Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Insufficiently Conservative

I created a sampler wedding album as a promotional tool for the wedding photography business Maria and I are trying to build.
It has photos from both of my sons’ weddings, a wedding of an in-law and some shots of a Hispanic bride dressing at home for her wedding.
We happened to get a chance to shoot the Hispanic girl’s preparations because Maria is good friends with her parents, a delightful immigrant couple from Mexico who operate a couple of Mexican restaurants in this area.
I love the images and think they fit well with our portfolio.
During the post-graduation open house for my stepson on Sunday, the album got passed around and a couple of the aunts who are in their 70s were startled to see non-Anglo faces among the photos.
Maria told me later that she overheard one aunt saying to the other that, “I don’t think he’s as conservative as we are.”
And I overheard them going on about how alarmed they are at the influx of Mexican and other Latino immigrants, legal and otherwise.
This from a bunch of women whose parents were born in Italy.
I had to chuckle when I heard suggestion that I might be more liberal than they. Truth be told, on most issues, I’m probably too conservative for their sensibilities.
But when it comes to slamming the door on people who want to escape from oppression or crushing poverty to live the American dream, I have to part company with people like Maria’s aunts.
My own mother was of the same mind as those women. I remember Maria and I taking her out for lunch the Easter before her October, 2000, death. We were driving through the small town where she had lived all of her adult life. It’s a community of about 2,500 mostly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant folks that, in recent years has seen an influx of Mexican families, drawn by the prospect of jobs at a new pork processing plant on the south edge of town.
“Just look at them, laying around and not working,” she hissed. “I’d like to kick their teeth in.”
Needless to say, we were startled. And, the vision of my 80-year-old mother being able to kick anyone’s teeth in was hopelessly bizarre. And, why would they be working on Easter Sunday?
I reminded her that our German and Swiss forebears came here for the same reasons the Mexicans do and it’s a damned fortunate thing for us that our ancestors weren’t shut out.
The subject got a good treatment recently in an episode of South Park when the townspeople were up in arms over space aliens coming to live in their town. The battle cry was a barely coherent, “They took our jobs!”
We hear that a lot from unmotivated losers who freak out over the idea of people they think are inferior having the ambition and gumption to make a success of themselves.
Immigrants have always given this country a booster shot of vitality that only underscores the genius of our brand of democracy and freedom.

Monday, May 30, 2005


This sounds like an urban legend to me, but one of Maria's aunts swears she knows the woman to whom this happened.
A woman named Julie had a talking parrot whose wings were clipped, preventing it from flying. She was on her backyard deck with the parrot on his perch and a hawk suddenly swooped down and snatched the parrot up in its talons.
As the hawk carried the parrot away to its doom, the owner heard the parrot screeching, "Julie! Julie! Julie!"

Today is my granddaughter Lisa's first birthday. Here she is at 10 months with her mom, Nicky. Live long and prosper, Lisa. Posted by Hello

Here's how Lisa's dad, Steve, celebrated his first birthday. That's my parents in the background. My mother clearly disapproved of Steve getting to maul his cake. The rest of us thought it was great fun. Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Here's Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (on the right), shooting the breeze with lunchtime patrons of the Spartan Inn, a cafe in Wingate, Ind., that boasts the best breaded pork tenderloin sandwich I've ever tasted. Mitch was on his way back to Indianapolis after a morning speech at Purdue University. He had visited the Spartan Inn last year while campaigning for office and just had to come back for another tenderloin and fries. For the record, the governor likes his tenderloin with mayo, tomato slices and ketchup. He's also a motorcyclist. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Walking Psycho Jack before he imploded. The guys at the shelter weren't surprised to see him coming back. Sorry, Jack. Posted by Hello

A belated happy birthday

Pete Townshend turned 60 last Thursday.
Since I'll reach that milestone on July 14, I feel a certain kinship with the guy I consider the greatest talent in the history of Rock & Roll and a founding member of the greatest band in the history of R&R.
Just like his creation, Tommy, Pete drew his first breaths while England was still celebrating Victory in Europe. Tommy and Quadrophenia were largely autobiographical works for Pete. I found Tommy a bit too dark and disturbing for my taste, but Quadrophenia hit me right between the eyes, or ears as the case may be. It's my "desert island" album and hardly a month goes by that I don't listen to it in its entirety. It speaks to me in ways I can't begin to articulate and I was delighted to hear Eddie Vedder cite it as a pivotal musical experience in his life.
Every now and then, I get out the Concert for New York City DVD, made in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and find myself smiling through the tears as I watch Pete thrashing and windmilling with all the fire and fury of a guy one-third his age.
"I hope I die before I get old."
Yes, Pete. Me too. But that's not going to be for a long, long time for either of us.

