River’s Research

I’m working on a blog post on how dog friendly our area is and seeing if it’s something suitable for some of our travel partners. I’m trying to photograph in RAW, but I don’t fully understand what I’m doing.

This requires research. I need an assistant. Here’s a cute one. I took this with my iphone X. It takes a pretty good picture.

Sugar Hollow in Bristol, Virginia is our romping grounds, but I decided to check out Bark Park which is part of Robinette Park in Bristol, Tennessee.

Cutest signage!

There are two areas. One is for large dogs..

And then there is an area for smaller dogs…

That completed our research for today.


Buying a Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant From Amazon

I love “real” houseplants. I have philodendron plants in every room plus a few others that I don’t even know the name of.

This is a good opportunity to show off my recent quilt. I use any opportunity. Mike made a little quilt rack for me a few years ago, so I opted to display my “Quilt of Many Colors” and I love the philodendron that accompanies it!

Okay…back to my original train of thought…one plant I adore is the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. Here’s the one that I have.

The Fiddle Leaf Fig is a workhorse. It likes moderate light and doesn’t mind getting dry. I water mine about every ten days. Two years ago, I posted on Facebook “Does anyone know who sells Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants in the Tri-Cities?” I learned that Evergreen in Kingsport occasionally gets them in. I visited Evergreen, but there was not a Fiddle Leaf Fig to be found, so I requested they call me when they got some in. I reminded them in a message on Facebook. Finally, one day they called. I hurried over to Kingsport to get my plant; and when I got there, there was some mistake. There was no Fiddle Leaf Fig. It either was sold or never was there to begin with and someone made a mistake. I left with a few marigolds or something and a frown.

On the way home, I started thinking about how Amazon sells everything else, so why wouldn’t they sell live plants? I will say that my desire to do all things local cringed a little, but my want of that plant crushed any shame. I went home–and sure enough, for $29 plus tax but still with free Prime shipping–I could own a mail order Fiddle Leaf Fig. That was July of 2017 and my plant arrived in a box. I transplanted it and you now can see it in the above picture. It has been a huge success.

It got so tall it didn’t look good in the little nook I had it in, so I moved it to its current location, but I then realized I needed another Fiddle Leaf Fig to take its place.

I’m sharing this because I wonder if there are other places in rural America that for whatever reason, places do not stock Fiddle Leaf Figs. In other cities, they are at Home Depot, but not here. So…I want to show you how easy it was to purchase and receive these plants via Amazon. I returned to my Amazon account and found my old invoice and just clicked reorder. The price remained $29. I was happy about that.

There is one step I failed to mention above. I waited until I knew we’d have five days of warmer spring weather since this is a live plant. Warm weather started this week, so I placed my order. It arrived today in a box. I received a text saying it would be here, and the UPS man was so careful as he handed it to me since he knew it was a plant. I appreciate that! One of the great things about living in a small community is that we know one another, and he was careful because he’s a good employee and he knows us — if not by name then by address and face. Yay UPS!

I opened the top of the box and peeked in…she was all in there in a little nest.

Pulled this little lady out and here she is standing in her brown wrapper. I think of this as her bathrobe.

Mike helped me unwrap her. We moved her outside since she was dropping a little dirt. She is a beauty….absolutely gorgeous. I’m so happy. I have to find her a pretty pot to live in, but I don’t think I even need to repot her at this time. She’s not root bound.

This wraps up my second–and very positive–Amazon Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree buying experience. I’m going to go to Amazon and write a good review. It’s well deserved. While it’s always best to buy local, sometimes you can’t. When you can’t, Amazon and Amazon Prime are a great resource.

I’m going to go hug my plant!


Mendota Cemetery Quilt “Mendota Crossroads” 031219

We started on the Mendota Cemetery Quilt about eight weeks ago. We named it Mendota Crossroads because of all of the fabric crossing back and forth. The majority of the fabric was donated by local quilter Chris Schanzenbach; my sister’s friend, Judy Shannon; and a few pieces from a friend of mine, Edwina Proctor, in Naples Florida.

