MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday morning on the deck

Rain looks like it could come pouring down upon us at any moment, but radar shows it thirty minutes away. The 64 degrees and a passing breeze make it comfortable, but the steel gray sky is ominous. The radar indicates heavy rain or a storm.

The morning is a bit quiet. No birds are soloing or joined in chorus, a faint chirping is in the distance, and the Shroyer Road traffic is minimal. I had a nice forty-five-minute chat for our Boston, London, and Kettering quintet which we have nicknamed BoKeLo, or KeBoLo, or LoBoKe, LoKeBo. Whichever name was adopted, it’s cute. Perhaps we should have T-shirts made up.

Yesterday, at The Park, The Atrium was fired with miniature train displays and enthusiasts. there was no opportunity to have a seat and I stood the entire time. Still, I was not to be “derailed.”

At the close of the model train festival, there was still an hour before the park, itself, closed. We began tearing down the tables and stacking the chairs on the portable racks. I’ve not done that much lifting in quite some time and probably should have not done so as my body was pleading physical retirement then, and is rebellious this morning. I also mowed my backyard and my front easement before getting ready for my shift. Last evening, the gut reared its ugly head adding to this morning’s discomforts but all in all, I feel well enough to embark on research and writing.

Mama Kay has taken a slight break from suburbia to spend time at the lake with friends. In her absence, she offered the keys to her car to use at my disposal. Yesterday, for the first time, I did not take the bus to The Park. I felt like a teenager driving to high school for the first time. While driving felt natural and familiar, I last drove a car in January 2020 when I went to Indiana to visit my Aunt Joyce, as well as my sister and her family for a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

Saturday evening was a mixture of relaxing with body aches, a pooped brain, and desperately wanting to research and write, but my brain was limited for any study. I think I was in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 PM and only recall two visits to the bathroom throughout the night.

So, here I sit on this dull-looking Sunday morning, glancing to either side to see a lavender wisteria bloom or a bright pink Rose of Sharon bloom. Chief is in his familiar Sphinx-like pose as he guards the backyard from atop the steps and all three girls have retreated inside.

On with planning my day around the approaching elements. Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A Wet & Wild Friday with a procession to the cathedral

It is still very dark outside at 7:20 AM due to the rain that began yesterday, off and on, with more bands passing throughout the night and continuing into today. Col. Deeds and the three sisters did not remain outside long but two minutes due to the rain shower but Chief, true to form, ignored it and spent at least eight minutes hiking and surveying the yard.

Still, the resident cardinals sing through the rains, winds, and darkness.

As I eat my raisin bran with blueberries, Erma sits at my side, ready to drink the remaining half cup of milk, and not too far behind her sits Col. Deeds who will get his turn at the bowl when Erma has finished.  I am impressed that he, still very much a puppy at almost five months (April 3rd), sits in his designated spot with no prompts from me to stay put. I only commend him for his patience. Eventually, Erma will leave the bowl and Deeds will walk, not dash, to her vacated spot. After two months living in The Haasienda, The Little Colonel is well-versed in our schedule.

I need to clean the house this morning before teaching my online classes, after which I will grab a 45-minute nap before feeding the pooches and getting ready for dinner and going to see ANASTASIA this evening at The Schuster. I am looking forward to seeing the show as I love the music of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens but am I bracing myself that their making this into a family/kid friendly show has distorted the true story of The Romanovs. It’s a musical, not a documentary.

I am finishing this blog’s post while listening to the last moments of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” from Wagner’s opera, LOHENGRIN, a recording by The Dallas Wind Symphony. I can still remember discovering this bounty when I was a sophomore in college. I had my first Walkman and listened to a recording that included a chorus walking to and from classes, avoiding walking with friends so I could glue myself to this powerhouse.

There’s a good deal of prepubescent barking (Deeds) from the bedroom. I am guessing The Little Colonel has engaged Bailey and/or Harrigan into some playful shenanigans.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: On to Thursday

I am loving the temperature this morning. It’s 58 degrees with an expected 8 more degrees by Noon, making it 66 degrees. It’s wet and gloomy, but the temperature is enough to make me smile. By late evening we are to have a long series of rain showers.

