Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Bump in the Road for a Special Greyhound . . .

It's been less than a week since I posted Part 1 of "For the Love of Dogs" . . . .a tribute to the various dogs that my husband Lee and I have been honored to own and care for over the past 20+ years.

I had been planning that last post for a while, letting it take shape it in my mind over several weeks. And, I'm so glad that I posted it when I did. . . . ..

Because, as it turns out, just a few days ago, our eldest and very special greyhound, Ride, with whom Lee and I have shared the past 10 years, began to show troubling signs of significant illness.

I took Ride into our veterinarian yesterday to be checked, and it appears that she has a tumor of one of her mammary glands, which is likely malignant.

We are awaiting biopsy results, which should come in by tomorrow or the next day. We will then need to decide, in consultation with our vet, what treatment options are possible. In the meantime, the vet put Ride on an antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory medication, and a pain medication.

It's clear that poor Ride is not feeling well, and we're trying our best to get her to eat nutritious foods. Since she's been refusing her regular food we've begun to cook "people" food for her . . . chicken and hamburger with rice, bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. Sometimes she eats it, sometimes not.

Both Lee and I are very saddened by this turn of events. But, we also realize that Ride is approaching 13 years of age, which is somewhat elderly for a greyhound. So, we're trying to prepare ourselves for whatever may come.

Please keep our sweet little greyhound girl in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

For the LOVE of DOGS: Part 1 . . . . . . .

It’s no secret to those of you who know me, or who have been following my Blog, that I’m a “dog person”. I love animals of all kinds (well, perhaps with a few exceptions), but I’m particularly fond of dogs.

Throughout most of my adulthood, I’ve always had one or two dogs. And in all honesty, I can’t imagine my life without a dog! I’ve often commented to friends over the years that having dogs adds another dimension to one’s life. Of course, I recognize that having dogs is not the same as having children. But for my husband Lee and me, our dogs have always been an integral part of our lives, and we consider them members of our family. To us, they are indeed very much like children.

So, on that introductory note, I’m dedicating today’s Blog post to DOGS and those who LOVE them. This will be the first of several related posts on this topic, which I’m entitling, “For the LOVE of DOGS . . . .”

Although one of Lee’s and my current “passions” is greyhound adoption, and we currently have two wonderful greyhounds, we haven’t always been greyhound owners. In fact our first two dogs were mixed breed dogs that came into our lives rather accidentally.

Lucky was a Gordon Setter and Black Lab mix, whose owner was one of Lee’s co-workers. As it turns out, the co-worker was moving to a place where he could no longer have a dog, and was looking for a new home for Lucky. So, Lee and I decided to meet her.

It was love at first sight, and we were both struck by her friendly and exuberant personality, her wonderful lustrous black fur, and the way she ran like the wind. So, we took her home. Lucky always kept us on our toes . . .she’s the only dog we ever had who took a flying leap and slid along the top of my baby grand piano to get a glimpse out the adjacent window, AND she’s the only dog that I’ve ever had who caught mice! She was a handful, but a delight.

Less than a year later, Lee and I came home after work to find a second dog in our back yard. . . .a timid and rather scraggly-looking terrier mix with long off-white fur, mostly matted! Later we found the place where she had dug her way under the fence into our yard to visit Lucky. She wore no tags, and she had apparently been through some rough treatment, because every time we tried to approach her (Lee more than I), she nearly cowered.

But eventually we managed to befriend this little waif, feed her, give her a bath and trim her matted coat. We couldn’t bring ourselves to take her to the local animal shelter, fearful that she wouldn’t be adopted. SO. . . . .. we named her and decided to keep her. That was a decision we never for one moment regretted over the years Mutt-Mutt was with us. She never got over her timidity with men, but she was one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever known. She was a gift.

For 16 years, Lucky and Mutt-Mutt were each others and Lee’s and my sweet and loyal companions. Early in 1997, both dogs passed away within one month of each other. Lucky died on Lee's birthday.

It was shortly after we lost Lucky and Mutt-Mutt that we adopted our first two ex-racing greyhounds.