The fabrics used are blues, reds, green, golds and browns and muslin. Lots of strips sewn together followed by lots of cutting with the rotary cutter. Those rotary cutters are ‘the thang!”


The blue really pops when the quilt is all laid out. We started laying the red blocks and the muslin squares. Doing this is easier when done on hardwood as you have a straight ruler of sorts to work with.

Added a few more pieces here…here’s where it started coming to life.

Below is where we ended it. This is the center of the quilt. We are swapping colors around to ensure that we do not have a lot of “like-minded” colors grouping together. Lots of foot pushing during this phase as we use our feet and toes to move the blocks! Again, I am loving how the blue really pops. I like bold colors.

So that is where we are on this March day. After this picture was made–plus a few more shifts of color– the diagonal rows were all pinned and the sewing began. It’s going to be a beauty.


The Evolving Dining Room Hutch

I do not know of the exact year when Mike and I bought our first “real” furniture — a kitchen table with six chairs and a hutch. We lived in Franklin, Tennessee and desperately needed a new kitchen table but we did not want to make the expenditure until we had to. Mike sat in a chair one day and it broke. We went furniture shopping and soon thereafter, our new kitchen table, six chairs, and hutch–all manufactured by Pennsylvania House–were delivered. I don’t have a picture of it, but it was pine and I thought we were really going places!

Pine is a soft wood and it scratches fairly easy. We moved two more times in Franklin after the furniture was purchased and then we moved a whole bunch of times after that. Honestly, I kind of miss moving sometimes as I never really got a house filthy before we sold it. Crash bang boom on about ten moving vans and the furniture was seeing some real wear. In 2000, in Virginia, the table and chairs went to Michael’s son, Aaron, and they are now either with his stepon or ex-wife or on a curb somewhere. I have no idea and don’t really care. However, I kept the hutch and had it painted with a crackled finish along with vines, flowers, a gray cat and a honeybee…all things I loved then and still love today.

So just to summarize, when we were young we bought a new hutch. We moved it at middle age and had it crackled to look old. Now it is old and looks too old. Are we ever satisfied? The exterior has held up pretty well, but the inside has darkened to a very unattractive yellow brown. Here’s what it looked like last week.

I’m having a No Spend January so I didn’t want to spend any money but I did find a quart of paint in Walmart on sale for $5. It looked to be the right color (the one in the swipe.) I bought it in spite of my No Spend vow. The timing is right with the cold weather to try and improve this hutch–or move it to the garage and stack paint cans in it. I am not ready to do that yet.

And so the painting began. Three coats. Look how much lighter. These plates are white and the background doesn’t clash with them any more. It’s hard to get a good picture because if I turn on the light inside the hutch, I get a yellow glow that doesn’t really exist.

The glasses below show how “cleaned up” the interior of the hutch now is.

I put in this preserved boxwood wreath I had a Christmas to give some color since I’m placing all of my white china in the hutch. It has a yellow cast since I have the interior light on inside of the hutch. I’m going to replace that bulb with a LED that has a nicer appearance.

This room has terra cotta, red, purple, white green and some deep orange. I’d like to do a wall display of antique plates in some of those colors; but, unfortunately, I only have one of the plates! I have a lot of projects that are like that…they are always in progress! While I’ll continue to look for those plates, I wanted to display the one green transfer plate I do have.

So the light isn’t great, but here it is. I’m very happy with it. Now, I’ll start organizing the inside of the bottom of the hutch so that it is not crazy stuffed and jumbled up!

Now that I look at it, it may want new knobs as well!!


My No Spend January and Some Random Things

For years, I’ve read about No Spend January.   After ending up in both November and December with less money than anticipated at the end of the month, I realized that there’s a “leak” or a “hole” in my wallet!      I decided to embark on a No Spend January.   I have an ambitious savings plan for the next 24 months as I’m going to redo my kitchen plus we have a spring vacation; a possible fall vacation; and a weekend get away with my sister planned and I don’t want to look at a bunch of $20 receipts for things that I have nothing to show for while sitting at home.    Starting off January in a positive way sets the tone for the year.  If careful, I can have those nice vacations, contribute to my ambitious savings plan, and still enjoy a lot of wonderful, enriching activities.     I want to be more purposeful in how I spend money and time.

