Category Archives: Culture

Still January at Blyss Kennels; the day of the new President

 If there was a day to be glued to the television, this was that day.  For it was the historic transition of power from one administration to another, and in this case the two could not be more disparate. Instead, I could not sleep last night and was up too late to rise early enough to see it from the beginning.  I was indifferent at best and found it to be just another big news day for television, even if it was one with more pomp and circumstance than usual.  I can only pray for the best possible outcome by the newcomer to politics.  I am sure it is not as easy as his predecessor made it look.  And he did that part very well, indeed.

Here at Blyss Kennels, it is still winter although we have had some warmer days.  We have even had everything from a blizzard like snow storm that mandated me shoveling the driveway myself and cleaning snow off my car, with the assistance of Jelly watching on.   No sooner did it melt did, the temperatures rose to sixty just a few days later, and then I did not know what to wear.  That day dawned bright and clear.  It brought its own special brand of joy.   For, we were visited by a very gracious gentleman, N34, whom I have known about six moths.  He recently bought a borzoi bitch from my very own breeder and mentor herself, N5.  His borzoi’s name is Blondie.  The question of the day was how my Tresor would behave toward her, another dog in his home.  I am proud to say he was a perfect gentleman and Blondie was treated like the borzoi royalty she was.  A wonderful day was enjoyed by all.  There is no word to described how happy his visit made me.  I’ve harbored a serious crush on him for about six months.

I was careful to play it very cool, just being friendly.  Seeing him in my own house was very overwhelming, to say the least.  I went into “hostess” mode and just tried to relax.  I cannot imagine what he thought of me.  He seemed to smile a lot though, and Blondie seemed relaxed and happy, too.  We had a nice lunch that I prepared, and he seemed to appreciate all of my efforts on his behalf.  I could not get over that he was really here.  To make his trip a bit more worthwhile, I drove him to the Watchung Reservation’s main parking area known as The Loop, and we walked along the paved pedestrian walkways, in the area of the new Science Nature Museum, and the road that leads to the Scouting Field where the dogs all run off lead.  I told him there was much, much more to see but it would have to wait for another time.

My sister has taken steps to grow closer to me recently.  She has had reason to be very afraid for her health and I was helpful to her in getting through it.  I appreciate the improvement of our relationship enormously.  After the lonely place I have been since the separation from a friend with whom I had been close for three years this is appreciated.   A difficult recovery from my broken shoulder in May only underscored how isolated I was.  It was, however, a catalyst for change.  I never would have undertaken the separation from that man or met N34 if that event had not happened.  As  horrible as my accident was, it was a wake up call to make something better of the rest of my life, rather than wallowing in misery.   It’s nice to know there have been some good outcomes from it.

The borzoi, Lucy, the grand-daughter of our Blyss Mikhailya, continues to be shown in the south, after being shown at the AKC National dog show in Orlando in December, which she did not win.  She is still in the country though and in a discussion with a reliable source, I have learned she is entered in the Westminster Kennel Club dog show coming up on February 13 – 14, 2017.  She will also be entered in the Borzoi Club of America’s National Specialty Show in Hunt Valley MD on May 12 – 20, 2017.  I plan to see the borzoi judged at Westminter on Monday, February 13,  and will be in the stands on Tuesday night, Febryary 14, 2017 as well for Best in Show with my son and daughter-in-law.  It will be a wonderful experience to be there in person, since it is a show I have watched annually on television my entire life.    It is my prediction that she will continue to do well.

I think I will chose to believe that at this very early part of 2017, with a new President, new friendships, and a new and different kind of relationship with my sister, I will count my blessings and be optimistic for the future.  I wish everyone well and may everyone’s efforts, from the personal to the national level, result in a successful outcome.   As recently as late October, Jelly suffered severe injuries to her neck and legs but I am pleased to report they have all healed nicely.  Even Tresor is doing well being Tresor, even better than expected.  He was so gracious during Blondie’s visit to Blyss you would never believe he ever had a bad day.

Blyss Kennels speaks about the Presidential Election of 2016

I posted the following on Facebook the day after the election.  I do not  customarily comment about the outside world and I never wander into the fray of politics but I felt  I would have been remiss to say nothing.  I felt it was sad to see the country so bitterly divided along partisan lines, with each side believing they and they alone had the true answer and the contender, with the opposing viewpoint, would lead the country astray.  What do you do when something like this happens?  Especially when the losing candidate won the popular vote?  That does not help because many on the losing side believe that should be the vote that counts!  So, this is what I wrote on Facebook after reading many toxic, ugly messages from my “Friends”.

