Monday, September 28, 2015

Finite lives


Really just life in general. Both Scott and I have been thinking along the same lines lately. Is it because Scott just turned 59 and I'm only a couple months away from that same age? Almost 60! That's a grandparent's age. How does Christy Brinkley look so good at 61?? Exercise? Plastic Surgery? Good genes? All of the above?
Admittedly, I've let myself go since I turned 50. From the age of 14 to 50, I watched and thought about everything I ate. I exercised regularly and kept my weight down.  At 50, I was tired of it. No exercising, eating what I want and now 50 extra pounds later, I'm thinking about how long I have to live. We're at the age where we look at the obituaries hoping they are full of "old" people, meaning high 80's and older.

I see I am falling into the mindset of my late Father in Law. He went to the same diner for years to have coffee and breakfast in the morning with his buddies. Eventually one by one, his buddies died off. I see that now with acquaintances of mine. A rescue friend's (only known via email and rescue) husband recently died of brain cancer. I followed the fight via Facebook. Young family. Why? I just can't believe that a God has this "special plan". I believe we are just worker ants going about our lives, some trying to do good, others not. If we happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, we are crushed by a giant foot or swatted like a fly...and we're gone.
Lazy afternoon on hammock reading
In proofing this post, I watched this video again. Since I've seen it so many times and have actually done this event twice daily for years, I listened to the TV in the background. At the very out of the video, you can hear the guy on the TV say..."and everyone gets what they want!". How appropriate.

It's been "only" a little over a month since my last blog post. In that time, my senior Setter Sassy has been adopted and on the same day I picked up another dog to foster. Meet Bell. She is an 18 month "PointSetter", part Pointer part Setter. She was given up because she was too rambunctious for the kids. I'm thinking, uh oh, we're in for a wild child.
Bell lying near foster Mom
What a pleasant surprise Bell was. She is house trained, calm, a cuddlebug, gets along wonderfully with our dogs, obedient. Rambunctious? I don't think so. Her only negatives...she will jump on us once in awhile, but it is a gentle jump and she has a wicked whip of a tail wag. Both of these negatives could be somewhat dangerous for a very young child.
She has been a joy to have and we could have easily adopted her known as "foster failure", but we have too many dogs of our own already.
I drove to Vienna, IL to meet Bell's adopters. They have a Gordon Setter mix who is looking for a playmate and Bell is just the dog to fill that need.

Bell was very attached to me. No matter where I went Bell had to follow. No matter how cozy she was lying on a dog bed, if I left, she would follow. Even while eating dinner, if I left the room, she would leave her dinner to be with me. Sorry Bell, there was just no more room for another dog in our already crowded king sized bed.

I've already been asked to take in another Setter needing help. Have YOU ever considered fostering? It can break your heart when they leave, but if you don't foster, that dog in need may be killed at the shelter because no one would help. I believe it is selfish to say, "it would hurt too much to let them go". Hmmm, well then, that's one less dog needing help because it is now dead. Put your big girl panties on or jock strap and deal with your decision to not help or step up and fill out a application to foster or adopt. If you can't handle larger, very active dogs, then look for a small dog rescue. All rescues need help!

*Disclaimer: of course I know there are legitimate excuses not to foster. I really DO understand. I just hate hearing the lame excuses which to me are just selfish reasons. This is coming from a somewhat selfish person myself. I chose NOT to have children because I didn't want to deal with them and the time it takes to care for them, the money it takes to feed, clothe, educate them, and sometimes the heartache of rebellion as I gave my parents for awhile.
Surprise, surprise...another Mystery Knit-a-Long complete! I absolutely love this yarn. I usually try to stay away from 100% wool, but the color saturation and tonal changes is beautiful. Also there is almost a springy softness to the yarn. The yarn name? Oh...Jill Draper Makes Stuff

This yarn was perfect for this design. There are so many defining stitches that this yarn just showed the depth beautifully.
The name of this design is "Water". Can you see how the stitches look like water rippling? Very cool. This is why I like these mysteries. It challenges me with stitches and designs I've never done or seen before.  Those long stitches at the bottom of the photo is a new stitch for me. And also learned to "drop stitch" on purpose. that was scary, but it worked and I love the results.
Haus of Yarn, Nashville, TN
My rating 4.5 out of 5
I've only been there once, but from what I've seen and experienced, this is a great yarn store. This is a nicer/larger store than the one I went to in NJ. Haus of Yarn is still 2 hours away, but when I have to transport a dog to that area, I can stop in. I don't need yarn in general, but going to a well stocked yarn shop is equivalent to going into a bakery. I try to resist the baked goods, but it is so difficult. Same with the yarn. A beautiful smooshy and soft yarn would knit up beautifully.

