Saturday, July 27, 2013


Moose is awesome.  He's just the coolest dog EVER!!

A man and his dog . . . 

I was behind the camera, but this is how we feel. 

That's JAZ, who thinks that Moose's single mission is to carry him around.

He has the "oh crap dad" look on his face . . . but really, he's fine.  Don't anyone panic.

Friday, July 26, 2013


I think being Asian gives me license to not only forward this but laugh heartily about it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Great Butterfly Release

We had a really good time with butterflies this spring.  Yea, I'm just getting around to posting pictures.  It was fun.  It was science.  It was learning.  It was stinkin' awesome!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

At long last . . . new lights!

I've been searching for  . . . . well, forever.  I know I posted about our porch lights last summer when the birds kept getting stuck in them.   I finally found the perfect lights.  I love the automatic on-off stuff! 



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Magic of Veterinary Medicine. Subtitle: My checkbook says "ouch"

Sweet Tana .  . before picture.  Hurtin' in a bad way.  She had been previously "loosely" diagnosed with doggie lupus . . . but was not medicated because her symptoms were not bad enough.  Well, until this summer.  This summer, instead of just her nose looking terrible, her eye-lids also ulcerated.  In a matter of 48 hours, she developed massive eye and skin infections and we bit the bullet and dove into nose biopsies and surgery to get the official diagnosis and a definite treatment plan.  The things you do for your pets! 
Sweet Tana:  After surgery.  Gorked out big time. 

Sweet Tana wanted outside so badly that she would ONLY lay down and be still if she had someone on the couch with her and was in contact with somebody.  We put Mimi on that.  Mimi and a little Curious George and Tana settled right in for a long summer's post-op nap. 

Sweet Tana's diagnosis is two things.  Doggie Lupus and Adult Onset Juvenile Pyoderma. She has been taking a cocktail of four different medications with the most complicated dosing and administration known to man.  BUT, look at these results!  Sweet Tana is looking better and better!  Five cheers for the magic of veterinary medicine!!   On a sidenote, I try, TRY (try), **TRY** really hard to not bitch about the cost of pets.  I chose them and chose to keep them well, but holy SHIZNIT!  We've but 2K into this dog this summer.  Geez-louise!! 

The House Painting Project: Completed!

It's controversial.  I get it.  The jury is out from some doubters.  I get it.   But it's my house and I have to live in it and look at it . . . and golly gee, I like it.

And the treehouse is oh-so-cute and match!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Rescue 101

The babies fell out of the nest in a very sudden and stiff wind.  The mommy and daddy finch absolutely panicked.  They've been nesting in this spot under our awning for years and we've seen several clutches of babies fly away.  I'm not sure if they made it or not.  It was a windy day . . . but we helped as much as we could.  Middle, especially, can't stand the thought of a baby bird being down  and will spend hours watching and chaperoning from a distance so as not to interfere with the parents, but to ensure that baby is safe . . . . .

Sarah and Percy and Bill, we called them.  From the story, "Owl Babies."

Bye Bye Bag Lady

There comes a time in our lives when we have to prioritize and say goodbye to things that are cluttering, expensive or not adding to the quality of life that one (namely, me) desires.

Thus, goodbye Thirty-One Gifts.

I'm officially inactive.  I think I knew when I started with Thirty-One that I'm a terrible sales woman and really hate, hate, hate to beat the streets begging my friends to clean their homes and host parties for me.  I knew that.  But I did it while it was easy.  Whilst folks were lining up saying, "I'll host a party!", I did my level best to learn the biz and accommodate everyone.  And I made great money doing it.  Great extra cash.  And as a bonus, I earned some bad-ass bags, assuming, of course, that bags can be considered bad-ass (and as a self professed bag-whore, I do believe in a truly bad-ass bag.)

However, the time has come to say goodbye to Thirty-One.  I'll happily let the ladies whose income depends on being a contractor with TOG take over.  They can host the parties, do the returns, maintain their client list.  I'll go to a party, order a bag and try not to complain.

I'm officially NOT a bag-lady anymore.

Book List . .

My book list is way behind . . .  I haven't posted anything I've read in the past six months. Yikes. I'm sure to miss some, but here's part of what I remember:

Beyond the Sea, Emily Goodwin.  YA Series.  Cute.
Insurgent. Veronica Roth.  YA Series.  I actually can't remember much of it.
The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Classic.
Theodore Bonne: The Activist.  John Grisham.  Not as good as the others.  Not even close.

Real Mermaids Don't Wear High Heels.  Boudreau.  YA Again.  I'm pre-reading a bunch for the girls.
Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath.  Helene Boudreau.  YA, again.  Cute series.
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings.  Helene Boudreau.  Cute.

The Mind Readers. Lori Brighton.   1 of 3 in a series.
The Mind Games.  Lori Brighton.  Interesting.  Inventive.  I liked it.
The Mind Thieves.  Lori Brighton.  Liked.  Different idea.

Catering to the CEO.  Free Kindle Romance by Samantha Chase.  I don't read much romance.  Now I remember why. It was easy and shallow and idealistic.

