What if?

Dan & Kathleen @RedRocks

This ‘selfie’ was taken at Red Rocks on October 2, 2014 as Dan & I were looking forward to hearing Christian artists, Casting Crowns, Mandisa and Sidewalk Prophets.  I added the cute little graphic and posted the photo to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts using the hashtags #CastingCrowns and #RedRocks.  Within an hour, the official Casting Crowns Instagram account had clicked on the ‘heart’ icon for our photo and I was so excited.  Then I had my “What if?” moment.  How excited would I be if God clicked the heart to show his love for us?  Immediately I realized He does.  Every day God hearts us.

May the peace and love of the Lord be with you now and forever.


The Beautiful Girl with the Red Velvet Ears

May 26, 2000 – June 26, 2013
The Beautiful Girl with the Red Velvet Ears

Our beautiful Little Miss Nocturne left us on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, to be with Bueller and her sister, Sydney (formerly known as Eventide).  It’s the time in the lives of those of us who love and care for pets that we dread.  Simply heartbreaking.  Yet, my husband and I are willing to endure this pain and grief because we cannot live without the joy, love, and companionship they bring to our lives.  We know we are richer and have such a full life with them sharing it with us.

I knew the day would come when I would write this tribute to Nocturne.  After she had crossed the rainbow bridge, all I could think of was “the beautiful girl with the red velvet ears“.  I had never thought of her in those terms until she was gone.  She had always been that gorgeous little basset with the perfect red circle on the top of her head.  But as I reflect on her, the red velvet ears seem more meaningful to me now.

The perfect red circle on the top of her head

Dan & I first saw her in the fall of 2000 when she was with her owner/handler, Doug Taylor, showing both Nocturne and her sister, Eventide, in a show ring.   They were just 6 months old.  The girls were in a category called “brace”, which means 2 or more from the same litter who looked almost identical.  They were beautiful together.  My eyes and my heart were drawn to Nocturne.  I think it was love at first sight for both of us.   Throughout the years, Doug has let us hold his dogs on lead while he was showing another in the ring.  He handed their leads to us and there was an immediate connection with Nocturne and me.  At the end of that day, I felt comfortable to bend down and kiss her on that sweet little red dot.  She reciprocated with a lick to my chin.  Doug’s wife Missy said, we have found a home for Nocturne.

2001, the new year.  I got an email from Doug saying that Nocturne’s bite had changed to a rather severe underbite, which was the “kiss of death” for the show ring as he termed it.  If we wanted her, she was ours.  Dan remembers that day and said I shouted “Nocturne is ours”!

We kept the name Doug and Missy had given to her.  We could never find anything that suited her better than Nocturne.  We had our terms of affection, “Little Miss”, “Sweetheart” and our friend, Kendra, would call her “Pumpkin”.

For a basset hound, she was very fast.

Dashing through the snow…ears flying

Logistically, arrangements were made for me to pick her up in February at the Denver Dog shows.  The day came and I made my way to Denver, found a parking place close by thanks to a very empathic parking lot attendant.  I entered the ‘back room area” of the show where handlers are grooming and caring for their dogs.  My first time to see the behind the scenes of a dog show.  As I met the woman who had brought Nocturne to us, when I said Nocturne’s name, I heard huge tail wags vigorously bouncing back and forth from the interior of her transporting crate.  I was convinced she recognized my voice.  She was also in her first heat so I was extra protective of her welfare.

What a trooper she was.  The trip home from Denver was a piece of cake.  We introduced her to our first basset, Bueller, who was also 7 months old.  They were instant buds…not because she was in heat, as Bueller had already been neutered. But the bond they shared lasted a lifetime, until Bueller left us a little over a year ago.

Bueller & Nocturne


One of her favorite spots to be in the sunshine.


Nocturne loved to sun bath; here with puppy Newton.

Once she sunburned her tummy; this happened right after she had been spayed and there wasn’t a protective layer of fur.  That never dissuaded her from enjoying her spots of sunshine every where around our home.  This picture is one of her with Newton as a puppy.  While it wasn’t in the cards for her to be a mother, she was great with Newton from the day we brought him home.

She was very proud of her bark.  Once we moved to the country, she became convinced that she kept coyotes and even horses at bay from being on our property.

She loved her Greenies and did the happy dance, tossing them in the air.  There was a sheer joy when she did this.  Don’t tell me animals don’t have emotions….I witnessed it every day with her.

She would flirt with the boys to get them to play.

She knew how to wake us up if, in her opinion, we slept too long.  Positioning herself to allow her tail to hit the door handles of our dresser, which make a clanking sound.  If that didn’t work, she would adjust to hit her tail against the corner of a wall.  Thump, thump, thump.  Basset Hounds are very smart.


