Friday, December 28, 2018

Lucy on Friday

Believe it or not, after all this time we still have some bits snow on the north slopes and along the roadside.  Lucy is so very glad to see the snow gone, although as it melted she did venture to walk about the yard.

Most of the snow had melted when she gingerly walked around, scouting out various scents in the snow.

Very careful as she went down some wide stone steps

"I'm not sure this was a good idea.  Think I'll head back inside."

Our son and daughter-in-law are adamantly against the commercialization of the prolific Disney products and wanted to keep them from Violet as long as possible.  Well, that has ended as someone gave her Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse stuffed animals.

This photograph clearly shows what an 18-month old feels like after so much unwrapping and oohing and aahing.  It's just a little bit too much.  She does love the Mickey and Minnie but is clearly exhausted with the flurry of activity on Christmas morning.  I told my son to be happy it wasn't a princess.  Those will come soon enough.

A very tired little girl.

Poor Lucy can't seem to get a break.  We are having heavy rains, having received three inches overnight with more predicted today and tomorrow.  And Lucy hates to go out in the rain. The snow will surely be totally gone by the end of the day.  We are having flash floods and some roads are closed.  Thank goodness our propane tank was refilled so the generator is ready to take over if we lose power again.

It has been quite a year for us, and for many others.  We are definitely ready to say good-bye to 2018 and hope for a better year in 2019.  That is my wish for us and for all of you.

The quote today comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

"Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come
Whispering, "It will be happier."

Let us hope that these words are true and that we all have a happier New Year.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Lucy and Violet Again

We still have a good bit of snow lingering on the ground.  The good and bad news is that it is raining and expected to continue to do so for the next several days.  It will definitely help melt the remaining snow but will also cause flash flooding in our mountains.  At least the weather is not going to drop below freezing.

Lucy does not like the snow at all.  She doesn't even like fluffy snow and she certainly does not like the heavy, icy stuff we got last week.  She no longer runs in the snow but walks gingerly and clearly wants to come back inside as soon as possible.  Our maintenance crew made a sweep with the plow while my husband had Lucy out.  He stopped and asked if we would like for him to plow a swath on our lot for Lucy.  He did and it was so much nicer for Lucy to have a relatively snow-free space for her business,

Lucy walks carefully in the icy snow

Her attention momentarily drawn to some passing deer.

I mentioned in a previous post that our son and his wife think all toys should be considered gender neutral.  Boys should freely play with dolls and girls with big trucks.  We buy new toys to keep here since they usually fly down to visit.  Before their visit in November, we bought Violet a baby doll and a little stroller, along with some stacking rings.  (I had to bless the stroller after the adjectives my husband used when assembling it.)  We knew she would love to push the stroller empty or full.  We figured she would treat the doll like any other stuffed animal.  To our surprise, she seemed to know just how to cuddle and rock the  doll.  She always placed it in the little stroller properly, never facing backward.

It became clear that dolly was not going to remain with us, but would go home with Violet. She held her on the plane and periodically held her up to look out the window.  When she first awakens she wants dolly.  Violet awakens slowly and needs quiet time to come to life.  She sits in Mommy's arms for a while and then she holds dolly while they prepare her Sippy cup of milk.

Not much for posing first thing in the morning

This little girl has brought so much happiness to so many of us.  Words cannot express our gratitude and admiration for the courageous woman who gave birth to this wonderful child.  And the adoption agency that placed her into our lives.  It is a miracle indeed.

Today's quote is again from philosopher Marcus Aurelius and it is particularly appropriate at this Christmas season:

"Very little is needed to make a happy life;
It is all within yourself,
In your way of thinking."

So let's not get caught up in things this joyous season.  As the old saying goes, "the most important things in life are not things,"


Monday, December 17, 2018

A Sense of Humor

I mentioned in a previous post that our granddaughter has quite a sense of humor.  Here she is listening to something her daddy is saying.  Not sure what it was but she found it hilarious.

I like that story, Daddy.

Oh, that's a good one.
You really had me going there for a while.

Since she often wears rock band shirts and has so little hair many strangers think she is a boy.  They often remark, "What a shame such gorgeous eyes and eyelashes are wasted on a little boy."

