Selasa, 30 Desember 2008


The blog title photo was taken Saturday, in the morning, in the park near the house in which I grew up. It was foggy beyond belief. I'd already been to the aforementioned house and to the one where my parents last lived more or less independently. When they moved here I took over some of the daily duties. That was almost 6 years ago.

Time passed quickly.

Now, I feel lighter. Pardon my saying this, but it is not a bad thing to feel this way. My mom passed away Sunday afternoon, at peace. She knew it was OK. She had my dad and others waiting for her and I think she finally believed I could take care of myself.

Sure there have been tears but not tears of regret, more in celebration of her life. It's been good to call people and hear them say how she will be remembered. We should all be so fortunate.

Life does go on. Strength and faith, along with friends and family, do form a support system. She had all those things and isn't that a great comfort? The only extravagances she had were her indulgences in those around her.

Somehow my going home and telling her about it relaxed her and she was more able to make her final journey to her final home. God knew what he was doing.

Brew's 4 yrs old (Dec 29)

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Rabu, 24 Desember 2008

Christmas 2008

With full credit to Fra Giavonni from 1513

There is nothing I can give which you have not: but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
- Take heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instand.
- Take peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow, behind it, yet within reach is joy.
- Take joy.

And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.


And for the kitties and dogs in your lives:
from THE WHOLE PET DIET by Andi Brown
(I cut it out of a magazine.) Thanks, Andi!

Spot's Chicken or Turkey Stew

2 1/2 lbs. whole chicken or turkey (bones, organs, skin and all)
1/4 c. chopped garlic
1 c. green peas
1 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped sweet potato
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. chopped yellow squash
1/2 c. chopped green beans
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T kelp powder
1 T dried rosemary
11-16 c. water

8 oz whole barley
6 oz rolled oats
more water to cover ingredients

Combine all in 10 qt stockpot, with enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Leave on simmer for 2 hours.
Remove from heat, let it cool, debone the chicken or turkey. Use an electric hand mixer or a food processor to puree the food, working in batches.
Cats like the stew soupier so you can add more water for them.
Store meal-size portions in resealable plastic bags or yogurt containers. Refrigerate what you'll use in 3 days and freeze the rest.

We have never made it to the mixer/processor step so can't speak for that. We haven't given this to our cats but the dogs always gobble it up. It's a special meal!

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

Precious Dog Hein, June 1993 - December 2008

We know God watches over us but this week we underwent yet another loss, that of Precious Dog Hein. Yes, she was 15 1/2 years old and we knew full and well she felt the loss of Scout a couple months back. They were inseparable from the time they met, day and night, together either in their pen or in the house. They were like an old couple, only dogs. One saw. One heard. They yammered at each other if one was too close to the others bowl. They leaned against each other. They snuggled together all day long in their dog-loo, ignoring the birds, cats, people traffic and younger dogs coming and going in the other fenced in area.

She awoke on the 17th and told us it was time. If you have had a pet you've had to help you know what how they communicate it through their looks. Her head stayed down, her eyes solemnly surrendered. She had no energy, no substantiation to continue.

I like to believe that she gave us these additional two months in our post-Scout world, because she knew us well. It would have been her wish to go with Scout and she was as surprised as we to find she was here and Scout was gone. But she pulled herself together and joined the younger dogs in a frenzy of remembered behaviors that found her going up and down the two stairs on the patio, running a step or two, getting excited when she didn't know what the excitement was all about, and finally just signaling everyone to go ahead without her, she was sleeping this one out.

We did what we could to keep her comfy. No baths, good food, a special place in the kitchen, all fluffed out and right in the midst of foot traffic so she got lots of petting and hugs and acknowledgment. She got kisses from everyone, 2 or 4-legged, who went past her as she rested.

The morning each dog came by and said goodbye to her. I wish they'd been able to do that with Scout, who went in the night, quietly without prelude. But perhaps they were sending their greetings on with Precious. Don't tell me they don't know; they know only too well. They probably know better than we for their lives are less complicated. I suspect their relationship with God is the same - they know, they don't question. They understand death leads to new freedom, new life.

So now, only a couple of days later we have welcomed Lazlo into our home. He's our latest foster. A collar was embedded in his neck but it's been removed and he's healed from that injury entirely. He is quirky and cute and, for now, all boy. That has everyone trying to figure out what's next! But they know he's here to get ready for his own forever earthly home. And, they know when he leaves it will be different from when Precious left.

Senin, 15 Desember 2008

No More Side Street Parking of Houses Allowed in Springfield

The Maisenbacher House, previously blogged, resides now on a frame built in a hole on the lot it will occupy forevermore. The foundation is still on the "to do list". But the house is out of the road. Hopefully now the company that moved it can head out east to their next job and Court and Karen can go forward with whatever is next. The saga of the house was gearing up to be a top story for Spfld. Then the governor came from behind, raced to the year end's finishing line, and left every other story at a standstill.

We surely do get riled up over some small stuff at times. Hot Rod (governor) has taught us nothing if not that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. And, getting our community undies in a bunch over this house was the small stuff. Big Boy, Elvis, Jr., Hot Rod, The Hair - now he's worthy of some close attention. Keep your fingers crossed that he ends up in the Big House, and I don't mean this one!

Jumat, 12 Desember 2008

Tales of Christmas

I nabbed this image and forgot to get the artist's name, but he/she has my thanks!

