Monday, May 29, 2006

Purple Hearts and the Ultimate Sacrifice

Thank you, Big Brother, for your service on our behalf. Thank you, Daddy for your term in the Army/Air Force. Both of you look quite dashing in your uniforms; the photos left me breathless with pride and love. And special thanks to my uncles, both living and dead, for your service, so greatly appreciated, to our nation.

And God keep you, Grampa, among the heroes who faced danger and death to keep our liberties intact. Your wounds were a source of worshipful awe for this granddaughter; your stories never, ever lost their luster. You were always the champion, the exemplar of GI Joe, the bringer of our good life and freedom. A god to me.

This is only the second Memorial Day that I include my Great-Uncle Henry Leander Baker, my Grampa's close friend. It amazes me to learn this after a half-century on earth: we had a dearly loved, great-uncle who was lost on Armistice's Day at the end of World War I . To my great-uncle and his ever-grieving sister, my Grammy: thank you for your sacrifices.

God bless all our war casualties, our martyred heroes. And Heaven console their bereaved families with the knowledge that we do, indeed, humbly and gratefully remember their sacrifices.

Purple Hearts and the Ultimate Sacrifice. A lifetime of gratitude? We hope to live the lives he wanted for us. Otherwise "Thank You" could never be enough.

Little Pond

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Get it?

Just to show you what a smarty-pants I am, this photo will be added to the Multiple Sclerosis Companion as my profile. A work-buddy and I finally zeroed in on the meaning and illustration of the term ms companion.

Coincidentally, the closest mscompanion system is Sirius, the Dog Star. A fact that was totally lost on Ellie, but rather enchanted me.

The simplest explanation I can give is that a Main Sequence COMPANION is a star that revolves around another, and is as bright as, or brighter than our sun, rather like an humongous nuclear reactor. This is what I call a "Stephen Hawkins moment." Whenever I peruse A Brief History of Time, I clearly understand what he writes. As soon as the book is closed, my brain totally reverts back to not really understanding what I supposedly just learned. People talk about how we stand on the shoulders of giants; I usually lose my balance and tumble down pretty quickly.

Now, for anyone who thinks I spend too much time with my little doggie, I should point out that I am typing while perched on the edge of my seat. Miss Patches Snowboots is asleep behind my behind, and DeeDee, the crybaby, is running back and forth, from my lap to the desktop (though thankfully not on the keyboard). Scroll down if you aren't already heartily sick of kitty photos.

Enough astro-physics. My head hurts.

Little Pond

Friday, May 26, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

It's already begun here in the Southern Tier. School is out for the four day weekend. The same is not true for Pennsylvania children or for most working people. We have no firm plans. MammaDog has left Ellie with us, and will camp with her other two dogs. We will spoil and "whisper" Ellie.

Five on Friday is pointed to the weekend too:

1. No one has died on the battlefield in our family since World War I. We were very fortunate in Korea, Viet Nam and the Gulf Wars, so far.

2. We visit family when we go to the cemetery. I might add that none of us will ultimately lay there.

3. Truly significant dates need to be maintained. Otherwise there is no harm in adjusting, as long as it doesn't insult our living veterans. Unless I am taught differently, I'm fine with the weekend thing.

4. I don't need a memorial. I don't get that, although it is clear that others need to feel they will live on somehow.

5. As with every day, living with MS leads to very light planning. We may visit family, but have made no hard plans to celebrate Memorial Day. Didn't even buy hot dogs or watermelon!

In fact, I hope to have some time to blog. Period.

Little Pond

Saturday, May 20, 2006


The other day, I wanted something from my blog while I was online elsewhere. Maybe in Outlook. I typed "patspond" into the Google bar on my desktop and got this.

Good Lord, what a riot! It's amazing how some people can dream up ways to spend their time and playmoney. Reminds me of the econ exercise in high schools where we followed stock market shares.

Go there if you have a blog. It's probably in there.

Little Pond

Friday, May 19, 2006

No longer much of a bookworm, but

Five on Friday deals with reading.

1- The last book I finished was Dress Your Best by Clinton Kelly and Stacy London. I wonder if a cocktail table book qualifies; the next one is too. I got them both for my birthday.

2- I am working through Atomic Kitchen by Brian S. Alexander. We are always intriqued by the mentality behind the mid-century excitement with all things atomic or futuristic.

