The Road

Beltane                                                     Waxing Garlic Moon

The dog delivered, I’m moving more slowly today.  I’ve selected a route home, up I-29 to I-90, then to the Jeffer’s Petroglyphs.  I’ll plan to stay around there tonight, then finish up the drive home tomorrow.

Saw granddaughter Ruth’s new teeth.  Little white spikes emerging between her baby teeth in the front.  Ruth is not sure what to make of Grandpa.  I don’t mind.  I’m in the relationship for the long haul and I know we’ll connect.

Sollie looked at me from the car.  I opened the Subaru’s trunk latch and gave him a hug.  We became pals.  I am, however, not sorry to see him go.  I think the home dogs will calm down.  I hope.

Jon and Jen have their sleeves rolled up, busy with two young kids, renovation and a dog.  At least they have the summer.

Now, I’m going to hit the road and wander a bit, a joy I picked up from my dad, who loved a road trip now matter how small.

Driving to Nebraska. Again.

Beltane                                                                   Waxing Garlic Moon

Motel 6 with Sollie, Lincoln Nebraska

At 8:35 am Sollie and I took off in the truck.  We drove straight through to this little piece of heaven.

Driving between Andover and Lincoln, a frequent trip, goes through some of the less visually interesting parts of the United States.

Sollie is now in the bathroom blessedly quiet.  He’s a bit much to handle, a lot like a 3 year old.

Kate called with an extreme emergency.  The powers out and the generator did not kick in.  Time and a half to take care of it, but Kate’s there and she’s hot.  Kate hot is not something you want to see.  So Allied Generator has an evening call to rescue my sweet heart.

Ruth is with Jon and they’re on their way.

Sollie Goes Home

Beltane                                                                         Waxing Garlic Moon

Tomorrow I leave for Lincoln, Nebraska.  Sollie will head back to Denver with Jon.  Our goal here is to calm the dog situation down by getting rid of the extra dog and getting to work integrating Gertie into our pack.  She has a Jekyll and Dog personality; sweet and friendly, cuddly 90% of the time and all gnarly teeth and dog for 10%.  Trouble is, we can’t predict the 10%.  Outside humans seem to raise her hackles, at least sometimes, but there’s something between her and the other dog’s, too.  Our hope is that Sollie’s presence, a male among females, may have tipped the balance toward aggression in the doggy world for Gertie and that with him gone, she’ll calm down.  That may be wishful thinking.

Mark finished a first course of granite blocks for our firepit. Now I have to find a steel fire ring.  It’ll be nice to have a place for a fire just in time for summer.  No.  Kidding.  It’s nice to have it done and ready for fall.  Mark’s helped out a lot.  I’ve found it much easier to do my work here if I don’t have to do the heavy work on both ends of a project.  (This will be the Agni fire pit by Mark Ellis.)

I’m awake.  In addition to getting up at 10:40 I also had a 2 hour nap.  Staying out late is possible for me, but I have to have time to recover.

Watched the NBA finals with Mark tonight.  Two Hoosier boys watching the big guys play ball.  We didn’t have the sound on.  Basketball is the one sport I know well enough to watch without commentary.  I decided, early on, that I wanted to see Miami win, so tonight’s decision pleased me.  It was a game right down to the final 4.0 seconds.

Ripped Apart

Beltane                                                                    Waxing Garlic Moon

Pentheus gets ripped apart by his mother and her fellow Bacchantes.  The Guthrie’s production of The Bacchantes by Euripides several years ago gave the story a telling I’ve never forgotten.  It gave me a jolt.  I’ve moved on from Diana and Actaeon in Ovid to Pentheus.  His story begins about 250 verses further on in Book III of the Metamorphosis.  I’m not far into it, only about 12 verses, but already Pentheus’ fate has been foreshadowed by the great seer, Teresias.

My tutor says I’ve learned to spot and translate the verbs, a key first move, but I still have trouble picking out the subjects of the sentences. That’s what I have to work on for next week.

(Pentheus and his mom Pompeii. Romersk ca. 70 e. Kr. (Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen)

Speaking of getting ripped apart, I came home from a lunch with Justin Fay, the Sierra Club’s lobbyist, to find Kate gone.  She had taken Gertie, our son and his wife’s dog, to the vet.  Yet another scrap broke out and this time Gertie ended up with seven spots that needed stitches.  The end result of this was, of course, a hefty vet bill and a hurried consultation between Denver and Andover over Gertie’s fate.

We resolved it this way.  Gertie has become a liability at Jon and Jen’s, growling at Gabe, 3 years old, nipping four neighbors and going after the postman, not to mention climbing the fence to get out.  So.  What to do?  I really like Gertie; she has a big personality, a bouncy vital way, but she is a mischief maker, a trickster.  Gertie will stay here with us and we’ll figure out how to manage our pack without any one getting hurt.  We’ve had to do it before when one of our Irish Wolfhound’s, Tully, decided that our Whippets were prey.

