Saturday, June 29, 2013

"BEFORE" and maybe "HALFWAY" ?

I've been working on the yard....
And I've decided to share the awfulness of it.
But I could not find any "BEFORE" photos, when it was REALLY awful.
Only when it was just plain AWFUL.
So maybe if you try really hard, you can imagine an outdoor space
with an enclosed backyard area.
A tall privacy fence that I had made of discarded wood of varying colors.
Here's a photo of it covered in snow. 
Snow makes it look better, more clean.
There's crazy little Ralphie, just before jumping into the tree.
(I don't want to talk about him, that makes me sad.)
Here's a good ugly photo.
Not sure why I took that except maybe to show the tops of the trees?
Tall trees arching over from the neighbors yard to meet my huge Weeping Willow.
Those formed a shady spot where the ground was pounded down to dirt and only weeds like creeping charlie attempted to grow.
While this formed a private place away from prying eyes, 
it also refused to let the sunshine in.
And then of course the Weeping Willow was starting to die.
One huge limb came down on my house.
and it was just a matter of time before the rest would come crashing on my or the neighbors house.

Do these poor photos help you to imagine the awfulness?

Here's the bottom of the backyard, behind the patio area.

Photos from last year where you can see many of the limbs and smaller trees propped up that I had cut down.

It's actually much steeper than these pictures portray.
Another photo from another angle.

Just to the left of the tree in the middle, the hill drops sharply and has ridges and there's a hole dug in the middle of it and I think some creature lives in there. I told that to the neighbor man and he came over and peered into it.
This was before it was waist deep in wild weeds.
"Yep, there might be a groundhog or something living in there.." he said.
As he poked around, "Nothing right now but..." and then we started talking about the deer that he had seen in the yard early one morning.
I've never seen deer in MY yard but in the winter there are tracks running through it.
Anyway...I KNOW there are not any snakes down there.
They are not allowed in my yard.

So, I'm slowly clearing it. I stomp around and make noise and pull up stuff and then I've sprayed the whole area with weed and grass killer.
I'm also laying down heavy cardboard and topping it with mulch.
On the hill, I'm doing section by section.
Clearing and putting rose bushes on the borders and then hostas.
It sounds random but I do have a plan.

I do not have an AFTER because I'm not there yet.
But I do have HALFWAY photos.
The neighbors trees are gone.
The Weeping Willow is gone.
The tall fence is gone.
I took it apart and built another closer around the patio yard.

Leaving a lot of the yard open.

A new fence is in place but still a work in progress.
I've decided to cut it down more on the other side facing the lower backyard.
Slightly taller than this side.
I want it halfway as tall between this and the back fence.
So that I can put more flower boxes and things on it so that visually it will look as tall as the back one.
Does that make sense? I might not be explaining that very well.
But the back one needs to be HIGH between my neighbor on the OTHER side and me.
(Rowdy boys and dogs that might be able to see them type of problem there.)

I'm working to get it as I see it in my minds eye,
perfected but not to perfection.
I only put on one coat of FENCE & BARN paint. 
While I would love bright white, it would not flow with my faded white house.
I've decided to embraced the cottage look and go with shabby chic.
Make it quaint and quirky with a little bit of Mod thrown in.
The stump where the Weeping Willow is currently being used as a platform for flowers.
I've told that if I keep pouring weed/grass killer on it, that eventually it die and I can hack up it's remains.
(Sounds like a Fall project to me.)
Here you can see the flowers have grown and I've planted pink roses among them.
I primed and painted little Dollar Store window box planters
and attached them to the top of the fence
I got the bird houses at a Art Fair for $5. and I've painted them white  but I will also eventually be painting accent colors on those.
On the fence area directly behind all this, the one that divides the yards, I have plans on painting some sort of design on it or maybe just painting a HUGE painting and weatherproofing it and hanging it off the fence.
Yep, Quirky, Folk Arty...I'm just going with it.
anyway...this is where I'm at right now...
with a long way to go....
and I haven't even shown you my raised vegetable garden or the big flowerbed running the length of the driveway and down the fence on the other side or my front yard or parkway/boulevard/road verge thing!
So much to do and so little time...

Friday, June 28, 2013

Google This....

