Tuesday, April 30, 2019


My son waited to get a new dog after losing Isabella. You cannot "replace" a beloved pet with another. After Christmas he began to wish for another pet.

He looked all over for a puppy. He prefers females because he feels they tend to bond in the way he likes. A puppy needing a home rather than a purebred is preferable too.

He wanted a medium sized dog that will not fill the whole house. Our house is not huge.

He watched in the newspapers and checked with the vet's office. There were no dogs available that we could find.

My son began looking at different humane society type places. Their prices are ridiculously high. We never paid for a dog before so it was hard to imagine.

He finally found a place in the state just across the river from us. He looked for a dog that appealed to him. Eventually a little German shepherd mix became available for adoption.

He called and they had him fill out an application online. They were thorough. They did check his references. When they finished my son was notified that he could make an appointment to look at the puppy.

The place was very nice and clean. It did not have that smell of dogs and their excretions that is usually evident when you walk in.

A couple of dozen dogs were out in an enclosed yard for exercise. My son's choice was playing and did not want to come in.

The woman brought out a sister of my son's choice to see if he would rather adopt her. My son had his heart set on his choice. Apparently she did not mind as well as the other dogs did. That appealed to my son.

So now we have a new dog. Lila is her name. She was so little when we brought her home.

Lila made herself right at home. We had worried that the first couple of days would be hard but she was a real champ.

My son had not house trained a dog before so that was a new experience. Lila learned quickly and was trained within a few days.

She has also learned several tricks. She seems to be quite smart. Maybe not quite as eager to please as my son would like but she takes some satisfaction in learning new things.

We still have Bella's toys so Lila is getting her hand-me-downs a few at a time. She runs through the house the same way Bella did with the toys but with more energy.

We have had Lila for almost two months. Other than a couple of days during the time we had her spayed she has been a ball of action. Some nights I go to bed exhausted and she is not my dog.

This is the end of the listings of our dogs. Thank you for reading about them. I may report on Lila sometime in the future but I am tired of dog stories.

For now I will simply enjoy my son and his dog.

Friday, April 26, 2019


My son had been taking care of his dying father. He was out of the state where we lived. When his father died we all went to pay our respects.

It was a sad time of course. My children had lost their father.

When it was time to return home my son said that he had decided to stay. He has always felt more at home where my husband and I grew up than where he grew up. And I had long planned to move back here when I was ready. He would have a place for me.

The main problem he had was that he knew nobody here. He did not want to be all alone.

We spent my final days here having the utilities transferred into my son's name. Then we wondered what to do about a companion for him. He wanted a dog.

I suggested seeing if the veterinary in the next town knew of any dogs that needed a new owner. My son wanted a female dog that was not too big and not too small.

The vet had one dog listed. It was a female of mixed heritage. The vet called the phone of the owner and had my son talk to her. He made arrangements to pick the dog up right away.

When my son saw the dog he felt that she was exactly what he wanted. The woman said the dog was a mix of Great Dane, beagle, and something else. The rescue society had done DNA testing.

 The dog was used to being outside. It lived in the garage and fenced-in back yard. It obviously liked the woman and the several small children she had. The woman's husband no longer wanted the dog so she was happy to find a home for it.

She gave us a bit of background. The dog's name was Isabella. She had been left to die in an abandoned house with no food or water. Even though she was a small puppy she had been physically abused. She was now almost two years old.

The woman also gave us the remaining food the dog had as well as a small dog house and a wire cage for her to ride in.

My son called the dog Bella for short.

Bella disliked men. Extremely. She loved women and children. And here she was stuck all alone with a man.

It took a long time for Bella to learn to trust her new master. Truthfully I am not sure she ever completely trusted him but it was the best she could do. The severe abuse had left serious scars.

Still my son worked hard to make her his friend. She depended on him for everything. Eventually she began to sleep in his room. She liked to sit on his lap even though she was close to being as big a he was.

Bella loved riding in the car. She never tried to jump into the front. We took her with us as often as we could.

She also liked walking on the hiking trails with my son.

What she liked best of all were her toys. The first toy my son bought her was a simple squeaky ball. He called me laughing and had me listen to her running back and forth through the house. She was squeaking the toy and crying with glee. I guess she did that for about 3/4 of an hour.

When Bella was about 8 years old she got to where she had trouble moving. We took her to the vet. She had cancer in her joints. We had to put her down so she would not suffer anymore.

She was a good dog. My son gave her as good a life as he could.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tooth Fairy

As a child grows it begins to lose its baby teeth. What happens is the new adult teeth actually push the baby teeth out of the way. It makes room for the adult teeth to fill the mouth.

At around the age of 5 or 6 years children gleefully wiggle teeth that lean forward and backward. Soon that tooth will lean so far that it drops out leaving that adorable empty space we see when the child smiles.

I lost my first tooth while I was eating a popcorn ball. I must have swallowed it. I had no idea it was gone until the popcorn ball was gone.

When my second tooth fell out I threw it away. I had never heard of the tooth fairy.

My brother who was a year younger than I was began losing teeth. With his first tooth in his hand he asked my mother, " If I put this under my pillow will the tooth fairy leave me any money?" 

