Adventures with Lisa, Frank & Daisy Dewdrop

September 15, 2006, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’re in a transition, following our upgrade to DSL here in the stix.

To keep up to date with Lisa, Frank and Daisy, visit us at the new blog, or at


Daisy Dew Drop Report
September 11, 2006, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ever try to type on a keyboard when you have a beagle puppy in your lap? Well, it was much easier when she fit in my lap. But now, at almost six months old, she no longer fits, and is either constantly falling off one side or another, or decides she’ll try climbing upon the desk.

When I put her down, she gets mad, and chews on the handle beneath the chair seat that allows height adjustment.

I know. It’s my fault. I spoiled her.

She outgrew her puppy bed (actually it was a hand-me-down cat bed) and I went to KMart and got her a big dog bed. She’d still rather sleep with us in our bed.

Again. My fault.

I did learn a way to keep her from “helping me” in the garden. (Everything I planted, she dug; everything I laid down, she picked up.) Basically, I offered her a rawhide, and made her watch me bury it. While she was busy digging up the rawhide, I worked in the garden.

She follows any one or any thing that leaves the house via the driveway. So far, she’s turned right around and headed back once she passed the barn, but there have also been times where she got interested in the smells and inhabitants of the barn, and decided not to come right home.

It took several treats to get her attention then.

She has taken to the leash well, but is rarely on it. She understands the word “no” but is constantly testing to see if you mean no when you say no. She sits, and sits up, and has no interest whatsoever in shaking. She’ll bring whatever you throw back to you, but that doesn’t mean she’ll let go.

All shoes in the house are at a height of 3 feet or higher. All speaker wires are now, if along the floor, covered and secured with duct tape.

When left home all day alone (Frank went back to work), she uses her pee pad, and doesn’t poop. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. She hasn’t chewed any furniture or important possession in our absense, but has developed a fondness for tissues and paper towells, and will seek them out of small trashcans or off end tables and shred them to pieces.

She has not discovered the toilet paper roll.


She makes me laugh, smile or giggle at least three times a day, and I’m sure it’s the same for Frank. She visits the “outside” dogs, who are tied, and plays with them.

She likes being scratched under her chin, and is learning, slowly, not to crawl all over company. She eats spiders, and moths, and brown beetles. (Good girl!) She likes ice cubes. She hates baths, but she’ll visit you every time you’re in the shower.

If you set down a beer, coffee, pencil, rubber band, paper, or other item in front of her, (say, on the coffee table) she will take it – and run.

She only barks at the vaccuum cleaner.

I know I haven’t show any pictures of her in a while – the most recent are 35mm and the photos aren’t back yet.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of her on our last camping trip, in the puppy bed she’s outgrown.


I Can’t Be Allergic to Fog. . .
September 8, 2006, 12:08 pm
Filed under: Our Yard & Garden

The past few mornings, the fog has been thick in the valleys of Central West Virginia. It is a sign of summer’s end, and a trademark of weed season in our region.

I wake up each morning sneezing.

I’m one of those stubborn people who won’t get on regular allergy medicine. I can barely remember to take my vitamins every day. So, I have little capsules of Benadryl allergy pills that float around in my purse, camping gear, glove box, office drawers, all year round. You know, just in case.

Rarely, do I need them. And I will suffer a bit before taking one, just because I hated that medicated feeling. But for about four weeks at summer’s end, I wish someone would feed me one about 5 a.m. in the mornings, so when I wake up I’m not immediately rattled by a bout of sneezes that literally take the breath from me.

Off The Cuff – Fall Cleaning
September 6, 2006, 10:51 pm
Filed under: My Weekly Column

You can view this installment, all archives, and other Calhoun information at, updated for the week today.

Fall Cleaning

All through the mountains, animals are preparing for winter. Bears are packing on weight, squirrels and chipmunks are packing away seeds and nuts, and soon the geese will begin their migration practice runs.

This time of year, I too start a scramble to get ready for winter. The difference is that animals work toward winter the whole season. I always wait until the last minute. Most people do their big “spring cleaning” in the spring. My major cleaning comes in the fall.

Sure, in spring, I like to toss out all things I got sick of looking at while shut up inside with it all winter: dirt, a lamp that broke, piles of newspapers, and anything else that may have worn out its welcome over the cold season.

Fall cleaning is different. Instead of tossing out all things that already have gotten on my nerves, I toss out and deal with things that I think are going to get on my nerves, but haven’t done so yet. Very often, this process involves completing unfinished projects: books started on a lazy summer day and not finished, bags of mulch and lawn gravel still piled in a corner of the yard, and dis-posing of all the things I threw out of the house in the spring.

Fall cleaning is more challenging that spring cleaning, because in spring, we toss items we have lost our love for. In fall, I part with pieces that I am still attached to, but feel the attachment is no longer warranted or strong. In other words, I part with it “for my own good,” and not necessarily because I really want to.

The difference between spring cleaning and fall cleaning is the difference between “I don’t want it,” and “I don’t need it.”

Spring cleaning involves hard work. Fall cleaning involves hard choices.

