Thursday, December 03, 2015

Tunesday on Thursday Sting Christmas

It's time for the Holiday edition of Tunesday.  I am an aficionado of unusual Christmas music.  Not that I don't love the classics.  There are certain renditions of certain tunes that scream to be listened to each year.

But as my Lil' Bro used to tell me..................."you just like it because it's weird".

My amendment to that statement is.................."I like it because it's unique".

After a CBS Sunday Morning story a few years ago, I found this gem of an album.  Sting with a collection of very old Christmas carols.  This doesn't sound like anything else, and very little is anything you've ever heard.  It sounds ancient and I love it.  Lyrics are rich and thoughtful.  I believe that's Chris Botti playing.  It's like taking a trip to a castle in England, and listening to the minstrels.  And how wonderful that someone has posted the entire album on YouTube for all you non-ITunes folks.

Dad, grab a glass of eggnog, or a cup of hot chocolate, and give it a listen. After the video is some info from Sting's website.

In collaboration with esteemed producer and arranger, Robert Sadin, "If On a Winter's Night..." features traditional music of the British Isles as its starting point. Sting and guest musicians interpret a stirring collection of songs, carols, and lullabies including The Snow it Melts the Soonest (traditional Newcastle ballad), Soul Cake (traditional English "begging" song) Gabriel's Message (14th century carol), Balulalow (lullaby by Peter Warlock) and Now Winter Comes Slowly (Henry Purcell).

Two of Sting's own compositions are also featured on the album, Lullaby for an Anxious Child and The Hounds of Winter, which originally appeared on his previous release Mercury Falling, alongside Hurdy Gurdy Man, - a musical reworking and English translation (by Sting) of Der Leiermann from Schubert's classic winter song-cycle Winterreise.

For this exploration of the themes and emotions of Winter, Sting is joined by friend and long time colleague, guitarist Dominic Miller. Additional guests include an ensemble of three remarkable musicians from Northern England and Scotland: Kathryn Tickell (fiddle and Northumbrian pipes) Julian Sutton (melodeon) and Mary MacMaster (metal string Scottish harp), along with Daniel Hope (violin), Vincent S?�gal (cello), Chris Botti and Ibrahim Maalouf, (trumpet), Cyro Baptista and Bijan Chemirani (percussion), the Webb Sisters (vocals) and Stile Antico (vocal ensemble).

Lyrics are here.............

Monday, November 30, 2015

After The Long Weekend

The long weekend was long.  And much needed. And ended in the best way possible. (More later).

2015 has unexpectedly been a tumultuous year, and the year in review post is on it’s way.  But for now,  Thanksgiving 2015 is in the rear view mirror.  And it was a great one.  I took Wednesday off, which added to the length of the weekend.  And when I headed to the grocery store yesterday, I realized I hadn’t left Casa Rancho since I got home Tuesday night.

I like being home. 

I guess we did walk down the street on Thanksgiving night to the neighbor’s house.  Tucker likes to be around fellow furry friends and do all the things those of the canine persuasion like to do.  He got his fill and we lifted a glass in thanks for family and friends that feel like family.

I was thankful that Dad and Mom were able to make it through snowy slick streets to share a meal.  One that Lil’ Bro declared was the best Thanksgiving meal ever.  That was all the reward I needed for the work.  There is something nearly sacred to me about Thanksgiving meal preparation.  I waited through many years of apartment dwelling as an adult , until I was a home owner.  Once able to host I really look forward to all of it.  From shopping to brining to cooking and best of all, the table setting. 

Such joy.  Really.

Now with Thanksgiving packed up, the long weekend also made time for all the Christmas decorating.  Which is done except for the tree…………

It’s been a good year. 

Oh, and the ending of the weekend???

Doesn't get much better than this...........................

Saturday, October 10, 2015

#Pumpkinization #2

Yogurt and I have a love hate relationship.  Once again, it's a texture thing.  Greek yogurt is better over all.  Less "slimy".  But the great development in yogurt technology is the flip cup.  So you can have crunchy bits that don't get soggy because you dump them in right before you eat.  I can actually enjoy yogurt for breakfast when there's some CRUNCH.

