Hello Friend, Welcome Home

Hello friend, welcome home

Hello friend, welcome home.*

Dear Max, we are all so happy you are here with us. I hope you will continue blogging from across the Bridge like I do. Someday. When you feel up to it.

(I know Daddy likes black & white line drawings best. ❤️💕)

*Trick of the Tail

Gone Baby (Blanket), Gone

Today my dad announced that his church secured a shipping container and was taking donations to be sent to Ukrainian refugees in Europe. I told some neighbors, and we all scrambled to gather what things we could to help. I donated these baby blankets that I had made. My mom asked if I were sure that I wanted to do that. Sure, ’cause now I have an excuse to make more!

Years ago, as an exercise, I read a children’s book in Chinese. It was about Anna from the Ukraine, and it followed the story of her scarf. Her childhood scarf moved with her through her life…sometimes functioning as her babushka, later as a picnic blanket when dating her soon-to-be-husband. Later it was her shawl as she and her husband moved to America. When they started their family, it became the baby’s blanket. Eventually the scarf was so worn that the now-grown daughter made it into a quilt that she used for her own baby. It makes me wonder if one of the modest blankets donated in the coming months might someday have a similarly interesting story to tell.

Would of the puppies in Europe like some of my baths? I would gladly donate them.

Cookie Aftermath

Image 1: Woman sitting on couch eating cookies. Small puppy in green sweater comes over, puts his ear against her ample stomach and asks: “So, when is the blessed event?”

Image 2: Puppy in green sweater sails backwards after a Pow! Right in the kisser!

Hey, where are all the Bitey images? Sorry I don’t have any today. We’ll have to make do with imagination.

February 2022 came in with neither a bang nor a whimper but dizziness from the first day to the last (but as far as I can tell, not vertigo even though my ears ring loudly). As a companion it brought along such horribly cloudy thinking that I could barely function. I spent many afternoons asleep on the floor because I couldn’t do anything else. One day I woke up surrounded by tennis balls and a sleeping puppy. Even the Tobester found this condition annoying.

Post shut down in this area, it generally takes 2-6 months to get an appointment with a doctor. I decided to make my first with an eye doctor to see if my glasses were at fault. By the time I could get in, the calendar had turned to March, and my dizziness slowly started to fade. The brain fog hung around long enough to make sure I thoroughly embarrassed myself trying to talk to the doctor, though.

The take away from the appointment was that one eye had changed but the other was basically the same. What concerned her was the bad state my eyes are in and the transient drooping/numbness I have on one side of my face. She recommended I research Myasthenia Gravis to see if the symptoms matched my condition. If so, see a neurologist right away. In the meantime I desperately need medication for my eyes that I can’t afford.

When I got home, I was a dutiful patient and started the supplements the doctor recommended and stepped up the eye drops/ointments I use. I researched the conditions she suggested, then I started looking into assistance and grants to get the medication I need. At the moment, I am still waiting to hear what I might quality for. After that, I will better know which treatment to seek.

While I’m upset that I have lost so much time that should have been spent working, I’m hopeful that March will bring better news.

Then maybe I won’t have to spend another month drowning my sorrows in cookies.

Don’t look at me. I’m not going to say anything.

End of an Era?

After seeing the small piggy quilt I recently made, a friend asked me to make a larger one for her. As I was putting it together I realized that making it had used up all of my muslin and batting. My first thought was to start watching for sales to stock up again, but then I wondered if perhaps the time to retire hadn’t come. After all, how often can one make a clean break from something without having leftovers to deal with?

Piggy Bank

Schweinhund

When Pigs Fly

So little piggies, run free and be happy knowing that you might be the last of your kind.

If they’re not real bacon, I really couldn’t care what you do with those blasted pigs.

Cairn terrier puppy tears up box of tissues.

If you think you are going to do something other than pay attention to me, you’re crazy.

I will make you stop working!

*************************

Dream Our World

Come join the boys on an adventure at the Museum of the Imagination where they explore the world of art from a canine perspective and enjoy a day of unsupervised fun!

Dream Our World is available from my shop at L Bowman Studios.

Love Train

.
Watch where you're going you little runt! There ain't no stoppin' the Love Train, baby!

This used to happen a lot when the boys were together. Toby would ride his peppermint backward around the room until he inevitably ran into sleeping Geordie’s face. I would say, “And a good time was had by all” but Geordie would probably bite me.

