Thursday, July 14, 2016


We got our dog out of the Wichita dog pound, or whatever it was called.  Initially, I had seen a "for sale" ad for a dog, the breed for which I was looking.  We already had a Bouviers de Flandres dog, and I wanted our elderly pup to have a companion to keep him active.  I answered the ad, a few days after the 4th of July of that year, and the owner's reply was that she (the dog) had jumped the fence and fled during the fireworks in their community.  She was in the pound, and they, the owners, had elected to not collect her.

Would they collect her for me?  I would pay to spring her from the joint.

The owners agreed.  They paid her bail, I repaid them, and the dog "Holly" came home with me.  
Soon after, I renamed her Biserka.  Our dog is a nutcase.  She is timid, scared, yet can get totally out of control and attack the thin air in a millisecond.  I think it is poor care.  Abusive care.  Whatever, this dog is now and will be our responsibility till her dying day.

It's a love/Lord-have-mercy relationship, for all of our family - that Spouse o' Mine can barely get her to come to him, and he can RARELY approach her without her cowering.  So, so sad.

This week she was cowering upstairs during a particularly bad thnderstorm.  Later, I chanced to find that she had chewed up one of my favorite paperback short-reads (I Don't Know How She Does It).  Just yesterday morning, another bad storm (our world was green in atmosphere), and poor Biserka was flat-out spread eagle on the study floor.  I sat down beside her (pondering how I might cajole her into the basement if need be for a tornado?) and she refused to acknowledge my presence, at all.  Poor pup.

Tonight I was up in my art room, and upon reading about Nice, France's horrific news, I began crying.  Silently, but the tears were flowing.

I heard pawprints downstairs.  ( Biserka is an outdoor dog who gets to live indoors in hot summer and freezing winter.)  I heard her climb the stairs, and then she came and lay her head in my lap.  Nothing else.  Just looking up at me.

This is so out of character for our little nutcase.

Maybe she knows more than she reveals.

Here it is, the following morning's edit:

Last night, I went downstairs from the art room.  I went into the living room to read a bit.  But, Biserka had managed, (quite out of character, I might add,) to shred the first few chapters of this week's project:

War and Peace

Thursday, July 07, 2016

July, almost mid-. Saints be praised.

A fun friend and I met for lunch this week, after which, she suggested that we hit the local arts place for their annual watercolor exhibit.  I am so happy she did; the paintings were just what I needed to spur me into another interest here in my summertime ennui.

The next morning I went out to run the requisite two miles (for that triathlon thing next week!), and the clouds were gorgeous at 6:00 am.  Yes, there was some lightning going on, and I left with the instructions to that Spouse o' Mine that he should come fetch me in the car if the lightning seemed near enough to whack me.  (Happily, the storm cell moved onwards and eastern.)  When I got back to the house, I took my camera and a car, and ventured out for photos of fun things that I might like to use as inspiration for some watercolor.  I have not done much in this medium, and I have no instruction.  But... here I go!

Last night that Spouse o' Mine and I ate lamb masala and some spinach paneer and some cool, cool cantelope.  Tonight sees us having cod with coconut chutney and curried beetroots.  (You can tell that I shopped at my Asian Mart this week, yes?)  The beets and kale come from my special Darwinian Garden, which is indeed doing the Darwinian thing of late,  (I am mowing weeds now, but that's OK), because the beets, kale, and collards are all standing tall and that's all I ask of them.

And that's all I have, this July summer evening. Ugh.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Last Week

Last week, final June and beginning July, our rural Kansas weather was really quite nice, given that it's summertime.  It rained ~ 3" (Sheesh.  I have always hated when folks talk about rain gauges, and here I am, doing it.)  The mornings were cool, and the days were overcast, with spits and spots of precipitation hither and thither.

Last Friday was a pretty great summertime day in my books.  I was happy. (There are lots of summertime days when I am burrowed under, in a summertime ennui, and I can't seem to surface, physically or mentally.)  But I was a happy camper last Friday.    