There are several things to accomplish today before a busy Friday and Saturday that will lead back into the teaching stretch. Several western Zoom students have productions this weekend while another batch is in Florida for Disney’s a cappella festival. Online teaching continues this week and I am really enjoying myself and these two classes of students.

Off to move this day along.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday is off and running

It’s a grey Tuesday morning but the eastern light is pushing through. The next several days are expected to bounce back and forth between the upper 50s and mid 60s. I hope my legs feel cooperative enough to walk the dogs in shifts.

I’ve been wide awake since 4:30 AM after being awakened by a bad dream. All the components matched up with a conversation I had with a studio parent. I considered getting up at 6 AM but was pinned into my covers by three pooches who had no intention of rising.

I never get to see concerts on Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays due to my teaching schedule. I miss the Springboro Symphony Band and Dayton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra concerts on Sundays, and a lot of school concerts on Mondays and Tuesdays. When a former studio parent, Mary (Hutcheson) Moenter sent me tickets to The Miami Valley Community Concert Association’s Monday (March 20th) concert, DIVAS3, I figured it would not be possible. However, all my students after 7 PM were in dress rehearsals for upcoming shows or in concerts. Even my ride to Centerville worked out since my last student was neighbors with the senior studio mom who joined me for the concert. The show was outstanding and not a minute was dull. This trio, with one being a Dayton native, covered female powerhouse performers from the 1960s through the 1990s with a tip of the hat to the 2000s with “Let It Go” from FROZEN.

The FabFive was excited to see me, and we spent the remainder of the evening in my study as I worked on a few items before heading to bed at midnight.

Tomorrow, I hope to attend a lacrosse game with a former student, providing the weather obliges. The weekend is filled with a musical, and out-of-town guests that I invited.

Make it a great day!

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Cows in the field

Yesterday, I posted this meme about spotting cows out in the field while driving. I’m amused by the number of personal and comical responses from others.

When I was quite young, I was aware that cows often lay down in the field before it rains. By the time I was in college, o could predict the per cent of rain we should received based on the number of cows and the number of those lying down.

One evening, early in my freshman year at Ball State University, a group of us piled into a fellow student’s car. While winding through the countryside along the somewhat new IN-332, inspired a

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Many social media friends have commented on how much Col. Deeds has grown. He has. Although the photos, taken seven weeks apart, don’t necessarily show it, I can certainly tell the difference in his size, especially his weight. Now, my arm falls asleep due to his heaviness.

PHOTOS: February 3rd and March 18th.

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Baseball season is just around the corner but Wright State University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Motion Picture and director, Joe Deer, have hit an over-the-fence home run with their season closer, ON THE TOWN.

I’m not gonna go into detail. There’s so much I could say that would take several hours to write. I’ve only seen this show twice, the first being the 2005 Muse Machine production featuring a number of my former students who went on to Wright State’s program.

Check out this video link featuring Joe Deer and student actor, Tanner Gleason:

I’m attaching photos I stole from Joe’s Facebook page.

For tickets:

Now, just get your tickets and go see this production. It’s a helluva show!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday, March 16th

A lovely glow emerged over the eastern trees and rooflines and gave the kitchen a molten ginger glow. The projected temperature is 57 degrees and I am hoping it will be comfortable to sit on the deck for some reading or research once I finish teaching my online classes.

I am listening to an interesting documentary about the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. It was posted on YouTube four years ago, one year before we were greeted by our own pandemic. I find it interesting to learn just how similar the scenarios are, most especially the food transporting issues.

Col. Deeds, upon finishing potty detail in the backyard, now races and beats Bailey and Harrigan to the deck’s door. The Sisters are still quite fast, but he is now several body lengths ahead of them. Right now, the loveable little cruise director has all four of his fellow canines, Chief included, engaged in some game in the hallway and bedroom. Deeds barks out a command, to which there is a grunted response from the others, and then I hear their paws pounding the floor throughout the rooms.

