Category Archives: Family


I just finished cleaning out the aquarium, adding some of the things we used to have in the hummingbird bird bath we built that we finally took down. The hummingbirds – and no one else – seemed to want to take a bath there. The sound of the water was nice, but I was having to clean it out a LOT and it was a big – at least half a day – job.

My fish aren’t unfriendly, but they aren’t good conversationalists. I have no clue if they LIKE the renovation of their tank, or wish I would put it back the way it was. The water is clean now, with a fresh filter cartridge, so they should be happier with the state of life in general, if nothing else.

The only thing they show interest in is their twice-a-day feedings. When they see me coming, the four of them gather in the corner of the tank, wriggling their tails as fast as they can and opening and closing their mouths. I speak to them, but it’s hard to come up with new and different things to say about feeding time.


I DID notice them checking out the woman in the bathtub, though, noses downward as if they were sniffing….

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Rich in Doggies

My husband and I have long deluded ourselves, thinking we’re smarter than our doggies and that we’re training them to live in our home, behave when meeting someone, etc.

Amber is in the photo above. She is a yellow lab, now 16 months old, weighs 92 lbs, and we’ve been told that she’ll continue her ‘puppy-ish’ ways until she’s at LEAST two years old. We’re working on all the regular commands, plus a few particular to our home, but Amber is very independent and will do almost anything to get her way.

Example: We have taught her to bark at the door when she would like to come in or go out. Amber has ‘learned’ this, but has embellished the lesson to include us. We now respond quickly if she either sits beside us and then says, “BARK!” so loudly that we jump straight up in the air, saying ripe words and moving quickly to let her out. A creative alternative to this is that she sits beside me when I’m on the computer and then puts her nose into my left armpit and then routes around, harder and harder until I laugh, get up and let her out. We are now trained to get up and go to whatever door she has decided to go to. Not only that, but she has taught us to reward her for barking to come in with a cookie. If we’re distracted or try to ignore her – she follows us around and then, when we’re least expecting it, yells “BARK!!”

She knows what time it is and starts running around the living room like a mad thing when it’s time for us to feed her in the evening. She won’t be put off, either, adding routing around, trying to climb up in the chair with us, or the dreaded, “BARK!!!” until the humans do what she wants. She herds us to the kitchen, waiting impatiently as we feed cats in the garage, fish in the tank, and then make food for her and Molly. She DOES go to her eating place and WILL sit until we put the food down and tell her “OKAY.”


This is sweet, elderly Molly, a cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross whom we adopted many years ago to cheer up our pit bull. She is now about 13 years old. Her mission in life is to make us laugh or say, “AWWWW!”  She has been a treasured member of our family, and she’s now finally adapting (mostly) to her bull-in-a-china-shop ‘sister’ who regularly runs right over her and considers her a personal chew toy. Without our doing anything, she has picked up on the bark at the door behavior and then demanding a cookie upon entering the house. We have dubbed ourselves ‘doggie doormen,’ not knowing what we did with ourselves before we were letting animals in and out. She growls and yodels to add to the furor surrounding dinner time, thinking she is one fierce doggie.

We are very rich in doggies, and they are DEFINITELY smarter than we are.


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Smoke apparently was up much of the night catting around. She isn’t saying much, but plopped herself down on my calendar this morning and seems not inclined to be particularly sociable until further notice.


She just allowed me to pet her. We have two cats, Smoke and Abby, neither of whom purr worth spit. They seem really happy and spend a lot of time either beside us, being companionable, or sitting on us when they get the chance, often for hours if we’ll allow.

We adopted Smoke from our vet’s office. She was in a cage with some others when we brought one of the doggies in. I went over to the cage and she came right up, rubbing up against my hand and much as she could with the cage between us. My heart melted, but we already had a cat, plus two dogs, and really didn’t need another cat. That night I dreamed of her and named her Smoke in my dream. I told my husband. Being a ‘keeper’ as far as husbands are concerned, he agreed that we did, indeed, have room for another.

This is Abby. We adopted her through a newspaper ad, describing her as a ‘lap kitty.’ It actually took us a day and a half of trying to calm her down in one of our bathrooms before she warmed up to us. In the end, the ad was more than correct. She is now fat, sassy, and a wonderful cat. Smoke is the head cat, though, even though she was adopted second. Abby defers to her in all things.