Haus of Yarn has many classes, the staff are helpful. It's a large yarn store and I love that they yarn is displayed according to weight, meaning lace, fingering, worsted, etc. That type of organization makes sense to me.

They also have many finished projects on display which is a great sales tactic. Oooh, how pretty! I want to make that and oh, here's the yarn for it! I'll take it! They will wind the skeins into balls which is a very nice extra touch.

Now for us folks in the country, Haus of Yarn has a "Yarn Bus" that sort of comes to us! On Saturdays, they travel to different parts of TN. They stop in Jackson, TN which is only 30 minutes away. Yep, living in the country things are not just around the corner.

The Storied Life of A. J. FikryThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I related to this book in that I am essentially a loner, but certain events can bring me out of my shell. Such is the case with bookstore owner and book genre snob A.J. Fikry.
He owns a failing bookstore and not only the internet and e-readers being the cause, but also that he only stock books that HE thinks are worth the shelf space. Thus a limited clientele.
He lives a lonely sad life. Sort of reminds me of Scrooge only not quite as grumpy. Then an unexpected, and initially unwanted important person comes into his life.
This has the appeal of a small town quaintness, family, romance, heartache, growth. A great read.

Runes (Runes, #1)Runes by Ednah Walters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very smart move to make this available as a Kindle free download. There are so many young adult paranormal books out there. Free got me in the door. After finishing Runes, I am a fan, looking forward to reading the next in the series.
If you liked the Vampire-Werewolf series, Twilight, you should really enjoy Runes. Runes is not about vampires and werewolves, but definitely immortals and mortals with special insight.
The high school students in this book are mostly mature, good kids, so no getting frustrated by immature antics...for the most part. And of course there is the electricity/romance akin to Edward and Bella.
The author definitely keeps you hanging as to what is going on. Who are these "people". She gives you just an itty bit of info and then goes on with the story. Just like catching a fish. Put out the bait, we bite, we're hooked and the line is let out, then drawn in again and so on.
I am a 59 year old woman and will admit I loved Twilight. If you too are a Twilight fan, please try out Runes, currently (Aug 2015) a free Kindle download.

Immortals (Runes, #2)Immortals by Ednah Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now that the excitement of a new set of paranormal is over, this is still a good book, just not as exciting because there is not as much of the unknown.
Characters are still enjoyable, there are still some new non-humans being introduced.
Why can Raine get away with what she does? There must be something special about her...hmmmm?
Her boyfriend doesn't remember her, her male best friend is having episodes of violence and sickness. Her female best friend's loyalty is being doubted. Her Father isn't feeling well. She certainly has a lot of stress to deal with at only 17 years old.

SuspectSuspect by Robert Crais
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being a dog lover, this book had me hooked from the beginning. Military & police K-9's that are treated kindly and trained appropriately. Not like in the old days of hanging a dog by his leash into submission. These dogs are trained with positive reinforcement.
A murder mystery, a love story, a dog story. A great read.

A Desperate Place for Dying (A Garrison Gage Mystery)A Desperate Place for Dying by Jack Nolte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not liking the road Gage's character is traveling. He was quite likable in the first book. Sympathy for losing his wife to murder, sympathy for his need to use a cane. Rooting for him to find love again. Liking his character because he took it upon himself to find out what happened to the girl washed up on the beach.
This 2nd in the series, Gage seems to be depicted as more of a womanizer, although all in his head and he doesn't act on it, but the thoughts are strong and disappointing to me. Another woman close to him is murdered. I guess this is now considered a trend in his life. And of course, he just can't let the police and FBI solve it, he has to. Another character development I'm somewhat disappointed with. Only Gage can solve this, again, in HIS mind.
Two separate storylines, one that Gage chose to be involved with and the other came to him unwanted.
Still a decent murder mystery, but may hold off a while before or if I read the next in this series.

You Called 9-1-1 For What?You Called 9-1-1 For What? by Dave Konig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Can't beat free! Interesting little read. I believe the point of the book was really education about the 9-1-1 system. It's history, proper use, dedicated work force and to add some humor to the history, some ridiculous calls to 9-1-1. I'm glad I read the book. Quick read. It accomplished it's point. I did learn about how 9-1-1 developed and changed with new technology. I learned about 3-1-1, which means you need help but is NOT an emergency. Definitely worth reading. Always good to learn something new.
All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Life is too short to plod through books that take too long to get interesting.

