Distant Social Zing

Honey bear style

Social distancing is not something our honey bear understands. Golden doodles are bred for their friendliness and their adaptability with others. So when this whole covid 19 thing showed up, our sticky mutt decided if people were not coming to see her, then she would go see them.

My theory is actually much more complicated about why I am chose to run. Most dogs do run. But only a few will chose to run away from the immediate in search of what ever the nose might find.

Everyone knows the dog’s nose is number one in the scheme of reasons, I vote for that one. Some smells are intoxicating. Like a thirst for water after a good frisbee session, my nose gets a scent and it seems like a strong rope to the rest of me. No one can leave bacon alone, right? Well, that’s what some aromas do. They draw me. It’s hard to explain.

However, shortly before the stay at home order, I found out that one of our substitue mail carriers feeds us treats from her car. That mail carrier fed me right there on the road! Of course, I am thinking, how dangerous. But oh well, everyone slows down for me and the mail. Who would encourage a dog to jump up on the car for a treat? It’s so confusing. Some people use angry voice when I try to jump and she gives me a treat. I don’t know which is the right way.

Besides, the package guy always gives me a treat. But he comes into the driveway so that is probably safe. I love to circle his truck and smell all of the other places he stops at. Sometimes another canine leaves me a message on the tires. His truck is full of nose treats and cookie treats.

(Remember that sign we use to see at the zoo, or in the national park out at Yellowstone: DO NOT FEED THE BEARS ?). Well, I am about to post that sign on my lawn near our 911 address. Do not feed my HONEY BEAR! She’s rather sticky, and it will get messy and difficult in the future. It just encourages the friendly dogs, to chase cars and play on the road.)

This morning after a leash walk with my mom, to the corner and back, I found a juicy one. Smell, that is. It took me north a long ways. Suddenly, another scent interrupted me. I tried to find the first one, but I lost it. My one mile walk with mom was nothing compared to the five miles my nose took me. That plum bush that mom thought was worth stopping for and letting me go was nothing compared to my trail. After the hour and a half of tracking, I was a little thirsty. Maybe a drink would help me pick up the scent again. So I turned to go home. Up to the road I went.

Then, the nice lady slowed down and picked me up. She read my collar. She called me Honey and everything. I heard her use the box to call mom. Then she dropped me off at the end of the driveway, and said “Honey go home.” I was glad. All that tracking had me ready for a drink. I jumped right up on the deck with a thud so mom could hear me.

I was happy to be home. I don’t think mom sounded very happy.

(Of course it does not help that I am blind. Nor that she did not have her guide harness on at the moment. I do not harness her every time that we go out. She is still in training to help me and some days we take a break. So after five minutes of calling for the “nose to ground” hound dog, I gave up. It was useless to waste my breath on the four legged creature that can run nearly 35 mph in a short spurt and 15-20 mph for longer distances. She was no where to be seen in just a matter of seconds.)

Two hours later a friendly lady gave her a lift home. There is a reason we put her name and home phone number on her collar. Though I had hoped it would only get used during a grooming session, or at dog camp. Or perhaps emergencies unforeseen. Honey thinks it is so that she can go distant social zing!

Distant Social Zing!

Yeah, I said that exactly the way that that she would. Zing is her favorite thing. Just toss a frisbee sometime and you will witness how fast her zing really is. Zing is what a golden doodle does bed.

Zing is the thing that drives our Honey bear to fly through the air after the disc. Zing is the thing that makes our Honey seem so sweet to everyone outside of the family. Zing is the thing that this sticky girl does when she meets someone new. Zing is the thing that happens when I turn my head for two seconds.

Zing.

Distant social zing is what she has taken up now that no one ever comes over for coffee.

Zing.

And that is nothing like zoom!!

Epilogue”My mom is the best ever. This morning she got me a date with a runner. A real runner, not just for twenty paces. My runner can run a mile or longer in one breath. I think. And she’s a girl. Like me. Girls rock! My runner listens to music. And she tastes great too. She had lotion, hot dogs, and sweat all at once. My runner is my best friend. I hope she comes again. Mom just handed her the leash and we left. My runner is the best. I tried to tell her so. I licked her and jumped like crazy. I hope she comes back.”