Psycho Jack, trying to merge with the Berber carpet on the stairway landing Tuesday night. A mopey, depressed dog is a terrible thing to see. Posted by Hello

Hit the road, Jack

I’m returning Psycho Jack, the red heeler, to the Animal Welfare League shelter this morning.
Jack seemed to be coming out of his shell on Sunday and Monday. His ears and tail were up a fair amount of the time and he seemed to have a spring in his step.
But yesterday, he imploded. He seemed less perky during the morning walk in the park and, as the day wore on, became increasingly morose and depressed. By late afternoon, he didn’t want to come out of his kennel and when I took him outside, he sought out secure-looking spots behind bushes and in porch corners to hunker down and hide.
By dinnertime, he had retreated to a dark corner in Austin’s room and had to be picked up and carried back to his kennel. I’ve never seen a dog so depressed and emotionally shut down.
Ruthie didn’t help any. From the moment of his arrival, she growled and barked whenever he tried to eat or drink, even though it was from bowls we had designated as his and separate from Ruthie’s. She apparently decided there was a real danger that we would run out of food and water and, consequently, all of the food and water in the house belonged to her.
We tried to give Jack a wider run of the house Sunday evening and, when we sat on the couch to watch TV, we invited him and Ruthie to hop up and join us.
When Jack tried to climb onto the couch, Ruthie barked angrily and forced her way between him and us.
Throughout his four-day stay, it was clear he was intimidated by Ruthie and he went out of his way to avoid her.
By last night, we had concluded that Jack is too emotionally fragile to make it in our home as long as Ruthie is here. If he is to be helped, I think it’s going to have to be in a home where he’s the only dog and has no competition.
Maria decided she’ll write a column about our experience with Jack, including a sympathetic photo, and hope that the right people come forward to adopt him.
I hate it that it didn’t work, but maybe we can still be part of the solution by getting him properly placed.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Chaos and a 200-mile motorcycle ride

