Category Archives: Family

My Husband is a Keeper

Life Buzz

I started to go into the kitchen a few minutes ago. I was kind of wandering around, trying to get my bearings on fixing dinner. My husband took one look at me, came over and hugged me, and said, “You’re on strike. This was a super stressful day and we’ll call in and go get fried rice.”



Filed under Family

Flourishing Fish

I don’t know when I bought these four gold fish. I had a large bowl I was using as a tank. It quickly became apparent that these fish were actually doing well and that they needed more room. We bought a 5 gallon aquarium, with filter, oxygenator, etc.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say they are now at least 3 times the size they were when I bought them.  I usually end up cleaning out the aquarium once a month, depending on how their water is looking. I scrub everything, vacuum the stones, put in new, treated water, change the decorations, hook everything back up and then carefully add the fish again.

The only ‘trick’ they do is that when they see me coming and hope I’m going to feed them, they all bunch into the same corner and wiggle their little bodies, looking right at me. For some unknown reason, this melts my heart.

They never say anything about the change in decor. I do see them checking things out each time I change things, so I hope this keeps them from getting bored.

Since I talk to my plants, I also talk to the fish. We don’t have any deep discussions about the state of the world or anything. I basically make noises, sounding like an idiot, while they wriggle and blow bubbles at me.

Works for us!


Filed under Family

Dogs are the Best


“Never judge a dog’s pedigree by the kind of books he does not chew.” ~ Unknown



“Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.” ~ Unknown



“There is only one smartest dog in the world, and every boy has it.” ~ Unknown


email from Bill Lites

“It is not an easy thing to inflate a dog.” ~  Edward Abbey


email from Bill Lites

“Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.” ~ Unknown


email from Bill Lites

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”  – Will Rogers


Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family

In Memory of Sweet Mona

A good online friend of mine, very talented Paul Miitaru of Romania, lost his sweet pet, Mona. I wanted to share a couple of his photographs of her to pay tribute to her memory.

“My Mona” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Mona” – Paul Militaru Photography

SO sorry for your loss, Paul. Mona definitely won the lottery when it came to finding you.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, Paul Militaru Photography

A Delightful Way to Remind Your Kids


Filed under Bethany Kerr, Family, Watercolors I Love

Fathers Day 2019



This is a picture of my dad, Jim Wheaton. He’s been gone a long time now  and I miss him.  As a child, he was just “Jim” to me  (He didn’t want my brother and me to call him, ‘Dad.”)  Every year I appreciate more how unique he was and how much he taught me.

When he was 3 years old, he fell off a horse and broke his left arm in several places. Back then, doctors didn’t know how to set bones nearly as well as they do now. He ended up with a left arm much shorter than his right, and a hand that was basically useless. He endured bullying at school, but he overcame it using his wonderful sense of humor. He found that if he could make someone laugh, they looked at him differently.  From the time I was old enough to understand, my dad was the role model for standing back and seeing the humor in things. This is one of my most important coping mechanisms. I used it only this morning, making my husband laugh TWICE while he was ranting about computers, cell phones, and other technical stuff not working the way they should. It dissolved his frustration enough we THINK we have the issue solved.

Instead of thinking of the things he couldn’t do because of his arm, my dad made sure that he did everything he could one-handed. In fact, he was SO good at it that many times I simply ‘forgot’ that he might have trouble with something. HE made us forget it, not using it as an excuse for not producing. I remember a family trip when we were walking along the sidewalk. There was a man sitting on the sidewalk. As we passed, he held up one arm – remarkably like my dad’s – and asked him for money. My dad stopped, showed him HIS arm, and said, “Get a job!”

Below is an example of two wooden dogs he carved – one-handed!


I also have three of his small oil paintings.

