Prayer chamber shawl

Stitching my way through prayer requests often finds me forgetting the sequence and making mistakes. Forgiveness, mercy and grace is something we all need and we should all give. I am so thankful that I learned about God’s grace early in my teen years and found out that forgiveness He offers is both for me and forgiving to others. It sure makes being open minded towards others in my prayers much easier. Oh, that Our Father’s mercy would extend to all. Our world has so much tension right now and a good healthy dose of forgiveness would sure cool off many a hot headed relationships. I recently found out about two couples who have ended their attempt to serve one another through the covenant of marriage. It made me so sad. I picked up my mission once again and reminded my loved ones that marriage is not the key to happiness. If you aren’t happy before you are married forget finding happiness in another’s misery. Happiness is an attitude something like the motto found in the olden days of the Pollyanna Club. Gratitude is Glad-itude! Finding old hymns and making them new is also one of my favorite past times. So when I found myself singing the old hymn of St Patrick’s Beatitudes, I went to the hymn-tubes to hear a newer version of “Christ Be Beside Me.” That kept my “God Bless You’s” on the round table for quite awhile. I love those powerful songs in prayer. I can hardly wait to see this shawl finished. There were so many mistakes in the beginning of the triangulation. Finally looked up my Tiaga Shawl pattern and used it as a guide to adding stitches at each row start and finish.

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There was no major problem finding the new stitches. With videos, pictures and images, I found what I needed on the internet. Mosaic is a difficult learning curve. But getting the straight line patterns not to curve while attempting a triangle on the pattern scheme was rather challenging. I have it figured out. Then of course the center point is accurate now. That involved a lot of counting. Counting in sequence is one of my favorite activities. Haha!Stress should not play a large factor in the crochet craft. If things are too hard to do, we find a different medium. Whether it needs to be larger yarns, larger hooks, different types of crochet, or simply taking a break and doing a different project altogether. Sometimes pulling weeds in the garden is a better option than getting the knots out of the thread or yarn that I am working with. This color sequence made it much easier for me to move from and towards the lighter colors. Contrast was key in the beginning of my mosaic studies.For now the future of my mosaic crochet looks pretty bright. I have already chosen my next project. It will be a shawl also. This shawl does have a name. The patterns are all border designs. Prayer Chamber Shawl number one was completed during the July heat wave.

Summer wind’s days

The under current in the air

Ecclesiastes is the book of vanities. The study of all that is whether, doing or being was the goal of Solomon’s wisdom. He wanted to, above all, be wise and able to lead the people of His Lord and his father’s kingdom inheritance. David’s legacy was not to end in the simple wisdom’s of one of his sons. No, while the biblical heritage that Solomon left to us is vast and deep, the physical lineage of the Christ child was the true source of all wisdom.

I enjoy reading the book of Ecclesiates. When I was younger, I thought the book very depressing. To be told that “all is vanity” when young and still in the pursuit of the stuffings of life… well, I did not want to hear that. Now that I am constantly trying to downsize, including my shapely figure, most pursuits do seem pretty vain to me.

Chasing after the wind…

So.omon likened the pursuit of earthly things to the chasing after wind. Wow? Watching a kitten try to catch a tall blade of grass the other day made me think of this goal. Runners trying to catch their breath after a long jog. Honey panting beside me while I pedal the bicycle. The birds in the evening diving after the cloud of gnats that are driven across the plain. A kite?…

Whoever decided a toyshould have the same name as it’s objective adjective? The word hyper describes my doodle girl to a “T.” Perhaps that is being a bit offensive for the cat or the dog or the fish. Who would name thier dog Hyper. Maybe they really meant hyperbole.

Saying that my dog is an obvious and intentional exaggeration as a pet is actually more accurate that saying she is not just hyper. Her exuberance while playing fetch with this particual toy would probably get her killed if was too close to oncoming traffic. Playing in the safety of our large meadow in the middle of the acreage is best.

This morning her aggression with the frisbee was like an eagle with a salmon. Her grip on the fabric disc was a locked vice. The visitors could not wrestle the toy from her clinch. Yep. Hyperbole city is on…

The video below was taken on a nice day. As opposed to wind’s days. The heat was just rising to the point of uncomfortable. Honey still went after the flyer at least twenty times. Some days it seems there is no stop in her. My hubby-dear can usually get the speed whipped up on the wind to take a sail out of her notch though. After a few of his tosses, she will lay down right where she caught it and ignore all calls to “Come.” This day it was just me and the birds. She came and went without a word or command for many a retieve.

