Posts Tagged With: love


Traditions change from year to year. For us, one daughter and her family missing.

Ken made an amazing beer, his best so far. It has a hint of rosemary and wonderful bitter herbs. He and his family visited his wife, Laurie’s siblings in Lodi because her brother and his wife flew redeye to their son’s wedding in Korea this morning. Its 2011. What varied lives we live.

We spent most of the day playing games, walking the dogs, and stuffing ourselves silly with party foods. It warmed enough for the kids, Owen and Theo, to jump on the trampoline. The weather has been unseasonably warm this December. Dry, too.

I made Chili Verde for dinner, made with chicken rather than pork. I’ve wanted to try it that way for years, and it was very good by all accounts.  (It will never be as good as my friend Norma Tapia’s authentic verde with pork, though.)

The kids were allowed to open one present and the adults wanted to watch a Christmas movie. The kids were so busy  with their new lego games, we ended up watching The Help, a movie about black maids and their horrible treatment by employers in Jackson, Mississippi.  The kids soon got interested and are old enough to question what was going on between the races. For them it seemed unreal that people treated blacks so shabbily.

It was within our lifetime, not that long ago. It amazed  me how “good Christians” could justify treating anyone the way they did. So, on this very Christian commemorative, the reason for the season, as we hear chanted, may Christians around the world pause and consider the true meaning of Christianity, as in love thy fellow man.


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Aren’t they adorable? These dogs all togged out for the holidays?  Heavily laden with jewelry and coats, sweaters and fur.

I think it’s ridiculous. Of course, anyone who dares criticize pets and pet practices is in for a firestorm of …hate!  Yes, hate. If you dare offend a pet lover,  you  are in big trouble.

I usually just smile and avoid discussing the subject, but my values do not include treating pets like humans. When I saw this display while shopping, I almost gagged. I can’t imagine the dog or cat being comfortable in the expensive adornments they are forced to wear. Pet owners ferociously defend this type of clothing and jewelry, maintaining THEIR pet loves to get dressed up and loves the attention. I maintain animals are psychologically changed by the treatment they receive. And, I will concede that to dress up an animal for a short time for a parade or the holidays isn’t going to harm them.  It seems overboard and warping of a dog’s basic needs to coddle  pooches and cats, and treat them as though they are human, which by extension includes dressing them in jewelry and fancy clothing.  People expect them to act human-like and ignore their basic instincts.

I’m a practical person. Dogs and cats, horses as well, had an important function as domesticated animals. And they still do, as companions, medical assistants, rescue animals, and just unconditional love. Isn’t that enough?  It is noble. They seem to be natural healers.

What does it say about us as humans that there are food banks begging for food; some  have quit taking applications because they just can’t meet the needs. Many children are living in cars and struggling with parents stressed because the  family is at risk. So, does it seem okay to  spend $15 to $30 or more on doggie jewelry?  I can’t imagine teaching my children, if I had young children, that lavish spending on an animal is a part of family life. Especially in times like these, even if you can afford it.  I think  giving to a charity comes first and deliberately ignoring that type of spending teaches a basic lesson about moral choices.

We taught our children and my kids have taught their children that giving and sharing is part of everyone’s responsibility. If your children love  animals, teach them about Heifer International where you can buy a sustainable animal for families in Slovakia, Malawi or the United States. $500 buys a heifer, $50 buys a share. $120 buys a goat, or $10 buys a share. Wouldn’t be nice to know some little boy or girl can get a constant supply of milk in India? Or $10 buys a share of a pig in Thailand. $20 buys a flock of chickens in Honduras. Another great close to the ground charity is Oxfam, providing loans, work, education, clean water, self-sustaining practices, working with peace keeping organizations in countries at war. It seems to me that not enough Americans  have been hungry enough in  our collective memory to consider that the amount of money we spend on pets per year, over a billion dollars, could feed or educate a small country.

I’ve had pets all of my life. I’m not a pet hater. I love pets. I just think we should put the price of a pet in perspective. The land to grow the corn and wheat they eat. The detriment to wild birds from predatory cats. Consider the horror stories of people who don’t know how to care for pets and abandon them or mistreat them by neglect. The medical resources used to treat them. The continual cost of animal control by every county and city in the U.S. is a direct result of the mishandling of pets by humans.

Go ahead. Get out the whip!

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Time is:

Too slow for those who Wait,

Too Swift for those who Fear,

Too Long for those who Grieve,

Too short for those who Rejoice;

But for those who Love time is Eternity.  (By Anonymous)

I’m feeling poetic this morning.

Hope you enjoy this beautiful piece as much as I did.

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Life is a grand party and I’m thankful for the liberties we have, the protections we enjoy, our ability to pursue happiness; those things that deserve a lifetime of giving thanks. Closer to home, I’m thankful for my children, home and family. Home most likely for us is  four square walls, but it can be a hut in the wild, a place on the grass, a cave near a beach or any place the heart can rest,  but one essential component for me is best expressed by the  poet, Charles Swain:

Home’s not merely four square walls,

It needs something to endear it;

Home is where the heart can bloom,

Where there’s some kind lip to cheer it!

What is home with none to meet,

None to welcome, none to greet us?

Home is where there’s one to love!

Home is where  there’s one to love us.



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I’ve had almost continuous company since Dec. 22nd. Yesterday, my brother, Norman left, and the house was eerily quiet after a storm of activity. I plopped in a chair and read magazines for about an hour before attempting to do a thing. An article in one of those magazines was about testing stress levels. In short, it claimed that looking at pictures was the best stress reliever among a number of activities. And, of course, I’ve taken more pictures and looked at more pictures than any other year of my life. Normally, I don’t look at Jim’s blog before setting out my blog. This time, he called me, and I did. It was pictures he had taken of me. So, in turn, I’m going to post pictures I’ve taken of Jim. 

And, he is such a ham-

He actually studies his destinations, works on smooth sailing, and reads directions-twice-before trying a new product.

He is nurturing, and caring and treasures his family and friends.

This is supposed to be a travel blog.  Choosing a life partner and a travel mate, Jim Jaillet has enriched my life as we move forward into 2011.

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Yesterday morning about 6 a.m., Jim was reading about a  tornado blowing 57 rail cars off the tracks when a horrific crashing sound startled both of us into jumping up and running for cover. We thought it was an earthquake. A cupboard in my dining room, an overladen shelf, apparently, sheared the supports on one side, and gave way. My bone china dishes came crashing to the floor. Two major losses, my grandmother’s crystal bowl and a crystal butter dish. Broken handles, chipped plates,…well, it was bad, but it could have been worse. The taste of Thanksgiving dinner will not be affected. There was a time when I enjoyed setting a beautiful table with everything matching, just so. I’ve been known to become very attached to favorite things. My cousin Marge Rowe gave me a sign and hung it in my kitchen that has numerous times given me pause.

I remember telling my kids when they were half grown, never cry for anything that can’t cry for you.
The good sweet earth sustains us, family & friends. Love & happiness & good health are treasures. And I’m grateful for that sign. It helps remind me to put things in perspective.

As the day warmed, Jim got out and finished washing the motor home. We gave it a hose-over wash on the road, can’t remember the town.  Then a major cleaning in Connecticut, inside and out. Now its second major cleaning yesterday with over 16,000 miles of road time. We have yet to tackle the inside except for doing the laundry. Life is good.

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