For all the romantics like Toby out there, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Toby, do you have something you want to tell me? No.

**************************

Oil painting of Westie puppy.

Forgot to get your sweetest something for Valentine’s Day? Then order a custom pet portrait from my shop! Tell your loved one that you ordered it weeks ago, and it will still be a little while before the paint dries. He or she will be so happy with the results that they won’t mind the wait.

L Bowman Studios

Gender Reveal

A few nights ago, I was throwing tennis balls for Toby. One time, I decided to let Rah Ru the tiger throw one of the balls.


In this picture, I am hugging a sock. – Rah Ru

Afterward, I praised the toy, ”Good boy, Rah Ru! Great throw!” Then I started to wonder, was Rah Ru a boy or a girl? Did Toby think of his tiger as having a gender? The idea dawned on me, why not ask him?

Boy or Girl

I gathered up the B and G flashcards so I could ask Toby “Boy or Girl?”. We went through a quick list of humans and pups we knew so I could make sure we were on the same page. He got them all right. I moved on to the toys and asked him, ”Is Rah Ru a boy or a girl?” In case you were wondering, Rah Ru is a girl. (Oops. Bad mommy. )

As for Blue Puppy, Blue puppy is a boy.

Toy kitty with stuffing ripped out of its head.

Humpty Kitty is a girl

Tiger turned out to be a girl too.

Mommy, however, is still a boy.

This exercise turned out to be a breakthrough moment for Toby and me. Since then he has been excited to do flashcards. I think this gives him a chance to tell me things he otherwise couldn’t.

😊

The “C” Word or The Winter of Our Death

No, not that C word.* Not even Christmas. I am afraid I have the other C word – covid. I haven’t had a test to make sure, but from my symptoms it would appear I have omicron. I guess from now on I will have to post using a Ouija Board or spirit box. My biggest disappointment so far is that the Other Side looks much like where I came from. I was hoping for more clouds.

This is the first time I have been sick in a while. The last time was shortly after Geordie died. (Remember those Fever Dreams?) I don’t know if Toby were still grieving or if he were too young to process my being sick, but this puppy will NOT let me out of his sight now. He insists we play ball or share food or hang out together at all times. He is fascinated and amused as my voice comes and goes. He acts as he’s never seen anyone cough before. It is hilarious. Also, I can get nothing done with him glued to my side.

Hey Mom, can we do something? Can we play ball? Wanna share a snack? I would really like to go for a walk. What do you say?

I have been curious if psoriasis might behave any differently if I were sick. People with autoimmune disorders are thought to have very robust immune systems that just get turned around and attack the body instead of invaders. I have wondered if my immune system had something constructive to do if it might stop attacking me. So far that seems to be happening. I no longer look as much like a burn patient, and my joints only hurt about half as much. Hey, I’ll take it.

If anyone has sent us Christmas cards, unfortunately we won’t be able to pick them up until after Christmas ’cause we’re not allowed out in public. We will still appreciate them, though!

Christmas card torn up by a naughty Cairn terrier puppy.

I like eatin’ ’em! – Toby

****************************

It may be too late to shop for Christmas (and I can’t go to the PO to ship anyway. See above), but this would be a great way to spend that holiday loot that you know you’re going to get!

Cover of the book Dream Our World

Dream Our World follows Bitey and Toby as they visit the museum of their dreams. If you haven’t read it yet, it is fun for all ages. (And Toby says it tastes delicious as well. I don’t know; I’ll just have to take his word for it.)

***************************

*I do have a cousin who started chemo on Friday. If you have any room in your prayers for him, they would be much appreciated.

Ghost Rider

Great googly-moogly, what happened to you?  Oh come on, it's just psoriasis.  I've had it for a while.  Mommy is Ghost Rider?
So h ow come you haven't drawn yourself like this so far?  Are you kidding?  I get enough grief over my weird eyes and my wonky knees.  I can just imagine what folks would say about this.  Mom!  Mom!  Here's a list of them who done me wrong so you can exact revenge on 'em!
Dogs offer commentary on their mom's condition.
Lemme guess.  Does it involve me wearing a paper bag?  Maybe...?  Where's your motorcycle?  Outside?