It is a rare day lately that the undercurrent does not pick up the plate and grip it upward just before touching Honey’s teeth. This under current seems to have caught the whole of humanity. While some desperately fight for a cure to the Covid-19, others simply ignore the breeze and paddle on as if nothing has changed. Everyone has made up their mind on how they want to deal with the pandemic health crisis. But once a bug has come into existence, it is not going away on it’s own. Kind of like my greenhouse and the recurrence of the aphids. How do we get the pests out unless we use an insect fogger? Tear gas, pepper spray, mace, smoke screens, or firehose has not worked to stop the violent anarchists.

There is an old proverb about the wind and the sun arguiiung over who could get the man to remove his heavy woolen coat. The wind blue from every direction, but the man held on tighter with every gust. Finally, the sun asked if the wind had given up its war on the poor man. Yes, the wind would quit the battle. Out came the sun, in it’s full heat and brightest rays. Soon the man was dripping with sweat and gave up his grip on the heavy jacket. He removed the coat and glanced up aty the beautiful sky. His happiness at the wind’s absence radiated injoy as he whistled and continued on his way.

The objective of course is to find thte toys best suited to the use of your particular need. So if a dog is an over zealous tug of war fighter, don’t buy tug of war items they won’t easily relinquish. For instance, why would I buy a bone for an aggressive chewer? Really maybe the type of bone actually demans aggression and my dog just gets more upset while chewing on the bone than if perhaps I should.give her a soft bone instead. Sometimes I do not really understand the packaging concepts to sell dog toys and treats.

Yeah, well. I never gave this dog a balloon to care around for a week either. So it is probably my fault that I missed so many training opportunities.

She is hyper. Honey is a zealous greeter. Anticipation only gets her more wound up. I am still trying to get her to stay in some circumstances rather than “door dashing.” Does she have self control? Probably. Do I have control over her? Only in non-distractive moments. Do I still have to curb her temperament with a harness? You bet your ceiling fan, I do. She is a much bigger hand full than we bargained for.

Trying to get the dog that I wanted, is like chasing after the wind. We have had enough pets that I want to take the best memories of each and have that dog. We all have faults. All dogs have faults. There is no perfect pet. But why do I have to buy the “Hyper Pet” toys just to keep her exercised? Uff day.

(Meanwhile, the horse had is hooves trimmed today. The garden go a bit of a wind break as we put up the snow fence to block some of it. We still need to get more wood chips or moisture block on the whole garden to keep the plants from drying up. Hubby has been back on site for work more lately. The family is trying to have more gatherings, but we all get a bit nervous about the social distancing thing. Church is still a drive inn service that I have been memorizing music to play with the praise team. I still get to visit my grand children weekly. Our whole family has been spared from the corona virus to this date.)

Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen all he worKs that are done under the sun, and indeed, all is vanity and a grasping for the wind.” NKJV

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.

Tending garden

Morning and evening prayers

The past two weeks, the weather made gardening a bit aof a challenge. we expanded our garden space to three times its previous size. The weather dawned hot and windy right when our little seedlings should be popping out of the ground. Concerned about them being fried by the sun and then blown away by the wind, tending the garden became a twice daily chore. We won’t mention all the weeding and watering. I found some new ideas to cut back on the weeding hours, but we ran out of wood chips with just one row of the tomatoes ground covered. Oh, well. Maybe by the end of summer every thing will be as perfect as we want it to be. For now, we’ll keep tending the garden outside and inside the greenhouse.

Meanwhile there was a new grand baby to go visit. And if a few days went by without a visual, it seemed like a whole week passed by. Babies change so fast. Watching him out grow his newborn onesies happened so quickly. And watching big sister adapt to her new role was fascinating as well. From the first days of sympathy tears, to the proclamation “It’s Okay!” Big sister sooned learned that baby cries are a common thing. I asked her if she would take a picture with me this day, and she said, “No.”. This Oma is not very demanding so, this is what we get.

The dog and myself are way overdue for haircuts. She has way more hair to clip than I do. But I can sympathize with Honey’s panting after a romp outdoors. At least I can put mine up into the hole in my cap. It makes for a great pony tail pin. We skipped the runner coming just one this past month. The day was kind of miserable for me. She was underfoot all the day waitng for Something to happen. It sure helps spend some of that doodle energy to have our girl come run her for five miles or so. The rest of the week goes much better when some of that energy is released.

