A Week Pet Sitting

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Why Are You On The iPad?

Puppy’s are made of short naps, hours of fetch and tug a-war, and the rest of the time is pet me or at least pay attention to me.

Mister and I spent last week pet sitting at our son’s house in the City, while he and his girlfriend went on vacation.

Under our care was Dobby, a nine month Doberman Pincer pup, Chewbacca and Little two felines, and a dwarf hamster.

When looking after Ruben or now Dobby our fur Grand-puppies for longer than a night, Mister and I find it easier if we’re at their homes where they have fenced yards.

In preparation I packed writing assignments, reading, two knitting projects, and had planned to catch up downloading pictures and organizing them during the sort of vacation away from our own chores.

What was I thinking?

I always expect to get more done in a week than is practical and I hadn’t considered the coming distractions.

The first full day on our own I was out of bed before Mister which is normal because that’s when I like to write.

Who would have guessed that Dobby would bark whenever I’d stop paying attention to him and look at my iPad? With Mister still asleep, I tried to keep one hand petting him while the other maneuvered the stylist on the iPad on my lap. That might have worked if not for the unexpected boops causing all kinds of chaos on screen. The puppy won my attention that morning.

By midweek, I had more of a routine. Emails got checked when Mister could play with Dobby, and there was no more barking at my iPad if I tried short sporadic spurts of morning writing.

The kid’s 3 story home also distracted me from time to time. We only used the main floor, an upstairs spare bedroom and two of the four bathrooms, but with carpet and house pets there was vacuuming, dusting, or wiping nose and paw prints, to keep up with.

A quirt of mine is I enjoy house cleaning, I’m not obsessed about it but it can sidetrack me. Give me a sink of warm soapy water and I can spend hours spot washing doors, frames, walls or non-daily areas.

Our kids have never complained that having us house sit often comes with a cleaning bonus. It’s not meant to offend, it’s just what I do when I’m bored or unsettled.

Adjusting to a different TV provider proved frustrating for Mister. Remotes, menus and channels were not what he was familiar with, so he usually gave up searching for shows. Instead, he would find a channel with reruns and we would just watch what ever came on.

There was, On-Demand, Netflix, and the kids left written instructions how to use these but we couldn’t get interested in either. It surprised us to learn how much we watch and depend on our PVR and taped favourites when at home.

Being in the city for a week came with benefits. We got in a couple visits with our nearby daughter, although unfortunately we weren’t able to catch up with the oldest one. I enjoyed a shopping day with my BFF which ended with her husband and Mister meeting us for a enjoyable supper out.

We had a shortened but nice visit with the kid’s when they got home. They had other things to do though, so we got out of their hair and returned to our cottage.

My voice will probably crack from lack of use not saying, good puppy, bad puppy, Dobby don’t chase the cats, no, leave it, go get your toy.

I should have weighed myself prior to staying there. I’m certain I lost weight, not enough but still a positive, due to trips up the stairs and having Dobby judge me if I ate snacks. Because of his watchful eye I didn’t consume a single potato chip during the week, a record for me.

Another misconception was I thought I’d have tons of opportunity and it would take little effort to get great pet pictures for this post. By the time I would grab a device and get a camera App open they would either turn away from me, move into bad lighting, have disappeared, or Dobby would boop the camera resulting in a blurred picture. If I tried to sneak into a different room for a cat’s photo session, Dobby would find us in a flash and send the cats fleeing.

This is one of the few pictures I managed to get of Chewy, the black cat, and Little, the tabby.

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Oh a warning, cats are traders.

We swear the cat dish always had food in it which is how they are use to being feed but they made sure to lick it clean sometime between the last nightly check and the morning when the kids got home, making it look like we neglected them. This after letting them share our bed every night, a treat they don’t get to do with the kids.

When either the son or daughter ask us to look after their animals, if we can, we are glad to do the favour, but we’ll admit we enjoy stays at their places better when they’re there and we can visit them.

What do I appreciate the most about being home?

No puppy has tried to steal my morning cookies, and I can enjoy a full cup of hot coffee without the interruptions of throwing a slobbery rubber toy.

I miss the cute faces and their happiness to see us though, but not enough to make us think of having a full time pet of our own again. Been there, done that.

One more thing, I don’t remember Mister and I wearing so many cloths while away so who does all this dirty laundry we brought home belong to.

I wrote this post with a smile and a fondness of animals.

Do you ever Pet sit?

Do you prefer doing it at your own place or go to the animals home?

Art and a Glass House

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I love wall art with meaning, family or travel photos, or pictures or things you or someone you know make. Like this grouping of portraits I sketched of horses that Mister and I have owned and showed since together.

