Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lee and Sylvia

Jenn, Sylvia, and LeRoy went to Macomb to support Darleen and Rudy!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Newly Done Deck

Ian is the "Handy Man Can" guy!

This weekend he took out my old crappy deck and installed an amazing new one that is about twice as big and much more interesting to boot. Ian is super sensitive and managed to install the new deck without harming the perennial plants in the ground. Virtually anyone else would have trashed the place.

I can now spread many of my bonsai all over the deck and actually see and enjoy them. He did an amazing job but most importantly, the dogs love it. They can now sit all over, between and among the bonsai; each one, dog and bonsai, is in his/her own space. (As always, click once or twice on photos to enlarge them.)

I am in the final pages of my latest "read": - eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Some nuggets: -
"Instead of trying to forcefully take thoughts out of your mind, give your mind something better to play with. Something healthier. Like love."

"Your ego - - - keeps you feeling separate, - - - tries to convince you that you're flawed and broken and alone instead of whole. Your ego's - only job is to keep itself in power."

"There's no trouble in this world so serious that it can't be cured with a hot bath, a glass of whiskey and the Book of Common Prayer.

"Seva is the Sanskrit term for spiritual practice of selfless service."

"God dwells within you, as you."

"In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: 'Do not think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite.'"

"You can do Yoga, but Yoga too hard. Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. - - - Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, make you sick. You can calling good energy with a smile." (Ketut Liyer)

"I think about religion, most of it is same-same. - - - I have good idea, for if you meet some person from different religion and he want to make argument about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you.' Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion." (Ketut Liyer)

"Bhuta ia, dewa ia." - "Man is demon, man is a god. The ingredients for both darkness and light are equally present in all of us, - - - it's up to the individual to decide which will be brought forth-the virtues or the malevolence." So what can we do about the craziness of the world? Nothing. "This is the nature of the world. Worry about your craziness only-make you in peace."

Yourself to yourself, "I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you."

"An oak tree is brought into being by two forces at the same time. Obviously there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well-the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution out of nothingness to maturity. In this respect say the Zens (Bhuddists), it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born."

With thanks and apologies to Elizabeth Gilbert from, Eat, Pray, Love"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not just another pretty face - - -

What we have come to call Icelandic Sheepdogs today were in the past good old fashioned all around farm dogs for centuries in Iceland. They were great at what they did and how they fit into the everyday life of the Icelanders. They were truly part of the families. Their looks are really nice but it was what they did that was important to the survival of those herders and farmers.

There are still people who try to take advantage of those special traits in Icelandics for herding, tirelessly working, getting along fabulously with humans that we all love in our dogs.

Doing the recommended health tests and using the results of those tests to produce puppies in such a way as to increase the overall genetic health of Icelandics is important to every serious, conscientious breeder.

Using their innate temperaments in herding, therapy visits, agility. obedience, search and rescue, etc. continues to take advantage of the unique traits of our special dogs.

It is my hope for the future of our dogs that we use them in ways that are natural for them.

The best predictor of future performance or behavior is past performance or behavior.

If we capitalize on what is there, the future for Icelandics is secure.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Empty Family - Colm Toibin

With apologies to Mr. Toibin - - - - from his fantastic short story book The Empty Family: -

"The sight of the waves miles out, their dutiful and frenetic solitude, their dull indifference to their fate, made me want to cry out, - - - It came to me then that the sea is not a pattern, it is a struggle. Nothing matters against the fact of this. The waves were like people battling out there, full of consciousness and will and destiny and an abiding sense of their own beauty.

- - - - - I turned and moved fast, focusing on a wave I had selected for no reason. There was whiteness and greyness in it and a sort of blue and green. It was a line. It did not toss, nor did it stay still. It was all movement, all spillage, but it was pure containment as well, utterly focused just as I was watching it. It had an elemental hold; it was something coming towards us as though to save us but it did nothing instead, it withdrew in a shrugging irony, as if to suggest that this is what the world is, and our time in it, all lifted possibility, all complexity and rushing fervor, to end in nothing on a small strand, and go back out to rejoin the empty family from whom we had all set out alone with such a burst of brave unknowing energy."

This is a marvelous, insightful, poetic book of short stories!

The climbing hydrangea is flowering now in June while it clings to the bricks of my chimney. It may bring the chimney down; hopefully that will not happen in my lifetime! (Click to enlarge.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Farmers' Market today

I could not resist the wooden folding chairs with brass fittings and leather seats. They look like they might have been from the 1920's or 1930's. Does anyone know anything about them? They are too handsome to sit on; I was thinking of hanging them on the walls - if I could find room. I bought them from a very distinguished looking man named Evan Blackhawk from Novi, Michigan who specializes in rare desirable books and paper. I'll think of him every time I look at his chairs.

I think the phone looks like one that my Grandparents Niels Marius Antoni and Maren Elisabeth Hansen had in their dining room on a secretary desk when I was growing up. The phone works but you have to dial, of course, and there is no redial, memory, screen, caller I.D., et cetera. I know I date myself when I receive a wrong number and I say to the caller, "You must have dialed the wrong number." Virtually no one "dials" any more. "Vieux Pet", as the French say!

