May 17, 2011


When hiking down a trail, you will sometimes encounter an obstacle.
It is important to meet that obstacle with confidence and grace.
Unless, of course, you are Q-Tip and need to follow the lead of your sisters.


Good Thoughts for Buddy Please

Dexter here reporting that my good friend and fellow labradude just had his TPLO surgery. The vet said the surgery went really well, but now he has to "take it easy" for 12 whole weeks.

Can you imagine? Poor Buddy! So hop on over to his blog here and wish him well.

Cruciate ligament injuries are not unusual in labradogs. You know why?

Because unlike some torpid beasts.... sheesh, will you look at that.

Labradogs actually MOVE! Bend, twist, action! GO!

Oh, check out my muscle butt.

Which means we can sometimes overdo it and get those bad boo boo's. Gosh, I do try and limber up before a work out, but sometimes in my exuberance to party down I find myself contorted in curious postures.

And I have been fond of flying ever since I was a wee pup.

Hopefully my sturdy limbs will not succumb to injury, but you never know and I will be keeping a close watch on Buddy to see how he manages all that sitting around. Hope he doesn't go totally mentals.

Dexter done!


May 16, 2011

 Do You Have A Non-Fur Kid?

Do you know someone who would fall into the child category?

Were you a child when you were young?

When you are trying to watch the teevees,
does some small human bean keep interrupting you
to tell you that they are bored because
you only watch old people television shows like
Hawaii Five-O and The Big Bang Theory?

If so, you should get my new children's book:

"Is This Your Ball?"

Available today for the Kindle*
on the Amazons.

You can get it by clicking 

It's like a mystery with balls!

Here's what it is about:
Jack (that's me), the dog (that's me too), tries to help a young boy find his baseball. As Jack (me) looks, he finds lots of different kinds of balls until he finally finds the right one! You'll love reading this book along with your kids. An early reader children's book, written for children aged 3 - 6.

*PS - If you don't have a Kindle, you can get the free Kindle app for your computer or phone  HERE. It's pretty neat!  If you don't have a computer, you can get the Kindle Cucumber app.  You won't be able to read any books, but you'll get some really funny looks at the grocery store, walking around looking at your cucumber!

Friday in the Surgery Clinic 


MARS requested that I visit the humane society yesterday to meet Missy, a 6-year-old Aussie that MARS will be taking into rescue. She had a repertoire of tricks and a sweet disposition, had been raised with children, and was obviously toilet trained (she held it until we got outside even though she needed to go badly). She seemed like a very nice dog and she was put on the surgery schedule for next week. Guess who was the first dog on the schedule this morning? Yes, Missy! I was able to be there for her when she was recovering from anesthesia. She did well and will be ready to go into rescue soon.

We had an eventful day, albeit a short one. There was a Springer Spaniel (age 10, mind you) giving birth to puppies in one of the surgery kennel rooms when I arrived. I think she had 5 puppies showing up on ultrasound, and had given birth to 3 or 4 by the time I left. They are Border Collie/Springer spaniel mix. I am so tempted to keep in touch with these puppies. I want a spaniel mix as our next dog and watched some of this litter be born. We'll see. My next dog in a perfect world will also be a black dog.

Miss Lucy is doing well. She has seen an ophthalmologist and has a condition called merling syndrome. This is a congenital syndrome often seen in unethical breeding of shepherds and can result in a constellation of problems like blindness, deafness, cardiac abnormalities, epilepsy, etc. Lucy seems to have a few small cataracts that may or may not grow. Her eyes are very small and are a bit oblong. The doctor felt she might have astigmatism, but she can see and hear. I have learned that Lucy has great recall. She was chasing a squirrel, I called her to come to me, and she immediately stopped chasing and returned to me. She also goes instantly to her kennel when asked to kennel and will hang out in her crate willingly, even if the door to the kennel is left open. She's very trainable and MARS would like me to work with a trainer (they'll pay). I'm very excited about doing this as it will need to be a trainer that uses positive training techniques.

Ardella visited Northwest Vet Specialists in Clackamas today to see if she would qualify for their blood bank program. I was a little nervous about taking her there, but she was a trooper. Actually, it was probably one of the highlights of her life - she was fed cookies by 2 adoring evaluators the entire time and totally forgot about me and the fact that she was having blood taken for CBC, chemistry testing and blood typing. They loved her there. I was so proud. The blood bank is looking for Rh negative blood types as they need universal donors. Should Ardella qualify, she will give about 2 cups of blood approximately 4 times a year. She'll be fed lots of cookies and get doted on while donating, and will get a year's worth of heartworm/parasite preventative medication. She'll be saving the lives of other dogs. I think it's a perfect job for her and I really hope she has the blood type they need.

The Pet and Companion Fair is tomorrow. I'll be going with Karren and Annalynn. I'm hoping to find more interesting things to do with dogs in the Portland/Vancouver area, and will report back what I find.

It's also been 3 months since Madeline left. It's still painful, but I've done a lot of soul searching and I've learned so much about dogs as I have been reading mainly dog books for the last 3 months and put myself on a study program. In short, I'm into positive training and relationship-based methods. I realize that I'm not a person who has ever been able to raise by the book or by rigid rules - I'm not an all or nothing type of person. The long version will wait for another post. 

May 15, 2011

Still Life with Dog

Before I even met Cabana for the first time, I had already HEARD her. I was in the waiting room backstage at the GDB Holiday Luncheon, and she was with all the other puppies in the puppy holding area outside. The whole time we were waiting for our turn on stage (quite a long time), the other puppy raisers and I could hear one dog, barking insistently...loudly...untiringly. I knew we were all thinking the same thing--"I hope that's not the puppy I'm bringing home." Well, that barker turned out to be Cabana.