You would think that masks would have been my friends this past year, hiding my appearance from inquiring eyes. On the contrary. If you’ve ever wondered what that stuff feels like, it is like one of those horribly painful sunburns where even the softest silk feels like sandpaper against your skin – where simply moving is agony – where you absolutely positively do not want some smart aleck little brother to come along and slap you for the sheer enjoyment of your misery. Trying to wear a raspy mask over psoriasis is actually quite painful.

No, that is too good.  Pull some fibers on this part so Americans' noses itch.  Then they'll  have to scratch and will give themselves the flu.  Mwahaha!

Despite how much this looks exactly like one of my drawings, it is actually borrowed from the internet.

Americans are very polite about something like this. Nobody pointed at me and shouted, “Eww, that’s grody to the max!” In fact, they said nothing. If I brought up my appearance, though, they would jump in with tons of questions and healthy curiosity. Speaking as the resident weirdo, insults aren’t nice, but saying “Hey, what happened?” is perfectly fine. It’s OK to ask questions. The elephant in the room knows it’s there.

Getting to wear my unique gift from God on my face has made things harder when it comes to business. It is difficult to approach people with confidence and try to introduce them to my work. It is also more difficult to get a service sector job where you are the face of a business. While no one will admit that “fugly” is the reason for not hiring you, you will simply find that someone else always gets the job.

Have I tried medical care for dealing with this condition? Yes. The doctor charged me $300 for a 5 min consultation. Her advice? Hydrocortisone. Mmm hmm…Yup, I am definitely in the wrong line of work.

At least Real Life Toby doesn’t care about how I look.

Mom, mostly I look at you from this angle, and all I see is up your broken nose.

*************************

Royal Purple Velvet Pillows are now back in stock! These 10″ pillows would make a wonderful gift for the whimsical child in your life – or the whimsical child inside yourself! Each pillow is trimmed with gold braid and has a silky tassel at each corner. The center is secured by two matching fabric buttons which give the pillow a pleasingly plump look.

These pillows and other fine gifts are available from my shop at L Bowman Studios. All items are made in America and ready to ship.

Touch

So, everyone has been practicing doing tricks and training with their pups this weekend, not just eating turkey and pumpkin pie, right?

Geordie at about the age when we did Agility.

Back when Geordie was a tiny puppy, I took him to an Agility class to try to find a way to wear him out. (You can stop laughing now.) For it to count when a dog comes down the incline, he/she has to touch the yellow bar at the bottom with a paw. Most dogs like to jump over that spot, so we were told to hold our hands down and teach the pup to touch our hands as they went past. That would slow them enough to get them to touch the yellow line.

See the source image

Not my image.

All the other dogs realized that they were supposed to bump their human’s hand with their noses as they went past. Geordie, on the other paw, was very literal. If I held out my hand, he would stop and touch it with his hand. That slowed him too much, and he would end up with a lousy time.

For my boy I had to teach him “paw touch” and “nose touch”. Later I applied the commands to a number of different things. If your dog is good at paw touch, a nifty way to use the skill is to have them press down on the ribbon as you tie a bow on Christmas presents. Just for fun, I would let Geordie choose which paper I used on which gift. That was another paw touch moment. He had fun doing that.

Probably the easiest ways to teach Touch is by example. I would sit down on the floor with Geordie and touch a ball and say, “Mommy touch ball, now Geordie touch ball”. When he was first learning, I might prompt him by pointing at his paw then the ball. As soon as he touched it, I would cheer and give him a treat. As the pup gains confidence, you can have him touch things that aren’t immediately in front of him. Have him walk several steps to touch something. Eventually he can go across a room to do Touch. Most dogs will touch things with their paws. The goal here is to associate the word with the action so that you have a command.

As I worked with Geordie, I taught him the names for his body parts. He knew ear, eye, nose, front paw, back paw, fur, back, tummy and tail. After I taught him his body parts, I would ask him “Where is mommy’s paw?” or tell him “Touch mommy’s ear”, and he would have to touch the right body part. The one that made both Geordie and Toby laugh was “Nose touch mommy’s nose”.

If you were looking for ways to teach your pup Touch, these are some fun ways to incorporate the command into everyday life.

Everyday life? Do I look like an everyday dog to you?!

*********************

Dream Our World

Looking for stocking stuffers for the holidays? Then look no more! Dream Our World is here in the country and available for immediate purchase. Loved by old and young, Bitey and Toby’s adventures in Dream Our World are sure to make everyone smile!