If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Smelling like D-O-G

Have you ever visited an animal shelter?  If so, there is a stench odor fragrance that permeates the air there.  It isn't really dirty.  It is just that smell of D-O-G.  Well, we all smelled that way when we got home with Toby on Tuesday afternoon.  Of course, how could we not?  We had trekked for over an hour to go meet him.  (Read about that Here.)  From there we traveled over to Hopkinsville to visit with Bryan.  Then, we drove through McDonald's so that Lillie and Lydia could have some nuggets.  Bridgette wanted something different and we also drove through Wendy's.  Then, we headed south toward home.  Along the way, we stopped at WalMart so Bridgette could look for something special for the upcoming Cowgirl Rodeo Birthday Party.  WalMart didn't have the item.  So, we veered over toward Target.  While we were in the area, we dropped by Ozburn Hessey Logistics to introduce Toby and Mike.  Then, we headed south to Kirkland to Bonnie's Barnyard and get dog food and pet supplies.  Then, there were just about ten more miles till we were home.  So, is it any wonder we smelled like D-O-G by that time?  Well the smell got worse.

Before we even unloaded anything from the SUV, we went down to the basement and gave Toby a bath. 
With the new Oatmeal and Chamomile shampoo...
Just a little bit for Lillie...
Everybody had to scrub...
At some points it was hard to tell the difference between the dog and the people.  Just look at the hair because I know you cannot smell the stench odor fragrance (and be glad of that).
And of course he had to shake...
And water and soap flew everywhere...
So I rinsed him off...
And he had to shake...
But finally he was clean and smelled LOTS better.
He was cooperative but I'm not sure he was thrilled to get a bath; maybe that is because he knew what was coming next...
Again, he wasn't thrilled about the hair styling session, but he was cooperative and he turned out looking (and smelling) really sweet.
Then it was time to play a little and let the summer weather dry him off...
Sometimes it was hard to tell who was in charge of the leash...
Even Lydia got brave and took the leash for a bit...
Most of the time she was more satisfied to sit in a safe place like the rocking chair, though.
After several trips around the deck, Toby was dry and happy...
Then it was time for all the stinky, D-O-G smelling girls to get themselves a bath.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Using an Alias

There are lots of reasons somebody would use an alias.  Most of them probably relate to illegal activities.  Before we even made it home with our new dog, I learned that he was using an alias!  If you read yesterday's post, you learned that we got a new pet dog family member on Tuesday.  I had been looking at the Adopt-A-Pet, Petfinder, and local animal shelter listings for several weeks.  I had certain criterion that were important to me and began making inquiries only recently.  Most of the time those inquiries led to my opting out of adopting.

Then, I noticed a posting which led me to another posting and there he was!  I was immediately captivated by the photos that were included.  So, late one afternoon I called to inquire.  The fellow who answered my call let me know that the animal shelter was already closed but the dog was still available.  He answered my questions and then began to talk favorably about the dog listed as Marshall going so far as to say he would take him home if he could.  Marshall was described as being two years old, friendly, smart, good with other dogs, outgoing with people but not too rambunctious.  The shelter employee could not believe Marshall had not already been adopted.  The fellow also mentioned that his 'real' name might be Toby.  I learned that the dog was already neutered, was healthy, and already had a micro-chip for identification.  It seems that the original owner had to move and gave the dog away.  The information relating to the micro-chip was never changed and the second owner could not be located.

I whined begged wheedled persuaded rationally discussed our getting a dog with Mike who was against it.  It seems that years ago he had a strong attachment with a dog.  Then, when she died, he was heart-broken and lonesome without her for quite some time.  Last year when my dog, Ginger, died, I was devastated and cried and mourned and moped for a long time.  Mike just didn't want to risk that possibility again.  Later that night he told me that we are in this together and if I wanted the dog, just get it.  The only thing is, he might have to change the name of the dog - he wasn't too fond of Marshall.  The next morning, he kissed me as he headed off to work and told me was still skeptical but to be careful as I trekked off to get the dog.  (He even confessed that he would do his best to give me anything and everything I ever wanted.  So, I'm wondering...a house on the beach...a convertible car...)

