Monday, December 5, 2022

His Name Was Mason

{Note to my followers:  The following is lengthy and it is not my expectation that you read it, nor do I expect comments should you decide to read it.  I wrote this for remember and perhaps even heal a little.  (Thank you to the blog pal who suggested least in concept.  And thank you to everyone who reached out to me by message or email and all of you who left comments on my last post.  I treasure them more than I can express in words.)  I did not intend to go MIA (again), but the pain and loss was deeper than I even thought it could be.  And immediately after I lost him, I got COVID and had some other medical (and non-medical) issues come up. Hopefully this exercise will be a step back to blogging and the world that is far kinder and caring than my "other" world.}

His name was Mason...

I do not know why my son chose to name him that, but he did...and he was, after all, my son's dog...technically.  (Why have you never heard me call him anything other than "Snowdog"?  Well, back when this whole blogging journey began (forever ago), the mistrustful skeptical dubious cynical wary (overly) cautious "attorney" me used pseudonyms for family members.  After a while, he was always just Snowdog to me.)

Except he was never, ever, "just" Snowdog.  He was something someone wonderfully extraordinary from the onset.  But I got ahead of myself...back to being my son's dog.  When my son was 16 or 17, his friend got a Siberian Husky pup.  My son went with his friend to pick the pup up and learned there was one pup left in the litter that had not been adopted...and my son was smitten.  He called me at work and asked/begged/pleaded for me to say he could have it.  I said no for some very legitimate reasons:  We already had a dog (yes, Gazoo was a small dog...a little Shih Tzu...but a dog nonetheless) and two cats and one very small teeny tiny house.  My son was not particularly helpful in caring for those pets (nor was my husband) and I was stretched beyond my limits the way it was (for many reasons) and, somehow, I knew a new dog would, ultimately, also become my responsibility.  Not just feeding...but the training, attention, grooming, vet trips, etc. In addition, I wasn't particularly a "dog" person.  I was a cat person.  (Don't misinterpret that - I adored our little Gazoo...he was absolutely precious and one could not ask for a better behaved dog (and he was shed-less and hypo-allergenic) to boot. But cats aren't quite as needy and they are soft and cuddly...or maybe it was just a genetic thing on my part, who knows.)  My answer was no.

My son kept pleading.  He felt sorry for this remaining pup and suggested that it wasn't likely to get the best of care if it remained with its owner.  (Yes, there is a bit of attorney in him too I fear.)  I had a court appearance looming and didn't have time for this.  I finally asked him what kind of dog?  His answer: A Siberian Husky.  That sealed it.  I said absolutely not - they were runners, chewers and shedders.  (When my husband and I were first married, we had a Siberian we named Meisha..and Meisha was all three of those.... She got hit on the road in front of our house one night and, of course, I was alone to deal with it as my "husband" was hours away.)  And, lastly, and perhaps the real reason I was so adamant about no more dogs...I bond too deeply with my pets and cannot heal from losing them.  So my answer was still no and a resounding no at that.  And that was the end of it.

Only it wasn't.

When I finally got home from work that night, my husband said something about our son and dinner that night.  I responded that I didn't think our son would be talking to me for a while and told him about our conversation.  "Husband" became awkwardly quiet...and eventually confessed that he told our son he could have the dog...and, yes...he KNEW our son had already asked me and I had already said no.  I had been completely undermined as a parent and I was completely livid.

The puppy made his appearance a short while later and so life with Mason did the bond.  He was impossibly adorable.  Of course...what puppy isn't? Especially a Siberian pup?? (Where are the puppy photos Robin??  I don't know.  The ones on the phone I had at the time disappeared and were irretrievable when the phone malfunctioned and died...and if I had any printed photos, they disappeared during WWR.)    He was timid and shy as far as puppies go - his favorite place to sleep was curled up in the pile of shoes that accumulated by the front door.  (Don't judge...our house was small, really small...remember?)

The days slipped by as they tend to do and Mason grew.  In hindsight, he was almost impossibly good.  He was potty-trained almost effortlessly, and did not chew anything.  About the only shenanigan I can pin on him is that one time (while under my son's watch) he got into my bags of wool strips. I don't remember anything other than the bags the strips were in being damaged but I realize many things are remembered more kindly than they were in reality.  It did, however, take some time to break him from trying to cross the road to get to the field on the other side; but eventually he learned.  He would often go to visit the next farm down when they got a little dog he liked to play with, and up until his passing, he would wander the wooded area to the east side of our property (his path is still visible) but somehow he learned to not cross the road and stay on our side.  