Having grown up in Abilene, Kansas (home of the National Greyhound Association), I was somewhat familiar with greyhounds, but only from a distance. And Lee and I had talked about the possibility of adopting an ex-racing greyhound. So we started doing some online research about greyhound adoption in Utah.

We found out about a greyhound adoption group in southern Utah (then the only greyhound adoption group in the state), and contacted them to inquire about the availability of ex-racing greyhounds for placement. And one month later, having successfully completed the adoption “application process”, we were making the 5 hour trip from Salt Lake City to Kanab, Utah to pick up our first two greyhounds, Cody and Cassie.

Cassie was a beautiful brindle girl. She was a small and very shy greyhound whom we loved dearly, but who had a number of mysterious but serious health issues over the short time that we had her.

A little over a year after we brought her home, she succumbed to a bizarre illness. (We never did have a final diagnosis.)

Cody was all black, with a white chest and four white-tipped paws. Weighing in at around 87 lbs., he was the largest dog we’d ever had, and it took a little while for us to get used to his size! But he was one of the quietest, most gentle dogs I’ve ever known (except around cats!).

We called Cody our “gentle giant”. Cody was with us for 8 years, until he developed bone cancer and passed away a few months later. He was almost 10.

We adopted Ride (racing name: Emotional Ride) in 1999, shortly after Cassie’s passing.

This is a photo of Ride, not long after we adopted her. She was around 3 years old.

(I'd forgotten how dark her face was way back then . . .she hadn't started to turn gray yet!)

At first, we were a little nervous about how Cody would adjust to sharing the house again with another grey.

But mellow fellow that he was, Cody did fine, and it didn’t take long before he and Ride were best friends, which they remained until Cody’s passing in 2004.

Ride was our only greyhound for a couple of years. Both Lee and I were so saddened by the loss of Cody, we weren’t sure we were ready to attach to yet another greyhound right away, so we thought we’d wait a while to decide.

I was recently retired from my job by then, and since I was home all day, Ride and I became inseparable. She LOVED to take jaunts in the car with me, and I would often take her with me for short errands when the weather was nice.

Around November 2006, Lee and I decided that we were ready to adopt another greyhound, and as fate would have it . . . along came Harley!

It so happened that right about the time Lee and I decided to seek out another greyhound, Harley was “returned” to a local greyhound adoption group, where we know the kennel owner. Harley had been placed in an adoptive home a year before, but unfortunately the placement hadn’t worked out as well as expected. And when Harley was returned to the adoption group, he was not in very good shape physically OR emotionally, so he needed quite a bit of tender loving care and attention.

Once we brought Harley home, it was a difficult couple of months, in that Harley had moderate to severe separation anxiety, and somewhat aggressive food behavior. Thankfully, with a lot of patience, love, and consistency, Harley is now well-adjusted and happy as the newest member of our family.

And this beautiful fawn boy with amber eyes has turned out to be another one of the greyt joys of our lives.

Although it took Ride a while to warm up to Harley, they have become good companions to each other. And coincidentally, even though they are 7 years apart in age, their birthdays are only one day apart! Ride will turn 13 on March 28th and Harley will turn 6 on March 27th.

I am so grateful to have dogs in my life. Not only have our dogs always provided Lee and me with unconditional love, they have also brought us joy and laughter.

Our dogs help prevent Lee and me from being TOO introspective, TOO self-absorbed, and TOO serious. And, they provide us with special memories and “Kodak moments” that have helped to inspire us in our own creative endeavors.

I hope you’ll stay tuned for my next Blog post, “For the LOVE of DOGS: Part 2”, in which I will focus on how our greyhounds and dogs in general have provided inspiration for my handmade cards, scrapbook layouts, and other paper creations.

Monday, January 19, 2009


It's been over a week since I've posted a Blog entry, and I've missed my blogging!

Since my last post, I've been keeping busy with my cardmaking and various other tasks (read: "life"!) that demanded my attention, all the while obsessing about topics for future Blog posts! And indeed, I have a couple of ideas in mind for upcoming Blog articles.

But right now, what I'm most excited about is January 20th, INAUGURATION Day!

In all my adult life, I've never been much of a "political" person. REALLY. Now don't get me wrong. . . . .I've taken my right and my responsibility to vote quite seriously, and as nearly as I can recall, I've voted in every general election since I turned voting age (and that was MANY years ago!)