Here’s something funny though that I should add…I was explaining all of this to Mike’s son and he said “hmm…are you and dad okay?  Do you need some money?”   I didn’t realize how I must have sounded.   I assured  him we are fine, but why not take the time to be purposeful and live well vs. just wasting money?   I choose to live well–but for less.

Here’s some things that have been so easy.

I put aside credit card purchases and pay cash (checks and cash) for everything and refrain from buying when I have a “want” vs. a “need.”    Of course, there will be times I give in to the “wants” but not in January and hopefully not as often during the remainder of the year.   While we always pay our credit cards off at the end of the month, we have not accounted for the charges as closely as we should while the month is happening.   If we did, I would not have been shocked in November and December!   By changing how we pay for our purchases, we become more mindful.    How am I doing on Day 7?  So so.  I had a little slip up last night at Target in an effort to buy and save at the same time.    More about how that came about later.

We are still doing things…although in some areas not as much.  We did go to the movies today — we go to the matinee since we’re retired and we can!  $9 for two people, and we had the entire theater to ourselves.   I could play on my phone during the previews that I don’t like as I wasn’t bothering anyone!

The first thing I did on January 1 was look at those charges on my credit card that are automatic.

  • Audible for $14.95 per month.  Do I enjoy it that much?  I do enjoy Audible, but the Washington County Public Library has audio books I can download on my smart phone for free or I can pick up a book on CD at the Mendota Branch (see below).    I currently have the Audible membership paused for 90 days. I’ll decide what to do with it later.  At this time, I think I will cancel it.   Meanwhile, I don’t need to be bored…
  • Bristol Herald Courier.   I love the newspaper, but in Mendota, we can’t get it on a timely basis.   Apparently it is hard to find a carrier out here, and if the post office is used for the paper, we get it one–or even two days–late.  At $14.95 per month with my news being old,  I discontinued it.    I have carefully considered the online version but I prefer to handle and touch the newspapers and I like to reuse them in the garden.    I may revisit the online version at some point.  Unsure.

There are still several recurring charges on my personal credit card that will remain, but they are for insurance — pet insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, AFLAC, etc.    I have them on the credit card because I earn points, and I pay them off monthly.   During a year, I receive about $250 in gift cards — I typically get Home Depot, TJMaxx,  Pottery Barn and Bed Bath & Beyond gift cards.  I love them all but I think Pottery Barn is my favorite.  Pottery Barn has the nicest, generously sized duvet covers and when they come on  sale; that is when I pull out the gift cards.   Duvet covers that are washable are very handy when you have pets.   I’ve either completely purchased or subsidized the purchase of all of my Pottery Barn bedding–and I have a lot–and all my Pottery Barn throw pillow covers.

Here’s one which is currently packed away.  It went on sale and I bought it for free with my gift card.

I wasn’t even aware of the points for a number of years, and when I discovered them, I gave everyone gift cards for Christmas.  Now, I’m greedy with them–they are real dollar stretchers.

  • Eating out.   Mike sometimes says “it’s cheaper to eat out then to cook at home.”   Actually, he’s wrong.  I will agree that it’s more fun!  It’s easier.  In our case, it  might even taste better.   However, eating out means we go to town (gas).  It means we leave a tip.    We can eat a little cheaper with fast foot such as Pals, McDonalds, etc, but the end result of that is weight gain (please pass the carbs) plus no savings in doing so.   I’m not a great cook but I am an adequate cook; and when I look at past receipts, I see that we are literally eating up our money yet spending a large amount on groceries.  Go figure.

But we do still eat out.   We like to eat at Chili’s and we are there at least once per week.   So…when Chili’s has the occasional “buy a $50 Chili’s gift card and get a $20 gift card free,”  I am in.    We ate at Chili’s last week for about $6 for both of us.  Most of that was tip as I had two $10 gift cards that were free.   All year long, they have the buy a $50 gift card and get a $10 gift card free, so we always are buying gift cards.   If we are going to eat there, we might as well take advantage of those $10 gift cards that are free.

