January 28, 2011

I had something else planned for today’s post but then I saw the headline about the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. 73 seconds after takeoff, the Challenger exploded and seven lives were taken away. I was off at college and I remember calling home and just bursting into tears when my mother answered the phone. I have no idea why it affected me so strongly, and still does, but I cannot make it through Kenny G’s Auld Lang Syne (Millennium Mix)  without tearing up all over again. Even now, just writing this post, I’m wiping my eyes and trying to come up with a reason for bawling at work in a mach0-infested office.

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'” Ronald Reagan

Do you remember where you were for this tragedy or have you just read about it?

I wonder, is this my Kennedy assasination?


January 27, 2011

Last night, we got another foot of snow dumped on us. Have I mentioned recently how much I HATE snow? and winter? Really, I’m much MUCH happier with warm balmy temperatures and green leaves all around! But winter does provide the opportunity for a good picture or two. This is the river in back of our house, completely frozen over, with one lone goose standing in the middle of the ice. See, it’s that little black speck. I’ll show you …

Let me get a little closer so you can really SEE him.

All right! Now we’re getting down right intrusive!

Let me just say, he was way over yonder which is technical speak for I was standing inside the house (did I mention I hate cold) and I didn’t have the zoom lens on the camera. But you can definitely tell it’s a goose, right?

Newest Exercise Equipment – Dogs

January 24, 2011

Tired of your boring old weights? Not have time to go to the gym? But still want to work out those arm muscles? Follow my lead and start using the dog who has been hanging around, not carrying his weight. This past weekend I played tug of war with the dogs. I started out playing with one dog but the other quickly joined in and believe me, whatever tension you have going on your weight machine is nothing compared to a dog who is bound and determined NOT TO LET YOU HAVE THE TOY! Turn your palms up and curl for the biceps, straighten the arms and pull backwards and up for the triceps. Believe me, you will get a full arm workout!

They're my toys - mine, all mine!

Of course, Spike is a little (35 pounds) bigger now but what is the point of posting without cute puppy pictures?

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

January 19, 2011

My sister got The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton for Christmas. Since I’ve already read all my Christmas books, I snagged hers because she’s in the middle of another book and won’t get to this one for a while. I had read about this on a blog (I’m sorry, I would link but I’ve forgotten which blog it was) and thought the story sounded interesting. Having read The Secret Garden at an impressionable age, I have an affinity for walled in gardens.

The premise of the story is that a four year old girl is put on a ship traveling from England to Australia in 1913, and told to hide by her traveling companion, The Authoress, until the woman gets back. The little girl waits and waits, but the lady doesn’t return and she is forced to travel to Australia by herself. She plays with the other children on the boat, below-decks, and everyone thinks she belongs to one of the families in steerage. Until they arrive the their destination, that is, and there is no one to claim her. The harbor master finds her after everyone else has left, just sitting on the dock, waiting. He takes her home and eventually raises her as his own.

The little girl doesn’t remember her name so the harbor master and his wife call her Nell. But who is she? And why did she have to make the voyage by herself? Criss-crossing through time and countries, Kate Morton tells the tale of  a well-to-do English family and the secrets they are hiding. There is a mystery involved but it’s not the who-dunnit kind. It’s more trying to figure out why one person did this which caused another to do that.

I love this book! Kate Morton’s style is rich and full, and her characters are so real that you can imagine yourself in the book at any point. I am at the most delicious part – almost to the end – where everything is starting to make sense. Some things I guessed and others caught me by surprise. I am intrigued to find out how it all winds up in the end. This is the part of the book where time is not on my side. I am like an addict sneaking away to get my fix when I should be doing other things (like getting to work) and yet I can’t help myself. I NEED to know what happens next.

Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

To Do List – follow up

January 17, 2011

Yesterday, I posted my list of things I wanted to get done. Some of it was very easy, like the Christmas tree, which Helen did as I typed my post. However, I paid my penance by tackling the dogs’ dens on my own:) Here’s how the list looked by the end of the day:

  1. Take down the Christmas Tree – as I quickly wrote my post, Helen got everything down off the tree and put away. She then took the tree out and to the curb. Meanwhile, I vacuumed up all the stray needles. The upside to taking out the tree? Our vacuum will smell like Christmas for the next few weeks.
  2. Clean the dogs’ dens – the pile that I amassed by the time I was done sweeping the kitchen alone was monumental! I will not go so far as to say we sweep every day but we get to it 4 or 5 times a week. What I got was just from a day and a half.
  3. Make blankets – This required figuring out my new serger before starting. Threading it took easily half an hour, complete with a minor meltdown when the thread broke for the fourth time in a row. However, once I got the damn thing going, it works like magic! As I was threading, Helen got the first two sides pinned on one blanket. All together, we got one blanket finished and another started.
  4. Organize and put away fabric – This is on hold for next weekend. We have a set of deep rolling drawers that we want to hide under the tables to hold the fabric but we have to do something with the current contents first.
  5. Read – We did steal half an hour to sit on the floor with our books and our dogs. I imagined quiet time with a dog stretched out beside me. Drusilla imagined a lively game of keep-away with my book being the object of desire. Actually, she quieted down pretty quickly and was happy as long as at least one of my hands was petting her at all times. The minute I stopped to turn a page, she started butting my book with her nose. Spike, our special, special boy, barked at shadows and reflections for much of the time.
  6. Sit with the guys – see above
  7. Start a blog for Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals – did not get to this. Maybe during my free time this we…. – sorry, had to laugh!
  8. Take pictures and list new stock in our store Done! I think that this bear may be one of my favorite things we’ve ever carried.  And this penguin? Love his smart-alec look!

All in all, it was quite a productive day. So, how was your weekend?

To Do List:

January 16, 2011

It is a cold, grey Sunday in January which is perfect weather for getting things done! Here’s what I hope to accomplish today:

  1. Take down the Christmas tree. We put it up exactly one month ago for Helen’s birthday and it has now outstayed its welcome. However, at night, in the dark, with just the colored lights from the tree, it’s magical and I hate taking that away.
  2. Clean the dogs’ den (kitchen and dining room) which they have trashed yet again. Fluff and hair and parts of a magazine they “read” are all over the floor and need to be swept up.
  3. Make blankets. We made huge – 108″ x 72″- blankets for my brother and my sister’s fiancée for Christmas. L’s was in Green Bay colors and M’s was in the blue and silver of Dallas. Everyone was really intrigued that we had made them and a little envious that they didn’t get one as well. We foolishly mentioned that the original  plan had been to make one for everyone but we ran out of time. When we met again for New Years, several of the family asked how their blankets were coming along. So now, we have yards and yards of fleece and two sewing machines and a serger waiting to go to work.
  4. Organize and put away the fabric we bought yesterday from Fabricland. We went there on a whim yesterday and came away with some really nice material. As we get more and more into sewing, we need to keep things in order as we have a tendency to go crazy and spend lots of money and buy things we already have, because we don’t know where they are or we forget we had them in the first place. Order is needed!
  5. Read. I have started The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and I am just loving it! Her style and way with words are wonderful and the story is really interesting too. Even though she jumps from England in 1900 to Australia in 1975 to Australia in 1913 to England in 2005, it doesn’t matter. I have no problem following her or the story.
  6. Sit with these guys.

    After the bath

    We’ve taken to sitting with them every night just before we go to bed and giving them a rub down. It calms everyone down before we head upstairs. We promised them we would try to do a little more of that this weekend, so I plan to combine this with a little reading.

  7. Start another blog for the store, Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals and More. In the hectic-ness of the summer and fall, our old blog got lost and then we didn’t renew the domain name so I need to start anew. There’s been a lot happening with the store and I want to get it down on paper – as it were.
  8. Take pictures and list our new stock. It is unlike anything else we’ve had so far and I am so excited about it. Check back in a few days ( and you’ll see what I mean!

That should be enough to get me started. What do you have planned for today?

Wordless Wednesday – Tired

January 5, 2011

Drusilla reclining

Dru collapsed on dog, one of their most favored toys!

Spike reclining

Meanwhile, Spike just collapsed!

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Back To Work We Go!

January 4, 2011

I took the week between Christmas and New Years as vacation time. What with the job, the store, the family (and their penchant for celebrating birthdays in December), and the undead, a rest was sorely needed. It was marvelous! There were naps. I read a few books and caught up on some magazines. Helen & I finished up past episodes of The Office and got sucked into the first season of Friday Night Lights.  We also got to relax with the four legged creatures that run our household, which was greatly appreciated. Over the course of an evening, I had three cats reclining on various parts of my legs. Not only do they provide a tremendous amount of comfort, but the heat that radiates off their bodies could be used to warm a small nation.

