"Cognito, ergo sum"
(Book 1 / Part 1 / Chapter 1 / Thursday)
-ZETA ORIONIS- "Why me?"
7:30 A.M. / DAY ONE / THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2014
Hello! My name is Maggie. I'm a girl Dog. I'm almost three years old now. I don't exactly know when my birthday is but I think it's coming up soon. Too bad my boss, Mr. Steve; doesn't know that. There are times when I really wish I could talk. Then I could tell him all of the things that I've been thinking about lately. I do have so much to say!
Thank You God for this beautiful morning! Birds are chattering, the smell of that clump of Joshua trees is really strong and there are already a few wispy white clouds to the east out there in the desert. I can hear our neighbors Ducks quacking away next door.
Hey God! Thank You for this old "Couch" I'm laying on back here in our "Patio." As You know I've decided to name her "Elvira." From here, looking east; the Sun is slightly above the eastern horizon. I see, smell and hear Birds; up early looking for some food.
As You know God; in the next three days I'm going to try to learn how to read and write in order to "Document" our family; from 1693 until today. That's mainly so I can impress my boss Mr. Steve and leave something for future generations in our family. I love Birds!
Boy! I'm sure glad I have all of these "Notebooks, "Encyclopedias" and "Dictionaries." I know they're really going to help me over the next three days. And God! Thank You for all of these incredible writing "Pens" and "Pencils." The Sun is getting brighter now.
We live in a "Desert." Right now the sights I'm seeing to the east, the things I'm smelling or hearing; remind me of other times that I've experienced at this time of year. The food I tasted in my "Royal" blue food bowl this morning also made me think about other times too.
This morning part of our breakfast was what they call "Dry" Dog food. We have that every day but it tastes good mixed in with other things Mr. Steve puts in. As I ate it I recalled the very first time I tasted dry Dog food. Hey God! As You know, I now really like dry Dog food.
The first time I tasted dry Dog food was when that lady put some out in the field I was living in. I had been dumped out there by my first owner. I was what they call "Homeless." I can still remember how that one big scary Lizard looked at me as I ate the dry Dog food.
Hey God! According to my French Dictionary the term "Déjà Vú" can mean; "A feeling of experiencing something already seen or experienced." Lately I've been feeling that more than I usually do. And, as a matter of fact; I'm sort of feeling You like that right now.
Scanning the eastern horizon, my favorite color blue is what I want to see the most. But I see brown, white, yellow and mainly green. Mr. Steve's favorite color is green so, more and more I want to see green which is becoming my favorite color too. I want to like what he likes.
Hey God! As You know, Mr. Steve thinks the color khaki, or light brown, is the main color of the world You created. But many, if not most people; think khaki's boring or "Non-Descript." I wrote that down on my outline when he told me that. So many Birds are singing now.
Over the next three days I hope to write what's called a "Trilogy" of books. Because I want to impress Mr. Steve I've got a lot of things on my three outlines that deal in one way or another with the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's; which I know he's what they call "a product of."
For the next three days I intend to write "generally" and "specifically" about History and other things too. I'll deal with what they call "Popular Culture" entertainment.. But I'll also do kind of a "Journal" of our lives around here for three days. I hear Birds singing.
Basically, I guess you could say that over the course of the next three days, in part; I want to write about Mr. Steve's life. That means I'll write about people who have influenced him; many of whom are dead. I love this time of year. I feel so alive! Thank you God!
Hey Lord! Thank you for letting the Romans kill You so You could help everyone. As You know, I would've been dead by now if You Guys hadn't brought me here. But now I have hope and a direction in life so feel I should try to turn that good luck into something better.
As You know Lord, my boss at times has dreams about people who've died; and also about other Cats and Dogs he's lived with over the years. He says as long as he has memories of them, in a sort of "Philosophical" way; they're still alive. Oh! I can smell a Lizard nearby.
Mr. Steve had a friend named Mark Ritter. He died. They met in the 1970's working for a company called "Laser Images;" which did a "Light Show" called "Laserium." Mr. Steve was in College then. I'll write about Mark Ritter and that period later in my three books.
For over ten years my boss Mr. Steve has sold what they call "Apparel" and "Promotional Products" to Auto Dealerships. He's probably in his Office calling some of them right now as a matter of fact. Apparel means clothes or things people wear. I see the Lizard.
This man named Steve Banks was Mr. Steve's boss until he died in 2008. He helped my boss "Get back on his feet" in 1999 when Mr. Steve made mistakes and lost almost all of his money. I'll write more about that guy Steve Banks later today and in book two tomorrow.
Mr. Steve is old, fifty eight; so has had a few Dogs and Cats over the years. He once owned this girl Dog named "Lady" who was half "Pit Bull" and half "Doberman." She was what they call the "Runt" of the "Litter." I have a feeling I'm a runt too. The Lizard is gone.
Even though Lady was a "Descendant" of mean Dogs she was not vicious. Like myself, at times it was Lady's duty to act mean. Lady was a really good guard I guess. I want to be like her. And I will be like her! God, as You know, I really want to impress our boss.
Hey God! You could say Lady's what's called my "Role Model;" just like Mr. Steve's parents are his role models. Lady lived to be nineteen and I sure do hope You'll let me be with my boss for a long time too. I'm going to try my hardest to make him want to keep me.
Way back in the 1980's my boss Mr. Steve lived with these two Cats; one was a young white shorter-haired boy Cat named "Mookie Wilson." And the other one was an old furry gray girl Cat named "Miss Foot." Ah! The air is so clear! I love these kind of mornings!
I guess Miss Foot had an extra toe, and claw; on all four of her feet. "Mook" was named by Mr. Steve's then girlfriend Emily. On Saturday at the very end of my third and final book I'm scheduled to write about our local Birds; and Mookie Wilson and Miss Foot too.
Mr. Steve's parents have been married for almost sixty years. My boss Mr. Steve has never been married because he's just happier being alone. He says one reason that his parents are still together is because they've always helped each other to grow and improve together.
Hey God! As You know, from what my boss Mr. Steve says; his parents have been together for so long that they've almost "melded" into one. Both, if they wanted to; could finish all of the others thoughts and sentences. Most hope to have that type of relationship. Me too.
Mr. Steve's father fought in the "Korean War." He's the "Patriarch" in the family. Mr. Steve says he's kind of like a big tree whose"Canopy" provides shelter and nourishment to the plants below; or in this case so his family can grow and what they call "Evolve."
Both of Mr. Steve's parents are in their eighties. Both have "Infirmities" because of their ages. Mr. Steve's mother jokes that at this point one of the things they do for each other is just help "keep each other afloat." I can hear some Birds chirping all around me.
It's normal my boss Mr. Steve says, to like the "ecstatic" feeling of a new romance. But that is temporary. "In the Long Run" as they say, it's better to find a partner who helps you keep getting better. I can see and hear Birds flying around. Most are looking for food.
After raising five kids Mr. Steve's father encouraged Mr. Steve's mother to go to "back" to school. At "Mission" Junior College and then "California State University at Northridge" she got straight "A's" in all of her classes. Oh! I can hear some Pigeons cooing faintly.
My boss Mr. Steve also went to "C.S.U.N." for College. He graduated with a "B" average. But his mom graduated what they call "Magna Cum Laude." I'll write more about this later. I know Mr. Steve is proud of her for doing that. I smell one of the old Joshua trees.
I wish there was such a thing as "Girl Scouts" for Dogs. For years Mr. Steve's mom was a Girl Scout leader. Her "Troops" went "Camping" and took "Field Trips." They also did a lot of "Crafts." I'll be writing more about it over the course of the next three days.
Mr. Steve and his father do not like to sing. But Mr. Steve's mom sure does. So of course her Troops sang a lot Mr. Steve told me. His father prefers to be in silence most of the time, even when doing things like watching sports on tv. No "background" Radio for him I guess.
As much as Mr. Steve's dad likes quiet he allowed his wife to hold Girl Scout meetings at the house. Of course they at times sang songs so he just went into his Office and closed the door but liked how singing made her happy so happily accepted it. I can smell new Sage plant.
Throughout the next three days I'll be writing about Mr. Steve's family; especially what's called his "immediate" family. Like all families, they can disagree and argue. But, as Mr. Steve and his old boss named Steve Banks used to say; "Better that than no family at all."
Mr. Steve's boss Steve Banks, who died; was joking but he really wasn't joking. When I was living out in the field homeless I felt totally alone God. But of course You already know that. It's so good to have a home to guard. I'll write more about Mr. Steve's boss Steve Banks later.
My boss Mr. Steve jokes how, in a way; when he and his brothers and sisters were growing up their mother was kind of like the girl on that tv show called the "Mary Tyler Moore Show." Ah! I smell that one old Sage bush. It's good to see it survived for another year.
Mr. Steve says for every Human year you count seven Dog years. So that means when Mr. Steve had to have Lady "Put to Sleep" she was one hundred and thirty three years old. I sure hope I can break that record. Put to sleep is just a nicer way of saying killing.
Another thing I'll write about over the next three days is Mr. Steve's family; from 1693 to now. I'll talk about Mr. Steve's four Grandparents and his parents too. They're from a "State" called "New Mexico." It's to the east of our State which is called "California."
Mr. Steve's Grandparents all died. He says he has many"fond" memories of them and still remembers how his Grandma "Trujillo" used to say; "Only God knows. What will be will be." He had a dream about his Grandparents a while back. The sky is getting bluer.
Boy God! It would be so great to live a long time! I didn't like life when I was living out in that awful field. Thank You Guys for giving me these two acres to guard. Birds are zooming about in every direction out in the eastern desert. A nice cool breeze just came in.
Hanging above me God, from the roof of the Patio, are those "Chimes." As You know I love them! When the wind blows even slightly they make musical noises. I'd like to think that sound represents You. I can hear them right now and that makes me feel pretty good.
Hey God! I like the way this Pencil feels in my right paw. But in the next three days I'll try as hard as I can to also use my left paw too. I know how Mr. Steve can use both hands for doing some things; like throwing. The Sun is now fully risen above the eastern horizon.
I want to be just like that other Dog Lady. Then Mr. Steve will want to keep me as long as he kept her. That's one of my "Long-Term" goals in life. But "Short-Term," I hope to show him I can do something no other Dog can do. I want to learn to read and write.
Mr. Steve has a College "Bachelor of Arts" Degree in "History." So I want to learn about history too. That will impress him. I'll look up many new things in all of these Encyclopedia's. California, where we live; is a part of what's called the "United States" or "America."
I've been taking notes and putting together my three outlines for six months. But now God I've got to start. As You know, I'm kind of scared of doing this big giant project and have been stalling in getting started. What if learning to read and write turns out to be too hard?
Mr. Steve says "change" in California is sometimes "gradual" but at other times happens so fast; like after the "Gold Rush" of 1849 or the building of the first "Trans-Continental Railway" in 1869. I'll write more about both of those events over the course of the next three days.
CAREY MCWILLIAMS (1905-1980)
This one man named Carey McWilliams wrote about the history of California. I wrote down a good quote of his. He said one time that California; "has not grown or evolved so much as it has been hurtled forward, rocket-fashion, by a series of chain-reaction explosions."
Tomorrow in book two I'll write more about Carey McWilliams and this other man named Kevin Starr. Carey McWilliams was a "Journalist." That means he wrote in "Newspapers." Mr. Steve's father has books that were written by Carey McWilliams and Kevin Starr.
Someday I hope to read Carey McWilliams. But first I have to learn to read and write a lot better. I can read pretty good but my writing needs a lot of work. Sometimes I have a tendency to excitedly "get ahead of myself" as they say. Three Birds just zoomed bye.
We live in California's "High Desert." For thousands of years what they call "Native" or "Indigenous" peoples have lived up here. "Bands" of "Indians" like "Mojave," "Chemehuevi" and "Southern Paiute;" as "Hunter-Gatherers" followed the Seasons and the food.
Mr. Steve met this older man at the small local Library in the nearby town of "Phelan." He was a "Shoshone" Indian. Phelan is about nine miles away and is where Mr. Steve goes to buy the things we need. I'm going to write more about Phelan over the next three days.
We live on Mr. Steve's two acres in "Piñon Hills;" a town of seven thousand people. Phelan has over ten thousand people. My Spanish Dictionary says "piñon" means "pine" in English. But Mr. Steve says there aren't too many Piñon trees left around our desert.
That man at the Phelan Library told Mr. Steve about the "Serrano" Indians; the name the Spanish gave them in the 18th century. I hear, smell and see a lot of Birds flying about. Taking in deep breaths of new Spring air makes me feel good. Oh! The Chimes are ringing.
Hey Holy Spirit! Thank You for this beautiful day to start my big project. Today is the first day of Spring which Mr. Steve thinks of as our "New Year." It was still a little cold last night but now the days will get warmer and warmer. And then in July it will get really hot.
I guess the Indians who lived up here for all those thousands of years were what they call "Nomads." This Encyclopedia says they "chronicled" in song and art how they saw You Holy Spirit in the "desert's qualities and creatures." They also drew pictures on rocks too.
Mr. Steve's friend Mark Ritter knew a lot about "Geology" and also Lizards and these other things call "Amphibians." He and Mr. Steve liked looking at "Pictographs" and "Petroglyphs." I'll write a lot more about that guy Mark Ritter over the next three days.
The local High School in Phelan, the Serrano "Diamondbacks;" were named in honor of the Serrano band of Native Americans. A Diamondback is a "Rattlesnake" who lives here. Oh! I sense something looking at me right now. I have a feeling it might be a Lizard.
Yup! I knew a Lizard was looking at me. A tiny Lizard is over standing in the dirt just to the right of the big tree. Sometimes Lizards can blend in with everything and they're really hard to see. I just used my English Dictionary to look up the word "Camouflage."
The man at the Library told Mr. Steve the Serrano Band is just one of the Native-American groups from our area. He said the Serrano word for "Home" is "Cha-Key." I sure hope I spell it right but I'm going to have to just sound some things out over the next three days.
Wow! I just realized how, in seeing that one little Lizard over there; it's just like last year. On this exact same day last year I saw this exact same thing. Yup! Just like last year, the little Lizard is now doing some of those Lizard "Pushups." It's so cute how they do that.
Smelling and seeing that Lizard reminds me of the one time when I woke up smelling a big Lizard who was staring at me; studying my face. I "Jumped a Mile" as they say. That scared the Lizard as much as it scared me. It ran away so fast. I was homeless back then.
Boy! Waking up with that big Lizard so close to my face was scary. I didn't even smell him coming. It startled me and I jumped up fast. I still dream about that time. It's funny now yet it wasn't so funny then. But now I'm not even afraid of Lizards any more. I like Lizards!
As I mentioned, we consider today, the first day of Spring; to be our New Year's Day. Our neighbor's orange and black Rooster Heathcliff II was up crowing since way before Dawn. He seems somehow a little happier on this particular morning I think. Oh! There he goes!
The desert to the east is lit up in soft sunlight. I just love hearing Heathcliff! Mr. Steve says we need Heathcliff to make the start of our day seem right. I can also hear our neighbor's Dogs "Dawn" and "Blinky" barking faintly over there next door. I like Dawn and Blinky.
The sound of Heathcliff's voice makes me think about last year at this exact time too. I was still getting used to living over here on our two acres. And I recall well how just after Heathcliff crowed about this time that big Scorpion ran past right under this couch I'm sitting on.
I just picked up the scent of a plant called "Sagebrush." I can tell it's a new Sage plant. My boss Mr. Steve says that Shoshone man at the Library knew a lot about the plants which grow around here. Smelling new Sage makes me feel good. Wow! It's Spring! Happy New Year!
Over the next three days I'll refer to people who my boss has met; like that Shoshone man over there at the Phelan Library. I can tell that he made what's called an "Impression" on Mr. Steve. And now I guess he's kind of also made an impression on me too.
A few years ago Mr. Steve met an older lady at this place called the "San Juan Capistrano Mission." Back in the mid-1990's Mr. Steve and his mom had what they call an "Art Exhibit" there. That lady was a member of an Indian band called by the Spanish "Juañeño."
That lady down at the Capistrano Mission said her "Tribe" burns Sage plants for "purifying the air of bad Spirits." Sage can also be used just like a "Medicine" too she said. As You know God, I'm still sort of afraid of all the darker spirits; like my bad Angel "Lilith."
Later today I'm scheduled to write about how my boss Mr. Steve sometimes gives money to "Saint Joseph's Indian School" up north in the State of "South Dakota." It's an "Orphanage" so the kids who live there have no parents. I was an orphan too for a while.
Hey Lord! As You know, Saint Joseph's is "run" by Catholic Priests and the children there are "Sioux" Native-American Indians. There are three Sioux groups; "Dakota," "Nakota" and "Lakota" like the kids in South Dakota. I'm so happy to be a Catholic now too!
Mr. Steve says the Sioux burn "Sacred Bundles" of Sage, "Cedar" and "Sweetgrass." This Encyclopedia says that one translation of Sioux is "friend" or "ally." Tomorrow in book two I'll write about this man named George Custer. I can smell a new Sage plant.
Hey Stanley! Thank you for being such a good Guardian Angel. And thank You God for giving me Stanley. I also want to think that You sent Mr. Steve as a Guardian Angel to rescue me from out in that terrible field. I can hear so many Birds singing happily right now.
God, as You know; Mr. Steve thinks that You usually don't ever interfere in this "physical" or "tangible" world You created. But if You did he says it was when You sent his family "Miss Maria." She's from Mexico and keeps Mr. Steve's parents house really clean.
Mr. Steve's mom calls Maria a "Godsend." I'll be mentioning Maria over the course of the next three days. From what my boss Mr. Steve says, she's now become more than simply a very intelligent "Housekeeper." Mr. Steve's parents consider Maria like a daughter.
Another thing I'm scheduled to write about in my three really long books is Mr. Steve's four Grandparents. When Grandma Córdova got old she came to live with Mr. Steve's parents. And it was mainly Mr. Steve's mom and Miss Maria who really took good care of her.
Mr. Steve read one time that the Juañeño Indians helped the Spanish build up the San Juan Capistrano Mission back in the late 18th century. I wish I could go back in time to see them do that. It would be so great! I'll bet my boss Mr. Steve would like to do that too.
I just noticed that these black Birds called "Crows," who've been hovering in a circle above the eastern desert; are now diving down to the ground. That probably means there's something dead they can go down and start eating. It's probably an old Rabbit or something.
Hey God? As You know of course, one of the things I'm planning on writing about over the next three days is that "Concept" called "Reincarnation." I'm now a "Catholic" like Mr. Steve and Catholics don't believe in Reincarnation; but You know at times we wonder about it.
My English Dictionary says Reincarnation means; "The Soul in another body." Seeing those Crows wheeling around up in the sky reminds me about how last year at this same time we were looking and seeing the same exact thing happening. Some things don't change.
My boss says the "Buddhist" and "Hindu" Religions believe in Reincarnation. They want to believe a Soul has many chances to do better the next time. If you do bad "this time" you have to "come back" at a "lower level" to make it harder to get ahead "this new time."
Oh my God! One of those Scorpions is running bye right now. Usually you never see them during the day. I wonder if that Scorpion knows this is the first day of Spring? I'll bet it does. That Scorpion better be careful. I know how Crows really like the taste of Scorpion.
I'm sitting on my couch "Elvira." Mr. Steve bought her years ago from his other friend Mark; who now lives over there in a place called "Hawaii" with his wife Kim and their kids. I'll talk about them during the next three days. Mark runs a good "Daily" Newspaper.
Hey God! I guess in Reincarnation you can come back as an Insect if you don't do good in your current life. I like learning about other religions because my boss does as You know. I'll write about other religions over the next three days. I can hear Birds singing.
One time this man from India joked with Mr. Steve. He said Reincarnation gives the Soul another chance if it keeps on losing, as the "Law of Averages" means "The odds Are" it has to win in one of those lives eventually. Mr. Steve joked it's like being on a bad sports team.
Hey God! How come in the "Western Tradition" you only get "One Shot at the Apple" as they say? Why must it be either "black or white?" As You know of course, Mr. Steve prefers to think You're "more likely" to be what they call "Benevolent." I want to think that too!
Mr. Steve met a lady from the "Country" of "Iceland." Her family believes dead relatives sometimes "came back" as Crows. She said her mother was convinced her father was this one Crow. A breeze just came in from the eastern desert. I love breathing through my nose.
I'll write about about what they call "Vikings" in my three books. They sailed in Ships out of an area called "Scandinavia" and "Raided" other places. In my Encyclopedia the word used to describe them was "marauding." Looking to the east, the sky is getting bluer and bluer.
I guess one place the Vikings went to was Iceland. They later even brought their families out to Iceland. I better not write too much about the Vikings now and just stick to my three outlines. Mr. Steve has a"Replica" Viking Axe in the Living Room next to the Fire Place.
I know my boss likes some songs by this one girl from Iceland named BJORK. I've never heard her songs but Mr. Steve thinks she's unique. I guess, not only is her music different but the way she dresses is unusual too. I hear those Crows fighting over the food.
Right now sitting here on Elvira I can see Birds flying about over the eastern desert behind our three Sheds. Behind them is the Sun just above the horizon. This is so beautiful. Hey God? Why am I so lucky? Thank You for giving me this project. I'm going to do my best.
Iceland is where some of those people called "Vikings" went to after they "Migrated" out of that place called "Scandinavia." I'm going to write a lot about the Vikings over the next three days. Burr! Iceland sounds like it would be way too cold for me. I have short hair.
There's what they call an "Old Saying" I wrote down on my outline for this first part of my first book; "The past is often the prologue to the future." My boss thinks "Human Nature" has not really changed all that much for thousands of years of history. I smell Sage.
And another thing Mr. Steve believes is that many, if not most things in life, are often "Dual" in nature; with good comes bad and with bad comes good. And you can't have one without the other he thinks. Hey God? Was it You who made life often have two sides?
My boss sometimes uses the word "Proportionate." He thinks the good that comes in life is often accompanied by the "potential" for the same amount of the opposite. He says it's better to never get "carried away" by good or bad fortune; even though that's hard to do.
Hey God! As You of course, I've never had children and neither has my boss. But he thinks "proof" of the "duality" of life is that You might've made it so that; Children can provide the greatest joy possible in this world but; the potential for the greatest sorrow as well.
For months I've been running back here and writing down things Mr. Steve says. But I don't want him to know that yet. Someday he'll know what I'm going to try to do over the next three days. Hey God! Please help me so Mr. Steve will be proud of me and keep me.
I remember when Mr. Steve said that it seems like most of the good "Inventions" in human history have often had two sides. Guns can be used to hunt for food and survive; or kill greater numbers of people accurately from a longer and longer "Range" he says.
Hey God! As You know Mr. Steve thinks that no matter how "Modern" mankind gets people will always be cruel and hateful. But they will also be generous and loving. You can't have one thing without the other he thinks; because You've given everyone a "Free Will."
I hear our neighbor's Ducks quacking. I also hear their Dogs Dawn and Blinky barking. It's Spring alright! My nose tells me that. This old dull yellow couch is so comfortable. I just love this old couch we all named Elvira. I would never ever want to replace her. No way!
Looking straight ahead I see our three "Sheds." Mr. Steve calls them, from my right to left; "Manny," "Moe" and "Jack." The big Shed to my left is Jack. Moe is the middle Shed. Just behind the three Sheds is a fence. Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed again.
Mr. Steve owns the two acres we guard that is "fenced in" as they say. But he also owns half an acre of desert behind the three Sheds. Between Manny and Moe the smaller Sheds there's a gate; which is like a door. Mr. Steve likes walking around out in the eastern desert.
Ah! For the first time since before Winter I smell that one old "Joshua" tree behind Moe the middle Shed. That's so great! There are three layers of Joshua trees inside and outside of the back fence. Oh! I smell "Libby" the Horse to my right over there in her Corral.
Two Crows are out there in the desert yelling at each other and I'll bet they're arguing over food. Oh! I just noticed "Theodora" the "Thrasher" Bird. It's good to see her for the first time this year. I like watching those Thrasher Birds. They have long curved beaks.
To the left of Jack the big Shed is a three year old "Creosote" bush. Mr. Steve didn't cut it down because he noticed how Theodora liked it. Thrasher Birds, like black "Cow Birds," run on the ground as much as they fly. I like the smell of the little yellow Creosote flowers.
Because my boss thinks that two of the most important things to happen in the 20th century were the "World Wars;" I'll focus a lot on them in my three books. And I'll also learn and then write about the "Korean War;" mainly because Mr. Steve's father fought in it.
Over the years Mr. Steve has had some good conversations with men and women who lived at the time of the two world wars or Korean War five years later. At times he thinks Americans do not fully appreciate what those people had to do to "buy us our peace and freedom."
My boss thinks the 16th century was one of the most important centuries in history; for good and bad. In Europe it was a time called the "Renaissance" or "Re-Birth;" a period following a time called "Medieval;" or the "Dark" Ages when life was often "brutal and short."
The 1500's Mr. Steve says, is also known as the "Age of Exploration" because of that one guy Christopher Columbus. In 1492 he sailed three Ships west from Spain to "discover" what is now called the "New World." I hear Crows cawing faintly out in the eastern desert.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (0000-0000)
I want to learn about "Columbus" because Mr. Steve thinks he's so important. Like most people he was both good and bad he says. I think us Dogs are like that too. In the 16th century life was often brutal and harsh compared to our lives in the United States today.
Mr. Steve thinks you can't judge a person from the past by today's moral standards. By the standards of today that guy Abraham Lincoln would be a "Racist." He said "Amalgamation" or the "mixing of the races" to have babies was "disgusting." A Crow just cawed.
In the next three days I know that, according to what I've been writing in my three outlines; I'll also learn way more about the "Pre-Columbian" people who had been living here thousands of years before Christopher Columbus "Discovered" the so-called "New World."
One of the most important things that happened in the 16th century was what they call the "Protestant Reformation." That's when people in parts of Europe broke away from the Catholic Church. But we're still Catholics Lord! I kind of like being a Catholic.
Hey God! As You know, for the next three days I plan on learning and then writing about so many new things. I'll get a lot of practice looking things up or figuring things out. And I know, at times it will be really hard but; Thank You for this really great opportunity!
This is going to be so fun! If I can write something which will make my boss proud of me it will be so great! But sometimes I get too excited or nervous about things. I'm really working on trying to improve that part of myself. I just have to take deep breaths and stay calm.
My favorite thing in life is to run! This is true especially if I have even the slightest "excuse" to go fast. My boss has used the term "Flat-Out." But over the next three days I'm going to try to force myself to be more what they call "Disciplined" and concentrate on writing.
Hey God! I know for sure that in the next three days I'm going to be so tempted to run after Jackrabbits, Squirrels or Roadrunners. But. with You're help, I'm determined not to give in to my "First Impulses" and try to chase them all down. Running is so fun to do!
Oh! I just picked up the scent of "Andy" the Squirrel. And now I see him sticking up from behind that big boulder near Jack the biggest Shed. This is so great! I haven't seen him since last year. Hey God! but I don't smell or see his girlfriend "Helen." A Wren is singing.
Oh! Helen just popped up from behind the big rock. Usually Andy and Helen are together. They're like Fannie and Freddie the Crows. If you see one you're likely to see the other. Even though Andy and Helen are Ground Squirrels I've noticed they'll climb trees too.
Mr. Steve had a friend named Helen Graham who died a few years ago. Miss Helen worked with Mr. Steve at the Forum and was his parents age. She lived and is buried down there in the city of "Glendale." I can tell that she made a big impression on my boss.
I'll write more about that lady Helen Graham later. I'm so tempted to do it now but I better just wait. I'll write about her on Saturday in book three but I know I'll probably mention her again before then. I wish I could go back in time to meet that lady Helen Graham.
Hey Stanley! As my Guardian Angel, I sure do hope you keep protecting me just like you've done all my life. When I'm back here in the Patio on Elvira I can sense you. If my bad Angel Lilith tries to make me chase things I'm going to resist her for three full days.
Mr. Steve says the 19th century, especially the "American Civil War" period, was "pivotal." Overall, the 1800's were the time of Queen Victoria over there in England. I'm going to mention her a few times over the next three days. Boy! I can sure hear a lot of Birds chirping.
My boss says because Queen Victoria's 1800's British Empire had the most powerful Navy in the world they dominated. Plus he says, besides that, they were at what's called the "forefront" of the "Industrial Revolution." So they had better weapons than everyone else.
The ideas and things developed in the 1860's during the American Civil War "defined" how warfare would be fought sixty years later in World War I. At least that's what Mr. Steve thinks. Repeating Rifles, Observation Balloons, metal Ships and even Submarines were used.
Because my boss thinks that the American Civil War was so important I plan on dealing with it over the next three days. But I mainly have it listed on my outlines for books two and three. I can see a few Crows flying bye way up there in the high light blue sky.
I know that Mr. Steve has studied the two wars against this country called "Iraq." One was in 1991 when George H.W. Bush was the American President. The second started in 2003 with George W. Bush, the son of the "Bush I," as the United States President.
In both of the "Persian Gulf Wars" the leader of Iraq was this guy named Saddam Hussein.
He sounds like a really mean person from what my boss says. He was a "Sunni" Muslim in an area where the "Shia" Muslims are the majority population. A Crow just squawked.
SADDAM HUSSEIN (0000-0000)
My boss Mr. Steve thinks the two "Persian Gulf Wars" are important so I intend to learn and then write about them over the next three days. Hey God! I sure hope You help me because I'm not sure I can do a good job just by myself. That guy Saddam Hussein was hung.
Because I'm mainly writing my three books to make my boss want to keep me I'm going to do what they call "Channeling" his thinking. Some would think this is stupid but I don't care. All I care about is pleasing Mr. Steve because, as they say, he has my "Destiny" in his hands.
Just to the side of this couch is a big pile of books called "Encyclopedias." They're covered up by this big dark green tarp. I'm going to need them to write my three books. There are also some of Mr. Steve's "legal research" books under that tarp. I might need them too.
Hey God! I want to prove to Mr. Steve how smart I am. Besides writing about history and things he knows about I want to tell about Mr. Steve's life and the history of our family. It will hopefully be a permanent record of our family so future generations will know about us.
Our family was "traced" back to 1693 in the "State" of "New Mexico;" where Mr. Steve's parents grew up and relatives still live. In the next three days I'll write a lot about the history our family and "Nuevo Mejico;" which is how to say New Mexico in Spanish.
In 1521 a Spanish "Conquistador" Hernando Cortéz conquered the Aztec Indians down in "Mexico." I'll be writing a lot more about that event over the next three days because my boss thinks it was so important. I'll really write about Cortéz on Saturday in book three.
By 1600 Spanish "Settlers" traveled from Mexico up to New Mexico. In 1680 some of New Mexico "Native-Americans" revolted and killed the Spanish. I'm going to write a lot about the history of New Mexico in my three books. Oh great! I smell that one old Sage bush.
Mr. Steve thinks, based on his list of "possessions;" our ancestor was a soldier who fought in the "Reconquista" or "Re-Conquest" of New Mexico in 1693. This was the year after those famous "Salem Witch Trials" which I'll write about tomorrow in book two.
According to my Spanish Dictionary Conquistador means "Conquerer." It's what all the Spanish soldiers in the "New World" discovered for Europe by that guy Christopher Columbus in 1492. In 1693 the Spanish Conquistadors killed a lot of Indians in New Mexico.
We live in the "United States" or what they call "America;" in the "Southern" section of the State of "California." And we're up here in the "High Desert;" which is about seventy miles to the northeast of this big city called "Los Angeles;" where Mr. Steve grew up.
A few years ago Mr. Steve sold his house down there in the city of "Sylmar" and moved up here to the desert. We live on the two and a half acres he bought up here. Sylmar is what they call a "Suburb" of Los Angeles. Ah! I can smell that one old Joshua tree.
As I mentioned, we live in Piñon Hills and Phelan has all the Stores and things like that. To our southeast is "Wrightwood." During the Winter people go there to "Ski" down hills covered in snow. I don't think I'd want to do that. No way! It would be too dangerous.
Mr. Steve's parents still live down in Los Angeles. His Niece named Samantha also lives with them. Samantha's mother, Mr. Steve's sister Celina, died in 2003. Samantha has come here to visit us a few times. I just picked up the strong scent of one of the new Sage plants.
I like living up here in the desert even though it's not perfect. No place is perfect my boss says. I really can't compare it to anything else because this is all I know. But I wouldn't trade my life for anyone's. I hear Birds chirping away out there in the eastern desert.
Besides writing about the history of Mr. Steve's family in New Mexico I intend to tell about his what they call "immediate" family too. Because I was abandoned at a very young age and dumped out in a field nearby I really don't know anything about my immediate family.
MR. STEVE'S FAMILY
Mr. Steve is the oldest of five kids. His brother "Rock;" whose real name is "Roderick, lives over to the east of us in the State of "Texas." He lives with with his two sons Rocky Junior and Jacob. A nice cool breeze just came floating in off of the eastern desert to my front.
In Mr. Steve's family his parents had their five children in two groups; Mr. Steve and Rock in 1955 and 1957 and then a boy and two girls in the early 1960's. Mr. Steve's parents have been married for fifty eight years! They've known each other for even longer than that.
Even though he's fifty eight years old my boss has never been married or had children. But he knows his mom is right when she jokes that after you have kids; "You're days often seem to be longer while the years seem shorter." Oh! I smell that one old Creosote bush.
The youngest kid in my boss's family is named "Susan." She now lives "back east" as they say; in "Connecticut." She has two sons Dalton and Austin; and still rides Horses the way she has since she was a young girl. They have this one Dog they call "Bella."
My boss's parents are named "Sam" and "Stella." They and Samantha have visited us a few times. They have a big house down there in "Sylmar;" which is where Mr. Steve and his four brothers and sisters "grew up." Their two Dogs are are named "Bella" and "Rosie."
Mr. Steve's other brother Sam's family live about twenty five miles to the northeast of us in a town called "Littlerock." Sam's wife is named "Yolanda" and they have three kids. The oldest is Mathew and then Sammy Jr. and Raqquel. Their Dogs are "Ozzy" and "Tito."
Sylmar is in the northeast corner of the "San Fernando Valley;" the most northern part of Los Angeles. Sylmar is next to this other "Independent" city called " San Fernando." I'm going to be mentioning Sylmar and San Fernando over the next three days. I smell new Sage.
In 1953, after Mr. Steve's father was what they call "Discharged" from the Marines after the Korean War, he got married and they lived back there in New Mexico. And for a few years in the late 1950's the family lived in a city called "Denver." But it was too cold.
Because they were often low on money there were some "tough times" as they say. At least that's what my boss's mom remembers. But because Mr. Steve's parents have always had both trust and respect for each other so they "Weathered the Storm" as they say.
The main reason why Mr. Steve's parents moved up to Denver was so his father could go to school. By then my boss and also his brother Rock had been born. Denver is located in the State of "Colorado." During their time there it snowed a lot. A Crow just cawed.
According to Mr. Steve the city of Denver is located about a mile up in the air. Being up so high sometimes gives the home teams an "advantage" as you get tired faster and the other team is not used to it he says. I just picked up the scent of a Ground Squirrel.
Mr. Steve and his father took a business trip to Denver in 1993. As they walked around they "reminisced." Mr. Steve was really young so has only "vague" memories of living in Denver. But he does remember the snow. There was way too much of it his mom says.
One memory my boss has about Denver is being "bundled up" in a jacket while sitting in the back seat of an "idling" Car. As the Car "warms up" his mother used an "Ice Scraper" to clean the front window as his father shoveled snow from behind the Car. I see the Squirrel.
Mr. Steve has a dream where he see's himself sitting in that Car in Denver. He sees it clearly in that dream. I'm going to write about when they lived in Denver later in my three books but I just wanted to mention it now. Among other things, Mr. Steve sells Ice Scrapers now.
As my boss and his father walked around downtown Denver in 1993 old memories came back to Mr. Steve's father. He said he had "Mixed Emotions" about the time in Denver. They met a lot of good people who helped them Mr. Steve's father said. The Squirrel ran away.
In 1960, when my boss was five years old, his family moved to Southern California. Then, a year later Mr. Steve's dad used this thing called the "G.I. Bill" to buy a house on "Hagar" Street in Sylmar. It was located in what they call a "Cul de Sac." I hear Birds singing..
My French Dictionary says Cul-De-Sac means "Bottom of the sack." But the "definition" is; "A blind alley." Mr. Steve says Hagar Street was "circular" with five houses around it. He and the kids who lived around there played Baseball on Hagar Street. I smell Sage.
In 2005 Mr. Steve moved up here to the High Desert. In 1961 when his family first moved to Sylmar it was what they call "Rural." Many of the roads were still not even "paved." It's the way we are up here. We have many dirt roads too. I sense something looking at me.
PHOTO BY IAN MERRILL
A Squirrel is standing over there looking at me. Mr. Steve says some Squirrels live in trees. But ours dig holes in the ground called "Burrows." Ours have skinny tails while tree Squirrels have "bushy" tails. That Squirrel over there is sniffing the air right now.
I guess the Squirrel hasn't smelled or seen me over here on this couch yet. Ah! Yes he or she has noticed me. And now it's running away really fast. I sort of wish I could chase that Squirrel but I'm not going to. I'm too busy writing my book. That's more important.
I've noticed that Squirrels, like myself, have a really good sense of smell. And also like me they have excellent eyesight. Squirrels have kind of big eyes compared to the size of their head. I like Squirrels but my boss thinks sometimes they can be what's called a "nuiscence."
A Niece of Mr. Steve's is Stephanie; Rock's daughter. "Steph" also lives down in the Valley with her boyfriend Rich and their daughter Cristina. Mr. Steve says they live near to where he went to college way back in the 1970's. Their Dogs are "Angus" and "Betty."
Over the years my boss has "Dated" or "gone out with" a number of girls. But he's only had three "girlfriends" where he felt like he was in a relationship that would be that of "a couple;" Sandy, Emily and Harriet. Heathcliff, the Rooster next door, just crowed.
In 12th Grade of High School Mr. Steve met his first girlfriend "Sandy." She was in the 10th Grade. They were together for six years and to this day he still thinks about her and her two younger sisters "Suzie" and "Stacy." I hear Heathcliff over there crowing again.
Mr. Steve told me occasionally he still has dreams about his three girlfriend's and sometimes their parents; many of whom are what they call "deceased." That means they died. In my third book day after tomorrow I'm scheduled to write more on the subject of "Mortality."
Sandy's mom was a Nurse. Her father fought in World War II against the Japanese out in the Pacific Ocean. He fought in the "Battle of the Corral Sea." I'll talk about it tomorrow in my second book. Emily's father was in George Patton's Third Army in World War II.
After College Mr. Steve went to Law School but "Flunked Out" after three years. And that is where he met his second girlfriend "Emily." She grew up "Back East" in a place called "Long Island;" which is a "Burrough" of New York City. I smell one of the new Sage plants.
For years Emily has worked in the Athletic Office at a College called U.C.L.A. That stands or "University of California in Los Angeles. So Mr. Steve used to go to Football games with her at this one place called the "Rose Bowl;" which is in a city called "Pasadena."
Mr. Steve's third girlfriend was named "Harriet." They met when both worked at a small "Local" Newspaper called the "San Fernando Sun." Harriet is a good writer Mr. Steve says. She lives in a part of Los Angeles called "North Hollywood." I hear Birds chirping.
For a few years in the late 1980's Harriet got a job at a magazine called "Music Connection." Her job was to "cover" the Los Angeles "Music Scene" by writing "Reviews" of different bands. Harriet got my boss a job working there with her as a photographer.
Until about 1994 Mr. Steve went with Harriet on her "Assignments." They mainly covered what's called the "Club Scene." At the time he says, they both probably didn't fully appreciate how nice that was. The Sun has now risen fully above the eastern horizon.
Harriet's father, like my boss's dad, fought in the Korean War of the early 1950's. In book two and three I'm going to "deal with" the Korean War in a lot more detail. And I'll also write a lot about the two world wars of the 20th century. I hear some Crows cawing.
Sandy, Mr. Steve's first girlfriend, had a father who was in the Navy during World War II and fought in the "Battle of the Coral Sea." Emily, his last girlfriend, had a father who was in a man named George Patton's 3rd Army at the end of that same giant war.
Occasionally Mr. Steve still recalls fondly all of his three girlfriend's families. A few months ago he had a dream where he hugged Harriet's mom and they had a good talk. Harriet's mother died a few years ago. Looking to the east I see Crows flying above the desert.
Hey God! As You know of course, over the next three days I plan on "expanding" on all of the things I've mentioned above. I sure do hope that You'll help me when I need it. And I have a feeling I'm going to need help in learning to read and write. I smell Sage.
Besides writing about the things I mentioned I also want to write sort of a Diary too. I know that some might think our lives are boring and ordinary but I kind of like my life anyway. It's a lot better than being homeless like I used to be before Mr. Steve "rescued" me.
Mr. Steve thinks that most people's lives are what would be called "mundane" and not at all like the "Script" of something called a "Soap Opera." One of these days I'll learn what a Soap Opera is. I do know what soap is. The sky is getting bluer and bluer now.
Hey God! I know one thing for sure, living over here is a lot better than when I was homeless and living out there in that awful field. I really want to believe You made Mr. Steve bring me to this place. And I hope that maybe You have other things planned for me too.
Oh! I see another Squirrel standing over there. It's sniffing the air but hasn't smelled or seen me yet. Well, that Squirrel just picked up my scent so ran really fast out into the eastern desert. It's amazing how fast Squirrels can run. But I'm a fast runner too!
Thank You God for this chance to tell about our lives and the things I'm now interested in because of my boss. Hey God? Are You a boy or a girl? As You know, my boss jokes we really don't know for sure. But we prefer to think of You as what's called a "Father Figure."
Hey God? Looking at the Sun hanging over the eastern horizon I think I sense You in what You've created. I know one thing for sure, whether You're male or female, I want to think of You as wise, patient and forgiving. And as You know, so does my boss Mr. Steve.
Thank You Lord for dying for me. In part, I'm going to dedicate my three books to You. After all, the sacrifice You made for us was so great. It must've been really painful being nailed up on that wooden cross like that. I can now hear some Crows cawing faintly.
A big grayish Jackrabbit just ran bye. Normally I would go chase it but right now I'm sort of busy writing. For the next three days I have focus on my writing and resist the temptation to run after things the way I'd normally do. I just picked up the scent of a Sage plant.
As You know Lord Mr. Steve says in the Bible "Rhema" means "the living word." He thinks of music as alive and now I want to too. That's why I'm going to write a lot about music over the next three days. A slight breeze just blew in the scent of one of our new Sage plants.
In my mind I'm hearing a song called "La Primavera" by an Italian named Antonio Vivaldi. Mr. Steve often plays it in the morning. As he worked out in the yard this morning he played it loud on this amazing machine called a "Boombox." I really like that song.
ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741)
According to my Latin Dictionary La Primavera means "The Spring." That song is perfect for today seeing as this is the first day of Spring. When I heard it this morning I felt inspired to start work on my three books. Vivaldi lived back in the 17th and 18th centuries.
One reason why I want to write about human history and it's music is to help others learn of new things they may have thought about or didn't know. But I also hope to learn about so many new things myself over the next three days. Oh! I just smelled a Gopher somewhere.
I see the Gopher now. He, or she, just popped their head out of a hole near the big tree about twenty feet away from me. And it's scent tells me it's a different Gopher from the one I smelled earlier this morning before the Sun came up. Gophers to me are so amazing!
Three Birds just sailed bye right above the house; moving toward the eastern desert behind the back fence. I see and hear other Birds out there in the desert too. Most are looking for food on this first day of Spring. Oh! That one Gopher just went back underground.
I couldn't be a Gopher or Ground Squirrel. I'd be afraid my tunnel would cave in on me if I lived down in a burrow in the ground. I don't think my heart would take being "hemmed in" as they say; with only one escape route in case of an emergency. No way could I do it!
Hey Lord! As You know Mr. Steve doesn't like "Small Spaces" either. I just now looked up the word "Claustrophobic" and it means "fear of enclosed places." That's one of the things we like about living here in the desert. We have a lot of what they call "open space."
As You know Lord, when my boss visited "Israel," where You used to live, he couldn't go all the way down into the Tomb where You raised that guy named Lazarus from the dead. It was carved out of rock and got narrower and narrower the farther you went inside.
Even though other people "made fun of " him, Mr. Steve decided he couldn't go all the way down into Lazarus' tomb. It was just too scary. To me this is kind of funny because in my mind my boss seems really brave. But I understand how he felt. A Crow just cawed.
Even though he grew up in a big city where a few million people live, Mr. Steve now sort of likes it better living up here in a small town of about seven thousand people. There are also a lot of Dogs who live in our area. Someday I want to to go and see a big city.
Because I lived homeless for about eight months out in a field nearby when my first owner abandoned me I learned how not to be "cornered." So the idea of living in the ground is scary to me. I really do admire how Gophers and Squirrels can live in their burrows.
By writing my three books I'll get a lot of practice in learning to both read and write. I want to be one of the first Dogs in history to read and write. And then, once I learn how to do that I'll be able to communicate with Mr. Steve. Oh! Three small Birds just flew past.
To my front left is the "big tree" near where that Gopher came up. I love that tree! It makes good shade when the days are hot. Right now there aren't too many leaves on it but soon there will a lot of bushy green leaves. I love green leaves and the smell of that big tree.
Mr. Steve puts rocks around the bottom of our trees to keep the water from flowing away when he waters them. When the water "pools" it attracts Lizards and other things just like in Africa when Elephants share water holes and rivers with all the other animals.
Like my boss, I like the way water looks. It's relaxing. I'll be writing about water for the next three days. Right now I see a "reflection" on the top of the water where Mr. Steve filled up the "basin" under our big tree. A little Mouse is drinking next to a Lizard.
This morning my boss was out doing what's called "Yard Work" and cleaned up some of the weeds from around the trees up in our front yard. And while he did it he played music loud on his Boombox. I love this time of year and I really love Mr. Steve's Boombox.
When he finishes his "Annual' cleaning of the front yard over the next three weeks my boss will then come back here in the mornings and clean the weeds. My boss jokes that the good part about being in a "Drought" is that there are a lot less weeds to cut in the Spring.
According to my English Dictionary the "definition" of Drought is "prolonged dry weather." Here in California we're in a Drought. So we can't waste any water. Boy! I can still hear a lot of Birds singing out there in the eastern desert. Happy New Year! I feel so good.
Looking to my right I see this gray bucket filled with water. It's in front of the sliding glass door that goes into the dining room of our house. Mr. Steve fills it up every morning. Right now I'm not hungry or thirsty but feel good knowing I can drink water any time I want to.
Even though that one Gopher's gone I can still smell it's scent; but it's a lot fainter now. But I can still smell the soft dirt it pushed up out of it's hole. Oh! The Gopher's back. He, or she, is now sticking it's cute little nose out of that hole and sniffing the air.
Hey God? I hope You'll help me write my three books. I made three pretty good "Outlines" but please help me to remember things. Oh! I would really appreciate it if You would also help me too Blessed Mother. That Gopher just smelled me and went back down it's hole.
Don't think I've forgotten about you Stanley! As my God-appointed Guardian Angel you've always done a good job in watching over me and protecting me from my bad Angel Lilith. She sometimes tempts me to do wrong things and I try to resist her. But at times it's hard.
Boy! If I can just learn to read and write my boss will be so happy with me. He'll like me and never ever want to get rid of me. But I don't really want him to know about me writing my three books until I'm finished. I'm going to have to be alert to know when he's coming.
Mr. Steve is going to be so surprised when he finds out what I'm doing. I can't wait to see his reaction. Hopefully he'll hug and hold me. "God willing," as Grandma Trujillo used to say, the next three days will be great! I'm going to learn a lot! Three Birds just flew bye.
Well! Here I go. I'll just make a quick "Sign of the Cross" and then "hope for the best" as it's said. And I'll try hard no matter what; even if I fail completely. I hope these next three days will be the best time of my life. Oh! I just smelled a Ground Squirrel mearby.
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
As a photographer in the 1980's Mr. Steve took pictures of Boxing and this one man who used to introduce the fighters by saying really loud; "Let's get ready to rumble!" I'll make one more sign of the cross and then I can start on my really huge project. I see the Squirrel.
God, Blessed Mother, Holy Spirit and You too Lord; please give me direction and guidance. As they say; "It will be a miracle" if I can actually learn to read and write but I kind of want to believe in miracles. Mr. Steve thinks, to a certain extent, my life is sort of a miracle.
We live in what's called a "Desert." Mr. Steve told me that if our State of California were it's own Country we'd be the eighth largest "Economy" in the whole world. That Squirrel just ran under a small bush over there near the dead Joshua tree laying on the ground.
My boss says there's no such thing as a perfect place to live. There are good and bad things everywhere he thinks. But overall, where we live has more "positive" things about it than what they call "negative" things. Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed next door.
I've noticed that the weather up here in our part of the High Desert can be at times be what they call "unpredictable." And if you can't adjust to wind this would not be the place for you. I'm still afraid of the "Thunder Storms" we have during the Summer.
One thing about living where we do is that during Summer it can get really hot and in Winter cold. Right now I'm looking out to the east beyond our three Sheds. Birds are zooming about in every direction. I can also hear them. This is going to be such a fun day!
Mr. Steve says we just have to "adapt" to living up here. During the three "hot months" of the year I've noticed that he goes shopping and does what they call "Errands" earlier; before it gets too hot. But on really cold days he goes at about three in the afternoon.
When my boss first moved up here people who already live here joked that one night he'd be sleeping in underwear on top of the covers of his bed; with a fan blowing cool air on him. But just a few weeks later he'd wake up on a cold night curled up in a "Fetal Position."
Oh! I hear one of those machines they call "Motorcycles" out there in the desert to the east. I noticed that my boss calls them "Dirt Bikes." Hearing that Motorcycle kind of reminds me of the first time I heard that sound; when I was living homeless out there in that awful field.
We live in an area that's called the "San Bernardino" County. The sound of that Motorcycle is fading. Mr. Steve says teenagers who live nearby compete in what's called "Motocross." They practice jumping and going really fast out in the deserts around our property.
My boss owned a Motorcycle many years ago. But he sold it to his friend Tim because he did not feel comfortable going fast on it. He wasn't nearly as good a rider as Tim was. Mr. Steve has fallen on "Asphalt" and says it's like a "Meat Grinder" going bye underneath you.
When he was young Mr. Steve owned two 1968 Chevelle's. I'll write about them later. A few times he went 125 "miles per hour" but was not comfortable. Mr. Steve says he could never be a "Nascar" driver who goes 200 m.p.h. Mr. Steve sometimes sells Nascar hats.
Today is Thursday, or the Vikings' "Thor's Day." Looking to the east at the horizon beyond the desert reminds me about that one time when Mr. Steve told me about how the Viking's God Thor was the God of Thunder and Lightning. I can hear some Craws squawking.
I'm tempted to write about the Viking God Thor right now but I think I'll just wait and do it when it comes up on my outline. When Mr. Steve was a kid he and his friends used to read and collect these things called "Comic Books." Some of them were about that God Thor.
Most of the time I've noticed, when you hear Motorcycles out in the eastern desert, it's on the days called "Weekends." Mr. Steve thinks that's mainly because it's young boys who are "into" Motocross but have to go to school. There's a girl who rides with them.
About two years ago Mr. Steve "Rescued" me from that field I was living in. My life was kind of what they call "bleak" and terrible. But now I have hope and a new "Lease on life" as they say. Thank You God for bringing me over here to live. I really do like it.
Hey God! Even though some might think it's dumb I really want to believe You have things happen for a reason. As You know Mr. Steve is not as convinced of that idea but is still "open to it" as they say. He thinks most of the time it's obvious You don't "intercede" in life.
God! As You know of course, Mr. Steve is more of what's called a "Deist." He tends to think that "reason" and "nature" are important; but also "senses" that You set up the system we live under yet then rarely get involved in the "physical" world You "set in motion."
Mr. Steve prefers to believe in Free Will; even if it has obviously led to some really bad and terrible results in this "temporal" world of the "five senses." People, whether religious or not he says, have done some really awful things. I just picked up the scent of a "Joshua" tree.
Looking at the Sun rising above the eastern horizon makes me feel good; as does the smell of all of our many Joshua trees. There are these Christians called "Mormons" who live around us. Some of them actually came here to live in California over one hundred years ago.
Even though Mr. Steve was "raised" a Catholic, he's always "gotten along with" people who were "brought up" in other religions. He wants to think that they all have things which they've been taught which are "in common" with one another. I want to believe that too!
My boss told me the Mormons named Joshua trees after the Old Testament Prophet Joshua. In the mid-19th century when they first came out here from a place called "Utah" the Mormons thought Joshua trees looked just like the Prophet Joshua praying up there to You God.
Hey God. You know I'll always put my trust in Your hands and accept whatever You decide to do if the idea of "Pre-Destination" turns out to be true. But I do want to believe in my Free Will to write my three books the way I want to; in Your honor of course. I won't fail!
Mr. Steve believes in Free Will but thinks maybe sometimes You God "allow" bad things to happen for a purpose only understandable later; or never at all. During the "American Civil War" this one man named "Stonewall"Jackson called You're purposes "inscrutable."
I now want to believe that too. I hear our neighbor's Ducks quacking next door. Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed again. I can just sense that this is going to be a good day. Everything is going "according to schedule " as they say. But even if it doesn't that will be okay.
Some time back, as You know God, my boss said something which "stuck with me" as they say. He joked that since he probably won't know for sure if there's what they call an "Afterlife" until he dies he just tries to live his life doing right "just in case" there is.
I used to be sort of angry at the people who abandoned me out in that awful field. But then my boss told me about an old Jewish idea that says anger is the opposite of happiness. And so now, because I definitely want to happy, I'm not really mad at anyone anymore.
Mr. Steve knows about this man named Stephen Hawking. He's a really smart Scientist from England who has a bad disease called "A.L.S.;" or "Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou Gehrig was this famous Baseball player for the New York Yankees during the 1920's and 1930's.
STEPHEN HAWKING WITH FAMILY
Mr. Steve says that man Stephen Hawking, who's mother was from this other country called "Scotland," is not angry because he's been "Dealt a bad Hand" as they say in card playing. He's very lucky he has a good, decent wife who took care of him. I can smell a Lizard.
I guess the disease Stephen Hawking has, A.L.S., slowly makes it so your muscles don't work anymore. My boss admires how Stephen Hawking kept his "sense of humor" even though life has given him some difficult things to overcome. I want to be like Stephen Hawking.
LOU GEHRIG / "BABE" RUTH
A picture in my Encyclopedia shows Lou Gehrig, which A.L.S. is named for; with that other guy "Babe" Ruth. I'll be writing about them a lot more in books two and three. And according to my three book outlines I'm going to write some more about Stephen Hawking too.
Mr. Steve admires Stephen Hawking's what they call "Self-Deprecating" humor. He jokes; "Sometimes if you didn't laugh you'd cry." I'm also trying hard not to be mad at how unfair life can be. I really like the funny things in life. Aha! I see the Lizard over there.
Like my boss, that guy Stephen Hawking thinks it's possible mankind might destroy itself someday. And most likely it won't be through "Global Warming" or "Nuclear War" he says. Stephen Hawking is afraid of what they call "Artificial Intelligence."
Inside his Office Mr. Steve has this incredible thing called a "Computer." He uses it for a lot of things. Stephen Hawking thinks someday Computers will be smarter than people and might even "Take Over" as they say. And this may happen sooner than expected he says.
Tomorrow in my second book I'm scheduled to write about this one old movie called "2001 A Space Odyssey." Mr. Steve likes that movie. Part of it is about a Computer named "Hal." I'm tempted to write about that movie right now but I better just wait until tomorrow.
Mr. Steve thinks advancing "Technology" is good. But, because most things in life have two sides there are also bad things about technology. Computers are like having a Library in your house but every "Con Artist" with a "Scam" is also on what they call the "Internet."
From what my boss says that guy Stephen Hawking knows a lot about these things up there in outer space called "Black Holes." In book two and three I'll learn and then write about them and also these other things called "Gamma Ray Bursts." I can't wait!
Mr. Steve told me seeing and hearing that guy Stephen Hawking makes him think about how fragile life can be. Recently he was told about this young kid who lives near us who died "in his sleep." He was a tremendous athlete so everyone was shocked. The Lizard ran away.
Hey God! As You know, my boss always tries to make every day "productive." And when he heard about that boy dying it made him reflect even more on what they call "mortality." So now he tries even harder to get a lot done every day. I really want to be productive too.
Mr. Steve jokes that at times in life you have to follow that old what they call "Adage;" "It's a matter of mind over matter." If you don't mind then it doesn't matter." I've decided to forgive the people who left me out in that field to die. I can hear some Birds chirping.
According to this one English Dictionary I have here an adage is defined as; "An old saying or proverb." And what's called an "Aphorism" is; "A concise truthful statement using an adage or maxim." Because I know that Mr. Steve likes adages now so do I.
What a glorious morning! It feels so good to be alive. Birds are singing, the Sun is shining on everything and all of the things I'm smelling are really nice. And out here on our back patio this couch is so comfortable! What could be better? I'm so lucky! Thank Everyone!
We have different kinds of Birds who live around us. But the most common are "Sparrows" and "Finches." I've noticed how boy Birds have red, yellow or orange chests and sing more at this time of year. Mr. Steve told me this is to attract the attention of girl Birds.
Oh! A Bird called a "Mockingbird" just landed on a tree branch nearby. I like to listen to Mockingbirds because they imitate all the other Birds who live around here. But you have to be cautious of Mockingbirds because they'll attack you even though they're small.
For three weeks I've worked on my long outlines which lay out all the many things I plan on writing about for the next three days. But as I cross "topics" off my lists there will be things that come up which are not on my outlines. That brown Mockingbird just flew away.
I'll just "wing it" if I happen to think of new things to learn about as I write about the other things on my outlines. I definitely want to write about the things which live around us up here in the desert. We share our "space" as they say with other things. I feel good right now.
I ate my breakfast and then came back here to go over the outline for my first book. I plan on having twelve chapters in each of my three books. And each book will be divided into three parts or what's called "segments." I'll learn a lot over the next three days.
The Gopher just stuck its nose out of that hole near the big tree again. Oh! I can tell by it's scent that it's a different Gopher. I think it might be a girl Gopher. I'm still also picking up the scent of our Joshua trees. Hey God! I really like my life now. Thank You.
Mr. Steve's last name is "CÓRDOVA" and now it's my last name too. His parents are from that one State to the east of us called "New Mexico" so I've decided to write about that area as well as our State of California. This is going to be so fun! But I have to calm down.
Over the next three days I do plan on learning about not just California and New Mexico but also some of the other fifty "States" too. There's so much to learn about history and many of the other things in life. Learning new things is now one of my favorite things to do.
These are going to be long books. I have a lot of things listed on my three outlines. Most will deal with history and music but also all the life around us. I know that will be hard because at times my mind runs a " mile a minute" as they say. But, I'll just have to do the best I can.
Looking to the east at the desert behind our house I'm seeing, hearing an smelling so many Birds and other things. Looking up into the blue sky I just noticed what they call a white "vapor trail" from a Jet. I can smell a Field Mouse somewhere close bye around here.
I know what a Jet is! My boss explained it to me but I'm still a little unclear about it. In the next three days I hope to learn more about what's called "Aviation;" mainly because my boss is interested in that subject. I really want to impress Mr. Steve so he'll like me.
According to what this Dictionary says the word Aviation is defined as the "science of flying machines." That means Airplanes, Jets; and I guess those other things that sometimes fly over our house called "Helicopters." I now see the Mouse standing out in the dirt.
I really want to be interested in Aviation now. I already know that it was the Germans in the Second World War who first made the Jet engine "Operational." Jets and small "single engine" Airplanes at times fly above all of the deserts near us. I hear some Birds chirping.
Since he's been a kid Mr. Steve has built model Cars and Airplanes. He has a model of the German "Messerschmitt 262." During World War II the "Me-262" was the first Jet Airplane in history. That Field Mouse just ran away. Messerschmitt is the name of a family.
To this day my boss builds and paints "Miniature" soldiers. As a matter of fact right now he's working on a Japanese "Samurai" warrior. My boss has Samurai swords and knives. And he also has many other types of swords and knives. I still smell some Sage bushes.
In 1996 Mr. Steve worked inside of this place called "Edwards Air Force Base" which is to the northwest of us. Many of the Jets high up in the sky which make those vapor trails are what they call "based" at Edwards Air Force Base." Three Finches just flew bye.
Before my boss was allowed to go inside Edwards Air Force Base to work he first had to go through what's called a "Background Check." He knew he'd pass because in 1987 the "Secret Service" checked him out before he took pictures of Pope John Paul II.
Another reason I'm learning to write is so someday we'll be able to celebrate my birthday. I just love to celebrate! Besides eating and running, it's my favorite thing to do. Oh! And I also want to prove that females are smart too. That will really impress my boss Mr. Steve.
My boss says that females in his family have been and "shrewd" or "resourceful." His four Grandparents lived through the 1930's "Great Depression" and both of his Grandfathers were so lucky they had such good female partners he told me. I hear Birds singing.
Because males are usually physically stronger than most females they've always held most of the power. That's what my boss thinks. But "Behind the Scenes" as they say; females have been very important in making decisions. I want to write about that in the next three days.
Mr. Steve thinks one of the most important things in history is the influence of mother's. He says few things have had more of an "impact" on males than the "imprint" their "mom" made on them; especially if their mothers had humor, character and what's called "Grace."
I'm going to learn and write about some of the famous females in history over the next three days. This is mainly because I know that my boss thinks females can be just as good, or bad, as males. He's studied about some of the female who've led. I want to lead someday.
Mr. Steve has dealt with many men and women over the years. He's noticed that to a certain extent females are often better at what they call "Consensus Building" than many males. And he thinks females often try to achieve "win-win" situations versus "win-lose" results.
Some time back I noticed that my boss used a phrase which I kind of don't understand. He said females are often the "Bell Weather" of society. I think he meant that females have what's called a "Sixth Sense" which is not as "logical" as males would like things to be.
My boss doesn't like it when he hears someone say a female is "only a housewife" or "home-maker" because he knows how much hard work that "entails." His mother is a good example of how a capable female works "behind the scenes" to enable her husband to "provide."
Over the years Mr. Steve has dealt with many people; oftentimes for business. He's noticed that the best female partners are the type you can tell things to and it's just like talking to their men. You can be confident the message will get through clearly. I smell a Joshua tree.
Over the next three days I really want to show everyone that females can be just as smart and capable as males. And one of the ways I'll do this is to read and then write about some of the females in history; like this one English lady named Margaret Thatcher.
MARGARET THATCHER (1925-2013) WITH FAMILY
My boss admires women who led countries in the 20th century. I'll write more about them in book three. One is Margaret Thatcher; the "Prime Minister" of Britain in the 1980's. She was called the "Iron Lady" and even beat "Argentina" in a war. I wish I could protect her.
Another reason why I want to write about that lady Margaret Thatcher is because she's who I'm named after. Our neighbor suggested naming me Maggie and Mr. Steve went along because it just so happened that he had been reading articles about "Maggie" Thatcher.
I think that lady Margaret Thatcher is what they call "Proof Positive" that females can be as capable as males. But not everyone liked her. As Mr, Steve says; "There's never a time when a leader is without critics." My Dictionary says that a critic is "one who finds fault."
This is interesting. It says here in this Encyclopedia that Margaret Thatcher was not only the only female British Prime Minister in history but she was the "longest serving" Prime Minister in the 20th century; from 1975 all the way through 1990. I smell a Gopher.
A writer my boss likes is Jane Austen. Like Margaret Thatcher, she was English. Someday I really want to read her books. That's one of my goals in life. Hey God! As You know of course I want to be just like that girl Jane Austen. I'm going to look her up right now!
My Encyclopedia says Jane Austen wrote six books; four "Published" in her lifetime and two by her family after she had died at age forty one. Mr. Steve read her "novel" called "Pride and Prejudice" and says you can tell she was smart. I see the Gopher over there.
JANE AUSTEN (1775-1817)
FROM A DRAWING BY HER SISTER CASSANDRA
According to this Encyclopedia there were eight kids in that girl Jane Austen's family. Her father was what's called a "Rector" which I guess is kind of like a "Priest." Her family were Christians like us but were "Anglican Protestants." Our family's "Catholic."
It says here that in late 18th and early 19th century England it wasn't thought important that girls get educated. But Jane Austen's father and brothers "Home-Schooled" her. Some kids are home-schooled up here in the High Desert too my boss told me. The Gopher is gone.
Ah! Just like Mr. Steve said, that girl Jane Austen was good at describing what's called the "Landed Gentry" in England then. And I guess she used what's called "Irony" and "Satire" to do it. According to my Dictionary "Gentry" means "people of high social standing."
A brown furry Bunny Rabbit is standing in front of the back fence. It's sniffing the air but looks way too relaxed. It's "Flat-Footed." There are things around here who'd eat it. Oh! That Rabbit is now hopping away and is bounding out into the eastern desert to my front.
My Encyclopedia says that two of Jane Austen's brothers went into the Navy and eventually became "Admirals;" which is like a "General" in the Army. This is interesting. No one knew who wrote Jane Austen's books during her lifetime. I hear Pigeons cooing.
It says here that in England during Jane Austen's life it was not considered "appropriate" for females to be writers. So one of her brothers had four of her books published what they call "anonymously." That means there was no name on it. A Finch just flew bye.
I guess during her lifetime Jane Austen was "Financially" successful compared to most other people in England. But she never got "Credit." It was only after she died that others realized what a good writer she'd been. By that point her name had been "Publicized."
Well, Mr. Steve was right. One of the main reasons why Jane Austen wrote was to impress her father. She would read her books out loud to her family in the evenings after dinner. Wow! One of the reasons I want to write my three books is to impress my boss too.
Years ago Mr. Steve met a girl at the Library who knew a lot about the writings of that girl Jane Austen. She had even read Jane Austen's writing as a teenager. She said my boss would have liked it because it was kind of like these guys called "Monty Python" who he likes.
Oh! I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? If he doesn't he'll be interested to find out that when Jane Austen died the "Epitaph" her brother put on her "Headstone" didn't mention writing but did refer to his younger sister's; "Extraordinary Endowments of Mind."
I hadn't intended to write so much about Jane Austen but that 's okay. I can just add things onto my outline as they they come up or I think of them. That's what they call "Improvising" and I know for sure that my boss has done it many times in his lifetime.
Tomorrow in my second book I'm scheduled to learn and then write about these three sisters who were also from England like Jane Austen. And all three of them were really good writers my boss told me. They're last name was Brontë; Charlotte, Emily and Anne.
Mr. Steve says I'm sort of like a "Phoenix rising from the ashes." I think a Phoenix is a Bird but on this drawing Mr. Steve did it sort of looked like a Dragon. I'm interested in Dragons even though Mr. Steve says there's really no such thing as a Dragon. I smell a Mouse.
O my God! In my Encyclopedia there's a picture of the exact same black and white image my boss drew. Mr. Steve has been drawing and doing artwork for all of his life. He's drawn a lot of the logos for sports teams and other things too. I might learn how to draw.
As I mentioned before, I was abandoned. At times what are called "Stray" Dogs run past our land out on the road in front of our house. I have a duty to bark at them but "if the truth be told" I feel kind of sorry for them. Aha! I just noticed the Mouse over there.
Hey God! As You know at times I wonder why I'm still alive when so many other Dogs and Cats die every day? Do You have a higher purpose for me? I want to believe You do and will do whatever You guide me to do. I feel a nice cool breeze coming in from the east.
Because I recall how hard it was not having a home I have what my boss calls "Empathy" for abandoned Dogs. I'm so lucky to have a place to protect! And just because I'm back here on the couch doesn't mean I'm not alert for any intruders onto our land. The Mouse is gone.
Abandoned Dogs look so scared as they run "back and forth" out on the road in front of our property. Of course all of our neighbor's Dogs also bark at them too. Mr. Steve plays the drums and listens to music. One band he likes is called LED ZEPPELIN. I smell a Lizard.
My boss told me that band LED ZEPPELIN, like Margaret Thatcher and Jane Austen, are from "England." They have a song called "Dazed and Confused." Mr. Steve one time played it on his Boombox as he worked out in the yard. I just noticed the Lizard over there.
Dazed and confused is exactly what those abandoned homeless Dogs remind me of as they run "Up and Down" the road in front of our house. They go south to north and then north to south, not knowing which way to go; all the time being barked at by all of us Dogs.
I plan on writing about that band LED ZEPPELIN over the next three days; especially that guy Jimmy Page. This is mainly because I know that Mr. Steve has been influenced by them for a long time. I've been taking "Mental Notes" of that fact for a while now.
Two words Mr. Steve uses are "Sympathy" versus "Empathy." I know from what they call "Personal Knowledge" that it's no fun not knowing where your next meal or water comes from. So I have empathy for those Dogs who feel hopeless. That Lizard just "waddled" off.
For much of his "Elementary School" my boss was taught by Catholic Nuns. His 6th Grade teacher was Sister Rita Joseph. In my three books I really want to talk about the Nuns who kind of "Brought Up" my boss; along with his parents of course. I smell a new Sage plant.
Sister Rita Joseph said sympathy is "feeling sorry for" others; empathy when you "Identify" with another person's experience because you've been in a similar situation. Or, another way of putting it would be like Mr. Steve says; "You've walked in their shoes" so to speak.
Sister Rita Joseph believed there are only two types of people; "Decent" or "Indecent." Mr. Steve says he would "qualify" that by adding "basically" decent and indecent. This is because no one is totally perfect or imperfect. I just picked up the scent of a Joshua tree.
I remember how my boss told me about Sister Rita Joseph telling her class, even though some of them pretended not to listen; it was important to try to lead a "meaningful" life. She also said that; "Disappointment is unavoidable in life but discouragement is a choice."
Mr. Steve's father is a very generous and helpful person. And over the years he's exhibited both sympathy and empathy for others. His sympathy has been shown at times when he's paid or raised money to bury or cremate people who die poor. A Crow just cawed.
MR. STEVE'S FATHER
Mr. Steve's father is a "First Marine Division Combat" veteran of the "Korean War" and his feet should've been what they call "Amputated" from "Frostbite." So he empathizes with others with "War Injuries." I'll write more about it over the course of the next three days.
An example of my boss's father's extreme sympathy were the times when his mom had her six kids. During the "Delivery Process" Mr. Steve's father was as nervous, or even more nervous than his mom. One of the babies Mr. Steve's mother "Delivered" died in "Infancy."
Mr. Steve's mother has always been a "Calming Presence" in his and his brothers and sisters lives. She's the "Yin" to their father's "Yang." Sometimes their father can seem kind of tough. As they say; "Once a Marine, always a Marine." Boy God! The air is so clear today.
Hey God! As You know, at times my boss has wondered if it's possible to empathize even if you haven't exactly done what they're going through. When his mom had her babies it almost seemed as though his father acutely felt her pain and discomfort too. I smell Sage.
There's a nice man named "Ramon" who repairs Cars. When Mr. Steve told him about how his father was when his kids were delivered Mr. Ramon thought that was funny but admitted he too was exactly the same way when his wife had their children. I hear Birds singing.
God! As You know, Mr. Steve grins when he imagines what it must've been like for all those Doctors who delivered he and his brothers and sisters. But like their mom says, if You had not made his father the way he is their lives would never have been as good as it's been.
Some men go into the "Delivery Room" to be with their wives. Mr. Steve's brother Rock did that. But there's no way their father could've been allowed in the Delivery Room. He would've been bossing everyone around and things like that. I like Mr. Steve's father!
Well, I kind of wrote more about sympathy versus empathy than my outline planned on right now. But that's okay because I can deal with it later too. It's going to be one of the themes of my three books. But now, back to my outline and the subject of homeless Dogs.
About a year ago someone "Ditched" a black Dog out on the road in front of our house. It ran back and forth until it was hit and killed by a big white Truck. Mr. Steve named that Dog "Blackie" and said at least Blackie died quickly. I hear Crow cawing faintly.
When he was out on the road running back and forth we couldn't tell if Blackie was a boy or girl Dog. It turned out he was a boy. When I think about Blackie I still recall his scent. I always remember scents. I have a really good memory. I can smell a Sage plant right now.
Blackie had a strong smell. Just like Mr. Steve sometimes has dreams about people who have died now so do I. I had a really weird dream about Blackie's scent a while back. In that dream I smelled like Blackie. And so did our neighbor's Dogs. It was sort of a scary dream.
Hey God! As You know, I want believe in what are called "Omens." Like right now one of those big black and orange Butterflies just flew bye. I've heard that seeing a Butterfly is a sign of good luck. I can sure hear a lot of Birds singing out in the eastern desert.
I want to believe what my boss said; "At least Blackie died instantly so he didn't really suffer that much." He didn't see the Truck coming so "never knew what hit him" as they say. Blackie ran from one Car only to be hit by that Truck coming in the opposite direction.
Two words my boss learned from Sister Rita Joseph are "Objective" versus "Subjective." In subjective we have a "different opinion;" I like red you like blue. But objective is when there is no other "reality" but one thing so no one can have opinions. 2 is never 1.9.or 2.1.
In my subjective opinion that Truck that killed Blackie was going way too fast. If I were ever elected President I'd make it against the law to go so fast. And it would be very illegal to just keep driving without stopping! I say you should at least report that you hit a Dog.
Mr. Steve used this amazing "Device" called a "Phone" to report what had happened out on the road in front of our house. But before the Truck came to take away Blackie's "Corpse" my boss just decided to go out there and get him out of the middle of the road.
Blackie's head was broken. It was kind of flat. But what made us mad was that a few people purposely ran over Blackie's body when they could obviously see him in the road. As Mr. Steve said; "a small Jackrabbit or Ground Squirrel is one thing but; a big Dog like Blackie?"
Blackie is now buried on the south side of our house in our "Little Graveyard" as Mr. Steve calls it. He's next to the graves of two Dogs; "Millie" and "Lucy." At first Mr. Steve was only going to move Blackie's body to the side of the road. But then he changed his mind.
After wrapping Blackie's body in this old gray blanket Mr. Steve decided to bring him back and bury him in our "Cemetery." It was when my boss was digging Blackie's grave that I knew for sure he was definitely a boy Dog. We sniffed Blackie's rear area. Poor Blackie!
But, like my boss said, at least Blackie has a nice place to be buried. Otherwise, he would've been what they call "cremated." My English Dictionary says that means burned up. I'm kind of glad Blackie's here. Oh! Heathcliff, our neighbor's Rooster next door just crowed.
In College at C.S.U.N. Mr. Steve did a "Research Project" about "The Black Death." That was a "Plague" which happened from the years 1347 through 1351 A.D. Millions of people died then; some think half of Europe my boss says. It was called the "Bubonic" plague.
THE "BLACK DEATH"
Mr. Steve said, in the 14th century, so many people died in such a short time they couldn't "keep up" with burying all of the bodies. So thousands upon thousands were just quickly piled into what they call "Mass Graves." I can hear some Crows cawing out in the desert.
A black and white cartoon drawing in this Encyclopedia shows workers picking up the dead bodies of The Black Death in a Wagon; like a "neighborhood trash pick up" the caption says. In the next three days Daisy has me scheduled to write more about "Epidemics."
When you're buried in an "Unmarked" grave no one will ever know that you even existed. So for Blackie to have a "Marked" grave is a small thing; but for my boss it seems to be kind of important. There are now a few wispy white clouds way up high in the sky.
A few hours after Blackie died this white Truck from the "County" showed up. But they left when Mr. Steve told them what he'd done with Blackie's body. So now Blackie's buried here permanently and we see his grave every day. I'm hoping to be buried there someday.
Oh! Thank You God for making me have that dream the other night where I got to know Blackie much better. I'll never forget Blackie's scent. I never forget smells. He was definitely a boy Dog. Someday God, You willing of course; I'd like to know a boy Dog better.
A big grayish Jackrabbit just ran bye really fast. Boy! It never ceases to amaze me at how fast those Jackrabbits can run. Normally I'd try to chase that Jackrabbit but right now I have too much work to do on this first book. Mr. Steve would like how I show "Discipline."
It's too bad we can't bury all of the Animals who get killed by Cars and Trucks around here. Sometimes Jackrabbits or Ground Squirrels get hit. And every once in a while a Coyote makes a mistake in judgement. Mr. Steve has seen a few flat Snakes. A boy Sparrow is singing.
My boss admits he sometimes has a weird sense of humor. He jokes when animals die out on the road in front of our land; "at least the Crows have extra food." It's amazing how eventually all that's left are the "bleached" bones; which are then blown away by the wind.
Last year about this time Mr. Steve was up front doing some "Weeding." I heard a song on his Boombox called "Dust in the Wind" which made me think about life. It was by a band called KANSAS and part of what are called the "lyrics" said; "All we are is dust in the wind."
Mr. Steve always looks for things in 3's. Many of the bands he likes have three people in the group. But ever since 1974 when he saw that band KANSAS "open up" for one of his favorite bands the KINKS he's thought of 3 x 3. KANSAS have six "necessary" members.
One type of music my boss has always liked is called "Progressive" Rock. I'm going to write more about it later in my second and third books. That band KANSAS really is from the State of "Kansas" and is one of Mr. Steve's favorite American "Prog" Rock bands.
Mr. Steve plays drums set up in his Bedroom but knows he's not that good. He admires the good drummers like KANSAS' drummer. This guy named Garth Brooks said that, as a "lead" instrument KANSAS' drummer is so good that he actually plays particular "notes."
Someday I really want to hear that band KANSAS' first album. I hear it has a picture of this man named John Brown on the cover. It shows him holding a Bible in one hand and a Gun in the other. Mr. Steve says often in life "soft"' cannot be had without the "hard."
I'll write more about that guy John Brown in my third book when I learn about the State of Kansas. And I'll write about that band KANSAS too. I put them in here because I just thought of their song "Dust in the Wind." I sure hope Mr. Steve will like how I did that.
Looking out into the eastern desert I see so many Birds flying around. It's so amazing how a group of Birds can fly along and what they call "Synchronize" their movements. When one of them moves slightly the others do too. I wonder if Birds can read each others minds?
Another Progressive Rock band my boss likes is from Canada. They're called RUSH and also have an amazing drummer he says. Two British bands, GENESIS and YES, are also very good Prog Rock bands according to what Mr. Steve says. I like music because my boss does!
Someday I want to hear so many bands. I notice that many of the bands Mr. Steve likes are from the 1970's. For part of that time he was a teenager. I plan on writing more about the Prog Rock bands in my second and third books. I smell some of the new Sage plants.
There are so many Birds singing now. They sound so happy. I fell so happy right now. I can feel the newness of the year. The eastern desert to my front seems to be alive in activity. Thank You God for giving me all of this. I'm really going to get so much done today!
I know that on my outline for my third book I have scheduled to write more about that band KANSAS and the first time Mr. Steve heard them in 1974. He and his friend Chris were what they call "blown away" by how talented they were. Mr. Steve likes the sound of a violin.
All of a sudden writing about KANSAS' song Dust in the Wind made me think of Progressive Rock music. One thing good about writing these three books is that I can write about things as they "come up." I can "improvise." But I'll try to stick to my three outlines.
Hey God! As You know of course, even though we're what they call "Roman" Catholics, I like knowing about other religions too. This is mainly because Mr. Steve studies other religions. He told me how, since the 15th century, there have been two types of Catholics.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia Lord, Roman Catholics from the West in Italy are "Latin" while Eastern "Orthodox are more "Greek." The main difference is that the Orthodox Catholics do not see the "Pope" as their leader. They follow a "Patriarch."
Hey Lord! You said Saint Peter should lead Your Church. So the western Roman Catholic tradition in Rome should be who You support. But Mr. Steve thinks both sides basically believe in the same ideas You said were important. Maybe they should just make friends.
As You know Lord, over the years my boss has known Armenian people. Many have lived in the city of "Glendale." Armenians are Greek Orthodox type Catholics. But both Roman and Greek Catholics are taught what they call the "Golden Rule." I like that rule!
Well, I kind of got "off on a tangent" talking about the two types of Catholics. But maybe that's good because of what I'm going to write about in the next three days. Hey Lord? Was it You who made me do that? I guess I'll only know that later; if You want me to.
I'm still thinking about how this physical world seems to be only a temporary stop for the Soul. I want to believe there is such a thing as a Soul. When I smell or see a dead body God, slowly "eroding" away out on the road or in the desert, I think about things like that.
Hey God! Mr. Steve said Buddhists talk about the "impermanence" of this life. Even though we're at the beginning of our year, this Spring will be the end of some life. Dust to dust! That's why I really want to try to accomplish something before You turn me back into dust.
Today is the first day of Spring. And even though my boss is not as superstitious as I am, he looks for "symbolism" in things. For him Spring now represents the cycle of life, death and then "rebirth;" or the "tension between old and new that comes with change."
There's nothing I love more than the sound of singing Birds; especially Sparrows. And for some reason today the chirping of Birds seems louder. That makes me feel good. I'm looking to the east out into the desert behind our house and see a lot of Birds flying about.
Heathcliff the Rooster next door just crowed. I noticed that he started announcing the new day even earlier than usual this morning. I love the sound of Heathcliff's voice. It makes me feel more comfortable just hearing it. I'm lucky to be alive. I smell a Joshua tree.
We've been "up" or "awake" for over an hour. We start our day when the Sun pops up over the eastern horizon; which I'm now facing from this couch. I love this view. The Sun is shining brightly to the east now; and many Birds are flying about in every direction.
I can see all of the Joshua trees reaching up to the light blue sky. I just love all of our Joshua trees! Seeing our Joshua trees always make me feel better about life. No matter what happens in my life they stay the same. A nice cool breeze just came in from the eastern desert.
We had a really great breakfast! Along with our regular Dog food we got some of Mr. Steve's "leftover" human food. There's nothing better than cold human food! Food is so great! I could eat all day if "left to my own devices" as they say. I can almost taste it right now!
Seeing all of the Birds flying about in the desert to the east, smelling all the new plants which reappear every Spring, and hearing all the sounds of morning while I ate; brought back some pleasant memories from last year at this exact same time. Thank You God for that!
Because I know how much my boss likes this time of year, I now really love it too! Mr. Steve is right. Life is not easy. In fact, sometimes it's really hard; what they call a "mixed bag." So, even though it's not easy, all you can do is try to "live in the moment" he says.
Mr. Steve thinks there's no such thing as a perfect life. It isn't "all good" as some say. Back in 1999, due in large part to his own dumb decisions he admits, he had the "rug yanked out from under him" so to speak. But, he just "picked himself up" and kept going.
Looking all around me I really do feel blessed. Not only do I get to see, smell and hear all of this; I get to learn new things too! What could be better! Thank You God. I really am lucky to be sitting here on this couch right now. I could still be stuck back in that awful field.
This has got to be one of the prettiest days in all of history! I can see, hear and smell so many things around me. All of our local Crows are swirling up high in the sky looking down to see if there's any food they can come down and get. This is going to be a good three days!
We all live on two acres which are what they call "fenced in." But Mr. Steve also owns a half acre of "undeveloped" desert to the east or behind our land. I'm looking out there right now as a matter of fact. I really do love our land! I'll protect it "at all costs" as they say.
In front of the back fence I can see three what are called "Sheds." They're all "navy" or dark blue. My boss keeps a lot of good things in them. And beyond the Sheds is what Mr. Steve calls our "back half acre." Many Rabbits and Quail live out there; but so do a lot of Bugs!
MANNY, MOE, JACK
Mr. Steve named our three Sheds "Manny," "Moe" and "Jack." That's an Auto Parts store he and friends bought things from when they were young. From right to left, Manny and Moe are the smaller Sheds while Jack is the biggest one; to the farthest left as I face east.
About twenty feet in front of me is a big tree. There are rocks around the bottom so all the water doesn't run off. A lot of small things come to drink from that water. Right now it's filled all the way to the top and I can see a Lizard taking a drink out of that water.
Boy God, we sure had some cold days and nights this Winter! I'm glad it will probably start to warm up now; even though the nights are still pretty cool. If You don't mind, please make it so the Summer is not so hot. But if You do make it hot I'll just adjust to it like my boss.
Oh darn! I see some Flies already and it's just the first day of Spring! I hope we don't have too many Wasps and Bees this year. Hey God? Why did You make Flies? Do they have a good purpose? I trust that You made Flies for a good reason. But I don't like Flies.
Blessed Mother? Could You please ask Your son if we could have less Flies and Bugs than we had last year? I mean, I don't want to complain and will accept whatever You Guys decide to do but; Flies can be so annoying. Ah! Heathcliff the Rooster just crowed next door.
Mr. Steve grew up in a "Suburb" of Los Angeles. So coming to live up here in the desert was in some ways a big "adjustment." But at this point he says he's used to the slower pace and now at times feels uncomfortable with what's called the "hustle and bustle" of life in a city.
It gets a lot hotter in Summer and colder in Winter up here in the High Desert than my boss was used to. But he's just adjusted to the more extremes of weather. One thing I know for sure that he likes is how you can see the Stars a lot clearer from up here. I smell a Lizard.
When he first moved up here one of the first persons he "befriended" was this older lady we call Miss Susan. For years she ran our local Newspaper called "News Plus." It covers the three small towns which are located in our area; Phelan, Wrightwood and Piñon Hills.
Piñon Hills where we live has about seven thousand people. There are no stores or places like that so Mr. Steve drives about seven miles to the town of "Phelan." It's not a big town either but has stores and restaurants. I just noticed the Lizard standing over there in the dirt.
That lady Miss Susan is kind of like a local historian. That's what Mr. Steve says. He's been happy to what they call "pick her brain" for information. And, little does he know but, a lot of the things she told him over the past few years are going to end up in my three books.
Miss Susan has given my boss some good books to read about our area. And because she's a nice, basically "Decent" person Miss Susan has taught Mr. Steve so many things he told me. Mr. Steve likes talking to old people like Miss Susan. That one Lizard just ran away.
Mr. Steve's parents are over eighty years old and so is Miss Susan. And because he's now so old now my boss thinks more seriously about what they've told him. Someday when I'm old too I sure do hope others will read my three books and think about what they said.
The name "Susan" is important to my boss's life; just like "Mark" and "Dave." Mr. Steve has a younger sister named Susan. And like their mother, she's a good, basically decent person. She leads a life which will be a good example to her two sons Dalton and Austin.
About ten years ago ago Mr. Steve taught this other girl named Susan to be a "Salesperson." They still work at the same job. This Susan is also a good, basically decent person. I happen to know that this "characteristic" is the most most important thing to my boss.
That lady Miss Susan who's lived up here in the High Desert for so long is "knowledgeable" about this area. She seems like a very strong person my boss says; just like his mother. Three small Birds just zoomed bye. It looks like they're going out into the northeastern desert.
Many of the "Topics" listed on my three outlines about the High Desert are things my boss has discussed with Miss Susan. In looking at the desert to the east and seeing all the Birds flying about I think about that lady Miss Susan. I just took in a deep breath of fresh air.
Because he's now old too, fifty eight years old, my boss enjoys talking to people even older than he is. He likes hearing about their experiences; oftentimes telling him about bad times that are now almost what they call "Nostalgic." Mr. Steve has times like that too.
Mr. Steve reads many things; from "Books" to "Newspapers" and "Magazines." I noticed that one of his favorite magazines is called "Reminisce." His parents like that magazine too. My third book will be titled Reminisce. The blue sky is so beautiful right now.
To a certain extent I'm planning on writing about some of those discussions my boss has had with other people. He'll like that I bet. He knows I'm smart because I know a lot of words but wait until he finds out that he owns the only known Dog to ever write three books.
In one of the books Miss Susan gave Mr. Steve it says that way back in the 18th century, or 1700's, a Spanish "Franciscan" Priest described our area as "remote" and "forbidding." But Mr. Steve jokes it wasn't that way for the "Native" people who'd lived here for centuries.
When people ask Mr. Steve how he likes living "here" he says one thing he had to get used to was the "fierce" cold Winter winds. They can be so strong your face goes fast from "stinging to numb" he jokes. Another Lizard is standing over there in the dirt next to the big tree.
The Lizard is doing what my boss calls "push ups;" using its front legs to go up and down. I wonder why they do that? Mr. Steve jokes about "hydraulic lifts." That Lizard just picked up my scent and is now looking over at me. Well, it ran away and went under a rock.
One thing Mr. Steve says he now likes better about living up here in the desert is that there are a lot less people. He told me cities are sometimes too crowded. There are now way too many Cars in Los Angeles he thinks. I'm afraid of Cars going fast. Cars are powerful!
For most January the 1st is their "Official" new year. But not for us! Our boss thinks today is our "New Year's Day" so now so do I. I want to think whatever Mr. Steve wants me to believe because I want him to like me and never get rid of me. I smell a new Spring Sage.
It's at the times like right now, as the Sun's warmth sinks or absorbs into to me, that I better understand how you could worship nature. I feel so great but I have to force myself to stay calm like Mr. Steve. He's my "Assertive"" leader but he makes me feel more relaxed.
I kind of feel like singing right now but I have way too much work to do. I'll celebrate later. Once I finish my three books I can celebrate all I want; if my boss likes what I did. But I know he'll really like my three books. Please Blessed Mother; make Mr. Steve proud of me!
Of course You know God that my time living out in that field made me appreciate living over here. I do want to believe that Your purpose in having me come over here is to protect this two acres. And You know I'm going to do it too! No matter what it takes I'll do it!
I still remember well the first sights, sounds and scents of when Mr. Steve brought me here to live. My boss's scent is in my mind right now because he just put food in our food bowls for our breakfast. Mr. Steve's scent will always remind me of my first day here.
I also remember how scared I was at first when Mr. Steve unloaded me out of the Car and put me on the ground here. I didn't know then that my boss, in grabbing me right out of that awful field; was offering me a better life of hope and possibility. Thank You God!
Mr. Steve says there's no such thing as a perfect life with no problems. There are times when pain and suffering are common. Sometimes he says; "It is what it is" and we have to just accept bad with good and "deal with things" as best you can. Boy, I'm so glad I have a home!
Even though this old yellow couch is torn around the edges and doesn't really look that good any more; I still love it. That one Dog named Lucy, who's buried in our graveyard on the north side of the house, chewed on this couch and even tore up one of the cushions.
Hey Blessed Mother! As You know, I named this old faded couch "Carla;" mainly because I feel so comfortable on her like the way you're supposed to feel with your mother. I can't really remember too much about my mother. I was thrown out into that field as a baby.
This spot is definitely one of my favorite places in the whole world! I would never ever want to get rid of this couch even though it's old. I sleep on it at night because it's so warm. Oh! One of those big gray Gopher Snakes just crawled under Manny the far right Shed.
Besides wanting to write about history and music I want to tell all about Mr. Steve's family so then there will be what's called a "permanent record." But mainly I'm going to tell all about my boss because for me he's the most important person in the whole wide world.
Another thing I plan on writing about are three years; 1955, 1968 and 1977. The first is the year Mr. Steve was born and the last two are years he's come to see as significant or important in his life. I made a lot of notes about those three years. I hear Sparrows chirping.
Hey God! As You know, throughout my three books, over the next three days, I'll refer back to the year 1999. Mr. Steve says 1999 was without a doubt one of the worst years of his life for sure; mainly because of his own dumb decisions. I'll talk about that later.
I'm going to surprise my boss and make him so proud of me by showing him I can use a tool and reason. He thinks tools are important in history. Mr. Steve has a lot of tools! Our garage and Sheds are full of them. Hey Holy Spirit? Could You please help me today?
Holy Spirit! I'll write our story and teach others but I really also want to "Pay Homage" or "tribute" to all of You Guys up there. Oh! Two of the Pigeons who live around here just flew bye. What a coincidence! I was just thinking about them. I can smell some Sage.
According to what Mr. Steve told me, Pigeons are also called "Doves." And Holy Spirit, as You know that my boss said, they not only "symbolize" You; but Doves now are the main symbol for "Peace." I really like the way Pigeons sound. Mr. Steve calls it "cooing."
Blessed Mother, as You know of course, Mr. Steve thinks it's easier to live thinking you have "Someone" or "Something" to "lean on;" especially when things go badly. I really like leaning on You Blessed Mother! Ah! I just picked up the scent of a Joshua tree.
My boss also told me he prefers to believe that everyone needs Someone or Something to be "accountable" and "grateful" to. But, I'm still trying to better understand that old saying he mentioned; "Oftentimes those who believe in nothing end up believing in anything."
I just used my English Dictionary to look up the word "Solace." Mr. Steve used that word and I guess it means; "an easing of grief or loneliness." But it's also a "comfort or consolation." That's what all of You Guys give me Blessed Mother. The Pigeons just flew past again.
Boy, sitting here on my couch and looking around makes me I feel so lucky to have all of You Guys around. I really do sense You God in the life all around me. I see, smell, and hear so clear today. Ah! That one big Jackrabbit Mr. Steve named "Jack" just ran by the Sheds.
I wrote down from memory this quote by that guy Saint Paul when Mr. Steve mentioned it. Saint Paul said; "Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has created."
SAINT PAUL (5-67 A.D.)
PAINTING BY BARTOLOMEO MONTAGNA
My Encyclopedia says Saint Paul was Jewish but also a "Citizen" of Rome. He traveled all over the Roman Empire trying to convert "Gentiles" to Christianity. But I guess some didn't like that so beat him up. My Dictionary says Gentile means "Any person not a Jew."
Hey Lord, as You know My boss Mr. Steve thinks Saint Paul is saying that it seems what they call "instinctual" to want to see in nature something greater than ourselves. He sees nature as kind of a "Conduit" for connecting to the "Sacred." A flock of Birds just streamed past.
According to my outlines I'm scheduled to learn and then write about Saint Paul a lot more in books two and three. Hey God? Did You just make me mention him now generally so later I can what they call "expand" on his life later? I think You did! Thank You.
Hey Lord! I like when Encyclopedias have maps to make it easier to understand things. In looking at this one map of Saint Paul's travels you can see how he spread Your reputation all around the northeast Mediterranean Sea. He traveled for over thirty years!
I guess that for about three hundred years after the time of Saint Paul's travels Christianity kept spreading throughout the world of the Greeks and Romans. Many, if not most people had difficult lives so when hope was offered they "grabbed onto it." I understand that Lord.
For that eight months of my life when I was homeless I never knew how nice it was to be held and "petted." In fact, until I came here to live I tried not to let anyone touch me because I didn't know if they would hurt me. But slowly I'm coming to understand the idea of trust.
Mr. Steve thinks I'm still a little what they all "Gun Shy." I still have a hard time just what's called "submitting" to him. But, little by little, I now know my boss will not hurt me so even let him examine my stomach and rear legs without panicking and wanting to run away.
Now that I know how good it is to be held and petted I want my boss to hold and pet me even more. That's another reason for learning to read and write. But I do have a "tendency" to get "carried away" as they say. Sometimes I have too much energy. I smell Sage.
Of course I'm learning how to read and write for more than just one reason, but one reason is so Mr. Steve will be so amazed he'll hug me. And, since today is the first day of Spring this is as good a day as any to start writing. I'm going to to try to write three books!
Thank you Holy Spirit for bringing me over here! I feel You now in the Sun that's making me warm. And God, I sense You in all the Birds I'm hearing and the many scents I'm smelling right now. I really do like living over here now Lord! Thank You Blessed Mother.
Hey Lord? Thank You for Heathcliff II the Rooster next door. As he does on every morning he was up crowing just before Dawn. The start of our day just wouldn't be be the same without hearing good old Heathcliff's voice. I love having Heathcliff around!
Lord, as You know, I plan on spending the next three days writing a kind of diary and also our story too. And I sure hope You'll help me think of things not on my outlines. I don't think I can do such a big project like this in writing my three books all by myself.
Thank You God for sending my Guardian Angel Stanley down here to watch over me. He's always protected me when my bad Angel Lilith tries to tempt me to do bad things. Hey Stanley! I think I feel you too right now. I noticed that Mr. Steve calls his bad Angel "Iago."
Looking to the east at the desert behind the Sheds it looks like the ray's of Sun are raining down from above and filling up everything with life. Oh wow! I see a Snake going under Moe the Shed. It's not a Rattlesnake though. I've learned to avoid all Snakes.
Blessed Virgin Mary! In the next three days please help me write about how females are just as important as males. Without the two halves you cannot have the one whole. At least that's what Mr. Steve seems to think. And I now want to believe in that idea too!
Blessed Mother? You know that my favorite prayer is the "Hail Mary." In fact, I feel like saying one right now; "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with You. Blessed are You among women and blessed is the fruit of Your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God pray for me, a sinner now, at the hour of my death, Amen,"
I like praying! It makes me feel better. But because I know that the Hail Mary is my boss's favorite prayer it's now mine too. As You Guys all know; Mr. Steve hopes that You give him just enough time to say a quick Hail Mary before he dies. I hear Crows cawing.
Oh my God! Just when I was thinking about You Blessed Mother I just picked up the faint scent of that plant called "Rosemary." The smell is coming from the east. As You know, Mr. Steve told me some people "associate" Rosemary's blue flowers with You.
Above me up near the roof of this Patio is a Bird nest. And right now the baby Birds which are living in that nest are starting to chirp. Blessed Virgin Mary, as You know, I kind of want to think I feel You and hear You in the sound of those little Birds. I love baby Birds!
Boy! I can really smell the Rosemary bush's now. Just like seeing the first Butterfly of the year is a good sign, I want to believe that smelling the first Rosemary of the year is a good omen too. I just have a feeling that the next three days are going to be really good.
The parents of the baby Birds that I hear above me built their nest in that exact same spot last year too. Hearing the sound of the baby Birds reminds of last year and makes me feel good. Thank all of You Guys if it was You who guided the parent Birds to this Patio.
Even though Mr. Steve doesn't like "Gambling," I'd risk money betting those baby Bird's parents are out looking for food to bring back to their kids. I can tell those baby Birds above me are really hungry. Their parents had their babies earlier than usual this year.
As You know God, the other day my boss casually joked that he wondered sometimes if all of the Worms and Insects who have to "give up their lives" for food around here have parents who feel bad when they die? Are they another Worm or Bug's "Significant other?"
Those little baby Birds above me sure sound hungry. I do hope their parents have good luck in their hunting this morning. Please give them good luck Blessed Virgin; so all of their babies will survive. I think only one of their three babies survived from last year.
Mr. Steve gives things joke "nicknames." So I do that now too. We call the parent Birds in the nest "Bonnie" and "Clyde;" just like those "Gangsters" from the 1930's Depression. Mr. Steve was reading about Bonnie and Clyde last year when the Birds made their nest.
BONNIE AND CLYDE
My boss's brother Rock lives in a State called "Texas." When he visits here he brings Texas Newspapers and it just happened that when our Bonnie and Clyde were building their nest one of those Newspapers had a story on the real Bonnie and Clyde; who were from Texas.
I love being around Birds! I'm just now realizing why my boss sees them as so important to us. Birds can tell you if the patterns of nature are going smoothly. If something's not right our Birds, especially Crows, let you know right away by their actions and movements.
I'm sure glad we don't live during the time of a a Depression. That would be so bad! During a Depression almost everyone is poor Mr. Steve says. So that means us Dogs are poor too. Even though we're not poor I'd sure like to figure out a way to make some extra money.
Just like the real Bonnie and Clyde, our Bonnie the Bird seems to us to be the "boss" when it comes "right down to it" my boss says. He's joked that if Birds wore clothes Bonnie would wear the pants" or "hold the keys" in that family. They're both "bread winners."
The sound of those baby Birds in the morning makes me feel so good! I want to believe their voices are another "good luck sign" for the day. Mr. Steve is not what they call "superstitious." But I do kind of want to believe in omens. I'm always looking for "signals."
To me those baby Birds symbolize life. Mr. Steve likes to look for symbolism in things. I want to do something no other Dog has ever done so I'll symbolize success and my boss will then never ever want to get rid of me; even though now I don't think he would get rid of me.
Oh! I just smelled a Rosemary plant again. Hey Blessed Mother; I just thought of something I want to write about. It's actually on my book two outline but I sort of feel like doing it right now. That's when, in 1917, You appeared to three children over there in Europe.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia Blessed Mother, You came down here to Earth near a town called "Fátima;" which is in that one country called "Portugal." Portugal is right next to the larger country of "Spain." I can smell some of our Joshua trees.
Hey Blessed Mother! Is it You who's making me want to write about what happened back in 1917? Even if isn't I still feel like looking it up. Mr. Steve works with a girl named "Babette." She sells things too. Her family goes to Portugal to visit the place where You appeared.
According to my Encyclopedia in 1917, the year before World War I ended, You came down from Heaven to talk to these three Portuguese children Blessed Virgin. And I guess You told them three secrets about how the world could be a more peaceful place.
If I weren't so afraid of riding in a Car I would really want to go see where You came down from Heaven to talk to those three Portuguese children Blessed Virgin. It says here their names were "Lucia" and her younger Cousins "Francisco" and "Jacinta."
LUCIA / FRANCISCO / JACINTA
Hey Blessed Mother! My Encyclopedia has a picture of those three kids You came down to see. Someone "painted" a black and white picture the way Mr. Steve used to do when he had a "Dark Room" at the house on Hagar Street in Sylmar; before he moved up here.
According to this Encyclopedia Blessed Mother, in Portuguese You're called "Nossa Senhora de Fátima;" or "Our Lady of Fátima." And actually, Your real full name is "Nossa Senhora de Rosário de Fátima." Wow! The Portuguese language is a little different from Spanish.
I'm guessing "Rosário" means "Rosary" in Portuguese Blessed Virgin. And that's mainly because it says here that You told Lucia, Francisco and his little sister Jacinta people should say the Rosary a lot more. Ah! Two Pigeons just flew bye out into the desert.
Blessed Mother, as You know, Mr. Steve says the last time he led a Rosary session was at his Grandma Córdova's funeral. He would say part of the prayers and then the other people at the funeral say with him the rest of that prayer. But that was a few years ago.
I can see why my boss would be interested in the story of Fatima Blessed Virgin. There are a lot of things that happened in three's and You know how much he notices things that happen in three's. Two more Pigeons just flew bye; also going out into the eastern desert.
My Encyclopedia says, in 1916, the year before You came down here to see Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta; You sent an Angel three times. Hey Blessed Mother! Did You really predict World War II and then the later 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II?
Wow! I sure wish I could go back in time to see when You made the Sun spin around three times in front of that giant crowd of seventy thousand people Blessed Virgin. That would be so great! I can see the Sun right now hanging peacefully just above the eastern horizon.
Hey Blessed Virgin! I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? It says here that boy Francisco and his sister Jacinta died in a giant worldwide "Flu" or "Influenza" epidemic which happened from 1918 through 1920; right after World War I ended. I still smell that Rosemary plant.
I know for sure that Mr. Steve knows a lot about the subject of what they call "Epidemics" which, according to my Dictionary means "spreading rapidly." In this case that means about a disease or sickness spreading. A "Pandemic" is an epidemic "over a large region."
Because of the many hours my boss spent doing his Research Project on The Black Death of the 14th century he's interested in the history of other epidemics too. He thinks with people in the world now mixing and traveling more there will probably be another one.
Well the baby Birds above me are chirping again. I wonder if they sense that it's the first day of Spring? On some mornings their parents have already fed them by this time; but not today I guess. I'm sure both Bonnie and Clyde will be back soon with food to feed them.
When I hear those baby Birds chirping I feel kind of nervous that some predator might hear them and come in and eat them. But, "on the other hand" as they say, their voices make me feel good. Mr. Steve thinks I' too "excitable" at times. Ah! I smell another Lizard.
Hearing these baby Birds yelling for food makes me remember the other day when my boss said that one joke; "Sometimes it's the squeakiest wheels that ends up getting the most grease." You know, I think I agree with that old saying. I see the Lizard on a rock.
It's not easy holding a pencil with only toes. It would be easier if I had at least a few fingers; especially a thumb. But I'm getting better at it. For the last few days I've been practicing for this day by making these what I hope will turn out to be three really good outlines.
I guess I'm what they call "Right-Handed," or right-pawed in my case, because I seem to be more comfortable that way. Mr. Steve still plays Baseball and throws and hits both right and left-handed. He also plays drums with both hands. That Lizard ran away.
This feels so good! I'll have at least three days to get better at reading and handwriting. I'm so glad these pencils all have those little eraser things on the back. I just know I'm going to need them in the next three days because I'm sure I'll make a lot of mistakes.
I wonder why I haven't seen the two Bluebirds yet? But I did see two of the Pigeons. A week ago four Pigeons, two couples of boy and girl Pigeons, suddenly showed up. They were with all of the other Birds eating seeds that Mr. Steve spreads on the ground for them.
Luckily for us it sure looks as though those four Pigeons have decided to make our land their permanent home. Mr. Steve jokes they've "adopted us." Oh my God! Just when I was thinking about them all four of the Pigeons flew in and landed on Jack the biggest Shed.
Mr. Steve told me our four Pigeons, "Lucy and Ricky" and "Fred and Ethel," are what they call "homing" Pigeons. He thinks maybe they got mixed up and forgot their way home. I know one thing, I sure hope they stay around here and maybe even have some babies.
I've noticed that when Pigeons fly their wings make kind of a squeaky sound. Many times you'll see them coming before you can even see or smell them. Having Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel around makes me feel good. Those baby Birds above me are chirping again.
I'll bet Lucy and Ricky and Fred and Ethel will fly to the front of the house and eat some of the seeds on the ground. Mr. Steve also fills up that thing they call a "Bird Bath" with water so everyone can drink or even take a bath if they want to. I just love all of our Birds!
I know one thing, I sure do like the sound Pigeons make. My boss says that our four Pigeons don't have these little bands around their ankles so must not belong to someone. I sure do hope they decide to just stay here and make our two acres their home.
There seems to be even more Birds than usual chirping and flying about this morning. I see a lot of Crows. I wonder if Birds and Bugs sense it's the first day of Spring so know they'll have a full twelve hours of sunlight to try to find food? I just smelled one of our Joshua trees.
I know one thing for sure; I'm going to try to get a lot of work done today too. Twelve hours is plenty of time to finish my first book. So over three days that will be a total of thirty six hours of work. That's going to be hard to do because my favorite thing in life is to run fast.
Hey You Guys! Even though I'm going to have to be what my boss would call "disciplined in the next three day, I'm still going to stay really alert because my main job in life is to guard our two acres. It's my duty to know exactly what goes on around here.
Just hearing, seeing and smelling the desert life all around me really gets me what they call "motivated." As usual, the Sun seems to be giving me energy. This is the perfect day for me to learn how to read and write. I'll have a lot of time to practice today!
Oh my God! I'm hearing that sound! One of the "Quail" groups is nearby because I hear the chirping of baby Quail! I love the sound of baby Quail! I now really look forward to this time of years like my boss does. Maybe I should go look and see the baby Quail?
Even though I'm tempted to hide all of my materials and then go see the new baby Quail I'm not going to do it . I'll see them soon enough. Right now I'm too busy writing my first book and I have to be what Mr. Steve would probably call "disciplined." I smell Sage.
We have three groups of Quail who live around here. And of course , I know that they were all up early this morning. Because my boss thinks that the first rays of sunlight are so special now so do I. Our neighbor's Rooster Heathcliff thinks sunlight is special too.
During part of the 1980's Mr. Steve worked for this Ice Hockey team called the Los Angeles Kings. He says most, if not all of the players, were from this country way up to our north called "Canada." I hear it's really cold up there. But it gets kind of cold here too at times.
Mr. Steve one time told me that he's noticed Canadians say "out and about" a lot. I know for sure that our three local Quail groups are out and about. My boss noticed that many Germans say "jah" after a sentence; and Canadians say "eh" when asking you a question.
My Encyclopedia says a group of Quail are called "Coveys." Mr. Steve jokes that our three Coveys look like little armies moving around "En Masse" as they say. So he calls them "Able" "Bravo" and "Charlie" Companies. I like watching how Quail move about.
Boy, now I'm kind of curious about which of the three Quail groups had babies. Last year at about this time it was Able Company first and then Bravo and Charlie Companies. I really love hearing, seeing and smelling our local Quail. And baby Quail are so cute!
Wow! Just when I was thinking about them I can see one of the Quail Companies heading for the front of our house. I can tell that it's Charlie Company because of that big male who is much larger than most other Quail. Mr. Steve jokingly calls him the "Enforcer."
Well, I see that it's not Charlie Company who had babies. They'll probably have theirs soon. But, sadly, many, if not most of the baby Quail never make it past one year. Some of them will just die naturally and a few will be eaten by Hawks, Snakes or even Cats.
Mr. Steve mixes what they call "Chicken Scratch" in with the regular Bird seed he spreads out all over the ground in front of his office window. Quail like Scratch. I can smell a Joshua tree. And now the faint scent of one of the new Spring Sage plants just floated in.
Mr. Steve often sits in his office and looks out a big window which faces to the west. It's there that he works. About one hundred and fifty feet from our house is a road. Beyond that road is a good view of the western horizon where the Sun sets. At times we have pretty "Sunsets."
PHOTO BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
Hey God! Last night before the Sun went down in the west the sky was orange, black and yellow. It was so beautiful. I'm sure hoping it was a good omen for me starting my huge project today. And I hope tonight will be another sunset just like it. Thank You God.
Quail remind me of little Chickens. But they have those small "Head Plumes;" black throats and artistic white stripes. Today they'll have twelve hours to "forage" for food. But for now I know they'll go up front to eat the free food spread out under my boss's office window.
We live in "America." I guard Mr. Steve's fenced in two acres but I'm not responsible for the half acre he owns behind the three Sheds. Many things live out in that eastern desert. A Mouse is now drinking some water from around the bottom of the big tree to my front.
The small town we live in here in the San Bernardino County is called "Piñon Hills." And according to this Spanish Dictionary "Piñon" means "Pine" in English. Mr. Steve thinks that at one time there must have been a lot more Pine trees growing around here.
Another thing that I've though about in the last few weeks as I've prepared to start this huge project is the definition of a "Hill." Why did the people name this area Piñon Hills? We don't really seem to have that many hills that I can see. We're mainly sort of flat in our area.
I've come to really like living up here in Piñon Hills. I'm lucky! I have a purpose in life and that is to guard this two acres. And I'm so determined to do it too! My job, in part, is to let my boss know when things are going on outside the house; just in case he didn't notice.
Even though there aren't many Pine trees left up here there are a lot of those Joshua trees. And we have a lot of dirt and rocks! Plants called "Cactus" grow all around us. I really don't like those ones they call "Cholla" or "jumping" cactus. I always avoid them.
Well, I'm finished with chapter one. The time went so fast and I learned a lot .
PHOTO BY RYAN LEE
Oh my God! Just when I was thinking about them I smell Cholla cactus! That reminds me of the time when I lived in that field. I learned how even if you don't touch them but only "brush" against them those jumping Cholla cactus will still get you as you go past them.
But, as much as the spines of cactus stab and hurt you, they way Cholla look in the morning is so amazing. They almost seem to glow and "bristle." Our neighbors on the south side also have these green cactus all the length of the fence which divides our properties.
We're on the southern edge of the big "Mojave" desert, in the "Victor Valley." Los Angeles is to the southwest of us. According to my Spanish Dictionary Los Angeles means "The Angels" in English. Hey Stanley! As you know, I think that you're a really good Guardian Angel!
The San Fernando Valley is located to the northeast of "downtown" Los Angeles. The actual place where Mr. Steve grew up in is Sylmar. Oh! I just picked up the slight scent of a Gopher around here. And I can smell the soft dirt it pushed up out of its hole too.
When Mr. Steve and his brothers and sisters grew up in the "Valley" Sylmar was just like the life "depicted" on a 1980's television or "tv" show called "The Wonder Years." The show takes place in 1968 and the main character was thirteen in 1968 just like my boss!
THE WONDER YEARS
Mr. Steve jokes that whenever he watches The Wonder Years he thinks about a quote by Yogi Berra who played Baseball for the New York Yankees. He said; "It's déjà vu all over again." I know what a Catcher is! I just noticed a Gopher over there near the big tree.
In 1961 when Mr. Steve's parents move their family to Sylmar it was a very "Rural" area of dirt roads. But by 1968 at the time when the Wonder Years "depicted" it was a "Semi-Rural-Suburban" community. Three Finches just flew bye; moving toward the northeast.
Sylmar is located near what are called the "Foothills" of the "San Gabriel" mountains. The views are often beautifully "scenic" my boss told me. Today Sylmar is one of the few remaining places in Los Angeles where people can ride Horses. That Gopher is gone now.
Mr. Steve says that Sylmar is about thirty miles north of downtown Los Angeles and is now considered to be a "bedroom" community. But when his family first moved there in 1961 some of the main roads like "Hubbard" were still not even paved. I smell some Sage.
In 1971 there was a really big "earthquake" and Mr. Steve says that their neighborhood was "destroyed." Most of the families had to move out because their houses were destroyed. It was a really bad time but because of Mr. Steve's parent's characters their family survived.
My boss told me the 1971 earthquake is now known as the "Sylmar earthquake" because the part of Los Angeles "hardest hit" was the northeast part of the Valley; where Sylmar is located. Sylmar was near what they call the "epicenter" of that earthquake.
"SYLMAR" EARTHQUAKE / VETERAN'S HOSPITAL (1971)
Oh wow! In my Encyclopedia it shows a picture of the "Veteran's Hospital" in Sylmar after the big earthquake. Mr. Steve's father used to go to that Hospital and might've been there when it was destroyed and people died. I hear some Crows cawing out there in the desert.
It was only in the years after that giant 1971 earthquake that my boss says he slowly came to appreciate how lucky he and his brothers and sisters had been. They had "taken for granted" so many things. What if their father had been killed as a patient at the Veteran's Hospital?
Mr. Steve says he and his brothers and sisters "pre-earthquake" lived a life like that shown on The Wonder Years tv show. They played sports, went swimming in the Summer, rode bikes and even at times built what they call "Go-Carts." Two of the Pigeons flew bye.
My boss uses the word "idyllic" to describe their lives before the 1971 earthquake. It seems now like it was what he jokingly calls "Utopian." Kids on Mr. Steve's "block" built models and explored all of the many open fields and riverbeds nearby. I hear Pigeons cooing.
"Looking back on it now," even though he didn't appreciate it then, my boss told me he feels what's called "Nostalgic" when he thinks back to the 1960's. To some people the "sameness" of "Suburban" living was not good but to him it was some of his happiest of times.
Mr. Steve says in just a few minutes on a morning in February of 1971 he and his family had their world "Turned Up Side Down" as that old song says. The world they had known was over and the new "post-earthquake" world of "harsh realities" then "set in" as they say.
From what my boss says he still occasionally has dreams about that morning when the big earthquake hit. I still sometimes have bad dreams too; mostly about things that happened when I was homeless. I can hear some of the local Crows cawing out in the eastern desert.
Sylmar means "Sea of Trees" in Latin. Mr. Steve says that's because at one time there were a lot of Olive trees in Sylmar. And, according to this Dictionary I'm using, in Latin "Silva" means "Forrest" while "Mar" means "Trees." I really love learning new things!
At the turn of the 20th century Sylmar had the second biggest Olive grove in the whole world Mr. Steve says. That's why they named it Sea of Trees. To this day there are still some of those old Olive trees in Sylmar but not nearly as many as there used to be he told me.
From what my boss says, until 1915 the Sylmar area was called "Morningside." Near where he and his family lived there's still an Elementary School named Morningside. Like up here, it can get really windy down in Sylmar. In the Winter we sometimes have cold winds!
Mr. Steve likes Olives. He put them in a lot of things he eats. One of his favorite places to eat is called "Subway Sandwich." Whenever he gets a sandwich there he has them put on Olives. Boy, I'm getting kind of hungry just thinking about things like that.
I wonder when Mr. Steve will give us our first snack of the day? It's still early. Lately he's been calling from the front door area but in the past he's sometimes come out here to the back to give us our snacks. I'll just have to stay alert for him. I smell a Field Mouse around here.
I'm purposely facing towards the sliding glass door so if Mr. Steve just happens to come out of the house I can hide my notebooks really fast under these cushions. All those Dictionary books are already under the couch so he wouldn't see them. I feel so good this morning.
The Encyclopedias which I'm going to use over the next three days are all over there on the other side of this old couch I'm sitting on. They're covered up but I can get to them easily when I need them. This is going to be so fun learning new things that will impress my boss.
I just noticed that there's a little brown Mouse over there standing in some gravel. It looks like it's eating something by the way it's holding it's cute little hands and nibbling on something. Mice have cute little feet too. I hear a lot of Birds singing happily out in the desert.
Wow! Usually you don't see Mice during the day when the Sun is out. But already today I've smelled a few of them. Mice, and Squirrels too, have "distinctive" scents. And smelling this one Mouse now makes me remember when I had to kill that other Mouse a year ago.
Looking up, I can see a big group of Birds flying bye way up there high in the light blue sky. That makes me feel good; comfortable somehow. Boy, if I can somehow perform a miracle and write the three books I have outlined; You'll be really proud of me Blessed Mother.
I've got to get a lot of work done today so that when Mr. Steve gives me our first snack of the day it will be my well-deserved break. I plan on learning so much today; and for the next three days too. I hear our neighbor's Ducks quacking next door. I like the sound of Ducks.
I want to work for about twelve hours today and write this first book. I want to write twelve chapters; one for each hour of sunlight today. And I'll do the same thing for book two and three too. That one little Mouse just ran away and went under a big piece of wood.
Right now I'm looking to the east toward the Sun which which seems to be hanging up over the horizon. There are many Joshua trees out in the desert. Birds are flying about. I see Flies but not too many. Usually the hotter the weather the more Flies we have.
I see a Cholla cactus just to the right of Manny the far right Shed; out in the eastern desert behind the fence. That makes me think of that one time when I tried to get a cactus needle out from between my toes. I had a dream the other night about that time.
It's very painful to be stabbed in your tongue trying to lick a cactus spine out from between your toes. Then it was hard to get that one spine out of my tongue and it was throbbing for a few hours after that. I can now really smell that Cholla cactus so clearly.
One thing about me, I seldom, if ever, make the same mistake twice. I'm learn things pretty fast. That's one of the things Mr. Steve says he likes about me. But sometimes I still make some stupid mistakes. Oh! A big gray Jackrabbit just sprinted past the three Sheds.
My boss moved up here from Los Angeles in late 2005. He's come to like the desert and says it would now be very hard for him to go back to live in a big city. When he drives around down in Los Angeles he notices how many more Cars and people there seems to be.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Steve's parents are originally from New Mexico. My boss says a lot of people think New Mexico is Mexico. In this one Encyclopedia it says that New Mexico and Arizona only became States in 1912. I can really smell a Sage plant now.
Because his parents grew up in New Mexico, Mr. Steve and his two younger brothers and two younger sisters have eaten Piñon nuts before. And they're also very familiar with both green and red "Chili." I 'll eat Chili if I have to but; it's sort of too hot for me. I smell a Lizard.
Even though he no longer wears jewelry, my boss has this silver "watch" for telling time. He also has this one thing called a "Bolo" tie, and a "Bracelet;" all made of silver with some really pretty bluish-green rocks called "Turquoise" inside them. I know what a watch is!
In the 1960's when my boss and his brothers and sister grew up in the San Frnando Valley Sylmar was more what they call "Rural." I just used my English Dictionary and it says that the word "urban" means "characteristic of cities." I see a Lizard over there.
Just like here, in the early 1960's some of the roads down in Sylmar were dirt. To the east of us out in the desert is a dirt road called "Primavera" Road. It runs north to south behind our back half acre of desert. Mr. Steve takes walks up and down Primavera Road.
Mr. Steve is not superstitious but liked it when he first found out that the dirt road out in the desert was called Primavera. He's been listening to Vivaldi's song on most mornings even before he moved up here from Sylmar. I like Vivaldi. I hear a lot of Birds chirping.
Looking to the east beyond our three Sheds I see a lot of Birds seemingly flying around in every direction. That one Lizard just ran away and is now standing in the dirt right in front of Manny the far right Shed. And now it just ran off fast into the eastern desert.
Mr. Steve said he had a dream the other night about the good period that came about after that giant 1971 earthquake. From what Mr. Steve says his father has always been what they call "active" in the community. I'm going to write about it over the next three days.
According to my boss his dad was "instrumental" as they say in getting Sylmar back up after the 1971 earthquake. He and many others worked hard so that the people from Sylmar and the Northeast San Fernando Valley could try to "rebuild" their lives. I smell a Squirrel.
In his dream Mr. Steve told me he saw his father and sister Susan riding their Horses "Poco" and "Shanique" around Sylmar. Both Horses were brown and had "personalities" of their own. But Poco and Shanique are dead now. Too bad! Ah! I see the Squirrel over there.
In the 1970's down in the San Fernando Valley Mr. Steve's father and sister Susan even used to ride their Horses over to this place called "Hansen Dam;" in the city of "Pacoima." People on Horses sometimes ride past our house out on the front road. We always bark at them.
"San Fernando" is Spanish for "Saint Ferdinand." The Spanish named the area in the late 18th century when they "Colonized" what would become known as the San Fernando Valley. Up here in the High Desert there are also roads and places with Spanish names.
San Fernando is also an "Independent" city next to Sylmar. I'd like to visit San Fernando. I'I'd run up "Maclay" Street in San Fernando the way my boss and his brothers and friends used to do when they rode their bikes. Tomorrow I'll write about Charles Maclay.
My boss told me that if he could go back in time he'd definitely go back to the 1960's to see everyone on the old neighborhood. At the time he says, he didn't rally appreciate it but now in "looking back on it" as they say; they were mostly good times. I want to time travel.
I've never seen an actual city. All I know is a town, or a desert. Someday, if I ever get over my fear of riding in Cars, maybe I'll actually have the courage to go with Mr. Steve to see a city. My boss says there are a lot more people, Cats and Dogs, in a city; too many he thinks.
In 2005 Mr. Steve sold his properties down in the Valley and moved up here. I'm sure glad he did because who knows if I would even be alive today if I would have had to stay forever out in that terrible field. Hey God! As You know. Sometimes I've wondered why I got so lucky?
Even though it can be very hot or cold here I like the desert. As Mr. Steve says, in order to live in a desert you just have to just make some "compromises" and "adjust" to the sometimes severe weather. I've noticed a word my boss often uses is "adapt."
I think I'm good at adapting to things because Mr. Steve wants me to be good at that. I don't care what I have to do to stay living here on our two acres, I'll do it. Living homeless out in that awful field was definitely no fun at all. I would never want to go back there. No way!
Hey God! As You know of course, I didn't like the desert when I was homeless. Sometimes I still have those bad dreams about things that happened back then. But lately I'm so much more optimistic; especially when I think about trying to write these three books.
It's very what they call "stressful" to always be scared; of constantly “Walking on pins and needles” or "eggshells," as those "old sayings" go. I love learning old sayings! Old sayings are interesting to Mr. Steve so now they've become some of my favorite things too.
You'd be very surprised how much you can learn from old sayings. I think about old sayings and what they call "Slang" all the time because Mr. Steve does. He's always been curious at how certain sayings and things like that "came about." So now I'm interested in that too.
Hey God! As You know, last night I was scared. Thank You for Daisy. She's my best friend. She made me realize that learning to read and write won't be easy and I could fail. Morning air is so great! Thank You God for the scent of Joshua trees. I feel more calm now.
Sometimes I call Daisy "Dais" because our boss calls her that. When they call me "Mag" I feel good because it makes me feel like I belong. Dais is my leader and has lived here for five years. I recall her scent from that first day Mr. Steve brought me over here to live.
I smell Sagebrush which makes me think of last year. That one Centipede scared me. I used to be afraid of Centipedes but now I kind of like seeing them. But I "Keep my Distance" as they say. Our neighbor's Rooster Heathcliff just crowed again over there next door.
In my second book tomorrow I'll write about many of the things Dais has told me about our boss or things he told her before I got here. Even though he's a Salesman, some people say our boss is too quiet. Since moving up here from Sylmar he likes being alone a lot more.
My boss's friend Mr. Randy noticed that Mr. Steve doesn't like being around strangers. As a young person Daisy says he enjoyed more being around others but now he prefers to just hang around with us. Well God, I think that's good for us because he likes talking to us.
Mr. Randy, who's quiet too; jokes with Mr. Steve about how he probably talks more to Dais and and myself than anyone else. Mr. Steve chuckles. I've never heard my boss laugh out loud. Daisy has and has me scheduled to write about those two times tomorrow in book two.
For six months Daisy helped me put together the outlines for my three books. They're pretty big. That time gave me, and her too; practice in reading and writing. Ah! I smell the old Sage bush behind Moe the middle Shed! That's great! I recall it's smell from last year.
Hey God! As You know, Daisy's the one who got me to appreciate that dry Dog food is better than no food at all. And of course she's right. As she jokes; "Beggars can't be choosers." For a time I kind of got bored eating dry Dog food. But not anymore! I like it now.
Daisy has come to like "Old Sayings" the way our boss does. And that's why more and more I'm starting to like old sayings too. But there are old sayings that I don't quite understand. And sometimes Daisy doesn't know what they mean either. I can hear a Crow cawing.
Daisy knows our boss is also interested in "Slang." In my Dictionary slang means; "informal language." So now I really want to impress Daisy and Mr. Steve by showing I think about things like that too. Oh! A skinny grayish-brown Ground Squirrel just ran bye really fast.
Daisy's what's called "Second in Command." It's required that at this point in our lives I do whatever she tells me to do. For the "Time Being" as they say I have to "take orders" from her. But I don't mind! Daisy's a good leader and I'd follow her wherever she led me.
DAISY / MAGGIE CÓRDOVA
Daisy is much older than me. Mr. Steve rescued her too. I follow her. She's my leader. Mr. Steve's parents have been married for almost sixty years. They think "Trust and "Respect" are the most important things in any "Relationship." I trust and respect Daisy.
Hey God! As You know of course, Mr. Steve's parents, in order to be married for so long, have certain things they always do. They've come to think of each other as Your gift of grace. They don't go to bed angry or try to change the other. I still smell that Sage bush.
One of my goals in life is to be more like Daisy and my boss. They never panic when things "Go Wrong" as they say. I on the other hand tend to get too excited in some ways. But I've been learning from Dais to "take a deep breath" and pause before reacting.
The other day Daisy said she's never seen Mr. Steve "Rattled" in an emergency. But in my Dictionary it says rattled means "A series of sharp, short sounds." So I think rattled must be the slang definition; "emotionally shook up." I try to be calm too. A Wren is singing.
Mr. Steve remembers as a little boy hearing his father tell his mother; "If panicking made things better then it would be okay to panic. But it just makes things worse. I need to have the confidence that if I'm not around you can handle things without me." I love to smell Sage!
Hey God! When he was a kid Mr. Steve what they call "suffered" some bad injuries. I'll write about them later. But he felt much calmer when he saw his mom being calm. He thinks her being that way was a gift of grace from You. He thanks You for that as You know.
In the next three days I'll write about the country of "China." Daisy thinks they're really smart. It was the Chinese who thought of the ingenious idea of putting a saying inside of those "Fortune" cookies. I wonder how they got that little piece of paper inside?
Hey God! Daisy thinks You gave the idea for the fortune cookie to the Chinese. I've been "stalling" as You know in beginning my three books. I'm afraid. But then Mr. Steve read us the three fortune cookies he opened. One said; " You are original and very creative."
I want to think the three fortune cookies were messages from You God. The second fortune cookie said; "You have a deep appreciation for the arts and music." And that third one was; "A happy event will take place in your home." All three fortunes might apply to me!
So God! I decided to just go ahead and start my project today; even though I'm still kind of nervous. But what if I fail to learn how to read and write and it turns out to be too hard? That would be so embarrassing. I can hear a Crow squawking out there in the desert.
Daisy and I have worked on my three outlines for over six months but she says it's now time to get going. She told me my outlines will never be totally perfect. Besides she says, I can what they call "Improvise" like a Jazz musician as I go. There are no "Set in Stone" rules.
If I think about something not on my outline I can just add it in there Daisy says. One reason I started writing my three books today is because Mr. Steve read in his Fortune cookie; "You will be successful in your new endeavor." I can hear some Pigeons cooing nearby.
Mr. Steve, like his parents, thinks trust and respect are the "Pillars" of being able to live around others. Without either one he says things very often don't "Work Out" as they say. Even though we don't agree on everything, I trust and respect Daisy a lot.
Hey God! As You know, Dais says some bad things "In the long Run" can become blessings. I now want to believe that too. All I can do is my best with what I have to work with at the time. Dais told me that our boss tries to do that. I smell one of the new Sage plants!
Daisy deserves trust and respect because her actions "Speak louder than her words" as they say. I've noticed since coming to live over here on our two acres that she wouldn't ask me to do anything she wouldn't do herself. That new Sage plant smell so good right now.
ALEXANDER (356-323 B.C.) ERWIN ROMMEL (1891-1945)
Today and tomorrow I'll write about a German General named Erwin Rommel. In battle he led his men from "the front" or "In Harms Way." Alexander "The Great," also led from the front too. Hey God! I hear a lot of Crows right now. Thank You for the Crows.
Daisy helped me put together my three outlines and also a list of the birthdays in Mr. Steve's family. That guy Erwin Rommel was born on November the 15th, so shares his birthday with Samantha; Mr. Steve's Niece. So does this one painter named Georgia O'Keefe.
Now that I think about it, Daisy's actions do match up with her words. Others have told Mr. Steve that, based on her eyes, teeth and nails Daisy could be fourteen. Her "previous owner" guessed she was eleven when he gave her to Mr. Steve. Daisy has a good heart.
Even though Daisy's old she's still "Young at Heart" as they say. And, in my opinion and my boss's too, Daisy is still physically, mentally and spiritually strong. No one should ever what they call "underestimate" her. That would be a big mistake for someone to do I think.
I'm lucky Daisy's my friend. Besides wanting to make our boss happy, another reason I'm writing my three books is to make her proud of me so she'll keep coaching and preparing me for the day when I'm the leader around here. I'll be a good leader just like her.
Dais said something about a month ago that I wrote down when I was putting together my three outlines. She said in her old age she's come to realize that there's often a big difference between just being alive and living. At first I didn't get it but now I think I do.
This morning Daisy told me something that made me feel good. She said she's already proud of me just for trying to learn how to read and write; even if I do fail. She says, as that old saying goes; "The Journey Itself " might end up being as valuable as the "End Result."
Looking toward the eastern morning horizon I see three dimensions of Joshua trees; one next to the three Sheds, a second in the desert, and a third off in the distance. It's clearer than many mornings. We have this thing called "Fog" around here. I'm still kind of afraid of fog.
The clump of Joshua trees just to the right of Manny the far right Shed reminds of that one time when Daisy told me sometimes in life the best way to solve a problem is to fail. For a time I didn't get that but the other day I did. Failing makes you learn from mistakes.
Hey God! As You know, I still have bad memories from being homeless. But Daisy told me to try not to carry around those memories like "old baggage" because they'll just keep getting heavier and heavier. So Thank You for this giant project to keep busy and look forward.
In chapter seven I'm planning on writing about what's called a "Phyrric" victory. I like to chase Jackrabbits and Roadrunners but as fast a runner as I am I just can't catch them. I used to get mad until Dais made me realize it was good that I've failed.
Even though I'll always have the urge to chase things I now realize that my failure solves the problem of what would I do if I ever caught something. Would I kill and then eat a Jackrabbit or Roadrunner? Mr. Steve gives us food so what would I gain Daisy asks.
Daisy says, like Mr. Steve's mom and the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands told him, when doing a project sometimes the "Process" turns out to be more important than the "End Result." If for some reason I can't finish my huge project I'll be disappointed that's for sure.
I recall when Daisy told me to write in my outline what Sister Rita Joseph said; that there are times in life when disappointment can be a good way to grow. Daisy, who has a lot of experience, says "In the Final Analysis" the "Bottom Line" is not always winning. I smell Sage.
Daisy says our boss thinks life is often dual in nature so with good comes bad and bad comes good. As they say; "They're both part of the mix." So she says, setbacks and disappointments are totally normal. "Progress never happens in a straight line" so to speak.
Hey God! Of course Dais is right. I'll learn a lot over the next three days; but I also want to succeed too! Then my boss can say he owns one of the smartest Dogs so will want to keep me. I want him to think I'm uncommon and not just average. Please help me do that God.
At times I put on a "False Front" and act brave. But, secretly, I have a lot of what they call "Subconscious" fears. Dais is so wise. She thinks we all at times have an "Inferiority Complex." I still fear being abandoned; but not as much now. I smell a Field Mouse.
Because Mr. Steve at times calls Daisy "Dais" now I'm starting to do that too. He and Daisy sometimes call me "Mag" and I like when they do. It makes me feel like my boss wants to keep me around when he gives me a nickname. I can hear some Birds chirping.
For some strange reason Mr. Steve likes giving some things names. And now I've noticed that Daisy is starting to do that too. He also likes to make up weird nicknames. Like that one time when he called me "Maginowski" and Daisy "Dasinovich." I see the Mouse over there.
Hey Holy Spirit! Looking out there into the eastern desert beyond our three Sheds Manny, Moe and Jack; I think I sense You. Thank You for the fresh air. Taking a deep breath makes me feel alive. That one little Mouse just scampered away.
You Guys know my biggest fear is disappointing You or my boss. Dais is right. We depend on him. I sure wouldn't want to disappoint her either. That's why I usually try to do right. But at times that's kind of hard to do. I'm glad you're my Guardian Angel Stanley.
Hey Stanley! Dais said something the other day which I've been thinking about. She told me, to a certain extent, "Faith" makes it easier to "endure" and "persevere" through life's frequent hardships. I have faith that you'll always be around to protect me from bad things.
Thank You Guys for sending me Stanley! Hey Stanley! You were given the job of being my Guardian Angel and you've always given me good advice when my bad Angel Lilith tries to get me to do bad things I shouldn't do. I just smelled a Sage plant. Whenever I'm Lilith tempts me to chew on the wrong things or digging holes in the wrong areas you Stanley have always been there to guide me. I really do appreciate that. Mr. Steve hasn't gotten mad at me in a long time. Thanks Stanley. I like you!
On my outline I have written down what my boss's mother used to say; "At times the right thing to do is not the easiest thing to do." Mr. Steve told me the Nuns at Saint Ferdinands pretty much said that exact same thing too. I'm smelling so many new scents right now.
Mr. Steve's father sometimes uses the phrase; "Don't kid yourself." Dais laughed when our boss told us that. And this morning she said I shouldn't think for even one minute that reading and writing will be easy. It's going to take a lot of focus and plain hard work she says.
Sometimes Dais is kind of like my "Coach." I guess you could says she's my biggest what they call "booster." She encourages and supports me. She says writing will most likely involve a lot of frustration. But I don' mind. I do like to learn from mistakes!
Daisy told me the other day that many people say it's ridiculous to think that us Dogs smile. But she jokes they've never seen me when I'm all "pumped up" in trying to impress our boss. At times I must admit, I am kind of a "Show off." But I'm not conceited.
Hey Lord! I know one time when I really smiled. That was the first time Mr. Steve was gone for a week and then finally came back. Even though Daisy kept telling me not to worry because she was positive our boss would be back soon I didn't relax until I saw and smelled him.
Remember how I prayed to You Blessed Virgin when I feared Mr. Steve might not come back? I still recall the feeling of happiness I felt when I heard our boss opening up the lock on the front gate. Dais and I never ran so fast in our lives. Thank You Guys for that.
To this day Daisy jokingly calls me "Doubting Maggie." Hey Lord! Even though I kind of would like to smell Your wounds for myself I'll always believe in You. I do wish I could go back in time to see You rise up there to Heaven. Boy! That would be so great!
Hey Lord? Were You mad at Your Disciple Thomas when he had to touch the wounds in Your hands and feet to believe You had come back to life three days after being killed? I would like to believe I'd just go ahead and believe in what they call Your "Resurrection."
It was Dais who first told me that us Dogs are descended from Wolves. I do sometimes howl like a Wolf. I have a sad howl and a happy howl. But I sure don't look like one of those Wolves. They look mean. Daisy says there are many types of us Dogs.
I just used my Encyclopedia to look up the subject of Dogs and of course Daisy was right. We are part Wolf. Wow! There's a picture of a "Bush Dog" here to show the "variety" of us Dogs who live now. I guess those Bush Dogs live down there in South America.
It says here in this Encyclopedia that "Perro de Monte" means Bush Dog in Spanish. They look like a Dog mixed with a "Ferret." This is interesting. The Bush Dog's "closest relative" is a wild Dog over in Africa that doesn't even look anything like a Bush Dog.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia even though the Bush Dog is related to the African Dog they've each "evolved" and "adapted" to be able to survive in their own particular environment. So Bush Dogs have small ears while African Dog needs big ears.
Daisy told me one time Mr. Steve met a guy who studied what they call "Genetics." He said he thought that us Dogs first split off from our Wolf ancestors about 33,000 years ago. And he said it may have happened in the southern area of this country called "China."
Looking toward the eastern horizon beyond the desert makes me think about how Daisy has taught me how to better "read the weather" as they say. She also jokes that because she's old her bones often can tell her when some bad weather is coming.
One important thing Dais has taught me to understand is that sometimes in life pleasant things can be bad for you while at times painful things can be good for you "in the long run" as they say. For a long time I couldn't totally "comprehend" that idea.
Daisy was the one who taught me that to heal myself from being angry at being abandoned and left out in that field I should first accept myself just as I am. And she thinks being perfect is not normal. No one is. I just picked up the faint scent of one of the Cholla cactus'.
Because of Dais I'm now better at letting go of thinking about how I should be and and just accepting who I am, "Warts and All" so to speak. Dais made me realize that you have to accept life "as it is" and not "what you would want it to be." I hear some Finches chirping.
Later this evening I'm planning on finishing this first book with a prayer Mr. Steve calls the "Serenity" prayer. It was written by this German-American man named Reinhold Niebuhr who I'll also write about in more detail then. I can hear our neighbors Ducks quacking.
Dais is right! Bad things are part of life. To fight against reality is to waste time she says. It won't change anything and can simply add to life's pain. You just have to say "I don't like this unfair situation but that's okay. "It is what it is" as that saying goes. I smell some Sage.
Knowing Dais she'll probably turn out to be right and it will be hard to learn how to read and write. But, if I do make a few mistakes I'll just keep "picking myself up" after getting knocked down. Daisy thinks it's sort of funny how Mr. Steve calls me the "Comeback Kid."
I want to believe that Dais is right when she encourages me by saying that all of the bad things in my life may have prepared me for the next three days. I had never thought of that. She told me our boss sometimes thinks about this British man named Winston Churchill.
WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965) WITH FAMILY During World War II that man Winston Churchill was like Margaret Thatcher later, the Prime Minister of England. And from what Mr. Steve told Daisy, Winston Churchill had some disastrous failures in his life which he said prepared him for success.
Winston Churchill beat that one guy Adolph Hitler in the biggest war of all time. But back in World War I, when he was the "First Lord of the Admiralty," he got "Fired" after one of his ideas disastrously failed at a place in Turkey called "Gallipoli." A Crow squawked.
Oh! This is interesting. According to this Encyclopedia that guy Winston Churchill, who is now know for some really famous speeches, had what they call a "speech impediment" when he was a young person. It says here that he "stuttered" for years.
According to this Encyclopedia, in the First World War it was primarily the British, French and Russians, or "Triple Entente," who fought against the three "Central Powers" of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. Millions of people died from 1914 through 1918.
WOLD WAR I
My Encyclopedia says that when the United States entered World War I in 1917 it "Tipped the Balance" of the war in favor of the "Allies." On "mainland" Europe for most of that war everyone was stuck in a "Stalemate" in these long, dirty holes called "Trenches."
I guess, just like at the beginning of the American Civil War, both sides were what they call "overly confident" when the First World War started in 1914. But soon everyone found out that modern "Technology" had made warfare unbelievably horrible. I hear Crows cawing.
This is interesting. This Encyclopedia says that in World War I "Machine Guns" were "used effectively" with a "terrible efficiency" for the first time. And gas was used by both sides when neither side could win and were what they call "Deadlocked."
I just thought of something I feel like writing about now rather than in book two as I had it planned on my outline. Adolph Hitler was a soldier in the First World War. And as a "Dispatch Runner" at the front he took part in some big battles in this country called "Belgium."
ADOLPH HITLER (RIGHT) WITH HIS DOG / WORLD WAR I
I like when my Encyclopedias have pictures and maps to go with the writing. There's a good photograph here in this Encyclopedia that shows Adolph Hitler in World War I. And what they call the "Caption" below the picture says he's shown with his Dog.
Mr. Steve says that the main reason why that guy Adolph Hitler wore a funny mustache is because his long "handlebar" mustache wouldn't let his "Gas Mask" fit properly over his face in World War I. So he "trimmed" it way down to make the Gas Mask fit better.
Adolph Hitler was a bad man who did a lot of bad things. But he had courage. In the First World War he won not one but two of these things called "Iron Crosses." He was "gassed" this one time and even almost went blind from it. I hear some Crows cawing faintly.
I wrote down on my outline how my boss told me that one of the "ironies" of history is how Adolph Hitler, who didn't "blink an eye" in killing millions, "forbade" all of his Scientists from developing Gas or Chemical weapons during World War II. A Crow just cawed.
From what Mr. Steve told me some people think the reason why Hitler didn't want to use gas in war was because he'd been gassed. But my boss thinks it's more likely he just knew that the British were really advanced in the knowledge of using gas and things like that.
In the First World War, in 1915, Winston Churchill "promoted" and "advocated" that the British attack the Turks at Gallipoli. On the European mainland the situation was a complete "Stalemate" just like in a Chess match so something "audacious" had to be done.
It says here that Winston Churchill believed Turkey was the "Soft Underbelly" of Europe. And Mr. Steve thinks "on paper" or "in theory" it sounded "plausible." But it "failed badly" and I guess Winston Churchill had to take the "Lion's Share" of the blame for it.
"GALLIPOLI" CAMPAIGN (1915-1916)
Boy! From what it says here in this Encyclopedia, when the British tried to attack the Turks at Gallipoli it really didn't work at all. Soldiers on both sides died but thousands of the British forces were "slaughtered." I hear Crows cawing just to the northeast.
Daisy told me that our boss has what's called a "Video Tape" of this movie about the Battle of Gallipoli. She watched it and says it's really good. But in the end it's kind of sad because these two friends get killed by the Turkish defenders when they try to charge at them.
PAINTING BY JASON ASKEW
Mr. Steve says in combat it's always better to have what they call the "High Ground." From what it says here the Turks held and were "dug in" on ground the British soldiers had to charge up at. It was a "Fiasco. A Crow is cawing out there in the eastern desert.
According to this Encyclopedia the man who's given the most credit for defeating the British at Gallipoli was named Mustafa Kemal. I guess he's now called "Atatürk" which means "father of the Turks." I like it when these Encyclopedia's have good maps and pictures.
MUSTAFA KEMAL (1881-1938)
Wow! It says here that the Ottoman Turkish Empire lasted for almost seven hundred years. But they were on losing side in World War I so their land was "divided up" between France and England. Then Mutafa Kemal became the first President of what was left over.
This is interesting. That man Mustafa Kemal wanted Turkey to be more "secular" in it's government after the First World War. Before that the religion of "Islam" was a big part of the government of Turkey. Wow! I guess Mustafa Kemal had thirteen children.
SABIHA GÖKCEN (1913-2001)
Oh! This is really interesting! A daughter of that man Mustafa Kemal's was one of the first female pilots in Turkey; and one of the first to fly in combat. That means people shot at her. She seems to be proof that us girls can be just as capable of doing hard things as boys.
Daisy knows me better than anyone. She knows that even though I act confident, deep down in my "heart of hearts" I'm "insecure" about certain things. But God? As You know, I really do believe I can learn anything if I "put my mind to it" as they say.
I can't believe I'm already on chapter two. But even if I fail to write my three books, as Daisy says, I want to believe the try will have been worth the effort. I'll just do my best so if I do fail at least I'll fail knowing I gave it "my all" as they say. I'll need help Blessed Mother.
Wow! I just picked up the scent of a Rosemary plant again. But the smell is a lot stronger than it was when I smelled it a few minutes ago. Hey Blessed Virgin! Maybe me smelling that Rosemary is a good sign that You're watching over me. I really prefer to believe that.
You know Virgin Mary, looking out from this couch into the desert behind our house I think I now understand better why Daisy sometimes calls You our "Mother Earth." And now with us in Spring there are new things to smell, hear and see. I think I feel You nearby.
Ah! I just saw a "Jackrabbit" dart under a bush out in the desert to the east. We have two types of Rabbits around here. There are what Daisy calls "Bunny" Rabbits and then there are the Jackrabbits which are fast runners. Sometimes I chase Jackrabbits.
Oh! There goes a bigger Jackrabbit flying through the air. It's amazing how fast they run but can change direction so quickly. I'm also hard to catch when I don't want to be caught but I admit Jackrabbits are better than me. They have "spring" in their legs!
I just smelled a Joshua tree. I love looking at Joshua trees. Toward the northeast, I see a dead Joshua Tree that the wind has knocked over. It' near our big Shed Jack. Mr. Steve told me that some Joshua trees can live to be over one hundred years old! I've noticed that there are these really tiny little Lizards which live around dead Joshua trees. They're so small that sometimes it's hard to even see them unless you look really close. And we also have a lot of other types of Lizards who live around here too. My boss thinks trust and respect are two of the most important things in life. He calls them "foundations" or "pillars." He's told Daisy and me that in any relationship if either one of the two pillars are gone then the foundation will be weaker. Lord? You know that someday I want to read about how you talked about a "house built on sand" and other things You said. And as You also know, I'm hoping my boss will someday give me my own Bible; both Old and New Testaments of course. That would be so great to have my own Bible! But as Daisy told me, first I have to earn them by learning to read and write. It will be hard to do but worth it. I can't wait to read the stories in the Bible. But first I need to write my three books. I'm so lucky to have all of these Dictionaries. Not only do I have a big one for English but I also have some for other languages too. I've already used my Spanish Dictionary today. Daisy found them and the notebooks in an open drawer of a file cabinet in the garage.
And what's even better is that is that I have these Encyclopedias. I'll use them a lot over the next three days. And who knows, I might even need to use some of those law books over there. This is going to be so great! I'm going to learn so much! As a matter of fact, I'm going to use my Spanish Dictionary to look something up right now. Daisy jokes our boss is "el ultimo jefe." That's Spanish for "the ultimate leader." I love looking things up! I'm so lucky. So thank all of you Guys! According to my Latin Dictionary the phrase "primus inter pares" means "first among equals." That's another thing Daisy thinks is funny. She heard it a while back and right away thought of our boss. This is so fun looking things up! I think I'm going to like this. In what's called the "Chain of Command" Daisy's number two. I'm third and last on the "Totem Pole" as they say but I don't mind. Dais has become what our boss calls my "Sounding Board" on many things. I've learned so much just being hanging around her.
Daisy cleared up one mystery for me a while back. I told her that I've never seen or smelled where Mr. Steve goes to the bathroom. Daisy says if I weren't so afraid of going all the way into the far end of the house I could see for myself just why that is.
People have special rooms called "Bathrooms" where they sit on this white chair to "do their business" as they say. And Dais says that the most incredible part is, once they're finished; they just simply press this one button and everything all gets washed away with water!
Dais also told me our boss can control the heat of water and he sometimes takes what's called a "Shower" where the water comes out from a pipe. In the Bathroom at the end of the Hallway she says there's a long white thing called a "Tub" where Mr. Steve sits in warm water.
One time my boss told Daisy and that other Dog Millie about "Plumbing." He told them how for a long time people were called "Hunter-Gatherers" who roamed around in looking for food. But then in about 4,000 B.C. they began "Settling" in one place to live.
My Encyclopedia says in four areas, China, India, Mesopotamia and Egypt, what's now called "Civilization" was started when people "settled" in towns and cities. So they had to figure out how to get fresh water and get rid of bad or "Waste" water. They did it with Plumbing.
It says here that civilization is "characterized" not just by people staying one area. It was also when writing, farming and the "Domestication" of us Animals came about. Mr. Steve's father jokes that math was also then necessary in order to keep track of the collected taxes.
A map in my Encyclopedia shows how the four areas where civilization began were near Rivers. Mr. Steve said about 2,000 B.C. in India and the area now called "Pakistan" long skinny tubes called "Pipes" began to be used to bring or take away water. I smell Sage.
Dais says Mr. Steve told her the ancient Romans built these things called "Aqueducts" which used "Gravity" to bring water from far away. And Romans used pipes to take away all the dirty water. Later I'll talk more about gravity when I write about Isaac Newton.
In 1985 Mr. Steve and members of his family went over to Italy and then Israel. I'm going to write about that trip in chapter four and then refer to it throughout my three books. So they got to see in person some real Roman Aqueducts built about one thousand years ago.
Oh! This is kind of interesting. It says here in my Dictionary the word "Plumbing" actually comes from the "Latin" word for "Lead." And the Romans made their pipes for carrying water out of Lead. I hear some Crows cawing faintly out there in the desert.
Latin was the language of the ancient Romans. Throughout my three books I'm going to have to use all these Dictionaries. I have them for a lot of languages but many of those languages are based on Latin; or wherever the Romans conquered Mr. Steve says.
Oh! This is what Mr. Steve told Daisy. He said the Romans made their pipes out of lead but now it's known that lead is bad for you. It says here in my Encyclopedia that in Europe during the "Middle" or "Dark" Ages they just dumped "Waste" out the window.
You can tell by it's scent that waste that comes out of our bodies is not good to smell. It would make you sick if you had to smell it all of the time. And that's what Mr. Steve told Daisy and Millie. I hear some Crows cawing out there in the eastern desert to my front.
Mr. Steve told Daisy and that other Dog Millie what it says here in this Encyclopedia. The "Invention" of "Sanitary" Plumbing has saved thousands, and maybe even millions of lives. I hope I never get a "Disease." That would so bad. But I'm really healthy now!
From what it says here in this Encyclopedia, the plumbing systems of most modern buildings have two separate parts; just like the Romans had. The "Supply" part of that system brings in clean water and then the "Drainage" system takes it all away when it's too dirty.
This is interesting. I guess even when you drain away the dirty water the gasses can still come back into your house and make you sick. So in the late 18th century a man in Scotland thought of the idea of using what's called in this diagram an "S-shaped Trap pipe."
Looking at the diagram of a Trap pipe in this Encyclopedia I can see how water at the bottom of the "elbow" keeps the gasses from flowing back into the house. Wow! How did anyone even think of such a thing? That person must've been a genius. I smell a Joshua tree.
MILLARD FILLMORE (1800-1874) WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT (1857-1930)
Because Mr. Steve is interested in the history of the American "Presidency," over the next three days I'll write about some of the Presidents. In the 19th century Millard Fillmore's wife had the first plumbing installed in the "White House" where the Presidents family lives.
My boss Mr. Steve says this other President named William Howard Taft was so overweight he actually go stuck inside a bathtub one time. He's the only President ever to also be a Judge or "Justice" on the United States "Supreme Court." Boy! He must've been really smart.
I can smell for the first time this new year that one really old Joshua tree out there in the desert behind our three Sheds. That's great! I'm also starting to recognize the scents of some of the other things that survived the Winter so get to start another year. Thank you God!
When Mr. Steve worked for his friend Rick's Mechanical Contracting company back in the 1990's, one of the things he was responsible for was keeping track of "Inventory." That means the tools and parts. They had every size of pipe; even really huge ones.
Oh! I'll bet Daisy will be interested in learning about this. My Encyclopedia says those special chairs in the Bathroom are called "Toilets." They're part of the "Drainage System. I can hear Dawn barking faintly over there next door right now. But it's not her alarm bark.
Wow! I guess as far back as the "Bronze Age" three thousand years ago toilets have been found by Archaeologists in India near the Indus River and that one Mediterranean Sea island called "Crete." Dais has me scheduled to write more about Crete tomorrow.
SIR JOHN HARRINGTON (1561-1612)
This Encyclopedia says hitting the button so water can "wash away" the "waste" is called "flushing." In 1596 this Englishman John Harrington invented a "Flush Toilet." He was the "Godson" of Queen Elizabeth I; who I'll be mentioning in the next three days.
There's a good picture of that one guy John Harrington here in this Encyclopedia. He had a pointy mustache and beard. I've noticed how back in the 16th century people used to wear very unusual styles in their clothes. I've never seen Mr. Steve wear anything like that.
For some reason my boss likes to give Daisy and myself nicknames. So Daisy is his what they call "Chief Deputy." He seems to think that's funny. But it fits her all right. Daisy's not mean but, as that old saying my boss told me goes, she's not one to "suffer fools" easily. From first through eighth grades Mr. Steve attended what they call a "Parochial" Catholic school called "Saint Ferdinand's." And for much of that by his teachers were those ladies called Nuns. Those Nuns are all dead but are "still alive in my head" he says.
Mr. Steve says those Nuns who taught him back in in the 1960's were good, basically decent women who were "capable" and "principled" he says. The other day he told me he had a dream about his sixth grade teacher whose name was Sister Rita Joseph.
I have trust and respect for Daisy and take her advice seriously. She has experience; both good and bad experience. She and my Guardian Angel Stanley have kept me from making bad decisions. I tend to "shoot from the hip" as they say. I haven't seen Lilith lately.
Well Stanley, I haven't seen my bad Angel Lilith for a while. Sometimes she shows up in my dreams just like Daisy's bad Angel Eddie does. At times she seems so nice and I'm tempted to do the wrong thing like she tells me to do. But most of the time I go ahead and resist her.
Oh! A big gray Jackrabbit is running bye in front of the three Sheds right now. If Lilith were here she'd try to make me want to chase after that Rabbit I'll bet. But I wouldn't because I have all of my "priorities" straight today and I need to work on this first book.
I'll bet right now Daisy's good Angel Ramona is with her in the garage watching over her. I can smell one of the Joshua trees. And now the scent of some of the new Spring Sage plants just floated in off of the eastern desert from behind our three Sheds.
Hey God? Since I've gotten here Dais has taught me a lot. She thinks You do things for a purpose; even bad things which teach us to learn. I now want to believe that my being brought over here was "meant to be." I just smelled a Lizard around here somewhere.
I think by far the most important thing I've learned from Daisy is just how to what they call "interpret" our boss's "body language." This may not seem important but, "when all is said and done" as they say, it's actually really important for the both of us.
Dais taught me when to whimper because that really gets Mr. Steve's attention. But she told me we can't do it too much. She says many males can't stand to see a female cry or feel sad so we have that going for us. I've hardly whimpered at all lately. I see the Lizard over there.
Because Mr. Steve hardly ever raises his voice even when he's mad at us, we look at how he's standing or moving his arms. Daisy made me realize that when our boss is just waving or what's called "fluttering" his fingers this means he wants us to come closer.
I'm not afraid of Mr. Steve now. Why, I now even jump and lean on him sometimes. I never used to do that. And I follow Mr. Steve around the yard. It seems hard to believe but I even what they call "rough house" with him. That Lizard just ran off. I like looking at Lizards.
When my boss first unloaded me from the car after grabbing me out of that field I was what they call "at a loss" as to what to do. But then he crouched down a short distance from me and then reached toward me without looking me in the eye. I felt more "at ease" as they say.
Now I look my boss and Dais right in the eyes. But to this day when strangers are standing above me and reaching their hands down toward me I cannot help but feel nervous. That still seems so threatening to me. But I'm becoming more trusting. The Lizard is gone.
There are times when Daisy and I think we both can almost "read" our boss's mind as they say. Even though he tells us a lot of things there are times when he hardly talks at all. Dais says she heard our neighbor describe Mr. Steve as "reserved." I smell a Gopher.
Dais and I know one thing for sure, if Mr. Steve makes this "chtt" sound it means for us to stop doing what we're doing. If he says "shhh" that means be quiet. Daisy thinks it's so amazing how I have what our boss calls an "encyclopedic" memory. Thank You God!
And because we learn and remember things so well both Daisy and myself know all of Mr. Steve's whistles and phrases like; "Let me check your tummy." I study Daisy's body language too. She has no tail so I watch her head even closer. There's the Gopher near the Sheds.
Because Daisy is so hairy and has what they call a "Mane" like a male Lion, it's sort of hard to see her ears. When I'm trying to hear things from far away my ears stand straight up in the air and my eyes narrow. My tail also points upward and stays perfectly still. I've noticed that two words our boss sometimes uses are "Objective" and "Subjective." And in my subjective opinion Dais and I make a very good team! After Mr. Steve's scent, Daisy's scent is the second I "associate" with arriving to live here in those first few minutes.
Mr. Steve thinks there's no such thing as total objectivity free from all bias. Hey God! Some people who don't believe in You say only a strictly "rational" argument is objective. But, as You know, my boss thinks everyone just process's things from a different subjective lens.
Hey Lord! As You know of course, Mr. Steve says that science and rational thought are very important. Only a Doctor can heal a person; even though You healed people through faith back in Your day. Two of the Pigeons just flew bye; moving toward the desert to the northeast.
I sure do wish I could go back in time to see You heal someone Lord; even though I believe You did it and don't need to be like that one Apostle Thomas. I'd just sort of like to meet You in person that's all. And I know for sure Dais would like to meet Your mother.
Dais told me that Mr. Steve thinks what they call "Secular" people often operate from their own kind of faith. And he believes Science and Religion are what's called "compatible;" or "two sides of the same coin" he says. I just noticed how bright blue the sky is right now.
I just looked up the word "complement" in my English Dictionary. And one definition is "to make complete." My boss thinks that oftentimes science provides "knowledge" while at other times religion can better provide "wisdom;" on a "Case by Case" basis he says.
I'll never forget smelling and seeing Daisy when our boss brought me here. When he took me down from the car and then "deposited" me on the ground Dais was standing there. She seemed confident and fearless, but nice too! he Gopher is sticking his nose out of his hole.
I can also remember the first sounds I noticed when I got here! It was the cawing of these two Crows named "Fanny" and "Freddie." They're a couple who live in our area. The smell of our Ground Squirrels still reminds me of my first day here too. Ah! One just ran past.
But on that first day I was so scared my mind was racing "a mile a minute" as Mr. Steve says. At times Daisy says I'm too emotional and not logical enough. But I've been working on that and feel like I'm really making good progress in that regard. The Gopher is sniffing the air.
Being around Daisy and my boss so much has influenced me to try not to react so quickly and think before I do something. Now I do like Dais does. I just take a deep breath and take my time. Daisy "ruminates" on an idea. That Gopher just went back down his hole.
Looking to the east towards our back half acre I just noticed Fannie and Freddie the Crows sitting on a tree branch and looking over here in my direction. I'll bet they're wondering what I'm doing. They've probably never seen a Dog using a pencil before.
Crows have really good eyesight when they fly up high and look down for food. Daisy would like to fly but not me. Flying would be way too scary! I prefer the safe feeling of being on what they call "solid ground." I really like Fannie and Freddie the Crows.
One of the funniest things I've ever seen was that one time when Dais and I were standing under a Joshua tree and Fannie went to the bathroom right on Daisy's head. She rolled all over the place trying to get it off. She didn't think it was funny. Mr. Steve cleaned her off.
Oh! This other Crow named "Blackbeard" just landed. Blackbeard has only one eye so my boss named him after Blackbeard the "Pirate." He told me some Pirates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries wore eye patches to hide missing eyes. I smell a Cholla cactus.
Blackbeard is sitting on a Joshua tree behind our fence, out in the desert; and he's looking at me with his one good eye by tilting his head over to the left so he can see me. Well, there he goes taking off and flying away out into the desert to the east; beyond our three Sheds.
Blackbeard the Crow's left eye doesn't work any more. Just like my boss, I enjoy looking at Birds; except Hawks that is. Hawks can eat you if you're not careful. They have really sharp claws and an even sharper beak. Hawks have such mean eyes. I don't like Hawks!
I haven't seen any Hawks so far this year. You'd know if one was around because all of the other Birds would be acting differently. Mr. Steve told me that at one time there were probably these other Birds called Eagles around here. My boss has a giant Condor feather!
Fannie is now grooming her feathers. It's so amazing how Crows can balance on the top of a Joshua Tree and not even fall off. I see a lot of other smaller Birds zipping about in our back half acre behind our three Sheds. And I just smelled a Gopher out there somewhere.
I guess I'm right-handed but someday I may try to be like my boss. As a Baseball player he throws and bats both right and left-handed. I just used my new English Dictionary to look up the word "ambidextrous." Thank You for my Dictionaries Holy Spirit!
Blackbeard the row is still sitting on that one Joshua tree. Mr. Steve jokes that we should get Blackbeard an eye patch just like a real Pirate from the early 18th century. It's white all around his dead eye and there's just an empty hole where his eyeball used to be.
Oh! Blackbeard's girlfriend Anne just landed. Now she's looking in my direction. A cool breeze just came in from the desert. Mr. Steve calls Blackbeard's girlfriend "Anne Bonny;" the name of this one female Pirate who lived during the "Age of Pirates" in the late 1600's.
ANNE BONNY (1700-1782)
Many don't know that there was such a thing as a girl Pirate. But as my boss says; "wherever males go you're likely to find females." In this Encyclopedia there's a good picture of that girl Anne Bonny. She's shooting a gun and even has an axe hanging from her belt too.
From what it says here Anne Bonny was married to a Pirate so she went with him and helped him in being a Pirate. I'll bet she was a good fighter. Oh wow! She probably lived to be eighty years old and had eight children. Most male Pirates died really young.
I remember that time when Mr. Steve said one of Billy the Kid's fake names in New Mexico was William Bonney. Just like that girl Anne Bonny, Billy the Kid was Irish. But he spelled his name a little different. My Dictionary says "alias" means; "an assumed name."
Later today and also tomorrow I'm scheduled to write about that guy Billy the Kid. He had a really interesting life and is important in the history of the States of New Mexico and Arizona. But he also had kind of a sad life too. He was small so was "Bullied" a lot.
According to my boss the history of life on Earth has been greatly influenced by what he calls the "resourcefulness" of females trying to help their male partners; especially in human beings. In our own family this is what he calls an "observable" truth. I want to be like that!
My boss thinks Blackbeard the Crow may have lost his eye in one of his fights with other male Crows. Boy, Crows sure do seem to fight an awful lot. Mr. Steve thinks Blackbeard might have lost that eye fighting over the right to be Anne Bonney's life partner.
Last year Blackbeard and Anne had three baby Crows. But only one survived and he's the biggest Crow I've ever seen. I see him all the time. Mr. Steve named him "Samson" because he's larger than most Crows and seems stronger too. I just smelled a Joshua tree.
I haven't seen Samson this morning. And one thing you know is that when you see Samson you're very likely to see his girlfriend "Delilah." She what's called his "mate." Mr. Steve had originally named Samson "Goliath;" but then Delilah started hanging around him.
My boss says females have always been one of the most important things in the lives of males. I remember that time he said he thought in human history it seems like males would be "lost" without the "softening" influence of females. Dais and I want to agree with him.
Well, there goes Fannie and Freddie flying away. And now Anne Bonny just flew away too. This is such a good morning for starting my writing project. When I see, smell or hear all of our local Crows it always makes me feel so good. It makes me feel like I belong here.
When Mr. Steve first got me down from the car and let me out here on our property Daisy was just standing there in her usual way; with what police or military people call a "command presence." Mr. Steve also gave me that same impression. I smell a Snake around here.
Looking back on it now, in those first few minutes it seemed as though both Daisy and my boss were a lot taller than they really are. Of course, I was so afraid about what was happening to me that I was what they call "hugging the ground" as they say. I see the Snake.
My boss once told me there's an old song from the time of the American Revolutionary War called "The World Turned Upside Dawn." But that was in a bad sense. For me, that's how I felt too but it's turned out to be for the better. I was just hoping no one would hurt me!
On that first day Daisy looked at me but I was too scared to look back. Usually looking right into another Dog's eyes is like a challenge and could end up in a fight. But now we look at each other in the eyes all the time. Daisy's losing her eyesight. The Snake crawled away.
When I first came over here Dais tried to sniff my rear and introduce herself to me. But my mind was just swirling and going in a million directions as I tried to figure out just what exactly was happening to me. But now we sniff each others rear ends all the time!
I still remember fondly the smell of Daisy's rear end when I first was put on the ground here. I knew right away a lot about her from that first sniff. I even knew she couldn't have babies by how she had been fixed. Dais and I also like to smell each others mouth's too.
As Mr. Steve put took me out of the car I tried to make some sense out of my unbelievably weird situation. Daisy tried to lick my face so I knew she was welcoming me and I could be less scared. Now I lick Daisy's face to show her I trust and respect her. I love good old Dais!
I still sometimes have dreams about those first few minutes when I started living over here. There are times when I wonder if I dream more than other Dogs. Mr. Steve seems to think that dreams are very important and now so do Daisy and I. I don't like nightmares though!
Oh wow! Just when I was about to write about him I just heard Heathcliff the Rooster crow next door. Last night I had a dream about him. In my dream I tried to lick Heathcliff's face but he kept poking me really hard with his sharp beak. I like hearing Heathcliff.
Now Daisy and I sniff each other all the time but on that very first day I didn't know if I was being what's called "kidnapped." You know, you can tell a lot about someone just by smelling them; especially their rear. I often know where Dais has been just by sniffing around her.
Fannie and Freddie the Crows are flying bye up above me. They're coming back in from the desert to the east; moving toward the west. Fannie and Freddie are now very familiar voices to us around here. My boss Mr. Steve calls them "Fanny Mae" and "Freddie Mack."
Fanny and Freddie will spend a good part of the day doing what's called "foraging" for food and water. They know that the Bird bath in front of my boss's office window is filled with water. Ah! I just picked up the strong scent of a Snake somewhere around here.
Daisy says she thinks that pretty soon Fannie and Freddie's son Samson, and his girlfriend Delilah, will start having their own what they call "offspring." Boy, those baby Birds above me are starting to chirp louder! I hope Bonnie and Clyde get back soon.
Those little Birds sound like they're hungry but there's nothing I can do. Unfortunately for them, at this point in their lives they're what's called "helpless" and "dependent." But as Daisy says, at least they have a nice nest to live in. Aha! I see the Snake over there.
Dais is right. To "a certain extent" as they say, both of us are sort of dependent on our boss to give us some food and water. That Snake is one of those Gopher Snakes. It looks from here like it's about three feet long. It just crawled under Manny the far right Shed.
Daisy and I are so lucky! This morning along with our regular canned and dry food we had leftovers. It tasted so good! I'm already thinking about dinner. Daisy and I really like it when Mr. Steve mixes in old human food with our normal food. I smell a Lizard.
We even had Chicken this morning! I just love food. It's definitely one of my favorite things in life! And now Daisy and I learned this morning about that new meat called "Spam." It was by far the best taste Daisy and myself have ever tasted! I see the Lizard near the tree.
Hey God? Was it You who arranged for our boss to put that Spam in our food bowls on this particular day? Well, even if You didn't that's okay. But it just seems like too much of what they call a "coincidence." You know what I mean? Oh! Of course You do.
When I was brought here the only thought in my mind was to escape. I was panicking! I just wanted to run away but, thank goodness, we have these things called "fences." On that very first day here I ran around like a "Chicken with my head cut off" as they say.
Daisy says it's true that when they cut off the head of some Chickens they still keeps running around! I don't think I'd ever want to see something like that. It would just be too scary! But I do like to eat Chicken when Mr. Steve gives it to us. Daisy likes the taste of Chicken too.
When I realized that there was no escape I curled up in what's called a "fetal" position in the northwest corner of our land. For a few days Mr. Steve had to come all the way out there to feed and give me water. But Daisy convinced me not to be afraid.
Daisy and I now live together on the two "fenced in" acres of our boss's land. Daisy kids me now because I've come to think of our two acres of as what's called my "safe haven." She knows I wouldn't leave our property for any reason. No way! That Lizard ran away.
"Wild Horses" couldn't drag me out of here as that old saying goes. This is my home and I'll defend it no matter what! This band from England called the Rolling Stones have a really good song about wild Horses not being able to drag you away my boss says.
Someday I want to hear that Rolling Stones song. One of my favorite things to do is hearing and learning about new things. Because Mr. Steve likes music now so do I. So far my favorite musical instruments I like the sound of are flute and harmonica.
After breakfast we usually rest. I'll bet Daisy's in the garage near the entrance to our Utility Room; sitting or laying on one of her blankets. And if she's sitting up she's probably licking her paws because of what Mr. Steve calls her "arthritis." Daisy's sort of old.
To help Daisy with her arthritis our boss puts this thing called a "pill" or "aspirin" in her food. This works for a little while but, Daisy never complains. She tries to "set a good example" and, just as our boss does, accepts pain as a normal part of life.
Dais has taught me so many things. And our boss teaches us things too. Daisy thinks it's very important to always keep an "Open Mind" to learning. Our boss does. He tells us if he's wrong about something he'll change his mind. Few things are "Set in Stone" as they say.
Hanging around Daisy I pick up her way of thinking; and we both are influenced by how Mr. Steve thinks. One thing our boss believes is that we should try to deal with things the way they are and not as we would want them to be. We say the Saint Francis' prayer.
Our boss Mr. Steve has been selling what they call "Apparel" and "Promotional Products" to Auto Dealerships for over ten years. One of his customers is named Phillip. He's originally from England. He calls it "U.K." Apparel means "clothing." I just looked it up.
Mr. Phillip is what they call a "Parts Manager" for a "Honda" dealership in "upstate" New York. He's been a customer of my boss for many years. "U.K." stands for "United Kingdom." My boss told me Mr. Phillip is a really nice person. I smell a Joshua tree.
One time that man Mr. Phillip and our boss were talking about how hard life sometimes can be. Mr. Steve told me that he still recalls Mr. Phillip saying; "There are times when all you can do is simply get on with it." Daisy agrees with that idea and now so do I.
Mr. Steve told me one time that people from England have certain phrases they use which us Americans don't. One of them is "Let's give it a go." That means to try to do something. My boss mainly sells that man Mr. Phillip Honda hats but also Ice Scrapers too.
I know that life is not always fair but I still like to hope for things to be perfect; even though I know they never will be. I'm what they call an "Optimist! But Daisy and our boss at times can be kind of what they call "Pessimists." Mr. Steve jokes he's "relatively optimistic."
Usually during the day I spend a lot of time up in the big area in front of our house. But for the next three days most of my time will be spent back here on this old couch. As Dais told me, for the next three days I have to be disciplined. And I will be too. Guaranteed!
Oh my God! Just when I was thinking about how I can't be distracted from my writing a Roadrunner just jogged by. My first "instinct" is to chase and run after something which is moving away from me. But for the next three days I'm not going to.
Even though I'd really like to go chase that Roadrunner I've got to resist the temptation or I'll never get finished with my three books. I'll just try to stay calm the way Dais does and not react too quickly the way I usually do. I kind of like the way Roadrunners look.
OUR FRONT YARD
I wonder what Dais is doing? I'll bet she's near the front "Driveway" which is made up of "Gravel." Gravel is small rocks. For the next three days Daisy is going to "keep an eye on" the front yard. She'll "cover" for me as I write my three books. Thank You God for Daisy.
Dais knows that for the next three days I'll be back here doing my writing. So she'll stay up front so I'll have my what they call "Privacy. I love the front area of our land. But for the next three days I'll spend most of the time back here. I hear a lot of Birds singing.
This is great! I think I'm going to like learning to read and write. This is the second chapter of what I plan on being twelve chapters in each of my three books. Boy, looking at my outline for the second chapter it looks like it will be longer than the first chapter. I smell a Mouse.
I'll bet right now Dais is either sitting on the cement "slab" in front of the garage; or is in the back of the garage lying on her blankets. We all have our "well-established" patterns and habits around here that's for sure. But we like it that way. It makes us feel comfortable.
From the end of the cement slab in front of the garage out to the front gate is our driveway of Gravel. Small rocks hurt Daisy's feet to walk on so she tries to avoid walking or running on our driveway. But not me! I even run fast on it! Aha! I see the Field Mouse over there.
Dais and I guard our territory. It's what we'd like to believe we were meant to do. I really do like guarding. I'm good at it! Daisy thinks at times I tend I go a bit too far in trying to impress our boss. She says I should try to be more of what they call "moderate."
We call Mr. Steve our "boss." Daisy also calls him "Chief." I'm starting to call him that too but I still feel more comfortable just calling him boss. That's what I've always called him and I'm a "Creature of Habit;" as are Mr. Steve and Daisy too. The Mouse ran away.
At night, when Mr. Steve sleeps Dais and I are more alert. We "Patrol" what Mr. Steve calls the "Perimeter." Daisy's careful and thoughtful. She thinks before she does anything. And I'm trying to learn to be more like her but it's kind of hard. I tend to "jump the gun."
Mr. Steve likes how Daisy and I seem to "complement" one another even though we have two totally different personalities. I'm kind of "High Strung" while Dais is calm. I have a tendency to be "jumpy" while Daisy is the exact opposite. Oh! I smell some new Sagebrush.
A while back this kid named Jason brought his guitar to our house to "Jam" or play music with our boss on drums. Jason noticed how much different Daisy and I were so jokingly asked Mr. Steve what songs would best characterize our opposite personalities.
When that kid Jason asked Mr. Steve about what songs would represent Dais and myself our boss chuckled and had to think about it for a moment. And then Dais says, he sort of laughed and picked songs by two totally different type of British bands. I hear Birds singing.
Mr. Steve said; "Magg is quirky like ROXY MUIC so the flittering oboe on their song called "Virginia Plain" fits her. The way she jumps around I can visualize her dancing to that song." Jason laughed when Mr. Steve played Virginia Plain for him on his Stereo Dais says.
Daisy told me that when she heard that song Virginia Plain she did think the oboe reminded her of me. Now I really want to hear that song. It's too bad I'm afraid to go into his Bedroom to listen to music Dais says. I sure hope someday Mr. Steve plays it out here on his Boombox.
When our boss played Virginia Plain on the Stereo in his Bedroom he played it so loud Daisy told me. It' sounded good she says. Now Dais is a big fan of Roxy Music and so would I be too she thinks. Someday I've got to get over my fear of going in the house she says.
Dais says then Mr. Steve told Jason for her a JUDAS PRIEST song called "You Got Another Thing Coming" fits. He said in her old age she's selective as to when she runs but when she does resembles a "German Panzer Tank." Jason laughed. Daisy was embarrassed.
When someone is at the front gate Daisy and I go to meet them. I run up ahead and bark frantically while Daisy "Brings up the Rear" so to speak. I speed up while Daisy lumbers behind me. We give a "Good Impression" of being threatening. They always see Daisy first.
Daisy weighs over one hundred pounds. And when she fluffs herself up she looks twice as big as she really is. Daisy has a mane like a male Lion. She told me she noticed how, a lot of times if males make themselves look bigger than they are; they can avoid violence.
I run a lot faster than Daisy. But sometimes I slow down to run alongside her. When we're running "Side by Side" Mr. Steve says we look "formidable." He's reminded of how those two guitarists from JUDAS PRIEST are so powerful as a team. I want to be on a team!
When I run alongside Daisy I can "Take Advantage Of" the sense of confidence she projects. I feel more courageous an confronting an unknown situation when Dais is around. We're a good team Dais and myself. Hey God! Someday I'll have to be the leader like Daisy.
I finally heard that song You Got Another Thing Coming by Judas Priest. Mr. Steve played it on his Boombox when he did yard work one morning. If he does yard work tomorrow I sure do hope he plays it again; loud! That song made me feel more energetic when I heard it.
When Judas Priest was playing on his Boombox I understood why Mr. Steve jokingly picked You Got Another thing Coming to represent Daisy. She still has a lot of power and reminds our boss of a little Steam Roller. Oh! I just smelled one of the new Sage plants.
That kid Jason said the first time he pulled up at our front gate and called Mr. Steve in the house he hesitated in seeing me charging toward him barking excitedly. But the sight of Daisy moving toward him really made him "Stop and Think." But now we like him.
From what Dais told me that kid Jason liked the song Virgina Plain so much he listens to it now on his "Smart Phone." And after that he and Mr. Steve played along to You Got Another Thing Coming a few times. Oh! A small Gray Jackrabbit just sprinted bye.
Since he's been a kid my boss has liked reading about the American Civil War which was in the mid-19th century. He says it was the United States' "bloodiest" war. In about five years of fighting almost seven hundred thousand died! Boy, I sure hope we never have a war.
My boss jokingly calls Daisy his "methodical old warhorse." I now know that's because this "Confederate" General named Robert E. Lee called this other guy named James Longstreet that during the Civil War. My boss says James Longstreet, like Dais, is "reliably consistent."
ROBERT E. LEE (1807-1870) WITH SONS JAMES LONGSTREET (1821-1904)
My Encyclopedia has a picture of James Longstreet in an "Oblong" circle. For a few years Mr. Steve worked "Printing" photographs in what they call "Dark Rooms." And at times he used "Masks" to make roundish images like General Longstreet's.
This Encyclopedia says that during the Civil War Robert E. Lee often relied on the judgement of what they call his "Subordinates." He really trusted this one man named Thomas "Stonewall " Jackson;" and James Longstreet too. I just looked up the word subordinate.
Mr. Steve owns two and a half acres. Two acres where we live are what's called "Fenced In." Half an acre to the east, behind the three Sheds in front of me, is our desert. Birds, Lizards and other things live out there. Mr. Steve kind of likes walking around in the desert.
Our neighbors also have two and half acres right next to us. But their back half acre is now a "Corral." I'm going to write about this Mule named Molly who lived over there until she died a while back. Right now in the Corral I see this old Horse named Libby eating some "Hay."
ROBERT E. LEE ON "TRAVELER"
What a coincidence! Just as I'm seeing Libby over there eating from her "Food Troth" what do I see in this Encyclopedia? There's a really good picture of that guy Robert E. Lee on a gray Horse named "Traveller." Oh! I can smell that old Joshua tree near Libby's Corral.
This picture of Robert E. Lee was originally a Black and White photograph. But it was what they call "painted." For a few years Mr. Steve had a "Dark Room" in his house down in Sylmar and at times painted "Prints" on "Silk" paper that had to be "Dried Out."
I'll write about a lot of famous Horses in my three books; and Dogs too. In my third book on Saturday I'm going to write about a Horse named "Trigger." Trigger belonged to a man named Roy Rogers; who lived about forty miles to the east of us. Oh! Libby's looking over here.
In thinking about how Robert E. Lee was complemented by men like Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet, I remember Mr. Steve saying how in the Buddhist religion they believe in the "inevitable" cycle of "Yin" and "Yang." I hear some Pigeons cooing above me.
As I understand my boss saying it; Yin represents dark and cold, Yang light and warm. This "Concept" is "Symbolized" by a full circle of two sides; one black and the other white. Mr Steve kind of thinks of Yin and Yang as representing life or even "Nature." I smell Sage.
My Encyclopedia says the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism started out in India but then spread to China and other areas. The Yin and Yang "Logo" has a white teardrop with a black dot and a white teardrop with a black dot. Together they represent "Reality."
One time Mr. Steve met a nice Chinese lady at a "Brunch." She said she wanted to think of the Yin and Yang logo as symbolizing "Nature." So ever since then Mr. Steve told me; he's also tended to see that logo as representing nature too. He's drawn that logo a few times.
Another logo that my boss told me about is called an "Ankh." It comes from the time of the ancient Egyptians. The Ankh symbolizes "life" and is shown all over the tombs where the Kings and Queens were buried. Daisy says Mr. Steve has drawn Ankhs in many forms.
Dais told me Mr. Steve has things hanging above the desk in his office; like a little mirrored "Disco" ball he made in High School. These things called "Chimes" make music if the window is open and a breeze comes in. A Yin / Yang medal and an Ankh hang there too.
My boss thinks Daisy and I complement one another. And just as James Longstreet and also "Stonewall" Jackson were the perfect "Yins" to Robert E. Lee's "Yang" during the Civil War, he tells me I should also try to be Daisy's perfect "right-hand man."
I'm scheduled to write in more detail about the American Civil War tomorrow in book two. But throughout the next three days I'll refer to that guy Robert E. Lee. That's mainly because I know Mr. Steve thinks highly of him; even though he was what they call a "Rebel."
I am trying to be Daisy's good assistant; even though I'm a girl and not a man. I'll just have to be Daisy's "right-hand girl!" I'll try hard to learn as much as I can from her so when someday I'm the leader I'll know what to do. I can smell a Cholla cactus.
Daisy and I each have our strength's and weakness's our boss says. He jokingly nicknamed me “Omega” while Daisy he calls “Alpha.” We're his "girls." The thing we want most in life is to make him happy. His opinion is ultimately the most important thing.
Sometimes I think about that quote Daisy told me a while back. She said one of Robert E. Lee's soldiers wrote; "I'd charge the gates of Hell if old Master Robert told me to do it." I sort of think the same way. I'd do anything to protect my boss. A Crow cawed.
I'll never forget how, when I first got here Dais welcomed me with "Open Arms;" or paws in her case. Right away she took me "Under her Wing" and now treats me just like her "long lost" younger sister. Thank You God for making Daisy feel like that about me!
At first Daisy showed me around. I felt like that old saying; "A stranger in a strange land." But Dais taught me what my rights and responsibilities were and what was expected of me. I also learned from her where all of the best breezes come in off of the desert.
I don't like to brag but, if I do say so myself, I'm a very fast learner! I do always remember exactly whatever others tell me. Dais thinks I might just have a what's called a "photographic" memory and I'm starting to believe her. I do want to remember things my boss likes.
Dais says Mr. Steve has been called a "Quick Study." He's had a number of jobs and at times he was the one who "hired" or "fired." In interviews with "prospective" employees he wanted to hear them say "I'm dependable;" but also that "I learn things really fast."
Even though he's not an Office Manager any more Mr. Steve still lets former employees use him as what they call a "Reference." Sometimes people call him about someone and he gives a "good report" as they say. He tells them the truth about that person.
I really want my boss to think that I'm reliable and learn things quickly. Daisy says if we do that Mr. Steve will keep us around. But I have to calm down and be more like her. Sometimes I think about things too much. I have to learn to relax more. I smell Sage.
Over the years my boss has had a number of jobs. During part of the 1980's he worked for this company called "California Sports Inc." They owned the Basketball Lakers, Hockey Kings, Soccer Lazers and the Team Tennis Strings. I can hear some Pigeons cooing.
I don't know why but the sound of Pigeon cooing seems to relax me somehow. Dais feels the same way. But we also like to listen to all of the Birds who live around here. Like right now I think I hear one of those Birds called "Wrens" out there somewhere in the eastern desert.
Back in the 1980's Mr. Steve's job at California Sports was to sell what are called "Season Tickets;" as well as "advertising" in all of the different magazines or "Programs." But during that time he also was able to work as what they call a "Photographer."
PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
The Lakers were a really winning team back in the 1980's. Now they look back on that time as "Show Time" because the Lakers were a fast-running team. Mr. Steve told me that they were an "exciting" team to watch. I can smell that there's a Lizard somewhere around here.
As good as the Lakers were back in the 1980's; Mr. Steve says, sadly, the Ice Hockey Kings were proportionately as bad. Both wore purple as their primary color and white and yellow as their secondary colors. Dais says our boss took pictures during that "Era."
PHOTOS BY STEVE CÓRDOVA
Because Mr. Steve sells what they call "Apparel" he's "conscious" of colors "more than most" as they say. He likes purple which is not a "Stock" color. He also likes the color of "Teal" which is greenish-blue. My boss has a "Soft Spot" for the Kings old uniforms.
One of Mr. Steve's friends is named Rick. They've known each other for most of their lives. They met each other at "Saint Ferdinands" which is in the city of San Fernando. My boss was in second grade. A Ground Squirrel just sprinted past in front of Moe the middle Shed.
Rick is in the "Mechanical Contracting" field. Mr. Steve told me that means plumbing and other things like that. Over the years my boss has worked for Rick; sometimes on the phone and at other times "coordinating" things at the job site. He's also done artwork for Rick.
I love to learn; mainly because Mr. Steve and Dais like to learn. I like to do whatever they like to do. At first I just imitated Daisy but more and more I've come to think for myself. But if I'm trying to decide what to do I think; "What would Daisy do?" I smell a Joshua tree.
When I first came here to live I really didn't have what they call "self-assurance." But I can honestly say that the more I hang around Dais the more "self-confidence" I get. Like I'm very confident that I can write these three books even if there's some mistakes.
Now I've decided that I want to teach others, just like my boss and Daisy have taught me so many things. I'm going to write my three books mainly to practice reading and writing but I also want to teach. What was that old saying Mr. Steve told me the other day?
Lately my boss has been reading about ancient Greece. In college he mainly studied history but another thing he studied was a subject called "philosophy." The ancient Greeks had three of the most famous philosophers of all time; Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.
SOCRATES (469-399 B.C.)
What was that saying Mr. Steve told me the other day? Oh yes! He said Socrates, just before being put to death, stated; "To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of knowledge." Daisy really agrees with that statement and so does our boss.
Hey Lord! As You know, my boss taught me that, in dating things, "B.C." and "A.D." means "Before Christ" while "A.D." is Latin for "Anno Domini" or "In the year of our Lord." Three small Birds are flying bye right now; way up there high in the light blue sky.
From what my boss told me, there are some people who prefer to use the letters "B.C.E." and "C.E." or "Before the common era and "Common era in dating things. I sort of like B.C. and A.D. better so I plan on using them in my three books. I hear so many Birds chirping.
Mr. Steve thinks sometimes the more you learn about a certain subject the more it "seems to unfold out in layers that you never knew about." He knows a lot about the history of California but admits that no one could ever possibly "know it all." I smell a new Jackrabbit.
Lord, You know my boss and Dais like to share knowledge and now so do I. That's one reason I'm learning to read and write. Also, someday I really want to be known as the smartest Dog in the whole world! Then, hopefully, others will listen to me. Ah! I see the Jackrabbit.
The main reason I want to learn how to read and write is so that Mr. Steve and Daisy will be proud of me. But I'd also like to teach others too. Mr. Steve says he's lucky that when he was growing up his parents and other adults taught him the value of learning.
My boss tries to learn at least one new thing every day. Dais and I try to do this too. In fact, we try to learn more than just one thing. That Jackrabbit is near Manny the far right Shed. He must be new around here. You know, I haven't seen any Hawks around so far this year.
Mr. Steve jokes he's lucky Daisy and I are “smarter than the average Dogs.” We're like that one tv character Yogi Bear who was "smarter than the average Bear." You know, Daisy does at times look just like a furry little Bear! But Daisy doesn't have sharp claws.
Because we so want to impress our boss and make him proud of us Dais and I listen closely to him because we want to learn new things. Secretly, I've been writing a lot of things down on my three outlines lately. That one Jackrabbit just ran fast out into the eastern desert.
I guess you could say that, "in the final analysis" as they say, Daisy and I like to learn new things is mainly because we're just curious about things like Mr. Steve is. Ah! Now I can smell a Lizard somewhere. A nice cool breeze just brought in the scent of a Joshua tree.
Even though I'm still kind of afraid to go into the house, on Saturday mornings Dais and I go in the Living Room to watch our cartoons. But I can only feel comfortable if Mr. Steve leaves the front door is left wide open. I really don't like being "Boxed In" as they say.
No one can get behind me where I can't smell, hear or see them; except now for Daisy and my boss of course. I trust them but no one else. No way. I just don't like it. Hey God! I will someday get over my fear of going all the way down the Hallway like Dais does.
Blessed Mother? Will You help me to go all the way down the Hallway in the house so I can see the Bedrooms and Mr. Steve's Office? As You know I really want to be able to do it the way Daisy does and that other Dog Millie who I replaced used to do. I can smell Sage.
One of my "Role Models" is this really smart Dog named "Mr. Peabody." He's also curious about life and he sure knows a lot about history. Dais likes to watch the cartoons of this cute Dog called "Underdog." She thinks he's so great; and good-looking too! I see a Lizard.
Daisy admires Underdog and I admire Mr. Peabody. He speaks eight languages! He's so calm and sophisticated. And Mr. Peabody has this boy named Sherman. Sherman's kind of smart but not as smart as "Mr. Know It All;" which is what Sherman calls his boss.
Mr. Peabody was probably the smartest Dog in history! He even graduated from this really famous College called Harvard and can walk on two legs! And he's so clever and funny in the way he uses his words. Mr. Steve says they're called "Puns." My boss went to College!
In one way Mr. Peabody and Sherman were both so lucky! They had this amazing thing called a "Way Back" machine which allowed them to travel back in time. I sure wish we had what Mr. Steve calls a "Time Machine." That would be so great! I smell a Jackrabbit.
If I had a Time Machine the first thing I'd do is go back to see who my parents were. Daisy would rather travel to the future so we would know how our lives are going to turn out! If he could, I'll bet our boss would go back to the 1500's, or the 16th century.
Daisy's lucky she knew her mother. But because I was thrown out in that field before I got to know my mom Daisy thinks I've what they call "imprinted" on our boss as my mother. She says that's why I seem to have bonded with Mr. Steve so much. There's the Jackrabbit.
One of my goals in life is to someday be as smart as Mr. Peabody. I hope to be the first Dog ever to write a book. In fact, I plan on writing three books. Oh! And I also want to prove that a female can do almost anything a male can do. That Jackrabbit ran into the desert.
Oh wow! I just looked up and noticed one of those Dragonflies fly past. That one seems to be really big. It's the biggest Dragonfly I've ever seen! Wait until I tell Daisy. Maybe I should put all my things away and run to the garage to tell her? Nah, maybe later.
That big Dragonfly is kind of shiny blue. Some Dragonflies are dark purple. I sure do hope there aren't too many Wasps, Bees and Bugs around this year. I'm still sort of afraid of Bugs that sting. I really hope there aren't so many Flies or Mosquitos to bother us this year.
Dragonflies don't even look like real Dragons. I wonder how they got their name? I know one thing; they sure are fast fliers. I hope to never get stung by a Dragonfly. I'll bet being stung by a Dragonfly would really hurt. I avoid Bees, Wasps and things like that.
Mr. Steve taught Daisy and me that females are very important. He thinks males cannot live without good, decent females around he says. Over the years my boss has owned other Cats and Dogs. He says he likes both males and females but now prefers females like us.
You might say I want to eventually be just like Mr. Peabody. He's such a good teacher, like my boss and Daisy are. But one difference that I noticed between myself and Mr. Peabody and Sherman is that I don't wear those things called "Glasses." A Sparrow is singing.
Sometimes I wonder what I'd look like in glasses? Mr. Steve wears glasses. Daisy more and more is starting to need glasses. I've noticed that Daisy's eyesight is getting worse. But I've also noticed that her hearing and sense of smell are actually improving.
OUR FAMILY OF THREE
I can tell by where the Sun is that it's about nine thirty. I can see that it will take about one hour to write each chapter. Even though I'm not hungry right now I wonder when Mr. Steve will give us our first snack for the day? Maybe he'll give us some of that Spam!
Based on the outlines I've made out I figure each of my three books will be twelve chapters. I just took a break and went to drink some water but now I going to "buckle down" and work for the next few hours until mid-day. I want to write about Mr. Steve's family history.
Dais likes songs about families and told me about these singers who call their group SISTER SLEDGE. She says they're four sisters from this city back east called "Philadelphia" and like us believe in what they call "Family Values." All of them graduated from College.
Mr. Steve has known his friend Rick since Rick's family moved out here to California from a city called "Pittsburgh." Rick was eight and Mr. Steve was seven. Pittsburgh is in the state of Pennsylvania just like Philadelphia is. I'll write about Pittsburgh more later.
Rick's wife is named "Linda." My boss says Rick and Linda have been together since High School and have three kids; Ricky Jr., Nicole and Gino. Sadly, Gino died a few years ago or he would most likely be playing Baseball in the Major League's now.
A while back Mr. Steve had a dream about Rick's father. He also died. He was a funny man. Rick's mom is a very nice lady; as is his sister Michelle. Another time Mr. Steve had a dream about when they used to go swimming in Rick's family's pool. I smell a Joshua tree.
Rick's favorite Baseball team is the Pittsburgh "Pirates." In 1979 they won the World Series and their "Theme" song was SISTER SLEDGE'S "We Are Family." Dais says that back in 1974 SISTER SLEDGE went over to Africa to do a concert with this guy named James Brown.
FOREMAN / ALI (ZAIRE-1974)
Daisy says the reason SISTER SLEDGE went over to Africa to do a concert was because it was part of the "Festivities" surrounding a really famous Boxing match called the "Rumble in the Jungle." In that fight Muhammad Ali beat this other guy named George Foreman.
Since being "taken in" by my boss I've come to appreciate my situation. Life can be a hard struggle, full of stress. My boss says "Cold-Blooded." Nothing is ever perfect but, I now know for sure that the "grass" is not always “greener on the other side." A Crow cawed.
The other day Mr. Steve said to Daisy and myself; "You can't have your cake and eat it too." But I don't understand that saying. Why would you take a piece of cake if you then didn't want to eat it too? Maybe I'm just missing something? I'll have to think about that.
Daisy thinks that old saying might mean that you can't have it both ways; or that you can't have it all. I wouldn't be at all surprised if she turns out to be right. She so often is. One thing about Daisy; she's really good at figuring things out. I smell a Cholla cactus.
I wonder what time Mr. Steve will give Dais and I our first snack? Maybe not for a while so I have plenty of time to work on my first book. I plan on getting a lot done today because it's such a sunny day and there will be twelve hours of daylight. Thank You God.
Dais thinks one of our jobs is to make our boss happy when he feels sad; or even when he's not sad. But most of the time he's not sad or overly happy either. Daisy told me she heard this man describe our boss as "even-keeled" but we don't understand what that means.
At times I must admit that I still feel kind of sad. But then Daisy and Mr. Steve make me feel better. I remember when Daisy told me about being grateful. She said, even though there's no such thing as perfection, compared to other Dogs we've got it pretty good.
This morning Mr. Steve, just like he always does on this first day of Spring, joked with Dais and me by saying; "Happy New Year!" Daisy, like our boss, is usually calm. But this morning I saw her get kind of excited. That made me excited. I always like what she likes!
Dais told me that inside our house our boss has these astounding things called clocks. Can you imagine that! Machines to keep track of time! But, since I don't know how to tell time yet I'll just have to do like Daisy taught me; I'll watch as the Sun rises in the sky.
Another thing Daisy is really good at is studying the Moon and Stars at night in order to tell time. Last night, as usual, we looked at the Moon. Dais and I know about how people have gone up to the Moon. In fact, I kind of feel like writing it about right now.
According to my Encyclopedia the first men to walk on the Moon were Neil Armstrong and "Buzz" Aldrin. And they did it on June 20, 1969. Mr. Steve was fourteen then. Wow! This is so amazing! Those "Astronauts" went about one million miles to get up to the Moon.
This is interesting. Three other Astronauts had already been killed by 1969 in what's called the "Apollo" program. It says here that the Apollo 11 "Spacecraft" that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon was made out of three parts or "Modules."
JOSEPH STALIN (1878-1953)
I guess Russia, or the "Soviet Union" as it was called then, were "Allies" of the United States during World War II. The "U.S.S.R." was a "Communist" or "Socialist" country and was led by a man named Joseph Stalin. I hear some Crows cawing out in the eastern desert.
After the Soviet Union helped us defeat Germany, Italy and Japan back in 1945 they became enemies during the "Cold War" which lasted until about 1989. My Encyclopedia says the reason it was "cold" is because there was no actual shooting. But they were "competitors."
I know from the months Dais and I spent putting together my outlines that for the next three days I'll learn and then write about Russian history; which includes the Cold War. Mr. Steve is interested in Russian history so I have to do a good job. I smell a Cholla cactus.
Oh my God! There's a picture here in my Encyclopedia of a Dog Astronaut! And from what it says she was a girl Dog whose name was "Laika." Wow! This is so amazing! Wait until Dais finds out about this. She'd love to fly up in outer space. Not me! It would be too scary.
I guess that before people went up into space they sent Dogs like Laika there first; just to see what would happen. So in 1957 Laika was kind of like one of those "Guinie Pigs." Oh! this is so sad! It says here that Laika did die up there. A Crow just cawed faintly.
It says in this Encyclopedia that those who flew into outer space were called "Astronauts" by the United States; while the Russians or Soviet Union called theirs Cosmonauts." So I guess you could say that one girl Dog Laika was kind of like a "Dogmonaut."
The program which sent Laika into orbit around the Earth was called "Sputnik." Ah! This is funny. Some reporters said that Laika's flight was called "Muttnik." A Squirrel just ran bye going really fast. And now it just disappeared down into one of its holes.
That Dog Laika must be famous! It says here they have statues of her over there in Russia. And they even made a postage stamp with Laika on it. How great would that be to actually have a stamp put out in your honor. A cool breeze just came in off of the eastern desert.
My boss sometimes jokes that Daisy would've likely been a good naval "navigator" like the Phoenicians, Vikings, Polynesians; or that one man named Christopher Columbus. They could sail their ships by studying the ocean currents and Stars at night. I hear a Sparrow.
Mr. Steve told me that many Pirates, like Blackbeard, were also good what they call "dead reckoning" navigators when sailing their ships. The seemed to have had a sense of how to use the Moon, Stars and the Sun to guide their ships out in the ocean. I smell Sage.
Oh! I just saw, out of the "corner of my eye" as they say, one of those black Birds my boss called a "Bronze Cow Bird." It's darting around near the back fence behind the three Sheds. I wonder why thy call them Bronze Cow Birds when they're black? I see the Sparrow.
Whatever color they are those Cow Birds sure do have pretty orange eyes. Even though they can fly for some reason I've noticed that they often run on the ground like little Roadrunners do. Well, that Cow Bird just ran really fast out into the eastern desert behind the Sheds.
PHOTO BY STEPHANIE SMITH
I'll bet that Cow Bird is looking for food. I wonder if it's a boy Bird or a girl Bird? Now it's Spring so with each passing day there will be more and more Bugs to eat. I sure do hope there aren't so many Flies this Summer. Oh! That one Sparrow just flew away.
I'm going to write about how Mr. Steve thinks the number 3 is important.
So far there are hardly any clouds today. The sky is so blue! Mr. Steve calls it a "High Sky." One of our favorite things to do is watch the Moon at night but Dais taught me not to look right at the Sun during the day. It will really hurt your eyes and you could even go blind!
But I do love the Sun and how it makes me feel. But when it's over 100 degrees that's not so good. On those days I go into the garage with Daisy or go lay in my area on the north side of the house. A lot of cool breezes come off of the desert there and it's shady.
Oh good! There goes that feisty little green Hummingbird "Max." But he just sped right past because he saw that Mr. Steve hasn't filled his hanging feeders with that red liquid food. So Max will find food somewhere else around here. Birds are squawking out in the desert.
I just notice that Max's girlfriend "99" isn't with him? They're usually always zipping about together. I wonder if 99 is making a nest somewhere? I just love baby Hummingbirds! Max is probably looking for some materials to make this years nest. I smell a Joshua tree.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL LEVINE
It's amazing how Hummingbirds can "hover" in one spot or even fly upside down! And they can move backwards too! The buzzing sound their wings make is incredible. Sometimes we have these unbelievable things called "Helicopters" which fly right near our house.
We're kind of near this one place called "Edwards" Air Force Base. Sometimes when these planes called "Jets" fly past high above us they leave these white trails of clouds. Daisy told me that she heard our boss one time call them "vapor trails." I smell a Cholla cactus.
I've noticed that at this time of year there are vapor trails late in the afternoon. And I also noticed that they appear on the northwest horizon and move diagonally from right to left as you face in that direction. And sometimes the middle of the trail disappears.
In 1996, when Mr. Steve was working for his friend Rick, they got a job deep inside Edwards Air Force Base. They replaced an old World War II era hot water "boiler." So before that both of them had to go through what they call "extensive background checks."
That job at Edwards Air Force Base was working for this organization called "N.A.S.A." in an area called the "Dryden" Center. My Encyclopedia says N.A.S.A stands for the "National Aeronautics and Space Administration." I smell a Gopher around here.
From what Mr. Steve told me, since the end of the Second World War many famous Planes and Jets were "developed" and housed at the Dryden Center. This one "Hangar 4802" is known by aviation people from all over the whole world. Aha! I see the Gopher over there.
My boss says to aviation "buffs" Hangar 4802 is as important as the Bicycle shack where those two "Wright" brothers built the first Airplane. The X-1 "Rocket Plane" and the "SR-71" Jet were worked on in Hangar 4802.
Tomorrow and then on Saturday Dais has me scheduled to write about a man named Kelly Johnson. Mr. Steve's sister Susan's boyfriend in College was his Nephew. Kelly Johsnon is very famous as the "Designer" of famous Planes like the P-51 "Mustang" and "U2."
That Gopher is cautiously poking its head out of its hole. And now it's sniffing the air to see what's out here. I'm staying still so that Gopher won't notice that I'm over here sitting on this old couch. Oh! The Gopher just smelled me and went back underground. F/A-18 "HORNET"
Mr. Steve says when he and Rick were working at Edwards Air Force Base back in 1996 there were these Jets called F/A-18 "Hornets" in Hangar 4802. A few years later he met this one guy who had flown F/A-18's off of an"Aircraft Carrier."
Max the Hummingbird just flew bye. We have what are called "Double Doors" in the front of our house. And both have "Stained Glass" windows. They're so pretty to look at; especially in the afternoon when sunlight falls on them. They have images of Hummingbirds on them.
Because of our front doors Daisy says over the last few years people have given Mr. Steve as gifts things having to do with Hummingbird "themes." She told me there many Hummingbird things inside our house. Dais tells me we even have a Hummingbird lamp!
My boss thinks Hummingbirds are the most colorful, energetic and acrobatic of Birds. And they're smart too he says! Daisy says that even in the thickest group of flowers a Hummingbird can remember which flower they've already eaten from. A Sparrow is singing.
Ah! I just noticed that what I thought was a Sparrow chirping is actually an "impostor" as they say. It's one of those Mockingbirds standing on Manny the far right Shed. At times Daisy and I wonder why Mockingbirds do that? I know one thing, Mockingbirds are tough.
Seeing Max makes me feel like I belong here; as if I was meant to be here. At first, I was kind of shy, timid and fearful; but not as much any more! I now do as Daisy and our boss do; I deal with things as they are and just "make the best of it." I can smell a Joshua tree.
I now realize there are many disappointments in life but you simply have to "roll with the punches." As my boss says, all you can do is "make the best of what you have to work with at that time and just keeping moving forward." That Mockingbird just flew away.
Mr. Steve thinks that most times, or experiences, for both good and bad, are usually not fully appreciated until later; if ever. And he sometimes jokes, how do we know right now won't later be considered our "good old days" or "Golden Age?" I hear Pigeons cooing.
A while back Mr. Steve ran into this one girl whose wedding he took pictures of back in the 1980's. They remembered how some things "went wrong" at her "Reception." They chuckled because even though at the time it was terrible it's now what's called "nostalgic."
My boss has noticed how, with the passing of time, bad or difficult periods sometimes become fond memories. Men who fight in bloody wars never forget the hard struggles; but those who've survived also get together to recall the good things about those times too.
Mr. Steve, Daisy and I live ordinary, some might say boring, predictable lives. My boss jokes that we live uneventful lives just like most of the "Hobbits" in J.R.R. Tolkein's books. But we like it that way and wouldn't change too many things. I smell the Pigeons now.
I've never read a book. I'm just now learning to read and write. But someday I hope to read "Lord of the Rings." My boss liked it and says at times he's wondered if the name Hobbit comes from how Hobbits were what they call "Homebody's?" I can see the Pigeons.
Homebody's are more comfortable living in the same patterns and routines Mr. Steve says. They don't like change all that much and are creatures of habit who do the same things over and over again. Hey! That kind of sounds just like us. I can now hear the Pigeons cooing.
Dais and I are thankful for what we have. I really appreciate this old couch I'm sitting on out here on our back patio. It's so comfortable. Oh! There goes that amaazing Insect my boss calls a "Centipede." The four Pigeons just flew bye and are going out into the desert.
That Centipede just stopped and curled up. Now it's lifting its head up as if sniffing the air around here. That reminds me of the first time I ever saw a Centipede. I was living out in that field. I couldn't believe my eyes! The Centipede might have just smelled me over here.
Daisy jokes at times it's hard enough coordinating four legs let alone one hundred; even though she says if you'll notice they really don't have one hundred legs. Centipedes are harmless but I'm still sort of afraid of them. I'm sure glad I'm way up here on my couch.
Hey God! I kind of feel powerful being above that one Centipede. That's probably what You feel like looking down on us. I wonder if the Centipede is a girl or a boy Centipede? I know one thing. I don't want to get close enough to look. There goes the Centipede on his way.
I'm so thankful that Daisy found all of my supplies inside the garage. I plan on writing three books; one in each of one of these three notebooks. I can see that Mr. Steve has written on some of the pages so I won't write on any of them and save those to give him later.
And how lucky am I that Dais also found this one book of "Synonyms" and "Antonyms." I can already see that I'm really going to need all of these Dictionaries. Daisy's so right. These books are sure going to "come in handy" over the next three days. I hear Birds singing.
One thing good about writing my three books is that I'll learn a lot of new words and how to spell them. And because all my pencils have these little erasers on the ends can make changes as much as I want. This is going to be a great three days for learning and telling about our family!
Mr. Steve might've seen the pencils, notebooks and dictionaries the next time he cleans up the garage and taken them into his office. So, you might say Daisy found them just in the "nick of time" as they say. Thank You God; and also thank You too Blessed Virgin Mary.
Blessed Mother? Was it You who guided Dais to find these Notebooks and Dictionaries in the Ggarage? You know I look up to You because Daisy sees You as a "Role Model." I want to be a good Dog in Your honor and prove that females are capable. I smell Rosemary.
Of course Dais knows about my big secret. She says she's going to help me hide my writing from our boss for the next few days. I'll bet right now Daisy's probably resting in the back of the garage on her blankets; the ones right in front of the door to the utility room.
Mr. Steve is most likely in his office doing something while he listens to this amazing device called a "Radio." But I have to keep alert for when he calls us for our first snack of the day. I really love our snacks. Food is one of my favorite things in life! I see a Gopher.
When he calls us to come and get a snack my boss usually goes to the front Porch. He does this whistle to tell us he's out there. But every once in a while he comes out here to give us our snack. I don't want him to know I'm out here writing. The Gopher's gone now.
I have to listen so if Mr. Steve comes out here to the Patio I'll have time to hide my things. I keep the Dictionaries under the cushions of this couch and all of my old blankets cover them up really good. Daisy and I each have our favorite blankets. Daisy has a "Quilt."
Daisy and I are grateful our boss came along. Hey You Guys, as You all know of course, Dais thinks You were involved somehow. We're luckier than most Dogs. Now I have more hope. And Daisy says we're lucky that our boss never hits us. I smell one of our Joshua trees.
What's not to like! Dais and I have free food and water. And, as that old saying goes; "when all is said and done" or, "in the final analysis," Daisy's so right; we have a nice place to live with two acres to roam around on. Many Dogs are not so fortunate she says.
We're surrounded by such beautiful scenery around here. On most days the Sunrises, as well as the Sunsets are so pretty. There's nothing Mr. Steve likes better than a nice Sunrise or Sunset. And now Daisy and I are the same way. We like them too! A flock of Birds just flew bye.
Dais and I really like the beginning and end of each day now. Sometimes, at the end of the day, we sit side by side, on our haunches; facing the Western horizon. More and more with each passing day, like our Chief; we're awed by what they cal "nature's majesty."
Mr. Steve jokes that, at times, when we lie parallel next to each other, Dais and I resemble two little reclining "Sphinx's;" like the famous Sphinx in Egypt; at "Giza." And, because the light is coming from in front of us to the west. he says we're "back-lit." I know where Egypt is!
I really like learning about the ancient Egyptians. It's interesting hearing about the three giant "Pyramids" over there in Egypt. There's so much mystery about how and why they were built. Some say they're a "stairway" up to Heaven like that one LED ZEPPELIN song says.
If I could go back in time I'd want to see when the Egyptians built the three Pyramids on the Giza plateau. This is because my boss is interested in that period. But I'd like to see it too. How did they do it? It seems impossible with the technology they supposedly had then.
Some day I'd like to visit the Pyramids over in Egypt. But Dais says there's no way because I'm still afraid to even ride in a car. She doesn't think I could fly in an airplane. Sometimes we see what they call "passenger" Planes flying high up there in the sky.
Mr. Steve not only thinks many things in life are dual in nature, he thinks the bigger the good comes the potential for an equal amount of bad; and "vice-versa." I one time heard him use the word "proportionate." My Dictionary says it means "equal balance or symmetry."
The Yin and Yang symbol has come to represent life or "nature"to my boss. As I watch all of the Birds flying around out there in the eastern desert behind Manny, Moe and Jack the Sheds; I'm thinking or "visualizing" in my mind the Yin and Yang symbol.
My boss told me that Buddhists try to "follow the middle path" in life. Dais is good at this. I want to get better at it but it's really hard to do! Mr. Steve says living the middle path is "easier said than done;" especially when things are going really bad. I smell a Joshua tree.
I guess Buddhists say when things go well be grateful and share your good fortune with those around you. But don't get "big-headed" because the bigger the good the equal the possibility there is for bad. My boss uses the word "cocky." A Crow just cawed to the east.
Mr. Steve says sometimes life is hard. But when things go really bad he says; "What are you going to do?" He told me that, even though it's difficult, all you can do is go on with life. A nice cool breeze just blew in off of the eastern desert; from behind our three Sheds. I like it.
Sometimes I get carried away with happiness and at other times I kind of feel very sad. But I sure feel good today! Mr. Steve says Yin and Yang also means that when things go badly don't get so depressed because there might be some opportunity in the misfortune.
There's an old saying that goes; "Every dark cloud has a silver lining." But Mr. Steve says that Buddhism teaches that the opposite can also be true. Every silver lining has the potential for an equally big dark cloud. I want to believe that! I'm still smelling that same Joshua tree.
I'm a Catholic like my boss but sometimes I sort of like some of the ideas he's told me about Buddhism. There are some good and bad things about living in a desert. Although the winds are sometimes so strong; our air is cleaner. At least that's what Mr. Steve says.
My boss grew up in neighborhoods where there these things call "street lights." So at first it was an adjustment for him living in a dark place like Piñon Hills. But now he likes it because you see more Stars; and the Moon is clear! I wonder what it's like in a city?
Daisy and I like looking at the Moon at night; even though Daisy's eyesight is getting worse. During Winter, just like the ancient Druids, Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, we look at this one what they call "constellation" of Stars called "Orion."
Mr. Steve told me that the Mesopotamian cultures and later the Arabic societies studied the stars at night. And in what would later be called "Central" and "South" America, the Mayans, Aztecs and Incans over here in this part of the world; also studied Orion.
Many cultures think that Orion is where life comes from; especially around the middle area which is called the "belt" of Orion. If I could travel in space I'd go to the area in or around the three Stars in the belt of Orion. Oh! I think I just smelled a Gopher around here.
Daisy and I will miss that we won't be able to see Orion until next Winter. But as Daisy says, that's something to look forward to. Some think the layout of the three Pyramids at Giza are "aligned" in the same pattern as Orion's belt. Aha! I now see the Gopher.
Mr. Steve says the ancient Greeks are not the only ones who looked closely at the Constellation of Orion. Some Native cultures in North and South America, like the "Hopi's" in the Southwest, also seem to have seen a lot of importance in that one group of Stars too.
Mr. Steve sees significance in the number "3." He says many cultures talk about the three "Stages" of existence or "Cycle" of; life, death and then rebirth. That one Gopher just went back underground. March is the third month of the year. I smell a new Sage plant.
I sure do wish I could go back in time to see Your "Resurrection" from the dead three days after they buried You Lord. That would be so great! And I would want to go back then to meet You Blessed Mother. And I'd like to meet that girl named Mary Magdalene too.
As you know Lord, I'm planning on writing a lot more about that girl Mary Magdalene on the day after tomorrow, Saturday. That will be in my third book. I'm tempted to to write about her now but I'd better hold off "for the time being" as they say.
Hey Lord! You know Mr. Steve thinks Mary Magdalene was important to You and was one of Your "Disciples." I guess some people think You might've been married to Mary Magdelne and some children over there in France. But I'll write about that on Saturday.
Hey God? As You know already of course, my boss has thought about how Earth is the third "Planet" from the Sun in what's called the "Solar System." If we were closer to the Sun we'd burn up. If we were farther away we'd freeze. Was it You who caused that to be?
My boss says Budhists have "Three Pillars of Zen;" Teaching, Practice and Enlightenment. Hindus, like us Christians, have a Trinity; Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Siva the destroyer. Siva carries a three pronged weapon and has three eyes and three braids of hair.
In his last year of High School and for five years afterward Mr. Steve's girlfriend was named Sandy. He used to take her to events for this group called "Rainbow" for girls. Sandy's father was what they call a "Mason." Mr. Steve's father's best friend is also a Mason.
Over the years my boss has read about the history of the Masons. He told me that some of the "Founding Fathers" like George Washington were Masons. Masons have "three degrees, three "tenets" and three what they call "moral pillars" he says. I smell a Cholla cactus.
Daisy and I, and my boss, are like the three Stars in the belt of Orion; "Zeta," "Delta" and "Epsilon" in Greek or Roman. My Encyclopedia says there are many names for the three Stars in Orion's belt. In Arabic they're "Alnitak," "Alnilam" and "Mintaka."
To my boss Dais is Delta. I'm Zeta while Mr. Steve jokingly calls himself Epsilon. Epsilon is the middle Star. Another reason why I like Orion's belt is because it's called "Las Tres Maria's" in Spain. I really like learning about Spain; and You too Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hey god! This is so amazing! Judging by where the Sun is now over the eastern horizon I'd say it's about about nine thirty. The shadows are smaller. This day is going so fast. But I still have this third chapter and then nine more to do today. So I can't waste any time.
Hey God? There does seem to be a lot of meaning in 3; and not just the Christian Trinity of You and Your son and the Holy Spirit. Mr. Steve always tells me that time, or life, is made up of the past, present and future. I hear some Pigeons cooing faintly out in the eastern desert.
Daisy says one time our boss told her about how that guy from England named Isaac Newton had the habit of looking for things in 3. And then, about one hundred years ago, this smart man named Nikola Tesla said; "the secrets of the Universe can be found in the number 3."
Mr. Steve said even some countries have "secular" trinities. The United States believes in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" while Canada says that it's "peace, order and good government" that are important. I just picked up the scent of a Lizard nearby.
In the late 18th century my boss says, the people of France revolted against the King and it says here in this Encyclopedia that they demanded "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" which means "Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood." I just noticed the Lizard standing in the dirt.
Hey God! As You know, another thing Mr. Steve told me is that it seems, to many, there is great importance in what's called the "sacred," "mystical" and "divine." And just sitting here taking in the fresh air I think I want to believe in that too. That Lizard ran away.
Because Daisy and I want to do everything we can to impress our boss, we've also gotten in the habit of looking for things in three's. And when you look close, you notice how many things come in three's. Oh wow! Three Finch's just zoomed past, flying in from the desert.
Hey Blessed Mother? As You know of course, I actually want to write three books or what's called a "Trilogy." And each book will be three parts or sections of four chapters each. I sure do hope all of You Guys will help me. These are going to be some really long books!
As a teenager in the 1970's Mr. Steve read "Lord of the Rings." It was three book's written by that man from England named J.R.R. Tolkien. The three volumes of Lord of the Rings were first what's called "published" in the years 1954 and 1955. I smell a Lizard around here.
Mr. Steve was born in 1955! A lot of things happened that year. My Encyclopedia says the "Guinness Book of Records" was first published in 1955. In 1955 this one black lady named Rosa Parks refused to give up her Bus seat to a white person. I smell a Cholla cactus.
I guess in Tolkien's trilogy this place called "Middle Earth" was "associated with Orion my boss says. In his "mythology" Middle Earth Orion is "Menelvagor" which translates as "The Swordsman in the Sky." In Greek mythology Orion was "The Hunter." I see the Lizard.
Mr. Steve thinks that in Lord of the Rings Middle Earth was probably based on the Vikings "Midgard." He says the Viking's stories talk about three "levels" which had nine "worlds. My Encyclopedia says the three levels were: "Asgard," "Midgard" and "Muspelheim."
After Mr. Steve read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings he then went out and got "The Hobbit." It was put out in 1936, even before Lord of the Rings. And from what Mr. Steve told me Tolkien originally intended that it was written for children. The Lizard just ran under Moe.
My boss's father was born in 1932, his mother in 1935; during the "Great Depression." The economy was so bad then. People were really poor and only a few had any money. I guess some of the people even starved to death. But World War II got us out of it Mr. Steve thinks.
My Encyclopedia says that Tolkien never intended to publish The Hobbit. He wrote it mainly for his own kids. But then I guess this one lady read it and told him she thought adults would like it too. She eventually was able to convince Tolkien to get it what they call "Published."
J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892-1973) WITH FAMILY C.S. LEWIS (1898-1963) WITH FAMILY
C.S. Lewis was another writer at the time of J.R.R. Tolkien. I guess he was a good friend of Tolkien's and wrote a "Series" called the "Chronicles of Narnia." My Encyclopedia says C.S. Lewis was from Ireland. And both he and Tolkien were what they call "family men."
This is interesting. Tolkien's mother "Converted" from "Protestantism" to Catholic like us. After his parents died he and his brother were raised by Priests. Over the next three days Daisy has me scheduled to look up and write about the 16th century "Protestant Reformation."
Hey God! It says here in this Encyclopedia about how that guy C.S. Lewis at first didn't believe in You. But then he became a Christian like us. In book three the day after tomorrow on Saturday I'm going to write more about J.R.R. Tolkien and his friend C.S. Lewis.
My Encyclopedia says Tolkein did not like how machines and what they call "Industrialism" was replacing traditional "rural" living. My boss Mr. Steve says modern "Technology" is good but the bad part is it's slowly taking the "soul" or "humanity" out of things like music.
It says here J.R.R. Tolkien preferred a time when things were "simpler and more clear cut." I just looked up Industrialism. It mainly means people going to "live in cities" and "bigger and more advanced machines used for "organized production." I smell a Joshua tree.
Mr. Steve still plays the drums. Daisy says lately he's been playing along to this song called "20th Century Man" by a British band called the KINKS. Dais thinks the KINKS are one of my boss's favorite bands. I've only heard a few of their songs but I sort of like them now too.
Dais told me she thinks the KINK'S song 20th Century Man is about "longing" for England when it was not so "modern." Mr. Steve thinks it's about the latter part of the 18th century or maybe even the late 16th century when that writer Shakespeare was writing his plays.
One time Daisy got to sit in my boss's Bedroom and listen to him play drums to 20th century Man. She really liked it. Someday I want to do that to! Daisy told me that our boss has what's called an "affinity" for the things of the past. I hear Birds chirping out in the desert.
Mr. Steve says since moving up here he's come to more appreciate that KINK'S song 20th century Man. In book two tomorrow I'll write about a 1977 trip Mr. Steve and his brother Rock took back east. They rented a Car and for a few days drove all around "New York City."
One word Mr. Steve uses to describe New York City is "conjested." That means its crowded with too many people. When his parents moved to Sylmar back in 1960 it was mainly dirt roads he told me. But now Los Angeles is beginning to feel more and more like New York City.
Daisy told me about how the KINKS have this what they call "Album" called "The Village Green Preservation Society." It was made in the 1960's she thinks and is about how the singer Ray Davies "longed" for a "simpler time." I really want to hear an album someday.
Mr. Steve has this astounding machine in his Bedroom called a "Turntable." That's what Daisy says. It's used for playing music that comes out of these flat, round black "Discs" made of "Vinyl" she says. People are so amazing in the things they figure out how to do!
Over the years when Mr. Steve has expressed concern for technology "taking over" he's been jokingly called a "Luddite." In this Encyclopedia it says in the early 19th century British "Textile Workers" like Rug Weavers revolted against the factory owners.
My Encyclopedia says until the late 18th century many poor English people "earned their living" making things like blankets out of wool. But the "Industrial Revolution" happened and machines replaced them. A Crow just cawed faintly way out there in the desert.
PAINTING BY PETER JACKSON
When those British Weavers lost their jobs to all of the new machines I guess they got really mad. So they decided to go out at night and break into the Factories and Mills to destroy those machines. There are two good pictures of when they did that here in this Encyclopedia.
I guess those workers were called "Luddites" because supposedly one of their leaders was named Ned Ludd. He was a late 1700's teenager who got angry with his father and then broke a machine. The Luddites period lasted form 1812 through 1816. I smell a Lizard.
The British Government finally sent in soldiers to stop the Luddites. They killed some of them and captured and hung others. Mr. Steve doesn't believe in breaking machines but says he can sort of sympathize with those all of those British Luddites. I now see the Lizard.
Boy! This is so great learning new things. These Encyclopedias are going to come in really handy as they say. I'll learn so many new things over the next three days. I want to believe that this is going to be fun. Thank You God for these Dictionaries and Encyclopedias.
Aha! No wonder Mr. Steve likes J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Like him, they both studied Greek "Mythology," Irish-Celtic history, Christian "Mysticism" and the Viking "Sagas." Over the next three days I'll learn more about those subjects too. The Lizard is gone now.
Hey God! As You know, from a "selfish perspective," I'm learning mainly to read and write for myself. But I kind of hope others might also want to go out and learn new things too. I sort of want to share my knowledge with others like my boss does. I smell a Joshua tree.
VIKINGS VIKING "LONGSHIP"
If I ever get over my fear of going down the Hallway into Mr. Steve's Office and Bedroom I'll see the model he built of a Viking "Longship." It was the Boat that allowed the Vikings to do what they did from the 8th through the 13th centuries. I'll write about it later.
According to this one Encyclopedia, both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis fought in the British Army and survived the "carnage" of "World War I." Both were "heavily influenced" by their "harrowing" experiences in what was supposed to be the "War To End All Wars."
As I said earlier, I plan on writing about the two world wars of the 20th century throughout my three books; especially in books two and three. At least that's how Dais has me scheduled in our three outlines. But, who knows? I can change my mind if I feel like it. I smell Sage.
ERNEST HEMINGWAY (1899-1961)
There's a famous American writer named Ernest Hemingway. He also fought in the "First World War" and like Tolkien and Lewis never forgot what he saw, smelled and heard. Millions of soldiers died in and around what are called "Trenches" during that brutal war.
My Encyclopedia says in July of 1916 J.R.R. Tolkien fought at a really big battle near the "Somme" River in France. There were over a million "Casualties" on both sides. Almost sixty thousand British soldiers died in one day! A Squirrel went under Moe the middle Shed.
It says here Tolkien and Lewis studied that old "Anglo-Saxon" story "Beowulf." Mr. Steve has read it. It's about a Swedish Viking "hero" named Beowulf who travels over to Denmark to help a King whose people are being killed and eaten by a monster named "Grendel."
In Beowulf, after killing Grendel, Beowulf has to then kill Grendel's really mean mother and after that this giant Dragon. This is interesting. Even though Beowulf is about Vikings it was actually written in England in about the 9th century A.D. The Squirrel ran away.
I wonder if there's really such a thing as a Dragon? And I wonder how flames are able to come right out of their mouths. From what Daisy says, even though she's never seen a real life Dragon, some Dragons have have sharp beaks like a Bird and horns like a Goat.
I guess Tolkien's book The Hobbit has a scary Dragon in it. Dais says Mr. Steve has books on the history of Dragons from all over the world. He says it's not just Vikings who have what they call "legends" about Dragons. A small Bunny Rabbit just hopped past the big tree.
The Chinese and many other cultures also have stories about Dragons. I sure would like to see a real Dragon! But Daisy told me our boss thinks there's really no such thing as a fire-breathing Dragon. She says a while back that he said Dragons probably never existed.
SPINOSAURUS TERASAUR TRICERATOPS
Daisy says Mr. Steve suspects that for years people found Dinosaur bones and thought they were from Dragons. After all he says, nobody even knew what a Dinosaur was until the 1800's. Daisy thinks Quail and Chickens walk and move like two-legged Dinosaurs.
I think Mr. Steve is right! When you watch Chickens and Quail you can almost see in what's called "small scale" a little Tyranisaurus Rex walking around. If a Chicken was thirty feet tall they would be very scary. Oh! I just saw Able Company going out into the desert.
I'd love to see a real Dinosaur! But Daisy tells me not to kid myself. she says if we did see a Dragon or Dinosaur we might have to fight it and might just get eaten. And if we had to fight off a Dragon we wouldn't even get close to it because we'd get burned up first.
As many things as come in threes, Mr. Steve, Daisy and I have also noticed how many things come in two's; like Yin and Yang. Our boss talks about "duality," or "two-sided coins" and "double-edged knives." Mr. Steve collects knives and coins. I'm kind of afraid of knives!
For some reason I keep thinking about how important the number 3 is. Based on all of the notes in my three long outlines I'm sure going to write about that for the next three days. Three seems to come up an awful lot in history. At least that's what my boss thinks.
My boss thinks music is so important. But, like most things, it can have two sides. Mr. Steve told me that in his subjective opinion many, if not most good things in man's history have ended up also being used for bad purposes. Music is no different he told me one time.
Music can be used to make you feel happy or inspire you to hate; which for many people in history has also made them happy. At least that's what Mr. Steve told me. Hey God. As You of course know; many people use music as one of the ways for worshiping You!
In my boss's opinion in man's history hate and violence is actually much more common than love or peace. And what they call "revenge" is one of the most important motivators in people's history he told me. Brutality has always been very common Mr. Steve says.
One time my boss saw a Documentary about World War I. A phrase which he remembers from that show was; "Human ingenuity knows no bounds when it comes to killing in war." He thought about that and now agrees that statement is obviously very true.
People killing people is bad Mr. Steve thinks. But in this "temporal" world of the "here and now;" the world we see, smell, touch, hear and feel; killing has been quite normal. People like Kings and Queens at times have to kill for "practical" reasons. I hear a Crow cawing.
We live in the most "affluent" country ever on earth Mr. Steve says. So we have the "luxury" of "tolerance." But that could end. There will never be a time when some leaders don't want to "dominate;" sometimes because of "ideology;" or at times because they just like violence.
Mr. Steve likes what they call "Three Piece" bands; musical groups who use only bass, drums and guitar. He told me one time about how he's noticed that many of the fundamental or basic guitar "Chords" are made up of three individual "Notes" all played together.
One band my boss listens to is ZZ TOP from Texas. They play Blues and "Boogie" Rock and Roll. For years Mr. Steve has tried to play drums along to some of their songs. As I said earlier, Mr. Steve's brother Rock and his sons Rocky Jr. and Jacob live over in Texas.
Z Z TOP
The only time I hear music is when Mr. Steve does yard work and plays his "Boombox." So I've only heard a few ZZ Top songs. But the ones I heard I do like. Daisy also likes ZZ Top. She says two of them have long beards and the one who doesn't last name is Beard.
California is known for "producing" many types of music and so is Texas where ZZ Top are from. Mr. Steve's brother Rock, who's a really good photographer, now lives in Texas with his two sons; Rocky Junior and Jacob. They have two Dogs he says. I smell a Mouse.
Mr. Steve says he's noticed that luck, both good and bad, often comes in three's. That's not to say it's always true he says but in his life that's been a pattern which has affected him. When he has bad luck he usually just tries to "lay low" until it "blows over" as they say.
I've heard my boss talk about the Chinese concept of "Chi;" or "Qi" in Chinese. Originally the letter representing Chi had three lines in it but now has more. Chi means "life force." Mr. Steve says many other cultures also believe in the idea behind Chi. I see the Mouse.
Our boss jokes he, Daisy and I are sort of like "Three Musketeers." In the 19th century this French writer Alexander Dumas wrote a book called "The Three Musketeers." Tomorrow in my second book I'll write about another book he wrote called "Man in the Iron Mask."
This is so great! I can use my French Dictionary to look up "Les Trois Mousquetaires." That means Three Musketeers my boss said. The Musketeers were: Athos, Porthos and Aramis. I'm "Athos," Daisy is "Aramis" and our boss is "Porthos." The Mouse just ran away.
ALEXANDER DUMAS (1802-1870) WITH WIFE THREE MUSKETEERS
My boss has a fencing sword just like the one the Three Musketeers used to use. It's called a "Foil" or "Rapier." He's collected "blades" all of his life so has a collection of what are called "replica" weapons; including these long poles called "Spears." I smell a Joshua tree.
Daisy told me that Mr. Steve also has some military helmets and hats. He even has this one called a "Stasi" police helmet from "East" Germany. This helmet is famous from pictures taken since 1945 when World War II ended; after the Soviet Union took over eastern Germany.
Daisy and I noticed that German has some long words where one word is two or three words all in one. "Staatssicherheitsdienst" means "State Security Service." But they just shorten it to "Stasi." Boy! I'm so glad I have this German Dictionary to use in the next three days.
Ever since he was a kid growing up in Los Angeles my boss has built these little "miniature" models; Soldiers, Cars, Warships and things like that. Daisy says in the Guest Bedroom inside the house our Chief has some of his models sitting on two bookshelves.
From what Dais told me, Mr. Steve has always liked to draw. He's drawn a lot of what they call "Logos" and "Emblems" over the years. Even though he's old now he still enjoys coloring pictures and painting things like the models he builds. I smell Sage.
My boss is what they call "single." Others sometimes "feel sorry" for him but he tells them not to because he prefers it. He jokes that he never goes out on "dates" so his entertainment is now watching Birds and doing the many forms of artwork he's always working on.
Inside our house, on the front wall facing the Living Room, Mr. Steve has this plastic model of the Moon. You can put these little things called "Batteries" inside so the Moon's "face" will then light up and "cycle" through the three "phases." I hear some Birds chirping.
That one plastic Moon inside our house changes from light to dark to light just like the real Moon does. But of course it changes phases a lot faster than the actual Moon does. Looking to the east I can see that the Sun is now bright. There are some wispy clouds too.
When Daisy and I go into the living room on Saturday mornings to watch our cartoons we also look at that model of the Moon too. I really like looking at the Moon at night. My boss says up here in the desert, because of the darkness, you can really see the Moon at night.
I know about the three Moon phases; "Waxing," " Full" and "Waning." And now, because of my boss, I've also come to think of the three phases as representing or "symbolizing" birth, life, and death. I think of the twenty hour day like that; sunup, daylight, then night.
Hey God! As You know Mr. Steve says the force You created called "gravity" is so important in this "physical" or "temporal" world. He says that if the Moon were not up there "balancing" the "rotation" and "revolution" of the Earth we couldn't have any life down here.
A Mockingbird just landed on Manny the far right Shed. Right now it's imitating a Sparrow for some reason. Sometimes Mockingbirds mimic Finches too I've noticed. I wonder if it could make a barking sound like us Dogs? That Mockingbird just flew away into the desert.
Dais says at the far end of the hallway in our house hangs a Sun / Moon "Plaque." It has the Sun and Moon in one circle. The Moon is white, the Sun is gold. Daisy thinks of it as kind of a symbol for the dual sides of our lives. Mr. Steve drew it in black ink a while back.
From what my boss told me there were many ancient cultures that studied the skies at night. So to them the Moon and Stars were very important. One place where they really looked closely at the night sky was called "Mesopotamia." It's in the "Middle East."
In my Encyclopedia it says that in Greek Mesopotamia means "land between two rivers." And those two rivers are the "Tigris" and "Euphrates" rivers. The land between those two rivers was called the "Fertile Crescent" because the "soil" was so good. Soil means dirt.
The Babylonians studied the Moon and Stars my boss says. And so have many other cultures all over the world. Because it gets so dark around here at night Daisy thinks Mr. Steve should go out and buy one of those telescope things. He has three sets of "binoculars."
On our two acres we have statues and these concrete "slabs" called "stelaes." These statues and stelaes represent the four areas where "civilization" first developed in the world; China, India, Mesopotamia and Egypt. My boss told me all four regions are near rivers.
Modern civilization began about 4,000 B.C. it says in my Encyclopedia. This meant people, for the first time in history, "settled down" and lived permanently in one spot rather than always having to move from one place to another searching for food and water.
Mr. Steve told me reading and writing started about 4000 B.C. He has this miniature replica Sumerian "Cuneiform" tablet. Cuneiform was one of the first forms of writing and it's "wedge-shaped" letters pressed into soft clay. If I learn to read and write I'll be civilized!
Mr. Steve now likes it up here in the High Desert. There are fewer people, Cars and way less noise. It would be hard for him to give up the silence that is a part of living up here. Mr. Steve has learned to appreciate that one phrase "Silence is Golden" from his father.
The desert is "not for everyone" but seems good for "meditating" or thinking. That's what my boss Mr. Steve says. Sometimes he sits in a chair back here on the Patio and just listens and thinks. Daisy and I like when he does that because he pets us a lot more than usual.
My boss and Daisy think life's difficulties can at times be put in their "proper perspective" by thinking about nature's "awesome beauty and scale." Mr. Steve talks about what he calls the "timelessness" of the desert all around us. I really like our land too!
This desert that I'm looking at right now was here before us and will be here after we're long gone my boss says. We're just temporary"Caretakers" he tells us. The Joshua trees I'm looking at will probably still be living when someone else comes to live here after we're dead.
God, You know of course that Daisy believes nature seems proof of something bigger than ourselves. She thinks "in the overall scheme of the Universe" we're like little Ants "scurrying around." I sometimes think about that when I look up at the Stars at night.
Oh! There goes one of those pretty orange, black and white Butterflies. Mr. Steve calls them "Monarch" Butterflies. He read that Butterflies taste with their feet. Daisy heard that seeing a Butterfly is a sign of good luck so now I really want to believe in that too!
To Daisy Butterflies symbolize life's changes. To my boss Butterflies represent the cycle of life, death and resurrection because they start out in one form and end up in another prettier form. I sure wish Daisy were here right now to see that Butterfly.
My boss jokes that our "small patch of land" is our tiny "Kingdom" or relative "Utopia." You might say our two acres is our “Shangri-la." Both Daisy and I have never lived anywhere but a desert so we can't compare it to anything else but we sure do like it!
WILLIAM RANDOLPH HEARST (0000-0000)
Daisy and I know about "Xanadu" in China. And tomorrow in book two I'll write about this one really rich man named William Randolph Hearst. I guess he named his giant mansion up in Northern California Xanadu. That one Butterfly just flew out into the desert.
Mr. Steve told me about an Italian man named Marco Polo. He traveled all the way over to China in the 13th century and then wrote a book about it. He visited Xanadu. Later today I'll write about "Kublai Khan" the Emperor of China then. He was a "Mongol."
MARCO POLO (1254-1324 A.D.)
My Encyclopedia says Marco Polo and his uncles were "Merchants." They went all the way to China to trade Italian things for Chinese silk but ended up staying there for many years. Two centuries later that man Christopher Columbus read Marco Polo's book.
Growing up my boss says he and his friends and brothers and sisters played a game in the swimming pool called "Marco Polo." A person outside the pool closed their eyes and held a ball. He or she would yell out "Marco!" And those in the pool would say "Polo!"
The "object of the game was for the person with the ball to hit someone in the pool with that ball based on hearing their voices. But you can duck under the water. Mr. Steve says he was good at playing Marco Polo; whether throwing the ball or trying to avoid being hit.
But my boss told me, as much as he's always enjoyed swimming, he can't go in pools anymore because he has bad skin which "breaks out" when this thing called "Chlorine" gets on it. And the same is true for the salt water in Oceans. He still enjoys going to the beach though.
At first neither Daisy or I knew what Utopia meant. But our boss then told us it's the name of a now famous book written in the 16th century by this man from England named Thomas More. In his book Thomas More wrote about a possible perfect world of the future.
Now Daisy and myself even know what the word "Dystopia" means! That means to have a bad world of the future. In order to spell them correctly I just used my big English Dictionary to look up Utopia and Dystopia. It so great learning all these new things!
Thank goodness Dais and I don't have to worry about things like food, water, and what's call "shelter." All we're responsible for is guarding our property. Mr. Steve takes care of everything else around here. A small Ground Squirrel just ran bye in front of the three Sheds.
Hey God! As You know I really like guarding our two acres. Dais said she'll keep an eye on things so I can write my three books without any what they call "distractions." But I've still got to stay alert just in case something comes up. I was meant to guard our land.
Shade, like back here on this patio, is our Utopia on hot days; while this old couch and the inside of the garage are our Utopia's when it's cold. Also, I have my dugout area along the north side of the house but, I've been spending more time here lately.
Daisy and I are becoming “observers of life;” just like our boss is. We also now look for clues about things. I love clues! Both Daisy and I are always looking for things which might teach us about "life's lessons." Mr. Steve says life is part mystery; for good and bad.
Wow! The time is going by sop fast. I've already learned some new things today. This is so great! Thank You Everyone. Oh! And of course thank you too Stanley for guarding over me. I have a feeling that I'm going to really need all of You Guys for the next three days.
We call our two acres "CÓRDOVA;" Mr. Steve's, and now Daisy and my last name. Mr. Steve told me that our name originated in this one country in Europe called "Spain," or "España" in Spanish. Córdova might mean "hill" or "river" in what they call "Old Iberian." Dais told me that our boss has books on Spain and it's history. Because of it's location Spain has always been very important. The ancient Romans conquered it and later the Muslims invaded and "occupied" the area. A nice cool breeze just came in off of the eastern desert.
I'm looking at a map of Spain here in my Encyclopedia. And I can see that there's a city in southern Spain called "Córdoba." It's in this one region called "Andalusia," or "Andalucía" in Spanish. "Al-Andalus" is Arabic for "to become greener at the end of the Summer."
In history my boss told me, Andalusia has at times been a rich area but at other times a poor area where most people and Dogs died young. Just like it is up here in the High Desert, at times the weather can be kind of "harsh" over there in southern Spain he says.
An area of Andalusia is "Castille," or "Castilla" in Spanish. Some people from New Mexico, where Mr. Steve's parents are from; speak in what they call a "Dialect" of "Castilian" Spanish. I guess "Castillo" is "Castle" in English. I just looked it up in my Spanish Dictionary.
Mr. Steve's mom's best friend in life is her Cousin named Beaatrice. They've known each other all of their lives and are about the same age. Beatrice or "Bee" as some call her, married a man whose last name is Castillo. I'll write about their family tomorrow in book two.
Mr. Steve's first language is English but he knows a lot of words in Spanish and other languages too. I'm going to use all of my Dictionaries over the next three days whenever I need to learn how to spell words. I even have a Dictionary for Latin words.
My boss read that Christopher Columbus spoke with a "Castilian" accent even though he was supposedly from Italy. My Encyclopedia says he lived in "CÓRDOBA" Spain; which is where our named comes from. Oh! Christopher Columbus' wife was named "Beatrice."
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS' FLAG
Mr. Steve told me he read that Columbus never wrote any letters in Italian even though he was supposedly originally from this town in northwest Italy called "Genoa." And he says some people suspect Columbus was really what they call a "Catalonian." Catalonia is another area in Spain. My boss says some have wondered how, if Columbus came from a lower class Italian family, he got to marry a girl from an upper class or "noble" family when he was in Spain? In the late-15th century this was not really allowed.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (1451-1506)
If I could go back in time using Mr. Peabody's time traveling machine one era I'd go back to is when Christopher Columbus was alive. I see his picture here in my Encyclopedia and he looks like an interesting person. I know Mr. Steve is interested in the 16th century too.
English is Mr. Steve's what they call "first" language. "Primera" means first in Spanish. But he can understand many Spanish words. His Grandparents spoke both Spanish and English and so do his parents. He jokes that he's what they call a "Pocho." Mr. Steve says he's learning Spanish "Little by Little." Daisy and I want to learn Spanish too! It would be "beneficial" as they say. I know one thing; I'm so lucky that Daisy found all of these good Dictionaries for me to use. I hear a lot of Birds chirping away right now.
The countries of Spain and Portugal are located on the "Iberian" peninsula; which has been described as a land of "extreme heat" and "dark moonlit night skies" my boss told me one time. The ancient Romans called the area"Iberia." I just looked up the word peninsula.
Mr. Steve says that the Iberian peninsula has a long and what's called "colorful" history of peace; but also bloody conflict and poverty. There have been times when people got along but many more times when they killed and slaughtered each other. According to my Encyclopedia Andalusia has seen a lot of history, both good and bad. The Celts, Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, Muslims and finally the "Spanish" lived there. From the 16th century through the 1700's Spain was a world power but has been "in decline" since.
Mr. Steve says that our last name might be "Phoenician." The Phoenicians were what's called a "Seafaring" people who dominated and "Colonized" the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times. But they probably started out from the area now called "Lebanon" my boss told me.
It says in my Encyclopedia that one Phoenician group was called the "Carthaginians." They colonized the area which is now Spain; as well the islands of Sicily and Crete and areas around the Mediterranean Sea. I just picked up the scent of some of our Joshua trees.
In the "Old Testament" there was a group of people called "Philistines." I remember when Mr. Steve said that some historians think the Philistines may have been Phoenicians. If we could just travel back in time then we could find out if they were or not.
According to my Encyclopedia, in the ancient world when Rome started moving out of Italy and conquering areas around the Mediterranean Sea their biggest "rival" was Carthage. They even fought three really big wars against Carthage called the "Punic" wars.
Punic is a Latin word. My Dictionary it says it means Phoenician. Rome and Carthage fought each other on land and sea. At first the Carthaginians had the advantage fighting on the water. A gray Squirrel just ran past right in front of our three Sheds.
"PUNIC" WARS (SEA BATTLE)
This is interesting. It says here that one time the Romans captured a Carthaginian Ship and used it as a guide in building their warships. But they added these wooden "ramps" that folded down so their soldiers could more easily go onto Carthage's ships to fight.
I guess Carthage's "Capital" city was in North Africa. My Encyclopedia says that Rome and Carthage fought their three bloody wars from from 264 B.C. through 146 B.C. Many people died. Daisy says our boss has a replica "Gladius" sword. It's really heavy she said.
"Punic" is Latin for "Phoenician." The Romans spoke Latin so wherever they conquered to this day those languages are based on Latin. Three of them are France, Italy and Spain. I know one thing for sure, I'm glad I have my Latin Dictionary. I can smell a Sage plant.
In the Punic wars I guess the Romans had the advantage on land while Carthage was better equipped to use their more advanced warships on the water. I remember when Mr. Steve told me that, whether on land or sea, the battles were extremely bloody and violent.
When the Romans captured that Carthaginian warship they did what my boss calls "reverse engineering." This means they took it apart and then rebuilt it to see how it was made. So they adapted their Ships to, "in effect," fight land battles on the decks of Ships.
I liked it when Mr. Steve told me about this famous Carthaginian General named "Hannibal Barca." He was a really good leader whose father was also a General my boss says. Both father and son really hated Rome and killed many Romans during their lifetimes.
HANNIBAL BARCA (247-183 B.C.)
According to my Encyclopedia that man Hannibal's father hated Romans so much he made his nine year old son "swear" he'd do everything he could to destroy their empire. And I guess Hannibal took that "Oath" very seriously! I also take oaths seriously too.
It says here that in the Second Punic war, in 218 B.C.; Hannibal invaded Italy by going from Spain through the high "Alps" mountains; and then down into Italy. And he took some War Elephants with his army. That's amazing! I'd never want to fight a big giant Elephant!
SECOND "PUNIC" WAR
Dais told me if we ever have to fight an Elephant we'd attack it from the rear. Or, working as a team, one of us could distract it while the other goes for its stomach. It would be "suicidal" to attack "Head On" as they say. I hear Crows cawing out in the desert to the east.
In book two tomorrow Dais has me scheduled to write about how the Germans in World War II used modern "Blitzkrieg" or "Lightning War" tactics to conquer most of Europe from 1939 through 1941. Lightning War is a "War of Movement" or what's called "Open War."
In book two I'll write about George S. Patton and Erwin Rommel. Both fought in World War I and had the "foresight" to see how the primitive Tanks of that war would be important in "the next war;" which ended up being the Second World War. I smell a Joshua tree.
My Dictionary says "Strategy" is the "overall" goal in war or the game of "Chess." And "Tactics" are the particular things done to obtain the strategic goal. Over the next three days those two words will be kind of important I have a feeling. I hear some Crows cawing.
This Encyclopedia says once Hannibal made it down into Italy in 218 B.C. he then beat the Romans in a "series" of battles. In the "Battle of Cannae" he used this one tactic called "Double Envelopment" to annihilate a Roman Army of 85,000 men. I can smell a Lizard.
As I mentioned earlier, tomorrow in book two Dais has me scheduled to write about the two "Persian Gulf" wars of 1991 and 2003. In both of those wars the United States fought Iraq led by that guy Sadam Hussein. Those Crows are still squawking away out there.
I guess in 1991 this one American General named Norman Swartzkoff beat Sadam Hussein's army. Later he said in doing it he thought about what that guy Hannibal had done back in 216 B.C. in beating that one giant Roman army at Cannae. I see the Lizard now.
SUN TZU (554-496 B.C.) CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ (1780-1831)
The Double Envelopment tactic was written about by a Chinese man named Sun Tzu in his book "The Art of War." In the 18th century a "Prussian" German, Karl von Clausewitz, also described it in his book "Vom Krieg" or "On War. Oh! I can see the Lizard now.
Over the next three day I'll use Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz's books; especially in books two and three. My Encyclopedia says in World War II the Germans used, on a big scale, the idea of Double Envelopment to conquer whole countries. That Lizard just ran under a rock.
Daisy says our boss knows people who have fought in America's most recent wars in Iraq and this other country called "Afghanistan." In 1991, in the "First Gulf War, General Shwartzkoff thought of Double Envelopment in using "Shock and Awe" to beat Sadam Hussein.
Even though it's not on my outline, because I'm thinking about Hannibal's Elephants I feel like writing about this thing called an "Elephant" Fish. According to my Encyclopedia it comes from Western Africa. Oh wow! Here's a good picture of an Elephant Fish.
PHOTO BY C. HOPKINS
For much of his life Mr. Steve "kept" and "maintained" "Fish Tanks" or "Aquariums." So he's had a lot of different types of Fish. And for a time he had one of those Elephant Fish. Boy, Elephant Fish really do kind of look like a little Elephant with a trunk!
Daisy says one time our boss told her and that other Dog Millie about his Elephant Fish. He said the nose is really just part of the mouth. My Encyclopedia says it uses that long mouth for what's called "Echo Location" of food by shooting out an electrical "impulse."
Mr. Steve says what looks like a trunk on the Elephant Fish is actually it's top lip. It uses it to "Forage" or dig down into the fine gravel to "Root Out" Worms or Brine Shrimp that's down there. A group of Sparrows just flew past; moving toward the eastern desert.
Well, my boss was right. He told Daisy and Millie that Elephant Fish are kind of "fragile." It says here they do need a big Fish Tank that holds at least fifty gallons; and the water condition has to be really good. Two of the Pigeons just flew past the three Sheds. According to Mr. Steve at first his Elephant Fish was kind of "timid" and afraid. It didn't like the light so he put in things that it could hide in or around. And he went out and bought this one clear plastic thing called a "Ghost Tube" for that Elephant Fish to go inside of. My boss told Daisy and Millie that, as long as it had "plenty of room," his Elephant Fish got along with the other Fish in that tank. In fact, that timid Elephant Fish later let Mr. Steve hold it in his hands. Oh! I just thought of something else I want to write about. "ELEPHANT" TANK
Dais told me Mr. Steve has a model in his office of a World War II German Tank called an "Elephant" Tank. This one Encyclopedia says that the Elephant Tank was called a "Schwerer Panzerjäger" which translates as "Tank Hunter" or "tank Destroyer" in English.
According to wehat it says here in this Encyclopedia the actual name of the Elephant Tank was "Sd. Kfz. 184 Elefant." It was made by a Car manufacturing company owned by this man named Ferdinand Porsche. He was a friend of that guy Adolph Hitler. I smell Sage.
I like when my Encyclopedia's have pictures to go along with the writing. And in this picture that Elephant Tank does look kind of like an Elephant. But the trunk is actually a powerful "88 millimeter" cannon. I'll write a lot more about the "88" tomorrow in book two.
I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? He probably does. It says here in this Encyclopedia the German Elephant Tank was used in 1943 in the biggest Tank battle in all of history. And even though the Russians beat the Germans it destroyed hundreds of Russian Tanks.
BATTLE OF KURST (JULY, 1943)
PAINTING BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN
This is interesting. My Encyclopedia says not only was the Battle of Kursk the biggest Tank battle of all time; it was also the greatest "Air Battle" of all time too. Wow! Half a million men died in just one battle at Kursk! I hear some Crows cawing faintly.
Well, it's back to the outline for me. I didn't intend to write about Elephant's that much but at least I then learned about the Battle of Kursk. On my outlines I have scheduled to write about what happened during World War II a lot more in books two and three.
There are no "Set in Stone" rules for my writing Daisy says. I'll follow my outlines as much as possible but also write things I think of as I "go along." But now I'll just go back to writing about Spain because Mr. Steve is interested in that subject because of our name. It says here in this Encyclopedia that since what they call "Pre-Historic" times the Iberian peninsula on which Spain and Portugal are located has been "inhabited" by people. I just picked up the really strong scent of a Ground Squirrel somewhere around here.
Since Pre-Historic times then there have been many invasions by groups who conquered what's called the "Iberian" peninsula where Spain and Portugal are located. A peninsula is land that sticks out into or is "surrounded by water." That's what my Dictionary says.
Mr. Steve says some people think that late in the Pre-Historic period our last name Córdova may have been brought to Spain by these people called "Persians." But he says it seems hard to believe because Persia was so far away. I see the Squirrel under Moe the middle Shed.
Mr. Steve says another "theory" about the name Córdova is that it comes from the "Basque" word "gordoa" which means "a pasture of golden oats." Basques have their own language and want to be independent. They live in the mountains between Spain and France.
Whatever it's origin, Dais and I really like our last name. We would never ever change it. It's a name that's famous all over the world. But some spell it as Córdoba instead of Córdova. And some people put "de" before it. That Squirrel just ran out into the eastern desert.
FRED DE CÓRDOVA (1910-2001)
Mr. Steve's parents have good friends from New Mexico whose last name is "de Córdova." I'll write more about them tomorrow. And Mr. Steve told me one time how what they call the "Producer" of the Johnny Carson "Tonight Show" was named Fred de Córdova.
My Encyclopedia says Córdoba is not only the name of a city in Spain; but is also a "sierra" in the "province" of Andalusia. Wow! It says here that the city of Córdoba is one of the oldest in all of Europe. Two of our Pigeons just flew out into the eastern desert.
Daisy says Mr. Steve is re-reading this book he has about a famous Bullfighter named Manuel "Manolo" Beñitez. His nickname is "El Córdobes" because he was originally from an area just south of the city of Córdoba Dais told me. I've never seen a real Bull before.
Daisy says Mr. Steve once told her and that other Dog Millie about El Córdobes. He grew up really poor in this small "Village" just south of Córdoba. His father was what's called a "Day Llaborer" who picked Olives while his mother was a hard-working housewife.
Usually he does the work himself but sometimes my boss hires workers to do the "annual" cleaning of our fenced in two acres. One was this man from Mexico who's name was "Esteban;" which is Spanish for "Steven." Mr. Esteban knew who El Córdobes was.
My Encyclopedia says that Andalusia is known for producing Bullfighters. For most my boss says, this dangerous way to "earn a living" was one of the few ways to escape poverty. And for El Córdobes this was especially true. It says here many have died from a Bull's horns. Mr. Steve says way back in 1936 Spain had a really bloody what they call "civil" war. And in that war the "Left" as they say was made up of "Socialists" and "Communists." Those who were fighting for the "Right" wanted a "Monarch;" which means a King.
My Encyclopedia says that in 1936, three years before World War II started, the Spanish went into their civil war. That was the same year that guy El Córdobes was born. That was also one year after Mr. Steve's mother was born. A Rabbit just ran under Moe the middle Shed.
Dais says our boss once told her and Millie that both of El Córdobes' parents ended up dying because of the Spanish civil war. So his oldest sister was forced to "raise" the four other kids. In 1940 a bad "famine" forced them to eat grass soup Daisy told me.
I just noticed that I accidentally skipped over one of the topics on my outline I was supposed to learn and then write about. That is, how the ancient Romans first conquered and then took over power in Spain. One Roman who went to Spain was a man named Julius Caesar. GAIUS JULIUS CAESAR ( 100 B.C.- 44 B.C.)
Mr. Steve says he wonders if, as a young man, many years before becoming Emperor, Julius Caesar, from Horseback, hunted wild Bulls in Andalusia. The region has always been known for its really big, what they call "ferocious" Bulls. I think I'd be afraid of a Bull!
In this Encyclopedia it says Rome occupied the area that is now Spain for a few centuries. For a long time they fought Carthage for control there. Mr. Steve says to this day you can go over to Spain and see things that were originally built by the ancient Romans.
For hundreds of years only males were allowed to be Bullfighters. But now my boss says there are a few girl Bullfighters. And they've proven to everyone that females can be just as brave as their male what they call "counterparts." Daisy and I sure do want to be brave!
There are pictures in this Encyclopedia of female Bullfighters. The Bulls are shown charging with horns. Mr. Steve told me a girl Bullfighter probably weighs about one hundred and thirty pounds. But some Bulls weigh well over a thousand pounds. I smell a Sage plant.
One of the many nicknames Mr. Steve has for Daisy is "el Toro" or "the Bull" in Spanish. He jokes that if Daisy were in the "Mafia" she'd be called Daisy "the Bull" Córdova. Tomorrow in book two I'll write a lot more about the history of the American "Mob."
Daisy does have a really strong neck and is kind of built like a little Bull; or a small Bear. She could probably be a Football or Rugby player Mr. Steve jokes. She weighs nearly one hundred pounds and is very hard to move when her feet are planted. I love Dais!
Mr. Steve has a customer in Florida who's favorite team is the Miami "Dolphins." In the 1980's the Dolphins had this Quarterback named Dan Marino who had bad knees; but Mr. Steve says he dodged the players trying to tackle him like a Matador dodging a Bull.
According to my Encyclopedia the Romans conquered the area now called Spain from this group called the "Celts." But eventually the Romans lost Spain to other "Barbarian" tribes like the Germanic "Visigoths." I just picked up the scent of some Joshua trees.
The Romans conquered Andalusia from "Pagan" or Barbarian people like the Celts. The Greeks and later the Romans really "looked down" on the Barbarians Mr. Steve told me. My Dictionary says Pagan means that it's "one who has no religion."
From what I've heard from my boss Pagans actually do have religions but they were just different from the Greeks or Romans. Hey God? I guess many of the Pagans worshiped You in the natural world that you created. At least that's what Mr. Steve thinks. This is interesting. The word "vandalize" means "to destroy or damage" something. It comes from a time in the 5th century A.D. when the city of Rome was "sacked" by another German tribe called the "Vandals." The Vandals "pillaged" and "looted" the city. THE VANDALS :"SACK" ROME (455 A.D.)
My boss thinks many Americans are "over confident" about the security of their lives; just like the Romans were back in the 5th century. He thinks if you would have told most Romans in the 4th century that some day Rome would be taken they might've just laughed.
A lot of Americans think our affluent culture will never change. But as Mr. Steve told me, the Spanish of the 16th and 17th centuries probably never thought their Empire would fall some day either. All Empires have fallen my boss says. I smell a Mouse.
I guess Spain, like most of Europe now, is what my boss calls a "second rate" power. At one time though, in the two centuries after Columbus discovered the "New World," Spain had one of the most powerful "Empires" in the whole world. They were so rich back then.
But Mr. Steve told me Spain's Empire is "long gone" as they say. Today Spain has really high what they call "Unemployment;" which means people cannot find a job. Today Spain is a poor country. I now can see the Mouse standing in the dirt next to the big tree.
Seeing that Mouse over there makes reminds me that time when two Mice got into a fight over food. Dais and I watched them bite and scratch each other while rolling in the dirt. The "fur was flying" as they say. I can still remember all of that squeaking.
My Encyclopedia says that in 711 A.D. the Muslim "Moors" crossed over this place called "Gibraltar" and conquered Spain from North Africa. They invaded from the south, across the "straits." Then the Moors held Andalusia for about five hundred years.
My Encyclopedia says that in 711 A.D. when the Muslims first arrived in Andalusia there were Christians and even some Jews living in southern Spain. And for a few centuries at least they all got along. That Mouse just ran fast and went under Moe the middle Shed.
Hey God! As You know of course, Judaism, Christianity and also Islam are all what they call "monotheistic." That means they only believe in You instead of a lot of Gods. As I look out into the desert to the east behind our three Sheds I think I an feel Your presence.
I guess for centuries Andalusia "flourished" but by the 19th and 20th centuries it had been "reduced" to what they call "abject" poverty. My boss told me Spain's not doing so well right now as part of this thing called the "European Union." I smell some Joshua trees. That Italian man Christopher Columbus lived in the city of Córdoba for almost ten years while he waited for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to re-conquer Spain from the Moors. But after they did he finally got their permission to make his now famous voyage.
Christopher Columbus, or "Cristóbol Cólon" in Spanish, wrote that Córdoba was his favorite of all the Spanish cities. Córdoba has been called a "cosmopolitan" city because many types of people have lived there over the years. I'd like to go to Spain some day.
According to my Encyclopedia Christopher Columbus first asked the King of Portugal to let him try his idea of trying to reach the Orient by going west. But since he said not Columbus then went over to Spain to try to get King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to sponsor him.
COLUMBUS / ISABELLA / FERDINAND
After years of trying, Columbus was finally able to convince King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to finance his attempt to sail west in order to reach the Indies and all of its riches. In Spanish "Fernando" means Ferdinand while "Isabel" or "Ysabel" is Isabella.
In 1492 my boss says, Columbus sailed for what would come to be called the "New World." This was right after what's called the final re-conquest or "Reconquista" of Spain from the Muslim Moors who had occupied parts of Spain since the 8th century.
Mr. Steve says that, during the "Middle" or "Dark Ages," when London and Paris were mainly mud huts, Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world. In the Muslim world Córdoba was as important and influential as even Baghdad or Damascus!
In the 11th and 12th centuries, in Córdoba, for one of the few times in history, all three of the major religions who believe in only one God got along. But, as You know Lord, by the time of Columbus in the 15th century, everyone had gone back to fighting.
Mr. Steve told me the Spanish often put the name of the place they're from at the end of their family names. An example might be; "Antoñio López de Córdova." This might be exactly what happened many years ago in our own family my boss says.
Because Córdoba was a city where Christians "mingled" with Jews and Muslims Mr. Steve thinks there's a possibility our family might have either Jewish or Muslim blood in what's called the "D.N.A." I'm still not real clear on exactly what D.N.A. is.
In Spanish "de" means "from" or "of." And because "Córdova" was the last name listed on a document this was probably the name that "stuck" in our family my boss says. It could be our ancestors were Jews or Muslims trying to hide their real identity in the New World.
Mr. Steve told me Italians at times also put the place where they're from at the end of family names. That smart man from the time called the "Renaissance" named Leonardo da Vinci was from the town of "Vinci." Dais says our boss likes the three "Godfather" movies.
I guess the "The Godfather" movies are mainly about this one Italian "crime" family named "Corleone." They originally came to America from this big island called "Sicily." Like many Jews, a lot of Italians arrived in the United States at the turn of the last century.
From what Mr. Steve told me most of those Jewish and Italian "immigrants" who moved to America in the early 20th century were really poor. So they took a chance and came over here. And in those days there was a lot of prejudice against "foreigners."
My boss's friend Rick's family came to the United States from Italy through a place in New York City called "Ellis" Island. And his girlfriends Emily and then Harriet's Jewish relatives probably did the same. A nice cool breeze just blew in from the eastern desert.
Daisy says in the Godfather movies the main character comes to America from Italy, or this island called "Sicily." At Ellis Island when he gets off the boat he writes "Corleone" in the log as his last name. But Dais told me that Corleone was the town where he came from.
Mr. Steve jokes that if we ever go over to visit Spain Daisy and I would be; Daisy and Maggie Córdova "de" Piñon Hills! I sort of like the way that sounds. But Daisy says we couldn't go to Spain as long as I'm still afraid to even ride in a car. We couldn't get to the airport.
Hey God! As You know, a friend of Mr. Steve's went to Spain and visited Córdoba. He and his wife attended "Mass" in that one Christian Church which had for centuries been a Muslim "Mosque." A Mosque is like a Christian Church or Jewish Synagogue where you pray.
I'd like to pray in a Church God. Mr. Steve said the Mosque in Córdoba was so big it would have been too hard to destroy when the Spanish Christians recaptured Córdoba. They tried to get rid of anything to do with Islam. So they just built a Church inside the Mosque.
Mr. Steve's friend and his wife bought a "Souvenir" at the Mosque in Córdoba. They gave it to my boss when they got back to America. It's a beautiful little metal plate with some amazing Muslim "intricate" artwork on it Daisy told me. She says it's awesome to look at.
Dais told me if you keep looking at that little round metal plate from Córdoba you can get what they call "Mesmerized" and "Hypnotized" in the "detail." Muslims, like Jews and also Protestant Christians, don't really like using images of people in their religious beliefs.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Dais told me an Armenian band from the city of "Glendale" called SYSTEM OF A DOWN have albums called "Hypnotized" and "Mesmerized." I'll write about Glendale and that band "S.O.A.D" later over the course of the next three days. I hear Wrens chirping.
My boss says our name is known in “todo el mundo;” Spanish for “all of the world.” In many, if not most, of the countries of Central and South America there are towns and cities with our name. Even here in the United States; Alaska and Alabama have Córdova's.
Daisy and I like when our last name is pronounced correctly (Kawr DOH vah). Our boss told us that some of the Spanish "Conquistadores," or "Conquerors" in English, were from the area in southern Spain called "Andalusia" or "Castille." I smell one of the new Sage plants.
Some of the Spanish soldiers who ended up conquering all the Native peoples of Columbus's New World were from southern Spain. This was in the 16th century mainly. So wherever they went; so went our last name CÓRDOVA. At least that's what Mr. Steve thinks.
According to this Encyclopedia a man named Francisco Fernandez de Córdova explored the coast of Yucatan in 1517. Like Columbus, he was ship's "Navigator." Mr. Steve suspects he was probably working for a "Slave Trader" looking for Indians to capture.
In my Encyclopedia it says after Columbus landed in the "Caribbean" Ocean in 1492 the Spanish soon "Colonized" Cuba and other islands. And then in 1519 that man Hernando Cortéz took his army from Cuba and landed on the area now called "Mexico."
According to my Encyclopedia that guy Hernando Cortéz, or Córtes in Spanish; landed on
the east coast of Mexico in early 1519. Then he and his soldiers then marched "overland" to the amazing "Aztec" city built on a Lake called "Tenochtitlan." I can smell a Squirrel.
On their march westward, before they met the Aztecs, Cortéz and his men had to fight some of the other "Native" tribes who lived in Mexico. From what it says here there were some big bloody battles. I can hear some Crows fighting out there in the eastern desert.
Dais told me Mr. Steve has books on Cortez's conquest of the Aztec's in the 16th century. He thinks that was an important event which is influencing the world today. I can still hear those Crow's squawking behind our three Sheds. They're really yelling at each other.
This is interesting! It says here by 1521 Cortez had conquered the Aztecs so "established" the Spanish on the "mainland." But that was not easy. They had to fight bloody battles and a lot of the Spanish lost their lives. A Crow just cawed way out there in the eastern desert.
I better not write too much right now about that guy Hernando Cortéz. I know Daisy has me scheduled to write in more detail about what happened to the Aztecs back in 1519 through 1521. But that will be in book three on Saturday; the day after tomorrow. I can't wait!
My Encyclopedia has pictures of Spanish soldiers fighting Aztec warriors. I notice how the Spaniards have steel helmet and chest protectors. More importantly, he has steel weapons while the Aztecs have wooden shields and clubs. No wonder the Spanish eventually won that war.
Later today I'll write about the Horses Cortez used in 1519. The Aztecs had never seen a Horse before. In this picture even the Horse wears a steel breast plate. Dais says in the Guest Bedroom in the house our boss has one of those old Spanish helmets. But it's not real.
As I mentioned earlier, by 1600 the Spanish had "Settled" Mexico so sent people north to "Colonize" New Mexico; or "Nuevo Mejico" in Spanish. As I said, Mr. Steve's family can be "traced" to that area from about 1692. My boss still has some relatives back there.
As I said this morning, near the end of the 1600's, or 17th century, our name traveled from Mexico City up north to New Mexico. New Mexico's where my boss's parents were born but in 1961 they moved here to California. A big gray Squirrel just ran bye really fast.
Hey Lord! As You know, Mr. Steve's parents grew up in a small town called "Belen;" which means "Bethlehem" in Spanish. Belen is about thirty miles south of Albuquerque. El Córdobes the Bullfighter grew up on a road called "Calle Belen" or "Bethlehem Road."
My boss read El Córdobes had four "siblings," or brothers and sisters. " They grew up in an area where their "Patron Saint" was "Nuestra Señora de Belen" or "Our Lady of Bethlehem" in English. Daisy wants her patron saint to be Joan of Arc because she was so brave.
Mr. Steve thinks New Mexico is a "Metaphor" for the United States. There have been three cultures blending there for years. And "Spanglish," which is speaking in half English and half Spanish, is spoken all over New Mexico. I just picked up the scent of Sage.
Mr. Steve jokes that he can speak Spanglish. Some time back he met this older man who was from Columbus, New Mexico. He told my boss that the term Spanglish was first used way back in 1955; the year Mr. Steve was born. I hear our neighbor's Ducks quacking.
I'm tempted to write about the town of Columbus right now. But I better just wait and do it in book three day after tomorrow. That's when I'll talk about the time just before World War I and will learn about Pancho Villa, General Pershing and George Patton.
New Mexico was not a State until 1912. Before then it was a "Territory." And Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory until 1863 when, during the American Civil War, it was made it's own Territory. I'm sure glad I have these Encyclopedia's for the next three days.
This is interesting. In 1881 Billy the Kid was working for a man who had come over to New Mexico from England. I remember Mr. Steve saying how that man was one of the few people who treated Billy the Kid fairly. So Billy the Kid became really loyal to him.
When that man from England, John Henry Tunstall, was murdered by Irish rivals in Lincoln County, Billy the Kid "Vowed" revenge." And he did kill a few people in the "Lincoln County War." Mr. Steve sometimes jokingly calls me "Maggie the Kid." A Crow just cawed.
BILLY THE KID (1859-1881)
Mr. Steve says the last thing Billy the Kid said before being shot by this one man named Pat Garrett was "Quien es?" That means "Who is it?" in Spanish. Back in those days many of the people spoke Spanish and English. A breeze just blew in from behind the Sheds.
I could write more about Pat Garrett who killed Billy the Kid now; but I'd better just wait until book two tomorrow. That's when I'm planning on learning in a lot more detail about what happened in what they call the "Lincoln County War." I hear Crows cawing.
It says here Billy the Kid's real name might've been William McCarty but he used a few false names like William H. Bonney. Daisy explained to me why our boss carries around that leather container called a "Wallet." It has our money in it but also his "I.D."
I.D. stands for "Identification" Daisy says. She told me people have to carry around papers that prove who they really are. And if you don't do it you could get in big trouble. But I guess back then when Billy the Kid lived that wasn't required. I smell a Lizard.
Oh! I wonder if Mr. Steve knows this? One of Billy the Kid's nicknames was "El Chivato." I guess that probably means "Goat Herder" because according to my Spanish Dictionary "Chiva" means Goat. Boy God! Thank You for all of these great Dictionaries!
I'll bet that guy Billy the Kid knew how to use guns because back in those days there were a lot of mean people around. It was often easy to kill people and totally "get away with it" as they say. I see the Lizard standing on one of rocks around the bottom of the big tree.
According to what it says here in this Encyclopedia, it's possible Billy the Kid's mother may have come to America after the terrible "Irish Potato Famine" happened in the late 1840's. It's possible a million Irish died then. And many starved to death. I hear a Crow.
There's a good picture here in my Encyclopedia that shows a lady using one of those things they call a shovel to dig in the ground. And a little boy is helping her get some potatoes. But it's possible they died anyway because it says here all of the potatoes "went bad."
After "having" Billy the Kid, his mother died a few years later. So Billy the Kid was then an orphan and somehow "migrated" over to New Mexico. Mr. Steve's customer in this city called "Las Cruces" went with his kids to see the grave site of Billy the Kid one time.
Mr. Steve has been to many places in New Mexico but one place he's never visited is the town of "Fort Sumner." That's where Billy the Kid was killed and where he's buried. They have to put a fence around his gravestone because people keep stealing things from it.
From what Mr. Steve's customer says no one really knows where Billy the Kid's coffin with his body in it are. He told my boss that many years ago this really huge flood washed away the original wooden marker that was above Billy the Kid's grave site.
According to my outlines I'm scheduled to write about that city in New Mexico called Las Cruces in my second book. But I kind of feel like saying a few things about Las Cruces right now. Las Cruces means "The Crosses" in Spanish according to my Spanish Dictionary.
Hey Lord! As You know, Mr. Steve visited Las Cruces in 1979 with his friend Mark Ritter, who died a few years ago. They saw the three crosses like the ones you were nailed to up on the mountain as you enter the city. I just picked up the scent of one of the new Sage plants.
According to what Mr. Steve says Las Cruces is surrounded by "jagged ridged" mountains. Billy the Kid, and the man who killed him Pat Garrett, visited the area in the 19th century. The mountain range is called "Organ" because they kind of look like a Church organ.
My boss's brother Rock has a girlfriend named Judy. They both now live over there in Texas but Judy is originally from Las Cruces and still has family there. Mr. Steve says Las Cruces is the second largest city in the State of New Mexico. Albuquerque to the north is bigger.
"EL CAMINO REAL"
I sure like it when my Encyclopedias have maps to go along with the writing. And there's a good map here in this Encyclopedia that shows that from the late 16th century when Las Cruces was first established there was a long road that came all the way from Mexico City.
Here in 18th century California the main road connecting all of the Missions was called "El Camino Real." And from what this map shows, in the 17th century the road coming up from Mexico City had the same name. El Camino Real means "The Kings Road."
New Mexico has some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere Mr. Steve thinks. And most of the people who live there are friendly. But New Mexico, like many States he says, has few good paying jobs. That's why his parents left to raise their family here in California.
In my second book I plan on writing a lot about his one lady named Georgia O'Keefe. She was a painter just like Mr. Steve's mother. She was originally from the State of Wisconsin but eventually settled in New Mexico. She said; "The world is wide in New Mexico."
One reason my boss's parents left New Mexico in 1960 was to "make a living." Mr. Steve's father saw combat in the Korean War and had a "benefit" called the "G.I. Bill." So, though they didn't have much money, my boss's parents "picked up" and moved to California.
Moving to Los Angeles was a "throw of the dice" my boss says. His parents with he and his younger brother Rock, gambled and ended up settling in Sylmar which is one of the suburbs in the northeast corner of the San Fernando Valley. I see the Squirrel I've been smelling.
Mr. Steve's mom and dad took a "calculated risk." There's this old saying; "Crossing the Rubicon." In 49 B.C. Julius Caesar crossed over the Rubicon River in Italy with his army. This was "Treason" so he could be killed. Crossing the Rubicon means "there's no turning back."
CAESAR "CROSSING THE RUBICON"
Mr. Steve says another old saying associated with the time when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River is; "The Die is Caste" or "Alea iacta est" in Latin. This is what Julius Caesar told his soldiers and has come to stand for a decision which can't be changed.
Another old saying Mr. Steve told me is "Burning one's Bridges." This also means there's no going back or there's only one direction to go and that's forward. There are other famous times in history besides Julius Caesar when this happened. That Squirrel just ran away.
I guess for Julius Caesar the decision to go forward was a good one. But sometimes that same decision turns out to be disastrous. In 1519 when Hernando Cortéz landed in Mexico one of the first things he did was sink his Ships. That way no one could go back to Cuba.
HERNANDO CORTÉZ (1485-1543)
Cortéz sank his Ships in case some of his soldiers got what's called "Cold Feet." I wonder what that means? They would march inland to the Aztec city of "Tenochtitlan." Mr. Steve says that in Cortéz's mind it was either "Victory or Death" as they say. A Crow just cawed.
This Encyclopedia says Cortéz named the area on the coast where he landed "La Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz." That means "The Rich Villa of the True Cross." Today the name of the city that is there has been shortened to "Vera Cruz." I smell a new Spring Sage plant.
I guess in 1519 after Cortez landed he had a few battles with Native Tribes who lived near the coast. Then, hearing about the Aztecs; he decided to march inland to the amazing capitol city of Tenochtitlan. It's now called "Mexico City." I can hear a Finch chirping away.
Dais says Mr. Steve has a book from 1843 by a man from New England named William H. Prescott. It's about how Cortez conquered Mexico. Of course part of it deals with the amazing Aztec city of Tenochtitlan; which was built right on top of this really big lake.
Wow! Now I know why my boss said if he could go back in time he'd be with Cortéz's men when they stood on this mountain and looked down into the Valley of Mexico at Tenochtitlan. It must've been like a "fantasy" he says. This painting of it is so incredible!
I'll come back to the conquest of Mexico tomorrow. But now I have to go back to talking about Mr. Steve's family. In 1960 when his parents moved to California they had two boys, my boss and his younger brother "Roderick;" now "Rocky" or just "Rock."
My boss was five in 1960. His father was an insurance "Claims Adjuster" and he and his mom decided to buy a house in Sylmar. That house was later destroyed in the 1971 "Sylmar" earthquake. Soon after that Sam Jr. and their sisters Celina and Susan were born.
My boss grew up in Sylmar with his younger brothers and sisters. His parents still live there. But my boss moved up here to the High Desert and when he did he brought our name with him. Now Córdova is Daisy and I's last name too! I just picked up the scent of a Mouse.
Our name is famous! It's found all over the world. After 1492, when Columbus "discovered" the New World for Europe, our name came here too. Mr. Steve says this one man named Dale Carnegie said; The sweetest sound in the world is the sound of that person's own name."
According to my boss the name Córdoba, or Córdova as the way we spell it, is now almost everywhere in North and South America. And Mr. Steve's father's family can be what they call "traced" from the end of the 17th century over there in New Mexico.
The Spanish in the New World were "fanatics"in looking for gold and silver my boss says. Precious metals were the first things Columbus looked for after he and his three ships got here. The Spanish searched everywhere; from Alaska to Patagonia. Ah! I see the Mouse.
Once Cortez saw how much gold and silver the Aztecs had that "spelled doom" for the Aztecs. From 1519 to 1521 the Spanish, along with Indian what they call "allies," beat the Aztecs in a series of bloody battles. Disease also killed a lot of Aztecs too Mr. Steve says.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella gave Columbus three ships for his dangerous attempt to reach the "Orient" by sailing west; the "Niña," the "Pinta" and the "Santa Maria." Mr. Steve jokes that he's the Santa Maria, Daisy is Pinta and I'm Niña. The Mouse ran away.
NIÑA / SANTA MARIA / PINTA
Columbus's ship the Santa Maria was what's called a "Nao." It was heavier than his two other smaller "Caravels." Each "vessel" had strengths and weakness my boss says They were made of wood; not steel like today's stronger boats. Wood rots and corrodes in salt water!
One reason why Columbus had to reach land as fast as possible was because all his ships were built using what Mr. Steve calls the "Caravel" method. In this way of building wooden ships all of the many "planks" that make up the "hull" are placed side by side.
The caravel method of building ships was not as good as the "clinker" method used by the Vikings Mr. Steve says. "clinker built" ships have "overlapping" planks so hold together better even if they warp in water. Over a long period this is an advantage.
Clinker built Viking "Long Ships" also had what they call a "Shallow Draft." This means not only could they sail long distances over deep oceans in what's called "rough seas;" but could go far up shallow rivers. But Columbus's three ships made it to the Caribbean Ocean.
Mr. Steve thinks Columbus must have been brave. His three Ships needed the wind to move forward. When he started his famous voyage westward he didn't know if he could even get back to Spain. What if the wind patterns wouldn't let him? I smell a Lizard around here.
A map in my Encyclopedia shows this thing called the Atlantic Ocean "Gulf Stream." The caption below it says it's the water "Currents" and luckily for Columbus, it starts out in the area near where he landed and moves eastward toward Europe. I see the Lizard.
Now Boats have motors but in the late 15th century when Columbus came over here to the New World it was either rowing or using the wind. So he was taking what they call a "Leap of Faith" in thinking he could get back to Europe. That Lizard just ran away.
Mr. Steve says Columbus discovered the Americas for the Europeans but there were many people already living here. For these native peoples Mr. Steve says his discovery would not be so good because he brought conquest and also new diseases. A Crow just cawed.
According to my Encyclopedia about fifty years after Columbus's first voyage the Spanish were "firmly established" here in the New World. As I mentioned earlier, after Cortéz defeated the Aztecs he replaced Tenochtitlan with Mexico City. Then the Spanish started exploring.
FRANCISCO CORONADO (1510-1554)
It says here that in 1540 this man named Francisco Vasquez de Coronado came north from Mexico and explored the New Mexico area; or the "Southwest." They looked for the "fabled" "Seven Cities of Gold" and some of those with him could've been named Córdova.
Tomorrow in book two I'll write in detail about the history of New Mexico. So I'm not going to write any more about that man Coronado until then. My boss thinks wherever the Spanish "Conquistadores" went Dogs went with them. Conquistadore means "Conqueror."
I'd like to believe that if our two acres are ever invaded Daisy and could be good soldiers! I'd fight them off and bite them and so would Dais. I think we'd be brave. But, as our boss so often says; "We'll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it." I smell a Mouse.
If robbers ever tried to break in here I'd like to believe I'd do my duty and bite him mainly because my boss is counting on me. And, after all, the Spanish had "Dogs of War;" or "Perros de Guerra" in Spanish. I just used my Spanish Dictionary to look that up.
According to Mr. Steve no one knows for sure what type of Dogs the Spanish in the New World trained for killing Indians. They were most likely these Dogs called "Mastiffs" he thinks. They used to put spike collars around their necks. I hear some Crows cawing out in the desert.
Dais and myself are not that mean. In fact, we're actually kind of friendly; especially to people who's scent we've come to know. But as Daisy says; a robber or "burglar" doesn't know that. We'd have be make ourselves be mean. Aha! I see the Mouse near the tree.
Mr. Steve told me even though no one knows what type of vicious Dogs the Spanish used in the 1500's they really "made an impression" on Native populations like the Aztecs. To this day they still talk about it down in Mexico and other places. That Mouse just ran away. The Spanish Dogs sound kind of like modern "Rottweilers" in size but were trained to be like fighting "Pit Bulls" my boss says. But whatever they were they were really mean and killed a lot of Indians. Unless I had no choice I wouldn't want to fight one!
The Romans also trained Dogs to fight in war. And they might've been Mastiffs too my boss says. In battle Roman Dogs attacked a Horse's legs and "went for the throat" of soldiers. I sure hope Daisy and I never have to do things like that but if we had to we would.
I wonder what I'd do if it ever became necessary to defend our land. I know for sure that Daisy would be brave. She's nice most of the time but if someone ever tried to invade our land I know she would defend this two acres with all her might. And so would I!
Well, according to my outline there are only three more things to write about in this third chapter; a World War II pilot named Douglas Bader, another guy named Homer Lea and my favorite Football player Doug Flutie. All overcame "disadvantages" in their lives.
DOUGLAS BADER (1910-1982) "HURRICANE" / "SPITFIRE"
Actually, I'll write in detail about Douglas Bader tomorrow. He was a British World War II Pilot whose legs were "Amputated" after a crash but still became an "Ace" fighter Pilot against the Germans. I'll write more about "The Battle of Britain" in book two.
With fake legs; Douglas Bader flew "Hawker Hurricanes and "Spitfires" in the Second World War. I'll learn more about them tomorrow. Douglas Bader didn't "give up" as they say. I can't wait to write about him tomorrow, and on Saturday in book three too.
In my second and third books, according to the outlines Dais and I made, I'm going to write about 20th century Aviation; or things that fly. But now I'm going to resist the temptation to do it all right now. Oh! Three Finches just zipped bye and flew into the eastern desert.
Freddie the Crow just landed on Moe the middle Shed. I remember that one time when Mr. Steve described how Crows and Hawks landed. He said it was a "controlled two point landing." I think that's because they land with both feet while their wings flap away.
Mr. Steve as a kid built and painted models of World War II Planes. Two were the Hawker Hurricane and Spitfire. He also built their "adversary;" the "Messerschmitt"-109 or "Me-109" for short. I'm going to write about German Planes a lot over the next three days.
In book three on Saturday I'll write in more detail about Homer Lea too. He was from here in Los Angeles and was a good writer who wrote about military history. When he was a baby he was accidentally dropped so from then on was permanently what they call "Deformed." HOMER LEA (1876-1912)
According to my Encyclopedia that guy Homer Lea was a military historian who wrote some important books before he died at the age of thirty six. Some famous people think that he was a genius. Ah! I just picked up the scent of a Lizard somewhere around here.
I guess, from what it says here, because his parents dropped him as a baby Homer Lea had a "hunch" back and never "developed" normally. He never got over five feet tall or weighed more that one hundred pounds. But he was really smart I guess.
My Encyclopedia says for all of his short life Homer Lea had "periods of blindness" and was in "Chronic" pain. My Dictionary says chronic means "lasting a long time." I so love learning new words. I've already learned a lot more words today. I see the Lizard.
I guess Homer Lea went to College in Northern California at "Stanford." Tomorrow in book two I'll write about how Mr. Steve's brother Sam, in High School, played Baseball against a guy named John Elway, who also went to Stanford. You have to study too at Stanford.
My Encyclopedia says that for most of his short life Homer Lea lived down here in the "Beach Town" of "Santa Monica." Other kids teased him and called him mean names. I'll write more about Santa Monica later. The Lizard just ran out into the desert.
Homer Lea admired that guy from France Napoléon Bonaparte. He wanted to be like him so studied the history of warfare and wrote two long books about it. I guess some say that Homer Lea in part correctly predicted what later happened in the 20th century. I smell Sage.
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (0000-0000)
Anyway, I'll write a lot more about Homer Lea on Saturday. I'm so tempted to write more about him right now but I'd better just wait and do it according to schedule. Dais and I decided to write his story in book three when I write about this older Chinese lady our boss met.
That Chinese lady has taught Mr. Steve a few things about China and he's told her about Homer Lea. Homer Lea turned out to be kind of important in the history of early 20th century China. He was a good friend to this one man named Sun Yat-sen. I can't wait!
I'll learn so much about history over the next three days. Mr. Steve will be happy when he finds out that I'm way smarter than he even suspected. At least that's what Daisy thinks and I really want to agree with her on that. I can smell one of the old Joshua trees.
Someday I'll be able to learn even more things when I overcome my fear of going all the way down the Hallway in the house. Then I could listen to a lot more music and watch "tv" inside my boss's Bedroom the way Daisy does. I love taking deep breaths through my nose!
On some Saturday mornings Daisy and I go into the Living Room to watch our cartoons on "television;" or tv for short. One Saturday morning instead of cartoons we watched this good show about a Football player named Doug Flutie. Now I really admire Doug Flutie.
I've never seen and actual Football game but from what it showed on tv it looks like it would be a really interesting game. Diasy says it is. But I do know one thing, that guy Doug Flutie was sure a good athlete. A group of Sparrows just flew bye; moving out into eastern desert.
Doug Flutie was five foot ten inches tall; a normal height unless you want to play Quarterback in Football. Even in High School people said he was too small. But he proved them wrong. At a small College he even won the highest award of all called the "Heisman Trophy."
In that tv show on Doug Flutie I noticed how Mr. Steve admired Doug Flutie's wife. She said; "If you're six feet four you have to prove that you can't play. But if you're five foot ten you have to prove that you can play." Doug Flutie was a professional for twenty one seasons.
The only way I can feel comfortable going even into the Living Room is if Mr. Steve leaves the front door open. I get nervous if I don't have what they call an "escape route. That's from all of the time I spent living homeless out in that field. It's hard for me to trust things.
Daisy and I have these things called "Igloo" Dog houses but I won't go in mine. But Dais does.
One reason I like that guy Doug Flutie is because he's Catholic just like us. And he's only five feet ten inches tall but plays what they call "quarterback." Mr. Steve is six feet tall and says he's probably be too short to play in the National Football League; or "N.F.L."
From what that tv show said even in High School people said Doug Flutie was too small to play Football. But he won at every level and even became one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Ah! I think I just smelled a Gopher somewhere around here.
In college Doug Flutie won the Heisman trophy. And at first the N.F.L didn't really want him so he went to play for this other league called the United States Football League or "U.S.F.L" for short. And he did really good there.
After graduating from "Boston College" Doug Flutie was "Drafted" by the N.F.L. "Rams" but was the lowest drafted Heisman Trophy winner ever. And it was mainly because he was too short. I see the Gopher over there near near the big tree.
Mr. Steve told me that Boston College is not one of the "major" Colleges for Football. But none of the more famous schools like U.C.L.A. or U.S.C. even offered Doug Flutie what they call a "scholarship." But he did really great as the quarterback for Boston College.
Doug Flutie's most famous game was when he threw a long last second pass to win a game against a college from Miami; which is in Florida. It's called a "Hail Mary" pass which means to win on a "desperation" pass as time on the clock runs out. The Gopher is gone.
ROGER STAUBACH'S "HAIL MARY" PASS
Hey Blessed Mother! As You know, Doug Flutie's game-winning pass was not the most famous Hail Mary pass. Before that this other Catholic quarterback named Roger Staubach did it in the "pros" for the Dallas Cowboys. And he prayed to You for help.
I guess Roger Staubach's pass happened in the mid-1970's. And the "Receiver" who caught his famous pass was named Drew Pearson. Mr. Steve told me his company used to buy Baseball caps from the company Drew Pearson owned after he retired from Football.
Blessed Virgin, after the game was over and the reporters asked him how he did such an amazing thing to win the game that guy Roger Staubach was the first person to use Your name to explain the miraculous Cowboys win. The Hail Mary is my favorite prayer.
According to that tv show about Doug Flutie the U.S.F.L. went out of business after a few seasons. So then he finally got to play in the N.F.L. for a few years.
But then he went to play up in the Canadian Football League and is now in the "C.F.L." Hall of Fame. Field was wider and the players smaller which was suited for Doug Flutie scrambling to outside the " Pocket"
Dais and I noticed how in that tv show it said Doug Flutie and his wife had been "together" since High School and they have a boy who was born with this thing called "Autism." But he's lucky that his parents love him anyway and always take care of him.
According to my Dictionary Autism is what they call a "developmental disorder" which I guess means that you're kind of a slow learner. Hey God! Thank You for making me a smart Dog; even though I shouldn't brag. But, I'll just have to go out and prove it.
Mr. Steve told me friends of his had an Autistic daughter named Karen. He and her parents helped her learn how to "interact" with people; which was hard for her to do. Mr. Steve, as he's done with other kids too, taught Karen to keep a beat on the drums.
I guess most people think "Social Skills" are "Innate" so cannot be taught. But my boss says he and that girl Karen's parents proved this is not true. They taught her to "interpret" other's emotions by learning how to "think from another person's point of view."
Mr. Steve knew Karen was smart. She just didn't know how to deal with others so wouldn't talk. He told her sometimes he's also uncomfortable around strangers too but that's okay. You just have to try to be friendly that's all. A Bunny Rabbit is hopping bye.
Many times when Mr. Steve has shown a kid the basic drumbeat "Da, Da Da" using your foot to do the last two beats. But usually they end up just going back to making "random" sounds on the drums. But not Karen. She learned to consistently keep the same beat going.
My boss told Karen how one of the smartest people in history, Albert Einstein, at times felt uncomfortable among people he didn't know. But he just tried to be friendly and luckily for him he had good females protecting him; just like Karen had her family too.
ALBERT EINSTEIN (1879-1955) NIKOLA TESLA (1856-1943)
Mr. Steve told Karen he read somewhere that some people think this one guy named Nikola Tesla might've been in some ways just like her. And he was really smart. I'm going to write a lot more in detail about those guys Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla in book two.
Another thing Dais and I noticed about that tv show on Doug Flutie was how he was not just a great Football player but also a really good Basketball and Baseball player too. Mr. Steve was impressed when they said he could "dunk" a Basketball.
Doug Flutie plays drums according to that tv show. And he and his brothers, who were also good Football players, have a band. Mr. Steve thinks, based on that show, Doug Flutie is kind of like himself in being just a steady, consistent drummer and not very "flashy."
Hey You Guys, as You all know of course, I want to be like those guys Homer Lea and Doug Flutie. They started out their lives with some disadvantages but overcame them. I'll try to do that too. And with Your help I can do it. I feel so great right now!
Well, this is the end of chapter three. I've already learned a lot this morning and it's not even midday. One more chapter to go in part one of the three sections I plan on for this first book. It's about eleven judging by the Sun's location up in the sky.
I think I'll hide all of my materials and take a break. I'm kind of thirsty so will go drink some water out of the gray bucket near the sliding glass door. Then maybe I'll go visit Dais. But, I'll be back in a few minutes. I still have a lot more writing to do today.