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Tangible: Photo Books

I believe it is important to make images tangible.  I recently completed making hard cover photo books via Artifact Uprising, beginning with our wedding through 2016.  It took me a while to make each photo book, but I am so glad that I did!  They all very in number of pages and only one image appears on the right hand side with the left hand side blank to allow one to focus on one image at a time.  In each photo book, I selected and included only the images that I really liked.  I am now caught up so that I can work prospectively instead of retrospectively.  We look forward to our vacation this year, and I plan to make another photo book as well.  I am still working on framing fine art prints to hang in our home, an ongoing project.  These tangible images brings joy and I am happy that we will have these books, capturing memories, for years to come.  I highly recommend this process, which allows you to relive the memories while making the photo books!

The photo books include as pictured from right to left below: our wedding; our honeymoon; our first trip to Nova Scotia; our second trip to Nova Scotia; our trip to Manchester, Vermont; our first trip to Québec (Montréal); our second trip to Québec (Québec City); and our trip to Lake Michigan.



Happy Wednesday!

Loving: Spring 2017

Happy spring!  We are so happy that spring is officially here!  Below are the items I am loving, so far, this spring!



1. Mara Hoffman bikini – I love this bikini and the Mara Hoffman line.  We are ready for our pools to open next month!

2. DKNY Underwear – Lululemon stopped making my favorite underwear, and I had to find an alternative; and the DKNY underwear is very comfortable and a close alternative.

3. Toms’ Shoes – I love love these new shoes by Toms.  They are very comfortable and they are a little bit different in design.

4. Lululemon Hotty Hot Short — I love these new shorts!  I have several pairs, which are very comfortable to work out in.

5. Hourglass — This book is a beautiful memoir about marriage.  I love this quote from the book, which is so true, “Change even one moment, the whole thing unravels.  The narrative thread doesn’t stretch in a line from end to end, but rather, spools and unspools, loops around and returns again and again to the same spot.  There is no other life than this. You would not have stumbled into the vastly imperfect, beautiful, impossible present.”

6. Pocky – I like Pocky, especially the green tea covered biscuit sticks!

You can view other things I love here!

Second Keeneland Visit

We recently visited Keeneland again located in Lexington, Kentucky, a place that Doug enjoys visiting.  Doug’s Mom also joined us on our visit to Keeneland.  The weather, unfortunately, was not as nice as last year, but we still had fun betting on the horses.  We won on almost every race, and we even picked two winners, one of which was named “Victory to Victory” similar to our fur girl, Victory, shown in red below!  A few images from our time in Keeneland are shown below!

Happy Tuesday!




Around Here: April 2017

Happy April!  Another month has just about flown by once again!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in April!

-continuing to work steadily on finishing my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I should be able to finish next month, fingers crossed, as I am down to the final stretch!

-enjoying date nights together!

-enjoying time together outside.  With the warmer weather, we have been taking more walks outside, and Victory loves the walks while she rides in her Hound About!  (We know that she is really spoiled!)

-we celebrated 3.5 years this month with our fur girl, Victory!

-we visited Keeneland again, and we won on almost every race!  Coincidentally, one of our horse picks that came in first place was named Victory-to-Victory!

-in addition to our trip this summer, we planned a special trip in honor of Doug’s birthday this summer!  It will be fun!

-continue to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home!

-started our gardening for this year and getting our deck furniture ready to use to enjoy the nicer weather!

-we had to get a new car, as one of our cars, unfortunately, died.  (There is never a good time for this to occur).

-enjoying many snuggles with our fur girl, Victory!  She got another bath this month, which she never enjoys, but she smells and her fur feels so good after the process is complete!

Biscuit was a ‘staff pick’ again for Jones Soda!  You can read more about it here and vote here, which is greatly appreciated!

-started and we are almost through all of the seasons of the Bates Motel — a good series providing the back story to the film, Psycho.

-finished reading Hourglass by Dani Shapiro, a good read!

-also started reading Hallelujah Anyway  by Anne Lamott, also a good read!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym!

-achieving 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Tuesday!


