Monday, December 31, 2012


If you drink, don't drive.
Make sure you have a designated driver.
Happy New Year!
Be safe.
See ya next year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I'm still sick but...

I'm feeling bit better. This cold has really knocked me for a loop.
I hate taking medicine but NyQuil and Alka Seltzer Cold meds are helping me, to say nothing of the Mentholatum in my nose.
At least I no longer have chills. Last night I left the heat turned up and snuggled under lots of blankets and dogs.
I was finally warm.

Friday probably was the worst.
I would do my job and then sit at my desk with my head down.
They would call me up front to get the incoming boarders and the girls kept telling me that I needed to go home.
They said I was too sick to be working but
I couldn't.
I had too many dogs coming in and I needed to know that everything would be set up properly.
They were so busy up front that I was afraid that if they took over for me, something might fall through the cracks.
Lots of boarders have special needs and some have medications and I would worry.
And then of course, I couldn't really afford to go home either, since I'm paid hourly.
So I would do some stuff and then sit down for a few minutes and get back up and continue.

I thought about the conversation I had with my sister as we cleaned up Christmas dinner dishes the other night.
She was washing and I was drying.
She's thinking about going back to school. To be a nurse.
I thought that was good idea, she's already in the medical field and she's very smart.
I said I had thought about school but I was hesitant because I wouldn't be far from retirement age when I graduated and then I would have school loans to pay and would I ever recoup that?
More importantly, what would I go to school for?
I love Art and I'm selling some paintings, I need to stay focused on that.
and I dream about writing....

So I got up from my chair as they called me again over the phone to come for another boarder.
I blew my nose and coughed and then tried to act well and walked through the clinic up to the front.
Why am I doing this? I asked myself.
I walked behind the front desk and up into the reception area.
The front was packed with people and their pets.
Clients were picking up their dogs  from grooming or their dogs that had surgery the day before and others were waiting for appointments.
I could see the owners from across the front desk.
They were standing towards the back with their dogs, waiting for me.

I saw the husband look down at his dog and then up at me as I walked towards them and he gave me a big smile.
He said, "She was so scared and then all of a sudden I felt her tail beating against my leg. Then I realized it was because she had just seen you!".
I laughed and took her leash and told them I'd run her to the back and be right back for their other dog.
I hurried through the clinic with her, back to the boarding area.
She was running and wagging her tail happily as we went.
I let her outside into the play area and told her I'd be right back with her brother.
As I hurried back up front, I remembered why I do this job.
Darn it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I got something I really did NOT want...

I hope everyone had a good Christmas!
and that Santa brought you whatever you were hoping for.
I had a simple and nice Holiday but I got one thing I really did NOT want.
A cold.
I am sick.
Dizzy, Achy, Head hurts, Sore throat. Nasal stuff and Coughing.
Unfortunately I don't have any sick days left so I have to continue going to work.
Most of the time I like that I'm able to be moving around and not confined to a desk
but right now I sort of wish I could just sit down and lay my head on a desk and stay put.
Now that I'm home for the evening and have feed the critters, I'm going to bed.
I might be missing for a few days...
I need to get well ASAP.
I have too many things I need to be working on.
Hopefully I will be back soon!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


A few posts back I showed a commissioned painting that I did of two poodles.
It was hard for me because they were black and I couldn't figure out how to show definition.
And then there was also the fact that I only had one photo to go by and it was a side view.

So I painted a painting and the client liked it but said that it looked nothing like them.............

I asked for more photos.

One of the dogs always refused to look at the camera, so it was hard to paint him.

Also in the photos I suddenly realized that they didn't have mustaches but instead it was beards.
Like billy goats.
She also emailed me a photo of 2 Portuguese water dogs....

Could I paint the dogs like the ones in the photos but with the coats of the these water dogs? (which these poodles didn't have) but still try to capture their "look".
At this point I was mentally freaking.
I sat with the canvas in my lap as I squinted at the photos on my laptop.
Looking back and forth and dabbing paint hesitantly.
I finally finished the two poodles and then added the beards.
I told her that was the best I could do and she said OK.
The next morning at work I showed several of my co-workers a photo of the painting.
They said it looked weird but then poodles with chin-puff beards looked weird too.

