"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes 2004

"Ain't Life Grand" by Kathy Hoynes  2004

26 January 2007

how true!

My friend Gail sent this to me. What a hoot!

23 January 2007

The Greyhound Studies Sale

Greyhound Studies - and yes, that would be me - is having a huge sale that you won’t want to pass up.
Polos. Tank tops. Oxfords. Baby clothes. Tshirts. All sale items are $10 and $20.
Now you just can't say no to that! Cool artwork combined with hot fashions. Zowie! (zowie??!!?)
Please visit the Greyhound Studies at www.greyhoundstudies.com for a full list of items and sizes. Styles and sizes are limited so act now. ‘Cause when they’re gone – they’re GONE!
If you have any questions regarding availibility, shipping costs or would like to place an order, send an email to greyhoundstudies@yahoo.com . Heck, you can even email me just say "hi and ya got a great blog!". ;)


22 January 2007

Take A Hike!

My newest form of entertainment is hiking in the mountains. Those of you who know me have undoubtedly passed out from shock. For those who don’t, my idea of the outdoor life is sitting on the porch of a 5 star hotel over looking the water and drinking a glass of champagne. The prospect of encountering dirt, snakes, bugs, poisonous plants, having no cell phone reception and, God forbid, sweating has never been my idea of fun. Let alone getting up at some unnaturally early hour of the morning to set out on this smorgasbord of horrors.
But yet there I was, driving out to the White Tank Mountains for my first hiking adventure.

While civilization is rapidly encroaching the foothills, the drive to the White Tanks still offers acres of rose farms, fields of cotton, soaring hawks and a perplexed looking coyote or two. A local stable allows you to explore the area on horseback. The trail I chose was not overly long but it did involve some climbing if I intended to make it to the waterfall. Bringing along my best friends – Liz, Calvin and Louis V. – I was overdressed as usual but thankfully I wore comfortable shoes. Greyhound Studies backpack over my shoulder, camera in hand, I began my journey. About a minute into the trail I passed a sign warning about rattlesnakes. Everything I thought about hiking in the middle of nowhere was apparently coming true.

The crisp air, white puffy clouds on a picture perfect blue sky and amazing scenery more than made up for the excessive dust and lack of Starbucks. Since arriving in Arizona, I have a growing fondness for the Saguaro cactus. Cacti in Arizona are like cows in Wisconsin – they’re everywhere! And on my hike I was able to get up close and personal with several varieties.

I never imagined that Saguaros were that big!!!

The benefits of an early morning hike become clear as you discover how relaxing it is enjoying the surroundings without hordes of people. This was extremely welcome while viewing the many petroglyphs on this trail. While some are trail markers, others serve as magical ways to control nature or as religious symbols. Viewing them as ancient graffiti is total misconception even though I am sure one looked like a drunken cartoon turkey.

The closer I got to the waterfall, the more difficult the trial became. And it was all uphill. Now the fact that I’m a whoosie may have played into my judgment of trail difficulty but an escalator would be a nice option to the area. In the end it was worth all my complaining as the waterfall was nestled in a cave like surrounding, flowing slowly as there had not been an excessive amount of rain. Several bird stood on the rocks at the base of the pool that lead out to the wash.

The walk back was a bit easier as it was all downhill. The trail was beginning to fill up and I was happy to be leaving. Several dogs were out for an adventure filled walk that morning with their owners and I couldn’t help but wonder which one of the pups would have enjoyed coming along for my first hike. Most likely Bobo, as he is the most wiry, flexible greyhound I have ever seen and would have been able to navigate the rocks with the confidence of a mountain goat though I’m not sure how he would have taken to the necessary walking booties. I may look for a greyhound-friendly trail on my next outing. For now, I’ve got to look for a pair of Manolo Blahnik hiking boots.

21 January 2007

Is it me?

First...the hottest summer on record.
Now...the coldest winter in 40 years.
Well thank goodness it's a dry cold!