When Deeds and Harrigan chased into the study and wrestled behind me, I heard Erma grumbling. I figured she was just being a patroller. No, she was upset The Little Colonel wasn’t playing with her, too! Once he turned his attention from Harrigan, Erma was content and playful.

I need to investigate a few items for the online classes before relaxing.

As I type these last few lines, I can hear two cardinals piping away. The approach of Spring is rejuvenating.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Reading aloud

Last night, I was still revved up from my teaching when I crawled into bed a little after midnight. It was another great afternoon and evening of working with some hard-working talent. However, sleep was not easily kept as I woke often throughout the night and worked eagerly to regain my former state. This morning, I begrudgingly pulled myself from beneath the covers, weighted with three dogs, and saw the snow covering the ground and deck.

I saw this meme which really sparked wonderful memories of my fourth-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School in Elwood, Indiana. I was blessed with the best of the best teachers at Washington, with the exceedingly strong exception of my first-grade teacher, but Diana Lane was the teacher who loved reading to the class. I can still see her expressions, hear her vocal intonations of the characters, and remember my unbounded joy when it was time for her to read.

Three books stand out, “Old Yeller,” by Fred Gipson, “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,” by E. L. Konigsburg, and Marguerite Henry’s, “Misty of Chincoteague.” I still have the paperback copy of “Old Yeller” that I purchased during fourth-grade.

There were others, but these three ignited a tremendous fascination with various places, a sustained love for dogs, and an intensified passion for reading. Mother began my reading by the age of four and in first grade, I was permitted to read with Mrs. Hennegan’s third-grade class to keep me challenged. Mother founded the structure and process of reading, but Mrs. Lane added the color, the heightened love, and the ability to tell the story with significance.

Over the years, it was Mrs. Lane’s reading that led me to visit The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and Chincoteague and Assateague islands on the northern Virginia coast. And of course, I’ve not far to visit when it comes to seeing dogs!

We celebrated the Academy Awards two nights ago and while I love the magic of the movies, I am much freer to mentally explore and create with the collaboration of a great author.

Thank you, Mother and Mrs. Lane!

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MY DAY: St. Patrick’s Day on the wee hour

I finished up in my study at 12:45 AM, spending some additional time to make up for the few hours from finally escaping from The Haasienda to absorb some fresh air and Chinese food.

I came into my bedroom to find my fearless five already prepped for their nightly slumber. Col. Deeds was swathed in the top dog blanket with Harrigan using him as a pillow. As I took photos, Bailey left my pillows and joined Harrigan and Deeds.

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Col. Deeds is physically growing, mentally grasping everything, becoming an emotional blessing and delight, and adopting a tyrannical teenage attitude.

Now, when I say, Deeds, come,” he’ll look up for a moment and then completely ignore me. Often, the older four will come in his stead and he will follow.

Since he is growing in size, Deeds doesn’t play the puppy victim with the others. He takes command of getting others to play with him and the sounds of feet tearing through the rooms is a common sound.

All in all, he’s a terrific little fellow, typical in his puppyhood, and wonderfully loving. In fact, I just now took this post-dinner photo where he hopped onto my bed to snuggle.

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The world is sunny and bright and our temperature this afternoon is 44 degrees with a promise of rising further to 48 degrees. Thursday is expected to be 57 degrees!

I had two great online college classes to teach and I believe it was the first day since the adjusted time for Daylight Savings that ¾ of the classes were not yawning and struggling with sluggishness. I detest Daylight Savings changes and how it screws with our sleep-wake cycle.

I finished teaching my classes and The Fab Five joined me in my study where Col. Deeds was raising holy puppy hell after joining the other four in good behavior while Dad was teaching. I posted the videos on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Deeds occasionally gets scolded for chewing on the corner of a carpet remnant in my study where the student music stand rests. Today, I yelled at him three times and he scurried away, only to return for repeat offenses. The fourth time, I really yelled at him and Erma rose, walked over to the carpet remnant, and laid on top of it! What a smart girl!

I have some things to do before feeding the tribe at 3:30 PM and hitting research hard and heavy.

Continue making it a great day!

