The Demise of Daisy the Dalmatian; The Death of a Town's Dog

I have always told Kip that things happen fast in my life...I think he is beginning to believe me.  For when I called him at work to let him know we were looking at a new apartment, he had no idea that by one O'clock the next day we would have been offered said apartment, talked to our landlords, worked out a partial payment plan, and have people already taking a look at our old apartment.  Like I said, things happen fast in my life.  

It's down in Vineyard, in the basement of a lively family (who don't mind me vacuuming at midnight) and our front door opens up to a big park and the mountains rising above a small string of city lights.  The walk up to the car is greeted by fields, tall golden grasses, a few silos, a lake, and another string of distant mountains.  

Because Kip was working and in the middle of intense chemistry classes I did most of the moving in our jeep.  After dropping off one of the endless loads of things (how do you accumulate so much?) I was getting in my car to leave when I noticed the dog again.  The dog.   Her name was Daisy, and she walked ever so slowly, her arthritic body creaking in time with her protruding bones.  She was very old.  I backed my car out and she stood there in the middle of the road, as if to test this newcomer to her small town.  I drove forward and she didn't move.  Her pathetic attempt at intimidation was completely endearing, and though she didn't respond to my honks and I had to back up and completely drive around her, I was won over.  

It was always a pleasure to see Daisy walking around outside our several windows, and one night she serenaded us for hours, right next to our bed room.  She had belonged to the parents of  Bessie, one of our landlords, and her younger brother.  After the years they both moved away, and left Daisy to be fed and loved by the numerous relatives along the old farm road.  She was literally the town dog.  

Then one morning, a few weeks ago, as I was getting ready, a thought came into my mind.  "Your going to run over the dog today."  I laughed and thought that it was bizarre and dismissed it completely.  Kip and I had lunch together and I ran outside to jump into my white Pontiac Grand Am.  (Ugly, very ugly.  And so low to the ground it couldn't run over a squirrel.)   Daisy was wandering around the front lawn.  I backed out of the little drive, put my car in drive and off I went.  Only to feel myself crushing something beneath my wheels.  I froze and then realized.  Daisy!  Jumping out of the car I ran back to her, where she as laying miserably in the road, and whimpering.  She was trying to hold her paws above her head as if to cover her crying face.  Ah.  I just fell apart inside.  I ran to get Bessie.  

I could barley yell because I was sick and had lost my voice, so my screams sounded hoarse and desperate.  She bolted out the front door and we stood there, watching Daisy crying in the middle of the road about her broken body.  It was no use.  We knew she would be gone soon.  I ran down to get Kip.  
"Kip, I need you outside."
"What's up?"
"I ran over Daisy!"  Then I started to run back outside.  He pulled me to him, gave me a big hug, which didn't help my emotional toughness, and then came out to help Bessie move Daisy off the road.   We watched her go the moment she was touched.   

I was crying, because, I just killed my landlords dog, the town dog, and I had really liked her.  But the worst thing was that because I didn't have a voice my responses were all hoarse and it sounded like I was completely falling apart.  Ha ha.  So then I was laughing and crying.  

We moved her out of the road, and Jeff and Bessie took her across the street where she was buried the field.   Bessie had told me, as we were watching Daisy cry in her last moments, that they had been trying to figure out what to do with her, and had needed to put her to sleep before the snow fell.  She was so old and sick, and deaf I then found out.  No wonder she didn't hear my car, and just ran under my tires that way.  

Jeff, from across the street, arrived just moments after she had gone.  They all felt horrible that I had to be the one to run over her and were all wonderful about it.  Unfortunately the kids would have to be told after school.  They sent me off to work, and I told the secretary at the school that I had run over my neighbors dog.  

"Oh!  I bet you feel horrible.  To have killed someone's dog!"  She said a fair amount of "comforting" things, which only made me feel sick, but I did laugh.  

Needless to say, I didn't go home until Kip got home from work at about eleven that night.   As I was driving down the street I kept looking in the shadows, doing everything I could to not run over the dalmatian that wasn't even there.  


Lest you all think...

...I am never coming back, I am. 

 I am going to give you the title of my next blog, which I will write as soon as I get my Parent's Christmas Letter done...

It's called "The Demise of Daisy the Dalmatian: The Death of a Town's Dog.

 By Any Girl.  Executed by Any Girl.  Mourned by Any Girl.  Lamented by Any Girl.  Run Over by Any Girl. 

Poor Daisy.  


A Precious Gift


Home Sweet Home  by Walter Dendy

Last Christmas Kip and I received one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever received from "Jo Mama", otherwise known as Kip's Mom.   Her mother, whose name was Florence, had a beautiful book about Christmas time that included beautiful art work, thoughts, essays, pieces of great literature, poetry, letters, and old carols from the likes of Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, G.K. Chesterton, Virginia Woolf, Etc.   

They all reflect thoughts and attitudes about Christmas and have a very classic feel.  (As you can see from the painting above.)  The book was also accompanied by a small framed painting that matches the front over of the book.  


I told Kip he was the little boy bending over, and I must be the one to his right, because I always had short cropped hair as a younger girl.  Thanks to Lorien, myself, and Mr. Scissors.)

