Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good-bye, Sweet Buddy

Yesterday was another sad day for our family, as we faced what had become inevitable and said good-bye to our dog, Buddy. He came into our lives at the age of 9 months, and left this world at age 13 1/2 years.

Buddy was the best natured, happiest little dog, with a ring-a-ding, always-on tail, flying ears, and eager spirit.

Yesterday, someone said that this is the hardest, worst part of having a pet - saying good-bye. It's true - but even more true is that the pain is well-worth all the years and years of natural laughter, good companionship, unconditional love and pure joy.

Our Como is waiting to play on the other side, Sweet Buddy. We'll miss you.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It Started with Toilet Lust

(Or - I Only Wanted to Paint the Bathroom)
Yes, toilet lust - over a year ago, too. It all started because the small bathroom off our bedroom (AKA Gerry's bathroom) needed a new toilet after we put in the new tile shower and floor. I love the new toilet there - it is water efficient, refills quickly, and has the higher seat which makes so much sense.

It was all exacerbated by my hatred of this ceramic floor tile in the main bathroom:

I hate that tile. Very golden harvest 70s tile that someone installed poorly because the grout lines actually have a jog in them and things don't line up.

The wall tile, which was probably added in the 80s or maybe even the 90s isn't too bad:
Except! It's in a completely different color family from the floor tile, and from the swirly marble tub surround. But I figured I could live with that, and could just put something compatible on the floor. And then we replaced the toilet. And the tank is in a totally different place, and guess what?! The people who put this tile in didn't put it behind the toilet. There's a big ugly spot where the old, larger, lower tank used to be. And though we've looked for many months now (MANY months) we haven't found anything to fill in the hole.

This past January, I'd had enough of the ugly hole in the wall tile behind the toilet, and made a decision of what to do. So we emptied the cupboards and took them off the wall and began stripping the nearly-as-ugly wallpaper. Oh! And we had a leak around the shower head repaired too! It was finally time to DO SOMETHING.

Here's a smidgeon of what's left of the ugly wallpaper. Too bad I've been trying to remove it, so some of the iridescent fake shine is worn down a bit:
Notice the trying to remove it part? Yeah...since January. I'm sick of it. I've sprayed and scraped and scored and sanded. This one section is not budging.

As of yesterday I've had enough. I thought I could paint the ceiling and the upper walls. I've had my colors chosen for months. And don't you know that removing the icky fake baseboard revealed a problem with the vanity which can't be replaced because of the way the vanity top was cut into the door trim and I had to make a new decision about the vanity despite not being able to replace the floor right now.

I'll do the vanity the new way we figured after two trips to Home Depot yesterday. I have the ceiling painted. It's been one mushroom after the other. A simple little job like painting the bathroom - it may take several more months!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Molly Pix

Molly's fitting right in. She and Murphy PLAYED tonight and he loved it. Cosmo is still quite put out with us, but I know he'll come around.
The more we look at her, the more we think...yeah, maybe some American Staffordshire...
Isn't she long legged?
Should I submit this one to

And this is just to show everyone that our Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter is working!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Photo - Meet Molly

We have a new pup in our house! We spent all weekend going from shelter to shelter and finally found this one. She was named Angel at the shelter, but we decided it didn't fit her. We had to go back so she and Murphy could meet face to face. We've named her Molly. She's about 29 pounds, they think she's between 9 months and a year old, and she's made herself right at home.

We figure we have two weeks or so of intensive training on the invisible fence, so she's house and leash-bound for now, but she's settled right in. As I told some other folks - Murphy needed a pet.

They've listed her as a lab mix. I feel reasonably sure she has some boxer in her, too. She has four white feet and a white chest and tummy. She's a cuddler, too. So far, only Cosmo seems to be slightly offended - but not unpleasant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

On Tuesday, I Scared Myself

As my Oldtimer & I were winding down the day on Tuesday, I settled into my chair and thought "Darn! It's Tuesday! I should have gone to the East Side Market and used the senior discount!" And then I realized what I was thinking... I'm not even sixty yet, and I'm relishing using a senior discount. That scared me.

Next thing you know, I'll be going to restaurants and ordering a cup of hot water, and hauling my own tea bag out of my purse. (And it will be down there right next to the wad of neatly folded Kleenex and Wrigley's spearmint gum.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Today I couldn't help but laugh as I laid out a new vignette in the living room, using a tray, missing some of it's silvering, and more black than silver in many places. The first time my Oldtimer came to visit me in Minneapolis, he said "None of your silverware matches!" And I replied "I know! I like it like that!"