Do you have a favorite Christmas tale? Besides the one that started it all, mine is A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES.

But I've never read it. Somehow, somewhere I stumbled across an audio tape of Dylan Thomas reading it and bought it, probably without knowing anything other than I liked Thomas' work. Dumb luck.

Driving from central Illinois to upper Kentucky one cold and wintry evening I listened to him read it and best remember going through Cincinnati and being enthralled but needing to pay attention to the road.

I'd never been thru Ohio before and I was all too aware of my tendency to drive beyond my exit when I got caught up in a story. It was night and I'd been on the road a few hours already. It was snowing and I was driving a sports car. I finally had to rewind a bit of the tape, stop it for awhile and drive on till I was out of range for the city lights.

That was a strange trip: an ordeal with a Schneider transport truck - a big meanie trying to shove off the road. (I don't carry a grudge - not much!); discovering Frankenstein University, seeing Louisville Sluggers HQ across the river, and wandering into a religious college's art guild/store - Berean, I think it was - wood and wool and pottery items. Something like that.

I came back a different route, past Santa Claus, Indiana. I listened to the tape again.

There's something about hearing a book read by the person who wrote it. That enables getting the understanding the author wants the reader to have. The way the words sounded in their heads, when they wrote them, are they way they speak them for us. In this case it was particularly grand and I felt transported.

As a child my favorite story was THE LITTLEST ANGEL. Oh, how I wore that book out! And a few years ago, when on-line shopping became popular, I sought out an old copy of it and found it - just like the one I had. Who knows, it could have been my copy but I had/have a habit of putting my name in books so perhaps not. Anyway, I read it and weep. Simple. Direct. Sentimental. Meaningful. I guess that's why I like THE VELVETEEN RABBIT too. Same basic format. Lesson-filled. Get real, seriously.

I can't help but see some of that in the longer, image-filled A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES. This makes me a creature of habit then, when it comes to reading. I want my heart warmed at some point. If it costs me a few tears, fine. If I throw myself at my pets or my husband, OK. If I jot a note, send an email, make a call, good. The line between fiction and non-fiction becomes blurred when I think about these 3 books.

Gosh, there were much simpler times in this world when people were where they belonged instead of always trying to get where they thought they belonged. We strung popcorn and apple slices, made paper chains and other ornaments for the tree. People used English correctly as well as sparingly, and listened. We saved money in Christmas Clubs at the bank so we could buy gifts, or we used lay-away. There were secret Santas. There were school concerts. We knew and sang 2 or 3 verses of each Christmas carol and gladly went around serenading folks at home and accepting a cookie or hot chocolate. It was called Christmas.

I'm glad I got where I was going that year. Gladder still that I got home safely, wiser for what I'd discovered along the way. I was where I belonged.

We don't need to bring everything from our pasts forward but wouldn't it be nice to re-start just one old habit, one childhood tradition? Now, when everything is tumultuous shouldn't we re-establish our appreciation for what matters?

Start with the Christmas Story itself, and then recall your favorite Christmas tale. Share it and take it from there. You may surprise yourself at how easy it is to enjoy being where you are, where you belong.

Selasa, 09 Desember 2008

Such a Day

Good Grief. Where is Charley Brown to make that declaration?
First the "good": Illinoisans have had a busy day, starting with the wake up call to the governor @ 6 a.m., made by the esteemed Patrick Fitzgerald, Federal Prosecutor. AMEN! The FBI was at the front door of the governor's Chicago home, ready to arrest him. You've heard this already; it's all over the news.
So what did we do? We went shopping and I got new gloves and sox. waaaHOOO. I have a thing for sox. One year I was writing LOTS of poetry and vowed to wear red sox all the time when I was reading and writing. Then it dawned on me that red is a "stop" color and might inhibit my creativity so I deemed the next year was a green year.
Never happened. There aren't enough green sox in the world.
I digress. No surprise there.
But the grief part of the day came towards the end and it's very minor and very personal. The people who met Zeke at a store on Sunday have placed an adoption application for him and been approved so I am taking him to meet their dog Thursday. I just wasn't ready.
Now is the time I chant a lot: If I don't do this I can't foster another and get a good home for it. If I don't do get it.
Somehow this will be for the best.
Even though I love this dog.
Even though my dogs love this dog.
He will be loved at his new home too.

Sabtu, 06 Desember 2008

You DO meet the nicest people.

Zeke and I went to the nursing home. He was soooo good. Then we drove all the way back and across the city to a big box pet store to get him some canned food and a large box of large treats for everyone to share. He met lots of people and maybe his future owners. They were the nicest people and seem very interested in him as a buddy for Moses, their dog. I think they would have taken him right then and there. We'll see. He's darned good. I really had thought he could move to the White House. Hello Barack? It's about a dog for the girls...On the other hand, he's made friends with all the dogs here and Ed hasn't met him yet. To the people who met Zeke and Mr. President - just try and get this dog!

Speaking of the nicest people, a real surprise occurred yesterday when I took the greens orders for the library staff over to them, from APL. Since I was out at the shelter I offered to pick up and drop off the wreaths and door swags. Well, blow me away. I got inside the library office and the director presented me with a book, SAVED. It's about rescued animals, and their rescued people. I was taken aback. It was from the Library's Friends board, of which I'd been president and/or secretary for a number of years. This was totally unexpected. And, they selected something that focuses on my other passion - taking care of living creatures who've not had it too good so far.

