Before dash cam-Dash Lamb

A monitor of a different sort

Once upon a time, there was a shepherd girl whose husband bought her a truck. That truck was actually a Ford Edge to replace the awful eight seater cargo van that she did not like very well.

We got the car the summer of 2010, and then took a family vacation to the east coast. Nothing like putting on thousands of miles right after a vehicle purchase. Other than the serpentine belt going bad this side of Chicago, it was an uneventful trip. The main event was the music camp that the girls attended.

The best McDonald’s toy ever

What is the purpose of those ridiculous Happy Meal toys anyway? Most kids don’t seem too happy after the thing breaks. This little Dash Lamb came at just the right time though. The girls were old enough to drive when we brought this car home. So not long after the first payment was due, they were driving the family truck to get dog food, sheep feed, groceries, and even driving to all of those music lessons.

Once and a while with the food runs, they let me get a Happy Meal. So instead of getting the meals for little kiddos, they were trying to keep their mother happy in the back seat. That was actually one of my requirements for the new car, the back seat had to be comfortable.

When this little lamb came in a meal, it found it’s home on the dash right in a pasture of sage vinyl (PVC). It was the perfect home for this little bobble head creature.

Who put the lamb on the floor?

This was always the first thing said when my first glance at the dash did not find the little lamb in it’s stead. Anytime the dash monitor lost it’s footing, we knew someone was overdriving the conditions. A lamb on the floor meant that the corner had been taken a little fast. A lamb in the defroster vent meant that the breaks had been applied with force.

Before there was ever a dash camera monitor system, we had Dash Lamb. So, it was a little sad when the new vehicle did not have a spot on the vinly for such items. Now there is some little drawer cover to hide the unsightly items.

No spilled coffee here in this family. Dash Lamb never lied. She always told us who was not driving with their eyes on the road or hands on the wheel. She always told mom who was driving with out taking care of her little bobble head. Over driving the conditions could mean a little lamb shaking her head to declare, “no,no, no!”

Poor little thing didn’t even have a name. All of our little special ones got names. There was Lucy, Who-Do, Spot, Moose, Triple-Wide, Smokey, Blackie, and Buck-buck to name a few. The girls had the first fifty or so all named. After that it was just the bottle lambs that received such special treatment. One after the other came and went, season after season the lams came and went. But Dash-Lamb was with us until the day the car died.

Oh, yeah, there was Bam, Bam-the twins that use to come and lift there poor mother ewe right off of the ground. They were the first season lambs that were on the mamas much too long. We learned not to let them be so harsh after those two kept that picture stuck in our minds. Poor mother.

Aside from the fact that the lamb was always rolling her eyes at the driver, or the passengers in their distracting fashion. God is always watching us when we drive, walk, talk, or sit. This little lamb was really a reminder that someone is always watching no matter what we do. But God is the all knowing, all seeing being who really watches me.

Good bye little dash lamb. Tahnks for giving our family car a lot of story time worthy history. We loved having you as part of our lives for ten years. Some things just can’t be replaced. We can get another car. We can get new tires. But a little lamb from a Happy meal? She is really shaking her head now, “No, No, No!”

Contemplation stone

Think, think, think!

The last five weeks have been very full. That does not mean there has not been time to think though. I’m not sure I shall ever be that busy again.

The garden’s fall harvest is in full swing and the business of putting away our winter store kept us very busy. We gave away a lot of produce this year thanks to our decision to increases our garden plot by 200%. Don’t judge my math, I am not the engineer in the family.

So one weekend while waiting for some more tomatoes to ripe, we took on the rock pile and found a few statement stones to place around the greenhouse for the landscaping project. It looks so much better, I don’t know why we did not start this sooner. The perenials that I wish to put around the perimeter will wait until next spring. The dry weather just makes watching them die after a fall plant too depressing.

While we were at our binge exercise plan, we found a large flat stone for a bench. The contemplation stone only named such, and has an amazing comfort to the weary back after bending over the garden tasks. So, think, think, think, we like our beloved Winnie the Pooh Bear, now have a spot on which to contemplate all sorts of topics.

On adding another teaspoon…

Most of the zuchini is made into our favorite pepper relish. Adding just one teaspoon more of the hot dried peppers from the past season can make it nearly inedible. The sweet pickle relish with a kick is a family favorite and keeps the jalapeño plants purposeful.