Later in the morning I went up to my co-worker that says she loves my work
and who I also consider a friend.
I told her that I had a problem giving that painting to the client.
I said that I "didn't want that out there in the world" and that I was so disappointed with it.
Her response was that she totally agreed. She could understand why I felt that way.
She said if she were me, she wouldn't want the painting "out there" either!
I was so frustrated.
Then she said I should just scribble it out like I do other drawings that my co-workers love.
I am always scribbling quick sketches of my boarders on their cage cards.
Initially I started doing that when I had someone working for me who I was worried she wouldn't know which dog was which.
(I did not hire her, the vet did and fortunately she ended up quitting)
But I had many people tell me that they love my sketches and they have asked me to do some of their dogs.
In fact one of my co-worker has now commissioned me to do one of these type of sketches of her dogs on canvas.
She told me that she prefers my more spontaneous style and thinks there are more people that would love them too.
(she has specific poses and colors etc. in mind for these spontaneous drawings but said I'm free to do whatever I want.)
That night I went home and instead of leaning over and tightly drawing, I tried to come up with something that felt right and true to me.
I scribbled.
and then I painted.
I used black and white but also blue and purple.
I got out of my own head and just did it.
I emailed her a photo and she agreed that she liked this one much better.
A lesson learned.
(oh, and yes, I can hear you Christer, laughing.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Handmade Christmas Gifts.....

I'm working on some Christmas gifts for my family.
I came up with an idea that I'm really excited about.
I think that everyone will like it, in fact I'm thinking it might bring a tear to the eye for some of them.
My eldest niece always makes her own gifts and if someone starts to cry when they have opened it she fist-bumps the air and says "Yes!"
Not because she really wants anyone to cry but because she knows she's created a gift that is very special.
Two years ago, she had me sobbing as I opened her pencil drawing of Blue.
I mean, what could be better than that?
All three of my nieces put a lot of thought into their gifts. They really want to make a perfect fit for their loved ones.
My sister has brought them up making their home magically and artful.
Her gifts are always beautiful wrapped. Carefully picked out wrapping paper and clippings from her garden or little things that she has "found".
She makes them so pretty that it's hard to open them.
That's how she decorates her home for each holiday too.
She has saved all the drawings the girls made while growing up, then she  switches out their "artwork" in frames around the house with their creations from years gone by.
In small frames scattered throughout, she has photos of my nieces or her husband or her and I when we were small and celebrating that particular holiday.
yeah, that's me and her on the right.
She goes into the woods and drags home vines and weaves them with twinkle lights and hangs them in the foyer.
It's not uncommon to find a odd shape piece of wood, from a tree or found along a walk that she has placed about their home just because of it's uniqueness.
I love her total disregard of any rules on decorating.
She couldn't care less. She only has things that she loves in her home.
The result is people coming to visit and not wanting to leave.
One of the girls friends said that their home is "Magic".
So, I have tried to remember this when I sometimes start to get caught up in some "trend".
I strive to only have what I love and what makes me happy when I walk in the door.
Yes, I am drawn to Mid-Century but I'm not confining myself to just a particular "look".
OK, I've gotta off track again.
So my Christmas gift idea?
I can't post it yet in case one of the girls checks my blogs.
Then I remembered I could show you what I created for them LAST year.
Old books from the library. $1.00 a piece chosen for their thickness and their sturdy covers.
Then I painted the covers and transferred photos onto them.
After that I cut out a "secret" box shape inside the books.
Inside each book I had a special wrapped gift.
Grace's book had a bat on the front. She loves bats and owls.
Inside, her gift was an old copper owl necklace that I found at a little shop.
Maggie's book had a rabbit on the front. She loves bunnies and pigs.
Inside was a little piggy necklace ordered off of Etsy.
And Lily, the youngest, the one that works part-time at the boarding kennel with me...
Had a book with a photo of Griffin on the front, because she loves him best.
Inside her book was a whistle, an dog whistle.
So that's what I did last year....and after Christmas, I'll post what I did this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Deepest Sympathies

for the families of the shooting victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Times like these I feel the need to hold my loved ones close.
To cherish them and be thankful for my blessings.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Black Poodles - The Final Painting