Well, home with the crew last night I managed to cry my way through some 50 pages. It took a long time because the print is pretty blurry thru tears.

It's an amazing book. The group is amazingly thoughtful. I am amazingly fortunate.

And, we really shouldn't have anymore dogs. We help those who are homeless and then that opens a space for someone else who needs it. Yes, we did have 6 dogs. Yes, we will lose Precious soon. Yes, the dogs we have adopted are the "hard to place" ones so that complicates matters.

I keep telling myself those things.

Jumat, 05 Desember 2008

It's Open Mike Friday

There's no sense in posting a photo of the house; nothing has changed. But, if you are coming to Spfld to see it, please stay at the Inn. It's worth it - great amenities, etc.

In the meantime, the radio flogging has not ceased. There's a local show that identifies who local locos think is the biggest idiot of the week. Never is there a shortage of candidates because nominees can be from anywhere. Regardless, this week the city administration, the alterpeople, the county board, the house's owners, and Lincoln, himself, were all nominated. Lincoln was the most creative option although he did not win, in this case he was only voted for twice. The reason he was considered was that he was the reason this house was being "saved". If he had not lent the money to these people in the first place then Springfield today would not have the mess it does on its governmental hands.

So there. That's how we think and what we think about in the state's capitol/capital (you will see it spelled both ways here and sadly, mis-selected for application but I wanted to give equal time to each spelling, and maybe fit in a little myself). OH, BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

If you act now you may see a video somewhere showing our esteemed governor behind the governor who supposedly commented, "She's perfect for the job. She has no life." about the Homeland Security nominee. I think - Ed Rendell? I'm going from memory. I gave up trying to find it. And, top that off with the same governor was apparently audio taped during phone calls, by the feds, as part of the investigation they are doing.,0,3382775.storyWord on the street is there will be something before Christmas that is more substantial to report. When he goes to prison he will be governor #3 who has held the title then done the time. We do know how to pick them.

Although, I must admit, I really liked Dan Walker. His advance man was my neighbor. Walker took Rosen, me, and his family jug fishing on a small lake. Rosen and I took the kids to the movies. It was fun and he was a seemingly decent guy at the time, plus he was good friends with Jimmy Carter. Save your breath; he may have not been a popular president but Carter is extremely intelligent and has a very giving heart.

Find that in politics very often anymore? We must hope we'll see it again, soon.

Kamis, 04 Desember 2008

A House Divided

...cannot stand. How ironic that this was said by the very man who financed the house in the street, Lincoln. See November 21st blog posting, please.

The chatter and clatter continues. Most recently the alderpeople decided to vote down what is now $279k to put in a foundation. When this first started I had heard the cost for the foundation was to be $150k. But, the economy sucks so I can understand the price change. The contractor may not have more work lined up yet.

The day after the vote to withhold the funding the radio was a-buzz with people yammering about this topic and showing how well-spoken central Illinois residents can be - not. If there is money to dish out, and I doubt there is, it should go to grammar rehabilitation programs. But, I digress.

So now what, we wait for the house to implode, crumble or reach a destination on its own? The folks who own the lot and structure face $1000/day fines from the owner of the moving firm if the "wheels" aren't returned by the 15th. They can't move it back where it came from as that land is quickly becoming a lovely plot of concrete with tasteful striping.

I say, re-route the street around the house, swapping the lot for the asphalt area, or just shorten the block. It's really not a busy through street at all and it would just extend the Lincoln tourist area. People need to walk more anyway. It'd be good for everyone.

So this Maisenbacher house won't be open for guests till things settle down and now the governor has thrown his propeller beanie hat into the mix by keeping his rarely kept word and closing down state attractions. Another house issue crops up in conversations all around town. That would be the now closed Dana-Thomas House in Springfield. It's a Frank Lloyd Wright design/construction and the Christmas highlight for many who annually trek there to see the house lit only by candles.

Frankly (no pun intended towards the late Mr. Wright), Bloggo should have just shut down the governor's mansion. No one lives there nor has anyone lived there since Hot Rod became governor. The tours are very limited and rarely annual journeys. That would save a lot of money in energy costs and staff costs. The wife likes Chicago and he's on a short leash we think. I like the city too but I live here. It works.

As for me and my house? Well, we remain in place and open for friends and relatives and the occasional wandering stranger.

Minggu, 30 November 2008

We awoke to the first snow of the season. Big, sloppy, wet kisses of flakes smacked my face as I opened the door to let the excited and then hesitant dogs outside. What a great day to return from church/Sunday School and bake sugar cookies!

In the past two years I've collected handwritten recipes passed down to my mom and to my mother-in-law. I love using them. It's soothing. Makes the house smell good. Keeps me out of trouble. Maybe.

So today, as my heart deals with some turmoil over a decision made elsewhere and not to my liking, I pulled out my grandma's sugar cooky recipe and stirred up a batch to get over my useless focus and channel the concentration towards something worthwhile.

There may be some connection here in terms of cause and effect.

If not, the cookies are good anyway.

Sabtu, 29 November 2008

Intersecting Wanderings

Someone on the passenger side of a car in the middle lane at an intersection opened the door and put down a fast food beverage cup just because he/she is a lazy SOB. Is this the root of what is wrong with all of us? We just don't care enough about our own world, or fellow persons? Someone will get paid to pick that up. Is that acceptable thinking in this country?

