Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Last of the Goodweather Dogs

When I began writing the Elizabeth Goodweather books., I gave Elizabeth three dogs and based them on three of our six (at the time) canines. (Not wanting her to seem too weird, I gave her only three.) 

Elizabeth's Molly, Ursa, and James were based on our Maggie, Bear, and William. Maggie and Bear have been gone for several years and now William has joined them.   

We don't know how old he was -- at least 16, possibly 18 . . . or older. I found him while I was weed-eating (string trimming) down near our mail box. He had evidently recently been dumped out near there and he began following me, frisking and flirting in an irresistible manner. (I think this was '97 or '98 but can't be sure.)  He seemed to be a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix -- two very long lived breeds. 

William adored people, especially the ladies, loved sitting in laps and had a bad habit of trying to put his tongue in your mouth if you weren't watchful. (The Bob Packwood of dogs, we called him.) 

He was a popular favorite with visitors and a fine addition to our pack. In recent years he had become quite deaf and partially blind (and just possibly a little senile) but he was always a cheerful and good little dog. 

Good bye, sweet William - the end of an era . . .

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Snowy, Snug Thanksgiving

We awoke to a couple of inches of snow but the roads were clear and our friends from Shelton Laurel and our nephew and great-nephew from Asheville were able to join in the feasting. Our older son and his wife had made the drive from Atlanta the day before so we were ten at table. Daughter-in-law Claui had to be at the Asheville VA hospital all day --- she is is the final semester of nursing school and has a number of hours to fulfill. (She joined us late in the afternoon to enjoy some of the great food .)

Some creative table arranging was called for . . .  everyone contributed to the meal and there was an embarrassment of riches.  There was room for the cranberry-apple compote, the cranberry gelatin salad with pecans and celery, the cranberry sauce, and the cranberry salsa, the green salad, the fennel salad, the rolls and butter -- but the rest of the food had to stay in the kitchen . . .

Turkey, of course, and dressing and gravy, winter squash gratin, thin-sliced Brussels sprouts, sauteed and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and bacon, green beans with almond slivers . . .   

I forgot to get pictures of the nibbly befores: crackers and cheeses and spreads (chopped liver, smoked salmon, pumpkin hummus!) and Bloody Mary's . . .  and after all the sparkling wine, it's  no wonder I also forgot to take a picture of Aileen's delicious pumpkin/cranberry cake with maple icing . . . and her cinnamon ice cream. 

We had no more snow but what had fallen continued to decorate our view all day. 
Our house and our hearts were overflowing on this fine Thanksgiving Day

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


"But let justice roll down like waters;
 And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. . ."
Amos 5:24

Like many, I've had the situation in Ferguson on my mind. Absent a video tape of the entire confrontation, there's probably no way of knowing the truth of what happened, no way of knowing if justice was done. 

The media has been over-flowing with stories, memes, interviews, and explanations of the judicial system, statistics of cop killers and killer cops. . . everyone has an opinion.

Here's mine. It's time for every law enforcement officer to wear a camera .

When people with toy guns, developmentally disabled people, mentally ill, or even angry people who feel they've been picked on just one time too many are shot dead, a videotape of the incident would make clear the level of the threat the officer was confronting.

I know that law enforcement people at at a huge risk. I know that they are (mostly) good guys. I know that the trope of shooting the gun out of the bad guy's hand a la westerns from my childhood isn't feasible.  But when officers aren't held to close scrutiny for the use of deadly force, perhaps they become a little overeager to defend themselves against a perceived threat.

'Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six," the sheriff's deputy conducting my concealed carry class told us, in discussing the use of deadly force.  

How much clearer that judgement would be if those twelve could watch a videotape of the incident. And perhaps this simple step would go a long way to restoring confidence in our law enforcement. . . and our justice system.  

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twenty Five Hundred

Ay, law.  

Would you believe this is post number 2,500 of my (almost) daily blog.  I began this blog the day after Christmas in 2007.

Since then it's been a hodge-podge of . . . 


I've chronicled weddings  anniversaries and funerals . . .

 I've talked about writing, the glamorous life of an author, and an exciting moment for an author . . .

There've been walks and musings, philosophical  and grammatical . . .

And photos and Miss Birdie and any amount of random foolishness ...  

And I'm not done yet.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Life's Little Ironies

At Wendy's . . . a feller can only eat so much pizza before he needs a burger.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Queen for a Day

 Yesterday I received a crown. From our new dentist. Our longtime dentist, Doc Adams, has retired and his successor (AKA the kid) has installed some fancy new equipment.

This dental procedure involves a LOT of stuff in your mouth -- and a goodly time lying back, feet elevated, trying to stay calm while lots of things happen -- but your mouth is numb and you don't feel it. Your main job is to stay calm and breathe through your nose while the broken tooth is prepped to receive the crown and  innumerable pictures are taken and sent to the computer.

After which -- and this is the amazing part -- the computer sends the 3-D images to a milling machine in another room and this machine takes a little block of dental ceramic material and carves it to fit your tooth exactly.  All untouched by human hands.

The new crown is set in place and checked for fit, after which it's put in a kiln for about a half an hour. Then it's glued in place. Done. The whole process took less than two hours as opposed to two visits when the crown was fashioned in a laboratory somewhere else. 

I remember overhearing (another) old lady tell a friend that she'd been to the dentist and he'd fixed her teeth with his commuter.

Me too!

You can read about the whole process and see pictures of it HERE

Thursday, November 20, 2014

No Man is an Island

I've written about Eula and her books before -- HERE and ALSO HERE and I've remarked on the beauty and clarity of her prose, the truly original metaphors and literary allusions, and most of all, the unexpected connections that arise from her thoughts and research. This latest book is no exception. (One word -- Dracula.)

Inoculation is something that has to be on the mind of every young mother. And when Eula was faced with the question of doing what was best for her child in view of the vigorous anti-immunization movement, she did masses of research. This book is the product of that research but it's so much more than information for worried mommies -- it's a philosophical treatise on society and human nature.  

There's no way I can do the book justice so I'll let some of the Big Guns speak . . . or you can listen to the author herself in this NPR INTERVIEW.:

"Elegant, intelligent and very beautiful book, which occupies a space between research and reflection, investigating our attitudes toward immunity and inoculation through a personal and cultural lens."—Los Angeles Times

"On Immunity casts a spell. . . . There's a drama in watching this smart writer feel her way through this material. She's a poet, an essayist, and a class spy. She digs honestly into her own psyche and into those of 'people like me,' and she reveals herself as believer and apostate, moth and flame."—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
"Biss infuses her in-depth study on why we as a society fear vaccines with her own experiences with raising a child. She cites literary greats (Sontag, Stoker, Voltaire) on the topic of immunization, connecting literary history with our deep-rooted avoidance of protective shots."The Huffington Post, Best Books for Fall 2014
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"An eloquent consideration of the anti-vaccination movement. . . . [Biss] lays out an argument for vaccination that encompasses literature, history, science, and her fears and questions when deciding to vaccinate her own children. She brings a sober, erudite, and humane voice to an often overheated debate."—The New Yorker, "Books to Watch Out For"

It's an important book about an important question -- because  we're all in this life together. . .