Once again in a most unexpected way it is words from a stranger on Facebook that someone shared to my feed that has caused me to take pause and reevaluate my psychological outlook and my interpretation of the most painful events of my life that have transpired starting in childhood, culminating with the death of my last borzoi in 2019. It was a long run on tragedies and I have been beaten down by them, almost to nothing yet am very physically strong and resilient beyond anything one should expect to be able to do. Yet here I am still standing if not shattered and shaken to my core. How sad it is to have had to live through these tribulations, most of which were unnecessary. I was not alone in my misery, it was due to profound parental dysfunctionality resulting in our suffocation, and all of my siblings endured the pain with me, none coming out any better for the experience. It threw us into odd directions as adults, along tangents that could never intersect, leaving us lonely and alone forever. My joy was my borzoi, given to me by my husband, Bob in 2002, and the jewel of the kennel was my beloved Opal (Raybo Opalesque of Byss) in January 2005. I never saw, nor have ever seen, such an exquisite creature, nor loved anything more than I did her, canine or human. She was the daughter I never had. My great love was reciprocated in kind and then some. But perfect bliss was not to be for I am me, and by 19 months she had passed away from a congenital kidney disease and her littermates followed shortly after. Breeding is not a straight line. The event took place fourteen and a half years ago but it is like fourteen minutes. I ruminate, I cry, I grieve, I write, I speak of her and my never failing love and the loss I suffered. I know it is wrong but I could not help how I felt. Fourteen years of grief wrestled me down and I am drowning. I have almost died of grief related issues by becoming anorexic and having cancer twice in seven years. Opal wasted and so have I. I have longed to be where she is. Life is not livable for me without her. I needed her spirit to keep me going but it is gone, and has been gone a long time now. However, I today I knew I was wrong. Opal is the best thing I ever had, and the best thing that ever happened to me, according to Elizabeth Ammons, from Lessonslearnedinlife.com. She writes as follows:
Found in my Facebook feed, December 2, 2020. L.C.
You can shed tears because they are gone, or you can smile because they lived.
You can close your eyes and pray they will come back, or you can open your eyes and see all that they left for you.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember only that they are gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind and feel empty, or you can do what they would want.
Smile…. Open your heart…. Love…. And go on.
These are words I need to read, study and hear. My grief of 14 years diminishes Opal. I should celebrate her. Her memoir, and that of all my borzoi, should bring me joy, not make me wish for my death. Yes, she is gone, as are they, but in time we will be together again as if no time had separated us. I must have more faith in destiny. My ugly childhood is over. My borzoi loved me unconditionally and gave me back my happiness, or perhaps gave me a measure of happiness I never had.
I feel like how a dog from the past must have felt trying to enter England, in a long, seemingly endless quarantine. But no, I am a human being in the USA and I never left home. I just cannot go out anywhere safely. To be safe, I must stay home and be alone. However, walking around town is allowed if safe social distancing of six feet is maintained. Still, that does not satisfy my never ending gnawing need for intimacy. With so much time on my hands and because I am so good at procrastinating leaving my lawn not mowed and my flower beds not weeded, I have decided to write on my blog at Blysskennels.us tonight. I have been procrastinating writing on my Blog, too, showing how bad I have really been and how low my spirits have sunk.
Walking to Death
April 7, 2020
I am told it is a remedy, but tell me,
What is it that I see on my walks that makes for improvement?
It began in mid March and now it is early April. Hateful spring.
No one knows when it will end. It could be a very long time from now.
Although it remains cold and windy from winter,
I see there are splashes of color now: yellows and pinks, from flowering bushes and trees,
Breaking through. I contemplate them. They bring a hope or sorts
Having seen only grey, dark branches for so long that appeared to be dead.
It was an illusion, I thought, that this was a death of the flora, on the shrubs, on the flowering trees, and especially on the mountain.
Do I see a tiny splash of green there? I am not sure…..
I know it will be there soon,
And then there will be the miracle of tiny white Dogwood blossoms scattered among the green
Where they were once abundant…before their own virus came for them.
We live in the day of viruses, and all we can do is walk to death.
Walk them off, walk them away,
Walk them until we tire, walk them until we die.
Walk them with our children, walk them with our dogs,
Walk them with our friends, with our fathers, with our mothers and with our lovers.
How can there be so many places to walk to and so many places to walk from,
And learn so many people’s stories along the way that don’t do anyone any good
For each and every one has one, a story that is
And not about the virus that always lurks behind us now taking souls away.