“You know, I am not going to allow anything to take away my bliss today. The process worked. I am living here, in the town where I grew up, in my house that I own, with two beautiful champion Majenkir borzoi of which I am so proud and that I love. At this point of my life, I have learned life is about adjusting and accepting, getting along and wishing everyone well, even those on the other side of the argument. In the meantime, let’s take good care of those creatures that have been entrusted to us, borzoi, other breeds, other species such as horses and donkeys, whatever. Good luck, America.”

Home with Tresor & Jelly
Home with Tresor & Jelly

I cannot help but be reminded of a song that has an optimistic and happy message about America without being too silly about it, by a talented man, Steve Goodman, (1948 – 1984) sadly taken way before his time by a then killer cancer that could probably be cured today.  Perhaps we would all benefit from going back and taking some time to listen to it.   I am speaking of the 1985 Grammy Award posthumously bestowed song, City of New Orleans.

October 1, 2016: Morris & Essex KC Match Show!

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, 2016, is the date of the Morris & Essex Kennel Club Match Show with ancillary events including Meet the Breeds.

 

"Tresor"; also known as "The Tre"
“Tresor”; also known as “The Tre”

This year it is being held near to the site of its original grounds, The Dog Field in Madison!  These were the grounds of the former estate of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, 1892 – 1973.  She was a great dog fancier in her time and established the Morris and Essex Kennel Club.  Some of the grandeur of her day will be revitalized in tomorrow’s events in Madison, NJ, where she resided.  My main borzoi breed club, Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, will be holding a Match and hosting a Meet the Breeds there tomorrow.  It should be great fun.  Hoping the weather holds out, meaning, hoping it does not rain.   Sadly,  I will not be bringing any dogs.  How I wish I could bring Tresor.  He is a wonderful ambassador for his breed, as was his great dam, “Mikhailya”, however he is  too dog dominant to be around so many other dogs and would make a grand fool of himself and embarrass both his mistress and co-breeder.

Additional Blyss Kennels News regarding “Lucy” and “Vinto”

I want to share the knowledge that has brought me so much joy of late.  Since last writing at the end of August, and it is now the end of September, the dazzling show bitch, “Lucy”, has continued to win Best in Show placements in California.

Lucy wins more BIS!
Lucy wins more BIS!

And not only her, but her son, Vinto, although he has been sent back home to Japan.  It was reported on Facebook Monday that he has just won two Best in Shows.

More BIS for Vinto!
More BIS for Vinto!

Yesterday, Monday, September 26, 2016, Mai Ozeki Hirai posted a photograph of our “Magnus” himself on Facebook, “Max” to them, with an accolade.  Yes, it is a true story that really happened to Blyss Kennels.  I can only look back upon our “Mikhailya”, the dam of Magnus, purchased from the Majenkir Borzoi kennels of Karen Staudt-Cartabona, with gratitude.

Majenkir O'Blyss Magnus "Max"!
Majenkir O’Blyss Magnus “Max”!

 

 

Comments regarding other borzoi that can be found on Facebook

I guess I took the time and looked at most of if not all of the photos of Falca and Gala in the Facebook album of my good friend, N29.  She has a collection of photographs of her dogs in both color and   black and white.  I  have to say how moved I was by the beautiful photographs displayed there.  For me, there are three parts to the album. First,  the beauty of her borzoi, so special in their own way; second her stunning talent as a photographer; and third the surreal landscape, that being Idaho, where she lives.  It is radically different from the NE United States she knows well because it is where she grew up, in fact, only a few short miles from my house.  Sadly, although we are the same age and shared the same passions, we never met as children but only later through borzoi.

I enjoyed looking at her photos on all three levels, and felt for a while as if I was swept away to that far away place. I was consumed by wishes for what could have been in my life, such as wide open spaces where dogs can run free, compared to what is, urban scrawl and gridlock.  I wondered as I often do how it ever turned out this way when I tried so hard for it to be otherwise. Although I suffocate with loneliness in the crushing crowds, I know I should be grateful for my home and environs, meager though they are, and my two ageing borzoi, like me, walking on the trails and roads available to us, spending what is left of our days.  I so not feel at liberty to display her photographs here, but they can be found easily on Facebook by typing in their names.

