Saturday, December 03, 2011

Pets keep us in sync with the Universe

When the RiverDog first arrived, she came just in time to set me on the road to recovery from a series of Multiple Sclerosis exacerbations.  She was just a little nipper who hadn't yet grown past her ears.

In need of many walks, my little buddy soon had me tramping the neighborhoods, getting us both in shape.

Now we are tied to the Chemung River, were she can run off-leash, and I can watch for unusual birds migrating through our flyway.  We were both able to enjoy a few years of running and hiking.

Unfortunately, Time intervened, and neither of us has a claim on immortality.  I am only too aware of her doggie lifespan, and she can sense mine.  Time is slowly claiming us, and we know it.

In another five or six years we will both likely settle back into enforced idleness, our walks confined to the city sidewalk nearer home.  And somehow--just by accident?--we are once again synched.

People with MS live shorter lives than others.  Doggies do too.

Maybe neither of us will have to leave the other.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Night-Mariah before Christmas

Not nice, Mariah!  You are way too old to be sharing bubble-gum music, let alone a whole video, with Justin Bieber.
Mariah, you have become that creepy older woman who is trolling around for boys, so she can initiate them into the "mysteries" of adult love.

And shaking your butt in a Santa Outfit should be reserved for "Adult" Christmas parties.

Stay away from our teenaged boys, Lady.

BTW, I have deliberately NOT linked to the video.  It disgusts me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Grammy's Poem: A true story

Armistice - And Irony
I can see them yet, as they marched away,
So debonair, so brave, so gay!
I can see them yet, as they turned to wave,
The smiles erased from their faces grave.
And as I stood there, turned to stone,
The sun's last glint from their rifles shone.

I can still see my Mother, with face so white
And my Father, standing so still,
Trying to think that all was right,
Trying to feel like it was God's will.
Yes, we all tried to be as brave as they,
As my husband and brother marched away.

After many a weary month and long
Came the news, more cheering than the happiest song.
The whistles were blowing, the bells were ringing.
Everywhere people were shouting and singing.
"The War is over at last" cried they,
And the sad old World became hysteric'ly gay.
We looked at each other through tears of joy
And Mother murmered softly, "My boy, my boy!".

Happy plans for their return we made.
I tremble even now, as these mem'ries fade.
"Killed in action", the telegram bore.
"Killed in action"; weary brain repeated o'er and o'er.
Yes, the bells were ringing,
They should have tolled!
The sound of bells will turn me faint and cold
My brother had died the day before.

Veteran's Day on the Chemung River.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No more to say.

Saw an editorial today that spoke the last word on Michael Jackson.
My generation saw many of our idols destroyed by drugs throughout the last forty years.  Drugs, drugs, drugs:  death, death, death.  Heartache and heart break.

I thought MJ turned from an almost obnoxious child star into a handsome, suave, intelligent performer.  He completely enthralled me with "Billie Jean."  A fan for life, his and mine both.

The sorry, sad spiral began at that point:  from cute to crazy, from sexy to scary.

It had to end in such a dismal, wretched waste.  Absolutely had to.  It just took Michael a very long time to self-destruct.

The guilty of negligent man-slaughter was more collateral damage: a sick side show with a cautionary moral exclamation point. 

The Main Event is still lost forever.

Leonard Pitts nailed it in the Miami Herald.

There is no more to say.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Eldridge park and river cat

So many adjustments to the camera for this strangely green November!  The late foliage allows small animals to forage on the river bank, almost unseen. 

Eldridge Park is an odd mixture of greens and blues and reds.  Very unusual at this time of year.

Mind you, it is still near freezing, and neither the HuggaMutt nor I can stay out as long as we like.  This weekend my poor little buddy is showing her age, and sleeps in late in the morning.  She also naps out very early in the evening.

Little Pond

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Chicken of the Corn!

This is what you get if you let your fowl run free.  Looking for a handout.  Scared the hell out of me.  Perfect for Halloween.

Of course it doesn't scare my little country cousin Violet.  Nor my beloved HuggaMutt, either.  This is no mean rooster, either:  just one of the several hens that provide MammaDog and her family with eggs.  Notice how Ellie doesn't begin to frighten the darned thing.