3- Library card? I feel like I own the Steele Memorial. As a taxpayer, I guess I do.

4- Starting in the new book section, looking for favorite authors and topics, I grab up anything that speaks to the moment.

5- The best read in high school was Dracula by Bram Stoker. The worst was a very strange book about a poor dying migrant in Europe. It was in Basque or Catalan, both dialects of French or Spanish. It was interesting to realize that reading does not require complete understanding, and that was the point of the exercise.

Dracula would depress me now; it terrified me back then.

We are all readers in both our families. VeggieGirl probably reads less than any of us, because she has always been extremely farsighted. No glasses directly at hand makes reading much less attractive for her. RJ and I are both getting a taste of this ourselves as our eyes age and reading glasses become necessary.

We are embarking on a weekend of Dog Whispering: Ellie needs to be untrained from guard-dog barking and pulling the leash. So far, so good. I especially want to relieve her of the chore of guarding me while we walk. It served a purpose when I was very ill, and even afraid to go out. Now it's sad to see her trying to protect me from visiting walkers. Time to take back the lead.

Little Pond

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

One Less Thing to Do...

...before I die. I just learned that a person I was looking for has been dead for two years. We moved away shortly after he went to prison for murder, many years ago. We wrote to wish him luck and an eventual good life.

I think we sent another note later, after we moved, maybe a holiday card. It was an extremely traumatic thing for us, because he murdered my friends. Circumstances and his own personal traumas contributed to the murder, and he was hospitalized for mental illness.

Sensational murders are easy to follow, but the perpetrators are not. They age and change, are set free and find another life. As anonymously as possible. A news item regarding a local murder brought this person back to mind. I googled his name and "parole." Bingo.

It took a while, but he did eventually find short-lived happiness. That is to say, he died a happy, well-loved, young man. His widow hopes to bring his story to the public. Through the magic of the Internet, she already has, in a very small way.

And I am so very glad she did.

Little Pond

Sunday, May 14, 2006

With Love, pb

Seems like I've been typing stuff into computers forever. Even though I no longer want to rearrange the innards of the darned things, I still feel almost an affection for them. They don't scare me: l can be pretty handy with the right tool. When Husband RJ and I got our first home Internet connection, we knew that our world changed. We instantly melded with the web and could not survive without it. Even today, the very thought of a day without our fix(es) can prevent a much-needed upgrade.

It seemed inevitable that I would start some sort of site. Actually, I thought my husband would precede me. (He did, but it was through his job and didn't give him much joy.) The Internet attracted me; I wanted to be part of it. Visiting sites daily and commenting became a way of life. I found real connection to other people and their worlds.

The bug never bit until I emailed a snapshot to a blogger in my original home state of Massachusetts. RJ had photographed a squirrel with an unusual tail. Sissy was not impressed and suggested we faked it. Miffed, I replied that I wished I hadn't sent it. She thought I needed a tougher skin if I wanted anything to do with the Internet.

I answered the challenge with two posts, making Sissy my blogmother.

Hooked. So terribly hooked.

There are now a few blogs on my roster, most notably the MSCompanion. Through that site (and this!) I have met so many wonderful people, some of whom are now family. All are cherished and keep my email quite busy.

Two sites have been updated by my talented blogsister, Karen, and I hope to update some more. Content-wise, my favorite is "Wusses." It's rather like vanity publishing: only my opinion counts (to date). Redesigning has become another addiction.

Fortunately, blogging and site-redesign aren't fattening. And my BlogSis makes it full of surprises, and fun.

My blogrolls are rather like extended family. I still check in with them often. To those who find yourself in the Little Pond: Welcome, and thank you to all commenters and silent visitors. And emailers. By the way, I no longer monitor traffic to my sites. Counts don't count any more.

Not all my sites are currently active. Some were really one-shot deals, collections of photos of the moment. They filled a need that has passed; others will occasionally be reactivated. Traffic and commenting are fine. I admit I love to hear from everyone. But. No comment; no problem. After one year of blogging, I know one thing for sure.

The Little Pond, with all its feeder creeks, still pools and choppy whitewaters, and peopled by both family and guests, has been my gift to myself. I blog because I enjoy it, and I will continue to blog as long as I do.

Happy Bloggiversary to all of you sharing it with me.