A good deed was observed today when we were in traffic, headed towards my mom's nursing home. A vehicle either broke down or ran out of gas at another intersection. Two young men popped out of two different vehicles to assist the owner in pushing the vehicle through the intersection so traffic could proceed. YES!

Earlier this week Frieda Joy, one of our dogs, and I went to visit my friend John. He recently moved to a new independent living complex in a Chicago 'burb. We took a route in that had us traveling through my hometown. We didn't go past the house I grew up in but did turn at the intersection where the grade school building is and it is now a community center with lots of senior activities. I could be back in my kindergarten classroom if I lived up there.

Anyway, John loved meeting Frieda and she got past being timid in a strange place filled with all new people. After our visit we went to the nearest major intersection and hopped on the tollway to I-55 and scooted home. I'm not sure I liked that way even though it was faster. There's something about poking along memory lane that adds color to a trip.

Lucky us; I really mean that! Finally the new local bakery is open and we've been there twice this week. That's you-know-who's doing, not mine. I've managed two cups of coffee and 1/2 cran/nut muffin. HE's downed a double-sized piece of apple struedel and an order of biscuits and gravy with his two cups of java. Nonetheless, it is all "from scratch" goodies and we'll be making it another "regular" stop when we do rounds. Today we got a bonus: ran into an old friend we hadn't seen in a year; he'd moved. We got caught up on happenings and know we'll see him again. He went to school with the guy in the family who owns the bakery. Actually they own all four corners of this intersection and have put businesses in two and leased the third to another. It's all in a, well, I want to say, recovering, neighborhood. Good for them - they are part of the solution.

Now, I gotta ask: Is Christmas totally LOST? No carols in stores, lackluster "Happy Holidays" and non-existent "Merry Christmas" exclamations, no acknowledgment of the meaning of Christmas? This year, more than ever, it seems people are focused entirely on retail and the economy and change. The one thing that hasn't changed is why we have a Christmas in the first place. A 42" HD tv along with WWii, an iPod, and who knows what else vs. let's see, a relationship with family, friends and God? Ah, the intersection of Xmas and Christmas...I Believe.

Merry Christmas!
I'll be saying THAT again!


A loan is a type of debt. This article focuses exclusively on monetary loans, although, in practice, any material object might be lent. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower.

The borrower initially does receive an amount of money from the lender, which they pay back, usually but not always in regular installments, to the lender. This service is generally provided at a cost, referred to as interest on the debt. A loan is of the annuity type if the amount paid periodically (for paying off and interest together) is fixed.

A borrower may be subject to certain restrictions known as loan covenants under the terms of the loan.

Acting as a provider of loans is one of the principal tasks for financial institutions. For other institutions, issuing of debt contracts such as bonds is a typical source of funding.

Legally, a loan is a contractual promise of a debtor to repay a sum of money in exchange for the promise of a creditor to give another sum of money.

Read more ... ( click here )

An arrangement in which a lender gives money or property to a borrower, and the borrower agrees to return the property or repay the money, usually along with interest, at some future point(s) in time. Usually, there is a predetermined time for repaying a loan, and generally the lender has to bear the risk that the borrower may not repay a loan (though modern capital markets have developed many ways of managing this risk).

Images from:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jumat, 21 November 2008

Stuck in Traffic

Springfield, IL did NOT get the Simpson's movie. That means little to me but to some broadcasters it is the opening line for so-called news stories here in Lincoln's land.

It seems some business folks in town, who are really great people, chose to buy a home from the Lincoln era. This particular home recently ended up in the shadows of a newly constructed medical facility expansion. The property, and therefore the house, was scheduled to become - of all things - a parking lot. The couple purchased the home and had to move it within the designated time allowed by the medical facility and fortunately they had already purchased a lot in the historical area.

That's the background.

Sunday was moving day. A firm from St. Louis arrived with the equipment and talent to move the 300 ton brick structure. Streets were closed; a tree was removed and limbs from others cut off. Signs were taken down to let the house pass along the to its new destination. Nine hours and five blocks later the house arrived.

Did I mention Mr. Lincoln helped find financing for the house, something like $650 +/- a few? He did. Therein, the increased interest in the home - a Lincoln connection. The house is the Maisenbacher Home. They took really good care of it, apparently.

Back to the move, or what was clearly about to become the partial move.

Let me put you on hold momentarily and bring you up to speed on the side stories. You see I dawdled a while at the local Barnes & Noble Monday. We don't get the newspaper at our house anymore so when the house move came up in a discussion with 3 strangers I was interested. The new owners are personal friends of mine and former clients. That has no impact on the events other than I can vouch for them being good citizens and right-hearted, decent people. Anyway, I learned of a conversation one of these new acquaintances had while standing and watching the move. He was talking to the guy who was to put in the foundation.

The question presented was "How are you going to do this?" The answer was "I don't have a clue."

Are you starting to see the concern, soon to become a problem? Yes, the house is passing in front of the man who is in charge of building a foundation for it so WHERE is the house going to be placed now? The lot is small; the house is clearly large enough that it was wider than the street.

By the way, local radio media has taken to referring to this one block section of a side street as a "major thoroughfare".

The house resides in the street at this time.

Springfield's mayor thought he could slide a request for Tax Incentive Financing (TIF) into the hands of the aldermen, without them seeing it. Something along the lines of $822,000 was his idea. This was to help with the cost of the foundation and the renovation. Ouch. One alderman saw it. Now not every time one alderman sees something does he/she share it with the others; that's not the governmental way, folks. But in this case he did and the hands went up. It was a verbal brawl.