OK, Google Reader is going to disappear on Sunday
or is it Monday?
Anyway, it's going away.
I have a few different blogs on my Google Reader but I always forget to check it.
I always use my Blogger Reading List.
I'm not sure if that's disappearing too. I don't think so but....
just in case.
I've uploaded Bloglovin
There are other readers but I've heard that Bloglovin was super easy to upload (and it was) 
and I've seen it on several blogs...
So I'm on Bloglovin
or you can Follow me via email
(I also Follow a lot of people by email)
so...see ya Sunday or Monday or whenever.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


First, I want to say, spontaneous photos reveal a lot.
Like what a slob I am.
OK...I hope this isn't too hard to follow,
I'm going to try to do two story lines at one time.
So here we go!

"MOM! He's in my SPOT!"
"Sorry, Poppy, but I'm not waking him up."
The turquoise thing is a 2-tier cat bed with a Target bag sitting on the top tier.

The dilemma of my ugly floor -
After pulling up carpet and having them sanded and refinished (several YEARS ago)
I was left with water-marked floors (I hope it was water)
Someone told me they look "rustic", I think not.
If it was various planks that were darker, maybe, but not box shaped marks.
I am probably going to put down tile....
but there still is an INSANE voice in my head telling me to paint them WHITE.
but so far....I've done nothing.

"Oh, you are BRAVE today Poppy!"
yep, that's dog hair on the floor and a "duck" dog toy.

I walk out of the room only to return and find this...
"How did you do that Poppy?"
Dog toys everywhere...
Yes, the buttons on the sofa need to be replaced
but luckily I can take spare ones off of the damaged love-seat...more on that, in a later post.

"Wow, you must be in a good mood today Blue."

"Hey! What's going on here?"

"Well played Jimmy. Well played."

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Bare Naked Dogs
Summer Cuts
Do you even recognize Nora?
before photo

I was so startled when she was done being groomed
that I almost thought I would cry
but I quickly recovered and told her how "Beautiful" she was.
That's important to do.
Never laugh at a dog after a haircut!
When my sister and I were very young, we laughed at my Mom's poodle when he came home
with Pom-Pom hair and painted nails.
He immediately went and hid under the end table and refused to come out.
Speaking of Nora, here's an update on her.
She has put on some pounds. (That tends to happen in my home.)
She no longer needs her medicine. I'm doubting if she ever did and 
she now has good firm stools.
Yeah, I know TMI.
But that's what the expensive medicine was for, chronic worms.
By keeping her on regular Heartworm medication and good food, it's been taken care of it.
She is VERY protective. She goes crazy in the van at ANYONE she sees.
She bounces off the van windows and totally freaks out.
When she's at work with me, she will bare her teeth at some dogs until I tell her to stop.
Then she's OK.
She was barking at the neighbors over the fence where it is lower
but I told them to just call her by her name and then she stops.
Apparently she realizes that if you know her name, there must be 
And... she has taken to herding the little dogs.
Especially Mimsy.
Nora "nips" her on the back and guides her through the house.
I was feeling very sorry for Mims but then I took Mimsy to work with me and let her run full out in the big grassy play area.
Mimsy was racing around, and suddenly I think she felt overwhelmed by it all.
She ran to Nora and sat close to her, pressing her body against her.
So, apparently all is well between those two.
I just wish Nora wasn't SO protective.
She never acted like that when she used to belong to those other people and would board with me.
Everyone thinks that she's just so bonded with me that she's ready to defend me no matter what.

After getting Nora shaved down for Summer.
I decided to do Jimmy myself.
The groomer doesn't have a lot of patience and while I knew Nora would be good and just sit there
I wasn't so sure about my Jimmy.
Being a terrier he can be frantic.
But he sat quietly on the counter and let me buzz him.
I think I actually did a very good job!
I'm proud of myself.
So I came home and shaved little Ruby.
She has a very thick dense coat.
With her heart condition, she can't get over-heated.
I have never shaved her before and was worried.
The last two baths I've given her, she's twisted herself into a little mini-stroke!
She was bent in a weird angle and her tongue lolling out the side of her mouth and she was unresponsive
until I screamed RUBY!
and then she came back.
After doing that twice, I've just been wiping her down with a wet washcloth.
So....I shaved down Ruby

and afterwards set her in the pool and scooped the cool water over her.
She loved it.
Must have felt so refreshing.
Ah, Summer.... Life is Good.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Little Random Pet Tips...

I used to post Pet Tips on my blog
and then I stopped
and I don't really have a good reason why. 
I've decided to start again but this time they are going to be different.
Not your typical tips just little random things that I have discovered.
At least most of the time it will be just little quirky things unless I discover something BIG
that I wasn't aware of BLOAT, which I blogged about HERE
when I was worried about Blue.

