Je t’aime Monster – King of the Road!


This post was in my draft box as I was waiting to get a video of Monster’s Welcome Brigade. Monster passed away in December when I was overseas. The neighbours videoed the funeral service but  I have not been able to look at it as I still feel sad when I think of him.

I also feel I have let him down by not telling his story and have been saddened by my omission.  Although   it still hurts when I think about him, I feel he deserves to be introduced even though he is not with us. 

 This post is thus in the present tense as originally written.  

Rest in peace Mon … I love you so  ~♥~

November, 2014

” Yesterday for the first time I thought I had given you a wrong name.  You are so loyal, faithful and loving … how can I keep calling you Monster?

True, it is shortened to ‘Mon’ most of the time … and Monster is only a name of love … but still it is not an endearment of love. So what shall I call you from now on for  I do love you so.

And I realised how much you love me too yesterday.  You came running to me from your wanderings on the road the minute you heard my car start up.  You followed me from Romy’s home to my home, waited outside whilst I did some work, and then started to follow me back again.  When I called to you that I had forgotten something and turned back, you turned back too – and waited patiently.  Then you saw me safely into Romany’s home and went back to your wanderings on the road.   Oh Monster … can anyone have a ‘road dog’ who is so loving and concerned, so loyal and faithful, so protective of me !!   You are the best, the very very best.   And I want all the world to know about you so here is your story.

Monster’s mother was a road dog.  When she littered near my garage,  I fed the little family food but a monitor lizard devoured all but one little pup … so I took Mother and son into my garage for safety.  When the pup was big, he joined his mother on the road.

They looked after the neighbourhood and everybody fed them. I would get the mobile vet for regular vaccines or when they got sick. Mother dog was so easy to manage – meek and patient. The little one … he was terrified and gave us such a terrible time with howls and yelps that I think that was perhaps when I started calling him ‘Monster’.

The mother was run over one day and Monster was on his own so I started paying him more attention, talking to him whenever I saw him. He had an incredible attachment to me and the minute he heard my gate click, he would come running from wherever he was and follow me.  If I went to my sisters a few doors away, he’d follow me there.  If I went to a neighbours, Monster would come there too.

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Monster waiting for me outside my neighbours home.

If I went to church at the end of the road, he’d come there and join the congregation.

This was OK whilst the church was being built and we had no formal arrangement downstairs. But when we completed our beautiful chapel upstairs, Monster would still join the congregation and sit under my pew. We could never get him to leave as long as I was there. I decided tough measures were called for when he came right into the sanctuary on day and sat there right next to me whilst I was making an announcement!!  Nobody was listening to me, all eyes were him!!  Our priest at that time took it in good spirits saying he was the only Catholic dog he has seen. But after that, I would try to inveigle Monster into the house and lock him in before we left for Church.

Not an easy task – and still achieved only 50% of the time for Monster knows without a doubt when Sunday evening draws near.  Nothing we can do will persuade him to enter the house.

Suspicious Sunday - steering clear of you today look. Also is the vet nearby look !!

Suspicious Sunday – steering clear of you today look. Also is the vet nearby look !!

He knows all our tricks now. If by chance he does get taken in, he hangs by the door and pushes past us when we leave. There is high drama each Sunday for he has to go to church. There are people there who love him, talk to him and even buy him food. The only good thing now is that he does not come inside (the next priest did not allow him) so he mixes with everyone after Mass.

Monster still leads us a dance when we have to get the vet.  He is not well now. He has got injured in a fight and has got a touch of mange. I look at him and say “Mon will you let me get the vet?”  But unless we have a couple of pairs of strong hands and prepare ourselves for days, it is going to be really difficult.  He hates the vet or even mention of the name.  We have to resort to code language like “Canine caretaker”  or speak in Sinhalese  (the local language which he does not understand !) for on countless occasions, the vet has turned up, after we have secured Monster indoors, but has not been able to treat him. Somehow, Monster manages to escape. Once we had the whole neighbourhood looking for him because the Vet had drawn the injection.  We ended up paying for treatment not administered.

Now, we have to give him sleeping tablets before the Vet arrives.  It is not good for him, that’s why I hesitate and delay. The first time we gave him one tablet, he woke up when the vet touched him and ran away.  The next time, tablet plus muzzle.  He still jumped up and ran away.  The third time, tablet, plus muzzle plus both legs secured when he was drowsy. I hated such drastic treatment but felt the end justified the means.  He needed medical treatment. He still struggled and was traumatised so vet  gave him an injection which acts faster than tablets. He took so long to come out I was terrified it had gone wrong.

But Monster is a strong dog.

I think with wonder and undiluted thanks of the day that I ran over him.  Yes, I who loved him so, ran over him.

He had run out in front of the car to form his usual ‘advance party’  but suddenly decided to roll over and scratch his body.  Fortunately I was just inching the car forward when I heard a yelp and froze wondering which way to move. Monster dragged himself out from under the tire where I had run over his lower belly.  He was grumbling and whining and would not allow me to touch him.  I cried profusely, Monster I am sorry but he was in too much pain to heed my tears  and only grumbled at me – you had to hear it to believe!  Honest. That dog could almost speak.  He allowed my mum to hep him and this was only time we had no difficulty with the Vet for Monster knew he needed help.  Later, he allowed me to take care of him till he became right as rain.