My dad used his talent and humor to provide for us as a family with his own advertising agency, doing radio commercials for clients. His style was so distinctive that his commercials are still played today – as kind of a tribute to his creativity and ingenuity.  This URL still talks about my dad and some of his commercials (scroll down to Jim Wheaton box). He won a Silver Lifetime Addy Award for his unique contribution to advertising in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He taught me that sometimes you need to read between the lines if someone feels embarrassed to say personal things. For the same reason my dad felt uncomfortable being called, “Dad,” he felt embarrassed to show his emotions. When I was earning a Master’s Degree at the University of Tulsa, I had to make a presentation on advertising and how I would teach it to my students. I asked my dad to be a guest speaker. I finished my presentation, then amazed and delighted the class members by introducing my dad – who was well known enough to be a bit of a personality. When he finished a truly delightful talk, punctuated by a lot of laughing, he ended by saying something like, “I love it when I can talk to people about what I do. I particularly love it when I can tell you how proud I am of my daughter. She is Linda Wheaton Lewis.” surprising the whole class AND me.

I STILL tear up when I remember. When the class left, I finally allowed myself to break down. After I cried for a bit, I told my dad he had given me the very best moment of my life. He told me that he was sorry he hadn’t told me – and others – how he felt earlier. As I say – I STILL tear up.

My dad was a wonderful role model in so many ways. His example made me appreciate uniqueness, tenacity, a healthy sense of humor, and telling people how I feel. He is gone, but he lives in my heart.  I love you, Jim.



Filed under Family, holidays

Another Compliment!

I’m not sure what is going on around here, but my husband paid me another compliment yesterday. We were getting ready for bed and suddenly he stopped and said, “You know, when we built this bed frame however many years ago it was, I ‘went along’ with your idea of decorating the headboard with stones, but I really wasn’t wild about the idea. Now I think it’s the best thing about it.”

About 10 years or so ago, we wanted to replace our bed.  We hunted for bookcase headboards with frames all over. Apparently, as we find so many times, we are not in step with the current fashion. Apparently NO ONE wants a bookcase headboard where they can actually read in bed anymore. We explored having one custom made and our teeth dropped at the prices. We decided to make a headboard and frame ourselves.


My husband is really good at visualizing what he wants to do and then making it happen. I’m more the ‘go-fer,’ assisting his efforts, running for parts or tools or whatever, holding the other end, etc. When we got to the part where the frame and headboard were together and stained, my husband said, “It’s done.” As usual, we disagreed. I wanted SOME kind of SOMETHING that we could decorate it with to make it OURS – to make it UNIQUE.


To kind of offset all the switches (controlling reading lights, fans, electricity to end tables, electric blanket controls, etc., I suggested we make ‘frames’ on either side of the main panel filled with River Rock. I liked the idea of adding the color, texture, and a bit of 3-dimensions. After looking at me a minute, he said, “Okay,” and helped me with the project, but with a decided lack of enthusiasm. I liked the idea enough for BOTH of us. :0)


To balance things, I added some river rock to the panels on either side of the bed.

It has been, as I said, 10 years or more since we built the bed frame and headboard. I’m still surprised that he suddenly told me yesterday that this has grown on him and now he likes it.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Maybe it’s the fact that I accepted when he asked me yesterday to spend another 50 years with him. I don’t know – but I love the compliments and hope they continue. :0)


Filed under Cause for Celebration, Family, Lewis projects

A Short, Personal History

RJ Bennett – LinkedIn

58 years ago we fell in love. (He was 17. I was 14). We waited and waited – through my last year of junior high, 4 years of high school, his Marine Corps service, and 4 years of college – and then we finally married June 14, 1969.

Today we mark our 50th wedding anniversary.

My husband describes me as, “mean as a snake.” He has asked me for 50 MORE years, so I guess he likes snakes…” :0)

I graciously accepted. If we make it the NEXT 50, I’ll be 122 years old….

Hanka Koebsch via Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn



Filed under Cause for Celebration, Family


If you haven’t already, meet Amber, our 94-pound, two year old yellow lab “puppy.”

Sweet, huh?  Loveable, yes. But FULL of vinegar.

We were sitting in the office, each at our own computer, enjoying a rare day of having the front and back doors open to receive a nice breeze, when a truly awful smell permeated the room. It was SO bad I almost got physically sick.

I got up to find that Amber had found ‘something’ that had been dead for several days and brought it to the front door. Isn’t that SWEET.