Yep, we hired a runner. And we are trying to throw the frisbee at consecutive moments to keep Honey on the go for at least twenty minutes. She’s still not tired. Just very exuberant and very fit.

Post Script to the epilogue

We decided to build Honey a fort. Here begins the agility challenges. Quaratine has made us think of all sorts of things to improve our staying at home. Hopefully this will help improve Honey’s staying home also. She actually began the weekend by running off on Gain while he was outside with her. So by Sunday we made the decision start building more”listen” into her. The agility and cofidence course for the canine is all about building relationship with your dog. I hope it works for my dog. The fort has two platforms, a tunnel, and a ladder or stepping bridge. We have the items for a hurdle, but will make that this later. She is learning to slow down and listen. Hopefully there will be no injuries (to me or her).

This morning after just one day with the fort, she gave up chasing the cats for a romp on the fort while I fed the feline’s. I would say success. And she learned about slowing down for the stepping bridge. She tends to just barrell through every thing as if exuberance were the answer to the whole of life. Her middle name is zealous!

Operator error

Follies and fortunes with Honey

The follies and fortunes of owning a mixed breed dog have been part of our co-existence for three years now. It was of course my foolishness that requested a “hypo-allergenic” dog as a guide dog companion. Having no previous experience with either a poodle, or a golden retriever should have been a warning signal. Choosing this breed mix was a new challenge altogether. The misfortune of owning such a hyper energetic dog is that I do not run marathons for a living. Frisbee has become our mode of energy draining!

In this day and age of technology driven work and social lives this is one sign that we hope not to see. However in-frequently it’s message interrupts our screen this message clearly points fault. Today while blind guide training my dog the message spoke loud and clear. Operator Error was flashing a message loud and clear. Let me explain myself.

For the past month Honey and I have been training independently on guide dog behavior. Most days we work together-that’s a joke. The independence that I mention is without the aid of a certified guide dog therapist or trainer. Together, I have learned that she still backs away whenever the harness comes out. High value treats help some. Together, we have been learning the words or commands associated with the use of the harness. Together, we are learning some completely new skills.

HOWEVER

Yeah, you knew that one was coming. Because of her her hyper energy and sensitive nature, communication between the operator and the wearer has been rather botched. For starters, we have had three years without the use of the tool. The harness acquired less than a month ago is new to Honey. Most guide dogs get the harness fitted at full growth spurt completed. Approximately one and a half years.

Day One had my sensitive hyper bee jumping kangaroo style every time the handle found contact with anything. She has always gotten more agitated every time we get ready to go somewhere. We would try to put her in a stay mode, and it never worked. The more I move around, the more she moves around. Getting ready to go anywhere, meant there is a sixty pound banana following you. We were sure to run into her frequently in the search for shoes, coat, hat, purse, backpack or anything else needed for the “going.” Needless to say, it has taken her three weeks to learn STATUE. Learning that the harness handle bumps into chairs, doors, walls or other items if she does not stand still, took a little bit of patience. So week three has arrived and Honey now stands still in statue after the harness is on. Yep, she’s smart. (Three weeks seemed like a long time to me.)

Okay, next lesson.

With the harness on our roles are completely reversed. She is no longer a sixty pound banana behind me. Now, I am the drag weight in the tractor pull. Wherever she goes, I follow. This is hard to do. TRUST. That’s not very easy to do when this jumping jelly bean has broken my nose in the past. Her excitement has to be toned down somehow. So the other day while going for a walk, I actually followed her. Into the ditch we trailed the scent she had just discovered. However, because free-time is not while she is on the harness, it did the kangaroo hop that she does when she is excited and does not know what is next. “Oh, no, where are we? What are we doing here? What happened to the road we were walking on? Why do feel like sliding down a slippery slope into the abyss? Where’s the road? Where is my walk?” It worked. She got us back on the road and towing the white line on the edge.