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Teens with cancer. Life quotes we may think are corny, aren't so much when you know your end of life is within sight.
Life today as if it were your last...Make today your best day...
The author worked in children's hospice for 5 months. I suppose that is how he know about the dark humor of living with and dying of cancer.
A sweet young love story.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Gardening in Tennessee

Every time I add a new book to the blog, I say, "I need to write a post". Week after week goes by and I don't take the time. Mostly because I'm just living a "normal" life. I'm not traveling the country living in 350 square feet with all our possessions and pets. Just living a quiet life on a nice private piece of property in TN...a good life but not a blog worthy life. I now post this simply for my family and for the curious who want to learn about me as they would otherwise not know this part of me.

We have been settled for a year now! I still love our property and grown to love our house. I sit out on our porch as much as possible when the weather permits, meaning not too hot/humid, buggy or cold. I have been known to stay out there until 10:00 at night when the weather is wonderful. Scott has installed many lights, both electric and solar so we can see the dogs out in the back area of our yard. The porch light is bright enough for me to knit under, but not glaring, nor bug attracting. Thank you hubby!

I am very content with my life although it can be spoiled by my need to EARN my place on this Earth. Just recently a dog rescue acquaintance lost her husband to brain cancer. A couple in their 30's with a 4 or 5 year old child. Why? Why am I allowed to live when no one really depends on me. I'm sure Scott would be upset if I died, but he'd be happy living his TN life with the dogs. Why does a young man, with a young family die? They are religious folks also. Oh sure, they'll say God has a reason. I can't accept that. Just makes me feel all the more unworthy of living a long and happy life. Then I become afraid that I am asking to die. Around and around I go....

Back to life in Tennessee. I have managed to not fill the house with knick knacks. The house is kept simple. I just pulled out some framed photos from a storage box and thought, "what should I do with this?". I feel they are just dust gatherers. I can look at photos on my computer with just a click! No dusting required. I guess time to put my doggie photo frames on ebay for sale.

Our small piece of property in NJ was full of hostas. A great way to cut down on edging and to fill in small areas so you don't need to mow.
I just couldn't resist the end of season sale on hostas. About $1.50 each at Walmart. I bought 5 and planted them along our fence line. NEVER AGAIN!!!!! I will admit wholeheartedly that I miss NJ shore soil!!!!!! The whole section you see full of hostas and flowers in the photo on the right, I dug up by hand with just a spade type shovel. I took up all the grass, added manure/soil, mixed it in and planted and planted and planted.
All I did here in TN, was plant 5 small hosta plants and I'm done with gardening in Tennessee! The soil is red clay and you have to poke and poke and try to little by little make a hole big enough to fit the plant. I just found out from a dog rescue friend that she uses a pitch fork to dig in her Georgia clay soil. Scott has since bought a pitchfork, but I already told him, I won't be helping!!!! I'll stick with the hanging flowering plants on the porch, as I call "house jewelry". Scott, being the "girly man" as I affectionately call him, has since planted some flowering bushes which I'm sure I'll appreciate as they mature, but I do not plan to ask for or plant any more.

Starting in July, an extension to Tennessee’s “Good Samaritan law” that allows people to break into cars to save children makes it legal to do the same for animals. Specific steps, including searching for the owner and notifying law enforcement, must be taken to qualify for protection under the law.

“If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life,  and/or animals,” Nashville Fire Department Chief of Staff Mike Franklin told Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN.

This weekend is the annual Fried food fest in Milan, TN. We went to it last year because of it's uniqueness. Now, we are no longer newcomers and the fest has lost it's appeal. I'd rather stay inside in the AC. As I said, a year in TN and we are still loving our decision to settle down here. Of course, we do get melancholy when we see Susan of Beluga's Excellent Adventure Blog post photos of where they are now on Facebook. To travel or not to travel...been there, done that. Very happy to stay at home looking out over our private asylum! This is when I wish to clone myself to be in two places at once. We have too many dogs now, which would prevent our RV travel.
We have been regularly fostering, which I didn't plan since we adopted our first two foster dogs a month after moving to TN. We officially have 5 dogs of our own, but seem to always have a foster dog.

I believe I have achieved all 10!

Our last foster, Oscar was adopted to a very senior couple. I had mixed feelings about adopting to an 83 year old. The only reason I gave the ok, was because he was very experienced with Eng Setters and I felt that even if something happened to the adopter, Oscar would come back a better dog.

We currently have Sassy, a 6-9 year old. I thought we would have her for a while, since she may be older. We paid to have 3 lumps removed from her legs. One was golfball sized. Luckily, all benign!

