This Could be Interesting

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Big Move




As the temperatures are finally dropping (by Sunday – today and tomorrow we’re still having summer) we talked about the fact that we need to move Amber’s crate somewhere inside. This is not a simple issue because we have been leaving the door to the crate open, so she’s not confined at night. She gets into it when we put her to bed for the night, but we’re not at all sure if she actually sleeps in it. Sometimes she is in it in the morning when we open the door to the back porch, and sometimes she isn’t.

We can’t trust her on her own, yet. If she’s inside, we find she has dumped a trashcan. In the mornings, the first thing she does after going outside and then having her breakfast, is dash into the pantry to see if we’ve forgotten to pick up Molly’s dish. If we have, she brings it out and starts chewing on it. We either close the people gate that is in the doorway to our office to keep her in with us, or we go into the living room, telling her to get in her ‘place,’ the huge dog bed in there. We have found out the hard way that we need to monitor her, inside and out.

My husband – a lover of simple decisions, just wants to start leaving her inside, hoping that she and Molly will share the huge dog bed in the utility room. When I pointed out a lot of other considerations, we agreed that the subject was a bit more complicated.

We’ve now agreed that my husband will move the people walk-through gate from the doorway to the back porch to the doorway between the utility room and our dining area. This will confine both dogs to the utility room, plus cut off Amber’s access to the pantry. I don’t even want to THINK about the damage she could cause – happily eating her way through the night and dumping whatever she didn’t like or had trouble reaching.  We’ll move Amber’s crate, with liner and towels, into the utility room. I want her to have her safe area if she wants it, at least until we see evidence that she and Molly are doing well with the new sleeping arrangements. Since Amber and Molly are actually playing a bit now, I’m hopeful that this move will go relatively smoothly. Tomorrow night will tell…


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Common Sense

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” ~ Gertrude Stein

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Towel Critter Art – Take 11





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Happy Halloween – Take 27


These technically aren’t Jack-O-Lanterns, I guess, but I LOVE the creativity!

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Finishing a Book

i love reading books via cathy ruggiero

I told you that my friend, Marsha, recommended the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I now have and have read all 44 available in the series (I’m waiting for #45 to be available in paperback, and #46 won’t come out in hardback until January of 2018.)

Now I’m re-reading my collection of Robert B. Parker books –

  • Spenser series
  • Jesse Stone series
  • Sunny Randall series
  • Virgil Cole/Everett Hutch series
  • Young adult books

There are 39 books in the Spenser series. I have all of them and am re-reading book # 5,  Judas Goat.  I’m in a world now where the books ARE just as good or better than the last. How lucky is that?

I’m again impressed at the writing. It’s simple and direct, making it seem as if anyone could write it. Ace Atkins is trying to write more books in the style of Robert B. Parker. I tried one, but it’s a pale imitation of the real thing.  I love the wry, sarcastic sense of humor of the Spenser character. You learn of his strong character bit by bit. He’s no Goodie Two Shoes for sure, but his ethics are strong and unbreakable. His love for Susan makes me laugh and cry. It’s so real and unshakable. Susan is lucky to be loved by Spenser.

His dialogue makes me laugh out loud. His attention to detail shows you that Robert B. Parker would have been a great detective, too. Persistence and bravery are other traits of the character. Spenser grows on you. So do the other characters. You find yourself immersed in his world, always wanting more.

I’m waiting for delivery of a book by a new author recommended by my sister-in-law. I’m totally spoiled now to have several authors I love. Could I be lucky enough to have found another?


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Making Time to Play


I’m going to try to make some time to play in my art room this afternoon. I started some Christmas presents several weeks ago, but then I got busy/tired/lazy/distracted and haven’t been up there since.

I’m going to see if I can finish up the gifts I started, start some new ones, and explore an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head lately.

I love spending time up there whether I accomplish anything or not. I turn on my favorite music MP3’s, shut the door, and the cares are way in the background for a while…

Do you have something you love to do that allows you to escape for a bit?


