Monthly Archives: August 2012

A special boy, a beautiful girl and a summer full of loving

While we’re waiting for our next guide dog puppy, we’ve been keeping our hand in by walking dogs at the local rescue centre. Of course, we’ve fallen in love with all of the animals at the centre, but our special favourite is Alfie, a beautiful six year old golden labrador.

Alfie has been shoved from pillar to post. He was a sniffer dog but somehow got lost along the way and it’s thought he was possibly forced into dog fighting while lost on the streets in Europe. Not surprisingly, he now has a problem with aggression with other dogs and finds being in kennels very stressful. But Alfie loves people and is the most beautiful boy. He’ll do anything for a biscuit, is very obedient and affectionate. He loves playing in water, loves his big teddy and tennis ball. We would have adopted him like a shot, but couldn’t chance him with the puppies. We really hope some special person will come along soon and take Alfie home to be loved as he deserves and given the chance to learn how to live happily with other dogs.

While we’ve been waiting for our next pup (who hopefully arrives on 13 September) we’ve been looking after a couple of friends’ dogs during the summer. Our current houseguest is Tia who is also a beautiful golden labrador and is three years old. Tia is very much a lady and patiently waits for her treats and dinner. She even crosses her legs as a proper lady should 🙂 Tia loves the local woods, she loves her treats, adores chasing balls and playing tug with her red hoop. She does seem to have selective hearing though, and sometimes fails to hear us calling her, but strangely when the word ‘biscuit’ is mentioned she miraculously appears in an instant.

Most evenings she’s totally pooped from the day’s activities and sleeps soundly in her bed until about ten o’clock. Then it’s as if an alarm goes off and she’s up and ready to play, just as we’re thinking about preparing for bed.

We’ve loved having Tia stay and are hoping the next week goes slowly so we can continue to enjoy her company before our friends return from holiday. We’re almost tempted to put a sign on the door when they’re due to collect Tia saying “Gone Away. No Forwarding Address” but imagine they’d track us down 🙂

I saw a message on Facebook last week that said: “Without animals, our wallets would be bigger, our homes would be cleaner, but our hearts would be emptier”. I imagine animal lovers everywhere would agree with that.

Wednesday, Wednesday

I’ll admit it. I’m at a loss for what to blog about today. So, being as it’s hump day, this mid-week day seemed like as good a subject as any, especially since I was born on a Wednesday. I’ve always disliked that, primarily because of that old Mother Goose poem:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Hmmm. It had to be Wednesday for me, eh? Mom couldn’t have had me two hours earlier so I could be full of grace? FYI – I would never wish for her to have been in labor another 22 hours so I could have far to go. 

So how were the names of the days derived? It’s probably no secret that they follow an astrological pattern. The Romans were the first to name the days of the week after mythological gods who had planetary ties. With all the translations into different languages from Roman to Greek to present day, the names became a mixture of planets and gods.

Sunday is pretty self-explanatory:  Sun’s Day.
Monday is also easy to figure out:  Moon’s Day.
Tuesday. Things get a little confusing here. The name Tewe, Tiu, Tiw, Tyr are all associated with Tuesday. Some spellings equate this with a Norse/German female deity. Others say Tyr was a Norse god known for his sense of justice. Either way, though, this was originally Mar’s Day (think Mardi Gras).
Wednesday – Woden’s Day (Woden, aka Odin, one of the most powerful Norse gods. This was originally Mercury’s Day, by the way).
Thursday is Thor’s Day (originally Jupiter’s Day).
Friday is Freya’s Day, or Frigg’s Day, depending on who you ask. Originally Venus’s Day).
Saturday – Saturn’s Day.

It seems to me that the days of our weeks are a mish-mosh of ancient cultures and beliefs. I like that.

By the way, if you don’t know what day you were born on, here’s a quick calculator you can use to find out:
Birth Day Calculator


Book Review – A Turn in the Road

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I’m a big fan of Debbie Macomber’s and have enjoyed every one of her books. A Turn in the Road was a story I couldn’t put down. Three women at different times of their lives set out on a cross-country … Continue reading

Taylor Bridge Wildfire

So, normally, I have my blogs loaded a couple days in advance so they post, all shiny and new, at 7:00A.M. PDT. Today, however, it’s 10:30 and I just realized I’m supposed to have a blog up today. (Many thanks to Lavada for the memory jog). I’m quite certain the brain cell that held that scrap of memory got destroyed in the hectic-ness that was my week.

The western part of the United States is having a very tough wildfire season this year. Here’s a link to a map that shows just how many fires are raging at the moment.

Wildfire Map

It’s daunting. And one of those fires  came a little too close for comfort.

On August 13th, my daughter who lives 2 hours away from me, called to say a wildfire had caught on close to where they live. It turned out to be the Taylor Bridge fire that gobbled up 23,500 acres, and burned 51 homes and cabins to the ground.  Even now, the fire is not fully contained, although it’s close at 91%. They say it won’t be completely extinguished until snow falls this year. There are just too many forested hills and valleys for it to travel through.

While my daughter and her family didn’t have to evacuate, folks as close as 4 miles to them did. As well, they had a full week of unhealthy air to deal with, as the smoke permeated everything. Even the inside of their home smelled like a campfire.

