Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pudding - sole rights to kisses

We have a ten month old Siberian Husky named Pudding. Pudding has a lot of personality and shows new and interesting characteristics every day.

The latest one is her apparent belief that nobody should be handing out or receiving kisses unless it involves her. We are allowed to kiss her and receive kisses from her but not between each other. She doesn't get aggressive or anything but she most certainly makes her objection known.

The first time I was sitting next to Al on the couch who was sitting next to Pudding, who was staring at herself in the mirror as usual, and I gave Al a kiss. Pudding whipped around from the mirror and starting moaning at Alan and pawing at him. We were not really sure what she was doing and just left it.

Then yesterday afternoon, I was going into the kitchen and walked past Al and stopped to give him a kiss on my way and Pudding ran up to us and started "kissing" Alan's face frantically. She then started "talking" to us for quite a lengthy period of time in a low-pitched, soft tone and it was pretty clear that there were to be no kisses without her.

I frequently bend down, open my arms and call her "Puddy! Come give me kisses!" and she runs to me, ears back and licks and nibbles my chin. She often asks for them too by pushing her ears flat against her head and looking up at me and starts to lick the air. I bend down and she licks and nibbles my chin. A very affectionate puppy indeed!

We have managed to get her out of some bad habits without formal training, such as demanding to be played with instead of asking and sleeping in her own bed with her own pillow and not taking mine. She also does not eat my shoes which is odd because she eats Alan's. Maybe my feet don't have such an alluring aroma ;) So we will have to work on Puddy with her "no kisses without me!" behaviour and see how it goes.

The power of association

Have you ever listened to a piece of music or seen something and been reminded of an event so strongly that you are able to feel the same emotions that you felt at the time of the original event? It's called association and it can become very weird!

I was listening to a piece of music this morning which reminded me so much of Stellenbosch and going ice-skating with the dance society and just from the music, I could remember exactly how I felt while going round and round the ice-rink and watching the figure skaters show us some of their moves. It was awesome!

There are bad association too of course, such as a friend and lasagna, I don't know all the details of the story but I know that at age 6, she didn't want to eat her supper and so her father pushed her face into her lasagna and covered her face in it. She has not since touched lasagna and the very thought of it makes her feel ill.

People used to, some still do, use bad association with their children in the form of spanking. If the child does something wrong and they get spanked, they learn to associate pain and humiliation with doing something wrong. I'm not a parent but I know what my psychology books say about spanking and it isn't a good idea to promote violence as a means of solving a problem but that's not what this is about.

I know a woman who has a sort of infatuation with a man. The woman is married to a man she loves very much and the man to a woman he loves very much and the man and woman in this case are first cousins. While incest is not a good idea, the infatuation happened for her due to association from when they were teenagers.

They only really got to know each other as teenagers and they had a fair bit in common and they used to go out and have fun together. The woman then learnt to associate her cousin with fun and close friendship, something she does not experience with her own husband. The man, however, had fun but the emotional connection was a lot more one-sided and he did not create the same associations.

Years later, the woman gets quite possessive of the ,man around his wife and demands his full attention and tries to exclude the wife from conversation and involvement in activities or photos. She's reasonably nice to the wife when they're not around the husband but the woman likes to remind the wife now and then how close she is to the man.

Now while this story is rather disturbing to me, apparently the fact that they're cousins has nothing to do with it, it's just a bit of a yucky coincidence.

It never fails to amaze me how even now, having studied (and should be studying this very minute too. Procrastination.) about how unusual or abnormal some people's behaviour can be, I'm still surprised. People are so complex, no two people are exactly the same so those "All women drive badly" or "All men are pigs" really mean nothing.

If you're the type of person who ponders over other people's behaviour, association isn't always the answer but often it can be. Why does Johnny want to kill someone every time he eats a mango? Maybe because Johnny was given a mango every time a violent movie was on (I'm exaggerating, please note). Or why does Mary want to laugh every time she sees a person wearing pink pyjamas? Maybe there was a lady who dropped her kids off for school in her pink pyjamas every day and her hair was always in curlers and she looked hilarious.

The other thing is how other people form associations with yourself. If you find people disliking you for no apparent reason, perhaps they've learned to associate you with something that they dislike. Like maybe you spoke about how often your stomach works or something the first time that they met you and they're sensitive and now all they see when they see you is an image of you on the toilet.