Here we are now, in new days for our country and the world. It’s been about three weeks now, and it still feels all wrong. Many people have a point and are right, even though they have opposing view points. Many people have died, many unfairly. Any life lost to violence is a sorrow and pains me deeply. Life is to be cherished and celebrated. Every person is a members of the human family, and one person’s joy is all of our joy, as another person’s sorrow is all of our sorrow. Living together in harmony, sparing the use of defamation and striving for consensus is how people should come together to resolve differences.The current American President fails to accomplish these skills that could “unite” the multitudinous masses that comprise America and disparate points of view, thereby only deepening the divisiveness growing dangerously wide in America. Even Generals and great military men of our day are apologizing for showing unity with their Commander in Chief, which he accomplished. He wanted a photo op of himself holding a bible – it was upside down by the way – in front of St. John’s National Cathedral where he does not worship – which he got. It had the effect of boomeranging on him, making him look evil. Where does this stop, I ask you?
If you are me, it stops in gardens, working in them, on them, or simply admiring them. It also includes surrounding yourself with a pack of really huge and gorgeous dogs, like, did I say borzoi? So, in January, I bought a Silken Windhound, although I really wanted another pair of borzoi. It is she, Kensie, who makes visits to formal gardens or fields of wildflowers, or in expansive meadows, or taking long walk together on winding roads that were once forests on the side of a mountain and probably should have stayed that way, even though I have lived here on four of those separate roads over the past 70 years. I also cheat by thinking I make new friends by getting into impromptu conversations with people who complement Kensie on these walks because of her exquisite and unusual beauty. I did not plan to get another dog after my last borzoi, Jelly, died last May.
Today, suffering permeates into the invisible fiber of society, unable to be seen. And, it is just not “there” to be observed by voyeuristic people who want to watch others suffer because it energizes them. The voyeurs will suffer, too. No one will be truly energized by this suffering because it is 100% toxic. Like the COV-19 virus, it is in our DNA now and it will take no prisoners. No one is free of it. Moreover, as the current, elected President fails to represent his people, Americans, nature hates a vacuum, and a charismatic leader will emerge to correct that mistake. I tremble.
I conclude we need our animals, wild flower meadows, and our gardens more than ever today! However, there was a time when grand words were written and sung by those of my generation, and they may speak to us today. Let me share a ballad written in honor of a true peace music festival, written by a Canadian song writer of the highest caliber, Joni Mitchell and sung by her closest friends, David Crosby, Steven Stills, Graham Nash, and Niel Young, also a Canadian.
… We are stardust, we are golden
We are fifty year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Maybe it is the time of year
Maybe it is the time of man
I don’t know who I am but life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden
We are fifty year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong
Everywhere there was song and celebration
And I thought I saw the bombers turning shot gun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies about our nation.
I see in the news today, in an attempt to be politically correct, a corporate giant, known for it’s long history and many levels of accurate information dissemination, has enforced censorship on its subscribers rather than letting each of its world wide respected universe of subscribers decide for themselves. This clearly reveals a corporate superiority complex, contempt and lack of respect for us all, by its action of removing the Hollywood icon of 1939, Gone With the Wind (GWTW), from its offerings today. In so doing, the entire country’s First Amendment Rights of Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution are violated.
This was called censorship the last time I looked. GWTW is one of Hollywood’s all time great masterpieces on many levels. It deserves to be seen for many reasons, especially from being entertaining, beautiful to watch, to being historically accurate and thereby edifying.
GWTW was a brutally realistic depiction of the South’s punishment and destruction for its slavery based economy by losing the Civil War. It accurately captures the South in decay and then being destroyed, with burned out fields devoid of crops. In addition, all the main characters suffered enormously for their southern, slave based economy. There are no winners here. The loss of the Southern way of life based on slave labor is clearly and unequivocally depicted.
Moreover, tragedy, symbols of moral punishment, follow the southern main characters to the film’s long end:
Scarlet and Rhet’s young daughter dies in a horrible riding accident,
Scarlet suffers a miscarriage,
Scarlet and Rhet, husbands and wife, hate one another and are both alcoholics,
Melanie dies horrifically in childbirth leaving a small son and a grieving husband behind,
Scarlet then realizes that her long time and illicit love for Melanie’s husband, Ashley Wilkes, has always been unrequited, and
At long last, Rhet leaves Scarlet when she wants him to stay with her with his most famous line of all:
“Frankly, My Dear, I don’t give a damn” , racy words for 1939.
