Monday, October 11, 2010


Yes, it's been forever since I blogged. My digital camera finally gave up the ghost so I've been without it for about a year. Oh my gosh: Now that I've written it, I can't believe it's been that long! Anyway, it felt like I couldn't blog without, I didn't. Erika generously gave me one of her cameras, and now I'm back in blogging business. It feels pretty good, even if the only person reading this is my mom.

Annie turned 10 months old on 30 September. I tell people that she's 80lbs of love and insanity, especially the kids it looks like she might traumatize when she tries to jump on them as they run past her in the park. So, now that I have a camera again (a camera that doesn't require me to take my film to Black's so they can put my photos on a disc), here she is:

Smiling nicely for the camera.

Sitting on her favourite forbidden spot.

Chewing a bone on the bed, which is better than chewing the bed. She has chewed bedclothes. This is a huge improvement.

The one thing the camera didn't capture is how green her eyes are. I'm working on it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Don't Mess With Texas

Last Tuesday, I flew down to Texas. Destination: Seminole in Gaines County, West Texas.

I was heading down there to meet this town and its people who want me to teach them Biblical Hebrew. It's funny, because although my Dad is proud that I've dedicated (part of) my (academic) life to obtaining my "Masters Degree of the Obscure," I'm sure he's often wondered if those studies would ever lead to gainful employment. And, the common reaction I've received upon telling people my reason for heading to west Texas is: "Huh? Why?" And, really, it's a fair reaction: Biblical Hebrew is not the language or subject matter that automatically springs to mind when we think of special interest classes here in Toronto. We're more inclined to take a class on Sushi rolling or Spanish.

So, Mary - yes, of Jerusalem-roommate-fame - met me at the airport in Midland-Odessa. It's been a year and a half since we've seen each other and it felt like we'd left each other yesterday. My flight arrived late so we spent the night at the Howard Johnson's in Midland then drove the hour and a half north to Seminole the next morning. Here's the landscape:

That's right, Pump Jacks as far as the eye can see across this very flat expanse of the state. It was really cool when I was flying out of Midland-Odessa airport three days later to look down and see green squares of land stretched out below and in each square was a smaller sandy square amidst which was set a Pump Jack. Not one or two but hundreds.

Just before we slowed down to take this photo ("Hey Mary! I'll bet that burger is actual size - we are in Texas."), I saw my first State Trooper pulling a car over. My shutter-trigger-finger was too slow to get a shot of him, but how cool is that? He had on a big cowboy hat 'n' everything. Yes, I'm easily impressed by sighting lawmen that I thought only existed in movies.

This is the other sign I found heeelarious. This is on the way into Andrews, between Seminole and Midland-Odessa. Does anyone else want to belong, if they don't already, to a Complex (with a capital "C") Community? Or is that just me?

Driving into Seminole, TX, is like stepping back in time: there's no Starbucks, there's no mall. There is a McDonald's, a Subway and a Walmart, but otherwise there are none of the modern commercial conveniences to which we're accustomed. It was refreshing - but also necessitates owning a vehicle. The people, though! All of the people I met are warm, welcoming and eager to have me in their community and to share with them my knowledge of Biblical Hebrew - which I have to admit, is far from exhaustive but is something that I love. The other thing I have to admit to is really enjoying the company of these people and how grateful I was that they busted a lot of the stereotypes (and I truly love it when this happens in any situation) that we Northerners may have of Southerners. No one asked me if I were married, what my religious beliefs are, nor did they try to convert me to theirs. There were no snakes or talking in tongues or hellfire and brimstone at the Pentecostal church service that we went to, led by Bobby. In fact, and I hope he won't be offended by this, but I'd have to say that Bobby is a feminist: his sermon - which he warned "may offend some people, and for that I'm sorry" - was all about how if you don't understand women, you won't understand the Bible. He proceeded to outline how the menstrual cycle and gestation of a human baby line up with the holy-feast days of the Jewish calendar. It was interesting, to say the least, food for thought.

I was not in the middle of a Flannery O'Connell novel.

So, this next adventure isn't a sure thing yet, but we'll cross our fingers for it to be. Yes, I'll take Annie. And, yes, if I'm down there for any length of time I'm quite sure I'll pick up a wee twang in my voice. I already say 'y'all' and I can't seem to answer a yes-or-no question anymore without adding 'ma'am' or 'sir' at the end.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Angel

A week ago, I would have told you: Don't be fooled, she's a wee devil. This week, she lives up to her pose. She not only looks sweet but is sweet: she's well-behaved, funny, eating all her apples, and sleeping 8 hours straight. Thanks to her nose halty, she walks right beside me without attempts to dislocate my shoulder or chances of traumatizing toddlers. Two weeks ago, Annie, at 16 weeks old, weighed in at 37lbs. Yup, she's gonna be a big dawg.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Meet Annie

Her full name is Colonel Anne, after one of my ancestors, Lady Anne MacIntosh, who rallied a bunch of troops from Clan MacIntosh in the 1700s during the Jacobite uprisings in Scotland. The king (deposed king? Scottish history is convoluted and I get easily confused by it - if it were the 1700s BCE, I'd have no problems with it...) - anyway, some king nicknamed her Colonel Anne. The really cool part? Lady Anne fought on the other side, not her husband's. At one point, her husband was arrested and put in her custody then when the political tides turned, she was arrested and put in her husband's custody. I think that's hysterical. I'm hoping to find an account of their personal lives together. That's probably some juicy reading.

My brother, Jason and his wife, Claudette, had decided to breed their golden Lab, Shiloh. She had eight puppies on the day I went in to have a cancerous mole removed. They were calling her Annie since she was three weeks old and it stuck. Annie was born 30 November and came home to me on 31 January. She is such an Annie: "Greek name: (meaning) gorgeous, kindhearted, rebellious, gentle towards others." (; or "a variant of Ann (Hebrew) and Hannah (Hebrew), and the meaning of Annie is 'favored grace'". (

I now get up at 6am. We have a fairly regulated eating schedule, which is new for me. She loves manhole covers and rocks. I call her My Little Geologist every time I pry open her mouth to remove the latest stone she's picked up. Even when she's sleeping, she's knows where I am and will wake up to follow me into the next room then flop down and pass out. Her favourite chewtoys = Curious George, froggies, beef tendons, and my hands. She likes cheese and hot dogs. I just found some recipes for homemade dog treats so will now bake for humans and dogs. She loves everyone she meets and will actually stop, sit and watch wistfully as every single person who has talked to her walks away. Funny and exasperating, all in one move. Her eyes are a stunning, clear green and I was told recently that they're very close in colour to my own.

The photo above is of her watching a big screen TV for the first time at Greg's, one my neighbours. She doesn't get to do that around here. We're more radio folk. Her current CBC boyfriend is Jim Curran. She likes traffic.