Sunday, July 24, 2016

Some of Our Favorite Dog Quotes

Our family
Here are a couple of our favorite quotes about dogs to remember! 

"Until one has loved a dog, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France.

"If there are no dogs in heaven, then I want to go where they went." - Will Rogers.

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
M.K. Clinton (author, The Returns)
We miss our Buzz Wyatt

We miss our Sprite
“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”Dean Koontz  

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”  - Groucho Marx

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Great Art and Photography from our Friends in Colorado

Credit: Cathleen Savage Art
If you're looking for some of the most amazing photos and gorgeous artwork, check out the websites of a doubly
-talented married couple: Don and Cathleen Savage.
  Don takes amazing photographs of nature while Cathleen paints things in nature.Here are their websites and descriptions.

Cathleen Savage Art:
Cathleen is a classically trained painter working in watercolor and oils. 
Credit: Cathleen Savage Art
She said:  My paintings provide a close up, intimate look at the subject, whether it is a living bird, a wild animal, or a seashell on the beach. Although I do work in a realistic style, I attempt to do more than simply document. My goal is to capture the spirit, the essence, of the subject and to infuse it with life that creates a bond with the viewer. Many of my subjects are those of nature which, to me, is precious and fragile, requiring and deserving special attention.
I believe also that each work of art captures a bit of the energy of the artist and transfers that energy back to the viewer. With each painting, I share with you a bit of my soul.  --  Cathleen Savage


Introduction  Don and Cathleen live in Colorado Springs. He isa photo enthusiast who has been shooting for most of the past 40 years. Check out Don's book of photographs of Yosemite:

CAPTION:  The Milky Way looking splendid above Cuchara Pass in southern Colorado. I shot this as part of a pano, which I'm still working on. The reddish clouds below the Milky Way are lit up with light pollution from towns miles away beyond the Spanish Peaks to the north east. Credit: Don Savage Photography
CAPTION: Fantastic fantasy gardens in Vermont. Shooting towards the Sun with an infrared camera usually means a shot with a lot of big flares, but I thought this one may work out. I think it did, and I don't mind the flares.
Credit: Don Savage Photography
Winter scene: Credit: Don Savage Photography




Friday, July 22, 2016

Health Update: Dolly and Rob - Good news for one!

Tyler and Dolly check out dogs in the waiting room
Dolly and I (Rob) have been dealing with health issues for quite a while. There's good news for Dolly thankfully!

NO MORE EYE ULCER! - On a visit to the Dog Ophthalmologist this week, the doctor confirmed that the refractory ulcer on Dolly's left eye has finally healed!

SUCH A PATIENT GIRL - Dolly sat perfectly still and let the doctor shine a light in her eyes, put dye in her eyes to check for the ulcer, and put other drops in. Dolly didn't flinch. She is so good. 

HOW IT HEALED -  We noticed that this time the contact lense had remained in her eye for about 6 days, allowing the cells under it to heal. Dolly is also grateful to be done with the 6 drops of medicine in her eye three times a day.

 Of course, Tyler came for support, and to bark at the other dogs in the waiting room. 

CLOUDINESS ISSUE IN BOTH EYES NOW -  Now, she gets one drop of in each eye to counteract cloudiness (it's supposed to be fluid build up), and it has made her right eye more clear over the last 2 weeks.
Dolly and Tyler wait for the doctor
GETTING TO THE "ROOT" OF ROB'S ISSUE - last week I had the root canal in the upper molar where 2 or 3 tooth roots had grown into the sinus! The root had created a pathway for mouth bacteria to go into the sinus and infect it (thus, the 3 plus month sinus infection). So, after a test on the tooth, an Endodontist concluded it was dead (he put dry ice against it and I didn't feel it - and thought that was a good thing. It wasn't) and it needed a root canal.

PAINLESS! - The Endodontist I went to was amazing... it was actually painless (except for the 2 tiny needles with the numbing agent). The tooth had a crown on it, so he went through the crown and did the root canal.

IT'S NOT OVER UNTIL IT'S OVER - So, that should cut off the problem... EXCEPT on Sunday night, I realized one side of crown had actually broken off exposing the dead tooth with the root canal. That meant Another dentist Appt... 
CROWN REMOVAL - So, the dentist couldn't repair the crown so it had to be taken off (drilled and split off) and now I have Temporary crown. 
(this tooth has now cost me almost $3,000 in the last 4 years. Yeah ONE tooth).

A RETURN TRIP TO SINUSITIS CITY- Unfortunately, the root canal wasn't done quickly enough to prevent a re-infection in my sinuses, so it's back to Sinusitis City for me this week again. I'm on a 6th Round of Antibiotics now, for another 3 weeks. Sigh.  Maybe I'll be 100% by the end of August...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Read President Obama's Open Letter to America's Law Enforcement Community

  Recently one political party (conservatives) have tried to make the President and the Democratic party appear as being "against the police." That could not be more false. Below is a letter penned by the President that was sent to all police around the U.S. BTW- We are friends with several police officers and thought this was SO important to share.