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MY DAY: Monday moves on

It’s been a long day but a productive one. I’ve got a break in lessons and will have one more at 11 PM.

I had an earlier break with a student in dress rehearsal for their show. I went to check mail out front and it was foggy and snowing. on the deck, The Fab Five left their paw prints.

The pooches were animated and Col. Deeds, as always, led that charge.

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O, FOR HISTORY: The first Col. Deeds

Born on this date, March 12, in 1874, Edward Andrew Deeds played a vital role at the National Cash Register Company before co-founding the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company with lifelong professional partner and friend Charles Kettering in 1909.

Deeds later co-founded the Engineers Club of Dayton with Kettering as well in 1914.

Col. Deeds and his wife, Edith, founded Carillon Park with their generous gift of the carillon.

Serving as President of the National Cash Register Company years later, Deeds passed away in Kettering in 1960.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Friday is here…

Grey skies and damp earth are greeting The Miami Valley this Friday morning.

I only have my online classes to teach, starting at 11 AM, and that is all the heavy work on my docket. My goal for this evening is to make it next door to listen to some high school choirs in the OMEA (Ohio Music Educators Association) large group contest. These choirs won’t compete against one another but receive independent attention and a grade.

Yesterday, my blog site received an email on a post about my third great-grandfather, Andrew Taylor Greenlee. The lady reported she was now living in the home built by Andrew Greenlee’s parents, William and Harriet Sayre Greenlee who migrated from the Kanawha River Valley, Virginia, now Charleston, West Virginia, in the 1850s to Boone Township, Madison County, Indiana. William and Harriet’s son, Andrew Taylor Greenlee, and his wife, Prudence Ball Greenlee, inherited the farm and raised their family there for many years. Through some brief correspondence, I learned that Andrea knows quite a few of my family members, some of whom are descendants.

Despite the outer appearance of this day, it’s still an opportunity to make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Morning rituals

The day promises to be grey and chilly. With the clocks advanced one hour, it’s difficult to predict the day’s weather direction from the east.

I love waking up every morning to The Fab Five! Before swinging my legs out of bed, Bailey, Harrigan, and now, Col. Deeds, shower me with their wiggled love kisses. While this ritual commences, it allows Chief time to struggle to his feet and move over to the side of the bed, alongside Erma. Then, I give my Seniors a few minutes of love and hugs before closing all of them behind the gate so I can go to the kitchen to prepare my breakfast and theirs.

Once I let them outside for their first-morning potty and sniff expedition, I eat breakfast while checking email. Usually, the first to reenter the house is Erma so she can sit at my side until I have finished my Raisin Bran with strawberries. I set the bowl down so she can drink the remaining milk as the little colonel sits at attention, with surprising patience, to have the “nothing” that Erma has left for him. In his mind, he is getting something.

The past six days I have been chiefly bed-ridden and these pooches do add their own brand of medicine. Yesterday, seeing my students gave me a tremendous boost, so I am eager to see today’s crew, as well as tomorrow’s.

Three years ago, the world was shutting down for the lengthy quarantine. I watched sadness deflate so many of my private students as their winter guard and percussion contests, show choir contests, and musicals came to an abrupt halt. I watched former students and other professionals step through a threshold of the unknown. I began my fifteen month escape from the world until June 2021.

I had many wonderful friends who checked on me but I was always surrounded by The Quartet. Their company, plus my Zoom lessons with students and online events with colleagues and friends kept me going.

I have a few things I want to complete before my morning energy recedes. By that time, Deeds will be a bit more relaxed, too!

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: a quiet, uneventful Saturday

In a few hours, we move forward one hour for Daylight Savings Time. I am just not a fan of this moving back and forth. The fall clobbers me and the spring, though slightly clobbering, is much easier.

I spent most of the day recovering in bed, only getting up to attend to The Fab Five and to grab something to eat.

The pooches are sensitive to my needs and snuggle even closer. Deeds, even though very young and the least tenured in The Haasienda, is especially loving.

