Wordless Wednesday ~ July 12, 2023

Hawaii ~ Sea Hibiscus

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 7, 2023

Hiya everyone, it’s me, Elsa welcoming you to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Before I share this week’s pics, Mom and I want to thank everyone for all their kind messages, cards and mementos that have come from all over the world. To say we’re touched is an understatement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We so grateful for your kind support.

Elsa: Well, let me start. Oh Mom, Moom, MOOOMMMM!!!

The Mom: What Ninja, I’m right here.

Elsa: Whew, I was afraid I was all alone. I’m not used to flying solo yet so I get nervous when I can’t see you right next to me. Will this feeling ever go away?

The Mom: Oh sweetie, yes, it will get better, trust me. It just takes time. I know you miss your brother, I do too, but together we’ll find our compass and the days will be easily on our souls.

Elsa: I hope so, I have no one to pick on although I gave Norman’s moose a good chew three times this week. Guess that’s progress, isn’t it? And I even pulled out a different toy. I barked at him real good. Funny thing though, he just laid there with a dumb look on his face. Are all chickens that dumb?

The Mom: Now, now, chickens aren’t dumb, they just have different expressions…especially if they’re being barked at. Maybe next time, just a game of toss and chew might be better.

Elsa: Harumph…not sure what the point is then. Anywho…let’s start. I heard a lot of people enjoyed the photos from Hawaii but know you weren’t planning to post anymore, but come on, Mom…I mean, aren’t you supposed to give the people what they want? Isn’t that what Marketing 101 is all about?

The Mom: Well since you’re driving this train, I guess a few more pics won’t be the worst thing we’ve ever shared.

Elsa: You got that right! I was going through some of your early stuff the other day…wow, there were some real stinkers from the past. Angel Sam was a complete Knucklehead, wasn’t he?

The Mom: Sweetie, remember how we talked about this. You  need to learn to filter your thoughts better. And remember our motto is “always be kind.”

Elsa: Oh yeah, I forgot. I’ll try to do better, Mom, really I will.

The Mom: I know you will, sweetie. You’ve been through a lot in your life and without the proper upbringing, you didn’t have a great puppyhood. So while you’re internalizing our motto, what shall we share this week?

Hawaiian Surf
Sea Wall-Kahalu’u Beach

Elsa:  Ooh, ooh, you’re right. Let’s get to the picture show! And I promise Mom, I’ll do better about living our motto. I’m already different and don’t lose my mind as much when we’re walking when we come across a dog and before, I’d go all ninja on them and give them the ole ‘what for! Ok then, here’s the first pic. The sunsets must have been pretty spectacular in Hawaii since you took a jillion of them.

Hawaiian sunset

The Mom: Yes, the sunsets are pretty spectacular. I really liked this one because of the starburst beams of the light through the clouds.

Elsa: You sure those aren’t laser beams? I think they’re laser beams, Mom.

The Mom:  Trust me, I’m sure, Ninja. It’s just the way the light came through the clouds. Pretty cool, huh?

Elsa: I dunno, Mom. I still think those may be laser beams. Anyway, I know you saw more than just sunsets. You walked on one of the earliest highways built in Hawaii on one of your morning walks, even before it became a state. It’s right in the middle of a lava field. That ledge along the sides was pretty ingenious keeping wagons, horses and sleepy workers from falling off onto the razor sharp lava field. I still can’t get over how grass and other plants just sprout in of the middle of lava fields {head shaking}.

Hawaiian highway Hawaiian highway

The Mom: That was very clever. I guess when you live on an island that is constantly expanding the landscape through volcanic eruptions, you get pretty creative with what you have to make it work for you. I was constantly in awe of all the lava walls and walkways. Everything fits together like a bizarre puzzle. Now that’s some craftsmanship.

Lava wall

Elsa: Whoa…not sure I’d like a wall/fence like that. I mean, how could I chase the dog next door along the fence if I couldn’t even see that rascal.

The Mom: That’s the point. I know I’d welcome it. Nobody likes to hear dogs fence biting and snarling. You can barely see that dog between the slates and yet you two sound like Godzilla and Mothra fighting.

