Lisa Dingle, that’s who!

Whoa boy.

I recently wrote a column (er…blog post) about the difficulty I’ve always had with leaving a voicemail greeting.

This is just like that.

I’m not kidding.


Hi. This is Lisa Dingle (no, I wanted to just say ‘Lisa’. Dang. I’ll have to go back and fix that)

Hi. This is Lisa. I’m not here right now (no. I actually am  here. They know this because I’m clearly typing this. Go back. Sigh.)

Hi. This is Lisa. (Jesus…)


Just like leaving a voicemail greeting.

I should have just copied that post right here.

Instead, I’ll just type.

I’m Lisa.


Of Dingleville.

Three and a half kids (two and a half in college), one nearly perfect husband, two in-laws, four dogs, one ‘temporary’ cat, a hodge-podge cast of friends and family, a ‘disposable shack’ in Massachusetts, a someday full time home in Maine, and a lot of thoughts on a lot of everyday and not so everyday things.

Welcome to Dingleville.

It’s a state of mind.

My mind.

Good luck with it :))


  1. Pam

    Lisa – I’m not on Facebook so I’m hoping you’ll see this comment. I have been following your blog since Jon Katz mentioned its existence. You are an absolutely fabulously talented writer! I have laughed, cried, nodded my head in agreement, and talked to myself in front of the computer while reading entries – much to the amusement of my two German Shepherds. (Aren’t they great dogs? Mine are black & red, too.) Anyway, I love your style of writing and wish you all the best.

  2. Pam

    After clicking on “on lisa dingle” under WHO IS RESPONSIBLE HERE, there is a box under your blurb that says “leave a reply”. You simply type your comment, leave your email address (not published), a name, then post a comment. Some blogs that I follow include this option at the end of each entry but I have no idea how this is done. By the way, I can read your Facebook page through the link you provide; I just can’t comment. Best regards!

  3. Cindy Harty

    Just found you today from Tim Kearns website (BTW, ordering a sign too). I’ve laughed until I hurt. Between the kids and dog stories I’m now a Dingle-ite! Thanks for the laughs from McKinney, Texas.

  4. Cindy Harty

    Girrrrl, you can’t post soooon enough. (Spoken with a Texas drawl)

    Can’t wait for Tim’s sign. As empty nesters we live in a wee Craftsman bungalow near downtown McKinney. The sign will say “Rosehill Cottage” since we live on teeny tiny hill (Texas tiny standards) with pink roses.

    Have sent your blog on to my daughter in Seattle and her friend and my “adopted” child in St Louis. Advised the girls to read “Porno Elephants”…. in case either should give birth to a male child. Thought they should be prepared, just in case.

    The Dingle dogs are hilarious. As dog lovers we totally get your dog humor. We have Charliejackhenryjohnsonjuniorbaconcheeseburger Harty and Millie-Pielicious Abigail Pickett Burnside Harty. (It’s a southern thing having multiple names.) They are also blessed with Native American handles which describe them perfectly: Charlie Little Shit and Millie Drop aPoo. Yep, we embrace the Land of Dingle with all their 4 legged critters.

  5. Oh my Gawd! Charliejackhenryjohnsonjuniorbaconcheesburger sounds like the BEST NAME EVER! hahaha!! I love ‘Charlie Little Shit’ and ‘Millie Drop aPoo’ as well! The multiple names thing works perfectly :)) I’m so excited that you sent along the porno elephants. They are in for a treat should they have boys. Gabe-the-self-proclaimed-perfect-boy is living up to his genetics every. single. day.! Thank you so much for reading! Thank you daughter and friend for me too. Marshal Dillon Dingle and Blaze are with me in Maine today, keeping their fur to themselves as we have some painting done in Dunstable (hahaha!) I’ll post on their antics, and on being in Maine in winter, over the next few days :))

  6. Cindy Harty

    Just read your fabulous post with hauntingly gorgeous photos of Mr. Holland’s deck etc.

