Friday, January 22, 2010

the good, the bad and the very, very ugly

And folks, lets face it, it doesn't get much uglier than this.

I am furiously angry.  Those who know me, know that I should have been in bed an hour ago (it is currently 11:53 pm).  I am so angry that I can not sleep.

Earlier today, I was home alone... blissful, quiet, solitude.  I was getting things done, making progress on some projects that have been needing attention.

Suddenly, the dogs began to bark... and not just bark, but bark wildly.
I go to see what's going on (this is, after all, what I have the dogs for!).

And this is what I see:

Why, WHY would you let your animal starve?

Why would you think it was a good idea to drive him out into the country and pitch him out!?


Do you think country folks have magical powers?
Do you think that they don't MIND this?

How do you reconcile the misery of this creature, with potential harm to your own precious pets or to the animals on a farm?
How do you know if the animal will be violent, or worse, rabid?
How do you respond?

For the record, folks, the vast majority of animals that are 'dropped off' in the country are dispatched swiftly and certainly.  Farms are not inclined to have an open door policy to animals that almost certainly bring disease and at the least require expensive medical care and rehab.  Most days and for most animals, the end is very certain. 

Alternatives, if available, are animal control services.  If they do not feel like the animal should be destroyed on the spot, then they are taken to crowded shelters, often with a 'kill date'.
Rescue groups are another alternative.
Please, please, please, save your animal the pain and suffering by using one of these alternatives or having the animal put down yourself if you can no longer care for it.

I do not, at this time, know what will happen to this dog.
I know the following things. 
At first, he was aggressive, to my dogs, and to me.
He does not understand or recognize what to do with commercial dog food.  (Yes, I fed him, both commercial dog food and table food, which was all that he understood.)
He is trying frantically to get inside.  (Is he someones HOUSE pet?)
He seems, now, to have reasonable manners.  (Why would you bother to own a pet, teach and train them, then starve them to death?)
He is asleep on my front porch.
Which is more than I can say for myself!

Sometimes, you just want to scream!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Sorry if I repeat myself... I'm simply smitten by all the cuteness!

The girls are healthy!
They're doing all the normal baby things.

And they are adored!

They're peaceful (most of the time).
They are very capable of letting you know they're here!

There was a really awesome 'double barrel baby' moment this afternoon... one babe in each arm, two sweet little faces, one enormous flip flop of this aunt's heart!

sigh... I'm such a 'baby freak!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Some days have better surprises than others!

Here are my new nieces.

Zoe Elizabeth
5 pounds 15 ounces
18 1/2 inches long

and her sister

Kalleigh Anne
5 pounds 15 ounces
19 inches long

Welcome to the world, little girls!
You are loved!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So, last week was all about taking the National Association of Interpretation's training to become a certified interpretive guide.  Let me hasten to say, since this is invariably the first question, that this is not foreign language interpretation.  This is about relating a resource ( cultural, historical or scientific) to an audience with a focus on creating both an emotional and an intellectual connection.  If it sounds complicated, let me share with you... that is an accurate assessment.  There was an awful lot of reading involved... 6 textbooks and a work book.
There were four days packed FULL of lectures and activities by two pretty amazing individuals, who themselves are excellent interpreters.  And in the end, there was a test and a presentation by each participant, which netted national certification.  I passed!  Yeah!

This workshop occurred at Middleton Place in Charleston, South Carolina.
Now, I had never been to Middleton Place.  And though I've lived in SC all of my life, I've not been on a historical rice plantation... so I was significantly, at times, distracted.


Our class took place in a window encased pavilion.  Right in the middle of any segment of instruction, a group of sheep would wander up... or a carriage would ride by... or a costumed interpreter would walk from the stableyards to the main house.

As a person who loves gardening, the grounds of Middleton continuously called to me.  The Middleton's were who brought Japonica Camelias to America... one of the original four plants still lives in the stunning gardens.
While we were at Middleton, there was unseasonably cold temperatures, which damaged the blossoms on the camelias, which were in full bloom.  Deep winter blooms are one of the nicest things about the camelia here in this part of the south.

And I could have simply sat and gazed at the Middleton oaks for a week with no other task to accomplish.

Despite the obvious distractions, and the drive back and forth to Beaufort, which was significantly longer than I had anticipated, the class was a very good thing.  I now better understand a lot of the job that I've been doing for the last year and have better tools in my personal arsenal for both work and a number of other things that I do as well.  My presentation was both terrifying and had it's comical moments.  Who knew that those windowed walls would move, nearly depositing me outside with the sheep, when I least needed a distraction?

On evaluation, I can't imagine a more perfect setting for what I learned this week, and learning interpretation at Middleton will forever be etched in my brain.

Home again...

What a crazy dichotomy this past week has been.  Story in the next post, but first some 'home keeping'.

It was truly wonderful to walk back through the front door last night.
Though first, I got to relish the joyous greeting of the dogs, who obviously both missed me and were glad for my return.  Nana did the perfect greeting.  She ran to the porch and sat beautifully, (though wiggling all about the tail and body frantically) and held up one single large paw.  Oh, man... what a beautiful welcome home.
There then ensued a rambunctious 'loving on mom' moment by all four dogs.  Even little blind Maggie, who will normally sit and wait, was intent upon getting her hugs. And Daisy actually howled!
I didn't realized how much I missed the dogs!~

Husband was happy to see me and had not shaved his beard.  Yeah... (I love beards!)
Visual inspection of him did not indicate anything had gone awry.  He bore up well under the responsibilities of both his job AND mine.

The kid tolerated my excessive hugging and questioning with all the excitement of any 16 year old... though I did not have to go looking for him.  He, too, looked none the worse for the week of 'no mom'.

Does this mean I can take a weeks 'vacation' often with no dire consequences???  hmmmmm.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Time flies

Time does seem to fly by, either when you're having fun, or when you're perpetually busy.
Sometimes, you can do both things at the same time.

That's what's been going on these last couple of weeks.
We had a few nice days, together, at the beach.
In the 16 years since we  built the house on the island, we've spent the last day of the year, and the first day of the year there.
To stand before the ocean is a contemplative thing to do on any day, but a nice thing to do in the face of a new year's beginning.

While there, I had some solitary time at the state park which is on the adjacent island.

I saw my very first eagle in the wild, as I walked a trail deep in the maritime forest, with not another soul in sight.
Naturally that was the day that I didn't take the camera.

I enjoyed the lighthouse again, from a new perspective.  The last time I ventured up the stairs, I carried a baby in a back pack... a nice little 20 pound weight to add to my exercise that day.

We enjoyed the homecoming of the adult children. I so love the noise and bustle that comes with having them home. I've somehow forgotten how to quantity shop in anticipation of multiple young men in full-on snack mode.  

The weather here is bitter, bitter cold.  The animals, despite our best efforts, suffer for it.  The humans suffer for it too.

A lot of things got accomplished over the holiday break.
A lot of things remain to accomplish while I'm on break from work.

Early tomorrow, I am off to take a class on interpretation.  It's a class with a test (gulp!) at the end of it and a presentation, that if successfully passed, nets you national certification.  I'll admit to being nervous.
On this small journey, I have the excellent company of a lovely young lady that I've known for a number of  years.  I'm looking forward to spending time with her.... she's such a delight.

It takes a lot of courage (I guess that's what it takes) for me to pack up and leave the homestead and the kid for a week.  I'm a little anxious over that as well, but there comes the time when you have to trust that what you've done so far will hold them in good stead when you are not there.