We've only had Sassy a couple of weeks, but she already has an adopter! She will be traveling to VT sometime in September.
Baskerville Ultra Dog Muzzle $15.00 from Amazon
My rating 5 out of 5
In my post of July 4, there is a photo of our last foster dog, Oscar sleeping with his muzzle on.
Great muzzle. Durable, strong. Fit the dog well. Stayed put even when he tried to get it off. Can drink easily with it on. Can also eat, although a bit more difficult.
The muzzle did what we needed. Oscar was attacking our other dogs and instead of always keeping them separated and also the danger of a fight, we put the muzzle on him and made our life so much better. Oscar was able to interact with our dogs without hurting them and was finally getting used to them and not attacking as much.
It did cause a small abrasion sore on the top of his muzzle/nose, but Oscar was wearing this product at least 8 hours a day.
Great product for peace of mind.
Another Mystery Knit-a-long finished. This was to use up scraps of yarn. I thought I had plenty of scraps, but actually I don't and had to ask my knitting friends to donate their scraps.
This was a very odd constructed "showl" meaning a shawl and a cowl combined. I was disappointed in the finished product simply because I don't know how to wear it, but I do love the striping and a great way to use up scraps. We'll see if in the fall I figure out how to wear it.

Also finished our Jackson Underground knitting group Summer knit-a-long. This was not a mystery. This was a summer t-shirt, that only 2 or 3 ladies knit out of the 15 in the group.

It was called Feather & Fan Ribbed Tee. If Diane from the "What's the Scoop" knitting group in NJ still follows my blog, she knows that I'm not a fan of feather & fan, but it's growing on me.

This tee was knit with "Den-M-knit" cotton yarn. From the Elann website...“Washes and fades like your favorite pair of blue jeans - the real thing!"
I like this finished sweater and think it will get a lot of use. Especially since it is machine washable and dryable!

A Good Man Gone (Mercy Watts Mysteries #1)A Good Man Gone by A.W. Hartoin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It COULD have been a much better book. The double murder/stalking mystery...very good! But oh my gosh...on and on and on about what a slob Aaron is and all the stuff he eats. We get it! Then about how hot Mercy and her Mom are. Big boobs and looks like Marilyn, Marilyn Monroe that is because no last name seems to be need, especially when she is mentioned over and over and over again.
Her descriptions of the characters are detailed enough to really get a feel for their personalities. But the gluttonous of Aaron and the constant sleazy remarks towards Mercy were just overdone. Get past that and it was a very good storyline.
Also what irked me was that Mercy is a nurse, but the only way you'd know that is because she said so. She never seems to work. She is constantly being talked in to doing things for the family. She has to learn to say no.
Since there was a snippet of her next book in the series at the end of this one, I thought, ok, maybe she's learned her lesson. NOPE! Within 5 page of the beginning of the book, she describes the ill fitted dress that opens up at her bustline and splits up her thighs and the guy in the room can't stop staring. I see where this book is going. Even though I'd like to read more and would like to find out what happens to her Aunt's money, I just can't take anymore sexual harassment.

The Gray and Guilty SeaThe Gray and Guilty Sea by Jack Nolte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I LOVE the main character Garrison Gray. Being a woman of "mature age", I enjoyed Garrison's 40 something maturity. I'm a softie for a man with a slight disability, whether it be a limp, stutter, etc. Garrison's character was beautifully depicted in describing his struggles with his past vocation and the consequences of it and how he is still dealing with it. If you've watched Downton Abbey, Garrison reminds me of Mr. Carson. They are both frustrated by their needing a cane, but they are strong men when need to be. They are usually somber looking, but both want love in their quiet way. I know they both would protect their mate with all they have. Garrison is a "real" man, meaning, there is no describing him as still handsome with graying hair to make him look distinguished. No describing him as still having a 6 pack and hard muscles for a man of 40. I can so relate to him as someone I would be drawn to. Enough about Garrison. I guess I really do like his character!
This is a murder mystery with many characters that could have "done it". There are characters that you wonder if they are trustworthy or not. Things seem questionable, but really in another situation we wouldn't be questioning.
Not action packed, but definitely kept my interest. I was able to imagine myself living in this little town on the Oregon coast.
I DEFINITELY plan to read this author again. I hope there are more books with Garrison's character.

Bum RapBum Rap by Paul Levine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Better than 3 starts, but 4 stars is generous. Pretty good legal drama, although it's so upsetting to hear about all the deals. Each side is not really thinking of their client, they are just thinking of strategies how to win.
Likeable characters, that can be annoying, immature, but still likeable. Main character, Lawyer Lassiter is a somewhat sad misfit, but I look forward to learning more about him in future books.

