Friday, July 26, 2013

New Shoes!

It has been a long time in coming.  I have needed new sneakers in the worst way.  But this is one of those things one can not rush.  Sneakers are a major commitment, like marriage or buying a new car. Your sneakers get you through long walks, doing your chores, running errands, and running away from people in the grocery store when you think you are not going to see anyone you know, so you go with no make up on and your hair looking like Kramer on Seinfeld.  But, of course, you see a plethora of people who you know, work with, go to church with, etc.  Anyway, back to sneakers.  It is a major relationship.  I have been looking but have not found anything until today when my eyes fell upon these babies.  Hot pink and neon yellow.  They are awesome!  It was love at first sight and I knew that I had to make them mine.  As a side note, my camera shutter speed is super slow.  You will note the appearance of a certain schnauzer nose.  This nose was not there as I was aiming the camera, but instead appeared in that little delay.  It is a very cute nose.  However, my shoe picture has been schnauzer photo bombed.

Liesl was pretty proud of herself.  Afterward, in what can only be described as a "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Demille" moment, she decided to pose.  This is not a common occurrence.  Usually she sees the camera come out and she is on the move.  I have a host of photos with just an ear or tail in them, where a small dog had been a second earlier.  So anyway, here is my pretty girl, posing.  She looks very wise here.

So speaking of Liesl, the diet is going well.  We are still awaiting the official diet from the nutritionist, but I am still trying to cook really healthy for her.  She still has a bit of itchiness, but her overall health and attitude is great.  She is so much happier on the home cooked diet.  What is funny though is that she is suddenly hooked on fruit.  She ate all of my blueberries one night, a whole mango the next.  Last night she took a few bites of watermelon.  She likes blueberries better though.  But I feel like I have the equivalent of a teenage boy standing in front of the fridge with the door open.  She sees that I am having fruit and immediately trots over with determination with her "and what are we having for snack" look.  LOL  Actually, I feel better sharing the good stuff with her and will do anything to keep her healthy and with me for a long time.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I think I must fall in love with the Monterey Peninsula, the place I call home, at least once a day.  I think that it is the most beautiful place on earth.  There is always something that reminds me of how much I love it.  Tonight, it was on our evening walk.  The light was just right, it was just the right temperature out, and there was the smell of salt in the air.  For me, there is the way the foghorns sound so lonely late at night, or the lights on the purse seiners in the fog.  It is the changing colors of the bay. Some days it is blue or green.  Some days it is silver or so gray that you can not see where the water ends and the fog begins.  I love the abundance of sea food, the friendliness of the people, the fact that the area is dog-centric, the places to hike, and the general vibe.  

I will share that we walk slow here.  Really slow.  I realized it when I moved here, kicking and screaming on a job transfer about 22 years ago.  I moved from the Bay Area and was young and a bit on the impatient side then. Now I shuffle along like my neighbors.  A friend of mine just moved here from a major city.  I warned him about the slow walking thing.  He said, "Oh my gosh, you are right! It has been driving me nuts!"  That is how we roll here.  

There are times I will be walking along a path by the ocean I will suddenly catch my breath at the overwhelming beauty here.  It is so awesome.  It is amazing to be stunned by how beautiful the place you live is.  In addition, we have so much history here.  Monterey was the first capital of California. We walk in the same places as the characters in John Steinbeck's novels.  The historic mission in Carmel is a very special place.  It is the site where Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions is interred.  It is a place where Robert Louis Stevenson convalesced and Ansel Adams lived. Thomas Kinkade even had a home here and I imagine that many of his paintings must have been inspired by the storybook, fairy tale cottages of Carmel.  

So tonight I go to bed, grateful for my little piece of earth here and all that surrounds it on the Monterey Peninsula.  I am hopeful that tonight the fog horns will sing me to sleep.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

An Old WIP

It suddenly occurred to me last evening that it is fair season.  This year has been so incredibly busy that it had just slipped my mind.  I want to be supportive of the fair even in years when I do not feel very competitive.  I just want to make sure that they have entries.  So I dug through my WIP stack and found this one.  It is unfinished because I made an error on the border so I have having to redo all of those little red, white and blue Smyrna stars.  I will work on it this week and determine if I have time to finish and frame it in time for entry.  It does not match the decor of any of my rooms, so I am not sure what I will do with it after it is all done.  