There is no victory lap here for the South and many lessons to be learned for getting it wrong. Yet to this day, while handling perhaps our county’s most sensitive period in our history, I do not believe a film as beautiful to watch as it gracefully depicts terminal punishment on the loser has ever been created again in Hollywood.
A stunningly beautiful young, English actress and a newcomer, Vivien Leigh, won a Best Actress Oscar her first time out playing Scarlet O’Hara with her heart and soul on constant view. Hattie McDaniel, an American of color, won Best Supporting Actress. This was the first time a person of color won an Oscar. The film also won a Best Picture Oscar and several others. GWTW stands up as well today as it did when it was released, and it is as respected and revered today as it was when it was made, as is the novel by Margaret Mitchell, a Southern woman, upon which it is based, when it was published. The film is a huge Hollywood icon of excellence that subsequent films tried to emulate but failed.
So sad and sorry to see this happen. This is a loss for HBO that I hope other services do not emulate.
Feeling so much like a stranger in my own mind, not really knowing how to handle the high barres I have set for myself with the inner voice command, “You will do this!” I have been challenged to the point of exhaustion from running away from myself and everything except Jelly and Tresor. I have embraced them closer to my heart than ever, they mean so much more now. When I look around me, I see that Tresor and Jelly are all that remain. And yet, their coming to me was the result of so random and haphazard events that collided for a moment in time with me, for each one separately.
It is autumn again, and in autumn, I seem to have reasons to go to the veterinarian to take care of problems. This time, poor Tre was sprayed by a skunk in the yard, followed by a physical encounter with another creature that bit his leg so badly that it required a veterinary visit. So we have been off to Washington, NJ a few times now, and still have one more trip to make.
Tre is still who he his, full of great male pride and fire! I thought I could walk him myself again, and bought a prong collar. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The prongs did not stop him from dragging me across the street to have a fence fight with the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a youngster who has a fire in him as well. He had to be dragged off the fence by his owner before I was able to regain control over Tresor again. So, it was back across the street and into the house before I broke another bone.
Sadly, whomever I find to help me with Tresor, with walks, dog sitting and general help whom I can trust, either disappears, moves, gets sick, whatever; they go away. I always take these losses hard, knowing how they impact Tre. None of the losses is worse than the recent loss of LT who made a sweeping exit with a major hissy fit. Aside from destroying me, but what am I, he knows this hurts Tresor the most because he loves him. My Boy. I look at borzoi photos on FB all day, and see pictures of happy borzoi running in big fenced yards, or free in fields or meadows, and my heart breaks for all the shortcomings my life attained. Yes, I fall short. And, there are the other people in my life, they just turn their backs for seemingly no real reason and walk away in rage….. this is a pattern that mystifies me. Then there are the ones that stay…… they contract fatal diseases and die. As I write today, that is happening now with a wonderful man who has been Tresor’s most recent steady friend and a truly good person we know. I am truly devastated about him.
Not to be overly sad and negative, I have tried to find my strength amidst all of these travails. I identified an unusual idea that I thought would be good for me, regarding an employment opportunity, and I followed up on it. It turns out that I now work part time at a local department store. This has really been a huge help for me. It puts something else in the forefront of my thoughts, something that attests to my strength, diverting me from my pain. I am still active in my dog clubs and attend their meetings, programs, and shows, and I still serve on the boards where I have those responsibilities. However, I have a new world that I have entered, one that demands making new social relationships, and addresses my financial shortfalls, since owning two borzois on a retirement income is not easy.
More about this later…… My new pattern of absences from home has been noticed by a certain borzoi…. and he has let his disapproval be known perfectly clearly!
Like so many Mays before, this is the time for the borzoi clubs in the area to hold their specialty shows. This is also the first weekend that there are dog shows held outdoors. It gives me a good reason to get away from home, even if they are a long distance away and the weather is not predicted to be its best. Nothing can really take away the excitement of being in Tinicum Park in Erwinna, PA, when it is full of dogs and their exhibitors. It brings back many memories for me, including one of showing Opal when she was a puppy. She even won her class!