For the first two weeks, Cabana barked quite a lot. She barked at bedtime when we put her in her crate, she barked when she needed to go potty, she barked at other dogs, and she barked for no reason at all. But since that time, Cabana has learned not to vocalize that way. For the past 2 months, although she does sometimes whine or make other small sounds, she has honestly not barked once.

Until tonight.

Our family's schedule is very routine and punctual. For the most part, we get up, eat our meals, go to work/school, get home from work/school, at about the same time every day. (Yes, we're boring.) We eat dinner around 6:00, then my husband does the dishes (yes, he's a good husband). After he does the dishes, he gives Cabana her dinner, and she does her happy dance.

But tonight, my husband was watching the NCAA tournament after dinner, intending to do the dishes a little later. Cabana got her little nose bent out of shape, came over to me, and started whining--"where's my dinner, Mom?" I told her to stop, and she did.

At 6:30, her regular dinner time, since my husband was still watching the game, I got up to get dinner for her. While I was getting her food ready, she BARKED at me--LOUDLY! Just one bark. I reprimanded her for it--but I was shocked! I hadn't heard that sound for months, and it kind of amazed me!

Hopefully, the barking won't continue. But it did make me wonder if Cabana is a dog that likes routine anyway--or if that's a result of our family's pattern. I wonder if she will need to be with a person who also has a regular routine, or if she would just as easily adapt to a person with a crazy schedule.

The photo above was taken at my bosses' house (which is also where I work--in the studio above their garage). Cabana was sitting so peacefully in the alcove, and her coat matched so well with the light wood colors. Very feng shui! (Click on it to view larger--it's such a pretty picture!)


May 14, 2011

Buffalo No More

One of Saigon's most photographed and iconic attractions went up in flames late on Tuesday night.
The signage of the Crazy Buffalo Bar on De Tham, a 10-metre high 3D image of a snorting buffalo, caught fire after an electrical fault burnt out the neon lighting that illuminates the image at night. With the words Saigon printed below in bold capitals, this standout imagery in the Backpackers' Area of Ho Chi Minh City has appeared on blogs, travelogues and Flickr accounts the world over. This is not the first time the Crazy Buffalo has been in the wars. In February this year the building next door caught fire after a man fell asleep while cooking lunch. The blaze in his apartment quickly spread to surrounding residences and businesses, although it is believed that the only person to perish was the perpetrator of the fire.
A decade ago when the building now housing Crazy Buffalo was a hotel, a gambling debt argument between a Thai and a Vietnamese man led to the murder of the latter. Legend has it that his head was cut off and thrown into the Saigon River. The murderer was caught on the border a week later trying to leave Vietnam.
Workers are presently detaching the now burnt out imagery from the building. It is not known whether it will be replaced with another.
App Whiz Wins Big

Computer application writer Huynh Nguyen Huy Sinh won VND1 billion in the Samsung Bada Developer Challenge last month. Sinh’s application Quan va Ti Quay won the entertainment category. The billion dong prize money broke the Vietnamese record for the biggest cash prize for an application writing contest by a company.
Over three rounds, the contest attracted 289 application writers with 436 entries. Contestants were IT students, freelancers, amateur and professional application-writers from around the country. 
At the award ceremony, the Vietnam Record Book Center (Vietkings) granted certificates for Samsung Electronics Vietnam, for two Vietnam Guinness records, including the mobile application-writing contest with the biggest prize and the online application contest with the most entries in the shortest time.

May 13, 2011

A Beautiful But Steep Uphill Climb

I get bored with walking the same stretches over and over, so this morning, we went back to HP Regional Park (last time I went there, I came home and found 3 ticks on me). It's gorgeous there, but the walking paths are narrow. It was pretty muddy in spots, too, which makes walking side-by-side with Cabana very difficult. After getting so much better about pulling on her leash, today Cabana seemed to have taken a couple steps back (only in the figurative sense; literally, she was a few steps too far ahead). But there were horseshoe tracks in the mud, so Cabana may have been extra excited by the different scents and unfamiliar territory.

Here's the steep climb at the beginning of our walk. We took that center path all the way to the crest, but I don't think the photo conveys just how steep it is. Maybe I'm just a wuss, but my lungs were burning by the time I got up to the top. Cabana, of course, wasn't phased in the slightest--I think she was looking at me like, "What? Are you tired already?"

A few other shots of Cabbie--with her leash around a sign post near the top...and in front of a little lake in the valley.







Oh, The Blood and The Guilt

Most likely, all puppy raisers have done this at some point--and today, it was my turn. I was trimming Cabana's toenails, and oooh, I clipped one too short. I barely clipped anything off, but it was still too much. Poor Cabana let out a quick yelp and began to bleed profusely. We were on the carpet, which is very unforgiving beige, so I picked her up and took her to the kitchen where we have hardwood floors.

No, I didn't have any styptic powder--because I didn't think I was ever going to make a mistake and cut her nails too short, you see. I thought I was the goddess of toenail clipping and that I was above such clumsy mistakes.

I tried to put pressure on the offended toe with a paper towel, but Cabana just kept trying to eat the paper towel and wouldn't cooperate. She scampered all over the kitchen and back into the living room, leaving a trail like Freddie Krueger.

Finally, after 15 minutes and no end in sight to the bloodletting, I had to put Cabana in her crate and dash out to buy some styptic powder. After a half hour, I was back home, and Cabana's crate was a bloody mess. I stuck her toe into the powder, and Shazam!! The bleeding stopped instantaneously.

