Friday, March 26, 2010



How did it get to be called “Spring”?  Is it because it happens so quickly, this annual resurrection from cold and dark?  One day there are the same old bare branches standing in the bleak landscape, and the next day blossoms are everywhere you look. 

When Tara was little, we used to play a game every Spring called “Whee!  Blossoms!”  This was played driving in the car, and the first one to spot another flowering tree, bush, or clump of tulips had to call out “Whee!  Blossoms!” before the other person did.  After awhile, the game degenerated into continuous “Whee-ing,” shouts of “No fair!” and loud laughter.  If we were in the car together right now, at 66 and 36, I guarantee you the game would be played again, by unspoken agreement.  Who can ever grow too old for Spring?

The Lenten class I’ve been taking at church, called “Broken & Blessed,” has ended.  I am always surprised when I come face to face with cosmologies that are unlike mine.  In answer to the question, “Why is there suffering?” people said things like “Because God wants us to appreciate the good things we have.”  “Because God wants us to learn something.”  “Because we made the wrong choices.”  I’m all for appreciating and learning and trying to make the “right” choices,  but I am startled for the zillionth time hear that there are people who really think God designs not only general suffering, but specific suffering, and that He even selects certain people to suffer because of some plan He has that we want Him to explain when it happens to us.  “Why me?” 

I don’t know for sure why we suffer.  I don’t even think to ask the question.  We do suffer.  Move on.  There are lots of things we don’t know.  The God I believe in doesn’t make us suffer, but She or He is with us when we do, whether we are aware of it or not.

We don’t really have to know the why of everything, do we?  We just need to know that Spring has come again this year, and that the blossoms will be back again next year.  That’s an amazing promise.   One of the women in the class read a prayer by Dag Hammarskjold at the end of the last session:  “For all that is past, thanks; and for all that is to come, Yes.” 

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Carmen with slippers

Carmen has found her forever home.  She’s a sweet, quiet, calm girl who is slowly discovering love and even a little foolishness.  We’ve had her for eight days now.  Her tail wags more, her eyes meet ours more often, and she responds to her name most of the time.  When she doesn’t, it’s probably because she has better things to do than because she doesn’t remember her name. 

All of our major worries were for naught.  She will not be eating the cats, nor are the cats broken-hearted due to the arrival of a dog.   She will not be pooping and peeing all over the house.  She will not jump on us and knock us down. 

Miss T, the resident supervisor and crab ass, has a new lease on life and seems to think that her world is right again with a dog in it.  Billy is not as sure about that, but he is confident enough to take shortcuts by walking underneath Carmen’s body. 

So far, she has only destroyed an AARP bulletin and a plastic cat ball that the cats never played with anyway.  She does collect items to take to her bed, however, and these consistently include Sheila’s bedroom slippers.  I was flattered the day she added my red ones to the pile.  She has also rounded up Sheila’s book, a wet washcloth, and all the dog toys in the toy basket to carry to one of her two beds.   Nothing chewed on so far except the aforementioned AARP bulletin and cat toy. 


Carmen’s new name (her racing name was “Where’s Rawbone”--yech) does not come from Bizet’s opera but was the name of Sheila’s late and beloved older sister.  It fits the sleek, exotic looking girl that she is.  However, I have made up a little song for her (all of The Pets always have a little song just for them), sung to the tune of  “March of the Toreadors” in Carmen:

I am a hound, a sweet greyhound/My name is Carmen and I’ll be around/I’m long and lean/just like a queen/My name is Carmen and I’ll be around!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Of Journaling, Greyhound Adoption, and Time Travel

Last week we had the pleasure of hearing Phyllis Theroux speak at the Library of Virginia, to kick off the publication of her new book The Journal KeeperI had read the book and was re-reading it by that time.  I have been an extremely sporadic journal keeper since college days, but I still have those pages and I treasure them, even the silly, whiny, self-absorbed ones.  One entry lets me know that at age 36 I exclaimed dramatically “I feel so terribly alone, sad, and old.”  Thirty years out, I want to put my arms around the lonely, sad young woman and sympathize, except for the “old” part about which she knew nothing.

Thankfully, by the time I had finished recording that entry, I had concluded that in comparison to some other people in my office I at least had a spark of  joie de vivre, and wrote on at some length in self-congratulation.  The great thing about a journal is that you’re allowed to be self-absorbed, and you might even be able to cheer yourself up by the end of the page.

I love reading other people’s journals and memoirs, and I can never resist at least looking at a new one in the bookstore.  If you are like that too, or think you might be, I highly recommend this book;  and if you know you will never journal but wouldn’t mind meeting someone who knows how to express many of the same inner thoughts and struggles you have, I recommend this book. 

Roger Mudd (remember him from CBS News?) introduced Ms. Theroux.  In case you thought, as I friend of mine did, that he had died, I assure you that is not the case.  He was a hoot, and entertained us with his own very first journal entry, written as a bored Private in the Korean War.  

About rescue greyhound adoption:  we are in the process.  How did it happen that two old ladies looking for an old, small dog seem to be about to adopt a young, tall greyhound fresh from the racetrack?  The story is somewhat convoluted, but it involves being at a Pet Expo a couple of weekends ago looking for the old, small dog and meeting two rescue greyhounds who cast a spell of enchantment with their angel faces and sweet ways.

As we’ve learned more about retired racing greyhounds, we continue to be enchanted as well as quite nervous about rescuing a dog of this particular breed.  We’ve always gotten dogs that we more or less put in the car and took home without a lot of forethought other than “I want a dog and this one seems to need me.”  This time is different and we are reading too many books, in my opinion.  I comfort myself with the memory of reading all the major how-to baby books before my child was born, and then pretty much never referring to them again once she made her appearance. 

And finally, about time travel.  Sheila doesn’t like science fiction or fantasy, and neither do I, although I enjoyed science fiction when I was a young teacher.  That was back in the days of Ray Bradbury and not very many other well known science fiction writers.  There was no such thing, as far as I know, as a vampire genre. 

Anyway, recently I had read a novel which I enjoyed and passed along to She, who also liked it very much.  I had gone on to read another novel by the same author, and was telling She how I didn’t care for that one and she wouldn’t either, because a major plot device was time travel.  “Oh, I wouldn’t like it,” she called out from the other room.  “I have enough trouble traveling through time myself.  I don’t need to read about it.”