We got a chance to play with new toys that we received for Christmas. Helen had lots of success with her bandanas while my cat toys were met with derision at first by the felines, but, once they caught whiff of the catnip buried inside, with more interest. I’m getting better at closing up the final seams, but they’re still a little wonky.

One of the best parts of having a week off was the freedom from time. I didn’t have to be anywhere at a certain time, I could sleep in (as much as is possible with two young dogs), and when I wanted to stop something, I could. There is so much power in doing things at your own pace. I got more accomplished during a week of relaxing than I did in the three weeks leading up to Christmas at my job.

Since coming back yesterday, I’m finding it difficult to focus on “work” stuff. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing. Helen is sending me pictures of jewelry to order for the store and there is a sick cat at home (who is getting better all the time – thank you for your well wishes) and god! what I wouldn’t do for a nap right about now:) The day is coming when I will rule my schedule. Until then, I will  squirrel away my money so I will be ready when opportunity knocks.


January 3, 2011

It’s been so long since I posted that I’m almost afraid to come back. Is there anyone out there reading my blog anymore? Luckily, followers have never been the motivation behind my writing. As with so many other things, falling out of a writing routine was much easier than doing it every day.

Ideas have been percolating in my mind but putting them on paper, as it were, has become difficult. There are so many excuses – finding the time, words not coming the way I want them to, etc. etc. etc.  But this is a new year and excuses won’t cut it anymore. I miss my blog and I’m going to try to visit more often.

As I wrote on Spike and Dru’s blog , we discovered a mass by my cat George’s tail in mid-December. We took him to the emergency vet that night, then to our regular vet the following week. On New Years Eve, we saw the surgeon who told us it should come out as soon as possible. Due to its placement, she thought she could get it out without having to remove the tail, but if the mass grew any bigger, the tail would be in danger. Since George is a dapper fellow and quite fond of his tail, we arranged to have the surgery yesterday (1/2/11). In doing some preliminary x-rays, another mass was seen in his chest and the vet recommended having a cardiologist do an echo-cardiogram and aspirate  the mass (remove cells using a needle) while George was under anesthesia for the surgery.

We dutifully dropped poor George off yesterday morning. After having a quick chat with the surgeon and leaving a large amount of money as deposit, we went home to wait. This is the first time I’ve had to leave an animal for a surgery that doesn’t involve routine removal of reproductive organs, and I came very close to getting sick on the way out. But Helen was there to pick up the pieces and fill me full of Dunkin Donuts.

The surgery went very well. The echo-cardiogram and the aspiration of the chest mass were inconclusive so the vet will be sending the cells to the pathologist for evaluation, along with the mass she removed from the tail. We’ll know the outcome of those in about a week. But she was so happy with the way everything went that George got to come home last night instead of today as we originally planned. A portion of his back and tail are shaved and he’s on pain medication, but he’s home where he belongs.

Since getting the dogs a year ago, they have taken the majority of my attention. Being so self-sufficient, the cats moved more into the background. They are always there but they don’t NEED as much of me. However, I didn’t realize how much I notice them, albeit subconsciously. I missed George and not because I was thinking of his surgery. He is always at the door waiting for us when we come in. He is the self-nominated food ambassador, reminding us to feed everyone – starting about two hours before their scheduled meals. He is the random rub as he passes me to get to his food bowl.  He is the orange in a sea of black and white (and grey)! I missed him so much yesterday and I am so glad to have him back.



October 19, 2010

There are definitely some good points of working for a construction company. When your bulkhead looks like this,

i.e. full of holes that the landlord doesn’t want to fix because it’s going to cost too much and he thinks that the town is ultimately responsible for the work but the town thinks it’s his property/his responsibility and meanwhile two mid-sized dogs are doing their best to dig their way through to the water, it’s nice to work for a company that can send someone out to cover up all the holes in under two hours and charge you only a fraction of the cost.

And if those same two mid-sized dogs heard something in the wall and went berserk and ate an entire panel of drywall, you have no idea how thankful you might be that you work for a company who specializes in putting up drywall and can help you fix the hole in no time flat! And while you might be tempted to trade said dogs in for a less digging model, one will come and lay their head in your lap and you remember that you like them, just a little bit, and all is well with the world again.