Two Black Blobs with Eyes.
That's what I kept coming up with.
and they had to have mustaches.
After I threw away one messy blobby painting and started a second, I received an email that she forgot to tell me the slightly larger one had white on his chest.
So I asked if it was "up and down", a "V" or a "Y".
She emailed back "up and down".
With just one photo of just one of the dog, sitting sideways...I did the best I could.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Thoughts and....2 Down, One more to go!

Suddenly I have all these thoughts in my head.
Things I need to write down and post about.
But there's just not enough time and then there's so many favorite blogs that I'm having a hard time keeping up with.
On top of that, my computer at work is down.
First it was the "fan" in the computer tower.
That happened on Cyber-Monday.
Secretly I felt like it might be part of a conspiracy but I really wouldn't have used it for on-line shopping...
Well, maybe on my "break" or my "lunch half hour" so I guess it was just as well.
I just have to go up to the front desk to use one of theirs to check my scheduling and do my "re-arranging" of boarders.
Yes, it kinda irritated me that the staff was up there on Facebook and looking up Christmas cards to order.
I grumbled to myself, if MY computer was working I could be doing important things.
Like reading some blogs.
And it makes for boring lunches. Nothing to surf.
Just eating my lunch as Edgar the cat tries to grab it out of my hands.
(more about HIM later. That's a post in itself).
Now the mouse isn't working. Or rather the place where you plug the mouse into the tower, that thing has to be ordered in.
Yeah, I can't complain about it.
Or rather call too much attention to my need for it.
And in a week, I will be running around at top speed that I will hardly have time to go potty much less Log In.
So I scribble down thoughts on the backs of used cage cards for now and stuff them into my pockets.
Thoughts about stuff I want to write about. Hopefully I can later decipher what my original thought process was at the time.
And here at home?
No time.
I'm painting, I need to clean the house but right now I'm just lucky to keep up on laundry.
and I have posts about Nora and Poppy to update about...
Now that they have both settled in and know they are HOME
and apparently can do whatever they like.

Here's my latest commission painting.
Now on to the poodles. They are driving me NUTS. Trying to paint 2 BLACK dogs.
Black blobs....with eyes.
No definition. I've ruining one painting and have started over.
I'm making this one more "POP ART", kinda Abstract and hopefully it will be acceptable.
The client has emailed me that she would like me to also do her newest dachshund's portrait, a group photo of all her dachsie's and her terrier AND another of her pony.
I emailed her to hang on and that she's scaring me.
I've only shown her the first boxer one. The one I thought would be easiest.
I told her to wait and see the other two paintings to make sure she likes them too.
OK. off to work on the Poodle painting....wish me luck!

Friday, December 7, 2012

One commissioned painting done...

and two more to go for the same person.
I thought I'd do the easy one first.
The boxer.
Here's the photos she sent:
and then I need to do a GoldenDoodle:
and 2 Standard Poodles:
After that I have to do a BIG painting of a Collie for someone else and then an illustration of three dogs for another person. 
Wish me luck that they turn out and the clients like them.
Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A BIG Thank You!....and a painting on eBay.

First - A BIG Thank You for all the wonderful heartfelt comments that I received about Griffin and his tumor. I sometimes forget how many people know and love that old guy.
I received so many caring comments, emails and text messages. I have a friend text me several times who I had forgotten that years ago when I would walk my Maddie, she would walk Griffin and we would talk about our lives. Now she's married with 2 kids in middle school and yet she remembered her walking buddy.
I just forget how many lives he's touched and how many people were concerned for him.
So he's doing very well and now that I'm feeding him canned food, he comes running to me.
I am now that nice lady with the plate of soft food that lives in his house.