Read President Obama's Open Letter to America's Law Enforcement Community

The President: "Every day, you confront danger so it does not find our families … We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you."  In the wake of the tragedies in Dallas and Baton Rouge, President Obama penned a letter to the men and women of America's law enforcement community. The President's letter was shared with officers around the country.

Here is a transcript of the President's letter: 
To the brave members of our Nation’s law enforcement community:

Every day, you confront danger so it does not find our families, carry burdens so they do not fall to us, and courageously meet test after test to keep us safe.  Like Dallas officer Lorne Ahrens, who bought dinner for a homeless man the night before he died, you perform good deeds beyond the call of duty and out of the spotlight.  Time and again, you make the split-second decisions that could mean life or death for you and many others in harm’s way.  You endure the tense minutes and long hours over lifetimes of service.

Every day, you accept this responsibility and you see your colleagues do their difficult, dangerous jobs with equal valor.  I want you to know that the American people see it, too.  We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you.  And just as your tight-knit law enforcement family feels the recent losses to your core, our Nation grieves alongside you.  Any attack on police is an unjustified attack on all of us.

I’ve spent a lot of time with law enforcement over the past couple of weeks.  I know that you take each of these tragedies personally, and that each is as devastating as a loss in the family.  Sunday’s shooting in Baton Rouge was no different.  Together, we mourn Montrell Jackson, Matthew Gerald, and Brad Garafola.  Each was a husband.  Each was a father.  Each was a proud member of his community.  And each fallen officer is one too many.  Last week, I met with the families of the Dallas officers who were killed, and I called the families of those who were killed in the line of duty yesterday in Baton Rouge.  I let them know how deeply we ache for the loss of their loved ones.

Some are trying to use this moment to divide police and the communities you serve.  I reject those efforts, for they do not reflect the reality of our Nation.  Officer Jackson knew this too, when just days ago he asked us to keep hatred from our hearts.  Instead, he offered—to protestors and fellow police officers alike—a hug to anyone who saw him on the street.  He offered himself as a fellow worshipper to anyone who sought to pray.  Today, we offer our comfort and our prayers to his family, to the Geralds and the Garafolas, and to the tight-knit Baton Rouge law enforcement community.

As you continue to serve us in this tumultuous hour, we again recognize that we can no longer ask you to solve issues we refuse to address as a society.  We should give you the resources you need to do your job, including our full-throated support.  We must give you the tools you need to build and strengthen the bonds of trust with those you serve, and our best efforts to address the underlying challenges that contribute to crime and unrest.
President's letter to law enforcement As you continue to defend us with quiet dignity, we proclaim loudly our appreciation for the acts of service you perform as part of your daily routine.  When you see civilians at risk, you don’t see them as strangers.  You see them as your own family, and you lay your life on the line for them.  You put others’ safety before your own, and you remind us that loving our country means loving one another.  Even when some protest you, you protect them.  What is more professional than that?  What is more patriotic?  What is a prouder example of our most basic freedoms—to speech, to assembly, to life, and to liberty?  And at the end of the day, you have a right to go home to your family, just like anybody else.

Robert Kennedy, once our Nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement official, lamented in the wake of unjust violence a country in which we look at our neighbors as people “with whom we share a city, but not a community.”  This is a time for us to reaffirm that what makes us special is that we are not only a country, but also a community.  That is true whether you are black or white, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a police officer or someone they protect and serve.

With that understanding—an understanding of the goodness and decency I have seen of our Nation not only in the past few weeks, but throughout my life—we will get through this difficult time together.

President Obama's letter to law enforcementWe will do it with the love and empathy of public servants like those we have lost in recent days.  We will do it with the resilience of cities like Dallas that quickly came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding.  We will do it with the grace of loved ones who even in their grief have spoken out against vengeance toward police.  We will do it with the good will of activists like those I have sat with in recent days, who have pledged to work together to reduce violence even as they voice their disappointments and fears.
As we bind up our wounds, we must come together to ensure that those who try to divide us do not succeed.  We are at our best when we recognize our common humanity, set an example for our children of trust and responsibility, and honor the sacrifices of our bravest by coming together to be better.

Thank you for your courageous service.  We have your backs.