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Happy Halloween – Take 26

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Good Thing She’s Cute…

I FINALLY got a reasonable picture of Amber with one of her toys. She loves this one, throwing her head back – almost looking like she’s laughing – as she chews madly.

My husband and I were agreeing that it’s a really good thing we didn’t wait to get Amber because even with the two of us – she’s more than a handful for two old fogies. We also agreed that it’s a good thing she’s cute and loving. It goes a long way in making up for the fact that her alter ego is “Destructo Dog.”

Case in point –

This morning I took her out, walked all around the yard with her, out to the square foot garden and the shop, then the other way out to the greenhouse, and then I finally sat down on the front porch to watch her play a bit. We came in, but within 10 minutes or so, she was flipping my arm up over and over while I was trying to type – her sign that she needs to go out – NOW!

Since I wanted more coffee and needed to go to the bathroom, I did, checking on Amber when I got back. In that space of time she had again wreaked havoc on the front porch, the front porch pad, and the impatiens pot. I don’t know why she has it in for this pot, but I finally gave up, dumping it out, hosing it out, and putting it on my counter in the garage.

I then scooped as much potting mix as I could with the metal dustpan, dumping it back into the brick planter by the porch. Then I swept. By the time I finished that, my husband had the hose ready. I hosed everything off and then took the dustpan and the broom back to the garage. On the way, I discovered she had also dug in the 2nd Rio Samba planter. I stopped and cleaned THAT up.

We put Amber on the porch so we could all calm down and rest a bit. Just now when I went out to get her, I noticed that she had apparently used some of the time while we were cleaning up to lie down in the mud and water. Her whole underside and back legs were black.

I called my husband out and we took Amber out on the deck and hosed her down, putting her back on the porch to dry. I took a couple of towels out there to dry her off some, but she was trying to chew on my arm while I worked on her, so I didn’t do much.

We have now agreed that we won’t take her out without her wearing the shock collar and our having the remote in our hands. We won’t just let her out by herself until further notice. We will be ready to zap her if she starts digging. Hopefully, we can break her of this before our weather gets cold…



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October Trip Around the Yard

On one of my outings with Amber today, I brought my camera. I got only a few pictures before it showed me the battery needed to be charged, but I wanted to share these with you. This is an elephant ear plant my friend Laufrain gave me recently. Part of the time I worry that it will be completely eaten by insects (see leaf on right), broken by mysterious forces (see leaf on right), but it seems to be doing well overall. I plan to move it to the greenhouse for the winter when we have frost warnings and see if I bring it through to the spring for replanting.


This plant was also given to me by Laufrain. I don’t know what it is called, but I love the purple leaves. Today I noticed it was blooming! See the sweet, delicate pink flower?


I’m just delighted with all the delicate little blooms. I’ll have to ask Laufrain if I need to dig this one up, too, for the winter.


I harvested these two tomatoes today. The new tomato plants are still alive. I really don’t know what to expect from them, but I’m keeping an eye on them. I picked another small tomato, but it wasn’t good. I threw it toward the group of evergreen trees toward the back. Amber saw me and went crashing into the trees, retrieving it. She brought it into the front yard, chewing on it. She spit it out onto the ground, then picked it up again running all around the yard. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do with it, but she had a great time.

I’ll try to get more pics to share as soon as my camera battery is charged again.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you!  I checked on the temperature inside my greenhouse today and it was 70!  I’ll keep an eye on that and see if I can figure out if I can actually start some seeds in there soon…


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Towel Critters – Take 10



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Happy Halloween – Take 25

“Sushi and Soy Sauce” –


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“Waves at Sea”

“Waves at Sea” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Do Not Stop

Confucius via

I tend to do all or nothing. I get psyched up and then go for it. Something bars my progress, and I stop. Then I beat myself up over ‘failing,’ and then try to get motivated again.

  • My house is either so clean and organized that I’m ready for “House Beautiful” to come and photograph or it looks like a bomb hit it and we call for the bulldozers.
  • I either follow my low carb diet – or – if I eat one thing wrong I blow the rest of the day.
  • I either exercise my head off or sit in my chair.

