Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sydney the Halloween Giraffe

Sydney in her giraffe costumeIf you're in Northern Idaho tonight, watch out for this scary Trick or Treater!

A few questions from the Blogiversary Contest Two need to be answered immediately. So here goes.

Sheila asked . . .

I would like to know how your mom is doing. Is she still going to rehab for her arm? I hope she continues to make an excellent and full recovery.
Nancy asked . . .
My number one question is "How is your Mom doing?" I hope her recovery is progressing well.
Mom trying her shoe laces(Read about Mom's accident here.)

Mom is doing great. She has some strength in her hand now and is excited that she can tie her shoe laces. She also can write with a pen as long as it doesn't require much pressure. It looks like she wrote during a bumpy car ride, but it's readable.

Before the week is over she hopes to be driving. She would have tried it yesterday, but her car decided it wouldn't start so it's in the repair shop today.

She is on an every other week schedule with the hand therapist now, and she does her exercises several times a day, every day. With therapy and hard work, she will eventually have a full recovery.

Dobarah who blogs at Artsy Math Teacher asked . . .
Will you drive or fly to visit Idaho?
I fly Kalamazoo to Minneapolis and then Minneapolis to Spokane. At the Spokane airport I rent a car and drive to Post Falls, Idaho, which is only about 20 miles from Spokane when I don't get lost.

Jenny Raye who blogs at Loves to Bike and Knit asked . . .
How many hours until the plane leaves for your next trip to Idaho? Cuz....I know you know.
Sydney sitting on my lap emptying a box of crayonsIf Northwest Airline is on time, the plane takes off next Wednesday morning, November 8, at 7:15 am.

This is a recent picture - two weeks ago - taken at Mom's apartment during Sydney's visit to Michigan.

Since I hadn't seen her since June, she wasn't sure she remembered me. We got reacquainted by emptying out a box of crayons, one crayon at a time.

Nannette asked . . .
Are you cheering for the Tigers???
Although I'm not an avid baseball fan, I did pay attention when the Tigers made the playoffs and I did cheer them on through their World Series loss.

Watch out baseball! There are many young players on the Tiger team who now have playoff experience. They will be back more mature and better in future years. Ready to win it all!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Saturday Sky and Doggy Questions
Stormy Saturday Sky October 29, 2006 No, I did not take all the Saturday Sky pictures on the same stormy day at the beginning of the October and then publish them one per week!

It really is another stormy, rainy, cold, windy Saturday in SW Michigan.

Michiganders who live in town and have leaf pick-up dates to meet are starting to worry about meeting them. One conscientious, law biding lady at doggy school admitted to raking wet leaves and said it was very difficult.

Daylight Savings Time starts tonight which pretty much eliminates evening yard work. Being retired, I don't have that excuse. But I'm not raking them wet.

Pappy sleeping on the red pillowsI have two questions for my dog loving readers:

Yesterday at Pappy's annual vet appointment we learned that he is developing cataracts in both eyes. He is 7-8 years old, in excellent health, and has a life expectancy of 14 years. As his eyes get worse, we're going to look into doggy eye surgery. Any experience or advice to share on this?

On a more cheerful note, we're thinking of replacing the living room carpet with laminate but are concerned about the dogs sliding and slipping on it. Any dog experience with laminate?

Tomorrow after church I'll be picking the two WIP bag winners of the Blogiversary contest. If you haven't entered and it's not past noon on October 29, don't miss your chance to help Stitches of Violet celebrate two years of blogging.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Another Snowy October Morning
Glory on a snowy morning dog walkThis is what we woke up to this morning. A second premature, measurable snowfall in SW Michigan. (Read about the first here.)

It was beautiful. I took the camera out on the second dog walk and enjoyed talking many pictures.

Snowy morning with leaves still on the treesIsn't this the perfect excuse not to rake leaves? It is!

But I don't need an excuse because most of the leaves are still on the trees.

Snowy bush on a cold October morningThe weather was the main topic of discussion at the grocery store this afternoon.