Like with audio books, use the library.   Check out my magazines and books vs. buying them.  This book actually relates to what I’m doing right now…being less of a consumer…being more thoughtful in my purchases.  Smelling those roses.

Have you ever laid aside a couple of projects and started another one just because it got your attention?   I have.  Many times.   I call those UFOs (unfinished objects).    I’m working through UFOs.

I made my first two quilt tops in 2018 and I have a lot of small pieces left.  I cut them into 9″ squares and I’m making a scrap quilt.    River loves to move them around when I’m working.    He’s so precious.

It’ll get rid of those scraps and it will be something someone will enjoy.    It’s my “sister” quilt as I am making it for my sister, Pat.  She looks odd each time I say that because she hates being indebted (she knows she’s not but still…) and it’s not her all-time favorite quilt–she eyes the hot mess quilt but it’s a twin and she needs a queen.

Here’s the hot mess…just waiting to be bound.

In December, I did buy some fabric to accompany my scrap quilt for Pat, and it’s how I came upon the idea of giving her the quilt.  She loves to sew, and look at what the alternate squares of the quilt say…

TV..we’re watching more Amazon Prime and going to the movies less.    Living in the country, even though I try and shop local, I still use Amazon Prime a lot.   It’s a must for getting things that I can’t get locally (outside of Bristol/Kingsport/Abingdon).    Prime has lots of shows and movies we enjoy.   We just had not noticed them before except for the show Justified which we binge-watched last year.

And speaking of Amazon, there’s been a couple of time I’ve been invited to write a review for a product or service that I’ve used.     If the review was selected, I received a $20 gift card which I’ve converted to Amazon.   I thought it sounded too good to be true, but I’ve written three reviews; two of the reviews were accepted and I have $40 in my Amazon account.  Go figure.  I’ll use that free money for something that comes up as a need–or a want–in the next 6-8 weeks.  I’ve actually got my eye on something but I’m $17 short.  Maybe another review will come through!!

I’ve got a pantry to clean…projects to work on that cost nothing but need to be done.  I’ve got the inside of a hutch that needs painted.  All of those are coming up in the next few weeks.  When I get up in the morning and look around and realize that  going somewhere is not an option, I start thinking of what else can be done.  My productivity increases.

But it’s not been perfect. There is that trip to Target.   I realized that I do not have more than 6-8 rolls of paper towels in the garage this week.  No way!!    For some crazy reason, I like to have a lot of those on hand.   I’ve wondered if other people like to have toilet paper and paper towels on hand like I do.    Then..I saw where Target had the “Spend $50 on household items and get a $15 gift card” and “Spend $15 on skincare and get a $5 gift card.”    I picked out what I wanted for my $50 — paper towels, toilet paper, dish detergent and SOS pads.  I picked out what I wanted for my $15.   I went to Coupons.com and got a few coupons.  I went on my Target ap and found any Cartwheel discounts and coupons.   I used my Red Card for an additional 5%.  I also bought catfood because I needed it.   I left spending $102 with tax but I had $20 in gift cards and all stuff that I need or will need.  I could have turned around and used the gift cards then if I’d broke up the order and spent about $82, but I hold onto them.  So far, with these cards, Mike and I bought for a child at Christmas (last year),  bought several Christmas decor items after Christmas for the following year, etc.   They come in very useful, and I typically get about $200 in gift cards throughout the year–I buy all my paper towels and toilet paper for Adventure Mendota at Target so I accelerate the amount of gift cards in the summer months.    It’s really fun the day I pull them out and pay nothing for approximately  $200 in purchases.    I feel like a thief!! The important thing is that I cannot charge any purchases at Target.  I have to pay for them as the Red Card I have  is a debit card–not a credit card.

