About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fences - Chet's Homecoming

Hi, All. I'm really stretching the definition of "fence" to include a dog cage, but couldn't wait to introduce you to Chet, the new resident at Summit Court. If you follow my blog, you know that my Good Old Dog Willie lost his struggle with cancer and old age on Monday of this week. Willie was an only dog kind of guy, so I would never have thought about upsetting him by bringing in a puppy. The next day after he died though, I realized that this home needs a dog, so I found this lovable mug on Petfinder's on Tuesday. Thursday
afternoon he came home.


Chet's Homecoming

Chet here--I promised you some cute photos of my homecoming after the Roommate rested up. Here I am ready to jump out of the car. In case you're wondering about my history--I'm a farm dog. My mother is a border collie who had a wild Friday night with a handsome husky/Australian shepherd mix. And hey presto, here I am three months later (except for that time when I was some place else).

Here I am, pretty in pink among the azaleas by the front door. The Roommate claims to be a good photographer but I'm blurry here. She needs to learn that I move real fast.
So this is the purpose for that big wire contraption in the car. The Roommate said I needed to stay in here when she's tired. She's nice though. Moved this thing to the front door so I could see out. She said Willie,  my big brother, loved this spot.

Making myself at home on the sofa, listening to the birds. I was relieved that the Roommate doesn't have a "No Sofa" rule for my guys.

At the Shamrock Foundation they called me Bubbles Riley 2. Look at my back and you can see where they got that idea. Luckily, the Roommate thinks Chet is better, since a guy could get beat up over a name like Bubbles. Right now though I mostly answer to "Puppy-eee!"
The Roommate spends a lot of time on the sofa with a book in her hand. I thought about chewing on one, which didn't please her. So, I had me forty winks instead. And that's about how Chet's Homecoming went.
Hope you enjoyed.  More Later.
And for other fence photos that don't stretch the imagination, be sure to check out Janis' blog, Life According to Jan and Jer .

Monday, April 23, 2012

Goodbye Good Old Dog

Willie Ray, A Good Old Dog September 1996 - April 23, 2012 Willie spent his last day in a favorite spot, lying on his ortho bed with the front door open so he could survey the world. No need for the baby gate any more as he has been too woobley to stand but for a minute. Just before we loaded up for that last drive to the vet, his nemisis, the neighbor cat, stalked by the door. Before I could reach him, he gave a weak "Woof!" and was down the steps and to the sidewalk after the cat. Then he collapsed, satisfied that his job was done. Ah me, a house without Willie is too silent.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Quotography - Happiness is a Plane Ticket

"Jai longtemps habite' sous de vaster porticos." Baudelaire ("I have long lived under vast porticoes.")

One of the greatest sources of happiness for me is travel to many different countries where I can experience different cultures, meet interesting people, and see the natural beauty of many countries. Most especially, I love the challenge of traveling solo and it certainly makes me happy to be able to navigate a strange airport or find my way around a new city.

I got my first passport in the early 1970s, just two years out of college, so that I could live and teach in the West Indies for three years. This was my first taste of travel outside the United States and from that time forward I have been hooked, always plotting my next trip, next country. I'm on my third passport as you can see and have visited about 20 countries, mostly in the Caribbean, Great Britain, continental Europe, and New Zealand. New places I hope to get to while my health and mind (!) is still good, include eastern European countries. So far I've only been to Ukraine and am signed up for a river cruise in Russia, St. Petersburg to Moscow, this September. So many places to see, so little time--and money!

Today's "vast porticoes" quote by Baudelaire was on a stuccoed wall at a farmhouse just outside Sienna, Italy: Villa L'Apparita is situated in the rolling hills overlooking Sienna in the Tuscany region of Italy. According to it's owner, the writer Giovanni Guiso, it is the most beautiful farmhouse in Tuscany. Dott. Guiso made this grand pronouncement when he entertained the group of gardeners that I was traveling with on a horticultural tour of Florence and Tuscany in 2000. The farmhouse was built in the late 1400s and was indeed beautiful, especially the rosy brick facade, the arched doorways covered with clipped greenery that could accommodate horses and mounting posts in the lower level, and these lovely red roses--the flowers of love--growing up the walls.

Visiting this garden was different from other Tuscan gardens. While the surrounding landscape was beautiful, our host had more theatrical interests that he wanted to share. For he was involved with Sienna's theatrical society, writing and designing costumes. He also used Villa L'Apparita as a stage for some of his productions. Before lunch we gathered in a small drawing room for a miniature opera in his puppet theater. Everywhere there were reminders that this place existed to celebrate the beauty of love, landscape, and words.

For more April 16 "quotographies" be sure to check out My Perspective

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Fences & Border Collies Who Climb Them

I haven't been out with camera very much lately and have been concerned with an elderly dog which got me thinking about the ones that came before him. So, thought I'd share a couple of photos of Zack, the wild border collie, who was a champion fence climber in the mid-80s, among other mischiefs.

In this photo my neighbor and I were chatting across the fence. Zack paid regular visits with her dog. As you can see, sometimes he tunneled under the fence, but mostly he thought it showed more flair to just climb over!

Here's Zack at about 6-8 weeks old having his first sleepover with our friends while I was working out of town. As you can see, the climbing genes were there from the start.

And finally, 16 years later here he is. Still beautiful and mischievous, but he had given up fence climbing by then.

For some great fences from all over be sure to visit Janis at Life According to Jan and Jer .

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Watery Wednesday - Rainy Day Hike to Norwegian Glacier

A couple of week's ago I shared some 2011 photos of a rough and tumble stream that flows from the Briksdal Glacier near Loen, Norway. Today for Watery Wednesday we'll continue this trip with some closeups from the hiking trail leading to the glacier. It was a cool, rainy day--perfect for woodsy photos.

First, a couple of views of the misty, fog shrouded Nordfjord on our early morning drive to Briksdal Glacier--birches, turquoise waters, distant villages with the little red camping huts:

As we neared the glacier we saw many waterfalls on the rocky mountains:

Now the hike starts! And it took much longer to do than actually distance involved because there were so many photo ops. In particular, I was drawn to the many different lichen and moss covered rocks along the trail. Notice that on one of these rock, hikers added a small stone to a "shrine" as a meditation, a wish, a prayer perhaps?

And then there were the treescapes with rough barked birches, ferns, and moss covered stones--and tiny dewy wildflowers blooming in the grass:

And finally, the main attraction--the Briksdal Glacier!

Want to see some more "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quotography - Favorite March Photo

Now every field is clothed with grass, and every tree with leaves; now the woods put forth their blossoms, and the year assumes its gay attire. ~Virgil

For more "quotographies" be sure to check out My Perspective

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Possible side effects of too much Easter chocolate.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Water Quotography - Norwegian Stream

"If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song"
Carl Perkins

This quote applies to our lives as well, don't you think? A few rough places makes us appreciate the good times. This isn't the greatest photo, but I couldn't resist because in one shot you have a boulder-filled stream, a waterfall, and glacier. Taken in 2011 on a rainy day hike to the Birksdal Glacier near Loen, Norway.

And, I'll sneak in a little bonus so you can see these fabulous rose-flecked and mossy boulders in the stream. For more Water Quotography be sure to stop by Kelly's place at Living Life in PA for other player links.