A hanging tribute that with a glance or simple passing, we can recall these treasured animals.

The poster size piece hangs on a wall at the country home where our daughter and husband live. Those fingers gripping the edge belong to her as we literally took an art walk through the house trying to find a spot to photograph it with the least glare.

A small, yet unfortunate issue for a picture lover like me, regarding the cottage where Mister and I live, is very limited wall space.

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County regulations when we built stipulated, not more than 12 inches of wall between windows in the main living area. For us that affected one whole side and the back, and is why I sometimes refer to it as, our glass house. (Now, you may also understand why I grumble when it comes to cleaning windows and blinds.) Blinds, I could rant for a whole post about my dislike for cleaning them and the dilemma of what other, if any, window covering option we might have. But we’ll leave that triad for another time.

The few big enough drywall areas are precious space, and they showcase art with meaning.

There are two current exceptions. One picture hangs in the bathroom, a boat and shoreline scene. The other, large one is of, chairs on a dock facing a sunset. It hung on the living room wall at first but is now in the master bedroom. Both pieces fit the decor but were store-bought as inexpensive space fillers when we first used the cottage as a weekend retreat.

It’s crazy, we’ve lived here full-time for eight years now and with how important wall space is to me those insignificant two still remain, simply because I can’t decide which pictures to replace them with. I tend to over-think and over-stress about this, but…I shrug my shoulders and smile.

After writing about this though, I will move changing them up in priority on my to-do-list.

We have many special photos, so I enjoy multi frames or frames with multiple spots, probably because of my indecisiveness when choosing favorite pictures. Smiley face.

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This is another, “to-do-project,” update this cluster which hangs on the only sizable main living space wall.

I Just had a Light Bulb Moment.

I blog because I love to write, share stories, and enjoy the interaction of comments. Learning how to entertain, enlighten, inspire or inform a reader with my posts is a learning process, and I may not always succeed,

but

writing this post inspired one person, me.

I didn’t have a big, life changing ah-hah moment, but I’m pleased none the less.

Don’t laugh at my victory, but I finally realized why choosing a picture for our bedroom wall has taken years. It’s not the spot for one photo to be enlarged and framed.

The room needs a colorful piece, something beachy and crafty, or a collection of sorts there instead. I’ll update on this when the change takes place.

So my brain storming and searching will begin. Sounds like a great reason to spend time scrolling Pinterest. Not that I normally need an excuse.

Does what hangs on your walls have meaning?

Do you like artwork if so what type?

Country Life

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What’s that noise?

Faint rustling followed by squeaks and gurgles of a baby fussing came from the feed and tack stall next to the booth where Mister and I sat at the horse event. Exchanging an knowing glance with my husband I went to investigate.

Pictured above is what I found. Our daughter with this sheepish look sprinkling hay on her little brother who was supposed to be asleep.

Our family often jokes about the saying, “Were you born in a barn.” Although not born in one, our kids spent a good portion of their childhoods in either a barn, an arena, or outside and nearby while we did our chores.

Four legs, manes, tails, and everything horse best describes our daughter’s likes.

For a few years, a spring horse took center-stage in our bay window. She spent endless hours in that saddle, her stare focused outside, and her eyes glazed with little girl daydreams.

The toys that entertained her while indoors were all horse related. My Little Pony’s, Lego stable sets, and the jeep, horse trailer and horses for her Barbie’s. Even the multi story, upright, Barbie house Mister made her, of course, had a floor level barn included.

She was happiest outside, even if just watching the horses eat or roam the pastures. As an adult, she still spends her spare time outside with her horse or in the barn.

She recently posted this picture and description on Instagram. (@candie214)

Pretty sure this is why I like watching people ride, I spent hours on those tires.

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If you look close, you’ll see the small child saddle I’m riding in so I could take the edge off “Dr. Pepper” before she rode.

In her I see the younger me. Doing barn or farm chores was, and is, rarely considered work and when given a choice they trump household chores.

To us horses aren’t a hobby, they are a lifestyle. Location has changed this for me since I live at a lake resort now, but it’s still her way of life.

This is “Nugget” Her current, young, Quarter Horse Gelding she’s training.

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We were blessed as parents to have children, especially teenagers, whose passions meant they were happy at home.

Our son’s interests changed from horses over time and if you haven’t already, check out my post, “Our Version of a Norman Rockwell” for a glimpse into what makes the male’s of our family tick.

Did you have a childhood passion?

Do you still enjoy it?

DIY Game Board Craft Project

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If you enjoy playing board or card games, you might want to try “Jokers”. It’s similar to the game “Sorry” the main difference is you use cards instead of rolling dice.