Twilight.  I read it again for Big.  Gave my stamp of approval.
New Moon.  I wasn't sure Twilight would capture Big's interest, but it did.  Slow in the beginning but once she read the first, I knew she would want to continue.  She's one of those.  She finishes a book even if if sucks.

The People of Ember and The People of Sparks.  Jeanne Duprau.  Read them with Little.

Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success. by Carol S. Dweck. Wowzers.  This one is a winner.  I loved it for the parenting and sports psychology aspects, and for the praising the effort idea.  Actually, I loved it for a lot more.  I'll read this one again.  It should be in every parent's must-read list.

The Center of Everything.  Laura Moriarty.  She authored one of my all-time favorite books, so I chose this by author.  Not as good as The Chaperone.

The Dating Deal.  By Melanie Marks.  YA pre-read for Big and Middle.  Cute middle school concept that introduces religion and standards in a new/different way.  I liked it.

Gym Mom by Rita Weiber.  Yea.  Since I am living this Gym Mom life right now, I found this very, very, very helpful.  Educational.  It's not a how-to manual for dealing with coaches or an owner's manual for your young gymnast, but this I know about the sport of gymnastics:  The communication between coach and parent is the absolute worst and the expectations are the absolute highest.  At least reading this book made me feel like (1) I'm not alone;  (2) I can survive this; and (3) both me and my gymnast will come out the other end of this tunnel as better athletes, better people, great communicators and super friends.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.  My girls love Wendy Mass books and she's one of the few YA authors that has my maternal "stamp of approval" with no questions.  So when I notice that Big is reading this book for the second time and there are tears in her eyes, I thought it must be catching her eye and heart.  I asked her about it and she said, "It's kind of amazing and written so that I'm aching for the girl . . . and I don't even like cats!"  With that kind of an intro, I had to read it.  She's right.  I cried and I did think it was pretty amazing, and I don't even like cats.

Wonder.  RJ Palacio.  Okay everyone go out and get this book.  It's AMAZING.  It's a chart topper and one for the record books.  I read it.  Then I gave it to Big.  She read it.  Then she gave it to Middle.  She read it.  Then we bought a hardcopy, keeper edition for Middle's 5th grade teacher.  He read it to the class.  It's an AMAZING book to read alone or with your upper elementary or young middle school kids.  It will be required reading for the other kids.  A life changer.

In our last library run, I picked up a whole variety of books about the Japanese Internment Camps.  I read most of them aloud to the kids during afternoon QT, our Quiet Time.  That sounds so . . . I don't know . . pre-school, but ever since the kids were little, we've had QT in the house.  Everyone still really likes it, so I keep it going.    On library runs, I usually set some kind of "game" with the kids.  Last run, I asked them to all randomly pick a book about a place, so we read books about Mesopotamia, Greece, Bosnia and Yellowstone.   We went to the library again on Monday and I asked them to pick animals . . . so we're reading books about harp seals, walking sticks, elephants and cobras.  I keep thinking that my middle school kids will outgrow having a book read to them, but come QT time, they are the first ones cuddled up with a blanket and a drink waiting for the book to start.  Incidentally, the treehouse is the BEST place to read in the afternoons.  I love that thing!!  There's no phone up there and I love, love, love a place with NO PHONE!!!

Also . . . .
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult.  It was in the Teen Center but her books are deep, deep, deep, and it's one I hadn't read before.  Yea, glad I read it.  It's a bullying book.  Bullying to the point that the kiddo becomes a school shooter and kills a bunch of kids.  And a popularity book.  I really, really, really liked it, but I held it back from my 13-year old reader for frequent f-bombs and sex (even though the sex wasn't over the top), that's precisely what I pre-read for . . . the idea of teenager kids bumping uglies in the basement is not at the top of what I want my kids to learn from books.

Finally, because I don't EVER want my reading list to fall this far behind again, I'll add my current read:  Between the Lines by Jodi Piccoult and Samantha Van Leer.  YA.  It's cute and very good.  I like it a lot and have chosen a couple of thing to read to the girls.  Excerpts that I really like or that have spoken to me.   Like this piece from when main characters Delilah and Oliver are talking.

I smile at that, "Maybe we can be crazy together."
"Maybe we can," Oliver says, grinning widely.  "I found another way out."
My eyes widen.  "What are you talking about?" I whisper.  "Why didn't you tell me right away?"
"Because you were crying," he says, truly surprised, "That mattered more."

Ahh.  It's fresh and true.  It's RIGHT.  This is the boy to idealize.  One that thinks you are important when you are crying.

I also read them an excerpt from when best girl-buds Jules and Delilah are having a "falling-out" or "discussion" . . . . .   it ends like this, "I can't help it:  I stifle a laugh.  Jules glances at me sideways and bumps shoulders with me. "Don't shut me out, okay?" And just like that, I'm forgiven. "

We had quite a discussion about how perfectly open and honest that was . . . and how it's not necessary to get your feathers in a ruffle and be "mean" to accomplish your goal.   Female friendships are the WORST . . . in life and especially in MIDDLE SCHOOL (insert eye roll and knowing sideways glance here), so a book that gives examples of how things CAN be is a great read.  Great. Read.