Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at the Cabin

We really had our Christmas back at Thanksgiving when the kids came to visit at the cabin. It was so wonderful to have them there.. so today I post some of the pictures. I shot some portraits because my candids are always so poor...We were so happy to meet Letisia, Chris' fiance and welcome her to our small family. Abbey and Chris were in great spirits and we thoroughly enjoyed having them both together.. they are Steve's blessings and I am so fortunate to get to come along for the ride.. great kids...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you build it... they will come....

It's going to be a nice Thanksgiving here at the cabin.. well actually it may be more Christmas than Thanksgiving.. Both Chris and Abbey are coming.. It has been years since they have both been here (in Ga.) together..and Chris is bringing a new member to our small family.. a fiance! We are looking forward to meeting her and getting to know her. The weather here this time of year is not nearly as nice as SoCal.. and we actually look a bit dreary with no leaves on the trees.. but I hope to rectify that a bit in the cabin. We are all stocked up on wood as the darn cabin stays pretty cool this time of year without a nice fire going. Abbey hasn't been here since 2000.. though she did come for a wonderful visit a couple of years ago to the Florida home. Wish Abbey could get her friend Heather to join us.. think of her as part of the family too.. but anyway - excited.. imagine they will be camping out in the guest quarters. We put in a wonderful gas stove up there that really heats up the place toasty warm.. plus it is well insulated.. much more comfortable than the cabin.. which is one reason we built it, so we could live there in the winter if we needed or wanted to.. Seeing the kids will be such a nice diversion from all of the politics and financial meltdown.. this has all left me rather disheartened...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Geeking For Good

Well I have been spending some time lately doing volunteer work for a local animal rescue group.. Second Chance Animal Sanctuary. I called to donate some things to their tent sale and got to speaking to Penny, one of their volunteers, and she said something about they didn't have any computer help at the moment, and I said I could help out.. and so I have been. I helped put together a newsletter for them as they had not put one out in a year.. The group has suffered the death of one of their co-founders, the death of another member, and the woman who normally prepares their newsletter was caring for a terminally ill parent and trying to get married... so it was a pleasure to be able to step in and help them. I have donated to them before.. but I knew I couldn't foster any dogs and not really any cats, so I never contacted them... Anyway.. come to find out during this last year they also let their Internet domain expire thus rendering them out in "no man's land" with their website.. So I set them back up and offered to redesign so that we could incorporate some of the latest coding techniques for search engine optimization. Also developing the site to help bring in donations.. Anyway - the bones of the new site are in place and now I just need the embellishments... I think everyone is pleased and I have offered to continue to be their webmaster and anything else I can do for them, computer wise. Which works out well for me because I can do the computer work from the winter home. I am looking forward to volunteering with them and hopefully help them recruit some more volunteers to help with some of the things that need to be done. In fact, the Volunteer Page of the website is high on my list of "to dos"..along with some internet exposure.

I have done my share of volunteering.. My favorite was doing therapy dog work with the corgis through the Happy Tails group in Atlanta. I did that for several years until we moved up to the cabin. I really really enjoyed that.. I found I really liked going into Assisted Living facilities with the animals. It is so hard when you get older and you have lived with animals all of your life and you can't have them anymore. I became friends with several residents and especially looked forward to the monthly visits with them. I try and remind Cap'n Steve that I will come visit him with the animals when he needs to have assisted care... he doesn't laugh...I can't understand why..

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lost and Found Part Deux

What do you do when a beloved animal dies
(our sweet Miss Lass)
that has a special place in your heart?

If you haven't read part one, you might want to catch up with it before continuing.

It's been just over a month now since Lass died. We still have heavy hearts, the tears still well up pretty easily, but we all are moving along.

After I hastily sent an email to Lass' original owner, I received an unexpected thoughtful reply, within hours. Yes, he was the one that gave Lass over to rescue. He said he did it to try and save a 6 year relationship with his girlfriend who within a year of giving up Lass, he married, and not too long after that divorced. He said he thought of Lass often. He had two other Border Collies, in fact one was Lass' mate and the other was her puppy. LASS HAD A PUPPY ... sort of a huge aaaaawwwwww moment for us. He said he loved her dearly and it broke his heart to give her away. He wrote that he contacted BC rescue to make sure Lass was okay and that he would take her back, but they told him she was in a loving home. His note showed how much guilt he had for giving her up. He kept Lass' mate and her puppy until they both passed away as old dogs. His note brings tears to my eyes as I reread it now. He offered to talk to me about Lass and I took him up on it, but via email. I emailed him two times right after receiving his email. One email was about the struggles we had with Lass, and the other was about the joy she brought to us. I haven't heard from Lass' original owner since his only email. I can only suppose that I stirred up some emotions that he did not want to remember. I can respect that. I was so excited to hear from him and see that he was a caring person.

I guess there are several morals to this story. The first biggie is: Don't ever give up an animal that you love for another human being. I learned that in the demise of my first marriage, which involved my corgis, and my parents to an extent.

