Monday, June 29, 2009

Attitude. . .

Attitude is everything.

Among the mysteries that I contemplate is the way some people can have life difficulties repeatedly come their way and yet maintain a sunny upbeat approach to life.

Herewith an example. When I was working in an organization several careers back in my life, I was in a position where I had two secretaries. These women had been in their jobs before I was promoted to mine, so they knew the ropes of the daily operations better than I. As I got to know them, I was struck by their different approaches to life.

The one—let’s call her Kim—had been married when she was quite young. She and her husband very quickly had a daughter. Before the daughter was a year old, the husband began abusing Kim. He also drank excessively. In addition to this domestic violence, a natural disaster here had wiped out their house, and they were temporarily living in a government trailer. One evening, after a particularly vicious fight between Kim and her husband, he jumped in the car, and roared off in anger. That evening, he was killed in an auto accident. In a sense, Kim’s problem of being married to an abusive husband was solved. However, when the insurance company paid out his death benefit, his mother was the beneficiary. He had never changed his policy to make his wife his beneficiary. And the mother refused to turn the money over to her daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Life changed for the better for Kim when she met a wonderful man, and got married. They too had a daughter. While Kim continued to work where I did, her husband became the owner of a local business. One day, an irate customer began arguing with him, and the argument continued out into the parking lot. The customer then jumped in his car, and pinned Kim’s husband up against a wall. Kim’s husband ended up with such extensive injuries that he nearly lost his leg.

Not long after that, central Pennsylvania, where we all lived, was hit with a freak tornado. We do not get many tornados in this part of the country. When the tornado touched down, it wiped out only a few houses in the area—Kim’s house was one of them.


All these catastrophes had happened to Kim before I met her. She was the sunniest, most upbeat person imaginable. She was a delight to work with, she never complained. In fact, the only problem I ever had with her was her irrational—at least I considered it irrational—fear of mice. We had a mouse problem in our office, and the maintenance staff had placed those sticky strip traps under desks. Sure enough, a mouse was caught on the one under Kim’s desk. By the time we got to work, the mouse was the LATE mouse—but Kim freaked anyway. I thought it very funny—she was not amused.

Now, to the second secretary—let’s call her Marcella. Marcella was the oldest child in a middle class family of three. She had many opportunities growing up, but the only thing she ever talked about was how her younger brother and sister got to attend college and she didn’t. She began having health problems a few years before she was married, with a series of migrating symptoms. She underwent endless medical tests with seemingly nothing being found. She did eventually have her gall bladder removed, and in fact was married so soon after that operation that she still had surgical dressing on the surgery wound. When her first child was born, that baby began to have a series of medical problems. I really began to wonder if Marcella was suffering from M√ľnchausen syndrome, that she had now transferred to her child—M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy.

No matter what subject you might talk about with Marcella, everything came back to how she was cheated in life. Her parents favored her siblings, she never got to go to college, her husband wasn’t attentive enough, she was sick, her baby was sick. Nothing ever suited her. And of course the irony was that in life she had been dealt a far more favorable hand than Kim.

Yet Kim never complained and Marcella ALWAYS complained. It will come as no surprise that when it came to getting work done, Kim was SUPER efficient, and Marcella always had some reason why she couldn’t do a particular task.

Clearly, the outlook on life each of these women had shaped their approach to life.
When my brother was studying in seminary he took a course on family counseling. I may not precisely remember the details of a class exercise he had to do (he can correct me, as he reads this blog), but I recall that he had to interview some family members and ask if they saw life as in the red or in the black. Think accounting. If you saw life in the black, you figured that on the whole, life’s balance was positive. If you saw life in the red, you figured that life’s balance was negative—that life owed you something. I always loved that analogy. On the whole, I am a big “life is in the black” person. Clearly, with my colleagues Kim and Marcella, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who saw life which way.