So in an entry in the Pumpkinization movement, I found this..................

It's crunchy, it's sweet, it's "pumpkinny"................just not enough.  I'll buy a few more while they're still around.  But its more spicey than anything.  I'll give it a "6".

Friday, October 09, 2015

Project Apollo Photos

Here's a great way to waste enjoy a few hours...................and this one's for you Dad.  NASA has posted each and every photo taken by the Apollo crews.  Incredible.  Check it out here.

Project Apollo Archive

H/T to Vodka Pundit

#Pumpkinization Running Wild

Every year it starts in late August.  Just in time for fall.  Pumpkinization.  But I have resisted because it's been too hot. And one week into October, it's just now starting to feel nippy enough to be fall.  Came really close to ordering the Pumpkin Spice Latte this morning, but couldn't bring myself to go for it.

Meanwhile, along with many others in the blogosphere, (most notably James Lileks) we are marveling at the ever growing pumpkinization of food products.  So here's a few of the ones I've found, which will be rated on a scale of 1 to 10.  And these are in lieu of the pumpkin pie, which of course was the inspiration for all this.  Which I've never liked.

Its a texture thing.

Not a cookie fan.  I especially hate Oreos.  But two of these with a hot cup of tea is not bad.  Not great, but not bad.  I'll give it a "5".

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pope Francis Has Good Taste in Vehicles

This looks oddly like a vehicle in my garage.

Anyone know where we can get that kind of top?

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Happened to Fall?

This isn't fall.  And it certainly isn't autumn. 

It's hot, it's dry, and there's no end in sight.

Sure, on a few occasions there's been a slight nip in the air.  But only slight.

Mid-August is when I'm done with the hot and ready for the cool, if not, COLD.  But nothing like that so far this year.  

So it's official, I'm moving September to October and we'll try again next month.  Unless this September decides to redeem itself.

I can't even make myself CONTEMPLATE a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.  Not yet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Doing Hospital Time

Five to One.

I'm thinking that's the ratio.

For every hour you spend hanging out in a hospital, you're actually losing five hours of your life.  If you've ever sat vigil with a loved one in a hospital, you know what I mean.

I can't imagine what the ratio is for actually BEING THE PATIENT.  Don't know because I've only been in the hospital twice................nah................three times.  But I doubt being born counts.  So, two overnight stays for simple elective procedures for me.  That's all I know, and there were pain medications for having my tonsils out and my knees poked into.  Those seemed a breeze.

I am fortunate.

On the other hand, my dear sweet mother has spent more than her fair share of hospital time.


When you add it all together, it's literally been months she's put up with all the travails of hospitals.  From surgeries and procedures, to poking and prodding, and all the indignities she's suffered, to fix her heart and her brain, to keep her here.

She is the toughest woman I know.  On more than one occasion I've screamed at God and begged Him not to take her,  On more than one occasion I've told Him it was okay to take her.  Just take away her pain,

And like a Timex watch, she takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

So it's been this summer.  In for a week, out for a week. Back for more.

As I write this, she's been moved out of ICU and into a better room. Little Bro says it's the nicest room so far.  For each of us who love her, every moment you're not there with her, you feel you should be..................

And so its hard to sleep, or eat, or work,  or focus on any thing else.

No matter how many time she tells us to go home, that she's want to be there and make sure she's comfortable and getting the best care possible.

The only thing that's nearly as difficult as dealing with all of the sense I get when I'm walking down a hospital hall.  Following the stupid colored line on the floor.........and then getting to an ICU or a CCU and walking past people in a room, in a bed, all alone.

No one sitting in the God awful uncomfortable chair next to the bed.  No one asking nurses and doctors what's going on.

My heart breaks for those all alone people.

Because we will be there for my Mom.  As long as it takes.  Where ever  the road takes us.

And I pray for all alone people, and wondered if I missed my calling.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tunesday - Diamonds and Rust

As we move toward September, my musical tastes begin to change. Perhaps it's because September seems like the beginning of a year, not January.  And year changes make me wistful.

Can accoustic guitars sound like autumn?  In my book yes.  So here we go..............

Friday, June 19, 2015

Can I Tell You This?