The tomatoes find their way into salsa more than chilli, or Italian sauce. The family recipe for the salsa can be tweaked by just adding so many habaneros or so many jalapeños. The number is contemplated with precision or the mild batch turns into “fire-salsa” pretty quickly! Oops!

Filling up wonder…

The back porch swing received a new coat of paint along with the propane tank. The gas bubble is not near as adorable as this little girl. She had a cry-fest for this moment. Yep, Grandma let her win. I forgot she wanted to spent a few moments on the swing. So we went back outside to ride the wave. The shade, the breeze and the motion are so very relaxing. Even though it delayed my supper preparation by fifteen minutes. I loved seeing the wheels in her little mind churning in wonder and contemplation.

Grandparents day went by without a peep from the grandkids, but a weekend in August gave us a chance to have the little gal for an over-nighter. Our little two-derfully wonderful toddler has us guessing what goes on in that little head. Sometimes she expresses herself quite clearly, other times we are left to wonder. The best thing about grand-parenting is filling up little brains with wonder and awe as they discover new things and experiences.

Testing boundaries…

Another of our projects was filling up a rather large ‘dead space” with interest. The butterfly shape is just full of rocks for now, but next spring I hope to clean out the rocks and fill it in with interesting flowers and perenials. I have a lot of the seeds already and plan to jumpt start some planters in the greenhouse. Then, fill in the spaces with seed to sprout on their own. The cats seem to think I have created a new playground. The dogs chase the cats through the stones, and they are all testing the boundaries of my patience. During the same time frame of placing all the rocks, our Doodle decided to hunt in the dug out hole out back. Of course she suffered an injury that needed surgery. So we spend another five hundred dollars on her. She healed up nicely and there is only a small imperfection in her thigh. Honey just does not seem to in-dear herself to us in a calm fashion. No matter what happens, the stinger finds a way in somewhere. Honey still won’t loose-leash unless she has a harness. So we wrap the leash around one or both front legs and she’s like a horse that walks on a string of twine. Oh, well. There have been days when she guides me like she went to school for the job, Other days I want to send her away to the kangaroo boxing school.

The view from here…

This little guy is the highlight of my Tuesdays. He watches his sister with so much concentration. His gurgles and giggles when she pays attention to him are so full of glee. I know that the view from here will only become more and more amazing each week that I see him.

I am thankful that for us the threat of the virus seems to stay at least three or four people removed from us. My husband knows people off from work because of the virus, but they never seem to be someone he has any close contact with. We had a nephew that recovered well from the virus, leaving his pregnant wife and four year old untouched by the illness. So for now, I will keep visiting my little grand babies.

Returning to the library…

Going back to finish a project left undone can mean many things. Facing the past failures, or the moment when something had to be redone. This lap-ghan was not nearly the end project that I had envisioned. The smallness actually took me by surprise. However, the stitch pattern that took so much concentration makes it highly valued to me. I can’t see letting it go like a carpet of leaves on the lawn. Give aways are part of my purpose in crochet, but this one might cause me to cling for awhile.

My library / office sat empty much of the month. I spent so much time baby sitting the stove during the last few weeks, I just did not get in here. Sometimes the thought of sitting amongst all those books that I can no longer read, or read with difficulty, I just avoid it.

Then, there was the new update on my blog host, so I was stuck until my hubby got me out of the mud. Any time that changes are made on the site (and sometimes inadvertantly by me) I could sit for days or weeks in limbo. Asking for the help is usually the key to unlocking my difficulty.

Also, this past month, I spent contemplating the though of stem cell therapy for my eyes. There is a company that does the stem cell therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. We made a few phone calls and did some research, but the risk of traveling with the virus and the fact that it is out of the country have made me very skeptical. Is the risk really worth the travel and the money?

For now I feel like someone is giving me a hefty dose of wonder and another teaspoon just might put me over the edge. Perhaps, I shall just sit here on my contemplation stone and let the whole of life pass me by. Living life in the high risk category sure makes for a rocky path. The boundaries seem so unclear and out of focus. Perhaps, this is just not the time to gather the honey.

Taking out the trash

How data banks fills up your memory stores

This past week I discovered that my google memory bank was full and needed back up. Well, before paying for memory (as if dementia has a cure) I started trying to find what was filling up the bank. I found a lot of my old garbage.