Elsa: Well, she starts it! I just kind of forget our motto and get pulled into the fray.

The Mom: {eyes rolling} You’ve got to do better, Elsa. You don’t have to follow. Be a leader like Norman was. He may have run along the fence but he never barked.

Elsa: Good point, Mom. I’ll definitely take that into consideration. He was a good role model and I’d be doing you a solid imitating him.

The Mom: I’m sure everyone would be happier if there wasn’t that racket along the wood fence. Come to think of it, it’s too bad I can’t install a lava wall.

Elsa: {gasp} No need to go overboard with the crazy, Mom. Speaking of crazy, what are these weird trees?

Tahitian Screwpine

The Mom: Oh those are called Tahitian Screwpine. Aren’t they interesting?

Elsa: Oh man, Norman would have had a field day peeing on those things!

The Mom: {ahem, moving along}. Wouldn’t you rather focus on info on some of the various volcanoes? While I didn’t have enough time to actually climb up them in person on this trip, this exhibit did a great job of describing them with excellent background info and excellent display models. Much better than any photos I could have taken.

Hawaii volcanoes
Mauna Kea


Hawaii volcano
Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano

Hawaii Volcano
 Mauna Loa

Elsa: Wow, who knew these volcanoes were so old?! I know you saw a lot even in the short time you were there. And some fascinating critters that we don’t normally see in Colorado. Say, didn’t you post a pic of a manta ray to Instagram that you saw one night?

The Mom: You’re right, Elsa. Lots of very fascinating and wonderfully interesting critters on the Big Island. And some we are familiar with, like Queen, a loveable bulldog who was as sweet as sugar. She belongs to Christian’s Mom (the groom) and goes to work with her at the venue where the wedding was held. That was some house with gorgeous grounds.


Elsa: Why does she always look angry if she’s such a sweetheart?

The Mom: That’s a classic bulldog face, little one. Trust me, she was one of the nicest dogs I’ve ever met and she loved all the wedding visitors.

Elsa: So what’s the deal with these Nēnē birds? They look a lot like the Canadian geese we have here in Denver.

The Mom: The Nēnē is Hawaii’s state bird and are nearly extinct. They are similar to the Canadian geese yet not nearly as plentiful. A lot of the feral animals of Hawaii have decimated the population and loss of habitat has also contributed to loss of flocks. There’s an ongoing project by the Parks Department to reintroduce them on several of the islands. They are pretty shy and avoided any kind of close contact whenever I encountered them. They can boogie like crazy away from us humans.


Image courtesy of National Park Service

Elsa: Hmm, seems like they stay ‘within the parking lines’ for the most part. Maybe that’s their problem. At least they aren’t aggressive like our Canadian geese. So weird, Canadians are the nicely people around but their geese…definitely NOT.

The Mom: El-sa!

Elsa: I know…sorry. {changing the subject} Now where’s that manta pic?

The Mom: Oh yeah, I forgot. We met up with some former colleagues of my son, Kevin at one of their fancy hotel properties that has a cove where the mantas come out after sunset. They are so amazing to watch as they effortlessly float around, splash and flip over in the water. I was mesmerized with their agile flexibility in the water as well as their size. This guy was about 4 ft. across.


Elsa: {head cocking} Holy cow, I’d probably run along the rocks trying to catch their attention. But next time you might wanna use a better camera than the cell phone. Just saying.

The Mom: I know, but on such a short trip, I just didn’t feel like schlepping a camera bag, besides seeing these manta rays was totally unscripted. I did capture some Zebra doves when we went out for lunch on the last full day in Hawaii. They seemed to not be very afraid, or maybe they knew I’d be a sucker and feed them bread crumbs. Birds tend to be more brave when food is involved.

Hawaiian Doves

Elsa: You’ve got a soft heart, Mom. No wonder I love you so much. Well, looks like we’re about finished with the shareable Hawaiian pics. Got anything else that tickles your fancy?

The Mom: Well, I must admit I was truly blown away by  orchids that attach themselves to trees. This one in particular was mind blowing. That ‘rope’ of flowers must have been over 4 feet long. I couldn’t capture the whole thing in a single frame, it was so long.