Attitude. How we view something can alter how that event or circumstance affects us. Please understand that I am not ignoring the fact that some people have incredibly difficult circumstances in life. Some people are truly dealt hard times. I have always been mesmerized by the story of Helen Keller. If ever anyone could have been forgiven for being angry at life’s circumstances, it would be Helen Keller. Yet, through her own grit, and through the loving dedication of her teacher Anne Sullivan, Helen rose to national prominence as an advocate, author and activist. She could have simply been content to live a life where others waited on her every need. But her attitude was turned outward to the world.

Now, comes the hard part—what makes the difference? I really don’t know. It would be easy to say—always look on the bright side of life. You decide, you control. But that really is too glib.

A recent poem featured on The Writer’s Almanac captures this conundrum of how someone can view catastrophe in a positive light.

--------------------
Rapture
by Richard Jones

In the desert, a traveler
returning to his family
is surprised
by a wild beast.

To save himself
from the fierce animal,
he leaps into a deep well
empty of water.

But at the bottom
is a dragon, waiting
with open mouth
to devour him.

The unhappy man,
not daring to go out
lest he should be
the prey of the beast,

not daring to jump
to the bottom
lest he should be
devoured by the dragon,

clings to the branch
of a bush growing
in the cracks of the well.
Hanging upon the bough,

he feels his hands
weaken, yet still
he clings, afraid
of his certain fate.

Then he sees two mice,
one white, the other black,
moving about the bush,
gnawing the roots.

The traveler sees this
and knows that he must
inevitably perish, that he will
never see his sons again.

But while thus hanging
he looks about and sees
on the leaves of the bush
some drops of honey.

These leaves
he reaches with his tongue
and licks the honey off,
with rapture.

"Rapture" by Richard Jones, from The Blessing: New and Selected Poems. © Copper Canyon Press, 2000.
----------------





Here's to the honey in life, and to the ability to see it, taste it, and relish it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Sound of the Other Shoe Dropping. . .

I don't very often write about politics, not because I don't have opinions--believe me, I do. I think I eschew writing about politics because--well, just because. But I just can't resist today's story.

First, the news broke last week. Governor Mark Sanford, of South Carolina, was missing. He had taken off, and neither his staff nor his WIFE knew where he was. He missed being home with his children on Father's Day, and, when asked where he was, his wife commented: he has taken off to be alone before.

Then, word came out from the Governor's staff--he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, because he needed time to clear his head after the bruising legislative session that he had been through. Remember, Governor Sanford had decided to turn down ALL of the federal stimulus money that would go to South Carolina, much of it to be used for education. The legislature said--wait a minute, we want to take the money. So the governor suffered a political defeat. Hence the need for time alone to lick his proverbial wounds.

Suddenly, today--Wednesday--about a week after he took off, the word came: the governor was in Argentina. HUH?

And, this afternoon, the other shoe dropped. Upon his return to the U.S. (having been caught landing in Atlanta by an enterprising news person) Governor Sanford held a press conference. First yadda, yadda, yadda, then--I have been unfaithful to my marriage. I went to Argentina and had an affair with a dear dear friend.

PLOP. SPLAT. SMASH.

The only thing funnier than his press conference are all the political folks who are now falling all over themselves to say--he did the right thing. Mind, not the affair, but confessing quickly. Puh-lease. He is the governor of a state (RESPONSIBILITY); he is a father (RESPONSIBILITY), so no quick announcement is going to assuage me.

Nope, sorry, not buying it. Governor, you goofed in so many ways. First, you didn't tell your staff or your lieutenant governor where you were going. You have an administrative responsibility to TELL or to turn over the reins of POWER should there be an emergency. Second, you didn't tell your WIFE where you were going. Well, I guess you wouldn't say--dear, I am going to Argentina to have an affair. But, really--what husband and father (never mind governor) goes off and leaves his wife and family?

So, I won't have any of this posturing--he did the right thing by being so forthright? Nope, nope, NOPE.

