Sunday, December 27, 2009

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Here, the puppy arrived a week before Christmas, along with my father and step-mother who drove her here from Florida.  They stayed a few days, and then two of my three children and one of my granddaughters arrived from Florida and Montana.  Holiday activities filled our days, from game playing around the table, to Christmas shopping.  We cooked amazing meals and baked delectible cookies.  My mother arrived, then my step-son, then my step-son's girlfriend.  We Skyped with my daughter and granddaughter who stayed behind in Florida this year.  The new puppy joined the joyous melee, playing keep away with anything she believed we did not want her to have.  Happy liveliness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Season Begins

Actually, by now this is old news.  The snow of which I speak is more than a week old now.  Another storm has swept the country from Arizona to Maine with deeper snow, then rain, and now a deep freeze to put the hard edge of ice on all the beautiful, gentle, white fluff.   Here's the "before"...









When the snow is light (as in these photos of last week), the animals are more easily able to dig around in it to find their food.  Now, the hard crusty ice pack is is not a thing to rejoice in, not a minor barrier to life.  I've found deer tracks near the house, and patches of digging where they have been trying to find acorns.  Sigh.  I wish it wouldn't start the season like this, 'cause that ice layer will be there now until May. 

Yet, my new puppy should be here by tomorrow, and the children and grandchildren who are able to come home this year will follow in a couple of days, and I was just in Florida to see the ones who can not.  The world is singing for me, despite the ice. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Puppy on the Way

Between business at work, evenings at the gym, coordinating a trip to Florida to visit my granchildren, and time spent on the New Puppy, I've missed blogging and visiting.  For this post, I'll describe the serendipitous, or maybe, spontaneous, or maybe jumping before one thinks, events that lead to me getting a New Puppy.

It started out on a random day, a Tuesday I think, during which I was struggling.  I wanted to make something good happen.  Yet there I was, lost in a sea of negativitiy.  Without any planning or foresight or even any thought, I suddenly stopped what I was doing, opened my web browser and typed in "petfinder.com."  I wanted to save something.  Change a life.  Rescue a loving heart from a cement floor, cage and likely death. 

The page showed hundreds of thousands of animals needing adoption - where to begin?  All I knew was not much - I "heard" that shelters in the South are likely to euthanize unadopted animals.  I also knew that the shelters in this state did not.  Okay, well my dogs are Portuguese Water Dogs, my dog of choice: no shedding, no smell, smart, and trainable working dogs.  Not likely to find any of PWDs at a shelter thought, didn't President Obama already say that?  Only 13 dogs of that breed left in the 70's, few even heard of them before the President's gift from Senator Kennedy, surely betweeen scarcity and new found popularity, what is the likelihood that one would have been so carelessly discarded in a shelter?

My search for a PWD resulted in about 14.  Huh!  More that I thought.  As I looked at the sad pictures, like innocent line-ups, I saw that they were all mixed breed (not that there is anything WRONG with that!), or from California (too far!)... except wait a minute....  There was the worst line-up photo I had every seen.  Just the top of a black head, one white toe peaking out from the body in a weird, floating photo angle.  But, the flash on the cell phone that took the picture caught the unmistakeable sheen and wave of PWD hair on the top of that little girl puppy's head.  It looked JUST like my dog.




(That's my dog - not the line-up photo of the dog on the shelter.) Sheesh, I could not believe how terrible that photo was.  I mean really... these photos are posted to try to SELL these wonderful animals who so desperately need a home.  So, what possible justification is there in posting a photo of the top of her head?  It's bad enough that these dogs are black.  Black Dog Syndrome is a known phenomenon to shelters.  A local shelter even ran an ad before Thanksgiving for a "Black Friday Special," 50% off an adoption of a black animal, along with an explanation of Black Dog Syndrome as the reduced likelihood of a dog being adopted if it is black.  They believe that it is because it is more difficult to see their faces and eyes - and that a black dog does not photograph well.  Whatever the reason, fewer black dogs get adopted.