Guess it's not my grandma's Arizona.


13 January 2007


"Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more."

"In My Life"

09 January 2007

Blog, Interrupted

While vacuuming the dog room (yes, the pups have their own room) I discovered a small book stashed under one of the beds. At first I thought someone had taken a novel of mine to (literally) devour, but no! It was a tiny diary. Who knew greyhounds kept diaries? Let alone write. And being the good step-mom that I am, I picked the lock and read it. (Oh come on…you discover your greyhound has a locked diary and you don’t read it?) Turns out that there is much more to my silly, hyper cowdog Remy than meets the eye. I guess I know why she barks so much – she has a lot to say.

We now interrupt this blog for an excerpt from "The Remy Diaries"...

“Blondie took me for walkies today. Cripe! It’s about time. Does she not know that I need constant visual and nasal stimulation???!!! I have a very cool new collar. It’s really big and straps around my shoulders and tummy and there’s no more unsightly chaffing on my neck when I start to jump on the passerbys to say hello. None of the other guys have a collar like mine. So me & Blondie are doing walkies around town but does she take me into the stores shopping?? Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! She says it cause I’m too jumpy but I’m just a tiny little thing and I need to jump up to see all the things that are way up high. Like when there is food up on the counters. Why does she put it up there? It certainly is not easy for me to get to. And Blondie’s nose. I like to give her kisses on her nose when she comes home but she’s way up there and I need jump and jump. The same goes for people who come to visit. Like the Lauren lady. She smelled really nice, just like a greyhound. And being the good girl that I am, I wanted to give her a proper welcome but I jumped and jumped and could not reach her nose. So then I tried to hug her as I jumped. Everyone got all postal and WELL!!!! Last time I try to be cordial. Lauren lady was way too interested in Marty anyway. It’s always Marty-Marty-Marty. Did Marty defend the pecan tree when a chicken flew into the tree and tried to steal all the pecans? I don’t think so! Blondie said the chicken was just lost but I have my doubts. Does Marty let the rest of the pack know when a thunderstorm is on the way? Nope, nope and nope. I have a sure fire early warning system so all the pack knows it’s going to rain soon. I shake and run around in a tizzy. And I will do this all night till long after the rain goes away. That’s just the kind of girl I am. Marty is ok really but he doesn’t like to snuggle with me. Hrumph! Oh but he will snuggle with Blondie. I like to snuggle with Blondie too. In the middle of the night when I want to talk to her, I jump into the bed and wiggle all the way up to the top and then I sit on her head. She wakes up really fast then! And does she ever talk. But most times I snuggle up along side Blondie so she can rub my neck while I fall asleep. I’m glad she wised up and took me for walkies today. I better go for walkies tomorrow!”

I'm not exactly sure why, but I'll share more of The Remy Diaries in upcoming future. And below is my drawing of the Samuel Pepys wannabe herself.
Why can't she just sleep all day like a normal greyhound?

08 January 2007

Don't worry, be happy

I read an article not long ago which stated that people are far too worried about being happy and that their goals for being happy are unrealistic. The article suggested reviewing each day and finding 3 good things that happened to you, and then focus on why those things came about. Slowly but surely you will discover that you have many good things that occur in your life to be happy about, both big and small. Well, that’s so simple even I could do it. And I did. And it worked!

So every day for the last few weeks before I fall asleep, I think of 3 good things that happened during the course of the day. What am I happy about today?

I made a pecan pie for the first time - from scratch no less - using the pecans from the trees in my yard…and it was a success!!!!

I did a half hour on my exercise equipment without grumbling.

I cleaned out my closet. Heck, if you’d seen my closet, you’d understand why cleaning it out was a good thing and why I’m happy.


