The Little Standardbred Who Did

Buzzhy TeethHe is blind. He is wary, scared of anything that does not revolve in his orbit. This goes for simple things like a lazy ride in the park, or even hand-grazing in what is for him, another galaxy.

The blindness, though it seemed to erupt like a volcano, actually came on slowly. There was the constant tripping, the sudden predilection for spooking, the reluctance to ride into our normal and cherished places. Then, one day, he ran into a wall hard and fast, and it was clear that he could not see.

He has now adjusted, thanks to the patient and devoted care of our Barn Mom.  But there are changes. I can no longer just walk up and start petting him. When I groom him, I have to keep a hand on him as I move from one part of his body to another. We have to show him where his grain and hay are.  And I remain anxious that I won’t give him the cues he needs to stay on course and be confident.

But Buzzy is still Buzzy, and I am still me, and together we have 17 years of priceless memories:

  • Riding through the woods on snow-sparkling winter days
  • Riding on trails draped in maroons, oranges, yellows and greens – leaves lush with that musky smell reserved for fall days
  • Riding in shows where we brought up the rear, but had oodles of fun doing it.
  • And trying to canter, only to find out his canter was as lovely as that of any breed.

I thank you, Buzzy, for being the bright shining gem in the cherished memories of my life.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Uncategorized

About A Puppy Mill Boston Terrier

She often gazes off into space and she needs to be carried outside to do her business – back in, too. She startles easily so I do everything slow and easy when I am around her. She barks and growls, but only out of fear. She is in fact, gentle as a lamb. She is 1-year old. She had a litter somewhere between 6 and 8 months of age. She came with a skin infection. She is beautiful. She is mine. She is a rescued puppy-mill girl.

Fortunately, my new little Boston Terrier girl joined my existing pack, which is a big plus for puppy mill dogs. Mine have all embraced her – even my somewhat cantankerous older girl – and they seem intent on “showing her the ropes.”  She is getting it. Here a week and not a single mistake! In fact, she has a very clear, albeit unique, method of communication – she paces back and forth in a small area with no apparent purpose until I have an aha moment, scoop her up, and sure enough – instant poop and pee, outside, of course.

Puppy mill dogs are different from other dogs because their lives are limited to small, wire cages where they eat, sleep, poop and pee. They get little, if any, attention, and they are bred, machine-like, so the breeders can get as much out of them, and make as much money, as possible. I am sad to say that many of these breeders are Amish, who have a different view on the role of animals in life.

I was “lucky,” if luck is the word. My Finja was taken off the assembly line because of the skin infection, that still plagues her. I am also lucky, because unlike many puppy mill dogs who lack human contact of substance, my Finny is the first to snuggle against me whenever I sit. My third lucky is that Finny came to me from a skilled and exceptionally loving foster Mom who worked wonders in the short 6 weeks Finny was with her. But still, there is much work to be done, requiring patience, consistency, and oodles of love and affection. All I know is, I am lucky for all this precious creature is about to teach me.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Uncategorized

Riding the Rails

AmtrakA week ago, I had the delightful pleasure of taking 3 separate trains on my journey home. Trains have peppered my life in lovely ways: the electric train set my parents gave me when I was a child, the trains from the then-beautiful Rochester train station to New York’s Grand Central Station where we met up with beloved friends and relatives, and the daily Long Island Rail Road trains I took to the city and that gave me an extra hour of sleep thanks to their rhythmic rocking and soothing whistle. Then there was the train trip from Grand Central to Florida my parents and I took to spend a fun-in-the-sun vacation during a high school Spring Break. We had a sleeper cabin for this trip and took our meals in the first-class dining car, complete with white-coated waiters, china and real-silver utensils.

I love Amtrak. Granted, my trip to Rochester was long, but Amtrak was clean, on time, and staffed with the friendly and professional conductors who out shown their “fly the friendly skies” counterparts. I didn’t have to deal with the  dreaded turbulence, and the coach seats were spacious and comfortable.

If you have never considered traveling by rail, here are some things complied by the Huntington Post that you may find interesting.

