Saturday, January 28, 2017

We Love Lucy

We are finally having some normal winter weather.  And none too soon.  Two weeks of unusually warm weather have not been good for the plants or for us.  We're glad to see the frost again.  Lucy loves the cooler weather and I had her out to take some pictures of our camellias in full bloom.  (Alas, those lovely blossoms are already turning brown.)  I decided to snap a few pictures of her while we were out.

She definitely did not like having to stop her running and sniffing to sit for a photograph.  And the look on her face says it all.  No caption needed here.

OK, Lucy.  Let's move over next to the bear.

I hope you don't think I will like that one bit better.

Come on, Lucy.  Give me a smile and I'll give you a cookie.

Nope.  I'll not be bribed with a little treat.  I'm tired of this sitting stuff..

I decided to give up and let her have her fun.

I just discovered that my new laptop does not have an opening for my camera card.  And the extra USB cord I have does not fit my camera.  (The camera was bought in 2005 and I'm not sure where to find the cord that came with the camera.)  So the only way to load a photograph to my blog is to download it to another laptop and either email it to this one or put it on a flash drive.  With the injured player and the upcoming surgery, recovery, and rehab, I simply won't have time to manage the blog, so I'm going dark again, probably for a month.  I'll still be reading your blogs but I won't be posting.  All is proceeding well.  But as you might imagine, we have lots to do.

Today's quote is from Anne Frank who had more reason to despair than any of us:

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

So let's be about improving the world even as some around us try to destroy it.  We don't need to wait a single moment.  Get going and do what you can.  We must rely upon one another as never before.



Friday, January 20, 2017

Lucy is Back

Of course, Lucy has not actually been anywhere.  My computer limped along, allowing me to read your blogs but not to comment.  Or to post on my own blog.  What with the holidays and so many other things going on, I did not get a new laptop for a while.

It became more and more clear that my laptop was seriously impaired so I had it checked and was told that if we were lucky, they could obtain the really important data from it.  But there was nothing to do for the major problems with the C drive.  I was lucky.  The computer expert was able to pull all the data from the laptop.  Off I went to get a new one and in no time I was back in action.  I am totally in love with this new one.

Turns out that 2016 had one more kick in the posterior for us.  We have an injured player again who is impaired and awaiting surgery in early February.  We will definitely be able to call him a bionic man because of his metal joints.  So while I am back in cyberworld, I am also back in the real work of undertaking all the work of maintaining the household.  So I won't even try to post on a regular basis, but will hope to give you some glimpses of our Lucy in action.  (Or inaction as the case may be.)

This week we had record high temperatures, so it's hard to believe that we had 12 inches of snow just a few weeks before.  I managed to keep up with shoveling the decks and made a three-foot wide path up the driveway to the street.  Several people walking their dogs offered to come back and help.  I explained that we weren't going anywhere but thanks, anyway.

Lucy "helped" me by running zoomies in the snow until I finally made her stop and took her inside.  Goodness knows, we don't need another joint injury around here.  I was too busy to take any photographs, but this one from last year is exactly what she looked like.

Go dog go!

I had no plans to shovel the entire drive since I knew we would not get out anyway.  But the next morning, I heard people outside.  And there were three of our neighbors with their shovels working on the drive.  I grabbed my shovel and went out.  We had such a good time, catching up on the latest gossip and shoveling the snow.  In fact, we had so much fun we decided that we would gather and do all the driveways next time it snows.

While I'm glad to be back,  but I will not be posting much since I have more important duties at  home.  Good thing, too.  I can more easily avoid the "news."  I've changed from a news junkie to someone who avoids it all.

Today's quote is from Henry Ford:

When everything seems to be going against you,
Remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.



Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Wishes

I am having significant problem posting on my blog or commenting on others.  So I will go dark for a while until the problem is fixed, which may involve getting a new laptop.  Until then, I will read your blogs on my tablet but will not try to post anything.  Too much hassle here at the holidays.

I hope everything goes well with you until I return.  And even after I return.

Friday, November 18, 2016

We Love Lucy

Wildfires continue to burn across western NC.  Our community is not in immediate danger but our air quality waxes between orange and red alerts.  The air is acrid and the smoke is occasionally so thick it looks like fog rising from the valleys.  The weather has brought temperatures much above our average but we are expecting a cold front which will bring our temperatures back to normal.  Unfortunately, the front will bring high winds along as well.  We owe a great debt to the many men and women who have come from across our nation to help with fighting the fires.

Most mornings we can find some time to let Lucy run in the park.  But the rest of the day she remains indoors to protect her from the smoke.  She is content to lounge around the house snoozing in various places.  Sometimes she falls asleep in a sunbeam and awakens to find it has moved.

That's funny.  I could have sworn I was in the sun.

 Mom, do you know what happened?

Only 43 days remain in this year and I will be more than glad to say good-bye.  (Good-bye won't be my actual words.  Before I say "Happy New Year" I will scream, "F YOU 2016" several times.)

It is fitting that our quote comes from the late and much beloved Leonard Cohen.  This from his song, "Anthem."

The birds, they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.



[I'm trying.  I really am.  But when I look at the character of the people DJT is appointing, I am very sad indeed.]