Adios, Governor Sanford.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Open Wide

. . .and say -- arrggggghhh!!

Today, I go for round 2 of periodontal surgery. You know, when the dentist stuck that little probe in next to my gums, and began calling out random numbers--3, 5, 6, 9, 7, 8 etc.--I had no idea it would mean hours of jaw-cracking pain. Not really pain, but just aching.

Sit with your mouth open for about 2 hours, all the while half of it is completely numbed, and you feel like the village idiot drooling uncontrollably, and you get a whiff of what lies before me this afternoon.

I tried Googling some images of periodontal surgery and thought better of it. It is enough to know that half of my face will feel like it doesn't belong to me without having to look at photos of someone else's gums being worked on.

Am I going for the pity factor. Hmmm--me? Do I want pity? I will settle for mercy.

Oh, did I mention that this wonderful procedure is followed by TWO weeks of eating nothing solid, and also NO brushing teeth. WHA. . .?

Be back when the numbness subsides.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Drum Roll. . .Please

When I began writing this blog in the summer of 2006, I had no particular destination in mind. The first item that I posted was part of my travel journal from our trip taken that year to Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

We have gone on a trip to Europe almost every year, since 1997. On our first trip, to the UK, I wrote a daily travel journal, and have kept up the practice on every trip since that one. At first, I used the journal to accompany photos that I carefully placed in albums when we returned home. Now, with digital cameras, and blogs, I have used the travel journals as a basis for blog material.

So, I started blog writing with no particular destination in mind. What has come of this venture? I am grateful for any audience that I have, but if I really try to decide who I intend my writing for, I would probably say "my children." Notes from Mother sort of thing. And of course I write for the sheer pleasure of writing.

Now, here is the drum roll part. This post is my 400th. Along the way to no particular destination, I discover I have written the equivalent of a book. Oh, the joy of writing. And of course that is exactly what I am writing for--the joy.

Blogging has given me an outlet for writing, and it provides a kind of discipline. Writers write--and having a place to share that writing helps give me the impetus to keep writing. And blogging has introduced me to various wonderful people--my fellow bloggers. I can't read every blog ever written, so I have settled on a circle of people with like interests. It's a great little cyber community.



So, to celebrate my blogging milestone, I hereby announce my intention to repay the "Pay it Forward" challenge that I responded to when fellow blogger Ruthie asked her readers if they wanted to participate. I gleefully said--me, me.

And, about a month ago, a lovely hand-made treasure arrived in the mail. Made by Ruthie's hand (she is a knitting fiend), it is so gorgeous I scarcely can think of actually wearing it. But I will--come winter. That was Ruthie's Pay it Forward gift to me. You can read about what she received here.









Now, dear reader, here is where you come in. I make the same pledge--here are the "rules" as Ruthie stated them: I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on this post requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days; that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

There are no restrictions on who can respond--friends, family, anyone who wishes to. I will be in touch with you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Grand Old Man



Today, we threw a birthday party for my father, whose 90th birthday it is.
So, here's a quick recipe for a grand party for a grand old man.
First, get a sign that says "Happy Birthday.
CHECK.




Next have the birthday celebree arrive in style. Note, do NOT surprise a 90 year old.
CHECK.




Next, have a birthday chair waiting, so that the birthday celebree can "hold court."

CHECK.



Next, have a guest book for all party attendees to sign.

CHECK.



Then, make arrangements to have a birthday cake with the years clearly spelled out. Skip the candles, however--a) you don't want the cake to melt; and b) you want to have the birthday celebree save breath for more important things such as visiting with guests.

CHECK.



A particularly nice touch--have someone thoughtful send flowers (in this case, my sister Denise, who actually thought of sending flowers with no prompting from anyone).
CHECK.


Next, secure the assistance of the wonderful employees of the retirement village where my father lives to serve cake, scoop ice-cream, make beverages, and just in general do the work of food serving so everyone can enjoy the party. Do not, however, refer to them as the village people--it only confuses things.
CHECK.