When Ellie is running free, they know enough to get out of her way.  I have no doubt she'd like to catch them, if only for the sport of it. 

Remember Lady and the Tramp?  Just tear 'em up a bit.

Little Pond

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Making Murphy Tough

Violet is a child who really should have a dog.  Unfortunately, that dog would be Ellie, the HuggaMutt.  Our Ellie is middle aged--nine--and just not up to the rigors of a rambunctious, to say the very least, toddler.

Right now, the focus of her aggressions and impulses is Little Brother Murphy.  Violet throws herself at and onto Murphy any chance she gets. 
Interestingly enough, Murphy doesn't mind.  He just sucks it all up.

On the other hand, when Ellie wants to "kiss" Murphy, usually when the little guy is sticky from a recent meal or snack, the little rug-rat often gets a very unhappy look on his face.  We usually rescue him before he dissolves in tears.

Not so with Big Sister.  We all know from past experience that Big Sisters have a job to do; they must toughen up their little sibling.

So far, all is well with the world.

Little Pond

Monday, October 03, 2011

Don't even ask!

The hot and cold, but very wet summer is giving way to a cool, rather wet fall.

This makes for breezy, comfortable days and cool, just-made-for-sleeping nights.

This does not make for pretty, multi-colored foliage.  Green or brown, or, if we are lucky, yellow leaves are falling.  Everything else is still green.

I even go out without my camera.  Just can't remember to bring it, somehow.  This is from my cellphone.


Little Pond

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poor baby.

Broken Dew Claw.
Four weeks restricted activity.  Plastic baggie to go outdoors.  But, she's only got a tiny chip broken off the carpal area.

Little Pond

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hot, wet summer equals... unusual abundance of apples;
Apples hanging in clusters like grapes.

The whole tree is just full.

They look wonderful, but unfortunately they are inedible.

We don't use any commercial pesticides, because of our pets.

They look like little gems hanging there. 

Both trees are covered from top to bottom.
We can't allow people to pick them, because of the liability in case of injury.  We do allow our neighbors to collect the ones from the ground.  They feed them to horses, or use them to establish hunting areas for deer.  We can only hope that they all fall soon, because there is a time limit involved.  Hunters are not allowed to create such lures during the hunting season.  Only the state can do that, for purposes of thinning the herds.

Kind of an ugly reality, but really necessary up here.  Best to hunt them.  Have you ever seen or heard a starving deer?  Ask anyone who lives in the country up here; they have, and it's pitiful.

Little Pond

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Always remember.

I don't like "never forget"  because that would infer "never forgive."  If we are a big enough nation to forgive and rebuild Japan after Pearl Harbor, then perhaps we can look forward to making new allies of old enemies.

We are spending today away from the News Media and with our family.

Speaking of family, my BlogSister Digital Karen stepped in immediatedly to undo the damage done by the "updated Blogger interface."  A new look and a new feel.  And there will be a new blogroll, too.

It's just beautiful!  Take a bow, Karen.  Thank you again!

Little Pond

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Happy Birthday, Freddie!

By now, I have forgiven you for dying so young.  You are alive every time I play your songs.  Nevertheless, I'm still holding a grudge against you for not sharing your condition.  So much could have been done;  you might still be among us.

At least we have your music and we have your videos.  Thanks, Freddie.

Still your loving fan,


And now on a lighter note:

I call this picture:  Don't make me choose!

And apropos of being a Grandma.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Back to normal

Pat's Pond was briefly hijacked by a URL-selling company.   Fortunately, these attacks have been reported to BlogSpot.  Another blogger simply looked for the additional garbage among the HTML in the template.

I searched for those idiots by their url, and sure enough, there it was nestled comfortably in my code.

Ripped it out by the roots.

Jerks.  Everyone be warned.  The correction is simple and can be done right in Blogger.

Little Pond

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not again?!!!

My little buddy has once again had an unfortunate tussle with a local swamp kitty.  We know that there is a huge, positively venerable skunk that forages for grubs in our lawn, but a few nights ago, there had been no sign of it.  Ellie needed to pee before retiring for the night.  I had already gone to bed.

