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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Favorite Reads of 2016

My Top Five Books of 2016

This year I really tried to read at least two books a month.  As it turned out, I read 39! It feels good to complete and surpass a goal.  There were many books that I really enjoyed, a few that I dropped or just skimmed and one that I threw across the room.  But, I won't bore you with an entire list and will just share a bit about the top five that made my favorite list.  These are not in order of most to least favorite...that's just too much thinking to here goes in random order:

Persuasion by Jane Austen
I think I liked this Austen novel even better than Pride and Prejudice. The unfulfilled longings of both main characters, Anne and Capt. Wentworth, were palpable from page one. Years earlier, Anne had been persuaded to break her engagement to Captain Wentworth because it was deemed an inappropriate match. She eventually finds the courage to stick a finger in the snotty eye of Victorian manners and be true to her feelings.  True love finally triumphs...doesn't that always make for a lovely story? And, of course, Austen's language and turn of phrase is simply luxurious.

The One-In-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
Touching and heart-warming. In order to earn a Boy Scout service badge, a young boy does chores for Ona Victus, 104 years of age. They develop a very charming relationship...then one day the boy does not show up.  A few days later, the boy's father arrives to finish his son's chores. He learns more about his son and about himself as he too develops an unpredictable relationship with Ona. Don't miss this one!

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book was on my to-read list for a long time.  When I finally got around to reading it, I was so glad that I did.  It was fun and touching at the same time. Bernadette Fox, the title character, is absent for most of the novel.  Instead the bulk of the plot revolves around Bee, Bernadette's 15-year-old daughter, who is trying to find her mother who simply disappears from the cruise ship that is taking them on a tour of Antarctica.  Hence...the title.  I so enjoyed this book, that I am eager to read Semple's most recent book, Today Will Be Different.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld I must confess, I truly do love all things Jane Austen.  So, when I saw that Eligible was a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, I just had to read it.  I must admit, I was anticipating a fairly silly can you transplant those Victorian manners to 2016? But, I was totally delighted by the story.  A good story is a good story...great characters transcend time periods.  Nuff said!

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
A book about a bookshop?  You betcha! What more could a book-lover ask for? How about a book about a mobile bookshop, run by a librarian who has been put out of work because libraries and paper books are being digitally replaced?  How about a book set in a secluded village of Scotland where the residents are starving for books?  Jenny Colgan has given us book -lovers a book to hug!

So, that's my top-five list.  Hope some of these titles might spark an interest for you. I'd love to hear what you felt were your top reads of the year.  Leave a comment.  I'm making up a new to-read list for 2017 and could use a few new suggestions!  Happy Reading Everyone.

Monday, December 12, 2016

I Love My Book Club!

BOOK CLUBS: Some Thoughts

I am a member of a neighborhood book club, The Maple Glen Book Club, to be exact.  It has a total of eight members. Several of the women I had never met before, even though I have lived in this neighborhood for over twenty years and so have they.  Several I knew by sight and name, but none were close friends.  It's an amazing thing to live in a fairly closed community (there is only one entrance and egress that we all must pass through) and not come to know the people of that community.  A big failure on my part, but it appears, this situation was true for most of the women in the group. Food for thought.

Happily, as we continue to hold our monthly meetings and share and discuss our thoughts about the books we read, we are getting to know one another and appreciate our similarities and differences.  Besides the opportunity to read  and talk about books, book club, at least our book club, is a place to share some interesting thoughts about life.

Recently, we read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

The book got very mixed reviews from our group.  I had read it before and had so loved it that I recommended it to the group.  It's quirky and weird in many ways, but had enough of a puzzling conflict that I thought it would appeal to most members. Only one other member really and truly liked the book; one couldn't get into it at all and the rest of the group toughed it out and read it any way, even though they did not like it.   In our ensuing discussion, we discussed how that is one of the reasons we wanted to be a part of a book club. It forces us to read books we normally wouldn't choose to read.  It expands our book boundaries. And...even with books most of us do not like, we manage to find some kernel of truth to plant.