Now, in our mostly modern/primitive living room with the green and blue walls, he seems to understand my need for a tarnished silver tray with some old china pieces - all of which make my heart sing (and he never suggests that I polish the silver).
I always have this need to look out...out windows, across the yard, out and away. Sometimes I stand on furniture to do so.
I moved plants in and out of sun to suit their needs, and was almost weak in the knees with the delight of brushing the leaves of the scented geraniums and inhaling the fragrance.
And I nipped the basil and brought a sprig in the house with me, burying my nose in the incredible scent.
The lavender and rosemary are both thriving, and they too give immense pleasure, just by being themselves, and allowing me to relish their fragrance.

Tonight we had a simple supper on the deck, and I opened a box of "California Refrigerator wine." I put a couple servings in a crystal pitcher and brought it to the table on the deck. This is something my Oldtimer would never bother to do, but he understands that I *need* to do just that, and he smiles.

I know I posted about gratitude just a day or so ago, but today I am overcome with it. The sheer bliss of the exquisite, natural scents, right on my deck; the joy of looking out, or of truly seeing the play of colors on old china; the use of a good pair of scissors while cutting fabric; and the joy of being understood by my (straight arrow!) husband as I exhibit yet another little quirk.

Life is just SO good.

Friday, July 10, 2009


How nice it is to live in a place where we can go for a Sunday evening drive, take a walk, and see this...
Or walk around our own little pond at home and see these aerial acrobats...

...looking like this when they rest:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Brain Dump About Weight and Mindpower and (maybe) Menopause and Starlets and Other Issues…

…and so, if I have any male readers (other than my Oldtimer) you might want to skip this – or not – it’s up to you.

So. I was having thoughts during my morning shower about my weight. Big surprise, right? I’m stuck in this little cubicle scrubbing and shaving and exfoliating, and wishing the surfaces were a little smaller or less lumpy, or what have you. But it shouldn’t be a big surprise that I was having thoughts in the shower because that’s where I do my best thinking. Always have. I should have a waterproof tablet and pen in there.

I didn’t start out thinking about my weight and lumps and bumps exactly, although it was at the top of the old brain tube, but rather about mind over matter and I had an epiphany of sorts. And lots of other mini epiphanies, but that happens almost every morning. I think I’m going to give up on parentheses, by the way, because almost all my brain dumps are parenthetical.

I realized that when something really matters to me, when it matters enough to put my mind to it, I get it done, and it falls into place, easily. Always has. (Except this real estate deal on the NC properties – what’s going on here?) And I really have been thinking lately that I am far too heavy, I really am, but if it really mattered to me, if I thought I was gross and disgusting and unhealthy, I would fix it – in a heartbeat. So what’s behind the issues here, really?

Well, you know, I could blame some of my lack of unhappiness on being overweight on Lolo. We always do that, you know – blame the mother. And she deserves it in part, because she was always trying to fatten me up as a child. “You eat like a bird!” she’d say. “You want your thighs to touch together at the top when you stand with your ankles together.” Imagine that! Paris, Lindsay Lohan, are you listening? WOMEN aren’t supposed to be scary skinny. It isn’t supposed to look like you have a string hanging from your hem when you wear a skirt!

As an aside, I love my son-in-law for one of his frequent statements when we see a scary-skinny starlet (SSS, ok?) on TV. He shouts “give that girl a sandwich!” I tell ya, we let him stay for that reason alone, but the very fact that he is the divine Miss O’s daddy really endears him even further.

Oh. Lolo always tried to fatten me. She was very, very thin as a child and as a young woman, to the point where she got sent to a *special school* as a child, where they fed you and tried to make you gain weight! (What does that do to your self esteem, do you suppose? To be put on the short bus to gain weight.) Oh to live in that era, when Marilyn Monroe was a goddess and she wore a size 12! Or a 14! Depending on who you’re reading. But does that matter? No! She had curves and padding, and her breasts were real, and I’m sorry – are any of you guys still reading? Do you really want to go to bed with one of those SSS gals? Aren’t you afraid of breaking her? Do you maybe have deep-seated issues regarding children or young boys? Are you intimidated by real women? And why is that OUR fault, exactly?

