Friday, August 30, 2019

A Little Something for Doc

My oncologist is an avid trout fisherman.  In fact, that is one reason he moved his practice to western NC.  I decided I wanted to give him a little gift of appreciation so we commissioned a miniature fishing cabinet for him.  We couldn't be more pleased with the result.  One of our daughter's friends is a fly fisherman too and he gave us a lot of good ideas as did our fishing daughter.  (Thanks A and B).

The level of detail in this little cabinet is amazing.  To give you an idea of the detail, the cabinet itself is a mere six inches tall and four inches wide.  The little wooden fish signs on the left say, "Gone Fishing" and "Catch you Later."  The charts are in amazing detail and the top shelf contains reels of fly fishing line, a mounted fish, and a fishing hat.  The center shelf contains a creel and a lunch box as well as some maps and guides.  The bottom shelf contains another creel, a map and a brass rod holder.   On the right are two fly rods and reels and on the left is a rod container with another fly rod inside.  A vest, two nets, complete the exterior.  We also asked that the artist include a little doctor's bag.
[You may want to click on the photographs for added detail. For some reason the first picture does not enlarge.]

We are so please with this little set.

A side view shows the detail on the fishing rods and reels.  Note that there are tiny little fishing flies attached to the line.

Fishing books, magazines, a tool kit (complete with tiny little pliers, etc.), a tin with miniscule fishing flies are inside the drawer along with other items.

A closeup of the lunch pail shows a tiny cup and sandwich as well as a can of soda.

The fishing hat has flies hooked on it just like big ones do

And there are little medical instruments inside the doctor's bag.

We will be giving this little treasure to my doctor on my next visit in a couple of weeks.  I will go in before that visit for a blood draw.  So we will get the results of my cancer markers when we see the doctor.  We are hoping they are still the same, but we are also emotionally prepared if they have risen, indicating renewed cancer growth.

I have no idea what the future holds.  I can only say that I feel wonderful and I am blessed to be on the right side of the bell curve.  At my last visit, the chemo nurses wanted to know if I wanted to sound the gong they have there.  Many patients ring it when they are in remission.  I declined, fearing it just might be a jinx and I didn't want to tempt whatever gods may be who have brought me this far.  But I don't think they would mind some positive vibes you might think of sending into the wind if you are so inclined.  And I welcome prayers of all kinds from all faiths to all Deities.

Today's first quote is from author Isabel Allende:
"Everybody has losses - it's unavoidable in life.
But sharing our pain is very healing."

And from Hippocrates, the father of medicine:
"Healing is a matter of time,
But sometimes it is also a matter of opportunity."

And from the Buddha:
"The secret of health of both mind and body is
Not to mourn for the past,
Nor to worry about the future,
But to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."




Friday, August 23, 2019

Another Friday

We are having some blessedly uneventful days.  Typical August weather with almost daily thunderstorms.  One of them brought us lots of hail after the rain.  I do enjoy summer storms and love to look out at them.  Our screened porch is the perfect place to enjoy the storms.

No news on the dog front, so once again I will share our granddaughter with some random pictures and a short video.

For some reason, she decided to eat her snack of Goldfish with a fork.  She first tried to spear them but that resulted in breaking them into pieces.  So she used the fork to delicately scoop them up one by one and put them in her mouth,

Why not use a fork?
You tried often enough to get me to use one.

She is pretty fearless in most instances.  She loves the water and jumps into the pool without hesitation.  They have a pool so while they never let her outside alone, it is still important that she is safe in the water should she fall in.  They would never trust a toddler's swimming ability, but it's good to know they would have several safe seconds to get her out in case of an accident.  She loves to jump and go under the water, trusting that the waiting arms will catch her when she bobs up.  It won't be long before she will be able to shake her head and swim off.

Ready?  Set? Go!
[A phrase she learned from Grammy during her last visit]

Here is a short video of Violet rather high on a jungle gym at a nearby park.  She is determined and careful, but it always makes her daddy nervous.  (Best to click icon for full screen on bottom right.)