05 January 2007

The Spice Girl

The resident “spice girl” in my house is Nutmeg. (Hey! I heard that groan!!!)
She’s a very quiet greyhound and usually hangs in the background.
She knows all. Especially who causes trouble when I’m away. And it’s usually her.
She has an oddly shaped square head and it’s rather large…which has also been said about me… and not regarding my hat size!
She loves dirt. Sitting in it. Laying in it. Eating it.
She also like to smile – which is why I know she eats dirt.
She has a terrific sense of fashion. She has enjoyed eating my funky Dansko sandals, several pairs of leather shoes and my designer glasses. Luckily, she does not have a taste for Coach purses. Yet.
She can bust a move and does an adorable happy dance before every meal.
She’s my scullery maid and stands faithfully at my side when I’m in the kitchen.
She likes to dig holes. Which will come in handy when I need to plant bulbs.
She’s my girlie. My missy. My Miss Thang. My desert rose.
She’s Nutmeg.

02 January 2007

clip, clop

My favorite place in the whole world is Mackinac Island, Michigan, a tiny picturesque island in Lake Huron. While the island and Grand Hotel were the setting for "Somewhere in Time" and "This Time for Keeps", it has been attracting visitors for well over 130 years. Lilacs and fudge not withstanding, the most famous thing about Mackinac Island is that it does not allow any sort of motorized vehicle. The 3 modes of transportation on the island are bikes, horses and your feet. This adds to the charm. However, waking up to the sound of clip clop, clip clop under your window as the horses pulling the drays and carriages pass by is initially a bit jolting but once you get used to it, the sound is quite soothing. At night, you can hear the clip clops in the distance echoing across the island.

Shortly after Thanksgiving while sitting on my front porch, I was sure I was having a Mackinac flashback as I heard the faint clip clop, clip clop coming from a couple of blocks away. It turns out that the historic district has nightly carriage rides from mid-November thru early January as part of the holiday festivities. As there isn't much traffic in my neighborhood, the evening is punctuated with this delightful sound for hours on end.

I won't have much longer to listen to the clip clop of the carriages but you can bet I'll be out on my front porch, on my white rocker, surrounded by red geraniums for the next few evenings.


01 January 2007

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

I recently returned from a long weekend in Las Vegas – my third trip actually – and each time I’ve done very little gambling, though I do have a fondness for the Green Acres slot machine. I mainly enjoy exploring the hotels, people watching and seeing the many art exhibits. There always seems to be something interesting to check out each time I go but I was very surprised to discover The Titanic Artifact Exhibition sitting quietly at The Tropicana.

Historic tragedy has fascinated me for as long as I can remember - Custer at The Little Big Horn, the murder of Nicholas II and his family, the sinking of The Titanic. Each had first hand accounts by witnesses. Each continues to have the power over peoples’ imaginations to inspire the endless what-if scenarios. Each was seared into the memories of their time much as 9/11 is to us. And while each event remained strangely isolated and mysterious, the clues were there, waiting to be discovered. “Images of sorrow. Pictures of delight. Things that go to make up a life.”

Growing up, I remember seeing the British classic “A Night to Remember” numerous times on WGN (before it was a “super station”). Maybe because it was the late night movie, maybe because it was in black & white, maybe because at the time it was something I knew nothing about, I found the film to be more frightening than any slasher movie. In my teens I read “Raise The Titanic” finding it far fetched but it sparked my what-if’s. Who really knew what was down there. “Raise The Titanic” was made into a mediocre film but two scenes had me hooked – when the Titanic is found and when it is raised, a tad rusty and filled with water but amazingly intact, having sat at the bottom of the North Atlantic waiting to be discovered. In 1985 finding the Titanic is exactly what Dr. Robert Ballard did. The Titanic was more than a tad rusty, it was hardly intact and would never be raised as it had been in the film but it had been found. I devoured everything I could find. I watched every documentary. I read every article. A relative collected National Geographic and I remember begging him to give up the Titanic issues, which he graciously did. The gleaming black and white photographs of history were replaced by ghostly images that were both tragic and beautiful. I admired Dr. Ballard for his choice to leave the ship undisturbed. It was the final chapter.