So. I’d seen a post on the blog for Curious Sofa – go here, that had the above photo, which I've shamelessly lifted, but I do give them credit, and you really should read their blog if you are at all interested in home decor that isn't stuffy. Anyway. Don’t you love it? Other than the clever advertising ploy, of course, but look at that woman! She was PROUD of her shape. She was womanly. Go look at some Reubens paintings. What do you suppose it would take to get back to that kind of perspective? Other than getting people to stop stepping on their tongues when one of those SSSes steps out…

Because, you see, we were talking about bathing suit purchases in one of the online groups I’m part of, and the fact that if you grit your teeth and buy one that is modest but won’t have so much draping to hide the lumps and bumps that if you go in the water it will float up and cover your head and take you down, that if you are honest, you get to the beach/shore and you look around and realize that the place is loaded with REAL PEOPLE, with only a few of them looking like SSSes and they aren’t very bright – which really makes me wonder if the lack of butterfat decreases brain cells. And that begs the question I asked earlier again – guys. You really like those vapid things with the stick legs whose greatest skill in life is shopping? Oh! and everyone ought to read what Z. Budapest says on this body image thing, except I can’t remember which of her books has the statement…could it be
Goddess in the Office? (I love that one.) Or maybe Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries? Probably Grandmother Moon…or maybe not. ANYWAY…she said, and it’s TRUE…how foolish we are to think we should all be held to some image of what women are supposed to look like. We’re Americans, for pete’s sake. Some of us are descended from Amazons and some from Hungarian peasants and some from Vikings and some from Chinese laborers…well, you get the picture. How foolish are we to think we’ll all have the same body style, store our reserves in the same places? And I hope you realize that I'm not criticizing those who are naturally quite thin, I lived with the woman who epitomizes that, and we should ALL be ok with who we are and what we inherited. However, I do wonder why I inherited my shape from Hawkshaw's side of the family, rather than Lolo's... But! Body image! We can't all be the same, don't want to all be the same.

Oh, I said I might mention menopause, didn’t I? I can’t remember why that was in my brain this morning, other than it was the day to change my hormone patch. I love my hormone patch. I’m going to stay on them forever, I really am. Lolo stayed with her HRT all her life, and her end of life here had nothing to do with anything hormone or female related. She didn’t have any osteoporosis issues either, and neither do I, according to my bone scan, so thank you, HRT and butterfat, and see, that hysterectomy at age 36 didn't hurt me a bit, and I didn't continue to keep those female product companies in business single-handedly, I left that to some other poor woman whose doc wasn't as enlightened and listening as mine.

Good thing I shower alone. There’s no room in there for any more thoughts, especially with my Reubenesque figure which I think I’ll keep because I’ve seen no need to put my mind to any other kind – except when my knees hurt, but I don’t want to brain dump on that right now, ok?

Oh! And I've been wanting to ask you take Vitamin D? Do you know it's becoming an issue? Think about it, or get your levels checked next time you go to your (hopefully enlightened) doc.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Round Robin Jacket, View from the Deck

In November of 2007, a group of us began a wearable art round robin. My jacket just came home, and though not everyone got to work on it, I'm really pleased with it. When it started, I'd sewn just the blank purple wool felt jacket. All the embellishments, including the (lined) green ultrasuede collar were added by the other artists. Shown here are the jacket front (including much detail around the pockets from three different artists), back (applique by one person), and a little beaded person brooch that came home with the jacket.

Sitting at the table on the deck I leaned my head back to admire the gorgeous, cloudless blue sky, and noticed just how tall that pine is that fills our gutters with needles! It also seems to be loaded with pine cones at the top.
Aren't zoom cameras wonderful? It is definitely LOADED with pine cones!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Monday Photo a Week

The sheer bliss of evenings in July... I don't know what I love more, the relaxing meal on the deck with wine and reading and good company...

Or the beauty of sunlight on the pond...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mail Call for Cosmo

Recently I received a package in the mail from my aunt & uncle. I love getting packages from them - the boxes are covered with stickers that make the mailman laugh, and there are always surprise goodies inside.

This time, in addition to books and some other things just for me (sometimes Oldtimer gets candy), there was a bundle of homegrown catnip, just for Cosmo. They were wondering if he would like it as much as their outdoor cats, though their indoor cats aren't interested. See what you think.
He found it on his own - no encouragement from me.
He rubbed his face on it.
He began to chew...
...and knead.

At this point, I tried to move it back on the desk. See the possessed look in his eye? I should have posted a photo of the scratches I received for my efforts.
The first things to go were the flower heads, but now he's working on the stripped down stalks.
Wearing out?
Maybe...but don't you try to take it!
Blissful exhaustion.