My range of documentary topics has been wide. Most of the late afternoon and evening has been set with the 1976 presidential election between President Ford and then Governor Carter. I was eleven and twelve during the campaign, and mostly concerned with the nation’s Bi-Centennial.

At 9 PM, I adjusted all my clocks and light timers throughout the house so it’s done and out of the way. I’ve been doing this for years.

Now, it’s time for me to announce, “time for bed,” so Deeds can race to my bed and claim the pillows.

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DAILY DEEDS: Pillow races

Now, whenever I shout, “time for bed,” Col. Deeds races to the bedroom, hops up onto the bed, and claims my pillows. The rituals have begun.

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MY DAY: Home alone? Not with The Fab Five

Except for teaching the two online classes, I spent the entire day in bed with three of five dogs. The seniors, Chief and Erma, spent their time on the cushions near the bed.

I went into my study to eat some soup and veggies while The Fab Five played. Well, Col. Deeds played and the others obliged and tolerated him. However, Deeds and Harrigan spent a good deal of time playing in the bedroom while the rest of us remained in the study.

It’s just after 10 PM and I am back to the bedroom for more documentaries and snuggle time.

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“Deeds, go sit next to Chief so I can take your picture.”

Deeds did what he was told.

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O, FOR HISTORY: Scipio, the Wright dog

Happy adoption day to Scipio!

On March 10, 1917 Orville brought home a St. Bernard puppy he named Scipio. Orville’s father, Milton, wrote about Scipio in his diary that day: “Scipio came. He weighs 16 pounds. He is a St. Bernard dog. He is a good-looking puppy.”

[From National Pure Bred Dog Day] “Orville Wright bought his St. Bernard puppy from Nina Dodd’s White Star Kennels in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1917. He paid $75 for the dog which today, would be about $1400. He collected the dog he would name “Scipio” with his nephew, telling the boy only that they were going to the train station to meet “Mr. Bernard.” By then, his brother, Wilbur, had been dead for five years, having succumbed to typhoid fever.

We think it means something that so many pictures of “Scipio” were taken. There are photos of “Scipio” stretched out on a Persian rug, photos of “Scipio” frolicking among the hawthorn trees, photos of “Scipio” snoozing on a front porch, or riding in a canoe on Lake Huron. Even more revealing is that when Orville Wright died many decades after his beloved “Scipio,” there were pictures of the dog tucked in his wallet.

We think there’s another important aspect of these pictures. Breeders have done a fine job of preserving type.”

Images: Scipio also shown with Orville Wright, and his sister, Katharine Wright, at their Oakwood, Ohio, home, Hawthorn Hill, and at their Canadian retreat, Lambert Island.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday, March 9th

It’s an overcast day but still fairly nice outside.

I finished my Wednesday online classes and then hurried to Dayton International Airport to retrieve Mama Kay and Sue. They had a fantastic time in Arizona.

Yesterday afternoon I began feeling sluggish and achy, and it increased as the evening wore on. This morning has been rough but I see rain is coming in and the barometric pressure change is taking hold.

It’s time to teach my online classes in 15 minutes. I am already eager to snuggled with the pooches and watch some documentaries.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Sunshine & Sousa

It was a gorgeous day. I spent some time on the deck while The Fab Five played. Deeds could not decide with whom to play with the most. He darted between the other four and had a marvelous time. Chief, who is showing his age and infirmities, does not play, but he does seem to enjoy Deeds’ company.

I did manage to clean the kitchen and get a load of dishes into the dish washer, but, I relaxed until it was time to teach.

Rita adjusted my schedule so I could go next door to hear the Sinclair Community College concert band and wind symphony. What a damned good concert!  Michael Berning, Fairmont High School’s lead conductor, is now conducting the SCC bands and the program was so nice. Vocalist and teacher, Stephanie Voelker, was featured on Eric Whitacre’s “Goodnight Moon,” and Frank Ticheli’s, “Angels in the Architecture.” Stephanie was brilliant!

I learned that my aunt, Jenny Jolliff, has had a stroke. My cousin, Sam, wrote that she is doing fine, but there will be more tests run.