On to the blind guide training and the operator erro. So today we took the harness for a five minute waltz. Just the the green house and a few other frequented places on the acreage. At first I said, “Go to…”. Each time I began with that phrasing she turned to go for a walk. Ergh. My frustration was setting in. Doing this trust thing is not going very well, I told myself. Try again. “Find…”. YAY! We have success.

Finding OUR way

Find is her favorite game. We have spend many rainy days playing find tug, or find car, or find ball, or find cookie. I show her the toy we are using, ask her to sit-stay or place. Then I go throughout the house pretending to hide the item until I choose a spot. Sometimes I continue pretend for more than the actual placing of said object. Then I return to Honey and praise her for stay and say FIND.

So, operator error flashing, I began to ask my harnessed guide dog to “find” various places around the acreage. Wahlah! We had success. Apparently GO means a walk, or the car, or go with. Communication to a dog has always been a challenge for this family. We had a little dog for ten years that refused to COME. But if you said “Go” follwed by your own name, he came right to you. Somehow in the training years come meant bad things to the little furball. I hope it does not take me ten years to figure out this girl.

Without

That would be “as opposed to with or not having”

The definition of without can be defined as a preposition, an adverb, or a conjunction. In this situation it is a preposition and used as “not having the benefit of…”. In my life today on my walk through the neighborhood near my daughter’s home, it was walking without the benefit of a real true helping canine. Ahhh, but the tears flow fast.

There are many different types of grief, many different kinds of losses. Mourning takes all kinds of shapes, sizes, and emotions. But this is not going to be one of those “this is what happened and now I’m going to shave my head” type of writings. Nor is it the “I will just go eat worms” of the century story.

Today at church our pastor shared the second sermon in his series on the life of Job. He also gave an excellent children’s message on bad-awful-terrible-days. I go to church mostly for the children’s sermon. It’s the most relatable. Sorry, pastor. We did not leave town immediately, as my husband’s folks needed a few little errands done. They experienced one of those everything-went-wrong-mornings that pastor talked about in the children’s sermon. After figuring out the keyless entry to a vehicle and completing those little “save the day” items, we headed home to pick up the dog and go for lunch with our daughter number two and her hubby, our son-in-law number two. That is no indication of our feelings for them. We love them both the same!

After our lunch together the father daughter duo went to work on their plumbing project and I made the awful decision to go for a walk with the ditzy doodle Honey. It might have been a good decision if there were not so many factors that play into our unhealthy relationship.

We made it back to the house in one piece. And my anxiety attack did not land me any worse off than previous panic experiences. But here is the gist of it all.

A few years ago, I had a rescue dog I named Seymour. For some reason, when I put the harness on him to do the guide dog work, He just GOT IT. As a person going blind, there were moments that we did a few minutes of training and Seymour amazed me. His ability to grasp what I needed was just there. Then gradually, he got lazy in the house and because of his 95 pound stature , he would take up half the floor space. I began tripping over him in the house. He worked for me outside the front door, but slept like a baby inside the house.

And rather than making the changes to accommodate him and his “allergy” inducing episodes with family or friends, we decided to re-home him. He is happy in his new family.

But today on my walk with Honey, I realized once again exactly how gifted Seymour was in guiding me. Recently, my husband saw some statistics that stated even if the bloodline of the dog has a propensity for guide dog characteristics only about a quarter to a third of the dogs actually turn out to possess the qualities of an excellent guide dog. I did not know these statistics when I decided to trade in one dog and get another.

Seymour was trained as hunting dog, and probably failed the test. He was either abandoned or a run away. In his rescue days, he spent time healing from a trap wound on his foreleg. When he entered our family, we enjoyed the fact that the puppy was all out of him. Then, the days came for him to “guide” me.

His knack for learning about trees, hitches, the names of places, people, objects and such was uncanny. But more than his ability, there was the feeling of security that he gave me. Now that I have Honey, I can really grasp what I lost by giving him away.

Going blind, and being blind are two totally different things. But going blind is being blind in a new way all along the road. Some days I am more aware of my losses than other days. Some times it hits me literally (like when I run into the doorframe or something). And some days, like today it hits me in the gut. Hard.