Something else…  If you have ever seen Bellasforward advertise their Hallmark stuff, they have very nice pictures and they have sales that pop up on Instagram and Facebook.   They also have free shipping if you buy XX amount.  Here’s the warning.  The quality is okay but it’s not as nice as pictured; and if they tell you 14-16 days for shipping, plan on 28-30.   It is from China and I would not order from them again.    I ordered items which should have arrived just before Christmas.  They arrived today.   Sigh.  I’ll save them for next year’s gifts.  Here’s the picture in the ad.  It looks soft and lush with a rich, deep red.  

Here’s what I got when it finally arrived.   I paid $19.99 for that blanket and thought it was a bargain as it said it was 60% off.    Not so much.   I’m a little disappointed.  The socks are cute though.  I’ll save them for next Christmas.

Spending less, eating out less, using my gift cards wisely, being creative, being resourceful…all of these will help me meet my savings goal.  However, there’s the occasional misstep.   Sometimes no matter how hard you want to think you’ve scored a good deal, it’s just not.


Some Upsides of Retirement + That Quilt Again!!!

This fall in Mendota has been cold.  Let me digress…it did not start off cold.  It started off hot.  Then…about two weeks ago, it turned cold.   Where are those typically unseasonally warm November days in Southwest Virginia where the temperatures reach 70 degrees?  I need to wash the mildew off of our fence and house.  We do this after we experience a heavy frost which kills off the bugs, but we haven’t been able to catch a warm day.

I’m not complaining.   We are retired, and we don’t really have to go out except to walk River.   During the summer, I work hard for the 90-100 days we operate Adventure Mendota, but during the off season, it’s a different schedule.

Here’s Tuesday.   “What do you want to do today?” asks Mike.   Me, “I dunno.  Maybe go see that Queen movie (Bohemian Rhapsody). ”   We did.  It was a trip back in time.  I remember hearing Queen in my junior year in high school from Lisa Benfield’s radio in her bedroom.  WQUT!!   On Friday…”What do you want to do today?” asks Mike.   Me, “How ’bout another movie?”  And so we did. We went to see Instant Family which was also good.

It is fun to have your days planned by the marching of what you want to do vs. what you have to do.  We still have to clean house, get groceries, cook, etc. but there is now time for things that interest us vs. things that we just have to do because it’s what we do.

Quilting.   I’ve been working on my fall quilt again.  I’m envisioning it on the bed now.    Linen/burlap Euro shams, mermaid pillow shams (not actual mermaids, but long flowing ruffled linen), throw pillows, a pretty duvet and my quilt.  But it is so darn big.  Here’s where I am out of about 80 squares…I have gotten about 15 done.

Taking pictures help me keep the quilt on track.  When I see the above picture, I realize I need more blues and green and some lighter print fabrics.

So that will be my marching orders for tomorrow.   Get more fabric.








Broken Dishes Fall Quilt

I was on Pinterest and I found this beautiful quilt.   The pattern is called “broken dishes” and the quilter said she made it to get rid of her stash.  She had a heck of a stash!!  Her site is called saneandcrazyblogspot.com      It’s a nice quilting site.  She’s very creative.

 I fell in love with all those fall colors, and best of all, it’s a bunch of triangles.   I can’t sew much but I can sew triangles!    I have a goal of making 10 blocks per week.   With a little luck,  I will have two quilt tops made by the end of the year!     My other one is out for quilting.  Here it is (below).  It’s actually just a bunch of triangles.

Here’s my first two blocks of this current quilt in a very bad picture (below).  They look lonely, but you have to start somewhere, right???     I’m trying to have the discipline to have a little pattern vs. just sewing a bunch of triangles in a row.    I took the bad picture with my ipad on the floor late at night.  I’m not going to sew any of these blocks together until I have all of them finished, and then I’ll arrange them for the best color grouping.   I just have 70 more of these to go.   And…even though I’ve only done two, I’ve already made a mistake.  The one on the left should not have the same fabric in all four corners.  Now…am I going to change it?  I don’t know..I’m not going to fix it until the end.  If it’s not real noticeable., I’ll leave it or maybe I’ll place it in a corner and I’ll make three others like it.   Sort of like…”oh look…she’s a genius…she planned this.”