In my frenzy, I didn't take any photos of the blood, so everyone is spared the sight of it. But I do have other pics to share.

This photo is of all Cabana's toys, which we keep on top of her crate. She can reach them, but being very polite, she will only nose them until we get them for her. While it's very mannerly that she doesn't just grab what she wants, it can also be a bit maddening because sometimes, it's a puppy's perogative to change her mind.

Cabana also knows she needs to be invited to go upstairs. The top photo is of her looking up the stairs at me, wondering if she's going to be invited or not.


May 12, 2011

Books I Recommend

A couple months before the idea of getting a Guide Dog puppy ever even crossed my mind, I happened to read two books that later influenced me greatly in that decision. Both books were just random selections that happened to be available by downloadable audio on our public library's website. (I rarely "read" a book because I like to multi-task. I prefer to listen to books on MP3 while I'm driving, running, or working, thus accomplishing two things at once.)

The first is called Crashing Through, by Robert Kurson. It's the true life story of a man named Mike May, who was blinded at age 3. Although completely blind, there was almost nothing this man couldn't do. He rode bicycles, went downhill skiing, even tried driving a car, and worked for the CIA. Then, 43 years later, surgery was able to restore his sight. It was remarkable to read about how being given sight was not the same as knowing how to see. His eyes worked, but his brain wasn't always able to interpret what he was seeing into things he could comprehend. This book gave me a keen interest and insight into those dealing with issues of blindness.

The second book is called Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote, about the author's experiences with a dog he finds while on a camping trip in Wyoming. Merle, the dog, is a Labrador mix, and they form an instantaneous bond with each other.
The author does tend to humanize Merle quite a bit, giving great meaning to the dog's every gesture. The author is also a big fan of letting his dog live off-leash and wander around their neighborhood at will (although they do live in a rural area), despite leash laws. But the book showed how strong and meaningful a relationship between dog and owner can be. Let me warn you, though--it's a tear jerker.

Having never had a dog as an adult and unsure whether we wanted to make a 10+ year commitment to a dog, getting a Guide Dog puppy for a year or so seemed like a great way to get our feet wet. It was a very good decision. Guide Dogs for the Blind gives us such tremendous information and instruction, and without that, I don't think we would have been successful pet owners. Of course, my goal now is to have Cabana become a working Guide Dog--but whatever happens, whether Cabana makes it as a Guide Dog or becomes a wonderful pet, I know I have been changed, for good.

Thanks to those who have complimented my new header. Initially, I had included myself in the illustration as well, but I just couldn't get the "me" part quite right. Here's what the illustration looked like with me in it.

But I look like I'm about 12 years old (which is 32 years too young--I know you're doing the math). I even gave myself laugh lines and crows feet, which my daughters kindly told me to take out, but which, wanting to be accurate, I left in (along with my unfortunate freckles).

Also, with me in the picture, I'd have to make Cabana even smaller. Then, no one would be able to see how accurately I depicted her Guide Dog jacket--the part of the illustration I like best. So, I ix-nayed myself.

The illustration was done with Adobe Illustrator, and the header image extends past the double border lines to make it look like Cabana is popping out beyond the header. I mimicked the colors from my blog template to make it look like it's part of the original template--but it's actually an uploaded jpg. If you right-click on my header, then go to View Image, you'll see what I mean.

Picture Me

 Thanks to those who have complimented my new header. Initially, I had included myself in the illustration as well, but I just couldn't get the "me" part quite right. Here's what the illustration looked like with me in it.

But I look like I'm about 12 years old (which is 32 years too young--I know you're doing the math). I even gave myself laugh lines and crows feet, which my daughters kindly told me to take out, but which, wanting to be accurate, I left in (along with my unfortunate freckles).

Also, with me in the picture, I'd have to make Cabana even smaller. Then, no one would be able to see how accurately I depicted her Guide Dog jacket--the part of the illustration I like best. So, I ix-nayed myself.

The illustration was done with Adobe Illustrator, and the header image extends past the double border lines to make it look like Cabana is popping out beyond the header. I mimicked the colors from my blog template to make it look like it's part of the original template--but it's actually an uploaded jpg. If you right-click on my header, then go to View Image, you'll see what I mean.

May 11, 2011

Designer Religion

"The Book came in seven weighty folio volumes with more than 3,000 pages and 250 plates of engravings covering all the religions known to Europeans in the early 1700s.

It was called 'Cérémonies et Coutumes Religieuses de tous les Peuples du Monde' [Religious Ceremonies and Customs of all the peoples of the world].

Published between 1723 and 1737, all its volumes bore the name of Bernard Picart, the most famous engraver of the 18th century after Hogarth, on whom Picart in fact had a direct influence. 'Religious Ceremonies' was published by Jean Frederic Bernard, who was also the unsung compiler, editor and author of this pioneering work on the world's religions.

The volumes began with Judaism and Catholicism, moved on to the Americas and India, then to Asia and Africa, only to return to the familiar, to the many forms of Protestantism, before finally tackling Islam. No other work before then had ever attempted, in word and image, such a grand sweep of human religions.

