Happy New Year

Well, the holidays have come and gone. In general, they were lovely with a few bumps. I had a very good friend die suddenly right before Christmas which was devastating, but I seem to be in full denial mode which works for now. My great-uncle also died but he was of advanced age and had his family around him so it was a peaceful departure. We drove into Eastern Oregon for the service and had a bit of weather to contend with on the roads. We did get a chance to go by family landmarks such as my great grandfather’s church where he was a minister for 40 years. Most of us were baptized or married there so it was really fun to see it again.

I didn’t post anything in December on purpose. I was working really hard to stay in the moment and interact with my family and friends. I was taking pictures as I came across little vignettes that made me smile and made me feel holiday-happy.

At one point I noticed that my brother had tucked some new water bottles in my purse. He works for this company and always makes sure to hook me up. But this was sweet because he didn’t say anything about it, just made sure I had them.

As I looked over the pictures later I notice that they all seem to have messy in common.

Area well used and well loved!

But that was what I loved. That warm, snuggly, feeling as we cuddled with a dog, or snuck a cookie.

Looks like Joe isn’t getting home with all of his cookies!

We not only had people visiting but we had dogs visiting too! This scamp slept in my room and thought that the best place to sleep one night was on a twin bed with me on my legs. And why not? They are warm and soft!

I am glad it is all over and we are getting back to our normal routine.

And Now We Face Christmas

It has been so utterly boring these past weeks that I felt like I had nothing to share. Boring is good. Sometimes. Work is good. I like what I’m working on and who I’m working with. Family is good. Everyone is healthy and behaving. I’m good and behaving. Sometimes.

The knee has healed nicely. I had a brief setback when I tweaked something getting animals out to the car for a routine vet visit but even with how much that hurt, it was over in a few days. I think I’m just down to building strength back into my legs and core. I don’t think I’ll get to kickbox anymore which is really disappointing. But I’ve always loved regular strength training and swimming so I just need to get back into the habit.

I have a new foster. Her name is Mary. She is very sweet.

My favorite part of fostering is watching them figure out how their life is different and seeing them blossom. At first they are very cautious and tend to find a spot in the room and just watch. Eventually they start getting excited about food time, going out, and then they figure out toys. Mary has found the toy box and now really interacts with the toys by carting them around and play bowing to them.

She has certainly demonstrated that she feels secure here now.

I hosted Thanksgiving this year. You would be very proud of me though, instead of getting some unrealistic project going of something that isn’t really a priority, I actually did something that has been lingering on the ToDo list. My office has had a huge, ugly pile of junk that I’ve avoided. These are the last dregs of the old office that needed to be sorted and considered. The challenge was that every single thing had to be looked at and a decision made. So I spent almost two days going through each and every item. I got rid of about 4 bags of garbage and 10+ bags of shredded paper.


The picture on the left is the before picture but it is actually a little deceiving. The pile had grown significantly to be as high as the shelf top and the top of the monitor. In fact, some of the papers were resting on top of the corner of the monitor. It was about a 3x3x3 area of bills, papers, and general crap that needed to be dealt with. The two boxes beneath the desk were from when my bookcase originally collapsed but they were like those boxes you just dump things into when you move. You know, those last few boxes when you are just desperate to be done packing. Those boxes have been emptied and disposed of. Clearly, I need to tidy the bookcase but I’m so relieved to have that pile gone I could sing and dance.

Seriously, I was losing bills in that pile and you know how fun that is to deal with.

Now this isn’t a sexy project, or even a project that is dramatic to anyone else. In fact, I’m afraid the response I got was, “Well at least you finally cleaned in here.” *sigh*

But I do feel really good getting it done once and for all and I feel like it was a big barrier in calling the office done. Now I just need to paint the closet doors and seriously, it will be finished.

Mary found a throw rug and pulled it up on the dog bed to burrow under it. All that crap on the floor behind her? I dealt with that too!

The Knee’s The Thing

(Warning, I’m sharing medical pictures here. If this is a trigger for you, here is an adorable picture of Coco and Oscar and then click away. I’ll catch you next time. For folks who are mildly curious, the pictures really aren’t a big deal. There isn’t any blood and guts or anything. They just kind of look like planets.)