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92 Pound Greeting

This is Amber. She is 16 months old now, weighing 92 pounds at last weigh-in at the vet’s.  Words to describe her include, “energetic, sweet, exuberant, loving, boisterous, cute, unrelenting, playful, and ‘watch out!'”

Each morning I come down the stairs half asleep. My husband usually makes it downstairs before I do, letting doggies out and starting to feed animals. Sometimes Amber greets me at the bottom of the stairs. Other times in the living room, or the kitchen. I’ve learned to ‘brace for impact’ as we TRY to teach her not to dive-bomb us.

This morning she caught me as I was going to my recliner to retrieve the shoes and socks I had left there last night. She caught me from the side, causing me to almost fall onto the couch while I was trying to sit down in my chair. I took some time to love her, rubbing her all over and cooing to her, trying to get her to calm down. She’s like a volcanic eruption, though. It’s hard to contain all that love and enthusiasm.  (I held my feet up off the floor while greeting her, having learned the hard way that allowing her to step on my toes results in soreness and bruises.)


I got her calmed down, only to have to start over when I tried to stand up. She finally heard, “SIT!” and complied – just long enough for me to get completely up and around the chair. She circled around, over and over, tail wagging madly, as I made my way carefully to the kitchen. I finally got through one of the dog gates and closed it between us.

I AM smarter than this dog – I THINK.

We WILL get her to SIT and STAY one of these days ‘real soon now….’

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Are Fish ‘Affectionate?’

I’ve been told that goldfish are ‘dirtier’ than most aquarium fish and take  a lot more care in keeping their bowl or aquarium clean. I’ll have to agree that it seems I need to completely change the water every week or so, even with a good filter with a cartridge I change twice as often as the box suggests.

My husband keeps suggesting that the fish are too much work, that they don’t ‘love’ us, aren’t affectionate, don’t do tricks or anything – just make more work for us. I just look at him when he starts this. He finally shrugs and gives up. I’M the one who is doing the work, after all.

My fish don’t have names. To be honest I can’t tell the three more regular goldfish apart. I have a white one with a gold spot who could have a name, but I don’t want to treat that one any differently than the others.

I don’t know if my fishies are ‘affectionate,’ or not. The only thing they do that melts my heart is that when I come up to the glass to feed them twice a day, they see me, bunch up in the top right corner of the aquarium and wriggle their little bodies as fast as they can go, mouths opening and closing.  I don’t really know why I find that ‘sweet,’  but I do.


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Defurminating the Dog

Amber is miffed at me because we went out onto the screened porch with a trashcan and a ‘furminator’ tool and I proceeded to try to thin her hair. She’s been panting like crazy in this heat even with plopping herself into her kiddie pool almost every time she goes out. I even gave her a cookie after she had taken all she was going to tolerate, but she’s still miffed.


This started when I was watching the news today and Amber sat down on her bed which is right under the TV. She plops, rather than sitting more elegantly, and this resulted in a cloud of hair flying in all directions.

After getting 1/3 of a large trash can full of hair today, I’ve decided that we’ll try to do this at least every other day. Even though I’m not winning any popularity contests with this, it will make her more comfortable and it will help MY mood. I’ve been vacuuming a LOT (for me) and each time end up with a canister full of dog hair and YUCK from our floors. Maybe I’ll feel that I’m making more progress in this as we thin Amber’s coat a little.

Meanwhile, she looks at me, huffs, and lays her head down again – on the floor because she can’t fit into Molly’s bed. :0)

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Fierce Doggie!

Amber thinks she’s a fierce doggie, alert to all comers.  She weighs 92 pounds and is like a bull in a china shop, bulldozing her way around inside and out.

Today I was in our guest room going through books for possible sales and Amber pushed the door open with her nose. She came in happily, looking all around the room, licking me on the arm. Suddenly her hackles rose on her butt and on the back of her neck. She saw this –


She jumped backward and barked, looking very upset. I laughed and tried to pet her. She was still upset, hair still standing up as she moved closer to the dog, sniffed, and then backed up again, over and over.