'Religious ceremonies' marked a major turning point in European attitudes toward religious belief and hence the sacred. It sowed the radical idea that religions could be compared on equal terms, and therefore that all religions were equally worthy of respect -- and criticism." [source]

Tableau des Principales Religions du Monde

Tableau des Principales Religions du Monde

FRONTISPIECE: "Representation of the main religions of the world; landscape with, in the foreground, group of Muslim men sitting around another one, standing and preaching; in the middleground, crowd gathered around the Roman Church, represented by a female figure wearing a tiara and holding an open book; she tramples underfoot a rabbi unrolling parchment with hebraic inscription, and a female figure in amour holding a Victory, representing the Roman Empire; an old woman with crown of thorns, personifying Superstition, grabs the Victory; on the left Christian Religion personified stands under a tree, with an open Bible a Franciscan monk is trying to close; in front of them, a priest baptizing a woman; in the background, scenes of pagan cults.." [source]

Les Free Massons
Les Free Massons

This curious print was engraved by I.F. after a drawing by Louis Fabrice du Bourg from information supplied by John Pine, a Masonic Lodge member and student of the book's overall illustration designer, Bernard Picart. That convoluted background seems appropriate not only because of the esoteric nature of Freemasonry itself, but because the central portrait high on the wall - Sir Richard Steele - has been the subject of speculative analysis since the print was first published.

Research conducted over the last two hundred years has failed to prove whether or not Steele was in fact a member of a Masonic Lodge. His great claim to fame in the history of Freemasonry appears to be a couple of oblique references to the fraternity made in articles he wrote for the Tatler newspaper, which he had co-founded. For instance, from 1709: "You see these accost each other with effeminate airs, they have their signs and tokens like Freemasons". This may well have been the first ever mention of the Freemasons in the British press.

For general background see:
  • A History OF British Freemasonry 1425-2000
  • 18th Century Masonic Ephemera;
  • And for those with access, 'Was Sir Richard Steele a Freemason?', 1948.
"It represents in the foreground the Worshipful Master, his Wardens and Brethren, all in the costume of the early part of the last century; beyond them stretches a table in the shape of a square, and behind this table rises a high panelled wainscoting. The panel is divided into 129 smaller squares, on each of which appears a number, the copy of a tavern sign, and the name of the tavern in question. . . . . The plate is valuable as showing us the Masonic costume of the period, and curious as suggesting that Sir Richard Steele must have been a Freemason. It is indeed our only evidence on that point as, although many expressions in his writings might be held to confirm such a view, we have no record in lodge minutes, or members' lists, that such was the case."
[Bro. Speth, 1800s as quoth in 1919]

Annee de Mexiquains (7)
Siècle des Mexiquains

"A circular disc representing the various years and months within the Mexican Century [siècle]. The serpent that surrounds the circle marks out four different sections with its coils, and divides the circle into an upside-down compass. The North points down and is represented by the spearhead: Tecpatl; East is represented by a Cane: Acatl; West by a House: Cagli; and South by a rabbit: Tochtlila. There are 16 hieroglyphics equally distributed between each four sections." [source]

The illustration design is {'said to have been'} copied/adapted from one produced by Theodore de Bry in the late 16th century. It appears to be a faithful depiction of an Aztec calendar stone, fairly similar to artifacts uncovered in 1790 [previously]

Deuil des Femmes Greques a Rama + Bapteme des Grecs dans le Jourdain (V. 3)
Deuil des Femmes Greques à Rama
Baptême des Grecs dans le Jourdain

Greek women mourning at (?)Rama
Greek baptism in the river Jordan

(I confess to being confused by both the wording and imagery here. My first inclination is to wonder if 'Greek' is being misapplied; otherwise is it used as a stand-in/euphemism for 'little known peoples' or.. ?)

Diverses Pagodes ou Penitences des Faquirs (V. 6)
Diverses Pagodes où Penitences des Faquirs

Indian fakirs (or sadhus*) perform penance rituals (physical contortion, austerity measures etc) at the site of various pagodas or temples (my interpretation)

Addit: immediately prior to posting this entry, I came across another, much larger version (here) of this illustration which comes from Columbia University Professor Frances Pritchett's page on the Picard illustrations.

Ceremonie Nuptiale du Japon + Ceremonie Funebre du Japon (V 6)
Ceremonie Nuptiale du Japon
Ceremonie Funebre du Japon

Japanese wedding and funeral ceremonies

Idoles Chinois + Les Dieux des Chinois
Idoles Chinois
Les Dieux des Chinois

Chinese idols and Gods

Picard notes in the engravings that his source for the illustration was the Jesuits and that one of the pictures (at least!) was copied from Athanasius Kircher's 'China Monumentis' [previously]

Dgi-Guerdgi Albanois qui porte au Bezestein des Foyes de Mouton pour nourrir les Chats (V. 5)
Dgi-Guerdgi Albanois qui porte au Bezestein
des Foyes de Mouton pour nourrir les Chats

The Albanian Dgi-Guerdgi feeding cats in the
bazaar in Constantinople with sheep liver

One supposes this to be more of a cultural than ceremonial or religious example. It appears to have been copied from an engraving that appeared in the 1705 book called 'Recueil de cent Estampes Representant differentes Nations du Levant..' [see colour version and NYPL has all of the delightfully eccentric illustrations from that book] after the original painting by Jean-Baptiste Vanmour.

La Danse des Deruis (V. 5)
La Danse des Deruis

The whirling Dervish - a mystical Sufi practice (posted previously), commonly performed in a Mevlevi Sema ceremony in Turkey. This illustration also derives from the 1705 '..Levant..' book mentioned above.