First step is to get Sollie back to Denver so we can reduce the number of dogs.  After that we’ll probably try letting Gertie and the big girls out again, hoping that the changed dynamics will have resolved.  If we have another spat, we’ll have to go to some management strategy, maybe a dog run outside, or having Gertie and one big dog at a time out.

We have Mark here now and Gertie will stay.  We’ve become a hostel.

We Inch, Slowly, Toward Spring

Spring                                                                 Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

Kate comes home tonight.  Yeah!  I miss her when she’s gone. I’ll follow our usual procedure and pick her up at the Loon Cafe, conveniently located at the end of the light rail service 650-herb-spiralfrom the airport.  Makes the drive much shorter and I get a good meal in the bargain.

After the biting and the barking and the adrenaline I figured out a somewhat complicated solution to the Rigel/Sollie problem.  It involves making sure that one set of dogs is in their crate before admitting the others to the house.  This way nobody trespasses on anybody else’s territory.

It demands a careful watching of when Rigel and Vega are away hunting so I can let Sollie, Gertie and Kona inside.  Or, alternatively, when Rigel and Vega are on the deck and the others are out hunting.  A bit baroque I know but I have no more indentations in the leg.

(pics from April of last year)

As the Bee Hiving moon goes from New to Full, our yard will lose its snow and we will have several species of flowers in bloom, a few vegetables in the ground and as it begins to wane we should have our new bees hived and happy in their new homes.  There are things that need to happen before this last, not the least moving the hives to the orchard, cleaning all the frames of propolis and burning the old hive boxes and frames I got from Mark, the bee mentor.650-apple-blossoms

Seeing the bulbs planted in the fall begin to emerge always heartens me because it reminds me of hours of labor spent in the cool air of late October or early November.  We won’t be here for that time next year, so probably no new bulbs this year.

In fact, I’m declaring finished to our orchard, garden, vegetable, bee expansions.  We’ll stick with no more than three hives, the raised beds and other beds we have in the vegetable garden, the trees and bushes we have in the orchard and the flower beds we have in place now.

We’ll always have to replace dead plants and put in new ones in their place.  We have to care for the fruit trees and bushes, plant vegetables and maintain the bee colonies so we’ll have to plenty to keep us occupied.  I just want to get good at the stuff we have and begin to slowly limit the work we do over the course of the year.

Then Bang, Things Happen

Spring                                                               New (Bee Hiving) Moon

You know how things go along for a long time and nothing happens, then bang, things happen?  Sollie and Rigel got into it again and in breaking them up Rigel bit me.  Not bad, a scrape really, but it bled, around and below the right side of my right knee.  I had been using the knee to separate the two.  This is out of hand at the moment and I’m not sure what to do next.

In addition I have a family member in crisis, a faraway crisis, so it’s difficult to tell what’s exactly going on.  That means trying to do my part from 12,000 miles away.  My family, and I may have not mentioned it here before, my mother’s family to be precise, has a history of bi-polar disorder.  One of my Aunts was hospitalized most of her life, another for several years and a third in essence starved herself.  My mother never showed signs, but she died at age 46.  Although afflicted from time to time with melancholy, I’ve never manifested the bi-polar symptoms, nor, at least up until now, has either my brother or my sister.  That’s not to say that we haven’t had struggles of various sorts, the kinds brought on by life, but deep depression, no.

This may be a referented depression; that is, one occasioned by a definite external circumstance, but it’s so difficult to say without being there.  And even then…

When I was in analysis, with a Jungian, we discussed nuclear families and John, my analyst, said, “You have an atomized family.”  It was true.  After my mother died, our lives began to spin apart from each other.  I left home first and eventually moved to Minnesota.  Mary next, ending up after a stint teaching at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, in first Kuala Lumpur, then Singapore, where she has lived now for many years.

Last of all Mark left home and moved first to San Francisco, then in 1988 took off on a round the world trip.  After crossing Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway, working on a kibbutz in Israel and harvesting olives in Turkey, he found his way to Southeast Asia, too.  Bangkok.  He has been there ever since, more or less, teaching English as a second language.  We have ended up far apart, physically, and distance imposes its own psychological barriers.  It’s just not as easy to see each other, help each other.

Now that both Mom and Dad are dead, we have our own worlds, Mary at the National University of Singapore, me here in Andover and Mark in Bangkok.  Once in a while Mary comes home, I’ve been over there once, but it’s difficult to stay really connected.

Now something is wrong.  And I’m not sure what to do in that case either.

Big D

Spring                                                                Waning Bloodroot Moon

The weekly let down after my round of Ovid has set in, exaggerated by the two day drive-a-thon to Lincoln, Ne and back.  Let down may not be the best phrase.  An easing up, a lull, a caravan serai.  All better.  An internal nod to the energy of the week and the things accomplished, a time to enjoy, not focus.