With Mr. Penumbra that kernel occurred in the message one of our members felt the book was trying to convey.  The plot of the book revolves around a rather cliche problem: the search for immortality. Though set in modern day and sprinkled heavily with the techno babble of Silicon Valley, the novel's setting was also very DaVinci Code-like with a secret organization that was trying to decode the meaning of life hidden in some ancient books. I won't give away too much of the plot or the conclusion, just in case  you want to read this book, but I do want to share the message our group felt the book exposed: friendship is the key to everlasting life.  Love, of friend or family member, promotes lasting memories, memories that are transferred from one generation to the next.  We live on in the memories we make in the hearts of others.

Though some of our group were skeptical that this is the case, for me it rang very true. I immediately thought of my Aunt Marie, my mom's sister who died at the age of 13. Of course, I never met Aunt Marie, but she had a big presence in our family's life.  Her story, her personality, her impact on our family was a lasting one that traversed several generations. I will be revealing her story in a future post, but for now, I refer to her as an example of how a simple tidbit of discussion in a book club meeting can spark big ideas.  It is also goes to show the power of books. They make you think!

Agenda for organizational meeting.

The Maple Glen Book Club has only been in existence since June, but it has had quite an impact on my life, opening up my world to new friends, new books, and new ideas.  Here is a list of what we have read so far:

July:  The Nest, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

August: The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Stedman

September:  Take Me With You, Catherine Ryan Hyde

October:  Vendetta, Elizabeth Flaherty

November:  Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel, Robin Sloan

In December, in deference to the very hectic holiday season, and through the wise suggestion of one of our members,  we are reading a short YA novel:

The Poet's Dog, Patricia MacLachlan

Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In Search of Order

In Search of Order

Being organized is comforting.  I feel in control of this crazy thing called life when I have my days and weeks and months somewhat planned out.  As a former teacher, I led a very ( and I mean VERY) structured life. Simple things like bathroom breaks and lunchtime had to be planned in advance. I lived by planning things out.  You can't just wing-it day after day in a classroom; you would be eaten alive by the little lion cubs! So, when I retired, I continued using a planner to map out all the things I needed to do and wanted to do. I needed to set goals, make lists of places and people to see. I also became the sole meal planner. It soon became apparent I couldn't do all of that in my 5x7 weekly/monthly calendar, so I searched for something better.

I kept encountering a thing called a bullet journal. At first I thought it was just an unorganized daily, bullet-ed list of what happened in your life; a kind of diary.  But as I investigated and looked at examples on Pinterest  I discovered it was much more organized than this and could be the exact tool I needed to organize my unstructured life. No one told me that one of the things you need to adjust to and prepare for when you retire is the lack of structure to your days and weeks. At first the lack of structure was liberating, but that soon palled, and I began to panic that I was wasting valuable time by not setting goals and accomplishing them.  The bullet journal helped me ease off the panic button. All you need to construct a bullet journal is a notebook, a pen, some colored pencils and a ruler.
I found a journal in the sale bin of Barnes and Nobles and turned it into my bullet journal. P.S. pick a nice pen that won't smudge or bleed through pages. Here is my pick: the pen is a Paper Mate Ink it!

I won't go into too much detail about the set up of a bullet journal because there is so much out there on the Internet that you can investigate for yourself.  But, I do want to point out that the beauty of a bullet journal as opposed to a calendar/planner is that you can customize it to fit your needs.  For example, I create a two- page spread every Sunday for the following week.  I construct space for daily appointments, notices of importance. There is also space for meal planning.

And one of my favorite spaces on this 2-page spread is the Quote of the Week block. I like to choose a quote that will help me focus on some aspect of life that I want to work on or that will help inspire me in some way.

In addition to the weekly calendar spread, I use another 2-page spread to create space for listing weekly know those pipe dreams of "this is what I want and need to get done this week." I turn to this page whenever I'm at a loss during the week and I'm asking myself..."what should I do next?"

I also use the bullet journal for lists. For example, right now I have a pretty lengthy Christmas list going that is divided into columns for each member of my family. I have  a list of books I want to read, a list of places I'd like to visit, and a list of house improvement projects.

I also use the bullet journal to organize projects that need to get done.  For example, presently I am re-doing the en suite bath off of the master bedroom.  I listed all of the things that needed to get done to accomplish the task and even some of the "if money were no object, this is what I would do" ideas.

