I have to thank God even for the wet and cold days. My sister lives in California and they are experiencing a severe prolonged drought. Not us. Thank God for small favors and thank you for the rain.

Things really do not make you happy.  They really don’t.  The only thing that does is love.  The people who are in your life whom you love.  I just came back from NYC where I met my sister and her husband briefly.  We went to an outstanding art museum (and NY is full of them).  First we had lunch or should I say brunch in an outstanding bagel shop.  I had something that is almost impossible to get in Pa–a good salt bagel.  I had come a long distance on Amtrak for this rendezvous to spend some time with my family or at least part of my family.  Then we walked around and viewed art in a nearby museum.  I was amazed how quickly I became tired.  After an hour and an half we sat and ate at the restaurant in the museum.  It was more to rest than to eat.  I was glad to see my sister and her husband.  They were in from California.  My family this year threw me a birthday party.  I can’t remember the last one thrown by my family.  It was my sister’s idea.  I did see the rest of my family that day at least my other sister and her husband.  I no longer remember whether my nephew was there and his wife.  I think they were.  It was a perfect day.  I will not forget it for awhile.  I did see my nephew (and his wife) on this trip to NY.  The train ride was fun.

I Am A Homebody

Author: siggy

I am a homebody.  The grass is not, necessarily, greener somewhere else.  One of my sisters loves to travel.  I don’t have the same wanderlust.  It is true I don’t have the financial means she has.  Nevertheless, I like being home.  I still make discoveries every day in my backyard and in my house.  I am surrounded by my books and music.  I like having them at my fingertips.  I do have seven cats and four dogs that make it more difficult to just leave and go somewhere but I love my animals, particularly my dogs, and always miss them when we go away once or twice a year.  Sometimes I visit my oldest friend in New Orleans.  And I go by myself.  It is just easier that way.  When I return from a trip, home is just that much sweeter.  As Richard Thompson says in a song, ‘Every heart needs a home.’  Even when I am home I only go out briefly.

The music collection (LPs) we got from my sister was interesting.  She stopped collecting them in the early seventies.  I don’t think her husband (or her, for that matter) liked the music too much.  They were in mint condition.  She did have good tastes.  I had duplicates of several of her albums.  I realize it truly is a gift to have a wife who loved music as much as me and who I can share it with.  Both of us have very eclectic tastes.  That is also by grace.

It was April 14–still no hummingbirds.  I keep looking out my window and wonder when I will see the first one.  Pretty soon I will have to put out fresh nectar.  It only lasts so long.  I will have to consult my bird journal to see when I put out the nectar.  It always amazes me.  Did one fly thousands of miles and remember the spot I put out nectar last year or how did they locate my nectar for the first time!  Every year I wait for them to appear outside my large living room window.  My sister who lives in California gets different species of hummingbirds.  We don’t here:  The ruby throated hummingbird is the only variety in the East.  Hummingbirds are marvelous to watch.

It is easy to take technology for granted.  Our modem went out.  And all of a sudden I could not go online, check my mail.  It was going to be a few days before I receive a new modem from Century Link.  And I was feeling something was missing and I could not wait until i received the replacement modem.  I took it for granted, that I could go online every day.  Fifty years ago there was no Internet or even an affordable home computer.  And I don’t have one of those fancy cell phones that are really computers.  I never forgot my sister balking to go into an area if there was no cell phone reception.  The world is really connected.  And it makes no difference. Wars are going on all over the world.  Communication has not really improved.

Every Thing Is By Grace

Author: siggy

Every thing is by grace.  God really does not owe us anything.  On Christmas eve, a gray partridge (a Chukar partridge) appeared and fed on the ground and stayed for at least an hour.  I spotted it from our living room window and excitedly called my wife so she could see it too.  I never had seen one before and it took me awhile to properly identify it.

Finally we let out our four dogs.  They had to go out and we delayed it so they would not flush the bird.  I was amazed the bird simply froze near our big white pine and the dogs never spotted it and ran right past it.  Finally the bird ran across the yard, through the fence and disappeared.  We were curious whether the quail-like bird will come back (very similar in size to a bobwhite).

I got up this morning and put on my L.L Bean moccasins my sister bought me.  I had forgotten how comfortable they were.  Now I have to keep them out of reach of my dogs.  They could destroy one in one bite:  they are leather, very temping for one to chomp on.

There are plenty of gifts still to be opened.  Lynelle is not up yet.  I was feeling very grateful and thankful for everything.  I know everything is by grace.  Over two thousand years ago a baby was born in a manger.  We do not deserve Him.  And He died for us.  And it is a free gift.  That is totally by grace.  I did nothing to deserve it.  It is only by grace.

Death Is The Last Taboo

Author: siggy

I felt odd discussing my health situation:  I went to my nephrologist (a kidney doctor) for the second time.  The report of my condition was worst than I thought:  my kidney function was down to twenty per cent and my doctor in the next visit was going to discuss  putting me in dialysis.  It takes six to twelve months to put into motion.

I started to mull over what this meant.  A loss of my freedom.  I could not easily go away.  I had dreamed for forty years to travel to San Francisco maybe even by train (I loved train rides).  I would visit my sister whose house I had never seen and my brother-in-law who I have never met.  This would be almost impossible to do once I started dialysis.  I could at most go away for a day or two at a time.

I was reeling from this news.  I did not want to bear it alone.  Sharing it with others meant reminding them of their own mortality.  And death was the last taboo so I could not discuss my situation so easily with others.  I felt all alone.

Time all of a sudden became very valuable.  I did have a window.  I am going to take the trip that I dreamed to take for most of my life before I start my dialysis.  You only live once.

There are many characters in our house.  I will mention a few.  We have a menagerie here:  eight cats and four dogs.  And each pet has a distinct personality.  Let us start off with one of the dogs, the oldest–“Pax”.

“Pax” is a rottweiler/boxer mix.  He is one intimidating dog–almost an hundred pounds–scary as all hell.  He is really a pussy cat–all bark and no bite.  He will run out into the yard and situate himself in the furthest right hand corner and bark at his neighbor who had the audacity to walk out into his yard which is directly across the street.

“Pax” is a scaredy cat.  We have to bring him to the vet when his ears need to be cleaned out; for they muzzle him there.  He is a baby as big as he is.  It is difficult giving him antibiotics to clear up his ear infection.  We have to fool him.  Give him something he likes like bread, put a pill in one slice and then keep coming with the slices so he has to swallow one before he can eat the next.

When we were down to one dog, “Sweetie”, a female golden retriever, entered our lives.  “Pax” wanted nothing to do with her (did I mention “Pax” is a he).  It was hilarious.  No matter how many times he growled at her, she threw herself on him over and over.  Sweetie is one happy go lucky dog.

We planned to get her fixed as soon as possible; but the worst possible scenario happened and you guessed it “Pax” impregnated “Sweetie”.

The day we were supposed to be at my sister’s house in Plymouth, Sweetie had seven pups on our bed no less.  One died and we sold four and I did not have the heart to separate the last two.  So “Atilla the Hun” (“Tilla” for short) and Coco entered our lives.

I have to say “Atilla The Hun” is not vicious by by (???) means but is aggressive:  If you throw four scraps of food at the feet of our four dogs, he will get three.  I call him “Atilla The Hun” because others laugh at that name.  He is really a sweet dog although he does not realize he is all of sixty-six pounds for he will sometimes try to snuggle on our laps.

There will be more about theses two pups and you will see why “Tilla” was originally named “Atilla The Hun”. In fact he may warrant an entire blog or more to relate his antics. (to be continued)