Meet the Dawgs



Mary and I love our life on the shores of Lake Joe in Highland, Illinois, where we have lived for the last 18 years.  Our home sits on 2 acres outside of Highland and we share the lake with only a few neighbors.  We are both natives of the St. Louis area and, with downtown only 35 miles to the south and east, can still enjoy our favorite places in our hometown.  Go Cards.

Like myself, Mary has been a healthcare professional throughout her career.  She is a radiology and MRI technologist who quickly moved into management and administrative positions.  She currently manages Elite Imaging in Fairview Heights, IL and has recently assumed additional management responsibilities at another site in the system.

Among her many talents, Mary is an excellent cook; I refer to her as My Iron Chef.  She could put a serious throwdown on poor old Bobby Flay.



We share our home with our bestest buddies.  Of course there is Odie, whose laid back disposition is essential when living with three kitty kats.  Then there is Bacchus (Roman God of Wine) our handsome Maine Coon; Minerva (Roman Goddess of Wisdom) better known as Minny; and another handsome fellow named OB (Orange Boy, although I prefer Obie-Wan).


Odie is the kind of fellow that wanders up to strangers, flops, rolls and start waggling his tail waitin’ for a belly rub.  Besides his charming disposition Odie is awfully handsome.  His short leg sausage dog frame is draped with the look and coat of Lassie.  Simply irresistible.

Odie is one of several rescue dogs Mary and I have brought into our home over the years.  He was about ten when he entered our lives a few years ago.  Mary has volunteered her time at our local no-kill shelter and is passionate about the work she does there.   Before we picked Odie up there we had Kilo, also an older gentleman who had a rough life before coming to the shelter.  Although older doggies may require more care, and cost more at the vet, we both love the idea that we can give these older animals a comfortable and safe home.  Our Kilo was only with us for a year or so, but he knew he was in a good place, at last.

Odie became known as the Scopedawg, at least to me, by quietly lying nearby as I trained mount, telescope and camera on the light of distant galaxies.  Odie the Scopedawg – Our Founder, Our Leader.


The other dawg in this circus is Joe Lopinot, aka JoLo, and that is me, your humble narrator.  For the record, I had my nickname long before Jennifer Lopez had hers.  As noted above my career was also in healthcare, in fact Mary and I met at Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville, IL, where she was the radiology manager and I was the laboratory manager.  Love blossomed amidst test tubes and X-ray film.

I received my Bachelor’s in Medical Technology from St. Louis University, where I worked the night shift in the blood bank for several years.  You learn organization and priority skills quickly at 3 AM in the blood bank of a level 5 trauma center.  Because of tuition reimbursement (long since chopped) I was able to pursue one of my passions – history – where I went on to receive a Bachelor’s in History and a Masters in American Studies from SLU.  Later in my career, writing national laboratory contracts at a group purchasing organization, I received my Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri.  Last summer, after a “reorganization initiative” I too was chopped.  I was glad to be freed from the Darwinian world of corporate healthcare and jumped at the chance to pursue my favorite pastime while educating the general public about the magnificent event that was heading their way.

About 12 years ago I reconnected with my youthful passion for astronomy under the dark skies of southern Texas.  One look through the binoculars at the Andromeda Galaxy from those skies and another astronomy freak and telescope / camera geek was born.  The rest, as someone noted, is history.


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