Finally, I picked up the pile of books and called her to come with me. She did, but reluctantly – keeping a close eye on the intruder…


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Funny Signs - Humor

Happiness is Lips Blowing in the Wind

I don’t have a picture of Amber’s joy at putting her head out of the window so that her lips and tongue blow in the wind, but this is a pretty close picture of what I see when I look in my rear view mirror. All we have to do is look like we’re getting up to leave, or say the word, “CAR” and she’s in. It doesn’t matter where we’re going. It doesn’t matter what the weather. She doesn’t like it when we LEAVE the car, but is happy when we return and the trip continues.

Today we took her to a yard sale on the way home from errands. She had already smiled at people who talked to her at Walmart. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having a dog who isn’t growling or looking quite serious if people speak. The only thing I worry about now is that she wants to go with everyone! She goes right up into the truck of our UPS and FEDEX delivery people, and happily greets anyone coming up the driveway. The greeting is a bit exuberant, and we have to warn people that she doesn’t realize how big she is and might bowl them over…

She greeted people sitting under a tree at the yard sale with her usual smiling face. She started to whimper when we went to look at things quickly. We didn’t want to stay long because we had Amber – and a container of cottage cheese – in the car and it’s in the high 90’s, with a heat index of about 103. We hurried, and she was happy when we came back to the truck, each with goodies in our arms.

My husband got a really pretty lavender cylindrical glass vase and two votive holders he thought I would like. (I did!)


I fell in love with this handmade birdhouse! It’s made of real wood with something sturdy used as ‘shingles’ for the roof.


I think I’ll hang it up near a larger one on the porch so it doesn’t fall apart in the weather. I just love it!


Filed under Amazing Animals, Delightful Surprises, Family

Amber’s Pool is Clean-ER

Our yellow lab ‘puppy’ is now is almost 16 months old. She weighs 92 pounds (officially on the vet’s scales) and to say that she loves water is the understatement of all time.

I try to clean her pool every 3 days or so, and I have to say, it’s a big job. When it’s half full, as it is in this picture, neither my husband nor I can lift the edge to try to empty it. We tried it together, with both of us on one side, and still can’t do it.

What we’ve finally come up with is to push down on one side, in effect, crumpling the plastic, pushing down hard as the water flows out. Then I take the car broom (long handled and really soft brush) and scrub it out with the rest of the old water. Then I crumple the side some more, getting as much water out as possible. THEN I’m barely able to lift one side as the rest of the water goes out.

When empty, it’s a simple thing of using a cleaner spray, scrubbing with the broom again, and then lots of rinsing. When the pool is clean, we put the hose on full blast with the thingie on the end that keeps the water flowing whether you’re holding it or not and put it in the pool with two bricks on top. When the pool is about half full, the job is done.

Today my husband wanted to help and insisted we bring Amber. He immediately figured out that wearing his socks and sandals wasn’t the best for dealing with LOTS of water, so he stood back.

Amber took my messing with her pool to mean it was play time and she kept trying to get into the pool with the yucky water. As I got the water out, it of course forms mud all around the pool, since the place my husband wants the pool now is in the shade and out of the way of the mower. Amber thought it was great fun to play in the mud – laying down in it at several points, and then trying again to get into the pool.

I finally got the pool half full. My husband got Amber to sit and I hosed her off – with her trying to bite the spray from the hose.

She jumped into the pool as we hung the hose back up on the end of the house, probably putting a bunch of mud into the freshly cleaned pool. I just ignored it, not wanting to see the damage so soon.

At least the water in the pool is clean-ER and cool now. I won’t cringe – at least for awhile, when Amber drinks it as she walks around the inside of the pool before plopping down in it.

  • Addendum – just now she barked at the garage door wanting to come in. I got her toweled off enough finally that I could let her in. She headed straight for the big dog bed in the living room for a well-earned nap.

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Two Mollys




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Going to the Dogs

Fuzzy Molly

We just recently got back from taking sweet, Fuzzy Molly to the groomer at the vet’s office to be shorn like a sheep.  Molly is a cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross and is 13-1/2 years old. She is a happy doggie, making all of us smile. We’re having a bad year for ticks, so we’ve had to keep doing more and more to keep our animals as safe as possible. We use the squeeze-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff from the vet once a month, but this year we also got flea collars for the two doggies and our two cats. (The fish in the aquarium don’t seem to be bothered by ticks. :0) )

Our vet got a new groomer who started at the first of this month. She has some 23 years off experience, so we’re lucky to get her. Today was the first opening the groomer had, so Molly has gotten really fuzzy between groomings. I’m having more and more trouble finding the pesky ticks and now she’s coming in covered with little tiny burrs. I’m glad that we could get an appointment today. We’ll pick her up at around 2:00 this afternoon.

