Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I must apologize for allowing myself to get so behind on my blogging. There's just been too much going on, so posts have fallen to the wayside. I just want to say that I hope the holidays have been good to everyone and that all of you have a wonderful and joyous 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Help the Buns

Here's a blog that I encourage you to visit. They need support for rescue bunnies. Take a look at RenoRabbits and check out the story.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Farewell, Sweet Friend

Last Monday morning I when I went to feed the Buns, I found that my dear, sweet Bobbin had departed this world. She was such a gentle bunny. Her loss has left an empty space in my heart.

I can only find two pictures of her. I had deleted others I'd made because I thought I would be able to make better ones at other times. I had no idea how little time she had left.

In memory of Bobbin

The Legend of Rainbow Bridge
From the book, “The Legend of Rainbow Bridge” by William N. Britton
Reprinted with Permission

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When a pet dies who has been especially close to a person here on earth,
that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are beautiful meadows and grassy hills there
for all our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is always plenty of their favorite food to eat,
plenty of fresh spring water for them to drink,
and every day is filled with sunshine so our little friends are warm and comfortable.
All the pets that had been ill or old are now restored to health and youth.
Those that had been hurt or maimed are now whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days gone by.
The pets we loved are happy and content except for one small thing.
Each one misses someone very special who was left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes
when one of them suddenly stops and looks off into the distant hills.
It is as if they heard a whistle or were given a signal of some kind.
Their eyes are bright and intent. Their body begins to quiver.
All at once they break away from the group, flying like a deer over the grass,
their little legs carrying them faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet,
you hug and cling to them in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
Happy kisses rain upon your face.
Your hands once again caress the beloved head.
You look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet so long gone from your life,
but never gone from your heart.
Then with your beloved pet by your side, you will cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
Your Sacred Circle is now complete again.
(Reprinted with permission of the author. Published 1994. Copyright © William N. Britton.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not the Blue Jeans, Part 1

or How I thought I would die in "The Doldrums" of Tristes Tropiques, but found myself in anthropology

The subject line on the email reads, "The passing of Levi-Strauss." Not paying much attention at all, completely ignoring that little hyphen, I think that someone on the folklore list is probably doing a project on the history of those wonderful denim pants. I go to the first link and am quite chagrined that my first impression was not appropriate for my academic upbringing. Claude Levi-Strauss, a major figure in anthropology, has died at the age of 100. My chagrin is not so much because I thought of blue jeans first, but more because I spent hours immersed in the work of Claude Levi-Strauss for a term paper assignment for a class in world cultures as an undergraduate.

I don't seem to be able to insert links at this time, so for more information, copy and paste the following:

Claude Levi-Strauss in 2005; photo: Reuters

I had just started taking classes at Memphis State University (now University of Memphis, it will always and forever be Memphis State to me). I was a married student transferring from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville--a difficult move for me because of the wonderful anthropology department at UT and the graduate program in forensic anthropology and archaeology with Dr. William Bass that I planned to pursue (still can't insert links, but check out:,, and This was back in the 70's before forensic science had become such an entertainment phenomenon and the subject of a large percentage of popular novels and TV shows, to which I admit being addicted. Yes, I read Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, and others. I watch CSI (all of them, although my preferences are Las Vegas and Miami), Bones, and NCIS, even the reruns I've seen too many times to count. Alas, life happens, and my pursuit of that career was not to be. There was some solace in the fact that Memphis State had an anthropology department with a graduate program, so all was not lost, but it required a major shift in my career plans.

I'd been out of school for a couple of years and had a child of six when I decided to enroll at Memphis State. I was in a bit of a quandary as to what to do about my major. I'd debated earning a double major in anthropology and art at UT, having accumulated an equal number of hours in both, although I had not officially declared such. Aside from the fact that I loved both anthropology and art, I had a sort of plan that if I did not make it in forensics (a tough and demanding program) or archaeology, I might become an illustrator for anthropological publications.

