Wednesday, October 25, 2017

10/25/17 Autumn - so beautiful

We have been most fortunate to be having beautiful fall weather and we are doing our best to enjoy each and every day.

Mimì, my sailboat, is now drydocked, which is acknowledgement that summer is over and winter is not far behind.  Her is my girl, all sails removed and ready for winter storage. We had a lot of fun sails around the Boston Harbor Islands this summer.

But that then allows me more time to kayak with my girl Magellan (Maggie) . We went kayaking on Walden Pond and the Concord River. Walden Pond is peaceful but not much pf a physical challenge.

I love the river kayaking as there are great opportunities to bird watch and observe the painted turtles sunning on the rocks in the river. Some of the birds observed include kingfishers, sea gulls, red tailed hawks, osprey and great blue herons. I try to carefully and quietly paddle near the turtles but they tend to jump into the water as soon as they spot me. And speaking of birds, we spotted a barred owl on one of our hikes through the woods. The dogs did not see it so I got to watch it for a while. This is a picture of a barred owl (not mine) from Massachusetts Audubon website. I included it to let you see her/him. We have a great horned owl close to the house (also Mass Audubon image on the right), which we hear very often and I have seen her fly by the house and perch on a branch. They are beautiful, but I digress!

Barred owl © Joe Vincent                   Great horned owl © Paul Higgins

Barred Owl                                                 Great Horned Owl

Painted turtles sunning on a rock in the Concord River. Time alone on the river is a good time for reflection. I like to take in the scenery and watch for various birds. The sky was so clear but the winds were howling, so it was a lot of work to paddle against the river tide and wind. But I love the work-out!

With the warm weather, we also have enjoyed the flowers in the garden for longer than usual, although my monkshood always is in bloom until the heavy frost in November. They line my driveway and are a nice color contrast to the purple mums and pink zinnias.

This picture was taken in Winthrop, where Mimì is moored during the summer. There were so many butterflies here that I had to stop and take pictures. It was "marina weekend" and we all have to pitch in and help with making repairs and/or disassembling some of the docks. My job was clean-up! Every little bit helps I guess.

Can  you tell what is missing from this photo? Mimì is not at her mooring! The club is close to the airport.

Here is a close-up of the monkshood. It doesn't start to bloom until October, so my gardens have some color and something in flower from March through November.

But one of the best things about this fall has been all of the walks we have done on the trails in town.

Here is a swan preening on a small man-made lake. Fionnegan, Gunnarr, Shorty and I often walk on this path around the lake and then take the trails into the forest. They all had one more swim in the cold lake. It must be refreshing after a long walk.

Town trail going to a pond.

Another pond in town. This is a long walk for the boys, but they manage quite well.

Shorty showing his black and pink Yapese tongue. He has been such a good dog and adjusted to an entirely new way of life. Food and love, works for me too!

Yes, this is Gunanrr wearing the cone. He has a wound on his tail, not sure if it was a result of the hornet sting, or rough housing with his brothers, or scraped under a bush. But he kept licking it, so the cone came out and gel medication treatment was applied. He wore the cone for three days until the wound was no longer raw. Now nothing is bothering him, he even had a bath and was fine with his tail being washed and brushed. But initially I had to chase him around the house to take care of the wound. But he was good and now does not lick it. Unlike Fionn and Shorty, Gunnarr does not like to look at the camera.

Here is little Fionnegan. Such a trooper on our walks. He competes with Shorty for lead and who can mark more territory! He gives so many kisses.

Pink roses on a walkway around the lake.

Everyone sleeps well after a nice long walk in the forest or along the water.

Upstairs getting ready for bed. Shorty leads the way and is now often asleep on my bed long before I get there.

Monday, October 16, 2017

10/16/17 Shorty update

Shorty has now been here with us in Boston for 6 months. He has adjusted very well and is a good companion for Fionnegan, Gunnarr and me. To say he immediately made himself at home is an understatement. On his first nights here, he would take toys from Fionn and Gunnarr's bed and put them on his bed. He never really played with the toys, they just must have made him feel comfortable and at home.

He usually opted to stay downstairs at night, sleeping either in the atrium, my study or at the foot of the stairs. After I came back from my trip a few weeks ago, he started coming upstairs and sleeping at the foot of the bed. He also has been reluctant to let me out of his sight! 

But last night I was looking all over the house for him. I called him, and when he didn't answer, I was worried I left him outside. But no, Shorty was inside, fast asleep on my bed. He took it upon himself to go upstairs and go to sleep! All by himself. I guess you can say he definitely has moved in and is comfortable!

