Category Archives: Travel

Home from the Borzoi National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley, MD

Last week, from May 13 – 20, 2017, the Borzoi Club of America held its National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley Maryland.  I attended with my late husband’s sister, N35,  on Friday and Saturday, May 19 – 20, allowing me to see some of the bitches judged, and Best of Breed on Saturday.  It was a wonderful experience to be there and my only regret was not being able to be there all week.   I simply did not have reliable dog help here at home during those days.

To say it was exciting would be an understatement.  One very positive result was that I got to spend a lot of time with May Ozeki Hirai and her husband, of Belisarius Kennels, who were there together showing the great Belisarius “Vinto”, “Mikhailya’s” great-grandson, who won Winner’s Dog at last year’s National.  He is a Grand Champion now and was to be shown in Best of Breed.

Vinto

Since I was not at the National last year in Kansas City, KA, I felt it was very important for me to be there this year.  I had a wonderful time, even though Vinto did not make it into the final cut.

The winner was the bitch, Grand Champion, Champion Dog Majenkir Bookstore Glamour Vintage, owned by the two “Karens”,  N5 and N36,  of the NJ Borzoi Club.  It goes without saying they were elated and exuded charm and graciousness to all whom they met.  N37 had handled the bitch to perfection; there is a special magic between them, since she had lived with him and he handled her during her younger years, from puppy classes through being a special at five years of age.  The win was a beautiful thing to watch.  Together, they were very deserving.  I am so pleased to have been there.

Saturday night there was a banquet.  We had the pleasure of sitting at the same table with them and another couple from the NJ Club.  It was wonderful to be in such joyful company and it greatly elevated my mood.  I noticed on the table, there was an amazing object for a centerpiece.  It is difficult to describe.  It appeared to be a combination quilt and wreath,  made of cloth, and sewn into a very intricate pattern.  At the end, there was a little game given from the podium that determined who at the table would win it.  As it turned out, my sister-in-law won it, and she immediately turned it over to me.  It made a perfect ending to a perfect National Specialty for me.  Of course, an hour later, in bed, when I was trying to go to sleep, I found it impossible to do so because I was so awakened by all of these exciting events.  Sadly, I had to resort to a sleeping pill, which is never a good idea for me especially when I have to get up so early and be on the road.  My poor sister-in-law needed to go as far away as New Hampshire before she would be home.  She had to drive me home since I could not from lack of sleep.

Driving home, I felt so sad my husband had not been there with me to see the great-grand son of his beloved “Mikhailya”, and to have been able to meet Mai and her husband.  Mai invited me to see her in Japan, where she assured me explicitly my beloved “Magnus” still lives.  I had feared he had died, since I have heard nothing of him for several years.  She assured me he was very well, and I should come to visit.  This is something that comforted me enormously; it was an answer to prayers that I dared not speak.  My Boy, My Magnus lives!  He was the most dear and special one of the litter!  He proved the depth of quality of his dam, “Mikhailya” in every way.  I love him passionately.  He has made me so proud because I know Mai loves and appreciates him so much.  What can I say……   so much happiness has come from one breeding for so many people…..  I thank N5 so much for letting it happen.

Magnus with N5 and Lorene, his breeders

Peregrinations that always return to Blyss and my borzois

There seems to be no end to the peregrinations of the unquiet mind .   I travel so many circuitous roads along my journey believing all the while I have found it this time and only to be disappointed later.  How many times can I do this, I ask?

What is the root of this restlessness?  Could it be the words that echo throughout my memory, “If you don’t like it you can get out”?   or, “It’s my way or hit the highway”. Or just a simple,  “I”m  going,  don’t look back.”   Whatever it is, I have embraced husbands, horses, dogs and cats, travel, and expensive real estate to no avail.  Now I dream of a fantasy donkey that I cannot even offer a home to.   And so, I sit beneath this roof here with at least the borzois, Jelly and Tresor, Angels, who give me love in full measure.  I know I am lucky but why do I want to run away?  Why is it so hard to just be here, in this time and place, and simply be happy or content?  Is so much really wrong?

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We just got back last night with the borzois from Cape May, a lovely, charming town with a large section of preserved Victorian houses, many of which are small hotels or bed and breakfast inns.   They were decorated for Christmas and we went there specifically to take  a Christmas house tour.  It was splendid to be there at Christmas for me again after an absence of decades and to show it to LT.  There is so much splendid beauty to see within the walls of very old, wooden structures that require much maintenance simply to hold up to the extreme exposure to wind and water over a century and more!  They are all labors of love, each one a unique jewel in itself.  It is a beautiful thing that there are not only so many of them preserved but so many people who chose to dedicate their lives and spend their financial resources maintaining them in this prime condition.  If my own little Mountainside cottage costs me what it does, I can only gasp at the thought of the cost of maintaining such stately mansions as these.  This section of town is nothing less than a living museum.   I can see it no other way, and I am not alone in my opinion.  I am so pleased to see the town bursting with tourists as excited to see it lit up for Christmas as I was!  There was also a Christmas Parade that’s starting point was marching down Broadway, the street in West Cape May where our “pet friendly” inn, Highland House was, giving us a perfect viewing station out of our bedroom window!  We were told that this year marked its 50th year of high quality fun and class that you just don’t see in New Jersey every day.  It was complete with floats, fire trucks lit up like Christmas trees, talented musicians and singers, so much so that we thought we were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Cape May, a true year round town, is a town all of New Jersey should appreciate with pride.  I am always so happy to be there!  The borzois and LT enjoyed themselves immensely, too!