I called the shelter to ask about my top-of-the-head photo dog.  The shelter was in Florida.  The person who answered the phone could not give me a lot of information.  Just a few facts and assumptions plugged into the computer: female; arrived October 12th; stray; believed to be 6 months old.  The person did not know why she was "still there."  I asked why?  They just don't usually keep them that long, she said.  They have so many dogs, she said.  They must be saving her for the Pet Fair they were having in December, she said.  She did not know the dog.  The shelter was huge.  It held 600 to 800 dogs, 50 or so new arrivals each day.  You understand, she said.  We just can't keep them all.  

My father lives an hour or so from this shelter.  I decided to call and ask him the huge favor of going to check this dog out.  I just wanted him to see what she was like - after all, I could only see the hair on the top of her head.  To his credit, he and my stepmother took this on as a project.  They are animal lovers, too.  It became a mission to save a dog, at least 1 dog of the tens of thousands who need love and a home. They drove there the next day and adopted the puppy on my behalf.  They decided it was no question that we would rescue her.  If I did not want her, then they would keep her.  Aside from being skinny and smelly from a month of kennel living, she seemed to have a sweet personality.  She had to be spayed, so my father had to leave her and come back a week later to bring her home.  The shelter was exceptionally clean, and she was as well cared for as she could be.

Now she's been at my father's for a week.  He's graciously offered to drive her from Florida to New Hampshire for me so she does not have to be crated in an airplane. He and my stepmother have bathed her, walked her miles, cleaned up puppy accidents, monitored her for chewing mishaps, and taken her to the vet's for lingering diarrhea.  She's had hookworm and tapeworm, and they can't travel with her until she heals from the spaying and diarrhea.  She's good natured and exhuberant and energetic and loves people and just wants to play. 

So, my whim turned into a whole chain of events, which will soon culminate in a new addition to our family.  

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saying Goodbye to the Geese



The other morning on the way to work, another round of Canada Geese were in the cornfield, resting and eating what they could find before they continued on their journey.  I look out for the geese every day.  Somehow, they are a comfort to me.  This day, I decided to stop and take a photo.  Unfortunately, by the time I got my SD stick out of my laptop and into my camera and out of the back seat of my car, the geese had moved off, too wary of me to continue scavenging in the harvested cornfield. They retreat to the grass farther away from the road.  So, the photos are not good, but if you click on the photo, it will fill the screen and give you a better view if you would like.





These geese are just passing through.  They came from somewhere farther North, but even here is not the end, not their Winter's resting spot.  Snow will likely cover this field in a month.  There was, though, a small flock who make their Summer home just a mile closer to my home on this same road.  Each year they arrive, perhaps a half dozen pairs.  Not long after they arrive, dozens of small grey goslings follow behind their parents.  I am always amazed at how quickly they lay and hatch their eggs.  This flock of geese spend the whole Summer in ths spot just down the road, where a small pond nestles in the middle of a few acres of grassy field.  In another amazingly brief amount of time, the goslings are indistinguishable from their parents.  Then they fly off, and it's Fall.

Right now, I can not describe why I feel so strongly about these geese, or even what I feel.  It's almost like all the rhythm and power of seasons and life are condensed into these migrating geese. 

Since the photos were taken, I haven't seen any more geese.  I think the last of them have passed on through, but I look forward to their return.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not Like I Used to Be

(Photo from Flickr by Tomcat)

It shattered all illusion.  Illusion of fitness, that is.  Smugness.  Oh, I exercise almost daily, I said.  I am fit.  I'll just take this indoor cycling class because it's dark now after work.  I can't go for a walk during the week until Spring.  I guess I'll do a couple of these 45 minute cycling workouts for maintenance. Hah!  I got so tired tonight at one point I almost fell off the bike - and I wasn't even working as hard as everybody else. 

On top of that, I got nauseous from drinking Pine-Sol tasting water.  Why, you might ask?  Because this morning I pulled my old bike's water bottle off the cobwebbed bike in the garage.  It looked kinda moldy, so I thought I would "sanitized" it by soaking it in water with a bit of disinfectant - Pine-Sol.  I had no fear; I could rinse it out.  Mistake.  I think I poisoned myself.

