"There is no coming to consciousness without pain"

Well, I just got here. That's not really true anymore, but all this still feels new and exploration-worthy to me.
I'm not really good with this whole 'talk about myself' affair, so if you'd want to know what, why and how I got into all of this, please read the story of my personal ascension.

I definitely seem to have developed a passion for body suspension. And because this community seems to be THE place to be to live that passion, I decided to join your little world here. I want to learn as much as I can about it.

No Forum - but I like getting messages. And don't be afraid of the tracking thingie; it doesn't bite.

Events I`d want to attend this year:

My favourite pastime when I`m around here:

 

Diary

Coachella! Vacation!
1/27/2011 | 7 comments


No, this one will NOT have dog content for a change! :) Although I am still reveling in the joys of sharing life with her.
Vacation plans for this year are getting underway, and in a reversal of order from last year, the first event to attend is Coachella Arts & Music Festival. Then Dallas suscon one weekend later.
Just bought tickets for Coachella, in some kind of panic reaction to seeing that they'll sell out soon. Hell, they have only been available since the 21st, and regular ones already aren't available anymore. Had to spend almost as much at Ticketmaster as we paid a scalper last year - which is annoying and should have been unnecessary...grrrr.  But, well, such is life. This year, we're going to RV it - I expect this to be a great weekend on may many levels.

Update:
Two hours later, the event was SOLD OUT. So, yeah, I guess I can add  "get lucky" to the TILT :)



So looking forward to spending three weeks with Jorda (of course she'll be accompanying me!), listen to some awesome music from some of my favorite bands (and some I have never heard of before) in a perfect environment, spend some wonderful time away from civilization in one of the most beautiful areas the US has to offer with LotN and Sabrina and, of course, see all of my friends from the hook-loving community in Dallas!

While going through the rather unpleasant procedure of buying Coachella tickets from Ticketmaster over the phone, This song came on the radio - and I think it fits. This overcommercialization of all things music is indeed killing the vibe:


Real life....
1/20/2011 | 5 comments


...seriously got in the way of me spending time on the internet with my IAM friends. I know I've been neglecting you for way too long and some of you have beendemanding politely asking about what has been going on with me and my new furry four-legged life companion. Well, I hope y'll are satisfied now :)
So I did fly down to Spain again the day before Christmas and brought Jorda home with me. Let me tell you, she made this Christmas the best ever. The trip itself was rather nightmarish, with flight cancellations, rebookings, late flights and  idiot rental car people trying to get into the way of of spending Christmas with the family, but we managed to overcome all obstacles with ease. She had no issues with flying, too and handled it very well, despite the changes in itinerary (caused by airport closures due to weather) meant that instead of a 90-minute nonstop flight the trip would be three hours and include one stop, complete with change of planes. I bought a cage for her which I had shipped to the shelter in advance, so they could get her used to it before the big day.
So it was time to say 'goodbye' to Spain and the staff at the shelter, who were sad to see her go (click though any thumbnail for full size image):

 

Anyway, we got home without incident, and she immediately was loved by the whole family. She choose a place right next to the Christmas tree to lie down and observe everything and it immediately looked like she belonged there and had been with us forever:


That was the sight I woke up to the next morning: - definitely something I could get used to!

 

She's really quiet, rather reserved, benign and, how shall I put it - distinguished. She does not bark except when playing with other dogs. She does not jump on people. She does not beg at the table, and is content and happy lying smack in the center of the room where she can observe everything that's going on around her. When I take her to the office she quietly lies behind me under a desk. And she LOVES going places: riding in the car, train trips, even bus and tram rides are no problem at all. Last weekend, we went to visit my brother who lives in northern Germany - for the whole 600-mile, six-and-a-half hour trip she sat or lay on the back seat, and either enjoyed the scenery or dozed off. An ideal travel companion! Speaking of travel: I'll definitely take her along when I go on vacation to the US in April.

