Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pages From the Pets Book

Crystal requested pics of some of the Pets Book (see below) pages.

I'll start with one of my favorite pages. This is toward the back of the book. All the animals here were written about earlier in the book. I like this page because it shows how much affectionate interaction we had with them. On the left are Jill with Houdini and Liz (my granddaughter) with Grimmy. In the center is Jill & Joey with Music, Liz with Caroline, and me with Thistle; on the right are Liz with Caroline and Joey with Wolfy.

This is Thunder's page.

With a wide choice of layouts, you can have one picture on a page, or many. This page shows Thistle and Thor at upper left, brother and sister German Shepherds. Thor is in the center, and Thistle is pictured with Joe at upper right. Holly is at lower right, and Suzanne is shown with Music at lower left.

This is Music's page.

You can fill the page with one photo and put the text on top of it. Here's Liz (Suzanne's daughter) with Holly.

On the facing page, Liz—older now—is pictured with Caroline.

Here's Morgan's page.

This is the first page in the book. Suzanne is pictured with Barni.

And this is the last page. A picture of our house serves as a background. Clockwise from upper left: Joey with young Wolfy, older Angel, Angel as a puppy (with Jill), and older Wolfy. The book covers 39 wonderful animals.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Pets Book

I undertook a Christmas project that turned out to be a big success: I created a book for my kids and granddaughter about all the dogs and cats my family has had since just before my children were born. Pictured are the front and back covers.

I spent a lot of time researching online photo book publishers, and found the Photo Book Roundup Review particularly valuable. Photo Book Girl is another good resource. After doing my research, I chose Inkubook. I'm very happy with my choice.

My book has 40 pages (20 sheets, both sides) and is an 8.5 x 11" in landscape orientation. It contains 103 photos (almost all of which were prints that I scanned) and 4,500 words. I mention these details for those who might like to do a similar project. For some time I've wanted to create a record of all these pets so that they wouldn't be forgotten. The book works beautifully for that. But because my children and granddaughter are with the animals in so many of the photos, the book is like a family album, too.

The process was time consuming (I told my kids the book was the most labor-intensive gift they would receive), but fun. Once I learned the software (Microsoft's Silverlight) and got some experience choosing layouts and backgrounds, etc., I had a great time with it. In fact, I can't wait to do another one! I have an idea, and I figure it will take me till July to execute it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The First Dog

I will always think of Poppy as The First Dog. My husband and I found her in Pennsylvania in 1968. We were living in midtown Manhattan and had just bought a weekend house in the country. Our first visitors were Shep, a handsome black collie-shepherd belonging to someone down the road, and his mate, a stray called Puppy. When Puppy had puppies, we took them to the shelter (where they assured us the pups were supremely adoptable) and adopted her and changed her name to Poppy. What a shock it must have been for a country dog to find herself in the concrete canyons of New York City!

She adapted well, though (other than chewing a big hole in the arm of our new sofa). She occasionally accompanied me to work at Lincoln Center, where she became the mascot of the Philharmonic's softball team. Later she moved with us to suburban New Jersey, and again to rural PA. She flew down to Florida with me many times to visit my parents. Poppy was a thoroughly nice dog who paved the way for many more dogs.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Villanelle for Barbara Joan

Questions I Wish I’d Asked My Father

The pictures now are neatly filed
The only way I know her
My cousin Joan, who never smiled

I’m guessing she was kind of wild
I have no chance to show her
The pictures now are neatly filed

Nowhere near her mother’s style
Who liked to lace-and-bow her
My cousin Joan, who never smiled

Sullen, sad, unreconciled
Only a flashbulb glows her
The pictures now are neatly filed

She died at twenty, sick, defiled
Time’s river overflows her
My cousin Joan, who never smiled

My father’s sister’s only child
I feel this much I owe her
The pictures now are neatly filed
My cousin Joan, who never smiled