Thursday, February 21, 2013


When I got home from work today, I found my Binks at the bottom of her cage.  She had died sometime while I was gone.  She was such a little sunbeam in my life, a funny and happy little soul, full of herself despite her small size. She was so smart and loved to play with her toys.  The more I laughed, the more she loved it.  I will miss her so much.  Goodbye my little friend, 'til we meet again at the Bridge.   

She was just a little budgie girl
No bigger than my hand
She left me unexpectedly
In a fluff of feathers curled

My heart was hers
She made me laugh
My darling little bird

Friday, February 15, 2013


Dreams are funny things.  I sometimes wonder if they are portents of things to come or things that we wish were true.  I ride a van pool to work, and last night I dreamed that I rode a tricycle from my home to the commuter lot and back home again.  At one point, I was riding home and noticed some beautiful flowers in a field off the road and thought. I need to bring my kids out here to see these flowers before they're gone.  They looked like bluebells.  When I got home, though, I realized that I didn't know where I'd put my purse.  But, logically, I remembered that I had left my purse with my cell phone in it at home because there was nowhere to hold my purse on the tricycle I was riding.  

The strange part was that the house was a place that we had just moved into somewhere in the country.  The tricycle I was riding was child sized when I looked at it. but fit me just right while I was riding.  And when I was riding, I was able to go just as fast as the cars around me.  How weird is that?!  

Dreams are funny, funny things.  They make me wonder what it all means when I wake.  But while I sleep, they are beautiful, unfathomable, and times of endless magic.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you're having a wonderful Valentine's Day spending time with the people you love who make your life full and satisfying.  I've always loved those red, decorated, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that they sell for this holiday.  Corny, I know.  I just think their romantic.  

On this day in 1990, after traveling through space for 13 years, Voyager 1 was directed to turn its camera back toward the planets from a distance of more than 6 billion kilometers (4 billion miles).  When it sent the photos back to earth, there was a photo of our planet clearly visible.  Carl Sagan called it the "pale, blue dot."  Here we are, as Carl said, "a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam."  He uses the opportunity to  entreat all of us to be more kind, more loving and to do everything we can to preserve this fragile place we call home.  He's one of my heroes.  He had the ability to explain even the most complex things so that anyone could understand them and, what's more, understand the significance of what he was talking about.

Incredibly, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 are still operational 35 years later and are the farthest human-made objects in existence, still transmitting data back to us from 18.5 and 15.2 billion kilometers away.  Amazing, isn't it?  Let's love each other and extend that love to our beautiful earth and cherish and realize the beauty that we sometimes take for granted every day.  If we lose those things, we lose everything.  

Have a great ♥ day everyone!

Pale blue dot image with a wider field of view to show more background

Carl said it best:

"From this distant vantage point, the earth might not seem of any particular interest.  But for us, it's different.  Consider again that dot.  That's here.  That's home.  That's us.  On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. . . .

"The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena.  Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.  Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner.  How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.  Our posturings, our imagined self importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe are challenged by this point of pale light.  Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.  In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from somewhere else to save us from ourselves.

"The earth is the only world known so far to harbor life.  There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate.  Visit, yes.  Settle, not yet.  Like it or not, for the moment, the earth is where we make our stand.  It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.  There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.  To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, our only home we've ever known."

Friday, February 8, 2013

Putting the Past Behind Me

When my marriage fell apart in 2006, I tried to move on and thought the best way to do that would be to buy a little home of my own.  I loved my little house.  Not long after I moved in, I was offered a job up here in Washington DC and realized that if I ever hoped to retire and be able to support myself, I needed to make more money to contribute toward my retirement.  I've been up here since 2008 and have been renting out my little house in NC since I left.  I thought I'd be able to retire and move back in three years, but having done a quick check of my retirement annuity, I see that's not possible.  The stress of being a landlord is not worth holding onto my house especially since I'll probably have to work for at least another three to four years.  I'm ready to sell it and move past and get on to the next chapter of my life.  

Unfortunately, just as I was getting ready to put it on the market, the roof leaked and I found out I had to have the roof replaced.  I had to have the ceiling fixed where the roof leaked into the plaster ceiling and in the process, found out I have no insulation in the attic.  I also found out that now I have to repaint all of the trim because my dumb a** tenants splotched oil paint over every place there must have been a mark of any kind - basically, all the doors and the trim in the house.  The paint has now yellowed and has left huge yellow blobs over the rest of the white trim.  I'm so demoralized at this point.  Every time I think the house is ready to go, something else crops up.  

I'm hoping that once I sell the house, I'll be able to put aside some money and if I need to replace my 13-year-old car, I'll be able to afford one.  I'm secretly hoping that my little Honda will keep on keeping on for another couple of years.  Meanwhile I'm crossing my fingers that nothing else goes wrong and I can find a buyer before any other gremlins come along that are going to cost me more money before I can put it on the market.  

Did I say de-moralized?  I mean de-pressed, de-spirited, just wanting to bury my head in the blankets and say enough already!  

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Last year, I went to a fiber festival that included herding trials.  The event was held at Montpelier Station.  Montpelier is the historic home of James and Dolly Madison.  The country is beautiful out that way.  I was hoping to meet up with a friend from Maine but we were never able to connect.  I did, however, get to see and meet lots of Border Collies and watch them herd sheep.  These dogs were amazing.  They waited patiently next to their handlers while waiting for the sheep to be let loose in small groups of three or four.  

They make their outrun to the sheep.  Once the sheep become aware of the dog's presence behind them, it's a term called "lifting" the sheep.  The dog then fetches the sheep, driving them toward the handler.  Sometimes they are asked to "drive" the sheep, pushing them upfield away from the handler and through a different set of gates.  The dog has to crossdrive the sheep through a second set of gates and then fetch them back to the handler so they can be penned.  

The dogs don't actually chase the sheep in the pen but gets them as close to the opening of the pen as possible without scattering them so the handler can get them into the pen.  They normally use a crook or staff of some kind to guide the sheep in.  And of course, it's difficult because the sheep, who are prey animals, are doing everything they can to avoid the danger.  

Watching the dogs work was mesmerizing.  I could have stayed all day and never got tired of watching them herd.  They love it too.  Their focus and concentration is on those sheep and doing what they do best.  Here are some photos of these amazing and intelligent dogs.

Fetching the sheep

Sweet young girl waiting her turn

Crossdriving the sheep

Driving the sheep

Penning the sheep

Pure concentration while waiting their turn.  The only other dog that was not a border collie was the sweet bearded collie named James.

James, 11 years old, waiting with his handler.

I can easily see how addicting this could become.  Working with your dog while doing what he was bred and loves to do.  Simple words for such a satisfying and fulfilling activity.