 

But don't let that fool you - her favorite thing is being on her feet, outside, and exploring the world - something she's been deprived of for way too long. You would not believe she's almost seven years old when you see her bolting around in nature. She's unbelievably fast (she can out run a Podenco!) and has the endurance to match. She's been getting at least three hours a day of outside time and it's never enough for her! I only managed to tire her out once, when we went on a 12km bike ride at the midpoint of which she played 'chase' with another dog for half an hour. she loves the snow, too:


Note the absence of a leash! She usually doesn't run off farther than she can see me (or whoever two-legged is accompanying her) and equally usually  comes back when called. Note: usually. 'Usually' does not mean 'always'... but I'm *really* happy about her!

And she got to meet Alexa - the young female husky of my coworker. Oh boy, those two had fun together, and the day ended with two thoroughly tired-out dogs. I'm really happy to see that those two get along so well, and our plans to leave them at my place together as soon as my yard is fenced in will most probably work out. In general, Jorda gets along with the vast majority of dogs we encountered so far, although she is pretty dominant.

   

But it's not all roses and there's areas we need to work on. One is her prey drive/hunting instinct. Anything small that moves is regarded as "food" and hunted. She loves cats - for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And she's an expert hunter. Sadly, one cat already had to experience this first-hand, leading to a dead cat (she didn't kill it outright, it got put to sleep by the vet). I don't ever want to have have to ring at a neighbor's doorbell and ask if that badly mangled animal in my arms is their cat again. EVER.... And when she senses anything hunt-able in the forest, she's charging after that and just runs off. With lightning speed, and there's nothing holding her back - except the leash. But she's smart: She ignores birds, as she obviously learned that these will just fly off before she can reach them...
And then there's the "being alone" thing, which takes more time and patience than I expected. I cannot take her to the office every day for an indefinite amount of time. I was allowed to bring her for a limited time until she can stay at home alone.  She makes a fuss when leaving her in front of stores now, and she^'s clearly unhappy when left alone at home. She's following me everywhere. But I'm confident we get that sorted out with time and patience.

Other than my dog, 2011 could have started better - for the first time in years I had to take almost a week off work because I was sick. Not fun. But I think this entry is long enough as it is and me starting to rant about health issues is better reserved for another day ;)

TILT?
12/17/2010 | 0 comments

Everybody's doing these these days, so "why not"?
Anyway, here's what I love most on Thursdays:  Reading those TILT lists of quite a few of you.
And my morning ritual of coming on here and reading that one message from one of you that's usually there every Thursday morning. Always a pleasure to see your icon glowing red!

Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second.
(Robert Frost)
And that's from one of the best writers the English language has brought forth. You know what - the man is right.
I'm not a writing person. It takes me forever to compose a text that passes my standards of "it's OK to send". And this is especially true when the going gets personal. Although this has gotten better recently, (and I blame this place and some awesome friends I made in here for this development), it still feels kind of awkward to use writing for these conversations. It just is out of MY comfort zone.
I'd rather prefer talking, be that in person or not. It's just...better, and I feel more comfortable. And I really wish someone would do me a favor and accommodate this. But unfortunately, that seems to be asking too much. <sigh>

Ok, enough of that, I'll get back to how exited I am about that furry four-legged companion I'm going to share my life with in less than one week! (I'm going to fly down to Spain again and get her on the day before Christmas)  I can't believe how much this has done to me already.
When I was driving home in my new (well, new-to-me) wagon that I bought as doggie transportation module, I had to listen to  «Before Today» from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti on repeat, as the CD player wouldn't play mp3s... But it was so fitting - check the image used as a backdrop in the video:


dog update...
12/13/2010 | 9 comments


OK, so I said in my last entry I'd post more 'tomorrow'.. Well, it's been a few more days, but then, I've been busy. Anyway, here's part two of the "get-to-know" visit I paid my dog-to-be two weeks ago at the shelter in Spain where she lives at. I hope I'm not boring anyone with all those doggie things lately, but that's what's moving me lately.
I was positively surprised by how this facility is run - things are as good as they get, given the limited resources they have, financially and staffing-wise. There's about 90 dogs there (plus ~50 cats who roam around freely). Jorda and her daughter Santa live in a cage about 3*2m (9*6ft), and apart from occasional walks, which are done by volunteers almost exclusively on weekends that's where they spent all of last year. All I know from her previous history apart from the DOB in her chip is that she was living at a factory in the nearby town of Manresa where she was 'employed' as a guard dog (hahahaha, she's very friendly and didn't bark at all while in my care. Definitely not your average guard dog...). The factory had to close in late 2008 and the dogs were simply abandoned and left to their own devices before being brought to the shelter. I had no idea if she ever experienced life in a house as a family pet, I didn't know if she was used to city life or was even house trained. And the descriptions of her character and personality were pretty vague and not really helpful - apart from that she was supposed to be  "incompatible with cats" I didn't know anything.That's why I wanted to visit her  - to find out if we would get along and to see if she would fit in with my living situation. Well, what can I say? I fell in love with her the moment I saw her picture on the rescue site, and over the course of the weekend there was nothing to change this my first impression. She's a really beautiful creature, rather quiet and stately - far from the overly exuberant behavior most dogs exhibit when excited.
Anyway, I took her and Santa on a long hike on Saturday, and it was evident both of them were enjoying this far-too rarely time away from their confinements. My arms were sore from them pulling on the leash so hard, and my feet were displaying blisters so much did we do! I was firmly instructed to exercise extreme caution with her when it came to encounters with other dogs, as she was supposed to be extremely aggressive towards them. And she was, oh my - she tried to charge towards those other dogs with no good intentions at all, and it took quite some effort to drag her away from the scene. I envisioned myself needing to do socialization training with her before I could safely walk anywhere with her already. Oh well...  Apart from those incidents, we had a lot of fun, and we all enjoyed the trip a lot. I dispensed a whole bag of treats, too :)
And then I returned them to the shelter, and when I handed the leash to the staff and nobody had control of it for a few seconds, she used that opportunity to escape and *boom* charge after a cat that was moving somewhere. The cat ended up on the roof, unscathed, and about twenty or thirty cats in the vicinity frantically tried to escape the scene and seek cover or climb something. It was just too funny, and totally worth it to climb a ladder and rescue the cat from up there...  I returned to Barcelona, where I had plans of exploring the city and do some sightseeing, but I was so tired from the days' adventures that I went to sleep immediately.
Sunday, I repeated the process of taking a long hike with both of them and then took Jorda with me when I went back to my Barcelona hotel right on the beach. And what should I say, that went swimmingly and she  was just plain perfect! The car ride - she went in the car, laid down on the back seat and happily enjoyed the ride. So no problems there at all. Upon arriving, she immediately checked out everything in the room, and after that was finished, it was time our first outing at the beach. Well, and the next positive surprise - her aggressiveness was totally gone! There was no attacking other dogs at all - just the usual sniffing out and playing with each other! You cannot imagine how relieved I felt! Apparently this behavior is reserved to the dogs at the shelter she's forced to live with. Or some protective thing for Santa? Who knows.
She also seems to be familiar with city life. Cars and traffic (you have to cross a four-lane highway between the beach and the hotel), people, cyclists, joggers - all that left her totally cool. I could leave the leash extended to its 5 meter length all the time and didn't have to worry about her at all! Sooo good! Then it was back to the hotel - dinner time for her!
After a quick nap (for her, while I typed the last entry) it was time for another  to find me something to eat...Spain is everything but a dog-friendly country. They are not allowed ANYWHERE. Not in trains (or all public transport), not in restaurants and not in 99% of all hotels (also not on the beaches, but that's only enforced in summer). I selected the hotel I stayed at because it was supposedly "pet friendly", allowed dogs and didn't charge extra for them. Well, despite being told the contrary when I enquired about it when I made the reservation, this "friendliness" did not include the restaurant - no dogs allowed in there. So I had to go elsewhere for dinner, and choose to walk down the beach to a McDonalds where I could get take out and eat it in the park above the beach. Well, did you know that in order to be served food at the drive-in counter there you had to come by car or motorbike? They didn't let me order outside, and so I had to leave her chained next to the entrance and leave her. I didn't want to do that! Apparently, this joint is some kind of hot nightspot for the local youth (it was packed!), and Jorda attracted a lot of attention among the crowd of young people hanging out there. A group of girls offered to watch and take care of her while I was inside. Man, this felt so uncomfortable (and now I totally I can understand how you felt about Sabrina when we had that argument about the homeless guy - it really makes a difference! Sorry!) . Anyway, I got my food and we took off. Guess who had vegetarian burger, and who got to eat the meat, though. :)
Having her sleep next to me was a very comforting feeling. I just wonder what she did at her tenure as a guard dog - whenever there was someone walking past our room on the corridor she raised her head and went into 'attentive' mode, and once she even got up and went to the door - but never let out a sound. No barking. How great - I have a non-barking dog! That will keep my neighbors happy...
The next morning, I had to log in to work and do some stuff - while she sat at my feet and had this totally reproachful yet cute look on her face that said "what are you doing there - come on, let's go outside and let me have some fun!