    Lisa Dingle, you are a truly gifted story teller via prose AND photography. Thanks for warming up Rosehill Cottage with another great dog laugh (The Snow Channel??? My two would look at me and say, “What’s that fluffy stuff? Can we eat it?”) Poor little Texas dogs haven’t a clue! Y’all stay warm and for added measure, bless your hearts.

  7. Thanks for blessing my heart! We are getting ready for another big storm up here (tomorrow) so the dogs will be thrilled that the Snow Channel is running new material :))

  8. Usually I do not learn article on blogs, but I would lke to say
    that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thanks, very great post.

  9. Cindy Harty

    Lisa, the Tim Kerns sign has arrived for our wee cottage. Looks fabulous! Can’t wait to see it properly hung.

  10. Cindy Harty

    Perfect poem! Absolutely perfect. As you can, please continue updating your readers. We care sending our warmest hugs to the Dingle clan since many have walked a similar journey with a beloved pet.

  11. Cindy, what a lovely comment! I will keep you updated. Thank you so much for your support. I hope the writing will help others going through the same thing. As you said, this is not a unique journey, but a shared human experience. I think that’s why it resonates so much, and brings out such wonderful support.

  12. Cindy Harty

    Just logged on. Read your post and immediately took my senior three outside to breathe in the first hint of spring. As they played their silly game with an invisible fourth canine, my gaze wandered upward to a perfectly blue sky. Couldn’t help but smile at Monty boy and his special Joy Angel. Life well lived big boy. Job well done faithful servant. Now play and play until your tongue rolls then find soft snow bathed in winter light for a snooze.

  13. Thanks so much, Cindy. He was a wonderful, big, gentle, goof. Hugs to you and your senior three. Isn’t it so cool to know about Joy Angels? Kate tells stories of many that she has ‘spoken’ to/visited with. Amazing, mind boggling, and … hope-inspiring :))

  14. Anonymous

    YES! Oh how I would love to sit and listen to her stories. To possibly add a bit more comfort and hope to those Joy Angels she lovingly shared with you when you needed them most, I believe my Dad is present and accounted as the chief veterinarian in charge of fresh treats and belly rubs. I lost him 18 years ago and have been comforted more times than I can say knowing “Doc Benson” is always on call. Dad had the same tender heart as the beloved vet Monty left behind. Dad’s sweet smile coupled with strong yet gentle hands have welcomed and cradled many a furry head since his passing.

  15. Well, Kate says there are “teachers” (she says the children refer to their guides as ‘teachers’). Perhaps Doc Benson has that job. I’m not being trite at all. We just don’t know for sure, but that would make sense to me (that the guides for the Joy Angels who choose to be greeters would be animal people. I love that idea.

  16. Cindy Harty

    Totally agree as he was a most gifted teacher while here! Love the thought. Thanks ever so much for sharing Kate’s insights. (You seriously met her for the first time at the vet’s office???)

  17. I actually wrote the poem before yesterday (we didn’t know he was going to decline so quickly). I was talking (well, ‘typing’) to Kate the night before. She messaged me on Facebook, and told me that she felt she was supposed to. She told me the story of the Joy Angels, and that she had been communicating with them for a long time. That night, I was dreaming/thinking of the story, and had this absolute driving need to get up and write. I don’t write many poems, but I just had to. I imagined being in the vets office (where I knew I’d be, very soon) and what I’d be thinking/feeling. The rest flowed. Kate and I are still messaging. Pretty cool :))

  18. Cindy Harty

    Love the “Send Blaze” post as we often did the same with “Go wake the kid”. Dogs loved it, kid not so much! Glad Sam is home! Ask him if he’s seen a “Second Line” down in the Quarter after a wedding. Our daughter was married in the FQ last year. The Second Line was one of the coolest things the guests experienced. Please Google “New Orleans Second Line wedding” and then funeral. You will so get it! Hugs from Texas.