Honey just does not have it in her to serve my need for security or stability. When she sees things or observes changes, her first reaction is “there is someone that I want to go jump on and that should love me because I love them!” Seymour gave me signals that were completely different. Honey gives me anxiety with changes. I never know if she is going to jump, bolt, or love with doggy exuberance. Seymour would have pushed me towards the person rather than drag me. This relationship is so different. And so hard to explain.

There are things about having a “helping” canine that you can never really explain to other people. These feelings of security and anxiety reduction cannot be fully expressed in one writing. If you have ever had a relationship with a dog like this, once it is gone, feelings of grief and loss arrive at moments least expected.

Today, was one of those days.

Honey might be sweet. But she’s a little sticky once she gets all over your fingers. After awhile, I just want to wash my hands of the whole affair. I want to trade her back for Seymour. But that’s not an option.

Just like it seems our family could only have one really good family dog, and his name was Furbie. Well, that’s a whole different story of a little Shih Tzu crossed Border Terrier that even had a toy he named “the worst Christmas ever.” That dog was one of a kind. Seymour was one of a kind, too. And Honey is absolutely not any thing like Seymour.

The anxiety over my eyesight was not given any relief by having anxiety over my hyper doodle. If anyone wants a dog that loves frisbee and flying fast on all four paws, you can have her. While she has all the best qualities of a really good dog, she just has not picked up on the “service” thing yet. And if she does not “GET IT” soon, she might just get replaced.

(Here’s the deal: I can only afford to go through so many sets of underwear, before I’ll have to get some fancy ones to catch the results of all this adrenalin dump that she is creating in my life. And, I really do not want to just sit around all the time, when I once knew what it meant to have a dog named Seymour that could help me for REAL!)

So there.

I said it.

I’ll try not to cry myself to sleep tonight because I miss my dog.

Or maybe, I will anyway.

Get out the new tissue box. I might be using the whole stack up tonight.

The Honey-moon is over

Not so serviceable

So after all that training-ha! This highly alert jumping bean tries to turn everyone into fainting goats with her not so delicate response to most noises. We decided the best dogs grow u.p around little kids. Or come from the rescue shelter with a second chance lease on life.

Today, I just carried my good girl down three steps to go potty. They I promised to dispose of the bad stuff just to get her to go in an area that she finally-after two years of yelling- has learned is off limits potty area. Well, she felt bad enough. So I did it. Carried her back up the three steps and let her in the house. Today we have a couch bum.

I know country living is the quiet life, but if I don’t respond with exuberant energy, why does she? Should have named her Kangaroo or springboard or trampoline. Recently met someone else that named their dog Honey an they had the same bee in the bonnet attitude in their dog. That would have been nice to know two years earlier. .

So we are trying the underwhelming approach. Never be excised at much of any thing. Ignoring her when company comes over. That really has not works either. She still annoys to the point of exasperation. Fixation on attention makes me wonder how she developed ADHD. Then I remember that she has never chewed anything up-ever. Hmmm.

No matter what excitement there might be, we are all dull drum when it comes to handling this pickle. Taking her with should be easier. But I think we will have to get another no tug harness. The band at the park outing the other day was difficult. We just have to mny memories if our perfect “Lady” – forgetting age as ten years old at perfection.

So we left her home the other night while we went for a quick ride to gas up the goldwing. She has never followed us before, so what happened in the 45 minutes timelapse,who knows? But when we got home she was obviously distressed. So the yearly trip to the vet for vaccines go moved up a week or two. This morning her paw needed some attention as the pad’s one inch gape needed fixed.

No one has ever pickled honey but some people do add apple aodar vinegar to their tea with honey. I have yet to figure out if this thing is jut the boiling hot water There is no taste to th tea if you burn your tongue first. And there are times, when I feel at my age, my tongue is just burned too frequently with the antics of a young puppy. This morning we met another doodle at 5 years old and they told us ours would get better soon.

