Friday, May 29, 2015

GREAT FOOD, CUTE BABIES, GOOD TIMES

 
A summer change to the mantel
 
I don't think I've been so prepared for summer as I have this spring...reminds me of the title of an album by Maroon 5, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long".  Well, however you want to figure it.  Time is flying and for this time of year I have so much accomplished.  I always seem to feel I'm barely treading water yet I see so much progress in the projects I'm doing.  My imagination? 
 
I have a lot of irons in the fire right now.  Working on making comfy rooms of the den and Abigail's old room, soon to  be the guest room.  Still painting furniture and dragging stuff to the basement, curb and donation box at our church.  So many heavy bags, I should own stock in Hefty Trash Bags.  The catalyst was knowing  we were going to have a house/pet sitter this weekend and I simply couldn't let this person live amongst the clutter, paint cans and books...tons of books. 
 
 
 
A lightweight summer throw to brighten a chair
 
I'm terrible at making priorities.  I'm cleaning up a bathroom and as I walk past the guest room I decide to slap a coat of paint on the dresser.  20 minutes later I'm washing dishes and decide I need to make myself breakfast.  Somehow things get  done.  In practicality, while I was running up and down the stairs, it seemed right to bring back and forth pieces to make a transition from spring to summer (in some cases, winter to summer!).  So these are the changes, small as they may be. 
 
 
 
A vignette on an antique cabinet
 
The Husband made it home from his hiking trip in Colorado and believe it or not, we haven't had a chance to sit down and talk about it in the way we should,  He arrived home very late and tired Monday night and then had a busy day at work the following day.   Off he went to the lake Wednesday and was exhausted when he arrived back home.   There just isn't enough 'relaxed' time for us to sit and enjoy a nice talk yet--schedules, phone calls, business, work...it sounds crazy and as if we don't connect but we do, and we like to make it a special uninterrupted time to really make it a nice conversation  and time to enjoy each other.  So we will, perhaps on our way to Wisconsin tomorrow.  He did have a great time though and I?  Well I was sort of sad to see my time end. 
 
I was very good about several things.  One was to not 'neglect' myself, as in not making myself good meals and eating like a sloth just because I had no one else to 'cook for'.  It was fairly easy to keep up my routine of eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast; soup or salad for lunch, but dinner, hmmmm...I wasn't going to make a four course meal, nor was I going to get McDonald's,  So one night I had a soup I had frozen along with a huge Garbage Salad (think: everything and anything you can find in your fridge).  I made tuna salad and omelets, and ate a bowl of Skinny Pop every night while watching Bravo.  And as I mentioned in my last post, I worked outside in the garden and inside on the furniture painting, spent quality time with the hounds, did my blogging bit and a little reading---I felt alive and purposeful and that helped me miss him less,  :(
 
 
 
Fiesta Bean Salad
 
Emily made for a great holiday party on Sunday...just we hiker widows.  The weather was gloomy but the rain held off until later in the afternoon so we were able to sit on her deck under the big old maple tree.  She made beautiful sandwiches on artisan bread filled with turkey, cheese, arugula and pesto.  Heavenly.  And she made this salad that you can find on Skinny Taste.  This is a plate of leftovers I was digging into at home when I had the hindsight to take a snap.  So good...it's a Go To salad for this summer.
 
I left Emily's on Sunday and arrived home for Day 4 of my Staycation and who was on my doorstep but my scraggly little Abby.  I love her to pieces but I was sort of looking forward to putting on my PJ's and vegging out the rest of the evening.  Of course I did that but there's something comforting about stuffing whole handfuls of popcorn in your  mouth and chugging Diet Pepsi when no one is around.  I went to bed about 9:00, resigned to the fact that my late night marathons were not going to make it under her hawk eye.  She crawled into my bed with me a half hour later and though I'd love to say we talked and giggled for hours, it was more like a tug of war with the quilt and me begging her to turn off the television, which this younger generation needs to have on to merely to sleep (as in white noise).  But God.  I love her.  I even made her the Lumberjack Special breakfast the next morning.
 