  19. I will google that right now! He was in the quarter last year, playing on the corner (we are so proud of his pan-handling ;)) And a groom-to-be ran up to him, because Sam was playing “Their song”. He ended up a key part of a proposal, involving a caricature artist, the bride, Sam, the groom, and a surprise group of the bride-to-be’s friends. He said it was so fun! I can’t wait to see what a second line is :))

  20. Cindy Harty

    Awesome! Sam’s blessed with the NOLA spirit. Does he hang out at Preservation Hall?

    Now, Google Sam Gregory Photography New Orleans; find “blog”; then “wedding”: next Anne-Lauren and Peter. You can catch a few of the photos from our girl’s fabulous wedding! Find pictures of the “Second Line”. Love Sam’s work as he captured the essence of AL and Pete’s special day. Enjoy!

  21. Just looked at the photos (and talked to Sam about second lines!). How beautiful! What an incredible venue for the wedding. Where was it held (at a hotel?) The colors, the flowers, (and clearly the Bride and Groom :))

  22. Anonymous

    Lots to read today! Where to begin. Easter was hilarious. The faces of those poor dogs was the best! And the post of people who matter …. thank you! As a retired educator it means more than you can imagine acknowledging the awesomeness of Coach. You hit a home run with that post, sister! AND I noticed you’re at 38,000 PLUS hits! Rock star status. Wowzer, girl!

  23. Thanks so much! Yes, Coach is awesome. I’m so glad you liked that one (and all that you read!). I know, 38,000! I’m so excited and motivated…. so thank YOU! :))

  24. Cindy Harty

    OK, I’ve booked a flight. Bringing two forks with me. I’ll hold him down. Let the rumpus begin …
    Seriously, he FORGOT????

    PS. The envelopes are awesome! Personalized is a class act to the next level, girl. AND so southern of you.

    From one belle to another, bless your heart.

  25. hahaha! Thanks so much Cindy! Yes, he forgot! I am still laughing and he is still cringing (mostly because he knows I have this blog and he is toast!) hahaha! Thank you so much for the blessing of my heart. I am headed to Kentucky this weekend and the forks are packed! :))

  26. Cindy Harty

    Bawling good and hard! No tissues left. Such a touching tradition and one you will keep in your Mother’s heart forever. Beautifully written and graciously shared.

    OK, time for a dawg story to help dry the tears.

  27. Thanks so much Cindy. It was such a cool ceremony. I really didn’t need any mascara that day as it was all washed off by about five minutes in! Okay! Dog story at the ready! :))

  28. Anonymous

    I’m having withdrawals .. everything OK? Do you have forks in your hands? Is the Perfect Husband still with us?

    Flying to Chicago tomorrow so please post soon!


  29. Sarah Elliott

    Hi Lisa! I just read your wonderful post about your labyrinth in Maine and wanted to reach out and say hello. I am on the board of directors of Veriditas, the nonprofit organization created by Rev. Lauren Artress (she wrote the book Walking a Sacred Path that launched the modern labyrinth movement). Our goal is to inspire people to experience labyrinths for themselves. We offer labyrinth workshops and train people to introduce the labyrinth to others (“labyrinth facilitators”). Veriditas is based in California, but we hold events all over the world (I live in the Philly area, so I’m always encouraging them to schedule things on the East Coast!). Take a peek at our website if you have a chance: And keep writing! Love your stuff. Sarah

  30. Cindy Harty

    You must bring Valor home. He’s got your joyful face (I think) and definitely your “Can and Will Do” personality. He’s your new Dingle dog. Amen.

    Cindy H

  31. Cindy Harty

    Yep, you’re toast, sweetie! That 3/4 pup has done a number on you! Congratulations. Valor-Hoppiness has joined the Dingle pack of love.

  32. I did not feel as ‘toast-y’ last night as I do this morning. Though he may pee in my shoe in a bit… then I’ll be riding the pendulum back to the other side…. 😉

  33. Cindy Harty

    Hope today has been better. This sweet boy neeeeds the Dingle tribe. Puh-leeze keep him. He’s the perfect size AND color. What a punkin face!