I LOVE this book, and adore the artwork.  Kip and I started reading the first passage last night, on the first of December, and will continue to read the entire book during the month of December, until Christmas and I will probably feature it on my blog a few more times.  

Thank You,  "Jo Mama", for the wonderful gift.

Merry Christmas!  


Nancy Drew: The Secret of The Old Clock


I just found an old copy of this at a used bookstore for a dollar.  Of course I had to pick it up.  My sister and I would spend hours reading Nancy Drew books when we were younger.  I don't recall if either of us were partial to Ned or not, I don't think we were.  Regardless, I had a great time reading this one, and hope to pick them all up.  Is there anything better for a preteen girl to have in her library?  Go Nancy!


"Only reform and self-restraint, institutional and individual, can finally rescue society!  Only a sufficient number of sin-resistant souls can change the marketplace.  As church members we should be part of that sin-resistant counter culture."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell

A quote read to us by our Sunday School teacher, Farmer Grant.  


First Grade Friday!

This afternoon I spent thirty minutes in a first grade classroom. All but ten of the students had gone home on the early bus and, after saying hello to their teacher, I sat down to play a matching game. Miss "Apple" has a huge bag filled with small lamented cards that all have matches. The kids had laid out maybe twenty cards so I took the bag and began to lay 0ut as many matches as I could. I told the kids we were all on the same team and that we needed a team name. "How about the Dragons?" I asked. And enthusiastic cheer, and off we went. By the end almost all of them were gathered around, finding matches, asking if anyone had seen the other skunk, and counting how many points we had already won together. We had a blast. Miss Apple is a very calm woman, who is wonderful with the children in just the right way. I have been in many classrooms for my job, and Friday afternoons are usually the craziest! But, today it was so pleasant. In the time I have been in her classroom I haven't seen one discipline problem, argument, etc. She is gentle, kind, and appreciates all their personalities. Thanks Miss Apple, I think you are doing a great job.

I was trying to remember what my first grade classroom was like...and one of the memories that comes to mind was when I colored a rock at recess with a yellow crayon, and then showed everyone my piece of gold at show-and-tell. What was I thinking?


"A Vagabond Song"

A Vagabond Song

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood--
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The Scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by. 
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

  There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name. 

- Bliss Carmen


Saint With The White Sleeves

I saw this painting for the first time on Sunday.  Completely captivated.  James Christensen painted it, and this piece will be featured in his new book call "Men and Angels."   It is so beautiful!  I would love to hang this print up in my home.  One of these days...


Wise Words

My husband said something the other day that I felt was true.  He said, off hand as he was explaining something, that "When you compromise between good and evil, evil always wins."  I have thought about that a lot.  If the Lord were to compromise between good and evil He would cease to be the Lord, and one of the things we learn about in this life is how to follow Him.  The great thing is that the process to follow Him is one of hope, thanks to the atonement.   Thanks for sharing your insights with me, Kip.  



Ride Sharing; My Effort To Go Green

A little over a week ago I felt something on me.  I swear I felt something on me while I was driving my car.  It was enough of a bother for me to mention something to Kip.   Well, two nights ago I was driving, talking to my mom on the phone, and crawling out of the wind shield was a spider.  Alch.  A tan, moving, stealthy spider.  He disappeared into the darkness on my left, leaving me with panic in my voice and the desire to shake my whole body the rest of the way home.  Yesterday morning there were spider webs.  On BOTH sides of my car.  Okay, buddy.   This whole free ride thing has gotta stop.  I mean, it's like having someone leave their dirty socks in your car.  Lets just say my ride sharing experience is not turning out how I would like, and I would rather save the environment some other way. 



Sometimes the realization that it really is okay to be different is a nice one.  


"Learn Judo with Vladmir Putin"

Need I say more?

Vladmir Putin has always been an forehead-wrinkling intrigue to me, and that was before I found out he has participated in a massive truck race and hunted for tiger in the Siberian forest. Lest any of these disappoint, he just announced the release of his new DVD. This Time "Man of the Year" never ceases to surprise.



Last September Kip (and I by default) was given a fantastic birthday present from my parents. It was a chance to see The Dave Brubeck Quartet live. Wow! We were excited, because ever since our wedding, the most common album we have played while setting up our apartment, eating breakfast on a Saturday morning, or the occasional evening at home together, was Time Out, by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.

It's the kind of album which you start, and then press play again as soon as it's ended. Over and over, and over. It just keeps going, and your morning keeps going, and you keep going, until you shut the CD player off as you are heading out the door. There are seven fantastic tracks and neither of them are the classic 4/4 jazz time. They all have some sort of twist whether it's a crazy 9/8 time or swaying a 4 time into a waltz time. I am not a music theory teacher, or student, but this album has a way of moving like no other.

