Friday, December 14, 2012

Still Grieving

On a brightly sunny morning, Ellie and I returned to her favorite shore near the Gateway of the Chemung River.  Her ashes were scattered to the wind and onto the water, right where she loved to swim.  We were watched only by a lone eagle and three inquisitive gulls, who checked to see if anything good was being offered.
The Chemung will never feel the same for me.  And I am no longer the River Hag with her familiar, a little brindle digger-dog, hunter-dog, RiverDog.
Birders and Hikers:  don't give your heart to a faithful four-footed follower.
She'll break your heart too soon, for sure.  Far too soon.
Little Pond

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rest in Peace, Ellie

June 1, 2002 - November 24, 2012

My Huggamutt Cuddlebum

See you in the morning, Little One.

Love GrammaDog

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Okay here.

Only minor damage here in our downtown.  We are fine; Husband RJ's mom came to ride out the storm here.  For another night, I guess.

RJ and I have a date tonight.  "West Side Story" is playing at our Clemens Center.  The first performance was last night, and the intrepid cast was rewarded by even more intrepid local residents who braved the windstorm to attend.

"West Side Story" was the theme music for our wedding. "A Time For Us" is Our Song.

I know I am going to bawl my eyes out tonight.  "We're going to rock it tonight!"


Friday, October 26, 2012


So.  The Taliban boarded a school bus and shot a little girl for speaking her mind.  The worldwide outcry is still resounding, and getting louder, day by day.

And.  The Taliban says they will try again to kill her, if she won't shut up.  Of course, they probably will botch that job again, too...

And.  Muslims around the world are beginning to condemn the Taliban, and all Islamic extremists.  Finally.


Wouldn't it be amazing if it turns out that WOMEN become the activists that bring down the Muslim extremists?

What can we do to support and protect such brave women?  How can we save their lives while they work for what is rightfully theirs?

I am no Quranic Scholar, but I've read enough of the Koran to come to the conclusion that Mohammed, the Last Prophet, received revelations that were intended to bring about a sort of EQUITY if not EQUALITY between the sexes.

At the time, the Koran was very, very (in fact scandalously) progressive in that respect.  Women are expected to learn and practice their religion, and we must facilitate it.


The Taliban is sinning against the Koran, handed down from Allah by the Angel Raphael to the Last Prophet Mohammed.  It is the birthright of all Islamic women to right this wrong.

And it is our duty, especially in our own homelands, to honor, protect, and assist these women--and girls!--in their fight for the right to learn to read and write and practice their religion.

Is the Muslim world up to it?  Are we?

We can begin by honoring the Hijab (veil).  I am against laws that prohibit the wearing of the hijab.  Here in the U.S.A. we allow and respect veils on our Catholic nuns, yamulkes for Orthodox Jews, both veils and hats for Hasidic Jews, not to mention the caps and hats worn by Amish and related sects.  Is it so hard to include hijabs and turbans?

So.  Come one, America!  Freedom of religion, or not?

Honoring the Hijab is an easy step.  Try it.  Rather than stare, ask about it.   Some will be happy to instruct you, others may be too shy.  At least respect it.

I was raised to respect priestly and monastic habits. 

It's not much of a stretch.

Little Pond

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I've been looking for a lovely, red tree to show you this fall.  Unfortunately, a long hot, dry summer and a damp, warm fall has given us a lackluster leaf-peeping season around these parts.  Our yard is surrounded by rock maples, and they turn yellow.  So yellow we got!
Could be worse.  Last year we didn't even get much yellow
If you absolutely must have red, here are some shots of bittersweet vines down by the river:


 Honestly, we are mostly browns and yellow this year. And the RiverDog is terribly arthritic, so trips are limited to sunny, warmer days for now.
Little Pond

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pink belly again

Last year we were puzzled and concerned about our cat DeeDee.  The vet told us she was overgrooming and gave her anti-anxiety drugs.  She got huffy and refused to eat or keep them down.
This year we are trying a different approach.
She loves it.
Little Pond

Monday, August 27, 2012

Better, thanks.

My litttle buddy is a bit better.  She walks the river in short trips.

She also walks around the block, resolutely avoiding the noisy little kids who love to pet her.

Now her little gray face matches her grumpy disposition.

I still love her.

Little Pond

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Safe Haven. Not!

I honestly thought I was safe when I parked in front of the little trees on Second Street,  Elmira Westside.  One block from home.

I survived, as did all Elmira residents.

But most property took one or many more hits.

Little Pond

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From the "redneck" branch of the family...

Drought kill your apple tree? 

No worries!  You can always decorate it for the summer, winter, heck, maybe even Christmas.

MammaDog and her man have found a place for all those non-returnables that they've been accruing.

Of course that gives away the whole game.  Any rednecks out there to see the clues?

Little Pond

Friday, July 13, 2012

Manicuring the trees

Our walk on Foster Island out behind the Water Board yielded signs of DEC property management.
Here,for example is our favorite Alder Tree.  It has been crudely chopped, to keep back the canopy and to prevent squatters from camping under the boughs.