I used to find out in advance when this show was held years before we had our borzoi and I even knew Bob by finding the dog show schedules published in Dog World Magazine, (I did not know about the AKC Gazette then). I would set out by myself when I was in my thirties to attend this show, that being the Bucks County Kennel Club Show. I also attended the Hunterdon County Kennel Club Show held on the Flemington Fair Grounds off Rt. 31, NJ. That has long since been sold and paved over and the dog show moved to a sight off Rt. 29 in Ringos nearby. But the Bucks County Kennel Club Show remains where it has traditionally been held.
I knew that all the doors into the dog show ring were closed to me. There was no obvious way to me how one got from one side of the ring (outside) to the other side of the ring (inside). You knew your place by some unwritten text, and you followed it. Everyone was always very nice and smiled at you as they walked their dogs to and fro but you knew you were always an observer, as if you were at the theater watching a well performed play. I always bought a catalog, which helped it make more sense to me, being so rich in information as it was. Still, I was a single, working girl, and had no time or means to buy a show dog, nor would I know what to do with it if I had the wits to even buy one. Eventually, I began to feel acutely lonely at dog shows and stopped going as often. I married Bob in 2000 and he had no interest in acquiring a show dog whatsoever. However, in 2002, we were offered an opportunity to enter the dog show world with a male borzoi named Casanova. His breeder, N-23, was looking for a show home for him. Without even thinking, we said yes. That was how it happened.
It was then I learned that a person is sponsored or invited to join breed clubs. It is usually by the breeder of the first show dog you acquire. That is how we were able to participate in dog shows; it was through the kindness and generosity of “Casanova’s” breeder helping us to become members of the Borzoi Club of Central New Jersey, a membership that I hold to this day, and I consider a great honor. That is how a person meets breeders with whom to make friends and purchases high quality show dogs to get started. We did it that way and it brought us great joy. We achieved many wonderful accomplishments from our endeavors. It was more challenging and expensive than we thought, and it included a heartbreaking tragedy, but we never would have turned that opportunity down. My only regret is all the years I lost by not knowing how to break into the dog show world sooner. I probably would not have had a borzoi, but a terrier breed. I adored terriers but our opportunity came with a borzoi. My husband did not care for terriers, so I did not look back. I became enchanted with borzoi then, as was he, and now I cannot imagine having any other breed of dog.
Mikhailya and Opal Ringside, January 2008
We were a happy family. The story of our kennel and how it grew is on the Blyss Kennels website (www.blysskennels.us) for all to enjoy. My only regret is losing Opal from a devastating illness as a youngster. Also, there were challenges and problems raising Tresor”, our pick puppy from our only home bred litter. However, his littermate, “Magnus”, made up for that. He was taken as pick puppy by the co-breeder, N-5, and he turned out to be one of the best international show-dogs and producers in many, many years. She sold him to Belisarius Kennels in Japan, he went on to sire the magnificent all-time show-bitch, “Lucy” of whom we are all proud. And our “Mikhailya” was the bitch who started it all:
“Lucy”, the grand-daughter of our bitch, “Mikhailha”, and “Tresor’s” niece, went on to become one of the greatest show borzoi ever in history in 2016 – 2017. She won Best of Breed twice at Westminster; in 2016 she won Reserve Best in Show at Westminster; in 2016 in April she won the Borzoi National Specialty Show; and in 2017 she won the Breed again at Westminster and Group 4 in Hounds; but became the Number 1 Hound in America, a first time achievement for a borzoi. In a few weeks, she will be entered in the Borzoi Club of America National Specialty Show for the second time. She won the show last year. It would be so exciting to see her win again.
Although some things do not always work out as you plan, and that is very difficult to accept, other things happen that are beyond your wildest imaginings. One may receive the worst of heartaches but the greatest of joys by loving dogs and having a show kennel.
However, nothing was worse than losing Bob suddenly in 2011. It required me to sell our special house that we had that was so perfect for our borzoi, and I had to place Tresor in a loving home. In 2012, I downsized in a comfotable home nearby with Mikhailya, Casanova and Paris. Much has been written about this on the Blog and the website. One by one, my beautiful borzoi succumbed to old age and died. However, in February 2015, I bought a beautiful retired show bitch, “Jelly”, from a dear friend, the breeder, N-24.
Then unexpectedly, five months later, “Tresor” came home to me, after four years of living with another family. By getting him back, I felt blessed and vindicated for so much that had gone wrong in my life. Having him back was like being given a great gift. I was so happy I had a house of my own, with a well fenced back yard to offer him. I felt I made up to him something I had taken away – my presence and my love. It was inconceivable to me that I had placed him. Fate left me with no choice. I was and still am very grateful to his family that had him for four years and cared for him so well, but even more grateful that he is back home with me and he is mine.
