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.


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.

Steinbeck on Journalism:
September 1, 2006, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

“What can I say about journalism? It has the greatest virtue and the greatest evil. It is the first thing a dictator controls. It is the mother of literature and the perpetrator of crap. In many cases it is the only history we have and yet it is the tool of the worst men. But over a long period of time and because it is the product of so many men, it is perhaps the purest thing we have. Honesty has a way of creeping into it even when it was not intended.”

John Steinbeck

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A Lazy Day?
September 1, 2006, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m finally getting caught up with the house chores after our five days away last weekend. We left the house in such a mess, in the middle of hay season (second cutting), and then I came home with all these new ideas.(It’s also weed season here in West Virginia, so I’ve been mowing, cleaning, writing with itchy eyes and the nose-faucet running on high.)

House cleaning duties were extended while we were gone by teeny tiny spiders. While we were gone, they strung cobwebs all over everything – the lamp shades, bookshelves, every nook and cranny in the house. An interesting development that took two hours with a broom and feather duster to remove before I could even dust or vaccuum.

As for the new ideas, most of that is the result of the various reading I did on the trip.

I read an article in Writer’s Digest magazine about “the basics of a writer’s web site”, and thus, upon my return, spent a day reworking (Link listed as “What I’d Really Like to Do” at left.)

Then, with a few new ideas and the Daisy vacation photos, I added some new designs to, putting Daisy on T-shirts and posters. I also added a new theme with items saying, “Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it that often.”

None of the new designs have sold yet, but I did sell four “Hillbilly” shirts in the last two weeks, and a couple of shirts that say “I go where my GPS tells me.”

While camping, I also had (what I think) is a great idea for a guide book, and I spent about two hours yesterday working out a book outline.

I also have ideas for three or four magazine articles, and researched potential markets. After taking a four-day free online course about writing query letters, I hope to start sending queries within the next three weeks.

I have a problem with one story though, I had the research file on the floor (yes, that’s a filing location at my house) and Daisy peed on it when she first arrived, and I think I threw it away.

I’d forgotten about it until now.

So, with that piece, I’m going to have to back up and punt.

Die Dippers
September 1, 2006, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A summer treat this year has been the upbringing of two young die dippers in our yard.

No, I don’t know their scientific name. The locals call them die dippers.

We’ve had adults around since we moved in, so I assume they are some kind of water fowl. To me, from a distance, they look like small herons with shorter legs.

But I’d never really seen them up close until now.

The two youngun’s, I discovered, were living in the pine boughs by my sun bed. In the mornings, they would perch on the hay trailer that Frank was working on in the yard to sun themselves.

As I snuck closer, I realized they couldn’t fly yet, and they ran into the tall grass.

Within a week they were flying from the branches of the pine to the nearby maple, then were hopping onto the old diving tower before venturing test flights across the lake.

They’re awkward creatures really, especially at that age. But even mature, their long necks, when streched out, never look even close to the graceful neck of the heron or the goose.

They always look as if they might tip forward on their face.

And while young, they sometimes do.