And the Winner Is…

Darling Doggie and I thank everybody for playing along on our little “Name the Sheltie” contest.

We got LOTS of guesses — ranging from Irish names like “Seamus” and “Knute,” to cute names like “Fluffy” and “Silky.” From “girly” names like “Honey-Bear” and “Shannon” and “Flossy” to cats’ names like “Socks” and “Rusty.”

However, NO ONE guessed accurately. And here, I thought I’d given you too many clues!

So, Darling Doggie supervised while I wrote everybody’s name on a slip of paper (sorry, but only one slip per person — more guesses didn’t earn you additional chances, this isn’t a county fair or a church picnic!). Then I took those slips of paper and dropped them into a plastic cup. I swirled them around and around, but figured that wasn’t quite sufficient, so I took an identical plastic cup and sashayed them back and forth until they were good and mixed up.

Only then did I close my eyes, reach in, and pull out one slip.

One name. Belonging to one person.

Are you eager to find out who it was?

Or is the identity of Darling Doggie more pressing?

Bet you’d all have a fit if I refused to tell you either the winner or the Sheltie’s name, wouldn’t you??

Okay, enough suspense.

The person whose name I drew from the cup — winner of my hand-beaded chandelier earrings — is none other than Katybeth!

Congratulations, my friend!

I swear I didn’t rig it, just because it was her idea in the first place.

Katybeth, if you’ll e-mail me (ole miss debbie at gmail dot com — minus the spaces, of course), I’ll package these babies up and send them right to you.

And now for the “reveal” — Darling Doggie, the Sheltie, is named “Dallas.”

Big D. Lone Star. A stone’s throw from where Domer was born 21 years ago.

I told you the Sheltie was a “big boy,” didn’t I? And that he was the lone male in a litter of three?

And if you’d really been observant, you’d have noticed that w-a-a-a-y back in my blogging history, I mentioned his name. Hover your mouse cursor over the photos, and you’ll see I’m right.

And I know I’ve mentioned that I worked in Texas before moving back to Illinois.

So you see? The clues were there all along!

Fall Prepares to Leave

The bottom is supposed to drop out, temperature-wise, this weekend, so I decided I’d get some late autumn photos before nothing is left but sticks!

This sugar maple is decked out in reds and yellows

What says “Autumn” more than a yellow Chrysanthemum?

This Dogwood has all sorts of pretty colors, from shades of gold to crimson and bronze

I don’t remember my Crepe Myrtle turning this pretty last year!

Ooh, looks like somebody’s going to have to do some raking!

This miniature Japanese Maple is a profusion of brilliant red leaves

Even sidewalks get into the act — some feature leaves so deep you can really swoosh through them!

Here’s another yard just begging for a rake

In a sea of reds and yellows, this purple mum truly stands out — I like to think it knows how special it is!

Has Autumn been spectacular in your neck of the woods, too?

Note: So far, nobody has correctly guessed my Darling Doggie’s name! But you still have until 6 p.m. CDT on Sunday the 28th to guess. If nobody comes up with a correct answer by then, we’ll just have to toss all the names into a hat and draw one out — I’ll announce the winner on Monday the 29th (and make arrangements for shipping the earrings to them). Thanks to everybody who played along!

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

My friend Katybeth brought up this question, and I assured her I’d try to answer it — What’s the Sheltie’s name?

He’s been pictured beside me ever since I started blogging three years ago, but I’ve been consistent in calling him “the Sheltie” or “Darling Doggie.”

Most of the time.

But he tells me he’s not happy with this cloak of anonymity.

Even if it was woven to protect him.

“Are you ready for me to tell the world your name?” I asked.

“Sure, mom, go ahead. But why not have some fun out of it? Make ’em guess!”

So let’s have us a little contest, shall we? Place your guess (or guesses, if you’re feeling really creative) in the comments below. The Sheltie and I promise to read (and in his case, guffaw) over each one and on Sunday (Oct. 28), we’ll announce the winner, based on whoever’s guess is closest (or most amusing!). If there’s no clear winner, we’ll draw one name out of a hat.

To be fair, if you already know my Sheltie’s name because you happen to know us, please don’t participate — give the others a chance, ‘k?

Here are some “hints”:

  • The Sheltie is a male
  • The Sheltie will be six years old next month
  • The Sheltie was born in Illinois
  • The Sheltie is a “paper dog,” not a mixed breed
  • The Sheltie came from a litter of three — two girls and him
  • Don’t even think about calling him Lassie!

