Category Archives: pets

After the storm

WP_20160123_18_10_16_ProEnduring the winter storm doesn’t worry me too much. I grew up in upstate NY, and remember The Blizzard of ‘77. Ever since, most storms barely cause concern. But this month, there were other worries.

My father had a min-stroke. That was a scare, and the hospital he went to was 2 hours away. I meant to visit but there was some waiting to see which hospital they would send him to, when something else happened.

WP_20151215_17_06_45_ProPepper started going down hill. She’s had issues with arthritis. Being an older dog, I expected that, but last Sunday, I found her with labored breathing and not able to get up. She hadn’t eaten much at all, so we rushed her to the vet.  Sadly, the vet suspected some sort of issue with her liver and we decided to put her down rather than let her suffer.

I also found the Rimadyl prescribed for her by the one vet for arthritis pain could very well be the cause of her death. By all accounts, she only had arthritis. The first vet said she saw no tumor or other issues. The second vet found her blood work and xrays did show problems.

She’s gone either way, and I miss her terribly. She was a constant companion, and little things remind me of her (and she’s gone), so it’s been a very rough week.

Meanwhile, my father is home and better, but scans found the stroke did cause some brain damage. They found some other issues that they will keep an eye on, but that, too, lends to a week where I feel this oppressive weight of loss and worry.

The storm, oddly enough, provided some time away from people and things, to mourn and deal with those feelings. I’m not crying any more, but little things still remind me of her not here.

I’ll be so glad when spring gets here.


Nature and Project Noah


I like bugs, and spiders, but I’m not a bug collector. I’d feel too bad with killing them, so I take photos instead.

Here, I saved this Spotted June Bug from a jar of water in the back yard. It’s also called a Grape Vine Beetle, but oddly enough, its not a pest. Supposedly, they don’t cause enough damage, which seems to be true. We don’t have an issue with them.

This guy is gasping because he was nearly drowned. I let him be, and later found he was gone.  


When having trouble identifying things, I sometimes use the Noah Project site. It’s a brilliant idea where the site uses members to create a global community of nature lovers who will help document species all over the world.

iphone-patchesYou can join ‘missions’ to look for butterflies, spiders, or flowers, and earn badges as well. I only have the Tadpole badge for now.

So I used my Noah app (iPhone or Android), which lets me share a photo and ask users to help identify it;

017It’s a Carolina Horse Nettle.

Its also called sand-brier and devil’s tomato. Don’t let the tomato reference fool you- this is a poisonous plant, and considered a weed.

I still think its pretty, though.




This was a small tree, (shrub) known as a Wafer Ash, or Hoptree, known for being rather fragrant. I didn’t smell anything. I found the seeds rather interesting though.

Due to its fragrance, gardeners add this to their yards to attract butterflies. Historically, its also been used to make beer.



Snow Home 010

And here we have Lazyous Kittyous, or the Lazy Cat, aka Max. He’s enjoying these summer days in the back yard. I took this photo while brushing the dog and looked over to find Max doing this.

Yeah, cute. He wanted to be brushed too, and waited for his turn.

Diet, exercise e-motivations


This is a Fitbit Flex wristband I’ve been trying out for the past few weeks. Wow. Its been quite enlightening on my activity.

Fitbit Flex monitors your steps, and even your sleep if you remember to tap the band before you lie down. I don’t bother because I know it monitors movement, and I know I can have issues with insomnia and not move because I have a dog that sleeps with me, and I don’t want to disturb her.

The band is waterproof and sweat proof. Parts include the rubbery band with a tiny monitor you have to periodically recharge via the included USB cord.  Charges last for almost a week.

You connect with to check your progress, add foods you’ve eaten, and there’s also an area to compare yourself with the average (if you pay the annual membership fee of $49.99 yr). The other stuff is free.

It works with a number of app, so I’ve chosen to connect my (free)account and my Striiv (free) account.

028MyFitnessPal has a very cool iPhone app where I can just scan my foods with the code, and it automatically adds it. This also tracks exercise, water intake, and gives some charts on your fat, protein, and carb ratios.

Striiv is a bit different. Unless you’re using a Striiv device, there’s no access to anything through their site. They do, 029however, have a neat iPhone app that tracks walking. It also includes a cute little game where the steps you take earn you coin and energy. The game reminds me of Farmville, but it’s a little village with magical creatures in it. The challenges are fun to do such as ‘reach 500 steps in 10 minutes’.

You don’t need a device, but the device makes it more accurate. There’s also an android version.

My workouts are basic. I visit the gym three times a week to use the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike (depending on my mood), and then I use weights for 10-15 minutes. I will then walk the dog down along the river.