The doom-and-gloom people are saying this can only mean a long, cold, snowy winter.

The glass-half-full people are saying we are still due an Indian Summer.

My opinion? I'm ready for whatever happens but please, let's not have a snowstorm while I'm trying to fly out to Idaho and back the second week in November.

Friday, October 20, 2006

48 Things

It's been a busy week without much time for blogging, so today I give you:

48 Things You Could Care Less About. . .

1. FIRST NAME? Marguerite


3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Today. I went to visit my first husband's grave with our two children.


5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Butterball turkey sausage. I slice it in two lengthwise and eat it in a hotdog bun with cheese and spicy mustard.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes! I've always wanted a friend who wasn't a better housekeeper than me.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Only my blog.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes. And my appendix, too.


10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Post Selects Maple Pecan Crunch

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Usually. And when I don't, I always untie them before I put them back on.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? No. Just stubborn.


14. SHOE SIZE? 6.

5. RED OR PINK? Red.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I've gone lazy since I retired.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in Idaho.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Bluejeans with a coral sweater and very bright verigated socks (Opal Rose Hips, for those of you familiar with sock yarns).

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken chimicanga at a Mexican restaurant in Battle Creek.



23. FAVORITE SMELL? Cinnamon.



26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Sure.

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Aquafina water.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Track and field.

29. EYE COLOR? Blue

30. HAT SIZE? No idea, but my head isn't very large.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I feel naked without my glasses.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? I have many favorite foods. This evening I'm thinking about Upjohn Pumpkin Torte.


35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. So why am I living in Michigan?


37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Crème brulee.


39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Evidently this meme started out as an email thing?

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Drowned Hopes by Donald Westlake (listening on audio while I knit) and Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reinsel

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? A very worn wood duck. I really need a new mouse pad.


43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My granddaughters laughing.


45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Burmuda. It is beautiful.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Danged if I know.


48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Swiped it from Bonne Marie

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saturday Sky and Smiling Sydney
Saturday Sky for October 14, 2006The sky peeking through the rain clouds was blue. It never did rain - or snow.

The forecast for next week is for the temperatures to warm up to the 60s, just in time for John, Anne, and Sydney to visit from Idaho.

Sydney posed with hands over her head and legs crossedAnd here she is! Miss Sydney Anne! 18 months old and full of fun.

I'm looking forward to seeing her in person next week. Even more, I'm looking forward to a trip to Idaho in three weeks. I haven't been since June and feel like it's way overdue.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Premature Snow
Snowy October autumn day with leaves on the treesThe weather report has been talking about a snowy Thursday all week, but I admit to being skeptical. Maybe a few flakes in the air, but surely no more than that.

We haven't had a killing frost yet. The leaves have hardly started to fall off the trees. The hostas are still standing. It's way to early in the season to have snow.

These are snow date statistics (sorry to mention statistics, Dorothy) for Southwest Michigan:

  • October 22 - average first fluffy flakes seen in air. We beat the average this year.

  • November 6 - average first measurable snowfall. I'm sure today is measurable, so beat this average by over three weeks.

  • Months with measurable snow: November, December, January, February, March, April. Putting it this way, it's obvious to understand why Michiganders are more than ready for the first warm, spring day.

  • April 10 - average date for the last measurable snow. This is when we take our snowy daffodil pictures. In 1976 we had two feet of snow during spring break.

  • April 18 - average date for last flakes in the air. But we're ignoring them.

  • Elapsed time from the very first flake to the last is 5 months and 28 days.

It's only a tiny wee bit of exaggeration to say SW Michigan has snow six months of the year.

Snowy path in the field on first dog walk of the day.Sunny took one look at the snow this morning and decided to do a quick outing up by the house with Bob.

Pappy, Glory and I went for a walk. They thought the snow was grand - all the better for chasing those pesky rabbits.

Bluebird nest box with snow on the lidGood-by summer.

Good-by bluebirds.

