50 for 50 #38 – Osaka Japanese Resturant

Karen and Osaka in front of the Osaka Restaurant

Today to celebrate my 50th year we drove to Provo and ate at Osaka on Center Street. We use to live less than a mile away but what this place reminds me of most is when I did Christmas windows out of candy for Provo City Arts Council. I did my window in Osaka all but the very first year that I did a window. Mary was always so nice to work with and she always wanted to keep my window up until after Valentines day. By then they were pretty faded and certainly ready to take down. She actually still has the focal point from one of the windows in her lobby. The year our theme was Christmas Around the World I made a life-size Japanese woman in a Kimono covered with sliced jelly belly candy. She has gotten a bit dusty over the years but for the most part she is still in pretty good shape.

Each year we did a window, Mary would give us a gift certificate to her restaurant. And I still had some money left on the last one she gave me. Also one of my fellow puppy raisers has a dog about the same age as Yakira whose name is Osaka. When Karen got Osaka off the truck and thought it would be fun to take our pups to Osaka and have lunch. Well it has almost been a year and we finally got it done. I forgot to take my camera today but I took a couple of shots of Karen and Osaka in front of Osaka with her camera. I’m sure she will share the photo with me then I can post it here. Zodiac was a good boy and resisted playing with Osaka under the table until it was about time to leave.

Yakira ended up having to stay home. She has been given no car travel until Monday as part of dealing with her anxiety during the trip to Denver last week. I’ll have to find a photo of the candy windows I did at Osaka and post them here also. Today is another one of those lovely fall days with blue skies and nice temperatures.


Retiring a Guide Dog

I think the hardest thing about having a guide dog is probably their retirement. The average guide dog works for about seven years, so most handlers have to go through this process several times in their lives. There are three basic reasons that a guide dog retires. The most common is age. Just like with people, dogs eventually get too old to do the work of a guide dog. For most dogs this is about 9 or 10 years old. Another reason for retiring a guide dog is health. Some dog develop health problems that make it difficult or impossible to work. The last reason is some dogs just decide they don’t want guide anymore and are ready for the more relaxed life of being a pet. This is sometime brought on by stress or a traumatic incident while working as a guide dog.

Whatever the reason for retiring a guide it is a difficult and painful process for the handler. Guide Dogs for the Blind has a blog set up for “remembering the people and dogs of Guide Dogs for the Blind.” Some of the most resent post include:

Marly: Gone But Not Forgotten (a tribute by Juliet Cody to her first guide dog)

One of the Greatest Guide Dog Retirement Jobs Ever! (the story of guide dog Leslie and the second career her family found for her when she had difficulty with retirement)

Mathew: The Dog with a Heart of Gold (this dog was retired early due to sever allergies)

Remembering Havarti (tender story of a very short career)

Thank You, Firestone (short poem)

I encourage you to take some time and read about the impact these amazing dogs have on the lives of those they come in contact with.

Europe 1952 – Chapter Headings

In the early stages of putting together this book, I decided to break it up into chapters for each country. (Germany ended up with two chapters because they re-entered Germany a second time.) So I put together another master page in InDesign to make it easy to have a consistent look for the beginning of each chapter.

master page for Chapter headings

The beginning of each chapter was a natural place to put the itinerary for each country along with a map showing the route that they traveled. On the map I included the mail stops where they could pick up letters from family and friends back home. I also had information about the money of each country and the exchange rates in 1952. My mom’s passport had lots of entry and exit stamps from her trip so I added those to the beginning of the chapter. I’ll go over how I put the route on the map and how I handled the passport stamps in an upcoming post.

Zodiac’s Big Bad Day



Zodiac and the cone of shame

Today Zodiac went to the vet to get neutered. It is kind of funny because he was scheduled to do this last week on Monday. But Bill forgot and feed him so we rescheduled for the next day. Then when Bill got to the vet, the total came up to much more than the $200 Guide Dogs for the Blind is willing to pay for a neuter. So Zodiac got a second reprieve. Now we needed to find another vet and with the trip to visit Banta coming up on Friday we decided it would best to wait until this week. But today the inevitable finally caught up with him.