Oscar and Coco. BFFs

I’m not sure what happened to Summer. I had a lot of plans for Summer. I was going to get my backyard into some kind of usable shape which was going to be a ton of work. I need to replace my deck completely. I didn’t have any plans for fancy but I thought I could do some of the demo and simpler tasks and then bring in the pros for a little finishing detail. I also desperately need to do something about my yard. The ground out there is currently so uneven and partially eroded that it is impossible to get a single flat step while you walk across it. This has been a real problem with my bad knees. They just don’t do that kind of adjustment without a lot of pain and repercussion. Mainly I wanted to do something about my hated deck roof. This ugly metal thing is dated and not-at-all functional. Seriously, I think someone installed it upside down because not only does it NOT keep rain off my deck, when it is kind of moist out, condensation builds up on the underside of the roof and basically rains under the roof while not raining at all outside. The whole thing is a delight. But it isn’t a project I’m equipped to handle myself. It’s fixed to my roof so someone else will need to demo it and replace the gutters on the house.

This is a good shot of the porch roof a couple winters ago. See how ugly and low it is? See how much snow it kept off my porch? See Frankie running like a lunatic? I miss that boy!

So those were all the big plans for Summer. None of which got done at all. Not even close. I got distracted by other things and then finally sucked it up and scheduled my knee surgery I’ve needed for a few years. Last year when I got serious about it we found other things we had to deal with so this year, I was going to get this done and off my ToDo list once and for all. The plan was to fix an old injury that has plagued me for years, do a little arthroscopy (kind of like scraping the stalactites and stalagmites off the bone) and try to loosen up a very tight knee cap.

Everything went fine. Until last year I had never had an operation and I think I had been under anesthesia once in my life. I don’t tend to get nervous though. Probably because I have been blessed with good health and I also because my Mom is a retired nurse so I know a little about how hospitals work and I have a pretty realistic idea of the warts. It also helps that Mom was there both times so I know she is watching and listening like a hawk. It lets me relax.

Probably the most notable thing that happened was the space age, silver blanket they put over me. It had a slit at the top that went over my head so it was like a giant bib. The first thing I said when I looked at it on was, “I feel like a hot pocket.” For the rest of the day the hospital staff called me Hot Pocket. I even heard one of them in the other room singing softly to herself, “Hoooot Pocket!”

It’s kind of hard to be nervous when they are calling you Hot Pocket.

After a few days of bed rest that absolutely made me nuts, I’m getting back into a routine. I can hobble around the house without a crutch. The pain is reduced other than a slight twinge now and then. Am I happy I did this finally? I wouldn’t say I’ve felt a pay-off yet. The surgeon said he found a lot more arthritis than he anticipated. Before the surgery he felt pretty confident that I wouldn’t need any more anti-inflammatories but he has backed off that pretty quick. The truth is, they may have fixed the old meniscus injury (actually shredded on one side and torn on the other. Ouch!) but the arthritis is probably going to still plague me pretty good.

He took pictures during the surgery. Arthritis doesn’t look anything like I expected. It is this lovely feathery-looking thing that looks like it should be lightly caressing you and cushioning your joint. It lies.

That lovely feathery stuff at the top is arthritis.

That lovely feathery stuff at the top is arthritis.

This is an artist's depiction of what arthritis should look like. Little stabby daggers.

This is an artist’s depiction of what arthritis should look like. Little stabby daggers.

 It feels like the last two years have been dominated by the stupid knees so I’m really hoping this can be properly ignored again and more important stuff like the garage, backsplashes, and the guy who walks his pig in my neighborhood can be my primary focus.

Seriously, the pig walking guy doesn’t even use a leash!

Guest Bathroom Makeover

I don’t think I did enough to call it a renovation. I didn’t really change out what was there, I just put a new face on things. It made a big difference though.


I tackled the simple, such as swapping out the brass towel racks with an updated darker style. The old hand towel rack was on the wall to the left of the sink which meant it hung over the light switch and outlet. It was an awkward spot. I moved it to the right which made a little more sense. I also painted the walls which gives the room a dramatic change that looks like I changed out the lighting but I didn’t touch the fixtures. The old paint color was a tan that had a lot of yellow in it. It gives the whole room a sickly yellow tinge. I painted it the same icicle blue that I put in the office. It is perfect in that little space. It looks clean and MUCH brighter. Seriously, there is no difference in the lighting in those two pictures. Exact same fixture and bulbs.