The new owners are in the middle of it all while their new prospective business is in the middle of the street.

See for yourselves.

Springfield was making great headway when President-Elect used the Old State Capitol as the backdrop for his announcements and it received a lot of attention.

This story will probably be even bigger news.
Stay tuned. More will follow undoubtedly. There's just no way around this house.

Rabu, 19 November 2008

Meet Jazzy Bella (aka Bella)

My friends in California, Tamara and Evan, adopted a beagle from the shelter. She now has a loving home in which to be spoiled.

Selasa, 18 November 2008

Content with Content

English is odd. Plenty has been said or written about that. In Sit Stay and Read this week one student tested "PREsent" as in gift, in a place where "preSENT" should have been used.
It made me look at "conTENT" and "CONtent". Well, that experience did but so did just assessing where I am at in life. Often now I think about how content I truly am and it may be because of the content of life.
Every day is a blessing. Our country is so well off, even in these times of question. And, we are going to heal. Look at the mere fact that Obama and McCain met yesterday to evaluate how they can work together. Look at the recent indication that the present administration won't use the remaining $350 billion but will defer to the incoming administration. Our leaders have a sense of collaboration. When did that ever happen before?
Even with this, the contentment I feel comes from within and never flees. It's a thankfulness and gratefulness and awareness of how fortunate I am to live in a free country and be able to make choices and take action.
We are who we choose to be.
Pray for what you can do - not about what you can't.

Sabtu, 15 November 2008


It just seems there are bushels and bushels of lemons waiting to be made into lemonade in this world of ours. More than "How can I help?" "We're ready to be a part of the healing." we hear from those around us and jerky radio talk show hosts that it's all horrible. There's a hand-basket we all will be tossed into and we're headed for hell. Why go on with life? All too often I hear moaning about the outcome of the elections and the direction our own country is taking. Get over it and get on with today, I say. The current administration and all those from the past 50 years or so contributed. The next one cannot fix it all.

How many times do we have to be told - IT IS UP TO EACH ONE OF US to do what we must even when we think we cannot! We have become so spoiled by needing to LIKE what change brings before we embrace it that the struggle for our leaders, now or next year, is beyond my imagination.

However, what is not is that our two foster pups were adopted to loving homes last Saturday. Neither would be alive if we hadn't chosen to make room for them. This week I rocked a baby to sleep in a darkened room on a Wednesday night at church. It was as peaceful as life can ever be. And, the next day, I spoon-fed my own mother at the nursing home amidst the hustle and bustle of others caring for fellow humans. Each of these has been a lasting gift. Each of these makes me wonder what all the nagging and complaining is really about since most of us have the opportunity to reach out and help. And when we do we tend to forget to go to the pity party and bite into that bitter lemon. Instead we are squeezing each drop of juice from the lemons and adding our own sugar. Stir it up and enjoy!

Minggu, 09 November 2008

Herbie wins Back to Back "Best in Show" (Nov 8 &9)

Small Matters - a Fall Walk

Be part of the problem or part of the solution. That choice belongs to each of us. You choose for yourself and then you live with the choice. What you have or don't have matters little - none of it goes with us anyway. None of it brings true and lasting comfort. What makes you part of the solution is who you are and that is no small matter.

Not just now, but at all times, with all people:

Attire your whole being in your smile.
Be patient; be rewarded.
Decide to participate.
Exercise your imagination.
Forgive yourself.
Grant wishes.
Horse around.
Ignite your own fire.

Juggle; we all do.
Kneel often.
Laugh till it hurts.
Measure only what you are cutting.
Nullify the negative.
Offend no one.
Please say please.
Quit complaining.
Rest assured.
Stay in touch.
Take time to do what you do right.
Understand reason and emotions.
Verify, verify, verify.
Walk in another's shoes.
Xerox with permission!
Yield to the other driver.
Zip your lip if you can't say something nice.

Jumat, 07 November 2008

The beagles will miss Larry

Thanks Larry (Paws-Abilities) for helping us to become great beagles. We can still hear you - right turn, left turn, about turn, call the beagle ...


Rabu, 05 November 2008


One foster dog romps with one of our dogs.
One foster dog is sequestered in the puppy pen, having had her spay surgery yesterday.
One dog stands guard outside, ready to alert me if something shows up that is undesirable. He's strong and imposing but really mild-tempered unless he's riled up.
One older dog rests comfortably in the outside pen that is located in a quiet spot.
One dog nurtures another one on the sofa, both happy to have homes and be at peace.

Somehow in my own twisted way I see this as somewhat representative of America!

First of all, what I described above is really my world today; it is what is, right now, as I write.

Does my dog population reflect our society in some ways?
-There are the young who want to play and grow and learn.
-People of all ages need medical attention and even more so medical education so prevention not pills is the key.
-The elderly need our support.
-Some need a fresh start, not a handout but a hand up.
-Some stand guard - on our soil and elsewhere, sometimes apparent, sometimes in the background.
-Others help each other, lending a hand, giving a caring gesture, the gift of prayer.

We have a new administration being built already this morning. I think GWB is ready to leave and is relieved to be counting down the weeks. Being our leader has to be unimaginably complicated and complex, thankless. As President-Elect Obama said last night, in so many words, it is going to take all of us working to fix what has happened. I do not think we should blame Bush 1 or 2, Clinton - none of them. Don't start building an "I told you so" argument about Obama. It's up to us. When we point the finger of blame towards someone else we still have more of our own fingers pointing back at ourselves!