There was no forensics program at Memphis State. In 1977, their graduate program in anthropology consisted of three tracts: medical anthropology, urban anthropology, or museum studies/historical archaeology. For me, it was an easy choice not to pursue the urban tract. Medical was of interest to me, but not with what they were doing at Memphis at that time. The museum studies/historical archaeology tract was definitely of interest and quite promising because I had always loved museums and, from the age of about ten, thought that someday I might work in one. I did not realize at that age that a major in anthropology or art would be useful for this type of career.

My mother wanted me to study English at George Peabody College for Teachers (now Peabody College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University), come home, live with her and Daddy, and teach high school English in our home town. Generally, her word was Law, but I don't remember ever being very excited about having that as my life plan. Well...the English major part, maybe, since I loved literature and poetry, having been mentored from an early age by our high school English teacher, Evie Mae Ross, who lived next door. It was decreed: I would major in English. Well, once again, life has a way of changing things.

My married sister moved to Washington, D.C. during my junior year in high school. It was the usual family plan that I spend the duration of my summer vacation with her. She and her husband and toddler son lived in an apartment within walking distance of the Smithsonian, the Capitol (I could see the dome from my bedroom window), the Library of Congress, and other famous Washington landmarks. I spent my seventeenth summer wandering around the Smithsonian museums almost daily. I was in museum heaven. This was truly inspiration for pursuing a job in museum work. I aimed high. Yes, someday I would work there. The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of History and Technology, and the National Gallery of Art were targets of my museum ambitions. In the meantime, Mama's Law stood and I began my college years as an English major at Tennessee Technological University.

And, well, I sometimes wore blue jeans--made by Levi Strauss & Company--to class.

Would there be a career in museum work in my future? Would I become an archaeologist? Would the time come when I would see the words "Levi-Strauss" (with the hyphen) and think of something other than my favorite pair of indigo-dyed denims?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Silken Tent

This is one of my favorite Robert Frost poems.

The Silken Tent

She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To every thing on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut,
In the capriciousness of summer air,
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.


In looking for images for this poem, I found the website of artist Joanna Tlok, who does lovely oil paintings of landscapes composed of silk fabric. Please visit it at

Sunday, October 18, 2009

For Cathy

When You Wish Upon a Star

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

Music by Leigh Harline / Lyrics by Ned Washington

Performed in the Disney movie "Pinocchio" by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)

1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song; ranked seventh in "100 Greatest Songs in Film History" by the American Film Institute.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I found these photos a few years ago while doing a search for rabbit pictures. These were from a fashion shoot using rabbits as props. At first you get the impression that this had to have been a case of photoshopping, but there was a whole series of photos showing the process of getting the rabbits and the model just where the photographer and associated personnel wanted for the desired effects for the shoot. I was delighted to see so many bunnies in one place, but I'd hate to have been the rabbit wrangler. I lost the documentation on these photos, so I'm unable to give proper credit at present. I'd like to find it because I'd like to view the behind-the-scenes photos again. If I track it down, I'll post it later. In the meantime, enjoy the bunnies.

These pictures remind me of a dream I had shortly after we got our first two rabbits back in 2001. I went to feed the buns and as I opened the cage door, the two rascals escaped--along with innumerable other bunnies! It was like those clown cars in the circus where so many clowns just keep coming out of the tiny car. In desperation, I watched as rabbits hopped all over the place and I wondered how I was ever going to catch them. I got the bright idea to get large butterfly nets and swoop them up. I guess it worked--I woke up before I saw the end results. The last thing I remember was having all the family members help me frantically chase rabbits all over the house and yard with long-handled butterfly nets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life with the Labrador

A fine specimen (note the dirt on her nose from digging in the yard)

Demolition Dog

Dixie, our year-old Labrador Retriever, has turned out to be one obsessed chewing machine. Yes, we'd been warned. We'd heard stories from Labrador-owing friends. We knew that we could not leave her unattended until she matured somewhat and that she would require watching pretty much 24/7 if not in her crate or tied out. We thought we could take precautionary measures to prevent a lot of the chewing damage and also outsmart her. Well, a big Ha! Ha! to that. Of course, she rarely tears up anything when we are watching. The havoc begins whenever we go inside for some necessary reason.