Giving up an animal, whether to rescue, or a friend or a family member is a difficult decision. When you are looking at what is THE BEST situation for that animal, trust yourself that you are doing the right thing. It is interesting that 3 people close in our lives have recently given up their dogs because of their living situations. The dogs were all loved, but all three of these people knew that the dogs could have even better homes, homes that could give them the time and attention that they needed. It was a difficult decision for all, and I respect them for making the hard choices.

When giving up an animal, do you tell the recipients about the problems you are having with the dog? I wonder... I don't know the answer to that question. I do think that Lass' optimum home would probably have been where she was the only dog and that someone was home most all of the time. If we had known that she might have had a history of "issues with other dogs" (and we still don't know her history) - we wouldn't have taken her.. but we didn't know.. I believe when you take a rescue, you have a good chance of getting a dog with "issues"... just be prepared to make the commitment to the animal and work as hard as you can. If I could say one thing about doing dog rescue, it would be make sure you have a lot of time to spend with the dog. Preferably that you don't work outside of the home. Dogs with issues need a lot of time, love and attention. But it was so worth it... We can't imagine never having had Lass. I am glad we were able to adjust our lives to hopefully better hers.

I am currently doing some volunteer work for a local rescue group. I am offering my computer skills and I am in heaven. I call it Geeking for Good.. but anyway - one of my tasks is to update/redesign the website. They have a quote on there that I love.. Saving one pet won't change the world, but surely the world will change for that one pet. When I am done with the redesign of the site - I will link to it from the blog.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grooming tools for my pets

I have just finished brushing The Squeek, Queen Kiki and Mattie and thought I would pass along a couple of tools that I think are indispensable, for both dogs and cats. First is "The Furminator" I just purchased this jewel a few months ago and it is wonderful for animals with undercoats and animals with short, medium or long hair..equally. It is "da bomb" (I am so with current vernacular... NOT lol).. I can't say enough good things about it and wish it was available when the corgis were alive!

The next thing I want to recommend is a comb that I first heard of 10 or more years ago off of Corgi-L. It is called a "Grooma Comb" I've never seen it in a Pet Smart or Petco (at least in the dog/cat grooming sections). It is really marketed toward horse owners as a mane detangler. I really like it for Mattie's tangles. I have had the same one for 10 years and I think it works very well. That's not to say it magically detangles, but it helps me get through some matted hair that I would otherwise be getting the scissors for and snipping away. I purchased mine in a local tack shop in Atlanta. Anyway - just thought I would pass along..enjoy your holiday weekend!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Drum Roll Please.........

Okay - don't faint.. we both are still catching our breath but TA DAAA....
The garage apartment aka guest quarters aka Steve's Quarters aka the Man Cave is essentially completed!! I know I know... pick yourself up off the floor.. it's only been what.. 6 years?

If you don't know that whole saga - just do a label search on guest quarters and you will see a few of the construction phase pics..

So without further ado.. your own personal guided tour! Friends who have decorating capabilities - you are welcome to come up any time and go shopping with me for those little special treasures that will warm the place up. I am going to photoshop in some of my pictures before I blow them up and have cap'n Steve frame them. Oh I think I should find a new name for Cap'n Steve - maybe like Old Saw Steve or some such...with the emphasis on that's what we both have become while he has meandered his way through this project, plus his birthday is coming up and I just like to remind him of his chronological place in this household! :)

You should note that Steve did 99% of this work by his lonesome. I helped maybe a total of 3 hours and he did have the plumbing roughed in. Otherwise this is his baby.. and no nail gun for him. Every nail was lovingly pounded beneath his hammer, and a few fingers. And this was his first stab at things like tile work and custom door knobs and handles..

Remember you can click on any picture to see a larger version:

Here's a shot looking back at the entrance - yes we have to paint the door - will probably be a forest green. The carpet is a berber with natural colors and some green in it..we thought it provided a good contrast to the pine walls. We went with the rustic feel because we didn't want whomever staying up here to miss out on the "cabin" type of experience if they weren't staying in the cabin.

Okay - the living/dining areas..

Both bedrooms - don't ya just love what I've done with the place.. Hey - it's only been 48 hours since the carpet went in and we have been cleaning and unpacking stuff that has not seen the light of day for 6 years.. oh I found that fry baby strainer I was looking for...oops - I digress... sorry..

The bath..

And last but not least.. the kitchen

And here are a few of the finish work...Steve did a nice job.. the curtain rods are small branches...and you know how I was fretting over those curtains.. I like them - they came out pretty good, especially for a first try...(I did the curtains - so I have about 18 hours total into the garage to Old Saw's, what? 10 million?)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do Cats Rule (and dogs drool)? Queen Kiki

Cats seem to find a way into our home. Cap'n Steve never had a cat before he met me. I grew up with dogs - no cats around.. but somehow cats made their way into my life around 1984 or so and there always seems to be one (or several)who call my/our place "home" since then. I have much more fun naming cats..Casper and Coolwhip (aka cocaine and speedball) were the first cats in 1984 - white fluffy things. Then came Ike and Tina from my friends Allen and Linda's litter of Martha and the Vandellas. Currently we are owned by three cats. Kiki, The Squeek, and Mo.

