For many people, myself included, 2015 was a challenging year. Losses, heartbreaks, health issues, financial difficulties and various trials seem to have occurred with more frequency than they have in the past. In an effort to “find the pony in the pony shit,” I have been thinking about my personal challenges, and what I learned from them.
The Pony Shit – It was a first for me to have a neighbor call the authorities to file a police report against me. I thought I was actually part of an Ashton Kutcher “punk” when I opened the door to a man in dressed in a Ventura Police Department uniform. He was following up on a complaint from the elderly lady down the hall. It had been reported that I had taken her keys, and then broken into her condo at 3:00 in the morning, where I sprinkled itching powder on her and her dog. This was the latest in a series of bizarre behaviors on her part, including two months of her knocking on my door at all hours to get back the keys I took, and standing outside my door trying to peer in the peep hole. I had filed complaints with my landlord, the homeowners association and adult protective services – to no avail.
The Pony: Thank you Maggie, for giving me the final straw I needed to move. I found a safe, secure place to live, where my neighbors are kind and helpful – and not crazy. And by the way – where does one get itching powder, if that even exists???
My Beloved Car:
The Pony Shit – Towanda, my loyal 1999 Toyota Avalon, finally gave up the goods in May. She served me well for 16 years, until finally too many things were breaking down, and it wasn’t worth the cost of repairing them. Much like me. It was hard to say goodbye, for she had become my long-term travelling companion.
The Pony – I purchased a used Toyota Rav4 in a beautiful ocean blue color, with only 28,000 miles on it. It feels like new to me. And my loyal sidekick let me know that she didn’t have any hard feelings when I “put her down,” as she let me take the plates off with her name, and put them on the new car!
The Pony Shit – I completed my first year of service as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate), where we advocate for children in the foster care system. I had no idea how demanding and sometimes thankless this work could be. On many occasions we get little respect, and we are often discounted and ignored. People ask me how I like it, and I tell them it is the hardest, most demanding job I have every had – and to top it off you don’t get paid.
The Pony – Someone has to do this work, for these are some of the most vulnerable members of our society. What has become very clear to me is what happens to children when they don’t get the love they deserve at an early age. And more importantly, I have learned how giving them that love can change the direction of their life.
The Pony Shit – I had several issues with “friends,” some of the situations being very painful. I have learned that individuals who only come around when it suits them, or who demand that things should always be done their way, leave me feeling marginalized and unloved.
The Pony – It took going through these situations to realize that good relationships demonstrate a solid balance of compromise and mutual respect. I will be looking for more of these in 2016, and leaving the former type behind.
A Drummer’s Death:
The Pony Shit – And on the last day of the year, my friend Michael, a drummer in the band Iron Butterfly, decided to leave the planet. He died.
The Pony – He was a good guy, and a good musician, and I was lucky to be able to see his last performance this summer. I found a copy of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on ITunes, and I blast it out of my computer speakers. That’s the best farewell I could give him, as I also take the time to remember how short life truly is.
And so here’s to a productive, creative 2016, with less drama and trauma than the year before.
And may all your ponies be beautiful – and may the little piles they leave behind be sweet-smelling!