Bridgette had offered to go with me to get the dog.  So, I told her to be here at 8:30 in the morning if she wanted to go.  This meant she would have to rouse and ready her daughters and drive for an hour to get to my house.  So, I really didn't expect to see them.  Yet, sure enough, there they were just as I was getting ready to walk out the door.

Lillie, the animal lover, asked me several questions about Martian.  So, I sort of agreed with Mike that maybe the name would have to be changed.

We trooped off north, nearly to the Kentucky border to meet Marshall.  I met the fellow I had conversed on the phone with the day before as well as some other new friends.  We went through the meet-and-greet and I signed my life away at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.  I gave them a check for $37 and we went out the door in less than an hour.  When we got to the parking lot, Bridgette opened the back hatch/door of her SUV and the dog immediately began to jump up into the crate we had back there, telling me that he was crate trained and would be easier to acclimate into hour household.

Part of the paperwork which was given me listed a phone number for updating the micro-chip.  When I called, I learned that the dog's listed name was Toby.  So, I left it listed as that and we began to call him Toby.  I don't know whether he got the alias Marshall because of where he was picked up or exactly why the animal shelter listed his name as such.  Maybe he was a criminal who chased chickens in his previous life.  Maybe he had stolen a shoe and needed to lay low for a while.  Maybe he was a peacekeeper in a town called Dodge City at one time.  Who knows why he was using an alias.  However, this guy will not be masquerading under some other name again.  Toby he is!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Meet Up

Tuesday brought a new adventure.  I was up and at 'em with Mike in the early morning so I could trek off to the northern end of our fair state and meet a new friend.  You see, I had been doing a little online exploring at those "making connections" or "match-me-up" sites.  I had found a possible match or two and decided I was ready for a face-to-face meeting. 

They always tell you to be safe when meeting one of those online match-ups - you know, to meet during the daytime, to take somebody along with you, and such.  So, Bridgette, my daughter, offered to come along.  Since she was coming, she brought along granddaughters, Lillie and Lydia.  I felt truly safe and well-supported.  I had set the mid-morning meet-up at a very public place.  By 8:40 A.M. the four of us were on the road and headed north.  (Of course, the other three girls had already been on the road for about an hour by then.) 

We eagerly trooped into the place of business I had designated for the meet-up and were immediately greeted by the distinctive fragrance known to this type of place.  I timidly approached the counter and identified myself.  Then, an employee escorted us down the hall and introduced us to a fellow they called Marshall.  He seemed excited to see us, greeted us warmly, and we were invited to join him for a stroll in the fresh air.

I think we quickly made a connection.  So, I had no hesitation introducing him to Lillie, who was the most eager to make an acquaintance (of all the supporting cast).  We discussed extending our relationship and talked about a few possibilities.  I got more background information.  We were introduced to a couple of his friends (which certainly gave us insight to what sort of fellow with which we were dealing).  You probably know how this sort of thing goes - hesitant and awkward a bit at first, followed by non-commital conversation, and finally sharing personal information. 

I offered up a bit of financial compensation.  Read and signed a life-altering, binding agreement.  Then, we all went on our merry way knowing that none of us would ever be the same again!

Here are some photographs that Bridgette captured to canonize the event.
Getting to Know You
Starting Toward Home
A Happy Face

Monday, July 23, 2012

Making Pickles

My favorite brother-in-law (on Mike's side of the family) recently went south to an auction where the Mennonites were selling vegetables. He brought home a truck-load of goodies. (You may want to read about that HERE.) Mike and I were the lucky recipients of some of those vegetables. Since there was an overabundance of cucumbers, I decided to give pickling a try. My first efforts turned out pretty well. You can learn more about that HERE and HERE. Well, I also decided to make some dill pickles as well. 

I finished those up this past week.  I am anxious to see how they taste but the recipe I used says that they need to ferment in the jars for at least three weeks.  So, I've got a bit of a wait, yet. 

They look pretty good and they smelled fabulous!  If you want to know what it takes to make Kosher-Style Dill Pickles, you can see what I did HERE.  I'm not too happy with the fact that the pickle juice looks a little bit milky.  So, I'm anxious to see if they are going to be tasty.  I won't be able to report on how they taste for a bit, though.