I was mad at The Husband when he brought her home.  He didn't ask, he just notified me that he was bringing someone home.  When I think of the dog he brought home that night, about 5 1/2 years ago, and the dog I grew to love, it seems as though they were different dogs.

She was so skinny and skittish.  She was restless and roaming.  It was a few days before Halloween and both of us were off from work, so we were able to spend several days at home with her.  She didn't startle at the sound of the doorbell when it rang over and over on Halloween night.  But she was restless, so restless.

I thought Bessy was a silly name.  But that's what she was named by The Husband's son when his mom found her.  I only commented that she matched the she could stay.

When did she creep in my heart and take it over?  I don't really remember.  It happened over time.  We had our bumps and issues.  But once she figured out that she was safe, and we would always feed her............she stopped ducking her head when you reached out your hand, and she worked her way into our lives.............and became, "my dog".  We spoiled her in every way we could afford to do so.........the best of food, someone to stay here with her when we went out of town, and even dragging her to Keystone four times.  Where she got to be a mountain dog and sniff the trails to her heart's content.

Once I fell in love with her, I seldom let myself think that she was an older dog, because we didn't really know how old she was.  But the hair around her face grew grey along with mine and I knew in my head I would someday have to say goodbye, but my heart didn't want to face that fact.

When she started limping this spring, my heart clenched, but hoped it was just a kink.  From the initial xray we waited 4 weeks to take a second one.  And the spot had grown.  She had bone cancer on her back left leg.  Our wonderful Vet, Dr. Jeff told us it could be a few weeks or a few months.  Just keep her comfortable, and you'll know when its time.

For the next few weeks Bess would lie on the floor in my office, right at my feet. She had a bed in there and slept most nights there.  I was on the computer a lot.  Posting my resume and looking for work. Late afternoon, she'd follow me down to the kitchen and curl up on the rug by the sink while I cooked dinner.

It was on the kitchen floor where she was laying during dinner, that she tried to get up and the leg gave out.  The wailing and whimpering was one of the worst things I've ever heard.  We loaded her up with pain pills and she limped into the living room and settled for a bit.  We sat with her and tried to figure out what to do.  I'd made a call a few days earlier and we knew what the end would be like.

Suddenly, with great effort she got up...............using the other three legs and headed for the stairs. The Husband helped her up the stairs, but we were amazed that she could do it at all. She was just so determined in that moment.

She wanted my office. It was her happy, peaceful and quiet spot.

The problem was, she couldn't lie down.  She kept trying, and we kept trying to help.  Finally after about half an hour, she managed to get down.  And I knew I didn't want her to have to get up again.

Caring Pathways is an organization here in Denver, founded by a man that I know.  Dr. Larry knows far too much about suffering and is a man of great compassion.  He founded Caring Pathways, and I encourage everyone who reads this to click on the link and read about him.  The call to them was the call I'd made a few days earlier and I knew we wanted to have them come to the house to take care of my Bessy.  I can't even imagine how we would have gotten her into a vehicle and  to a Vet without causing her tremendous pain.  So we made the call.

We called the neighbors who loved her and they came and sat with her while we made some calls.   They made their teary goodbyes and left us alone with her.

I laid down behind her on the floor and held her.  She was quiet and I believe the pain pills we got into her made her comfortable.  I sang our song to her.  Tom Petty's Free Fallin'..........."she's a good girl, she loves her momma".

About an hour and a half later, Dr Amy showed up.  As long as I live I'll remember that when she walked into my office, Bessy lifted her head and wagged her tail.

She was happy to meet a new person.

Dr Amy sat on the floor with us, and explained everything.  When we were ready, she gave her a strong sedative.  When her breathing deepened and she was no longer responsive.  She gave her the final shot.

And quietly, peacefully, in her happy peaceful spot...............she slipped away.

These are the final photos I took that night.  I was alone with her for a while and she was resting and calm when I took this.

I loved the way her fur looked on her neck.  She was a beauty.

When she was gone, Dr. Amy let us sit with her for a while, then wrapped her in the sheet she loved from her bed. The Husband helped get her on a stretcher and into Dr. Amy's SUV.