Sissy, I haven't forgotten: Happy Mother's Day to my Everloving BlogMother.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, both biological, and spiritual. May Heaven fill your arms with children wherever you go, that they may gladden your heart with love and laughter.

Little Pond

Friday, May 12, 2006

Time for Spring Cleaning!

We are actually going to do it, too. We are looking for a home-owners' loan for the roof and bathroom. So this weekend is dedicated to making our Little Pond look its best for the appraisers. The old dump's gotta shine!

So Five on Friday is particularly apt:

1 I have two stages of spring cleaning: first the winter is swept away, along with all the winter clothing and outerwear, throws and heavy curtains. Then the house is prepped for summer, all light colors and wreaths, awnings opened down, and dusted, and painting to freshen all the stuff that shows in the summer sun.

2 Husband RJ's room is messier than even the attic. He's a piler and an accumulator.

3 Whoever can stand to do a job regularly, does it. The other one occasionally helps. Seems to work for us because RJ is a tidier, and I am a white tornado sort of cleaner.

4 I hate anything that requires a ladder, inside or out. Makes me tired and nervous, just typing about it.

5 We need to remove the day-to-day yardwork because it ties up RJ so very much, especially the mowing. For me, cleaning the kitchen appliances. I am much more likely to just replace them, and in a kitchen that has no really outdoor exhaust, we are always cleaning.

Ellie's gone to Golden Glow, so all the puppy snot is getting cleaned off the windows, and we can actually clean the floors and carpets. Gonna toss the various pet-afghans, too.

Little Pond

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fractals and Failure

I hate Blogger. Because some days it is very difficult for me to compose. Today Blogger is anathema.

I t was a beautiful post about fractals and the weather, and summer and rain. So many things, so many paragraphs. And it didn't take. Blogger simply failed.

I've lost the moment. Blogger sucks.

Update: Didn't fail. Just took its own sweet time. Long, long time. Still seems sucky, though. Post below.

Fractals and Mysticism

Took Ellie to the levee today. We are expecting rain, and need exercise before the long, rainy seige predicted by the Weather Channel. She's pretty good about walking where I lead her, but obviously bears in mind that we cannot walk close to one another. MS makes me clumsy and more than once I have fallen directly on my poor little mutt. She pulls ahead, looking back for my direction. It must be confusing for her. My commands come frequently, sometimes cooing and reassuring, other times sharp and insistent. She must lead, and still obey.

Everywhere I could see fractals this morning. In the skies, in the trees and bushes, and in the flowing river. Even in Ellie's fur. Now, I know full well that everything relates to fractals, but today I drank in the moments, each and every one. The utter profusion of greenery, and especially its dynamism, its growth, was arresting. One could watch the plants growing, just as surely as we can watch the clouds billow and move across the sky.

Unfortunately, the pollen was swirling in fractal-like clouds. Despite the cool, gray breezes, or maybe because of them, we hurried home. The air is even now completely sated, full, pregnant with rain, as they say. I am looking forward to the cleansing. I will eagerly watch the pollen, catkins and seedpods, as they are washed down the streets into the Chemung River.

Our home is watertight, warm and dry, but I can still feel the heavy air. The birds are chirping less and less, and it will soon rain. Ellie sits outside, watching for pigeons and squirrels that are gradually losing interest in taunting her. My neighbor's flag flutters first in one direction, then droops, and then flutters in the opposite direction.

Right now I am content to wait in silence. I anticipate relief from the asthma, a moratorium on what will surely be an oppressively muggy summer. The years have taught me well: welcome the gloomy days. They prepare our hearts for the bright sunshine that will surely follow.

Little Pond

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Rant back in March

Left a bad taste in my mouth. I want very much not to be misunderstood. That goes for my ranting about the current illegal immigrant situation.

Muslims, like many immigrants from the world over, are certainly welcome here. However, they must be friendly visitors, or eager assimilators. And they certainly are. At least, my neighbors here in the city of Elmira and its environs. Not to mention the thousands of Muslim Americans to be found in New York City, some of whom are longtime friends of mine.

