It has been said that dogs are man's best friend. Being the master of two baby dogs, I would have to agree with that thought. If ever man had a best friend, it would in fact be a dog as they are loyal to the end, love you unconditionally, and are always happy to see you when you come home. Even when they do not feel good, they will wag that tail and let you know that you are their number one.
The fact that dogs are man's best friend was brought to focus this past week when a service dog, lay in watch over his master's coffin. Former President George W.H Bush's dog, Sully, a beautiful yellow Labrador, was caught on camera during his recent watch and then later when he paid his last respects to his master of six months. Reportedly, Sully was acquired after the former president's wife, Barbara, passed away earlier this year. Sully was trained to be a companion to help fill the void left by Mrs. Bush. One of his commands was the rest command in which he would lay his head on the leg of his master.
While Sully may have been President Bush's trained companion, trained specifically to provide companionship for him, there are millions of dogs who are not trained to fulfill that role but do so just by their nature as a creature of God. Sully's training may have enhanced his role as a companion, but I bet the old dog would have made a more than acceptable companion even if he had never been trained. That is just their nature.
As I stated, I have two "baby dogs". I refer to them as baby dogs not because they are merely 4 and 8 pounds, but rather because they are babies who have and will never grow up. Even as a matured dog, they depend on me for their food, water, health needs, and a warm/cool place to lay their heads. Of course the most important responsibility I have for them is to show them how much I love them every day and in every way. We play, we sleep, we even talk. When a bad storm comes, I am the one to whom they look for comfort. They look to me to ensure they are not eaten up with fleas and do not get sick from heart worms. Yes, I am their provider but at the same time they provide me with so much more.
I have had dogs the majority of my life, beginning with Chocolate, my little bitty Chiluahua. My parents purchased him for me because they had heard the little breed of a dog would "catch" asthma, assisting in controlling that affliction of its master. That was the thing to do back in the early 50's. And, since my parents were desperate to find a cure for my asthma, they bought Chocolate. I don't think he was more than 3 or 4 pounds worth of a dog, but he sure was fierce.
Even though Chocolate and I were big buds, he still had to protect himself because he was so small. So, as he slept in my bed with me he had to be on guard to prevent me from rolling over on him. Well, apparently one night I got too close to doing just that and he bit me on the nose. I was so young I do not really remember this incident, but I have been told about it over the years. And, knowing how I feel about dogs now, I am sure that Chocolate's protectiveness of himself didn't interfere with our love for one another.
I don't remember what happened to Chocolate. He probably got run over by a car. But, he was a good dog and, I am told, he did fulfill his responsibility of catching my asthma, strange as that might seem.
While Chocolate was my first dog, I've had several others over the years. There was Twister, PD (Preacher's Dog), Shana, Bisket, and Jake. My husband and I had Bisket and Jake while we were married and we spoiled those dogs rotten. Bisket lived until she was nearly 19 years old, so parting with her was very traumatic for us both. I lost Jake in the divorce, but have learned he passed from cancer a few years ago. Yep, we loved those two dogs so very much.
At the present time I have Winston and Clementine. Winston is a Morkie, a Maltese/Yorkie mix, and Clementine is a Brussel's Griffon. They are tiny but full of so much love for me. When I am home they do everything with me. When I am not at home, they await for my return so they can do whatever I am going to do all over again with me!
I suppose when Winston and Clementine pass I will not get another dog, or pet for that matter. I think the responsibility in my old age would be too much. It will be a big adjustment, but I just don't want to not be able to take care of one.
Getting back to Sully, I feel sorry for the baby dog but I am sure a new home will be found for him. Who wouldn't want to have the service dog of a former President of the United States? Yep, Sully will be alright.
As I close this blog entry I would also like to take note of the thousands upon thousands of dogs who are homeless. Think about giving one a good home. But, before you do, remember it is a life long commitment, not just a Christmas present that can be taken back.
Until next time...