It was the perfect way to deal with a very difficult situation.  The Husband later apologized that it happened in my office, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Do I think of her when I'm in there now?


But I know she passed away in a favorite place, surrounded by people who loved her deeply.  As the character, One Stab said in Legends of the Fall.  "It was a good death".

She'll always be my girl.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday

How fitting on a day like today...............

As we join others around the world praying for the church in Charleston.

Larry Norman singing with the choir at the House of Joy Miracle Deliverance Church right here in Denver, circa 1989.   Pastor Ralph directing the choir.  I was sitting in that church the night this was filmed.  This was the most stirring song of the night!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Another New Beginning

The loss of a pet is harrowing.  Most people, even if they don’t have one understand that the loss is a serious matter to those affected.  From fellow pet owners there is a high degree of sympathy that gets lavished on you and that has been a blessing.
As regular readers know, I lost my dear Bessy on April 2nd.  Still can’t yet talk about that night, but with the passing of two months, I can talk about her now, without the tears coming on.

I still miss her.

Some folks caution you not to move too fast and take on another dog.  Others tell you to get a new companion right away.  I suppose there is merit in both approaches.  With all the upheaval in my life this year, I came down somewhere in the middle.

So WorldWideWeb………………meet Tucker.

There was a trip to the Buddy Center in Castle Rock that didn’t end with a match.  A Sunday trip to the Denver Dumb Friends league ended up lasting several hours.  And I find going there nearly unbearable.  Because it’s so full of doggies.  And they all stare at you through the glass walls as you walk by…………and it breaks your heart.  At least it does mine.  There was a lovely volunteer coordinator that kept trying to find a match.  Even among dogs that were not ready to be adopted that day.  So we kept walking back and forth.  Past sad eyes, each one pleading………………

And this one little man………….would stop pacing and sit down.  After the 4th or 5th pass by, I asked, almost in passing “can I see him?”

He had Bessy eyes.

After a long wait while he “visited” someone else who decided to think about it, I sat on the floor in the tiny room.  He took a treat, nicely, after I told him to sit.  But he was full of energy to get out of that small space.  So was I.  An outside visit fared better.  He ran and jumped and sniffed and loved catching ball.

Terribly tough decision, one that I almost couldn’t make.  Was I ready?  Ready to try again??

Obviously the answer is yes.

Three weeks and counting.  A few bumps along the way.  A bit of separation anxiety.  He’s too thin and needs to get his digestion regular.  We saw the Vet this week.  But he does well around kids and others when they come to our house. Seems distrustful of men when he’s on his leash, but not when he’s off.  He gets on well with at least 4 other neighborhood dogs that he’s been with. 

He's a wee little man compared to Bess, about 1/3 her size.  But he likes all the same places to hang out.


He jumps and barks and chews and all the other things dogs do.  Unlike Bess who was so quiet and calm.  But none of that behavior is really problematic.  Just normal dog stuff.  And then he collapses.

I might love him.

If I could just stop calling him Bess.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Those Texas Folks

So what’s the deal with folks from Texas?  When you live in Colorado, it seems you can’t cross the street without tripping over someone from Texas.  They are everywhere.  As if there is some magic portal that transports them here, but then helps them disappear just as quickly.  The tricky thing is that if you spend too much time with them, you fall in love with them, because Texas folks are the best people there are.  I mean that.  And not just because I know a few Texas folks will read this.  Problem is…………..they always go back.  To Texas.  I get it, family, friends, roots…………..all that.  But then they take a little bit of us every time they leave.

This Memorial Day weekend was Texas in Colorado holiday or at least that’s the way it ended up.  For the first time in FAR TOO MANY years, ScooterGirl and The Marine made an appearance.  A long overdue appearance. ScooterGirl first showed up here At Altitude years ago. She and The Marine were celebrating their 10 Year Wedding Anniversary this weekend, and honored us by coming to Casa Rancho and sharing it with us.  It was lovely and much too short a visit.  Someday, we’ll all be retired and the stays can be longer, but for now we relish what we have, though it makes us long for more.