Fortunately, the mainstream media are constantly looking to wring the last little bit of news and entertainment from every item, including the War on Terror. My employer, the Elmira Star-Gazette, is no exception. I was pleased to find the following stories in this morning's paper:

Well, of course. And nobody doubts that. But people who dress differently are sure to be noticed, and judged according to the higher-profile members of their group. Right now terrorists, both male and female, dress the same as our good citizens. (Remember, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth both dressed appropriately for the Americans of their times.)
So what's left to say? Our local Muslims' "take" on extremists can be found here, at least one person's. And their opinions on current events here and here. Unfortunately, there is no link to the lady who detailed harassment and compassion, both targeting her in the the recent past.
Our local Muslims continue to wear their distinctive head coverings, again both male and female. And they are not all of Middle East origin. There are converts and their families all around us. I wouldn't give them a second look beyond the brief greeting or acknowlegement normally exchanged in our streets and marketplace. And Elmira is a friendly place, never doubt that.
We are all Elmirans together. Were I to run into any of our local Muslim families, or our local Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, etc, in Disney World, the Caribbean or elsewhere, it would definitely be "Old Home Week" for the next few hours, or even the rest of the trip.
That's part of the American experience, and why I love this country. The War on Terror will continue, and things will all shake out. They always do. In the meantime, remember who your neighbors are. Very rarely does religion make us enemies.
(My apologies for the poor formating of this post, and its subsequent poor readability. Something is wrong with Blogger, and it won't let me at carriage returns.)
Little Pond

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Relaxed Weekend on Tap

I expect to blog on the fly over the next two days. We are preparing the Presario for a major cleaning and overhaul. It's going slower and slower, and we suspect our firewall and anti-spyware. Blogging is becoming torture. So let's catch up before we sign off.

First a little weekend whimsey from Shelley at BurningBird. Love this sort of stuff!

Then let's calm down with Bonita. You know, cows and sheep always seem serene to me. Then scroll down for some relevant giggles, for those of us who got older this past week. All courtesy of Flitzy Phoebie.

Believe it or not, we did not celebrate Cinco the Mayo. But I bet MammaDog certainly did, and is sleeping off the Tequila even as I blog. To atone, I'm including Criminal Grace's contribution to the holiday.

1--Got this one wrong, although I really know better. It comemmorates a particular battle. It's just easier to call it their "July 4th."
2--I am fluent in Spanish and can follow various dialects. Heck, I dream in the darned language.
3--Never been to Mexico; I went over the pond instead, to Iberia.
4--I'm really not into celebrating my past. Especially the unpleasant past, such as battles. I am who I am. Today.
5--Tequila is a no-no for me. Like fancy Champagne, Tequila makes me a very naughty girl.

The absolute acme of Cinco de Mayo in the Southern Tier of New York is found at Garcia's. We are always well-received at the one in Elmira Heights. When MammaDog, VeggieGirl and I arrive, the party begins, holiday or not!

That's it for now. Watch this entry for additions this weekend.

Little Pond

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Verdict

Absolutely correct. No martyrdom. And the possibility, but not certainty, of a conversion of heart. Not insane, just a fanatic.

He will be so well treated, but shunned, that he would not be able to avoid the comparison with Islamic law. No Islamic criminal in the MidEast ever had it so good.

God is Great, Indeed!

Little Pond

Never would have guessed it...

but I still have signs of asthma. All day yesterday, in fact, and into this morning.

It started with a walk through the neighborhood with Ellie. She stopped to sniff and mark, and a cloud of pollen came floating off a nearby birch. I held my breath and moved as quickly as I could.

Later, my sister and I toured the Corning Glass Works. Just the historical and collections exhibit. Immediately on entering the glassed-in rooms, we detected what seemed to me the smell of burned wax. Got used to it pretty quick. Further into the labyrinth I began to cough. Asthmatic cough. Pammy sneezed, deep, nasty sneezes that seemed to come from her esophagus, rather than her nose. Asthma again. We used albuterol and beat a hasty retreat. Not easy to do there. Labyrinth was descriptive, not hyperbole.

Red-faced, teary-eyed, and out of breath. We were a mess, especially me, and we decided to find lunch at a local Mexican cafe. Asthma colored the remainder of the trip, although we managed to hit the outlet store and fully shop for kitchenwares. Sheer determination carried us home.

I'm still having the cough and watery eyes. It doesn't help that I need to do laundry. Must-do, however. Back on the antihistamines and hope for the best. Good thing I'm still off work.

Little Pond