Oh, I think I can do this.

At the State Fair she didn't get any of the good deep-fat-fried yummies her daddy ate, but she did get her first pony ride.

She loves to swing.  While she was swinging one of favorite "uncles" came in sight and this was her reaction.
Oh, Lookee!

Today's first quote comes from from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"It is a happy talent to know how to play."

And from our beloved Fred Rogers:
"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.
But for children, play IS serious learning.
Play is really the work of childhood."




Friday, August 16, 2019

It Starts Early in Life

These days we talk a lot about prejudice.  It is an ugly wound in our history which has been reopened by the current POTUS and his adminstration.  And when we hear such hateful and hurtful rhetoric from our "leaders" we realize just how deep the wound is and how superficial the healing has been.

Children are born without prejudice.  It has been proven time and again that prejudice is a learned behavior.  And it is often learned when there is limited exposure to different types of people.  When I was in elementary school, the nearest people we had from other cultures were the very few Catholics, Yankees whose fathers moved to the South to manage a plant that located in our little town.  They went to the library during our weekly religion (read that Protestant) guest speakers.  When you were a child, how many people of other races and cultures were represented in your story books?  I can recall only two books about different races when I was a small child.  One was LITTLE BLACK SAMBO, and the other was THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS.  I admit that I loved both of those stories although they clearly stereotype the cultures and I would not want Violet to have them.  Oh, and I almost forgot Uncle Remus and his fables, the most famous being Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby.  Not good examples of the culture either.  Again, I loved them but would not want them for my granddaughter until she is at least a teenager.

I was absolutely delighted when Aunt Kathryn gave my little children a lovely book called OH, WHAT A BUSY DAY!  The illustrations by Gyo Fujikawa were enchanting and included children of different races and ethnic groups all playing together.  New Yorker Magazine recently did a lovely article that you might find interesting.  (Click here.)  The book, originally published in 1976 is still in print.  It's filled with short verses and is fun for children and adults alike.  I can highly recommend it.

Picture from the Internet
Violet now has our copy

Our Violet does have busy days.  She enjoys all sorts of creative play both indoors and out.  She is already loving dress-up and pretend.

Last week I posted a picture of her in a Darth Vader shirt.  Today I will show you the real Darth Violet, ready to take on anything with her light saber.  (Yes, she plays villians as well as heroes.)

 First you get the light saber at the ready

Then you get your frightening face to scare the opponent

And who is the opponent?  The same sweet giant giraffe Violet was hugging last week.  If you are Darth Violet you must take on the biggest opponent you can find.
A fierce attack

I love that Violet is exposed to children and adults of all races, cultures, and lifestyles.  No distinction is made among them.  She is too young to recognize stereotypes but her parents will guide her to dismiss them when she is old enough to understand.  I do believe Violet will grow up to be as accepting of others as one can be.  Her parents are exceptional role models.

I often wonder (and fear) just how the children of the supporters of the too-often heard hate speech will fare in tomorrow's world?  Will they become the minority?  Will they grow up and recognize how wrong their parents were?  Or will they grow up bitter and angry?  Time will tell.

The first quote of the week is from one of my heroes, Ruth Bader Gingsburg:
"America is known as a country that welcomes people to its shores.  All kinds of people.  The image of the Statue of Liberty with Emma Lazarus's famous poem.  She lifts her lamp and welcomes people to the golden shore where they will not experience prejudice because of the color of their skin or the religious faith they follow."
(PERSONAL NOTE:  Take THAT, Ken Cuccinelli!)

The next is from the late (and still missed) Molly Ivins:
"Old-fashioned anti-immigrant prejudice always brings out some old-fashioned racists."

And from the late (and still missed) Maya Angelou:
"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

Is there hope for our Nation?  I do think there is.  For our sakes, but mostly for the sake of dear innocent Violet and all other children who will inherit the world we leave behind.