In the years since ScooterGirl and The Marine left the neighborhood, another batch of wonderful folks from Texas moved in and we not only got to know them, but their parents as well.  It’s the same deal as before, they move right into your heart, and pull up a chair, and I’m hoping they feel right at home.  Sure feels that way on my end.

All the way from Giddings, all the way from Hondo, everyone showed up at my house and food and fun and fellowship followed.  There were kids and dogs, ribs in the smoker, hot wings in the kitchen and people everywhere.  We even had an unexpected visit from the twins who lived across the street with their mom.  They’ve since moved south of us after Mom took on a marriage and FIVE more kids.  But we hugged and kissed and oohed and awed at how big they’ve grown.  How perfect.

While I know that the real meaning of Memorial Day is a somber one, there were a few days of fun as well.  I still made sure we flew the Marine flag along with the Stars and Stripes.  And I managed to watch Saving Private Ryan.  Still makes me weep every time.
Couldn’t have really asked for more.  In this year of new beginnings, it was a great way to launch the summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Adventure Begins

Today was the day.  Today was the day that it all suddenly felt new.  New and exciting.

It comes on you in a moment.  I was standing at a counter ordering a coffee.  Then I realized that the many years of dreading going to work,  dreading what the day would hold……………have all been replaced with excitement and anticipation. I had butterflies in my stomach like a kid. Looking forward to spending time doing things I love and working WITH people I like.  People who value me, care about me, WANT my opinion.

What a concept.  Working for something other than a paycheck.  The paycheck I was getting was big enough that it became the sole purpose.  The sole end game.  There was no creativity or adventure.  Just endurance, and drudgery.

So yes, I started a new job last Thursday.  The first few days felt awkward and unsettled.  New commute, new surroundings, being introduced everywhere as the new person.  Even though I’ve know some of these folks for years……………..still the new kid.

But today was the day it felt natural.  Like I can make a difference, make an impact.  Being part of a team is a new feeling as well.  My last job cast me in the role of the Lone Crusader.  The lone person standing for truth, justice and the American Way.  And being foiled at every turn.

I’m not starry eyed enough to think that there won’t be challenges and trials.  But I am free of  a future that I couldn’t bear the thought of living through.  A job I hung on to, far too long.

So I snapped a picture out the office window.  It faces west and I can see the spectacular Colorado mountains every day I'm there.  Not bad.......

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tunesday - An Oldie but Goodie

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you live too long 
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

I've proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip's worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Powers chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage

I never knew what you all wanted
So I gave you everything
All that I could pillage
All the spells that I could sing
It's as if the thing were written 
In the constitution of the age
Sooner or later you'll wind up
Pacing the cage

Sometimes the best map will not guide you 
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places 
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land 
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage 
Pacing the cage 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

I Hear Her

Oh my.

Where do I begin?

I keep hearing her.  I swear I do.  I hear a rustle.  I hear her tags clinking when she stirs and gets up and shakes.  I hear the sound of a muffled bark, very quiet.  The sound she made when she was having her magnificent doggy dreams.  When she was tracking whatever she was tracking, or protecting us from whatever she was protecting us from.......a common, nearly every day or every night sound.  My beloved Bessy having her nighttime dreams.  And how crazy is it that that dogs dream??  I mean really.  They dream. I heard her bark in her sleep hundreds of times more than she ever barked while she was awake.  What a good girl.

In the middle of the night I stir, as many of us do at my age.  My first thought is to get up and go check on her.  Often just creeping out of the bedroom quietly and looking to see where she was.  Usually she was curled up in a circle, on a lumpy old bed we bought her at Costco in my home office.  In the faint light, she'd lift up her head and her tail would give a few wags, and I'd tell her "good girl Bess, good girl".  Then she would settle and so would I.  If it was windy or stormy, she'd curl up next to my side of the bed on the floor, and I'd have to be careful not to step on her when I got our of bed.  Now it takes a few moments to remember that she's not here anymore.

When I wake first thing in the morning, I get still and listen for her sounds.  Is she still asleep?  In these recent weeks I'd been attempting to be as quiet as I could, so she could sleep as late as possible.  Hoping she was pain free in her sleep. Then I remember she's gone and I don't have to worry about waking her, or worry about how much pain she's in, or worry about how all this is going to end because a week ago tonight, my wonderful furry companion went to sleep.......