The good news is that associations can be changed, nothing is set in stone so don't worry too much about how people are creating associations about you. As for your own association, try to associate things you have to do, like studying, with good things or happy things so that you'll want to them more and it won't be a schlepp. Oh, just one last thing on the associations of other people with you, sort of like a golden rule: Don't stink!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A sum up of the past 6 months

The past 6 months have been extremely busy and eventful and have left me with little time for blogging. Time seems to fly so quickly and when I look back I realise how much things have changed since I've stopped to catch my breath. These are some of the highlights:

1. One of the highlights of the past 6 months for me has been my psychology studies. I did a module on abnormal psychology and in short it teaches us how to diagnose and recognise mental abnormalities. This is everything from severe mental disorders to personality disorders to substance abuse to childhood disorders. It was one of the most exciting and at the same time, one of the most sad things I have read about.
There have been people I've known for many, many years where I've known that something was not quite right but I didn't know what was wrong and after this module, I was able to understand their behaviour a lot better and felt more able to cope with how I react to their behaviour.

2. I don't write too much detail about my psychology modules because a. we are taught how to analyse things in context and b. how to critically evaluate things and not just read that if Timmy has a sore thumb and Timmy insists on eating chocolate ice-cream twice a week it must mean that Timmy is insane. So if you read a book on abnormal psychology don't run around and decide that every second person, yourself possibly included, has a major psychological problem. I'm just saying.

3. Sort of on the topic of abnormal psych but not quite, Pudding, our Husky pup, has bouts of severe anxiety and will be too scared to do things like climb the stairs and I end up picking up this 30kg dog like a cat and carrying her up the stairs. We always have a chat about it first though with her making her objections to being pressured to climb the stairs or at my picking her up. Eventually she either manages to work up the courage to run up the stairs or else she sits in front of me and gives a little jump when I bend down to pick her up. My arms have become significantly stronger from all of this and so I suppose that is the highlight of the story. I do enjoy the chats with Pud though, she's very entertaining. If you're someone who visits us, please do be warned that if anyone "pinches" your bum, it's not us, it's Puddy. She is obsessed with giving people, strangers in particular, a little nip on the bum. It's not sore but it is somewhat unnerving for those who think that it's us!

4. In other highlights, my best friend had a baby not so long ago and while I didn't get to spend more than a few hours with them before they emigrated to the Isle of Man, it was still fabulous to spend time with Bran and to meet little Isabelle considering that she'll be quite a few years older by the next time I manage to see her.

5. I met some lovely and some very interesting people recently. I seldom really connect deeply with people instantly but every now and then I do and I met two people that I've had that with in the past 6 months and while I won't see them very often, I'm so happy to have met them and will be sure to make the effort to stay in contact. Please note that interesting only means interesting in the true sense of the word at times with me. The rest of the time it means downright weird or awful. I only commented on the lovely people though as the interesting people weren't interesting enough to comment on if you know what I mean.

6. Joining dancing again. I haven't yet but I have found a suitable studio and will definitely be joining this month again. I cannot wait to get dance-fit again and meet some new people.

7. The decision to move. We are moving house as our neighbour, who is a bit old and grumpy, has decided that Pudding's conversations with Fatty and Gubbels and the children swimming in the pool next door, are not entertaining for her at all. Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks that Huskies are beautiful and cute, etc They are all of those things but they are not quiet. They don't bark but they do "talk" (look on Youtube if you don't know what I mean). While I love our home, it would be nicer for the dogs to have a bigger garden and it would help us if we had enough space for our furniture , which we don't now. We'll rent our current place out to tenants and then find somewhere to move to.

8. I have taken a big step in the right direction career-wise and have found a job at a psychology practice. I am most excited about this and cannot wait to learn all about how things are done and run in this sort of environment.

9. The smoke alarm is going off and nobody is running. How interesting.

10. One of my close friends in Cape Town became a mom with another one following close behind.

11. I have discovered the most amazing biscuits! They are called "Jaffa cakes" and they only stock them at one Spar that I've found. They are not cheap but they such amazing little pieces of yumminess that they are worth every penny. They're like a soft sponge with an orange filling covered by a dark chocolate top. Nom nom nom!

12. I have discovered skin anaesthetic. I needed to have some blood work done a few months ago to test for appendicitis and while most times I would just say "No way, you're not sticking any needles in me! Goodbye!" I knew that I'd have to have the test done in case it was serious.
I went to the pharmacist and explained my dilemma through my tears and I asked her for some herbal tranquilizers to calm myself down. It was then that she suggested that I buy this tiny tube of cream to numb my skin and that's exactly what I did and I felt...NOTHING! Like seriously, nothing! It does take an hour to kick in so if you're thinking of going that route, put it on before you even go to the Dr.