Since we were going to the vet and Amber loves going ANYWHERE in the car, we took her, too. She now understands “CAR,” “GO,” “GET READY” and all sorts of other words shared – or not MEANT to be shared – with her, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, for us to get out the door without either a “LET’S GO” or “NO, you can’t go” discussion.

Amber is a Yellow Labrador Retriever. She is now 15-1/2 months old. In an older post I told you she weighed 95 lbs. I misspoke. She only weighs ninety-TWO pounds. My husband put the no-pull collar and leash on her before bringing her into the vet’s office. She was a perfect lady, even though it had been months since she had worn the collar (which gives her a shock if she suddenly pulls on it, letting up when she does). She hadn’t been on a leash in that amount of time, either, so she has a good memory.  We weighed her quickly and then left.

The first thing Amber did when we got home was run around the side of the house and jump into her pool. With the storms we’ve had the past several days, the water was yucky. That didn’t stop her for one minute. She splashed around, drank some of the water (yuck!) and laid down, saying, “AHHHHH!” and looking very pleased with herself. She is now snoring in Molly’s small bed.

I hope that, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a doggie of your own right now, you have access to someone else’s dog so that you can smile for awhile today.



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It’s a Dawg’s Life

Amber took advantage in the rain let-up for a minute to take a swim in her clean kiddie pool, thanks to my scrubbing it out yesterday and refilling it.  She is now wet and happily sprawled out in the foyer, taking a nap.  I took some pics last night that I wanted to share. She has taken to sleeping upside down, back legs sprawled, half-on and half-off her bed n the evenings while we watch TV or a movie.

She won’t let you come up to her, no matter how soundly she seems to be asleep. I even had to turn on the camera in the office and get the flash ready before I came out to the living room to get these pics, but she will stay like this for a LONG time, very comfortably sleeping.









She has such a hard life. Don’t you feel sorry for her?




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Email from Bill Lites

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Why Does a Dog Have So Many Friends?

email from Bill Lites

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And, Speaking of Cat Beds….

Amber in the Cat Bed

We have two large dog beds that are about 3 feet x 4 feet and another that is about 2 feet x 3 feet.  We also have two cat beds – one is 13 inches x 20 inches, and the other is round a quite a bit smaller.

Everyone loves the bed above – the cat bed that is 13 inches by 20 inches. I’m not sure why, when everyone seems to travel from bed to bed or just sprawl wherever it seems good at the time all over the house. The picture above shows 95 pound Amber in the cat bed. She has to really work, going around and around and pulling all parts in to even TRY to get into this bed, but she was doing it this morning while Smoke was sprawling all over my writing area and calendar beside my computer.


Here is Molly sprawled out now in the same bed, snoring. While the doggies are vying for this one, the cats sprawl out in the middle of each of the humongous dog beds, daring the dogs to try to share.

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New Cat Bed?


We got a new food and water bowl set up, and then put a tray under it, trying to get Amber to give up her ‘play-in-the-water-dish’ game. So far, it has worked pretty well. Having the water bowl up in the air seems to take it out of the toy category. Fingers are crossed that this continues. Meanwhile, Smoke decided this morning that this was a grand new place to sleep! She even stayed there as Amber stuck her head down through the hole where her food dish goes to check Smoke out.


I would think that having Amber slurping water right over her head would be disconcerting, but Smoke didn’t seem to be bothered at all.


Maybe this allows Smoke to be trampled by the ‘playing-dog-fight’ between Amber and Molly t one less time during the day.



As I walked to the office after taking these pictures, Smoke followed me and is now asleep on the shelves beside me, on top of my calendar and to-do list…


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Sweet Companion

email from Bill Lites

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Can Fish Smile?

I really like my fish. They don’t do tricks. They don’t say anything. They’re even quite a lot of work, since I’ve been having trouble coming up with a filtering system that was the right size to fit nicely in my aquarium and do the job it’s supposed to do. I enjoy speaking to them, especially when I feed them twice a day. The four fish all get in the upper corner on the right side when they see I’m ready to feed them. They wriggle like crazy and I swear they smile as they anticipate the fish flakes coming into the water.

