LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Friday, October 19, 2018

We Love Lucy

Lucy continues to be more active and seems to feel much better on the new medication.  It's an anti-inflammatory, similar (or perhaps identical) to one used for human arthritis and is worth every penny of its high cost.  She is clearly a more comfortable and happier dog.

We live in the woods and are used to wildlife of all sorts.  But we recently got a real surprise.  A black bear inside our garage!  We bring all our bird feeders into the garage every evening at dusk and put them in a closed container.  Some spilled birdseed had not been swept up and this bear walked between our two vehicles to get to the seeds.  Imagine my husband's surprise when he opened the door to the garage and saw the bear.  My husband made a loud noise, slapping the wall and the bear took off as fast as he could.  In an extremely frightening second, Lucy took out after the bear.  Fortunately the bear had a head start and Lucy quickly ran out of steam.  I shudder to think what might have happened had the bear turned around to face Lucy.  It all happened so fast my husband simply shouted at Lucy to come back.

Thank goodness it was a rather small bear, likely one whose mother had "kicked" him out in order to care for her younger cubs and prepare for the winter's new ones.  It seems this was its first encounter with humans so we are ever so glad it was very frightened.  Our new habit is to close the garage door at 4:30, and it will be earlier as the dusk comes earlier.  Obviously we are more careful to pick up any stray seeds that may have fallen.


Lucy looks pretty gentle to be a bear dog.


In our continued plan to make our home safer as we age, we are having decorative (but functional) fencing placed by the stone steps and walk you see in the photograph.  We already have a metal railing that lines the stones steps going from the back of the house down into the woods.

Early voting has begun here in North Carolina.  So it is appropriate that today's quote should be about voting.  It is a quote from Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was accurate for its time.  Sadly, it is no long correct.  And for that we can blame the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and gerrymandering.  And it is a shame.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

Today we are seeing other ways to deprive Americans the right to vote.  If you haven't been keeping up, read about the voter suppression in Georgia, and in the Dakotas.  The SCOTUS opened the door for such massive last-minute changes to the voting process.  (And that was even before Kavanaugh was seated.)  Polling places have abruptly been changed, and many have been closed.  Registration requirements for absolutely identical information have been invoked.  (If you used a middle initial, your information must also include that initial.  Even an extra space between names could invalidate the information.)  In some areas university students were told how to register as residents of the town where they go to school.  Now those requirements have changed and those students who followed the instructions will no longer be registered.  They will have to reapply consistent with the new regulations.

All of these maneuvers are designed to make it harder for people to vote.  And every singe one of them are in GOP-held areas and are much more likely to affect the Democrat voters.  Surely you can see the unfairness of this even if you are a Republican yourself.

So it's up to us.  We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to exercise our rights to vote.  Vote early if you can.  Offer to drive a neighbor who might not otherwise be able to get to the polls.

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE

VOTE AS SOON AS YOU CAN

Friday, October 12, 2018

We Love Our Lucy

Another week with lots of rain.  The ground was already soaked and then we got some rain from the edge of the recent hurricane.  Thank goodness the storm did not follow the initial path or we would have gotten even more rain.  As it is, we have lots of flash flooding, a few slides and some damaged roads.  But it could have been so much worse and for that we are truly thankful.

Lucy certainly did not like the rain at all.  Good thing we have accumulated a large number of "dog towels" for drying off wet dogs.  Yet another benefit of a long marriage.

After days of rain, the wonderful and welcome sun popped out yesterday afternoon.  The deck dried and we sat out enjoying the sun and watching the birds.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are migrating through and are such a delight to see.

She loves the sun, indoors or outside

Lucy had her annual checkup and we mentioned that she is moving much more slowly and groans occasionally when she lies down.  Our veterinarian recommended an arthritis medication.  We started it on Monday and we can tell a major improvement.  She no longer hesitates before going up or down the stairs and she jumps up to enthusiastically greet us when we come in from errands.  The medicine is quite expensive but well worth it.  She definitely feels so much better and we are grateful for that.

Today's quote is another from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain):

The rain is famous for falling on the just and the unjust alike;
But if I had the management of such affairs,
I would fall softly and sweetly on the just,
But if I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors
I would drown him.

I suppose it's quite a good thing I do not have management of such affairs.  I can think of so many of the unjust I would drown.