Barack Obama

The National Fraternal Order of Police shared the letter on its Facebook page, and offered this comment: 

The reason this letter has value is that we want and deserve to change the National Dialogue. The people of this country respect law enforcement. Now we continue to speak out about the issues that have helped create disconnects with members of the communities to work so hard to protect.
 We can and do provide the best quality law enforcement that we can but we cannot be held responsible for the social issues such as poverty, lack of mental health services, unemployment, and abject poverty. The work now is to assist our communities by continuing to recognize that we are but one spoke in the wheel and we will do our part. Now it's time for politicians and government to assist us in working in the communities we have always worked in to make life better for all Americans.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Italy Blog #27: Florence: Ancient Restoration Workshop

The Ancient Restoration Workshop
In today's 27th blog about Florence, Italy we take you to peek through a window into the Historic Ancient Restoration Workshop.

DAVID "BORN" / SCULPTED HERE - The ancient, but still active workshop of the Cathedral, where the greatest artists of the past worked, where Michelangelo carved the famous statue of David!

USED TODAY - Today dedicated craftsmen still work there to restore and maintain the great monumental and sculptural heritage of the St. Mary of the Flower Cathedral complex. The sculptors and stonemasons actually use the same tools as Michelangelo, dedicated to preserving not only the art but also the traditions of the trade.

The craftsmen and women still restore pieces from the facade of the Cathedral today. 
left side of workshop
right side of workshop
David (replica)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Italy Trip #26: Florence Del Doumo Museum: Golden Doors, Unattractive Statue

 Welcome to the 26th blog of our Italy tour. On this blog we'll show you Golden Doors and Ugly Statue in the Opera Del Duomo Museum of Florence.

1) GOLDEN DOORS - The central courtyard displays Ghiberti's original Gates of Paradise as their restoration is completed: the original doors facing the Duomo can be admired in their magnificent golden splendor and up close. 
Tom at the Golden Doors
Rob in front of the replica doors
The Gates of Paradise
  These were originally on the "Baptistry" building outside the Cathedral. They faced the Cathedral and were removed and restored, now housed in the museum. There are replicas in their place.  We took a picture of Tom at the real doors and Rob at the replica doors on the Baptistry building outside. 
close up of door handles
close up of door figures in 3-D

3-D FIGURES:  The figures on the door were carved in 3-D, so we took some close up photos. 

2) THE MOST UNATTRACTIVE STATUE - One of the most grotesque statues (in our opinion) was of Mary Magdelene of the bible. According to, "A late work by the great artist Donatello, whose other pieces in this museum demonstrate his wide stylistic range, Mary Magdalen is shown as a penitent hermit, all traces of worldly beauty gone. The browned wood gives her the
Mary Magdelene
appearance of a mummy but this wasn’t entirely intentional – it was originally covered with gesso and some elements, like her hair, were gilded (highlighted with gold leaf). Made in the mid 1450s, the elder Donatello was surely thinking about ageing and death; this state of mind must have been a factor in the creation of this and other works like the pulpits in San Lorenzo."


Monday, July 18, 2016

Italy Trip #25: Opera Del Duomo Museum Highlights

Welcome to the 25th blog of our Italy tour. On this blog we'll show you some of the amazing things in the Opera Del Duomo Museum of Florence. 
Main part of museum with many sculptures

Statues in the courtyard
WHAT IS THE OPERA DEL DUOMO? - It's actually the Cathedral Workshop or "works commission." It was founded by the Republic of Florence in 1296 to oversee the construction of the new cathedral and its bell tower. In 1436, the Cathedral was finished with the completion of Brunelleschi's dome.Since then, the main task for the Opera del Duomo has been to conserve the monuments - including the Baptistry of San Giovanni. In 1891, the Museum was founded (according to Following are some of the highlights.

One of 2 choir lofts

1) BIG INSIDE COURTYARD - The first part of the museum displays many Gothic sculptures that were inside the cathedral and on its first facade. 

Courtyard statues
 2) TWO SCULPTED CHOIR LOFTS - These once stood in the Duomo: one was sculpted by Luca della Robbia (1431-38) and the other by Donatello (1433-39).
Nice butt!

 3) The museum also displays construction materials and instruments used for Brunelleschi's dome, such as pulleys, buckets and brick molds. (we didn't take pictures because pulleys and buckets aren't that exciting!)

Pieta with Jesus' broken leg

4) Michelangelo’s Florence Pietà (Jesus with the broken leg) - On the landing between the two floors is Michelangelo's Pietà (begun around 1550) that used to stand in the Duomo. It is widely believed that he intended it for his own tomb; the hooded figure of Nicodemus is often interpreted as a self-portrait. The damage to Christ's left leg and arm is believed to have been inflicted by Michelangelo himself in frustration at his failing skills.

NEXT: The Museum's Golden Doors and Ugly Statue!

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

Great Books by our friends

Great Books by our friends
Check out these great books (yeah, Rob's are in there, too)

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next

Podcast of Rob's 50 min. interview on Paranormal Filler Radio 7/13/14