Thursday, February 28, 2013

Time with Tosh

Tosh is not budging. He will guard those dried pork bones !

   As many of you know, a friend of ours gave us a cat after Daniel's passing.  Daniel had been allergic to them, and had always wanted one.  This cat, who came to be known as Tosh, is being raised and loved by us, and someday when he passes, he will truly become Daniel's cat.  Until then, he is a joy to us.
We are decidedly dog people.  Presently, we own seven dogs most of whom have roles on the farm and help with herding and protection of the alpacas.  We are very fond of our dogs and have had dogs here, sometimes in greater numbers than this, for many years.  Once in awhile, we will bring home a particular treat for the dogs. This week, on a trip to Tractor Supply for something for one of the dogs, we noted a sale on really large dried bones, which are intended for dogs. These are tightly plastic wrapped.  We don't give this type of treat very often, and so I bought some. When I got home, it was raining, so rather than taking them out to the kennels or one of the dogs on duty, I left the wrapped dog bones in a Tractor Supply bag just inside the house on the oak floors. Later that day I heard the sound of something being dragged across the floor. It seems that Tosh the cat is rather protective of this set particular set of bones. Later that day I decided to take a better look. It turns out that these are dried pork femurs. Tosh has relocated these, and stands on patrol nearby. Our eldest son tried to take them to give them to the dogs this morning, and Tosh rather voraciously defended his right to guard them. Where did I go wrong ?  Have I socialized our cat as a dog ?  Well, he does growl on the rare occasion that someone comes to the door here. He will walk on a leash for us.  As I write, Tosh, the cat, is in the process of hiding the dried pork bones from us.  I hope they are still on sale.  I think I am going to have to leave these bones for the cat, and get new ones for the dogs.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Richard Briers will be Missed

Richard Briers

      As those of you who are devoted to Daniel's blog know, one of Daniel's favorite television series was BBC's Monarch of the Glen.    Richard Briers had played the very funny patriarch in the program, Hector MacDonald.  

 Richard Briers passed away yesterday.

       Richard Briers performed on BBC's Monarch of the Glen in 27 episodes from 2000-2005.
He was also known for his Shakespearean roles and for his acting in a number of British series television programs, such as The Good Life, with Felicity Kendall, and Watership Down.

       Stephen Fry has also called Richard Briers "the funniest and most adorable man imaginable".

Richard Briers was awarded the OBE in 1989 for his achievements in the arts. Richard Briers was married    and has two adult daughters.  He died in his home in London,  peacefully of complications of emphysema which he had battled for years.  He was 79.

        He leaves a huge body of excellent work, and is remembered by everyone from actors to those who simply have watched British television in the past few years. His acting career spanned fifty years.

These are some scenes with Richard Briers as Hector MacDonald

Today, we send condolences to his wife Ann, the daughters, Lucy and Kate and  the family and friends of Richard Briers.


The original music which was written for Monarch of the Glen is the work of Simon Brint.
Simon passed in 2011.
Our post on Simon Brint can be found:


In the later portion of the film clip above, you may also recognize actor Julian Fellowes.    
Fellowes is not only recognized as a fine actor in many roles, but he is known to many Americans now as the creator and prominent writer of screenplays of BBC's Downton Abbey.


Lastly,  Monarch of the Glen was filmed in Ardverikie Castle in Scotland.    When the series ended, all the props and articles used in the series needed to be removed from the castle itself.   Ecosse Films, the production company had a wonderful sale in the village where everything from clothing, props, housewares, drawings, plans, letters, mock up newspapers, photographs etc. were sold to those who wanted them.   We were very lucky to have been able to purchase a wide variety of items which were used in Monarch of the Glen episodes.   Daniel was very excited to know that we had many of the scripts, letters, drawings, props, and articles that were used in his favorite program.


Why Was Daniel Called ?

We tried to give Daniel as pleasant and as loving a life as possible. However, things on Earth stepped in, and it was less than idyllic, as I suppose it is for most of us.

     No mother on Earth will ever accept or truly understand why God chose to call her child home. We may accept that our child belongs to God, and always will. We probably accept that our children came from God in the first place. We may also accept that God certainly has the right to call our child, but we really won't ever really be alright with it. There is simply a level of acceptance to which a human mother will be unable to arrive during her own time on Earth.  Most mothers of children called will arrive where I am, sooner or later, which is, "As the God of all, wasn't there some other way for you to achieve what you needed to, without calling Daniel ?"   The answer is apparently, "No".   To shape the world the way it must go, in ripple fashion, Daniel had to come Home to Him.