The vanity got a bit of a makeover. I covered the groovy faux marble formica in concrete. It updates the overall look and was a lot of fun to try out in this small space. The bag of concrete cost about $10 so it’s a great solution until I can get a new vanity. I also painted the wood which looks LOADS better! I was a little worried about the dated curly line detail but it isn’t so bad.


The concrete held up very well with use which included the abuse of a 10-year old and a 7-year old. I just went in this morning and wiped the toothpaste off everything with a damp washcloth and it looks perfect. The sealer I put on the concrete protected the counter just fine.

I also changed out the shower curtain which is very cute, but nothing looks good against the old linoleum.

I’m just going to have to figure out something to do about that. The kitchen linoleum tested positive for asbestos so both the bathrooms are probably positive too. I suspect the sub-floor around the toilet needs to be replaced though so I’ll probably have to deal with it someday soon.

I managed a few other updates such as the dining room window. This was half-started when I painted the dining room. I pulled down the louvres and then everything stalled and I was covering the dining room window with a sheet like it was 1992 and I lived in a dorm room. Sometimes the best way to finish up something you are avoiding, is to have someone come over and help you. I didn’t really need the manpower, but I did need the push so a pal came over and kick started me on a few things. The dining room window looks infinitely better without the sheet.


I never get used to how much a space is brightened up by the white trim.

She is also responsible for knocking out that 4th wall in the family room. Yay! no more paint samples on the wall.


The family room also got spiffed up with a new rug. Nothing fancy, just a shag rug in taupe but it is proportional to the room, the weight keeps it from sliding around too much and the color should hide all the grubbiness that goes on in this room.


And the last little update I squeezed in under deadline is the guest room window. I painted the trim and got a new set of blinds up to replace the old ones that the kitty had broken as she crawled through to chatter at crows. The room badly needs to be updated in general but that will be a huge project that will just have to wait its turn.


I didn’t get a picture of the broken blinds as they were embarrassing. Just imagine a kitty-sized hole in the blinds on the left.

In the meantime, everything looks a little better and was put to the test this week by my nephews and other family members as they cycled through about as fast as I could strip beds, wash sheets, and put them all back together. In the middle of it all I managed to come down with something but powered through and am prepared to sleep it off the rest of this week.

The new rug received a stamp of approval from the dogs who promptly tested its comfort as soon as it was unrolled. It hadn’t even had a chance to unkink yet.

Here we go Again

July has been a busy month. It seems like every weekend I have an obligation that takes me away from home which means basic chores stack up and, certainly, no project progress. I still have a wall to paint in the family room (it has been over a year with 3 out of 4 walls painted in there), a wall in the dining room, and 2 walls in the living room. The hallway is a disaster with the half-dismantled linen closet at the end of the hall shining like a beacon of procrastination to anyone that walks in my front door.

So when my brother let me know that he and his family would be stopping at my house over night on their way up north, I was thrilled! What fun! Even if I only had them one night after a long day on the road, I couldn’t wait to see them.

I also began looking at all the half-done stuff and wondering what I could get done before they got here. In addition to the walls, I have a lot of things that I’ve put off that I would really rather not show my brother (who is super good about getting things done. He and my sister-in-law are freakishly good about finishing things quickly).

The handle on my sliding glass door broke months ago. The second one in two years. I’m having a lot of trouble finding one that will even fit on the door, let alone lock. In the meantime, I stuffed the open hole where the handle went with plastic and I’m just worked around it. It’s classy looking.

I never did properly hem the curtains in the living room. Rather than look stylish like so many other people make them look when they floof at the bottom, mine just look messy. Can curtains look frumpy? Mine look frumpy at the bottom.

I have plants growing out of my gutters. Darn Oregon and our ability to grow anything anywhere!

The roses, loving the hot weather, shot up and are all the way up to the roof line. Maybe they just wanted to meet the plants in the gutter?

My family room couch badly needs to be replaced. It’s an old Ikea one that really has seen its heyday come and go. It is really kind of mucky looking. Not to mention the mucky rug in the family room. It was temporary to begin with but it was never quite big enough and it was too light so it slides all over the space. I tried one of those rubber mats that are supposed to keep it from sliding but the rug seemed too light for even that because the mat is always sticking out along the edge.

The dust and tumble fur around here is epic.

So what’s a girl to do? I started a guest bathroom reno!

Of course I did. Of. Course. I. Did.

