Bangs and Birthdays

I recently had a birthday. Four weeks after my birthday comes my older sister’s birthday. Here she is as a child.

Now, mind you, she sent me a card for my birthday this year and asked me “Don’t we have a picture of you like this?” I think she forgot the photo of herself shown above!

Myself as a child

So below is the card. I opened it on my way in from the mailbox. And even in the midst of this awful pandemic, I LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!

And inside it read …

Yes, our mom cut our hair back then. She used to line up my bangs with a mole on my forehead. After years of that haircut I swore I would grow out those bangs and never have bangs again. I have only had a few times in my adult life when I had bangs. Besides, my hair grows so quickly it is hard to keep bangs! So here we are as adults laughing at Mom and remembering a funny memory together. That is a blessing!

Happy Birthday, Paula! You are a hoot!!

Two Persons This Grammy is SO Proud Of!

So we were traveling from Colorado to New Mexico and stopped for lunch at Rio Chama Coffee in Chama, New Mexico. My photo did not come out great, so this is their photo from the website.

There was a mother and daughter seated near us on the outdoor patio – but not too near of course! After looking at this white van in the parking lot for a while, I finally approached them and asked if that was their van. They said, “Yes.” I asked if it was okay with them if I took a photo of the logo on the window. I explained that our Grandgirls in Ohio both play volleyball. Unlikely they will ever meet for a match. As far as I know no Native American teams play in our girls’ tournaments!

So proud of our #6!
And our #32 Athlete! Photo by Robert Dutina
High flying Grandgirl Photo by Robert Dutina

Both girls are well grounded in their family, though you certainly cannot tell by looking at their flying and jumping skills! 😉

Home with Lucky

She had such luxury accommodations while we traveled that I was uncertain she would want to live with us again! Lucky has the red collar.

She has settled in again and still loves Bob the best. She has gotten ornery about being in her kennel. Learned how to open it with just the slide latch on it. Bob put a carabiner clip on it. One day she got aggravated and broke that off before we got home. Stronger one on there now. We want her to continue to use it when we need her confined, like when the satellite TV guy comes.

My friend Betty introduced me to this dogie treat.

Doggie “Ice Cream” Cups

1 ripe banana
2 tsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp honey
Large (32 oz) container of plain yogurt (Greek or reg.)

Mash banana; add honey & peanut butter; mix well then add yogurt.  I put into small plastic cups – usually 6 or 7 cups.  Freeze. 

I finally found some plastic cups like Betty uses. I got about 10 portions out of the recipe today. If you really love your pup like a kid, well, of course, you have to let her lick the beaters!

After 3 Inches of Rain

Over about a 36 hour period we had almost 3 inches of rain. Not surprising I was able to catch this beauty with diamonds on it’s back! Filling out nicely and sporting water drops!

The edge of the leaf shows you how busy this monarch caterpillar has been! That ridge is the center vein of the leaf! Only half a leaf remains.

Then there is the dueling duo! (With Lucky’s leg in the lower background! What a good dog to sit while I take photos!)

Wonder which one eats the fastest? The one in rear of photo looks largest until you notice the curve in the head of the one closer to you! Wonder if the eggs began side by side?

When I saw this adult female in the garden I had to wonder if it was newly hatched? I have never found a chrysalis in the wild. I have seen them formed in my terrarium when I was raising caterpillars a time or two. This year I did not bring them inside at all. When they first emerge it takes a while to pump up their wings, dry their wings and then a little rest. Next they go find a flower to nourish them. No more milkweed leaves for them! No, that is not bamboo forest in the background. Those are stalks of Cosmos!

These chrysalis are from a terrarium. The only thing in nature I have ever seen with gold on it! The butterfly has just hatched out. The black chrysalis will open soon. The caterpillar that is curved is about to form a chrysalis.

Make time for the small wonders. Perhaps they are the best wonders of all!!

My Friend Mike Powell and 1669

He seems to follow me everywhere! His interest in dragonflies, butterflies, flowers and nature in general keep me intrigued with his blog. Until he gets to the snakes. Then I tune him out. Yuck.