The table looks like this.

And this….

My interest in making a quilt started in Cary, North Carolina.   The quilt shop is no longer there.  It may now be called the Cary Quilting Company, but I’m not certain if it’s the same place.  Cary has changed so much since we lived there.   At any rate, a friend and  I went twice to a quilting class.  We dropped off after flying geese.  It just wasn’t us.  They did everything by hand and we were intimidated.  These were die-hard hand quilters and we just wanted to have a quilt.    I’ve been to a lot of quilting classes since then, and I’ve never stayed for more than one or two classes.   Obviously, I have a commitment problem.   But now there is You Tube, and I can make a “layer cake” with the best of them!   It’s not really a cake.  It’s a cutting procedure.   Throwing around these quilting terms makes it all real! 

I’m blogging about this because it helps me with my commitment problem!  If I tell you I am doing it, I’m more likely to do it!! 


Recovered Dining Room Chairs

When you are retired and have a little time or maybe a lot of time, it’s so easy just to drift.  Days can go by and nothing gets done.   I’m trying to live more purposefully — setting goals and doing them.   My goals are pretty achievable but even so, they  take effort.    One was recovering my dining room chairs.

They are finally done.   Mike actually did them but I take full credit as I pushed him along.   Those Queen Ann style chairs are not in style.  They probably won’t be again for a long time, but I don’t care.  I actually am quite fond of them!

So this is off my list.

Some good things from today:

  • Attended Washington County Chamber meeting.  Great program by Major Ashbrook and Sheriff Newman of the Washington County Sheriff’s office.
  • I am taking my quilt next Friday to turn over to the long arm quilt person, but I am currently organizing and working on my stash of fabric.   Today I cut a lot of 7 inch squares.  I’m planning on starting a small quilt throw for the bedroom in the coming weeks.  I don’t have to buy any fabric as I have so much left over from my quilt.

  • Last, I’m so thrilled I have slip covers.    The cats spewed on TWO chairs.  Instead of getting aggravated at them, I’m just thankful that I can wash these and put them right back on.  Yay!!  It’s all about the perception.    But…as I go to bed tonight, I’ve got  chairs that will need to be put back together.  Here’s how they currently look:

Yep…I’m thankful.  Maybe not overly thankful but still thankful!  






From March of 2018 until August 13, 2018, folks driving to and from Mendota saw a little dog if they came and went on Nordyke Road.  The little dog was so cute.  It was hard to imagine that it did not have a home, but it did not.  For a bit, Creed Dye fed the little dog, and I believe he called it Brownie.    Unfortunately, Creed died on June 12.  He was 96.   Creed’s neighbor Sherry Fleenor attempted to feed the little dog when she saw it.  The trouble was that it would not allow itself to be touched.  Skittish was the word I  kept hearing.      I tried repeatedly to catch it; and began, along with many others, giving it food.    If I had went to Chick-Filet for the Adventure Mendota staff, I’d be short one chicken sandwich when I arrived at base camp, as I’d leave it for the dog if I saw it along the road.

Its eyes spoke to many of us, and we all wanted to catch it and give it a better life.  I let it be known via Facebook that should anyone catch the little dog, I would take it.    Whatever anyone has heard about Mike and me, one thing that can be said is that we take good care of our animals, so I hoped they’d respond. I just knew the dog was meant for me.  As the summer progressed, the dog grew thinner.  It got ticks on it.  I gave up and started leaving Mendota from another direction just so I would not have the heartbreak of seeing the little dog.

On August 13, a neighbor named Marilyn borrowed a humane trap from Happy Tails;  and lo and behold, she caught the little dog!  She took it to Broadwater Animal Hospital for a flea treatment, de-worming and a rabies vaccine.   She learned the dog was a female.    Then..she called me.  “Are you the person who said they’d take the little dog on Nordyke?”   I replied yes!!  This little girl blew in like a hurricane on the back of Marilyn’s truck.

Here is the wonderful Marilyn who saved her.  When the little dog arrived, she ate a rotisserie chicken, a doggy ice cream and two bowls of Blue Buffalo kibbles.  She was very hungry.