My son would prefer that all toys be considered gender neutral, and he is determined to keep her from knowing about the Disney princesses for as long as possible.  She does have some tutus and loves to wear them.  They look a bit strange with her Nirvana tee shirt, but that look works for her and she carries it off very well.

Friday, December 14, 2018

We Love Lucy (and Violet)

We did indeed get the full blast of the latest winter storm.  We received twenty inches of heavy wet snow.  Broken branches and fallen trees led to major power outages.  Clearing mountain roads is a very difficult task because most have protective fencing on one side of the road and high banks on the other side.  We lost power late Saturday and it was not restored until late Monday night.

We have a very large generator that will power the house and sequentially turn off "non-essential" things if the propane levels get low.  I could hear the hum of the generator from my bedroom and on Saturday night it was reassuring to awaken and hear it.  After that, it became annoying because it meant power was still not restored.  We had no Wi-Fi but we did have television, thanks to Direct TV.  I must admit it was frustrating to watch television and see sixteen utility vehicles just sitting in downtown Brevard waiting for the roads to be sufficiently clear.  We conserved energy as much as possible, eating soup and sandwiches rather than using the oven to cook.  We didn't bother to clean off the gas grill since it was socked in with snow.  We cleared a small path near the deck railing to hang the bird feeders and fill the heated water for our feathered friends.

We still have plenty of snow on the ground but we can now get out of the community and downtown,  Unfortunately we are experiencing heavy rain and flash flooding will be a big problem as the rain adds water and melts the snow.  Thank goodness I had my chemotherapy last Wednesday.

I mentioned before that Lucy was not interested at all in the Christmas decorations this year.  That was not always the case.  Here she is in 2016, inspecting each ornament and then following my husband to the tree.

Granddaughter is growing like a weed.  Now 18 months old she is in the 95th percentile for height.  That doesn't necessarily mean that she will be really tall, but she does have such long legs it is hard to buy sleepers for her.

Our son is a stay-at-home dad and says it's the best job he's ever had.  Here is our Violet, dressed by her dad.  Pink kitty hat.  Red Def Leppard sweatshirt.  Yellow pants.  Purple shoes.  Carrying a stuffed otter.

Only a true fashionista could carry off this look.

She seems mechanically and musically inclined and already knows how to operate all the safety features they have installed.  Fortunately she is not yet strong enough to operate them but she knows the process.  On a recent visit to a good friend who has two-year-old twin boys, Violet learned how to open their gate at the foot of the stairs.  Then she taught the twins how to do it for themselves.  She has quite a sense of humor and is such fun.  I'm so envious of her other grandparents who live in the same town.

Today's quote is from the author Tennessee Williams.  It fits someone we know quite well as both.
"The only thing worse than a liar
Is a liar who is also a hypocrite."

Whatever your faith or beliefs, I do hope you are enjoying the season.  We are relishing it, taking things slowly and not rushing about trying to do everything.  Store bought will do just as well as homemade this year.  Well, except for Ina Garten's sour cream coffee cake.  That must be available for Christmas morning's coffee.


Friday, December 7, 2018

And We Love Lucy

We've begun decorating for Christmas and listening to carols as we do so.  We are so grateful to have this Christmas together.  Last year I was discharged from rehab days before Christmas, still very weak, and we were anticipating chemotherapy as soon as the surgery was completely healed.  A totally unknown and frightening future lay ahead of us.  Our Christmas was low key as you might imagine.  So while we are still realistic, we are also optimistic and we are indeed celebrating with enthusiasm.

 We decided it would be too difficult to put up our regular tree which exceeds more than ten feet with very heavy sections.  So my husband went  to Lowe's and got an 8 foot tree we could manage.  To our chagrin, the top section of the pre-lit tree did not light up.  We did the usual troubleshooting and it still did not work so the next suggestion was "return to store."  My husband was not happy to have to take the tree and expected to have to argue with some clerk.

But when he told the clerk his story, she looked deadpan and said, "Well damn!  Let me go get you another one,"  He thought it was the best customer service he'd had in quite a while.  Best of all the tree did indeed light up all the way and a smaller one seems just fine.  He has enjoyed spending time selecting ornaments since we have far too many to fit on the tree.

Lucy was totally disinterested in the tree.  Her only concern came much earlier when we moved the armchair that was in the corner.  Like many other dogs, she does not like her environment changed.  Once the chair was gone she pretty much ignored the rest of it.  Alas, another sign of her aging.  In the past she would have stuck her nose into every ornament as it was moved to the tree.