Watch the celebree enjoy visiting, while sitting in the birthday chair.

CHECK.



And visiting.




Make sure that family members who are older than 90 also have a place to sit and visit.
CHECK.



Finally, if you are the hostess, make sure you sit down from time to time. And, remember to smile!
CHECK.

-----------------------------------

A closing word: we did not surprise my father, but he did not know who the guests would be. Among those who attended were 20 members of my mother's family.

What wonderful family ties.

Also in attendance--several members of my step-mother's family, many former missionaries with whom my father worked, members of the Kiwanis club my father belongs to, and members of the men's singing chorus my father is in at the retirement village where he lives, along with various friends he has made along the pathway of his life.

As for immediate family members--my step-mother, me and my husband, my sister's daughter and her husband.
In all--90 people attended this grand party for a grand old man.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DADDY!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Changing Tastes in Poetry Part 2

I promised to write a bit explaining how modern poetry works. Since poetry is one of my links (along the right side here), I checked to see some of what I have previously written about poetry. You know, I don't want to repeat myself too much.

I found that I had outlined some of the principles of modern poetry in an earlier post,
Tie a Poem to a Chair. (The title of that post comes from the first line of the wonderful poem by Billy Collins entitled Introduction to Poetry.)

Since I made the point that older poetry uses external elements to hold a poem together, to give it cohesion (rhythm, meter and rhyme), you will anticipate that something must hold modern poetry together. The cohesion for modern poetry moves to the interior of the poem.
Instead of the ends of line ALWAYS rhyming, a modern poem uses internal repetion at times. Simply repeating a word, or even using alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds) or assonance (repetition of vowel sounds) can help hold a poem together.

Modern poetry tends to be very spare in expression. Where a poem such as "The Raven" can go on (and on), a modern poet seems to pluck just one or two words to say exactly what the poet wants. Or a single image stands in for a host of meaning.

Let's take a poem by the poet
Barbara Crooker . Her poems have been featured several times on Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac (which I have mention before). You can find more of her poems on the link provided to her name. And, I found at least one other blogger who analyzed a poem of hers called Ordinary Life.

Let's read the poem first.

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton,
'We are All Writing God's Poem'

by Barbara Crooker

Today, the sky's the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, "The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it's stranger than we can think." I think
I've driven into spring, as the woods revive
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark's bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren't we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: "There is no end of things
in the heart," but it seems like things
are always ending—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit—
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of phlox curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
lavender, thistle, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.

"Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton, 'We are All Writing God's Poem'" by Barbara Crooker, from Line Dance. © Word Press, 2008.


I would venture to say that for some of you, reading this poem for the first time, it will seem to be a series of disconnected thoughts. But, in fact, the poem links idea after idea after idea by repetition of a word or a thought, each time in a new context.

When this poem was featured on The Writer's Almanac, I loved it so much that I sent it off to a friend of mine who also listens to the Almanac. After a couple of weeks, she sent back to me this analysis below which shows how the poem ties everything together by internal repetition.



So, let's look at it again, with the help of colored text that I will italicize to help make it evident.

Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton,
'We are All Writing God's Poem'

by Barbara Crooker

Today, the sky's the soft blue of a work shirt washed
a thousand times. The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step. On the interstate listening
to NPR, I heard a Hubble scientist
say, "The universe is not only stranger than we
think, it's stranger than we can think." I think
I've DRIVEN into spring, as the woods REVIVE
with a loud shout, redbud trees, their gaudy
scarves flung over bark's bare limbs. Barely doing
sixty, I pass a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,
and aren't we just? Just yesterday,
I read Li Po: "There is no end of things
in the heart," but it seems like
things
are always ending
—vacation or childhood,
relationships, stores going out of business,
like the one that sold jeans that really fit
And where do we fit in? How can we get up
in the morning, knowing what we do? But we do,
put one foot after the other, open the window,
make coffee, watch the steam curl up
and disappear. At night, the scent of PHLOX curls
in the open window, while the sky turns red violet,
LAVENDER, THISTLE, a box of spilled crayons.
The moon spills its milk on the black tabletop
for the thousandth time.