Both of my bathrooms are very dated. Overwhelmingly dated. As soon as I start talking about small improvements I paralyze myself with how much really needs to be done. As a result, I’ve not done anything to the bathrooms except try to hide the 70s linoleum under bath mats.


I took this when I first bought the house. I swear it is much worse now. I’m sure, in no small part, to my failed housekeeping skillz.

But then I started that conversation where I fool myself completely about what I can do and how easy it is. I wrote out a list of tasks and then did a little math. I only needed to complete 1.25 tasks a day to finish it all before the visit! Huzzah!

Then I thought it through and, even I, had to admit that “paint the hallway” is not actually a single task. It is removing everything from the walls, patching holes, cleaning the walls, taping off the floor, cutting in, painting, and painting the trim. At the very least. That is when the complicated planning schedule came out. Because that is what I do when I want something done but I don’t want to put in the work to do it. I plan it to death.

The schedule looked something like this:


  • Pin drapes to correct length
  • Fix the rods so they stop sliding
  • Re-hang drapes correctly
  • Start sanding garage door


  • Take down hooks and leashes
  • Paint garage door
  • Paint door trim
  • Clean out guest room closet


  • Order new guest room blinds
  • Paint bathroom – 1st coat
  • Put away yarn
  • Clean out tub
  • Shred documents


  • Paint bathroom 2nd coat
  • Paint vanity
  • Replace towel racks
  • Replace shower curtain
  • Buy new couch

I immediately missed every deadline I set for myself when I was called to war with the ants again. It’s hot outside so the ants keep trying to come inside. Each time I stop them at one entry, they find another. The schedule also left out most everything practical I actually needed to do. Such as the gutters and pruning. Way to keep your eye on the ball, Laurie.

So, completely disregarding my own schedule, I have actually managed to take care of the gutters, roses, windows, cleaning the house and also get a few things done in the bathroom.

I started with the counter. It was enough to make anyone shudder.

The blue faux marble laminate was not only a wee bit out of style, but the corner was being held together with an old piece of tape. I’ve been dying for an excuse to try something with concrete. I really felt like it couldn’t hurt at all. Even if it failed miserably. I also thought that such a small piece of counter could be done by next week.

I was pleased to see how easy it was to pop off the side splash guard. I don’t think we really need a splash guard over there and the goal is to make the counter look like a slab of concrete. That little wafer on the side would hurt the illusion.

I immediately had help as I always do.

I thought about taking the back piece off too and replacing it with a piece of wood that had more thickness. That would help make it look more like a slab of concrete but when I looked carefully, it looks like the mirror is resting on that wee piece of laminate. Yikes!

I will change out the mirror eventually but decided it was too much for this pass at the bathroom.

You are supposed to rough up the laminate a little to give the concrete something to hold on to. A couple of the online tutorials recommended a wallpaper scorer but I swear, it didn’t do anything to my bullet-proof laminate. I think it may be harder than actual marble.

I also tried a little rough sandpaper. You couldn’t feel any difference when you ran your hand across the surface but I made a little dust so it must have been doing something. Finally I just went for it and made up my first batch of concrete. I used several sites for directions on how to do this: Little Green Notebook, Young House Love, Kara Pasley Designs. Their instructions are far better than any I could come up with so I won’t bother giving a step-by-step.

The first layer went down OK but it was anticlimactic. It just looked like I smeared mud all over the counter. The next day, after it had a chance to dry, it looked much better.

Last night I did the second coat. I was getting a bunch of annoying bubbles. Just when I had something smoothed out nicely, these would pop up. I suspect it is from forgetting to let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before using it.

I kept working it though and managed to get most of the bubbles smoothed out. It seemed like a lot of people doing these counter tops were falling in love with the imperfections in the concrete which makes this my kind of project. AT first though, I didn’t like the trowel marks but then I put a second coat on the backsplash and really loved how it turned out. I actually did a crummy job. It’s hard to do it properly at that angle but it looks like rough-hewn stone.

I’m working to keep the counter surface much smoother for practical purposes. After I sanded it a bit today, I thought it was really starting to look awesome. One more coat and then I’ll seal it and paint the vanity to lighten things up.

In the meantime, regular life insists on being attended to. I picked up my CSA box which means I need to sit down and chop up a bunch of veggies to make this, this, and this. I’m having a mad craving for Cuban food (oh how I miss Versailles in LA!) so I need to make some pollo.