I'm still coughing from the strain on my lungs.  I used to do high impact aerobics regularly just, oh, 10 or 15 years ago... hmmmm.  The first step back is the hardest.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cowgirl Philosophy

"The way I figure it, Heaven and Hell are right here on Earth.  Heaven is living in your hopes and Hell is living in your fears.  It's up to each individual which one he chooses."  Bonanza Jellybean.  Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yes, it Really Was That Kind of Fall Day

                          

These are the kind of days to that you want to last forever.   I think this color blue only exists in the Fall.  Of course, it is made that much more brilliant from the contrast of the yellow and orange of the leaves.




Even the delphinium leaves are turning.


Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm trying a new gadget - a post from a text from my phone. May e it's my age, but typing with my thumbs, even with the super technologiclly ad vanced keypad on this thing, is not as easy as a keyboard. Note the typos.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Snow



This was Sunday.  The first snow of the season.  Always a noteable event.   It gathered on the grass for a bit, then quietly melted.  It still is resoundingly Fall, with half the leaves on the trees and half off, so that you are surrounded by an orange glow as you walk through the woods.  And the smell!  The wonderful unique dusky dead leaf smell.  Dry.  Woody.  Earthy.  Swooshy.  Just makes you want to roll around onthe ground and bury yourself in a pile of leaves.

I wonder why no one has figured out how to record smell.  We can take photos of what we see, and recordings of what we hear, but there is no way to capture smell.  Mmmmmm.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  What kind of smells would you record if you could?


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thank You

Oh My Goddess has created a Goddess Award.  Each Friday, she chooses several posts from that week which she considers noteworthy.  Last week she chose my post about sailing.  Thank you OMG!  I am honored.  Everyone, please check out her blog and the other award winners - quite wonderful and worthy of reading.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Treat




I've already written about how much I love the promise of Saturday mornings.  This Saturday, I got to tickle my sweet tooth and heat up the oven to address a very frosty morning.  These scones were perfect - crispy, crumbly and moist.  The recipie is from Montana Cooking, by Greg Patent (a gift from my son out at MSU).

Huckleberry Scones

1 1/2 c fresh or frozen huckleberries
2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
1/2 c, plus 1Tblsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c, plus 1 Tblsp heavy or whipping cream


1. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 425.  Line large baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking pan liner.

2. Pick over the huckleberries and discard stems.  (I believe any berry would substitute - but I did not have any fresh berries on hand, so I used dried cherries.)

3. In large bowl whisk together flour, 1/2 c sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.  Add the butter, and work into flour rapidly with your fingertips (I used a pastry blender.  Don't work too much.  Add the berries (or dried cherries), and toss to coat with dry material.  Pour in 1 c. cream and fold until just barely combined.

4. Dust a work surface with flour, and scrape out the dough onto it.  Knead the dough a few times just until it holds together (I did not - I believe this sort of batter is better the less you mix it up.  I just shaped it).  Shape dough into a disk about 7 inches in diameter and about 1 inch thick.  Brush top of dough with remaining cream, and dust with remaining sugar.  Cut dough into 8 wedges.  With wide metal spatula, transfer dough wedges onto baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until tops and bottoms of scones are golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes before serving. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2009



First frost of the year last night.
Not so hard that the flowers winced,
They still bravely hold open their petals,
Unguarded.

The leaves fell, though,
And now the wind is herding them into drifts.
I hope they pile onto the the trusting blossoms,
And shield them from tonight's unsympathetic freeze.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Tribute



You could see the wind approaching  by the patches of darkened ripples and tiny whitecaps on the lake surface. When it hit, the spray hit our faces and the boat heeled over until the whitecaps splashed into the cockpit.  We flew across the water, seemingly in pace with the skittering clouds overhead.  The dogs slid against the sides of the cockpit.  The sound of scrabbling played a duet with the windsounds.  There was no purchase for their lenghty claws in the smooth fiberglass.  I took to bracing them with my legs and arms when I saw the wind approaching.  They shivered.