Thankfully, things are easing there and my grandchildren can once again play outside. I know it was a stressful few days for us, following the progress of the fire as it crept closer and closer.  When we heard that the eastern flank was contained, we all breathed huge sighs of relief.

I feel so bad for the folks who lost their homes. There’s been a huge outpouring of assistance for them and the news has talked a lot about the high level of volunteer activity in this community. That’s been great.

I am so very grateful to the 1,000 firefighters that worked hard to control this fire. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on the front lines like that, but I tip my hat and open my heart to them. So much has been saved due to their efforts.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Easily recognizable the picture to the left is how I see Eleanor Roosevelt. But like I remind my grand children I wasn’t born this age. And neither was she.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born October 11th 1884. My birthday is October 12th so we share the same zodiac sign. A distant cousin of her husband, she didn’t even have to change her name when she married.

There are people in history that hold a fascination for me and this lady is one. She isn’t without her critics. But when she entered the White House as First Lady, she changed the course of history. As a humanitarian she worked for the welfare of youth, black Americans, the poor, and women. Lately the advice she gave, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Has been sort of my mantra. I’m sure it’s because of the one eighty degree turn my life has taken. I’ve included this quote in some of my recent blogs so thought I’d dig a little deeper into more of her sage advice or quotes. In reading through them I was constantly reminded that they come from her experiences. She didn’t just say words, she lived the meaning behind them.

I’ve selected a few of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotes that have a meaning for me but there are so many more. And, the ones that seem particularly meaningful for today might be different tomorrow.

• “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart”

• “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. ”

• “You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude”

• “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ”

• “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”

• “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

• “You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.”

And one final quote. For years I had a poster over my desk at work. It reminded me to step out of my comfort zone. The author is unknown.

“A ship in the harbor is safe. But that isn’t what ships are built for.”

There is a wealth of inspiration out there and with the social networking it has never been more accessible. Do you have a favorite saying, or quote? One you pull out when you need it?

My Fair Lady

This weekend, one of my friends celebrated a birthday and as part of her celebration, we went out to dinner and she treated us to a showing of My Fair Lady. Our local historic theatre which was built in 1925 is having a summer season of older movies shown on the big screen. Two weeks ago was Casablanca and next week is Fiddler on the Roof. It’s so awesome to be in that beautiful lady with the plush velvet seats and fancy scrollwork and see these films as they were meant to be seen.

I have three trivia questions for you today. Let’s see who can answer them.

First, what opera were the patrons seeing at the beginning at the film when ‘Enry ‘Iggins first met Eliza Doolittle outside Covent Garden Opera House?

Second, what man played the infatuated Freddy? A man who later went on to play Sherlock Holmes and who’s real father was named Henry Huggins?

Third- What other role did Rex Harrison have that was related to a Doolittle or Dolittle?

Traveling With The One I Love by Valerie J. Patterson

Every August, the bubbly hubby and I take an anniversary trip.  We were married on August 9th, which is also my father’s birthday, so the date is extra special to me.

My husband, Steve has taken to planning our anniversary trip and usually I am the last to know where we are headed.  He has planned some exceptional vacations from St. Ignace and Mackinac Island to Delaware to Rhode Island and Newport Island to Washington D.C. to the Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio.  No matter where we go, I can count on plenty of romantic moments, memorable activities, excellent food, and noteworthy wine.  From steps into fiction like a trip to Mount Airy, North Caroline–the town Mayberry was fashioned after–to steps back in time like a trip to the 134-year old Belhurst Castle in Geneva, New York.  From an evening spent at one of the oldest rodeos in the country to a week exploring the trails of Nova Scotia where the Titanic sank.  From romantic nights sharing a sunset, bottle of wine, and a hot tub to cool, windy evening concerts at the marina, on the beach, or in the grandstands.  From studying the ancient documents of our country’s birth to studying a line up of suspects on a murder mystery train.  You see, I never know what secrets will be shared until the trip unfolds.  And I am never, ever disappointed.

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This year, due to a scheduling snafu, our usual leisurely 8-day trip was whittled down to 4 days and 3 nights.  Imagine my surprise when Steve said last week’s trip was part one of a 3-part get away.  Part Two will be in September–at an as yet undisclosed location.  Part Three will be in October in the Finger Lakes Region of New York, and all I know for sure is that we will be attending a Jo Dee Messina concert and enjoying a leaf peeping morning and afternoon.

I love the fact that we share so many of the same interests, yet are different enough to compliment one another.  I love that he gets excited about history and that he indulges my interest in Mark Twain to the point of taking me to Twain’s Connecticut home, his gravesite in New York, and his mountain study, also in New York.  I’m so glad that he shares my interest in wine and is willing to take countless winery/vineyard tours and visit many tasting rooms, and attend a wine festival with me–all at his planning.  I am in awe at his trip planning skills.  And I am amazed at his romantic side, his funny side, his serious side, and his generosity, his ability to make me smile, and his ability to love me when I am feeling unlovable.

No matter what we do during our anniversary trip, I can always count on celebrating our love, our friendship, and our marriage.  Like every couple, we have had good, happy times, and we have also had dark, sad times of sorrow.  I am very blessed to have Steve–not just for our trips, but for the countless moments spent together that have shaped and defined our marriage.

Until next time, I hope you all are enjoying summer’s fading glory.  Take care.