Sweet and sour barbecue sauce usually has both those ingredients (Honey and vinegar). Honey, vinegar, ketchup and a whole lot of turmeric makes some really great rib sauce. But this girl does not even tickle the ribs funny. Calm down pickles! Well, today she is definitely down. Just look at her giving up on life with her injuries. Two pads have obvious woulds, and another she licks at, but I cannot sense the would with my probing. We are not being lazy… just resting through the healing process.

Words sweeter than honeycomb cannot be peppered with garlic and jalapeño dills. Yet this mutt gives the same effect when she greets strangers. Should have named her Cookies, like the hot spicey barbecue sauce!

While whispering to a hyped up dog does not always work, adding a cookie or cheese stick to the senses surely does. Not long ago she actually pleased us all day and we rewarded her with a McD’s burger. That’s when we found our that she was smart enough to spit the onion and pickle out. So now we know she’ll never get poisoned. She would not even take a treat from the vet this morning. It’s like she said. “Yeah, right, I did not see those two needles, and the scissor, and the iodine. You’re a stranger, I’m not pleasing you.”

Having a not so serviceable dog makes me wonder if this energy can ever be harnessed. Her idea of anything is full bore ahead. So getting her to walk the steps WITH me has been challenging. The service harness that I put on her is something she “puts up with.” It’s not a love, like Seymour considered it. But then maybe loving her through this injury and carrying her up and down these exact stairs will get her to love being with me.

Whatever was I thinking?

And how did she ever begin to choose Pickles for a nickname? I have taken up it’s use for when she is naughty. That way I never use her name “in vain”– the trainer said only use a happy tone of vice with the dog’s real name. So Pickles is the discipline name. So far, she does not care. Either one is good for her.

I haven’t decided yet what kind of pollen our bee used for making our Honey. I am thinking hay or alfalfa because they are my wort allergy. Sweet clover honey often gets too biter. So I prefer garden flower Honey. Just the other day upon arrival home, I was playing tug of war with her upon arrival home, and a bee stung me. That’s what got me thinking about all of this.

One last story about the starts before I carry her out again for another potty break. One time when she was just a wee puppy, we went to visit our daughter at the retreat center. The stairways are long, and at that time dark. Gavin was leading the way, followed by Honey and then me, and then our daughter. Two steps into the dark and this sound greeted us, “thud, thud, thud, thump, UFF!” Honey fell down the dark stairwell. So much for her being a sight dog to help me in the dark and down stairs.

Well, these next two weeks are dedicated to healing pads. We took this opportunity to put all of the frisbees into the deck box. She will not be playing for a while. I will get some muscles carrying up and down the stairs. At least the back deck only has three steps for us to fall down or trip over cats on.

Mrs. Rust

Florence after Wilfred, maybe?

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Mrs. Rust came to my mind. All through the years there was always some neighbor lady that taught us respect, honor, and good behavior. This neighbor lady was one of them.

Here is the story of the stout little neighbor lady whose first name we never knew. Was it Florence (the nightingale)? Or maybe it was Freda or Minnie? And what was her husband’s name? Mr. Rust of course, though we never knew him, even if his name was Wilfred or Albert.

At the age of ten, our family moved from one end of the state to ther other. From the cold Siberian northland to the southern spring prairie lands. It did not take us long to get acquainted with our new neighbors. From learning about the school, to the 4-H leaders, to the local dairy supplier we soon had the new sand hills learned well.

The most difficult part was that sand involves sand burs. And sand burs means a lot of flat tires. Thank goodness for our father, their was still a local filling station at the time. But I am sure he patched a fair share of tubes during those days. Bike tires were not the durable mountain bike options that we have today. I remember well the banana seat, two girls, one gallon milk jars and someone always walking one or the other bicycle.

During those days my little brother was not in school yet. So my mother had her hands full with three daughters, stomachs to fill, my little brother, and in the winter a wood stove to fill. During the summer the garden was a top priority along with about fifty chickens to butcher.

And across the dirt expanse we called a street, lived Mrs. Rust. For some reason my mind thinks of her as the bird lady. I don’t know if she fed the birds or not. My memory fails me on that one. But knowing how much our family all looks forward to the return of the Robin Redbreast, putting her in the framework of that spring search seems appropriate. The bird with is rusty shirt would be a great symbol of who Mrs. Rust was for me.