But I've never been registered with either major political party, I've never been a "dyed-in-the-wool" Republican or Democrat, I haven't actively campaigned for any candidate, nor have I "marched" for any particular cause.

Yet, this last presidential election has energized me, moved me, touched me, like no other ever has.

And like so many other fellow Americans, I am SO excited and SO hopeful that our new President and his administration can bring positive change once again to the United States of America.

I wish I could be in attendance at the actual Inauguration Ceremony to witness President-Elect Obama getting sworn into office, but since that's not possible, watching it on TV will have to suffice!

And I know I'm going to be glued to the TV to catch everything I can!

I feel so privileged to be living in a time when this exciting and momentous election has taken place. This is a time that I know for sure, "history is being made."

Until we meet again. . . . .May you, too, recognize and enjoy watching history in the making.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm in the MOOD for . . . . VALENTINE'S DAY!

VALENTINE'S DAY is "just around the corner", especially for cardmakers!

And as I've mentioned in one of my previous Blog entries, Valentine's Day is one of my very favorite events around which to design cards.

I guess I've always loved Valentine's Day . . . there's just something kind of warm and fuzzy about it. Images of hearts and flowers, cupids, angels, sweet little puppies and kittens, . . . . all go through my head when I think of Valentine's Day.

Even during those times of my life when I haven't had a "signficant other" with whom to share the more romantic aspects of Valentine's Day, I've always considered the day a time to let other special friends and family members know how much they mean to me.

I don't really know too much about the history of Valentine's Day, so I Googled it just a little while ago and found a nice descripion at this Wikipedia link:

You might find it an interesting read, particularly if you have a fondness for Valentine's Day as I do!

(No, the image on the left is NOT one of my cards; it's an image I found on Google Images here! Pretty cute, eh?)

Last week, I started focusing my cardmaking on some new Love-themed and Valentine's Day cards. I searched through all my cardmaking papers, supplies and embellishments and pulled out any and all that I could find that would work nicely along the theme.

And I looked through all my love-themed quotes and pre-printed text blocks that I've collected over the past few years. (I'm an absolute romatic at heart, and a pushover for all those romantic sayings and verses!)

Here are the new card designs that I've come up with so far! Hope you like them!

As ALWAYS, comments, observations, and yes, even musings from my Blog readers are welcome AND encouraged!

Now that I've completed a few new Valentine's Day card designs, I'm all fired up to create more, so that's going to be my focus for this upcoming week.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Etsy Greetings Blog Article of the Week . . .

I've been a member of the Etsy Greetings Team for a while now, but I'm sorry to say that I haven't been as active on the team as I would have liked.

As my dear hubby would say, the "exigencies of life" sometimes get in the way of one's best laid plans!

But, as one of my personal goals for 2009, I've challenged myself to become a bit more involved in the activities of the Etsy Greetings Team.

Recently, I took the opportunity to offer up an article I had written, entitled "Envelope, Please!" as this week's Article of the Week for the Etsy Greetings Blog. I hope you can head on over to the Etsy Greetings Blog and take a read of the article and offer any comments you might have on the subject of handmade envelopes!

And while you're there, please do take a little time to check out some of the previous articles of interest as well as other Etsy Greetings Blog features, and see what fun activities the Etsy Greetings Team has going on right now. For example, a number of participating Etsy Greeting Team members are offering FREE SHIPPING on selected THANK YOU cards in their Etsy shops through January 15th!

The Etsy Greetings Blog also has periodic Blog Giveaway opportunities, so you'll want to check back now and then so as not to miss a chance to win some lovely handmade cards or other paper creations.

Also on the Etsy Greetings Blog, you can find a list of Etsy Greetings Team members and links to their respective Shops and Blogs. . . .just in case you're up for some window shopping and more blog reading!

In the meantime, I want to thank you for stopping by my Blog. I'm always honored to have new visitors and readers out there!

Until we meet again . . . may all your challenges be opportunities.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More on the Topic of TWITTER . . . .

I guess I'm about a week-long veteran of TWITTER now, and I'm slowly getting the hang of how it works.