Friday, August 9, 2019

A Very Busy Girl

Days in the life of a two-year-old are busy indeed and our Violet is always a busy girl.  Not much for frills and dresses, she doesn't mind getting a bit of dirt or scrapes on her knees.  She much prefers the outdoors and can always find an adventure.

Darth Vader peeks between the trees

Her father took her shopping for Mama's birthday gift at a nearby upscale mall.  He put the gift on the table, gave Violet a snack and turned around to get a cup of coffee.  Unfortunately she was more interested in the gift than the snack and quick as a wink tore off the trade-mark white bow.  (Did you know they give all employees lessons in how to tie those white bows?)

She seems quite excited and is just about to open the box

Our son put a long row of small plants near the deck railing.  So Violet now has chores to do.  She keeps the little plants watered and takes the job quite seriously.

Carefully pouring water into each little pot

She loves pizza as a special treat.  This is her method for eating pizza:  first you take off and eat the pepperoni pieces and other toppings.  Next you peel off and eat the cheese.  Then you lick the sauce off with your tongue.  Finally you eat the soggy crust.  It's a bit messy but definitely the best way.

Licking off the marinara sauce

It is important to hug your animals, even the giant ones.
  Violet hugs her giraffe before calling it a day.

I think of this very fortunate little girl, surrounded by the love of family and friends.  Living without fears or anxiety about her safety and security.  Assuming the best of things will happen every day.  And it breaks my heart that the same cannot be said for so very many children living in the United States and around the world.

The first of today's quotes is from Nelson Mandela:
"History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children."

And from Oliver Wendell Holmes:
"Pretty much all of the honest truth telling there is in the world is done by children."

And from Frederick Douglas:
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

And an anonymous quote aimed at all those who interact with small children:
"Children seldom misquote.  In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you should not have said."




Friday, August 2, 2019

Golden Memories

We have been reading about different breed characteristics and considering what kind of dog we may want in the future.  That automatically triggers happy memories of our Ellie and Lucy.  We even reflect on our two dogs who preceded them, both of them Springer Spaniels.  We loved all of them, but I honestly believe there is no sweeter, more loving and loyal dog than a Golden Retriever.  (And of those Golden Retrievers there was no sweeter, more loving and loyal one than Dichi Sirius Eleanor Rose (Ellie).)  Dogs have been members of our family continuously since my husband and I were married.
Our Ellie just after we brought her home.

Lucy on her first day with us.  She was a tiny little bit of fluff.

Ellie carried two tennis balls around much of the time.
I sent a picture to our breeder who mentioned that her father did the same.

She may not have been as fast, but no dog ran with more enthusiasm than Lucy

And memories always include the two dogs cuddled in one bed.

This picture is the most poignant one.  It is the last photograph we have of Ellie, taken shortly before her untimely death from an angiosarcoma.  It was a gorgeous Autumn day and the Golden Girls had been romping through the leaves.  We forced them to sit and rest after having a drink of cool water.

We still have not determined what kind of dog we want.  We will certainly get a shelter or rescue dog who is older.  Our house is not well-suited for training a puppy.  As much as we would love another Golden, we are not physically up to providing the running activities they require.  And while I think they are adorable, I do not want a little ten-pound dog.  So we will think, and look, and then put our names in for another dog.

The first of our quotes today comes from American author Dean Koontz:
"Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished."

The next quote is from Khalil Gibran:
"When you are sorrowful look again at your heart,
And you will see in truth
That you are weeping for that which has been your delight."

All of our four dogs have been our delights.  And while we have periods of sorrow, we mostly cling to the happy memories our dogs have provided.  Tipsy Pudding, our first Springer shared our lives for 16 years.  Penny Lane, our second Springer was with us for almost 16.  Eleanor Rose, our first Golden was with us for almost 9 years.  We brought home Lemonade Lucy when Ellie was 1.  She lived almost 14 years, dying four days short of her 14th birthday.

And still we follow the advice of that great sage, Dr. Seuss and we smile because it happened.