Elsa: Wow, that is something. Bet you tried to jump rope, didn’t you?

The Mom: Certainly not. (a) I’m too old for jump roping and (b) I’d have probably killed myself getting tangled up in it if I’d tried, ruining that amazing orchid.

Elsa: Yeah, but I’ll still bet you thought about it. It’s okay, Mom, it’s good to live on the edge. So what’s the game plan for the weekend? Any exciting plans?

The Mom: Well as you know, I’m not all that exciting, but I will spend tomorrow assisting a good friend by helping her pack up her art studio.

Elsa: Well that’s nice of you. I’d like to come and meet her sheepdogs but know this is not the right time but hope we can do a meet and greet soon. I need a sheepdog fix.

The Mom: Me too, little one, me too. We hope everyone has a good weekend and gets outside to enjoy some of Nature’s beauty wherever they’re at and hopeful there will be no more firecrackers and no more heavy thunderstorms, gully-washer rain and hail.

Elsa: That makes two of us, Mom. Thanks again for sticking with us on this long post but especially for all your messages of comfort. It has been very consoling to our souls. Now that Norman’s come home, we’ve been reading him all your notes and messages. No doubt he’s wiggling his bum silly in heaven knowing how much you all care about him.

Angel Norman

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday

Nature Friday ~ June 23, 2023

Grieving ElsaAloha and welcome to another Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. It’s just me, Elsa because you may remember Norman became an angel last week. Mom and I have been holding each other trying to get used to his absence. We stayed with my Grandpa for several days which was comforting but it’s still been a day to day, up and down week. Even chasing skinks and bunnies wasn’t as fun as it used to be because I miss my big brother. Mom’s struggling herself but is trying hard to help me. Who knew us dogs grieved but let me assure you, we most certainly do. I mostly lay around moping and only come to life when we go on walks. So let’s share some of the beautiful things from Mom’s trip to the Big Island.

Signs from Lava Lava Club
Signage at Lava Lava Club

Elsa: {hollering} Ooh Mom…since you were there, will you help explain things?

The Mom: Of course, little one. I’m happy to help you, though I know you’ll do a fine job.

Elsa: It’s just not the same without my brother partner-he was so good with verifying stuff. You know me, I can be a bit of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal.

The Mom: Umm, I did know that but I’ll help wherever I can.

Volcano, Mauna Kea

Elsa: Great, let’s get started then. First time visitors to the Big Island are never truly prepared for the sights they’re going to encounter. The Kona side has the sunniest weather but if you’re hankering for tropical rainforests, desert-y places or snowy conditions (Mauna Kea has blizzards ,on the summit) you’ll find those too. So you told me the view from your bedroom window looked at two volcanos. Kohala, the only extinct volcano on the Big Island (it’s also in the driest part of the island receiving only about 10 inches of rain per year and is on the far left end obscured under the sunrise in the above photo) and Mauna Kea, the tallest at 13,796 ft. above sea level. You told me the landscape was just incredible with splashes of green growing up from the middle of the lava trails.

Volcanos-Kohala & Mauna Kea

Petroglyph Reserve

The Mom: It sure was nothing like I’ve ever seen on the mainland and blew me away especially when I visited the Waikoloa Petroglyph field, some of them date back to the 16th century. The different types of lava flows were so fascinating and left me in total awe of the power of volcano eruptions and the pressure used to create the island. Pāhoehoe flows have  smooth, billowy, or ropy surfaces, while the A‘ā flows have rough, jagged, or clinkery surfaces. They are pretty unstable and hard to walk on and you have to really watch where you’re going so you don’t fall. And then there are the fascinating lava tubes, those natural conduits where the lava travels beneath the surface of a lava-flows. Those tubes were formed by the crusting over of lava channels and pahoehoe flows. A broad lava-flow field often consists of a main lava tube with a series of smaller tubes that supply lava to the front of one or more separate flows. This one was a major tube at the petroglyph preserve. It looked like an enormous cave.

Lava flow

Petroglyph signage

Elsa: As clumsy as you have known to be, I’m glad you didn’t fall on any of those loose lava chunks.

The Mom: It was an early morning walk while our group slept in, and because I hiked alone through the preserve, I took extra care walking around.