See you next year.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Castle Mouser Misses the Mouse
Pappy the Papillon pouting because he missed catching the mouseA few days ago I spend several hours cleaning out a cubby hole off the living room. It houses a door to the outdoors, Sunny's Wee-Wee pad, bins of keepsakes, and a 50 pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds. It's the kind of catch-all area found in small houses without enough storage where the housekeeping is a bit casual.

I emptied the area out, evicted the spiders, washed the walls and noticed they need painting. I washed the floor, the woodwork, the door.

Tuesday night Bob and Pappy noticed a mouse running around the living room. Papillons were "castle mousers" centuries ago, and Pappy has a strong mouser instinct. In the rodent regard, he acts like a cat.

Pappy didn't sleep all night, bouncing in and out the bed (yes, he sleeps with us), but mostly out as he watched for a chance to catch the mouse.

Need I tell you where the mouse set up headquarters? Pooping little mouse turds all over my clean cubby hole?

Next day I found Mr. Mouse behind the storage bins. He was cute. I hated to kill him but really wanted him GONE.

Bob had an idea. Open the door to the outside and let him leave. Since there's a door between the cubby hole and the living room, it should be quick and easy.

So, I moved some of the things out of the cubby hole in order to have room to move the bins. Then I shut the door between the cubby hole and the living room in order to a) keep the mouse in b) keep Pappy out.

Pappy took up his station outside the closed door. I opened the door to the outside and moved the bins to get Mr. Mouse in motion. Mr. Mouse did not want to be cold and wet. He ran out of his hiding place, under the door to the living room, and down the radiator pipe to the basement.

Pappy missed him. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of Pappy's life. He spent the rest of the day patrolling the area and even took a nap with his nose pointed toward the radiator. Mr. Mouse didn't show.

I'm sure Pappy blames me for this. If only I had warned him Mr. Mouse was coming through. But I didn't know. I thought I was chasing him outdoors.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday Sky and Comment Commentary
Clear blue Saturday Sky for October 7, 2006Saturday Sky
A beautiful, crisp, sunny day a SW Michigan.

Although there are many beautiful autumn colors now, most of our trees are oaks and just stay boring green until it's way too cold out to want to rake. Then, their leaves turn ugly and drop off. Usually they don't fall until after the first snow and I end up raking them in the spring.

Sister Doris sent an email saying . . .
Your post (T is for Three Dogs) was touching but you lost a chance to herald spay/neuter and the programs that do spay/neuter.
Thanks Doris.

Yes, please spay and neuter and support organizations that help pet owners afford the surgery. There are already way too many wonderful animals who can't find a good home.

Marianne asks . . .
Little 15 pound Harry rules the roost and melts Remy into a panting little (50 pound) puppy! She gently paws at him asking him to play, and he growls back, and they tumble and roll all over the house and yard all their waking hours! He's wonderful, loves us clearly, a good buddy to Remy, but is having trouble being potty trained. Any suggestions??
This is a common problem with rescue dogs and often the reason their original owners got rid of them.

It is almost never the dogs fault. His original owners are to blame.

Dog trainer Gail says that new dogs in the home have to earn their run of the house. At first they should be kept in the room with you. When that's not possible they need to be crated or gated into a room with a washable floor.

When the dog pottys in the house, even if you don't catch it right away, put the dog outside immediately and tell it "NO POTTY IN THE HOUSE!"

It's not uncommon for it to take up to six months to correct poor potty training. It's an unpleasant and difficult part of the rescue adoption process, but well worth the effort.

My ultimate recommendation: Take him to a beginner obedience class with a trainer who works with companion dogs, not show dogs. A good trainer will help with the potty training and you'll learn lots of other cool doggy things, too.

Kerry asked about my big fish picture. . .
My first thought was that it looks like a catfish. Might he be?
Looking back at the picture, I see how you might think that. But no, it has no whiskers.