Laundry isn’t doing itself and for some reason, they want me to work to earn my paychecks so, clearly, everything I want to do for the visit (the 8 hours my brother’s family will be here. Sleeping) won’t happen. I think we should start some kind of pool and everyone pick a thing that won’t happen. Whoever wins, gets absolutely nothing except our deep admiration.

That’s admiration all right. For the food being held out in front of her but it’s still admiration.

Faerie Gardens

Under the heading of “too much time on my hands” are my faerie gardens. Now, I don’t actually have too much time on my hands. This is the single most useless project on the planet. Sure, wee things are charming but seriously, even visitors to the house will spend three minutes looking at it and then be done. I kind of want to do a version for Borrowers. This was the photo I found online that sucked me in. So charming.

Image courtesy of fairyroom.com

Image courtesy of fairyroom.com

It started with my fascination with tiny plants. You can usually find them in nurseries as stepping plants because they grow between pavers and are sturdy enough to withstand foot traffic. Then I started looking online and veered off track. I couldn’t resist many of the tiny objects so my faerie gardens have a bit more “stuff.”

A couple of the plants aren’t too happy but that may be because there is no drainage in this planter.

Someone has left their wee bicycle. With a front basket!

There are little flower pots and gardening tools tucked behind furniture. That mini ivy needs a little pruning. I’m trying to train it up the trellis. Those tiny ivy leaves just reduce me to baby talk.

There is a garden outside in a large pot on the porch. It is a little crispy right now because we have been so hot and dry and I’m bad about watering plants. One of the trees bit the dust but the others seem OK.

Buying all the cute little things can get pretty expensive and I really like the look of the natural elements from the inspiration photo. Doing it again, I will probably fashion things myself. You really only want one or two items so it wouldn’t be a huge project. Some of the plants can be bought cheaply at a nursery and then you would only need to buy a tree or two from a specialty store.

They do make me smile though every time I see them so I guess they aren’t completely useless.

Living Room Details

Someone pointed out to me that while I provided process details on the living room project ad nauseum, I provided very little practical detail should anyone want to do something similar.

So a quick recap on what got the living room to where it is right now.

Before and after. The living room just needed a little updating and some of the bookshelves had pulled off the wall so there were practical reasons for doing something different to accommodate the books.

I pulled up the carpet because that ubiquitous champagne carpet looks good for about 30 seconds and then real life makes it look like crap. A few years of senior dogs and walking on it had trashed it. Plus, right where the picture on the top cuts off, the carpet ends with a laminate floor that went into the dining room and hall. It looked strange to have a flooring change right in the middle of a space like that.

Here is a picture where you can see where the laminate floor started. Right across the middle of the space. This was the subfloor and it was gross. Some of those “bubbles” are pee spots from pets before I moved in and a few after I moved in. It stunk too. I was so glad to replace that! I also replaced the baseboard to update it and to fix it since the previous owner had done things like this:

When I replaced the floor after the washing machine disaster of 2013, I included the living room too so that the same flooring runs through the entire open space. It looks about 1000% better. And that is a statistically accurate number, I assure you.

The trim is a clean, basic, no-frills trim that I bought in a “builders’ pack” for $33 each at Home Depot. I wish I could remember how many square feet there was in a pack but 4 packs covered about 70% of a 1500 sq foot house. I don’t see the builder packs on their website but they were on an end cap in the store with some other styles.

The floor is a very inexpensive laminate but I love it. I love how it looks and for a cheap laminate, it doesn’t scream “cheap laminate.” I went with a very low-cost option because I was trying to cover as much square footage of the house at one time as possible and I wasn’t really budgeted to replace my floor at that point in time. The floor is Bourbon Street, LOBSLPCEFX in Flaxen. It has a touch more gray than red but since it is sitting next to gray walls, it looks very warm. It has held up brilliantly to dog toe nails and clumsy red heads who may or may not drag heavy things across the floor. It is less happy when liquid sits on it but that only happens when you don’t find it for a while.

I had been looking at the rug for a while. I fell in love with it but it was just too expensive for a house with dogs and clumsy people. Then it came up on Overstock.com for about $300 so I jumped at it. $300 is still more than I like to spend on something I’m so hard on (seriously, I’m like four teenage boys rolled into one, middle-aged woman) but I love the graphic design and color (navy and cream). It is a Safavieh rug and I still see it on Overstock. It looks like it is still under $300 right now too. They were also carrying a brown and white version of this which is stunning.