Our one mama cat had six kittens. This is the third try at mothering. And she seems to be keeping them all roly-poly. I am not a very good cat person, and they are not very friendly yet. Of course the only brave one is a little orange one and since there are four, who knows if it is the same kitten each time?

The whole world had a pretty bad case of cabin fever it seems. The staying home and staying inside drove a few too many mad. And the results were pretty devastating for many people. I never understood protests. As a child my mother learned to ignore my temper tantrums. I may have been a slow learner, but throwing a fit never got others to respond well to my demands. I found that cookies, treats, a good meal, or some other reward is the best way to train a dog. And it’s quite effective on family members, relatives, friends and neighbors also! There is an old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than a stick.” I think I’ll live by that one right now. So blessings go to the receiver of this scarf. The mosaic practice run turned out pretty good I say. Learning that the colors have to be a strong contrast was key to my husband/s survival. He could hardly handle my grumbling as I tried to learn this new pattern. It was my attempt to bottle up some of the summer heat for next winter’s use! Haha

Learning mosaic crochet is taking up much of my “free” time. I am listening to a book about a one room school teacher from Fort Pierre, South Dakota. It makes me so very thankful that I am alive one hondred years after her experiences. Oh, my! But she did have quite the sense of humor. Then, I spend an hour visiting with my mother. And she puts me to shame by how many books she read in the last three weeks. She is such a history buff. And my reading is usually anecdotal and nothing political. I am glad to be so inspired to keep learning. Her mind is so busy with educating about the past and making sense of the present. Wow!

So, it took me five tries, and a day to figure out how to make the row by row mosaic work on a triangle shawl pattern. The lego table sits in the library just inches from my creative zone. The lego’s will go to grand daughter’s house soon. But right now it is my end table. The sampler will use all of the border or mosaic edgings that I have found up to now. And using one color to tie the samples together… well, I hope someone likes it. Lots of prayer for the family goes into the stitches.Morning and evening prayers are either in watering the garden or in choosing the next stitch pattern.

Flowers are still my favorite thing to grow. The verdict is still out on the marigolds that I planted this year. Only one seed brand grew. They are to put on a Lime colored head. I sure hope they find flower power once they get out from the greenhouse nursery. This little flower is about the size of a thumbnail. The early summer heat nearly did them in, but after a week of extra water, they revived. I think they look fake! The season of greens is here, though. And we are enjoying fresh salad pickins’ every day now. Growing flowers is still my favorite though. A girl can never have enough flowers in her life.

Learning something new

Log cabin or summer campfire blanket must be one of the ugliest projects I have ever crocheted. Putting all those colors together in such a bold design, makes me wonder why? Why did i choose those colors? Maybe the sharp contrasts are easier to see. When I am working on a pastel or light colored yarn gathering, then I wonder why? Why do my eyes have to think a pink and yellow look the same? It’s all about how they reflect light.

But this is not a writing about the the property of color. Mh grand daughter really loves colors and it surprised me one day to learn that she even knows “gray cat” color. Wow. She really loves to paint and watch the colors change. It is fun fo watch the neighborhood dogs pass by and ask her what color each one is… She always knows.

Mixing up colors until they all turn brown? Well, thank goodness crochet is not paint. Sometimes however, the projects look better on a filter than they do in real time.

Finished and folded

This log cabin design received a mosaic rectangle border that is a new stitch process for me. Mosaic is actually quite easy on the stitch learning. Nothing like trying treble or cluster stitches found in doilies. It’s the reading the patterns part that is getting me stumped. No log in my eye, really. Thank goodness that YouTube has so many ready teachers. The free things to learn can be endless. I am pretty specific about my youtube rabbit holes.

Finding the right edging was actually part of my learning some of the mosaic techniques of various teachers. This rectangular or square is a piece of the larger labyrinth of mosaic maizes. Some of them make me dizzy. This edging is also done on the double line mosaic, forward and reverse. The original Apache tear pattern is a right to left orfront facing only crochet. Studies of what to do with all of those loose ends kept me watching vids for a day or two. The best way to cover them is to simply hide under the twin double crochet border. It seems to be my favorite cover up.