HAVE A MOST WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE
HELP YOUR NEIGHBOR AS MUCH AS YOU CAN


Friday, October 5, 2018

We Love Our Lucy

I've been talking lately about our Lucy getting older, as we are all wont to do.  So I pulled out some old photographs of her from 2005, the year we got her.  She was a tiny little fluff ball and like all puppies, just as cute as could be.

Little Lucy on her first day with us.


The following is one of my favorite photographs of the pair that came to be known as the "Golden Girls.'  Ellie was a year old when Lucy came to live with us.

Quite a difference in size


This photograph was taken a week or so later.  Notice the lush green yard, with flowers all around.  Not seen are the deck, the brick patio and flower gardens.  Yes, absolutely typical suburbia.  Great for the children as they grew up and for puppies as well.

Our house today is so very different.  A house with no grass and a backyard that is a forest.  Both excellent locations and both perfect for their times.

Ellie was so patient with this little newcomer.


The day the veterinarian told us it was all right for Ellie to engage in play with Lucy was wonderful.  It was almost as if Ellie knew Lucy was big enough to take it.  Lucy came running and jumped on Ellie.  And Ellie flipped Lucy a somersault in the grass.  Lucy was totally surprised at this new behavior and she had a lot more respect for her big sister after that.

Now Lucy loves to soak up the sun.  She moves around to catch the sun puddles which seem to warm her old bones.

One of her favorite spots catches the early morning sun.

I am still avoiding the TV news shows and pick up bits and pieces from the Internet.  I go for longer walks every day and a song I do not own plays in my head.  It's Louis Armstrong singing "What a wonderful world" in his marvelously gravelly voice.


In spite of all the politics, in spite of everything, it is indeed a wonderful world.


Two quotes for today.  The first from a former Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes:

"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." 

The other is from humorist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain:

I hate to hear people say this Judge will vote so and so, because he is a Democrat -- and this one so and so because he is a Republican.
It is shameful.
The Judges have the Constitution for their guidance; they have no right to any politics save the politics of rigid right and justice when they are sitting in judgment upon the great matters that come before them. 


HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, EVERYONE

ENJOY THIS WONDERFUL WORLD


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

To Honor Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl was a favorite writer of both of my children when they were younger.  But it was my son who most loved his books and stories.  Among his favorites (along with The Fantastic Mr. Fox) was Matilda.  It is the story of a brave little girl with magical powers who stood up to her horrible parents and to the evil headmistress of her school.  The book was published in 1988 and for the 30th anniversary, the Roald Dahl Story Society decided to erect a statue of the strong Matilda standing up to a modern tyrant.

They felt the public should decide which modern-day person Matilda should stand up to.  The winner?  Our own President Donald J. Trump.  So now, there is Matilda, hands on her hips staring defiantly at Trump.

Little Matilda stares down a very large Trump


The statues are located in Great Missenden, Bukinghamshire in England, where Dahl lived for many years.  I believe it is a marvelous way honor Roald Dahl.  I suspect he would have loved to see Matilda take on Donald Trump.  Some may say that regardless of one's feelings, one should respect the office of the President of the United States.  To them I would say the this particular President does not respect the office himself.

A personal confession:  I STILL love and re-read Roald Dahl.  His stories are not just for children and adults will find deeper meanings within their pages.  I have an old copy of Roald Dahl Omnibus and every now and then I take it down from the bookshelf and read some of the stories.  It's like visiting an old friend.


Friday, September 28, 2018

We Love Lucy

We're having another rainy week.  The rain is scattered and unpredictable.  So we've taken the UK point of view...put on a slicker and just go.  My walk now is on our hilly streets rather than the track and it feels so good to be gaining strength.  The walking does me a world of good so I'm not letting a little rain stop me.  I push myself a little more every day and it seems to be paying off.  How wonderful to hear the birdsong, to startle some deer, and enjoy the peace of nature's sounds.  Unlike before, I do not listen to music or podcasts while I walk.  I want to embrace the outside world, a world I was away from for many months.

I digress.  This post is supposed to be about Lucy.  As most of you know already, Lucy hates the rain.  Even warm rain.  She is quite slow in getting up from her bed if it's raining outside.  Amazing how much the rain affects her hearing.  If it's raining we usually have to call her twice.  In normal weather, she is up immediately.

What did you say?  You can't seriously want me to go outside again, Mom.
You know how I hate the rain and I'm quite comfortable right here.