La Penitence des Juifs Allemans dans leur Synagogue AND Pretre des Gaures
Penitence des Juiſs Allemans dans leur Synagogue
Grand Prêtre des Gaures ou Perses devant
le feu ayant à la main son rituel.
Trois Différentes Têtes de prêtres gaures
avec la mitre et la bouche couverte

-(these two images are not related)-

Penitence (penance?) of the German Jews in their Synagogue
Grand Priest performing a ritual and three different types of priest head covering. Perhaps related to Persians. [Anyone have an idea about who the Gaur(e)s are?? nb. ----> UPDATE: see first comment below]

La Dedicace de la Sinagogue de Juifs Portugais a Amsterdam
La Dedicace de la Sinagogue de Juiſs Portugais a Amsterdam

The dedication of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam
"Sephardic Jews fleeing Spain and Portugal during the persecutions of the 16th and early 17th centuries settled in an eastern Amsterdam neighbourhood that became known as the Jewish Quarter. In light of the ongoing conflict between the Dutch Republic and Spain, the community referred to themselves as 'Portuguese Jews'."
The Synagogue (the Esnoga) was completed in 1675 and was, at the time, the largest Synagogue in the world.

[As an aside, there's a reference to Picard's having purposefully created two distinct styles of illustrating Jewish people as a means to critique the influx of Ashkenazi Jews into Amsterdam]

Temple du Japon ou il y a mille Idoles (V. 6)
Temple du Japon ou il y a mille Idoles

The Japanese Temple of a thousand idols (?) somehow became known as the Temple of 10,000 idols when this engraving was copied and widely circulated in the 19th century.

La Communion des Lutheriens dans l'Eglise des Minorites a Augsbourg (V. 3)
La communion des Lutheriens dans l'Eglise des Minorites à Augsbourg

Picard's engraving of a Lutheran communion ceremony inside the Church of Minorities in Augsburg is said to be after an original painting by the German artist, Caterine Sperling Heckel (d. 1741).

Le Convoi Funebre + Le corps expose dan le Choeur + On jette l'Eau Benite sur le corps apres qu'on la Descendu dans la Fosse (V. 2)
Le Convoi Funbre.
Le Corps Expos dans le Choeur.
On jette L'Eau Benite sur le Corps apres qu'on la Descendu dan la Fosse.
"The Funeral Procession. The Body Shown in the Choir. Holy Water Sprinkled on the Body, Then It Is Lowered into the Grave. Three images depict aspects of religious ceremony associated with burial. The first is a formal procession with clergy and mourners carrying the coffin through the town. The second shows the coffin draped with a cloth emblazoned with the cross set in the church choir between rows of lighted candles. A cantor stands by the large choir book; clergy and mourners pray. The final image is of burial under the stone slab floor of the church. Clergy and mourners gather around; after holy water is sprinkled, the body is lowered into the grave. We see the dirt being shoveled back into the hole." [source]

Greek and Turkish clergy AND people condemned by the Inquisition

(again, these are unrelated pages combined for presentation purposes)

The left panel has various Greek & Turkish bishops and priests and, inexplicably, a Greek fiancée on a "sopha"

The right panel shows people sentenced by the Inquisition: the two at the top confessed and avoided the fate of those below: being burnt alive

Ixora, Divinite des Indes Orientales + Quenvadi, fils d'Ixora AND Le Bairam ou la Paque des Mohametans

Left page: Indian Hindu Gods, Ixora (Ishvara) or Shiva, and his son Quenevadi (Ganapati) or Ganesha

Right page: 'Le Bairam ou la Paque des Mohametans'
A traditional Mohammedan Feast (the end of Ramadan) in an Eastern City with men on swings above the crowded streets

Isis, Osiris and Horus AND Idoles de Campeche, Iucatan et Tabasco

Left page: Egyptian Gods Isis, Osiris and Horus

Right page: Idoles de Campêche et de Iucatan; Idoles de Tabasco

(Idols of Haiti and Mexico)

May 10, 2011

Essay Contest to win a Scholarship to Grandparents Univeristy at West Chester University (for kids ages 8-14 and their grandparents)

This summer, West Chester will see a whole new group of students when the University holds its first “Grandparents University®” from June 28 – 30. This unique collegiate learning experience is open to grandparents of all ages and their grandchildren, ages 8 to 14.

At Grandparents University® , grandparents and kids will attend college together as West Chester University “students.” For two nights and three days, students will live in the new dormitories, share meals at Lawrence Dining Hall, enroll in courses, attend classes taught by University faculty, explore campus and enjoy evening entertainment and activities. The program concludes with a Sunday graduation ceremony and family celebration complete with an awarding of diplomas to every “graduate.”

“I wanted to create a space on campus where different generations can interact and have fun,” explains the program director, Mary Braz, an assistant professor of Communication Studies. Braz modeled Grandparents University®® on a similar successful program at Michigan State University. “The program provides a way for grandparents and grandkids to spend quality time together and share memories in a fun setting promoting interactive learning and higher education,” ads Braz.

Participants can register in four out of seven courses developed by University departments especially for the program in such areas as art, theater, history, communication, physical education and science. Grandparents and their grandchildren can learn how to develop their family tree, create an oral history from their grandparents; make their own newscast; study the history of West Chester take a ghost tour of the borough and campus; study the mind and body, stars, planets and comets and DNA.

Grandparents and grandchildren also will participate in a special program called, “Night Time: Starry Nights,” presented by West Chester University astronomer Robert Thornton. Participants will be able to view the moon, planets and stars through telescopes, make comets out of frozen carbon dioxide, construct a cosmic calendar, see a planetarium show and participate in an “Ask the Astronomer” session.

On another evening, they will be entertained by New York comedian Rob Latham (a.k.a. Dr. Lanny Latham) who appears often in theatre and television shows, including “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Colbert Report,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Inside the NFL” and “The Today Show.” A member of the comedy group “Improv Everywhere,” Latham performs with “The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre ” and is featured in many print publications and online sites.