When my son bought his own house, we discussed "custody and placement" of Mason.  At that point, I was no longer working full time (I was teaching law at the university, but certainly not on a full-time basis) and my son was working more than full time.  Mason had gotten accustomed to going out when he pleased and had never been kenneled or chained.  (No judging please...that's the way it is done in very rural woebegone areas like Nod).   In addition, the house my son purchased was on a road that was much more highly trafficked than our little lane here in Nod.  We decided that it would be in Mason's best interest to stay with me and, truth be told, he was, at that point, more my dog than my son's.  And stay with me he did.

Much had changed in my life up to that point, and not always for the better.  But Mason was always there.  My son moved further away, my "husband" checked (further) out, I stopped  teaching and, always an introvert, my life unintentionally morphed more into that of a hermit's.  But Mason was always there. Always.

There's a reason that dogs are considered man's best friend - and no one took his commission more seriously than Mason.  He loved people with all his heart and even people who weren't dog - or even pet - people had a change of heart when they came to know Mason.  UPS and Fed Ex drivers loved him, brought him treats, and always took time to spend a few precious minutes petting him.  One day, however, there was a new and, apparently, skittish, UPS driver.  When he saw Mason making toward his truck, he ran back in.  Mason jumped in the truck with him wondering where his treat was.

  (During WWR, Mason would sit on this large rock waiting for the contractors to arrive.  Eventually the landscapers decided to landscape around it and officially dubbed it "Mason's Rock.")

One of those non-pet "converts," was a neighbor I had met a few years ago.  Despite my hermitage, she would venture over on occasion and Mason, who was starved, by this time, for human company other than mine, could hardly contain his excitement when she visited.  She started bringing him a new toy most every time she visited - sometimes, not even a dog toy - just a small stuffed toy.  He was gentle with his toys and if stuffing ever came out of any, it was a poorly sewn seam so, eventually, he accumulated an impressive collection.  When the neighbor visited, however, he would go and find the exact toy she had brought the last time - even if had been months prior -  and bring it to her.  Once he got it wrong and I told him so...and he went back and found the right one.

I know every one who loves their pet in the manner which they deserve to be loved believes them to be human-ish...and special in ways no other pet is.  I know this to be true...but Mason...ahhh, sweet Mason was smarter and more human than any dog should be.  I guess after years of it being just him and me and us being together 24/7 for the most part, he learned to understand things that dogs shouldn't understand.  What a bittersweet blessing - it made losing him an all-consuming, heart-wrenching, sorrow.

His name was Mason.

I did not even call him by his proper name in my last post.

He was so many things to me...and I called him by many names:

Snowdog, Mason Malone, Baby Boy, Puppy, and, yes, Mason.

His name was Mason.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Walk Slowly

Walk slowly...

...And I will follow....

Beloved Snowdog
7/26/2009 - 10/16/2022

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Bibliography of a Witch

As many of you know, I have a direct "ancestral" connection with the Salem Witch Trials and I, therefore, read a great deal about them.
I have a recollection of someone, at some point, asking me for recommendations for books of that genre and me replying that I would put together a list for them.

Dear Someone: I confess that I forgot about that promise...and, yes, even who you are. I hope you will overlook my absent-mindedness of late.

Better late than never they say.  And I'm as good as they get in that regard.
Because I cannot remember precisely to whom I promised this, I am posting a list here in the hopes that you will find it.
This is, obviously, not a comprehensive list...there are more books written about this subject than...well, fill in the blanks, and it seems a new book is written every day.  (Imagine that...330 years later.)
It is not even a complete list of such books in my personal "library" (nor does the photo of the shelf of books show all those books or even all the books in the list below).
But it is a place to start.
The titles with an asterisk before the title are ones that stand out to me as ones I like/found helpful, etc.  It all depends upon how "serious" you want to get.
Francis Hill is a favorite of mine on this subject - even her fictional accounts are historically accurate due to her extensive research and knowledge on the subject.

I hope Someone finds some value in this.

(And a Happy and Blessed, albeit belated, Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends and followers.)

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Beloved October

 If I were a month, I am certain I would be October.
Full of contradictions...bittersweet and melancholy...magic and moods,
and carrying color in my pockets.