------------------------------

See how the poem holds together with all the links?

Beyond all these internal links are wonderful lines.

--"The sky's the soft blue of a work shirt"

--"their gaudy scarves flung over bark's bare limbs"

--"a tractor trailer called Glory Bound,/and aren't we just"

--"the moon spills its milk"

Those images are just delicious.

I am struck with how many times she uses clothing as description. And I am struck by the ordinariness made wonderfully special--opening a window, making coffee, steam rising.

My favorite portion is the image of the tractor trailer called Glory Bound that inspires the poet to say "and aren't we just."

I tell my students that the poet takes the ordinary events in life and transforms them into something extraordinary. The poet is inspired by everyday circumstances that those of us who are not poets would simply shrug off. The poet, however, mulls these events and ponders the meaning of it all.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Changing Tastes in Poetry Part 1

Ahhh poetry--some folk love it; others can't abide it.
Me--I'm in the "love it" camp.
But I do recognize that part of what pushes people into the "can't abide it" camp has to do with not understanding how it works.

So, I'd like to do two things in this post: explore the changing taste in poetry, and begin to explain how modern poetry works.

There may be some of you who remember memorizing poetry in school. If you did memorize, you have identified yourself with an older generation. Such memorization has gone by the wayside. In part, that may be due to the fact that the poems you memorized are no longer fashionable. You memorized poetry that had used external patterns as the means to achieve poetic cohesion: it had distinct rhythm, meter and rhyme.

Even if you don't know what those words mean, you recognize them when you say a poem, and allow it to fall into the sing-song measures. Here's an example:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

(From Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Kubla Khan)

Let "da" represent an unstressed syllable, and "dum" represent a stressed syllable.

So, here's how a line in the verse sounds rhythmically:

Da dum da dum da dum da dum


That is rhythm. And counting each da dum is meter. And the sound of words matching at the end of the line--that is rhyme.

Older poetry uses these tools quite a lot to bind the poem together. In fact, many people feel as though they are not reading a poem unless they can identify these elements. And when they read the poem, likely these elements are exaggerated, so the sing-song effect is magnified.
In fairness, the external elements DO aid in memorizing.

I have never been fond of this type of poetry. Sometimes the external elements so overpower the internal meaning of the poem. A prime example of this would be Poe's The Raven. I mean, you all remember the line "Quoth the raven nevermore"--but, honestly, do you remember anything else about the poem?

Around the end of the 19th century, some poets began to experiment more with poetic form. Some dispensed with the external cohesive elements altogether--think Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson. Other poets could use the external elements of rhythm, meter and rhyme, but they began to push the form.

You can look to some of the 19th century poets to begin to see this shift in poetic form. Someone such as William Butler Yeats, who lived in both the 19th and 20th century, embodies the shift. You have a wonderfully traditional poem in his When You Are Old, and the beginnings of a modern poem in Sailing to Byzantium. Sailing to Byzantium observes the conventions of rhythm, meter and rhyme, but each line pushes the content over into the next line, so that the effect of the external element disappears.

Read the poem out loud. First, read it stopping at the end of each line. Then read it out loud, reading with the sentence--so that "the young in one another's arms" becomes the spoken line, not where the external break occurs.

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


(Sailing to Byzantium by William Butler Yeats)

Here endeth the lesson. Next time, I will show how modern poetry uses internal elements to achieve cohesion in a poem.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Just Can't Help Myself

A day after the thunderstorm night, I was walking Tipper the dog around the block. A car pulled up next to us, and a man asked if we had seen a small dog. He went on to relate how he had been walking his two pound brown chihuahua in a nearby cemetery when the dog got away from him. He wondered if we had seen his lost dog in our neighborhood.