I am still very nervous when Monster is on the road as he expects vehicles to move out of his way! 

I am most nervous when driving home as Monster then takes over the whole road and forms a welcome brigade for me, prancing from side to side, till I reach my house. Many times, I just stop and wait for other vehicles to pass by,  or wait till the road is clear before proceeding again.

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Welcome Brigade – going ahead of my vehicle

Monster… thank you for all the happiness you have brought me, us, and all who love you: your road friends (the walkers) your church friends and your many admirers (including the baker who brings a bun for you each day). Thank you for being so faithful and loyal and watching over me wherever I go.

I thank God for you and pray that I can keep you healthy and safe into your old age.

I love you Mon. ”

Postscript.

Sadly it was not to be.  But Monster taught me how to love unconditionally, faithfully and without expectation of anything in return.

“Love me for a reason and let the reason be love.”

Changing Guards and Pelicans on street lights …

Changing Guards

These brilliant red Ceiling Wax palm trunks looking like sentinels with rifles at ready, reminded me of the childhood chorus :

The changing guards of Buckingham Palace

Christopher Robin went down with Alice

Alice is marrying one of the guards

“A soldier’s life is terribly hard,” says Alice !

Obviously one of the songs of the British colonies huh :)   Wondering now whether Alice deserted Mr. Robin for a guard, Wiki advised that Christopher Robin was a children’s character named by A. A. Milne (of Winnie the Pooh Fame) after his own son.  Interesting !

And interesting how these red barks took me back through the years to the song.  Posting in response to Photrabloggers picture on palm fronds (last week :(  )

For this weeks challenge – these pelicans perched atop the street lights were too beautiful to pass by – so I had to click even though I was driving  (yeah dangerous). It was a beautiful sight though the pictures are not that great. (I did say I was driving right :) )

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A doctor can bury his mistakes

but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines!  (Frank Lloyd Wright, Americas famous architect.)

Hamad Airport Doha 9 Jun 2015
No vines were visible at the new Hamad International Airport in Doha.  The lighting and minimal use of colour, the absence of extraneous fittings and accessories – except in the ‘activity areas’ – emphasise the architects pride in his work which needs no adornment. It certainly was very striking and is my response to Angles challenge of Photrablogger – along with the contrastingly humdrum ‘Angles of my Abode’ … and a little visitor who turns mundane into beautiful.   Angles and birds

 Maybe I’ll grow some vines when she leaves :)

To use or not to use …

Photrablogger’s challenge really has me trying to find beauty in the most mundane – like this jar of plastic lids on my sister’s kitchen sink. She separates the HDPE covers from PET bottles and milk cartons that are to be recycled as part of her efforts to minimise her footprint.

For love of Mother Earth

Apart from the eye catching colours, I think the jar is beautiful because it helps in some small way to prevent this.

Polymer Diet

Submitted in response to MM Challenge Colors and Angles  … and containers :)

Cartoon credit : http://www.maxgustafson.com/

Minimal on my mind …

With Photrabloggers Minimal Touch challenge on my mind, I just had to click on this sign in a little car eco-testing bay in which you could not drive at 5 kmph (3 mph) if you tried!   So this is my tongue in cheek entry for the “most minimal”  you can go … or is it least minimal  :) ?

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Minimal Speed

And this is my attempt at a minimal touch photography !

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Minimal Action !

I wonder … does it qualify ?  :)

Actually it does not matter – for Jithin (Photrablogger) encourages you to take the most mundane pictures and look at it through rose coloured spectacles  … to see beauty in the day to day things around you.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate in this challenge to ‘awareness of the things around us’ so please feel free to send in your efforts at finding beauty in the most mundane.

The heart of my writing …

Following a link today I was blessed with this awesome post To Thine Own Self which has nuggets of wisdom- one of which really touched me

There is no greater beauty than that of the Pen of God

being breathed out the mouth of one onto the pages of another heart.

Would that I wrote like that to bring beauty into the world and the hearts of men!!  Would that the Heart of my Writing touched other hearts ….

These beautiful drawings by kids under a Heart of my writing project which I also stumbled on today made me realise that I too need to do a similar ‘heart of my writing’  exercise  this week as I refocus on my somewhat neglected site.

I am a child of the Universe ….

To imagine I am a child of this universe !!

The stunning Cosmic Glow of the Carina Nebula

 Words for Life

I first came across the wisdom of Max Erhman’s Desiderata on a post card at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, in 1982. The words inscribed themselves into my subconscious, with the stanzas rising to the surface at different times.

I recently found myself humming ‘You are a child of the universe’ whilst watching the awesome night sky*, amazed and humbled to be part of this incredible universe. The tune refused to go away, reminding me again of wealth of philosophy and wisdom in these words which I’d like to share with those who have not read it:

I strongly recommend you listen first to the ‘reading’ and rendition of the chorus which truly transcends daily living.  ENJOY  …”STRIVE TO BE HAPPY’‘ as you start your week  :)

       Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
       As far as possible without surrender     be on good terms with all persons.
       Speak your truth quietly and clearly;   and listen to others,
       even the dull and the ignorant;   they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,   they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,   you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;   for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;   and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.   Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;   for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,   gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,   be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,   whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,   it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.    Strive to be happy.

Credit:  Carina Nebula ESO/T. Preibisch   http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1329b/

Quiet time

Rest is not idleness,

and to lie sometimes on the grass, under trees on a summers day, 

Listening to the murmur of the water, or watching clouds float across the sky, 

is by no means a waste of time.”   John Luddoc

But is a great way to start  – or wind down  a Mundane Monday   :)   And it gets better when you have company  ….

Attidiya Lake        Quiet time

So quiet time for two :)

Chantilly lace

Bricks is the theme of Photrablogger’s MM Challenge #12 and I thought these will fit in well for photos on brickwork.

Palazzo Ducale

Section of wall Old Square Mantua

The first picture is a close up of a wall on one side of the Old Square in Mantova, (Italy) which has been listed as a UNESCO heritage site.  I think the pattern of white stone on the wall of Palazzo Ducale, which dates back to the 15th Century, gives it an enchanting ‘lacey’ look … like Chantilly lace on brick !!!

Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Lombardy

A bigger expanse – more white motifs and more enchantment. A pattern of small hollow squares (like dents) is visible but these are too ordered to be bricks that have fallen out. It may be due to restoration work- if you look closely you can see where  windows appear to have been walled up. In a way it adds to the character and charm.

The small angular buttresses on roof are duplicated on walls on the opposite side of the square – see below. The entire square may have been part of the Palace  (I need to read the guidebook).  Perhaps the different designs represent different quarters. The white insets are visible in a more frugal way on one wall.  You can see that repairs  have been carried out where the pattern is interrupted.    And note that the other wall  is pure brick – with no aesthetic extras. The chimney indicates it may have been the kitchen area … elementary my dear Watson :)

And now the bigger picture contrasting old with adjoining new, ochre wall with blue windows . Old and new blend so seamlessly.

Palazzo Ducale, 15th Century

A toast to buildings that stand the test of time .

Postcript :  We had travelled to Mantova  frtom Milan o meet Rev. Sr. Teresina – Professor of Christology at my faculty in Sri Lanka, who travelled from Carpi, to meet halfway in this entrancing city.  I took this whilst enjoying a delicious Italian meal with famous Italian wine in celebration of our meeting after five years.

I had initially ‘cropped’ our table from the picture to focus only on brickwork. On second thoughts however, I kept in the bottle of wine, for a building this beautiful and this enduring, surely deserves a toast.

So, a toast to buildings with workmanship and materials that endure …  and a toast likewise to enduring friendships.

Cheers :)

Magnifico Milan !

I’ve had an anything but mundane two weeks in Prague, Turin, Milan and environs.

With so much rich art, culture, heritage and beauty around, I was hard pressed both in time and opportunity to find anything  to meet Photrabloggers challenge.  Since I was clicking away like crazy, I was surprised that nothing seemed to fit the challenge so I decided to google Mundane.

OK .. .. here it is … ” Mundane  –  routine, ordinary, everyday, run-of-the mill, customary  …. earthy, material,  non-spiritual.

No wonder then I found it difficult.  The last two weeks was anything but run of the mill.  Definitely not my routine everyday experience, and definitely (many times over) not not-spiritual !!  I mean .. those magnificent churches, castles, architecture, works of art by Renaissance masters that transcend everyday terrestrial experiences.  New faces, new people, new cultures  .. all novel and unique. Nothing mundane for me there :)

But I had missed two challenges so decided that perhaps the apartments I saw daily in the last week would bring in the ‘routine’ element for mundane.  Even though I found them fascinating … wondering at the type of lifestyle the Milanese lived behind them – they could probably pass the test for mundane everyday living so here I go :

View from our bedroom window :

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Some apartments on the street in the Primaticcio District of Milan where we stayed :

I do not like to be around high rise buildings but these seemed different.  Multi-storied but not high rise! There were plenty of open spaces in between, with parks, gardens and playing fields

Basketball  and soccer court

Basketball and soccer court. The older kids played basketball whilst the small ones played soccer between their legs. Wish I had taken a photo .. so busy looking on!!!

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Church and open court yard. Buildings and shops all around. We stayed in the orange building behind the Church Steeple.

And I found that the Milanese like to have flowers and plants even in apartments –  or beautiful gardens to look down on. Their view will change with the seasons. Mundane and beautiful !!!!

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Fragrant plants are everywhere giving off a heady perfume into the atmosphere !!

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I doubt I would like to live in Milan  … it’s not what I am used to.  I need to come down to earth – literally :) from high rise buildings and works of art that take you to dizzy heights.   But with its heritage and art, Da Vinci’s Last Supper,  and its Duomo amongst many others,

Milan is magnifico !!! 

And I could not just give you one mundane picture :)  even though I tried !!!