 
Cousins
 
Off on Tuesday to get my hair done by Katie.  On the left is her baby, Margot, and then my granddaughter, Elsie on the right with daughter in law MC holding her.  Just 4 months apart, they will be best friends forever.  Margot gets hysterical looking at Elsie...like, "Hey, I recognize you!  You're a baby, too!"  The exciting news is Katie is pregnant again.  She and her husband, Kevin, absolutely wanted to have another baby soon and they got their wish!  They are off to Ireland Saturday where Margot will meet Kevin's side of the family for the first time.  Poor Katie is sick 24/7 so they bought mom, Peggy, a plane ticket to come and help out.  Family is everything.  The next trip I hope they think of me.  :)
 
 
 
Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
 
Peggy is always so kind to offer me coffee and sweets or a snack...she makes getting my hair done so special, for all of us really.  She's a genuine 'nurturer".  It occurred to me to bake and bring something Tuesday.  If you want to make this you can find Betty's recipe and all the ingredients in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store.  Can't take any credit here. But delicious!
 
 
 
Changes in the family room
 
I needed a big time clean up after stuffing everything from the two rooms we were having painted in to our family room.  I figured I'd purge then.  Ha!  I could barely move amongst all the stuff.  But in all honesty, you know how to get it going when you have company coming, and as I mentioned earlier, I have a housesitter coming.   I carried things to the basement, to the trash, to the curb.  I dusted and wiped and scrubbed and vacuumed.  I arranged and rearranged.  For the past several months this table has been my sort of desk, this corner of the family room my office as I simply got a better Internet connection here.  That along with a gorgeous view of the backyard and the big screen TV made it ideal but I felt a bit closed off as this room is way off at the other end of the house from the kitchen and main rooms we use.  Long story short, I abandoned this set up and found a temporary place for some of my dishes.  I know this makes no sense whatsoever but it works for now.  Enjoy the view, dishes. 
 
 
 
I fussed and plumped and poked the other side of the family room so said housesitter can watch TV and relax.  I love her to pieces.  Her name is Kate (yes, lots of Kate's in this area), and she grew up across the street and is one of Emily's oldest and dearest friends.  She knows us and the dogs and she'll do great.  With Abby living up north, I simply don't want to put anyone out.  It also makes me feel a bit liberated that I don't have to depend on any of the kids.  I have my sources now. Ha!
 
You really can't see but on the lower shelf of that coffee table there are about 100 gardening and d├ęcor books.  I'm sneaky like that. ;-)
 
 
 
 
 
Simple Strawberry Tart
 
Lot's of good food pics in this post, notice no flowers?  Next time for sure.  I needed something quick and easy to bring to Emily's little soiree over the weekend...something sweet.   I had seen a recipe for individual tarts made with Phyllo dough and  after several screw ups, decided to scrap it and make one big tart. 
 
Phyllo dough, in my limited baking world, makes puff pastry look like plywood.  Each transparent sheet is fragile beyond belief.  I think working with it takes a lot of time and effort and patience, none of which I have.  I had an hour before the party.  Here's my version of a strawberry tart.  And yes, it was very, very good.
 
1/2 package Phyllo dough
1 pint of strawberries, roughly chopped
1 large round  of Brie cheese, roughly cut into small pieces
Cooking spray
2 T. sugar, separated
 
Most packages of Phyllo dough come in two portions. They should be kept frozen and thawed just before using. You will only need about 5-6 sheets from one portion so simply defrost one packet.  Save the rest for whatever you come up with.
 
Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare strawberries and cheese and have ready in separate bowls.  Toss the strawberries with one tablespoon of the sugar to release the juices.   Spray an 8 inch tart pan or similar size baking dish with cooking spray.  Unroll Phyllo dough and carefully arrange one piece after another in the tart pan, spraying lightly and evenly with cooking spray between each layer.  Turn each sheet a bit so the layers are sort of fanning out and press gently to fit in bottom of pan.   Do this until you've used about 5-6 sheets depending on how thick you want the crust to be...I like the effect I got here.  Add the cheese covering the bottom of the dough as evenly as possible and then top with the strawberries the same way.  Gently lift the edges of the dough and fold over toward the middle of the tart, pressing to make a sort of cinched edge.  Spray lightly with cooking spray and dust with a bit of granular sugar.  Bake for about 35 minutes or until edges are golden.  Serve hot or at room temperature. 
 
That's all I have for now.  Tomorrow we leave for Sister Bay, Wisconsin, for a much needed (for me) 3 day break.  Nothing like a little R&R along one of our Great Lakes.  I've never been, so I'm looking forward to a great experience.  And The Husband and I will have 4 straight hours of driving to talk about his adventure in the wilderness.  Oh joy.  :)
 
See you next week!
 
Jane x
 
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A LITTLE STAYCATION & GARDEN NEWS

 
Layla lying in the ivy
 
Saturday Night Live here.  I'm trying to get a post in before I get caught up in the television viewing.  Yes...television is a new medium for me.  For you newcomers, I'm hearing impaired--I have been wearing hearing aids forever, reading lips, following gestures and using closed captioned.  TV became one of the things I simply crossed off my list.  I mean I'm reading blogs and all sorts of things on my computer.  Then I'm reading my books and magazines.  And then I'm supposed to read the TV?  Talk about a headache.  LOL!  Anywho, I managed to maneuver some chairs closer to the televisions in the living and family rooms so it's not such an eye strain to watch the darn thing and I've also learned how to work all of the zillion remotes we have.  Long story short-I've been having a gay old time.  Popcorn and everything.
 
 
 
Allium
 
 
With The Husband on on his camping/hiking trip  in Colorado, I have seen Gone Girl, Fifty Shades Of Gray, several Housewives episodes, and of course The Kardashians (just love reality--makes my life seem somewhat normal and I need that).  The first night The Husband was gone and I was feeling a little lonely, insecure and a bit jumpy at every noise I heard inside and outside the house, I happened upon a channel with The Holiday showing.  Oh, how I love that movie and to see in May?  Serendipity.  Nothing like a Rom-Com to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  And the icing on the cake?  Following this was Something's Got To Give.  I've never seen this so it was an exceptional double feature evening.
 
 
H
 
Herb garden flourishing
 
Last night I had every intention of getting caught up on some blogging and doing some reading in bed.  Then I started to fiddle with the remote and came upon HBO In Demand.  Before I knew it I was wrapped up in the movie Still Alice.  Oh, incredible.  Still haven't gotten it out of my head. 
 
The ultimate verdict?  Television is taking over my life.  Forgive me if I simply disappear for awhile as I catch up on years of deprivation.
 
 
 
Flower boxes on the bay window ledge
 
I've been planting flowers like a fiend while we've had warm weather and a break in the rain here in the upper Midwest.  This year when I was looking at annuals I took a big interest in Dianthus, the tall and short varieties.  The tall variety makes me think of wildflowers so I had some fun doing these boxes.  I love Nicotiana also...I'm getting away a bit from my usual petunias and impatiens.  
 
 
 
The front of my house
 
 I was actually going to have all of these shrubs pulled out.  They are over 25 years old and look overgrown for the most part.  In the winter---from November until mid May, they have no leaves
The company that was to do our new porch, sidewalk and driveway was going to pull them out with their Bobcat.  We ultimately decided to wait on the concrete work until mid June in light of all the stuff falling from the trees for the past few weeks.  In the meantime, the shrubs and plants took off and I've had a bit of a change of heart.  Yesterday I did my usual hedge trimming.  The first time in the spring is especially hard, every muscle is still aching, and then I had to do the backyard.  I definitely got my workout.   Then I dug out a sort of  'free form' border and planted some red geraniums.  They will bush out--they look a bit small now.  I hope this adds some interest.  What do you think?  And I'm going against a lot of my family's wishes and keeping my ivy.  So there!
 