My summer campfire blanket is now complete and will probably get a lot of use. The air conditioner always tend to cool the house down a few degrees colder than is comfortable for sitting. While the greenhouse keeps me busy and the garden calls my name (actually it is the weeds that holler), I might still be sitting under the comfy stitches of crochet.

And staying warm…

Doing another project… like this one perhaps… It is called the Hope square. And yes, I found it on the YouTube. One of the crochet sites that I follow about mosaic crochet had the new pattern. And the little hot pad or condensation catcher only took me a day! Yay, crochet!

Log cabin blankets vs summer campfire cozies

Place

Purple blanket in the grove

From this place in my grove, I can see a linear view of beautiful purple flowers. The wind did not ravage them much. They have dressed our grove in a blanket of lilac that can not be captured adequately.

Today the breeze demands a cup of iced latte under the deck umbrella. From this place on the deck, the world seems fair and beautiful. The wind is my friend on such a heated summer day.

The flowers are here. How do the June bugs know that it is June? How do those purple flowers in the grove know when to bloom? I wish I could share the families funeral flowers with you. My husband’s great grandma (I think) picked them from a cemetery or got them from a funeral. When they finally wilted from their viewing, she threw them out into the trees to compost naturally. She did not know that we would enjoy them for generations to come. While the lilac bushes and trees grow old of root, the beautiful funeral flowers bloom year after year. From this place on the forested floor, they gain nutrients and are regenerated constantly.

June flowers may not be the calendar normal, but because I was a June bride, I don’t seem to mind looking for a flower or two. In fact, the search for the latest bloosom drives me to keep my camera handy. The other evening on our anniversary we took a stroll around the yard to find all of the flowers that were in full array. No need to bring home some from the flower shop.

Anniversary presents come in so many different fashions. We received two very wonderful cards from some wonderful people. The excessive heat for early summer was a bit much. But the funeral flowers blanketing the grove were the best. From this place, it felt like a special greeting card from the relatives no longer with us. His grandmother’s blessing upon our special day.

The bird song is continuoys even in the high heat of late spring sunshine. My husband has become quite the bird watcher during these pandemic days. Being home more, means he gets to put out song bird grains and find a finch block to put their orange on. This morning while I listen to the symphony I am thankful that someone can see the birds for me. No need to see the dove. She is loud enough for me to invision with grand imagination!

The cat wanders under my chair every few minutes to tell me she is here. Her tail tickles my leg then out of the corner of my eye I see she and the dog are nuzzling noses. I am okay with having my two kittens outdoors. At least in the summer days I can pet a soft fur buddy when I want to. These two are such entertainers. And they have stayed away from the cars and the road.

The crunch of gravel under tires tells me that the engine whirl is the post lady pulling into the driveway. We share greetings while the I remind the dog that she does not have time for frisbee. We laugh and comment on the heat of the day. Though the wind whips hair strains into my face, I am grateful for the peaceful exchange.

The climate of our nations gatherings seems less peaceful than ever. I am asking our Lord for His intervention every time that I think of it. My life has really taught me that protest has no response. It’s best just to make cookies or do something nice for a nighbor. From this place it looks as if the whole world has gone mad.

Beauty of beholding…

These flowers above are growing under the trees that once held the fort. The fort that my kids and their puppies spend a lot of hours looking… Looking at what I do not know. If it is a clear day, they could see their cousins place just three miles as the crow flies to the northeast. The platform up in the trees was not much to look at, but it was a great place to lie on your back and behold the skyline. From this place, the boards ridges felt hard, the shadow of the waving trees seemed to massage away stress. They say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Sometimes we say that in reference to a child, or family member. But lately I think God is saying that of his image bearers. Watching the news and the behavior of persons letting rage and anger be their dictator makes me want to cry. Surely such ugly feelings should not be allowed to have reign over us. Does anyone know what self control is anymore?

Behold the beauty of the heavens, the splendor of the oceans. Consider the depths of the human spirit and find beauty in another’s eyes. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Take some time to behold the beauty around you today. Look into another person’s life and find hope the bursts forth into a smile!

Little Shadows

Strength and energy

The energy and exuberance of little ones is sometimes overwhelming, sometimes joy filling, and sometimes simply beautiful. This morning as I reflect back on the past week, my Lord brought me to a passage in I Chronicles 16. Here Kind David is celebrating the return of the ark of the Lord to Israel. In the chapter there are several noteworthy considerations.