The bullet journal can also be a motivational tool.  I have several sections that I use for personal improvement goals, such as a fitness tracker where I set and record goals for things such as weight loss and steps walked per day, and even a page where I keep track of daily expenditures so that I stay within my budget.

The final thing I will share about the bullet journal is that it is also a relaxation tool. Not only does it help me organize my life, but it provides an artistic release...I  get to color!  If you are artistically talented you can really go crazy with this.  Me, I'm more of a doodler, so my embellishments are pretty simple. The opportunity to color like a child is relaxing in that you really don't have to think...just choose a color and go.

For all you retirees out there who might be struggling with that feeling of being unmoored...give a bullet journal a try.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Reading Round-Up: February/March

February was a slow-reading month for me because I was involved with finishing my reading about the Constitution.  I read lot's of primary documents...which I just loved pouring over.  I was also slowed by several bad choices that I either dropped  or skimmed.  But, eventually I settled on a few good reads.  Here's the list:

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

This was one of the books I disliked. I read the first half and basically skimmed to the end and read the ending.  I was disappointed because I really liked The Secret Life of Bees and was expecting another good story.  I simply felt the story of the oppressed slave has been told over and over and over and there was not anything new here.  

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

This was another disappointment.  This book was given great reviews and I couldn't wait to get it from the library.  I was 26th on the waiting list!  So when I got to chapter 5 and realized what was hinted at from page 1 really happened...I threw the book across the room and refused to read the rest!  Maybe you will like it though...I just wasn't in the mood...

The Precious One, Marisa de los Santos 

I truly enjoyed this 2-voice narrative of half-sisters Taisy and Willow. They share a father, Wilson, but have been raised in totally different fashions.  Lots of interesting family dynamics revealed.

 How To Write a Novel: A Novel, Melanie Sumner

Cute. Clever. Fun.  Aris Thibodeau, the narrator, is 12.5 years old and is writing a novel in 30 days.  Her mom is an English teacher; her dad is dead; and the nanny (the single guy next door) is an aging hippie who just happens to be the perfect match for her mother, in Aris's opinion.  I loved how the writing process was a part of the telling of the cool for an ex-English teacher like me.

Beach Town, Mary Kay Andrews

Just needed to read a book I knew would be stress-free and relaxing.  This fit the bill perfectly. Set in Florida Greer Hennessy, a movie location scout- finds love and her long-estranged father in a run-down, struggling beach town.  

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I Spy Spring!

So it is 36 degrees out this morning and the skies are gray.  Monday the sun will break out and by Wednesday the forecast is for a high of 73 degrees.  My husband has plans to warm up at the driving range early in the week; we have a meeting scheduled with our tax man on Wednesday, and on Thursday my husband will hit the links with his best bud for the first time in 2016.  What does all this mean?  Spring! my friends.  Yes, hallelujah... Spring is arriving.

As I sit here enjoying my mug of steamy, rich coffee, and the fireplace warms the chilly sun room, I can't help but look forward to the spring days I know are coming (minus the tax man, of course ).  

I long to drag the bikes out of the garage and dust them off, pump up the tires, and oil the moving parts. (Yikes!I need to oil my moving parts too!).  The many trails we haven't ridden yet, beckon. Our favorite rides await repeating.  Fresh air. Sunshine. Warmth...warmth...warmth.  God's grand symbol of rebirth never fails to invigorate me. I marvel at all the signs that announce...I'm here...hang on...I'm returning...

So here is a posy ... close your eyes and picture


I spied
A redwing blackbird
at the feeder today.

Three fat robins
poked around in the squishiness of the thawing backyard.

I spied
clumps of tender
green snowdrops
proudly studding 
the base of my 
neighbor's mailbox 

My neighbor's little 
are back at play.
Tricycles rev again
up and down
the driveway.

I walk the pups
around the loop.
Brisk March winds 
cause a few wet tears 
to form in the corners 
of my eyes.

The softly, surging sun
promises to dry them away,
leaving only flaky
                                    salt patches
                                    as a reminder...