So much so, that when I read online about a mini-triathlon being held in two weeks...

I was in my happy place: a cool, overcast day with no wind or dust.  Initially, I called that Spouse o' Mine and told him about the mini-triathlon.  Did he want to enter with me?  No?

But he encouraged me on, and so I mulled over the prospect the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.  Visions of grandeur frolicked in the cool, overcast day.  There might have even been Rocky music playing.

Yes, I did.

I signed up for it.

I have been swimming laps at the university natatorium (read: swimming pool) for nearly ten weeks now.  I can ride a bike.  My running is pretty sketchy, especially in temps and humidity which make that trickle of sweat head south - oosh!  My skin crawls.

And so here I am, two weeks before a 200-yard swim, 6-mile cycling, and 2-mile run.

I can do all the three independently.  Yesterday as I climbed out of the pool, having timed myself TWICE on a 200-yard swim, I asked myself, "How do you feel?  Feel like a really fast 6-mile bike ride?"

The answer was "ungh...I don't think so..."  

A couple of days ago I practiced some cycling sprint intervals and eight miles of riding, after which I asked myself, "Are you capable of putting on running shoes and going down the pike two miles?"

The answer was, "Well.  Heck.  Maybe a walk/run???"

And so it goes, this first week of mini-triathlon training.  I looked online for some training tips, and what I found were training regimens for twelve weeks out.  Surely they were for real triathlons?  If not, then I am in for a big surprise/disappointment, come race day.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


I have pretty much always been a church person.  You are asking, "Why doesn't she say 'Christian'"? Two different things, in my mind.  I am a Christian, and I am a church person.  It seems like I have always been both.  But, my being a church person means that I thrived on my childhood of Sunday School, Bible Schools, confirmation, church choirs, of knowing generations of church members as I grew up.  

In college, I sang in a church choir in a Lutheran congregation just off campus.  I was drafted into the choir because my brother attained the job of choir director while he was studying Music Education.  He beckoned all his four siblings to help out as they might.  We did.  In doing so, I became a member of that congregation.  Not in the official sense, but in that I became acquainted with folks who would hold my hand throughout the next couple of decades of my life.  How in the world does that work?

After college, (the short story), I got married, and moved to Cairo.  Egypt.  We newlyweds attended a tiny Lutheran church during the twelve months we were there.  Our service was in the late afternoon.  As we walked into our Sunday service, it was comforting to know that my parents, in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, were entering their sanctuary at the very same time - at their 10:45 am service.  This somehow helped my deep chasm of homesickness.

Upon our return to US soil, we chanced to become members of several Lutheran congregations, and at one point, ended up in the church of my collegiate years: Salem Lutheran.  I still remember our first Sunday at church.  We were greeted by old friends, and we were immediately welcomed back into the congregation - this time, married, with children.  We flourished.

Today, Sunday, found that Spouse o' Mine and me in our church of the past fourteen years (nearly fifteen!).  This morning when we passed the peace, I greeted the elderly man in front of us - a wonderful, joyful retired professor who is notorious in our community for his continued running.  In addition to his daily runs, on his birthday he runs a lap for each year of life at the university's indoor track, accompanied by many, many local runners.  Passing the peace with a friend from my Lydia Circle, and then another woman whom I admire.  At communion, the usher was a cycling friend of mine - she rides probably 3x what I do.  And she always has a smile.  Our friends, who just celebrated the birth of their first grandchild, had friends and family in from all over, to witness his baptism.  So sweet.  After church, we visited with some acquaintances whose son is our kids' age.  He is now a pilot who flies long-haul to Europe.

And this is what I mean by church.  I have a foundation of friends and church members.  Even if I am not well-acquainted with any of them, I still feel like I can comfortably make contact with them for any reason at all.  This is a community to which I can turn and comfortably find what I am looking for.

I would guess that I could call or email any of my former churches, right down to my childhood church in Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, and someone would be on the other end, saying, "Welcome.  You are one of us."

And that, to me, is why church is important.
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