Most of today was spent at the Embassy Suites in Schaumburg IL. I don’t have much to detail though we went to eat dinner as a group at the Weber Grill. This restaurant is set to highlight the Weber Grill product and the menu is primarily barbecue or grilled items. The food choices were very good. I had a grilled meat choice mix--pulled pork, meatloaf (grilled), and homemade sausage. Yum!

Men's Lives

It has distressed and frustrated me to see over the past 9 months the “War on Women” theme come from the Democratic Party. This is a phony war and I see that women are strong, talented, intelligent………we are not the dependent creatures that this political buy-out would make us out to be. I have grown in a career where I was in an essence an early pioneer of women working publicly as a veterinarian. I was the first woman to work in Clark County Washington as a veterinarian, so I have seen how much women have gained in stature in the last 40 years. I came across an interesting article written to highlight the marriage and partnership of her parents. The mother and the father worked together to enhance each other’s lives, not dismiss the other as unworthy due to what their sex is.

Here is a photo of my mother and father together. This article makes me think of the example they set for me and how they helped make me the strong woman I am. I do not feel I am being “warred upon” other than my intelligence by a political party that wants to get ahead.



Fall is here since the days are warm and the nights are cool. The trees are starting to change colors. Some quickly, others less so. It has been dry and only 0.04 in. of rain this month so far which is low. The creeks and rivers are low on water. When we were out driving the covered bridge route the other day, I was able to capture this shot off the Larwood bridge of the river, changing tree color with reflection, and rocks.
Larwood area-9-28-12

Laura's Art

I took some close ups of Laura Seeley’s pendants for her to use on her website. She sent me a link to the site to show that she had used two of the photos (the two on the left). Check out Best Friend’s Gallery. Here is an example of Laura’s pendants and how they glow. The eyes certainly do here. Wouldn’t they look nice around your neck?


Foster Reservoir

Marybeth headed home today. We drove her up to PDX to fly to Oakland. It will be sad and quiet with her gone. Bob has a bad cold that started Monday night so he headed to bed to rest. I am hoping to not catch this virus since I go to Schaumburg, IL this saturday.
As we said goodbye to Tim and Karen, we stopped along the viewpoint at Foster Reservoir. With the sunny weather, we had a lovely view of the lake and the mountains. Someone was out sailing on the peaceful-looking water.

Send Off For The Becnels

Karen and Tim are headed off over the mountains on Highway 20 to see Yellowstone Park on the way home. We gave some suggestions to stop to see the Painted Hills as they traveled toward John Day. Tim likes to get photos like I do so it is a photographer’s paradise with the colors.
Yesterday, we went to see some Linn County Covered Bridges and to the Roaring River Fish Hatchery. It was a short and fun trip with everyone. It is cute to see this following photo of Karen with a rock Bob retrieved for her to do a painting on. We are here to please. It will be neat to see the outcome. Karen in front of the Larwood Covered Bridge.

Home With Guests

Back home again last night. We brought my dear friend, Marybeth Rymer, back with us to stay a few days. Karen and Tim showed up around noon to have a nice houseful of guests to share our home with. This was a very special time since it is infrequent that we have friends who can take time out to come visit this way. It is all the better when they are special friends.

The fall has been dry and overall, sunny. There are forest fires in the central part of the state. The smoke particulate in the air helps create a haze in the daytime and adds to color at sunrise and sunset. The sun was freaking amazing this morning as a red globe rising over the Peters. I have never seen anything like it living here. Usually it is a beautiful sunrise yet not a big globe. What a sight!


More Old Friends

It is the final day of lectures today and it is a full one. Just a little more time to get in a few hugs and chats with good friends. I do not see them enough. Such good and dear people, all who are dedicated to the love of cats.

Here is my good buddy and dancing partner, Drew Weigner, with his daughter. She is busy in the geology department at Idaho State University in Moscow, a lovely university and area.