It was peaceful, and when I have the strength I can write about that, but for now all I can bring myself to say is that God created these incredible furry creatures, that creep into our hearts and lives and give us just what we need, just when we need it.  And right now it feels like I will never love one of them as much as I loved Bessy.

 But perhaps that's not true.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 7 - A New Week

I'm sitting in my office, no, not the grey box.  That box will be a distant memory in years to come, I'm thinking.  And perhaps even someday, I'll be able to tell old Boss stories and laugh at how crazy he seems in the rear view mirror.

But for today, I'm still angry, hurt, scared, and just trying to get through each day.  Last week seemed easy by comparison to this week.  Last week I was able to spend each day with a dozen small tasks, feeling like I was making headway.  But now a week later, it all crashes in on me every few hours or so.  Keeping busy certainly helps, but the days seem so long.  Talking to people helps, but most everyone just wants to talk about things that are going on, and that's just like wading back out into the muck and trying to find my way.  I come out with boots full of mud.

I've been working on a home office for years.  Literally years.  Fancied myself a spot where I could sit and write, maybe the next Great American Novel would suddenly come flying out of my fingers and on to the screen.   A place to curl up in a cozy chair and read a book.  I certainly have stacks of them around here waiting to be read.

For the near future, most writing will have to be here.  Venting actually.  Not the writing I intended.

But for now, no grey box for me (at the "Speedway" code name, I had grey walls, grey carpet, black desk and no window).  Here I have two windows and light and loved objects.  Surrounded by birds, both inside and and out.

And the chickadees showed up yesterday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Day 2 - Turning Right

This Tuesday seemed like every other day.

And then it wasn't.  By 5pm that day I no longer had a job.  Didn't see it coming.  Completely blind sided.  Completely.

Into the later hours that night I was in full panic mode.  Seemed unreal.  Frantic phone calls to family and close friends, and like me, everyone found it unbelievable. Sleep became literally impossible.  In spite of a double dose of Unisom and a melatonin tab for good measure, sleep evaded me all night. and all day the next day as well.

As the initial panic faded, I started taking defensive measures.  Cancelling services, cutting every expense I could think of.  That kept me busy.  Made some calls, set some appointments.  And finally, last night, I collapsed in exhaustion.  And slept all night.

But what happened all through the day yesterday, and again today.................were texts, emails, and phone calls from the people around me that care about me.  I only let a few people know, and yet that blossomed, and I've been contacted by at least a dozen different people.  Prayers, scriptures, lyrics from songs, tonight, a box full of "goodies" from a neighbor.  I'm frankly overwhelmed by it.  Humbled by it.  After 17 years of working somewhere, and giving everything I had to make that place work...........and so very very seldom feeling supported.............well, to feel this love and concern has brought me so much hope.

Turning right.

So I jumped in the car this morning to head out of my neighborhood, heading to see my parents, then to an appointment.

And as I left the neighborhood...........I turned right.

I always turn left to head to the office, but today I turned right.  The minute I did it, it felt so different, and I chuckled to myself.  It seemed symbolic that I was heading a different direction.

 I will probably never head to that building again.  And sit in my grey box, and endure the day.  Some days better than others, but almost always coming home full of stress, turning around and heading there again the next day.

Today I turned right.  I went a different direction.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Pretty Pictures

Have always enjoyed great photography.  When you grow up in Colorado, it's easy to take for granted that just about everywhere you look, it's postcard material. But for many years now,  I've made it a point NOT to take it for granted.  And it's always seemed like everywhere I look, I see a picture.

I've hemmed and hawed about buying a good camera, since, well, the 80's??  Can it really be that long?  Yes.  But so many other things took precedence over that aspiration.  That hankering would hit the strongest when I was in the mountains.  And no photo I ever took looked like the one I saw in my mind's eye.

So last spring, I was sorely in need of doing something, anything,  for me.  For me.