                                    I spied

Thursday, February 11, 2016

We Need George Washington

The presidential primary season is off and running, and I am praying every day the country makes the right choice (and I'm not even sure who that is).  We are teetering on the brink of becoming something so different from what our founding fathers had planned, that this presidential election seems to have the potential to either get us back on track or take us down a different road altogether. It is frightening to think that my grandchildren might not inherit the same country my parents handed to me.

I'm revisiting the free Constitution course that Hillsdale College offers and have been reading some of the primary documents  our founders wrote.  Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Adams... these guys were just plain genius.  However, the one founder I can't help but admire the most is George Washington.  Yes, he was a great general and military leader, but he was so much more than that.  His kindness, morality, and genuine love for this country rings clearly through everything he wrote.  We need this man now!

 Portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Washington did not seek the office of president, in fact he needed to be persuaded to serve a second term, and downright refused to run for a third.  He held the office of the president not out of ambition and personal gain, but out of a sincere desire to see the country he pledged his life for succeed. After 45 years of service to his country, Washington quietly retired to his beloved home, Mount Vernon. But, before he left, he addressed the nation one last time.  In his Farewell Address (September 19, 1796) Washington took one last opportunity to give advice to the nation, to we the people, how to keep this grand experiment of government alive and well. And he offered the advice to you my countrymen ( how sweet is that?) not as a smug directive from the Commander in Chief, but as counsels of an old and affectionate friend. Can you just feel the tenderness he felt? 

Lansdowne Portrait

In his address he warned about the vices of political parties.  Oh, if we had only listened.  Just look at us now, we the people have seriously lost control of is evident that many of us realize this ... just look at the two front runners...not exactly party material!  So there is some hope there, but I swear, if after all the smoke has cleared and Hillary and Jeb are the last two standing...we might as well not even vote ever again, because it will mean the parties are in charge and we the people have been replaced.
     In his Farewell Address, George also shared some maxims government should follow in order to remain strong and secure: (I slightly paraphrase here)
  • use credit sparingly
  • avoid accumulation of debt
  • save a little frequently to prepare for use of great expenditures later in times of trouble
  • do not let future generations bear the burden of what we ought to bear
Yikes!  We've become George's worst nightmare. The government has violated every one of these maxims and in a major way...someone please...listen to your father!!!!

Family Painting by Edward Savage

I'd like to share just a few more comments from Washington's Farewell that are, I believe, so important to apply to this time in our nation's history.  Washington said, of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. George didn't mean there should be no division or separation between church and state, because that separation must exist.  What he did mean was that morality and the morality that religion promotes is a SUPPORT to political prosperity.  Let's face it, in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, the people better be good people.  Let's see... when our leaders lie, commit adultery, pad their bank accounts and businesses through their political connections, it becomes apparent that morality has been tucked into the closet along with the Constitution. And the general populace must be moral enough to recognize this is wrong and raise an outcry so loud to send these scoundrels running for cover.  We need to seriously think about the extents we have gone to eliminate religion from our institutions (one nation under God remember that?) and the extents we have gone to promote freedom of expression (hey Hollywood set a good example for the young will ya! ). And parents...we do need to lay strong moral foundations for our children... it's part of our job. George concludes, ...reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle...'Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. Some powerful words to ponder, don't you think?

Portrait by Charles Wilson Peale

A final bit of essential advice that Washington shared is about the importance, in a republican form of government, of having an educated populace.  After all, the people will be doing the voting, so they better be aware of what's going on.  George said, promote then as an object of primary importance, Institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.  In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened. How true is that?  People need to think for really know and not be led by clever political ads and speeches. How can they think for themselves if they are not educated? People need to know our history.  People need to know what the Constitution says and means.  People need to know how government operates. Governing ourselves is a huge responsibility... we can't leave it up to the politicians, our neighbors, or anyone else.

So, I repeat...We need George Washington (or at least to listen to the sage advice he left us in his Farewell Address). What a wise and decent man he was!

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this...leave a comment and don't forget to vote in your state's primary...choose wisely my friends

Friday, January 29, 2016

You Wanna Bake Cookies?