  34. Cindy Harty

    Keep us posted on that sweet boy. You are absolutely correct thinking through the amount of time/attention puppies need. We have three seniors and I often wonder if they receive enough attention …

  35. Cindy Harty

    Next time you speak/contact JonK please forward this website.

    After reading the post regarding his rehab efforts, I sent an email to him with the website. I don’t know how many hundreds of emails he receives … want to make sure he checks out the info, that’s where you come in. My cardiologist put the fear in me in June. I took his advice to heart (get it, heart!!!) taking my fitness level seriously. The poles have ramped up my walking in a BIG way by providing upper body work. (Think cross country skiing) Presently walking 5 miles per day …. have dropped 15 pounds along the way and without doubt have improved my cholesterol numbers and more importantly the dreaded A1C number. My arms, shoulders, back and abs are shaping up too, it’s a win-win. JonK does so much walking around the farm, these would really give him added benefit if his cardiologist approves.

    Always my best!

  36. Will do! It was a big decision to bring him back, but it was the right thing to do. He never skipped a beat – ran right back into my friend’s house, greeted the big dogs, and took over…. again! :))

  37. Pingback: Exciting times are here… | Home on the Grange

  38. Cindy Harty

    I found you at Bedlam Farms today! You get to kiss Simon. Please give him a smoochy for me while you’re at it. Enjoy your visit with all your best group buds. Looks and sounds kinda WoodStock-ish to me 🎃🎃🎃

  39. Anonymous

    You are a dear friend. I know those kind folks at Bedlam Farm were happy to see your smiling face and welcome your hugs. Cindy

  40. Thank you so much Cindy. I was so happy to go, to check in with friends, and pay respects to a rather awesome donkey (I think I’ll capitalize that… ‘Donkey’ (Simon’s ‘Donkey-dom’ deserves to be a proper noun, dontcha think? :)). I’m thinking a lot about friendship – guess I’d better write something down about it! :)) Thank you again for the smile.

  41. On a Quiet Word to Music Parents ….. I am 67 — have two children 40 and 38. Both were great childhood musicians — one in pipe organ (really!) and the other in piano and drums. The one I thought would do music as a career went off to college to major in music and halfway through the first semester called to say he was changing to psychology! Then shifted to computers and linguistics and has a very successful career — still loves music. The other who I NEVER thought would go into music majored in German and pipeorgan performance, studied organ in Germany, earned an MA and DMA in organ and has a career in music! I laughed and laughed and laughed at your post!
    At 67, I am a retired dean and finding my inner voice in poetry classes and now with a poetry blog. Hope you’ll visit me — maybe just once and look around….especially the About me…it’s all about the passion and interest to do something! Y
    ou mention MA and Maine — we moved from Iowa to Boston in ’97 —- LOVED the midwest and now LOVE our New England life. Cadillac Mountain — Acadia…great place! Will be enjoying your writing!

  42. Thank you SO much for sharing that Lillain. What great paths your children traveled (and are traveling!) Don’t you just love finding new paths too? i will absolutely visit your blog and look around. ❤

  43. I had tears in my eyes reading your post about Fred. I’m so sorry. I know those words aren’t adequate but I do truly know how you are feeling. We went through the same this past summer and it was an exquisitely painful time that not everyone can understand. So as a fellow dog lover, hugs to you. At some point there will be joy in remembering him, but not for a while.

  44. Cindy Harty

    Currently traveling and just logged on to check on you and yours. Sweet Fred. Lisa, I am so sorry this last episode was traumatic and not what anyone had expected. You will always find the best of Fred in past memories eating milk duds, cheese, and whatever else he could snag vs. this one awful day. Can only imagine your tender heart continues to ache ….. ❤️

  45. Thanks so much Cindy. What an incredible, amazing group of wonderful humans here. The rabies test – which was super unlikely to come back positive – did come back negative. So today I’m focusing on healing hearts (and hand!) and being grateful for Fred and all of you here. ❤

  46. Good morning, Lisa. Just thought I would let you know, I mentioned you this morning in my NaPoWriMo post….and there’s a link to your site. Your writing about your father included the word “Putter” which got me to thinking — and motivated today’s poem on my blog. You can now add “inspiration” to your About! 🙂
    Have a wonderful day,