We all have the memory of looking for my brother Wade during those days. One of us girls would search the sandbox, the toy box, the bedrooms, or the strawberry patch. The winner was the one who went over to Mrs. Rust’s house to find him sleeping on her sofa after sharing a snack with her. “Well, that was easy,” my mother would say after Mrs. Rust would say, “Yes, he’s here.” I wonder if he found her house an escape from three older sisters that were all too bossy.

In those days, we did not have a television. My mother and father were both avid readers. And there was the radio of course. Who needed to watch tv when you could read it in a book. I remember getting lost in books. We read books or we found some way to entertain ourselves with real live play!

All of my growing up years, we had to find a neighbor to go to if some school assignment was to watch some television show. While we lived across the street from Mrs. Rust, I was too young for such homework assignments. Though we also had friends homes to attend to such television viewing, it was easiest to just walk over to Florence’s house after school for a little tv time.

Mrs. Rust always accommodated our need for a little screen time. Those days of watching Flipper and Gilligan’s Island were good memories for me. I do not remember any other thing about her house. I do not even remember the snacks or what the house smelled like. I remember our home well, and the view of her house from our porch swing.

Wade’s memories of Mrs. Rust are vague. At age six going towards eight, memories are not as strong. My mother had few memories also. Except that in the seventies, no first name was necessary.

We never knew her first name. While today children are taught to preclude a first name with Ms. or Mister, back then it was always Mister or Misses followed by the surname. Out of respect and honor, we always answered with a “Yes, ma’am” or “no, sir.”

We only lived across from Mrs. Rust for two years. It never occurred to me at my tender age that she may have been lonely. Considering the absence of her Mister was not a thought of mine either. Today my heart is more in tune to such thoughts.

Why would I think of her as a bird lady? So many older people take to watching the birds. I think it’s because the birds come and go alot like visitors, family, or the sunshine. While they look forward to family time and coffee with others, the birds are there at the feeders almost year round. Except for the robins.

Robin redbreast is somewhat of a common bird. In our area it signals the season change quite pleasantly. Our family has an unspoken challenge of who sees the robin first. It seems the volley is between my mother and my second daughter most. It is the pride of the observation that prompts the phone call “I saw a Robin today!”

Many elderly couples take to going south like the robins through the winter. While I was contemplating our families remembrances of Mrs. Rust, how we had moved from north to south to become her neighbor, Robin Redbreast would not leave my mind.

So many elderly women live alone, watching the birds feed at their tubes filled with seed. One time a bird in the nest outside our window cooed for days to get the male to come back to the nest. That lonely call, made me think of the widow who has lost her love of many years.

Then I found this song. It really does speak for itself. Hopefully this is the saddest story I have to tell. Many of the other women on my list, led fulfilled lives in their days alone. And some were quite funny.

Song by Sonya Kitchell. “Robin in the Snow.”

Dog days

Two years is ages ago

And four years is a century…

Dog days are longer

Their hearts are stronger

They give unconditionally

They love with no strings attached

We spent this day four years ago mourning a good girl’s loss while we celebrated the engagement days for our first daughter. Though I was thrilled about the coming wedding, my heart ached with loneliness for Dolly’s disappearance. Her everyday presence was tough to give up.

Then on this day two years ago I celebrated a rescue boy’s lifestyle. He was so giving to me. Always right there to do what I asked of him. But one year later we once again said goodbye.

Why was the reserve of a faithful friend turning into a revolving door? How come I couldn’t settle down with a dog? What happened to my own faithful friendliness?

My tearful mourning from one dog to the next was overwhelming.

And then I became a grandma.

Am I still that unsettled common Swift? Am I still searching for something in a puppy that I can’t quite find?

In this day last year we brought home a doodle-girl. She has turned out to be a pretty fight eyruevr. Getting this puppy to settle down is going to take way more patience that I ever anticipated. But waiting for a dog to grow up isn’t near as long as they sit for us to come home and play with them.