We knew nothing about the little dog so we placed her in a 20 x 18 enclosure and tarped it for shade and bedded it with fresh straw.    Marilyn’s partner Jeff, with help from Mike,  cut a hole in the barn and we placed a large cage inside so that she could go into the barn during the evening or if she wanted to hide.   We ran a fan out to keep it cool and placed two chairs inside so that I could go spend time with her and attempt to bond so that we could take her to my vet and move her into the house.   I made 6-8 trips out there each day with ice water, treats, etc.

Marilyn, my sister, my niece’s daughter, Mike, Gerald and Nancy and others would slip into the enclosure and read and talk to the dog.   A special friend who had been involved in her capture named Peggy came and visited.   The little dog loved this time with all of her new friends and enjoyed the treats.   She’d climb all over Marilyn and me nibbling on chicken that we’d place on our chests, legs, stomachs, etc.

I thought of the lesson I was learning from this little dog.  I wanted her to trust me because I had such good plans for her.   Does that sound familiar?

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I started thinking of her as my Jeremiah dog.   How could I expect her to trust me if I did not thoroughly  trust in God myself.    I was certain she and I would be learning trust together.

I thought she’d run away. She never attempted.   I started to call her Miss Minnie,  a shortened version of Miss Mendota, but her name became MiMi and it stuck.

MiMi was about four years old.  Her teeth were worn down from chewing on something.  We surmised she may have been tied up at one time.   I hope not.    She weighed about 35 pounds.

Marilyn and I fell completely in love with MiMi.   Mike was reserved until he could have a better understanding of how she and River would do.   Mike brought River out to the enclosure to test the waters. They were fine!     Mimi was scheduled for her surgery just over three weeks from the day that we got her.   We had wanted to see if we could leash her; then my vet was on vacation, etc.   During all of this time, she never allowed me to pet her unless I cornered her although she did show affection in allowing us to touch her nose, wagging her tail when she saw us, etc.

We could not leash her but we could not wait for that to happen to get her to the vet.   I wanted her out of that enclosure and into the house.   I bought a crate at Pet Smart and started putting bits of chicken in it to lure her in.   We did this for a few days and then, on surgery day, Marilyn popped her bottom in the crate as she went in for the chicken.   She went for her spay surgery and to possibly address her teats which hung down like pears.  The surgery was difficult.  Mimi had tumors in/surrounding her little breasts and infection surrounding the tumors.    We determined not to send the tumors off for a biopsy as, with her mental state of not allowing us to touch or leash her–how would I transport her back and forth for chemo if it were cancer?     Dr. Dotson suggested waiting, and if it was cancer, it would return and by that time, we’d probably have MiMi tamed enough to be much easier to transport.  So..that was our game plan.   She came home.  Our first night we slept in the garage; however, by the second night, MiMi did not want to sleep in the garage.  I believe she was claustrophobic.   Fortunately, the next morning, she walked into the house. She was feeling much better and she liked the house.   She moved in with complete assurance.   She slept near River and stayed near him.  Here they are beside my bed.

She started behaving more like a pet than the “little Nordyke dog” that had ran the road for six months.   We caught her surfing the counter.  We didn’t correct her.  We wanted no set backs on her rising self confidence.   In fact, we thought it was  hilarious.

Marilyn used the name “velcro dog” to describe the relationship MiMi and I were developing as she stayed right with me.   I was so pleased.  Because so many people had seen  MiMi on Nordyke, I kept everyone updated on her progress on Facebook.   It was turning out to be a “feel good” story, and we were all enjoying it.

However, two weeks after the surgery, she asked to go outside and she hid;  Mike went to check on her and found blood seeping from one of her teats.  It was a Wednesday.  I texted Dr. Dotson immediately and he told me to bring her in.    He performed surgery the next morning.  Following her surgery, which was comprised of a complete mastectomy and areas which had mastitis/continued infection, he was cautiously optimistic–only because she had survived the surgery.  However, when I asked when she’d be coming home, he said it would not be until after the weekend.  I was crestfallen.   I stayed by the phone and texted back and forth with worried him to death him all weekend.  There was a neighborhood barbecue at my friend’s house.   I did not want to go while MiMi was in danger.   I was restless all weekend waiting.