We feared she might be losing her hearing, and she probably is losing some as she ages.  But if she is downstairs with the TV on, and I start to chop vegetables or fill the doggie treat jar, she is upstairs in a flash.  So it appears her hearing is definitely selective.

Here in the United States, we are caught up in a very controversial Senate Judiciary Hearing for a Supreme Court nominee.  There are many, (myself included) who believe the process of this particular hearing has been flawed by overwhelming partisanship, the likes of which we seldom see.  It makes us wonder about our Pledge of Allegiance when ends, "and justice for all."  Soon we will hear the already-determined outcome.

It is fitting that today's quotes are about justice.  The first is by Saint Thomas Aquinas:

Justice is a certain rectitude of mind whereby a man does what he ought to do in circumstances confronting him.

The second quote is by Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate, holocaust survivor and political activist:
And protest we must in our own ways.
HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK AHEAD, EVERYONE.
ENJOY THE SOUNDS OF NATURE

Friday, September 21, 2018

We Love Our Lucy

Much of North Carolina sustained significant damage from Hurricane Florence.  Areas of the Coastal Plain and the Piedmont suffered major flooding from the rain associated with the slow moving storm.  All of the river basins flooded, even those here in the mountains near the Eastern Continental Divide where the waters begin.  The current death toll from Florence is 42, but the numbers may climb as the waters recede.

We were well-prepared but fortunately, predictions of rain and wind in our area were vastly  overestimated.  We received rain, but not in heavy volumes.  We had some flooding and power outages but far less than predicted.  And for that we are extremely grateful.  Our daughter arrived for a visit before the storm and left after the storm and we are also grateful for that.  We had a lovely visit although the weather kept us inside much of the time.

Lucy was totally unconcerned about the weather.  As long as we didn't make her go out in the rain, she was happy.  As she ages, she wants and needs less and less exercise.  She would probably like to have larger food portions, but we certainly don't want her older joints to bear more weight so we have adjusted her diet to fit her reduced exercise.  Her veterinarian is very pleased with her health for a Golden Retriever who has celebrated her twelfth birthday. She still gets excited about our daughter's visits and she still runs free every now and then, albeit for shorter spurts and less often.  All in all she is a very happy dog.


She does rest in some rather unusual places




And just like her owners, she is getting a lot of gray.
(NOTE:  One of her owners is finally growing hair!  Hooray!)


Today is  World Peace Day, declared by the United Nations in 1982.  A day in which the world would be devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace within and among nations and peoples.  Please pause for a few moments and think about what can be done to bring about peace within our Nation.  We are sorely in need of more peace among our citizens and neighbors.  Think also about peace among all the others who share this planet with us.  We are not alone and what affects one affects us all.

Today's quote is from the Dalai Lama XIV:

“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”



HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND
AND A BETTER WEEK AHEAD

Friday, September 14, 2018

We Love Lucy


Today has been a beautiful day in the mountains.  Bright sunshine and a gentle breeze.  We have taken advantage of this gorgeous day because all predictions suggest we are in for some heavy rains as Hurricane Florence heads our way.  Most predictions are for ten or so inches of rain.  And our soil is already soaked from near-daily thunderstorms.  If there is much wind with the rain, there will be lots of downed trees and power outages.  So while we are far better off than most areas of North Carolina, we will definitely feel some effects from the storm.

Lucy does not like rain but she has never been concerned about thunder and lightning.  In fact, she loves to sit with us on the screened porch during storms.  When Florence's rain fall upon us, she will not like going outside for her necessary trips, but she will love watching the rain from her cozy bed.


Lucy in the front yard.
Mom, I think I smell something





Perhaps you do, Lucy.  But we need to come inside now.

Our thoughts go out to those in harm's way, even those who chose to put themselves in greater danger.  Large areas of coastal and piedmont North Carolina are getting pummeled with rain, some receiving twenty inches or more.  There are already deaths attributed to the force of the hurricane.

We will be fine, sheltered here in the mountains.  Our freezer, pantry, and fridge are full and our generator will power the house when the electricity fails.  Our daughter is visiting and both she and I love to read.  She has her counted cross-stitch and I have my knitting.  As for Lucy...she will hate going out in the rain but will otherwise be comfy.

Today's quote is from an anonymous author:

Life is not about how you survive the storm,
It's about how you dance in the rain.


STAY SAFE, EVERYONE
HELP THOSE IN NEED

And dance in the rain every chance you get.