It has been a good weekend.  Liesl and I had to go up to Santa Cruz, about an hour away, yesterday for her testing.  Luckily, the specialist has Saturday hours.  He is so kind to Liesl and even gave her a big kiss on her nose.  Liesl loves to be kissed, so she was happy even after all of the testing and ultra-sounding.  He told me that she has passed one of the bladder stones, thank goodness.  That is good news.  He said that the other one has not grown either. Then he told me that he would call me today after he had the results of the bile test on her liver.  

I am so grateful for your prayers for Liesl.  Words can not express how much I appreciate it.  I have been praying.  Today at church, as usual, I prayed for Liesl.  All of the sudden I was just overcome with a sense of peace and a sense that it was going to be okay.  

The doctor called me today, even though it was his day off.  He is really dedicated.  He said that he had mostly good news.  He said that her urine test came back looking much better.  She still has to pass the stone, but there is no protein showing up any more.  He also said that her liver values came back with a 20% improvement, most likely in response to her being on a low fat diet.  He said that he would prefer to do a biopsy, but that he understands my not wanting to put her through an invasive procedure.  He gave me a couple of options, which included just taking a wait and see approach to see if anything changes. We discussed the options and are on the same page.  He said that he strongly suspects the issue to be benign. He said that the bile test shows that her liver is doing its job. In the meantime, I am investing in the customized diet plan being prepared by a nutritionist so that I can cook her meals, which will be low fat.  The doctor agrees that this is a good choice for Liesl, so he is sending in the required paperwork to have the diet plan prepared for her. He said that he feels she would benefit from home cooked meals.  I told him that I would just plan ahead and cook ahead for her.  I still believe in the health benefits of a meal prepared with love.  Plus she eats them with gusto!

So I feel so blessed and grateful.  I have decided that we are both going to be as healthy as possible.  I am grateful that she has a doctor who is so dedicated.  He keeps telling me what a sweet dog she is.  She will have to go back in about six weeks just to make sure that the new diet is working after we get it.  

So tonight I feel some of the weight of worry lifted off of my heart.  I am so grateful for this.  

So my last share of the evening is the new development in my trying to lay my head on Liesl's bed. Last night I went to lay my head on her bed.  She just stood there over me with her nose an inch from my cheek.  Breathing.  Hard.  It was unnerving.  How does she know to just mess with my head like that?  She is a total character.

Friday, July 19, 2013


It never fails to amaze me how really cold it can be here on the Monterey Peninsula in July.  Tonight was just so cold.  I had on a down vest when we went walking tonight.  When we got home, I had to put on the heat for a while.  If only it had been raining, then it would have been a perfect cozy night for stitching.  It will be very nice here in the next month or so.  It is always gorgeous here in September and October when we finally get our summer.   

I was finally able to get my huge project completed at work today.  I felt really good about it.  My boss said that I did a phenomenal job on it, which really made me feel good.  I worked really hard on it and actually did not sleep a couple of nights ago because I kept waking up from dreams about it.  I also kept dreaming that I was having meetings about the project.  I put a lot of pressure on myself professionally, and I just wanted to do a really good job.  Hopefully now I can put life a bit more in balance.  I need to balance with more creative pursuits.  

I am wondering how long this cold spell will last.  It was so cold last night that I felt puppy arms land on the bed, which indicated that someone furry wanted up on the bed.  This is so not the time of year that she usually wants to sleep on the bed.  However, it was cold so she wanted to snuggle.  This was such a treat.  In general, she likes to sleep on her own bed.  Last night was one of those rare treats that are out of the ordinary.  She snuggled up to my side.  I was so grateful for the unexpected gift.  I sleep really well with doggie cuddles.

