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.

Friday, August 8, 2008

For a good photo - a little somethin' somethin'

Here's a really quick and easy way to make your photos "pop" - oh you didn't know your photos could "pop" you say? Well, yes they can. If you have a photo you really like and want to share it, on the web or with family and friends or even print it, before you send it off try this little trick in Photoshop (either Elements or the regular version). I do this with both my wonderful Canon P&S pics and with my Nikon DSLR pics...It's easier than messing with the contrast and saturation settings (or even curves for the advanced users) if you have a photo that is good in your eyes but you just want to give it a little "oomph".

Go into Filter/Sharpen/Unsharp Mask and set the amount to 20, the radius to 60, and leave threshhold at 0. Here's an example SOOC (straight out of Camera - my P&S)This little trick will make your pictures go from

To This:

Another Example:

Now you can also do this in Gimp and maybe some of the online editors, I haven't really looked at those..but I know many of you have Elements as it comes with a lot of cameras..Technically the term for this is "Defog" and for the Lightroom/ACR users - this is what the clarity slider does..

Brought to you by: Your own personal Geek: NGG

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lost and Found - Part 1

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

Well if you are me, and your special loss was a rescue, you notify the rescue group from where you got her. Why? Well, maybe because I know that as a person who has fostered animals before, I always enjoy finding out the good (and the sad) of these animals. It helps to validate my feelings of hopefully helping the animal in some small way. With Miss. Lass, we had a lot of support from our rescue group during some difficult times. They were very appreciative of the email and offered such nice words of comfort for our efforts and our loss.

Sitting at my desk on Tuesday night, looking at Lass' ABCA pedigree papers, I took serious notice for the first time, the previous owner's name. Being the geek that I am, I decided to google the name. I got a hit, and not only did I get a direct hit, I got an email address with it. What to do? What were my feelings? My heart was racing. Do I send an email? What would they think? Would they welcome the information that she lived a long and happy life. Would it stir up emotions in them that they cared not to revisit? Were they a heartless, selfish person who threw away many other things in their life, like they "threw away" their dog..Who was this person? When we got Miss Lass from rescue, we only knew that she was given up because the girlfriend of the owner did not like the dog.. We looked at each other and said "NOT LIKE THIS DOG? How could that be, this sweet sweet animal?"

Miss Lass changed our lives. She challenged us to search the depths of our beings to understand what a committment to an animal meant. Thank goodness we (Steve and I) were both on the same page when it came to Miss Lass. If anything, Steve was even more adamant about her than I was. I will always think of that when I want some sort of gauge of his depth of love for this or any of our animals. Now don't get me wrong.. she didn't change our lives in such a way as to permanently hinder us in anything going forward. But for the last 7 years we have not been able to be away from home together more than 4-5 hours at a time. We always had to be aware of the weather too, lest we be away and a thunderstorm occurred. But we adapted and really didn't feel it was much of an imposition except when there were times we got the itch to travel again. It was hard for us to believe our last trip together was in 2001.

I sent the email. A short, somewhat curt email, that asked if this was the correct party that gave up Miss Lass to rescue in 1998. If this was the party to whom I was emailing, I said I didn't know if they would be interested in knowing that we had adopted the animal, loved her very much and had her for almost 10 years and that we had to put her down. I said there was no need for a response to the email.. I didn't want the recipient to feel obligated to engage in a dialogue. I probably put that last statement in as much for me as for the recipient because I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. What did I hope to accomplish by sending this email? I didn't really think this through. I just knew I was hurting for a dog that I loved very much and I was home alone and spending a lot of time thinking about her and I really wished Steve was home to give me the hugs that I know we both could use.

The next morning, I received a reply...I was suprised and I think you will be too..but first I need to answer their reply before I continue this post.. that is why this is Part 1..