Life Topics

Dipstitch Podcast

Hello Dilettante Life followers, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  Time to get back in the saddle soon.  I miss my blog.

However, the reason I’ve been absent for so long is I have found a new passion I wanted to tell you about…

I have a new podcast!  It’s called Dipstitch,  a 15-30 minute episode of “sisterly conversation” brought to you each week.  What is sisterly conversation?  Well, my sister Susan and I talk about food, family, faith, dogs, knitting, jobs, holidays, parenthood and EVERYTHING in between.  I know you might be thinking, “this is a chic podcast” but it’s not. Most topics are very relatable and entertaining.  We have some laughs along the way and even have a guest every so often to join in the fun.

Won’t you have a listen?  Our audience is fantastic and makes the podcast worthwhile.  But, we’re looking to grow our fan base by inviting you to listen.  Dipstitch is available on a number of podcast platforms, but the easiest one to use is

To become a loyal listener, go to and in the search box type Dipstitch.  Our podcast page will come up and have a green “Follow Podcast” button on the right side of the screen.  Click on it, and you’ll get an email when a new episode is uploaded.  It’s that simple.  And, if you scroll down, you’ll see Recent Episodes with a link next to it, to “View All”.   One stop shopping.

Thank you so much for being a loyal follower of Dilettante Life.  I hope you will enjoy Dipstitch as much, and become a follower there as well.

Warm Regards,








Life Topics

Shelter in Place

I recommend that you get rescued.  That is, when looking for a dog, let them rescue you.  Sure, there are boutique and purebred dogs that need homes, no doubt.  But, no one abandoned them.  Shelter dogs are waiting for days, weeks, or months for the right person to save.  And if you’re in the market, there is plenty of supply for your demand.

We adopted McDermott (McD) from a shelter over two years ago after the loss of my “once in a lifetime dog” Scout.  I have to admit that I was too quick to get a new dog.  It just didn’t feel right being home without the jingling of dog tags, and a 60 lb. hound sitting in my lap.  I scoured the internet trying to fill a void, an ache, a loss that couldn’t be relieved.  But, I pushed forward looking and imagining what this new dog would be like.

He was a terror.  McD was putting on a hard sell when we met him.  Playing with the other dogs, and running over to lick us; how could we not fall in love?  I held back tears when asked if he was the right dog, because I couldn’t get Scout out of my mind.  That should have been a red flag.   I should have put the brakes on right there and then.  But I didn’t.

After bruises, bite marks, chewed up socks, torn pillows, ripped sweatshirts, mangled baseball hats, and half-eaten flip flops – we did fall in love.  McD has now matured enough so that his destruction has waned.  We did try training, but I was untrainable, so that failed.  However, now he has reached a maturity level, where there are less and less “surprises” when we get home.  We made a solid commitment to rescue this dog, and we weathered the storm.

Time and tolerance has made this adoption work.  I  love McD almost as much as I loved Scout. He needed a home, and we gave him one, where he could get into lots of trouble.  We had thoughts along the way of giving him back because of his unruly behavior.  But, it was up to us to teach him how to be a good dog.  Failure was not an option.

So, adopt a shelter dog.  Shelters are busting at the seams with amazing dogs, who just need
your love and patience.  They need you to teach them what it’s like to be in a loving home.  A place where they can get into a little trouble and not be sent away.  You may be pushed to your limit, but just dig deeper finding the strength to look forward to a new day.  I know I did, and it’s paid off.

I love McD to pieces, and he fits comfortably in my lap.



Life Topics

Wait, What?



The love of a dog is nothing like the love of another Human.  Nothing. Wait, what?


There is an objective to find the companionship of another being; not a lover, not a friend.  No. Wait, what?

A decision is made by one or two, to find the creature to fill a void, to add to the family.  Family, Yes. FAMILY.

They are not a peripheral entity, no, they are part of the family.  They occupy a piece of the heart, wait, yes. The heart.

I wonder if I take you home, will you want to be here?  Am I a good Mommy?  Scratch, rub, hug, wait, what?
Trust me I do love you.  More scratches?

Eat, scratch, lick, love, hugs, and more hugs.

Adopt the baby puppy…they want to be loved.  They need YOU.

Wait, what?