I have often seen them tenting among the overgrown patches of knotweed, but as you can see, that also has been mown.

Now, in Europe, trees like the alder would be carefully "manicured" to allow for an aesthetically pleasing form.  This would begin while the tree is young and continue during its entire life, making for a straight and strong bole, and lots of smaller branching coming directly off the top.  The result is a stately looking tree, perfect for wide avenues in a place like Paris, France, Europe.

Ahhhh, but not in Elmira, New York, USA...

I am not certain of the species of this tree, but I can tell you it would not do at all for the Champs Elysees.

It has been butchered.  And while I laud the rather belated care given to it, I have to mourn what might have been if it had been propery manicured.

pb, snob
Little Pond

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Hot dog in a cool dip.

Frankly, I wouldn't drink it, but the HuggaMutt is fainting in the heat.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Three Strikes, but still alive.

Ellie walks the river bank under my watchful eye.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! 

Ellie was very ill twice this Spring.  Both times she nearly died.  I've been very carefully watching her every move on the Chemung banks.


Thursday, it was too hot to go out, but Ellie insisted.  I put her out into the enclosure at the back steps, and sat down to read.  She began digging, and I looked up just in time to see her pop out something white and oval.  I tried to stop her with a command, but failed.  She gobbled the darned thing so fast I couldn't stop her.

Next time I will shove my fingers down her throat to make her vomit.

I stupidly figured it couldn't be anything bad, since it was our own back yard.

Guess again.  In less than two hours she was panting, vomiting and shaking, just like the previous times.  Only problem was, I had gone for my nap and didn't know until after two pm.

Back to the vet the next morning.  Dx:  poisoning.  Likely suspect:  daffodil bulb.

Well, now we've spent about a thousand bucks to learn a difficult lesson.  Ellie is getting her sickness from our own back yard.  Could also be the river bank.  There are plenty of bulbs to be gotten on Foster Island, where she walked the first two times she fell ill.

Ellie must now stay on leash in the summer months.  She has a tendency to disappear into the reeds and out of sight near the Chemung.  She must not leave my sight.

And I thought dogs were able to distinguish poisons, you know, on instinct.

No.  And I could not believe the list of poisonous plants we have in our back yard.  I went to the SPCA site and began listing.  There are even bulbs that squirrels eat, but may still kill my beloved Doxie.  I let it happen three times to my poor baby.

Dare I say:  Never Again?

Little Pond

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mummy's little girl

Ellie in her beddie, next to my TV- watching seat.
Way too close to losing my little buddy.  Bubble girl that I am, I am convinced that all the dyes in her dry dog food may have caused the problems.

Two courses of antibiotics, and numerous tests later, the vet still doesn't really know what the illness was.

Ellie is better, eating mostly chicken and rice, and we are watching her carefully.  She does not leave our home, except in my company.

Little Pond

Monday, May 21, 2012

In our declining years

Watching TV with my storm orphan DeeDee.  In kitty years she may be far more elderly than I am.  Sometimes she skitters around like a kitten, which I rarely do.  On the other hand, she's been with us over 12 years, and was a full grown cat when she called on us.  Her fur is back to normal, but I expect that in June, when Frankie, Ellie's roommate from VeggieGirl's apartment, comes for a week, that will change.

For now and for the rest of her life, I indulge her in everything.  Even sitting right up near my asthmatic face.  Her eyes picked up the flash, because Husband RJ was taking the picture.  Those are kitty kisses, and I refuse to Photoshop them back to normal.

Little Pond

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Got my baby back

After an awful scare, Ellie, the RiverDog is back in form.

Pancreatitis, due to chubby, comfortable old age, almost carried her away from us.

We are now very careful about her diet, and are delighted to find that she really likes boiled rice and chicken.

She even goes for impromptu dips in the Chemung, even though I honestly think it must be a tad chilly just yet.

I love her to pieces and can't imagine the river without her.


Little Pond

Monday, April 30, 2012

Patches' Perch

I got tired of trying to decorate the top of the entertainment center.   You know, Flower, Christmas, Dolls, whatever.

Finally grabbed an old wool scarf and a few books and made a little nest up there with a few toys. 
With a couple of teasing feather toys to lead her, Patches was the first to willingly head up to the loft. 
The final touch was a cat-ladder.  The ladder is used by all the cats to look onto the porch.  Only Patches uses the loft.

Keep in mind that we have an entire room dedicated to their comfort upstairs.  One and a half, actually: the kitty room and half of my sewing room.  Both rooms were vacated by grown chicks who have flown the coop.

Little Pond

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Monday, April 09, 2012

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

So sorry. So late.

Trayvon Martin died many days ago.  Mr. Zimmerman seems to have gotten away with manslaughter, if not outright murder.

I've been waiting patiently for news of his arrest, but it's taking too long.  I know Trayvon's mother has not been waiting patiently:  Grief and festering injustice are her current portion.