Fifteen minutes out the door slams open and the unmistakable scent of neighborhood polecat wafted in.  My friend came in, tail between her legs and guilt written all over her face.  Never have I popped so quickly out of bed!

In a flash she was being bathed in Dawn dish detergent, then a mixture of dog wash, baking soda and peroxide.  Lather; rinse; repeat.  Still a tad stinky, but no problem:  she can go to the river in the morning!

Uh, oh.  River isn't deep enough even to cover a dachshund:
I should have known that, too.  Earlier we had gone "fishing" down near Brand Park.  I do not go into the Chemung unless it's to rescue somebody or some pet;  I can't count on my swimming skills and wading isn't my forte with MS-disabled legs.

Three days of lather-rinse-repeat, and Ellie now must go back to her other home, stinky or not.

As for Little Pond, well, we are laundering all the linens, spraying the furniture, and will be washing the carpets today and tomorrow.

Pets are a wonder diversion!

Little Pond

Monday, August 08, 2011


The scene is my daughter's birthday party.  A little jello--red, naturally--spills on the porch carpet.

Grammy kneels down to clean up the goop, before it should stain.  A hopeless cause.

The result:
Not so great for a sprained back, but Grampa Randy snatched her up into his arms before there could be any damage.

After he shot the photo, of course.

Little Pond

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yes, but...

This is all I'm going to say about the Casey Anthony verdict:
The jury could not acquit on circumstantial evidence.  I only sporadically watched the "show" and never saw anything but circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.

Personally, it seems to me that it was the best job of stalling ever done to sandbag the local authorities.  Just enough to thoroughly corrupt the evidence.  So now we may never know.

But the jury did their job.  Same as with OJ.

Lay off, armchair justices.

Little Pond

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Merganser at the Chase-Hibbard Dam

Not just the mergansers, either.  Our local fishermen came out in droves to enjoy the shallows and catch a few bass.
Little Pond

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bad dream, good ending

If a scary dream ends well, does that make it a good dream?

Last night I dreamed I attended some sort of somber function, and we had to check our belongings.   When I was ready to leave, I was given my purse.  Then the checker, who was a man, said, "We couldn't find your dog."  Never mind that I hadn't brought her along.

I was furious and frantic, and asked them to help me find Ellie.  They were polite but firm:  if she'd gotten out of the building, they couldn't help me.  I set out to find her myself.

It was one of those neighborhoods, mostly businesses and few pedestrians, that had seen better days.  Everyone was very nice, and kept pointing to different places she might have gone.  I went up and down the streets, calling and calling for her.  Nighttime was falling early, as it does in city areas surrounded by tall buildings.

In the end, I began to check into the alleys, and sure enough, just as soon as I shouted "Ellie!" she came from around a corner.  Then she jumped into my arms and I felt a flood of relief.

And that was it.  I woke and could feel the HuggaMutt pressed against my legs.

Here's the little heroine of my story, standing on a high river wall.  I'm afraid of heights and won't go close enough to get a good perspective.  Ellie is also slightly acrophobic, but it would seem that four legs make one feel more secure.  The water is some 20-30 feet (6-9 meters) below.

Little Pond

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Doe or What?

I got a series of shots of this critter Saturday morning.
Are we looking at a very young male or nursing doe?

Little Pond

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Best (or worst) "Engrish" Comment So Far!

Do you give birth to a pet? I in effect excited when this article comes to my attention. To a great extent captivating:
[url=http://]How to be sure you are giving no greater than the finest for your dogs?

Absolutely nothing to do with my "Downtown" blog, naturally.  Bad thing is, I think I understand what they are trying to say...

Does it get any better than this?

Little Pond

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I guess these are some sort of weed, but I don't recognize them.  I was walking with Ellie on the riverbank and was stopped short by the sweet scent.  Anybody recognize these?

Double click on the photo for an extreme enlargement.

Little Pond

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Our precious storm orphan, Dee Dee, now has a pink belly, fairly bereft of hair.  You may also see that her leg is somewhat hairless on the inside, too.