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. It's time we accept responsibility and also the work that needs to be done. Admitting to the problem is the fist step, isn't it? But what follows is the action.

This country is not our parents' country. We must stop looking back and moaning. When we look back we should look at what we can pull from the past, adjust and use for the future. Our world, our country, our demographics, our individual lives are changed, not by one circumstance but by all, not by one policy but by all, not by one decision but by all.

If you haven't heard/seen P-E Obama's speech last night, and McCain's also, then you need to tune in somewhere and spend the time listening AND HEARING what is being said.

Then find something YOU can do to help.

We ARE the UNITED STATES! That's not an entitlement nor is it an ego thing. History tells us we are survivors, we fix what is wrong, we innovate and create, we build, we repair, and so much, guard, care for others.

Get, and stay, positive. P-E Obama cannot do this without our commitment to be part of the solution. See this for what it is: your opportunity to make a difference.

Let's not spend time barking up the wrong trees.

Rabu, 29 Oktober 2008

EVERYBODY here has a story.

Sunday I wore long underwear. Winter is coming. The election is coming. As I write this the Obama 30 minute message runs on our TV, before the continuation of the World Series. How amazing - a boy who became a man in a most unusual way, probably soon to be the leader of the free world, presenting a pre-paid message to us before our national sport's final championship.

Now showing is him giving his announcement to run for President, on a cold February day, over 17 months ago. We're there, on national television. How about that!

And, yet, we worry. We need to realize worry gets us nowhere. We need to know that times are tough but we are survivors and we will rise above this because we will push up our sleeves and dig in and get better.

We have been soft. Every single one of us, from the extremely wealthy to the very poor. It's commonly known that our homeless are better off than many of the ordinary citizens in third world countries.

For a long time we rode the gravy train and turned away from what we didn't want to see. Now too many of us are not just seeing it but a part of it. We see friends and acquaintances changing their lives. We see strangers struggling. We do what we have to but more than that we do what we want to do - we reach out, we touch, we show compassion, we praise and encourage, we pray. We think about how much we can do and still take care of ourselves yet we know that God wants us to love Him and love other people. We do. And, we hope.

We hope that America will become stronger. We know it will take time and LOTS of effort and that we need to link arms to strengthen the chain we form around our economy, our existence.

Flush as we have been, hard times are not foreign to a majority of us. Reality now is harsh. It's our moment to peel back the layers and show our inner toughness and strength. And, while we are at it, ask for God's blessing on our country.

Rabu, 22 Oktober 2008

NBC Photo Contest - I'm a Winner!

1st Place

"Just Beagles" & Beagles at Work-Conformation"

What Happens in the Nursing Home

...does not stay in the nursing home. This is not to be disrespectful to anyone there, especially my mother. But, the fact is if you have had or do have a dear relative in one you know the experience can, well, drain you. If you don't have someone in a nursing home, get ready. It's bound to happen.

So, we visit my mother, separately, over the weekend. Each of us reports to the other, me to Ed and Ed to me, that we can barely hear her and what she says sounds jumbled and non-English. She is expressive and her intonation is great. She looks at us as if she understands we don't get the joke. We don't understand her.

Then today, she's clear as a bell; we can hear her. She is speaking real words. But she's talking about having spent the day yesterday with a deceased brother and now awaits the arrival of another.

It's not funny. But, it is. We learned from a nurse that the best thing to do is to go along with these folks because we're not going to change their minds or change where they are at in their world. So we do.

Who knows what triggers the thoughts. Sometimes I can figure it out. My mom hears the staff talking in the hall and the comments work their way into her mind. Like the day she thought she and the others took a bus trip to a nearby town. Sometimes her ideas come from me mentioning a past event or a name or someone visits her. She can spin a yarn in her mind. It keeps her occupied.

I wish there was a way to get inside her head and hear what she hears, know what she knows. I wish there was a way to keep all the residents engaged and active. There just isn't. That's unfortunate. Walking down the hall to her, in the hall, sitting in her borrowed wheelchair, always leaves me wondering why we do this.

"This" I will leave to you for definition.

Rabu, 15 Oktober 2008

Beagle Rules

1. The Beagle is not allowed in the house.
2. Okay, the Beagle is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.
3. The Beagle is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
4. The Beagle is only allowed on the old furniture.
5. Fine, the Beagle is allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.
6. All right, the Beagle is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation
7. The Beagle can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
8. The Beagle can sleep under the covers every night.
9. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the Beagle!
10. In all cases of dispute ...
the Beagle rules!

Minggu, 12 Oktober 2008

Weather or Not

We have friends in Erie, CO and the Mr. of the two hails from New Jersey, where apparently they don't have weather. At least, whenever we talk to him, he is amazed that we say we something along the lines of "The weather is..." or "We are having SOME weather today..."

Funny how people come together. And, the things we remember about each other that make each person special are exaggerated by the miles between us.

These are friends we haven't seen for awhile. Even though Ed is actually in CO this week he won't see them. I almost said "won't have time" or "won't have a chance". That's not true. We didn't plan his trip to allow it. How unfortunate.