It’s a quarter past ten and I am already feeling inclined to move to the bedroom to watch some documentaries.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Deeds visiting The Deeds

It was a beautiful day and I accomplished two things on my list: take a ton of broken-down boxes to the recyclable bin at the landfill and get a photo, or two, of Col. Deeds at The Deeds Family mausoleum at Woodland Cemetery.

The day’s weather, following several days of rainy cold surroundings, could not have been more accommodating. I threw a large bath towel onto the front seat and the little fellow sat, looking out the window. The cemetery was busy with hikers, cyclists, walks, and several burial ceremonies. We wound through the spacious, manicured lawns to the southeast section and parked before the impressive monument of Col. Edward Deeds and Edith Walton Deeds.

In November 2000, I took my new puppy, Flyer, to The Wright Family gravesite and she immediately scampered to Wilbur Wright’s grave where she plopped herself down. I later learned that Wilbur, in 1908-1909, while demonstrating their new flying machine in France, adopted a little mut which he named, “Flyer.”

Deeds, who has not been trained on the leash, was very cooperative and quickly made his way up to the monument without any resistance. I took several photos of him and then he became more interested in, and eager to investigate the balloons and crowd gathered across the road at the children’s burial portion.

I got Deeds into the car and we drove to the tallest point in Woodland Cemetery to catch the breathtaking view of Dayton.

We opted to not get photographs at gravesites of The Wright Family, Erma Bombeck, and Johnny Moorehouse, who is depicted in a sculpture with his dog who rescued his body after drowning in the canal.

And we’re making it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Friday Fun-day

Cold. Wet. Cloudy.

It’s not a very attractive day, but it is what it is and my job is to make my day more energetic and attractive.

In a while, I have a meeting at The Schuster Center of the Performing Arts, and then I may lunch at my favorite Chinese haunt that is downtown. I have some items to return to Meijer so I may accomplish that while I am out and about.

Tonight, Laura and I are planning on a fish fry dinner. Tomorrow, we will see RENT with Springboro Community Theatre, and then, I am back to my regular schedule of teaching on Sunday.

Col. Deeds has officially been a part of The Haasienda one full month. He is fun, fast to learn, entertaining and energetic, an affectionate snuggler, curious, and growing. Deeds’ legs are now getting that spindly-look and he can no longer walk right under Chief’s belly. His high, squeaky bark is maturing and more tolerable on the ear.

The game changer has been Harrigan who is always serious and not playful. While Harrigan is highly affectionate with me, she is not a companion to others. I figured Erma would be Deeds’ playmate but it is Harrigan who spends more time playing with him. Bailey remains distant and still snarls at him; and she probably always will. I am astonished, but so proud of Harry!

It’s time to get ready and make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday is here

We don’t have the beautiful warm weather that kept us spring-hopeful of the previous few days, but this morning is still quite nice with a temperature of 42 degrees.

Last evening, I agreed to meet a former student, now performing in New York City, for dinner down at Austin Landing since he was driving up from his parents’ home in Cincinnati. Before me was a most incredible and spectacular lightning storm. Fortunately, the rain held off until I was inside the restaurant; however, Cameron and I were feeling a bit leery at our window table with the lightning striking low.

Every morning, I finish my cereal and allow Erma to have the remaining milk. Col. Deeds finishes cleaning the bowl once Erma’s work is completed. He sits obediently, even proudly knowing he has a task at hand.

I have several things I wish to accomplish this morning.

Make it a great day!

“I Saw Two Clouds At Morning”

By John Gardiner Brainard

I saw two clouds at morning,
Tinged by the rising sun,
And in the dawn they floated on,
And mingled into one;
I thought that morning cloud was blest,
It moved so sweetly to the west.

I saw two summer currents
Flow smoothly to their meeting,
And join their course, with silent force,
In peace each other greeting;
Calm was their course through banks of green,
While dimpling eddies played between.

Such be your gentle motion,
Till life’s last pulse shall beat;
Like summer’s beam, and summer’s stream,
Float on, in joy, to meet
A calmer sea, where storms shall cease,
A purer sky, where all is peace.

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