Long Man: A novelLong Man: A novel by Amy Greene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was drawn to this book because we have moved to TN in the past year. Behind our property is an 80 acre lake made by the TVA.
The story was somewhat long winded, but full of details of the lifestyle of the community that was being evicted for the dam.
Mostly sad...a hard life, a struggling community prior to the dam.
We see into the thoughts of both the town folk and the progressive thinkers and the impact of progress.

The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The HolocaustThe Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by Edith Hahn Beer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am fascinated by slavery and the holocaust. I cannot understand the arrogance of a people that think they are better than another race, religion, financial status, etc.
This is a true story but reads like a great novel. Instead of hearing about the concentrations camps, they are merely just mentioned in this book. This is about a female Jew who lived among the Germans and Nazi's fooling some, trusting others and surviving. Fascinating story.

Shantaram Part TwoShantaram Part Two by Gregory David Roberts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I listened (part way) to the audio book. If this was a "normal" length audio book, I would have been able to state I finished it. I thought his story was quite interesting. Learning about the underground world of India, about the day to day life of the people. Knowing nothing of India, I do not know if the characterizations of the subjects were correct. I agree with a previous reviewer, Mayuri  who looks to be of Indian descent that Prabaker seems to be a cartoon character, always happy go lucky and innocent in a childlike way. Prabaker seemed very stereotypical.
I actually was enjoying the quasi biography for a while. But after that long while, I wondered what the point of this book was. I wouldn't call it "drivel" as others have stated but it certainly goes on and on and on and on. Like reading from someone's diary. 17+ hours of listening through part II, I thought that was going to be the end, but knew it didn't sound like an ending. Ugh! There is a part III. I'm just not looking forward to listening to the same day to day goings on. Well, I'm this far, maybe I should finish, but let me make sure Part III is also the final part...NOPE! There are 5 PARTS. A total of 43 hours!!! I gave up.

A Stolen Life: A MemoirA Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are interested in Jaycee Dugard's true ordeal, then go ahead and listen to this book. This is just the story told by her. No feeling sorry for herself, no great dramatizations to make it more readable. Jaycee is a strong woman. She describes her time in captivity year by year and what happened & what her thought process was. Sometimes it was frustrating because I wanted to yell, take the girls and run when she had opportunity, but being taken at 11 yrs old and "taught" this is the way life is, it seemed as if she didn't realize that she could or even should run.
Very sad, but her attitude is wonderful. She cannot dwell on the past or it will ruin her present and future.
Best wishes to you Jaycee.

We Need to Talk About Kevin: A NovelWe Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel by Lionel Shriver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I tried to listen to the audiobook. Very depressing, but I expected that. I listened to 2 hours and just couldn't go on. The mundane details of Kevin's mother's life lost my attention. The narrator was almost too perfect in her reading. Perfect voice, perfect annunciation, with no emotion. This woman is trying to deal with going on living and dealing with her son's crime, although 2 hours into the book, I don't really know what he did except from reading the description of the book. She has to deal with the stigma, the judging, the looks while going about her life. Should be a great heart wrenching story. But the narrator just did me in. Maybe she was supposed to sound monotone. Maybe the Mom is so broken that her life is just the straight line on a heart monitor. But this does not make for good listening. I needed to hear some hesitation in the narration, some emotion and it wasn't there.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Good time at the river house

I must admit, I'm looking forward to Oscar being adopted. Then we can open up the whole house again, not worry about dog fights, not have a dog constantly under foot. While enjoying some outdoor office time, I had my laptop on the table and Oscar was next to me. Ryan decides he wants to play. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on Oscar's "mood". At this time it was a bad thing. A fight ensues, and I jump up to break it up, spilling my full glass of wine all over my laptop!!! Anyone that knows me, knows that I practically live on my computer. I do dog rescue work all day long. Losing my computer is a disaster. As soon as I saw that wine go over, I just knew...but the dogs's safety was more important and had to break up the fight.
Fight finished, all dogs ok and now separated. Back to my computer...blank screen. Just as I expected, but was hoping it somehow would survive. Scott? Honey?? Can you fix this??

