Tuesday, June 30, 2015


The last six months have been spent on the skilled nursing, private care in-home nursing, assisted living roller coaster with the aunt that is mine. After many emergency trips to Steubenville (2 hours away) sometimes in raging snowstorms, Aunt Sippy is finally safe and happy in a beautiful assisted living home 25 minutes away. She had to give her dog to a loving caretaker but in return I'm guessing she gained at least another ten good years full of laughing.

Next up for bids on the Price is Right (also referred to as "dammit I have to be a grown up still") is finding a place for my cousin to live. Currently she resides in a HUD apartment (still two hours away) that is a refuge for prostitutes and meth heads. I am looking to change both the quality and location of her living conditions. Also it would make the weekly grocery store trips much easier, as she does not drive.

She's "on the list" at our housing authority with thirty or so ahead of her. There are a few local low income private housing options not directly associated with HUD that I have investigated.

Red flag number one: a bulletin board full of restraining/no trespassing orders.


Red flag number two: a bulletin board full of bed bug prevention tips.


In spite of all of the craziness of the last six months, I must say that things have worked out miraculously every time I've needed them to. A bending of the rules here and there at just the right time to keep things manageable. On New Years Eve last year I declared the "word of the year" to be "happy." The Gods laughed at my audacity in that self-declaration and instead have made it the year of "the kindness of strangers." I'm cool with that and am hoping my luck hasn't run out. The goal is to have my cousin closer by the time school starts. With a two week vacation at the shark shore approaching, I'm cutting the time line close!


In the meantime, I try to follow the "be sure to take care of yourself" advice everyone always gives. I found myself with a two hour chunk of free time between doctor and housing appointments (who plans for a doctors appointment being AHEAD of schedule?!) and paid a visit to the local pottery painting place.


I can't wait to see what this will look like once it's fired up!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Why is my hand like a lemon pie?

Because it has meringue on it.


Summer blogging seems to have commenced.

For anyone who wondered about Prince Charming and the dragon slaying post- last week we moved my aunt from Steubenville to Morgantown. This involved (and I won't explain why) about eight hours of driving a Penske truck over a two day period. The truck was the dragon. And with the help of a former student and his friends, no one was injured during the process.

That leads to the first official adventure of the summer. Aunt is well and happy in cruise-like surroundings. Her only disappointment is at dessert time when everyone else partakes in double scoops of ice cream and sugar laden desserts. Her diabetes goes to extremes and she has to be ever mindful to stay alive.

She mentioned missing lemon pie. I went to the internets and found a diabetic recipe. It was my first brush with meringue. 12 eggs later, it could have been worse. The thing about separating eggs- it's easy enough- but as soon as you begin to think that, you might as well go buy another dozen because yolks are going to break. As for the crust, I let Pillsbury take care of that.



I really have no business being left alone in the kitchen. The taste test is tomorrow. If nothing else it was a valiant effort and something to check off of the bucket list.

In addition to the folkways course, I have also upgraded my Mac to OS X Yosemite (holy beach ball batman) and read a book about Charles Manson. Bring it on, Summer!


Smithsonian Folkways Workshop

Last week I attended a Smothsonian Folkways Pedagogy Workshop. It featured West African, Brazilian, and Appalachian music. I also found my laughing joke of the summer

The culmination of the project was a presentation by participants using the collection at the site. I chose to do some research on the song Old Blue which is about a dog. Wikipedia lists about twenty different versions of it.

This led to a story from my new best friend Rachel. She said she once asked her grandpa why dogs sniff each other's butts and he told her:

A long time ago, the dogs had a meeting and they took their butts off. When the meeting was over and they put them back on they all got mixed up and now dogs go around sniffing trying to find their own butts."

The obviously funny part of the story is the why. But for me it was much more. I just imagined all the dogs dialing up their dog friends and saying "hey let's have a convention." Then Rachel and I began naming the sessions at this year's dog convention.

Domestication: is it all it's cracked up to be?

Leash Laws 101

Bathtime Dos and Don'ts

Cats and when to avoid them.

Mysterious Smells: when to investigate

For the Love of Catnip!

Who Let the Dogs Out??? (Pt 2 to Leash Laws

When you can no longer lift your leg.

What would YOU do for a Milkbone? (Sponsored session)

Drool::::: What is it good for?:: Absolutely nothing.

Buttsniffing: Debunking the Myth

Crack. Me. Up. Even when no one else is around.


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Fighting Dragons


Prince Charming did slay the dragon.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

The best kind of morning

In the spring, summer and fall, Liza Jane knows that if it is morning and I am home, the odds are ever in her favor that we will go walking when I get out of bed.  Last week when it was -4* and the sun was shining she was clearly disgruntled that the rule did not apply.

This morning I said few words and none of the "do you wanna go..." words.  I smiled and said "are you a good dog?  are you a happy dog?"  Her tail began wagging, she ran into my bedroom, grabbed my shoe and followed me around with clear intent.  It was hilarious.

The best part of a day like today is the Joy of Dog after a 2 mile walk and a bath.  Photo montage follows.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


If you’re lucky, you spend your first 20 years being taken care of and learning to take care of yourself.  For some of us that takes us well into our thirties.  After that you spend the next twenty years (plus or minus twenty) taking care of others.  And then, I realized as a traveled to the Ville of Steuben to take care of the Aunt of Sophanne, you have to slowly accept that you need help being taken care of until you are, in fact, dependent again.

What is puzzling is the disconnect between the taking care of and the being taken care of stage.  If you have spent 30 or more years taking care of family as they age, watching life take its natural course, you have knowledge of what is to come for yourself. 

Is it just a matter of “Do not go gently into that dark night”?  I hope that when my time comes, I have a caretaker available and the grace to know that it is time to accept assistance.

I hope that I realize that no longer giving but receiving has value as well.  A change in the status of independence does not lessen what you have to offer in life.  But I think what happens is that when it’s time, the patient refuses to accept their own limitations and then is treated like a stubborn child.  I amend the above.  I hope that I have a caretaker, find the grace to accept assistance, and in turn am treated with the respect for the human being that I am.

For now I am grateful for those who have traveled this precarious path of leading someone gently from independence to dependence. Everywhere I have turned, there have been strangers confirming my experience and sharing their own.   Not only do I value the advice they have, it’s also a great comfort to know that you are not alone.

Monday, February 23, 2015


We had a delay due to cold temperatures this morning. In an effort to increase instructional time with classroom teachers, the "specialists" (art, music, p.e. and library) were in charge of lunch and recess duty today. I opt for recess because I'm good at it without yelling.

This morning I went frantically searching for a whistle to use as an attention getting device. Having none, the kindergarten teacher offered up a cow bell. I paused and thought, "wait, I have cow bells." I paused a little longer and thought "wait, I'm the music teacher. I have ALL KINDS OF NOISEMAKING INSTRUMENTS." A whistle is not a prerequisite for recess.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

In Dog Language..

This means..



I have successfully frolicked and played the "chase me as I chew your knitted mitten" game.


I can not lie. The joy in her romping made it totally worth it.