 
 
The new black shoes (and I totally need a pedi)
 
In keeping with my promise (to myself), I made plenty of plans for while I'm on my little staycation and The Husband is on a real one.  Last night my sister in law, Karen, and I went out to dinner a few blocks away.  Lovely time of course.  As we were walking out of the restaurant there was a table with two women and a man and they called something out to me.  I turned and they were pointing down, "We love your shoes!".   Well, I nearly tripped.  Karen and I sat outside on a bench while the valet went for the car and I gushed excessively over this. Poor Karen.  She was probably thinking, "This girl does not get out much."
 
 
 
First bloom on the clematis
 
So I'm faring well while The Husband is gone.  But the poor guy, my two sons, three brother in laws and several of their friends...it's been raining non-stop in Boulder.  As I've said, this is a camping/hiking trip.  No communication in those parts so I don't know what's going on.  According to my weather app, it's not just raining, they're having thunderstorms.  And the temps at night are in the 30's.  I really feel bad.  They've been preparing for months.  I hope it works out in some shape or way. 
 
Tomorrow Emily is having a brunch for the ladies, some of us who were left behind as the guys went on their trip.  And Monday is a barbeque at my daughter in law's mom's home, Peggy.  Not sure.  We have a short week and then we are on our way to Door County, Wisconsin for a three day break. 
 
The lakehouse situation is still at a sort of standstill,  The Husband is going up Tuesday to see if we can get things moving.  I so wish we could go together at least for a day.  I want to work on my garden.  Remember that we planted that huge perennial garden last August?  It must be full of weeds.  And I landscaped the front of the house.  I can't imagine what it looks like now.  I missed the wisteria blooming.  Seriously, you want to know what's holding us back from going there for a whole day?  No bathroom!  The water is shut off.--the floors are a disaster.   Do you know how terrible it feels to knock on my neighbor Susie's door to ask to use her bathroom several times a day?  Once the crew starts to work on the house they will have a port-a-pottie.  Oh joy.  Makes me feel so fortunate.  And the newspaper articles?  Well I still write my columns and submit them.  Just never see them.  I feel too embarrassed to ask the editor to send me a copy.  Silly, I know.  The Husband will bring home the most recent issue on Tuesday and hopefully we'll get there again soon to see the one I just wrote last week.
 
Sorry if I went on too long.  So much happening.  Now I'm off to see what's on TV!  Have a wonderful holiday and say a prayer for all of those brave veterans.  I'll be back soon.
 
Jane x

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

REDOING A DEN & GUEST ROOM AND A FRESH GREEK SALAD DIP




I also mentioned in my last post that I had Charlie (The Painter) do Abigail's old room.  It's a soft gray with crisp white trim and I absolutely love it.  I just can't seem to get a good photo of it and I have some pieces of furniture in the center of the room.  I'm making better progress on this room, and it's surprising as this will be a guest room and I can't imagine why for the life of me why we need a guest room..  We've never had guests in our life!  Abby has been a frequent one since she moved out in February but she's happier than a clam sleeping on the sofa in the family room.  Anywho, I found an upholstered linen headboard at Pier 1 that I can pick up in a few days and I'm almost finished painting a dresser.  Lots more to do but I feel like I'm chipping away at it.  :)



The shower was held at Deirdre's sister's house.  Katie and her husband have been renovating their home for over a year and the architectural work is simply stunning.  For all of us to wander around oohing and ahhing without much furniture to look at, you have to know this is going to be a beautiful home.  