Life Topics

Path of Destruction

Disclaimer, Warning, Attention

These are words in the English language that are sometimes ignored, just like the Agree Box that we check after we were supposed to read the disclaimer and agreement page before downloading software.  It seems like we are bombarded with things that require your attention a few levels deeper than your average daily activity.  Who wants to stop and read a warning, or disclaimer?  I know I don’t.  I’ll take my chances I usually shrug while I sit at my computer.  I’ve got several web browser tabs open, as well as Excel, Word and Email.  I’m not slowing down for something that ultimately doesn’t effect me.  I don’t change my working path for anything, unless it’s about the new dog. That special cute puppy who has decided to enthusiastically tear apart something special, something I love, or anything – JUST ANYTHING – of value.  McDermott cannot be ignored.

My puppy sits under my desk while I work, if he’s not busying himself with destruction.  I look down at his face, and he looks at mine, then nothing.  No acknowledgement from either of us.  I’m still thinking about my Excel sheet, and McDermott, undoubtedly, is thinking about his next “victim.”  We look away and keep working – me on the budget, him I assume on a rug in the next room that looks delicious. He has so many targets in one day, that there really is no guessing what will be ruined next.  We try to protect shoes by putting them up high or, closing closet doors to evade roaming sharp baby teeth.  This doesn’t help.  As I finish work, and look down at the floor in my office, he is chewing a plant.  All my efforts to puppy-proof my house and the plant gets wasted.  I’m done guessing.  I’ll have to play a measured game of defense, while taking deep calming breaths.

Here is a Disclaimer that should be read by anyone getting a puppy: “Please be aware that this cute little furry creature is not what it appears to be, AND has the ability to destroy everyday common house items including, but not limited to, blankets, pillows, socks, plants, table legs, wall baseboards, shoes, boots, remote controls, bed spreads, couches, newspapers, and computers.   We knew that a puppy would be a challenge, but there’s no puppy like McDermott.   He has a bed full of chewy toys to satisfy is biting instinct, but instead he savors fine shoe leather and well-constructed snow boots.

Warning: if you take your eyes off him at any point of the day, you’re a sucker.  And, he knows it.  This is where the crate comes in handy…or is SUPPOSED to come in handy.  This wonderful cushy little secluded paradise (as some owners describe it) is his bane.  He absolutely hates the crate and therefor for a long time, I hated the crate.  Not anymore.  I use the crate like an over exhausted mom, getting a break from her kids.  In he goes if I need a break from removing couch fabric from his mouth, or when he gets an attitude that causes him to bite me freely.  The crate is my best friend.  All that is required is a treat and a little covert planning.

Attention is the calming factor that can’t be ignored.  If McDermott is getting enough attention, life is good.  There is a clear correlation between belly scratches and the level of strewn objects throughout the house.  However, even with attention this little creature gets a look in his eyes that says, “what can I get into?… what can I tear apart?”  We know that following this calm period, there will be demolition of some kind.  You can bet on it.

Bottom line is, we are going to see McDermott through this very difficult stage.  After all, Scout our beloved Hound went through a similar stage and he turned out to be an amazing dog.  I guess we ought to give McDermott the same chance.  Sure, we’ll be shoeless, and have half a couch to sit on.  OK, we can always sand down the teeth marks on the baseboards and re-stain them.  Hey, I never liked that shirt that’s now in shreds.  Why not buy more plants? With a firm hand, an open heart and a butt-load of patience we should bring McDermott to full maturity, preferably alive.  After all, between us, we’ve raised 4 children (none of which have pets today). How hard could a dog be?

Life Topics

Bless McDermott

I’m still in love with my first love.

A new puppy that is playful and happy, but he can’t live up to all that I had.  He never will  be  the hound I knew and loved.

Please, Lord, help me to love this new one.  Help me to understand and appreciate all that he brings into my new life.  Help me to erase some of the memories that I still hold dear.  I don’t want to let it all go, but I have to remove myself from the memories if I am to be a good mother.

Bless McDermott, let me be the mother I need to be, let me love him like he has been the only one.
He deserves that.
Let me give scratches and praise like I’ve never done before.

I am still in love with my hound, but will learn to love another.

Bless McDermott.

Life Topics

In the mouth

Everything goes into the mouth; toys, socks, shoes and whatever is laying in his path.  There is a fine line between the habits of a young child and a new puppy.  The destruction can seem epic, or at least serious enough to cause momentary insanity.  I’ve bid goodbye to a handmade quilt I made that was disassembled because of boredom, with the hand sewn seams ripped apart by sharp white baby teeth.  I wanted to cry as I looked at the batting laying all around him on the bed like happy puffy clouds.  His tail was wagging when I walked in on the perfect storm – teething puppy and delicious quilt.