We go for as many walks as possible. Rain (and my time) are the biggest constraints and we try to find new places to explore. Because of the dogs I have now walked just about every trail in town. But over the weekend we were caught off guard by a swarm of hornets. There was a ground nest and as we were walking along the path, they flew up and attacked us! Each dogs had at least one sting and I had six. Ouch. They have all recovered and the good news is none of us are allergic to hornet stings! But this was a favorite walk for us, so I am disappointed that we cannot use that route.

As if gets colder, Shorty stays outside for shorter intervals. I had a fence built around three sides of the house that includes one covered porch. They could be outside and run back and forth and it is really nice when I am in the kitchen as they sit on the deck and watch the neighbors (Colin in particular) and their dogs Tukka and Oliver. We eat outside as much as possible so they get plenty of fresh air. But soon it will snow and that will be something to watch as Shorty sees his first snow fall. Fionn and Gunnarr love to play in the snow, let's see what Shorty thinks of all of this!.

Here are a few pictures of my boys.

Fionn and Gunnarr watching the Patriot football game with me while Shorty watches us cheering!

Shorty is such a handsome dog. He is my sweetie!

The Patriots were losing, and Fionn and Gunnarr lost interest. Such fans of the game!

It is hard to get much more comfortable than Fionn. He is such a cutie and my boy.

Gunnarr is curled up right next to me. He is my darling.

Nice set of choppers.

Fionn and Gunnarr still curl up together on their bed in the kitchen. Gunnarr hangs on my every word!

Remember when Shorty would not get into a car when he lived in Yap? Remember his New Year's resolution to get into a car? Now he loves being in a car. He usually rides in the back seat and Fionnegan is my co-pilot, but one day, Shorty decided to sit up front. he sat straight up and watched out the front window. Then Gunnarr decided to jump up front too and they watched together for a while before Fionn decided he might as well join us all in the front. Fortunately we were doing local, low speed errands so I let them stay. On longer trips, they are fastened in their seats and must sit.

I had to pull over to take these pictures, the images were just too good to miss. Here is Shorty and Gunnarr watching intently out of the front window.

They have their eyes on something!

Fionn decides to join in the excitement!

This is one of my favorite pictures. Shorty looks so happy. Fionn is now watching out the front window and Gunnarr is squeezed in the middle. He wears his harness and does pretty well on a leash, even though I know he would rather run free. But he listens, most of the time, and is a wonderful addition to our home! I am so glad we brought him home. My boys. Love them to pieces!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

10/15/17 Trip to Lourdes

As a part of this incredible journey, I had the opportunity to visit Lourdes, France, where the Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, a poor shepherd girl.

Just like in Fatima, this was an overwhelming and deeply emotional visit. I had the opportunity to visit the shrine in the grotto where the apparitions occurred and touch the walls where water from the blessed spring seeps. Many people use new handkerchiefs to absorb these waters. Most just touch or kiss the grotto wall. My friend Diane and I also participated in the procession at night and the Mass at 11 PM. Hard to believe I was up so late on a vacation! 

We also went early in the morning to the shrine where I waited for a couple of hours to experience the bath in the water from the spring. It is a spiritual cleansing experience. Cold, cold, cold waters. Many people lined up to participate in this experience, some waiting since 5:30 AM.

We also walked around Lourdes and visited Bernadette's family home and the Church where she was baptized. If I am given an opportunity to visit these special sites again, I would like to have more time to just contemplate their significance.

Many more visitors were in Lourdes, and there was a special large delegation of cancer patients, each with their own special requests, no doubt. The experience here in Lourdes and in Fatima were unexpectedly deeply moving. It is also reassuring to see so many people committed to religion and faith. 

Here are a few pictures of the visit to Lourdes, many of the cathedral and of the night time processions.

This is a night time photograph of the large statue on the grounds of the cathedral.

St. Bernadette. My patron saint.

The Church of St. Bernadette

Statue of St. Bernadette by the church.

Thousands and thousands of participants in the procession at night.

 This is the seating area for those who are mobility limited. The rest of the crowd stands.

Murals on the walls of the cathedral.

Lighted cross up high in the trees.

Bernadette worked in an infirmary with the sick. Often she was also a patient.

Map of pertinent sites to visit, made easy by signs painted on the sidewalks.

Church of cloistered nuns overlooking the grotto.

Daytime side view of the cathedral.

Peaceful grounds by the cathedral. This is the river Bernadette crossed to get to the grotto. A good place for contemplation and prayer.

A great blue heron and some ducks in the river. I can do bird watching almost every where I travel!

No trip is complete without ice cream!

Great Pyrenees dogs and monks.

Chapel and hospice facility where Bernadette lived and worked.

Bernadette's childhood home.

Church where Bernadette attended services and was baptized,

Bernadette's home in the mill.

Video clip of procession.

Cross carried in procession.

Statue of Blessed Mother in procession.