I mean really old rotten garbage. Apparently all the stuff that I had put into the trash or tried to delete from my OLD phone had been sent to my my new goggle bank, and phone. Now the notes to self in days gone past have been TRIPLED up in my new data storage. What I though was once deleted has now been stored as deleted, trashed, and created. Three times more, I’ll be spending the next two weeks trying to take out the trash in my new data base.

Thank goodness for my husband. I think I’ll let him do most of the work on his computer. Trying to clean up said trash on my tiny smart phone screen is painful. So apparently, I now have to take out the trash that I though I had take out back in 2014!

What kind of to do list from that summer could just be repeated?

Here’s one: call for a haircut, water the garden, weed the flower patch, pull out meat for supper.

Here’s one best left in the trash bin: allergies a-fright, asthma out of control, order another inhaler. Uff. Life has not changed there any.

Who knows what kind of mess the pictures are in. There are probably multiple pictures in different albums. Googles face rec did that to the pictures I take of the relatives. I really don’t need a full album of my cousin’s child in multiple places. There’s how that data storage gets maxed out. Nope, still not paying.

Finding out that my data group created composting bins rather than actually trashing my old garbage was a little rough on the eyes. Especially when my husband showed me whole files in my junk mail! Oh, that made me mad enough to call the disposal company. Nawh, I’ll just let him clean up the mess. It suddenly does not make me so memory unbalanced with my old fits about him leaving the trash can so full until taking it out. I’ll take out the kitchen garbage and the compost for the rest of our married life, if he will clean up my junk mail and sweep out the data doubled storage in my phone. But the dustpan is gonna be full!

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in our country. We got together as a family and let the greats meet the newest great-grandson. Took a couple of pictures for the memory bank. Of course we have so many pictures just out there in the cloud, I wonder if the greats will ever be able to identify the occupants without the aid of some facial recognition software. Maybe I should just keep those albums of my cousin and her grandchildren.

Today I was trying to call for a haircut for the dog. The system at the dog camp just ended the call when it wanted. I wonder how their business is fairing the pandemic. Not so well, if we cannot leave a message. Maybe their data storage is full from all of the dog pictures they take each week. Haha.

My memory bank is not full. It is happily adding new ones as we enjoy the changes of the little grand kiddos. My grand daughter discovered blowing bubbles this spring. She was able to blow out her two candles on her birthday. So this Sunday, her auntie showed her what else a breath can do. Train whistle, tin whistles, and the harmonica all came out of hiding. We pulled up a video of superb mouth harp on display, and she was hooked. Her parents are thankful the mouth harp stayed at Opa and Oma’s house. Our little grandson did not seem to mind all the noise. Except when the ancient woodwind the flute came out. Our band director son-in-law took a look at it’s tarnished state, found all the pads in working order and then tuned in a scale. Little grandson cringed. The dog began to cry and little grand daughter went back to the harmonica.

Creating new memories was pretty wonderful.

This afternoon I have to visit the dentist. The work was delayed due to the world health crisis. Our family made it through the virus spread without any direct contact. I am thankful for our more distanced living arrangements out here in the Dakota Territory. There are days, it would be nice to holler a “Hello” at a neighbor, but living in the high rise apartment has no appeal to me. We have only been on a subway when visiting Boston and community bus travel goes back ten years to those days also.

Having our own vehicle comes with it’s expenses. Hubby just replaced the thermometer for the engine in our thirteen year old nice car. It’s hard to think that the price of a new vehicle exceeds the price of our motor trailer manufactured hallway. One of these days we will get this money thing figured our. Maybe we’ll grow a tree that produces greenbacks. Not.

Now that the memory bank has been flooded with a variety of new and old subjects, I would say the journal pages will close for the day.

Grab a book, open it up, then slam the covers together. There. That’s the sound entered here.

At new crossroads

Stop doing, start being

One month passed so quickly. For a whole month now the world is in park. The trains, planes, boats, buses, automobiles and even the stock market skidded to a halt. The busy business of human doings is at a cross roads. And so how are you fairing? Not everyone has a country dwelling to go hide from the pandemic. How am I doing at BE-ing?

The first week of quarantine began with the weekend of our little visitor. She tried so hard to be “boss” of our three year old doodle. She stayed for a couple of nights. We had a family supper in conclusion. I spent a day or two cleaning up the house and child proofing for a toddler. It was the beginning of such cleaning habits. My husband went from meetings between manufacturing plants canceled to packing his desk up and bringing work home. Still much doing in our lives. I cleaned up the kitchen and made room for him. We had no idea how much of our activities were shared with the whole world. I learned how to BE quiet during those endless conference calls.