I yelled, help – asking for my husband to get rid of the ‘something’ while I started handling Amber.

We chained her up to the deck, hosed her down, poured doggie shampoo all over her and I scrubbed, and scrubbed. We hosed her off, soaped her again… several times before we thought maybe we had done enough. We changed the chain so she was on the deck and couldn’t get off and left her to dry.

I went inside and was STILL smelling the awful smell from just walking her through the house from the front to the back door, so I sent around with Febreze – probably one of the biggest tests of its life, spraying everywhere as I walked through the foyer, the office, the living room, the back porch, the kitchen, the pantry, the two half baths, the dining area, several times.

Then I went to the sink and used the metal soap bar thingie that you’re supposed to use when you’ve been cutting up garlic or onions and can’t get the smell off your hands, then soap, then the metal bar again….

I then went out and toweled Amber off to the point that she could come in. I couldn’t smell it anymore, but maybe my nose died!

My husband didn’t say anything when I let her in, so maybe we’ve met the challenge.

I will never understand why doggies love to find something truly awful and roll in it.

Sweet doggie – BAH! HUMBUG!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Stunt Woman

Doug Powell via email from Marsha Koenig

I went outside to clear my overloaded brain and check on the veggie garden.  I heard Amber (our 94-pound lab PUPPY) barking behind me, somewhere over by the greenhouse. I continued on toward the garden and all of a sudden, she bounded out of the shop and was running toward me a breakneck speed!

I averted getting knocked down flat on my back by making a quick turn and running toward a tree. She skimmed past me, then turned on a dime and tried to jump up on me, tongue lolling as she laughed.

I yelled, “DOWN!” To my amazement, she did it!  This is probably a fluke that will never happen again, but I feel empowered right now. :0)

(By the way, the veggies are doing fine.)


Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family, Funny Signs - Humor

Cats are a Quality of Life Thing

Alina Ciuciu – “Now I Need to Sleep” – LinkedIn


Vintage Dragonfly Mosaics via Cathy Ruggiero


Tetiana Shevchuk – LinkedIn via Cathy Ruggiero


Animal Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus


Our Abby


Our Smoke

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, quality of life

Another Day – Another Raccoon…

National Geographic

Awwww! Such a sweet little guy – right?

WRONG!  We caught another raccoon overnight in our humane trap. This one pooped purple all over the part of the deck he was on and destroyed the cup inside the trap that was holding the Ritz crackers and peanut butter we use for bait! And this was after he – and we think there is a whole family – ate every bit of seed from all the feeders, except the hummingbird feeder, AND the glass bottle squirrel feeder we have attached to the window!

We drove out about 5 or 6 miles and let him out at the creek where we let his brother/sister/father/mother/? out yesterday morning, giving him another chance at life.

When we got home, we had to replace the cup (this is a plastic cup with a hole drilled in the middle of it) that we attach to the back of the humane trap. I made more bait and we have it set up for tonight now. We had to hose off the porch where the sweet little guy tried to dye it purple.

And now we go on with our day – only to probably do this again tomorrow morning….

NOTE 1: Amber is now to the point where she makes a wide berth around the whole deck when we let her out. She barks at the EMPTY trap…

NOTE 2: The weather was perfect this morning. We saw all kinds of wildlife on the way to and from relocating the raccoon –

  • turtles
  • squirrels
  • three deer
  • cows of all different colors
  • dogs
  • cats
  • burros/donkeys
  • birds

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Challenging Morning

A couple of nights ago we put out a humane trap on the deck, since “someone” had been not only eating ALL of the birdseed we were putting out, but ALSO trashing the feeders!  Yesterday morning we caught the culprit.


The raccoon was, of course, upset to be in the trap. He had pulled the bottom of the cover of our grill into the trap with him, I guess trying to get out. So we now have a grill cover that looks like something you would use as a decoration on Halloween, with LONG “fringe” along the bottom…

Amber, our 94-pound lab PUPPY, was in a frenzy over him, barking loudly non-stop. I have no patience with barking and wanted to bring her inside. My husband insisted that she would tire of the barking after awhile. He sat out on the deck with them, hot apple cider in hand, for almost an hour. Maybe she WOULD tire, but not in the hour he spent!