Elsa: Whew. I sure liked some of the flowers and wildlife you encountered on your walks. So glad you kept your eyes open. Hawaii has some fascinating and unique flowers, trees and animals. I think I’d like this Plumeria flower best because it smells so good and is truly beautiful.

Plumeria Flower

The Mom: Plumeria is my favorite of all the island flowers. It’s often used to make leis and comes in a variety of  colors from pink to white and yellow with shades in between. As I walked back from the preserve, I found this flower that I think might be a Bauhinia x blakeana. It was a lovely sight near the golf course lake. They are sometimes known as orchid trees.

Orchid trees

Cattle egrets followed me every day on my daily walks and are typically found in groups near ponds. They are very shy and I couldn’t get close without scaring them off.

Cattle Egret

Elsa: I noticed you also found some goats along the highway going into Kailua Kona. How come you didn’t get a better photo? I know you love goats and Hawaii has gobs of them.

Goats of Hawaii

The Mom: Yeah, these little guys were hanging out in the shade along the road. But we couldn’t stop to get better photos because we were running late getting to the wedding rehearsal. They are all over the island and can pose some problems for unsuspecting tourists who aren’t paying attention along the highway.

Elsa: Well I’m sure I could have herded them away. Angel Norman taught me how to do that.

The Mom: Not likely, Ninja. They are feral and quick as jack rabbits. Feral goats were brought to the islands by Captains Cook and Vancouver in the late 1700’s as gifts to the Hawaiian people. They are cute, but destructive. Wild goats (and wild pigs) on the island are not well liked by the locals since their unquenchable hunger has managed to contribute to the extinction of many special native plants.

Elsa: So I heard you went back to the Greenwell Farm for another tour. Why do you go back every time you’re in Hawaii?

The Mom: Apart from having one of the best coffee beans in the world, the farm dating from the mid-1800’s is a remarkable place and the tours are always informative. I always learn something new every time.

Coffee Farm

Coffee beans

The coffee cherries are separated from the beans and then  dried on large drying racks that are still manually controlled by farm workers to keep them from getting ruined when it rains. Coffee beans Coffee drying racks

Coffee trees

Those coffee trees are descendants from the original coffee trees planted by Elizabeth Greenwell, founder of the farm from the late 1800’s. Our guide called them the granddaughters from the original trees.


Notice that hanging purplish flower on this banana tree? That means the tree is done producing bananas and another will grow in its place.

Elsa: The farm has orchids, lemons and avocados, along with some unusual plants. What the devil is that red thing?

Lobster claw flower

The Mom: That’s Heliconia rostrata, otherwise known as Lobster Claw plant. It’s very showy but I found this Dendrobium orchid even more amazing. Orchids are parasitic and this one is attached to an avocado tree.


Another showy plant that smelled divine was the beautiful Rainbow Golden Shower tree near where we stayed. These flowers were on the inside of the branches and I loved the incredible fragrance whenever I walked under it.

Rainbow Shower tree

Elsa: Wow, that is something beautiful. I know you have millions of other photos that I could share but we probably ought to wrap it up. I think I heard some of our readers snoring. This may all be fascinating to you but others might be bored to tears. One thing that did amaze me were all the sunsets that were so colorful. I know you weren’t able to capture the elusive ‘green flash’ when the sun disappears in the water but here’s a link that explains it well. Maybe the next time you go you’ll capture it.

Hawaii sunset

The Mom: I got very close at the wedding but alas my cell phone camera just wasn’t quick enough. They only last a nano-second but it’s quite cool to witness. And speaking of the wedding, here’s a photo of the happy couple. I’m so grateful to have been able to share in their special day.

Hawaii wedding

Elsa: Miss Hailey (my favorite vet tech) was gorgeous and Christian is my buddy. So what’s on the agenda for your weekend? Doing anything special? I think the extreme weather here is gone (we’ve had buckets of rain, super destructive hail and a tornado that went through the southern suburbs here yesterday) so let’s just chill and hang out together, ok Mom?

The Mom: That we can do, little one. Thanks for sharing pics for this week’s Nature Friday. I know it’s been hard for you but I’m always here for you as you figure out what being an only dog is all about. So far, you’ve handled yourself very well, sweetie. Keep up the good work.