Well, as you can see from the photo above, he opened it up, dried it out. My fan need replacing anyway, so this was an opportune time to do that. The good news? The hard drive is fine, so if I have to, I can plug it into Scott's laptop or computer and use it as an external hard drive. The bad news, the keyboard is shot. Will take a few days to get a new one. The good news, the computer is actually still working except for the keyboard.  Scott lent me his wireless keyboard until my new one arrives. All is well. New keyboard arrived, installed and computer is working normally. A week later, damn! My track ball/mouse isn't working. Again, Scott loans me his mouse until my new trackball arrives.
If you look closely at the dog, you'll see that he is muzzled. I've never had to muzzle a dog before in the house. Oscar is just not trustworthy with our dogs. He'll play for a bit and then he gets more excited and it turns into attacks. Poor Ryan, he's almost twice the weight of Oscar, but a bite is a bite, so Ryan wants to be close to us for protection. Oscar will be a great dog to his adopters, since he will be the only dog and get all the love and attention he wants. He's a great cuddler.
Starting to miss RV life again. Farm markets, new places, something to blog about, the simplicity of RV life. Living in our house in TN really isn't like the burden of living in a house in NJ. We don't have high property taxes, our house is new and better made. We are retired so yard and house maintenance isn't the chore it was trying to squeeze it in on our off days. I miss trying new restaurants. We only had two dogs and could crate them to go out together. I don't think we have gone out together since acquiring our 3 additional dogs.

I am now a "regular" at the Jackson Knitting Underground or as I call it "Jack Knit" get togethers every Thursday evening. As I said before, a great group of ladies and no one that "bugs" me as in a certain knitting group I was a part of in NJ. If any "What's The Scoop" knitting ladies still read this, it is none of you!
One of the girl's has an in-law that lets us use their River House getaway home a couple times a year. Ever since attending the knitting get togethers I've heard about how great the River House weekends are. I wondered if I was invited since I am still fairly new. Yep, invited and now feel a real part of the group.

And the weekend lived up to it's reputation. Just a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. Although, I really don't have a hustle, bustling life. I brought my laptop (pre wine spill) to the River House and still kept up with my dog rescue duties.
Only 3 of us stayed overnight. Plenty of bedrooms and comfy mattresses to relax overnight in. We spent the evening knitting and watching TV with conversation that caused us not to really pay attention to TV.

We all bring something to contribute to our meals. For breakfast, there was all the makings for omelets. Yum!

More ladies arrived mid morning. More food, snacks, laughter and knitting.

For dinner, our host smoked two whole chickens. Yep, down here in the South, smoking is just like grilling in the North. No big deal.

This house sits right on the Tennessee River which has similar qualities as the Mississippi River.

They are both huge and long and are used to transport goods on barges. I've always been fascinated by the great Mississippi. Would have liked to find a home on that River. We were not disappointed by the Tennessee River though. She has her number of barges also.

The ladies got all excited when a barge would pass, especially after a few chocolate martinis!

I was told that we are supposed to flash the barge workers as they pass. Ya know, show 'em a good time. Hmmm, really? We are all over 40 and many over 50 years old. Do they really want to see our sagging boobies?

Here we go! One! Two! THREE!!!!
Chickens! Or maybe we all know better. We wouldn't want to distract the barge workers, now would we. All in all, we had good company, good food and lots of knitting time. Thanks to Amy and her in-laws for allowing us the use of their lovely home away from home.
Well here's a change...I'm not going to show a knitting project. I signed up for a woodturning demo, taught by West Tennessee Woodturners. We made a pen! I think I could really enjoy woodturning and making bowls, table spindle legs, etc. But lathes are sooo expensive. I'm glad I attended the demo. I was able to experiment a little on the lathe and turned a long rectangle block of wood into a pen!

I made this!

Crunch Time!


It's been yucky hot here lately. But it doesn't feel any different than in NJ. Except here I have a huge porch and view of our green yard & woods to look at instead of looking into our neighbor's yard hoping they don't talk to me. Now that the cicadas are gone, the flies are here. I'm told it is worse than most years. At least they don't bite, they are just annoying landing here and there on my skin.
I've never seen THIS in NJ!!! 

Our property tax rate is going DOWN! What??? Yes down! The board feels they have enough to work with. In NJ, it's always more, more MORE! It's for the children. The middle school HAS to have an Olympic sized swimming pool. How can we deprive the CHILDREN???? Yea, it would be nice, but let the parent's raise the money for the pool and maintenance. We never had children, so never used the school system, yet had to paid the ridiculous school taxes. I have to think of it as securing our future, since the children are our future, but they don't need the best of everything to make theirs and our future bright.
No, we don't have an RV life right now. Our RV is a mess and I really need to take the time to clean it up in case we need to get up and go in a hurry. But...
we did have an RV friend visit! Our 1st and hopefully not last.
Mary Anne of  Not lost, Just Wandering blog came by for a visit for a couple of days. How we met and how things ended up is just part of the wonderful full-time RV lifestyle and a part that I dearly miss.
We met Mike and Mary Anne while staying at Port Hudson RV Park in Port Townsend, WA. They were parked right next to us and the sights were very close. They had two of those itty yappy type dogs, but their dogs weren't yappy! Yea! Mike is very outgoing and will talk with anyone that comes along his path. He happened upon someone that had just caught a load of crabs. His new friend gave him a whole bunch of them! In turn, Mike doing the neighborly thing, shared the crabs with us. Little did he know he could kill me with that gesture since I'm allergic to shellfish. But that didn't stop Scott from enjoying them! From there we got to talking and somehow we mentioned Hidden Valley Ranch in Deming, NM as a great place to winter. Sure enough, we spent 2 months at Hidden Valley during our last Winter on the road and Mike and Mary Anne were right next to us and staying for 3 months!