At the first strong heel, one of the dogs went overboard.  He was just behind my back, so I did not see what happened, though it felt he just decided to jump.  The dogs are good swimmers, so I was not too worried, but I did not want him to be frightened. 

We went into our first "man overboard" drill.  Circle back.  No, that doesn't work because the dog kept swimming towards a moving target and we both end up circling each other.   At last, the circling worked moderately well because the boat eventually slowed to stop as we were facing the wind.  We got the dog back into the boat wthin minutes.  We knew, though, that we need to get much better at the 'man overboard' maneuver.  We should  have simply turned to the wind and dropped the sails; one of us at the tiller and one scrambling foreward to untie the main halyard.  Just stoppped.  Forget circling back - that's how one retreives a downed waterskier.  Next time we'll do better, kowning of course, there will be a next time.  I put on my lifejacket.  For the first time ever I think, John put on his, too.  I am going to order two doggy life preservers.

We were the only sailboat we could see from this part of the lake.  Pity.  What a day for it!  The surrounding hills and mountains were vibrating with "peak" autumn display.  At Wiers Beach, hundreds of tourists lined up for the Mount Washington ("scenic boat tours") and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.  But few dared the lake on their own.  I guess the people who owned boats on the lake had already packed up for the season.  How shortsighted.  Though at an air tempurature high of 55 degrees F, and water tempurature at just under 60 degrees F at the surface, I would not go swimming for fun, the day was still a gift to experience.  Don't they realize that in a few short months this lake will be so frozen people will drive trucks across it?    Where is the lust for discovery and new challenges that stirred Christopher Columbus?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Something Else

I am supposed to be doing something else right now.  Late morning of the Friday before a long weekend.  Gray overcast, rain coming, but gorgeous sunny weather expected for my next three days off.  Orange, yellow and crimson hues are popping in the scenery, which just makes that sky look more blue (except today). 


The only way I earn money is if I work.  If I sit and tell my thoughts here, I am not earning.  That's what I am supposed to be doing.  But I just want to sit and have a cup of coffee and chat with you all.  I want to read your words, write back, talk things out.  I feel so full of unfinished thoughts of life, pursuit of happiness, meaning, beauty.  Things too big to capture in my small mind.  Talking helps sort it out.  Or not talking, and looking out the window at the colors.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Precious Daylight



I have been despairing at the shortening daylight.  I rush out the door at the end of work.  I make sure I am parked at the end of the driveway so no one is blocking me in.  When I get home, I run upstairs to get changed, and right back out the door with the dogs to get outside for a walk before the sun goes down.  My daughter suggested I flex my time - why not switch my hours around?  Great idea.

So, starting today until Daylight Savings Time ends at the end of the month, I shifted my day at least a half hour earlier.  Yippee, I was off to the fields to enjoy the sunshine and changing leaves.


I love the color
of these berries, and the ladybug.


The most
vivid red I've seen so far this Fall.


I loved the way
the setting sun made the ferns glow.  Thank you, Daughter, for the afternoon sunlit walk.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On Life


Precious Perfect Creation II appeared in my life September 16th at 10:45 am. Even now I cry. Maybe it's the sunset happening as I write. A few days after she was born, someone asked me how I was. I said only, "overwhelmed." My listeners seemed surprised. I think they thought I meant in the negative sense, as if I were tired. Oh my, no, not that.

I believe that life feels more beautiful and precious and fragile and fleeting as we get older. So the arrival of this new life feels intense. First, there is joy to the 4th power. I have two daughters who each now have a daughter. When one's daughter gives birth one feels the joy of your own child's experience, knowing that it is the happiest of her life. Your heart is full to bursting with joy for her. On top of that, one feels the joy of your own grandchild being born. That's cartwheeling joy for yourself. On top of that, there is the this new person experiencing the beginning of her life, seeing her mother's and father's face for the first time and being held in their arms. Multi-tiered x multi-person joy. You see what I mean?