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But then it is time to return to the inevitable place my home with Blyss Kennels in Mountainside.  It is not my farm in Pennsylvania or my own small home by the sea, homes that consume my days fantasizing about.  In one, I have a large fenced field for the borzoi, and a barn where I keep one retired horse and a donkey.  At my home by the sea, it is totally different.  My house is more like my Mountainside cottage, only it is decorated differently.  There,  I only am there with my borzoi, Tresor and Jelly.   I grow flowers in a garden and lead a more relaxed life.  I am more content and at peace here.  All is well.  But, I do not feel this way here in my current home, although I am working on achieving my serenity with the life I have.  Too many fantasies about my wandering ways are dangerous.

The return from the 2015 BCOA National Specialty, Huron, Ohio

 

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Lorene with N28, and the Majenkir bitch, “Hawkeye”!

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Hunter visiting at Blyss Kennels, March 2015

It has been nearly two weeks since I have been home from the borzoi national specialty show in Huran, Ohio, and everything has been a blur since then.  Nothing seems real, and I feel as if I am still immersed in the experience of being there.   And why not?  I have many wonderful memories of my time there.  I came back home with beautiful souvenirs in the way of gorgeous photographs that I have downloaded and shared.  Moreover, I now have more portrait photographs of Jelly and the two puppies of N24, Jelly’s breeder, by Ms. Maxine Bochnia whose booth was  at the specialty.  With so many photographs, emails and phone calls, how can I forget the National, and why should I believe I am really home?

Then there are the memories of my favorite pastime: sitting ringside.  This time, sitting ringside meant carefully watching N24’s two puppies, “Jezebel” and “Hunter”.  It also meant closely reading the catalog for puppies and adults who are the  get of my beloved “Mikhailya”, now deceased two years.  I was lucky to find two, one of which could be her clone.   Regarding the bitch who so looked like “Mikhailya”, I went up to her owners after her class and introduced myself to them, a couple, N28, and we enjoyed the time together discussing their bitch whom they named “Hawkeye”!  They told me she was “very fast”!  I felt very proud and pleased to see the quality that Mikhailya had produced in a performance dog.

I spent a great deal of time assisting N24 with her two beautiful puppies, “Jezebel” and “Hunter”, who were entered in Futurity, Sweepstakes, and Regular classes.  For the most part, they each placed fourth, a good placement for a Specialty.   I encouraged N24 to get their portrait taken with a third puppy from her litter who happened to be present at the show by Maxine and wisely, she agreed.  A gorgeous portrait was produced and I purchased a framed copy.

The resort hosting the National was splendid in its abundance of beauty.  The grounds were resplendent with lush, green lawn throughout, broken up by flower beds with lovely shrubbery in deep, soft beds of newly applied mulch.  It was situated on the shores of Lake Eerie, and had its own private beach and meadow.  It was there where N24 took the puppies, Jezebel and Hunter, each morning to run.  Her borzoi pups are very good about running and playing off leash.  They come back when called.   I cannot say enough that is good about these puppies.

I wish I could take the male, Hunter, but I know I cannot.  It is the shadow of sadness that is always over me.  A young male borzoi is not the kind of dog I could manage alone, and I know that.  If I could, I would still have Tresor.   But it was divine being with him for the week, and the memory of Hunter and his beauty are still very fresh.  He is everything I want and love in a male borzoi.  It is hard not having one to love here at Blyss, and I feel the loss acutely.

That does not mean he cannot be my “Heart Dog” and that I will not see him grow up into the big boy he is destined to be, thanks to the generosity of N24.  Most of all, we know there will be yet another National Specialty show in our future! Perhaps it is the love and the friendship that matter most, not where Hunter actually lives, at least for now.

All too familiar visits by unwelcome thoughts

“I know nothing of days of the week…weeks of the year.”  Charles Dickens.

“The song remains the same”.  Led Zeppelin

It really does not matter what I do today, who I am with or what beloved gifts I may receive, even if it is a treasure such as my beautiful Jelly, they do not keep away the demons that consume me, barely hidden beneath the surface, lurking here, there to ruin everything I try to be and do.

It does not matter who they are, or how many people I know.  Nothing and no one can rid me of the terror of isolation with which I live most intimately.   Even on a good day, and among friends, it is always a step or two behind, or within reach of sound.  It reminds me of its presence, but how can I forget?   I never do.

I wondered out loud  at my mother’s funeral last November, or so I was told, that “we will be back here again soon, only that time  it will be mine.”  Was this a prescient foreshadowing?  After this weekend, the long sleep of death seems like a welcome relief.

It would be so much better to go in the opposite way of these ideas and  distance myself from these voices, but they draw me in with their seductive feel-good words of truth – for me.

Today I have had an unusually difficult day.    I have been emotionally  battered to abuse by people I trust and love the most.    I only wanted to go to a dog show but the usual pleasure of a day spent immersed with borzoi and their owners eluded me.   Then the weather changed unexpectedly and it started to snow.  I dealt with it by myself.  I know, I should be able to do that.

Later on, I wanted to talk on the phone to a close friend, but that person denied me that simple satisfaction.    At the end of the day, nothing worked out.  The rhythmic unrelenting voices speak to punish me for my pain, perpetuating it onward.  In the end, there was only Jelly to be there for me, though poor companion that I was for her.