We picked up the red heeler, aka Australian Cattle Dog, at the shelter Saturday morning and brought him home.
As expected, he was pretty freaked out by the ride, new surroundings and Ruthie: ears down and tail between legs.
We quickly discovered he was never taught not to "mark" his territory indoors when he lifted a leg and whizzed on the floor scrubber parked by the kitchen door.
Ruthie decided he posed a grave threat to her food and water supply, i.e. all of the food and water in the house. Much angry barking and growling whenever the new dog - we're calling him Psycho Jack, or just Jack for short - tried to eat or drink from his own bowls.
Ruthie also took to staying in her kennel all weekend so she could guard her supply of food and water.
We had much to accomplish over the weekend - chiefly beginning the massive cleanup for Austin's graduation openhouse next weekend and doing concrete planning for a website for our wedding photography business. We got pretty much nothing done because of drama associated with having a new dog in the house.
Maria's mother had been in the hospital for three days after being diagnosed with a viral pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane around the heart. That explains why she's been short of breath lately. The treatment was rest, and lots of it. Visiting her Saturday evening and photographing a restaurant our neighbor is revitalizing were piled onto the plate. We got to the photo shoot but missed visiting hours.
She was sent home for a few more days of bedrest Sunday and Maria took her parents some pancakes and other breakfast food.
Having complained about yet another good motorcycling weekend being stolen from me, I proposed to go for a ride while Maria and her daughter catered breakfast.
I headed west on I-74 in glorious sunshine without any particular destination in mind. After a few miles, during which I watched the odometer on my '03 BMW K1200GT roll over 20,000 miles, I decided to find Twin Cities BMW Motorcycles in Savoy, Ill.
With the demise of my local dealership, Twin Cities at a distance of just under 100 miles, is now my nearest BMW motorcycle dealer.
The ride was pleasant, made all the more so by conversations with strangers at a couple of rest areas. At the first stop, I emerged from the restroom to find two guys admiring my bike, which led to a conversation about the various features and qualities of BMWs.
At the second stop, a guy from Peoria, Ill., who was en route home with his wife and kids, complimented my bike and mentioned he had an '04 R1150GS. He was wearing a t-shirt from my late lamented local dealership and it turns out we were both at Spokane for the BMW MOA national rally last July and know many of the same people and places.
I found Twin Cities BMW right where it was supposed to be - on U.S. 45 south of Urbana - and had a quick lunch at a Subway near the dealership. The dealer was, of course, closed on Sunday but the point of my mission was to go for a ride and locate the place.
Having done that, I headed home, somehow missing a turn of U.S. 45 through Urbana and ending up taking a local road east to St. Joseph where I re-joined the interstate.
All systems worked perfectly and the XM radio made the ride all the nicer.
But I was coming home to chaos.
Maria and I had planned to hash out wedding photography stuff after dinner. But the girl laying out Monday's edition of Maria's newspaper called as we were clearing the dishes to announce she had a serious shortage of photos and stories. So Maria ended up shooting photos of the neighbor kids on their backyard trampoline, then dragging me to the office where we prepped the photos and wrote a couple of stories to fill holes in the paper.
On the drive home, Maria sensed something was wrong and asked. I unloaded, saying the new dog in the house has put me into sensory overload, especially coming at a time when our energies need to be on other things - like making money.
She has become very attached to Jack and encouraged by the way he's come out of his shell since arriving at our place, but she especially hates the thought of having to take him back to a shelter which very obviously bums him out.
I agreed to try to give the situation a few more days.
But Jack has spent the morning locked in his kennel because I have much work to do and can't spare the time to walk him or keep him from whizzing on the furniture.
Maria, I fear, didn't think this through to the point of realizing that the burden of keeping Jack entertained, educated and out of trouble, falls on my shoulders, since I'm the one who's at home during the day.
I hope, for her sake, we can make this dog thing work, but I'm not terribly optimistic.
We shall see...

Saturday, May 21, 2005

The red heeler is coming home with us for a weekend visit today. If it works out, he'll stay. We haven't settled on a name for him, but considering his abandonment issues and depression, I'm lobbying strongly for Psycho. Posted by Hello

Ruthie and the red heeler temporarily named Rusty. They seem to be a better match. He came out of his blue funk once he got into the play area with us and looks like he can become a happy dog with the right care. Posted by Hello

Ruthie, me and Reno during a meet-and-greet yesterday at the Animal Welfare League shelter. Reno is too hyper for Ruthie and for us, too, probably. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 20, 2005

Power. Max Power. Will he make the cut and join our pack? Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dog tale