Then there is the all the worry and excitement for each of their futures. From the perspective of age, I am achingly aware of the possible hardships, accomplishments, hurts, and laughter ... all that damn LIFE ahead of them. It's so big it hurts. I am overwhelmed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Fair

Labor Day means The Fair in my town. Yes, I know that was LAST weekend - I am behind. I've been to The Fair nearly every year of the 28 years I have lived here, yet I do not think I have ever taken any pictures. So this year I hauled the camera along. I have just uploaded the photos to my computer, and some I just had to share. This is my favorite: This ox was massive and stunning. I believe he was over 6 feet high at the shoulder, and had a deep chest and neck. He stood very still, and patiently assessed the many people passing by. He seemed to possess a true dignity. There were sheep, and pigs, rabbits and mountain lions (sadly in a cage). The 4-Hers groomed and showed their animals, and food stands dressed up in their gaudy advertising. I can't believe it's September already!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time on Julie & Julia

I read a thoughtful review of the movie "Julie & Julia" in Time magazine the other night. The review was written by Mary Pols. The writer was somewhat harsh to writers of lesser talents, but true and honest. She was describing the abilities of Julie Powell, as well as the movie's portrayal of her as driven by the desire to compete with her friends and obtain recognition, as compared with the success of Julia Child, which was driven by her inner fountain of talent and joy in what she did. Ms. Pols writes: "There are memoirists like Child who write about what made them famous, or infamous. There are unremarkable people who write about a remarkable thing that happened to them. And then there is the 21st century memoirist, who makes him- or herself interesting in order to write about it, usually through a time-centric gimmick, like spending a few months at, say, an ashram." Ouch! Has anyone read Julie Powell's book and felt the same? Or perhaps, Elizabeth Gilbert's book?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am back from my trip to Florida for my daughter's baby shower, feeling ripe from the infusion of love. I got the opportunity to see all of my children together, happy, and laughingly happy to be with each other. I got to be loose and silly and singy with my granddaughter, and feel the elbows and heels of my granddaughter to be. I got to meet warm and generous friends. What a great trip!
I even got to sink into the Florida August - similar to New Hampshire Augus - yet more vibrant and moist. That joint-loosening, hair dampening, skin glistening, languorous, sensuous heat. Puddles from passing thundershowers steaming in the sun. Brilliant bright sunlight and colors, and icy air conditioning and tile floors cold on the soles of your feet. That was my Florida this trip. I'll ask my kids if it is okay with them to publish a picture of the three of them together in these days.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Goodbyes

Beau continued to go downhill during the night. We were able to get him to the vet's first thing this morning and release him from his pain. Goodbye Beau.
.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The other Journey