Maeve, Deirdre's mom, made all of the food; three different sorts of small sandwiches with her own homemade condiments on each.  A very different (to me) wild rice salad with dried fruit and veggies served at room temperature, as well as a few other side dishes.  The desserts were plates of cupcakes and brownies, as well as sorbet with a dollop of blackberry sauce.  Since Katie hasn't yet furnished the whole house, two tables for ten were set up in the dining room and another in the breakfast nook.  Tablecloths, candles and beautiful centerpieces of white lilies in simple vases completed the ambiance.  Sorry---no pictures.  I didn't want to intrude, especially since we were being introduced to so many of Deirdre's family and friends for the first time.  We really had a wonderful time.  



Sunday we had another social event.  My niece, Lizzie, graduated from high school and they had a party for her afterward (she's off to Villanova in New York in the fall---bragging rights!). Great food, good times.  Family is everything.  I love this picture of my two sons, Jeff and Kevin, together here.  And look at Kevin with a protective hand on Elsie's stroller.  He's like mama bear.  He's obsessed with her.  It's absolutely fascinating to watch him and MC take care of her.  I've never seen such love and devotion firsthand.  And they chose Jeff to be the Godfather along with MC's sister, Nora, as Godmother.  The Christening is on Father's Day next month.







Layered Greek Salad Dip

 2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
2 T. dried oregano, divided
3/4  cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
16 oz. (or 2 cups) plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 t. salt and pepper each
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 c. red pepper. diced
1/4 cup sliced black olives

 In a casserole dish at least 3 inches deep, layer tomatoes.  Top with cucumbers (in order, in layers), red onion and green peppers.  I smooshed the layers down with a spatula to make room for everything.  Sprinkle with a pinch of the salt and pepper.

Now do a fine layer of half the feta cheese, half the oregano and half the parsley.  Add dollops of the yogurt over this and press it down with a spatula.  A tip--press and spread like you are frosting a cake.  Do not lift the spatula up and down or it will pull up the layers and make a holy mess. Sprinkle with another bit of S & P.

Finally, make a layer of the romaine lettuce, remaining feta, olives, red pepper, oregano and parsley.  Chill for 1 hour.  Serve cold or room temp with crackers or pita chips.  Serves 10,000. :)

On the Home Front...The Mi gets his stitches out tomorrow and the evil cone off.  He is so miserable with that thing.  His ears are pressed forward and they, along with his neck, itch him terribly.  I can only scratch him so much.  He learned awhile ago how to maneuver around walls and furniture but he has a hard time hearing with this contraption on and it makes me so sad.  The guy is going to get the scrubbing and brushing of his life tomorrow afternoon!

The Husband, my sons, and several others are leaving for their hiking/camping trip in Colorado at the end of the week.  You would think my guy was going to appear on a season of Survivor.  Still, I love how much he is into this...how he worked out at the gym for four months to get the strength and endurance up.  All the research he did from purifying water from streams to burying your...well, doo doo so the bears don't know what you ate the night before.  TMI.  Totally.  But a precaution in the wild.  

Bedtime.  Glad to know I've brought you up to date in this long absence.  We just had a change in  weather forecast from warm temps to the 40's this week.  I may be covering my plants in plastic like the geek I never thought I'd be, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  And I have plenty of painting indoors to keep me busy. :)

Jane x

Joining Amaze Me Monday and Tweak It Tuesday.  Thanks ladies!!







Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MAY SHOWERS


These are special, they came from Abigail's boyfriend, Tom.  It was such a nice gesture, I just didn't expect it.  They had just come back from visiting his mother's grave.  It's only been two years since they lost her but the family never misses a birthday, holiday or anniversary to celebrate her life.  So I was touched that he thought of me on Mother's Day.









Grape Salad

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 lbs. seedless red grapes
2 lbs. seedless green grapes
3 T. brown sugar
3 T. chopped pecans

1)  Beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add grapes and toss to coat.

2)  Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill.  Before serving, sprinkle over the brown sugar and pecans.  