No, it was just the beginning of the final chapter. I was horrified to learn that artifacts from the Titanic would be pulled from the sea and put on exhibit. I wasn’t sure why I felt that the Titanic was any more sacred than other shipwrecks. History is filled with grave robbers in all forms. The Titanic would be no different. I swore I would never see an exhibit of Titanic artifacts.

Never say never.

I was the only person in the exhibit. Well, it was 10am on a Friday at a historical exhibit in Las Vegas – of course I was the only person there!!! I was handed a boarding pass at the start of the exhibit with the name of a Titanic passenger. Her name was Miss Edith Corse Evans, age 36, a single woman traveling in 1st Class cabin A-29 on her way home to New York after a visit to family in Paris. At the end of the exhibit I would discover her fate.

SPOILER ALERT – if you plan on seeing the Titanic Exhibition and do not wish to read a review, stop right now and go listen to the newest “Greyhounds Make Great Pets” broadcast. I love seeing exhibits without any forewarning. I also hate those audio sets that are handed out. It detracts from the oneness of what you are seeing. An art or historical exhibit should be able to move and inspire you all on its own, without a recording playing in your ear, telling you what you are perfectly able to discover by simply opening your eyes.

The exhibit is set up to resemble movie sets. This is not as tacky as it sounds. In the beginning of the exhibit you learn a bit about the historical period, White Star Line and Harland & Wolff, the builders of the Titanic. The interiors switch from warehouse offices to the docks as the building of the Titanic progresses. Artifacts are mingled in with the background information. It’s interesting but slightly unimpressive. Already knowing the background of the Titanic, I was not sure if a Titanic novice would be as equally bored. Yet this gave me a slight feel of anticipation of what was to come as I climbed the gangplank into the main portion of the exhibit.

Walking down the hallway of lower deck cabins, I discovered just how uncomfortable the crew and 3rd class passengers must have been. The large area with many artifacts and room displays was more fascinating than I would have ever imagined. The biggest shocker for me was not to see these items, but to see them in color. For years the black & white photos of the Titanic captured my imagination but to give these items colors changes the entire perspective. Floor tiles, dishes, copper pots, marble fixtures, the elegantly simple 3rd class mug. The opulence of la belle epoc is tantalizingly hinted at.

Turning the corner, my mouth literally dropped open.

I stood before a one third size reproduction of the grand staircase of the Titanic. It was stunning. The artificial “natural” light from the domed skylight was realistic and almost blinding. However the souvenir photo op completely brought me back to reality. The idea of having a snapshot on the reproduced Titanic staircase, embossed with the exhibition logo reminded me why I was so against the exhibit in the first place. I continued through the exhibit, lights, sounds and documentation told me that the night of 14 April 1912 was fast approaching.

Was it getting colder? Had the lights dimmed? Looking through the porthole, I saw stars. I heard the ocean. My imagination was getting the best of me I thought as I opened the door. Or had it? A burst of freezing air hit my face as I walked into the darkness. Once my eyes adjusted I found myself on the Promenade Deck of the Titanic on that cold, moonless last night in one of the most creative illusions of exhibition staging. Being the only person there that morning, I closed my eyes and wondered what it must have been like. I knew the end of the story and yet I understood how everyone thought she was unsinkable. Through another door and around a dark corner, barely visible at the far end of the next room was the iceberg. Not “the” iceberg but an interactive example of what might have been.

I found the remaining part of the exhibit anti-climatic and portions bordered on ghoulish. Personal belongings of those both known and unknown gave the final portion of the exhibit the grave robbing quality I had always been leery of. The passenger list of the Titanic took up a huge floor to ceiling wall. I searched for Edith.

The Titanic is literally rusting away and estimates are that what remains of the ship will totally collapse in 45 to 60 years. For 95 years, the names of those who perished that fateful night have lived on. For many, their name on the ship’s manifest is the only record of their life. Long after I am gone, the dead of the Titanic will be remembered.

Miss Edith Corse Evans never arrived in New York.