She thought she was the alpha dog and during Bueller’s reign, he allowed her to think that.  Occasionally there was a mild correction by Bueller, but in general Nocturne, was the matriarch of the basset clan.



Her post.

When we built our house, we knew these windows were perfect basset height.  This was her post where she would watch for anything that was happening out back.  Some days we think she saw phantoms, other days she actually did see a coyote or two and out the doggy door she went with a fierceness to thwart their attempts to linger.


She considered herself a lap dog.

She took over the role of head studio mascot when Bueller left us a little over a year ago and at that time she became the true alpha of our pack.


She taught Newton and Quorra the ropes around the Krucoff household.


Those of us who are fortunate to share our life with dogs, especially the comedic Basset Hound, know the bond that is shared for a lifetime and beyond.



She followed me everywhere.  Her presence was quiet, yet undeniable.  Every morning she would sleep on a dog bed in my bathroom as I got ready for the day.  If my bathroom door was closed, I would find her there waiting for me when I opened it.  She found her spot in my studio where she would sleep while I worked.  There was an immense love that radiated from her and now that is absent from my life.  Ah yes, but I can still feel it in my heart.



She was my friend, confidant and companion.  I am so very grateful to have had her in my life.

She had the cutest little red dot on the top of her forehead.  In her 13 years and 1 month, as she grew more and more white, it continued to be her beauty mark.



She was our beautiful girl with the red velvet ears.

What Inspires You? ~ Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank Topic for April

The topic for this month’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank writers is: What Inspires You?


Ya baby!

Oh, there are so many things.  To sum it up, life inspires me.  Especially when I am able to live it to the fullest!

Dan & I just returned from vacation in the beautiful, spectacular and stunning  Zion National Park.

The park is brimming with life, like this cute little guy who climbed all over my hiking boots trying to entice me to feed him some of my lunch, which is illegal so there would be nothing from me.  Plus, little did he know I have 3 adorable basset hounds who work me every day for more food than they should have, so he didn’t stand a chance and quickly moved on to other hikers on the trail.


Mr. Chipmunk in search of a morsel of food.


Spring unfolding.

I am inspired from all I saw and experienced; how will that manifest?  I’m not sure.   One thing I do know is the last time we visited Zion, about 10 years ago, I think my eyes were somehow closed to the spectacular beauty that is pretty much hard to describe in words. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the experience 10 years ago.  I just didn’t see, as strange as this may sound, the majesty present in the vistas.  This time I WAS READY and soaked it all in.  I’ll let Dan’s photos give you a glimpse of what await those who travel to Zion.


Feeling like I’m on top of the world




One of the views from Angels Landing


The serenity of morning light

As an artist, I can tell you that during this trip, my eyes were opened to things that were obscured to them before.  I am so grateful.

Sure, so many people say they are inspired by nature that it tends to sound cliche.  I get that.  I also know that spending quality time in places like Zion revitalize my mind and soul.  Now that’s my kind of inspiration!


Me with my husband and soul mate, Dan.  This is our idea of a perfect day/date.

I urge you to seek being nurtured by nature, and its abundant life, because it can provide more than inspiration for your mind, body and soul.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

P.S.  All the photos, except for the chipmunk and flower, were taken by my talented husband Dan.  He rocks!

Now lets see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tankers have written on this topic!

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
pencilfox:  www.pencilfox.com
Shelagh Blatz: www.designsbyshelagh.com/blog
Christine Esovoloff: http://christineesovoloff.tumblr.com/
Kathleen Krucoff: https://kathleenkrucoff.wordpress.com/


Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank ~ What is one thing you really love to do?

Photo of my hands as I am working in my studio
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

The topic for this month’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank post is…..drum roll please…… “What is one thing you really love to do? And why?”

I absolutely, positively LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E working with my hands.  I have ever since I was a little kid.  Coloring. Playing the piano. Typing. Macrame, from basket holders to jewelry. Sewing. Painting. Creating Stained Glass. Wire wrapping. And now Metalsmithing.  I am drawn to anything that involves working with my hands.

The reason for this is I thoroughly enjoy the tactile experiences from the creative processes involved when I am using my hands.  Manual dexterity just feels so good.

A definite side benefit I experience is this wonderful sense of serene tranquility and calm. I’m in a zone where everything is at peace.  It’s wonderful.  I can be so focused on what I’m trying to accomplish that Dan has to find ways to get my attention so I’m not startled.

Yes, working with my hands has always brought about great personal satisfaction.  Sure, there are times when I have my bad days and just have to stop. BUT, I can easily say that 99% of the time, working with my hands is the ultimate  endorphin  releasing experience for me.

Let’s see what my fellow Think Tank bloggers wrote on February’s topic:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Mary Spencer (WATTO DMW) http://www.wattoonline.com/news
Shelagh Blatz: http://designsbyshelagh.com/blog
pencilfox. www.pencilfox.com
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.