Sadly, Mike had a heart attack after they left Hidden Valley and passed. What did Mary Anne do? Move to Kansas City to be near her relatives? Nope! She knew where she wanted to be. She had their 5th wheel moved back to Hidden Valley Ranch and leased a permanent spot. If something happened to Scott, I would seriously consider the same plan. Hidden Valley Ranch is our favorite RV park as far as hospitality. NM is not our prime environment, but the wonderful owners and residents there make up for the desert environment.
Mary Anne bought a little R-Pod so she could still travel and it seems to all be working out well for this independent woman. She came East to visit some Civil War sights and since we were on the way, she stopped by for a couple of days. It was great having her here.

We have since received an unexpected, unnecessary, but much appreciated thank you gift from Mary Anne. A package from Harry & David came the other day. Triple Berry Jam and Raspberry Jam survived. Mary Anne took note that I have toast with PB & J almost every morning, so she knew the jam was the perfect gift. That's one of the things we miss about traveling. At local markets, we usually were able to pick up some interesting and tasty jams. I also mix a touch of jam in cottage cheese to add a bit of sweetness and flavor. Yum!
On a sad note...only two of the 3 jars survived. The packing list said the 3rd jar was "Tart Red Cherry", but the jar that broke was Peach. Maybe it committed suicide because of an identity crisis! The triple berry and raspberry survived. Scott said that packing was very bad.

Have you ever tried their hot and sweet pepper relish and mix it with cream cheese? Addicting!!!!
Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! What is that sound? Hmm, it's coming from the living room. Ryan's probably just chomping on another stick. I better take it from him. We don't need any bowel obstructions.

Damn, that "toy" is really messed up! I don't remember a toy that makes a crunchy sound. Better make sure it's safe for our dogs.
Yeck! Yeck! Ohhhhh! Nooooo! It's a dead squirrel on our COUCH! Thank goodness we put old blankets on the couch to protect from our dirty dogs.
Scott was still asleep, so it was my job to clean up. Ewwww! Again, glad to have that old blanket on the couch. Off with the blanket and the squirrel inside. Open blanket over garbage and squirrel is gone. Thank your Ryan!

I am now admitting defeat. Between my hours on the computer doing dog rescue work and having 5 permanent dogs and 1 foster dog, I am overwhelmed.  Lesson finally learned...well, sort of.
Since I have 5 dogs and don't see that shrinking for a couple of years at least...I hope, I might as well continue to foster dogs. 2 dogs is perfect. 3 dogs is nice if you have a house. 4 dogs is still ok, but now getting to be a bit much. After 5, it doesn't matter because they are not going to get the attention and care needed anyway.
Setters need grooming. All but one of my dogs hate to be groomed, so it can only be done in small stages time 5 which means a lot of stages. One of our dogs has to be sedated to be groomed! So,  our Setters are not sleek, but fluffy, with spiked hair on their heads, flyaway hair on their sides, mats behinds their ears, and who knows what in the paws with all that hair to live in.

Training a foster? Difficult when there are 5 other dogs that want those yummy treats I'm using for incentive. I have to go off into one of our HOT garages to train and I hear my own dogs barking at the fence wondering why they were invited to the party.

I need a spreadsheet to keep track of who is due for the vet and for what. Heart worm pills must be given monthly and come in a 6 pack, so each month I practically use a whole pack at $50.00 a 6-pack. With a foster dog, I DO use the whole pack!
I'm not getting anything physical done. No woodworking, no preparing the RV for storage or traveling, no exercising, and on and on. I sit like a lump of lard (and look like it too) all day on the computer.