I don’t like this about myself, but I find it hard to break a habit built over a lifetime. I tell myself just to do the best I can, but my gut reacts differently than my head or heart.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” ~ Confucius

I need to realize deep down inside that I perfection is not the goal. That no one is going to give me ‘points’ and there is no end to trying to improve. That it’s what I do day after day that’s important. And that any progress I’ve made should be celebrated and used as motivation to continue.



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Gorgeous Gourds – Take 14



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“What a Difference a Day Makes…”

John Greenleaf Whittier

Yesterday the high was 92 degrees F. Today it’s 62.

Yesterday we worked in the yard wearing sweat bands. Today we worked in the yard wearing light jackets.

We’ve been using the attic fan for the nice, cool breeze to help us sleep better. Last night I almost froze my rear end off, getting up to turn off the attic fan, shut the window, and turn on the electric blanket for a bit when the temperatures touched 46 degrees.

Amber is in heaven today. I think she thought that having to pant much of the day was just the way it was. Today the cooler temperatures energized her to the point we stood and laughed as she ran round and round the house, then turned and ran full out the other direction several times. We also played ball for quite awhile this morning, and my husband is out with her right now.

We started to have the doors open this morning, and then closed up because we were too cool in here!

My husband went to the basement to get us some jackets to hang up.

It’s only going to be this way for a couple of short days, and then we’ll have Indian summer, with temperatures in the high 80s again, but what a lovely dose of fall we’re having!

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Happy Halloween – Take 24








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Towel Critters – Take 9

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Wheelbarrowing Olympics

Since we’re supposed to have severe weather this evening with rain, wind, hail, flying hairballs and possibly a tornado, we decided to not only try to clean up where Amber had been digging most recently by emptying out and cleaning up the two brick planters from which we dug out the Rio Samba rose bushes, but also to fill them up again with potting mix so that the planters could start settling.

It took us about another half an hour to empty out the planters as much as we needed to, in order to get the bermuda and roots out. And then it took TEN 40 pound bags of potting mix to fill the planters. When they settle, we’ll probably have to add more when we plant in the spring, but we were happy we got this chore done before the rain comes.

Moving that much soil was a little bit too much exercise for us today. We may end up taking a nap this afternoon…

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Happy Halloween – Take 23







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Hot Diggety Dog!

This isn’t Amber, but it could be.

Ever since we dug up the Rio Samba rose bushes in preparation for planting new ones in the spring, Amber has been digging. Maybe she’s smelling the moles/voles/or other ‘oles’ beneath the surface of the yard. Maybe she has a sudden urge to help us get ready to plant other things. Whatever her reasoning, she’s making a mess.

I cleaned off the area beneath our front porch yesterday, sweeping and then trying to fill some of the holes she had dug. This morning I caught her in the act of reopening a hole I had just gotten covered. I zapped her with the remote, so it was really clear to everyone that what she was doing was being discouraged. She stopped immediately, but I think it will take several lessons to get her to stop.

The really frustrating thing is that we live on almost 8 acres. Only a small part of that is what we have tried to civilize. We wouldn’t mind if she dug in MOST of our property, but she chooses to do it in the yard, where we need to mow and would like to look like someone cares.

She had also dug into one of the small planters that sit on the front porch, where we were trying to encourage impatiens to come back after the pot hadn’t been watered in several days. The plant WAS looking good. Now it’s completely torn up. The plant will have to be put into the compost barrel and we’ll dump the soil into one of the holes we’re trying to fill up. :0(

I found an article that supposedly gives you good ideas for stopping dogs from digging. It’s even written by people who raise labs. I think they must have much more cooperative labs than we do. They did make a good suggestion that we monitor her outside and that we use counter measures. This makes sense. We’ll hope that the shock I gave her this morning will get her to stop, but I think she’ll need more reminders….


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Gorgeous Gourds – Take 13



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We usually go bowling, and then for ice cream, on Monday nights – the night the bowling alley makes it affordable for us. We go with up to three others, and have been doing this for several years now. We can catch up with what’s been going on with our friends, get some good exercise, and then celebrate or console ourselves with delicious ice cream from Braum’s afterwards.

