Ola, the Wonder Dog, left us this week. She hadn’t been herself , activity-wise for a while, but her essence never changed.
“Ola” (the African definition, not “hello” in Spanish), was rescued as a precious puppy, by my sister and her husband more than 10 years ago. Soon after they brought her home, they left on an amazing trip abroad for several weeks. So James and I got to be Ola’s Foster Parents while they were gone.
We seriously bonded with her during that time. I mean, look at this face! Who wouldn’t??
John and Lenore had wanted a young dog while their elderly one, Lily, the Three Legged Miracle, was still able to teach a new dog the lay of the land.
This family lives on a glorious piece of land on San Juan Island. The property includes lots of acreage, a large pond with a variety of water fowl, a Bamboo Farm, and arguably some of the most beautiful and prolific vegetable and flower gardens in the Northwest.
And they live in what James and I lovingly call the Hobbit House. Built by John, using lots of found and custom designed materials, it is so fairy tale-like, you are transported to another world.
I write about this place, our second home, often. Here’s one example:
When they chose Ola as a puppy, they wanted another smallish dog that would not overwhelm Lily, and they predicted Ola was another small, lab mix’ just like Lily.
Being very familiar with Rottweilers and Pit bulls, I took one look at Ola’s sweet face, and said “Uh oh.”
Not many months later, Ola had grown into a HUGE, beautiful, regal dog, over 100 pounds. But she still seemed guided by that angel on her chest.
Lily immediate adopted young Ola, and trained her to be a “stick right close to your Humans” dog.
No fences in the Hippie Valley part of San Juan Island. Dogs (and deer) are free to roam and except for the occasional “play date” with a neighbor Dog, both Lily and Ola were right there, watching over the homestead, 24/7.
Lily left us not long after Ola joined the family but the two of them had some really good times together before she died. She taught Ola how to play Tug O War with ropes and sticks when Ola was still very young.
And she trained Ola to leave the cats alone (probably for her own safety!)
Ola became such a big part of our house-sitting experience all these years. For several weeks at a time, she became “our” dog again. No matter how much time passed between our babysitting jobs, she would greet us with 100 pounds of enthusiasm!
She hung out with us where ever we went,
and stayed close to us at home.
Yep, she was our dog…..But only until her real parents came home!
Ola was always within feet (or calling distance) of John and Lenore during their daily routines.
Ola was one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever met. I will miss her so much. I can only imagine how long it will take her family to get used to the huge empty space she leaves behind.
FIRST, here is a music video to play, softly, in the background as you scroll down to read this. ALL the words are not quite right but the sentiment of the chorus is perfect.
I walk up and down my long, dead end street (the equivalent of about three city blocks) 2 or 3 times, every day, all year round. Not very far for an athlete but a good number of steps for me.
I love my neighborhood. And I love to take pictures of the things I see.
I have a favorite tree…
This tree is huge, old, lush and glorious. I love to stand under her when it’s pouring down rain. You can stay completely dry and the sound of those heavy drops smacking her leaves and then bouncing off is amazing!
My neighborhood is changing so much these days. One by one, the older homes are being flattened, in order to be replaced with huge and mostly beautiful new houses.
My son grew up (part time) in the “yellow house”, two doors away. They had a pool, and a kid exactly his age. For a time, when the neighborhood was full of young, single Mom’s, we would babysit each other’s kids and on Friday nights, we Mom’s would have a “progressive” relaxation evening. We’d go from one house to the next, to the next, for snacks, and wine. Among us, we had an outdoor Sauna, a hot tub, a pool and we’d finish at my house on my deck. I had the best view of the sunset.
Other great families have lived in the yellow house too over the years, but…..it has been the next one to bite the dust.
What a back ho and dozer can do to a home on purpose, in just 2 days, is exactly the same thing we see on the news, someone living in Tornado Alley, whose home gets flattened in minutes.
Yellow House…….. gone…
I get this, intellectually, but I have so much judgment about it…the waste, the destruction of usable space, and the loss of history. At least, this builder is big into recycling, re-purposing, and replanting. He (and the owners) saved as many bushes and plants as possible and offered them to the neighbors.