The coffee table is a style I’ve seen around in a few places. I’ve seen versions of this for around $1000-$2000 which is out of the question for me. I just can’t have anything too precious like that or I would never feel like I could relax and be comfortable. The table I ended up with I found at Cost Plus. They were having an online sale so I got it for 20% (or 30%?) off which put it under $200. I’ve always been a Goodwill coffee table kind of gal but I wanted something very specific (2 tier so games could be kept out on the lower tier for easy access) and I wanted something that would look nice against my new, fancy-pants rug. Cost Plus also let me pick it up from a store which saved me a bundle in shipping costs. I like the wheels because this is supposed to be a game table and now we can roll it around as needed.

The bookcases are the ubiquitous Billy bookcases from Ikea. I put doors on these which gives them more of an uptown look. Two of the bookcases have the doors that are only half glass. These are hiding practical storage areas while the rest is staged because they are on display.

This was my inspiration room for the bookcases. She has a lovely blog. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should spend some time there.

The rest of the room is still in progress really. I despise the louvres on the windows and I got a Home Depot gift card at Christmas so I need to go down there and order some shutters for these windows and the dining room windows. I think they will look so good in here. The couch is in great shape and really comfortable so I’m not in a position to replace it even though the style and color aren’t quite right. I think I can do something with pillows to tie the blue and green better together. I have some ideas with peacock fabric and design. Amy Butler has some amazing fabrics that I keep coming back to that might be fun.


It takes me forever to make decorating decisions. I want to love it to live with it and I want it to be super practical and livable.  Hopefully over the rest of the year I’ll chip away at the other half of the room and get some more seating in there.

Anyone have big project plans for this summer?

Overwhelmed Finishing Projects

There isn’t much to catch up. I haven’t done any thing of interest or note in a while. It’s all just maintenance right now. Work is busy and there are reorganizations (as there always are) which increases meetings and calls so that sucks up a lot of energy. I’m stalled on a few things around the house because I don’t want to deal with them. It just doesn’t seem like fun which is kind of stupid because having these hang over my head is REALLY not fun so dealing with them would be the answer. But why be logical, right?

For example, my office. I had some momentum and then it kind of petered out. I had to hustle to empty out my living room so that I could have visitors again and things did not get put back. In fact, the whole step of painting and rehanging shelves so stuff could get put back did not happen. Now the mess sits around my desk marinating. Making me grumpy. I hate disorganization. My desk at work is always neat. But I get overwhelmed when there is so much to do. I need to just break it up into little doable chunks. It is the only thing that works for me. Instead, my desk looks like this:

Let’s examine a little closer:

As annoying as I find this, it is nothing with how grumpy this makes me:

The last two boxes to unpack.

When I was a little kid and had to clean my room (which always looked like a tornado had gone through. No exaggeration.) I made up a game. I would draw an aerial view of my room on my Play Skool chalkboard, draw a grid across the whole room, and number each grid.

You can make your grid as small or large as you want. Depending on how much work you have.

The blue shapes are the big furniture pieces that don’t move. You can make your grid as small or large as you want. Depending on how much work you have.

Then I write the numbers out on a piece of paper and cut each one out so I had a little pile of squares with a number on it. I would put those squares into a cup or something, shake it up, and draw one. That was the grid square I would clean. Only that one. I wasn’t allowed to go over the border. I also wasn’t allowed to just put everything from one grid square into another. As I completed a grid square, I could erase it (or color it out). That was the reward. I swear, that game was the only thing that got me through cleaning up my room. I think I’ll have to do the same thing with this office.

I used to be embarrassed about that elaborate game just to clean a room. Later I learned that being overwhelmed by a large project with multiple tasks is quite common. Some of us can only see everything that needs to be done and have trouble prioritizing the tasks. We become unproductive by trying to do everything at once and getting discouraged when we don’t see progress. So, weirdly, I came up with a great coping mechanism. I still do this when I’m having a hard time getting a chore kicked off. I may do multiple rooms if I need to scour the house or I may make a list of things I need to do such as:

  • Pack suitcase
  • Wash jeans
  • Clean out car

And then pull those out of the cup. The original grid is my favorite though. It’s the one that always works.