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.

Blyss Poetry by Langston Hughes – Wisdom In Considering Grief

A Poem by Langston Hughes

Life is for the living

Death is for the dead

Let life be like music

And death a note unsaid.

Sadly, at this time in my life, I know of others who grieve very badly, and one woman with whom I am close in particular.  I have had to endure the deaths of several significant others in my life, including some very close friends, most recently, my mother last November.  Once, I entered into a long and complicated grief over the death of my youngest borzoi, Opal, triggering a long and deep depression for which I had to see medical assistance.  Perhaps those seemingly lucky people who rarely lose a close person are lucky, at least seen from my eyes, but perhaps not.  I am more practiced at it, so when it happens I put well applied defense mechanism into play that help mitigate my suffering.

There will be nothing to stop the pain in the beginning or stop the seemingly endless flow of tears so let it be.  In time though bring it to a close before you are damaged by too much sadness.  I know it is an addiction, no safer than heroin, to which you make a strange bedfellow, that is very hard to break up with.  Let it go in time and not too long at that.

Following are some suggestions:

Reach out to joy, or something or someone that gives you joy.

Pray or meditate

Visit the ill or shut in, or residents of assisted living facilities

Join clubs, churches, groups that do activities

Look for a substitute in your life to replace the one you have lost.

There can be no more “birthdays” or “anniversaries” with someone who is gone.

Stop thinking in terms of “anniversaries” and “birthdays”.

Find another companion with whom to celebrate new milestones.

I believe every day spent in grief after a short while, such as 3 – 6 months, is a loss to the living person.

Nothing is gained by excess or complicated grief.

Seek medical care for complicated grief because it underlies depression.

Blyss Reminisces: Puppies and Books, a Retired Librarian After All, Comments

05.01.2015 . 02 Hunter & Jess

I have enjoyed much time recently visiting Jelly’s breeder, N24, who lives in upstate New York  near the Connecticut border.  She lives in a house very much like the one I had before I moved here. She has two older female borzoi who live upstairs, and two puppies who live downstairs in her dog room. One of the females is the mother of the puppies, and the other female is Jelly’s mother. The puppies are still being trained and are too rambunctious to be upstairs all the time. It is a great deal of fun for me to be there, enjoying both the older ones and the puppies. Also, the puppies are now being shown, and they are doing very well in the show ring. I am going to co-own the male puppy with her, and we will share in his expenses, and my name will be on him as a co-owner. His name is Hunter, and I could not be happier about that. By the time Jelly passes on, he will be a middle aged borzoi and I should be able to bring him here to Blyss to live.

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I have spent my down time this summer reading some old American classic novels, most that I have read a long time ago. So far, I have read Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, and now I am reading Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. I wanted to read something by Faulkner, and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath but I got side tracked.

I see the literary world is in spasms over the controversial sequel to Harper Lee’s jewel, To Kill a Mockingbird, called Go Set a Watchman, where the main character, “Atticus”, is a racist. This is totally illogical, and it is difficult for me to accept she wrote it. However, it does support proof how much time changes us. Even 180 degrees, as in this case. Inexplicable other than sheer senility. We can only wonder how time changes us, who we are and who we are becoming, and hopefully we are not letting ourselves down to ourselves and in the eyes of the world.

Prior, I indulged myself in some contemporary fiction, although finding good writing was difficult.  I started with Amy Tan, one of my absolute favorite writers, and enjoyed and anguished over The Valley of Amazement.  The novel was a slow burn.  By the end, it pains you simply to think about the characters and their lives.  I found another such work, although in a completely different setting, equally incendiary by an obscure Hungarian or Romanian writer, Miklos Banffy who wrote a colossal work known as The Transylvanian Trilogy.  It was on the scope of War and Peace.  Authors like Tolstoy come to mind.

When I am not reading great literature, I read silly tabloids or watch Turner Classic Movies on the cable TV to relax.  There has to be a way to relax somewhere in the universe.

Blyss Challenges: Passing Time, Theology, Becoming Healthier

During the past three days, I found myself among the members and friends of my primary clubs, two being borzoi breed clubs, and one a hound club .  It was all rather wonderful, even if I did have to drive a long way to attend them.