  1. Most eco-friendly mode of travel: Yep – train travel is 14 percent more energy efficient than air travel and 31 percent more efficient per passenger car travel.
  2. Guides: If your train travels through any national parks, you’ll be treated to an expert talk as you pass through.
  3. Breakfast in bed: Can you believe it? If you opt to house yourself in a sleeper car, your attendant can actually provide you with bedside service.
  4. Baths and showers: Some sleepers actually have private baths; for those that don’t, public showers are available.
  5. Different sleeper floor plans: Most sleeper cabins are configured to house 1 or 2 people, with comfortable seats for daytime and convertible and/or pull-down beds for sleeping. Some have baths. Others have additional features to accommodate kids. Finally, some cabins are designed for passengers with disabilities.
  6. Coach is not your airplane coach: Coach seats in airplanes are getting smaller and smaller, resulting in significant passenger discomfort and even injury. Coach seats on trains are comfortable, spacious and offer plenty of leg room and storage for your carry-ons.
  7. Hungry? Amtrak trains include a café car that offers snacks, quick meals, drinks, even wine and beer. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay on my trip home to Rochester.
  8. Need to charge your phone, tablet or laptop? Electric outlets are available at each seat.
  9. Wifi? Included!

My trip home took 12 hours, but every hour was worthwhile. I people watched, read, did crossword puzzles and simply relaxed. It was heaven and already I’m planning my next ride on the rails.

Want to know more? Check out  Amtrak National Facts for detailed information.

Posted in Uncategorized

Come Fly with Me

plane-2181180_960_720Remember that song by Frank Sinatra? For me it evokes memories of the loveliest kind. Let me explain.

My daughter recently returned from a trip to see her California relatives and getting there was pure and complete hell. Whereas she was supposed to get there in one day, it ended up taking two. Whereas she was supposed to have just one layover, she ended up with two. Whereas she was supposed to arrive in one city, she ended up arriving in another. All of this combined with cramped quarters, less than lovely flight attendants, and the need to pay extra for luggage.

Flying today is not her mother’s experience flying some 40 (ouch) years ago. Back in the day, it was a really big deal and most people got dressed up for their time in the skies. There was no extra charge for luggage, flight attendants treated every passenger like royalty, and when there was “an act of God” (weather issue) that cancelled or delayed flights, the airlines ALWAYS gave out vouchers for food and hotels.

I too used to fly to California often since I lived there and commuted frequently back to Rochester. Although not all of my memories are so, I vividly remember what wonderfully pleasant experiences I had flying coast to coast in the 70s and 80s. It was always a Chicago connection (except for once when my boss ‘made’ me fly to NYC with a connection to Rochester – but that’s another story for another day…) to a DC-10, one of the first wide-bodies that was commonly flown on longer domestic hauls back then. And here’s where my Fly with Me story begins.

Let me begin by saying I smoked – cigarettes, that is. And I smoked a lot. In those days, smoking was allowed on airplanes. Also in those days, flights were far from full, seats were bigger, and passengers were allowed to drink all the wine they wanted – for FREE. Do you see a theme here? Indeed, you do. I always headed for the very last row of seats in the plane, and even if they weren’t assigned to me – they usually weren’t – those particular seats were almost always empty. Plus, they were right next to the bathroom, which, you shall see, I would need more than once as I quite gaily made my way across the country. Now picture this: a row of three seats with a single person (me), smoking up a storm, drinking like a fish, sprawling like a queen and having a wonderful time.

Can you see this happening today? Oh, maybe in first class or on a first-rate airline like Emirates or Alitalia. But otherwise, no way!

Well, things change, for the better and for the worse. For the airlines? They are striving to make more money (are they); for the passengers? We are losing comfort and gaining stress, not a lucrative endeavor, indeed.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Traveling

Doggy DNA

RosieRosie, Posie, Pudding and Pie: just one of the many pet names I have for my precious little Boston Terrier (not). Why the not? Read on.

We were suckers. Both Dominic and I wanted a puppy, a Boston Terrier puppy, a cuddly little creature who would be with us for the long haul. Part of me is red-faced to admit we got a puppy; after all, I am a dedicated member of rescue organizations and we have two dear, older rescued Bostons.

Nevertheless, Dominic saw an ad for BT pups. Right away there were red flags – they didn’t want to send a photo (they finally did, couldn’t see much more than black and white), they were selling the pup for a friend who was ill, and they wanted us to hurry to buy her, and so on. So, off we went, and 2 ½ hours later we beheld this very precious, not-quite-Boston looking 11-week old puppy.

“I want her,” I announced, despite her longish snout, floppy ears, long tail, BIG paws, and coat longer than a BT. With a pronouncement by the seller that she was indeed a BT, off we went with our precious cargo with whom I was now madly in love.

But still, I was dying to know! After several months of watching our little Rosie evolve into something clearly not purebred, we decided to buy a doggy DNA kit to find out who she really was. After 8 weeks of anxious waiting, the verdict was in. Rosie was ¾ purebred BT and ¼ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. What a surprise! This explained much about her physical characteristics. However, her rambunctious, smart, energetic and fun-loving self is pure and unequivocal Boston Terrier.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Perfect Letter

When was the last time you received a handwritten, just-to-you letter, on pretty, even perfume-scented stationary? I don’t remember the last time I did. I have received beaucoup email, text messages, Facebook post responses and other e-messages. But hand-written letter? Nada.