The foster greyhound situation keeps moving. The last foster I shared with you was Willie who was adorable but a handful.

This wasn’t after a bath or anything, he just liked hanging out in the shower.

Willie went to a great home and they immediately gave me Blackjack. Who is a puppy. It’s quite unusual to get puppies into the adoption groups but not unheard of. Blackjack is 10 months old so he is about full height but hasn’t filled out completely. He also doesn’t seem to know how big he is or where all his corners are. I imagine he grew faster than he could comprehend, as some of us do.

We haven’t told him he is too big to be a lap dog.

The gang gets along really well so he’s basically been pretty easy. Other than normal puppy stuff. “Don’t chew the table leg! Don’t chew the power cords! Don’t chew the futon! etc.”

Coming back from the beach. He was comfortable enough to “cockroach” in the back of the car. I wonder what it looked like to the cars behind us?

He has a new home waiting for him and he’ll go to it Thursday. I’ve asked for a break in fostering so that I have a chance to get my knee surgery and hopefully get rid of my pain and limp. I’m so tired of it and it really has kept me from doing easy things around the house like finish painting the trim.

I’ll miss this guy though. He is beyond adorable!

He has somehow trained me to feed him in bed.

Working it

Slideshow of Dogs and Other Nonsense

I don’t even know how to properly catch up so I’ll just give you some snapshots of what has been going on at Casa de Drew:

There have been foster greyhounds. So many dogs coming out of Kansas and Tucson and it seems like our group is taking in new batches of dogs every week or so! I’ve tried to help out by fostering and it’s been fun as well as sometimes challenging.

First there was Yadi. She was a very sweet, 7-year-old brood. She had been having puppies and now retired from that. Lovely girl who went to a wonderful home.

She was very confused by living in a house. She had been living in the kennel environment for 7 years and was worried about the house. She didn’t like that I fed everyone in the same room and she never understood what treats were so she wouldn’t take them from me. She was only with me a couple of weeks. She was just starting to understand dog beds (before that, she would find a nook under the counter or behind the door) because she had been kenneled for so long. She was also just starting to enjoy toys so I made sure I sent her off to her new home with the toy she liked and a blanket she had used here so she knew she would be safe in the new home. She is going to be loved to pieces by her new human.

Then there was Fire. I confess, it was really hard to let Fire go. I did tell them that if her new home didn’t work out that I would like to adopt her. She went to a great home though so I know she is going to be spoiled to death and she and her new human will love each other to pieces.

It may be kind of hard to tell but Fire is the supermodel of greyhounds. Absolutely gorgeous. She and Coco got along great but I would look at Fire, slender, petite, perfect features, even eye makeup, and then I would look at Coco who is big for a female, quite hairy for a greyhound, very large feet for a greyhound, and think, “I get you Coco. Most of us are you.”

Coco sunbathing

Even when Fire cockroached, she somehow looked graceful.

Coco, not so much.

Coco falling asleep in the middle of cleaning herself. She just snoozed like that with her leg on her head.

But they really were great pals and it was hard to let Fire go. Coco missed her.

The latest is Willi. He is a lovely gentle soul that seems to be a total klutz. I think he may have some vision problems because he can’t just observe something, he has to get right into it and smell it, nudge it, bump it, etc. He is always shoving me out of the way to see something first. But so sweet and kind that I took his muzzle off pretty quickly.

Coco and Willi’s first meeting. She was trying to get him to play. You can see he is a big boy and totally ripped because he is in racing shape.

We got Mom moved out of her house and found some stuff I’d done as a kid. I present…Self Portrait, 5-years-old.

We’re going to ignore the green stuff on the nose. It’s abstract art. Don’t look too hard at it.

Despite my complete neglect, my roses are blooming like crazy with flowers the size of my face. Which is pretty big.

I tried to spoil Mom on Mother’s Day weekend but, oddly, that somehow meant we were in a tavern at 10am one day. Well, the best laid plans…

The tavern isn’t actually empty, I just thought other patrons wouldn’t appreciate being on an obscure blog that is mostly about dogs and failed home projects.

Things, in general, are good though. Everyone is healthy and happy and when we fail, it is relatively minor. That is all we can ask, right?

Uh Oh, Coco

Coco continues to settle in nicely with only a few speed bumps. I’ve mentioned before that the challenge (and at the same time, the fun part) of helping them adjust to a home life is their second puppy hood and learning to live in a home environment. It takes a while for their personalities to emerge as they discover new boundaries and interests. I mean, they change  a LOT from when they first come off the track.