It is often said that being a parent is not easy. There isn't an instruction book on it, and I assume one learns from trial and error. However, on the other hand, it is not easy to be a child of an aging parent, for whom I will term a senior child. Unless one is the child of a parent three times their age or so, one has to be a senior in order to have an older, aging parent. The math just works out that way. Furthermore. there aren't any kind of instructions, directions, or rule books that comes with that responsibility either. I know as I am right smack dab in the middle of the latter. I am a senior child.
My mom passed away from Alzheimer's disease when she was 80 years old, but she succumbed to its symptoms many years before her death. During that time I did not have to deal with her agedness by myself. I had my dad and brother with whom we shared those responsibilities. While the very nature of her disease was often difficult with which to deal, I don't remember feeling lost as to what I needed to be doing. We just forged ahead and did it. On the other hand, now that my dad is in his late 80's, I find myself questioning as to what my responsibilities actually are. And, again I reiterate, there ain't no directions.
My brother and I, we are the senior children of a senior parent. There in are responsibilities that confuse and challenge us. We are trying to do it correctly, but I don't know if there is such a thing. We are doing what we are doing the best we can do and I reckon that is all that can be expected.
My dad and I, along with my step-mother, had a discussion yesterday concerning one common major issue associated with the aging process. The subject of the discussion is not important, but believe me when I say we discussed it up one side and down the other. Dad, of course, has his opinion and I have mine. I don't believe the two shall ever meet either! So, in that case, whose opinion wins out? In this case, his does. Although I would prefer to do things the way I think best, it is his life after all. As long as he is not hurting any one or breaking any laws, I suppose his way wins. He is, after all, the parent. I am just the senior child.
I have learned a lot through out my life. I think I have become wiser as well. However, I will readily admit I was not prepared to be a senior child. And, to be honest, I don't want to be a senior child either. I want my daddy to be young again. I want him making all the important decisions for himself, not me and/or my brother. Old age is not for the weak. But, as victims of old age, Dad and I are really trying to make it work.
Let me be perfectly clear, I am not complaining as I know what the alternative is to growing old, But, I don't have to like what it does to those I love or to myself. Yes, I am a senior child and my dad is a senior father. Hopefully we will grow older together.
Until next time...
I am not much of a church going person. I am a Christian, but for many reasons known only to me and God I rarely go to church. Some of you might say, well, if you were a Christian you would want to go. I can only reply to you that is isn't I don't want to go but I can't go. And, some of you will probably want to pray for me, and that is fine. I pray for myself all the time and I know my dad, mom, and step-mom have prayed for me faithfully. But, it is what it is and that is all I am going to say on that subject.
Now, the reason for this blog entry is simple, can or should worship services to God be entertaining? I ask this question because that is what I see as happening in a lot of churches today. It would seem people have to be entertained at all times, even at church. If I did go to church I don't know that I could or would tolerate this. To me it seems the entertaining part just takes away from the worshiping part.
The few times I have gone to church in recent years I must admit I have felt uncomfortable. I see worship services as big productions instead of worship. There are people who raise their hands, sway to the music, singers with mics in their hands, and even light shows to make it more dramatic. I just don't get it. Maybe it has something to do with my age, and maybe it has a lot to do with the fact I rarely go to church. I don't know. But as someone looking from afar, I am confused. The big productions seem to me to be more about the entertainers than God.
I will give you case in point. I was visiting in a church several months ago and the traditional part of the service was much like the services in which I grew up attending. But, about half way through the traditional service they switched to the contemporary service and things really changed. The congregation/audience started swaying with the music and it was performance time. I noted one gentleman who was sitting close to me. He had been quite, and I assume worshiping, during the traditional service. But, when the music got louder, the singers came out, and the light show began he all of the sudden seem to get what used to be called as "happy". His hand flew up in the air and he was, I am assuming, worshiping.
I am not saying that an entertaining service cannot be a worship service any more than I am saying to worship it must be traditional. I just think the church ought to call if as it is, a show. Maybe a show in which one can worship, but nonetheless a show.