It’s an easy DIY project. Cardboard, poster board, cloth, plexiglass or wood, are some options you could use to make a board depending on what medium you like to work with. Paint or mark squares or drill or punch holes for game play.

Objects used for player pegs or pieces should be paintable or come in a variety of colors, you need a different one for each player.

Player pegs can be golf tees, cribbage pegs, thinner wood doweling cut to lengths, skewers cut, toothpicks, colored straws, tree twigs, or be imaginative.

Player pieces can be made by cutting thicker doweling into discs, paint tiny rocks, checker pieces, or pennies, use buttons, marbles if you drill indents, the choices are endless.

I enjoy working with wood and drills so no surprise I used plywood to make our game. A board can be specifically for 4, 6, or 8 players, or put a combination or all three on one playing surface. I put the 4 and 6 player versions on the one pictured in this post.

Material’s I used

-2′ foot square of 1/4″ fir plywood

-30 cribbage pegs, 5 for each player

-6 different colours of paint

-clear coat

jokers-board

Making a Board

As templates, I cut six strips of cardboard with the number of holes needed for each side, and spaced for my pegs. Then I centered and spaced them how I wanted them on the board and made marks. Mister cut the corners off giving the square its shape afterwards.

Sections on the board don’t have to be coloured as long as players pegs or pieces are. I outlined strips to match peg colours though. If drilling holes lines aren’t even necessary but I like to paint.

With projects like this, I paint lines, and apply clear coat before drilling holes, otherwise clear coat drips into holes and you often have to drill again to clear them.

Playing The Game

Objective is be first to get all your pegs from the start cross into your home line.

Played in teams, whether 4, 6, or 8 people.

Shuffle together 3 card decks, including jokers, and deal five cards to everyone. (If 8 players use 4 decks.)

Card Count

You need a King, Queen, Jack or Ace to come out of start spot and begin play. (Jokers work to do this, but I’ll explain their full move later)

Once pegs are on the game part (and you can have more than one in play), a ten card along with Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth ten.

Ace counts as one.

A Eight card means you always move backwards (which if you are in your start hole moving back means you are close to your home entrance, but you can’t back into home)

Seven card can be split in any forward combination between two of your pegs, (good for moving up in home line)

A Joker can make any one move to take out another players peg, even if your peg is still in the start.

A Players turn

Pick a card from the pile of undealt cards, from your hand lay a card face-up, moving a game piece in accordance to its value. (If you can’t move, maybe you have no pieces out of start yet, a card still must be discarded.)

Basic Rules

You can jump past another players peg but not your own.

Landing on a opposing player’s peg sends them back into their start place.

Landing on your partners peg sends them to the base of their home line.

You need the exact cards to get into and move within home slot and cannot jump a peg.

Once all your pieces are in your home slot, you help your teammates get theirs home.

Rather than making a board there is also a slat style. You can Google or search Pinterest for ideas on that type. Some other names to use when searching this game are, Marbles and Jokers, Jokers and Pegs.

There are lots of internet sites with more detailed game play rules plus strategies.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Have you made any of your games?

Our Version of a Norman Rockwell

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Wrenches and grease, are items often involved when Mister and our son are bonding. That’s what I call the time they spend hunched over or laying under a vehicle as they solve an issue or replace a part.

In our family a picture like above would make a more realistic Norman Rockwell scene.

Mister and the son share a fascination and knowledge for anything motorized. Finding the right word to describe their hobby is tricky. Even, hobby, by its definition is misleading, because many things they work on out of necessity not choice. Sometimes the chore is physically taxing, and by their muttered words they don’t always enjoy what they’re doing.

What I know, is they can often listen to a sputtering engine, guess what’s wrong and fix the problem.

They can recognize a vehicle’s make and model with a glimpse of the grill or taillights. Mister more so with the older ones while the son has a keenness for exotic cars and newer models.

They dream and envision building the perfect shop, like the daughter and I do an extravagant barn.

The son drove tractors, lawn mowers, etc. long before having his licence. Behind the wheel of the family 4×4 truck he used gallons of fuel as he practiced in the field while Mister and his father baled hay.

Having children in high school can cause parents stress, but we were fortunate because of this interest our son developed. Instead of wondering if he was partying or getting into trouble, we could look out the back window up towards the shop and know him and his friend were inside. The distance between neighbors in the country allowed their music to play and the shop lights to burn long into the nights while the two of them tinkered on vehicles.

Our sons car which he’s had since late high school. Mister and I were on a trip when we got a call that him and his oldest sister found it for sale.

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This is once it was home, and they removed the worn engine.