So, here's my first little random tip.
When putting a cat in a pet carrier most people tend to try to shove their cats in head first and that can be problematic.
It is usually much easier to put him in butt first.
OR the very EASIEST way is to have one of those soft carriers that unzip on the top.
Then you just plop him/her down and ZIP.
OK, I told you that it would be just a random quirky tip.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I have the day off today.
Perfect weather.
I'm trimming back the daisies.
Putting up flower boxes.
Planting flowers.
and finishing my raised vegetable garden.
I've come inside to cool off a bit.
I was relaxing BY the pool.
I would have gotten IN, but...
Rosie is hogging it up!

Sunday, June 16, 2013


My Dad was a minimalist.
I didn't realize this until just recently.
Back in those days, there wasn't a name for it.
Or if there was, it wasn't that.
He only kept what he needed or loved.
He was one of those guys who had outlines around his tools on the pegboard above his work bench.
Everything had a place.
He had a filing cabinet, with hanging folders
and brought home receipts and warranties and filed them by month and year.
He would fix something rather than replace it.
If it had to be replaced, he would pull the paperwork out of his file and dispose of it.
No clutter.
He believed in quality over quantity.
My Mom was the opposite but after her passing the house had order.
(except for my closet, under my bed and in my dresser drawers)
He sold and gave away just about everything.
I think that this partly explains why my sister and I both battle the tendency to be pack rats.

I'm leaving a lot out of this story but he and I went from strangers to enemies to finally friends.
In his later years, he told me that I was his best friend.
I felt the same. I shared more with him anyone else.
Amazing... if you knew the journey we had traveled together to get to that point.

But, back to his sparse ways.
In his den he had his work papers and notebooks, a few books and a couple of trophies.
A few photographs and and a painting I had done for him.
On his desk was a paperweight made of salt and water from my early school days and another of my sisters hand.
That was pretty much it, except for my grandfathers little travel clock
that used to sit next to grandpa's bed
and this little wooden squirrel.
The squirrel is very small, just over 2 inches from the bottom of his feet to the very top of his tail.
I don't know where my Dad got him or who might have given it to him,
but that little squirrel sat on the shelf above his desk lamp and watched him work.
I wonder what his story was. 
How did the squirrel come to live with Dad?
I wished I knew, but I don't.
But I do know this, if he was in his den, he meant something to my Dad.
He must have been very important.

After Dad passed, there were very few possessions of his.
Me and my sister split them up and saved almost everything.
I originally kept several of his shirts and stored them in a drawer by themselves.
I would pull them out just to smell them sometimes
when I was really missing him.
After a while, I let them go.
Over the years I've passed most other things on to my sister or nieces.
He's been gone 19 years now, as of last weekend.
I've come to realize that I don't need things to remember him by.
But I do need his little squirrel.
He sits in my kitchen on a shelf and watches over me.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I got new glasses.
I knew exactly what I wanted.
I'd seen several
But I couldn't find the right ones in true life.
So I took my niece Maggie, the middle child, the one who is just like me except for the dog thing, to help me pick them out.
I think when you are near sighted it's hard to step back and make a decision when the world is a blur.
Unlike me, she has a great fashion sense.
Like me, she's very indecisive.
So I tried on a million glasses and finally we found them.
I was so happy and decided to take a picture of them to share on the blog.
Oh my goddddddddddddd!
It was worse than a really bad mug shot.
A very rude awakening. 
It's startling to realize what I have aged into.
In my mind I was -

Or maybe mature but trendy like Cyndi Lauper -

 But reality was more like-
Depression set in.

Maybe I was taking shots of the "bad side" of my face?