               Like most mothers, and as I said, I am mostly not okay with his passing. Although lately I have been seeing the world differently.  The world I grew up in is vastly different from the one in which Daniel would have grown up and ultimately started a young adult life.  I grew up in a middle class home in the Northeast in the nineteen seventies. My youth was without serious illnesses of myself or of siblings. We grew up in a safe place. Our dreams and chances for prosperity were not only intact, they were very possible.
The world Daniel would have grown up in, in the four years since his passing, would not have been so idyllic. Albeit, the world he knew when he was here, was not quite like the childhood I had.

               Daniel was the youngest of four siblings while he was here on Earth. We homeschooled our children, and made use of homeschool groups which offered opportunities for socialization, classes, field days, chemistry classes, etc.  We even hosted some classes at our home.  In a world that was changing fast, we were trying to provide some of that stability that my husband and I knew in earlier times. Still, there was no protecting him from some of the trials of life.  Daniel had a sister who dealt with Type I juvenile diabetes from age nine onward following a virus which destroyed her beta cells of her pancreas.  He had a brother who had Crohn's disease and who ultimately had a major surgery as a result.  In Daniel's short life, he never knew my husband's parents who died in their fifties. He was well aware of the illness and passage of my mother, and he was in attendance of my father when he passed.  As much as I tried to provide a safe and pleasant life, I could not control all of the things which can happen in this life which claws at our sense of safety here. Still, we tried to find joy as a family where we could. So many things happened in Daniel's short life, that we never once took a family vacation, with the exception of day trips.

               It has been four years since Daniel departed this Earth, and since that time, many things have deteriorated here in the US.   Two of our children have graduated from university with student loans. Only one was able to secure a job, and it took a year. The other one still has student loans, but no job.  A third remains in college.  The son we adopted a year after Daniel's passing, is not sure if he should expend the effort or energy by even attempting college. Of course, this is largely his insecurities talking, and he should try.  Our country has added huge debt since Daniel's passing. Many businesses have closed, and many jobs have been lost. The stock market crashed and the US government bailed out many companies they shouldn't have. The Federal Reserve periodically prints more and more paper money, chasing the same amounts of goods and services, which economists agree will fuel inflation.   True unemployment figures are not even correctly tabulated, as they no longer include those who now live with family and have had to give up looking for work.  A great many people consider the United States to have passed its best days. Our leaders remain confused, out of touch and largely self serving.

                Lately, I have wondered whether God called Daniel to spare him seeing the deterioration of our economy and perhaps the loss of our country as it was.  When Daniel was here on Earth, those who felt that a complete economic collapse of the US was a complete and total unlikelihood.  Now, even legitimate newspapers consider how long it will be before our nation collapses.  They cite that our government has not lived within its means or within reality for years.

                Perhaps Daniel was called to spare him from the losses and horrors which were to come in our country. They say that God has a perfect plan, and that we cannot.  Please pray for our nation, our family, our leaders, and your own.  Things in the US, do not appear to be improving.

              All that is left, is to have faith. This is the same faith in God which helped us to survive Daniel's unexpected passing in the first place.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Concerns for Russia

This is the location of the Chelyabinsk Region,   (Rendering:


 It has been twelve years since I spent a month in Vladivostok, Russia and then almost a week at Christmastime in Moscow. I made many friends in both Asian, and then European Russia.  When I heard this morning that now 750 people were injured as a meteor landed in the Chelyabinsk area of the Ural Mountains there, I was saddened.  The blast area is said to have caused the collapse of the roof of a zinc factory and the breakage of a great many windows for miles.  Please know that the people of the United States, are praying for you and thinking of you in this trying time.  We hope that these are all the meteors you will have, and we pray for those near the blast area.

    Daniel would certainly have been intrigued, once we knew that people were safe afterward.  We really do reside on a planet where anything can happen. Thus far, 1145 people were hurt in the Chelyabinsk Region and one remains hospitalized in a coma.

This is a compilation of many dashcam versions of the meteor taken while many drove to work this morning.

This was shown on Russia Today News.

Update:  My apologies as RT has apparently pulled this dashcam version due to copyright concerns, although I had included it consistent with current fair use laws.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