Speaking of my cute doggie, I would be so grateful if you would include her in your prayers tonight and tomorrow.  She has to go in for her follow up appointment with the internal specialist.  I am praying that her little stones have passed, so that we do not have to take drastic measures.  I am also praying the doctor finds that her liver is still what he thinks it is (fatty liver) and that it is still doing its job.  He is running another test.  I just want to know that she is okay and that she will be with me a long time.  As you can tell, I just love her.  She is so special to me and I am so grateful for her and all of the fun adventures we have together.  So if you can ask for her good health in your prayers we would be so grateful.

Well, I am going to try to not worry and go to sleep.  I pray that you have a happy Saturday and that you enjoy and abundance of blessings.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is It Wednesday Already?!

Whoo boy!  It has been a really busy week at work.  I am working on a huge project and I come home tired.  I have been going to bed around 8 pm because I am just too tired to sit up.  Tonight we did not even go for a walk.  I felt like a bad puppy momma but figured that I needed to just come home and stare at the news.  I figured that I would just make it up to Liesl by playing on the floor with her a little longer than usual. She was still happy.  She is all about getting attention from her momma.

So we have a new installment of the "Poor Sleepy Momma" game where I lay my head on the bed that she does not ever want to use, but does not want me using it either.  Last night, I started laying down on the floor, saying the usual, "Poor sleepy momma."  As I was laying my head down suddenly in midair I was nose to schnauzer nose.  She met me on the way down, as though to say, "Don't even try it."  I had to laugh.  

So instead I sat up and got her toy lamb, Lambchop (yes, it looks exactly like Sherri Lewis' Lambchop. )  Lambchop is her favorite toy right now.  She has even slept with Lambchop, which is generally not her thing.  So I put Lambchop on her bed and said," Nite-nite, Lambchop."  She thought this was most excellent and got her Ladybug, and put Ladybug on the bed next to Lampchop.  I wondered if she knew how clever that was, so I thought I would see if she would do it again.  So I put Squirrel on the bed, too.  She ran over to all of her stuffed toys and performed a search using criteria that only she understands and came back with Bunny, who she put on the bed.  I got her duck and added it to the growing pile.  She added her blue octopus, then decided she was bored and walked away fake sneezing.  Yes, as part of the dramatic repertoire, Liesl fake sneezes.  

Speaking of being bored.   I am getting bored again with Lady of the Thread.  There are so many color changes that it is no fun and I put off pulling out my stitching until I can barely keep my eyes open,  I may have to do an M designs initial or something like that that is monochromatic.  I think it would be good to do until I get full on stitching mojo back.  In fact, now that I have written it, I think I will get my patterns out and see what would be a good project to do.

Well, it is 9 pm and I feel like such a party animal staying up all kinds of late.  I guess I had better get some shut eye as tomorrow there will be other accounting dragons for me to slay with my trusty Excel program and ten key.  I totally wish the old green visors were still in accounting vogue.  Guess I will just have to go with the Calvin Klein black business suit as my armor.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Long Post

Tonight I am so grateful for intuition.  I have been cooking Liesl's meals for three days now.  I am happy to report that she has not had any need for Benadryl for about 21 hours.  She had been in need of one every 5-6 hours and it did not seem to be helping much.  I am happy to report that we both had a good night of sleep last night.  Other than giving Liesl a Benadryl at 2:30 am, I slept a total of 10 hours straight.  I was awoken at 8:30 by a pair of puppy arms landing on the bed and having a big black nose up against my nose.  There was a look in her eyes that said, "Breakfast is not going to cook itself..."

The other benefit beyond the lack of itching is that Liesl is SO happy after she eats her dinner.  Tonight she had salmon, rice and broccoli.  Coincidentally, I had the same thing.  LOL  Now Liesl loves her some salmon.  I suspect she is part grizzly bear.  I think if given the opportunity, she would devour an entire salmon herself.  So she was very happy after dinner.  She came over to me with a big smile and her eyes all bright and sparkly.  

It was a pretty good day today.  I treated myself to a pedicure.  The place that I go to has the massage chairs, which are awesome.  Then the nice lady who did my pedicure did a really thorough foot massage.  It took everything I had not to fall asleep in the chair.  It was so relaxing.  I read my magazine, too.  It was like a little mini vacation.  

I also got to stitch tonight, since it was so peaceful.  The Lady of the Thread is really coming along nicely.