Coco is proving to be a kook. This shouldn’t shock anyone. Everyone in this house lets their freak flag fly. Except Oscar. He is always very concerned with being a good boy and gets genuinely distressed when he perceives that someone else is doing something they shouldn’t. I don’t know if that is a product of being abandoned but he is always trying to follow the rules. And set them.

Coco seems to have little concept of rules. Her whole life until now has been regimented so now it must just seem like a free-for-all (I assure you, it isn’t). She’s been seeking out those boundaries. Some journeys more successful than others.

That tongue is hanging out a little there…

One of her big discoveries was that she could jump up on the bed. She spent a few weeks wanting to get up on the bed and putting her front paws and elbows up but then would just move her hind paws up and down like she should take a really big step. I found it amusing that this world-class athlete didn’t believe she could do something as simple as jump. But she did eventually figure it out. And immediately started applying it in ways I wasn’t too happy about.

When I leave for the day I baby-gate the dogs into the family room/kitchen area. That’s where their food, water, dog beds, toys, couch, and TV are so they have everything they need in that single space. It leaves the rest of the house free for the cat to wander unmolested as well as protect my bed from being dug up too vigorously (thus ripping the sheets) and prevents accidents on the rug. I swear, it was right after the Coco-adoption-check cleared when she started doing interesting things. At first, I was finding her on the other side of the baby-gate when I came home from work. One day, I hadn’t even finished locking the door as I left when I heard her jump the gate.

Behind the Gate (that sounds like the super cool documentary I’ll make that pretty much consists of chewing toys and snoozing)

I even tried putting up two baby gates, one on top of the other. This made the baby-gate barrier about 5.5 feet high but she just immediately knocked the top one out.

A few days later I was on my way out the door and Coco was throwing a fit that I was leaving without her. I heard her clear the gate and turned around to see her standing on top of the table that is near the baby-gate (I was trying to decide whether or not to replace the existing buffet with this table so I had them side by side making this way closer to the doorway than it would normally be). It’s higher than the average table but there she was…standing on top. Jumping off this was a piece of cake and revealed the secret of her escaping the baby gate.

This is a reenactment with the table about where it was at the time of the incident.

Less than a week later, we came home to find Coco standing on the kitchen counter. Just standing there. She was trembling but I’m not sure if that was excitement that I was home or she was scared to jump down (she doesn’t love the laminate floors since she can slip on them when she does things like jump off of counters).

Only a few days after that I came home and couldn’t find her. She wasn’t at the baby-gate with Oscar. I didn’t see her anywhere in the family room or any of the other rooms. I was starting to get frantic and was fairly sure someone had come in and stolen her, when I noticed Oscar. The whole time I’m running around the house and calling her, he is standing in the kitchen with a funny look on his face. I finally looked up from the floor, where I’m used to seeing my dogs, and I see Coco on the stove. ON THE STOVE! This time I did have the presence of mind to quick take a picture. She was curled up funny like she had gotten up there, slipped around, and now was afraid to move.

The attractive Clorox wipes are always out right now because of the epic battle I’m having with the sugar ants. It’s like Game of Thrones around here.

She’s wearing a racing muzzle in this picture. They are very loose, she can still eat, drink, even pick up and toss a toy, but it prevents her from chewing and eating things that are bad for her. She has a tendency to chew and EAT her squeaky toys. I’m sure we’ll work that out as she settles into her new life but right now, for her own safety, I utilize that muzzle when I’m not here to take things out of her mouth.

Toys are fun! (to destroy)

Since her stove adventure, she’s pretty subdued when I leave for the day. She immediately goes to the couch as if to say, “I’d prefer to stay here all day if you don’t mind.” This is a relief as I thought I would have to put some kind of child safety locks on the controls for the stove so she didn’t hurt herself.

We seem to be entering a quiet period. This could be because she learned her lesson or it’s the eye of the hurricane. I’m afraid I suspect hurricane. She is the first dog I’ve had where I decided right away I needed to have pet insurance. Is it ethical to bubble wrap a dog?

I still don’t know if I like that table there (I don’t like that vase on it) but at least it is out of jumping range. I hope. Does she look like she is plotting to you? I think she’s plotting.