I'd been relishing the photos of a blogger I'd found along the way, a fellow Colorado dweller.  You can take a look at his work, here...........Peenie Wallie Slideshows   I even emailed back and forth with Rob and got some tips on some small, point and shoot digital cameras that slacked my thirst for a few years.  But I knew what I really wanted was to understand the art and the science of photography.  To take the pictures I envisioned when I looked at something.

A conversation with a coworker led to making a purchase after finding out that a new Canon Digital SLR would take the zoom lenses my Dad bought for his Canon back in the 80's.  Never thought such a thing would work, but after my Dad's generous "donation" of the lenses and even camera bag.......I was finally in business.

So I've been snapping away, experimenting, and, thanks to the "magic" of everything being digital, deleting 90% of everything I shoot.  But I'm learning.  This week I finally took the next step and signed up for a class next month.  I've hit the proverbial wall at what I can learn on my own.  I need help from a pro.  After that, a PhotoShop class.

In the meanwhile, here's some of the shots I don't hate...........a few I even love.  Mostly taken outside Keystone. I was able to walk some paths and get those shots you can only get by yourself, laying on the ground, sitting on a rock and seeing what you see.

That last one is my favorite.  And the wallpaper on my work computer.  None of these are retouched or tweaked at all.  Don't really know how to do that yet.  Or at least do it well.

But I'm looking forward to the class, and to seeing how much I can improve my skills.  Been too long since that was a goal.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Girl

My Bessy was a stray, so not much is known about her past.  Only know that just about everyone who has ever been around her thinks she's the sweetest dog ever.  I agree.

Off and on in the last year, she'd seem to limp a bit, but usually only for a few hours, then she'd be back to herself again.  

This past weekend, the limping stayed for a few days, and I decided I would take her to the Vet on Wednesday.  In the middle of the night Tuesday, she started yelping and the sound just broke my heart.  Our furry friends can't tell us what's wrong, only that it hurts.  Started calling the Vet early Wednesday morning, and got an early appointment.  She was decidedly favoring her back left leg, but she ate her breakfast normally.  She went out back afterwords, but I couldn't get her to come back inside the house.   There are three steps from the patio to the house. Tried coaxing her and tempting her with a treat, to no avail.  She wouldn't even come in for some cheese.  

She's just too big for me to pick up, so I called a neighbor, and he came, picked her up and got her in the house.

Fast forward, after a Vet visit, there's some surprising news about our girl.  Sometime before we ever got her, she had both hips operated on.  She must have had severe hip dysplasia, as is common in some breeds. It's really a wonder that she's got on as well as she has.  She's got a sore knee, but no break, no ligament damage.  However the x-rays showed a spot on her knee, that her Vet wants to look at again in another 4 weeks.  For now she's on a pain med and an anti-inflammatory.  

Took her to work with me yesterday, where she was fawned on, petted and loved by all my coworkers, most of whom have dogs.  She even got to be around a few of their dogs too, reminding her to take it easy and slow.  She does love going to work.  You can tell she's favoring her back left leg, but getting around okay.

Well, time will tell how she's doing, and they'll look at that spot on her knee next month.

She's a blessing and a comfort to me all the time.  I just want to be that for her.

Monday, February 09, 2015


Why yes, I will have a pot of tea while I watch Downton Abbey.

I tape it on Sunday night, and watch it on Monday.  Gives me something to look forward to at the beginning of a work week.

The teapot I got years ago from my Aunt Alice, it's vintage Harlequin in Rose. Harlequin was made by Homer Laughlin and sold in Woolworth's stores as a less expensive alternative to Fiesta ware.  I collect both, but most of my vintage pieces are Harlequin.  I love the lines on this teapot.  My mom bought me two of these lovely rose patterned cups for Christmas, and the plates I've had for years, but don't remember where they came from.

Earlier this year, I found myself the owner of the most amazing silver tea service, but that's a story for another day.  And it's a bit heavy to lug upstairs to my loft when I settle in on Monday night to hang out with the Granthams.

And speaking of the Granthams...............

What an episode.............Edith running off, Bates coming clean with Anna, and Carson making a proposal...........of sorts.

The Dowager Countess has a past............

And it seems these two are still in love, after all this time.  At least the Prince is clearly still smitten.  Violet is, well, being Violet. What a season so far.


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