She shows no distress, and just loves for me to stroke all the bare areas.  I'm afraid it is a sign of age, but never had a cat go bare like this.  Only on the underside.  And no other sign of hair loss any where else. 

Anyone have a clue why?

Little Pond

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Falling Behind.

While I am still on Disability, I have at least had the pleasure of playing my video games.  So much so, that I found a new cheat.  I made a mistake following a time-honored cheat and discovered I could double my pleasure.
I was so excited, I published it on my gaming blog.

Doh!  When I googled it to see if I comes up, it turned out that this has been discovered by many, all on the different platforms.  Final Fantasy IV is still being played by many, many people.

So even though I may sometimes get lonely, apparently I am never alone.

Such is the power of the Internet.

Little Pond

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What's up with all the goldfinches?

Got a bumper crop this year.  Just this week, actually.  Mostly males, too.

Little Pond

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today's Fun Facts

On this day in 1910, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a., Mark Twain) died.  He was later buried here in Elmira in the Woodlawn Cemetery, right next to his beloved Olivia Langdon Clemens and all his children.  Clemens spent many summers at Quarry Farm on a nearby hill, facing the valley.  In fact, he would walk down into Elmira nearly every day to visit with friends.

Not so much Fun?  Well, Samuel Clemens was born the same year that Halley's Comet came into view of the Earth.  He felt it was a momentous omen for his life.  Furthermore, he stated that he "came in with Halley's Comet" and wanted to "go out with Halley's Comet."  He also said it would the "greatest disappointment of my life" if he didn't. 

You may have already guessed that in 1910, Halley's Comet made its last visible pass by our planet.

Little Pond

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Considering new signage

When I get a minute and a frame,  this is going by the door:

No one knows better than we do that 
pet hair is all over our place.

Don't be too shy to ask us for a 
lint roller before you leave.

We have dozens of them.

The Management.


Little Pond

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Duane E. Olthof and Dale Earnhardt

Two names that really don't go together, except this week.

Today Duane, my father-in-law, is being interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York.  He is entitled to a site at the attached National Cemetery, but chose instead to purchase his grave in the regular one, so that the love of his life, Carol Kelly Olthof, can someday be placed alongside him.  They will lie together as long as this world will last.

The funeral was short and sweet, as befits the style of this regular guy and his wife.  Just two hours of visitation, and a short talk by his pastor.  Only then did I finally cry.  We all have been shoring up each other to get through these last five weeks.  Carol has not wept publicly.

Just a good guy.  He and I agreed on very few things, except family, especially the children and grandchildren.  Nevertheless, we loved and respected on another, and he will be sorely missed.

As for Dale, well, the 10 year anniversary of his death is this Friday.  After Ernie Irvan, he was my favorite racer.  I was working the night of Irvan's crash, and I remember handling his photo for publication and whispering "Please don't go."  He didn't.

By the time I worked on anything for Dale, he was already gone.  Dale's Number 3 is the only racing souvenir that I have:  on a belt buckle.

Racing goes way back for me, in a very casual, once-in-a-while way.  The Westboro Speedway was the local big-time venue when I was a teenager.  I went once to watch funny car racing and was astounded that anyone could use nitroglycerin in a car.  Until then, funny cars were simply collectible models my brothers built.

After moving to Elmira, New York, it was inevitable that Watkins Glen got into my psyche.  I have never again attended a race, because I do not wish to ever witness a fatal accident.  Still, I kept an eye on a few racers, Irvan and Earnhardt.  

I thought Irvan was dashing, and Earnhardt daring.  Now both are gone, Irvan from racing, and Earnhardt from amongst us living.  I am still brokenhearted over both, but especially Dale.

Here is a link to a lovely tribute to Dale.  Read and enjoy, and please remember my deceased father-in-law in your prayers to day.  And give a thought to the Intimidator on Friday.

Little Pond

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

For all us winter shut-ins...

Frosted Morning

I know you all are just dying to see our snowy Upstate aftermath, right?  We did not get the huge dump gotten in Boston and other coastal areas.  

Just sort of pretty.  Click here.

Little Pond

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Welcome Winter. Yuck.

