Spring Flowers

Spring Flowers
For Sale

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

4th anniversary “My Town Friday Shout-out”

I received an email from Pauline a few days ago.  She was asking me if I would be posting for our big 4th anniversary celebration.  This group has played such a large part of my life for so long, filled a need not many of you realize was there, that I had to make an effort to write up a few of my memories. 

I went back through my posts, sorted the labels for the Friday Shoot–out, made a few notes:  if I’ve not missed labeling any posts, I have done the Shoot-Out on 135 Fridays; the first was on March 13, 2009 – People.  Mid 2009 I started working with Gordon, Patty, and Chef E on the My Town Friday Shootout blog, and by September was practically working the blog solo with the help of Chef E on the photo headings and an occasional ‘member voice’, the person that suggested the topic talking about what the next week topic meant to them.   

Slide show, 1st Anniversary

In February 2010 to celebrate our first anniversary, I made a slideshow using the spotlight photos (idea by Gordon) plus making sure that everyone that participated over that year had at least one photo represented.  This slideshow represents a full 40 hour week of work, looking at everyone’s blog and pulling photos from each, naming and creating.    I loved the task and the result. 

On June 30, 2011, I celebrated my 100th post. 

For this post, starting with the first post in March of 2009, I started looking backwards, reading comments to see if I could track down when, and who ask me to join ‘the gang’.  I never found a direct reference but it was sure fun reading all the comments.  Patty or Reggie girl must have sent me an email.  They both showed up in comments starting the 28th of February, 2009.  Before ‘the gang’ I would have 3 or four comments, if lucky, for my posts.  That first week I had eleven, in April 25 and by July I would have upward of 40 per week.  Just like today there are often not as many comments as participants; I think at our highest point we had 52 posting for the Shoot Out.  In the year that I was involved with the FSO blog as an administrator, I spent nearly 4 hours a week reading, commenting, emailing, meeting the friends I’d made.  I even talked on the phone with Chef E and with Reggie girl.  Plus the work I did on ‘Flowers’,  2009 was a very productive year for me.  Proving once again that the more you do the more energy you have. 

As a group we gained and lost participants, our ‘founding fathers’ Patty and Reggie Girl, Gordon and Jen as the first FSO admins, dropped out or stepped back.  Real life many times getting in the way with the time it took to post / read / and comment on a regular basis.  We lost friends and gained others.  We lost Barry in July of 2010....  Not one of us failed to grieve that loss and possibly some of the light went out of the FSO for those remaining.  Following each other, celebrating the birth of children and grandchildren, awards won, books published, illnesses, and loss, we were close and committed.  We were the FSO Gang.

Over the four years we have gone from a small group taking snapshots and talking about our towns to a very large, warm and friendly group, cohesive, appreciative; then back to a small group now focused more on the quality of the photos, less about our towns and the people in them, growing, changing but remaining always The New Friday My Town Shoot-out Gang.

Reggie GirlSAM_0312  - visiting with me in Houston June, 2011  

  And other member in 2009               

Chef E Gordon Butler & Bagman Barry
PattyH Kent Sol Linda
Audrey Natalie The Pink Birdhouse Kerry
J9 Shabby Girl Strawberry Girl Sarah
NanU Redlan Simply Heather Carrie
Noe Noe Girl JarieLyn Pauline Robyn
Jen Doreen Denise Sarah
Kim Sara LuLu Kathy in CA Melissa
Kelly Zaronga Sandra Leigh Gigi
GigiSxm Mary Rebecca Kerri
Ann Jama Elaine Si
Scriptor Senex Claire Lena Noida

.And many more.  (Sorry if I missed you – tell me I’ll add you to my history list.)

Hello to all of You - GingerV





Friday, February 01, 2013

What do dogs know?

What do dogs really know and understand?  Really? What is the truth behind the myths; the TV shows, the movies, the books.  Stories about the dog that travels across the nation to get home to his family (Lassie Come Home), floating on rivers, taking trains, jumping creeks or the dog that waits outside the train station as the years pass, rain then snow, then rain again, waiting for his master to come home? (Always by Your Side)  What about the photo that plays over and over on Facebook of the dog that lays across his best friend and master’s casket.  What do the dogs of the real world really understand?
SAM_3272Does a dog’s mind work linearly or geometrically?  In other words, if he is riding in the car facing forward, does he think he is going in a straight line no matter that the car turns left, then right, them moves smoothly around a curve.  Or does he see that the car has turned, that it has gone around in a square, returning to the original start, seeing the grid of streets in a three dimensional pattern?  If he sees, understands the world linearly, can he really understand that he needs to jump a creek, cross a railroad trestle, or take a plane, going south, then east then south again; adjusting his direction, going ever southeast to get back home? 
Spritzer spent 3 years up on our hill in Friburgo. DSC_1059 He lived behind a high wall.  He had brief glimpses of the world outside as he was taken for walks along dirt trails and on rides down the hill in his favorite car.  But did he ever learn or even know through his natural instincts how to get home if lost?  
Then we traveled from Friburgo to Rio by car.  Coming down out of the mountains on roads that continually curves back on themselves; then a straight-away, a sharp left, sharp right onto the 101, this way and that through the tunnels and into Ipanema.  After two weeks walking the streets and pathways of Ipanema, walking along the beach that feels to me like you are going north to south but are really walking east to west; could his dog mind and perceptions of the world, understand these changes.  Could he find his way back home?DSC_3602
And then 24 hours in a crate, a crate that was loaded on an airplane in Brasil, Flying across the equator, and off-loaded in Houston Texas.  Did his instincts for direction stay intact as he was moved into this new world; one so different than the mountain top and then the big, big city by the sea.  Could he have known, understood these changes in his life and where he lived?  Could he possibly understand what was happening, let alone why? 
Now almost 6 weeks in Houston; walking to the park on a leash, leaving the house going one direction and returning another can he understand how to go to the park alone and return?  Riding several times a week to the city dog run, nose out the window catching the smells, bracing his legs around the corners, full of curiosity, each trip seemingly new and interesting; does he really understand the changes, the direction that his life has taken?  How much does he remember of his past life and those in it.  Really.
What goes on inside his head?  It isn’t human thoughts, human instincts, or human logic; what is it?  All these questions, I am trying to understand what I can do to make his life better.  Last week he was in the little box of a backyard, no room to run like at home behind the high fence, the garage door is pushed upward and like a bullet he charges through the pass door and out onto the street.  Trotting happily, tail high, proud, FREE; keeping a block or more in front of his pursuers, then disappearing.  Would he know how to get home? Would he head for the dog run?  The park? Would he attempt to cross the major roads that edge our little subdivision, would he ever find his way home? 
Yes he was returned.  He traveled north instead of south from the last place he’d been spotted.  Collapsed after 24 hours on the run. I’d like to know that story. I was able to bring him back home.  But the questions remains: what if he gets away again?  Would he have been better off left in Brasil?  Should I find him a home on a farm or ranch where he could run free everyday?  What do dogs really understand and what do I really understand about dogs?