Do I need 17 dish towels? Do I need as many bottles of body lotion? Do I need all my notes from the college history class I took in 1989? Do I need two staplers, four measuring cups, three sets of silverware, or place settings for eight? Do I need sheets for a twin bed, which I haven’t had in my house for six years?

Do I use all of them? No. Do I want them? In varying degrees, yes. The history notes were easy to toss, the ragged towels–the same, but one stapler could break, I like different cups for different ingredients, all my silverware sets are beautiful, and some day, although it has never happened in 38 years, I may have to set a table for eight. I don’t have a table that big either, but you never know. And, flat sheets from a twin bed have a hundred different uses.

Sure, I may someday re-read those English Literature text-books, and though I haven’t worn any of the jeans piled in the corner in three years, they still fit. And shoes? Of course, I love them all–each pair that is packed away and each pair strung throughout the house. That coat in the back of the closet is nine years old, yes, but a few more years and it will be back in style.

My mother says she would like to get rid of anything that “doesn’t have a place.”

If I did that, there would be nothing left.

Learning WordPress
September 3, 2006, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Although this WordPress blog has only been open a few days, I have been blogging for six months. I had a journalscape weblog, which I enjoyed very much. It was a basic service, perfectly wonderful for someone who is starting, but when I wanted to grow and expand, did not have some simple ways to accomplish some of the tasks I wanted.

Two main reasons I moved to WordPress were the “categories” option, which allows you to organize your posts by topic, and the ease of uploading pictures.

Of course, there are other things like ‘widgets’ and RSS and what not. Some of them I don’t even know what they are.

So, I’m learning. I’d really like to include an email subscription to this, (my Mother is used to that) but haven’t figured out how yet, since this is not a widget option.

Yes, it would be easy to just use the RSS Feed, but in six years of having the Internet, my mother hasn’t even used Explorer yet. She’s an email only gal.

So, if you are a reader out there, who has email subscription on your WordPress blog – can you direct me to the instructions and service?

Thanks so much.

Steinbeck and Audra State Park
September 2, 2006, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized

I find it odd, as an English major, I was never exposed to Steinbeck in college. I stumbled upon the first book I read of his, a collection of his letters, at a book giveaway about eight years after graduation.

It was the first non-how-to book I had read all the way through since college, and I fell in love with his writing.

While looking for more how-to’s for travel writing and photography on Amazon, I stumbled upon a 55-cent copy of Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley- In Search of America” and bought it just to see how Steinbeck narrarated his travels.

What I found within was his own style of doing it, his masterful way of using a single conversation to reflect an entire location. He had no interest in itineraries or tourism boards, and often he chose to avoid the main attractions.

But the line that forced me to find my yellow highlighter was this:

“What I set down here is true until someone else passes that way and rearranges the world in his own style.”

Travel writing has a foundation in place, but travel is more about the experience than the location.

Frank and I have been to Audra State Park (our favorite WV State Park) four times. We have been there in the spring, summer and fall, and each experience – although in the same location – has been very different.

Our first trip was miserable, with car problems resulting in us setting up camp in the dark, in the rain. During the night, a downpour sent run off water through our camp, right under the tent. I slept in the back of the vehicle once I was soaked.

Our second trip was in the spring, when the river roars with the melted snow from the mountains. It lapped at the edge of the camp site, murky beneath white caps, swift and strong. Nights are cold in the spring mountains, and the campground was sparsely populated, and quiet – except for the roar of the river.

We went again that fall. We chase our river side campsite, and I looked with disappointment on the trickling waters that wandered and twisted between large boulders in the river bed that had been hidden beneath liquid in the spring. There was no river roar, barely even a gurgle. But in the fall, the colors of the leaves demand your attention instead, and walks along the river are spent looking both up at the trees, and down among the gravel to examine the treasures uncovered by water.

In the peak of the summer, Audra itself takes back stage as people fill each nook and cranny of the park. Those with campsites near pools in the river are subject to visits by those who are camped near a mere trickle of running water. People walk their dogs, pull young children in wagons, kids ride bikes around and around and around the campground’s paved path. There is no quiet at night; you can hear your neighbor’s snoring, and the hound dog at the far side of the campground. Morning visits to the shower house are not quiet treks in the morning fog, but social events where campers gather in their sweat pants and pajamas to process camp-cooked food and wash their hands.

Each camping excursion was to the same location, but the experience, the people, even Audra was in a different mood each time.

I prefer the spring, when the river roars, and the summer campers are still yet home, tucked in their warm beds at night, camper still covered in the driveway.

Ivy Heart Banners
September 1, 2006, 5:04 pm
Filed under: My Shop & Products

I enjoy drawing. I like fine point mechanical pencils and rainbows of felt-tip pens.

I was looking through a fine catalog one day, and saw a shirt with a banner reading “Freedom” across the front, surrounded by bold black and white roses and cherubs. It was $40.

That was the night I drew my own banner, waving across a rustic heart, surrounded by dangling ivy.

I left the banner plain, so I could add different words and feelings digitally.

I still haven’t done one for “freedom,” but I have done the popular “hillbilly” and a nice “homegrown” theme.