We are not a nation of bigots, but we certainly have our moments of shame, and this is one of them.

The photo of Trayvon in a hoodie could be the child--or more likely now!--the grandchild of many of my friends and neighbors.  Every time I see him, my heart aches more and more.

See, here in Elmira, New York, we have a very large black minority.  I'm not sure what the percentages are, but I can tell you that a huge number of celebrants on St. Patrick's day around here are black.  And they are just as Irish as their fellow-partiers.

Illustration:  when my daughters were teens, a good-sized group of their friends were in a heated argument about bigotry in Elmira.  They were sitting around our living room when I finally caught on to what they were discussing.  As I recall, at least one-third of the kids where mixed-race, as we say around here.  I scanned their faces as they waited for me to throw in my two cents' worth.

I shook my head, laughed and told them I was the only minority in the room.

Every child before me was at least one-quarter Irish!  And the mixed race kids were one-half.  It turned out that the most fully black child had a bigger touch of Green that even I do. 

For the record, my Irish is Ulster:  a mixure of Scottish and English and Protestant Irish.

All those children were family friends and all of them precious to me.  A rash of teenage suicide a few years ago thinned out the boys, all of them white.  All dearly missed.

If we had to worry about our sons and daughters being killed for wearing a hoodie in the tonier neighborhoods...  Well, I find that unthinkable here in Elmira.  If we are White, our neighbors are Black or Hispanic or whatever.  Surely our neighbors wouldn't shoot a neighbor's child?!

Dear God, at least I hope not.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

NOW it is spring!

These little blue guys are one of my favorite signs of Spring!
There is one other, but I've yet to film it.  On the other hand, I am happy to report recent activity among the waterfowl that will result in gaggles of goslings!

This year I have two new friends, but I don't know if they'll get together.  I watched a lone brown duck swimming on the river all winter. 

Little Pond

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Almost winter?

Our squirrel feeder is empty this morning.
What do you mean, "You don't have a squirrel feeder?"

Outside the window, the world is a study in black and white. 

For a short while the house across the street is hidden.

It is already 40 F
(4.4 C)
and the snow will soon be a memory.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Peaceable Kingdom.

Not quite.  What has actually occurred:  new battle lines are being drawn.

Both the new dog and the new cat have insinuated themselves into unusual alliances.

Frankie, the dachshund mix freely mixes with Patches and Bubba, both badasses that ruled with iron claws.

Incie the Double-Pawed, keeps company with both dogs, and bullies Patches and Bubba.  DeeDee is too old to give a damn about pecking order, and cuffs Incie if she approaches, but will now cozy up to Patches.  Bubba has decided that Ellie is no longer anathema.  And Frankie is learning to be ignored by DeeDee.

This is taking quite a lot of years off my life, while I deal with a new infestation of fleas, worms, and neurotic over-grooming.  In the pets, that is.  I'm doubly tired, but otherwise intact.

 Former antagonists, Bubba and Ellie.
Frankie, Ellie and Incie, all had to learn to live together at VeggiGirl's former home.

Incie has claimed every square centimeter of space for herself, including those meant for humans.

Former deadly rivals, DeeDee and Patches, now are willing to share space to avoid the dreaded Double-Pawed interloper.

The rest of us are but pawns in this power struggle.  And my sensitive nose is ready to pack up and leave.

Little Pond

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Pretty Snow is Almost Gone.

And all we have to show for it are two peas in a pod. They ran off their little tails yesterday, and seem to need more sleep than one night can offer. Our walk today was in light doggie tees and lots of slushing through puddles.

Little Pond

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

And NO we are not hoarders!

Sung to There's a hole in the bottom of the sea.


There are WAY too many PETS: Too many pets in the house that's a zoo. (sung twice)

1: There's a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo. (twice)(refrain)

2: There's a huge, gray Bubba and a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo. (refrain)

3: There's a skinny old Deedee and a huge gray Bubba and a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo. (refrain)

4: There's a busy, barky Franky and a skinny old Deedee and a huge gray Bubba and a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo. (refrain)

5: There's a bossy, hissing Patches and a busy, barky Franky and a skinny old Deedee and a huge gray Bubba and a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo. (refrain)

6: There's a double-pawed Incie and a bossy, hissing Patches and a busy, barky Franky and a skinny old Deedee and a huge gray Bubba and a fat HuggaMutt in the house that's a zoo.

(refrain sung loudly, followed by barking and growling, meowing and hissing)


Friday, January 13, 2012

Where have we been?

Don't ask.
Bubba snoozes on top of the refridgerator.

Deedee has permanently co-opted our computer chair.

Ellie the HuggaMutt seeks some peace in Husband RJ's favorite perch. 
VeggiGirl's Frankie naps on the pet-designated platform lounger. 
Incie (as in, resulting from a brother and sister mating) is VeggiGirl's favorite cat.  She hides away in her owner's closet.

Patches has taken over the bean-bag turtle on the cats' nest bed in the offical Kitty Room.