As suggested in the article I referenced in my previous post, from the Etsy Greetings Blog, "An Introduction to Twitter" I've used to seek out some fellow "tweeters" (I have NO idea if I'm using that term correctly!) with similar interests as mine.

For example, I've typed in a variety of my favorite topics, such as "handmade cards, paper crafting, crafts, dogs, greyhounds" in order to find other TWITTER users who might share any of these interests. Then I've checked out their TWITTER pages, and started to "Follow" a number of folks whose previous posts, bios, websites and/or Etsy Shops piqued my interest. And, already I've had some success in getting acquainted with some really nice people, particularly fellow dog and animal lovers!

So far, I'm trying to do a little tweeting every day, interacting with some of my new found friends, and learning what I can about how TWITTER works. One thing I've learned is that there's a software product available called TweetDeck, that one can download free, and which allows TWITTER users to better organize their incoming "tweets" from their Followers. I haven't tried TweetDeck yet, but am thinking about it!

Admittedly, in my short time on TWITTER, I've had some frustration too . . . .For one thing, the 140 character limit to each "tweet" is tough for someone as wordy as me! Another frustration is that it's hard to keep up with the "tweets" when you're following a lot of people, and already I've taken folks off my Follow list that tweeted a little too often for my liking, and about things that didn't necessarily interest me. So, even tho' it was tempting at first to Follow a lot of people on TWITTER, I've decided that I'm going to try to keep my list of folks whom I Follow a bit more manageable.

I wanted to share a link to a VERY INTERESTING Web Article that my Dear Hubby (also a newbie to TWITTER) found today. . . . I've never heard of the MASHABLE Web Site before, but today there's an article on that site, by Atherton Bartelby, entitled, "FOLLOW FAIL: The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You in Return on Twitter." Although I'm very new to TWITTER myself, many of the points made in this article really hit home for me already!

If you're interested in TWITTER, please do take a few minutes to read Mr. Bartelby's article. I think you might enjoy it!

Until we meet again . . . . . Happy Tweeting!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I have to admit, that where technology is concerned, I've always been a slow learner. I guess you could say that I'm a bit technology-challenged!

That, plus that fact that I'm naturally cynical and somewhat distrustful of new things, has not contributed to the speed with which I've caught on to various aspects of the Internet!

Case in point: TWITTER!

I suppose I've seen the word "TWITTER" mentioned many a time among Etsy Forum threads, but I never did quite know what it was . . . .nor was I quite curious enough to investigate it.

It was only last week, while I was perusing the Etsy Greetings Blog, that I happened upon a recent article entitled, "An Introduction to Twitter".

And having a few minutes on my hands, I actually took the time to read the article. . . . lucky I did, I guess, because the article piqued my interest about TWITTER enough that I FINALLY checked it out.

So, here I am, a week or so later, having joined the TWITTER community, and finding that I'm quite enjoying myself!

I suspect that I've only scratched the surface so far, regarding what TWITTER can offer . . not only in terms of meeting new people with similar interests, but also in terms of learning new skills, social networking, and discovering new resources and marketing possibilities related to my craft.

But I'm working on learning all about it! For the past few mornings, the first thing I do after I turn on my computer, is log into TWITTER to see what's new. And I'm constantly on the lookout for old and new friends to "follow" on TWITTER, so if you're there, please let me know!

If you scroll down on the right side of my Blog, you'll see that I have a new little Twitter Button listed there entitled "Follow Me on Twitter". . . . .feel free to click and take a look.

So I guess I've finally joined the group of minions out there in Cyberspace who are All a TWITTER!

Are YOU part of the TWITTER "family"?

Friday, January 2, 2009

I've been FEATURED in Another BLOG!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

I'm thrilled to say that I've recently been FEATURED in another Blog!

Jodi, over at her Multi Crafting and More Blog, has been kind enough to post a feature article on me and my Expressive Papers Etsy Shop.

Jodi, I'm sending a great big THANK YOU your way!

Please do take a minute to check out Jodi's Etsy Shop (Jodi's Craft Emporium) where you'll find an amazing variety of "crafts made with love."

Until we meet again. . .Wherever and however far life's journey takes you, may you continue to meet special people along the way.