We currently have another foster dog. A 3 year old English Setter who is deaf. Deafness really isn't a big deal. Dogs learn sign language quickly. You just need to get them to look at you and you to give them a sign command and you cannot let them off leash in an unfenced area. Other than that...not a big deal. His name is Oscar and he's a sweet dog. He follows me wherever I go. But he's another dog that doesn't play nice with our dogs. So again, our house is split in two by an xpen to keep the dogs separate. Sigh. We've had him for about a month. He is getting adopted in about a week and moving to NY state.
I'm winding down on the Mystery Knit-a-longs I've been doing. I had two scheduled to begin in July. One was cancelled and the other I felt was too difficult for me to deal with right now with all the dogs and rescue work.
I finished a very boring MKAL called Alpine Scarf. Most MKAL are a challenge, whether a big challenge or small challenge, with a different pattern of knitting for each clue. There are usually at least 4 clues with usually more like 5-6 clues. This Alpine Scarf had 3 clues, but the 1st and last clue were the same. BORING!!! Then the long middle was the same pattern over and over. It's a nice scarf but I don't plan on joining this designers future MKAL's.
I have enough scarves. Anyone want this one? My gift to you for reading my blog. It's machine washable, made with 80% Acrylic, 10% Wool, 10% Mohair.
Mom in back with 4 babies
I used to foster guinea pigs when we lived in NJ. We had a small house and 4 dogs already, so had no room for fostering dog. Me, being the rescue friendly person I am, found out about a rescue for guinea pigs! There is a rescue for just about any animal. I fostered piggies for about 4 yrs and had 2 litters born in my care. Guinea pigs do not eat their young and they are born fully formed. They look just like mini piggies!
Guinea pigs are great pets for children. Fairly easy care, rarely bite and usually just because they think it's food. Lives longer than hamsters/gerbils. More to cuddle with.Anyway, my reason for bringing this up under "browsing the www" is because there is a great you tube channel called "Talking Animals". This guy does quality work! There is no way you won't be laughing by the end of the video. I especially love the guinea pig videos, because they "talk" so fast! Here's a link to just one of his talking piggie videos. Laugh on! Just have to add another link. He got Ricky Gervais to help him with one. Check it out.


The Color of the Season (The Color of Heaven Series #7)The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A romance and working through grief. I kept waiting for this to turn into a religious book for some reason, but it never came to that.
The book leaves you wondering as you did probably prior to reading the book, if the dead can communicate with the living. Do people that have "died" and been revived really see the other side and can they make a decision whether to go on or give up?

Bowling AvenueBowling Avenue by Ann Shayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Was going to rate this 4 stars, which of course is a very good rating, but as I neared the end, my emotions took over and I realized what a great "self-help" book this was, but told as a wonderful story.
The book is full of words of wisdom to think on.
"...not talking is a great way to not solve problems."
"Misery shared, is misery halved." or "Joy shared, is joy doubled."
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
"Attention is the rarest kind of generosity."

Multiple characters all with their own secrets, emotional immaturity or maybe better called severely controlled emotions. Instead of sharing with a friend or relative, things are held in so not to hurt another person. So things fester and impressions are made because of truths not spoken. I found the book very thought provoking as well as entertaining.

Being a knitter, I enjoyed the references to yarn & knitting also.

Carved in Bone (Body Farm #1)Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading medical mysteries. I enjoy learning from the medical staff's point of view.
I was excited to read this. Being a new resident of TN and a "fan" of the concept of the body farm, I thought this book would be a slam dunk for me.
10% in and I was ready to quit. Boring! Too much detail into the actual medical procedures, reasons, effect, etc of death on the human body. Interesting, but just too much info. I felt like I was back in school, reading a textbook.
I plodded on. 20% into the book, now it was getting a little more exciting and was getting my imagination warmed up to what may be ahead. Murder, rednecks, corrupt police, backwoods entrepreneurs, danger...
Seems by 70% into the book, the author is learning how to write. Seems like a totally different book. Quirky characters, some extra twists, who's good, who's bad, who's just weird. A little bit of Carl Hiaasen like.
Maybe there's hope since the author improved greatly within the span of one book.
I will probably try his next in the series, but don't expect much. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.
The Longest RideThe Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Two separate storylines, that I expected to intermingle at one point. Back and forth between two couples. One couple has been together for 75 years, the other is just beginning. This was an audible book and although the narration was excellent, the story of the senior couple, Ira & Ruth was quite drawn out. I get it, Ruth was Ira's whole life, his one and only love. Let's move on.
The younger couple, Luke and Sophia was more interesting, but almost too sappy, predictable. I thought I was reading a harlequin type romance.
The ending is what made this book. How the two couple eventually connected. And yes, in typical Sparks tradition, it was very romantic, very sad, yet the end. A lot of slow moving to get to a sweet ending.

Our Travels