Well, I got to thinking, actually worrying. A poor little two pound dog, lost, and spending a night outside in a crashing thunderstorm. Poor poor thing. Frightened. Wet. Lost. Poor baby. You can tell, perhaps, that the image worked on me.

This morning, I was reading our local newspaper. And then I spotted it. . .a "found dog" ad. The description--brown chihuahua--rang a bell. And the location was very near where we live.

It was THAT lost dog. It just had to be. When the man had driven through our neighborhood asking for his dog, the natural question was--if we see your dog, how do we contact you. Oh, he said, just call the township police--they have all the information.

So, here I am. Good neighbor Sam(antha)--I just can't help myself. I HAVE to call the police and tell them, the dog has been found.

So, I call our township police. Right about now, you, the reader, are probably thinking--what is she thinking? I just can't help myself. If I see a problem, and think I know how to fix it, I have to try to help.

Herewith the conversation.

Hello, ____ Township Police.

Hello, I am calling about a lost dog.

Is it your dog?

No, there was an ad in the newspaper that someone found a dog. And, a man drove through our neighborhood a couple of days ago looking for his dog. It is the same dog. He said you have all the information.

(Pause. . .long pause) I will have the county dispatcher call you.

OK. (Hang up)

About 15 minutes later, the phone rings.

ME: Hello.

Is Donna there? This is Officer B*ll.

ME: This is Donna.

You called about a missing dog.

(Break away here to relate that after I called the township, I decided to call the found dog number--the conversation was short. ME: I am calling about the missing dog you found. DOG FINDER: Oh, the owner has been found. ME: OK.)

Back to me and Officer B*ll.

Me: Oh, a man was driving through our neighborhood, looking for his lost dog, and he said the police had all the information about him. I was reading the newspaper and saw an ad for a "found dog" and when I called that number, they said the owner had been found. I am really sorry to bother you, but I was trying to put all the pieces together, and I think everything is OK. Sorry you had to call back.

Officer B*ll: No problem, ma'am. Thank you for doing your civic duty.

End of conversation.

Even though I am greatly relieved the two pound chihuahua is not out in the rain and thunderstorms anymore, I am muttering to myself. Just can't help myself. Why not just leave such a situation alone?

Well, it's my nature. I see a problem. I think I have a solution. I just can't NOT try to put the pieces together.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Scaredy Dog. . .

No great insights in this post, my friends. I have just spent the second night in a week with a dog scared out of her wits due to middle-of-the-night thunderstorms.

Last Thursday, we picked up our daughter at the airport, drove home, had a nice evening, then headed off to bed. Transatlantic flight requires some adjusting to a new time zone! In the middle of the night, thunderstorms rolled through central Pennsylvania, and the dog--who HATES thunder--began her frantic whining.

So, I took her downstairs to our family room, barricaded her way back upstairs--so other family members could sleep. The dog was so upset, pacing, panting and whining, that I got her leash and put it on, so I could hold on to her.

After two hours of brilliant flashes of lightning followed by claps of thunder, the storm suddenly moved away. Just like that. The dog calmed down, and I finally fell asleep.

Well, the scene was virtually repeated last night. (This time, our daughter had safely returned to London.) But in the middle of the night, again--thunder and a frantic dog.

So, I gathered her up, went into the study, and finally fell asleep on the couch there. The dog managed to wedge herself into an impossibly small niche that seemed to help calm her.

I do wonder why some dogs are so afraid of thunder storms. I suspect her hearing is far more acute than mine, so maybe the sound of thunder not only terrifies her but may also hurt her ears. Whatever the cause, thunderstorms seriously disrupt her normal calm demeanor.
Here she is in her "normal" thunderstorm hiding place--under my desk.

I can't recall a series of thunderstorms so close together in the middle of the night.

Well, by morning, all has returned to normal.

And I am back in the world of blogging.