A great deal of what I have written today is looking back. I don’t know what made me do this today, and perhaps it is not a good idea to do it as much as I do. I am often told to look ahead. There are many things I do not like to reminisce about. However, when I look back on my dogs: their lives, their stories, my life with them, their spirits that feel so alive here with me, I feel as if I am sharing a contemporary story. For me, it is a story rich in memory and I cannot escape it, for it envelopes me. I miss them all so much, every day. By reminiscing about them, I feel their spirits close to me, as they were when they were alive! It is the thing that gives me the strength, that kind of strength I need that is so basic It is the strength that enables me to get out of my bed in the morning, to put one foot in front of the other, and have enough energy to get me thorough the whole day ahead as I am alone…..except that they – Jelly and Tresor – and even all the others that went before – are there!
With the apparent arrival of spring throughout the town and its magnificent surroundings, that being Mountainside, Summit and the Watchung Reservation in particular, I ventured about outdoors to experience it firsthand while it was still fresh in its glory. Starting with the Watchung Reservation, it was magnificent to see the leaves out their first day after being buds. Then, there were the flowering bushes and trees everywhere I drove about: azelia, Bartlett pear, and magnolias. And then there were the flowers, both wild and cultivated, and I cannot say enough about them. At a club luncheon with friends on Thursday, a women recommended taking the time to stop and see the field of daffodils at the Reeds Arboretum in Summit, a place I drive by all the time. I realized how foolish I was never to stop and sit for a while, so I made it a point to later that very day. As that silly saying goes, “Take time to stop and smell the roses”.
I had been there before, actually for meetings and programs in the old mansion that has been preserved for such purposes, but never actually to enjoy its many gardens. I thought that was rather a dumb omission on my part, too, always thinking, I must find the time to drive by this way and drop in for a while…… but never do. I found my effort to have been well worth it. Yes, the many thousands of daffodils were still in bloom, and according to the nearby plaque, all 30,000 of them, in a geological bowl shaped formation caused by a glacier. How beautiful a vista they made! Seeing all those blossoms in one place reminded me somewhat of the Presby Memorial Iris garden in Montclair, NJ, not too far away. My husband, Bob, who grew up in Montclair, used to take me there. We both had a great love of irises and had them at the first house we shared together, on Oak Tree Road in Mountainside, before we had our borzoi and lived on Summit Lane. It’s too early to visit there yet, about another four to six weeks for irises.
Perhaps I can retain some of the splendor we achieved in the Oak Tree Road gardens here. It will be difficult because I am doing it alone. Yes. That word again. Alone.
My landscaper can bring in the mulch and other soil supplies, but for the most part, I will be on my own. I find when I am in the garden working, still in the weeding phase, the borzoi are nearby. I know they would rather be out walking somewhere, especially the Watchung Reservation. Tresor would like to be running loose, looking for another dog to fight, disobeying me by not coming back when called. Jelly just wants to walk by my side like the Lady she is. She knows how to present the best possible picture of her canine self.
Everyone Jelly meets falls in love with her on sight. I take her on long walks with me and she meets people wherever we go. She also gets taken to the Scouting Field in Watchung Reservation where she runs and plays off leash with a Dalmation named Lazarus. He is a constant there and her best friend. I leave her there with his owner, and she brings her back to me hours later after she and Lazarus have had their long and happy canine play date.
Afterwards, it is the dogs’ dinner time and they eat heartily. Jelly may not always eat her breakfast, but she always eats her dinner. The days are moving along more the way I would like them to of late. The departure of winter is an enormous help for me. I am able to do more varied things and enjoy my surroundings and especially the borzois I love so much, my beloved Tresor and Jelly. Moreover, in addition to the enormous weeding project outdoors, I am tackling the job of interior, or shall I say, mental weeding, trying to get rid of all the bad thoughts and memories of the winter before that disturbed me so much.
I would like to add one more thing before ending, that on Monday this week, April 17, my Jelly was seven years old. I am so lucky to have her. She is a comfort to me in this world that I never believed could be possible. I can never thank her breeder, Frances Wright, for letting Jelly come to live with me two years ago. I am forever in her debt.
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.”
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.
Tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, 2016, is the date of the Morris & Essex Kennel Club Match Show with ancillary events including Meet the Breeds.
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.
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?
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!
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.