I also got to indulge in my other hobby tonight-genealogical research.  I have found that I really learn about myself as I learn about the people who have come before me, and basically laid that groundwork for the life that I have now.  I have shared in the past that on my mother's side of the family, most of the family came from Macclesfield, Cheshire, England.  Most were silk workers, which is somewhat funny since I have always had a real love of silk.  I love raw silk and super soft silk.  My great great grandfather came to this country with his siblings to work in the silk mills in Paterson, NJ when the silk trade moved there. 

Most recently, after working on that side of the family for the past ten years, I decided to research my father's side of the family.  I know that a family tree exists somewhere for his paternal line.  What was really interesting to me though was what I discovered about his mother's side of the family.  I had seen a census report that her family was Bohemian.  I did not realize the full scale of the Bohemian influence of the family going way back.  

What I have learned since my discovery is that Bohemia was a country that was 2/3 Czechoslovakian. However, it also contained part of Austria and Moravia. When people hear the term "Bohemian" some tend to think of gypsies.  Bohemians were actually mostly farmers.  During the middle of the 19th Century, there was a large exodus of Bohemians from Europe to Nebraska.  From 1856 to World War I there were 50,000 Bohemians in Nebraska.

My grandmother was Austrian Bohemian, however, her family also is made up of Czechoslovakian Bohemians as well as Moravian Bohemians.  I was not totally aware of these cultures in the family make up and I am absolutely fascinated.  I was really fascinated to see that my great grandmother was born on an ocean freighter in the Atlantic Ocean on the way to America.  I love to see their names-Magdelina, Frantisek, Josef, Ludmila, Vaclav, etc.  In a way, I feel like I have known these names all of my life.

So I truly honor my ancestors and think about them a lot.  It is because of the choices that they made that I have the life that I have now.  It must have been really difficult to move to an entirely new world.  When most of my entire family from both sides were immigrating to America, this country was only about a century old. I have to wonder what they thought awaited them.  It took so much courage.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It Has Been A Week...

It has been a trying week.  For the past several nights Liesl has been having some sort of allergic reaction that has had her so miserable that we both were only getting a couple of hours of sleep a night.  The Benadryl was not working.  I was going into work a total wreck.  Yesterday, I realized that it may be the special food that the vet had put her on.  The second ingredient is corn grits.  I have always avoided corn in her diet.  She was so uncomfortable that I decided I was going to cook her dinner in order to give her a clearer food and with hold the specialty food for a few days.  I made her the favorite dinner of chicken breast, rice and broccoli.  She still did not sleep well, but I felt like I had done the right thing.  

This morning I emailed her internal specialist to let him know what I was doing and to ask his guidance.  She has an appointment with him next week and he is going to be running some additional tests. (I am praying that she passed those nasty little stones.)  I told him how uncomfortable she is and how I was concerned that she was not getting restful sleep.  He said that the symptoms could also be related to hayfever, but said that we had three options for Liesl's diet.  He said that we could continue the food she is on, I could cook her food, or we could try another good food which might have the same effect as the first option.  I told him that I would rather cook for her and would use any foods that he suggests.  I also said that I think that there are tremendous health benefits from food cooked with love.  He said that he agrees.  He said that the home cooking may not be the best solution long term but we should see if she was feeling better by next week with me cooking her food.  I feel grateful for the opportunity and that I have been given a great privilege.  I am already thinking about how to incorporate more fruits and veggies into her meals.

So tonight I came home and cooked her chicken, rice and broccoli.  She was so happy.  She was giving me kisses, doing schnauzer spin turns, chasing her toys, etc.  She is still a little itchy but not as bad.  I do not know if it is due to a lack of an allergen or just because she is so darn happy to have her favorite dinner.  She was so smiley and happy.  It makes my heart happy to see her like this after seeing her so miserable.

So here is a continuation of my game of laying on her bed.  Remember how the other day she just planted her nose on my cheek?  So the other night I laid my head on her doggie bed, and said, "Oh, poor sleepy mama..."  This time she came over and put her stuffed toy lamb on my head and left it there.  LOL  She is so darn funny.  I am not sure how she got such a sophisticated sense of humor.  I am waiting a few days to see what she comes up with next.  She is a total character.