She manages the stairs more slowly but doesn't seem to have pain

In the den she enjoys her soft bed

And upstairs she finds the sun puddles wherever they may be

We have very strong predictions for heavy snow this weekend.  All models predict at least ten inches for us and some of them say the snow will be measured in feet.  We are prepared with plenty of food and a generator with a full tank of propane.  We will dig out for Lucy first and then do the rest at our leisure.  (Actually, my husband will do the digging.  I use a cane for stability and can't imagine a cane in one hand and a shovel in the other.)

Experience has taught us that snow in the mountains is unpredictable.  Often a small difference in elevation will make a large difference in the amount of snow.  The valleys and peaks also make a difference.  So I'm hopeful that we will get much less snow than predicted.  I really should not mind the snow.  After all, we have no place we must go.  My chemotherapy treatment was Wednesday so that won't be a problem.  But after 20 years in Wisconsin, I had my fill of snowy winters.  It was great at the time and we enjoyed the outdoor activities.  But now I will stay inside and enjoy reading and watching old movies.

The quote for today is from one of my favorite philosophers, Marcus Aurelius.  It reminds us how important it is to think positively and with kindness and hope.

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."


Saturday, December 1, 2018

And Still We Love Lucy

And here it is the first of December.  Our Jewish friends will begin the Hanukkah celebration Sunday at sundown and in a few weeks the Christians and heathens alike will celebrate Christmas, all with their own reasons and motivation.

I went to my hair stylist for my first haircut in more than a year!  It was not really a haircut; more of a trim up some wild areas.  As my hair has grown in, it has grown rather wild in all directions.  Think of the worst baby picture you've ever seen with wild hair sticking out all over the place and that gives you an idea of what mine was looking like.  It is still very short, but my stylist was at least able to trim it to manageable and now it looks like someone who dared to cut her hair short enough to dry quickly on its own,

Ironically  enough, Lucy had a bath and style herself.  She doesn't mind her bath and the groomers let her wander around rather than wait in a crate.  She loves watching them work and they seem to love her so we are very pleased with them.

Never one for posing, she sits for a photograph but does not smile.

It's pouring rain here but the weather is warmer.  We had such a subdued Christmas last year we are decorating fast and furious this year.  And we are ever so thankful we have yet another Christmas to celebrate.

Today's quote comes from the late Stan Lee:

"We live in a diverse society
In fact, a diverse world-
And we must learn to live in peace
And with respect for one another."

There is no room for isolationism.  We share this planet with others.  Their problems are our problems.


Friday, November 23, 2018

We Love Lucy

I hope it was a good week for everyone.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm sure you are still ready for a dinner of leftovers tonight even after all that feasting yesterday.  We had a quiet day and I fixed a whole turkey breast and a couple of thighs rather than a whole turkey.  It was moist and juicy (thanks, Ina) and we have plenty of leftovers.

We do not share any human food with Lucy except for the occasional treat of apple or carrots.  She is especially thankful when our little granddaughter visits.  She positions herself directly under the high chair and takes advantage of the errors a toddler can make in learning to use a spoon and fork.  Alas, no toddler yesterday and thus regular dog food for Lucy as usual.  She is now on a prescription diet consisting of both canned food mixed with kibble and she views each meal with great enthusiasm.  She never had canned dog food before this year so it is quite a treat for her.

I often wonder what sort of things go on in her head as she goes about her day.  As she ages, she seems to need more and more to be with us.  She follows my husband around all the time when he is home.  She follows me as a second choice.  She loves her big bolster bed in the den and often puts several tennis balls in it.  She rolls them around and also uses them as massage balls.  Although our Ellie loved her toys, Lucy never cared much for them.

Lucy in her bed


And rolling

Back and Forth

You may notice there is a green bed next to Lucy's.  Yes, we still have Ellie's bed there and sometimes Lucy lies across both of them.  And yes, my preference would be to give the bed to the shelter, but it seems to mean a lot to my husband.

Today's quote is from Henry David Thoreau:

"I am grateful for what I am and what I have.
My Thanksgiving is perpetual."

Wouldn't it be great if we all were perpetually thankful?