IMG_1594 (374x500)I walk Pepper on days I don’t go to the gym, and sometimes on days that I do. She loves it, since she can sniff all the smells and explore in the woods. 

Diet is just calorie counting, although this time I do focus on less carbs, more lean protein, and low fat. I try to stick to 1200-1300 calories a day. If I go over a bit, no biggie.

A candid photo of my cat, Max. He is the best cat in the world, being incredibly affectionate and tolerant of kids. 

My pets at the meetup meetings


Last writer’s group, my cat, Max, decided to join us. This is unusual because he might come into the room and get a few pets, but generally, he’s off napping somewhere.

As you can see in the photo, he decided to plant himself on Dale’s handout. He didn’t mind. More surprising, though, was the fact, the cat refused to move for most of the meeting.

IMG_1090My dog, Pepper, also joins us, but her hope is for snacks and pets. She will climb up on the lap to ‘hug’ you, but then casually look around the table to see if there are any snacks she can beg for.

Can I haz pets? Can I haz cake?

Spring seems to be taking its sweet time in coming around here, made worse by the fact Mother Nature teases us with the occasional spring-like day of sun, warmth, and even the first stirring of springs around us. Then she slaps us with a dusting of snow. I think its to remind us she’s still the boss.

Technorati Tags: ,,,,

Sledding shenanigans

IMG_0743I took Daniel out sledding the other day, to enjoy the perfect-snow-for-sledding. For those of you not ‘in the know’, certain snows make for better sledding. Namely, the packy kind, or ‘wet’ snow.

I also took the dog along, and there’s something about the exciting about chasing Daniel down the hill that drives her nuts.


Since Allison’s kids were off from school, they also joined in the fun;



Even my sister Allison decided to slid, adding she was going to be a ‘juggernaut of doom’. lol

Storm, writing meetup, and a night to myself

This weekend included such noteworthy events as a fierce storm, a writer’s meetup, and a night to myself.
Although the summer seems to be winding down, the storms continue to blow through the area in intervals. The last two storms implied potential tornados, and left my poor dog cowering at my side no matter what I did.
IMG_1035If I sat at my desk, she hid underneath. If I washed dishes, she laid near my feet. If I cleaned the house, her constant presence remained not two feet from me at all times. This makes things a bit tough to do when I have to worry about tripping over her.
She’s back to her usual self when the storm passes.
The writer’s meetup covered the topic of ‘book covers’, where I shared the tips and ideas of designing self-published covers for our books. A few tips to note;

  • Make sure your book cover looks good in black and white as well as color. Kindles often read in gray, and covers with dark lettering on black literally disappears.
  • Makes sure the cover looks good as a thumbnail as people browse the book on Amazon (or other book site).
  • Take note about book covers to get ideas for your own.

I really like Todd Lockwood’s work. He’s done covers for some books I’ve read such as the Swordsinger series by Jennifer Robertson, and RA Salvatore’s Dark Elf series. He also did the cover for Elaine Cunningham’s book Daughter of the Drow.
He did the reprinted covers of RA Salvatore’s Dark Elf series as well. I remember once complaining in my writer’s blog about the cover of the original book irked me. The character Drizzt looked like a grumpy old man, not a Dark Elf, ebony-skinned, warrior the book described. The artist ended up commenting on the blog posts- which surprised me. He said he was told to paint it like that. Oops.
David took Daniel on another scout camping trip with him. This leaves me to myself overnight. Its something I like but don’t like at the same time. I like having the alone time, but I also miss them when they’re not around for so long.
Danny came home the next day telling me he had fun on the canoe, and how they endured the storm. He was so exhausted from poor sleep, he took a 2 hour nap. Poor kid.
Some neat stuff I’ve read online:
I think this is brilliant where the ribbon tied to the dog leash indicates you give the dog its space. For my own dog, I might do this not because she’s a biter, but that she has no interest in other dogs or people when she’s ‘on the job’ looking around.

sproutrobot lets you type in your zip code and it will tell you what you can plant, when, and when it will produce.

Scouts for Equality– Good for them! I’m glad to see scouts who actually put into practice what the Scouts claims they teach the kids.
And here is a very cute video where someone put dramatic (and very epic) music to a kitten’s battle against apples. Smile

What did you do this week?
WordPress Tags: Storm,events,writer,Although,area,desk,dishes,times,self,topic,tips,ideas,Make,Amazon,Take,Todd,Lockwood,Swordsinger,series,Jennifer,Robertson,Dark,Elaine,Cunningham,Daughter,Drizzt,warrior,artist,Oops,David,Daniel,Danny,Poor,Some,ribbon,leash,Sproutrobot,code,Scouts,kids,music,intervals,tornados,feet,black,blog