So I am hoping for rest this weekend.  I think we both need it.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Perfect Sunday

Well, today turned out to be lovely.  Yesterday was just so cold and gray.  Liesl was not even feeling it when when we took our walk at the lake.  Her little beard was just blowing all over the place and she looked at me like "Do we really have to do this?"  She was super happy when it was cuddle time on the park bench.  I was happy for the puppy warmth. It was so cold last night that I had to even put the heat on a couple of times and went to bed in a sweater and warm, cozy socks.  Brr.  

Today was nice and warm though.  The sun was out.  After church, Liesl and I took a walk around Carmel.  Normally she loves downtown Carmel, but it is so crowded with tourists right now. All of those legs must look scary and confusing when you are only a foot tall.  We ended up taking a road less traveled and got to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Carmel.  

So I have a funny Liesl story.  Schnauzers are very territorial and do not like to share their stuff.  When she was a puppy, she would get upset when I was putting her toys away.  She would try to grab the toys with an attitude that said, "But that's MINE."  LOL  Now she actually helps me put her toys in the toybasket.  It is pretty cute.  Anyway, the thing she does not like to share now is her bed in the living room.  It is filled with that bean bad type filling and she does not like it.  She will not sleep on it because she does not like the sound.  This does not mean that she will let me use it though.  When we are playing I will lay my head on it and say, "Oh, poor sleepy momma..."  This will usually bring her running and she will try to pull it away or find a way to move me along.  Last night though she came running and just put her nose on my cheek.  And kept it there.  For a really long time.  It was freaky.  Now number one, her nose is cold.  Number two, her nose is wet.  Number three, she was staring at me.  It was unnerving.  So I just started laughing.  She knew exactly what she was doing and thought she was hilarious.  

So I did it again.  I laid down on her bed and she came running.  This time she stuck her nose onto my nose and just stared me in the eye.  Okay, now she is just playing head games with me.  She thought it was funny and I just could not stop laughing at smart it was.  I do not think I will be laying on that bed any time soon.  And I will be sleeping with one eye open.  LOL

So tonight was nice.  I stitched while catching up on my episodes of Real Housewives of NJ.  I do love me some trashy TV.  RHONJ is right up there at the top of my list.  There are not many people I can admit this to in person, because they just look at me like I have a geranium growing out of my forehead.  Yes, there is really good quality programming on TV and believe me I do love PBS and any number of documentaries on history, but there is something about RHONJ, RHOBH, Duck Dynasty, etc., that is just entertaining.  So I am all caught up and made progress on my stitching.

So now the furgirl is all tucked in.  She has had her night-night cookie.  The house is quiet and I am preparing  mentally for work tomorrow.  I am grateful for the weekend.  I am grateful that it has been both cozy and fun.  I am grateful that I had enough to eat, a good book to read, and lots of doggie hugs.  Life is so beautiful.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Oh my gosh, it is cold again.  I actually had to kick on the heat this evening and put on a sweatshirt.  It is funny because yesterday was really hot.  I have a feeling I will be wearing sweaters all weekend.  

Today was a super day at work.  We got to wear jeans again.  Plus, since it was a skeleton crew today with everyone off for the holiday, they brought in lunch again for us.  We had pizza from the fancy place in town.  This pizza is a bit on the expensive side but is so delicious.  We also had caesar salad and cheesy bread.  It was such a great lunch.  It was also nice to sit and eat with my colleagues and get to know them a little better.  I work with really, really nice & super smart people.  I am so grateful to have my job.  I know a lot of people have it really tough out there, and I thank God every day that I have my job.  

I ended up having a wonderful and quiet 4th of July.  I took Liesl to get her nails trimmed.  I was surprised that the mall was open on the holiday, but they made my appointment for that day.  The mall was packed!  When I take Liesl in to get her nails cut, I also pay extra to have them clean up the pads and trim her fur around her feet since she does not especially like it when I do it.  The young lady who did the work said that while she was at it she trimmed her legs and took out a couple of small mats that were starting under her puppy arms.  I thought that it was really thoughtful of her.  I groom Liesl in stages.  One day I will use the clippers to shave her back and head.  Another day I will trim her face.  Another I will trim her skirt and legs. I do it this way because Liesl has a limit on her patience.  I do not want to put either of us through it when she starts losing that patience.  So I do it in small stages over a month's time.  