Monday, November 14, 2016

Sapsucker Recovery

It was late in the afternoon when I heard that heart-sickening "thud."  It's a sound like no other, varying only in intensity.  A bird hitting the house.  From the sound I knew it was a large bird.  I quickly looked out to find it was a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker.  Dang!

The good news was that the bird was sitting upright and was not gasping at all.  She did not seem to have been injured, merely stunned.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker recovering on the deck.

 In less than a minute the bird flew into a nearby tree and sat absorbing the dwindling rays of sunshine on her body.  She stayed on the tree for a few moments and they flew away.

Sapsuckers are relatively common in some areas of the NC mountains, but we do not often see them.  We've never had them visit our suet feeders.  So we were especially delighted that this bird recovered so quickly and without apparent long-term damage.

[So a white supremacist will be the new White House Chief Strategist to DJT.  So much for bringing the Nation together.]

Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembering Ellie

Two lovely Golden Retrievers on a beautiful Autumn day in 2013.  Our Lucy on the left and our Ellie on the right, taking an enforced rest break from romping in the leaves.  Both were the picture of health.  In fact they had their annual exams a month before and the veterinarian pronounced them perfect.  October 30 was a perfect day in DuPont State Forest.

 The pedestrian bridge over Little River near the trail where the dogs were running.  It was new then.

 The wide and empty trail ahead.

Who could have predicted on this gorgeous Autumn day that our beloved Ellie would be dead in less than a fortnight?  November 10th.  It was on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  My husband had taken both girls out for a walk.  They were both active and happy.  When they got back to the house, Ellie abruptly collapsed at the top of the driveway.  She would not or could not get up.  My husband ran inside and we quickly put her in his SUV and drove to the emergency hospital, calling them on the way there.

When we got there the veterinarian told us immediately that she suspected a massive internal bleed from a hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessel walls.  It is usually on the spleen or lining of the heart.  This cancer is more common in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds.  Mean age is 9-12 years old.  The first symptom is often a sudden collapse.  Ellie definitely fit the profile.

They rushed her back to the operating room, but she died on the table.  She had bled into the lining of her heart.

She was a lovely dog, but her looks were unimportant compared to her temperament.  She was the very definition of loyalty.  Quick to learn and eager to please.
The closest thing to a perfect dog that we will ever see.

 She never wandered far, always stopping and looking back for us

 Trying her best to look regal while holding her tennis balls.
She carried at least one ball and usually two most of the time.

 Like all Goldens, she was an adorable puppy.

Ellie was the canine love of my life.  We will have other dogs, but there will never again be a bond such as the one between Ellie and me.  She understood my every mood.  And I will miss her forever.

Today's quote is attributed to Dr. Seuss.  It gives me a great deal of comfort.

Don't cry because it's over
Smile because it happened.

Our thoughts go out to our neighbors in western NC where the mountains are ablaze.  The air is hazy here but none of the fires are sufficiently close to put us in danger at present.  We remain very concerned because of the exceptional drought conditions (the category worse than extreme) throughout the mountains and no rain in sight.  Rivers are carrying less than half their usual flow volume.  The fallen leaves are very dry.  The pine needles are brown and falling off, making for frightening tinder for a potential fire.  Thousands of acres are burning and only one of the fires is more than 15% contained.

This is Veteran's Day here in the United States.  We honor all of those who serve, now and in the past.

[You remember when I said last week I wanted the election to be over?  No matter what the outcome?  I LIED!  It is so much worse than I feared.  I'll never look at my fellow citizens in the same way again.  Ever.]


Monday, November 7, 2016

Nature Connects

Sean Kenny spent many happy hours of his childhood playing with his LEGO™ bricks.  He was so interested in them he wondered if he could actually make a living creating sculptures with the bricks.  Turns out he could.  He became the first LEGO™ Certified Professional.  He designs and builds art for many companies in several countries.

Here in Western North Carolina we were privileged to have his "Nature Connects" series of LEGO™ brick sculptures on display at our NC Arboretum in nearby Asheville from late July until the end of October.  There were fourteen massive sculptures made entirely of LEGO™ bricks.  And these were the "normal-sized" bricks, not the larger ones.

The day was periodically overcast when we went, but the sculptures were absolutely gorgeous anyway.  We were greeted at the entrance by a very large Ruby-throated Hummingbird sipping nectar from a flower.

The first exhibit, near the entrance of the Visitor Center

 A lovely Monarch butterfly sitting atop a flower

 The large sundial and the bird.  All made with the bricks

 The American Eagle stood out in the sun with the overcast skies above.

 A larger-than-life gardener worked in the soil.

Yes, we did indeed find every single one.  I'm not certain why I selected only these but perhaps I will show you some more of them at another time.

I've never been one to try to define art.  I've always maintained that art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  Some purists might argue that a sculpture made of children's building blocks does not qualify as "real" art.  Who cares what they say?

I will give you the definition of art in the Oxford Dictionary:
1. [mass noun]  The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

I can assure you that these sculptures do indeed provide appreciation of their beauty and bring powerful emotions.  They do indeed connect us with Nature.  If you are near a Sean Kenney display, you should definitely visit.  Whether you call it art or not, you will be impressed by the size of the sculptures and the number of bricks in each one.  (They did list how many bricks were used to create each sculpture but I was so caught up in the beauty I barely noticed.)