I found that it's very hard to take a photo of yourself.
Finally, I stood in front of a mirror, held the camera in front of me and kept taking photos.
Apparently my "good side" is just the top of my head.
Maybe if I edit the Hell out of it.
Make it sort of psychedelic and 60's? Mod?
Crap, whatever!
Here's a shot of my new glasses...
Jeez, it's hell getting old.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I had so many plans for today!
I had the day off.
Got up early, stopped at the library and then went and
got another load of cinder blocks for my garden project.
Now I have a total of 32!
and then it rained.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I've been thinking about my Mom lately.
She passed when I was 14 after a horrible battle with cancer.
Back then you didn't talk about cancer or about people who had died.
You kinda pretended it never happened.
Or at least that's what you did in my family.
But now, decades later I'm thinking about her and allowing myself the memories.
I'm thinking about how superstitious she was, about everything.
Everything caused a consequence, and you can bet it wasn't good.
So the other day when I was having a frenzied dog-mom day I said something that immediately made me look over my shoulder.
All the dogs were being rowdy and just getting on my least nerve.
I had the backdoor open leading to the patio area but someone still just had to go poop on the potty pad.
Just a few more steps but no! they had to do it in the house!
Then someone was walking down the sidewalk in front of the house and a couple of the dogs noticed from the window and started a chorus of barking.
I tried to quiet them down and then I noticed Jimmy running after Poppy.
She was scurrying away, dodging back and forth under furniture.
Jimmy was trying to grab her and do the humping thing.
He doesn't do that as a mating goal but more as a dominance thing.
He used to do it to Griffin but now that Griff is gone, he seeks out the weakest link.
and Poppy is tiny and weighs less than 5 lbs.
Yes, Rosie is just as small and OLD, she's almost 14 but she gets in his face and barks at him.
"Get the HELL out of here!" she snaps, so he goes after Poppy. 
I scooped her up and yelled at him.
I held and gave her a kiss and told her
"Don't worry, someday it will be just you and me"
I can't believe I said that!
WHY did I say that?
Yes, she is one of my youngest dogs and the smaller the dog, the longer they tend to live, but...
I looked around and immediately wanted to take it back.
I suppose mothers feel like that sometimes. They just wish their kids were grown up and out of their hair.
But that doesn't happen with pets...
and I DO love my fur kids with all my heart.
I looked over at Blue and almost started crying.
I didn't mean it.
Yeah, that made me think my mom again. She would have had me throw salt or spit or something
but I don't remember....

Then the other day I was scanning the real estate listings on my lunch hour.
It's a habit now, even though I have decided I'm happy with my home.
I'm in a nice neighborhood, a very safe one as far as that goes.
If someone was going to rob anyone, they probably wouldn't pick my house.
It's too visible on a main street and also the fact I'm surrounded by much nicer bigger homes.
That, and the fact that the dogs  are ready and set to sound an alarm.
Then I thought about my mom again as I clicked on listings.
She loved her home.
I knew that she came from very humble beginnings and was so proud of the fact that my dad had built their home.
Yep, Mid-Century, maybe that's why I still love the style.
When you came in the front door the first thing in front of you was the fireplace and then when you walked around into the living room, there was the other side of it.
The back of the house was a big picture window and then a jalousie porch ...all glass.
Yes, it was nice, but almost every Sunday afternoon she would make us all go on a Sunday drive.
A drive through neighborhoods to look at houses.
(I suppose if she were here now, she'd be scanning listings on the Internet too.)
She would have my dad drive really slow and they would make comments and observations.
Me and my sister would be bored to tears and sometimes I would see kids from my school playing in their yards and I would slink down.
"Hurry up! Drive faster" I was so embarrassed. I mean, what was the purpose of this?

One of her favorite places to drive to was the old rich neighborhood in the most wooded section of town up on the hill.
It used to be very elite, but now it's older and the homes considered smaller
and on the other side of town is the NEW mega mansions.
In my town, you want to live up on the hill. Anywhere ON the hill.
But that was THE hill on our drives.
Sure there are some beautiful homes down below, but not the safest.
and now... my sister lives in that Hill neighborhood.
I wonder if somehow all those Sunday drives worked their magic into her brain?
She used to drive  out of her way and through that area on her way home from work on some mornings and one day, there was a house for sale that was HER house.
That's what she said. She knew it was her house.

Anyway, another place my mom adored was a high-rise built into the middle of town.
Now people call it high-rise condominiums.
The tallest building in the city.
She used to talk about maybe moving there too.
So the other day at lunch as I'm scrolling through listings, I see that one of them is for sale!
I excitedly clicked on it. 
OMG!!!  Heaven.
I went up front (the office is very quiet usually over the lunch hour) so I showed the girls the listing.

They all immediately agreed, it was totally me.
What with all the white, how could it be more perfect?
(except I'd like different counter-tops, most likely marble and get rid of the green and a new faucet)

and they said,"But what about all your pets?"
and I waved them on and said, "NO! not NOW!
I'd like it when I'm older, and I have all my bills paid and
it's just me and Poppy."
CRAP! I said it again!
I don't mean it.  Really I don't!
and yet I now feel like something is going to reach out and smite me.

and once again.
I'm thinking of my mom.