Total Life Change: Research and Planning

Total life change is likely to go better with research and planning. The foundation reassures me of the dao.

The truth is that sometimes this old dame feels overwhelmed by what I’ve done. The cozy comforts of my condo are swept away.

There are times when I ask myself, “What have I done? Have I taken on too much?”

I always come back to a sureness that this is what I want. I wouldn’t feel that way, I suspect, if I had rushed into things.

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How A Dream Can Die

There is no hexagram for loss in the I Ching. The dao resolves the inevitable ebb and flow of creation — including life and our journeys through it.

The full moon in Cancer portended letting go.

Full Moon Chinese scroll painting
Tao Lengyue (Chinese, 1894–1985)
Full Moon, 20th century
China, NY Metropolitan Museum of Art,

It is now clear that I must accept I have probably lost a part-time income I enjoyed. The institution was acquired by an investment group. Even though I hold a terminal Ph.D. degree in my field and hold advanced certifications offered by the institution, I am now deemed unqualified to teach. In a shakedown — which I tellingly wrote as shamedown on my first effort — we are being asked to take courses from our employer to keep our jobs. Pay for play.

The Signs and Markers Pile Up

Without this income, I cannot retire from my adjunct teaching. I cannot afford a home with a yard and my Doberman Pinscher in this area and become active in the sport of training. I can’t afford one anywhere, for that matter. Not now.

Even if the job re-materializes, it points out the tenuous nature of my plan in these times when the social safety net is being shredded in Washington. Without Social Security and Medicare, my means of support are limited and fragile indeed. I must keep my current employment and pray that lasts!

I need to develop some additional income streams, probably by reviving another site about fashion I started in 2008.

Health Factors Warrant Consideration

In December, I experienced a flare of a stress-related illness sparked by the goings-on in Washington. I questioned whether I have the energy to train a large dog. With a yard, it is possible. The walking and activity with my companion dog will further healthful living and minimize such flares.

But the yard is not possible. Not right now anyway.

Some people urge me to get a doctor’s note to have a small therapy dog in my apartment. I like all dogs, but it would not be even close to go to this plan D.

First, I have found no small dog that equals the noble characteristics of a Doberman. A standard poodle is a close alternative. I had one in the past.

However delightful the poodle, it does have the breed characteristics of a Doberman. I doubt that even a small standard or moyen poodle would be accepted by the condo association.

Living in a third-floor apartment, I will not be able to let the dog out in the mornings while I have coffee and meditate. The texture of my days will change in a way that having a yard would not. I want the safety net of a yard for the dog and me.

Coping with the Cancer Full Moon and Loss

Tapestry old stage pursued by hounds
1500s Tapestry, S. Netherlands, NY Met Museum, Old Stag flees from pond pursued by hounds

The Cancer full moon (January 12) was widely interpreted in astrology as a watery condition and a time when we would be asked to foresake and forego.  I am sad to let go of this dream that has energized me for the past 10 months. I am bereft at the realization I may not be able to manifest this dream for years, if at all.

Opening the I Ching, Wilhelm translation at random, I am at the Taming Power of the Small, Hsaio Ch’u (9). Strong elements are held in check by the weak. We are told that we can only persuade a tyrant — and we certainly have that imminent — by small persuasive actions. “So also an individual, when [s]he can produce no great effect in the outer world, can do nothing except refine the expression of h[er] nature in small ways” (p. 41).

And so it is.

The < ahref=;ft=grief&amp;offset=40&amp;rpp=20&amp;pos=44″>New York Metropolitan Museum of Art</a> offers this poem with the image, which seems apt:

This tapestry illustrates a poem about human frailty, in which the stag represents Man. Here, Age and her hounds Heat, Grief, Heaviness, Cold, and Anxiety, drive the stag from a lake. A French inscription may be translated:

Then Old Age mounts an all-out assault
That drives him from the lake
And unleashes upon him Pain and Doubt,
Cold and Heat, and thus brings on
Care and Trouble to seize him.
And Age with wrinkled flesh
And Heaviness make him flee
Toward Sickness, the dreaded one.


If It Isn’t One Damn Dream, It’s Another

I used to drink, rather a lot. A persistent fantasy during this time was that someday, after my newspaper career, I’d be a blowsy old barkeep.

Some alcoholic private eye would run his business out of my little hole-in-the-wall tavern.

Every once in a while, I might even get laid.

At age 40, I got clean and sober. It wasn’t a goal, and it wasn’t my idea of how to march into old age as a fabulous old dame.

Funny story: I may be the only person in the world who was blackmailed into treatment by her physician for overdosing on a nutritional supplement — L-Tryptophan.

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Fantasy Meets Reality: The Dao of Pushing Through

Four hours, a dozen properties, an intense drive through the neighborhood I favor, and fantasy meets reality. I have arrived at the dao of pushing through.

Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection
Staircase with Trophies, NYPL Digital Collection

Goals and dreams are the wellspring of vitality. Without them, a person might as well be dead. It’s important in late life to have another project on the horizon.

The desire that illuminates my quest is having a well-trained, well-bred Doberman Pinscher.

Affordable homes for myself and my faithful companion are, so far, underwhelming. A home can look good when the photograph crops out every undesirable aspect.

One is next-door to a double-wide mobile with a platoon of kiddies’ bikes and a tree house on the property line.

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Dao of House-Hunting under Retrograde Mercury in Virgo

Dao of Endless Portals
Portals and Paths

The dao of house-hunting continues. I will soon start another round of house-hunting. I have been scouting neighborhoods up to this point. Now the quest is sign a contract for a home for me and my Doberman.

Each time I complete one step of this journey, I pass through another of the endless portals toward living my dao.

My excitement is growing.

I have taken this condo apartment as far as I can, unless I spend big money for a new kitchen and bath to make the place sparkle.

Those are not cost-effective investments.

I love the thrill of the chase in finding things to turn my home into a Bohemian fantasy. Enjoying the dao of the journey is more magical and fulfilling than reaching a goal.

Proof: I have a made-to-order sofa and loveseat purchased when I and a life partner were making good money. It wasn’t nearly as much fun as finding quirky resales.  Imagining what I might do in my next home delights my imagination.

Astrology, Synchronicity, and My Dao

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Doberman Conformation at South Florida Fairgrounds

Ring Ready

The Palm Beach Dog was my second excursion into the dao of Doberman conformation. I ‘made it through without fainting. That was a plus.

I attended the Sunday event of the Jupiter-Tequesta Dog Club.

I love being among all these exceptional animals and their dedicated owners, handlers, and breeders.

It was efficiently run, and everyone was friendly. The exposition hall was air-conditioned. Ringside chairs were provided.

Nice Stack

Everything moved so fast. If I could change one thing, it would be for winner to be announced in some way. Ribbons were distributed; handlers and animals left the ring, and the next group was on a whiz.


So many elegant well-trained dogs and bitches stacking, moving, and collecting their prizes.


I’m not sure how much I learned, but it was interesting and fun.


Outside, big rigs costing $100K and up demonstrate that there is some big money involved.

Big Rigs

But there were small rigs, too, of people who do it for love of the breed. And some stay at motels.

I found it challenging to catch the fast movement in photos. I’m a lame lensmaster at best.

Small rig
On the move
Pretty Dobes all in a row