Registration for Grandparents University® is open through June 1. Registration fees cover three days and two nights of accommodations in private residence hall suites, all meals, University courses, instruction and course material (unless noted otherwise), evening entertainment and the graduation ceremony. An “early bird” registration is available through April 30, and a discount is offered to University alumni. For program information, contact Mary Braz at 610-436-3328 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 610-436-3328 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or To register, call 610-436-6931 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 610-436-6931 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or contact To download a brochure on the program, go to .

Essay Contest: West Chester University is partnering with the Daily Local News on a contest where the prize may be measured in memories: free attendance for a family’s grandparents and grandchildren at Grandparents University. This unique inter-generational program is scheduled to run from June 27 to 29 on the university’s campus.

To enter, children age eight to 14 (the age range of program participants) submit an essay of 200 words or more on why they want to attend Grandparents University with their grandparents. Judges will include Andy Hachadorian, Editor of the Daily Local, Grandparents University program director Mary Braz, a communications studies professor at West Chester University, and Sandra Weisenstein, wife of West Chester University President Greg Weisenstein and grandmother to Carter 18, Hanna 16, Cameron 14, Cody 9 and Sophia 16 months. Deadline for entry is Friday, May 13. The winner will be announced on May 20 when the winning essay is published in the Daily Local News.

All essays should be sent to
For more information on the Grandparents University Essay Contest click here

Rocking Chairs, Baby Dolls, and Mother's Day

When I was little, I used to have this one particular doll. Her body was sort of a cylinder shape with soft arms and soft legs sticking out. Her neck and the middle of her body had sand or something similar in it so that she would gradually fall over if she was sitting up. The eyes in her soft plastic head closed. When she would "fall" over, her eyes would close and she would "go to sleep". She wasn't a particular favourite, but I liked the fact that she could close her eyes, and she was small - like a little baby.

Also, ever since I was little I have loved rocking chairs. My mom used to rock me (and my brothers) to sleep. Even to this day, I will choose to sit in a rocking chair if there is one available. I find them to be very relaxing. I heart rocking chairs.

One of the"rituals" I had when I was little, was to get ready for bed at least an hour before I would actually go to bed, sit in my rocking chair (to help me relax and get sleepy), put my little blanket over my lap, and cradle my doll as if she were my baby. Since her eyes closed, it seemed more like I was rocking her to sleep. It was like she was my baby, and I was her mother.

Today is Mother's Day. I have always found this to be difficult - well, for at least twenty years anyway. I'm more than happy, on this day, to celebrate all that my mom is, because she is AWESOME...but, it's bittersweet for me.

I have no kids (other than a 4 legged furry baby). I'm 42 years old and I'm not married, and I have no kids. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a wife and mother. It's been a huge desire, probably all my life. And it hasn't happened. Will it? I have no idea. And, it hurts when people try to tell me that it will happen one day - in all honesty, unless they are God, they don't.

Usually this doesn't bother me a lot.  I try to deal with it, and not let it affect me, but there are other times when it hurts to the very core of my being - like Mother's Day. Like I said, it's not something that bothers me all the time; usually there is something that triggers the pain - someone getting engaged or married, especially if these are people I've watched grow up and are years younger than me; or someone having a baby (doesn't matter if it's a first or sixth baby). And that can be difficult to deal with - and accept.

So, as I hold back my pain and hurt (because, really, it's not about me), and try to turn it over to God, I would like to wish all the awesome mother's out there a very blessed and happy Mother's Day!

May 8, 2011

Minute Makeover: 10 Ways to Declutter Today 

We respect the power of paint and a great piece of furniture. But if you want to makeover your space, decluttering your home will make the biggest difference. And yes, it's free.
Clutter is one of those incredibly annoying problems that we know the solution to but still can't quite kick it. It's like weight loss: Yes, everyone knows diet and exercise are the key but that doesn't mean there aren't a million programs that package it in different ways. So here's my take: Follow these simple tips for inspiration and remember: Even if you just try it for a week, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. 



Ah, a lovely, clutter-free home. Wonder how long it will stay this way... Photo: Getty Images
Decluttering Tip #1: Take 5
Getting rid of clutter may seem like a mammoth task, so break it down. Five minutes a day spent de-cluttering an area is surprisingly effective.

Decluttering Tip #2: Two For One Don't allow things into the house in the first place. If something new does make it's way in, make it a rule to give two things away in it's place.

Decluttering Tip #3: Donate Choose a local charity to donate all the items that you decide you no longer need, but would hate to throw away. Go a step further and sign up to volunteer at a shelter or a food pantry, seeing how much need there is in your town, may inspire you to pare down your belongings.

Decluttering Tip #4: Box It Up For all the items that you resist giving away, consider putting them in a box. Seal and date the box for six months or one year in the future. If at that time you haven't needed to break the seal, give the entire box away.

Decluttering Tip #5: Start With The Kitchen Sink A clean sink goes a long way in making your home feel more organized. Decide that you will always have a dish-free sink and that clean feeling will spill over to the rest of the house.

Decluttering Tip #6: Corner First Tackle a room by starting in the corner and working your way around. Taking two trips through each room will do wonders for the overall appearance. The first pass is for gathering up all the items that don't belong in that room. Place in a laundry basket for now, if you start returning each to the proper place there is a distinct possibility of getting distracted. The second time through wipe down surfaces and touch up the floor with a vacuum or broom.

Decluttering Tip #7: Less Storage That may seem like a backwards tip, but it's true: Having less baskets and bins and special storage containers reduces the amount of stuff in your home. Of course that will happen only if you let it.

Decluttering Tip #8: Old Is Not Always Gold Be realistic about the stuff you have been saving because it might be worth something someday. If that is the only reason you are hanging on to something -- meaning you don't love it or need it -- give it away. You can also find out exactly what something is worth with a little research. Check on or ask a local antique dealer.