I started a project yesterday.  I am doing an overhaul of my craft room.  I did a good cleaning of it and decided that it is time to purge some stuff.  Again, I am doing it in stages.  Tomorrow I am going to go through the closet in there which I use for overflow.  It is time to get rid of the dresses that I have not worn in 20 years.  Then I will have to go through some books and some old craft supplies that may not be good anymore.  I figure that by getting rid of some of this stuff I can help someone else and also make a space for more good things to come into my life.  I am thinking that I may sell some of my cross stitch stash, too.  There are just some things I will never stitch and I would like to see them go to a home where someone else may enjoy them more.  So stay tuned...

We made it through the evening of the 4th of July.  Fireworks are legal in my town.  Oh, my gosh, it was ridiculous how long they went on and how loud they were.  I know that fireworks can be terrifying for dogs, so I refuse to let Liesl be home by herself in the evening of the 4th of July.  She did pretty well.  In general, she is a very secure and mellow little dog.  She sleeps through thunder storms and general fireworks throughout the year.  Last night though, we were inundated.  It started around 8:30 pm.  When it started, she did not pay it any attention.  But then it was unrelenting.  She got up on the sofa, plastered herself to my leg, and tucked her rear legs behind me.  I just kept my hand on her and told her it would be okay.  She tried to go to sleep.

Around 9, I saw that my neighbors across the street had moved their big party outside.  I figured this would be a good time to vacate my living room at the front of the house.  I made sure the windows were closed and went into my bedroom at the back of the house.  Liesl is pretty independent and usually likes to sleep in her own bed.  She was altogether too happy to lie down on my bed with me.  I just kept my hand on her back while I read my book.  She seemed okay with this.  We both were asleep by 10 pm despite the noise.  Then we were both awakened at 12:30 am by the booms from fireworks that were shaking the house.  It was rough on those of us who had to work today.  

So tonight I really appreciate the quiet.  Guess I will go to sleep so that I can work on my clean and purge of my craftroom tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


It is super quiet tonight.  We are back to our foggy, cool weather, which is nice. It made for a nice evening of playing with the fur girl and stitching.  I am so looking forward to the holiday and being able to stitch and have some down time.  I told Liesl that I am off after tomorrow and she just looked at me with an expression that said, "Are there cookies involved?"

Tomorrow is going to be a good day at work.  It is jeans day!  Whoohoo!  No business suit!  I made sure to put nice nail polish on my toesies so that I can wear super cute sandal wedgies with my jeans.  I am the Senior Accountant for my company and today the CFO asked me if I was going to wear jeans tomorrow.  I said, "Are you kidding, I have been planning my outfit all week!"  In addition, my company is buying us all lunch tomorrow from a local taco place so I do not have to pack my lunch either.  Other than the fact that I have to do accounting all day, it should be awesome!  (Actually I love accounting.)  

Tonight was really nice.  I did stitch for a while.  I watched Deadliest Catch, too.  Sadly, I think the show has jumped the shark.  There used to be more of a sense of humanity to it, back when Phil was still alive.  Now the captains and crews just seem to be a bunch of bullies.  A lot of it is just mean spirited and it hurts my stomach to watch.  But I digress.  I stitched and promised myself that I would stay up late tomorrow night stitching.  I was telling myself that I am going to stay up late enough to watch Craig  Ferguson, whose show makes me laugh out loud, particularly when he has the puppets talking to the camera.  I am talking big, knowing full well that I will probably only make it to about 9:30.  Especially after my jeans wearing, yummy taco eating, accounting fun filled day.  

So having stayed up all the way to 9:30 tonight, it is probably best that I say good night.  There are soft puppy snores happening and my eyelids are getting heavy.  I need to say my prayers of thanksgiving for God's grace and love.  He has blessed me with so many things that fill my life with joy.  I will count those blessings as I fall off to sleep.  Life is beautiful.