Then on a cold snowy winter night, as a family, we pushed and loaded the car onto our flat-deck for its ride to the high school the next day. There the son and his friend put a new motor in as a grade 12, Shop Class project.

After a few more changes, and additions this is how it turned out.

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As silly as it sounds we’ve always named our vehicles, the son calls his car, “Sueño Azul,” “Azul,” for short. That’s Spanish for Blue Dream.

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You know you have a car guy in the family when a picture of his daily driver, above, is enlarged and showcased on the wall of his home.

Encourage your children to have an interest or hobby and be grateful and embrace the opportunity if it is one you can enjoy together.

Does your child have a interest or hobby?

Did they pick it up from you or your spouse?

 

When It’s More Than A Hat

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For people living with Alopecia (complete hair loss) or the effects of Cancer treatment a hat provides warmth, comfort and can even help with confidence when out in public.

Fit can be complicated. It shouldn’t blow off in the wind but it shouldn’t be uncomfortably tight either, and the wool needs to be soft so it doesn’t itch and irritate bare scalps.

Many women like their earlobes to remain uncovered so they can wear earrings, and the brim can be annoying if it rides low and rubs off penciled on eyebrows.

Proof that persistence pays off.

After my “Proclaiming Defeat” post, the above yarn and pattern sat on the arm of the couch, taunting me.

Days later, I picked it back up and my seventh attempt was the charm. By changing hook size and altering the number of stiches and rows here and there it’s no longer a place mat but a wearable beanie, a style our daughter prefers.

She developed Alopecia a couple years ago. It came on fast and was traumatic to go through, but her courage and how she handles the situation makes us proud. She’s still the same beautiful person without hair as she was with hair.

At first she hid the condition from friends and co-workers by wearing wigs, but after mere months she came to terms with her new look, as much as a young woman can. Since then, she mostly wears caps, beanies or goes with nothing depending on weather.

She enjoys having a variety of colors, weights, and styles of head coverings, and I’ve been having fun making her favorites, wool beanies. This particular pattern was an exception, but now that it’s done I’m pleased with the result.

Have you heard of Alopecia?

If you enjoy crocheting or knitting and don’t know what to make consider a hat to donate. Many medical centres accept and appreciate these as they offer them free to people in need. 

Questions & My Answers

quiz

I was tagged by a fellow blogger to partake in this quiz. I hope my answers shed a hint of light as to what makes me tick. Check out Living Lighter in Atlanta for her answers.

What was your highlights of 2016?

This question seemed easy as three things shot to mind. The accomplishment and pride I felt holding a print copy of my novel, “Signed Love” published in February. Sharing a summer trip to the beloved Oregon coast with my brother and his wife, and of course, Mister’s results showing that his radiation treatment is still keeping the cancer beast at bay. But, 2016, had many highlights. The Great-Granddaughter’s birth. Watching our daughter after surgery a couple years ago finally able to ride horses again. Seeing how much the son enjoys his new Doberman puppy which he has wanted for years. Constructing our new shed which might sound boring, but I love building, these are just a few others. Don’t get me wrong, the year had its share of worries and woes, but with every year I age it seems easier to let the good push aside the bad.

Name one thing you are likely to remember about 2016 if asked in five years time?

Is this a trick question? (Smiley Face) The years pass and blur together more each calendar change so truthfully I have a hard time remembering what happened what year. (Smiley Face again) This is why I journal, make notes and take pictures. I will be interested in the answer to this question myself.

Sum up 2016 in one word.

Short! Time flew.

Name one pearl of wisdom from 2016 that you will carry into 2017.

I can only control my own actions and reactions, not what others think or do.

Do you have any new year resolutions?

For details check out my new-year post My Messengers. I don’t make resolutions for things I want to change. I set broad lifestyle standards to maintain like, be kind and appreciative.

How did you ring in the new year?

Work schedules, driving conditions and other commitments meant we couldn’t be with family, but the cold snowy night didn’t stop our good friends T & E from walking over for an evening of card playing and laughs. At midnight, we were in the middle of a hand, so when completed we paused for the traditional hugs and kisses before continuing playing well into the new year.

What are your goals for 2017?

Stress less and enjoy more. Travel and visit as much as possible. I have so many hobbies and planned projects so I also hope to be productive.

Anyone is welcome to join in, and share your answers or thoughts to the above questions.

I tagged a few bloggers that I enjoy following and look forward to their answers if they wish to take part. Check out their blogs.

threesaherd

ididnthavemyglasseson

backfortyfliers

brokenbarnfarm

My Messengers

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Golden Retriever, “Ruben” and Doberman, “Dobby” are helping me wish everyone “HAPPY NEW YEAR”

Ruben, 3 and a half years old, loves poising for pictures and is always willing to send messages, to and for, Grandma.

