog post is most likely my most honest one, yet!! Score!! A broken record!! I have followed countless celebrities throughout my life. Singers. Baseball players. Actors. Olympic Gold medal-winning athletes. But none have left a greater impact on my life than Robert Downey Jr.!! I am thankful for such redemption stories as his. Sobriety truly is a beautiful word....   

After note: Everything I wrote about Robert Downey Jr. here--minus factual information--was my perspective, and mine alone!! Based on observation....