Saturday, April 30, 2022

Can You See Me Now - Beagle Mom Bandanas

Living in a big city with lots of traffic we're pretty vigilant about cars when walking our pets.  One thing that made me more comfortable with walks after dark was the reflective jackets we got for Abby, and later Lorelei which really lit up in a car's headlights hit them.  Just some extra security as we cross streets, even in a quiet neighborhood. 

But Lorelei, being a very large and extra fuzzy dog did NOT like to wear her vest when it started getting warm out (we had one day in the 80s here before it plunged back down into the 30s).  We'll get a reflective bandana we thought.

Easy to find at the pet stores online if you have a purse-sized dog, but what was available in a totally reflective fabric only went up to Large and at over a hundred pounds Lorelei wouldn't be "large", even on a diet. So I turned to Etsy.  There were some great bandana makers out there but all I was seeing were ones with brightly colored (but not reflective) fabric with just reflective tape strips.  That's just not enough visibility for my comfort, I wanted the whole bandana to reflect.

Fortunately, I found one on Etsy at

Jenny  has a ton of fun and creative fabrics for bandanas of all sizes and donates a portion of her profits to the Beagle Freedom Project to protect these loving animals from lab testing. In looking through her wonderful collection I spotted this one made of a reflective material (made of 50% microscopic glass beads) that lights up when light is shone on it AND it has the extra safety of reflective tape strips.  It's really well made and slips right over a collar to make it easy to get on and off, And it comes in sizes up to EXTRA-large.

It's visible in the day and even more so at night - paw-fect to protect our four-legged pal.

Note the unconcerned bunny in the background. She barely bothers to hop out of the yard 
when Lorelei comes out knowing Miss L. has ZERO prey drive unless you are a Kleenex.

I do think Lorelei likes it!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

In Dog Beers I've Had Just One - On Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is never fun.  But with my husband being in charge of spiders, dead possums in the yard, and home repairs, grocery shopping is my weekly chore.  I HAVE learned some things, however.

100 carts in the store and I will get the one with the front wheel that pirouettes like a ballerina on crack.

I always make a list.  Sometimes I remember to bring it with me.

Always eat something before shopping.  I once went on an empty stomach and came home as the proud owner of Aisle 5. They say flying is dangerous. No - grocery store parking lots are dangerous. For there are NO rules in the parking lot. Go as fast as you want. Go any direction you want. Those abandoned carts are there for you to circle your KIA around like a barrel racer. Ignore the redhead shrieking and running for the door. 

There's a reason they have a coffee stand right inside the door, caffeinated people are more likely to buy more. (Look gluten-free bacon~!~~) They also only have one barista for everything which helps you build patience for when you are waiting in line at the 2 check stands out of 38 that are open.

 If you're shopping with a grandchild fill your purse with enough snacks and treats to feed a small army for a week. Preferably with sugar -before you send them home to your loved ones that said "Nana LOVES to take you shopping". It IS possible to get road rage behind someone
in a slow cart in Aisle 9.

Sorry Mom, that TP was trying to attack.

It's more exciting if you can pretend you're out hunting in the Serengeti. Look, there's the rare extra soft toilet paper, and hiding there trying not to be noticed, that rarest of all things, the Lysol Disinfectant Wipe (wondering if you'll be taken out by the swipe of a paw by Social Distancing Karen if you go for them). No matter how bad the supply chain is - there is ALWAYS Vegan "buttery" (you're out of WD40 aren't you?) spread available.

If someone is standing directly in front of the item I need I will pretend to look for something else before they move.

I  once lost my Step Mom in the store.  I was 53.  They gave me a balloon and paged her.

I do not object to telling the millennial who has 87 items in the Express Aisle "that I know all the lyrics to Frozen and I am NOT afraid to use them".

I have, on more than one occasion of many years, turned the Betty Crocker Upside Down Cake box in the aisle - upside down.

I realize that I get excited that I can now buy the unhealthy cereal my Mom usually didn't let us have.

Someday they will say about me "she died doing what she loved, carrying 87 plastic bags of groceries from the car to the house, rather than make 2 trips.".

That being said - happy to have survived and make it home for a cold one, though for me it's iced green tea with cucumbers and strawberry,

And frozen fish sticks - as I was tired out from all the shopping.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Where are Mine?

 No one can give you the "I have no pancakes" sad eyes like a Labrador Retriever.  A Memory of Barkley.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Musings of the Forensic Anthropologist

On the ground this morning there was a light dusting of snow.  It wasn't enough to fully cover the ground, just enough to entice the dog to roll in it, as from the Spruce trees, the squirrels hovered, waiting for that handful of peanuts I would toss out every morning.  On such mornings, when I first awoke, I can't imagine that it is actually Spring, the landscape having the stillness of an unyielding force pondering a secret motive.

The kitchen still smelled faintly of sweet and spice, my having baked a dozen banana chocolate chip muffins late last evening for my husband to take to work to share with his team. The house itself was quiet, the work computer still, my not having to log in for another hour. The morning chores were tended to, the dog fed and walked, the bird feeders filled, as was the water dish we leave out for the creatures that live among the tall stand of Spruce trees.  Lunch was made and packed, the muffins corralled and wrapped, small daily moments that removed me from reality and let my mind go back to other landscapes, other mornings.

I will miss the mornings where the ground is covered with thick white, the blanket of white hushing the sound of traffic. For others and certainly for me, in such moments, as you step out into the hushed cold, you can almost imagine you are in a place other than a bustling city, your mind taking you back to days on open land where corn rioted and stands of tall trees stood as kings over their subjects of deer and wildlife.  You were yourself a quiet subject, there up high in a tree blind, Winchester in your lap, bewitched and cut off from worry and hurry and fear, those things that seem to belong to another world.
In another tree, far enough away to be out of range, yet close enough you are always aware, is another form, a friend, perhaps a brother, waiting in the same still silence as you are.  In such a place memories of the past come unbidden, there in those moments when you both have nothing but time for the past to creep in.  But it does so as wishful dreams, remembered there in that place of land, water, and silence.