We put the humane trap in the back of the truck. Amber wanted to ride in the back seat, as usual.

We drove about 5 or 6 miles south of us, finding a creek that ran under the road out in the countryside. We stopped and my husband let the raccoon out.

I like the idea of ‘relocating’ the raccoons, giving them another chance at life – but not in our yard! This morning there is evidence, though, that he has friends or family near. :0(

Amber finished off our morning by rolling in something black and yucky, getting it all over her. We had to chain her up and hose her down. We let her dry out on the deck for awhile, and then I finished her up, toweling her off so that she could join the family again.

All this happened before 10 in the morning, so we were exhausted before the day even got a good start!



Filed under Amazing Animals, Challenges, Family

Clean Digs for the Fish

Between outside pushes of activity before the next rain, then inside activities, trying to catch up from when working outside – the poor fish were fed, but otherwise neglected lately. Today I took everything out, used the vacuum to clean the rocks, put in new, treated water and decorations, and finally, the fish.

They haven’t said much, but I know they are secretly whispering to each other that it was about time something was done…

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Filed under Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Living the Life

Our son sent this picture of the sunset in Koh Lanta, Thailand this morning. He can work anywhere, so he’s enjoying this beautiful island for a bit. We are so delighted that he can arrange to enjoy life while working!

He took this picture behind the workspace he’s using. This is a community workspace where you can go, spend the day, work by yourself on a computer or electronics, or whatever, or collaborate with others. The people there will bring you food and drink, and then you can take a break and run on the beach!

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Filed under Family, quality of life

Celebration of “NOT”


We are celebrating today that WE ARE –

  • NOT starting the brick laying on the second planter today
  • NOT working in the yard today
  • NOT cleaning the house

I –

  • AM posting happily on my blog
  • AM doing meal prep for our feast tonight – hamburgers, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad and deviled eggs
  • AM taking the time to enjoy a good book
  • AM enjoying being able to have front and back doors open – enjoying a wonderful breeze
  • AM enjoying playing with our animals and spending time with my husband.

I hope that YOU can enjoy a “celebration of NOT” today, too!

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family, holidays

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Or Amber’s Playtime

I’ve just come in from hour # 2 weeding in my flower beds. I’m going to try to get out there for one more session, but this may be it for the day.

I’m making reasonable progress out there, but the monsoon season has made for monster weeds. I can’t tell what’s in the planters at the moment, so I’m having to go slowly, pruning everything and then figuring out what is good and what to get rid of. Slow going.

Earlier, after my first session, I discovered that Amber had black, yucky STUFF on various parts – mainly her stomach, legs, and hips. I rushed to get her back outside, too tired to do anything more than that. After I rested, I used a couple of micro-cloths to clean her up.  I felt good that she was now presentable enough to join us inside.

My husband came out for the second session to keep me company while I weeded after he sprayed weeds around the yard and cut back the wisteria which had grown like a weed in all directions. As we were talking, we noticed that Amber quietly walked over to one of the collapsed brick planters and plopped down in the middle of the watery stuff. As she stood, we saw THAT was where all the yucky black stuff had come from. She was covered AGAIN and quite delighted with herself!

I was so tired by that time, we took her around to the back and hooked up the hose. She wasn’t cooperative about turning as we needed her to as we sprayed, but she didn’t freak out, either – a really good thing. My husband changed the washer between the hose and the sprayer and changed out the sprayer because we got as wet as Amber did. :0)  I used a dog towel to get her as dry as possible before letting her back in. Since it continues to rain off and on most every day, I’m not sure what we can do about Amber’s love for ANY type of water….

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Gardening

Help! I’m Buried!

Our planters don’t look QUITE this bad, but I just spent an hour going from one flower pot to another, pulling out huge sunflower plants from the seeds we feed the birds – happily overpowering the wave tulips and periwinkles on the deck, then moving from one place to another pulling out TONS of really tall, healthy weeds in the planters around the house. I still have the trio of brick planters to weed that are between our front yard and the driveway.