That said, I bought a different design filter today. This is for aquariums from 5 to 15 gallons, so I’m at the extreme low-end of the scale. I took EVERYTHING out today, including all the gravel. I completely drained the water, washed the inside of the glass, scrubbed everything that went back in and then filled the tank again with the treated water I fix for them so that my tap water doesn’t bother them.  (I have 4 gallon jugs of treated water that is room temperature.) I put in the new filter pump with a new filter cartridge.

The newly cleaned tank has been running for about an hour now and is looking pretty good. The fish seem happy, and were even trying to convince me that it was time to feed them – gathering in the corner, wriggling, and smiling.

I don’t mind changing the filter cartridge more than once a month, but I don’t like having to change it every three DAYS as I was before, and it wasn’t even keeping the water clear! FINGERS CROSSED that what I did today results in the water staying clear for longer.

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Feeling Lucky

The Fresh Quotes

Thinking of you today, John.

(And you, Sweet Murray – ((((HUGS))))) )

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Wet Amber

Ambrose Bierce via Email from Bill Lites


We got a kiddie pool for Amber last year. She was a cute MUCH SMALLER puppy last summer and was a little intimidated by the water. We finally got her to walk around and drink some of the water, but she didn’t want to actually swim in it much.


Now, since the weather is so beastly hot already here – and it’s not even officially summer yet – I let Amber out and she comes back sopping wet. She heads for the pool immediately, leaps in, walks around, drinks some of the water, then lies down in the middle, saying, “Ahhhhhh!” She may do this several times while she’s out. Then she barks at the door, wanting to come in. She’s 93 pounds of bull-in-a-china-shop wet puppy – and exuberant in her (1) wish for a cookie for barking when she wants to come in, and (2) wish to snuggle with her people.

I now keep dog towels at the front door and at the garage door so that I can at LEAST keep her from dripping all over everything. I’ll make this a routine until our weather cools off – hopefully in October – scrubbing out and refilling the pool every 3 days or so. She LOVES her kiddie pool now. She really doesn’t understand why we don’t care to snuggle with her until she dries off….


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“Remember Me Laughing” – Father’s Day 2018

Bubba Watson via


Jim Wheaton

My dad had a great sense of humor and shared it generously. The humor came in many forms: wonderful stories, jokes, looks, puns, and funny actions. He made us all laugh, even at times when we felt like crying.  To him, making people laugh started out as a way to be accepted at school. This was a HUGE thing because one arm was shorter than the other, his left hand almost completely useless – an easy thing for unkind kids to use to bully and belittle him. The fact that he made everyone laugh and forget he might have had an extra challenge gained him acceptance.

He used his wonderful sense of humor to create a one-man advertising agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and my mom celebrated when he finally gained enough clients that they were able to pay the bills more easily. He put my brother and me through college with his talent, finally winning a Silver Addy Award for Lifetime Achievement in Tulsa. The radio stations still play his commercials from time to time to honor his memory. (This happened the first time when my husband and I were visiting my mom and his parents, who lived on the next street. We were in Dillards Department store. All of a sudden I heard my dad’s voice! I dropped to my knees in the middle of the store. One of the clerks rushed over to help me. When I told her what was ‘wrong,’ she explained to me that the radio stations do that every year to honor my dad, since his commercials were so distinctive and funny. )

He taught me to stand back and look at situations as if I were looking at a movie.  This allowed me to see the humor in many situations, allowing me to laugh, rather than get hurt or angry. I thank him often for teaching me this.

I miss him, of course, and get weepy at times, but I FEEL him looking down at me – usually when I’m trying something for the first time or sticking my neck out in some way. I can FEEL him smiling at me, urging me on. It lights me up from the inside, filling me and giving me strength.

On his last day, he scribbled on a piece of paper, “Remember me laughing.” And I DO. I cherish memories of him telling a story, laughing so hard at times – unable to go on for several seconds – being able to SEE the situation. The helpless laughter is what I remember most. I’ve forgotten a lot of the stories, but I’ll never forget his joy in telling them.

