Dare to Stand Out

Have you ever felt like an aberration?

You know, like something apart from the normal or ordinary.

Take this rose, for instance.

So special

So special

Do you see it? No?

Take a closer look.

So very special

So very special

Still don’t see it?

Okay, let’s get even closer and zero in on exactly what I want to show you.

Ahh, so that's it!

Ahh, so that’s it!

We found this tiny white rosebud growing on our mostly-watermelon pink show rose bush this week.

How did it get there?

Who knows.

But as sure as the sun rises each day in the East, this white rose had sprouted and bloomed on a medium-pink mother plant.

Amazing, huh?

I guess it just goes to prove that aberrations occur in nature periodically.

From two-headed turtles to dogs who mother abandoned kittens to a musical prodigy being born into a tone-deaf family, aberrations fascinate us.

After the initial curiosity, we start asking questions.

How did that happen? And why?

Once, people took advantage of aberrations. Remember “freak shows” in circuses or oddities traveling with carnivals?

How sad.

But you know, being different isn’t so bad, really.

Who wants to be “ordinary”?

Far better to stand out, I think.

Each of us, in our own way, is special.


With different appearances, talents, abilities, strengths.

Shouldn’t we be celebrating our differences instead of pigeon-holing everybody into the same mold?

Don’t put the cart before the horse

A few days ago, I noticed Darling Doggie Dallas was hobbling a bit after he awoke from a nap.

Wondering what was wrong, I ran my hands over his paws and legs (all of them, just to be safe).

Nothing amiss.

I called his vet, who suggested keeping him quiet and watching him. If he’s still wonky tomorrow, I was told, call back.

The next day, he seemed better. I couldn’t bring myself to walk him, but neither did I believe he needed a doctor.

Two days later, he was still wobbly. This, despite the fact he was eating and pottying normally, playing, and in good spirits. So I called the vet back.

He’ll be seven in November, she said. Sometimes they start feeling their age about then, just like people.

What?? Why, that’s barely 42 in human years!

Is it time to put him on glucosamine and condroitin, I kidded.

Sounds like a great idea, they said.

Dallas in profile

Dallas in profile

So it starts.

When we bring a puppy into our homes (and hearts), we know that, because of their shorter life spans, we’ll likely outlive them. In the mad scramble to housebreak, socialize, and train them, we don’t think about that.

We’re far too enamored with their cute little noses. And soft fur coats. And warm brown eyes.

And how they love us unconditionally. Like when we’ve had a hard day and feel no one else understands.

But aging doesn’t rear its ugly head suddenly; we’ve got time to acclimate to it. To look for “old age” signs — a bit more white to the muzzle, an ability to sleep as only old dogs can.

Still, it frightens me.

Triple-D is my soul dog. Sure, I’ve invested a lot of time and money into his care, but more than that, I’ve given him my heart.

The mere suggestion that he’s not always going to be a part of my life brings tears to my eyes.

After all, I’ve been through a beloved dog’s death before.

The gut-wrenching pain, the crying jags, the empty feeling deep in your soul.

And I don’t want to go through that again.

Not on the heels of Domer’s leaving home.

So I’ll put on my Pollyanna hat and focus on the bright side. A Sheltie’s average lifespan is 12-13 years, but they can live 15 years or longer. The Sheltie I owned before Dallas lived to 19 years!

I refuse to think Triple-D is on his last leg. This is just a blip on the radar.

Don’t you agree??

(Nearly) Wordless Tuesday

Sometimes a picture really does say more than a thousand words.

I’ve long been fascinated with weather. It affects all of us all the time, from the picnickers forced inside because of rain to the farmers frantic over a drought or early freeze.

Today we in Central Illinois are looking forward to the arrival of a cold front. Our forecasters promise us it will bring cooler weather and much lower humidity, two things that spell “relief” in the dog days of July. Since clouds are the harbingers of weather changes, I turned my camera skyward to see if they’re going to be right:

Looking south from my patio.

Looking south from my patio.

Almost looks like snow, huh?

Almost looks like snow, huh?

These toward the north look even more like snow.

These toward the north look even more like snow.

I can only imagine what fun God must have had creating these!

I can only imagine what fun God must have had creating these!

My late dad used to call wispy clouds like these mare's tails.

My late dad used to call wispy clouds like these mare’s tails.

Cirrus clouds indicate a weather change in 24 hours.

Cirrus clouds indicate a weather change in 24 hours.

It's supposed to drop down to 56 degrees tonight -- turn off the A/C and open the windows!

It’s supposed to drop down to 56 degrees tonight — turn off the A/C and open the windows!

Here a Car, There a Car. . . .

Recently, My Favorite Domer (AKA my son) permitted me to go car-shopping with him.

His decision, I’m sure, came after a frustrating day where he found:

  • Car salesmen who refused to take his search seriously.
  • Salesmen who ignored him on the lot.
  • Salesmen who tried to sell him more vehicle than he needed.
  • Salesmen who tried to charge him more than he wanted to pay.

Part of me misses the buying experience Saturn dealerships used to offer. No haggling. No gimmicks.

Just pay the sticker price and take the car.

How refreshing!