Mom answered that he could try it and see.

My ears perked up. What was this talk of a tooth fairy? Nobody told me about any tooth fairy! And she leaves money?

So my brother left his tooth wrapped neatly in some tissue under his pillow. The next morning it had been replaced by a shiny new nickel.

After that whenever one of us lost a tooth we made a big display of wrapping it and placing it under the pillow. The joy of finding a nickel in the morning was indescribable.

When my children and grandchildren lost their teeth I explained to them that the tooth fairy
had them cleaned and polished for new babies. Can you imagine how old those teeth are now?

I was cheated out of payment for my first two teeth. THE TOOTH FAIRY OWES ME TEN CENTS!!!!

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Tablet

I told you in an earlier post that I sent my sister a tablet.

As a quick reminder my sister suffered a stroke several years ago. She has been bedridden since then. Her left side is paralyzed.

We had been looking for some way for her to communicate with the outside world. Some days she is bored out of her mind. A telephone is hard for her to reach. A cell phone is too small for her to manipulate. A laptop computer is too big and bulky.

My brilliant son said maybe a tablet would work. I called my sister's son to see what he thought of the idea. He thought it might work.

I ordered a tablet and lapboard to be delivered to my sister.

My nephew says she uses the lapboard for a few things and it makes her life a bit easier.

Alas the tablet did not work as well. My sister's eyesight has also suffered. The screen on the tablet is too small and she cannot see it.

So it is back to the drawing board. I know we will find the answer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Castle On The Hill

Have you ever felt like you belonged to a building or that it belonged to you? It sounds strange maybe. I have two such buildings.

The first is the house my family built. We built it from the first to the last bit. We chose colors and decorated the inside. We put something of ourselves into it. It instilled something of itself into us. I still drive by once in a while just to look and make sure everything is good with it.

My second building is a castle. Actually it is my high school. The Castle On The Hill.

Long before I was dreamed of (even before my parents were dreamed of) the city recognized the need for a new and larger school. Plans were drawn up and construction began.

The very best materials available were used. Marble floors and stairways. The finest of sandstone for the outside. Classrooms were extremely large. There would be no crowding. Students would have enough room to work in comfort.

The Castle was furnished with the most up-to-date features. Thermostatically controlled heating meant no more feeding a wood stove or coal stove by the boys who were students. Electrical bells to mark the beginning of school, the beginning and end of classes, and the end of the school day.

It was built to look like a castle. It was beautiful. But as the city grew so did the number of students. The school was too small.

At great cost an addition was built. The reason for the cost was that they wanted it to blend with the original building. You cannot tell where the original was as opposed to the addition. Still the number of students grew. A fourth floor was added and blended to keep the look of a castle.

The picture above is the way the building looks today. It is so majestic, so royal looking. Just looking at it brings so many feelings. I feel pride, honor, love, and belonging just to name a few.

The basement of the building was the original gymnasium. It was called (naturally) The Dungeon. By the time I attended The Castle it was considered too dangerous to hold sporting events there. An annex was built across the parking lot.

The annex contained several gyms, the swimming pool, band and choir rooms, auto shop facilities, and a few odd classrooms. Besides crossing the parking lot there was a tunnel we could walk through so we would not have to wear coats in the winter. It helped to stay warm after swimming classes too.

The annex is a modern looking building and does not look like it belongs to The Castle at all. But it was useful to handle all the athletic features needed. Gymnastics classes could be held at the same time as basketball practice, volleyball, modern dance, swimming, and other gym classes. There were enough gyms to handle them all.

The year I was a senior they reopened The Dungeon to allow us to have a place to relax after we ate lunch. There was even a jukebox for dancing. Of course there was no touching allowed and all music had to be deemed acceptable.

We were not required to stay at school for lunch and often went a block away for fast food. But the cafeteria served delicious food. There were choices. You could have a salad, hot or cold sandwiches, soups, stews, hot meals of your choice from the meals offered that day, choice of desserts. Each item had its price and you simply paid the cashier when you had made your selections.

There was a giant auditorium. We gathered there for Christmas programs, student council meetings, and other things that the entire school was expected to attend. Occasionally there would be speakers who would give inspirational talks. We had some really big names. For instance Dear Abby and Ann Landers were alumni of the school. They spoke often to the assembly.

There were some outstanding teachers there as well. Math teachers strictly taught math classes and nothing else. I remember two quite well. The geometry teacher taught what I thought was a totally useless subject but he taught it very well. Second-year algebra was taught by an older woman who needed to retire. I am afraid that what little we learned from her I forgot until college.

The chemistry teacher was from Greece. I loved to hear him talk. With his accent he said kostyens instead of questions. It was cute and he looked good too... for an old guy.

My homeroom teacher was the biology instructor. Homeroom was where we reported at the beginning of the day. Attendance was taken and any announcements were dispersed. Then the bell would ring and we were off to classes.

Anyway the biology instructor was brilliant. He really knew his subject. He also expected a lot from his students and it was a difficult class. I feel better (and smarter) for having taken it.

