Thursday, March 22, 2007


Here is a picture of 'the princess and the frog' from last Hallowe'en. The frog doesn't look like he wants the princess to kiss him. We don't know yet whether or not he wants to share his bedroom with his expected new brother.

Okay, so Barb hasn't had her baby yet. We are into week four (at least) of bed rest for her and while it has been taxing on all of us...especially Barb...check that out at has meant that the baby has grown more and is now, by ultrasound a whopping 6 lb. 4 oz.!!! We are really rejoicing that the bed rest (couch rest) has paid off, Barb's blood pressure has been better and the baby has had a chance to get more nourishment. Thank you to those who have been praying for her and her family.

I am grateful...that is all I can is the extent of my spiritual reflections at this point in time. And I am feeling relieved and humorous tonight...maybe that is Spirit.

Here is a picture of an unidentified friend on my recent trip to Florida.

I can't risk messing up this simple post by trying to add any more snapshots. I'll post some of the new baby and his sibs and cousins when the time comes...the fullness of time, of course.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Our Dog Babe

Our dog Babe died on Saturday evening, February 17. She would have been fifteen years old on March 1, well over 100 in human years. She did not die quietly in bed, but having escaped the house while I was putting out the recycling, that dog of independent mind decided to go roaming. She was dead before we noticed that she was missing.
I would like to think that she met her her end chasing a car, a favourite pastime of all her breed, but that is not the case. She trotted along, blending into the snowy shadows of the evening. Neither she, nor the kindly folk who hit her, had a chance. It is some comfort to know that she died instantly and in some ways, on her own terms.
Highly intelligent, Babe had a stubborn streak. She would have felt it very undignified to have degenerated into a feeble, housebound, old age.Babe was incorrigibly bossy, knew what was good for river swimmers and skate board riders. Her sometimes irritating sharp barking and herding instinct were an inheritance from her forebears in the Shetland Islands. As she grew older, she kept her beauty, the Blue Merle markings of her pedigree and her lovely, wise face.

Our lives are forever changed. Rob misses his daily walks and hardly knows how to start his mornings. For several days after she died, I continued to hear Babe barking, not protractedly, just an occasional 'woof.' It was both disconcerting and comforting.

This past week Rob was away overnight for work, as he frequently is, and I was alone in the house. I realized just how companionable Babe was, particularly when a horrific storm of freezing rain and high winds interrupted sleep at 3:00 a.m.. Formerly, just having her at my door would have been reassuring. Now I found I could not sleep at all and finally got up and spent the rest of the night sweeping up and folding laundry. The house is empty.

Babe is linked to all of the memories of our lives over the last fifteen years. There was the time we had a fire in our Edwardian house in Orillia and we thought that Babe had succumbed. What a relief when the firefighters found her. Covered in soot, she came bolting out of the family room straight out the front door and raced around the house at breakneck speed, barking her lungs clear. Then there was the time, a couple of years later, when she wore a pink ribbon for my daughter Sarah's wedding day in October, 1999. Not two years later, she was part of the nursing team during my father's last illness. She sat patiently beside his chair, comforting him, licking gently the thin yet familiar hand that had petted her for years.

Rachael drew a picture of Babe and God looking down on us from heaven. God was a bright yellow cloud and sun and a rainbow. I added a sketch of a young Great Grandpa Ballantine playing in the eternal fields with Babe. Rachael called her picture 'Babe's Banner', and it has hung for a week in the breezeway where Babe rested in warmer weather.

We will not own another 'pet.' We travel too much. Our lives are far too busy for us to be the ideal companion humans. And we are getting older. Another 15 year old dog just might outlive us! My brother reminds me that there are still more than enough dogs in the family to keep us company. He knows that in my heart, no dog could replace Babe.