I probably shouldn't care or have an opinion on this subject given my status, or lack there of, with the church. I guess I really don't have a dog in the fight. But, as one who did grow up in the church, it just bothers me. If I ever did have an inclination to get back in church, I don't think I could handle it.
Please take this for what it is worth. I love church goers. I love non-church goers. I love everybody. That's because I love God!
Till next time...
Sitting here in my worn but comfortable computer chair with the fall sun shining in on my shoulders. Such a warm, comforting feeling it is this time of the year. Fall is my favorite season. I love the changing of the leaves from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows. The cooler temperatures always make me feel renewed and vivacious. And, since my birthday is in October, I am sure that fact alone helps to make fall my favorite of the four seasons we experience in East Tennessee.
Throughout my life, each season seems to have brought good memories with which I associate them with. For example, I had my first real date in the fall. I remember the crispness of the air, how I could see his breath when he breathed, and how sitting beside him really warmed me up!!! I also remember a specific song, "Dance With Me", was popular the first fall that I started my professional career. Every time I hear it now I get a certain feeling of fall regardless the time of the year.
Winter, of course, comes with memories of snows, Christmas (past and recent), basketball games, etc. I love the closeness of family and friends during the winter months and have such good memories of those get togethers. I even like the shortness of the winter days. It just seems to make home so, well...homey.
Spring, is is second favorite season. I love the rebirth of the East Tennessee foliage and the warm, mild temperatures. Each year at spring time I remember and once again experience the freedom of coming out of heavy winter clothes and into light weight summer garb. All life seems to be renewed in the spring with the promise of God's everlasting love.
Now, summer is my least favorite season. I just do not like three digit temperatures, or even the 90's. I do have so many special memories of the beach while on vacation, some with my parents, many with my husband, and now the ones I take with my friends. Of course, I did get married in the summer, July 30, 1983, to be exact. So that period of time and day holds very special memories for me. Yep, the seasons of our climate hold great memories and reasons for loving, or at least liking, all of them.
However, as the sun continues to stream lightly on my shoulder this morning, I am reminded that there are seasons of life that we all experience, regardless of where we live. We are all conceived, born, live, and then we die. It is a simple as that while being so much more complicated.
It would seem I have had several lives built into one. I grew up and went to school, began and continued in my career, got married, got divorced, retired, and now I am just cruising and enjoy the final "sub-season" of my life, until the inevitable happens and I die. But, who knows, there may be another "sub-season" of my life before I kick the bucket. Only time will tell, I guess.
There is one grand truth about the seasons of life, or the cycle of life if you will. That one tell tale truth is the fact that the majority of us go completely through it within a period of a hundred years. After a hundred years, unless we have been famous, we are pretty much forgotten. That fact alone bothers me to some extent. I find it difficult to phantom that I will not be. Life on earth will go on without me and I simply will not be a part of it. My seasons of life will have cycled through and my body will go back to dust with the rest of the earth. But, alas, I have the promise of an eternal life once I cycle through here. That's what makes my non-existence on earth so sweet and something that I look forward to. No, I don't necessarily want to die, but when I do I know my eternal life will follow! How precious is that truth?
So, let's celebrate the changing of the seasons, both climate and life seasons. Let's enjoy what they bring, even the challenges we must confront. Life is good! No, actually, life is great!!!!
It is either an old saying or it is an old movie title, but it will serve us as food for thought for this blog entry..."Only the good die young."
Tonight I sadly traveled to White Pine, Tennessee, to attend the receiving of friends for a good one who died young. She was only 43 years of age. In other words, she basically had her whole life still ahead of her.
I don't think Scarlet would mind my sharing her name with you. I didn't know her personally as I encountered her probably 20 years ago on the job where I was working at the time. She was a vibrant, competent, caring, and dedicated mental health professional who served those with whom she worked very well. I could not only depend on Scarlet to do her job and do it well, but she was a joy with whom to work. I simply liked her.