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I’m going to play some more in my art room and THEN go back out and do another session. I’m having the best time painting two more tees for myself. I’m a slob, getting spots that won’t come out on tees that are perfectly good, otherwise. It makes me happy to give them new life with happy designs. I’ll post pics when they’re finished.

I approach Mother’s Day with mixed emotions. I’m happy that I’m lucky to be a mom. It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding roles that one can have. If you’re very lucky, it’s a gift that keeps on giving your whole lifetime. I had the best chat online with our son this morning. He lives across the world from us, but we can almost forget that since he’s such a wonderful communicator. We chat almost daily, sending music, pics, jokes, etc to each other, plus talking almost as much as we would like. When we can arrange it (there is a 12-hour time difference) we chat on a conference call where we can actually see each other and talk.

I say ‘mixed emotions’ because my own mom, and my husband’s mom, are both gone, as are our dads. We miss them all and wish we could hug their necks and tell them once again how much they have meant to us in our lives. Mother’s Day hurts a bit, too, because my daughter lived two months and one day, and died many years ago now, leaving a hole that never heals. It makes me extra grateful that I have a husband I treasure and a son we are beyond proud of.

Today I feel I am a super lucky lady, with a bright sun shining, warm temperatures, and the gift of having the day to spend working outside AND in my art room – two of my favorite things – PLUS watching “Game of Thrones” tonight! :0)

I hope that you are spending this Mother’s Day doing things you love, too.

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Filed under Family, Gardening, holidays

Happy Mother’s Day

RJ Bennett – LinkedIn


Elena (Livia) D. – LinkedIn


Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, holidays



I let our sweet dog, Molly, in this morning after her morning run. When I came back to our office, our son’s face was on my husband’s computer!

Our son lives and works in Thailand. We chat almost every day on a secure chat program he set up for us, but today we also had a conference call with him!  This is similar to Skype, but a LOT better, with good quality video, good quality audio, and very few interruptions.

I’m prejudiced, I know, but there is little that makes me happier than seeing our son’s face, watching him smile, trying to make him laugh, catching up on what’s new. We can almost forget he’s across the planet from us.

We won the lottery on sons. He’s a wonderful communicator and we’re very close. The only thing we don’t get is his world-class hugs.  I’m lucky because when we saw him in December, he very generously filled up my hugs bucket to overflowing.

He has just moved to a new place and is getting settled, making the workplaces he wants, moving things around so he’s comfortable.

So – I’m still grinning from ear to ear, feeling extremely happy with my world this morning. I hope you’re happy with YOURS, too. :0)

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Filed under Family

Your Sweet for the Day

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family, your 'awwww' for the day


Terrance E Stock – LinkedIn

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family, Friendship, quality of life

Poor Amber

Poor Amber was bitten/stung by ‘something’ yesterday. The whole side of her mouth was swollen, but she didn’t seem to be in any pain. I have no clue what we’re dealing with.

She is better this morning, with much less swelling. She had a good appetite this morning and drank some water. I’m monitoring her. She’s in Molly’s small bed, seemingly comfortable, sleeping off and on.

Since she’s somber (but still wagging her tail) I’m hoping she learned to stay away from whatever it was in the future that stung or bit her.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Happy Fish?

We used to have a 40-gallon aquarium. It, and the metal support table on which it sat, covered one whole side of our dining area. I loved it, but we decided it was ‘too much work’ at some point and sold it.

Now I laugh, because gold fish bowls or tanks take a LOT more work than our aquarium ever did, and we had lots of fish then in comparison. Now we have only  4 gold fish in a 5-gallon aquarium. They seem to delight in making their water cloudy, doing it with alarming rapidity.

If they weren’t so SWEET I wouldn’t put up with it. They don’t do tricks, smile, be affectionate, or anything else you hope pets will do, but they DO pile up in the corner at feeding time – mornings and evenings – wriggling their little bodies and opening and closing their mouths with excitement when they see I’m there. That’s enough to make all this worth it.

I don’t know if they care about their surroundings, but each time I clean the aquarium, completely changing the water, vacuuming the gravel, etc., I also change the decorations.