Friday, November 16, 2018

We Love Lucy

We have had very weird weather, mostly rainy and cold.  But today brings bright sunshine and clear skies and we are thankful.

A brief health update:  my blood cancer markers continue to be low (and normal) so the new chemotherapy regimen seems to be keeping the cancer in check.  That is very good news.  There is not much available data on the long-term success of this drug for ovarian cancer because it was only recently approved.  But I'm assigning myself to be best of the statistics.  If that turns out not to be true I will have lost nothing by remaining positive.

Our sweet Lucy remains positive all the time, assuming that good things will always happen.  She had some really great days while our seventeen-month-old granddaughter visited.  At every meal she positioned herself right under the high chair and reaped the rewards of a little one feeding herself.

She is still moving more slowly but is ever so much better on her new meds.  She loved the attention of more people in the house, assuming each one was here to pet her,  Our daughter is visiting now so she is still enjoying extra attention.

She does not like to pose for pictures

Ready to go back inside

Our little Violet was so gentle with Lucy.  She would toddle over, slowing down as she approached Lucy and holding out her hand to gently touch her her.  Lucy loved it.

Violet is a mover and shaker.  She hardly ever walks; she runs everywhere.  My son snapped this photograph of her in her dragon pajamas crawling into a Nordstrom bag.  He said he feared his wife was a bad influence.  I told him to be glad it wasn't a Tiffany box.

I hope your weather turns better.  And we continue to send positive thoughts to those affected by the raging California fires.

Today's quote is from Carl Sandburg:
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, 
So live not in your yesterdays, not just for tomorrow, but in the here and now.
Keep moving and forget the postmortems; 
And remember, no one can get the jump on the future.


Friday, November 9, 2018

A very interesting week here in the US to say the least.  I'm glad the election is (mostly) over.  There were results that made me happy and results that made me sad, but the overwhelming feeling is relief that it is finally behind us.

We had a most wonderful visit from our sweet granddaughter.  She is a very active little girl who sits still only when reading books or eating.  She rarely walks anywhere...she runs.  They flew this time rather than driving so we bought a lot of toys for her to have here when they visit.  She has a very sweet nature and was wonderfully gentle with Lucy and Lucy adored her.  She stationed herself squarely under the high chair and was well-rewarded.

Tall for her age with really long legs

Lucy smiles while the house is quiet

We had two good days with bright sunshine,  Lucy loved running free.  Her sprints are shorter and she is tired when we get back in, but we allow her to do as much as she wants.  Otherwise, we do insist that she gets plenty of walks to exercise her joints

Running like a younger dog
My dear beloved (and quite old) Nikon seems to be in the throes of death.  I shouldn't be surprised.  It is one of the first digital SLR cameras Nikon made.  I can't get any of my recent photographs off the memory card so I'll take it to a camera shop and have them take a look.  I will likely go with Nikon again for the simple reason that all the lenses are compatible.  Otherwise I may use my husband's camera or rely on the one on my iPod.

Today's post-election quote comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Let us never forget that government is ourselves
And not an alien power over us.
The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not
A President or Senators, or Congressmen and government officials


Friday, November 2, 2018

We Love Lucy

We've had some sunny autumn days, some very windy days, and now some very rainy days.  Like the old saying, "If you don't like the weather in the mountains, just wait another day and it will change."

Despite her age and arthritis, Lucy still loves a day at the park.  She doesn't run nearly as much, but she does trot often enough to get some exercise and then she rests.  When she was younger, we had to force her to to sit and rest but now she seems to know when to rest herself.  She is still a thing of beauty with her long floofy hair flying in the breeze.  She has always had a rather strange sitting posture and it makes her look much larger than she really is.

Sitting in the soft moss at the park.

We were all stunned at the shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue this week.  It was a hate crime and 11 people were killed.  The people were gathered for a bris of a baby boy.  The event shocked and saddened many of us.  The President of the United States indicated that outcome would have been far better if there had been an armed guard at the synagogue.  An armed guard at a bris?  Seriously?

I leave you with a quote from the late Haile Selassie:

"We must become bigger than we have been
More courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook.
We must become members of a new race,
Overcoming petty prejudice,
Owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations
But to our fellow men within the human community."