But Domer was born too late for that, so he had to suffer the joys of “search and wheedle.”

And he wanted me along for the ride.

He insisted he wouldn’t buy from any place where he had to go inside and hunt down a salesman.

“If they don’t want to try to sell, then they haven’t earned my business,” he said.

Okay. Works for me.

The first place we went, we scoured the lot peeking into car windows and examining stickers.

No salesman (or woman) approached us.

I suggested going inside. Domer didn’t want to, but we did.

Walked the entire length of the showroom, nodding at the salespeople sitting alone in their cubicles.

Not a one spoke to us!

Puzzled, we left.

The next place wasn’t much better.

This salesman approached us, made a few cursory remarks, learned Domer wasn’t a big spender and pretty much sent us on our way.

What’s going on here, I wondered.

At the third dealership, no sooner had we parked my car when a young, energetic, pretty sales girl welcomed us, introduced herself, and promptly started showing us cars.

In Domer’s price range. With the specs he’d outlined.

And if she’d had the car he wanted, she’d have made herself a sale.

The next day we traveled far out of town to a dealership where Domer immediately found “the car.”

It was beautiful, shiny, sleek, and looked perfect for him.

After driving it, we sat down with the salesman to crunch some numbers.

Now Domer majored in Finance. He loves numbers.

But I see figures, and my eyes glaze over and I zone out.

When the bottom line total appeared, Domer shook his head.

Too much, he insisted.

The sales manager stepped in, offering a lease.

Domer couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Finally, we found another dealership with another female sales rep. And while they didn’t have the car Domer wanted on their lot, she and the sales manager worked to get a fair price both they and Domer could live with.

And they searched around until they found the right car for Domer.

It was in Ohio.

He drove it off the lot Fourth of July weekend.

Now, if he’d just stop calling it a cash drain!

Rocks can be exciting!

I think it’s in my DNA to get excited about rocks and gemstones.

After all, my late dad was a geologist and, although he specialized in finding petroleum, he never lost his fascination with rocks.

When I was a kid, rocks were rocks. Boring inanimate objects that didn’t feel or speak to me.

Hard to get worked up over a lump of stone.

Then I went off to college and had to take a science class.

Now I’m more artistic than scientific and that, coupled with a poor background at the high school science level, told me to forgo Biology or Chemistry.

So I opted for Geology.

Really? Geology?

Sure, it made perfect sense. Daddy was a geologist. I figured I’d picked up enough from him to at least pass the course.

Geology was divided into a one-hour lecture class, three times a week, and a two-hour lab, twice a week.

The lecture class was scheduled for right after lunch. When it was hot outside, and the birds were chirping, and Spring was in the  air.

And my old professor, bless his little heart, droned on and on and on, putting most of the class right to sleep.

Where we didn’t give him any trouble!

And the lab? Well, we each received a box approximately 8″ by 12″ by 1.5″ and were instructed to learn the various properties of what was inside.

Quartz and limestone and slate and such.

I, of course, found ways to memorize the markings and colors and feel of my box’s contents. And thought I was set.

Until the test.

When my teacher tricked me — my rocks weren’t there!

I didn’t know these new rocks. They didn’t look or feel the same, and I couldn’t remember properties to save my neck.

Somehow, I managed to pass. To Daddy’s delight.

Fast forward several years and once again, I’m studying rocks and gemstones and their various properties.

In an effort to learn which gemstone is purported to address which ill or need.

So I can expand my beading jewelry hobby into the healing gemstones area.

And I’m endlessly fascinated.

What goes around comes around, doesn’t it?

Someone Special’s Celebrating

Today’s my only sister’s birthday — I won’t say how many because she’d kill me or retaliate.

That’s the way it is with siblings. We know which buttons to press.

Or not to press.

And it’s always been that way.

When we were little, sharing a room, we had an imaginary line running down its center.

One side for her. One for me.

As we grew, we got separate rooms, but she tended to find mine MUCH more interesting than hers.

Probably because of the diary I kept under lock and key.

Not that I had anything exciting to write in its pages, but she thought I did.

Or maybe because of my closet, with its neatly hung and folded clothes.

No matter that we weren’t the same size. Or had the same tastes.

She was a believer in sharing; I was not.

You can imagine the arguments!

Sis and me after a trip to Texas way back when!

Sis and me after a trip to Texas way back when!

Some time after I left for college, we started becoming friends. Perhaps my late dad’s admonition, “You’ll always have each other” was making more sense.

For a while, we both worked in the same town. Across the street, actually.

And we’d share lunches and secrets, talk about “the ‘rents” and boyfriends, enjoy sun tanning by the pool and drinks on weekends.

I look on that time as idyllic.

Now we’re separated by some 700 miles, but we still manage to stay close.

Phone calls, e-mails, and such make it fairly easy.

Gone are the days when she’d snatch one of my sweaters and wear it to school, whether I approved or not. Gone, too, are the times I’d “rat” on her to our folks or we’d fight over whose turn it was to set the table.

Those two little girls have grown up and wonder of wonders, now they actually like each other.

Just as Daddy always hoped.

Happy Birthday, Sis — Love you!