When I went to pick him up, he was very happy to see me. But walking with the cone of shame on and still recovering from the anesthesia, he had some trouble actually navigating to the car. Zodiac isn’t doing so well with the cone. If he runs into something he just stands there and doesn’t try to move. I finally got him to lay down with my help. He is still kind of out of it and started to do pathetic little whines so I took the cone off for a while. But I have to watch him very close because he wants to lick his stitches.

Zodiac stopped cold by the desk leg

Poor little boy. I’m sure he will feel better soon but he has never experienced anything like this before. Yakira doesn’t quiet understand either but she seems to be catching on that he isn’t his normal, “I’m ready to have some fun” self.


This Week in 1856 – Nebraska – Mary Taylor

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

23 September 1856:

Started half past 7 o’clock, crossed over sandy bluffs and sandy roads. Stopped for dinner at 12 o’clock, started again, continued over the sandy bluffs until 6 o’clock, when we came to Sandy Bluff Creek, where we camped for the night. Traveled 11 3/4 miles today, and it is, I think, the hardest day we have had on account of deep sand. We had to pull Eliza all through them. Saw Babbitt’s buggy burnt.

From John Jacques:

On September 23rd, about six miles east of Bluff Creek, and about seventy yards to the left of the road, a little harness, two wagon wheels and the springs of a burnt carriage or buggy and few other things were seen. These were supposed to be relics of Almon W. Babbitt‘s outfit. The company brought the springs along, but what became of them, I don’t know. Babbitt had left Kearny about the 2nd of September, with Thomas Sutherland and a driver. Two miles further on Captain Hodgett, Moses Cluff and Nathan T. Porter, were busy with a dead buffalo, which they had run our of a herd and killed for the handcart company, having previously killed on for their own wagon company. Some of the handcart people stayed to skin and quarter the buffalo, and bring it along on four handcarts. At night, it was divided among the company. This was the first buffalo beef the company had obtained. Buffalo beef, the lean part of it, is good eating on the plains, but is is courser than ox or cow beef.

The next day, September 24th, the company passed the place where it was supposed Thomas Margetts and others were killed by Indians, there being a quantity of feathers strewn about, a blood stained shirt and a child’s skull. The company camped at Duckweek Creek that night and after dark, all the men were called out to form a line aroudn the camp, as it was supposed that Indians were lurking around. About 11 o’clock, the men were called in, a double guard was set for the night and the rest of the men were seriously talked to for half and hour or so, by one of the company who was fond of preaching, on the necessity of vigilance in Indian country. Then the men were dismessed to their tents, except the double guard.

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

24 September 1856:

Started at 8 o’clock this morning. Stopped for dinner at 12 o’clock, started again. Saw the blood stained garments of Thomas Margetts wife and child, who had been murdered by the Indians. They are committing depredations behind and before. In fact, they made an open attack in day light upon Fort Kearny, on the twenty second of August, the soldiers killed a great number of them, which has stirred them up against the white man, but they keep out of our way. Camped at the Platte.

25 September 1856:

Started at 8 o’clock. Still continued over the sandy bluffs. Saw several Indians on horseback, which are the first that we have seen since the above mentioned. Stopped for dinner at 12 o’clock at the Platte River, started again. The road is rather better, camped near the Platte at 6 o’clock.

From John Jacques:

In the afternoon of the 25th, five Indians, some of them squaws, on ponies, rode past the company and near to it, carefully scrutinizing it, but had nothing to say, and then they rode off towards the Platte. These were the first Cheyenne Indians the company had seen.

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

26 September 1856:

Started at 8 o’clock, continued until 12 when we stopped for dinner. For several days, we have crossed through a great many creeks and forks of the Platte, which gave us plenty of opportunity to wash our feet.

50 for 50 #37 – Visit Banta

I have the goal to visit the puppies we raise about a year after they graduate. I was so happy last year when things fell into place to be able to visit Apex. So this tripped seemed like another perfect way to celebrate my 50th year. This weekend we got to reach that goal with Banta. Denver isn’t that far away, so going to see her wasn’t to expensive but time this summer was crazy so we decided to wait until the weather cooled and a few of my big time commitments were done. The cool thing about going this weekend was that Sunday marked three years since we first saw Banta as she was handed to Bill off the puppy truck.

We had a smooth drive to Denver except we discovered that Yakira is not a good traveler. Zodiac did perfectly, sleeping most of the way but Yakira was anxious the entire way. Other than that the drive was smooth. We took US 40 so we could enjoy more of the colors of fall and take a different route than we would take home.