Dobby, a 7 month old puppy says, “Look Grandma, I’m sitting nice, but I really want to lick the camera.” I guess a sign he just wanted to eat.

Here’s hoping “2017” brings Good Health and Happiness to my readers.

May Wishes Come True, and you Reach Goals you’ve set.

To my Followers and Faithful Readers I also want to say, Thank you.

Your views, likes, comments, and patience while I’m learning the blogging process means a lot. These simple gestures encourage me to keep writing, and hint to what topics are enjoyed the most.

The goal for my blog in “2017” is to continue sharing experiences in hopes to entertain, or inspire readers, and I love connecting with you via comments.

As for personal resolutions, I try not to set myself up for failure, like saying I’ll exercise and lose weight, that one never turns out as planned.

But, here are my Top five “2017” Goals.

1)  I want to visit and Enjoy Family and Friends as much as possible.

2) Appreciate what I have, and don’t dwell on what I don’t. At this point in life the main thing missing is, youth.

3) Continue to live by the Golden Rule. (Do unto others as you would have others do onto you)

4) Worry less, this is always the hardest for me to control. Sometimes, I worry about worrying. 

5) Spend more time doing hobbies that make me happy. (I have so many, I worry about which one to do. See number 4, is a problem.)

Quarter horse, “Nugget,” wanted to send his well wishes too, but he said it was too windy to have that silly paper sign around his neck.

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Do you have animals that put up with photography antics?

Do you make “News Years resolutions” or set yourself goals?

The Old Stove

old-stoveThe children had scurried up the basement stairs coughing and wiping their watery eyes.

In the kitchen, I filled a tray with food and cooking supplies. Their clothing reeked of smoke as they passed and before their mouths opened to explain, I knew what had happened and what needed doing.

I hurried down into the landing. With a loud click the deadbolt released and I twisted the door knob. A gust of freezing winter air rushed inside, but I had propped the back door open anyway.

Next, I had trotted downstairs to help Mister, who had been abandoned and could be heard muttering unkind words to the stove he knelt before.

While he had crumpled and put more paper in the fire box I cracked open windows, then began waving whatever was handy and big enough to create a breeze.

Most times, the kids were on my heels and helped with the air clearing efforts.

That was a glimpse from some past Christmas mornings.

You see, we had a grand, old, wood-burning stove in our basement family room. Many times after unwrapping Christmas gifts, Mister would fire it up and make his tasty fried grits, eggs, and potato breakfast. The problem was the above scenario often occurred because the old stove could be temperamental to start a fire in.

If really cold or windy outside, a window needed to be cracked open. Crumpled newspaper and kindling needed to be shoved way back in the fire box, right to the base of the chimney, and we tried to never light the paper when the house furnace was running. Something about its air intake, up-drafts and down-drafts. I don’t know the science of it, I just know, smoke didn’t go up the chimney if you missed any of these steps.

Mister rarely bothered to stand on the couch to open the window, and so breakfast was sometimes delayed.

There was always lots of joking and giggling while we three cleared the room of smoke, and Mister got the fire roaring.

It took awhile to heat the cast-iron top enough to cook on, and the chilly room also had to be warmed from having windows and the door open, but soon the cooking began.

These mornings hold fond memories for our family.

Last year, we hosted the Christmas sleepover at the lake for our daughter her husband and their fur child and the son and his girlfriend. This year, the son and his girlfriend hosted, so Mister and I slept at their house.

Before we could leave our place in the morning we had to dig out from under about a foot of fresh overnight snow. That and road conditions delayed our day, but we made it to their place safe and sound.

After a simple Christmas eve supper, the son drove us around the city to look at Christmas lights.

Christmas morning after a joint effort the turkey and ham were put in the oven to cook. Then Mister made one of his grits and egg breakfasts, but because he used the electric range, it was smoke free.

Living only minutes away, our daughter and her husband didn’t sleepover but they came for the afternoon, the feast, and the gift exchange. We enjoyed another wonderful get-together. Little can beat a day like that.

One thing was missing.

Since Mister and I moved three hours from the city where the oldest daughter and family live it seems harder for them to visit.

As children grow, marry and start families, Christmas and other special occasions are when having a blended family becomes difficult. It means an extra set of parents, plus in-laws, etc. to spread time between, so we couldn’t catch up with them this year.

We understand their spare time is limited, and their life’s are busy and full with other family.

We make the trip and attend functions they invite us to, but we miss spending time with them.

We hope they know they are always in our thoughts and hearts though.