The other night my daughter came crawling home at eleven pm to be greeted with a sleepy in mouth frisbee. “Did you come home to play with me?”

Some day her lay-with-me will be with-me and the play will be gone. Two years in a dog’s life is ages ago. Four years is nearly a century. I better just settle down myself and enjoy each day this girl has with me. Even if I don’t want to play.

Eight Note Melody

Scaling mountains (or piles of snow)

My mother always yelled at me when I didn’t finish a tune, song, scale or melody. Ending on the seventh note of the scale then became fun for me. A way of passive aggression that get some rise or attention out of a busy mother with two toddlers. Playing piano was a relaxation technique for me. I played through the red solo book or hymn book skipping from song to song. Often not even finishing them to go on to another. I suppose she would say I was being ornery.

Getting my nine month old dog to scale the snow pile without biting me while I crawled up there was almost like scaling a mountain. For some reason she has decided that mittens are toys and simply won’t stop nipping at our mittens. Perhaps she thinks we are saying nippin’ instead of mitten. Oh, well, she will get old soon enough and the mittens won’t be on forever.

“For apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭2:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬ http://bible.com/59/ecc.2.25.esv://bible.com/59/ecc.2.25.esv.

The month is nearly gone and it took me long enough to catch up on my Bible reading for this month. This is the verse that seemed to stick in my memory for meditation the other day. Solomon’s contemplation of the vanity of life might seem rather depressing if you can’t find the little nuggets of wisdom in each chapter. Knowing that our table prayer has always given honor to the God who feeds us has been special through my life.

“To Him who has given these blessings, and thanks to the hands that prepared it Bless this food to our bodies use and us to His service.” “Thanks be to Him who has filled our table once again.” “Our Father, who has seen fit to feed us each and every meal. Thank you.”

Whatever your daily ritual is, considering that God gives both food and the enjoyment of food is wonderful. When I thought about my sister in her need of food and need of an appetite while suffering from the winter flu bug, I couldn’t help but making some yummy treats. It was great to hear her exclamations over the muffins and the canned apples that our mother had insisted on making while she was here last fall was rather enjoyable.

So this week might be the snowiest yet this winter. We’ve had two days of snowfall already and more to come tomorrow. I’m okay with waiting for the mud. It is February. But the older I get the longer the winter seems to be. Tomorrow, Honey and I will have to go climb some more piles while we can. When the wind takes a break from sculpting the snow, it is so picturesque, that had it not been so cold, I would have taken more pictures.

Anticipating the coming spring, can sometimes take the enjoyment out of the pretty landscape. So I have decided to ask God just for today’s appetite. The daily bread, the enjoyment of today!

Four paws-minus one

Hop-along–Cassidy

We have a three legged critter for a few days. I was so worried I made Dad take her to the urgent pet care. It’s just a bad sprain. She’s suppose to rest for three days and take her anti-inflammatory meds at bedtime.

Honestly it hasn’t slowed her down much. She’s just not jumping three feet in the air now. Haha. She’s a little more “clingy” than usual, so we’ll use the opportunity to teach her the word ‘heel.’

When life asks for a pause, how do we take it?

“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Each year as the New Year comes around, January brings with it the bitter winds of winter that demand a different lifestyle. For some people this month is for puzzle solving. For some people it’s a month of catching up on all the episodes of an old favorite television show. For others it’s a chance to read books while laying under layers of blankets. For me, it’s a variety of things.

Reading is not as easily done anymore with the lack of giant print books. One of these days i might actually get that library app on the iPad and read some old books that I enjoyed. But I do have a favorite Bible reading schedule that returns to mind this time of year. There are several reading schedules that are quite simple to remember. Here they are:

Ecclesiastes has twelve chapters. One for each month of the year. It’s easy to remember what month number it is, if you read the first chapter of this book near the first day of the month. Each chapter is full of wisdom and great things to contemplate.

Proverbs has 31 chapters. These can be read in succession with each day of the month. So even if you miss a day of reading, picking the chapter for the day, eventually you will read all the chapters at least a few times throughout the year. It is also packed full of wisdom and common sense.

Psalms has a little more complicated reading pattern. This may require a bit of math! Reading a chapter each day, there are 150 chapters, so it will take five months to complete the book. Or you can read five each day just jumping through the books in multiples of five for the day. Another way is as follows: today is the 20th, read chapters 20, 50, 80, 110, and 140. The 25th day would be five additions of thirty. It’s not too hard. I make a cheat sheet marker of 150 and just cross off the already read.

Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I try to read them by seasons as follows:

winter is for Mark, because it’s the shortest and daylight is short. Spring is for John because I love his account of the Easter Resurrection story. Summer is for Matthew. And Fall is for Luke because I want to read his account of the nativity several times before the holidays.

There are many different reading schedules for the sciptures. Some people use apps or a 365 Bible. I just really enjoy being creative with my reading patters.

While hop-along (the dog) and I spend the days in a more restful mode, I also like to inventory my yarn piles. But on a nice day, i don’t neglect to get some fresh air. So it was a pleasant surprise to find a ball of thread out in the yard while I marched to and fro picking up sticks and other debris. I decided at that point that my puppy was a thief. The thread was none the worse for it’s trip in the elements. I threw away about a yard of the outer strand. Must be time to work on a doily again, I thought.

My crooked nose cannot be straightened. And the above verse came to mind shortly after I began vainly studying my new look. The swelling has finally abetted, and now the sinuses are trying to discover the new breathing tube! Apparently I have begun sawing the logs through the night. I even woke myself up the other morning.

When something is missing it simply cannot be counted. And though i inventoried my yarn supply and pulled out some projects to finish, I hadn’t even missed the ball of yarn the little thief took. Kind of makes me wonder what else she has stolen. We are well aware that she ate the roll of stamps shortly before Christmas. There were only two left to count that remained stuck to her paw. We have really no idea how many stamps that she ate, fo the lacking cannot be counted!

Four paws minus one, makes our eight month old doodle a bit of a silly noodle right now. Watching her hop isn’t easy, but it’s kind of hard not to laugh when she “acts” like life is misery. She had no sympathy for my broken nose. I took her to the urgent care for a sprained paw but wouldn’t go to the urgent care for my broken nose. Go figure that one out.

Eighteen

Teach us to number our days

Anyone remember the year they were eighteen?  Not really.  I do remember it as the birthday that my mother forgot and that my dad gave me a birthday card with just his name on it.  Granted as the spring of my junior year in high school, I was rather busy and wasn’t home much that day.  But reminiscing about that year wasn’t my plan for this journal entry.

Follows seventeen of course. Eighteen that is, follows seventeen  Obviously.  But each year it seems many gather for the New Years celebrations as if just by chance the clock won’t keep ticking and the next number needs to be encouraged on it’s way.  I usually just go to bed.  God seems to be in control of numbers.  He’s got a whole book for then in the Bible!

Goals.  New Years goals.  Changing, rolling over a new leaf.  I usually do that.  Misplace them.  Then wonder what happened to the past twelve months.  Sometimes I recap them in a Charistmas letter.  That’s kind of fun.  Not this year.

Honey broke my nose.

I repeat.  Honey broke my nose.

One week ago while playing frisbee with her “hyper pet” red one, she jumped up and my nose collided with hers.  Not good.  

I didn’t talk to her for a whole day.  It hurt.

The only word she heard for two days straight was DOWN!

So since the glasses still hurt the noggin, the Christmas letters are still in the box, the letters have not been read by me, and there issn’t much that can be done without the spectacles.  

I’ve been cleaning house.apperently one can still see dirt without glasses on!

So while I sat crocheting a large hook afghan, I began making my New Years resolutions.  

The first was to write a blog each week. 52.  There are fifty two weeks in a year.  To date I have only written that many in the last two years.  This is a lofty goal for me.  But maybe they will be shorter.

There are other goals, but I don’t want to bore you.

For now, I will keep cleaning up my stashes of clutter.  I will continue to let my crooked nose grow back together.  And hopefully I haven’t just done a “Pinocchio” and lied about my plans for the year eighteen.