I do not know the circumstances which caused her death, and I do not need to know. I am not God and not in control of such a critical event. I do know she was going about living her life, as we all do, but all of a sudden she hit a brick wall and was gone.
As you would expect, the receiving of friends was indeed a very sad occasion. Her husband, mother, father, and children were all there to mourn the passing of their loved one and accept the condolences of her other family members and friends. However, what struck me the most was how her loved ones had created a memorial to Scarlet in that somewhat small room in the funeral home. Even though she had been cremated, they had done such a good job in creating a sense of Scarlet that I could feel her presence and was assured that all is well her now.
Scarlet loved the beach and her family had done an excellent job in the presentation of that fact. There were odds and ends of wall hangings, what knots, and trinkets that were all beach themed. Their video memorial that was playing in the background was even beach themed. There was a nice sized picture of Scarlet from Gone With The Wind which gave the impression it had belonged to our Scarlet and that perhaps she had been named after the star of the novel and movie. They also had other items which appeared to have belonged to her that she had cherished and enjoyed. A stuff bear particularly caught my eye. I could just imagine Scarlet coming home after a long day at work, grabbing that bear and giving it a big squeeze in an effort to release some stress from her stress filled job.
One didn't have to know Scarlet to get the idea that she loved life just from the display of her personal belongings. I particularly was impressed with three dressy dresses that they had displayed with pictures of Scarlet wearing them. I thought that was extra special and spoke of Scarlet's love of life and all it had offered her.
So, how do you celebrate the life of one gone too soon? I think Scarlet's family did an exceptional job and I know she was looking down with a big smile on her face in approval.
Scarlet did go far too early in her life. But, she isn't the only one to do so. Newspaper obituaries often include the death of those whose years have been cut and they have been seemingly robbed of their allotted days. And, we will never know why, at least not on this earth we won't. But, we can rejoice in the fact that they did cross our paths during our life's journey .
So Scarlet, rest in peace, my dear. Although a short life, yours was well lived. We were blessed to have known you. You definitely are among the good who died too young!
For some reason, I am so excited about Christmas this year! I am going to have Christmas trees all over the place. Of course my condo isn't that big, so it won't take too many trees to fill it up. But, I've got plans for outside as well.
I'll have one main tree in the great room. Then, I've two trees to place on the hearth. I have a smaller tree to put my guest bedroom...I think that is where it will go. A small ceramic tree will be placed on my bar in the kitchen. I will have a tree as a center piece for my dining table, just don't have it yet. I also will have some sort of a little tree in my guest bathroom. And, last, but not least, inside I will have a tall/skinny tree to put in my foyer.
Outside I have two trees that light up in the front yard. And, on my back screened in porch I will have a lighted tree as well!
Yes, the theme for this year is "trees". And I am going to try to put them up a day or so before Thanksgiving so I will have a little extra time to enjoy them.
Now, I haven't always been this excited about Christmas in years past. There was a couple of Christmas that I nearly had to shoot myself in the foot to get one tree up. I think those were during a very depressing time in my life and a tree was the last thing I wanted to mess with. But this year it is all the way with the holiday and I am so looking forward to it. Of course, the reason for the season will definitely be remembered in my home. A nativity scene is always part of my Christmas.
Well, it is nearly time to get in the spirit of Christmas. Oh, that is a lie! We should be in the spirit of Christmas all year long!!!!
Until next time...
As I sit here in a little pain, I am reminded that the pain I am experiencing will go away. However, that is not the way it is with a lot of people I know.
Yep, I have a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. It is a pretty bad tear, thus the significance of the pain. I went to my orthopedic surgeon today, the one who operated on my right rotator cuff back in 2011, and he showed me the x-ray picture of the tear. And, you can plainly see the tear, or as he put it, some "degenerative" wear and tear. My doctor explained to me that the tear is probably not a result of an injury. Yes, he used the word "degenerative", which is a fancy way of his saying the tear is due to old age. In other words, I have lived long enough that the repetitive use of my rotator cuff has caused the tear. Old age is just wonderful!
