Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Ongoing Saga

Well, obviously blogging life is not as simple as I had initially thought. I finally got the photo of Baxter and his sibs uploaded onto my previous posts, and voila', it worked fine from work (weekend access, not during work time!!) and even though my first attempt - on "The World's Best Dog" - didn't appear to work, but did seem to on "Alas" -- I ended up with the photo nice and visible on BOTH postings. Didn't want to mess with apparent success, so left it both places. Came home, accessed blog from home computer and all I get are small squares where photos should be. When I click on them, I can see the photo, but don't know if that is everyone's experience. At my work computer, they all just showed up where they belonged in glorious color right with the posting - like the earlier photos.

I wish I was a little more computer/blog literate. It would be nice if everything actually made sense and wasn't all trial and error. But if I can get trial and error to work, I won't be unhappy.

So, I'll try once again from home to see if I can get the other photo of Baxter to upload. I hate feeling stymied - but it's a common feeling when it comes to computers!!!

Nope, no success again. The next time you see Baxter here, I'll probably have sent the photo to my work computer and then tried again. This is rather annoying!! Continuing on with trial and error yet again!

Friday, April 14, 2006


I've been attempting to dowload the two photos I had wanted to add to my last entry -- The World's Best Dog -- but I haven't been able to get them to upload. I thought I'd try once again as a new entry. . .so here goes.

Alas. . .no go again. Hope I can figure it out :-)!
Almost - 4/23 - maybe it's here this time!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


This morning I sat in the recliner by the window with the world’s best dog on my lap. Baxter is just four years old, born in March and picked up by us on Memorial Weekend four years ago. What a cute little puppy he was! Schipperke pups look like small bear cubs and we have no idea, in the photo of the little quintuplets provided by the breeder, which of the pups is Baxter.

He’s my dog. He’s really the family dog and is devoted to and protective of everyone. But he’s my dog because I’m “mom.” When the other’s lament that he isn’t most devoted to them, I remind them that when he was a little puppy, who was the one person who would crawl out of bed at 3:00 am to take him outside when he was miserable and needed to piddle? Yup, me. Who made sure he got every meal? Yup, me. Everyone played with him and he adores them all, but since I met all those puppy needs day and night after day and night, well, he’s bonded to me in his sweet little doggy mind.

He’s so cute. If I give him a greenie and then leave the house, he usually won’t eat the greenie until I’m back home; he waits for my return. He barks with joy whenever I come home and shakes with delight that his fears of abandonment were unfounded. He’s a great little early warning system and it is unlikely that we will be snuck up on by a person with evil intent. One night he barked at 3:00 am and we grumpily told him to be quiet and the next morning I had an email from a neighbor asking why the police were in front of our house at 3:00 am! What??? We had police at our house at 3:00 am? Turned out they had chased a stolen truck into our cul-de-sac and the culprits, discovering there was no place to go, abandoned the truck in front of our house and took off through a nearby yard without a fence in the front. By the time we knew about it, the truck was long gone and the only evidence that remained were the black tire marks showing exactly where the driver was when he realized there was no exit!

Schipperkes are also called Belgian barge bogs because they were apparently bred to be ratters on barges. Baxter has proven his breeding because he’s done in a couple of rats in the back yard over the past few months. The reason we have an occasional rat come through is because we also have three pigeons in a coop and they are not very neat eaters. There are always leftover seeds on the ground under the coop and the rats that live under the neighbors shed have been seen coming under the fence to have a snack. Baxter has turned some of their excursions into the last meal before their execution! We do not mourn the rats!

Baxter has a great personality, thinks every dog is his friend -- although he’s been surprised a few times and has moderated his enthusiasm. He is very protective of me. Just let husband or kids “pick on” mom and voila, there he is nipping at their ankles and letting them know that this is not appropriate behavior.