The quilt was only the beginning.  Did I mention the small rug that was ripped apart?  Oh, that was a proud moment for McDermott.  Pulling the threads up from the mat with intense concentration, occasionally chewing a stray thread.  He stopped mid pull to look at me with great pride. “Look what I did Mommy” shined in his eyes.  Oh the joy he felt in sharing his accomplishment.  Again, I wanted to scream, but instead pulled the rug away from him, telling myself, “he’s only a baby, he’s only a baby.”  I walked off to look for a chew toy to keep him busy until the next disaster.

If the oral fixation isn’t enough to drive me crazy, there is the jumping.  Oh yes, jumping to eat, jumping for attention, jumping when excited, jumping when bored.  This exercise is usually followed by frenzied running about the house with his oversized paws, sliding into couches and tables with his long legs getting wrapped around each other.  His favorite thing to do is jump on the end table, and launch himself, flying high, onto the couch.  I have to admit this makes me laugh every time, even though I shouldn’t let him do it.  If I was an Olympic Judge, I’d rate his landing a 10.0.  And, I think he believes this IS a competition because he sits at the end of the couch waiting for a treat after his performance.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my new puppy and look forward to him mellowing out with age, just like the rest of us.  For the most part, he is well behaved, but in those moments of silence I can be sure something is dreadfully wrong.  “Why is it so quiet?” I think to myself.  And, sure enough, there is always something in his mouth; a shoe, a  rug, underware, or a slipper.  The other day, he was gnawing on the leg of my antique Empire table.  Needless to say, his strong little jaws caused extensive damage. I just shook my head, and looked for a chew toy for him.  Sigh.

Like all new mothers, there are days that I reach exhaustion very quickly.   I am confident in my reserve of patients, knowing that shit happens.  I try to keep up with our training lessons, but his cuteness tends to win me over.  I don’t want to be “the bad guy.”  Jamie is the alpha-dog, I’m just one of the pack.  He follows me everywhere and loves me unconditionally, and that makes me happy.  After all, isn’t that the reason we get puppys?  His playfulness is infectious, his kisses are pure comfort.

He will outgrow puppyhood one day, so I should appreciate the fanatical energy while it’s here.
You can always buy new rugs and new shoes.  Not sure I can replace the Empire table, but I’ll learn to live with the chewed leg.  Silence will not always scare me, it will be a time to sit with my dog and enjoy his company.

Until then…where is McDermott? Where did I put his chew toy?!?!

Life Topics

The Lake


A house alive come summer
breezes.  The lake becomes a
gathering place for song and

Nurture what you have internal,
it lays waiting in the winter.  The
buds will bring out what’s forgotten.
Splashing and laughter paint
the sky.

Make warm memories, and be sure
to remember.
Time can look through the window
with narrow eyes and only a spark of light.
Dilute the unforgiven, and breathe in
deep comfort.

Water waves slowly,  planning  your daydreams.
Move in harmony with the clouds.   Look at
the dog chasing the ball.  Paddle strong and
hold on tight, diversions await you.

Shake when you get out of the water.

Life Topics


Crouching down I leaned his head against my chest and reached over to cut his claws.  Scout was laying on his bed, content after drinking a bowl of cereal milk.  Now was the time to move in. He flinched every time the clippers came near his paw.  I know he trusts me, but this exercise is too much for him sometimes.  Slowly I cut each front claw being careful not to cut below the quick.
With the snap of each cut, I could feel his body tense as his mind raced to find an escape route.

Halfway through, he struggled to stand up, but I pushed him back down to finish the job.  Grabbing his hind lower leg, I turned the paw so I had a vantage point.  He pushed against my chest trying to move me away. The pads of his feet were rough, so I firmly placed my fingers between each one, while
gripping the top of the paw with my thumb. The back feet are tricky.  It was hard to tell how much to cut.  Snap, shiver, snap shiver.  I was almost done, as I reached for the second hind leg.

Taking the last paw in my hand, I enveloped him to keep him calm and to be precise.  He was anything but calm.   I didn’t want to miscalculate the cut length and hurt him.  Snap.  Snap.  Snap.  Scout  suddenly pushed himself into a sitting position, and was halfway to his feet, when I saw last claw that I trimmed.  I made him bleed.  Enough was enough, he wasn’t playing anymore.  I felt so guilty as I watched him jump from his bed to cross the room.  He layed down behind Jamie, giving me a distrusting hound dog look.  I almost completed this pedicure without incident, but now I’m the bad guy.

Note to self (and others):  leave the claw trimming to the professionals.  Even if you have the confidence to do-it-yourself, in the end it’s not worth it.  You can lose the trust of your best friend.  Although, we are rebuilding our relationship with scratches and delicious cheese.