When I was a kid, I had a number of pen pals and I relished writing them long, juicy, letters about all the things in my world, which of course, I thought were magical and creative. I talked about my adventures in grammar school. I wrote about my Barbie and Ken and their latest antics at my hand. I told about my horseback riding lessons and the pizza I made with my mother. And when I got their letters back, I loved every word and every minute of reading about the small and delightful things in their lives.

I remember trips to Scrantoms, the stationary and office supply store in the city and sadly long gone. A trip to Scrantoms was like Christmas. I’d pore over the boxes of multi-colored and decorated letter paper until I came across just the right one. Then, the pen – it had to match, and Lord knows Scrantoms had a huge selection. Finally – sealing wax – do you remember that? The seal, the color of the wax, all critical elements of what just had to be – the perfect letter!

The letters were an investment in these friendships. They took time, effort, and pleasure in their writing, and handed great glee in their receipt and reading. Somewhere I have a box of stationary around. It is old, but that’s okay. It’s time to bring it out and let some people how much I truly care.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Mighty Mt. Vesuvius

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mt. Vesuvius – when we traveled to Italy last summer, I became totally obsessed with Mt. Vesuvius and the once-buried city of Pompeii. It was a magnet against which I had no control. It is a magnet that is active, that is full of magma at some deep level, and that hisses and emits plumes of hot steam near its base. The word from experts is not “if,” but “when” it will one day repeat its spectacularly horrific performance over Pompeii.

The infamous eruption that buried Pompeii occurred in 79 A.D. The city had experienced a series of preceding earthquakes with a major one in 62 A.D. that did considerable damage to the city’s quite advanced infrastructure. As the time for the major eruption neared, seismic activity in the area increased, but having been used to their ground regularly shaking, most citizens went about their business as usual.

On an August day, it was after the noon hour that all hell broke loose and a huge cloud exploded into the sky while the ground shook, and poisonous gases and ash spewed all over the city of Pompeii. Many people gathered some belongings and escaped while others decided to hunker down and wait it out. The ones who waited literally smothered to death.

Visiting the city of Pompeii was like walking on sacred ground where the ghosts of those who died whisper in the bakeries, bathhouses and brothels that remain crumbled in the ruins. Most haunting are the casted remains of those who died in exactly the positions in which they died. When the ash came, it encased the bodies and when it cooled, it made actual casts of the bodies as seen in the photo.

Vesuvius has had a few belches since 79 A.D., including one in 1631 that destroyed the city of Naples which lies at its base, and one in 1944, during WW II. No one was injured in the latter eruption, but lava and ash ruined bomber military planes and other equipment that were stationed at the Pompeii Airport. Since then there have been many small earthquakes.

Now comes the issue of “when.” As the only active volcano in Europe, the city of Naples has precariously draped itself in an area surrounding the volcano’s bottom. Scientist Michael Sheridan of the University of Buffalo says Vesuvius is due for a major blow as catastrophic, or even more so, than the one that destroyed Pompeii. The city has designed emergency plans for an eruption, but these plans don’t cover the magnitude of a Pompeii-style one that could completely destroy this thriving port city.

So, what if? What then? The answers are out of our control. And those in Vesuvius’ shadow can only respect their mighty neighbor and bear witness to the havoc she may one day wreak upon them.

Posted in Uncategorized
Old Stuff

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,643 other followers

PetSaver Healthy Pet SuperStore

PetSaver Healthy Pet Superstore in Rochester New York is the best locally pet store. PetSaver carries the best natural pet food, healthy treats, raw food, pet toys and pet supplies. PetSaver features a Self Wash, with wash tubs at all locations, Webster, Brighton, Greece and Victor

lucia's blog

Strive to understand and not to judge.

Pauline Hawkins

Writer. Teacher. Dreamer.

Life After College with Tammie

"Your career is your business, so manage it like a CEO." - Dorit Cher

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

A Little Bit Softer Now.

Reflections on Popular Culture, Writing, and Tai Chi

copyright1982

sarah cedeño

Culture Collage

Lori D. Nolasco

How to Live Write

Advice for freelance writers about making money online.

Read.Learn.Write

Words unlock worlds

Dana Griffin

Author of Airline Thriller Novels

harrisonjones

aviation author blog

Existence At It's Best

Another Blog From William Kelly

Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors

Advice on Writing, Publishing, and Book Promotion

%d bloggers like this: