It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

My family had pets when I was a child, but like many children, I probably was not especially observant, so it is likely I missed some of the creatures’ attributes and characteristics. Even if I observed them, I have long since forgotten them.

As an adult, I’ve heard many stories about animals’ incredibly sensitivity to the weather. For example, I have been told that dogs and cats can sense impending changes in the weather long before the changes are apparent to humans. Frankly, I’ve dismissed most such claims as the equivalent to belief in magic; all “woo-woo” and no substance…until a few months ago.

My IC’s dog is quite obviously and intensely attuned to the weather. He reacts with obvious when he senses impending thunderstorms, pacing around the house, a favorite toy clutched in his teeth. Even when the weather changes are not severe—just passing rain showers, for example—his behavior changes radically. In place of a puppy-like, playful dog, he becomes agitated and anxious. His movements become slower and more deliberate, like an old man whose arthritis plagues him with pain. In the roughly six months he has spent in my house, I have observed this weather-related behavior many, many times; there’s no question the dog is responding to his acutely tune sense of weather. Whether his reactions are caused by changes in barometric pressure or some other weather-related phenomena I don’t know. But, clearly, the animal is more sensitive to weather than I. Contrary to some people, I do not claim to be able to forecast the weather by paying attention to how creaky or painful my elbows feel. But I would place bets on correctly predicting changes in the weather by observing that dog.


Grief I’ve learned is just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.

~ Jamie Anderson ~


I skimmed an article this morning that claims Pat Metheny publicly dismissed Kenny G as, essentially, a talent-less hack undeserving of respect or appreciation. Assuming the assertion is true, I have lost all respect for Pat Metheny. I am not particularly enamored with Kenny G, but I certainly respect his talents as a saxophonist. His popularity attests to the fact that a large number of others also respect his talents. And they appreciate him with their decisions to listen to and pay for his music. For Pat Metheny, a fellow musician, to berate another musical talent is crude and classless. While I’m generally not in favor of allowing personal attributes or political positions to interfere with my appreciation of artists, Metheny’s disrespect of a fellow musician pushes the limits. Though I found Kevin Spacey’s behavior off-set abysmal and unacceptable, that did not diminish my appreciation for his contributions as an actor in House of Cards. But Metheny’s inconsideration and his decision to slam another artist pisses me off enough to make me want to switch to another musician in the event his music reaches my ears.


My IC and I spent part of yesterday afternoon putting up Christmas decorations, something I have not done in years. The year before my wife died, she bought a Christmas tree—the fake kind that lasts forever—and put it up, but I had little to do with that endeavor. I guess the magic of Christmas had faded for me over the years, but I did appreciate her efforts a couple of years ago. Yesterday, as my IC and I put baubles on the tree and placed ornaments around and about, the sparkle of the holidays seemed to emerge. My IC bought a lighted wreath that we put up on the mantle and she bought lots and lots of big shiny spheres that we used to adorn the living room. The day before, she put up her little tree and decorated it with pink and silver ornaments. I enjoy seeing and feeling the festive atmosphere. I enjoy listening to the Christmas music she urges “Alexis” to play for us. I think acknowledging and embracing the holiday’s spirit of joy is helping me get through the very tough impending first anniversary of my wife’s death. I hope my appreciation for that shows.


This morning, the term “blue hydrogen” came to my attention. I do not completely understand it, but I think it has the potential to change the future of the automotive industry, along with many other industries. But, first, some serious problems with the processes involved in splitting natural gas into hydrogen and CO2. And, like all petrochemical-based “solutions” to energy and the environment, it would be a temporary fix, albeit a long-term temporary fix, perhaps. If I could look two hundred years into the future, I might have a better idea of whether humanity will have found any solutions to the problems facing it. But I cannot see into the future; I can only imagine it and write about my mind’s eye experience. And there will be more of that.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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