Although they don’t SAY anything, they are at least 3 times the size they were when I first bought them and brought them home…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family


This is the man who ignored me, saying it was a good idea to put 94-pound Amber on the no-pull leash yesterday in areas of high traffic and lots of stimulation. Amber did what puppies do, leaping around to try to get to the wonderful things and people around her.

At the craft show on the square, people were upset when the shock collar worked and Amber cried out. At the yard sale, he didn’t put the collar on correctly, so the shock didn’t happen. Since it didn’t happen, she went after what she wanted – a small doggie – resulting in my husband face surfing on the ground….

We started training last night again with the no-pull collar and leash combination, figuring out what we did wrong at the yard sale. Amber walked around with us calmly, happily with no problems. I’ll keep doing this on a daily basis. Then we’ll also try again in places with very few people, making sure the walking assembly has been put on correctly. We’ll build up again to the vet’s office, and other places we need to have her out of the car.

I will, however, continue to SUGGEST that we NOT let her out of the back seat in places with lots and lots of wonderful things for a dog see, smell, and try to get to – regardless of our ‘hopes.’  Hopefully, this stubborn man will listen…

He’s doing much better this morning, even though he still looks quite impressive. He’s resting, napping, and watching TV today.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

We’re Supposed to be Smarter than our Dog

Let me preface this tale with the fact that my husband and I agree on very little. We didn’t even use the same salt, when we still used it. So it was no surprise that while on errands today, we disagreed on the idea of bringing Amber out of the car on her no-pull collar and leash in public.

Amber weighs 94 lbs. To say she is exuberant about meeting others is a vast understatement. She loves to go anywhere at any time in the car with us. Her domain is the back seat. We put the windows down halfway so that she can run from one side of the car seat to the other sticking her head out, absorbing all the wonderful smells and sights to be had.

Today we stopped at a small craft type show that was being held on the square. I didn’t realize that my husband was planning to bring Amber out. The shock collar did its job, giving Amber a jolt when she tried to get to a little girl to say “hi.” Amber cried out and everyone stopped as if someone had dropped a whole tray of something in a restaurant. Amber was in control for a second, then found someone else she thought was wonderful. She was shocked again, cried out again, and I had had enough. I finally got my husband to put Amber back into the car. I answered some questions about the collar. People were upset at us because Amber cried out. I tried to explain that usually Amber is trained to stay in step with us and hardly EVER gets shocked anymore – but this was a new situation with far too many stimulants for a partially-trained puppy to handle.

We turned into the street that goes to our home. My husband saw a sign about a yard sale that was being held down the road from our home. I thought we would leave Amber in the car and just be there a very short time. I turned to see my husband with Amber out, on the collar again. I told him I thought there were too many people, little children, plus a little dog, and that Amber might knock something off a table. My husband said I didn’t want him to do anything.

I got angry and went back to the truck. The next thing I knew my husband was on the ground face first, and others were trying to control Amber. I leaped out of the car, grabbed Amber’s leash, which wasn’t working for some reason. A man helped me get her back into the car while someone else brought a rag to wipe my husband’s face. I drove everyone home.

My husband is okay. He looks as if he were in a bar fight and lost. The whole side of his face is scraped and quite red. Amber is fine, too. We figured out why the collar didn’t work at the yard sale. I have promised to practice with Amber, the special collar, and leash in the yard. Then I have proposed we go to the square or one of the walking trails to see how Amber handles that. My husband says I’m wrong and that I don’t want Amber out in public at all.

And so it goes. Part of the reason we are still married is that, though we drive each other nuts at times, we are totally addicted to each other – flaws and all. We will finally come to a bit of compromise on this, as we always do, but the process always seems to be a painful one, with each of us thinking we are right.

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Filed under Family, life lessons

Our Son is ‘Home’

Our son has been in Nepal for the past two months at a meditation center. We had a good video chat with his this morning, actually getting to see his FACE, talking as if we were in the same room. (I placed quotes around ‘home’ in the title above because he is at ‘home’ and works in Thailand.)