More News from "Home" in Nova Scotia

              I slept badly last evening, hoping that the people and places I knew would still be intact in the morning, after high tide which would bring another storm surge, and following more high winds.   This morning, I wandered in early to the computer to learn the following.
               In many ways, this is much worse than the storm which pummeled the US Northeast.  The storm which afflicted the US Northeast was one storm, whereas a storm from Ontario and Quebec converged with the storm from the Northeast, providing Nova Scotians with a rare and perfect destructive storm.  Last I heard, the causeway to Cape Sable Island, and island of significant size off the Southermost tip of Nova Scotia is temporarily inaccessible due to blizzard conditions and icing.. 
             This is a picture of one of the grocery stores I shopped in, quite a distance from our house.  It has changed hands since I was last there.  The thick front glass has indeed been blown out by high winds, which is interesting, because it's fairly well protected, and faces away from the ocean.  The local weather station reported winds in excess of 120 km./hr.  The Emergency Measures Coordinator has said that the storm "opened a gap in the building" and that the glass blew out from the inside out".  I can't even imagine.
I believe that this is the store which has heated steel lines on the front of the roof which help to melt snow in order to decrease snow load, and keep this building safe from collapses.   This store has the best selection of trash and recycling bags in all sizes and colors. Recycling is a big deal in Nova Scotia. Even out-of-towners like us are required to properly sort and correctly color code our bags of trash for proper recycling.  Nova Scotians must  even separate and recycle everything in fast food restaurants.

Later in the day.  (Photo: Kathy Johnson)

               Power was knocked out for a good deal of the region, which doesn't hurt us much, because the house has been winterized, but I'll bet with the cold, trees down, snowy icy roads, and pounding surf, it was quite a problem.  Local officials opened a shelter or two, in fire stations,, but with blizzard conditions, I wonder how many people got there. Most businesses in the county were closed yesterday, and this kept most people off the roads.  In other parts of Nova Scotia, hospitals organized "Jeep Brigades" to get physicians and nurses to hospitals.
             Many if not most people in the region make their money through fishing and lobster harvesting.  Yesterday, many wharfs were turned to matchsticks, and ones which remained had boats  set upon them.  It's hard to imagine some of those large fishing boats with larger crews  being set on wharfs, or set this far inland following a storm surge.   There is also major roof damage to some buildings, and the many historical buildings have yet to be assessed.

I am glad our own doors are staying closed. This is quite typical for yesterday. (Photo: Julie Young)

These are lobster traps brought onto a road by the storm surge. The ocean is on the right.  (Photo: Susan Quinlan)

Many pieces of road equipment of all varieties slipped off roads yesterday.  A plow slipped off the road right near our house.

Photo's without the contributor's name are credited at this time to:, which is a newspaper.

         With the people I was concerned about apparently safe, I recalled that last year our homeowners insurance for the house there took a jump.  This amount of damage in the area is probably going to cause it to rise additionally.  However, I am grateful for the the safety of the people and for our house.   When the drifts melt and the weather is better, a better look will need to be taken at our house to ensure that nothing happened in the following day.  Daniel would have loved this miraculous place.


The Cape Sable Causeway situation has improved and is passable.  The live feed is back up at:

This post is an update to the prior post on this subject which can be found at: 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Worries for Nova Scotia

Part of the shopping area in Nova Scotia, as it normally appears.

  As most of you know, we have a second home which overlooks the ocean in Nova Scotia.  We have owned it for many years, which is long enough to know that hurricanes are not the problem there.  However, Winter storms can be.   We have been nervous all week when we received e-mail weather alerts from the region telling us that as this Noreaster blows through the Northeast US, that it would also be afflicting the area in which our Nova Scotia home is located.  Never in the years we have owned the home has the area been under this many alerts.  There is a High Wind Alert,  a Blizzard Alert, but also the one which worries me the most which is Storm Surge Warning. 
      I prayed last evening that the people who live on our road overlooking the ocean, the people who care for our house, and the house itself survive this storm intact which was expected to be quite bad.   This afternoon, I received a call from our power company there telling me when they believed the power would be restored again.   I also spoke to the family who watches and lovingly cares for our house.  They are alright.  Apparently, the road between the ocean and our home has washed away, thanks to the storm surge.  There is significant snow. The wind was even worse than usual, and a number of buildings and barns collapsed under the wind and the weight of the snow load.   Our house is presently intact and is unflooded, and our barns are intact.  I am told that a couple of the neighbors a distance away on the street were not so lucky.  I also saw news that one of the large grocery stores we use while staying In Nova Scotia had all of its front glass blown out by severe winds last evening.   I looked at some pictures on the Canadian Broadcasting site and could not imagine such damage. It seems that I knew about Winter Storm Nemo, but I did not know that Maritime Canada was also hit by a storm which came across Canada named Juan. Our home is being hit by two storms simaltaneously !

Nova Scotia today at Yarmouth Harbour

       We were at the house there during Hurricane Irene, which was simply interesting.   I did wonder if the siding or roofing shingles would come off, and closing the door when coming inside was difficult.  We always felt safe there, and we didn't take any chances. I think the greatest risk that visit was all of the salt spray all over our dark colored rental car.