You know, it's not as tough as we might think to hold on to valuables these days. We made the mistake of not doing that in this go-around. Already we regret it. Money may slip through our hands. Numbers and percentages change. Darned if we can do anything spectacular or instant about it. But, shame on us for not staying in better contact with these two.

Someone could be sick.
Someone could be hurting.
Someone could be wondering.
Someone could be hoping.
Someone could be needy.
Someone could be joyful.
Someone could be anxious.
Someone could be excited.
Someone could be challenged.
Someone could be happy.
Someone could be saved.

Don't you want to know?

Sunny days, stormy weather...I want to be there.

There Comes A Time...

Herrrreee's Tater Tot(again). She's just a joy.
We've been asked if we are keeping her - one of the benefits of fostering is the "right to adopt" before anyone else has a chance. But, we've talked, long before Tater, or Brighton before her, or, well, a multitude of others.
Seems we have realized a few things:
1. 9:00 or 9:30 is a very respectable time to go to bed.
2. We won't live long enough to own all the dogs we want.
3. The joy of fostering is that when someone is adopted to a good home we can do it again.
Sure the list is short, but, heck, it's a blog entry, for gosh sakes. Your attention span isn't any better than mine, is it?
But before you leave, take another look at the little darlin'.

Selasa, 07 Oktober 2008

I Quit My Job. Take That Corporate America : )

Hello friends!!!!!

I am still a little shocked that I actually did this, but I put in my "two weeks" today (I'm actually working until the 29th). No, I'm not unemployed. I'm an artist now :D I actually have big plans. Big big plans. I think too big to be confined between the walls of a cubicle. I'm surprised I lasted this long. Firstly, I'll be spending a lot of time with my kids. I miss them from all the time I've wasted at work, and we're going to have so much fun together. We're going to have play time with Carly and Natalie, we're going to get a pass to the Children's Museum, we're going to read and play music and dance and go on walks!!!! I'm so excited.

I have been gifted an amazing DSLR camera (read- super awesome and professional like), and I'm going to start practicing and getting better at taking photos. I plan to eventually do maternity photos and possibly newborn photos for my clients!!

I'm going to keep growing my doula business and will soon start teaching childbirth education. Hopefully I'll have enough space in my new house to do it out of there.

I am FINALLY going to teach myself to learn to play my guitar. I love to sing (not something I share a lot) and I'm going to have time now to practice. I want to play quiet acoustic singer songwriter type music.

I am going to continue doing tarot readings. I hope to soon set up a website to filter clients through. I seem to keep busy doing this and now I wont feel rushed. I have a top secret plan for creating a tarot deck that I'll reveal soon. Stay posted!

I have a sewing machine that my sister gave me about two years ago that hasn't even come out of the box because I haven't had time for it. I'm going to figure it out and start making slings and whatever the hell I want to sell and to keep for myself or gift to my friends. Etsy here I come!!!

I'm going to cook for my husband and my family. We're going to eat well. Cooking has become such a big deal to me, and it makes me feel wrong when we have to eat processed foods or convenience foods. All of our food will be cooked with love and intention and we will all thrive and be happy because of it.

And I'm going to have time to market Jake's tree business. He's awesome at what he does and just needs clients! I have done that very thing for big business and I can make it happen for our business!!!

I feel like my life is starting. I have to say I'm really inspired by a lot of people in my life who follow their bliss. Carly being one- I thought she was insane when she quit this large company. I thought making good money at a corporation was the holy grail. Now I know why she didn't stay. People of our calibur can't be contained this way. It's like having a wild animal in a cage ;) I don't know my auntie to have ever done anything she didn't want to do. My dad is working towards his dreams of owning lots of property to build a commune :D My mother in law works for herself and doesn't have to answer to anyone (and she's a rockstar on top of that!). My awesome sister has all the drive and determination in the world (and while she's still working for the dark side, I know that fantastic things will happen to her in the future as well). I'm surrounded by people to be proud of and to look up to. I love you all!!! I appreciate every single one of you for helping through this hard time for my family. We've got nothing but fun and excitement coming our way now though!!!!

Peace and Love!!!!

Senin, 06 Oktober 2008

New Birth Articles

I have been taking new articles from some fabulous women I've met and I'd like to share them with you. They can be seen here:

Birth Articles

They are at my site

If you have articles you'd like to submit for the site, please email me at

Peace and Love!

Unbroken Circle

We know Scout is running free, bursting through clouds and chasing bunnies. She'd approve of us taking in this little girl. The shelter calls her Stardust but to us she is Tater Tot because she's a Spuds Mackenzie (or General Patton) dog. At about 5 weeks she's already had her near-death experience and is making a remarkable recovery. She loves her medication which is a good thing as she takes it twice a day. Playing with the other critters is rare and supervised. There's lots of sleeping to do. She's loving the outdoors, follows me around till she needs a break, and now has her first collar on, with a leash being added later today when we visit the vet. She is hard to resist and even harder to put down. But we have to so she gets her strength developed!

Minggu, 05 Oktober 2008


At times, admittedly not for long, I wonder why there is so much dog hair on the floors, every day. Even though I sweep 2 x a day. Then I wonder why it is time to go shopping for all types of food again, so soon. Done with that, I find there is laundry to do. Endless chores. About fifteen minutes a month everything is caught up.

Part of why it isn't for a longer period of time or more often is because when a friend posts or sends a link that is memorable, fun, and great - I go. I take the little trip and get away. This one is a goody. So is the dancing dog one on YouTube - look it up!