Bill holding Banta with Yakira and Zodiac playing nearby

We got to see Banta on Saturday. It was so funny, because she recognized the sound of our car. Our GPS lead us to the back of Mark’s place and she jumped up and started to whine. We figured out where to park and walked to the front door. And she was so excited to see us. That was when we found out that she had an early warning system for our arrival. After a brief hello we got the pups from the car and let them get to know each other. They had lots of fun romping around the house and got along pretty well.

romping pups

Cherry Creek State Park

A while later we drove to Cherry Creek State Park and walked along a nature trail to the reservoir. There were so many sailboats on the water, I was amazed. It was an enjoyable walk. Banta and Mark have done a couple of 5k walks this summer but he had surgery on Monday and wasn’t up to too long of a walk but it was fun to just take a leisurely walk and enjoy the nice breeze coming across the lake. The temperature was perfect.

We dropped Banta and her handler back at his house so he could rest for a couple of hours before we went to dinner. It was so good to get to know him better. Graduation is such a crazy time that you just done get to know each other that well. That is something that I really enjoyed when we visited Apex last year, and it was the same this time. It is so good to get to see the puppy we raised and see that they are still the same as they were when we had them. A bit more mature and but so much about them is still the same.

Zodiac, Banta and Yakira

Sunday we spent a quiet morning sleeping in and then went to church. In the afternoon we went back to hang out with Banta some more and then out to dinner again. Saturday we went to an Italian place called a Mama Roma’s and Sunday we went to Rib City. Both had great food and not so crowded that we had to worry about making room for more customers as we lingered long after finishing eating just chatting about a variety of things. Last night it was especially tough to decided that the meal was over. But we eventually did. It was a nice and relaxing trip  and Mark said he hoped we would come back again. The two of them are so perfectly matched. He loves all of Banta’s quirks and has the skills to handle her strong-willed side and even appreciated it.

Banta at Rib City

I’m looking forward to seeing Casey next spring either before or after our cruise to Alaska.

Guide Dog User Lifestyle

So what is it actually like to live with and use a guide dog? So for this weeks post in honor of National Service Dog Month I’ll try to answer that question. But since I have no personal experience I found a couple of videos produced by Guide Dogs for the Blind that give some ideas of what it is like.

I also found this podcast interview with Bea Hawkins, 93, on her eighth Guide Dog. Listen in to this delightful conversation with a truly charming lady who is thoroughly in love with her Guide Dog. (12 minutes.)

Bea Hawkins Interview

I’ve learned so much over the past few years of being a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind about what it is like to have a guide dog but I still only have a glimmer of what it is like. Age related Macular Degeneration runs in my family so I could go blind in my old age. I hope that I will have the courage to learn orientation and mobility skills so that I could have a guide dog. I love the freedom and independence that a guide dog brings to it handler. That is why I’m a puppy raiser. I didn’t know that when I started raising. Then it was about being able to take my dog to places that pets can’t go. I still love that but it is more about being making a difference in the world in a positive way. I still love being able to take these puppies into all kinds of places. I also love getting to know each dog and enjoying their amazing personalities. But the real payback is the impact these dogs have on people’s lives.

Europe 1952 – Newspaper Articles



example of newspaper article

One of the wonderful resources I had for putting together this book for my mom was bunch of newspaper articles written by one of her fellow travelers on the trip. I wanted to include them because they had good information on what the trip was like, plus another perspective on Europe in 1952. But scanning in the articles and including them that way was problematic. First they were visually messy. They were different sizes and shapes and cut out from the paper in different way. Also some of them I just had a bad copy of the article and not the original. The next problem with going the scanned route was making them big enough on the page to be readable. After some thought I decided to try to replicated the look of the newspaper but to redo them so they fit into the book in a seamless way. The drawback was getting the text from the articles into my computer. I’ve never figured out how to do OCR so I had to type them in. It took awhile but I think it was worth it.

master page for newspaper articles

After I got the articles typed the next step was to create a master page for the newspaper articles. My basic master page has a dark brown background but that doesn’t look like a newspaper. So I changed the background to a nice cream color (I used the same color as the large text titles on each page). I changed the text to black and I went from three columns of text to five so that it would have the narrow column look of a newspaper. I added a header to duplicate the look of a newspaper and a large headline style for the title of each article.