Dogs: Hospice Care


In a recent article, I learned about a wonderful hospice rescue for elderly dogs, which are not usually people’s first choice to choose to adopt when considering adopting a rescue dog.  Kim Skarritt is the owner of Silver Muzzle Cottage, a rescue and hospice for homeless old dogs.  It is the only type of hospice rescue located in Michigan and one of the few in the country.  Silver Muzzle Cottage takes dogs left being either by choice or by circumstance, as when a dog’s owner suddenly dies and nobody else claims their dog.  Skarritt began her rescue about two years ago, and she has taken in more than 70 dogs so far.  Almost all of them are old, many are sick, a lot of them are near death.  No matter how bad the dogs’ lives have been so far, Skarritt wants to make their last days wonderful.

“They don’t ask for much when they’re really old.  They want to be loved and cared for, they want food, and they just need a warm place to lay their head at night,” said Skarritt.  “At some point they were cared for, and then when they needed it most they’re not.  And that’s why they really need a place like ours,” according to Skarritt.

About five years ago, Skarritt purchased an empty tool and die shop on a remote industrial road and opened Bowers by the Bay, a dog fitness, rehabilitation and cage-free boarding center.  Her work was coordinated with local animal shelters where Skarritt became alarmed by a disturbing pattern.

“I kept seeing these 14-year-old dogs and 13-year-old dogs in shelters and needing homes, and I’m going, ‘What is that?  Who does that?'”

As a result, Skarritt telephoned several animal shelters throughout the state of Michigan and estimated there were approximately 900 senior dogs needing homes within a 500 mile radius of Elk Raids, Michigan, where the Silver Muzzle Cottage is located.

According to some local rescues and shelters, some people do not even bother bringing the old dog inside the shelter building.

“Sometimes they dump them down our road a little bit so it’s not right in front of our building.  But we do have cameras up,” said Tia Babera a kennel technician at the Cherryland Humane Society located in Traverse City, Michigan.

At the Otsego County Animal Shelter, people at times come in with a dog they claim was a stay they found, but it’s really their lifelong pet.  If the staff finds out the owner is lying, they’ll make them return and take their pet back, like the guy who recently brought in a tumor-riddled 15-year-old dog, pretending he found it.  It turned out to be his dog.

“They’re just looking for a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility,” said Christie Pratt, a 37-year-old animal control officer.  “We are a little bit harder here.  We will make them have a good reason to surrender their dog.”

These types of stories compelled Skarritt to purchase an empty storage building next door to her business, mentioned above, and opened Silver Muzzle Cottage as a nonprofit rescue solely for elderly dogs, which she defines as age 10 or older unless they’re terminally ill, in which case she’s take the dog at any age.

This is not a typical rescue — there is a large living room with couches and throw pillows, a fake fireplace with decorations atop the mantle, end tables with vases and a coffee table with a thick photo book about dogs atop it.  It is described as looking like a ‘normal house,’ except there is a bunch of dogs lounging on the couches.  “We wanted it to be a home,” Skarritt explained.

This is a home for her, too.  The dogs aren’t caged at night, which means someone has to be at the rescue at all times.  Since Skarritt could not afford to pay someone to do that, she moved into a small room at the corner of the house, with little more than a bathroom and a bed.

There are about 100 rotating volunteers to take the dogs for walks or car rides, or sit on the couches with the dogs and pet or play with them.

Most of the dogs get adopted, despite a short future, thanks to Skarritt’s persistence in spreading the world about the plight of old dogs.  But some are not adoptable as they have such little time remaining to live.

“For some people it’s too hard,” Skarritt said.  “They really can’t handle it.  But for those who can, they find it very rewarding.  We have to look at it in a positive light, otherwise it would be very depressing.  But it’s a win-win for us and it’s a win-win for the dogs.”

This is a wonderful project and I am hope more dog hospices develop around the country to help these elderly dogs that, inevitably and unfortunately, need a home in their final days.

You can read the article and view lovely images of the Silver Muzzle Cottage’s hospice and rescue here.

Additionally, Silver Muzzle Cottage is located at 201 EC Loomis Drive, Elk Rapids, Mich., 49629.  For information or to make a donation, call 231-264-8408 or see

The above image is via Pinterest.


Jones Soda: Please Vote for Biscuit!

I submitted this image, shown below, a few years ago, while our dear Biscuit was still alive, and I was notified recently that Biscuit is a ‘staff pick’ to possibly appear on the Jones Soda label again!

In the image, Biscuit is sitting with many bottles of Jones Soda with his image appearing on the Jones Soda label.

I would be most grateful if you vote today via the link below, which only takes a second and helps increase the chances of Biscuit getting on a Jones Soda label again!  (Also, please feel free to share — 1 vote per I.P. address is permitted!)