The second week, we made the decision to limit our get togethers. We will only see our grand-daughter and parents every two weeks. We have only outdoor meetings with neighbors or other relatives. This keeps distancing appropriate. It also limits house cleaning to just our own traffic. We are so thankful for the video calling options available to us. We had our first family “conference” call on zoom. Some of the family has escalated anxiety. I began counseling myself to deal with my own losses. BEing more sedentary has led to some weight gains. We added lettuce and spinach to our shopping lists.

we rested more with the stillness of life. The weather was rather nice. We were able to take walks together and watch spring trying to awaken the grass, the trees, and the birds come back. We took a few drives to see the fields and the rivers. Taking in the local views helped us mentally process the global effect of this world pandemic. How do we process all of this new information. My counsel session was riddled with new homework to help me sleep at night. So far the best help is the melatonin. It takes such a minimal amount for me to sleep through the night. I am down to a quarter pill. It seems almost silly when it is such a small amount. But sleep improves my mood more than counseling. We had a short visit with our daughter one evening on the sidewalk. And ate lunch with the other daughter and family the day before Easter. BEing apart from family for so long is hard. But we say a prayer for those who have lost loved ones in recent days without the proper fair-wells.

Week four of this corona virus 19 unleashed, and we are now paying close attention to people in the plant or community spread possibilities. Through this past month, I am cleaning more frequently. Especially when new items come into the house, either by shopping or by shipment. My hands are getting use to being dry all day and rejuvenated with lotion at bed time. Allergy season is upon us here. Every sniffle or sneeze sends us running to the medicine chest to stop the symptoms. BEing overly cautious about everything that we do.

Holy Week 2020 will never be forgotten. We celebrated Maunday Thursday at our own supper table with our Pastor serving the elements of communion via video. It was all so surreal. The weather was nice up until Easter Sunday. With five inches of snow that is still lingering, the cold is not very welcomed. My mind raced through the Narnia scenes of winter and a cold hearts. The Lord’s command to BE HOLY because our God is holy has been echoing through my mind. All this hand washing reminds me that my heart will never be clean enough for a righteous and holy God.

Easter Sunday services, dinners, and get togethers all canceled was also surreal. Not going to church seemed easier with the snow blowing around outside. Our own lunch turned into just a fish sandwich which was rather disappointing. My emotions were all over the place that day. At times I was happy and content, and at other times I was jealous and angry. It was a battle all day to keep myself in check and know that everyone was dealing with the same things. I am so thankful that my parents are still here to remind me of life’s important lessons. My mother sent a text Easter Sunday reading “though my sins be as scarlet, He shall wash me white as snow.” Amen! I am BEing sanctified for God’s purpose daily.

Just like that four weeks have past in quarantine. Here in the midwest social distancing is a little easier because there are so many miles between all of us. We fight fear each time we shop for necessities or it’s my husband’s day to be in the plant. We grip tightly to our faith and attend every meeting that our Pastor sets up for us all. Praise God that we live for another to day to give Him glory. And we seek His grace in showing us how to extend mercy to those in our lives who do not know His love.

These uncertain times have turned us all into anxious beings. Finding peace in Christ and the promises of God keep us sane. This is so difficult to explain. When we don’t understand all that is happening around us. The world offers us so many empty promises, but God offers us His Son Jesus and promises based on an empty tomb. What hope!

I hope that I am BEing a better Human Being. I am learning that doing does not have to be just a “busy” bustling about to make the days pass. I am thinking more about how I am BEing with others rather than DOing all the time. BEing loving, merciful, kind, gentle, hopeful, and happy is definately not based on circumstances now!

Clouds in my blue sky

First ride and a poem

There are clouds in my blue sky. Yeah, I know it’s not really my sky, it belongs to the Creator who made it, but it’s the sky that I see. And there are clouds in my blue sky. Here’s why.

The first ride of the year dawned on a day nearly seventy degrees perfect. We sat in our house all day on COVID -19 lock down trying to warm up. The chill in the air just would not go away. I, in my kerchief, and Opa in his sweater. Well, okay it was not really that bad off. But I was wearing my warming poncho most of the day. And Opa was in his sweater.

The sun was shining and the breeze was out of the south. So the furnace found it’s way into remission and the house just felt cold. The clouds would roll over and then we had to grab another hot cup of coffee to warm up our fingers. Finally at four hours past the noon meal, I called for a truce with the wind and decided to fight the gale for a walk. We made it to the corner and back in record time, with the wind to our backs.