It happened overnight... Yesterday it was plain ol' September and this morning it was October - the most glorious month of all.
Those green stalks of corn turned brown and dry, and were whisked off the field today.
I will miss them and their secrets.

One would think that since it has been so long between posts I would have a great deal to share...but I don't or at least I don't have the words for it.

I am certain I have accomplished something(s) over the past month, but I would be hard-pressed to quantify them.  There are the "have-to-do's" before the winter that keeping clogging up my to-do list but I am being pulled by the more temptinig "wanna-do's" of fall endeavors.

I did manage to get some tomatoes canned finally.

My back still hasn't forgiven me and Julia puts me completely to shame.

I have not hooked at all; I have stitched a little...but have completely finished nothing.  
The only thing I have to show for the past many weeks in that regard is this little punch needle box:

{Pattern by Teresa's Prim Treasures}

I struggled to get a decent photo - we are losing light so quickly here, but the box is actually a small candle box of sorts with a sliding lid.

I blame the squirrels...I just set my mind to something and it seems squirrels start running rampant and I, of course, have to chase them.

One squirrel safari led me to playing with paper and scissors.  

I had intended on doing stacks of three boxes but have been unable to find the larger ones for the bottom of the stack.
So for now, they are stacks of two.
{Black felted acorns}

I have also been working on perfecting the recipe for 2 (and only 2) chocolate chip cookies. (Don't be deceived by the photo, these are MUCH larger and thicker than they look and than a typical cookie.)  Since I don't need to eat an entire batch of cookies by myself, I have been experimenting...but I think I will need to resign myself to making at least 3...these are just a little bit too thick and chewy in the middle. 

I can't believe I just said that.

And, books....there's always room and time for books in my closed-in little world.
As fall settles in and darkens the nights prematurely; and chilly, dreary days bleed into colder and rainier nights, I find it even easier to lose myself in the company of the best friends I've ever had: books.

This is another debut novel by (another) British author (am I getting in a rut, here?)...and I will be reading more of her (well, yes, yes, I am...and I am enjoying the rut at this point in time, thank you very much.) The book was described as a "gothic" novel...but I am not sure why?  Perhaps because of its desolate, isolated, setting...but it's not "gothic" in the way that I think of that term.
Atmospheric, yes. Very.  It's the story of an orphan who comes to live with her new adoptive a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, all of whom and which hold secrets the young child struggles to understand.
It was good...very good.  And like I said, I will be back for more.


I wish you all a very merrie month of October...Spooking season has officially begun.

Keeping those who suffered the wrath and havoc of Ian in heart and prayers.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

A Rainy Day in Nod

 A positively gloomy, dreary, kind of rainy day in Nod.
And cold.
(Have I mentioned Nod is COLD?!)

There is nothing I have to do that I want to do so
I am procrastinating...
...and looking out windows with Rajah Roo.

In furtherance of my procrastination, I decided I would try to make myself feel less guilty by posting some things I have finally finished.
It's been a many ways and for many reasons - some I stitched so long ago, I would not choose to stitch them now....that's long.
With one exception, I believe these all have been posted previously, but they were not "finally/fully" finished.

{"Winter Woods"...a design by Chessie & Me}

{"Witch Miltida"...a design by Joyce Reed...stitched eons ago...not 1887, but close.}

{"Nantucket Whaling Co."...a design by The Primitive Hare}

{"With Liberty and Justice for All"...a (free) design by Primitive Betty's...again, stitched long, long, time ago, but just fully finished}

I also finally finished hooking "Welcome Cats."

This was almost worse than giving birth, but the "reward" at the end not even close.  I do not wish to bore everyone with the saga of this rug again but, since it is not likely to ever be bound and fully finished, I will tell a brief summary and, hopefully, be done with it. (Hence, why it counts as a "finish.")
This rug is based on an antique rug and I had wanted to hook it from the very first time I saw it.

{Photo of a photo of the original antique}

  I finally located the pattern online and the nightmare journey began.
This was 10+ years ago if not more.... I was still working and had little time to hook...and I am a SLOOOW hooker.
Then WWR ("When We Remodeled") started and the rug was packed away...far, far, away.

I pulled it out years later, after the dust of WWR (somewhat) settled and was completely at a loss as to where to begin again.  It had been put away hurriedly (part of the legacy of WWR) and I had not marked which wool was intended for what.
So, it was, again, exiled to a dark, dark, place.