Because of him I am exponentially aware of dragonflies, though I cannot identify hardly any of them. As my oldest friends are aware I love butterflies, but Mike researches his and posts details about them. I merely admire. Well, except for the monarchs and especially their caterpillars. My husband and I garden milkweed especially for those!

Recently Bob and I made a trip to the Cincinnati Art Museum, wearing our masks and social distancing in the almost deserted museum. One exhibit was called “Women Breaking Boundaries” and this painting was done by Maria van Oosterwijck in 1669 entitled Flower Still Life. I was admiring the flowers: nasturtium, peony, tulip, lily of the valley, carnation or dianthus, rose, iris, poppy unfolding and greenery and POP UP! There was Mike Powell! Almost center of the painting is a dragonfly. Closer inspection brought two butterflies into view. Perhaps a beetle, wasp or fly on the edge of the table? Makes me want to return to the museum with a magnifying glass to identify the insects 🙂 Maybe you can study the painting below and use my list as a hidden object puzzle. You might even find more details than I did!

I wanted to purchase a copy for Mike, but alas they only had one small print and a large poster. Then I remembered I do not even know his address, just contact through his blog and mine!

So here is the painting description:

Even with Bob’s best computer photo enhancement tools we have trouble seeing that confident signature!

This is my favorite (without the frame). Thanks Mike for keeping me on my toes! wrote on the blog Secret Images about Maria, “Her signature motif, a Red Admiral butterfly, appears in most of her significant paintings; scholars believe that van Oosterwyck included the boldly-patterned insect to send a hopeful message about resurrection.”

Well I for one love that hopeful message about the resurrection!

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

1 Peter 1:3 NIV 2011

Relax Like A Dog

If you have ever struggled with tension, perhaps you have tried a guided meditation to relieve stress and tension. I have done many guided meditations. Some with more success than others. A series of the most famous are by Jon Kabat-Zinn and used by medical patients in the Stress Reduction Clinic.

Healing comes out of the practice itself when it is engaged in as a way of being. From the perspective of mindfulness, you are already whole, so what it the point of trying to become what you already are? What is required above all is that we let go into the domain of being. This is what is fundamentally healing.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn “Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to face Stress, Pain and Illness”

Mindfulness meditation can truly help us regain a place of calm and peace. Not unlike the powerful peace the Lord of Peace gives us. Very much akin to it.

This video is funny! Guided meditation for relaxation following dog behavior. Actually if you try it with an open mind, it can help you relax all the whilst laughing!

What a hoot!

Doggie in the Window

When I was a child in the 1950’s this was a popular song. Perhaps one of the first choruses I learned to sing?

Lately we have called our new Beagle “Lucky-To-Be-Alive!” Bob was working in the yard one day while I was out. He decided to let Lucky be on the deck and watch him so she would know where he was (which is on the second story of our house). As he was working down below he would call to her and she would put her head between the bars of the deck. This happened several times. Then he called to her and – no dog.

As he came in the house to see what was going, she met him at the door. She had caught the screen, ripped it with her claw and come in to try to get to him. Oops. He was able to fix the small tear in the screen. Eventually, all was forgiven.

They say the first few days a dog is withdrawn and getting used to their home pack. Then the next few weeks they are learning the routine of the household. Then you finally get to know the dog’s personality. This beagle has quite the personality! She knows what she wants and does not hesitate to tell us.

Yesterday (August 20) I finally found monarch caterpillars in the milkweed! SO EXCITED. One was about a quarter inch long, one about half inch and one fat and older. He was curled on the leaf so I could not tell his actual length. I came in to get Bob and he grabbed his camera to join me in the garden.

We had opened many windows and the door on the lower level to let some of the cooler, less humid air in over night. I actually forgot about the open sliding door in the basement.

As we tried to capture photos in the bright sun, a neighbor came over to find out what we were doing. As we were telling her about the milkweed, monarchs, caterpillars, etc., we could hear Lucky barking and barking. Next thing we knew, Lucky was running around our feet and then across the street to explore. Yep! She had ripped the downstairs screen and let herself out. She was in SO much trouble!!