Maria has decided we need a second dog.
And she has decided it should be an Australian shepherd, mainly because she had an Aussie when she was a kid and was very fond of it.
I like Aussies too, but I wasn't feeling any particular desire for a second dog. , Now that she's stopped rolling in backyard poop, Ruthie the Wonder Dog is really all the dog I need.
My friend Skip, who retired from the newspaper about five years before I bailed out, has taken to adopting strays. He and his wife now share their suburban home with seven dogs and it's freaking pandemonium whenever a stranger comes to the door. We toyed with the idea of taking their most recent acquistion - a golden retriever named Belle - off of their hands, but Skip's wife Gloria isn't letting Belle go. Probably just as well, since shortly after her arrival, Belle demonstrated that she knew how to open a regrigerator and remove and devour whatever interested her inside it. She seems to favor dairy products - yogurt and cottage cheese, but finished off a pizza the other night. Skip has blocked the fridge door with planters and barstools to no avail. Belle just moves them and helps herself whenever nobody is looking.
I was taken with the novelty of having a dog that smart, but decided I have enough to fill my days without having to stay one step ahead of a refrigerator-raiding dog.
So when Belle left the picture, Maria began lobbying hard for an Aussie. She called friends with Aussie connections and she made the rounds of the animal shelters.
This week, she called me from work to say the Animal Welfare League had a year-old black Aussie they call Reno. Reno apparenly ran away from home a month ago and spent the last few weeks as a guest in another family's home. Over the course of his visit, his hosts discovered he is very smart and knows a bunch of tricks. Apparently Reno wasn't getting along with the host's dog, so he ended up in the shelter.
Maria and I went over to the shelter at noon Wednesday to meet Reno.
It's horribly distressing and depressing to walk past all of those caged dogs, all of them up on the chain-link begging you to "Get me out of here, for the Love of God! Take me home! Please! Please! Please!"
All but one red heeler, who lay in the back of his enclosure staring at the wall. Turns out his owners moved and left him behind, chained to his backyard doghouse. Neighbors gave him food and water and finally called the authorities when it became obvious the owners weren't coming back.
"He's depressed," one of the shelter workers observed. No shit. I don't think I've ever seen a dog so depressed. He gave us a disinterested sidelong glance and then turned back to his wall.
Dogs who don't appeal to visitors enough to be adopted are euthanized. That's a politically correct way of saying Executed by Lethal Injection. Unless he gets it together, the heeler is a goner.
Reno, however, is guaranteed a home on the strength of his personality. We took him and an interesting looking puppy out into the big fenced play area and he ran and leaped and rolled and had a grand time, his sleek black coat glistening in the warm May sun. He ran with me, came when I called him, jumped so high to greet me that his head was at my eye level and seemed enthusiastic about everything.
He is, in short, a terrific dog.
But he's an Aussie. They're bright, enegetic working dogs who need to herd things and have lots of room.
Our house sits on a 55x165-foot lot and we have nothing to herd, except ourselves. Since Maria works at her newspaper 10-12 hours a day, it would fall to me to entertain the dog and I don't know that I can spare the time. Reno deserves an interesting, fulfilling life and I worry that he would be bored to the point of becoming destructive if he lived here. His entertainment would hinge on how well he would interact with Ruthie. Ideally, they could become friends and entertain each other.
So we're taking Ruthie to meet Reno at noon today and romp around the play area see how they get along. If it's a good match, we can bring Reno home as early as tomorrow.
Maria didn't much care for the name "Reno" and I wasn't crazy about it either.
Standing in the shower yesterday morning, running through possible names, I recalled the Simpsons episode where Homer decides he needs a more glamorous name and has his name changed to Max Power. He also suggests that Marge change her name to Hootie McBoob.
So, if the sleek black Aussie comes to live with us, he will become Max Power.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


This will probably be the only post you ever see here on my religious views, even tongue-in-cheek, so don't worry about being preached to. At least not about religion.
Paging through the current issue of BMW Motorcycle Owners of America's Owners News while eating my oatmeal this morning, my eyes fell upon an ad for the Missouri State Rally on page 101.
At the top of the ad was a profile photo of an R1100S and under it, in Times Roman capitals, the letters WWJR.
After a few seconds of puzzlement, I realized I was looking at a clever variant of WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). In this case, the question is What Would Jesus Ride?
As much as I'd like to believe Jesus would ride a BMW - after all, he had style and knew about taking risks - I think it's a theologically unsound assertion.
While it might make sense for the Son of God to choose the most exalted motorcycle brand in the world, that's not the image that comes to my mind. After all, we're talking about a guy who rode a donkey into Jerusalem. He wasn't affluent, hung out with the poorest of the poor on the edges of society and didn't have much to do with the rich and powerful.
As much as it pains me to say it, if you force me to pick the appropriate motorized ride for the man from Gallilee, it would have to be a clapped out Vespa or, at best (Lord forgive me) an AMC-era Harley-Davidson.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A year of blogging

I started this blog a year ago today. According to the profile stats, I posted 159 times - some text, others photos - and cranked out 53,498 words.
Like many folks in Blogland, I've had dry spells.
Looking back on what I've written, I like the travel stuff best. There's a lot of self-absorbed ranting and venting, but that's part of what this is for, isn't it?
I've seen other bloggers come and go as their interest in posting waxes and wanes. I've enjoyed reading it all and am looking for new favorites to replace some that have vanished.
Anyone have a fave they want to share?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Fountain pen in hand, Capt. Phil Kroon writes a letter home on the day of Victory in Europe. Posted by Hello