(One of his favorite stories was about going camping with his friends.  If you knew them, this was already funny because neither my dad, nor any of his friends, were outdoor people. He described a laborious afternoon after they figured out where they would camp for the night. One guy decided to dig a hole in the ground because he slept on his back and wanted to be comfortable in his sleeping bag. He would dig a bit, ‘try-the-hole-for-fit’ and dig a bit more until it was perfect. The rest of the guys decided that seemed like a great idea, so they, too, dug holes for their butts. At dark, they got ready for bed. One of the guys was suddenly cursing. They turned on their flashlights to find out what the problem was. It turned out the guy was trying to brush his teeth – mistaking the “Unguentine” for toothpaste!

They got into their sleeping bags, still laughing, and suddenly the guy was cursing again. They turned on their flashlights to see him moving his sleeping bag to another spot. He angrily told them, “I sleep on my stomach!” )

I’m smiling now as I type this, easily picturing my dad trying to tell us this story, laughing his rear end off.  I’m so lucky to have known and loved him.



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Best Deal Ever Made

M. Facklamemail via Facebook/FortheLoveoftheDog via email from Bill Lites

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Nice Start

49 years ago today we promised that we would love and cherish (but not drink from the same cup – thank you, Kalil Gibran). And so we have.



Amazingly, we’re still together, haven’t killed each other, actually LIKE each other most of the time, and LOVE each other all of the time. When you think of it, when two completely different people promise to spend the rest of their lives together, they don’t realize what a work-in-progress it is ALWAYS going to be – and how worth the ride!

Happy marriages are worked on every day. It’s seeing the other person’s side in an argument. When you feel as if you’ve given over 100%, it’s probably coming out even. Standing on your tongue and putting a lock on your lips is sometimes required. Just as I’m ready to kill him, he does something that completely melts my heart into a puddle on the floor in front of me. I HOPE he feels the same.

We have a good start on our marriage now. We’ve built a life together that is unique in all the world. This loving is an addiction to which I hope I’m never cured.


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“Musical Dog Bed”

Our pets play “musical dog bed” as we used to play “musical chairs.”

The dog bed is technically Molly’s.


This is a small bed. Molly is about 25 lbs. She is a Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross. She often gets run over or chewed on by our 93 lb Yellow Lab Retriever, Amber, and needs a break.

I just took this picture of Abby, one of two cats who love this dog bed, too. Abby takes great joy in spreading out as much as possible so that neither Smoke, our second cat, nor Molly, can share.


Earlier today, Amber decided that SHE wanted to get into the bed, but was only able to manage her back half.


After working at it quite a bit, she was finally able to get most of her into the bed. The picture doesn’t show it, but Abby sat a few feet away, watching, and Molly spread out on the bare floor next to my computer chair.


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Happy Fish

My goldfish seem happier with the new filter. Even though the filter itself is smaller, the design of the pump with a tube basically sucking the water through the pump seems to be working well.


The fish didn’t actually SAY anything, but they’re swimming around with great enthusiasm. Can fish smile?

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Dog Wisdom – Communication

Jean Little – via email from Bill Lites

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Cat Naps

This is Smoke, keeping my husband company while he works at the computer. She calmly jumps from the floor to my husband’s lap. If he’s accommodating, she settles down right there. If not, she then walks across the keyboard, creating some havoc, to find a comfortable spot to take a nap.


She certainly knows how to relax.

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Delights of Living with a Water Dog

One of the many challenges we’ve had with our SWEET 15-month-old, 93-pound Yellow Labrador Retriever PUPPY, Amber, is that to say ‘she is a water dog’ is one of the biggest understatements out there. When I scrubbed out her kiddie pool a couple of days ago and was refilling it, she wouldn’t even wait for the water to start filling the pool before she was in and out, barking at the spray head on the hose and playing in the water.

This love of playing in the water translates INSIDE, as well, to our aggravation. We try to have water bowls readily available inside and outside for our dogs and cats. Everyone ELSE just goes over and quietly drinks from the large plastic bowl we had. Since Amber delights in putting a paw or two in the bowl and happily spreading the water all over the floor, we switched from the plastic bowl to a large untippable stainless steel bowl. She doesn’t dump it, but manages to splash the water everywhere on a regular basis.