The sound of a siren from the first accident or serious illness of the day, takes me from my musings, reminding me that indeed I am in the city, and it's waking up quickly around me. The siren sound is one that haunts my dreams sometimes even though normally when I am in the company of such a vehicle it is moving away in stony silence, the only sound that of tires reverberating in holly claps as they kick up gravel from a place where lay only the memories of those too late to be saved, their only voice a cluster of little yellow flags upon the ground.
I have fought with death and found that it's not always so much a battle, of victor and vanquished, with cries and shouts.  Often, it is a quietly grey surprise where are no more sure of your right than you are of your foe and if you stand too still you may be gone before you even feel the ground give way and the air collapse onto itself.  I  often wonder what the end will really be like. Is there that moment when you see your fate, when every detail of desire, temptation, surrender, and redemption fill your vision or is the moment gone with the cessation of light, there in that moment you don't have time to even comprehend?

So far, as I have walked such places, the dead have not revealed their secret, something for which I should probably be grateful.

As the siren fades away, I briefly look at the news, seeing it as not mere words today, but rather the sound of drums, of peace, or war, or of prayer, I don't know.  Such are the days, I'd just as soon write, having no desire to further scan the computer for news, or social media of strangers, growing tired of how unkindly the world is of things it fails to understand.  As a scientist, I'd like to live in a world of straightforward facts, but the feeling is short-lived as soon as I look at the media. No, I drop a few notes to friends, then a look at the weather, as I settle in to write as the sun comes up.
I relish these early hours, when the neighborhood slumbers, and fires burned low.  My husband has left for a meeting, wrangling coffee thermos, lunch bag, and muffins in the high wind like a Sherpa headed aloft. For now, my only company is the shadows, lying broken along the neighbor's flowerbeds that I can see from my window.  From the outside, the bracing sound of a wind chime, the snap of a twig, as from inside, words, slowly flow, words that gather in channels in my head, pooling in still pools, rushing as a fresh flow, taking me further and further downstream of the reality outside that is traffic, deadlines, or simply the dead.

I have no story today, merely words of observance, of the surface truths in the world outside my window.
There underneath that light mantle of snow came forth a yellow flower, a small ray of light there in the cold, a lower apostle giving me hope that warmth would soon blanket this landscape, even as the cold wind gives a lie to its prophecy.

Although I honestly love the Fall and Winter over the heat of summer, there is something transfixing about watching the earth bloom each Spring. It's nothing like the mornings of winter, the sky brooding over the earth, becoming more somber by the minute, as if irritated by your attempt to stay warm.  Spring is more like a lover, coaxing from the ground new life, as it touches everything with shy wonder, that is as new now as it was this time last year. Even as there is snow on the ground, the sun peaks out behind a cloud with exquisite brilliance.
As the sun illuminates the landscape I see further signs of Spring -  a child's bike left out in the yard from an afternoon where temperatures hovered around 60; some potting soil and pots, laying against another neighbor's garage, awaiting that time when new flowers will be  planted. The birdfeeders that are normally an active trough in the morning are mostly deserted as the bird's natural food sources begin their yearly cycle again.

The sun glints of the newness as the last bit of snow melts away. I know too well, that even light can lie, yet this Spring beam had no manipulation of light or pose, it simply gazed on everything with equal warmth and equal depth, lending its truth to a new beginning.
Another year, another season, as small buds burst from the soil and hands that have held both tears and blood click away on a keyboard.  A torn curtain of lace from an upper window nearby, a weathered face looking out, wondering how another year has passed, as I give a friendly wave she cannot see, understanding just as well, how precious are these days.  As I let the dog out one last time before closing up my laptop and starting my work day, I brush the snow gently off of the bloom so that it does not dissolve in my hand like tears.  The silent immutability of the flowerbeds is a source of hope, here in a place that is too often cold and ice. Darkness was just here, and this small bloom is merely a flicker, one that signals the warmth to come.

The earth begins another season for those of us that remain, as those that have gone before can only watch from the heavens.  The earth is simply a standing place, one that we dwell in with that modest, clear flame that is our hope and our faith, even as we understand too well, how easy it is for that flame to be extinguished.

As I turn back into the house, I turn one last time to the trees, to a sound I can't hear, to a thing I can't see, to a memory of another tree, another morning, from a year that I can't get back, but one that will be with me always. - Brigid

Friday, April 8, 2022

Gifts for your Two and Four Legged Friends - Denali Dreams


I got my husband this awesome handmade shaving mug and soap fromin Anchorage (made by Alaska Potter Jenny Ditto) for his birthday and he just loves it (I'm a huge fan of their lemongrass bar shampoo).

Of course, I had to get some "Manly Man" soap for the shower just to see him smile but it's a great soap and helps him get cleaned up after whatever it is that engineers do when they disappear into the basement for a few hours.

Denali Creams has also got items for pets now including a dog bath soap that's perfect for a dog's dry, itchy coat (with the natural essential oils keep bugs away) as well as a salve for paws (a must for Chicago winters and also soothing when paws are dry and sore from the heat of the summer).

Seriously, get the "lift" tray for the soap (you can buy them separately in assorted designs and colors). I got one for my shower soap and it's great for keeping the soap drained and dry, super easy to clean, and it won't break if it hits the tub 

I like smelling good Mom, you let me up on my couch!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022