Besides giving us the opportunity for an excellent education we had our sports teams as well. Our teams were the Little Maroons. Our colors were maroon and white (I have to add FIGHT, FIGHT)We had good seasons and not so good seasons but we cheered them on just the same.

As students at the castle we were expected to act with the honor and dignity befitting us. We were after all the Knights and Ladies of the school.

Each graduating class made a gift to the school. During World War II The Castle donated two cannons to the war effort. My graduating class replaced them. After more than 20 years the cannons were back to protect The Castle.

Eventually as the city grew so did the student population. Talk began of building a new school. The Castle On The Hill was old. The beautiful stairs were worn and shiny with age. Some were deemed so dangerous that we were not allowed to use them.

The city decided that three new high schools would be erected to take the place of The Castle. The Castle would be closed and probably eventually demolished.

Luckily The Castle On The Hill is now a National Historic Site. It cannot be demolished. It has not been a school for almost 50 years. It has gone through a lot of changes as far as what goes on inside. There have been Indian Affairs offices and various business concerns. The mural that graced the wall across from the principal's office has been restored.

There is a small area set aside for a gift shop selling items that commemorate the school. And now the school provides apartments for low-income housing.

I must admit that I have mixed feelings about that. I miss seeing the hustle and bustle of students at the school. That is why it was built. The Castle On The Hill was meant to have students learning and enjoying being young. If I am honest I can say I am jealous.

At the same time the apartments mean that the building does not just sit there deteriorating. People who might otherwise have trouble finding a place to live can live in this magnificent castle.

The annex has been sold. It was not the school to me anyway. Soon the apartments they have built in it will be opened to new tenants.

So I feel that pull of belonging every time I drive by The Castle On The Hill. It sounds strange to love a building but I love that building. And I show it to anyone I can hold hostage long enough to drive by. I do it with pride.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Here We Go Again

The weather changed. The days were warmer. The leaves are coming out on the trees. No coats needed.

Then it turned cold. Here we go again.

Last night when I went to bed it began to rain. I like rain. It is relaxing and I looked forward to a good night's sleep.

Then it began to hail. At first it was a pitter-patter of tiny hailstones. Soon the sound of small boulders was pummeling the roof. The over-large hail lasted for several minutes. I was tired and did not even get out of bed to see the actual size.

This morning I saw snow on my back porch. A closer look revealed that it was melting hail.

The combination of rain and hail added to the already swollen river. The floods were receding from the fields. They have more standing water today.

The Army Corps of Engineers is predicting a lot more flooding this year. What good news.

We have a few more days of precipitation this week but the temperatures are supposed to get warmer. At least the blizzard went above us so we are not snowed in.

It is a battle between winter and spring. I wonder who will win.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Dish For My Rocks.

One of my blogger friends posted about her indoor rock garden recently. You can read about it by clicking on https://cuponthebus.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-rock-garden-and-other-good-news.html. Joanne writes about her interesting life.

Anyway I have been collecting rocks for a long time. They seem to call out for me to pick them up and take them home.

When I read Joanne's idea I wondered why I had not thought of it. Then I realized that I seldom come up with anything that clever.

So now I am watching for a dish that calls to me the same way my rocks do. I may even buy a fake plant to place in the middle or maybe a big candle. Real houseplants die for me and I do not want to be responsible for any more deaths.

Friday, April 5, 2019

My Sister

It has been quite a while since I updated you about my sister. As you know she had a stroke several years ago and has been confined to bed ever since.

Her left side is paralyzed so she is limited as to things she can do.

I speak to her when she has access to her son's cell phone. And I have to take this time to say that she is fortunate because my nephew and my sister's husband each visit her every day. Few people in nursing homes have much company at all.

My son came to me the other evening with a suggestion. He asked if my sister could handle a tablet. That is a small computer slightly larger than a cell phone. I called my nephew to see what he thought. He said probably.

I ordered a tablet and lap board for her. My nephew can set it up for her.

If it works out for her she will have access to FaceBook. Most of our family and her friends are on FaceBook. She will be connected to all of them.

I am anxious to see how well it works.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


If you guessed that Poodles was a dog you would be right. If you guessed that Poodles was a poodle you would be wrong.

Poodles was a golden colored cocker spaniel mix. Daddy named her.

At the time there was a popular joke about it raining cats and dogs and someone stepping into a mud poodle. My father thought it was a funny joke so that is what he named the dog.

My youngest sister had not started school when we got Poodles. Poodles rapidly became her best friend.

Poodles was a gentle dog and so good with children. She was exactly the kind of dog my sister needed.

We all loved Poodles too. She was a quiet little dog and never caused any problems. She was mostly content to let us pet her and baby her. With all of our friends in and out of the house that was a good thing.

In a year or so when my sister started school Poodles walked her to school in the morning. Then she would wait patiently for my sister to come home.

One morning my sister left for school with her pet right there with her. My mother was surprised when my sister returned a short time later with Poodles.

My sister told her that the dog catcher tried to take her dog. She said the only thing she could think of was to cry. The dog catcher melted with her tears and told her to take the dog home. So she did. It was one of Mom's favorite stories.

We had Poodles for a long time. I was actually married and not living at home when Poodles died.