He is a complete affection sponge and adores being petted by “dad” who is the world’s best dog petter. He love chasing balls, but won’t let go so you have to have two in order to get him to chase more than once. He loves going for walks and his favorite phrase is “go with?” which means he’s invited along in the car. At those words, he runs in circles and barks for joy! He loves to sleep on the foot of the bed and on a cold winter night I enjoy his little 104 degree heater by my feet. Best of all, he sits next to me on the recliner and offers his furry little back as a sensory treat. When I’m happy he is happy along with me and when I’m sad he licks my tears. Lots of people have very nice dogs, but I have the World’s Best Dog!

Monday, April 10, 2006

HOW THE GENERATIONS PASS - Healy, Richardson, Stevens, Sherwood

This week I've spent a lot of time typing up the entries of an old journal of my great-great grandmother - Rosina Jane Richardson Stevens, who went by Jane. It's difficult to read some of her beautiful cursive writing, but definitely worth the effort. She began writing when her mother died in 1872 and seemed to only take pen to diary when one or another family member passed on or a similar tragedy occurred. She sounds rather pessimistic in her writings, but her narrative shows that life was not easy. Their family made many moves while trying to establish themselves in farming or business; she lamented business losses (e.g., fire in furniture store, financial debts, cyclones wreaking havoc on their farm, and the loss of siblings and children. Theirs was not an easy life in the late 1880’s for those lower to middle class families who were trying to make it in either business or farming the land.

It’s wonderful that she left this short 18-entry journal. Two of the last few entries give lists of events with places and dates recorded. The first is an outline of the moves of her early marriage. Only 19 moves in 18 years – you can hear the satisfaction in her voice as she mentions that they were still living in Elgin, Minnesota six uninterrupted years later. It appears she actually stayed there many years more.

In her journal she hoped that her life would have value to someone who she had touched and due to her experiences, was always reminding herself that we need to be ready because “we don’t know at what day or hour our call will come” to pass on to the next world. Considering her brother, Nathaniel Healy, died of Consumption, while in London and reportedly feeling better; her sister Mary Dexter died suddenly of heart disease and dropsy, and a little unnamed but not unmourned niece or nephew died at the ripe old age of 22 months, her anxiety in this regard was not unfounded or exagerated. Reading this 134 years later, I’m struck with how her life did have the meaning she desired it might have to those who followed – and how her jotted notes of decades past touch my heart even now. We’re not so different, she and I, but I do feel more optimistic. But on the other hand, my life is much easier, so why wouldn’t I be.

Our lives have intersected in another way as well. She and her husband apparently couldn’t have children and they later adopted their six year old niece, Eldora Julia Dexter who they named Ella Jane Stevens. So she is my blood relative in a roundabaout way, but being my great grandmother’s mother, she is my true great-great grandmother as well. She was the one who was mom, even though her sister was her daughter’s birth mother. I have a slight interest in those first parents, the Mary who died of dropsy and her first husband, Levi, who passed away when Ella Jane was an infant, but it is enough to see great-great Grandma Jane reflected in my grandmother and later my father. Both, including the two generations before them, had strong faith in God and looked for His help and comfort in time of need. I don't know what might have happened if Eldora Julia had grown up and lived her life unaffected by grandma Jane, but Ella Jane is person our great-grandmother became.

In 1883 Great-great Grandma Jane wrote

"Elgin,[Minnesota], Nov. 8th, 1883

No cyclone here Sept 21st as predicted but one passed over us eastward, striking [illegible] in Wis., doing much damage. My health is quite poor and I feel it s my duty to divide some precious things that were our mothers. I am growing old. Soon the places that know us now will know us no more." This "predicted" cyclone would have been the one everyone feared after the devastating ones of July 21st and August 21st of the two months previous. Little did she know that her life would become easier as time went on. In spite of her feeling old and her own "prediction," she lived almost three more decades until February 1912 -- a few months before her granddaughter, my grandmother, Susan Rosina, graduated from high school. She had a long time to live before it was her turn to be the one passing on.

I'm loving reading her words, feelings her thoughts and feeling our hearts reaching out to each other across the century. Perhaps from the gates of heaven now, along with Grandma Susan and her son, my Dad, Great-great Grandma Jane watches me read her words and knows that all of them, and the rest of the family who are already there, live on in my heart. As Grandma Jane said when her sister passed on, "I trust to meet you there with many loved ones gone before."