Elsa: Thanks Mom. Hopefully I’ll figure it out. I always thought of myself as the top dog but being an only dog is different. With your love and support I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 9, 2023

Aloha signAloha, it’s me, Norman (along with his Ninja sister Elsa) to welcome you to the latest edition of Nature Friday, hosted by our pals Rosy and Sunny from Adventures of the LLB Gang. Our Mum finally returned from granddaughter Hailey’s wedding in Hawaii and I for one couldn’t be happier. I’ve been wiggling my bum and shadowing her everywhere so she can’t possibly get away from me again. Mum came home with a treasure trove of pics (to go with her major case of jet lag-she says she hoping she’ll get caught up by the end of the weekend and hopes people will be patient with her). She’s been napping as much as me these past couple of days but Elsa and I agreed we would break up these Nature Friday posts over multiple weeks so as to be able to share some of the beauty from our 50th state. We may even include a pic or two from the wedding. Let’s get started, shall we?

Elsa: For some odd reason, Mom took a lot of pics of the clouds from the plane on the trip. I didn’t get it but she assured me they were a pretty fascinating view from 36,000 ft. They look different from when you’re looking up at them from the ground. In the sky she was looking down on them and it was a whole ‘nother world. This first one is somewhere over the Rockies not too far from Denver. Notice there was some snow still on the peaks.

Snow over the Rockies

Norman: Blimey, just look at those valleys. Makes me dizzy just looking at them.

Elsa: You’re dizzy anyway-not because you’re looking down at snow covered peaks, pal.

Norman: Ahem…well I see the personal digs have started early on. Sigh. Moving along, let’s take a look at when the skies became soupy with clouds.


Elsa: Hey, there’s a crack in the clouds! What’s that blue stuff?

Norman: That, little sister is the Pacific Ocean. Blue skies and blue ocean. That’s rather something, isn’t it?

Elsa: Meh…I dunno. Blue is blue. I still don’t see what the big deal is about looking down from 36,000 feet above the ground.

Norman: {eyes rolling} I doubt I can explain it to you. Just trust me when I say it’s quite the sight and takes on a whole different perspective from when we’re looking up at clouds.

Elsa: Perspective, schmective. I wanna check out something that’s actually interesting.

Norman: When you’re looking out a plane window and see  Mother Nature’s slushy, THAT little one is something interesting, trust me. Between looking like something between a slushy and an iceberg field, it made Mum wonder a lot about perspective.


Elsa: Looks like a partly cloudy day when she landed in Kailua-Kona. The pics she took as the plane moved toward the airport sure have some color to them. Hey, I think I see some tiny wind turbines in this pic below.


Norman: From the airplane, everything looks like a quilt but you’re right, I see those wind turbines in the center of that pic along with the shoreline surf. They look like tiny crosses. Mum told me she didn’t swim in the ocean and I said that’s good, you never know what lurks in that wet stuff.


Elsa: Yeah, you couldn’t pay me to swim in that stuff. The salt would likely bother my skin, I’m afraid. Besides, there’s a whole lot of fascinating stuff to check out from the shore. I heard Mom nearly tripped over a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) at sunset. Hawaiians call those things “Honu.” Pretty cool beans, eh?

Norman: {eyes wide-open} Blimey mate, it matches the surrounding sand, no wonder she nearly stepped on it! Glad she didn’t. It’s a no-no to touch the Honu. Did you know their heads don’t retract like freshwater turtles? Mum said they can grow to between 3 and 4 ft. and may weigh as much as 300-350 pounds?

Elsa: Whoa…that’s a whole lotta turtle soup! Mom told me they are found in subtropical and tropical ocean waters, nesting in some 80 countries. In the U.S. they nest in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Florida. Hmm, that makes me wonder if they are as tasty as the tortoise shelled reading glasses I munched one time.

Sea Turtle

Norman: Only you would wonder something like that.

Elsa:  Hey you’re the hungry hippo around the Ranch, I was just wondering out loud. It’s not like I’d actually try to eat one that was alive. Although I think I could take it on. If nothing else, I’d definitely run circles around it. They’re pretty slow moving.