My first winter visit to see the GrandKids.  First a scary trip through the poorly plowed streets of Elmira, then a nerve-wracking ride on the River Road between towns, and finally, another scary trip through the streets of Big Flats.

A twelve minute trip took a half-hour, trumped only by the unplowed driveway up to my daughter's home.  I threw old Barbie (you may have guessed that she's a Malibu) into low and began the climb.  Not 10 feet up and we were spinning our wheels.  I rolled back and tried again.  Barbie made it up 20 feet.  I rolled back and got out to walk.

Nothing plowed, nothing shoveled, nothing swept.  I climbed the snow-covered stairs, stopping when I detected a shout.

"Sweetheart!"  In the next door neighbor's yard was a plow, it's driver waving to me.  My daughter opened her front door, looked at me, then at the truck next door, and burst into tears.

I had arrived just in time to plug the entrance to their driveway.  My latest admirer was her father-in-law, arriving unannounced to plow.

The kicker?  My daughter wouldn't allow me to go back to move my car!  She was appalled I had trudged up the hill.  So there I was, preventing the driveway from being plowed, and my daughter nattering at me that I shouldn't have walked up the hill, because of my sprained back.  Never mind that the snow and hill have nothing at all to do with my back.

I felt like a fool.  And now the drive will not be plowed until Sunday.

Little Pond

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Time to Return to Time

The physical stresses of the past year are beginning to ease.  Even a sprained back can't hide the fact that I now feel my hands and feet.  Still rather numb and tingly, but they are there again.  There were times in the summer when there was simply Nobody Home at the ends of my limbs.

And once again, my mind is turning to the Infinite:  this body that has a tenuous hold on the present surely can't last forever.  And what is Forever, anyway, if all times we experience as ongoing, "flowing like a river," are simply the Now?  When the Now is no longer ours, and the body that hold us to it is gone, then Forever becomes the Infinite Now.

So where is all this gobble-de-gook leading us, dearest reader?

Nowhere in particular on this Planet.

It's time to return to writing.  My brain is finally healing.  I have reviewed my previous attempts at the new book and have even culled out a brief chapter.  You can read it here, before I delete it Forever.

This chapter actually led to a nicer one, featuring a certain bountifully gorgeous Diva.  Anyone who knows Diva will recognize here when I finally release the book.

Let the writing begin again!

Little Pond

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cappy's will stay!

Recently there was an unpleasant buzz here in Elmira that Cappy's would soon close.  Regular readers see lots of references to it as the goto store for almost any gift-giving, but especially spur-of-the-moment.  It is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting our downtown shopping areas.

A visit to this site will tell it all.  Lots of photos, too.

But Cappy's is here to stay.  A piece in Sunday's Star-Gazette reassured us Cappy's patrons that all is well.  Joe had a spot of bad health, but he's game for the long term.

Whew!  That was a close call for someone like me.  I'd really miss the place, come Father's or Mother's Day.

Little Pond

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Damned good point

In Leonard Pitts' column today, something caught my eye.

He wrote about how many blacks don't want to rehash the tragedies and injustices of the Jim Crow era.

He's right.

About a decade ago, my dear, now departed, coworker Carolyn Myles reacted very strongly to a Halloween decoration painted by one of our production artists.  It showed the artist hanged from a black tree against a dark sky.  It was meant to be funny, since he was constantly in trouble with the higher ups as a loose cannon.

Carolyn, an Afro-American with ties to family in Baltimore, was not the least bit amused.  She ordered him to take it down.  I can still hear her explaining that we Northerners cannot begin to understand the horror of such an image.  She was very upset, and it was the beginning of my own re-education in the extent of damage done to our black brothers and sisters.

Please, let's not pretend that slavery and brutal discrimination is over and done.  It isn't, and Black Americans will suffer the pain and injustice longer and longer, the more we try to sweep it all under the rug.

And I doubt that cleaning up the language in books like Huckleberry Finn will help matters, either.

Frankly, I thought the book overlong with a rather fairy-tale ending, but the brutality of the language and its accompanying concepts seemed instructive and necessary.

For crying out loud, when is American going to grow up?

Little Pond