So far, some of the things she has chewed (make that destroyed) include:

--a heavy duty outdoor extension cord for the power tools used while we were dismantling the old outbuilding on our property. She did this while on her tie-out. Thankfully, it was not plugged in.

--the padding that covers the springs around the edge of the trampoline

--fishing rods, reels, and associated fishing accessories. It does not matter where these things are; she finds them, anyway. Admittedly, she was off the tie-out and got into the garage when these fishing items were destroyed. I worry about her ingesting fish hooks that could have been left on the lines, but she seems fine.

--a garden hose. Saturday she managed to get her mouth on the garden hose. It is in pieces. Looks like it has been nicely sliced into small sections of varying sizes. Part of what is left can be used as a soaker hose due to the little perforations made by her teeth.

Some Dixie damage

More damage

I do not know how she managed to reach those things. I even moved the trampoline several feet away from its usual location in anticipation of her doing something ridiculous to it. Because we obviously cannot trust her to run loose in the backyard unattended (or attended for that matter--more on this later), she is on a 20-foot tie-out which I have personally checked for things within her reach. Moving things that could potentially be inside the 20-foot radius and adding on extra distance for dog body length and dog arm reach, I felt that she could not possibly reach things that she has since managed to chew, mangle, shred, eat, or otherwise destroy. On several occasions I have also asked John to check the reach of Dog-on-Tie-out. He, too, has failed.

The list goes on.

--a tree. Monday she demolished a little pot-grown maple tree that we've been petting for two years and strew the potting soil all over the back patio while she was on her tie-out. We planned to planted it somewhere in the front yard this year, but hadn't decided where to put it. Well, no need to worry about it now. In addition to the tree, she has also managed to wreck...

--several large plastic flower pots that I usually grow tomatoes in (none planted this year, thank goodness)

What's left of the tree

Tree parts and potting soil

Flower pot remains and other Dixie damage

--a lawn chair. Several years ago, our daughter found those molded plastic lawn chairs in lime green--a color she was fond of at the time--so we bought some for the back yard. With the passage of time, they have gone to Chair Heaven for various reasons, except for one particularly hardy one which has seen better days. Now, thanks to Dixie, it is just about on its last leg and probably knocking on the Pearly Gates. She has managed to chew several of the back supports. I have not found the pieces. Hmm.

The old, wounded, lime green lawn chair

This makes me wonder about her digestive system. She shows no signs of any internal problems. The vet told me that she has rather cast-iron innards, but I wonder what is lurking in those intestines. Which reminds me--the blankets...

--several old blankets that we put in her crate for warmth and comfort back during the winter. Her crate is in the garage because she does not have house privileges. Wonder why? One blanket covered the exterior of the crate and two others were inside to make her a nice comfy bed. She didn't bother them at all for quite some time, then I noticed she was chewing them a bit. Then I found them in pieces and large sections of binding were missing. I won't go into any details of how we found the bindings; just know that they were recycled into pieces up to a foot or so in length and deposited in her favorite potty spots in the yard.

Photo not available

--a tire swing. For years we had ("had" being the key word) one of those plastic tire-shaped swings for the kids hanging on the sycamore tree. I noticed today that it was on the ground. She did not chew it up, but I cannot figure out what fun she must have been having to have broken the 3/4 inch nylon rope it was hanging from. I guess the rope was old and rotten and would not take much stress, but what was she doing with the swing? Whatever it was, she must have done it Saturday when she was chewing up the hose and tearing up the trampoline padding.

The swing

The rope

Guilty dog trying to get away

This is just the short list of her accomplishments. Here she is looking guilty.

I really wanted to thrash her when I found the little tree had been destroyed. I had to fight the urge to beat her with it. And then there are the times when she is just the sweetest, most well-behaved puppy. All 75 pounds of her. Obedience class did worlds of good for her, except when something distracts her. Which is about every 30 seconds. Did I mention that we have squirrels who visit the yard because of the two pecan trees? They are perpetual Dixie attention getters.