It is a member of the Salmonidae Family which includes many species of Salmon and Trout. That much I can tell for sure.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Early Morning Big Fish Sighting
Wake in the creek casued by large salmon approachingIf it's autumn - and it certainly is that - then it's time for the salmon to swim upstream and spawn.

I'm standing on the bridge and there is a big one headed my way.

This morning as the dogs and I crossed the bridge to the back three acres, there was noticeable salmon action in the creek. At least three of the big fish were swimming around with their upper fins above the water surface.

After our walk, I went back into the house and traded the dogs for my camera.

30 inch salmon stops at the bridge for a breatherI'm not sure where the salmon originate, but I do know they've come a long way. By the time they get to our property they are ragged looking and tired.

This fisherperson's dream is on the other side of the bridge taking a rest. It's about thirty inches long.

As much as I love nature and like to identify wildlife, there's a gap in my fish identification skills. I'm not sure what species of salmon this is. It might even be a closely related trout species. If you know more about it than I do, I'd love to hear what you know.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

T is for Three Dogs

ABC Along Button

If you're an animal lover, don't go to Petfinder unless you want to end up with another pet and/or get depressed.

I try to stay away, but over the weekend I was there for a few minutes to find an email address for Sunny's foster mom. What sad stories. So many dogs (and other animals, but I didn't look at them) needing a good home with someone willing to spend the time and money to make their life better.

I'd like to share the stories of our three dogs today. Apologies to the few long time readers who have heard these stories before.

Glory, a big black lab mixGlory is a 10 year old, 70 pound lab mix.

When she was a cute little puppy, some young man without a clue adopted her to live with him in his apartment. By the time she was a large six month old energetic puppy, she was taking up way too much room in the apartment and demanding too much of the young man's attention.

DH was in town one day and overheard the young man say he had a dog that was too big and he was going to drop her off in the country. DH said he lived in the country and he would take the dog. And he did.

That day while I was peacefully working at home, DH drove up the drive with a big, bouncy, black puppy in the front seat. He opened the car door and Glory jumped out to inspect her new property. She ran and ran and ran, seeming to know where the property boundaries are. When she was tired, she came in the house, met me, and has been part of the family ever since.

Sunny, a small mixed breedSunny is a five year old small dog mix. There are many different opinions on what that mix is. She is unique and wonderful.

We found her on Petfinder in a foster home about 100 miles north of us. She was a two pound puppy who had been dumped alongside the road with her mother and two siblings. Her adult weight is sixteen pounds.

Her blurb on Petfinder said she was Terrier/Papillon, but they were just guessing. She did look like a Papillon puppy with curly hair. One of her sisters looked like a Jack Russell and the other looked like a white poodle. Her mother looked very similar to Sunny.

Pappy, a PapillonPappy, an eight year old Papillon, also came from Petfinder. We got him four years ago when he was four years old.

We had no intention of getting a third dog. We had never heard of Papillons before getting Sunny and becoming interested in the breed.

I emailed Pappy's Petfinder link to DH for the purpose of showing him what a Papillon looked like. Then I promptly forgot about sending it.

Later, I was sitting on the sofa and heard DH say, "We need to get that poor boy."


Turns out DH was right. Pappy was a total physical and emotional basket case when we adopted him. It was obvious that he'd been abused and his health issues ignored.

The first month we nursed him back to health and let him adjust to his new home as much as possible. The second month he started doggy school. One of his first exercises was to be fed pieces of turkey dog while being held so he would learn that being held was a good thing.

After two years, he trusted us enough to sleep tummy up. After four years, he is healthy, normal, loving, and loves running the agility course at doggy school.

For anyone thinking of adopting from Petfinder, there are some wonderful dogs there - BUT be prepared. Most of the dogs have "issues". Some are basic personality issues, and some are issues acquired from having a bad experience in their previous home. All "issues" require time, patience, love, and effort to resolve. It's not as simple as the Dog Whisperer leads you believe.

And please remember that cute little lab puppies quickly grow into large dogs that need room to run and play. Especially if you live in an apartment.