Monday, June 30, 2008

Remembering Maryellen

It was June 30, 1989. I was living in Tucson, Arizona, and working as an administrative secretary for SAIC. It was my last day of work because I was moving back to Louisville, Kentucky. I'll never forget that day. I got a phone call from my parents that my cousin, Maryellen, had been killed in an automobile accident. She was on her way to her parents' house to celebrate their anniversary. She was the first car in line at a stop light. When the light turned green, she drove through the intersection. A car from the other direction ran a red light, and hit her car.

I was numb the entire day.

Mary Ellen and I were the same age. She has four siblings, and she was the middle one. She lived in Pennsylvania, and we always had a great time when we saw each other.

The top picture is from our senior year in high school. She went to Pitt and graduated with an engineering degree. She was one smart chick! She went on to work in the automobile industry designing dashboards.

She got married and had a daughter named Meghan. Meghan was only three when her mother died. I'll never forget the first time I met Meghan. It was a few years after Maryellen had passed away. She thought I looked like her Mom.

The second picture was taken in 1971. I'm sure this is how Mary Lou Retton started her career as a gymnast! Neither one of us made it to the Olympics.

We took two fun trips together when we were younger. We went with my parents to a Dude Ranch in Colorado. We wore cowgirl hats for a week, rode horses, and took jeep trips into the mountains. We both fell in love with the young guy who fixed our breakfast each morning over an open fire.

We also went to Canada together. As we approached the Canadian border, I'll never forget my Dad telling all of us to be calm, and to honestly answer any questions they asked. The border patrol looked in the car and asked where each of us were born. My Dad answered - Kentucky. As we drove away, we all got a big chuckle out of that because he was born in Pennsylvania.

She was a great friend, and I miss her!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It Pays To Be Loyal!

When Shutterfly first became an advertiser on Catster/Dogster, they offered a free 12 x 12 photo book to members. Since our dog, Autumn, had recently gone to the rainbow bridge, I made that book about her.

I loved the way it turned out, so I made a book about the cats (blue book above). The photo books are like doing an on-line scrapbook. You choose how many pictures you want on a page, how you want them arranged, and what backgrounds/captions you want. You can take as long as you want to get the book exactly how you like it. The finished product has a very professional look - glossy pictures and your choice of covers - I've done leather and a linen type fabric. After my girlfriend cruise, I did another photo book (red book above).

You can also order pictures, cards, and other items from Shutterfly. I've made notecards, holiday cards, and buttons. I've been pleased with everything I've ordered from them.

The more you do, the more special offers they send you. Right after our vacation, I was emailed an offer for a free 8 x 8 photobook. I decided to do our Cabo vacation pictures. This was my first 8 x 8 book, and it arrived yesterday. The book is a hardback with a glossy finish. It looks like something you buy at a book store! This is the back cover of the book:

If you're like me, and enjoy scrapbooking, but don't want to take the time, this is a much quicker way to get your favorite pictures into a beautiful keepsake!

Friday, June 27, 2008


This can only mean one thing - weekend project! We've spent almost every weekend for the past nine months working at my parents' home getting it ready to sell. It's time to spruce up a few rooms in our house!

I like painting, but it's the preparation and clean-up that I'm not too crazy about. We're painting a guest room and a bathroom, and we'll be installing new flooring in both rooms too. I'm hoping the painting can be finished by Sunday.

It all depends upon how much feline assistance I get!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And All That Jazz!

Chloe, King, and Jazz

These three sweet dogs were all victims of the New Orleans Katrina disaster almost three years ago. They were separated from their families - not by choice. They were taken out of the state and put in shelters.

Thousands of dogs and cats just like these three suffered the same fate. Many were adopted into new homes. Hundreds of volunteers joined on-line to help the Katrina families find their beloved pets.

I was one of those volunteers. I partnered with a wonderful woman named Barbara who had a lot of experience with cocker spaniels, so we decided to focus our efforts on reuniting cocker spaniels with their owners.

There were hundreds of families looking for their cocker spaniels. Through countless hours of searching and sharing, we were able to find many cockers listed on shelters' websites or on Petfinder. The pictures were terrible, or there were no pictures - only vague descriptions. Many families didn't have pictures to compare. It was the Match Game from hell with very few matches!

Chloe and King's families had temporarily relocated out of state. It is a long story, but a happy ending. I still have three phone messages on my answering machine from Chloe's family when they finally reunited with her. You can hear her barking in the background. I'll never forget how happy and grateful they were to get her back!

King made it home too! His family had another dog that was sent to a different shelter. They found King's sibling first. King was never listed on Petfinder or at the shelter's website. A volunteer took pictures when she worked at one of the New Orleans animal intake areas. She posted her pictures on a personal website. She had several pictures of King because he had an injured leg. Thank God she took those pictures and posted them or we would have never found King. Her name was Laura too. King had been adopted by the time we found him. That wonderful family had become attached to King, but they did the right thing and returned him immediately to his owner. The video of that reunion would make anybody cry.