*Vote Here:


Thank you!

Victory: 3.5 Years In

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” — Josh Billings

Today marks three and a half years with our fur girl, Victory!  We can hardly believe how fast our time together is passing.  We had our Biscuit for exactly two and a half years, so this mark in time is significant for us.  We had beautiful weather this weekend, and, as such, we went to the Eastern Shore with our fur girl!  I think everyone is ready for spring and we hope spring is here and ready to stay!

Simply stated, we are most grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

Pictured below is Victory three and a half years since her adoption!  (Her fur is finally growing back where she was shaved for her recent dental!)




Pictured above on the upper left is Victory shortly after she was rescued taken by her foster mom in the fall of 2013; pictured on the upper right is Victory one year since her adoption — October 12, 2014; pictured on the lower left is Victory two and half years since her adoption — April 12, 2016; and pictured on the lower left is Victory three and a half years since her adoption — April 12, 2017!



Pictured above is Victory on her 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthdays wearing her birthday sweaters!


Around Here: March 2017


Happy March — I know I am a few days late!  It is officially spring and it is finally starting to feel like it!  Another month has flown by and April is already here.  Below are some items that happened around here in March.

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project — an image at a time — I am so close to finally finishing and May is my target deadline!

-enjoying date nights together!

-just about finished planning a trip this summer with our fur girl, Victory!

-we recently went to Delaware to one of our favorite restaurants, Iron Hill Brewery!  The weather is getting a little warmer, and we have been able to take Victory with us out to dinner a few times, which she loves!

-finished printing all of our photo books from 2008 through the present via Artifact Uprising, which I will share at some point!

-started hanging and getting more fine art prints printed to frame and hang around the house.  Fortunately, Doug is really good  at measuring and hanging, which is a huge help to me!

-watched the first and second seasons of The Man in the High Castle — an excellent series!

-binged watched the entire season of This is Us with my Mom — I really enjoyed it!

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially at the gym!

-achieving 10,000 steps most days via my Fitbit!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

(The above watercolor image is via Pinterest).

A First: Dogs will be welcome at the Interior Department

In a recent Washington Post article, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the start of “Doggy Days at Interior,” a program that will launch with test runs at the agency’s Washington headquarters on two Fridays in May and September.  This new policy makes the Interior Department the first federal agency to go dog-friendly.

Zinke said his dog policy’s primary goal is to boost morale at the Interior agency, which includes the National Park Service; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the Bureau of Land Management; and six other departments.

Zinke’s dog is an 18-month-old black and white Havanese dog, named Ragnar, pictured below.

“Opening the door each evening and seeing him [Ragnar] running at me is one of the highlights of my day,” according to Zinke.  “I can’t even count how many miles I’ve driven across Montana with Ragnar riding shotgun, or how many hikes and river floats Lola and I went on with the little guy.  But I can tell you it was always better to have him.”

The new policy is a first, as it has never been tried in the federal government.  Members of Congress have been bringing their dogs to the U.S. Capitol since the 19th center, but few other taxpayer-funded workplaces have gone dog-friendly.  Private companies, on the other hand, are increasingly promoting their dog-friendliness as an employee perk.


Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s dog, Ragnar, is pictured at the Interior Department with a portrait former President Theodore Roosevelt.  (Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann)


However, there are obvious concerns about having dogs at the office, which is why the policy is launching slowly as a pilot, officials said.  Zinke’s staff has been consulting with agency attorneys in recent weeks to work out the parameters for the dogs, including whether the dogs will need to be leashed or be limited to a certain size.  It is likely the dogs will need to be fully housebroken, vaccinated, and have no history of aggression.

Other possible complications when dogs are welcomed to the Interior: Fleas, bites, people with allergies, and pets who may, in a new environment, relieve themselves indoors.  Zinke will permit employees to telework who would rather not interact with the dogs at work.

You can view a short video debuting the dog-friendly work program.

The federal government is large employer where we live.  It will be exciting to see if this pilot program catches on with other federal agencies!  (I think that our little Victory would prefer one of us to be home full-time teleworking versus her making trips to the office!)

National Dog Day: Victory

I feel like a neglectful dog mommy for not posting on National Dog Day.  Victory brings immeasurable joy to our little family and so much more.  And, importantly, she teaches me something every day about just being.  We are so very grateful for our fur girl!

Below is a short video of our little fur girl, Victory, sniffing around at the dog park!

Happy Friday!