Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cyber Friends

Recently one of my Facebook friends wrote

"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to. I know it's a counterfeit form of intimacy, but it beats only seeing y'all at reunions and funerals!"

That got my attention.

This friend was, for years, My Best Friend. And then life scattered us willy-nilly. We've reconnected through Facebook.

Is cyber friendship real? I had thought about this before. I have made lifetime friends on an Internet group called Whippet World. I have gotten to know people through their blogs, and through their comments on this blog. I care about these folks. I miss them when I'm not able to communicate in cyberland. (Too much of that going around lately!)

I think I get to know the hearts of these online friends. Their very center. I've revealed things about myself on my own blog that would be nearly impossible to talk about in real life, except with my husband or My Best Friend. And I have stared at my computer, covering my mouth to hold in a sob as I read of a bad diagnosis received by a wonderful man in another country. Oh no, oh no, oh no. I have leaked tears all over one of my worried dogs when I read that someone I've never met has lost a pet. I'm so very, very sorry, I write. I will hold you in my heart.

There is time to sit, to reflect, and to delete. We can distill.

Of course, we all know that anonymity of cyberspace also brings out the very ugliest of human conversation. Which is I guess the dark side of all this good.

Because I think it is good that whole communities are out there, being present to each other. Showing that they care. Listening. Pouring out their hearts and allowing me to care. Making me smile and laugh. Sitting alone in my little sewing/computer room laughing so hard that I have to get up and pee.

I imagine pen pals of the 1800's. Distant cousins, or long-separated acquaintances. Casual friendships which deepened. Sharing intimacies in their letters, which were shared with none of their real friends.

I think it all comes down to the power of the written word. And our power to care.

So let me quote my wise friend again.

"I love sitting in my living room on a gray, rainy day reading FB and feeling like my friends and relatives are near and knowing a little bit of what they are up to."

Me too.

hug your hounds and your Internet friends

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot Out - circles

Oh brother! This week I thought the topic was Circles, so I went out to photograph Circles. The person who came up with the idea was Kerry, from Corvallis, Oregon, whose blog I LOVE and highly recommend.
Only when I went back to say "I did it!!!" I saw that I didn't do it. "Circles" is next week's topic.

Here's my favorite circle - yin yan whippets

Fountain Circle. There's a statue, but no fountain. And there's a planned park with lots for kids to do.

Fountain Circle, the big picture. This is eight blocks from our house.

Circles on all the Lowertown Art Distric banners.

Two circles on the neighbors' house. Keyth and Elaine live here.

See? One circle.

Second one, Leaping Trout Studio, home of Keyth's beautiful watercolors.

Next, Jonathan and Cindy's house, with their art supply store, the Canvas Room, and new baby Nathaniel. It's a happy place.

The Lowertown landmark

Ike and Charlotte's gorgeous front door at Working Artists Studio.

See the circle at Tom and Wanda's?

Wanda makes her own stained glass. I wish you could see it better.


This week was supposed to be "look up, look down". So I guess I'll do that next week.

Me + Friday My Town Shoot Out = FAIL!!!

hug your hounds and love your towns

HERE is the link to the Look up Look Down post

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Swede William Speaks

[Regular readers of this blog will note that I rarely dare -- presume -- to put words into the whippets' mouths. But. Every rule is made to be broken.]

Ja. My world is topsy-turvy upside down. The crazy servant has flipped her big bottom and I suffer as a result. You read my saddest story and tell me what to do.

I am an honorable dog who loves the life, ja? You ask anyone, I love all. Strange hairy dogs hump me and do I bite? No I don't. I don't bark at doggy visitors outside our fence, no. Besides, I am the best show dog ever, see this?

Oh the handsomeness of me. See the Judge? He is saying, "Never have I seen such an excellent example of whippet perfection!" He was so overwhelmed he nearly fainted. And the servant. Just look at her beaming with happiness and pride and big belly bursting. Ja. Swede William you're so wonderful. I hear that all the time from the wacko.