This is the entrance to the center he attended in Nepal. He said he had chosen well. It is very well run. He felt very safe there. They were served breakfast and lunch daily, meditating for some 14 hours per day.

It would drive me up the wall, but our son found it a great learning experience, with a totally different emphasis than his meditation at home. He says he would like to practice now, internalizing as much of what he learned as possible, and might go back for another session sometime in the future.

His meditation practice was a character-building exercise for his PARENTS, as well. He has us thoroughly spoiled, having set up a secure chat program, where we send pictures and messages whenever we want, sometimes chatting several times a day. He also set up a conference call program, also very secure, called where we can see each other and talk as long as we would like. Since Feb. 1st, we hadn’t heard from him at all, in deference to what he was trying to accomplish. We weren’t worried, as such, but it’s a great comfort to again be able to communicate.

Meditation is helping calm his mind, which used to race, he said. He is feeling much more able to deal with whatever is happening around him. He is learning to be much better at ‘living in the moment,’ rather than thinking about things in the past or getting anxious about what might happen in the future. He is more confident and content.

I’m so happy he is able to do things like this. He really has control over his life, his needs, his emotions, his priorities.

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Filed under Dreams, Family

Happy Fish


Today I finally got off my duff and cleaned the aquarium. All told it takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, so it isn’t that much to ask. The only thing my fish actually get excited about, though, is eating time, twice a day, when they bunch up in the right front corner of the aquarium and wriggle their little bodies, opening and closing their mouths rapidly. So it’s easy to walk by and ignore the fact that I should be cleaning out their digs and providing some different decorations to stimulate their imaginations.

Things look much better now. They’re exploring a bit, but no wriggles, gaping mouths, or other signs of real interest yet.

This doesn’t happen at our house, although we have two cats who would probably eat our fish given the chance. They seem to prefer birds.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob




I felt I was ‘alone,’ – the last of my original family when my brother died this week. I have since learned that I am NOT alone due to wonderful friends who have reached out to me in various ways. “Thank you” is simply not enough, and I’m grateful to each of you.

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Filed under Family, Friendship

Molly – Fuzzy and Sleek

This is Fuzzy Molly. She’s a Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross. She’s getting old now, but holds her own with rambunctious Amber. (94-pound yellow lab ‘puppy’, plus our two cats, Smoke and Abby.) She doesn’t communicate much with our four fish in the aquarium.

In the winter we let her hair grow. It’s kind of a mess, particularly when the weather is wet, because Molly comes in covered in mud, having stuck her nose way down deep into some hole or other she’s found in the yard. We got her some 13 years ago now, to be a sweet little lap dog for me. What we actually GOT was a fun-loving 25 pound dog who thinks she’s a mastiff. I put her in the kitchen sink to get her clean and fluffy, at least until she goes out again…

I’ve told you that we live on top of a ridge line outside of the town of Greenwood, Arkansas. We have about 8 acres of scrubby woods where we live close enough to town to go every day, but enjoy our privacy, pretending we own all we can see. :0)  With this comes the ‘perks’ of lots of burrs, fleas and ticks – as well as other critters like raccoons, possums, deer, skunks, rabbits, and more.

Wednesday we took Molly to our vet’s office to be sheared like a sheep and get her annual shots.

The groomer would like to give her a mustache, beard, long eyebrows, and other stuff, but we ask for ‘short all over.’ SHE isn’t the one who has to deal with Molly after she’s gone out for a run with a face full of little bitty burrs tangled in all the cutesy-pie long hair on her face. Poor Molly HATES having me comb them out. I know it hurts her, so ‘short all over’ allows her to run through the brush as she likes without bringing it all home with her. It also makes it easy to see any ticks walking on her, and treat her for any fleas easily and quickly.

I look at it this way – we get TWO Mollys for the price of one – Fuzzy Molly and Sleek Molly. I love them both to pieces.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family


My brother on left – his oldest son on right

My older brother died of complications from Parkinson’s Disease last night. He was 74. We were not close. He said that I ‘wasn’t worth knowing.’  I’m still very sad that he’s gone. I am the last of my original family. It’s amazing how complicated emotions and relationships are.



Filed under Family