Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Bathroom to End All Bathrooms

I love my bathroom! Is it weird to like your bathroom so much that you turn it into a showcase of textures, design, and artwork? I had great fun designing the room 40 years ago when I bought this house. It's large for a bathroom, as large as my spare bedroom. When I first bought the place, I completely gutted the ugly bathroom, getting rid of a battered tub and rust-stained toilet, the chipped sink and vanity, and the rickety old linen closet.

I installed real tongue-and-groove cedar on most of the walls, and faux brick paneling on another wall and behind the toilet. And because I am an art collector with a special fondness for horses, and because there was so much wall space in the bathroom, I filled the walls with artwork.

I'm not too worried about moisture harming the pictures. The bathtub/shower combo is around the corner, physically removed from the artwork, and with proper ventillation I've experienced no problem with moisture. Some of the below pictures are 4-5 years old, and I've recently updated the artwork, but at least you'll get an idea of the bathroom's basic layout. What do you think? Is it weird to turn your bathroom into an art gallery? *g*

As you enter the bathroom, the vanity is on the left and "art gallery" on the wall on the right. The bathtub and toilet are around the corner, to the left. (The bathroom is U-shaped)
Around the corner where you can see the toilet. The bathtub is to the left. You can see part of the vanity in the left margin of the picture, and beside the toilet is part of the linen closet.
Another view, showing the dresser and part of the art gallery to the right.

Turned around and looking toward the bathroom doorway and hall outside.

The "art gallery"

Friday, December 6, 2013


One of the blogs I follow is the Beeswax Chatterbox by Amy Kinsch. Amy owns Beeswax Rubber Stamps and some of my favorite stamps came from Beeswax. This creative lady also makes beads--some of the most beautiful beads I've ever seen.

Recently Amy and her husband, Wally, built some cat trees for their kitties. These aren't your ordinary cat tree/scratching post affairs. They are works of art. Very creative and very elegant. Take a look:

Aren't they lovely?!! Now I'm all inspired to build something similar for my own kitties! I'm half tempted to use one of my old cedar fence posts. The cats love to scratch on cedar, and all my cedar posts have scratching scars on them. *g*

Monday, November 18, 2013


A couple of weeks ago I posted a tribute to the pets I have lost in the past year. This post will be about the new animals in my life.

I lost my Boxer, Asterisk, in December of 2012. Thinking it would take a few months to find another rescue Boxer, I listed my name with Pacific Northwest Boxer Rescue. Two days later, I had a new Boxer! Actually, she's not a purebred. Judging by the shape of her head, she has some Pit Bull in her. Regardless, she's an utter delight.I named her Shona, and she'll be 3-years-old next month. She'd been picked up as a stray in California, and when they transported her to Washington State, where the Boxer rescue is located, she was emaciated. Now she's a sleek girl and, like all Boxers, she has that happy-go-lucky personality that is the Boxer's trademark.
Then, while having an Independence Day BBQ at my sister and brother-in-law's farm this past July, we kept hearing this loud chirping noise coming from the vicinity of their barn. The chirping became more and more distressed, and upon investigation a very hungry orphaned kitten was found. She was only 3 weeks old and weighed 9 ounces. I took her home and hand-raised her on KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer), bottle feeding her every 4 hours. It turns out she's a polydactyl--she has extra toes. You can see her "thumbs" in the picture on the right. She's now 5-months-old and living up to her name of Sparky Tabasco. Though she's diminutive at 5 pounds, she's an adventuresome soul and keeps me thoroughly entertained with her antics. She adores the dogs, and sleeps with Shona, my Boxer.

And speaking of dogs, I now have a new Doberman! Hoping I'd find one as quickly as I found Shona (2 days!) I listed my name with the Doberman rep at Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. Alas, I had to wait 2 months before the right Dobe became available. She was a true charity case. Her original owners had her spayed, but the surgery went wrong and she developed a serious infection. Due to lack of funds, they waited until Kyanne was seriously ill before taking her to the emergency vet clinic. There, they abandoned her without paying for the second surgery to save her life. The good people at the clinic realized what a nice dog Kyanne was and decided she deserved a chance, so they cared for her until a good home could be found. That's where I came in. Kyanne arrived here two weeks ago and she fit right in. She's a 2-year-old black and rust Dobe with a sleek body and the longest legs I've ever seen on a Doberman. Though Shona is a muscular 65 pounds, Kyanne is a tall, slender, 75 pounds. She is very sweet natured and gets along great with Shona, and even puts up with Sparky's pestering, as you can see by the above picture.

