Survival of the Fittest

April 26, 2012 at 7:34 am | Posted in Life and Living | 3 Comments
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In little communities across the country, we are more protected from the natural dangers of the world than we realize.  The idea of survival of the fittest comes to my mind often as I think of getting ahead in my career and other typical stages one goes through in life.  But when it comes to physical strength and endurance, I have never been truly tested.  After my years as a brownie in the Girl Scouts and sitting around campfires in camp, my time in the great outdoors has been fairly limited (unless you count high school parties in the woods).  I honestly can’t remember the last time I was in a tent.

I know I’m not alone in losing touch with nature in all its glory and danger.  In this day and age, we are all so connected to everything except nature, it seems.  And not that I am one to fall for the hype of the world ending at the end of this year, but you never know what can happen.

That’s why there are classes for people who are serious about getting back in touch with the outside world and protecting themselves from possible natural disasters. At the least, these classes can help one reconnect with their natural instincts and help build character.

When I watch my dog — a very domesticated animal — I see the survival instincts clear as day.  You can domesticate an animal, but you can’t take the instinct out of an animal.  He is going to chase squirrels, cats, birds, deer, possums. He’s going to track scents and listen to his environment.  He is going to protect his family.  I thank my dog for at the very least making me more aware of my surroundings.  He has trained me to spot any possible dangers — be it a plastic bag moving in the street or a suspicious person, when I am with him, I am aware.

Awareness is probably the first step.  But survival needs more than that.  Survival takes heart, body, and soul.  Survival takes strength.  Survival takes knowledge and instinct.  Survival takes action. Survival takes the desire to live and thrive.

Do you have what it takes?


September 20, 2011 at 7:36 am | Posted in Life and Living | 1 Comment
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you know what? Let him have it.

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they just don’t want to take anybody’s crap anymore.  For people, often it happens when you are much older.  People will say, “Oh that’s just grandma,”  because grandma has lived through some crazy stuff, was a tough cookie when she was young, and now that she’s old, she just doesn’t care anymore.  Don’t mess with grandma.

When you are young, you know you have to take a certain amount of crap in order to get ahead.  It’s basically a fact of life.  There is a natural order in life that is directly connected to age and life experience.

The same is the case in the dog world.  Puppies learn to be submissive to older dogs, one way or another.  Sometimes they instinctively know to not bother their elders, but more often than not, they need to be taught a lesson from the elder dog.  In the world of the canine, there are alpha dogs and beta dogs.  Dogs are instinctive creatures — protective of their homes, their property, and their families.

For the longest time, my dog was very submissive.  He took a lot of crap from other dogs, including being bitten twice, and humped endless times.  But at the ripe age of 5, he is officially done taking crap.  My sweet dog is no longer ducking his head in submission — he is ready to bare teeth if anyone messes with him, his tennis ball,  or his family.

Call it instinct, I guess.  I’ve now seen this dog chase down cats, rabbits, squirrels, and birds; I’ve seen him tackle a possum, and bolt after a deer — a FREAKIN’ deer!  What he was going to do if he caught it? I don’t know. I don’t really want to know.  But the latest enemy to add to the list really stinks.

This weekend, the dog came face to face with a skunk, and from there, well,  I don’t think I need to elaborate on what happened next.  It was the first battle he lost in a long time.  What’s crazy about it is that he knowingly sat by the door waiting to be taken outside so that he could confront this strange animal who he heard messing around in the trash.  He actually wanted to give the skunk what for!  He was looking for trouble, and well, he found it.

So what’s the lesson in all of this?  For the dog, I’d say nothing.  He was doing what instinct told him to do. Sure it sucks that his nose will smell for a while, but if the opportunity to attack a skunk came again, I have no doubt that he’d take it.

The lesson for people?  No matter how old you get, sometimes you gotta take crap, even if you think you’ve been fed enough of it.  I guess we all get skunked, sometimes. And well, pick your battles wisely.

Old Dog, New Tricks

May 19, 2011 at 7:30 am | Posted in Fashion, Fitness and Beauty | 2 Comments
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he's definitely a retriever

With spring comes the desire to lose your winter weight. What also comes with spring is the desire to be outside.  So what do you do when it’s nice out and you want to work out? You go for a run, or go biking, swimming, or some other outdoor activity. I’ve picked running for now.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve been running on and off for the past year. Before that I hated it, but I’m growing more comfortable with it.  But that’s of course not the only exercise I get.  I do a lot of walking and climbing stairs. I have no choice in those activities. I live in a 3rd floor walk up at the top of a hill and I commute via train and subway.  I also have a dog I walk twice a day.

There are only so many hours a day and getting to the gym just seems like such a waste of precious time.  I save time by going running when it’s nice out.  How else can I save time?

How about combining walking the dog with my running?  But how would I do that?  How do I teach a five year old dog how to run with me?

It just kind of happened naturally. I came home one day and said, “let’s try this.”  So we’ve been doing this for a few weeks 3 or 4 times a week (minus this crazy rainy week), and it’s working out really nice. I don’t feel the need to listen to music when I have good company, and for the most part, he stays right at my speed (give or take a bird or squirrel sighting). When he does speed up or slow down, I’ve found enjoyment in the challenges of going faster and appreciated the moments I can catch my breathe while he sniffs out the grass.

Old dog, new tricks.  Only I’d say that I’m the old dog in this scenario.  It wasn’t that long ago that I wasn’t a runner and had never owned a dog before.  If you asked me in high school if I would ever be caught running with a dog, I’d probably give you a smart ass laugh, possibly a joke, and say, yea probably no.

Because learning new things is uncomfortable for everyone: man and dog.  But there is some beauty in finding comfort in the unfamiliar.  That, I believe is the key to endless possibilities.

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