1. Blue Rondo A La Turk
2. Strange Meadow Lark
3. Take Five
4. Three To Get Ready
5. Kathy's Waltz
6. Everybody's Jumpin'
7. Pick Up Sticks

Track number one, which is called Blue Rondo A La Turk, has this great moment, at three minutes and fifty three seconds, where this solid base line is having a conversation with a saxophone. Your head has been bobbing up, down, back, up, and then this piano joins in the conversation as the sax drops out that makes you want to laugh as you continue to up, down, back, down, up. Fantastic.
Strange Meadow Lark entreats you with the piano, until it softens a touch and you find yourself waiting for something to happen...and then it does. (2:07) Drums sound and a clear sax brings the song along. Hmmm, very nice.
Take Five: Just turn it on. This is my favorite on the album, and when the Quartet began to play this live there was this electric applause and everyone was bouncing at the edge of their seat. Seeing four, white-haired old men playing this, jamming out and delivering the most amazing drum solo was...well, enlivening.
Three To Get Ready makes me want to watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.
Kathy's Waltz was named after Brubeck's daughter. Her name is really spelled with a C. This is my second favorite track on the album...especially about thirty seconds in, when the higher notes of the piano is having a back and forth conversation with the lower piano. The sax swings in at about 1:20-ish and away you go.
Everybody's Jumpin' is a move your shoulders up and down song.
And we finish with a great bass line in Pick Up Sticks.
The concert was even more then I expected. As they shuffled across the stage you waited in anticipation, and then couldn't help but grin the entire time at their musical agility, and the fact that you knew they were having a lot of fun. Apparently Brubeck was nearly expelled in college when a professor discovered he could not read music, several teachers came to his defense, but the school, still fearing a scandal, only let him graduate if he promised to never teach piano. (wikipedia)

If you have Time Out, put it on for a few go 'rounds. If you don't, I would suggest picking it up. Enjoy.


Stairwell Garden I

        When plants live with newly weds...

After Kip and I were married last year I started to crave plants.  
I know, weird.
Not as weird as how much I suddenly wanted a cat.
Last week might have cured me of that when I sat on a couch at work and was instantly covered in white cat hair, all over. I think I'll stick to outside cats.  Ahem, back to the plant craving.

Anyway, I have suddenly become that lady, you know the one, who spends fifteen minutes looking through the pots that she knows she can't afford.  The one who likes to end every trip to the store by looking through their garden section and asking her husband what he thought of this, and that.  There were a few times when Kip just nodded as I pleaded the case for this flower, or that plant, and against our budget's will brought a small one home.   

Home right now is a small apartment that gets very little light, except in the morning.  We have two glass french doors as our entry (which I love because they are all window) and then a small cement stairwell that leads us to the land of the living.  I started this spring to colonize this stairwell.  Ambitiously I bought some bulbs that were supposed to bloom in July!  I did buy them at All-A-Dollar though, which would probably explain why only one bloomed.  The college nursery was selling plants at a low price and I purchased - 1) A Geranium, bright red. 
 2) A beautiful purple Dahlia that I should have taken a picture of.  3) A pink flower that has bloomed for the last five months...even though I dropped it on it's head a few weeks ago during my first "Re-pot your plants" session.  She is angry at having lost a good portion of herself, but still blooming.  4) And were given about eighty small flowers for free that I think are called "Celia?"  (Lorien?)  which I didn't like very much when they came along.

That began my stairwell garden.   


Flower Gathering

I left you in the morning,
And in the morning glow,
You walked a way beside me
To make me sad to go.
Do you know me in the gloaming,
Gaunt and dusty gray with roaming?
Are you dumb because you know me not,
Or dumb because you know?

All for me? And not a question
For the faded flowers gay
That could take me from beside you
For the ages of a day?
They are yours, and be the measure
Of their worth for you to treasure,
The measure of the little while
That I've been long away.

-Robert Frost

I had commandeered my father's copy of "The Complete Robert Frost", and reveled in weeks of lying on my bed and getting lost.  During my perusal something in Flower Gathering made me pause, and re-read it, as if this was me, in some other time and place I'd been before.  I have loved this poem ever since.  

There is a passing of something in this poem; love, tension, revelation?   The interaction between the two who love each other is one I've grown fond of.  Yet something else has just come to mind.  The Apostle Paul says in Hebrews that "...not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and they were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."  (Hebrews 11:13-16)

The poem has also seemed the sentiment of a life.  We leave, bright morning, to live, age, die, in a country that is not our own, for we are strangers and pilgrims.   The idea of returning in the evening time, "gaunt and dusty gray with roaming", having been marred and marked.   And then the question, "Are you dumb because you know me not, or dumb because you know?"  Will Christ, who came to earth to open up the way for our return to that "heavenly country" recognize us?  We all roam, become worn, gaunt, gray, and the invitation to all of us is that of continually being washed clean through the journey.  My desire has increased, that He might know me, because of the time I spent knowing Him here.  "Having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them."    

Perhaps one of my favorite aspects of this parallel is the idea that the individual went about gathering flowers during their time away.  "..if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."  (13th article of faith, Joseph Smith)  What do we do in our lives, and what have we gathered to take back?  It has been a question I have asked myself these last few months as I have noticed quite a few things I could change, and a few more I could add to my life.  In a sense that is one of the reasons for this blog; it is my flower gathering.