Decluttering Tip #9: Use The Buddy System An excellent way to spend time with your best friend is to bond over your clutter. Ask a friend if they would be willing to help de-clutter and organize your home one weekend, and then return the favor. Cleaning together eliminates distraction and helps keep you from saving ridiculous items.

Decluttering Tip #10: File don't Pile Be ruthless with paper clutter. Clear out the existing paper by simply tossing what you don't need and filing the rest. Taking a few minutes each day to contain this monster is the only way to control it.

Follow these ten tips for just a couple of minutes each and your home will soon have a lot more clean, clutter-free spaces.



May 7, 2011

The Dance

Let me remind you that I do not dance (or sing) in public.  I am tone deaf and rhythm challenged.  But I am learning.  But this dance that I am talking about is actually the adoption dance.  With Bella's adoption....the week was broken down to the emotions that the day of the week evoked.  The dance went sort of like this:

Monday: no communication with Belay so no new news was coming that day but the seed of hope would be planted.  This was going to be the week that we got our referral, or court day, or we passed court (and when we didn't), or they fixed the problem.

Tuesday: a good day, hope was growing

Wednesday: the best because we would have a conference call if it was the end of the month or there was a really good possibility that good news was coming this day or the next

Thursday: disappointment taking root, would another week pass with no news?

Friday: crushed, I would have to wait another three days before news came.

Jason could tell the day of the week by how fragile my mood was.  So the dance played out for the better part of the year.  The hurry up to wait.  The stalking the Gladney FBI or other blogs.  Can't you see it as a ballet?  Can't you see the building of tension mid week?  The conductor waving the hands and the excitement building only to come crashng down for the weekend.  The weekend was restorative and healing.  Gosh, the only thing that kept me sane were the prayers, mine and those of dear friends.

This adoption is already playing out differently.  I am learning a new dance.  I must be getting to be a better dancer because this one seems a whole lot easier.  I don't seem to be riding the waves up and down.  I am filling my mornings with Bella activity, bible study, and cleaning (always cleaning).  I am filling my afternoons with sports activities and listening to teenage happenings (and silent prayers for me to have the wisdom to say the right thing or better yet, say nothing.)  I have learnied that our weekly update comes on Thursday.  (What???  A weekly update???)  So Thursday no longer means what it use to.  That is one of the subtle differences.  I am learning new steps.  I am exercising muscle memory, too.  Stay tuned and I will let you know if I make it to the finals.

So the next question...does the reputation of the school (being good) trump diversity or does diversity trump reputation of the school?  I have to make a decision for Bella's school in the next 10 months.  We live around the block from the elementary school that my older kids went to.  Bella really would like to go there, also.  I have already told her that she may not be going there (she may be one of maybe 3 AA kids in the whole school), that Daddy and Mommy must decide the best place for her and it may be different.  I am thinking about applying to a school that has in the past had much more diversity (last year had 4 AA in the kindergarten class!) even though the school around the corner may (stress, may) be a little better.  Hmmmm.  Any thoughts?  Any life experience?  Fill me in.

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,538: Special Ops Clone Trooper

The Clone Wars Target Exclusive 2-Packs
Item No.:
Asst. 31362 No. 31680
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, stand, mounted rifle, Geonosian figure
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: Late February 2011
Appearances: The Clone Wars

Bio: Clone troopers battle Geonosian drones to stop the production ofm ore battle droids. The special ops clone trooper is a highly skilled marksman. With his DC-15a blaster, he takes aim at the swarms of Geonosian drones that are attacking the Republic forces. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: I think we're long past any sort of consistent naming of these guys, but this Special Ops Clone Trooper is specific to Geonosis and the Landing at Point Rain episodes of the TV series The Clone Wars. This figure is notable for a variety of reasons, not only that he has that unique rusty brown shade of armor, but he also has an as of yet distinctive helmet without the rest down the middle, but with what essentially amount to earmuffs. (You might know what these are. I don't.) Since the figure has a unique deco and a unique head, plus gets packaged with another unique trooper, this should be a set you totally buy-- despite being kinda expensive. If it hits closeout, I'll probably buy a few extras.

The trooper's construction is a mix of new, very new, and old. The body and legs are from the 2008 figures, meaning he has a ball-jointed torso and ball-jointed ankles. The helmet is, of course, new. The arms are similar to the Commander Stone-style, meaning they have swivel wrists and the elbow armor is attached to the lower arm, not the upper arm. These arms restrict the figure's ability to aim, although he can still hold his standard blaster without much trouble. I like this one a lot because unlike so many other figures, I can look at it and know it's something new. If you're into this line, you should get it.

Collector's Notes: This figure was rereleased along with a 2-pack of Waxer and a Battle Droid, so collect 'em all or something. It should still be available at a store near you.

--Adam Pawlus

I am still learning...

I have been tweaking photos that I took a while ago. I am still on my crash course of photoshop. I am busy editing photos for the school too. I can't share my news yet...but rest assured..I am not

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Big news coming...I hope!

I am hoping to have some huge news about my photography in the next couple of weeks...well huge for me! I will be busy for the next few will try not to keep you hanging....

Monday, 25 January 2010

I sold my first framed portrait!

I am so excited!!!

I have been so busy trying to learn PSE 8...and have neglected my blog!!!! There isn't time for everything all of the time. I haven't even peeked in on blogs!!!! I am not a good juggler!!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Salt with your cars?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Todays photos...


Today was dry and the sun was the whole of Aberdeenshire must've been in the city walking along the beach!!! It was freezing and the waves were wild...and the surfers were out again!!! brrr brrr
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

adding a watermark

From Winter in Scotland

I wonder how everyone makes their watermarks with the little drawing????...I have figured out how to do it in 2 steps. I found a little video on youtube by Jack's Tech Corner. He has a few videos and is very helpful.