Today we got a new set up we ordered, hoping to solve the problem. This is a food and water bowls combo. The bowls fit into the table-like top, and the top fits onto legs. The table and legs are made of heavy-duty plastic. Since we know our dog well, we found a stud in the wall and screwed the whole thing into the stud. This is a super-sturdy set-up.

We tested it with Molly, our 25-pound, elderly Cocker Spaniel/Schnauzer cross, to make sure she can reach the water. She doesn’t like it much yet, but she is able to reach the water and drink.

Amber looked at it, wagged her tail, and went to do other dogly things.

I just checked, and there was water on the floor. So Amber went back sneakily – when we were otherwise occupied – and managed to splash water out. There is still some water for thirsty dogs and cats to drink, however, and the assembly is still in one piece, still firmly anchored. So we’ve made the problem a bit better, but now need to look for something to go under this to catch as much of the water as possible…



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A Delightful Man

John Dennis

You can’t choose your family, but if we could, we would have chosen John Dennis in a minute.  John was my husband’s cousin, but he was much, much more than that. He was our good FRIEND. He and my husband exchanged letters – yes – real letters that came in the mailbox.  We would see his return address on an envelope, drop everything, sit down, and I would read it aloud, always laughing at some point, if not more.  My husband would then sit down at the computer and compose a letter in reply. He asked me to check it for grammar, paragraphs and spelling, because John was a history professor and my husband didn’t want to make any more mistakes than necessary. We would print the letter and send it off, already anticipating when we would hear from him again.

He was smart in other ways, too, marrying his wife, Murray – our cousin-in-law (I think), but again, much more importantly, our dear FRIEND. When we could arrange it for our house sitter to take care of our house and animals, we would drive to Thibodaux, Louisiana, 9-1/2 hours one way, to visit. We wanted to stay there forever. The Dennises make you feel SO special, SO welcome. We just loved to go talk to them. We didn’t want to be ‘entertained,’ we just wanted to be able to catch up on all the little things that were happening, and be able to hug their necks. John was quite a cook and would feed us as if we were royalty, yet seemingly without effort. I never understood how he did that. And Murray topped off MY visits there by making cheese grits. I’ve never liked grits. My husband has told me for years that I didn’t add all the things to them that made them wonderful. Each time I tried, adding bacon and whatever else I could think of, they still tasted awful. When I tasted Murray’s cheese grits, I immediately LOVED them, eating like a pig. (If we DID live there, I wouldn’t be able to get through the door now from stuffing my face.)

John and Murray have been such a part of Thibodaux that I imagine it will be hard for everyone to pay respects. Both John and Murray volunteer their time and effort to countless community events, charities, sitting on boards to help make Thibodaux an even better town. They have had small gatherings when we’ve been there, put together again seemingly without effort, but missing no detail. Their ‘small gathering’ included more people than my husband and I KNOW! And the friendship and laughter flowed around the room, people visiting and then moving around to visit with someone else. A truly beautiful experience.

I wish I could have sat in one of John’s history classes, kind of like a fly on the wall. You could tell from his general conversation that history was alive for him, and that he would radiate that to his students, making THEM see history in a different, interesting light. He and my husband shared an interest in genealogy – a more personal history.

He had a beautiful attitude even at the end, saying, “I’m ready for the next adventure.”

We are so lucky to have known John. Our lives have been richer for sharing a small bit of his.

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Act of Kindness

strong mind via jacqueline a lyons


I’ve told you our son lives and works in Thailand. We chat most every day, thanks to a secure program he set up for us, so it doesn’t seem that he’s halfway across the world from us most of the time.

This morning, he had left this message – “i saw a guy sleeping under a bridge on my walk into town so i got a sandwich and bananas and water and brought it back and gave it to him.”

I don’t know where he got this, but I’m proud to know him.

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Our Son’s Music Room

Our son’s music room in Thailand is coming together nicely. He says he’ll probably get a keyboard and guitar next. He has to keep buying, selling and changing his stuff because he needs to travel light in his lifestyle. I’m glad that he can play with his goodies now.


I have no idea what the stuff is in the ‘magic box,’ but he sent us a short video of him playing with things, learning some of the wonderful sounds, rhythms, and tunes he can create (if not distracted by all the blinking lights!) I loved watching his head bob in time with his music. :0)

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Filed under Family, Favorite Things, music