Then we I came to the spot in the book where each newspaper article belonged it was a fairly simple task to change the master page and paste into the page the title and text. Then there were just a few little tweaks for the article and it was ready to go. I was very happy with the solution and I will keep it in mind for use in future projects.


This Week in 1856 – Nebraska – Mary Taylor

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

16 September 1856:

Started at half past 8 o’clock. The weather is extremely hot, whick makes it hard traveling. Stopped at one o’clock, but moved no further today. It would truly be an amusing and interesting scene if the people of the old country could have a birds-eye view of us when in camp; to see everyone busy some fetching water, others gathering buffalo chips, some cooking, and if they could come forth upon these wild prairies, where the air is not tainted with the smoke of cities and factories. It is quiet here. One may see a creek at a distance and start and travel one hour towards it, yet you seem no closer than you did when you started.

17 September 1856:

An old sister died this morning, which delayed us until 10 o’clock. When we started out, it was a very hard, sandy road, and the wind was extremely cold, as if we had come into a different climate all at once. Stopped for dinner at one o’clock. Started again, and traveled until 6 o’clock when we camped for the night.

18 September 1856:

Started at 7 o’clock this morning, traveled until 1 o’clock, when we stopped for dinner at the Platte River. Old Sister Gregory from Chew Moore died, and was buried on the banks of the Platte River. Started again and traveled over the sandy bluffs and camped again at the Platte River.

19 September 1856:

Started at 6 o’clock and traveled until 12 o’clock when we stopped for dinner. Started again at 1 o’clock and still continued to travel over the sandy bluffs, which is very hard pulling. Eliza continues in a lingering state, so that we have to haul her on the handcart. We camped at half past 7 o’clock.

From John Jacques:

On September 19th, two or three teams from Green River, going east were met, and the men informed the emigrants that Indians had killed Almond Babbitt and burned his buggy, thirty or forty miles west of Pawnee Springs.

From Samuel Openshaw’s Diary:

20 September 1856:

We started and left the sandy bluffs on our right, went about three miles, and then crossed a creek about knee deep. The weather cold. It felt disagreeable to go into the water. Went about 8 miles and came to the Platte River where we stopped for dinner. Started again, contained down the side of the Platte. Measly rain. Camped on the Platte about 6 o’clock.

21 September 1856:

Small measly rain delayed us until 2 o’clock. In the meantime, another cow was killed. Eliza, on account of being exposed to the weather, is considerably worse. Traveled until 7 o’clock, when we camped but being not night to any wood, and the buffalo chips being wet, we were unable to do any cooking.

22 September 1856:

Started about 8 o’clock this morning, traveled until 12 o’clock, when we stopped for dinner at the Platte. Started again, went about three miles, came to the North Fork of the Platte, which is ten rods wide and two feet deep. Crossed over with our handcarts. It was a sandy bottom. Camped as soon as we had crossed, being about six o’clock.

Frosty Shaping


Frosty with no arms

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on getting all the construction phase of my “Frosty” project done. The deadline I set myself was September 8th but I didn’t make that. Other project with a closer due date took priority. But I think I’ve finally got Frosty built and ready to start putting candy on.

Frosty with “skinny” legs

I ran into a couple of snags. His body shaping went pretty good but I was concerned about how skinny his legs turned out. After shaping his left arm I even more concerned because it just didn’t work. But I went on to the right arm and I was happy with that so using that as a reference I did the left arm over and it was better. With both arms done it was obvious that his legs were too skinny. Frosty is a really short and tubby snowman and the legs he had just visually couldn’t hold him up. So with Bill’s help we performed surgery. We cut of the inside half of both his legs and feet. After added in a couple of inches of Styrofoam, we glued the him back together. After more than 24 hours of drying, I reshaped his legs. Now they are much better.

[I will insert a photo of Frosty with his new legs as soon as I get one taken]

I also go his hat, bow tie and broom all ready for candy. Last Friday I actually put the candy on Frosty’s bow tie. It helped me feel a little better about being behind my schedule because at least I started putting candy on. I’m happy with how Frosty is coming so far. There is a fun quirkiness about his shape that I hope will be enhanced as he moves forward in the process.

candy covered bow tie

Candy on bow tie: Tart ‘n’ Tiny (red), Gum Balls (purple & green), Runts (orange)