To reward the winner, I’m prepared to part with one of my beaded jewelry creations (what can I say? The Sheltie drives a hard bargain!). Here’s the photo and the description:

Chandelier earrings

This is a pair of silver filigree Chandelier Earrings, approximately 4 inches in length. Each earring features:

  • Top section — one 4mm fuchsia bicone flanked by two 4mm sterling plated round beads
  • Middle section — two 5mm pink pearls flanking a single 6mm emerald green bicone (with two silver daisy spacers)
  • Bottom section — one long antique silver tube bead

The earrings also contain silver headpins and eye pins as findings and leverback ear wires. Despite the length, they really are light!

Note: Most people would consider these earrings “costume” jewelry; they’re not made from real silver, nor do they contain precious gemstones. Depending on the winner’s preferences, I could be persuaded to switch out the ear wires for sterling silver ones and I could leave off the bottom tier (shaving off nearly an inch of length, for those uncomfortable with dangling earrings). If you’d just like to play along without being entered in the drawing, let us know that, too. We’ll try not to sulk or pout!

Time to Count Blessings Again

They say a mom always knows when something’s not right with one of her kids. I think that holds true for “fur-kids” as well.

Case in point: my Sheltie.

First off, he’s a big boy. He was bigger than his two sisters from the get-go and over the past almost-six years, he’s packed on the pounds.

This, despite my careful measuring of his food, supplementing with green beans and raw carrots, regular walks, and lots of “Fetch” and “Chase.”

I tried to tell myself he was just big-boned. That he takes after his “substantial” mama. That his profuse coat is what makes him appear big.

But you can only deny the figures so long. And the scale wasn’t his friend.

So I went on line to learn about weight gain in dogs and found that Shelties tend to have problems with low Thyroid. This condition is often undiagnosed, but it results in a less-than-luxurious coat, frequent ear infections, skin allergies, and weight gain.

Hmm, sounds like my doggin, I thought.

At his checkup in early September, the vet pointed out that he’d ballooned to almost 40 pounds (on what should be a 30-lb. frame!)

So I asked to have his thyroid levels checked. ‘It’s a simple blood test,’ they assured me, before drawing blood from his forearm. “We’ll send it to a lab in Michigan and have the results back in about a week.’

“Cheer up, mom!”

I waited. And worried.

And one day my fears seemed to take over.

What if something was seriously wrong, I wondered.

How could I live without my “soul dog?”

Well, the answer came in, and it was as I’d thought — low thyroid.

I’m glad to have a diagnosis.

I’m glad to have been right.

But mostly, I’m glad it’s not fatal. The Sheltie has to take a pill twice a day, morning and evening, probably for life.

It could be so much worse.

Somebody Thinks My Blog is Inspiring!

My friend Kathy recently included me in her list of seven bloggers to receive The Inspiring Blog Award.

Kathy, you’re a treasure, and I thank you most sincerely!

Now, this award brings a few “regulations,” including:

  • Share seven little-known facts about yourself
  • Pass the award on to seven other deserving bloggers

(What is it about the number seven and these awards??)

Anyway, before I expound on how prevalent “seven” is in the Bible, or in nature, or music, or whatever, let’s get to the facts about moi —

  1. My first car was a sea-foam green color.
  2. My first dog was a smooth-haired dachshund.
  3. I still have a scar on my knee from where I was trying to manually raise my bicycle’s sticky kickstand as a kid.
  4. I hate stupidity. And cauliflower.
  5. I find much peace being near water, though not in it.
  6. I was twenty-one before I got my ears pierced (just the lobes, thank you very much).
  7. I got my first drivers license on my sixteenth birthday.

Whew, that wasn’t easy. I probably should’ve added that I consider myself a very private person, so making lists for public consumption isn’t exactly a stroll in the park!

Let’s turn the page and get to my nominees for The Inspiring Blog Award. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Odd Loves Company. Katybeth never fails to make me laugh. Or think. And I admire that she blogs every day (sometimes more than once!).
  2. The Water Witch’s Daughter. Suzicate offers spectacular photography, poems, and inspiring words of wisdom.
  3. JannaT Writes. And write she does. Plenty of short fiction, poems, and entries into the Trifecta weekly writing challenge. Where does she find the time?
  4. My Inner Chick. Kim writes openly and honestly about the love she has for her sister, who was murdered going on three years ago. Love that deep is inspiring.
  5. These are Days…You’ll Remember. Terri works full time, has practically grown kids, and recently added a second dog. She’s also an organ doner. How inspiring is that?
  6. Marc and Angel Hack Life. These two offer “practical tips for productive living.” What that means is, you’ll find sensible suggestions for lots of things plus inspiration galore.
  7. God Speaks I Listen. Tanya is the wife of a minister and writes of her deep Faith and Love for God. Her writing inspires and educates.