        Rural Nova Scotia has been hit especially hard in the past few years.  First, the US recession had a very negative effect on everything from general commerce there, to tourism and even real estate prices.  Secondly, the Canadian government chose to stop subsidizing the ferry which travelled from Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.   This furthur devastated real estate prices in  Nova Scotia, and closed a multitude of businesses.  In addition, many young people have chosen to leave Nova Scotia in search of jobs.  Storm damage to homes there comes in a time in which it is particularly difficult for people to find the money to make repairs, and people often fear claims on homeowner's insurance for other than a total loss as their fear cancellation or a sharp rise in their rates.  It seems tonight that 40 cm. of snow are the least of our worries.

Where the signs are is normally a street.  (Photo:

      Here is the current warning for this evening:

This is a warning that an extended period of blowing snow with poor visibilities is occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..listen for updated statements.

An intense low pressure system south of Nova Scotia will continue moving east tonight.

Snow and blowing snow will persist over much of Nova Scotia tonight although the precipitation has diminished in intensity over southernmost regions. By the time the snow tapers off on Sunday much of Nova Scotia will have received total snowfalls of 30 to 40 centimetres from this storm.

Strong northeasterlies over the Gulf of St Lawrence will give higher than normal water levels along Northumberland Strait later tonight. Northumberland Strait is mainly ice covered and these strong winds will push pack ice into north to northeast facing shorelines giving some ice pile up. There is a risk of some coastal flooding due to the elevated water levels especially around high tide this evening.

This is a fishing shack which was knocked off its foundation near the sea. This is in the area of our home.(

      I love our home there and although because we are Americans and will likely never live there beyond a few weeks at a time. Despite the fact that Daniel never lived there, it is a very spiritual place, and a place in which I feel him, there with us.  I am worried tonight for our friends and also for our home there. Prayers are appreciated.

Updates can be found at:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Well Chosen Words


   I often replay entire conversations I had with you Daniel, before your passing.  It's as if these memories and the words we shared are somehow laminated  and suspended in time. A lot of times I take a breath in sweet relief as I remember the things I said to you.  There were only a few poorly chosen or cross words in all our time together, and they were rare.  Most of the time I was more patient than was my ordinary inclination.  Most of the time I was so in awe of you, your intellect, your humor, and your wonderful use of English, that I think you inspired me to be better than I actually was, or am now.  I am relieved to have been loving, kind, and inspiring, and I hope I helped to make your time on Earth encouraging and as memorable for you, as it certainly was for me.

         Love to you, and to Papa L.

"The Right Words"   by Sarah Slean

Lyrics to:   "The Right Words"   by Sarah Slean

 you will find the right words
just you wait and see
they’ll be falling from the rooftops
on a blossom covered breeze
and the song you need to hear
it will be singing through the trees
are you listening?
don’t you see?

you are on the right path
you will realize
the tears are there to leave you
with a brighter pair of eyes
and the pain that you’ve been fighting
is an angel in disguise
it is love
and love is wise

throw your heart into the ocean
throw your heart into the sea
you will find that all the right words
just come out naturally

there’s still time to notice,
still time to believe
that a door at last will open where doubt and darkness used to be
and that the paradise you long for
it’s underneath your feet
whatcha runnin for?
where’ve you been?

throw your heart into the ocean
throw your heart into the sea
you will find that all the right words
just come out naturally
just come out naturally

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Saw Daniel in a Dream


  Last night I fell asleep early and had a good sleep until about three am when I awoke to find that I had some asthma.  I was annoyed because I had been doing so well.  I used the nebulizer, sucked on a cough drop, drank some water and checked my e-mail.  Eventually the medication kicked in, and an hour and a half later, I went back to bed.
              I had the most wonderful dream.  All of our family was at our house and we were planning to take a short trip. Family was scurrying and packing last minute bags, and we were excited.   Daniel was with us, but not as I most often envision him. I usually envision Daniel as very much the young man he was when he departed Earth at 12 1/2, only taller and even wiser and kinder than he was then.  In my dream, he was still wise, almost magically so, but he was only about one year old. In the dream I was aware that I was behind in packing the things I would need for a young child. I hurried to pack things one might need for a child of that age.  Daniel was smiling at me, with all the love and affection he always had.  He had thick hair, his precious toes, and the same strong hands he always had, even as a tot.    In the dream, he was a small child, but had wisdom in excess of my own.  Then, I held him tight and said to him, "I knew that you couldn't be dead".   With that, he smiled, and I awoke.
           I am not sure what the dream means. Perhaps it is simply an encouragement from God and from Daniel.  Perhaps the message is that anyone who was ever here, still exists, and will be seen by all of us later. Perhaps our journey is our passage through life.  Perhaps I hadn't packed Daniel's supplies yet because he now doesn't need them. Perhaps Daniel is saying that he is with us, and will always be available to us. Perhaps it is easier for him to appear to us in dreams, as a small child.