Chewing on one of her favorite toys

She has some sort of allergy that caused her to develop seborrhea. Steroid shots; two weeks of two huge pills twice a day that she initially took willingly in peanut butter, then got smart and devised various ways to make it difficult for us to medicate her; and twice weekly baths with special shampoo from the vet. You'd think being a retriever, she'd love the water. Not so. Once I have finished bathing her, I feel as though I am the one having the therapeutic shampoo treatment. Ah, so much for the Labrador Water Dog.

Later: When she is off her tie-out, one of her favorite games to play is take-a-flying-leap-and-hit-Melissa-broadside-in-mid-air. What a wonderful feeling to look up and see 75 pounds of Labrador hurling itself obliquely at you. You get a sort of glancing blow to the chest. She thinks this is great fun, regardless of how much scolding ensues. Most of the time I see her coming. Most of the time. Thankfully, she does not think to do this often.

And more later:
One day I was sitting in a lawn chair (a white version of the molded plastic kind) and she decided to run and jump into my lap, knocking me over backwards. John managed to catch the back of the chair so that he could let me, dog, and chair down gently so that I would not crack my skull on the concrete, but she gave me a thorough face licking in the process. A few weeks later, after having finished some lawn mower repairs, John was letting her run about the yard and he thought to have a few relaxing moments in the hammock while she played. Dixie was being good and amusing herself by snooping around the yard. She decided to amuse herself to a greater degree by joining John in the hammock....It is not dull with the Dixie Dog around.

Off to demolish something else

We would never carry on like that, would we?

Friday, August 21, 2009

How to Incur the Wrath of Mom

1. Get some chewing gum and chew it.
2. Once you are finished chewing the gum, politely wrap the chewed gum in its wrapper and stuff it into your pants pockets to discard properly later rather than throwing it on the ground or sticking it under any convenient surface.
3. Do steps 1 and 2 several times until you have accumulated several little balls of paper-covered gum in two or three of your pairs of pants or shorts.
4. Take the initiative to do your own laundry, but neglect to check your pockets before placing clothes in washer.
5. At end of wash cycle take clothes out of washer and place in Mom's dryer.
6. Dry clothes, but leave them in dryer until Mom needs to use it and removes them herself, finding all manner of bits of papers that had been stuffed in the pants pockets and have come out in the drying process, and gum sticking all over the interior of her nice, almost new, super-large capacity stainless steel dryer drum.
7. Volunteer to clean the dryer drum at your convenience, even after Mom expresses total disgruntlement at needing to use the dryer now, but finding it impossible to do so because of the chewing gum covering the interior of the dryer.
8. Make no move to show initiative to clean the dryer drum, causing Mom to do it herself.
9. Stay out of Mom's way for several days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baseball and Fireworks

Only a little late, here are photos made with my cell phone of the 4th of July baseball game between the Huntsville Stars and the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx. Also some not great photos of the fireworks afterward. Hubby's employer did one of those company picnic things that the ball team offers, "Dinner with the Stars" where you can get hamburgers, hot dogs, drinks, etc. down on the field level, so we spent a good bit of the game under the big white canopy that you can see in some of the photos. Unfortunately, the Stars lost to the Jaxx with a final score of 10-4.

Batter Up!

He Swings!

Almost to Third

End of the Game

And the fireworks after the game

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beach Photos


They aren't great, but I had fun taking them. We were at Orange Beach, AL for a few days. No jellyfish, no seaweed, no algae. Just about right for playing in the water. I found it difficult to make good beach photos with the digital camera. The intense light made it hard to see what was in the viewing screen. The old SLR's have me spoiled. I should have taken my old Canon, but there are certainly advantages to the digital cameras. Click on the photos for larger views.

I kept trying to get photos of the gulls and terns diving for fish. This is about the best one. You can see a couple of them if you click to enlarge it.

Tide coming in

Some things that washed up in the tide

Some of the colorful umbrellas on the beach

and some of the folks enjoying the surf

Dunes near the condo

Area across the highway