Our Golden Retriever, the one with lymphoma, is going downhill more quickly than I had anticipated. It has been a few weeks of unexpected emotion. We are animal lovers, I would say, yet had not elevated the importance of our pets beyond deep fondness, I guess love, appreciation, protectiveness, and wish to take good care of them and give them good lives. Beau was the largest example of that, as our adopted, rescue dog. I've described our challenges with him, I think, along with my concern that he would possibly hurt a child somewhere along the way (he was aggressive towards small children) if we were not careful. Then he was diagnosed with this cancer. Another dog of ours has been living with cancer for nearly two years, and is fine (another story). Perhaps I was in denial. But when Beau got sicker so fast, I was very impacted by his decline. Seeing him weak and wobbly when just a week, even a few days ago, he was running around, stealing the stick away from my dog as usual, brought the fragility of life right to my face. He is a very joyful dog and seemed to love his life here. I wish I had taken a picture of him lying on the floatie in the pool, keeping cool in the hot afternoon. It was just this past Saturday, and tonight he can not quite stand. I am crushed that he is losing his happy existence; he reminds me that death is inevitable even for me. Tonight when I got home from work, he seemed fairly energetic. We got a ball and headed outside to see if he could run after it a bit. I tossed the ball just behind him, so he would not have far to go. But, Lisbon, the jealous alpha dog, came out of nowhere and attacked him, biting him over and over. I finally got Lisbon off of Beau, and closed him into the house. I got Beau up on his feet, gave him the ball, and tried to soothe him over. He suddenly got a strange look in one eye - it is hard to describe - like it disconnected from him. I do not mean it separated physically, I mean it did not seem to coordinate with him. Then he stopped walking, turned down his head, started shaking all over, and crumbled down to the ground. (Sigh) So, here we are, trying to do what we can to make him feel better: hand feeding him some food (he was interested), water, carrying him outside to pee, pain meds, and carrying him upstairs and onto the bed. I do not understand. He has a shallow bite wound, but no physical injury from the fight that would cause this. I am guessing that he was already so physically compromised by his illness, that the attack was very stressful to his body. Emotionally, I was so distraught at seeing him attacked like that, I felt ill myself. sick at his suffering; sick at the apparent cruelty; sick with anger. The vehemence of my anger at the dog who attacked him was so strong it surprised me (he's just a dog, after all - he did not understand). If I had something heavy within my reach at the time, I may have even hurt him, I was so angry. Where did that come from? So, all of this longer than really necessary story is about ... life, and its loss, the effect a creature can have on me, how I am more susceptible to it than I thought (Beau has really been a pain the neck at times). Also, I have been extremely fortunate in my life in that I have not suffered any significant losses. So, I feel this. I recognize that this is a dog, who would have died several years ago if we had not adopted him, whom I myself had considered putting down when he nearly attacked my infant granddaughter. I know others have suffered from MUCH more significant, soul crushing, life altering losses. That is not this. Yet, I feel this. This creature who has endured suffering at the hands of his former owner, and possessed his own grace and sweetness despite it, has given a lot of himself in the few years we have had him. He deserves acknowledgement. He will be missed.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On becoming...

...a sailor. Even claiming it here seems more than I deserve, a little self aggrandizing. But, I guess if I am in a sailboat and somehow or other maneuvering it through the water and actually getting from one place to another, then I am.
(I was not able to quite capture the serene mountain setting of this lake - I will keep trying.)
I also like the "becoming" part. Isn't it hopeful? And true. We are all becoming one thing or another. We are can not be static. If nothing else, then we are becoming decrepit, right? But, I love knowing that I am becoming ... smarter, wiser, stronger and am acquiring skills and experience in more and more things. That's what new experiences give you.
(Posing next to our little boat while the Mount Washington pulls out of the dock behind me.)

Update

FIRST - I must give credit for the photo leading my last post. I received several compliments, thank you, but it was taken by my daughter. I'm sorry that I had not noted it in my post. SECOND - In a few days I will be off to see said daughter and pictured granddaughter, AND my other daughter and granddaughter to be (8 months pregnant) for her baby shower. Yippeee! Heavy workload here, as well as weekend days taken sailing on our little boat. Photos and more in a bit....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Do unto others...

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the way people treat each other, and the way I want to treat other people. Most of me, or the spiritual part of me, believes in a generous approach to people. I believe in idea that there is some measure of good in everyone, and as Randy Pausch said, if you are patient, you will find it. I believe in maintaining an openly, expectant happiness to discover the humanness of each person I meet, like the Dalai Lama. Even aspire to love my neighbor, as Jesus taught.
I know that the world is so full of kindness, altruism, sacrifice for others, heroics. There is such power in what we can do for others and the world!
On the other hand...oh, there are so many other hands. People can be real jerks, and worse. In my line of work, I see people selfishly hurting others regularly, people hurting children, too. I see smirks of pleasure and gloating at another's pain, meanness, dishonesty. I just want to "call 'em like I see 'em" and dismiss that human being, that life. No patience; no understanding; no acceptance. I want to assign consequence for the darkness that humans can spread on to others.
Just on Monday, I dealt with one person taking a child from the other parent through the use of mistatements to authorities - and watch the vicious giggles at the anguish he caused. The same day I dealth with a sexual assault on an eight year old daughter. More the same day a person maliciously withholding money owed to another, while they fall more and more ill with stress and poverty. All that pain purposefully, even gleefully inflicted from "human" to human. My resolve to look for the good crumbles.
I should know that life, lives, being human after all, is just not that black and white. Yet, I still struggle at reconciling the two perspectives. I don't know why. What are your thoughts?
And why the picture above? It doesn't really have anything to do with this topic, except way down inside me. The meaning of life in some way always comes down to one's children and grandchildren. Here is my granddaughter, joyously and unselfconsciously skipping through the maze of her life towards her future.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturdays

Aren't Saturdays just the BEST day of the week? I am in love with the day from the first moment I open my eyes and its realization sprinkles on me like a fine waterfall. I do not have to go to work. It is a day to set aside "routine" and "required." I have a all the opportunity and possibilities of a day opening ahead of me like a light filled forest path. I can do whatever I want. Just now, typing on my computer in my sunroom, a hummingbird fed off the Bee Balm just outside the window. But, my camera was just out of reach. I had to halfway get up to get my fingers around the strap, and I scared it off. Here are the flowers it just visited. There is the old sailboat my husband has just restored. See, just there through the sunroom door? We were going to head out to Lake Winnipesaukee this morning, the biggest lake in the State. The sailboat is not quite ready yet, though. There are a lot of fittings, lines, sheets, etc. on a sail boat, I guess. The engine is not running right yet, either. Soon! My husband is working diligently. We are both looking forward to exploring a new area and sailing on our own little craft. I am excited to practice my new found sailing abilities. Yet, since this is SATURDAY - I don't mind. Instead, I get to write, visit, cook, bake, swim, and clean all of the mud out of my bed and bedroom floor from the dogs.
I have been honored by Angela by a new award. Thank you. Her blog is graced with the touch of an artist, combined with honest and thought provoking words, and a love of animals.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pets

This week we received news that pet owners everywhere ultimately hear, especially with older dogs - a likely fatal illness has developed. Our Golden Retriever, Beau, suddenly exhibited symptoms of lymphoma. These were taken the morning he suddenly started acting very sick, lethargic and dull, the day he went to the vets. One of the other dogs, the "pack leader," was licking Beau's eyes (he frequently does this). Immediately after starting Prednizone treatment, Beau felt much better. But, now, after a few more days, he is acting sick again, didn't keep down his dinner. Will be calling the vet tomorrow. Pets hold very special places in our lives, yet they live such a short time compared to us, we end up loving and saying goodbye to so many. A cycle of joy and grief. Beau came to our little dog family of two Portuguese Water Dogs. His former owner kept him chained outside, behind the garage, we think at least most of the time, if not all the time: night; day; summer; winter. We believe he was beaten. His health was badly neglected. He had ulcerated ear infections, about 100 ticks, Lyme's disease, and heartworm. He also had food aggression. I found this behavior problem one night soon after we got him when he was licking his food dish under a cabinet and I reached down to pull it out for him and was attacked. I still have the scar on my arm. But Beau is also very sweet. After all the terrible experiences he must have experienced, his love for people is extraordinary(NOT, however, children). He craves being physically close and being touched. He must have suffered in loneliness being chained alone. Now, he loves to lounge in our little pool on a "floatie," lie on his back on our bed between us in the morning, get his belly rubbed while he plays with a tennis ball. Do you have a pet story to tell?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Do we have Free Will?