“To each was given a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins,” verse 3. In celebrations with large crowds, it’s usually just one person who is the center of all the attention receiving the gifts. Here in the return of the ark, it is the entire assembly who receives the celebratory brat in the bun, and fruit cake. This week our nation found ways to celebrate the high school graduates in this unprecedented times. Gone were the backyard barbecues of previous siblings. Gone were the crowds cheering the flying hats.

But my little grand daughter celebrated two years old in her own fashion. A few balloons and the grandeur of up and down action, soon had her hollering “Weehoo!” Each and every time the balloon flew up into the air at the hoist of her little arms, she cheered the flight of the pink balls filled with air. Until just a few days later she learned how to volley the balloons and keep them from touching the floor. Her simple joy and energy to play the whole day with four little balloons delighted my soul. This is true joy!

“To invoke, to thank and to praise the Lord,” verse 4 the appointment of the ministers. This verse tells the purpose of ministerial calling. In these uncertain times and the canceling of all gatherings and large group socials, our pastoral caretakers have taken a very differing approach to the viral disorder in the world. Some proclaiming the end of times, some changing all of their focus to the moment, others grieving the loss of community and the attempt to gather through social media platforms. Church has become a completely different body. As a church musician and through the years as a teacher, and now as a “time abundant” prayer warrior, I find it my call also to pray for others, to thank God for his provisions, and to praise the Lord for all that He is doing. Opening our eyes to the new reality of families, singles,, widows and orphans is just as important today as it was before Corona virus 19. We still have people who need each other, and people who need Jesus more than ever.

“First appointed that thanksgiving be sung,” verse 7 tells of David’s appointment to Asaph and the musicians. Even in times such as these, there are those who find ways to get their song sung. Listening to the music of pandemic expressions, I find both those who continue in the sinful, selfish ways, and those who use their talents to help others. The goal is not just to fill the silence that being isolated creates. Rather we are to sing thanksgiving to the Lord. Finding Christian musicians who are doing just that is not always easy. I am so thankful for the technology we have today. I can listen to the music of the past through so many means. Today’s musicians have no excuses in giving glory to the God of all these abilities.

David’s song of thanksgiving contains one of my favorite verses. Verse 11, “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His presence continually!’ We have been working very hard at keeping our doodle dog home. We hired a runner to come once a week, we bought bacon flavored toothbrushes bones, we play frisbee even while doing yard work. So far we managed to keep her from running away for nearly eleven days straight. As a person going bling, having the presence of my dog continually nearby is very beneficial. I never really know when her alert nature will be of service to me. But being able to just call out her name and have her immediately by my side is pretty amazing. Out little grand daughter is also learning the value of “Come.” But alas, for her it is not a simple command to the the receivers ears. It is a request. As her mamma’s second expectancy nears completion, the request for momma “Come” does not always recive the expected “coming” that her little ears want to hear.

Praise the Lord that His presence is always continually near. In fact the Bible often uses the words, close at hand to describe the Lord. This verse is one that I have shared with several this week. Praying that my loved ones will know the presence of a God so close at hand, so always, and continually present in their lives. Being alone much these last two months has led to some very sad endings for so many people during this present health crisis. Oh, how I pray that you will seek the Lord and His strenght and His presence continually in your life these days and always.

Verse 36, “Then all of the people said, AMEN! And praised the Lord.” These days our church and another have teamed up to do drive in service for church. The praise above “And all of the people said Amen” does not ring through my head without the constant beeping of many car horns. Before this virus hit the land, the sound of a car horn ususally meant an angry person at a stop light, or rather green arrow. People used the horn to express impatience and frustration. Today, we use it to express gratitude to our healthcare workers. It is used to shout solidarity with graduates, and birthday well wishes. The car horn is now the sound of an AMEN at our drive in church services.

Just this week, my son in law leaned a rough lesson on the parroting power of little tongues. Thank goodness I was not party to the expression. But a little two year old can be a shadow of parents whether we know it or not. Praise God that with some mild coaching she will forget the phrase of word nearly as quickly as she learned it. I will never forget my own lesson in such shadowing behavior by my young daughter. Little shadows though not identical to the larger figure still do a pretty good rendition. It all teaches us that others are always watching. But more importantly, our Father in heaven looks down upon the children of men, seeking for those who bring him pleasure. May we be the one to whom the Lord says, “Well done!”

And all the people said. “BEEP! BEEP!”

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.