Photo Friday, No. 456

Current Photo Friday theme: Landscape 2015

This year I’ve used my camera almost exclusively for work, except for some photos of changes at Houndstooth Hall and the actual hounds in residence. I can only dream of time to see and shoot anything worthy of being called a landscape.

These are dolls that have found their way to me this year, almost all gifts. So we’ll call this Toyland-scape.

Photo Friday, No. 450

Current Photo Friday theme: Road Trip

I do have photos from road trips, but I’m dedicating this Photo Friday to Linda (Raven Moore) Gentile, one of the loveliest people I never met.

I first became acquainted with Linda through mutual blogging/online journaling friends. Over the years, I admired her gentle nature, her nomadic spirit, and her lovely humor. I wrote in my own blog about my enjoyment of her book A Little Twist of Texas, the tale of a road trip she took on her motorcycle, Beastie.

Later, she and her husband Don put most of their stuff in storage and began living on the road in their RV, Harvey. Linda’s passion was finding historical landmarks and historical markers, and she and her fellow travelers recorded them on her website Markeroni. Somewhere along the way, when she found out about my collection of Barbie dolls, she offered to dig through that storage room the next time they were there and send me the two Harley Barbies pictured above. In typical road trip fashion Linda could appreciate, the dolls were lost for a while en route, and we’d both given up on their ever making it to my house, but finally they did.

Harvey became one of the inspirations for part of my novel A Coventry Wedding, which reminds me of another way Linda was generous with me. When I had book signings, she encouraged her Houston-area friends to come see me and buy my novels.

In her quiet, graceful fashion, when Linda became ill with metastatic melanoma, she shared the news with only her family and a few close friends. Since I was a reader of her blog (the link no longer works), I wondered why she’d grown quiet, and my heart ached for Don, her family, and friends when he shared the news of her death in March in an email. As Don said, On the custom of flowers or contributions in her name, she preferred that flowers be left to grow, and suggested we simply “pay it forwards.” Linda’s mindset, intentions, and actions often included “paying it forwards” – altruistically redirecting repayment of her good deeds to others, increasing them, rather than back to herself.

I will think of her now whenever I see wildflowers and historical markers along the highways I drive. I will think of the adventurous spirit that drew her to the United States from England, to build a life with Don on a road less traveled. I will never have the opportunity to meet her in person, so I choose to think of her continuing her journey–not without a few misadventures. Those were the moments that tested her and that she rose above, choosing to look back on them with humor. She had a big heart, a sharp mind, and a gift of sharing both with her readers.

Thank you, Linda, for your many gifts. As the old Irish blessing goes, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields.”

Veterans Day

I shot this photo from my car last week (I was stopped at a traffic light) and thought today was a good opportunity to share it in honor of veterans like my father and brother.

Every time I think I’ll have time to write a post, something else happens. October was a busy month and November promises to be more of the same. So I’m sharing catch-up photos from the past few weeks.

Here are Sarah Beth and Gina Ann the day of their transport getting their travel collars. They arrived safely in Colorado and were adopted the same weekend.

Tim shot this photo with my camera at last week’s transport, and I love it. These are the transport toys that are very loved.

This envelope contains the papers that make it official. We no longer own The Compound. We are tenants until we move into our new home in December.

I do have photos of the new house, but since the seller is still living there and it’s filled with his possessions, I think it would be rude to splash those over the Internet. However, here you can see one of my favorite things about the new property: room for dogs to run. Pollock and Pixie in particular are going to love this.

Meanwhile, we’re putting a lot of our stuff that’s already boxed or binned in storage, including, as I think I mentioned, all the dolls. The other day I pulled up to the storage room and this was on the ground outside. It looks like a gruesome crime scene from “CSI: Mattel!” Fortunately, it didn’t come from one of mine, as they are all still securely packed away.

This is Betsy. Tom and I gave her her freedom ride out of BARC.

We are also fostering her. She’s a breed I’d never heard of: podengo pequeno mix. She’s a little over a year old and as sweet as she can be. She enjoys a peaceful coexistence with Margot and Guinness.

Betsy leaves Thursday for Colorado. It’s been a pleasure to share our home–or the home we’re renting–as part of her journey to her forever home.

100 Happy Days: 98

RPM just turned a year old and volunteer Susie took a cake to RPM’s office today. I had to drop something off there, so I ate a slice–yum!

Someone had also brought a Barbie Potty Training Taffy set, because as all the RPM fosters and volunteers know, almost 3700 dogs and cats transported equals a LOT of pet poop.

I’m thrilled at the success of this organization. And I was also happy because Barbie and Taffy made me think of my own Potty Training set, one that Rhonda and Lindsey gave me back in 2008 on my birthday.

Barbie and Tanner