This is heavenly and super simple to make.  :)


Charlie the Painter is currently here working on my den and guestroom.  I am sort of confined to the kitchen/living room area with the dogs but there is a French door leading into the den so I can take a peek every now and then.  The 28 year old wallpaper is down and the room looks huge.  The paint color I chose is Marshmallow by Sherwin Williams.  It's just a pretty creamy color.  For Abby's old room I went with a soft gray called Alpaca, also by Sherwin Williams.  It will take awhile for the reveal.  We haven't gotten a new bed yet and I have been too busy to paint the dressers.   As far as the den...grrrrrr!  I picked out two comfy chairs but The Husband thinks they are too large for the room even though Emily did a scaled diagram.  As soon as we can get back into the empty room we are going to make a chalk outline of the chairs based on the measurements and exactly where I want to place them.  This man definitely needs a hobby.  He wasn't like this years ago, he sort of followed behind me in the stores when I would pick out furniture or whatever.  And there's nothing wrong with a husband having a say in how you decorate your home, but it seems I would have had the room finished weeks ago if I had just done it alone.  I had to get four paint estimates before I finally hired our longtime guy Charlie.  I went over book after book of chairs with Emily at her showroom and we found the type of chair I liked in the smallest dimensions possible and he still feels they are too big.   Anyway, it remains to be seen if there will be a chalk outline of a man's body next to the chairs when we get through this ordeal.  

I'm still pretty much stuck indoors as Milo is under strict requirements to not have a lot of activity.  I'm still walking him around the backyard on a leash and talking to him like he's a puppy I'm training, "Go pee pee, Milo.  Go poo poo!"  Believe me, when you make 20 laps around the backyard in the pouring rain while he sniffs every tree and weed, you get a little wacko.  And now he's jumping on and off furniture and I'm following him around like he's a toddler.  I'm truly grateful he's recovering so well but he's wearing me out!  He's standing on a chair this very minute watching the next door neighbor mow his lawn, the big old cone still around his head.  Crazy mutt.  

So my plants and flowers are still sitting on the patio waiting for me to find the time to sneak away (or for the constant rain to let up) and get to work.  And my lovely children gave me a gift card for my favorite nursery for Mother's Day so I'm really excited to get started on my gardening.  Be patient, Jane.  

Friday is the bridal shower for my future daughter in law, Deirdre.  It's at her sister's home not too far from here.  She and her husband just bought a very old home in a beautiful part of our area, I can't wait to see it.  It's cocktails and dinner so it will be fun.  Emily and I will be going out to the burbs to get a gift at Crate & Barrel and we are going to each splurge on something new to wear.  I'm personally looking at shoes, I have fallen in love with so many new ones for this season.  Oh, how I love shoes!

Off I go.  I'll be back this weekend and hopefully have some pictures of the shower and if I'm really lucky, some pretty garden pics, too!

Jane x

Friday, May 8, 2015

HAPPY MAY




The good news is that Dr. B. called today with the biopsy results of the tumor and the margins around what he removed show no remaining cancer cells.  So it looks like he got it all.  Sigh.  Our prayers were answered and all of you helped.  Thank you for that love and support.  Our furry friends are undeniably one of the greatest gifts in life.  :)





We do have a lot planned...The Husband is going on a 5 day camping/hiking trip over Memorial Day weekend with sons Jeff and Kevin and about 8 other guys.  He is SO excited.  I will be a Hiking Widow, I simply don't know what I'll do with this time alone.  No one to cook for or clean up after.  Trying to sleep alone and hearing every moan and creak in this old house.  Anyone want to come and keep me company?

The last weekend of May we will be getting together with my blogger friend Cindy from Applestone Cottage, as well as her husband, in Door County, Wisconsin.  I'll give you more of an idea of what that's about in my next post.  It will be our sixth year getting together.  Now this is a true blogger friendship!

We have a trip to Asheville planned  for July and then son Jeff's wedding in mid August.  Also, my niece, Jaime, is getting married in Louisville in early August so it will be wonderful to go down and see my brother, his wife and family and just enjoy beautiful Kentucky. 