Space Needle Memories

Who would believe that this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair with the Space Needle and the Monorail leading us into the future. The idea was space age technology with the development of the microwave and other items we use daily.

My family traveled to see the World’s Fair and I was a young girl. Who me, I am going to tell how old I was in 1962?
Ah, the memories from days gone by. We rode the Monorail from the Westlake Shopping Center over to the Science Center and the Space Needle to eat dinner at the SkyView Restaurant up top with Tim and Karen. Here is the Space Needle from a lowly perspective.

Art For Cat's Sake

Karen has her booth set up and is selling the cat art in a mad fashion. Bob has turned into super assistant and salesman. He is upselling and writing up tickets as fast as he can write. A true business person.

One of the artists is Laura Seeley from Orange County, CA. She has a lot of lovely pendants, tiles, posters, etc. She is a great and gung ho artist and super find for Karen to have at the booth. Here is Laura with Karen and I at Lola’s Restaurant.


Meeting Up With Friends

The ABVP portion of the meeting was held this afternoon. Bob, Karen and Tim Becnel, and I went to Lola’s Restaurant to eat with Joanna Guglielmino. Joanna has been a long time, good friend to us. It was great to see her and break some bread, as they say. Here are the Three Amigos at Lola’s.



Traveled last night up to Seattle for 5 days of veterinary conferences. Last evening I took some time to do 2 podcasts with Dr. Jessica Quimby of Colorado State University. The podcasts will be used to generate interest in Winn’s research.

Today will be spent in lectures with 12 other veterinarians listening to Dr. Quimby lecture and also hearing about Onsior and Atopica as products from Novartis. I will be podcasting the talks to share with the IACD group (International Association of Cat Doctors). It will be great to see the group and hear all the new information available.

Bob and Tim Becnel were able to go to a Seattle Mariners baseball game. Here is the manager, Buck Showalter, with one of his assistants at the game.


Thought Changes

There was a very interesting article a few days ago that offered some great advice on how to change your thought processes for a positive impact in your life. The list goes like this:

1) Making yourself impervious to criticism.
“Once you internalize this sort of thinking, insults no longer have any impact because the very fact that someone is treating you in a deliberately insulting manner makes his opinion irrelevant.”

2) How to make a final decision.
From Richard Branson……….“When you have to make a decision, think carefully about it, pick the best option, and then don’t revisit it again unless you receive new information.” Don’t keep second guessing yourself.

3) The key to getting over mistakes.
Going down a judging pathway does not help and is counter-productive. The author accepted a subtle truth……….
“You always do the best you can right now.”

4) How to stop reacting over minor issues.
Definitely a problem I can obsess over. I have probably wasted a lot of my time in life doing just such a thing.
Again, from the author………..Because once someone told me that if something was bothering me I should ask myself a simple question, “Will this matter in five years?” Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer was “no.”

5) How to have a more active life.
Now this is where much of the horizons talk should come in, where one should take on challenges and learn new things, stretch those mental muscles. As the author states………“If you have to choose between two roughly equal options, always take the one that leads to you doing something.” If your friends invite you to go to a movie and you’re kind of torn about whether to do it, you go. If you have a chance to go to a conference and you want to go, but you’d also be just as happy spending the weekend at home, you go.



How exciting to see one of our photos from our trip to the Atlantic Maritimes be used in a travel photo display in our local paper. The Albany Democrat Herald posted one of our photos of French Harbor on PEI. They requested people to send travel photos and a travel tip to the paper and they would show the best ones. Probably 12 photos were picked and ours was one. Our tip was to plan more time to visit Prince Edward Island………two days is not enough where two weeks would be better. This is the second photo I have had placed in this paper. It certainly makes my photography hobby a lot more fun and rewarding. Here is the photo they printed.