  47. Cindy Harty

    100,000 hits! Congratulations, Lisa!!! You’ve brought smiles and a few tears to your many readers ❤️

  48. Thanks so much Cindy! It’s been a nutty week and I just noticed that last night. Thank you (and everyone!) I’m so happy – as in tearfully so – that you come here and like what you see and feel ❤

  49. Cindy Harty

    Family and friends will remain steadfast as you navigate these uncharted waters. One day at a time, girl. Keep the humor and bendy straws near by. And remember to breathe ….

  50. Cindy ❤️e

    Blaze worked her royal magic to perfection. The OYM looks totally relaxed and peaceful. Dogs ARE therapy with or without training. Well done,Blaze! ❤️ Now off to cuddle my trio before work.

  51. Cindy Harty ❤️

    Lisa, please accept my condolences for the loss of the Old Yankee Man. Without doubt he knew to the marrow of his bones he was loved. What greater gift can anyone give but to love completely. Each and every member of his family did it well! The following Jewish prayer was given to me 20 years ago when I lost my dad. May it provide some measure of comfort to you and yours as it has given me. As I read it I substitute “him” for “them”.

    We Remember Them by Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

    At the rising sun and at its going down; We remember them.
    At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter; We remember them.
    At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring; We remember them.
    At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer; We remember them.
    At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn; We remember them.
    At the beginning of the year and when it ends; We remember them.
    As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as We remember them.

    When we are weary and in need of strength; We remember them.
    When we are lost and sick at heart; We remember them.
    When we have decisions that are difficult to make; We remember them.
    When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them.
    When we have achievements that are based on theirs; We remember them.
    For as long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us as, We remember them.

  52. Absolutely beautiful, Cindy. Thank you so much for the prayer, and for thinking of me and us. So many think the internet is a place of complaints and contempt, and yet I see encouragement and support and love right here and it warms my heart. ❤

  53. Anonymous

    Hil-air-E-us! I’ve laughed ’til my sides hurt! If that tap water does all that, may I have some shipped to Texas? Please? I want to grow longer legs and nice boobs. ❤️

  54. Pam

    Lisa – You just made my eyes leak. What an absolutely beautiful poem! We’ve never met but I just love you. Your family and friends are so blessed to have you in their lives. Have a blessed holiday season.

  55. Pam

    Lisa – I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. I’ve loved all your holiday messages; you have the spirit in spades and it’s contagious (not like an amoeba). And, by the way, there is no magic time when your tree will turn into a pumpkin if you leave it up. We often leave ours up well into January – as in the 26th, to celebrate a daughter’s birthday – and once we actually had a Valentine’s tree. (I think someone super glued the needles on that tree!) I love having the lights in the house for as long as possible and you can even decorate it for different occasions. 🙂
    Happy New Year!!

  56. I am trying to type as I laugh out loud – I LOVE the idea of a Valentine’s day tree and trying to glue the needles on with super glue :)) And I’m writing a post about lights right now …. what a coincidence! :)) Happy New Year!

  57. Pam

    Lisa – Amen, sister. You are so right about this point of view. It does kick ass. Never forget that people who haven’t even met you have your back, too. Good energy abounds!

  58. Anonymous

    Lisa, I have something you might be interested in adapting for Mac and Jack’s wedding. Probably variations abound on Pinterest. I gave this to my daughter and soon to be son-in-law on their wedding day …. from one sappy, sentimental Mom to another.! ❤
    Think my email is below …

  59. Hi Cindy! I am in the process of changing e-mails so I can have one specifically for the blog (I’ll be launching a brand new site in the next two weeks or so (same address, just primping and fluffing it up a bit!)). Comments will be allowed right on each post at that point so I’m hoping that works better for you and the other folks who are so kind as to keep stopping in :)) I’ll send you the new e-mail as soon as I have it! Dying to see what you gave to your daughter (and soon to be son-in-law! Congratulations all!)

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