We had to cancel it for tonight, due to a significant cold front and the prospect of severe weather right when we would be trying to go for ice cream and then take everyone home.


After a mostly sunny and warm Monday, (92 degrees F.) a cold front will be marching through our area Monday Night. Not only will it drop our temperatures BY OVER 40 DEGREES, it will also bring the chance for some showers and storms (rain, wind, hail, flying hairballs, possible tornado) overnight.”



We are just southeast of Fort Smith, in the darkest green blob.

So, although we’re disappointed we had to cancel bowling and ice cream with our friends tonight, we’ll be thankful we have dry homes to “weather the weather” tonight.


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I Love Fall – Take 3



“Yellow Leaves” – Paul Militaru Photography


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More Than Enough

I FINALLY got a picture of Amber with one of her squeaky toys in her mouth.

This is quite a feat, I have to say, because her standard reaction when she hears the camera turn on and the flash flip, is to drop the toy. I’ve also tried to turn the camera on in another room and then try to sneak up on her, but she sees/hears/smells me before I even enter the room and comes up to greet me – AFTER dropping the toy…

While you’re looking at the photo, look behind her back at the bottom drawer on the set of drawers beside my computer cut out. This is thanks to Amber – not meaning to hurt the drawer or chewing on it – but the fact that she isn’t careful where her claws are on any of her feet while she chews on a toy. I’ll tackle the drawer with one of the stain crayon thingies one day.

I’ve been vacuuming today, as I have every day over the past few weeks, trying to keep up with the MORE THAN ENOUGH dog and cat hair. I’m a failure. :0(

I’ve tried using the Furminator on Amber –

because she’s shedding so much – even with colder weather coming on. Besides having MORE THAN ENOUGH hair, she has MORE THAN ENOUGH teeth, which she readily uses on us. She’s no longer using us as chew toys so much (plus we’re learning techniques to avoid triggering her toothy response), but the Furminator definitely brings out the teeth.

Today I vacuumed the first floor tiles (pantry, kitchen, dining area, utility room, hallway, and two half baths) and then moved to the foyer between the stairs and our office. Then I got about half of the living room done before the battery on my easy-to-use portable Dyson gave out. That was really kind of good, actually, because MY personal energy battery was giving out by then, too.


I completely filled up the canister on the vacuum TWICE today. UGH

I’ll give the vacuum an hour or so to charge back up – getting a cold drink and putting my feet up to recharge MY battery, as well, and then continue on. It would be good if my efforts lasted more than a day. I’m really grossed out by all the hair and ‘stuff’ I vacuum up each time.

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Embracing the Day

I’m learning to embrace imperfection, aware that although things aren’t perfect, I have a lot for which I am thankful.

  • The weather is really nice today – a bit warm to be working outside, but I’ll take it and do what I can. The sun is shining. We had a cool breeze this morning, and we have doors and windows open, bringing the outside in.
  • I can see the humor in the fact that Amber tried to eat the catfish I had thawing in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I caught her in the act. I went in to see her standing on her back legs, front feet on the counter, trying to pull the bowl toward her with her teeth. I managed to save the filets, discipline the dog, and laugh about the situation. I do keep wondering who is training whom…
  • My back is pain free. This means a LOT – because I lost almost a month trying to break the pain cycle. The fact that I can plan my day around what I’d like to do, rather than gingerly moving to and from my chair so as to avoid a spasm, is truly wonderful.  I’m looking forward to doing some work in the yard this afternoon. I’ll also get on my elliptical trainer and do some careful stretching.
  • Our son MAY be coming home from Thailand for a visit in mid February or March! Since my hug bucket is absolutely empty (he’s been gone over two years) I’ll be waiting with open arms whenever he wants to come.
  • I’m working on some Christmas presents for my good friends. I love spending time thinking of them as I try to make something they’ll enjoy.



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Gorgeous Gourds – Take 12

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I Love Fall – Take 2



“Untold Autumn Lyrics” – Paul Militaru Photography

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