Free Speech is Dying

Yes, I realize I can still write and post this blog without total fear that I will be arrested. I now cannot somehow push it so far though that I offend certain people or groups and risk their wrath. I certainly cannot show up the President and his administration or I risk some form of government retaliation. We have the President and the Justice Dept. going after the maker of a silly online video and having this person hauled into local law enforcement offices to intimidate him. As some have mentioned, Free Speech for Pussy Riot (in Russia) and none for Innocence of Muslims. We have the Joint Chief of Staff, General Dempsey, calling a pastor in Florida to not support the video and to remove it. Some have called for the prosecution of those who made this video. Our government announced the location and name of the maker of the video, creating risk to them and anyone living close by. There is nibbling around the edges on what can be said even if it is offensive. I can see our current government working toward hate crimes speech legislation if re-elected. I read this awesome letter today in a comments section of PJ Media. I think it sums up the concerns I have and many others of what this sort of behavior means to all of us.

September 14, 2012

General Martin E. Dempsey
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Pentagon
Washington, D.C 20318

General Dempsey,

If at any time in the last 45 years someone had told me that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States would react to the assassination of an Ambassador, and three other Americans, on foreign soil, by placing a begging/threatening phone call to a private American citizen, asking that person to curtail his freedom of speech, I would have laughed. It would have been inconceivable to me.

That a Justice Department in a Democrat’s administration would identify, by name and street address, the maker of a film which Muslims hate…..yes, I would have expected that. That the Obama White House would apply political pressure to a private company in asking YouTube to investigate whether the published trailer violated terms of use……not surprising at all. But from a leader of the U.S. armed forces, who have acquitted themselves unselfishly and honorably through this long war against Islamic terrorists, such a craven and despicable action is surprising, and indefensible.

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say “what should be the reward of such sacrifices?” Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom — go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” Samuel Adams

General Dempsey, may posterity record that you contemplated the desecrated body of Ambassador J. Christian Stephens, the bloody handprints of former U.S. Seals on the doorways of the undefended Missiony, the mortar fire and grenade scars, and…….phoned an American citizen asking him to desist from his criticism of Islam.

Samuel Adams also said: ‘Let us remember that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.’

General Dempsey, your offense is in some ways worse than the violence and destruction and murder visited upon our American embassies. Those who riot and murder are evil; they have determined to be enemies to the United States, and were long before some film was put on YouTube or some Koran was threatened with burning. But they do not have the three-thousand-year heritage of Western civilization and Judeo-Christian teachings, in which the value of the individual, of freedom and liberty, have been hammered out. You, educated at taxpayer expense at West Point, do. You are without excuse.

“The liberties of our Country, the freedoms of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have receiv’d them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchas’d them for us with toil and danger and expence of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeath’d to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.”

I call upon you, General Dempsey, to resign your commission, to leave the active duty military, and to retire quietly to civilian life, where you can tend your vines or play with your grandchildren. Make way for military leaders who understand the nature of the enemy and the dire threat this enemy poses to civilization and to future generations.

Meanwhile, I and other ordinary Americans will do everything in our power to win back our country from those who hold our freedoms in contempt. It is most sad that we must hold the first line of defense not against those outside our borders but against our own fellow citizens who have discarded the Constitution in favor of a putative peace and temporary safety.

Do not believe for an instant that I do not appreciate the great strength, the breadth of influence, and the determination of the enemy. And I know it is most difficult to be a military leader in a country which does not love war (although I know well that soldiers value peace above others, having seen the carnage of battle.) But these truths, although fearsome, do not eradicate the duty of those who love liberty to fight for its survival.

In sorrow,
Ann Hilliard
Show Low, Arizona


Fly Me to the Moon

The National Cathedral in Washington DC held a national memorial for Neal Armstrong today. Diana Krall sang “Fly Me To The Moon”. It is good to think of times that were of a serious bent where our national will and interest was promoted and applauded. We could do what was considered impossible, not just spoken about and then left to molder as current times. Neal Armstrong will be buried at sea. His family’s wish for him is that everyone will take time to wink at the moon. Here is an example of his subtle humor, to me the best kind. Humor carries us through each day.

Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, recalled that Armstrong was once asked how he felt when he was guiding the Eagle lunar module down to the moon's surface with only 15 seconds' worth of fuel left. The way Cernan remembered the story, Armstrong thought for a moment and answered, "Well, when the gauge says empty, we all know there's a gallon or two left in the tank." When the laughter subsided, Cernan added, "Now there is a man who has always been in control of his own destiny. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is vintage Neil Armstrong."

Wink at the Moon……


Troubled Horizon

There are a large number of anti-American protests in Islamic countries around the world today. Buildings and one embassy being set on fire, flags also burned, riots and agitation. There is much I could say in regards to this situation. I have a lot of anger and frustration at our government and main steam media. They are weak and useless. I am better off reading through reports on the internet or from over seas. Our media has abdicated their responsibility to report the news versus slant it to protect our current President. A President who has a credibility gap in my opinion. Maybe this bad boy rage will wear itself out before serious injury is done. We could see even worse problems develop. You cannot have a leader who is more worried about being re-elected than doing his job and doing the right thing. I keep crying out, We Deserve Better!

Joy of Books

One article I cut out recently was titled, “ The joy of finding just the right book”. The article was written by a bookseller from up near Portland. He describes being able to feel the joy that a client shows when they find the right book in his store.He describes that finding that just-right book is much like a hungry person discovering a lavishly stocked banquet table. I just got in 3 new books yesterday from Book of the Month Club. All will be interesting. I find quiet joy in adding to my stack or stock of books. One can see the joy of books and reading from this photo of our library/office. It does not cover all the books and bookcases in the house.

Sad Day

Today was a very sad, yet frustrating day. Our ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was murdered last night by rogue Islamists in Benghazi. Three other individuals were also slain. Much of this started with a video released by Zawahiri, now the number one person in Al Qaeda. With phrasing about the need for a response with Libya, the events started off with an attack on our embassy in Cairo. I believe this was a feint, a distraction, for the more significant attack in Benghazi. Zawahiri’s brother was an organizer of the attack in Cairo. This sort of behavior is the M.O. of Al Qaeda and radical Islamists. I am angry at our current administration for a number of reasons. The first is more of why with it being 9-11 and that is a day for focused threats, more care was not taken to protect our people and assets in such areas. I believe there was warning with this video. Who missed it? I said last night when it just was Cairo, everyone was treating it too casually and the media was totally not focused on reporting the problem. I am angry that the concerns are not taken more seriously and now our President is off campaigning while there is rioting in Cairo. What is wrong with us that we don’t speak up and say, “Enough, take care of business”. Meanwhile, a good man has given his life in service to our country. I salute him and his comrades who also lost their lives.

Patriot's Day

Today is Patriot’s Day or the day of remembrance for 9-11. It has been eleven years since that terrible day. I will never forget our loss and I hope that others will not either. There seems to be an effort to minimize or bury the significance of that day. We must not let that happen. We must remember that regular people went to work that day and never came home. They suffered, their families suffered and still do, and we all suffer for the loss. We also must remember those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us and our way of life. Our community has a Dining for the Troops day today where proceeds from certain local restaurants will go to aid our deployed troops. We will be eating out to give our support.


Freight Transport

There is a lot of freight transport up and down the Columbia River. Barges bearing grains and other products travel to the different ports by going through the locks at a number of dams. I was fortunate to catch a photo of one of the barges that travel the river along with a Burlington Northern freight train traveling on the Washington state side of the river. This was near Wallula Gap, called the Big Bend of the river. We saw several trains traveling along the Burlington Northern tracks as we traveled.