There was one breeder at these venues, N23, who bred the bitch I am hoping to bring home to Blyss soon whose name is Jelly.  I am so pleased and excited about this development.  My contractor is getting closer to completion of the dog-door – mud room project and that will make things move along nicely for my ability to get her.  This being a very long drive, he  has even said he will take  me there free of charge.  I have returned the favor in kind by being how shall I say,  charming.  I have made several home-made dinners  and I know him well enough to know it makes him happy.  Meanwhile, at the eating disorder program, my team has decided to let me come in only three half days, down from five full days.  I am grateful and thrilled, even thought it has meant eating more than I would like and putting on some pounds.

Comments were made by several of the ladies at the parties that I appeared to have gained weight.  However, they also commented that I looked better than I had on previous times they saw me and wished me well.  I thanked them for their gracious  comments of kindness.  I thought about this driving home and felt less happy about it.  Fortunately, my clothes still fit me, although they are tighter than I would like.  For now, I will accept the weight and try to be happy at meal time.  I am especially trying to eat the food on my plate instead of throwing it away in the garbage.   I try to remind myself that food is medicine.

At church this morning, the Minister reminded our Unitarian-Universalist congregation that all humans are inherently good and their inherent goodness influences the perfectibility of others and the world.  It is a theology of “win-win” that I wish more people would embrace.  It is a theology that embraces all humans, believing none are intrinsically bad, welcomes all of human kind, is loving and supportive to all in need of sustenance of any kind.   It is a fascinating concept to incorporate into both a personal road map as well as a theology given the approach of most Judeo-Christian theologies that are based on being forgiven for sins.  I believe it is a theology that is appropriate for me.  For today, for the first time, I am trying to live on the light side of what has been a very dark and bleak life-long depression for me that just now allows me to emerge into the light.  It is a good thing for me to know that my Unitarian-Universalism faith supports my wellness.

Against this backdrop, I talked to many people at the club parties.  It seemed that many people knew about my struggles with food and a recent termination with a significant other.   Both topics had to be discussed to some point with them and it was difficult to do so.  Things between my boyfriend and me became very complicated when my mother wanted to reconcile with my sister, N25, and me in August.  He made demands of me that I could not accept and so it ended.     Then, for some reason, I stopped eating in a normal way.  It was not purposeful or intentional, I just handled the stress in that way.  However, I cannot think badly of my boyfriend who did so much for me during the year we were together, especially when I was so sick.  And so I choose to see his goodness of which there is much in abundance.  He is difficult to be with and to understand.  I know I gave the best of me that I could and my conscience is clear.  I intend to remain his good friend to him and be true to my theology.

 

What I learn and do not learn at Blyss.

I have never learned the ABCs of life, nor the XYZs it seems nor anything useful in between.  I may as well have the label challenged affixed to me.  Where others are able to get through their lives with facile, one marriage, one long lived dog, a few cats and a parakeet, I have had multiple husbands and even dogs.  I have tried not only  different breeds but varying groups and even many, many parakeets from the old, big Woolworths store I remember in downtown Westfield a long time ago.  I suppose if there is a lesson to be learned in the day I miss it.  I have to go back to the very beginning and try again.  But the outcome is always the same, and the day and those that follow seemingly so perfect descend in a negative trajectory and I must learn something new all over again.  Like the Miss Havisham before me, “I know nothing of days of the week, of weeks of the year…..” they all blend together into one congealed mass of time, and that comprises my life, a life lived within the confines of Satis House.

If it is not relevant to the borzoi I do not like to include it in my blog.  However this problem impacts my availability to  write for now in the Blyss Blog Encore, compile the Blogs in Blyss Blog into a book format, and delays the arrival of my new borzoi, “Jelly”.  Instead, I have entered the confines of a rigorous program for people who share an emotional problem I have had for some time, an eating disorder.  It seems that I was not doing food very well either.  Doctors have informed me that I don’t know how to eat,  something so basic but yes, it is true.

It is a tenacious problem.   I know for me it has been, ever lurking in the background, always seductive and irresistible, promising perfect, eternal beauty, youth, and even love.  But since the eating disorder behaviors are always about something else, one has to be willing to  rally the courage to face the darkest demons intent on destroying what your lethal past failed to accomplish.

Please don’t do as I do.  Plan a different, smarter course for your life.   However, to stumble and fall is human and if so call upon your strengths before you journey too far astray from the true path to your bliss.