And that's what we did shortly thereafter. Side note: she IS house-trained. She did her poopy business the moment we were outside, on the first available opportunity. Another huge moment of relief for me.

Well, and then it was time to return her to Manresa. She entertained the whole hotel by refusing to go into the elevator when we went back up before checking out. That must have been a funny sight - me inside , her outside, on the other side of the leash, not budging. No amount of enticing her succeeded in getting her enterring that thing. Before, she didn't like riding in it and was visibly scared of the movements it made especially getting underway and stopping but always made no fuss about going in. This time, I had to drag her in....
Anyway, we arrived back at the shelter, and I got Santa and we did a farewell hike together. She was so very happy to see her daughter and vice-versa!

 

But then it was time to leave. That was the worst part. Now, I don't think of myself as a very emotional person, but the sight of seeing these two creatures in their cage looking at me with this sadness in their eyes made me almost lose it. I still get teary-eyed just looking at that last picture.



Now, if this isn't saying "what are you leaving me here? Get me out of here!" ... so heart-wrenching.



Well, I'll be back there ten days from now and take her home for good. This will be the best Christmas present to myself EVER. Hopefully, I'll be able to find someone who will adopt Santa (her daughter) also.
I cannot wait for Dec. 23 to arrive!

happiest me ever!
11/29/2010 | 9 comments


too tired to write much - will update this with proper words tomorrow, after getting home.
I'm the happiest person ever right now. As I write this, Jorda - my new dog - is lying right next to me on the floor, sleeping. Yes, that means the "get-to-know" visit was a total success, and it did indeed "click" when I saw her standing behind the bars of her cage at the shelter.
Here's a few pictures for you to enjoy:





The other dog is Santa, her daughter - who I'm not feeling good about leaving there. They've been inseparable since her birth and always been together. A solution must be found other than me taking both of them. Can't (and do not want) do that. They are quite a team - and man, can they pull on that leash!
The cat got on the roof as a result of Jorda escaping when handing over the leash to the staff after the first walk. Oh my, we will have some fun when she's home with me. There's many free-roaming cats where I live. That scene caused quite some commotion among the 90-something dogs and 50-something cats in the facility.
The beach is directly across from the hotel. I'm staying in Barcelona, whereas the shelter is about 60 kms/45 miles (a 45-minute drive) away in Manresa, a small town in the mountains behind Barcelona.

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