I am very blessed. Shona, Sparky, and Kyanne have brought me much joy, and make my days brighter. And not to sound crass, but now that Christopher is gone, I plan on adopting another rescue kitten. I can't imagine life without critters in the house, and kittens are the best form of entertainment!

Friday, November 15, 2013


In approximately one year I've lost 5 pets. Each loss was like losing a family member. In July of 2012 I lost my 15-year-old cat, Lord Byron. Byron didn't have a lot between the ears, but he was a wonderful conversationalist and a great lap warmer. Here's his picture.

Then in December of 2012 I lost my 4-year-old Boxer, Asterisk, due to acute renal failure. She seemed perfectly normal until she started having seizures out of the blue. I rushed her to the vet, never expecting I'd return home with an empty collar and leash. That's her on the right as a 4-month-old puppy.

Then in February of 2013, my 30-year-old horse, Tempest, became very ill. I did everything I could for him, but advanced old age and cancer took their dreadful toll. I still find myself glancing out the window at the pasture, expecting to see him.

And then, dear God, my beloved Doberman, Nova, suddenly had trouble walking and became partially paralyzed. The diagnosis was devastating: Wobbler Syndrome, a congenital spinal disease. The meds gave only partial relief, and the side effects were almost
worse than the disease. Six weeks later I couldn't bear what she was going through and made the heartbreaking decision to end her suffering.

And now my remaining cat, 13-year-old Christopher the Assassin, has cancer. It's an aggressive, fast growing tumor on his thigh and in 3 weeks it has grown from the size of a small gumball to the size
of a large goose's egg. So far, he is in no pain and the tumor hasn't limited his mobility, but the end is fast approaching, and Christopher will soon be the 5th pet that I've lost in a year.

This is my tribute to those pets. They each deserve special recognition for the richness and companionship that they brought to my life. They will not be forgotten.

In a few days I will do another post . . . about the new pets that have entered my life and honored those who have gone before, by bringing me much joy and companionship.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Last week we had a storm with resultant power outage. By the second day I was hankering for a nice hot cup of coffee and a hot breakfast, so I bundled up and drove to the nearest McDonald's because I love their coffee. To my dismay, it looked like everyone else had the same idea. A double line of cars were queued at the drive up window, stretching far out into the road. The parking lot was full. By then, I was in line and couldn't turn around. So I crept forward by inches with everyone else.

Finally, I reached the speaker box and placed my order. But when I got to the payment window, the girl waved me on, saying a nice man several cars ahead of us (and now long gone) had given her a handful of cash and told her to use it to pay for the meals of everyone in line until the money ran out! She told me I was the last person to get a free meal, leaving a balance of 10¢.

I was so touched by such unexpected bounty that I handed her my money anyway, and told her to apply it to the next car in line. She beamed, and said, "Wouldn't it be nice if this started a chain reaction?!!" Indeed, wouldn't it be nice! That man's act of generosity made my week. For the rest of that day I was filled with goodwill, not only from the unexpected kindness of a stranger, but that I was able to pay it forward to another stranger.

This isn't the first time I've been involved in something like this. I was at a Starbucks in a grocery store once, and after placing my order, the clerk smiled and said someone had already paid for it. Shortly thereafter, I paid $5 for a raffle ticket and won a $100 Starbucks gift card. I love Starbucks, but it would take me a year to use up $100. So I went to that same grocery store and got myself a Starbucks mocha and then told the clerk to keep the card and use it to cover customers' orders until it was used up. I left feeling ten feet tall. It made me feel so good to be able to do that, and it was fun imagining the reactions of recipients.

In fact, it became addictive. Every so often, I give the Starbucks clerk a little extra, to cover the next person in line behind me. Most of the times I can make my getaway quietly, but one time a lady followed me up and down the grocery store aisles, trying to catch up to me to thank me for such a pleasant surprise. I blushed. She blushed. And we parted company, each of us glowing with goodwill.