If I’ve nominated anybody who’s already been selected, I apologize. The rest of you know what to do. Get busy!

Halftime Show, ND Band

What? A second post? In one day?

Yep. For those who didn’t get to see the Notre Dame Band during halftime of Saturday night’s game at Chicago’s Soldier Field versus Miami, here’s the video.

Now don’t even ask me which one Domer is because no way could I say!


Paring Down, Kind Of

This weekend, I finally tackled a chore that I’ve been putting off for years — cleaning the closet.

Inspired by my friend Lynne, who maintains that we really don’t need all the stuff hanging/folded up/taking up space in our closets, I decided it was way past time to beard the lion.

With the Sheltie looking on and wearing a confused face, I pulled out armload after armload of hanging items. Skirts, dresses, suits, slacks, blouses began to stack up on my bed as my brain categorized them based on the following criteria:

  1. Did it fit?
  2. Did I still like it?
  3. Was it even remotely in style?
  4. Was it in good condition?
  5. And, perhaps of utmost importance, had I worn it within the last two or three years?

Surprisingly, many of the things lurking in my closet hadn’t seen the light of day since Domer was a wee lad (and remember, he’s twenty-one now!). Those, obviously, had to go.

Others were gifts — wrong size, wrong color, wrong style — and had only been “gently” worn, probably to appease the giver.

Still others were items I’d loved. And worn practically to their threads. But somehow couldn’t bear to part with — then. Now, out they went.

I found a ginormous sack from Kohl’s and started filling it. I loaded in old blue jeans, crop pants and tops. I even added a few belts that I knew I’d never wear again.

Who knew that belts designed for waists wouldn’t fit around hips?!

When the sack was full, I dug out a bag from JCPenney and started filling it. In went a plethora of dress slacks, skirted suits, and better quality skirts (things I’m thinking might be better for a resale shop than for charity).

I lugged the bags downstairs and put them where I’d have to see them regularly — my system for “guilting” myself into doing something I know I should do but am hesitant about.

Then I went back to my room to survey the aftermath.

Wow! Lots more hanging space, lots of nice hangers. Yet still, way more stuff than I could ever hope to wear.

I get a warm and fuzzy feeling, knowing my clothing will probably go toward a person who needs it. Perhaps it will help them find a job. Or keep them warm this winter. Or give them confidence to leave a bad situation.

And no, this doesn’t give me an excuse to go shopping. Who needs an excuse for that?!

Going for that Young Look

Recently while walking the Sheltie, I had a chat with an older man along our regular route.

He told me about his time serving in WWII, how he and his three brothers all were in service simultaneously. Then he asked me how old I thought he was.

Well, I stammered, you served in WWII, so you’d have to be at least eighty — right?

Give me a hug, he exclaimed, before telling me he’s ninety-five!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many folks who are ninety-five. And this man certainly didn’t look like I expected a ninety-five-year-old person to look.

Probably because he didn’t have a wrinkle on his face.

Not one!

It was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. No brown spots from the sun, no dryness, no whiskery stubble.

I wanted so much to ask him how come he looked so young. I mean, I’m pretty sure he hadn’t bought into the sunscreen craze, hadn’t “had work done,” hadn’t exfoliated and creamed and moisturized and all the things we’re told to do to protect our skin.

A few days later, my sister called and said her dermatologist mentioned that the reason elderly men’s faces look so much younger than elderly women’s is that they shave.


Yep, apparently shaving is a natural exfoliant, ridding the skin’s topmost layer of dead cells and revealing the “good stuff” underneath.

Who knew?

I’ve been going to dermatologists for decades, and not a one has told me that.

They probably don’t think women need to be shaving their faces.

But I’ve been in hair salons where female customers regularly come to have their mustaches bleached. And I’ve seen plenty of fair-haired women with tons of “peach fuzz” on their cheeks and jawlines. And lately I’ve been seeing TV ads for “discrete” hair removal products aimed at women as well as men.

So maybe there’s something to it. What do you think? If you’re a woman, would you consider shaving your face if you could waylay the appearance of wrinkles in your old age?