The Sollie-Rigel wars have not yet fully waned, but they will.  Rigel rolled Sollie over on his back last night in the living room.  I thought that would settle things, but not wholly.  Dogs love to defend passage ways, a door, a cage entrance, a passageway around the couch, a gate.  Sometimes that defensive trigger gets punched and restraint soon flies away, giving way to bared teeth, raised ruffs and lots of snarling.  Very primal.

It is, I noticed, much easier to step into the midst of a fight when the contenders all weigh 100 pounds or less.  When the Wolfhounds fought, Tor and Orion for instance, it was 180 pounds against 180 pounds.  Puny human of not much account.  That’s the time for buckets of cold water.  Works surprisingly well.  When I got tired of the posturing last night, I barked myself, put a hand on Rigel’s collar and another on Sollie’s and finished it.

My leeks and herbs have not started.  Not sure what I did wrong, I might have fouled up on getting the potting soil wet enough.  Or something.  But, I have to start over at any rate.  A weekend task.

Each domain, vegetables, dogs, perennials, bees, Latin, art, politics, friendships, family has an inexhaustible number of lessons to teach us.  Staying open to learning is so important.  And sometimes pretty damned hard.

Travel Agent? C’est moi.

Spring                                                      Waning Bloodroot Moon

As travel agent for our house, I make reservations, check on them, plan itineraries and handle changes to travel plans.  Like several of my domestic responsibilities I have these duties because of misspent time over the last couple of decades + learning how to use computers, then the web.  Mostly I find it makes life easier, quicker, broader and deeper.  Once in a while, like this morning, it takes more time than a comparable activity would have a few years back.  When I made Kate’s travel plans for her upcoming birthday junket to Denver (Ruthie’s 5th!), I inadvertently clicked on an incorrect e-mail address, charlebellis@gmail.com.  I made this mistake years ago, but somewhere in this infernal machine, it helpfully brings back all my past sins against perfect computing.  So, I had to call the airlines to get them to resend the info.  Talking to a real person.  How 20th century.

We fed five dogs this morning:  Rigel, Vega, Kona, Sollie and Gertie.  We’re used to this, but each collection of dogs has a different personality and require different food arrangements.  We’ve not got this one perfected quite yet.  But we will.

Gotta go now.  A China tour to prepare and a legcom agenda to flesh out.

There and Back Again

Spring                                         Waning Bloodroot Moon

My usual method of travel is mosey.  I like slow travel, paying attention to the countryside and stopping when an interesting site shows up.  I’ve never understood the folks who drive straight through, as if travel was only about making it to a destination, for me travel is the destination.  Except for yesterday and today.  I drove to Lincoln, Nebraska yesterday and came back today.  It was  doable.  I only stopped to put gas in the truck and once to grab a hamburger, otherwise I ate food packed by Kate, a wonderful road food preparer.

(Above:  Nebraska Capitol.  R. Iowa Capitol Building.  I saw it from I-235.)

My destination was a Motel 6 just off I-80 north of Lincoln.  Apparently Motel 6 and pets are friendly.  I don’t know because we don’t travel with our dogs. I met Jon there.  He drove east through slushy snow while I drove west on clear roads with sun yesterday and back with cloudy but clement weather today.  Sollie and Gertie are now in their crate in our upstairs entry way after an evening of sniffing and being sniffed, a couple of tussles over doorways and such.  To be expected.

I got three-quarters through a long audio book and have arrived back home as if I never left.  Didn’t feel like travel to me.  Felt more like long-haul trucking.  Which it was, I guess.

This is family stuff, the sort of things families do for each other, even if separated by many hundreds of miles.

Go West, Old Man

Spring                                                        Waning Bloodroot Moon

Tomorrow I take off for Lincoln, Nebraska to pick up our two grand-dogs, Sollie and Gertie.  They will stay with us while Jon and Jen’s house has renovation work done, adding another room, a new roof, much needed closets.  Sollie has been on a hunger strike for the last six months so we’ll see how he responds to a new environment.  He’s begun gaining weight just recently, so I hope the new digs don’t throw him off.  Gertie has a canine temperament much like Rigel and Celt, our first Irish Wolfhound.   That means she’s an adventuress–read, tries to escape all the time, territorial, mischievous and damned cute.  I have a hunch she’ll met Mr. Electric Fence soon after arriving here.

We have plenty of space for them and we have had, at one point, seven dogs, so managing this many is not new for us.  Besides this’ll be just five.

Though I enjoy long drives by myself this will be a marathon.  One day to Lincoln.  Spend the night.  One day back.  This is because I don’t want to handle Gertie and Sollie in a motel.  I don’t want to lose them, after all.  I got a couple of audio books for the journey, so I’ll just settle in for  several hundred miles and listen.

Spent more time today translating Ovid, a bit of time with Wheelock and then got back to work on Missing.