That's all we're doing.  ;-)






Every Mother's Day we go on a three mile Breast Cancer Awareness walk.  Our group honors The Husband's first wife who died from breast cancer when she was just 31 years old.  Her sister puts this together and after the walk, hosts a brunch at her home.  I have to admit, sometimes I don't make the walk, asthma is a battle for me in the spring, the donation comes from the purchase of the T-shirt we all wear, the rest comes from the camaraderie and the love we hold in our hearts for this brave woman that won't be forgotten.  


Off I go.  Again, thank you for your prayers and well wishes for my Milo.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Celebrate yourself, your mother, your mentor...or simply celebrate life!

Jane x

***Love to my beautiful mother in heaven, Marjorie Mary Doll-Carroll***

Monday, May 4, 2015

PATIO FIX-UPS AND PRAYERS FOR MY PUP


Today, and actually for a long time leading up to today, has been very emotional.  I took Milo at 8:00 a.m. for the  surgery to remove his tumor.  I didn't sleep a wink last night.  With the warm weather the Midwest has been having, we've spent as much time outdoors as we can.  It's his favorite thing in the whole wide world.  Just hanging out in the backyard chasing squirrels or just lying in the grass sniffing all the enticing scents blowing in the wind.  This is an older picture of him that is just a favorite of mine.  Totally loving that breeze!

Dr. B. called about 1:00 and told me Milo was in recovery.  As big as the tumor looked from the outside of his thigh, it proved to be much bigger under the skin than he anticipated.  He had to make a six inch incision.  Isn't that incomprehensible on a dog that is as small as he is, just 26 pounds?  And the doctor told me he has 4-5 layers of stitches, that's how far he had to go down.  He's hoping he got most of the cancer cells, it was just impossible to go too far around the tumor with the little area on the poor guys thigh.  But he's okay, in the surgical area and he'll spend the night so they can keep an eye on the incision.  I'll pick him up about 11:00 tomorrow.  I think it's going to be terrible for him to walk, to lie down...to even wag his tail.  I told Dr. B. that I want as much pain medicine that he can tolerate...I will not see him in pain.  I've moved the big chair he loves to lie in away from the wall as he likes to look out the window and bark at anything that moves, as well as the dining chair that he jumps on to harass the mailman.  He has to be still.  So that's the scoop on my BFF.  Sniff.



Another big project we had almost underway was having the front porch, sidewalk and driveway demolished and re-cemented.  This was a job we had put off for a very long time.  Our driveway looks like a jigsaw puzzle and the porch was crumbling on the sides.  In the city your house is situated about 25 feet from the main sidewalk.  It's above and beyond curb appeal, people walking by can pretty much count ever weed and 4 leaf clover in your lawn.   I can't live by others standards or 'keep up with the Jones',  yet we have a responsibility to keep up the value of the neighborhood.  Anyway...with rain predicted all week long, the crew had to postpone the job.  We're better off, Milo would have been freaking out over the noise and activity.  I hadn't thought of that.







It was a busy week now that I think of it...the three of them came for an impromptu dinner on Tuesday night.  I made a quick spaghetti dinner with a Bolognese sauce, a salad and garlic bread.  Thursday Emily and I had a little retail therapy at Homegoods and Hobby Lobby (I had a few gift cards from Christmas so it didn't cost me a dime).  I found a really cute birdhouse and a piece of metal artwork and a bright turquoise clock for the brick wall around the patio---pictures forthcoming.  We went to a communion party on Saturday afternoon and yesterday?  Well, I laid on my bed all day reading Little Bee and thumbing through a few magazines.  Heaven.

  My second article for the lake newspaper came out on May 1 and unfortunately I haven't seen it yet.  I have a dear friend who sent me the first paper and she's going to send this one.  It's so frustrating to have to wait to see it in print!  But it's such a wonderful opportunity, I take it all in stride.

Say a prayer for my Milo Guy, I'll be back soon I'm sure, with the rain and my canine infirmary rules! :)

Jane x