Now, recently our servant has got some kind of lostheimer's disease. She does not wait for me to gently wake her up with my lovely songs to make us breakfast. No. Now the dumma feta kossa gets up before light and leaves us. Day after day. And then she can't find her way back to us until long after dark.

It is a great concern.

So, being a good kind dog I try to help. I mark my glorious essence all over the house so she can smell her way home. Does she say Oh Swede William I thank you for your generous sacrifice of your precious bodily fluid for my safety and well-being? Does she say that? NO!

She puts a torture bucking strap on my private delicious parts!!! (Hide the young puppies' eyes from this next photo which will make their dreams too frightening.)

First it was every dog with a winky. Now it is just me. The torture.

And then last night when she went to teach MY class at MY Kennel Club and FORGOT TO TAKE ME, once again I did my best even with the bucking strap around my marvelousness to help her find her way home. I marked upstairs and down, soaking the torturous madness fastened around my spectacular bits.

Did she thank me for my efforts?

No she did not. She showed me where my helpful fluids were decoratively sprinkled. And she flipped out. I haven't seen such abominable behavior since I suggested to Luciano that he share his rawhide chewy. She told me it was unacceptable. That I knew better, dammit. That This has to stop.

Here I am with my head on her enormous hind leg. I tried to tell her I was trying to help. My girlfriend, Teka, pointed out that for all anyone knew Luciano could be getting back at me for that chewy incident and he could be peeing on my bucking strap to incriminate my perfectly innocent Swedish self.

I have one thing I would like to say to the servant.

I don't know how to say it in English, but in Swedish it is phhhfffftttt!! And there is wetness involved.

Oh I won't because I am a good dog. But how do I let my servant know that her being lost is unacceptable. That she knows better, dammit. That This has to stop.

What's a dog to do?

hump your humans, especially the lostheimers ones

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I just this minute turned around and snapped that photo. Swede William snoozing in his belly band.

I made all of the male dogs in my house belly bands. Someone believed that, given the record cold temps and my blatant dereliction of my dog servant duties (leaving for work and not returning for thirteen hours), someone had indoor potty privileges. Even though Bill was home and was letting them out every two hours. So I made belly bands.

Now, I had my suspicions. I thought I knew which of the five boys were being naughty. I'd look all squinty-eyed at the presumed guilty. "Did you pee in the house?" I'd growl. "I don't like that." The accused would slink away, affirming my presumptions.


After the wearing of the belly bands for several days, only one got wet. Repeatedly. The one I would have never. ever guessed.

I'm not going to embarrass the one who actually has been lifting his beige Scandinavian leg all over our house by naming him here. I wouldn't do that. But I must publicly apologise to Fat Charlie, Easy, Luciano, and Sam I Am for ever doubting them. They don't have to wear belly bands any more.

I once heard a saying that if it has tires or testicles it's going to be trouble. There's only one dog with testicles in this house. (Bill likes me to specify "DOG" when I make that statement.)


Hug your hounds, even the very naughty beige ones

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Birds

Well, the topic for this week's My Town Shoot Out had me stumped.


Paducah isn't known for its birds. There is a lovely Great Blue Heron that hangs around the river, but I don't have any fantastic shots of him.


Then I had a thought.

We do have creatures capable of flight in Paducah.


and Swede William.

Hug your hounds

Monday, January 11, 2010

How Is This Comfortable?

Fat Charlie??

Hug your double jointed hounds

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Fences

Sandra Leigh of Van Couver Island, BC came up with this week's theme:

"All over my town there are fences - tall ones and short ones, old and new,
elegant and shabby. They all have something to say - like "Keep out," "Be
careful!" (like this one) or "Stay right where you are," "I'm utterly exhausted"
or "Look at me. Aren't I splendid?" Some have gates; others simply define a
space or support a heavy vine. What kinds of fences are there in your town? Do
they really make good neighbours? Or do they just isolate us? "

I had to use my file photos, because of my work schedule. Yes, that's it. It's not because it is too cold to set foot outside for more than a nanosecond or anything. No. That's not it.