And then there is Jazz.

She was adopted out to someone who refused to give the dog back. It was ugly, very ugly. It went to court . . . . . . it went to appeal. After almost three years of fighting to get her dog back, Jazz is going home! Jazz is 11 years old - robbed of three years with her family! Welcome home, Jazz - I'm glad your Mommy never gave up on getting you back!

Stay the course, light a star, change the world where'er you are. - Richard Le Gallienne

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not. - Oprah Winfrey

Victory belongs to the most persevering. - Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Shell of His Former Self!

The annoying sounds of the cicada are finally fading in the background, and the birds can be heard again! At its loudest, the cicadas' singing sounds like they are riding on a merry-go-round! Their noise gets very loud, fades, and gets loud again!

In addition to the noise, Rocky, our dog, has enjoyed finding and snacking on their dead bodies. I'll be glad when they are completely gone!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On Your Mark, Get Set . . . . Go!

This is Tommy the Turtle. We see a lot of turtles on our property, and we call all of them Tommy! Tommy showed up in the driveway last night. I moved him to a safer place in the woods.

This morning, I am taking Spunky to the vet to have his first chemotherapy treatment. The cancer that caused his eye to be removed 2 years ago has returned. Surgery isn't an option, and radiation treatments would have to take place in Ohio. He would be gone for three weeks, and we can't put him through the separation and stress. Spunky was one of my Mom's cats, and he is a lovebug lap kitty. Slow and steady may win the race . . . . . but, unfortunately, we can't win this one. I'm praying the chemo treatments slow down the cancer so he can be with us longer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Doe, a deer, a female deer . . . . . . .

Pulling in the driveway yesterday I was met by Ted, holding a pair of binoculars and telling me to be vewy, vewy quiet! He pointed to the backyard, and I peeked over the driveway wall to see these two!

Mommy's name is Hosta, and her baby is Nibbler. Put them together, and they create instant stalk gardens out of my hostas that are in the woods.

We have seen them the past couple of weeks. The first time we saw the baby, I thought it was a dog because he was so tiny.

On Saturday, Ted was taking grass clippings down to our garden. The garden is enclosed and when he opened the gate, the baby jumped up from the other side of the garden!

I don't know who was more startled! He found a way out through a hole in the chicken wire - the deer, not Ted! Mommy deer is smart by keeping the baby in the garden while she is out getting food.

I love the way the baby's tail is turned up in this picture. Isn't he adorable?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Speechless Sunday!

Click on picture to see full-sized!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Blooming Beautiful!

I love seeing the tropical flowers in Mexico. Below are a couple of pictures from our vacation. The first one is the hibiscus. I didn't know this, but the hibiscus is the primary ingredient in many herbal teas and some jams in the Caribbean.

Next is the bird of paradise which is also known as the crane flower. Whenever I see the bird of paradise, I feel like I'm in Hawaii!

The only unique looking flower I have in my garden is the bleeding heart. Every spring, I look forward to seeing the tiny pink hearts. The bleeding part of the flower is the white droplet at the end of the heart. I only wished it bloomed all summer long!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shell Seeker

Last week we got back from our vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The resorts in Mexico are fabulous, and the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar had the most beautiful beach. I can't walk on a beach without looking for shells! There is something about finding an unbroken shell that makes you feel like you've found a special treasure!

I found a few treasures on our beach, and then found even more unique shells on a nearby beach where Ted went snorkeling. After we got home, I picked out the best of the shell collection and grabbed the glue gun! Here is the finished result. The picture in the frame is from a small outdoor restaurant in San Luis del Cabo where we had dinner one night.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Red + Hot = Friends!

There are ten of us. We're the Red Hots - Louisville Chapter! It's not a typo - we're not the crazy ladies over 50 who wear red hats and purple clothes. We are way too cool for that, and we never dress alike!

Well, except this one time! Most of us have known each for many years through our volunteer work with the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana. Last year, four of us had memorable birthdays, and we all took a fun, week-long Caribbean cruise. We get together once a month, each taking a turn to plan the evening. We have shared many memories and laughs over the years, and I treasure their friendships. The dogwood tree at the top of my blog was planted by the Red Hots in memory of my Dad who passed away last year. This spring was the first time it bloomed, and it was beautiful - just like my friends!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Real Knock Out!

One of my on-line friends from Dogster recently started her own blog. She has been asking when I was going to create a blog, so here goes! My birthday was last week, and one of my friends took me out to lunch today. Her gift to me was this beautiful pink Knock Out rose bush. I've always loved roses, but I have found them difficult to grow. This variety claims to require no special care and is blackspot resistant, mildew tolerant, self-cleaning, and drought tolerant. My husband, Ted, planted it tonight in the spot where I had previously attempted to grow a rose bush. We'll see how this one does!