Capt. Kroon's V-E Day letter to his wife, Jean, written on Adolf Hitler's official stationery. Posted by Hello

Capt. Kroon's V-E Day letter

Sixty years ago today, Capt. Philip C. Kroon, an artillery officer with the U.S. Army's 144th Field Artillery Group, took pen in hand in the garden outside an Austrian hotel and wrote a letter to his young bride in Redlands, Calif.
It was V-E Day - Victory in Europe Day - and the young captain from Grand Rapids, Mich., had been in combat since his unit came ashore in Normandy a few weeks after the June 6, 1944, invastion. He was looking forward to coming home, but mindful that the war against Japan seemed far from finished and that he might be needed in the Pacific Theatre.
Here is what he wrote on a sheet of Adolf Hitler's personal letterhead, liberated a day or two earlier from the Führer's Berghof retreat at nearby Berchtesgaden:

My adored wife,
Finally the work of the past year for me and over three years for the nation is completed. The war here is over completely. Of course, we are glad it is over, but to us it is sort of an anti-climax. For nearly two months now, we have completely routed the Germans. During the past few days we have seen steady streams of German soldiers marching to the rear. At some places, even the super-highway is jammed. It was a sight never to forget and one that only happens once in a lifetime. I wanted to get some pictures of it, but my camera was stolen some time ago. I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry. I now have another very good German camera that I took from a German soldier, so am better equipped than before.
Now that we are no longer at war here, I should have more time to write you and expect to get off better than one letter every five or six days. In fact, it's now been seven days this time. I'm sorry, darling. I'll try to make it up to you.

About a week ago I went through the Dachau concentration camp. Any pictures you see or stories you hear are only a small part of the picture. The stench was indescribable as well as the actual scenes. I saw some of the toughest soldiers nauseated. I won't tell you any details for they shouldn't be put on paper. It was the most terrible thing I have ever seen.

In contrast, a couple of days ago I went through one of Hitler's palaces -not the one at Berchtesgaden, but an old Hapsburg palace that he took over. It was a paragon of beauty and symmetry. In the two main floors was not a sign of Nazi Occupation except that most of the furnishings had been looted, mainly from France.

The walls were covered with priceless tapestries, the floors with thick pile rugs. We were nearly the first soldiers in the place and looked through it by ourselves. We went snooping in the cellar and came across two storage rooms. One was nearly filled with medals, of which I have a few choice ones. I also found one silver knife (not table) in the house - the only one there, so I suppose it belonged to Hitler. In another room, we found some stationery, of which this is the choicest. His personal. I have quite a bit of it and will send it home. You can give a sheet to various people, but save some of each kind, especially this with just "Der Führer" on it. I also came across some other excellent souvenirs - One pair of field glasses - the best I have ever seen - fifteen power - this may not mean much to you, but they are two and ½ times as powerful as the ones I and Pop used to have The must be worth three or four hundred dollars. I also have a pair of Luftwaffe swords that are not in the best of shape but will look good fixed up and crossed in my den if I ever have one.

Guess what, Sweets. I shaved off my mustache today - because the war is over. No one noticed it so I guess it couldn't have been so good. I'm not making any plans for a quick return home, beloved, nor am I getting any fancy ideas about it. I would give anything just to spend a few weeks with you, but there is much to be done, both here and in the Orient and I'm sure I'll be one place or the other.

Some will get to go home on their way to the Pacific and rumors are already afloat, but I'm not counting on anything - then we won't have the disappointment.
These Bavarian Alps are really beautiful, dearest mine. They are all snow covered yet, although we are not very high and last week we had snow in Munich. Today was marvelous. The view of the mountains is similar to that from our front yard, though the mountains are much closer and not as high.

During the last mad rush we have been getting practically no mail and I'm way behind, although today I got the letter you wrote on the eve of our anniversary. Sweet - just as they all are - but why not, with the sweetest wife in the world writing them. I wish my letters would get there more regularly. You probably have had a batch since that time, but it is nicer when they come spread over a long time.