We're approaching the holiday season. It's a time for sharing. Won't you consider paying it forward sometime, and making a stranger happy? I guarantee you'll benefit as richly as the recipient.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Baby Carrots vs. Baby CUT Carrots

I've been away far too long! Sorry 'bout that. I shall try to be more consistent with my posts.

I'm sitting here eating baby carrots dipped in Best Foods mayonnaise.Yum! I'm careful when I buy baby carrots. If the package says baby cut carrots, they're big carrots whittled down to baby size. If you prefer the sweeter, more tender infant carrots, the package will just say "baby carrots." The word to watch out for is "cut."

There. That's your lesson for today. Now you know something new. Do you have something new for me??? *g*

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Mama Done Raised Me Right

Yesterday I was in the produce aisle of the grocery store and while picking up a bunch of parsley, another bunch that was stuck to mine came loose and fell to the floor. I retrieved it and put it in my cart, to be discarded later. No way was I going to return that parsley to the produce stand after being on a floor that had been trampled by hundreds of dirty shoes.

However, as I was picking up the floor parsley, the guy next to me dropped several large mushrooms from the fresh mushroom bin. They scattered all over the floor. To his credit he picked up every errant mushroom, but to my shock he returned them all to the mushroom bin!

Had his wife been with him, I'm sure she would have slapped the back of his head. Yes, mushrooms grow in dirt, but the floor of the grocery store was none too clean, as I discovered when I bent to pick up the parsley and got an eye-level view of the toe-kick space under the veggie bins.

When I was a child, I believed in the universal rule that any food that fell on the floor could be instantly sanitized by blowing on it. Now that I know better, I thoroughly wash my grocery store veggies and fruits before using them. After all, some unknown person before me could have dropped them on the floor!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fighting a Losing Battle

I'm losing the Grass Wars battle. Don't get me wrong. I love grass, especially in the spring and fall when growth spurts turn the grass into a wondrous neon green. But I don't like grass growing in my gravel driveway. Twice every year I get out my pump sprayer and attack the grass growing in the driveway. I use Round-up and spray the driveway thoroughly, using a stronger-than-called-for mixture of Round-up and water. It's supposed to kill grass for a year. It doesn't. In 6 months I have to spray again.

I don't want to mow my driveway. I like the clean, crisp look of a manicured lawn and weed-free driveway. But no matter how often I spray my driveway, the grass keeps coming back. I wish I knew a cure for driveway grass! I've tried everything: boiling water, vinegar, hot oil (note to self: do not dump donut-frying oil in your driveway--it will attract every varmint for miles around!). Nothing seems to work. If you have any tips for getting rid of grass permanently, do let me know!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Manners, People!

Wow, has it really been this long since my last post? Guess I've been really busy!

This will be a "letting off steam" post. Not very interesting, so you may want to skip. I'm going to rant. I'm reading Facebook posts for a client (I maintain their Facebook pages) and I'm growing more and more appalled at how nasty people are nowadays! No forgiveness, no ignoring things that irritate you, no diplomacy, no stopping to think yours isn't the only opinion that counts. Just lashing out. And doing it publicly. On Facebook, Twitter, and many other social media outlets.What is wrong with people?

One Facebooker posted a gripe, saying she hated it when cashiers commented on her purchases. She went on to say it wasn't their business what she was making for dinner or how many cats she had. She was so irritated that she wrote her post in caps, with lots of exclamation points. She was really wound up. I mean, come on! The clerk was only trying to be friendly with a little innocuous chit-chat. In fact, one grocery store clerk even commented that customer service was important and that small talk was just a clerk's way of being friendly.

The other day I was half a second too slow after the red light turned green, and the guy behind me honked his horn impatiently. A month earlier I was waiting for a person to finish backing out of his parking spot so that I could claim it. I had my blinker on. Nobody else was around. But when the car had finished backing out, and as I started to pull into the spot, a woman in a huge SUV came out of nowhere and cut me off, zooming into the spot. She knew very well I had first dibs. And recently I was in the grocery store, headed for the checkout stand. There were several long lines, and I was turning my cart into another line when another shopper barged in front of me with her cart. There's no way she didn't know I was technically in line ahead of her.

What is it with people? What is it with people???