I went to see her. In typical MiMi fashion she did not want to be touched and she ignored me.   She was mad at me.  I made this little update for everyone.   At the time, I thought my little one would be coming home and this was just part of her recovery.

On Monday, I spoke with Dr. Dotson and we talked about Thursday as a potential “go home” day.  He had been concerned on Saturday because she wasn’t eating, and then she seemed to get her appetite back.    We were both excited.   She had had a bowel movement and she was sitting on the chair in Dr. Dotson’s office.   Progress!  We thought MiMi would definitely be coming home soon!

However,  Tuesday, things didn’t go well.  She quit eating.   He took some blood and sent it off to determine what was amiss.  He did x-rays.  His hope was it was the medication which seemed possible.

On Wednesday I visited and I asked Marilyn to come as well.  MiMi did not look well.  She allowed me to pet her.    Her ears were so soft.  I snuggled and kissed her.  She allowed it.   This was not her normal nature.

The next morning, Dr. Dotson called early.  MiMi had died during the night.   He asked to do an autopsy and I agreed; however, when he got the bloodwork, he discovered what had occurred — acute rental failure.  Her kidneys shut down.  He was distraught.  I was heartbroken.  He had kept her in his office the entire time she had been there, and he told me how he had become attached to her as she walked about his office and sniffed of him.

I have had several dogs that I’ve loved completely.   They’ve been nothing but joy for me. They lived to be 14, 15 and 16.  They lived such good lives.   When they passed, I grieved, but nothing like the feeling of loss I had for MiMi.   They lived so well, yet she didn’t have a chance.    I had so wanted to give MiMi this kind of life — one of no worries, of boundless love, lots of food, etc.   I wanted to gain her trust and love.   It was not meant to be.

I had MiMi cremated, and yesterday I brought her remains home.    I wanted her to live in the house with me and she will until such time that Mike or I go, whomever goes first.  She will be buried with one of us.

I am so grateful for the friends that reached out to me following MiMi’s death.   A few sent flowers and this meant so much.   Their kind words underscored MiMi’s importance in my life.   It underscored that she was more than “just that Nordyke dog.”   She was valuable.  She was precious.  She had purpose.

MiMi. Loved and cherished by me and so many others during the time she was with us.   August 13, 2018 – October 4, 2018.

And finally…







What Is Up With Joanne’s Shipping?

I am recovering the dining room chairs.  I had planned to paint the dining room.  It’s currently terra cotta and I was thinking vanilla cream.  Then…that seemed like too much work.  I’ve also read that terra cotta is coming back!!   However, it still needs some attention.   Mike and  had recovered the chairs with whatever we had on hand last year.  It was yucky.   I wasn’t blogging then so I don’t have any pictures.  Basically it was a crawly yellow fabric that kept stretching after we put it on the chairs.

When Joanne’s Fabric opened in Kingsport I saw this fabric and really liked it.


I like all those colors!  Cheerful!  I covered four of the chairs.  I started to paint the chairs as well, but again, I am too lazy.


It brought some life back into that old chair, didn’t it?

Here’s the thing…to keep from being all matchy matchy, I decided to cover two of the chairs in a complementary fabric.    I only needed one yard, and I ordered it online as it is not in the store.   Just one yard, mind you, and it came in a box this size.  Sorry for the blurry picture.


Why did it take a box that big to send one small yard of fabric, that folded up, looks like this?  It’s irksome because when I am redoing things in my house vs. buying new, I feel as if I’m doing the right thing — I’m not being such a consumer; I’m being thoughtful about how I can reuse things; and I’m not sending things that are perfectly useful to a landfill.


It is no stinking wonder we have so much garbage!   That would have fit into an envelope and it could have been left in my mailbox instead of out in the rain.

Just weird.  I do like my fabric though!


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