Darling, I adore you completely. I don't dream of you often, but that isn't my fault. When I'm awake I can control my thoughts and they always include you. Always I wish you could share the beautiful scenery and the old German cities - Worms, Nurnberg, Augsberg, Munich, Saltzburg and the rest with me. Maybe, in future years, after they are rebuilt we will see them together. Anything we could do together would be wonderful. One thing in particular - I miss you so, Jeanie. I'll always adore you.

Your only Phil
A little picture of you know who.

Capt. Kroon came home six months later. He made a career of the army, taking a reduction in rank to sergeant in order to remain in a downsized postwar military. His last duty post was as an instructor in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Purdue University. Following his retirement, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He died of cancer in 1988. Diane, the first of his three daughters, was born Oct. 30, 1946, and grew up to be my first wife.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bedtime story

I'm a Cancerian (7/14) and Cancer being a water sign, I've always had a certain affinity for water.
I chose an apartment and later, a condominium, because they were on small lakes. I've always felt a sense of exhilaration and awe whenever I see a large body of water, be it an ocean or one of the Great Lakes - anytime I can see water all the way to the horizon I feel strangely at home.
So it should be no big surprise that I was the first of my friends to have a waterbed when they showed up in the early 1970s.
My first wife (there were times when I called her that while we were still married) was, to a certain extent, a good sport and she went along with a lot of my ideas that she doubtless questioned and later probably regretted. Our first waterbed was just a big vinyl mattress that we filled with water. No internal baffles to inhibit wave motion, no liner, no frame and no heater. Just a big bag-o-water on the bedroom floor with enough blankets on it to insulate us from the chilly water within. We even used it to bring down our 2-year-old son's fever once - just laid him down naked on the vinyl and let the water draw the unwanted heat from his body.
Eventually, we built a frame, then stuck padded rails on it.
Hey, it was a new technology and we didn't really know what we were doing.
About 15 years later, in a moment of whimsy, we replaced it with what could only be described as a bordello waterbed: massive pine headboard and footposts supporting an overhead frame filled with six mirrors. I sat on a platform that afforded a half-dozen drawers and came with a heater.
When the marriage came unraveled in the late '80s and my soon-to-be ex found herself with a free hand to decorate as she chose, the monstrous bordello bed went to my son in Cincinnati. He and his wife still have it, sans overhead mirrors, in one of their guest bedrooms.
I bought a more conventional waterbed that I used in two apartments and a condo and eventually moved to the house my new wife and I occupied four years ago.
Over the last couple of years, we noticed the quality of our sleep declining. We'd both crawl out of bed in the mornings stiff and sore. My wife developed a work-related back and shoulder problem because of horrible desk ergonomics at the Gannett newspaper where she worked. It was further aggravated by injuries she suffered in a head-on collision with a blind woman a year ago.
I found I developed back pain if I stayed in bed too long.
We decided it was time for a new bed.
After shopping around and looking at all kinds of exotic and trendy beds - four-posters, sleighs, you name it - we decided we would be better served to put our money into a good mattress and then worry about the furniture side of the equation.
We ended up at the major furniture store in the state where the sales guy gave us a general overview of what they had, then suggested we consider Kingsdown.
Kingsdown has a pretty impressive sales system that includes a pressure sensitive pad you recline on to determine where your individual pressure points are and where you fall on the Kingsdown continuum of softness and firmness. My wife tested as a 2 and I tested as a 3 so the sales guy recommended we flop down on examples of each of the five mattresses to see if those numbers felt right to us.
We agreed upon a #3 kingsize with a basic metal frame.
And we swallowed hard at the final price of about $2,600. It comes with a 70-year warranty, so I figure I'm covered until I'm 129 years old.
It was delivered three weeks ago and I can say in all candor that we've both slept better during this period and anytime we can remember, individually or collectively.
My wife's shoulder pain, which she thought was a permanent feature in her life, is gone. We're both sleeping through the entire night with virtually no flopping around or tossing and turning. And if one of us does roll over or get up, the other remains blissfully unaware of it because there is no motion transfer.
And, of course, our dog loves it (see photo below).
The waterbed went out the second floor bedroom window in pieces and from there into the trash. I can honestly say there isn't anything about it that I miss.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ruthie, who was allowed to nap on our bed this morning because she did not roll in poop after her morning constitutional. BTW, Maria made the quilt. Posted by Hello