But to me, personally, what is way more painful, is murder of the trees. I know that’s a dramatic (and controversial) way to say it, but what else can you call killing a huge living thing that’s been here since before you were born??
I’ve written about this before…kind of like eulogies, but I think each one of these ancient stately beings deserves at least that much when they are taken down.
There is a young, mystery ecologist on the street and I’m just sure she wrote this sign the day the heavy equipment showed up at the yellow house…and she pinned it to my favorite tree.
but they didn’t….
So disrespectful of her remains…
I will miss her so much, and I am committed to working on understanding the perceived necessity of her demise.
This may be all that’s left of her…
But THIS is how I will remember her!
After the Queen interlude, see if you can put yourself all the way in the following short video…so you can meet my friend. Volume UP! (You may have to scroll up and down while viewing to see the whole thing.)
My life is full of Art, but it is also full of artists who define “art” very differently from me.
My best friend is an expert, having studied and collected art for most of his life. He is also a very talented artist in his own right. We’ve had an ongoing debate for more than 40 years about what actually qualifies as art and who gets to define it. I know we are not alone in this disagreement.
“The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” My own definition of art is the sharing of one’s inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, visions, and struggles through multiple mediums.”
Wondering what all this has to do with “twisted”?
I think his choice of art is twisted…and I’m sure he thinks mine is invalidly defined as art in the first place.
The photo at the top of this post is a gift my best friend gave me many years ago. I’m sure it was expensive and to many, would be defined as art.
I just think it’s twisted.
He actually spent money on that piece for me, where as I bought myself these pieces.
Here are some more examples of “art” in his home and “art” in mine.
His is on the left, mine on the right
His choice on top
My choice is “twisted” artwork from my grandson, at 9 and then 11 years old.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying my best friend is twisted. As a matter of fact, here is my newest absolute favorite piece of art, ironically, a gift from him. Not my chosen “style” by any means but he knew how moved I would be by this piece!
I, on the other hand, by the definition of many, am quite happily Twisted.
I do, that’s who. So I will now officially, and gladly accept the adjective of TWISTED!
I am in great company, as you know if you have ever read The Shameful Sheep or Jennifer Day at The Iconophile, two of my favorite bloggers.
I really felt it while I was going through all kinds of contortions trying to photograph my friend’s art, including, taking his series called “the 7 deadly sins” into a dark closet to eliminate some of the reflection. Didn’t work, and besides, too creepy! This is as good as I could get.
It’s not just about art though.
Just the other day, a newish friend, while I was introducing him to my Bugs, asked me if I realized just how twisted it was for me to be this enthusiastic about them.
He has no idea. Even I know it is completely torqued to set up the photo shoots I have with my bugs.
Witness these, as examples…
I won’t even get started on the debate we have about Photography as ART!!
Anyway, I know this is a long post, with a lot of photos, but the topic and the recent Daily Post announcement inspired me to do less censoring than I usually apply to my weekly photo challenge entry.
I’ll end on this note.
Initially, I was of like mind with many other contributors this week. I immediately thought of these things:
But then I allowed the word to take me on this unexpected journey.
For that, I wish to express deep gratitude to The Daily Press for your regular inspiration for so many posts!! I will really miss you.
PS I have received many Twisted gifts over the years from other twisted folks. Here are a couple involving antlers…yikes.
I guess every generation has its war. For mine, it was Vietnam.
I was so angry about that war and I could not have told you why………other than my well-intentioned, but naive Flower Child commitment to nonviolence.
Even though I could not have justified it with any political understanding, I marched and protested and wrote passionate letters and participated in every way I could think of…believing with my whole being that we could actually stop the war.
Though I lost my innocence back then, as well as many friends, I never lost my belief in pacifism.
It took going to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in DC some time in the early 1980’s for me to finally be able to make room in my black and white thinking about the Vietnam war. I had never even considered how many of those names on the Wall represented men and women who chose, out of honor and deep-held passions of their own, to fight for our country.