Norman: You are not a tiger shark, the Honu’s main predator. Although…come to think of it…

Elsa: Hey, knock that off, bozo. You want me to rat you out to Mom?

Norman: Mum knows how sweet I am, she’d never believe I’d ever say anything so provocative…

Elsa: Why, I have a good mind to…

Norman: Now, now, calm down little one. We’re supposed to be sharing some of the Hawaiian nature, not quibbling about who’s the fiercest predator, ok? We all know who that is.

Elsa: You’re just lucky I’m so easy going. So tell me brother, what was the first thing Mom did when they arrived on the Big Island?

Norman: Well anyone who knows Mum knows that’s easy, and because they had to wait until a few hours until the villa was ready for them to check in, they made a stop at a favorite watering hole, the Kona Brewing Company. While it wasn’t too hot (mostly around 75-80ºF the entirety of the trip), a nice cold one was most welcome. She saw some geckos scurrying about the tables but those little green things were just too quick to photograph this trip. She did however capture them in a previous trip to the Big Island that you can see here.

Kona Brewing Co.

Elsa: Yup, I can see Mom enjoying those frosty suds. Nice way to start out the week. After she showed me the place she stayed at in Waikoloa Beach, I almost wish she’d have taken us along. Just think of all the critters I could have chased on the grounds!

Waikoloa Beach

Norman: Umm…I don’t think you’d find the critters of Hawaii to your liking. Mum told me she saw her first mongoose from the patio. Can you believe it?


Elsa: Mom said they were lightening fast. I kept asking her about the two in the upper left background but she blushed and said for me not to worry about what they were doing. Something about mating season. As a former puppy mill survivor, I could tell them a few things about that! Anyway, the view from Mom’s bedroom window was pretty amazing. It shows the lava fields of Kohala, Hawaii’s oldest but extinct volcano (hidden behind those clouds). Mom said she already misses that view.

Norman: The views were definitely something to write home about. Well that’s all the time we have for this week’s Nature Friday post. We hope you enjoyed seeing pics from Mum’s trip. Next week we’ll share more flora and fauna. So tell me sister, what exciting plans do you have this weekend?

Elsa: Nothing too exciting. I’m mostly just making sure Mom doesn’t leave the house without us. Even when it rains. Mom says we should be grateful for it-it’s not like Colorado is a tropical wonderland like Hawaii is.

Norman: I hear you on that, Ninja. I think a good nap for all 3 of us should top our agenda after we celebrate my birthday tomorrow. Mum told me my first Mum told her recently when I was born. You ready to party, sis? Then again, what do you say, you on the left side and me on Mum’s right side after we have a birthday party?

Elsa: Works for me brother. Whatever you guys do, just make sure you get outside and enjoy the wonders Nature provides us.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Were There ~ September 21, 2022

Aachen, Germany

After dreaming of being back in Aachen, I’m smiling because it’s Happy Earth, Wind & Fire Day. Do you Remember the 21st day of September? Groove on, peeps.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Thankful Thursday ~ September 15, 2022

Surprise, it’s me…and yes, I realize it’s Thursday and not my usual Wednesday post but the world seemed to conspire against me yesterday while I was trying to install a new computer and it ended up taking 7 hours getting it remotely configured. By the time I managed to smooth out the numerous wrinkles migrating the old data onto the new hardware, it seemed silly to post anything late in the afternoon…so voilà…it magically transformed into a Thankful Thursday post instead of a “Wordless Wednesday, ” i.e. “Wish I Were There”  post. But trust me, I’m ever so grateful I didn’t fling the doggone thing out the window before figuring out how to get anything posted again. And I’m exceedingly grateful no people or pets were harmed in the agonizing process and I still have a head full of hair (thought there was a short period of time where I thought I might need to wear a wig for a while). At any rate, here’s hoping you enjoy no matter what day it is.

High Tide, Venice

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Wordy Wednesday ~ September 7, 2022

Let’s cool things down, at least visually. To all those baking in record high temps, this is for you.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

Live, love, bark! 🐾

One Word Wednesday ~ August 24, 2022



Live, love, bark! 🐾