Why are they goodies?

Well,....they make a person smile.

In case you are struggling meeting your daily smile quota, this helps. It's free, it's easy, it can be repeated as often as needed, it's a gift from another blogger to me and me on to you. Get going!

Sabtu, 04 Oktober 2008

Scout O'Rama Hein, 1993-2008

It began as an ordinary Saturday, fall, 1995, for DINKs like us - errands and chores. But then it wasn't. We walked into a local store and looked around. Not for anything special, but then, there she was,special. Sitting huddled and frightened. That day we said hello.

We asked about her. This was her last day before being put down at the dog pound. She was only two.

It was early and we had places to go. We said we'd come back at the end of the day and if she wasn't adopted we'd take her. Don't put her aside. Let others look at her.

People of our word, we went back. She was waiting for us. Home we went. And, with the exception of vet visits and a few, out-of-yard running episodes, including the infamous one two years ago that put Ed in a near-death hospital situation, home is where she stayed. Our vet and family cared for her. Our pet sitter fancied her. We loved her and learned about her.

Turns out she wasn't so frightened. She was an investigator and a commentator. Her feet came off the ground when she barked. She was unbending, just plain awkward, when she ran - more like a rocking horse than a Beagle. She was always a happy clown. She made everyone play and smile. She snored freely, as if it was the greatest pleasure that came with laying down. In recent years she was Precious' eyes and encouragement, a role someone else will take up undoubtedly.

It began as an ordinary Saturday, fall, 2008, for retired folks like us - up early for coffee and chores. But then it wasn;t. Today we said goodbye.

Scout is at peace. God has her in His lap.


Today, I am told, is the feast day of St. Francis, the saint who acknowledged kinship with all creation, particularly animals and nature. Around the world there are "Blessings of Animals" ceremonies. Here is John Galsworthy's prayer for gentleness to all creatures:

To all the humble beasts there be,
To all the birds on land and sea,
Great Spirit! sweet protection give,
That free and happy they may live!

And to our hearts the rapture bring
Of love for every living thing;
Make of us all one kin, and bless
Our ways with Christ's own gentleness.

Jumat, 03 Oktober 2008

Outside one of our dogs has parked in the mid-afternoon sunshine. Nose high and working hard at capturing all the scents swirling in the country air, she is concentrating only on sounds and smells and the warmth of the sun. Her eyes blink slowly and she squints a bit.

Do I have it in me to be so relaxed, so appreciative, so absorbed, so at peace?
I wish.
I hope.
I try.

Before fall settles in completely get out and unwrap the world you have been given. Soak in what is around you. Breathe. Stretch. Know.

You will be surprised at what you find is valuable and what you can tune out.

Sabtu, 27 September 2008

The Good Life

We lolly-gagged around TWICE this week. Oh, not for entire days but for hours within each of the two days. Long enough to test the puppy's ability to stay inside and be "good". She's getting the hang of it.

The first day we drove off to the local orchard, one we have watched grow from a roadside stand to a school field trip destination. We know this because we finished up just as the loaded cars and vans were pulling in, students, cameras, and enthusiasm all bundled together for the adventure. We chose to go on our own field trip, exploring southwest of where we were at that point.

We found another orchard. They keep goats. That's so much more fun than just looking over the apples and the jarred jams, jellies, and preserves, pretty as they may be. We agreed goats would be great in our yard. Less mowing required. VERY entertaining.

On we went.

We found a house for sale and drove in to check out the setting. Lovely. Lots of outbuildings. A fenced in area for goats. We wrote down the number to call. (We got the info. We love where we live.)

Our destination was Beaver Dam State Park. Non-Illinoisans need to know we run the risk of having the State Parks and other public areas closed by our governor as a political gesture. So we're going while we can. We didn't see a beaver or its dam but we saw lots more. Picked out the best campsites for our non-existent camper. Checked out the 150 yr old RR station building. Saw the cafe/bait

Wednesday must be mowing day. People in almost every village, and the park, were mowing. We let it slide. We thought about the goats.


Fast forward to today and its adventures. We went to the Farmers Market EARLY and at 10:00 I led members of a reading group to the Convent. I was the IS Mgr there. It's true. Anyway, the group had read BIRTH OF VENUS and wanted to see a beautiful church and there is one there, indeed. I love to talk about "...after I left the Convent..." Heads do turn. But I give myself away by not knowing enough the Catholic faith to uphold the raised eyebrows on those

Anyway, after the tour I swung by and gathered Ed up and off we went to see alpacas, their watchdogs and watch-llamas, and later,cars! What a delightful afternoon. We learned how time-consuming working with the fleece is. The alpacas are a breeze to work with though. They, too, eat grass.

Now we are thinking, goats AND alpacas? And, llamas. We've always loved llamas.

The cars were those whose owners are in town for the Rte 66 Festival-quite the deal in this city. In fact the downtown area was totally blocked off for the fancy cars. See for yourself.

Yes, we put aside the ships of change that will sail from some port after November. We chose to believe life today, this instant is good and we are fortunate and grateful. We are thankful for blessings and trials both. We know the glass can be half empty but we do our best to see it as half full.

We don't live in Camelot but this IS what the simple folk do!

Look at these photos.

This little guy was with a Cobra!
Here's the Funny Car driven by our neighbor, on the national racing circuit. I was part of Web Services @ LRS.

How could the glass be anything but at least half full?