These new adventures sort of make me feel as if I've become one of those back to nature women who lives off the land!  I guess the good thing is, if we ever do have to survive by preserving and canning and "puttin' up" our own food, I'll have an idea of how to do it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I began re-vamping this house before I even moved into it!  Like most anybody else, we do things on a frayed, shoe-string sort of limited budget around here.  So, everything takes a bit of time to evolve.  The house itself is wonderful but just needed a bit of updating and sprucing up.  Plus, I needed to put my stamp on it and make it feel like it is my home instead of somebody else's. 

I guess I'm a little like Bunny Williams in that I'm having An Affair with a House.  I generally try to get a project or two done when I'm off work.  So, this week, one of my projects was to work on getting the guest bathroom closer to being done.  (Of course, when it comes to decorating a house, are we really ever done?) 
You may remember in Before and After that the bathroom started out as a really feminine space that was sweet but just a bit too...floral for me. 

I know that the all-over-floral wallpaper was probably a really popular look when it was first decorated in that way.  I love, love, love the bead board and the beautiful white oak floors.  I also like the creamy white trim and vanity.  So, the bones of the place satisfied me - just not the wall treatment.  Knowing that it was functional, I put off re-vamping it till all the other upstairs rooms were painted and well on their way to being 'done.' 

I went paint shopping and landed on a color that my daughter has accused me of trying to make everything in my life be like.  Bridgette calls it tan but I like to think of it as my friend, Kathy, suggested - neutral.  The actual paint color (I think)  is a Martha Stewart color that I got at Home Depot called Buckwheat Flour.  So, after a couple of coats of paint, the guest bathroom turned out looking like this

Several people tried to discourage me from doing it, but I simply painted right over the wallpaper.  Yes, if you look closely, you can see where the seams are, but that doesn't bother me nearly as much as ripping the paper off, tearing up the drywall, and having to repair or replace it would have.  I really love the calm, neutral color of the paint and it is a relaxing place to be.  Here is a little closer look at the wallpaper before:

The shiny gold light fixtures, mirror, and accents on the faucets and towel bars were not really to my taste either and those antler-ish looking things might have been intended as towel hooks.  They are wrought iron that has been painted white.  They came down.  (I still have them but don't know what to do with them.)  Here is a look at the same area right after the paint was dry.  (Guess what season of the year it was.)
The above picture gives you a good look at the shiny gold mirror and drawer pulls.  My friend, Kathy, had recently removed the knobs off her kitchen cabinets and replaced them.  So, I became the happy recipient of her old, cast-off vintage knobs.  The mirror also got a spritzing of white paint.
So, I have really gone from having a busy, patterned, floral guest bathroom, to a very neutral one.  Of course, I have pieces of my blue and white there.  I mean, after all, that goes with anything!
The lotion dispenser on the right is one I picked up for a buck at the local Historical Society fund-raiser yard sale last summer.  The cup with the granddaughter's toothbrushes is one I picked up at a yard sale years ago and relegated it to being a holder after I chipped it.  The soap dispenser is one of those cheap foaming ones that I simply used a fabric scrap and Mod-Podge to spruce up a bit.
On the wall above, I followed my gallery wall philosophy of using inexpensive black frames and placed one of the note cards my Granny had sketched in it.  The O initial I got at Hobby Lobby on clearance for a few pennies and the plate is one I picked up at a tag sale somewhere for pennies.
On the other side of the vanity is a candle holder that I picked up at a tag sale, a smelly thingy fragrance holder that is heated with a tea light was a gift from a student years ago and a sweet little painted porcelain dish that my mother made me for Valentine's Day one year. 
Three Longaberger baskets hold some English Ivy cascading down beside the window.  The beach scene is an oil painting I got at a starving artist sale one time.  On the tub ledge is a pair of silver candle holders (another student gift), more blue and white, and a rubber ducky family for the granddaughters' bathtime enjoyment.

The artwork opposite the mirror is one of those cheap, bargain, inexpensive surprises, too.  My friend Angela and I tripped over a 90% off sale section in Hobby Lobby and this print was there.  It was originally almost $80 and I got it for less than $8.  I really bought it for the mat and frame.  However, when I got home with it, I found I liked the print and decided to just hang it up.