Our fence definitely makes us good neighbors (otherwise there would be Whippets running rampant all over the 'hood, and um... there would be a LOT less C.A.T.s).

I think it's Delia's turn to be featured.

When Bill goes out...

Delia waits.
My other favorite fence is this plastic orange barrier out at the Paducah Kennel Club:

hug your hounds

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Leave it to Paul ...

Dance around to get warm and then

hug your hounds

Monday, January 4, 2010

Catch Up

Not possible.
I'm too far behind. (A warning: this is one of those self-indulgent, not entertaining, unamusing introspective posts. Do move on to your next blog, without a second thought, and with my blessing.)

First, happy new year, happy new decade to you all. I have never been so happy to leave a decade in the dust of the past. That sounds short-sighted, I suppose. Certainly good things happened, and I built a lot of character from the bad.

The worst times help my writing: characters acquire depth; scenes fly from life into fiction; dialog becomes believable.

So, yeah, I'm grateful for everything that has happened in the last ten years. But. BYE!!! SEE YA!!! TOODLE LOOO!!!!

My goal for the next decade is to have more influence on my own life. (Oh boy, I said it out loud.) I watch my husband direct his life. I watch in awe. Stupefied. Dang. All the while I let my own self be buffeted by events that blow around me. I feel impotent. I'm an expert at feeling "done to". Not so good at feeling "hey, I'm in charge here."

That - allowing life to direct me, instead of vice versa - can lead one into the most unattractive role. The role of [ick] victim. "Poor me," she wailed. "Look at what life has done to me!" [Puke.]

Nope. This is the decade where I take charge. It dawned on me that my dogs can't finish their championships unless I show them. I can't get my novel published unless I finish it.

Goodbye to the ought decade. You know, two thousand ought nine. I ought to blah blah blah. I had made some take charge decisions already. I decided to go back to hospital nursing. At first I was confused. It felt a little like life did that to me. And it has been, without exception, the absolute hardest thing I have done in my life. As in most difficult. As in for a while there, swallowing all the pills in the medicine cabinet looked like a better plan. Much better. It would be a kindness to Bill, the dogs, everyone. (I got hung up on Laurie and Heather, and my sister Martha.)

The Bad Voices can sing so loud.

I drowned them though. I drowned them by singing Hallelujah with four guys from Norway at the top of my lungs. I drowned them by going back to the hospital the next morning, when I thought the amount I had to learn was impossible. By asking my little saint of a preceptor to show me one more time, and by trying to believe her when she said really, you are doing fine. By saying you're welcome to the patient who looked into me and said thank you. By deciding not to run for re-election to the Board of the American Whippet Club. That was hard. But when the contents of your medicine cabinet tell you that you have too much on your plate, hey, maybe it's time to scrape something off.

By deciding to stop being a ninny.

It feels pretty good. I like life in the non-ninny lane so far. I'm looking forward to it.

hug your hounds

Friday, January 1, 2010

Paint by Number Whippets


I missed the actual opening because I was working.

But we remedied that. Bill and Deb and I went for a private showing night before last.
Okay, I'm ahead of myself. A dear friend, and fellow Lowertown artist, Deb Lyons, had a fun idea in early 2009. She wanted to do abstract paintings of my dogs, and I was all for that, of course. She brought a bright lamp and a blank canvas. I held Giacomino between the light and the canvas and Deb traced line after line of the shadows created, turning the canvas and moving the dog and the light. The result was a patchwork of lines. Deb then asked me what colors Giacomino gave - his aura.
She repeated this process for the other dogs. And here are the magical results:

Artist Deb Lyons and her painting Delia

Mama Pajama

Swede William

Lindy Loo


Sam I Am

Giacomino's painting will be hanging in our bedroom as soon as the show comes down.

Thanks, Deb! What a treasure!

hug your hounds