Before the big snowstorm hit last weekend, I rummaged through my pantry to make sure I had enough staples to last the duration of the storm and it's aftermath.  I know, it's long could we possibly be trapped in our houses???  But, as I scanned my shelves, I spied an unopened bag of...TaDa!!!...chocolate chips.  Of course, the perfect thing to bake to comfort us through the blizzard.  Images of warm, chocolate chip cookies, steaming mugs of coffee, and a crackling fire circled my brain.  What a find.

So, I quickly got to work and began whipping up a batch of everyone's favorite cookie.  As I struggled to blend the butter and sugars together (I'm not as strong as I use to be ) my mind shifted back to the very first time I saw these cookies being made.  I was in 7th grade and visiting my BFF, Sandi. Sandi, her sister Norma and I would often get together to play cards and games like Rack-o and Yahtzee.  Remember those games?

Of course we needed sustenance to wage war on one another (Sandi's the fiercest competitor I know).  The next thing I knew, Sandi was competently taking out bowls and baking supplies and whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies as though she had done it a hundred times before.  I was damned impressed!  The most baking I had ever done to that date was assisting my grandmother with the baking of Christmas cookies.  I had never made a batch of anything by myself, so you can imagine how blown away I was to see my best friend commanding the kitchen like an expert.  By the way, the cookies were yummy. And now, I can never make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, without thinking of that day and my  amazing friend.

I once received a plaque that read: friends are the chocolate chips in the cookie of life. This is so very true.  Sandi is the only one of my high school friends with whom I have maintained a continuous friendship.  She lives on the west coast and I live on the east coast, but the distance has not diminished our deep affection for one another.  How could I forget the girl who wrote on the chalkboard (to my mortification) for all to see "Karen loves Tiger Lou."  Tiger Lou was our class's version of the science nerd, and Sandi thought our classmates would get a little chuckle at my expense... oh, by the way, he went on to be instrumental in the development of fiber optics (sheesh... who could have guessed that!  Shout out to Tiger...way to go Tiger!) That's my friend Sandi; she has a great sense of humor and a big heart.  Who else but a best friend would traverse the continental United States twice, just to attend my daughters' weddings.  Sandi really is a sweet part of the cookie of my life.  Thanks for the memories girl!

And so, I guess, the point I'm trying to make is that it is important to take the time to reflect on who is important in your life.  Family are easy to love...they're family...ya have ta!  But good friends are precious treasures...cherish them. They really are the chocolate chips of life.

I'd love to hear about your thoughts of friendship or your memories of your BFF!  Leave a comment

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Reading Round-up: January

January was a great month for curling up in front of the fire with a blanket and a book.  The skies may have been gray and the wind may have been chilling, but my spirit was warmed by the stories I read about lovers, orphans, immigrants, and displaced children of war. Here's the list:

The Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline
This was my favorite book this month.  I was unaware of the historical event around which this novel revolved: the orphan trains of the 1920's and 30's.  To alleviate the awful problem of orphaned and homeless children who populated the large cities like NYC during this era,  children's aid societies  transported thousands of orphans by train to the Midwest to places like Kansas.  There the orphans were put on display like cattle at an auction and given to just about anyone who wanted one, for better or worse! Some people were kind and just wanted to help a child, but others, as you can imagine, were depraved and cruel and simply wanted free labor. One of the main characters of the novel is Vivian, a 91-year-old survivor of an orphan train. She gives a job to Molly, a 17-year -old foster child, who needs to do 50 hours of service to avoid juvie after she stole a book (Jane Eyre, I ask you... how can that be a crime!) from the library.Vivian needs her attic cleaned out, and Molly needs the hours:  a perfect match.  But the job turns into much more. As each box in the attic is opened, a piece of Vivian's long life is revealed and the two discover much about themselves and each other.

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin
 This book begins in post-WWII Ireland and follows a bright, young Irish girl, Eilis, as she emigrates to America where she begins a new life in Brooklyn. Her Irish family believe that America can provide a hopeful future for her, a future that she will not be able to find if she stays in Ireland. In America, Eilis blossoms under the strict guidance and generosity of a parish priest and a boarding house "mother." Here, she has been carefully placed through the efforts of her older sister. The priest selects a respectable place for her to work and even assists her in registering for college courses.  Of course, life is not all rosy for Eilis as she tries to assimilate into a strange new place. The best thing about this novel is the peek it gives the reader into the flavor of life during this period of American history when Irish and Italian immigrants added to the fabric of our country with their rich and vibrant cultures.