And then, the question was posed, “How about a motorcycle ride?” Of course, after a fast paced walk the best way to cool off is with a motorcycle ride. So cool off, we did. What a beautiful lull before the storm. Never mind that after we arrived home again, we’ll probably have to clean the dog up from her fox hole digging. Who would have thought her idea of stay home means go dig a hole to China!

At this point in the COVID -19 pandemic, our lives have changed in minor ways. We are not shopping at physical stores, and have tried to keep our focus on necessities. We purchase most of our goods at the local stores eight miles from our home. My husband has moved his desk from plant location to the corner of the kitchen. This was the first week he saw a decline in his number of conference calls. His work involved the housing market and until this week most of it was business as usual. Production has just started it’s decline and that will probably show up in his hours and pay at some point. Clouds in the horizon?

My activities outside the home have come to a stop. For the most part, I was pretty stay at home anyways because of my eyesight and no driving. But this week, I did not go see my little granddaughter for the first time on Tuesday. It is hard to think of the possibility of no visits at all. But for the foreseeable future it looks like a halt to visits is best. Since her mother is expecting in late spring, we want to keep her safe from the virus. Thank goodness for video calling and the ability to see her on the screen as she plays and discovers new word meanings.

A friend of mine posted a status on social media that bears repeating, but I will try to summarize in my own way. All my nieces and nephews are now doing school at home or on line. This is not anything like the home schooling that I did with my girls for eighteen years. This is crisis schooling. And finding a new normal for cabin crazy children is difficult. I pray for all of them daily. From my cousins who are juggling children learning at the kitchen table with their own technical careers, to my relatives that no longer have a job because the entertainment has all canceled or gone online, I pray for you all. There are puffy little clouds diluting the suns rays.

All of my relatives that work in front of a screen have moved their offices home. Some find it wonderful and some find it extremely challenging. The environment that one is use to working in has all changed. I pray for you too. The sun is brightening the sky in the parts that there are no clouds, really.

We have not had coffee with the elder folks in our lives for a couple of weeks now. It is hardest not to see them on a regular basis. The phone calls do help. And it seems that for now, most people are spending a lot more time on the phone catching up with everyone. Encouragement does go both ways though. So I think especially of all our clergy friends. Their strength is relative to their faith in God. Thank you so much, to all of you, for your encouraging words through commercials on television, on line streaming of upligting messages and prayer conferences. I pray for you. Pray that you will send rays of hope through sky’s clouded and blue.

And we have relatives and friends in the healthcare field also. You are outstanding individuals and we pray for you most. While the sky is covered with clouds and grey, you are indeed the sunshine in so many days! There are nurses and families that seem torn apart and need our love and support in any way that we can give it.

So, the world has changed and it will never be the same. We are behind the curve here in the midwest. Our natural distance has helped with the social distancing measures that others have mandated for the the hardest hit places. We realize that for us the distancing may be for a longer period of time simply because our population numbers are lower. This can surely make the sky seem like storms are brewing every direction that we gaze.

There are clouds in my blue sky

Some are sweet and low

Some are dark and high

Though I hear them rumble

While I watch them grow

There are clouds in my blue sky

I am glad for the moment

I watch them roll by…

-written by Yvonne Annette March 31, 2020

Battle won by singing

Jahaziel’s prayer

In Second Chronicles 20, we read the story of Jehosophat’s Decree, Jahaziel’s prayer and a very unconventional battle strategy. The chapter recalls the moment when the Israelites surrounded by enemies, win the battle by singing praise to the Lord. The king makes a decree that the people are to meet and choose singers to Praise God. The Prayer by the priest Jahaziel tells the desperate situation. “We are powerless before these enmies, but the Battle belongs to the Lord,” is a good summary of his words. The King’s faithfulness is cited near the end of the story after the enemy all turned on each other at the sound of the Israelites singing praise to their God. Verse 21 states the words that the people sang, “Give thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love endures forever.”

It took the people three days to retrieve all of the spoil (or loot) from the defeated armies. And the scripture says there was more left behind. They named the Valley of Baracah such that means Valley of Blessings. “Blessing the Lord He blessed us in return.”