Friday, October 26, 2018

We Love Lucy

We moved with lightning speed from Autumn weather to down-right cold.  We are getting remnants of the recent tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico.  So it is raining and dreary.  Temperatures will not get much above 40 today.  I am so not ready for cold weather.  On a positive note, we will almost certainly have some warmer days with sunshine.  Meanwhile, we will sit by the fire and read or knit.  And love on our dear Lucy.

Much like a child busy playing, Lucy pretends not to hear us call her the first, or second, or even third time we call to tell her it's time to go outside in the rain.  She hates it despite the towels we put in the dryer to have toasty warm for drying her off.

Even when the room is warm, she curls up into a ball when she comes back inside.

When we have the gas logs burning, her favorite place is near the warm hearth.

Early voting ends here in North Carolina on November 3rd.  If your state has early voting be sure to check the times and try to vote early.  If not, make certain you check your polling location for Election Day.  Many of them have changed locations and hours,  Make your voice count.  If you are turned away for any reason demand a provisional ballot.

Today's quotes are from my favorite philosopher,  Marcus Aurelius.  Reflect on the first when you are watching the "talking heads" on the 24/7 "news" channels.  And reflect on the second as you live your daily life.

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."

"Concentrate on what you have to do. Fix your eyes on it. Remind yourself that your task is to be a good human being; remind yourself what nature demands of people. Then do it, without hesitation, and speak the truth as you see it. But with kindness. With humility. Without hypocrisy."


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.



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.


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. 



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.

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.”


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.


And dance in the rain every chance you get.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When We All Came Together

I cannot let this day pass without a mention of the horrid events of September 11, 2001.  A day when America suffered greatly.  A day when one plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center and another hit the South Tower in New York City.  Both towers fell as we watched our televisions in horror.

The World Trade Center Towers

Another plane struck the Pentagon, causing loss of 125 lives

A commercial airplane (United Flight 93) was taken over by the terrorists,  It is thought the terrorists had planned an attack on the White House.  On this plane, passengers and crew attempted to overtake the terrorists and the plane crashed in Somerset County PA, killing all on board,  It gave us a new phrase for heroes, "Let's Roll" heard on a cell phone as the passengers began their attempt to take back control of the plane.

The crash site in Pennsylvania
[All photographs taken from Internet sites where no credit was given to the photographer,]

During this horrid period of time, Americans of all regions of the country, of all ethnic backgrounds and colors, of all religious beliefs (or none at all), of all lifestyles, and all political parties came together, united in grief.  We came together giving accolades to the heroes and solace to the friends and families of the victims.  A true United States of America.  Most of the world grieved along with us.

Nearly three thousand people died from the attacks, including many rescuers.  Many more continue to have health problems or have died from the toxic gases released, especially in New York City.

It's hard to believe how divided we have become since that time.  How much lower we have fallen in the eyes of our world neighbors,  That adds even more sadness to the solemnity of this date.

Let us all remember the events of September 11, 2001.  The way we all worked together afterwards.  And let us hope that the same togetherness will return without another tragedy.

Friday, September 7, 2018

We Love Lucy

This has been a hot and often muggy week.  It doesn't feel at all like Autumn is approaching.  Well, except that the hours of daylight are becoming shorter.  Golden Retrievers have two coats of hair so they are well insulated and do not tolerate heat very well.  Lucy gets a bit of exercise early in the mornings and then much prefers the cool air conditioning for the remainder of the days like these.  Despite the heat, she love the sunshine as much as I do.

We have a wall of windows in the great room looking out over the forest.  And we receive the welcome morning sun, especially in winter.  One of the first questions I asked our contractor was the orientation of the house.  I wanted a south-eastern focus for the great room and I was pleased to learn that was the direction of the view.  Both Lucy and I tend to move around to follow the sun.

Sometimes she likes her head lower.

A typical Golden pose

I often wonder if she has any memory of our Ellie.  The two of them were always together, usually with Lucy using Ellie as a pillow.  I suspect she does not have any memory of her but will surely recognize her on the other side.  And even if that is not true at all, it gives me solace to think that.

Ellie in front with Lucy's head resting on her

Today's quote is from poet Robert Louis Stevenson:
"You think dogs will not be in heaven?
I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."

Rosh Hashannah begins at sundown on Sunday.  It is the first of the High Holy Days and marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year.  Our thoughts are with our Jewish friends on these holy days of worship.