Second, I have had a lot of people lately asking me to paint paintings for them! I know that I said I wouldn't do any more commissions but....I am. Wish me Luck! Ha!
I have also had two different people tell me that I need to get into some Art/Craft shows and I had another person encourage me to get a booth at the Farmers Market Freight House. It sits next to the park and along side the river and I guess they get a lot of traffic. Maybe not so much during the winter months when everything is inside but the rest of the year I guess it's crazy town down there.
So I will be investigating that too.
Also...after the Holidays I am going to open my Etsy shop up. I've had an empty shop (actually 2 shops) with shops names (for 3? years) and never listed a thing.
Those are my plans.
To work on my paintings and pet related items and REALLY set some goals for myself.
So I am working on 6 paintings for people and trying to keep listings on eBay AND I plan on making gifts for my nieces...and Christmas is only 3 weeks away!
I better get off this computer!
Thanks again to everyone for being there for me and Griff.
and here's my latest eBay listing - "Let it Snow"

Monday, December 3, 2012

GRIFF and Plan # 1

ok, yes...before someone asks.
That IS a tumor on his chest too and there's one on his belly but those are just fatty tumors.
I took Griffin into the clinic today. He fasted overnight in case we had to do surgery.
They did several x-rays of his mouth and along the jaw.
Big mass tumor.
Doc said that he could debulk the tumor.
(Tumor debulking is a surgical procedure performed to remove as much of a tumor as is logistically possible.)
He would take as much as he could and then cauterize it to stop the bleeding.
I asked if it was cancerous and he said we would have to send off a piece of it the the lab to determine that.
Then he thought about maybe even removing the jaw bone. He said that way we would know we had gotten it all.
It was a busy day and the schedule was full so I had Griffin's surgery set for later in the week.

A friend text me to find out what was happening with Griff. When I sent an update to her, she text me back that while he was MY dog, I could NOT do the surgery. Especially the jaw one. She said she had done a partial tumor removal on her dog years ago and it just kept growing back and prolonged the inevitable. She said she had done it because she couldn't bear to lose her dog but in the process, her dog experienced horrible pain. She had to give pain injections every 4 hours and her dog still suffered. She really regretted it and said she wished she had never done it.

I went up front and the office manager told me she had done the same for her dog when he was only 7 and he went through agony during recovery. She said he was on morphine for a week and cried the whole time. She said she would NEVER do it again and especially never to an old dog.
As I walked back to my area, one of the techs asked me what was wrong and I told her. She had tears in her eyes as she said that she too would never put an elderly dog through that.

Doc was busy with clients so I went to talk to the other vet who has treated several of my pets and who I also trust.
He said NO, on the jaw surgery.
Then he said there were several courses of action I could take.
Plan #1 cleanse the area daily and treat with antibiotics for infection.
Plan #2 debulk the tumor so that he could eat....
I told him that he WAS eating. He had a hearty appetite.
so he said, "Then go back to Plan #1, he's 15+ years old and if he stops eating then we could try taking part of the tumor out or........whatever you decided to do at that time."
I thanked him and choose plan #1
He got me a rinse for Griff's mouth and the antibiotics.
My niece came to work for the evening shift in boarding and I gave her the update.
I was thinking she would say she wanted to do any and everything to save him.
When I told her what everyone had told me about their dogs experiences she said that if he would be in pain from the surgery, she would rather have him put down.
She said she would never want him to suffer.
(I love that kid.)
So I leashed up my gang and out we went to the van.
I slid open the door and Blue, Jimmy and Nora leaped in and before I could lean over Griffin hurled his tubby little body up.
His front paws landed on the edge of the door and I hoisted him in.
He waddled across the big dog cushion and curled into a ball.
When we got home, everyone leaped out and I had to grab him and lower him to the ground as he hurled himself out.
The others raced up the front porch steps and Griff took the four steps one at a time but did it on his own.
Tonight when I fed everyone, I put Griff into the large dog crate with a plate of canned food, his pill hidden inside.
He gobbled it down and licked the plate clean and then barked to be let out.
So life is good today.
and I guess we will just keep going, having good days until they stop.