I finally pulled it out again this past year and was determined to finish it, but even more problems surfaced.
I had wanted to do a somewhat faithful reproduction to the original (because that was what I fell in love with) although I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a purist like Saundra (Woodland Junction is. As I started the second cat, however, I realized the pattern I purchased was far from true to the original. (I'll spare you pointing out the details.)
And, even more troubling, my hooking technique had changed considerably since I started it (and not for the better) so it began to look like two different people had hooked it.
With much muttering, I muddled through and finally finished the hooking....only to realize that, while the color plan probably is closer to the original than any reproductions I had seen, I actually now prefer the warmer, richer, colors of the reproductions of which I had seen so many.

So, I am sorely my inability to pick up on the pattern "issues" sooner, my color choices and, more importantly, my hooking.
About the only things I do like about it are the left cat's "snaggletooth"...

...and the "ghost ball" between the two cats (which is barely visible on the photo I had of the antique and completely MIA from the pattern I purchased, and which I rehooked thrice):

In any event, hopefully, that's the last you'll see or hear of it.


I realize this post is insufferably long already, but I am running far behind on my book "reports" (or have I spent to much time reading?? Don't answer that.)

Anyway, this is another thing I am "finished" with:

It is another historical fiction based on actual events during WWII and if you follow that history at all, you have likely read or seen a version of the story: A woman becomes pregnant while incarcerated in Auschwitz. 
It was ok...I didn't necessarily dislike it and it kept my attention, but I'm finished with this genre for a while.  I think I am more than satiated with the time period and subject matter at this particular point in time.  After a while, the story lines begin to blur and I'm just finished.


Finally, but not leastly, tomorrow is the 21st anniversary of the day our country lost what was left of its innocence.
We will never forget.

PS... To my blog pals from the UK and the realms: My deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved Queen.  What a remarkable woman she was.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

When the Crickets Sing...

{Hollyhocks, Sedum and Beebalm}

When the crickets sing, I know Summer's swan song has begun.
It gives me pause and makes me melancholy (ok melancholier than usual) as it is a bittersweet thing.

{Morning Glories}

It brings me great joy to know that my most beloved of seasons is readying herself for her grand debut;
but Summer is a grand season in its own right and dearly loved as well, as her visits are always brief in the Cold, Cold, Land of Nod.

The changing of the seasons here is so drama-filled it though nature demands our attention.

And nothing says drama like the latest bloomers (not that kind perverts!) of all: The hibiscus.

 This year some pests have found their leaves particularly appetizing, but the flowers are completed undaunted and unfazed. 

It is difficult to capture in photos how large these blooms are.

I realize I always "overdo" the hibiscus photos each year, 
but indulge me please. 
Have I mentioned Summer is a brief visitor, at best, here?
And a crow can't quite resist those "shiny" objects sometimes.

So, as the days grow shorter, and the cricket's song grows louder and its cadence slower, I drink in these last days of Summer.

{Petunias and Lisianthus}

{Heliopsis ("False Sunflower")


Ok...I'm done with the flower photos.  Can't promise there won't be a few more but knowing our weather/climate, it won't be many.

On to other the cat on my roof.

Well, I thought it was a cat...but then, as I looked at it, I realized there is NO way a cat could possibly get up that high and it was too large for a cat.  (This is the roof of my Little Crow's garage...there is a lift in the building for working on vehicles, so it has a very high roof...(even higher than was needed for the lift...but that's another story for another time.))

Then the cat spoke.
Jiminy Crickets!! (Speaking of crickets...)

That was no cat.
It was an BIG honking hooting owl!!

While I have no issues with black cats, owls disturb me...especially one so up close and personal.

In my world, owls are generally considered messengers from the spirit world who come to advise or warn one of impending perils.
Some say that they are messengers of witches.
For the record, I was NOT talking to myself.
Long story short: I'd have rather had a black cat miraculously land up there.


I know this post is long enough already, but I am getting way far behind on my book "reports." 
This will be short and to the point:

I picked this book up because I thought the author's name familiar (as though I had read something by her previously and since I didn't associate dislike with the name, assumed it was a good association).
It was not.
I did not like this all.
It is the story of a woman who dies at a too-young age of an incurable disease.
She leaves her husband with a year of monthly letters to help him "transition" to life without her.
Perhaps a good plot in theory, but not in execution.
Totally unrealistic and not in a good way. I find fairy tales more believable.

'Nuff said.