I was still biased, and so angry on that trip. I made pencil etchings of 17 names, “brothers” from my childhood, that had served in Vietnam…but did not make it back home. Each one of them had been drafted.
Now, this print of Lee Teter’s Vietnam Reflections War Memorial Poster sits in the most prominent position in my office/Group Room. Everyone who comes to me for therapy is greeted by this powerful image. Such a small homage to all those we lost, in that war, as well as because of that war.
We didn’t know back then what we know now. So many of us would do it all differently…
especially the welcoming home part….
This is one of my favorite videos ever.
I ask for forgiveness for not knowing this back then.
And I dedicate this post, with deep gratitude for their service, to the following people I am blessed to have had in my life. Most, but not all, served during the Vietnam War.
Colonel Louis Ford (Tad)-United States Air Force
Thomas Alvin Bessey-National Guard Mounted Cavalry
Jean McMaster Bessey- US Navy WAVES
Captain Brian Lee Ford-US Air Force
James Fletcher-US Army
Colonel James Kowalski
Colonel James Sampson
Colonel Bill Head
Captain Roy Gurd
Jerry and Jennifer Niehaus
Carol’s first husband
Lenore’s first husband
(I know I am leaving out some names…so sorry)
PS Sorry I could not get WordPress to work yesterday so this post is a day late…
I will get back to savoring and sharing our Epic Roots Trip this summer soon…
But THIS just came across my desk and I have to share it with you!
It’s a newsletter from Karen Drucker, a long-time acquaintance (talented musician, presenter and comedienne) containing a link to her new album, but also a new music video.
I included the whole thing so you can read about Karen but it is the music video (down toward the bottom under “News Flash”) that really got to me. I hope you are also moved to share it. Here’s the link, and yes, I got her permission to post this YouTube.
A NEW BIRTH!!
I am officially here! I am Karen Drucker’s new “baby,” a romping little CD named“One Heart At A Time,” and I was brought forth fully birthed today, November 1, 2017 at 8:00 am. Even though Karen has created many other CD’s, she is very excited about me because I am a little different than the others. Like my siblings, I still have the 12 songs/chants that she normally does on all her CDs, but I am unique because I have what Karen is calling “musical meditations.” This is a chant where you think of something you want to let go of, or forgive, or be grateful for, and you sing along with Karen and her amazing back-up singers over and over until you feel a shift in your heart. I overheard her saying that she hopes people will get into the trance-y state she got into while singing these songs, and that it might help people heal some of the pain that is going on in the world. The process of my creation was very organic with some songs being written right there in the studio, while others were created with some of her amazing songwriter friends. She is so grateful to work with some of the best musicians in the Bay Area, and she was moved to tears a few times watching them put their creativity into this project resulting in me being born today.
So world – here I am! I hope that you will take a listen and share with your friends if you enjoy me. I am very happy to be born, and happy to share myself with all of you!
Here is a sample of one of my new musical meditation songs,
(Sheet music and “tracks” available January, 2018)
November 2-5 ~ Circle of Love Atlanta, Georgia
Keynote talk, concert, and workshop along with other inspiring presenters.
November 12 ~ Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa, California
Talk and music at the 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 am services & afternoon workshop.
November 15 ~ Unity in Marin Novato, California
Debuting my new CD at the 7:15 pm service.
November 19 ~ Unity of Walnut Creek, California
Talk and music at the 9:00 and 11:30 am services & afternoon concert.
November 25 ~ Concert with Kate Munger Berkeley, California
“Going to the Dogs” fundraising concert for Humane Society.
The song I wrote with JD Martin and David Roth, “Home of the Brave,” has been nominated for a “Posi Award” in the video category. This is a very special song about the current immigration situation and a beautifully done video by Sherry Hursey and Rick Cowling of ToTL Entertainment. This is the one category that is based solely on fan voting. As much as it feels awkward to ask for you to vote for this video, I would love to honor the work of Sherry and Rick and get this video seen by more people to do good in the world.