But, as I sit here I realize that in this case having a degenerative cause of pain is a blessing. I have lived, and continue to live, to the point that I am eligible, for the lack of another word, for such an ailment. I have had several friends who were not as lucky as me, God rest their souls. Their ability to have an ailment caused by old age was interrupted by death.
I am also reminded that there are so many of my friends still living whose health is impacted by disease, not a degenerative ailment. I have a loved one who has ALS. While she is an older person, her disease is not a result of old age. I have another friend who is probably dying from cancer. His cancer was not brought on by his just being old. And, I could go on and on about the people in my life who have pain that is not degenerative. Their pain is caused by unrelenting disease.
Yes, my shoulder is hurting. The shot of cortisone I was given has not taken affect yet. But, once that kicks in, about 5 to 8 days from now, I should be relieved of my pain, at least for a while. But, if the pain comes back I can always have surgery and get rid of the pain for good. That's not true for my friends with disease.
So, I am counting my many blessings, while complaining of my pain under my breath. Never realized there could be a silver lining to pain!
Until next time...
While growing up, I remember my parents saying so many times, "If so and so jumped off the bridge would you?" This, of course would be in response to something I wanted to do but had been told I couldn't do it. I am sure most everybody experienced hearing this at least at some point in your life. Well, I now ask Jack McElroy with the Knoxville News Sentinel that same question.
Mr. McElroy is executive editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. He has an article in today's paper which calls into question newly elected Sheriff Tom Spangler's desire address over crowding at the Knox County jail by building yet another jail.
Personally, I am not arguing one way or the other as to whether or not more space for more prisoners is the answer for over crowding. I could probably be swayed either way. But, what I found almost amusing was what Mr. McElroy used as his first point in defending the need to explore other options. In short, he used California as the beaming light on top of the hill. According to McElroy, California has recently passed a law that allows for alternatives to housing prisoners. He also cites other states for have done the same thing, but California is the first.
Now, if I were going to argue a point, California is the last place I would use as a shining example. Isn't California's cost of living one of the highest, if not the highest, in the union? And, isn't San Francisco paying employees to pick up human feces because of their lack of ability to even begin to control their homeless population? I am sorry but I don't think California is the place with which an argument can be won.
So, Mr. McElroy, just because California uses alternative sentencing for those who have committed crimes, doesn't mean that little old Knoxville, Tennessee should do the same. Other than that, you made a fairly descent argument for your cause, just don't use California as that does little to no good in my book! No, I wouldn't do anything just because California is doing it!!!!
Until next time...
There once was a little mouse. It was your typical mouse, I guess. It was small enough you could hold it in your hand. Light enough that you could pick it up. You could push it around and even click on its little head. I had had it for a while and used it every day. In fact,, I used it so much it probably got very tired.
Then, all of the sudden one day it lost its get up and go. It had, in fact, got up and went. I tired to put new batteries in it, but it just didn't do any good. I would push it around and nothing would happen. So, I decided I needed a new mouse.
I went to amazon.com and searched through their inventory of mouses, or mice. I looked at the cheapest ones, the kind I generally have bought. But then, my eye caught on a mouse for 20 bucks. That was about twice as much as I usually paid for one. However, I decided to splurge and bought it. It came yesterday.
Now this new mouse is suppose to be for "gaming" where it is necessary your cursor move fast and smoothly. But, honestly, I didn't think there would be much difference between it and a cheaper model. However, I am here to report to you that there is a big difference! It is like I have gone from a Chevy to a Cadillac. Smooth and fine is how I would describe it. I would have gone to this model a long time ago if I had known this!!!!
Well, that is the story about the mouse. I tried to fool you into thinking I was writing about a real mouse, one of those with the whiskers that scares me to death. However, when I got down to it the computer mouse and the real mouse just don't have that much in common. So, my attempt failed.
But, if you have never experienced an expensive mouse before, I would recommend you try one. It will make your computing hours, well hours for me, much more enjoyable.
Until next time...