I also found a wonderful house-warming present, sixteen champagne flutes with green stems and a rose ball allegedly from Hungary, but I think I had better use them myself instead because I might not be around when their house and/or my cottage is finished. The seller, of course, said that they had never been used. I will use them. Jackie O. always had a few bottles of champagne chilling. I always have one in the fridge just in case - - - - - . You never know. (My current one is only half-full. The rest must have evaporated - perhaps while I was reading "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett last night. One never knows, do one?)

I can go months without finding anything I like at the Sunday market and then, bam, I see some great stuff. There was a wonderful Eames chair for $350 in great condition. It would make the third of a threesome, T & J.

(Click on photos once or twice to enlarge them.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Luca's Boat Ride to Canada and Back

Luca's Boat Ride to Canada and Back


Luca took his first trip to a foreign country today on the Dream Queen boat. We left at 1:00 in the afternoon, followed the Detroit River northeast towards Lake St. Clair, went under the Bell Isle Bridge, circled around and crossed the river going south to beautiful Windsor where we followed the shoreline to the Ambassador Bridge and beyond. We then followed the Detroit shoreline again. We saw the People Mover that we rode a few weeks ago, many historic old buildings and some newer ones before returning to the docks.

The top photo came from Jennifer who works at GM in downtown Detroit. The GM RenCen is near to the dock for the Dream Queen.

There were so many things to see that we had a hard time focusing on everything.

We saw a boat called the Bristol Bay, named after a body of water in Alaska. The Bristol Bay has two jobs. It is both an ice breaking tug boat and it also works with weather buoys and aids-to-navigation buoys from Lake St Clair through the Detroit river and all the way to the western basin of Lake Erie to near Cleveland, Ohio.

We saw some of the buoys with numbers on them in the water on our trip.

As an ice breaker the Bristol Bay was designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice, but can break ice more than three feet (36 inches) thick by backing and ramming the ice. We did not see any ice today!

Look at the attached photo of the Bristol Bay. It's hard to imagine that it can crush through that much ice. It breaks through the ice in order to keep the shipping channels open for the freighters. The red brick building behind the Bristol Bay was built in 1875 (I think).

All along the river on both sides, the Canadian and the U.S., we saw many people fishing. Luca saw several people putting bait on their fishing rods and even saw some catch fish.

We went under the Belle Isle Bridge which was built in 1923 and was named for General Douglas MacArthur in 1942. The bridge connects the city of Detroit with the island called Belle Isle, which means beautiful island in French. Belle Isle was designed as a park by Frederick Law Olmstead—the nation’s greatest landscape architect. It was opened in August 29, 1881 so it is more than 100 years old. We were not sure our boat would fit under the beautiful arches - but it did! There are two boat clubs along this stretch of water, the Detroit Boat Club and the Detroit Yacht Club.

There are many beautiful apartments, condos and homes lining both sides of the Detroit River and also many marinas where people store their pleasure and fishing boats.

For a while we had the city of Detroit on one side of the boat and Belle Isle on the other side.

After we got to the end of the island, we crossed the Detroit River and rode into Canada on the boat. We then rode along the river by Canadian shoreline crossing over the top of the tunnel to Canada which is under the Detroit River.

There was a neat sculpture park along the Windsor shoreline that we'll have to go visit one day.

From the front of our boat where the Canadian flag was flying we could see the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international border crossing in North America. More than 25 percent of all merchandise trade between the United States and Canada crosses the bridge.

We also went under the Ambassador Bridge and then turned around and crossed the river for the second time.

If Luca has his passport, we could go through the tunnel to Windsor and then back over the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit on one of our adventure days.

We saw the J. W. Westcott II mail boat that delivers mail to passing freighters. It's the only boat that has its very own special ZIP code 48222.

The company was founded in 1874 by Great Lakes Captain J. W. Westcott. Captain Westcott used a rowboat to deliver ship's orders to passing vessels. In 1895 he began delivering mail as well.

The company has been operating for over 100 years! To send mail to a vessel on the Great Lakes that passes through Detroit, you address it to:

(Vessel name)
Marine Post Office
Detroit, Michigan

There are some photos of the mail boat delivering mail to one of the two freighters we saw while we were on the Detroit River. We were told that this south bound freighter was carrying grain and that was why it was low in the water. The other freighter we saw was going north to pick up ore to make steel and was riding high because it was empty.

When we got back on land we found that all the electricity in Detroit was down probably because of the use of air conditioners. All the businesses, colleges, the People Mover and all the traffic lights were not working. Nana very cleverly got on I-75 and drove all the way home safely. Even though it was not rush hour yet, it was extremely crowded with people trying to get home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kata, wounded

Kata and I went to a trial last weekend and N-Q'd. She had been among the walking wounded for more than three weeks thanks to a tiff with her house-sister Huld and was not fully recovered. She had missed three weeks of classes and practice. The trial was in a non-air-conditioned sports building and was extremely hot and humid. The outside thermometer on my car said 101 degrees F when we left. I will NEVER take my dogs to that trial again even though it was only half an hour from home and sponsored by my obedience/agility club.

This afternoon we rested and enjoyed the yard after our morning class with Pila and Kria.

Can you find the dogs in the photos? Click once or twice to enlarge them. (Small hint: there is one photo with no dog - a rare occurrence in my yard; it's virtually impossible to avoid having one of my camera hogs in a photo.)