Last night I stayed awake to pray for a family member awaiting surgery. While doing so, my husband came across a documentary on Ragtime Pianists. Supposed to be just a distraction to sleep, I found it fascinating to watch the Battle of Song. The fingers on the keyboard were giving testament to the hours of practice. When the young student out played all of the old timers, youthfulness won the day. But there was one particular “blessing the maker” participant. Only one player spoke of God’s gifts to the talent. The people were still in pursuit of the song, not the Creator of Song.

It saddened my heart to hear our dear little patient was still awaiting surgery this morning. That is such a long time to go without eating for a preschooler. God grant her parents patience. God grant a quick recovery, I pray.

Our church has been having prayer meetings by conference call. It helps to feel connected and to know others find gathering in prayer so important. Indeed we need to heed the command to Blessing the Lord, He will bless thee.

I heard the other day that the front porch family photo is back in demand. I remember a family photo taken when I was about fourteen. We girls, my mother, and my brother went over to the neighbors front steps. Our neighbor Perry took the snapshot of us all dressed for Easter Sunday. The morning’s crisp air and the sound of spring is recalled in my mind. One photographer in the twin cities is taking portraits of families on their front steps, so that they can remember this time of family at home-ness.

I wonder how many families will get dressed up for church on Easter Sunday, take these family photographs and then walk back into their homes to watch a streamed on-line church service. This is truly a moment in history that needs to be recorded.

Our family gathered via video chat the other evening. It was good to be “together” even if it was just for a half hour. I am so thankful to live in the 2020’s instead of the 1920’s. And will try to repeat “Give Thanks to the Lord for His Steadfast Love Endures Forever” as often as I can. Perhaps I will even begin to sing it!

I remember as a child singing this beloved old hymn during out benedictions on Sunday. It still makes me cry every time I hear it, read it, or think of it’s meaning. Jesus is truly a more binding tie than any other zip tie, keep tie, glue binding, book binding or kinship tie.

John Forest wrote Blest Be the Tie That Binds in 1782

  1. Blest be the tie that binds
    Our hearts in Christian love;
    The fellowship of kindred minds
    Is like to that above.
  2. Before our Father’s throne,
    We pour our ardent prayers;
    Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
    Our comforts, and our cares.
  3. We share our mutual woes,
    Our mutual burdens bear;
    And often for each other flows
    The sympathizing tear.
  4. When we asunder part,
    It gives us inward pain;
    But we shall still be joined in heart,
    And hope to meet again.

Horse sense

If only I had an ounce

Crafting is really not my thing. I own a glue gun so that repairs can be done. It never fails that at some point in using the glue gun I burn myself. Part of the reason is simply not having the peripheral vision to see where the other dots of glue landed in comparison to the one that I want to use for adherence. Bother, I tell myself. Why am I fixing this broken thing anyhow? Maybe I should just toss it and buy a new item.

This morning the horse had his date with the ferrier for the second time. Trimming hooves could be a dangerous job without the aid of a good bridle and hitching post. Thank goodness my husband had enough sense to put in a hitching post after the pony was here for a year or more. It makes any chore with a horse safer. Coco still stepped on my daughter’s toe when she took him back to his stomping grounds. He has such good aim when he wants to express his opinion.

Common sense is hard to find these days. The advertisements for the covid-19 all talk about washing hands. It’s as if people have forgotten how or something. I remember the fall the H1N1 was here. My whole family fought the illness and I did not. I was washing my hands so frequently with the canning season the virus never had a chance to stick.

So it’s time to pick up the soap bottle once again. Hopefully with our ready access to hot running water and the soap dispenser more of my family will be spared from the illness that has spread throughout the rest of the world faster than fire.

That’s perhaps the part of the virus that people misinterpret from the media. While there are other illnesses like the influenza that cause havoc on society, it is the fast vast far reaching spread that is the hype here. Common sense says that people aught to stay home some. But very few know how to live more than 3 days without a grocery store.

I remember hearing my grandparents say something about someone and then following up with “that fellow does not have an ounce of horse sense.” It took me a number of years to understand what they meant. My dad use to break horses for people. So the only thing that I had to relate the statement to was those times when I go to go along or ride along with him.

Having horse sense to me at the time meant that I should stay where the horse could see me. Being in the “blind spot” near the rear or behind the horse was dangerous. I never saw anyone get kicked, but I understood. Horse sense meant staying in the safe zone around the large beasts.

Now that my peripheral vision is disappearing, slowly but surely I have to set up new safe zones for myself. Puttling rails on all the decks and steps was key to staying upright. Having an open area of the yard to throw frisbee and launch the chuck-it balls is important also. I do not enjoy nursing the scrape wounds on my hands from being too close to a tree trunk.

Life at the hitching post is a thing of the past. Today there are still some that enjoy the comradeship and conversation that happens here. It does not take long in the company of those there to find out who the nearest relatives are. And not long into our first visit, we discovered the connection. Around these parts there’s usually some fifth cousin married to another’s third. So there, you have it, we’re related.

Maybe people that own horses have more in common than just owning a horse or two?

I am not a horse person. Neither am I a crafter. But I do crochet. So that usually helps me find a connection with someone who either knits, or sews, or has another hobby like painting. My cousin is a painter. We enjoy talking “shop” during out visits.

So whether you are in the line at the grocery store or on the phone with an aunt, find the connection. Use a little horse sense and keep your distance for the blind spots. And wash your hands a few more seconds longer. Stay in the safe zone everyone!

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.

Best of the worst

Or is it the worst of the best?

Some days, my memories take me on journeys. This week while recollecting the days of my second daughter’s arrival into the world, I remembered myself stuck in a lazy boy chair.

There are a lot of memories I could have focused on. The joys, the deep brown eyes of my newborn. The inquisitive nearly two older sister that drove me crazy. The sadness I had to overcome as I put the crying infant into her crib and listened to her settle herself to sleep. I loved rocking my babies, and this one would not have it. So many thoughts tumble through my mind. But the memory that stuck for me was the day I was settled into the lazy boy to nurse the infant and read to the toddler. They both fell asleep. Yay!

Then I realized that part of my cesarean recovery was the inability to use my stomach muscles to kick the chair back down. Now what? And what if I had to go to the bathroom suddenly? The moment is frozen in my brain. The stricken feeling of not being able to move. My two daughters had just become a strap over my legs, arms and stomach. I had never been strong enough to kick the lazy boy down with just my legs anyway. Figure it out-I am a tiny person. So there I say. In the days of no cell phone, no remote next to me, and a sinking sun. They would eventually wake up, right?

That’s my best of the worst of the memories from the days following my second daughter’s entrance to the world. It’s not much to complain about. There are other semi-awful memories. It is no wonder I struggle from mild claustrophobia. Part of me still believes that my mother use to hold me down to get me to sleep. (Though I did have stitches twice and optic surgery once all under the age of five-so I was probably strapped down then.)

Celebrating birthdays of adult children is different than the fancy cakes and family gatherings of yesteryear. As an adult myself, I took to calling my parents on my birthday instead of them calling me. It’s something of a change when leaving home and parents don’t do the grand parade for you anymore. I simply call and state that I am ready for my greeting. There have been a few times the greeting is not given. Oh, well. I am still happy to celebrate another one and be able to call my dad or my mom.

Today was a sad day for some in the family. My sister-in-law will never get a warm hug from her sister this side of Heaven. The week of gathering and mourning is not the end of grief. It will come unexpectedly and often catch us off guard. How do we capture the best of our memories when the worst has finally arrived? Lots of conversation will end in tears and sometimes even in laughter. It is the age old circle of life. Others have done this also.

I think especially of my Grandma Millie. She saw all but one of her sisters buried before it was her time. And she was the oldest and held them all as wee-little ones. Oh, the precious memories of holding babies. So for us, we look forward to two new babies in the family this year. And our church is holding a baby shower for the newest infant in our midst. Babies do help us think futuristically.

And so for the best of the best!

My little 19 month old granddaughter is picking up new words daily. The funniest thing she says right now is telling me the Winnie the Pooh characters. There’s “Pooh, and Owl, and Llelele.” That would be interpreted piglet! This morning with our subzero weather, she wanted to know if I was “cold?” And was “cocoa (the horse) cold?” And the “kitens?” And “Honey (the dog)?” It was almost a conversations. Next thing you know, she’ll be asking me about some family recipe or something!

Okay, I know, life does not march by quite that fast. But knowing that moments of yesteryear have escaped our grasp, today becomes pretty special.

While the COLD wants to snap our noses off, I will keep trying to think of the best of the best, Leaving the worst of the worst for it’s own moment in time.

Here’s a sample of what the fingers have been busy doing lately. I purchased a basket that I just had to have, and then tried to make one like it. Now, I know that I can do this, there will probably be more. I was not super pleased about the color that I had to practice with, but it is still functional!