Below: Columbia River at Wallula Gap


Mt. Hood and Home

We took the route around Mt. Hood coming home. It was a road that Bob had not been on--Highway 35 out of Hood River to connect with Highway 26 near Timberline Lodge and going west to Portland. We cut southwest from Sandy on 211 through Estacada to Molalla and then south on 213 as we usually do along the east edge of the Valley. It was an interesting and different drive. Here is Mt. Hood from up close and the southeast side.

Classic Cars

We were scheduled to drive home today. We did not realize that Walla Walla had their Wheelin’ Weekend of classic cars on tap. As we went to eat breakfast and get our bread at the bakery to take home, we waited outside to watch the cars being set up for viewing and most likely, judging. One can see how much they gleam after all the hard work put into their care and restoration.



Wine Tasting

In the late afternoon, we headed to L’Ecole No. 41 winery which is along Highway 12, west of Walla Walla. Its setting is at an old schoolhouse that was used right up until about 1974. The Baker family bought the school and started a winery there. This function was a wine tasting with catered appetizers along with featured wines. The function was to celebrate the wineries 30th Anniversary. All in all, it was a very nice function where we purchased some good wine. Who knew Bob was a two-fisted wine drinker (besides his wife). Happy


We drove up to Walla Walla today. As we crossed the Hood River bridge across the Columbia River, we saw the smoke plume for a forest fire just north of the town of White Salmon WA. They had evacuated some homes in the area since the fire was not contained. It is rugged country up that river gorge and in the forest area. We did see some planes heading there with water drops.

The Gorge

We are headed out this morning to drive along the Columbia River gorge on the way to Walla Walla WA. I have been along the gorge innumerable times, especially when younger, and did not appreciate the scenery as I do now. It is a geographic and scenic marvel. I am including a photo taken from the Washington side of the river east of The Dalles looking back to Mt. Hood.


Living close to reservoirs and lakes here in Oregon, I would love to have a boat. Certainly, it would be wonderful to have a sailboat on to use on the Columbia River. Sadly, they do like to use up money for maintenance and so we most likely will not get a boat.

Here is a lovely sailboat in a setting east of Halifax on the way to Cape Breton Island.


You Are My People

I keep coming across interesting comments by Neal Armstrong. There was a one hour show on Discovery Channel about the moon landing and a bit of personal history on Neal Armstrong. He was known as a shy and unassuming yet brilliant person. His home town of Wahkeponeta, OH has the Neal Armstrong Air and Space Museum. There was a short segment where he gave a “thank you” speech after the landing at his home town where he said with a shy smile, “You are my people and I am proud to be one of you”. What a heartwarming testimony to his roots!


Full moon through our birch tree!

Empty Chair Day

Clint Eastwood started a protest statement with his impromptu delivery at the Republican Convention. It has gone viral around the States to put out an empty chair to signify how the current President is not filling his responsibility chair. The Thayers do want to signify our protest of the current state of our country. Here is a logo for Empty Chair Day and our example of an empty chair. I asked Bob to put my clown doll out sitting next to it.



On a less empty note, I have been working on our I DVD of the trip to the Maritimes. I have it fairly well done though I want to do some photo editing as I can and more touch up details. It does look good otherwise and nice to finally make headway when I felt I was stymied by things not working as expected.

Travel Photos

There was a listing in the local paper today about sending in your preferred travel destination photo. Both Bob and I sent in a photo each from our mix. I sent in one of the women re-enactors from Fortress Louisbourg and he sent in one of French Harbor on PEI. They also wanted a travel tip too. My tip was to participate and enjoy in local celebrations and living history re-enactments. It adds to your trip and the memories. Another photo from that day at Fortress Louisbourg.

Early Moon

Here is an early morning look at the full moon as it sets over Binegar Butte range. It also gives a great look at our pasture and patch of Douglas Fir trees on the side hill.
On another note, it is incredibly sad to watch the distress and heartbreak of this mother who lost her military SEAL son in war while our Commander in Chief(s) worry more about the impact of it going wrong for them than our soldiers.

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