I watched the film “Knowing” last night, and actually the night before as well. Although I do not feel it was a good movie, it has got me thinking. While mostly I am just trying to figure it out (the pieces do not seem to fit together), the smarter side of me is letting go of the specific nonsensical parts of the movie, and consider the bigger question presented: determinism vs. randomness. Is there a purpose to our lives and events, or is it all a convergence of a random set of accidental occurrences? And, if one believes in determinism, then who or what is making that determination?
This movie certainly muddles the answer to that question – or, opens us up to wider possibilities. This movie seems to suggest that it is not God! “Knowing” begins with the protagonist depressed over the idea that there is no purpose to our lives, yet in the end is reassured that aliens have whispered frightening catastrophic events to a disturb a child for her entire life, so that that child can warn someone in the future… so that they can do nothing about it? Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun Times wrote a blog entry in which he explored these theories much more deeply. He also included You Tube clips of several philosophers discussing determinism and free will. They seem to find a convergence. Certainly, some sort of combination of these opposite theories is the only palatable choice for us. Either determinism or randomness in its absolute leaves me depressed and unsatisfied. Their absolutes leave no purpose for our lives, and that is not the way I want to live. The other reasons I chose to watch the movie again on consecutive nights were not so high minded. First, the little girl in the movie looks EXACTLY like my granddaughter! I was riveted, and missed my little grandbaby badly. Second, it was pay per view and I was still within the 24 hour window of viewing time! So life comes right down to the little things, doesn't it. And, that may be all the purpose I need.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The magic about wildflowers and perennials, I think, lies in the variety in which they bloom. The yard is ever changing. It's almost like fireworks in very slow motion. It's life. It's also a lesson. We all have our time to bloom.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Thank You

Thank you Lianne from At My Kitchen Table for your kindness and recognition.

As I understand the rules, I am to pass this along to 5 other lovely blogs. Please check out the following special people and their places:

Angela Recada

A Hazy Moon

Meri's Musings

Marinik's Blog

From The Desk Of Bee Drunken

Monday, July 6, 2009

Southern Cross - Crux

Travel. After my trip, I've been going through various emotions about my trip and travelling, unfinished thoughts sloshing loosely around in my head. I've had a blank page open on my computer for a day or two. I hoped if I left it open while I worked, over time I could make those thoughts concrete and cohesive. Just now, before I opened this page to write tonight, I stopped by some friends' blogs to read and say hello. Sallymandy had four wonderfully thoughtful quotes about travel.
The best I can explain it, is that travel both expands you and brings you closer. It's dizzying in its juxtaposition. New people, sights, smells, experience,s tastes, discoveries. These new experiences add layers: memories; knowledge; awareness; interest; viewpoints; culture; tolerance; understanding; curiosity.
I feel that with travel I get closer to understanding myself, my purpose in the world, my potential, my abilities and limitations, prejudices, and preferences . What does travel mean to you?
The picture at the beginning of this post is the constellation Crux, or Southern Cross. Some of you can view this every night. Some of us have gone a lifetime without a glimpse. One of my favorite songs of all time is Stephen Stills' Southern Cross. "When you see the Southern Cross for the first time, you understand now why you came this way." I believed the fallacy that one can only see the Souther Cross from the Southern hemisphere, so I had absolutely no expectation of seeing it when I was in BVI (the most Southern place I have every been). Yet, one early evening on our trip, I happen to glance at the sky just after sunset as we left a restaurant. I knew it immediately! It took my breath away.
The constellation was low on the horizon, directly South. It slipped out of sight too quickly, and was not visible most of the night. I looked for it every night thereafter, but every evening after that surprise glimpse, clouds covered the Southern sky during the brief time after sunset it would have been visible.
Now, I was not sure that what I saw was the Southern Cross. I had never even seen a picture of it, and as I said, I believed what I had always heard, "only in the Southern hemisphere." After all, what I saw was just a set of 4 stars in a kite shape. Was that a cross? I mentioned my discovery to a couple we met. "Oh, no," they said with certainty. "You can only see the Southern Cross...." They smiled a little at my naivite. But I knew I was right.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Baths

On another day of our excursion we visited The Baths on Virgin Gourda.
This is a national park in which piles of boulders lay heaped upon one another. One can crawl under and over, as much as you dare. They tumble into the sea, so that as you make your way over and under stone, you come across pockets of water, like jewels in the mud. Some are protected and calm, others churning with waves.
The informational sign at the park says that these are granite boulders which had been encased in lava, perhaps even formed in the lava. The softer lava was worn away, leaving the hard granite.
Scampering about these rocks was like being on a treasure hunt. The treasure was what we could see: the striking formations; the colors; the cool(er) air. Rounded granite rock also felt very homey, much like our worn, rocky New England coastline.