 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

I had never read this classic fantasy, but decided it was time to do so, as I am taking a course on the works of C.S. Lewis.  Of course, the story can be read on many levels and by just about any age has such a classic appeal.  The setting takes place during the blitzkrieg of London during WWII.  Four children are sent from the beleaguered city to the country estate home of a wealthy professor.  However, most of the story takes place in the fantasy world of Narnia that the children enter when they step through the depths of a wardrobe which stands in one of the many rooms of the mansion.  Here they are faced with the very embodiment of good and evil.  Much has been written about the symbolic aspect of the novel and the Narnia series.

Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Ahhh...Jane Austen!  What else can I say...just divine.  I think Persuasion is just as delightful as Pride and Prejudice (must be something about "P" words that bring the best out in Austen).  I love the way Jane pokes a finger in the eye of the entitled titled class...what a bunch of shallow baffoons.  Thank goodness the heroine in Persuasion is a humble, nice, likable person, because all of her relatives and most of her acquaintances are insufferable.  And what better book to read during a series of cold, gray days than one that presents a heart-wrenching love dilemma that is not resolved until the last two pages of the novel.  Delightful!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Where's Waldo

I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time, but have always kept putting it off in deference to something of more "importance."  Where's Waldo is such a silly thing, but then again in times of constant terrorist attacks, a continuing failed economy, self-important politicians who care more about re-election than improving the country, arrogant leaders who ignore the Constitution, and foreign governments who humiliate our military, I guess a little levity is not such a bad thing :)

Now that I have that off my chest.....

Meet Lilly:

Lilly is one of our four grand-dogs.  Lilly lived with us the first two years of her life, and then moved off with her "mommy", our daughter Allison, when Alli started a home of her own. Lilly is a spunky beagle with a huge personality. Lilly is like most beagles:

she loves to sleep on top of things...

she loves to eat...this is her please give me some of your food or I will die face...

and she loves to get into trouble!

I've read that beagles are like perpetual toddlers.  Imagine chasing after your two-year old, remember the energy that requires?  They are always getting into something and they never quit... it's exhausting, but they are also adorable... that's what life with Lilly is like all the time.  When she comes to visit, the first thing she does is beg for a peanut butter bone, then once that goal has been achieved , it's on to playing!  Sometimes she races outside to play with her friend Sudsy next door; sometimes she grabs the kitchen towel off of the oven door handle and runs around the dining room table hoping you will play chase with her. We always tire of that game before she does.  Sometimes she grabs a toy out of her toy basket and brings it to you to play a game of tug or throw and fetch; sometimes she steals dirty laundry out of the bin and races off with you chasing her frantically in tow.  By far, my favorite Lilly activity is Where's Waldo.  What's that you say?  She's a dog so she can't search for Waldo?  Well, that is true, but Lilly invented her own version of the puzzle.

Lilly has a favorite bone (I have to confess she first stole this bone from Sudsy...Lilly, unfortunately is also a thief) that she likes to hide.  We didn't notice at first that this was a game, until we began to find the hidden bone by happenstance after her visits.  Once we realized this was a game, we would watch her pick the bone out of the toy basket and race off with it.  We knew she was going to hide it somewhere; it became our mission to search it out after she left.  We have found that bone in just about every corner of our house:

under the bed in the spare room...

under the pillow of the day bed in the exercise room...

under the dining room table...

behind the couch...

then for the longest time we couldn't find it... we thought maybe she forgot about it, until... I was stripping the cushion covers from the wicker couch in the sun room the other day ( my grand-dogs got muddy on Christmas day and so did the couch) and...

There it was in all it's beagle-bone glory!!!

I laughed my you-know-what off... Where's Waldo is alive and well.

Oh...and just so that I don't get into grandmotherly trouble....Here is a look at all of my grand-dogs:

This is Lilly in front, with her sister Rexie

and here are my daughter Suzie's dogs, handsome Radar on the left, and pretty Emma on the right.

Dogs are wonderful people, don't you think!  I'd love to hear your dog tales...leave a comment!