Kiki - she came to us in the fall of '97. She was a tiny kitten who literally threw herself at our door. She picked a house with 3 dogs, how smart is that? Actually she is pretty smart. She immediately took up residence with Cap'n Steve and Chris. I had just had surgery to reconnect a severed achilles and was in no shape to tend to a new kitten. She became best friends with our dogs and to this day she still loves on Mattie ( who was about 6 months old when Kiki showed up) Kiki was the one animal that took it the hardest when Tucker (numero uno corgi) died. She moped around here for a good while. They were best buds for sure and while I had heard that animals could go into depression when a loved one dies (human or 4-footed) I had never seen it. She used to be indoor/outdoor and was pretty aloof - but since moving to the cabin full time we converted her into a house kitty. She seems to love it and has adjusted wonderfully. She has become a very sweet kitty and when she wants to sit on you - you feel very honored and special. Cat's are funny that way. When they pay you attention, you feel so honored, dogs on the other hand, typically garner affection from whatever hand is available at the time to pet or give them treats.

Kiki is also my work buddy, and has been for years. What is it about some cats and computers? Debra also has some cats that love to "help" her work..

Here's Kiki hard on the job since 2000!

And still likes to give pointers - spring 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

This one is soley for Cap'n Steve..

He will say this is soooooo true! I got this from another blog, MCP Actions


Last night my husband and I were sitting in the family room. I said to him,‘I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine,and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no qualityof life at all. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.’

So he got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Is Mat suffering from depression?

Cap'n Steve has been home a week and Mat has not been herself for the last 5 days. She is off her food and hardly drinking water. She is known to be quite the Euell Gibbons of our animals. (Thank goodness not a pooh eater)We figured she ate a "bad mushroom" or some such.. but this is starting to seem more than a bug. I have taken her to the vet, she checks out fine (blood work et all)but she is still off. She is mopey, not very food motivated even when there is chicken or hamburger involved. She is losing weight. This sounds/looks/feels like depression to me.

Mat has never been the only dog. And even though she and Lass had their issues, they each seemed relaxed with the other as long as there was a crate separating them. The cats are all trying to love up on her.. and she just sort of lays there, uninterested.. Moe even tries to get in her dinner bowl while she is eating and she could care less.. When Tucker, numero uno corgi died (3 years ago at age 16), Queen Kiki, our cat, exhibited what we think was depression. She loved Tuck and they would play together..She was "off" for a couple of weeks.

We figure Mat now realizes that Steve is back and Lass isn't - this is not your normal "week apart vacation" that we do once or twice a year with the dogs. I feel for her. She looks and seems very sad. I know how she feels.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Being Green - Do we do it for the environment or to make ourselves feel better?

Or to "look good" in front of friends and peers?

I saw this on Post Secret and thought the questions it raised were worth introspection...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gulfport, Santa Barbara,Hazelwood,Mpls, Huntsville,Atlanta

During my school years I went to 9 schools between 1st and 11th grades. I continued this pattern in college and went to 3 colleges during a 4 year period. My Dad was a contract engineer and we moved every couple of years following defense and aerospace contracts. When we got to St. Louis (Hazelwood) I had found a home and I didn't want to leave but that was not going to happen and after 2.5 blissful years there I managed to squeeze in 2 more schools before taking early graduation and heading off to college.

We are just about ready to carpet the Guest Quarters and I have been cleaning out things I should never have moved (6 years ago)from our home in Atlanta (Tucker area). I am on my last box.. my personal box.. memorabilia from when I was 6 years old to college. It's not a big box - so I can afford to let it be - but going down memory lane these last couple of nights I wonder.. Do I need to throw this away so when I croak - nobody needs to do it for me... or is there some sort of hidden art work in here that I just don't see.. I have autograph books from when I was 6-12yo with autographs from teachers and friends of all the schools I had been in at that time (4) - I have my girl scout sash and badges I never sewed on (and there's a sewing badge in there - the irony!)because we moved and I never rejoined.. There are pictures of some family vacations and weekend camping trips taken in 1968, that show no promise of a budding artist photographer...There's a picture of my first best friend, Janie Hastings, and me taken right before she moved. I was so sad to see her go...we were all of 7 or so. I have notes written by friends and boyfriends from Jr. High when writing notes was the thing to do. I have the note from the then boyfriend, breaking up with me, the first time I was ever dumped.. I also have a stack of letters from friends who wrote to me and tried to keep up with my travels after I left Hazelwood..but life moves on.

Do I keep this little time machine.. and pull it out and look at it every 10 years or so? Cap'n Steve, who is no hoarder of sentimentality, surprisingly votes yes.

Some Samples: Remember you can click on any picture in my blog to see a larger size.

Camping late fall, Minnesota - circa 1968 - I would keep this because my mom refuses to have her picture made and this is a rare find indeed! Hey Bossy, We were the original Tent Trailer Campers - LOL

Best Friends - circa 1966 - Huntsville, Al.