She ran around the neighbor’s yard. Resisted the urge to come and be loved on. We were grateful she did not take off into the woods. That side of the street would be very difficult to navigate if we had to attempt to capture her. Finally she was so curious about Lisa that she came to her . Lisa held her collar. I said she was okay to pick up . Eventually I took her in my arms. Then Bob took her as he was getting ready to leave. We put her in the kennel. Inspected the screen damage and in some ways blamed ourselves. We could have tied her out, or put her in teh kennel, our taken her with us on a leash. But the sight of those caterpillars was so exciting!

I mean she really tore the thing this time. Our neighbor was the second person to tell us they now make a stronger screening material that is supposed to deter dogs. I don’t know if this one wouldn’t rip that, too. AND I had just gotten her nails cut on Wednesday!

How much is that doggie? Veterinary fees. snacks, kibble, screen doors!, leashes, tags, flea drops, heart worm medication and she is SO worth it. But at times she makes us growl.

For all her eagerness to be part of the pack she is still timid at many times. Cowers if I hold the leash over her when we are getting ready to go out – as if I might hit her? Is reluctant to come to Bob when he offers her a treat. It makes no sense to us, but perfect sense to her.

We may never win her full trust and affection, but she has us as her furever family!


Sometimes I find quotes that stop and make me think. How do these hit you?

“Keep life moving forward, looking backward is only for time travelers. “ -Rachel O.Washington (Dove chocolate wrapper) An especially fine saying is this time of our lives! Especially as the chocolate melts in your mouth while you ponder the meaning 🙂

“What can’t be cured, must be endured.” Yikes.

From Charles Miller Chasing Fireflies: a novel of discovery “His question pressed me against the railing. Men spend their lives asking Who am I when the real question is Whose am I? I don’t think you can answer the first until you’ve settled the second. First horse, then cart. Identity does not grow out of action until it has taken root in belonging.”

So whose are you? I am the Lord Jesus Christ’s sister, my Father’s daughter, child and sheep. I could go on and on.

From a very strange novel called iQ84 “And it was the kind of thing that loses the most important nuances when reduced to words. Everybody feels safe belonging not to the excluded minority but to the excluding majority. You think, Oh, I’m glad that’s not me. It’s basically the same in all periods in all societies. If you belong to the majority, you can avoid thinking about lots of troubling things.” “And those troubling things are all you can think about when you’re one of the few.” “That’s about the size of it,” she said mournfully. “But maybe, if you’re in a situation like that, you learn to think for yourself.” “Yes, but maybe what you end up thinking for yourself about is all those troubling things.”

Sadly, our society has become so polarizing that exclusion of others is more the norm rather than acceptance and inclusion. America has years of recovery ahead. I am beginning to think we are rotting from the inside out. Lord, deliver us, I pray.

Johnny Bench, famous Cincinnati Reds catcher – “You can’t hold your happiness in the hands of other people.” SO TRUE SO TRUE!

One friend quoted her Grandad as saying “Now let’s return thanks.” Isn’t that a neat way to think about prayer?

The ubiquitous Teenager prayer, “Rub-a-dub-dub. Thanks for the grub. Yeah God!”

Just sending out things that strike me!

Bob’s Sense of Humor

Robert 1975 Smoky Mountain National Park

I have often called this man my knight in shining armor. Journaling March 31 of this year I wrote.

“I had an emotional break through of sorts. This morning I noticed my scene out the bedroom window that I have looked at for years. Clearly I saw split rails that were missing or had fallen from the neighbors fence. I thought “fences are broken down.” And in this weird thing we are living through fences are down! During my meditation time I saw the photo of me the day of my dad’s funeral when I was eleven years old. Remembered the grief and fear of being left alone (especially with my mother and sister because I am so much like my dad). As the meditation continued I realized that Bob is the one who for most all of my life has kept me from the alone-ness of that grief and fear. And THAT is why I have been feeling I cannot bear the possibility of ever losing him. Jesus touch me in that place, I pray.

“Later John Eldredge confirmed all that pointing out that places in us from childhood may be calling out during this stay at home season. We need to have mercy and grace for ourselves and others.”

So he is my knight, but also my husband of soon-to-be fifty years. Yep, 50! Here is a cartoon he handed me recently. Did I mention he is the oldest of five and a terrible tease? Click the link below to see what I mean!