The newest metamorphosis is found overhead - the shiny light fixtures are no more!  My friend, Kathy, came over to coach me through that project on Wednesday.  (I forgot to get a 'before' photo with them on the wall.)  Here is how they were when we began to transform them:

Here is an even closer look at their shiny-ness.
First we gave them a coat of bronze paint made by Rust-Oleum

but that simply made it look like a metallic brown and I was looking for something richer and with more depth.  So, for the second coat, we used Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze.
This gave it a sheen, a satin look, that is sort of a cross between black and brown.  I just love it!
I just love the luster and the richness of the color.  The pictures cannot do it justice!
Not only was this a fulfilling project that made a huge improvement to the look of the bathroom, but it was super easy!  The only part that was difficult is that one person had to be downstairs flipping breakers while the other was upstairs watching to see when the light went out.  After that, it was easy peasy!

I still would like to get silhouettes of the granddaughters to hang in there (You may remember that I have tried this once HERE.) and reprint photos of the children in a sepia tone to hang with them.  I may get some molding to beef up the mirror and paint it to match the light fixtures.  I think it really will be complete then...well, till I find another great idea in somebody's blog or on Pinterest!

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Pillow

About a year ago my daughter-in-law, Jessica brought me this beautiful remnant of fabric she had picked up at a fabric store local to her new home.  I knew immediately that I wanted to get as much out of it as possible but didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with it or where I wanted to use it.  Well, this week I made my first project from the fabulous linen fabric.
simple pillow

It is a simple little pillow with no trim and just a quarter inch flange.  I really just wanted the beauty of the colors and design of the fabric to take center stage.
bay window seat pillows

I put it on my master bedroom bay window seat with the other one-of-a-kind pillows there.  I just love the softness and old-fashioned flavor of it!

I still have a piece of the fabric left.  I wonder what I can do with it?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Favorite Relative

Today my favorite relative is one of my nieces - Rebecca. She did something that I have been doing almost since Mike and I married and I absolutely HATE it! You see, Becca is a cosmetology school student. She only has a few more hours left to complete her training and a few exams to score well on and she will be certified and ready for a license.  So, yesterday, she cut Mike's hair and trimmed him up and I didn't have to do it!  Yippee!!!

A little over a month ago Mike and I trekked to my sister and brother-in-law's house and plunked ourselves in a metal folding chair so that Becca could snip and trim our hair.  She did a marvelous job on both Mike and me.  The best part was, I didn't have to do that chore for Mike anymore!

A couple of days later, Mike had the brainchild that my late, great-uncle's barber chair might be available for her.  So, we suggested that Daddy give his cousin a call and check into getting the chair for her.  Uncle Carroll was a barber for more than fifty years in this area.  Even after he closed his barber shop in town he kept cutting hair in a shop set up in a little building just off his house.  His first customers might show up before daylight and the last one leave long after dark.  Even after he retired he continued to give a few haircuts.  He would even go to places like nursing homes and give fellows a trim long after he retired.

My family all have had their hair trimmed while perched up on that chair in front of Uncle Carroll.  Each of us has lots of wonderful memories and tales to share about getting our hair cut and the juicy piece of bubble gum he gave us when he finished.

One day a couple or three weeks ago, Daddy, Mama, Becca and her two sisters, Megan and Madalyn, Bryan and Jessica, Mike and me assembled to load and haul the antique barber chair to my sister and brother-in-law's home for Becca to use.  Daddy's cousin is glad that somebody in the family is carrying on the tradition. Becca is excited to have the antique heirloom.

So, yesterday we trekked out again to get shorn.  Here she is trimming on Mike.

 She really does a wonderful job - and not just because it means I don't have to do it!  I truly HATE to have to cut his hair.

Both of them seemed to enjoy the experience today - and I really, really did!  Not only did I get a nice cut and style, but Mike did and I didn't have to be his barber because I absolutely HATE doing it.
The above picture shows a little bit of the heirloom chair.  We got a full tour showing it off.  She jacked it up and down, laid me back into a reclining position, bragged about getting to plug her clippers and hair dryer into the back of the armrest.  It is easy to tell that she is really pleased to have the antique barber chair.  I'm really glad she has it, too!  Have I mentioned that I HATE to have to cut Mike's hair?
Making Uncle Mike look this handsome requires that Becca concentrate and hold her mouth just right!  Didn't she do a wonderful job?  I'm so, so, so glad to have a barber in the family.  Becca is easily my favorite relative right now!

Saturday, July 14, 2012