I was looking at a blog today and the photographer puts her watermark across her photos so they aren't as attractive to steal...well I don't think anyone would want to steal my photos...but just in case..I am going to watermark them from now on. Mmmm I could change the little picture for a change instead of the font!

Today was my first day home alone in 3 was so lovely and quiet!! I was so thrilled to have learnt some more things. I downloaded a font from kevin and amanda (google and had a heck of a time trying to figure out how to upload the fonts!!! Need to add some more...gee if I was clever I would write it down!!!

Well I am off to bed....the snow is melting so I will be looking forward to photographing some non snow photos for a change. I did get some great snow shots that I will treasure so it wasn't all bad.

Monday, 11 January 2010

photo editing...

Drats...I wish I had've remembered to duplicate this image!!!! This photo was an okayish photo of two people walking along. I cropped it, used Rita's Faded Day Dreams action and put two textures from Shadowhouse Creations and Rita's vignette action ..... and the photo is alot more interesting. I need to carry cards in my pocket and let people contact me if they are interested to have what I have shot of them.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

and some more and more

We went to Fyvie it was super cold there.....brrrr brrrr

and more snow....

and more snow...and more snow. The photos are nice to take..but I miss getting out in my car because I refuse to drive in it. Last year I almost crashed into my neighbour when I hit black ice coming out of our estate while taking the boys to now I am a chicken!!

The first picture is of Lewis, he is Brennan's best friend. The next two are of Brennan...none of Jordan because he is staying inside. The one of the two girls are strangers...and the final one is of our postie. She has had such a hard time with this weather!!!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

I am bored....yet have so much to do!!!

See and too lazy to make my photos bigger...oh this snow is getting boring! We are up to 22 days of snow now....cabin fever has struck!!!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Day 20 of the snow....

I have had a hell of a time trying to load these photos there is only one...I had a heap that I wanted to show! Well today was another snowy day...and boy oh boy...was it pretty this morning!! Wonder when it will end....or snow again? The morning light is brilliant....I better get up early in the morning to try again.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

From Blogger Pictures

Will it ever stop snowing!!!! Brennan and his friend decided to go and shovel the path before heading off for some sledding. I am guessing then that there will be no school tomorrow either...nor for the rest of the week. It is really bad over here with the news saying to only go out if it is a must. They are even saying to stay home from work!

Still haven't changed my decorations...not that I had a lot out. It is too cold. I think this year I will have a huge change and put some of my photos up instead and try out a 'normal' house look.

I have been so hurt yesterday and I am not going to bite back. I need to add to you all, if I give you something it is out of love and not because I am 'buying' your friendship. I have always had and always will have a generous nature.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

no school....because of the snow!!!

From Robyn Regan Photography

We were thinking that the boys would be back to school today...but no...and then tomorrow is another day off!!!

Now...I really needed a laugh yesterday...and thanks to Tina, I got it. Cher was one of Tina's friends. You have to go and read her blog...I love it!!!! Thank you Cher if you see my blog!!!!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Tina Wright is now truly an Angel in Heaven.

From Blogger Pictures

I love this photo of Tina....I snagged it from Deke's facebook. I hope you don't mind needs to be shared.

I will miss you forever.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Still snowed in...

....well snowed in for me. It is so pretty outside today. I think I might go for a walk. I have been so busy learning some photoshop techniques. There is no word on how Tina is going today. The not knowing is so hard. Everything else is on hold, relationship wise. I am not really in a talkative mood because I am so worried about her and her family. I saw a comment on facebook yesterday and it made me so mad and I wanted to ring the person who was so rude but Pete told me not to. I think he realised that everything is raw inside of me. so.....this year....for everyone reading this please try to follow these simple rules (I know most of you do already...that is why I love you).

Treat people how you want to be treated.
Conduct your relationships as though they could be your last day with that person.
Don't wait to see what someone can do for something for them.

Anyway....that is my hope for the new year.

I have to have a post with a photo...don't know why. This is Miss C again....I have been playing in photoshop and learned how to load actions....don't ask me how..uuugghhh what a pain....but I did buy this gadget to upload me if you want to know what it is. It cost $10.99 USD.

From Blogger Pictures

Saturday, 2 January 2010

This is a wonderful song to listen to and to realise that we are hurting for our friends who have passed before us....but listening to these words makes it a bit easier to let go.

I haven't heard the latest on Tina. Yesterday she was slipping away from this world. Where ever you are Tina, I love you.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

I added a PSE 8 tutorial for you.

From Blogger Pictures

I added a simple, step by step tutorial on my other blog. If you are playing with fan be daunting for us computer fools!!!! The address to the blog is

I took this photo today at Newburgh. In the sky is snow on it's way!!!!

I took photos yesterday and....

I wasn't overwhelmed with them. The light was ???? and it looked so blah. I used my photoshop elements 8 on this photo. From a nothing photo to something that I like. Mind you...this was taken while we were driving so the grass in the bottom of the photo is a bit yuck.

My cousin in Devon, Chris is wanting a DSLR. I am trying to give her good advice like Donna gave me...but hey I am not a pro. I do think that possibly a less expensive body with good glass will give great shots....and PSE 8 can turn a nothing photo into something nice. So Donna do you think I am wrong? If money is no option...obviously get a D90 (she is looking at it....I do want I think the D3000 will give great results if money is an option.

This is obviously the before photo.

From Blogger Pictures

After adjusting the levels and cropping the photo it looks more acceptable and not blah.