Tuesday, August 26, 2008

On Puppy Love

Ok, we're all in love over here with the Davids new puppy, deemed 'Scooby.' Scooby is a darling 25 lb, 9 week old pup (yes, that's BIG!), on his way to being between 140-160 lbs. He's a Dogue de Bordeaux, or, in terms of you non-dog people, he's the same breed as Hooch from the Turner and Hooch movie. Absolutely gorgeous pup. The Davids, especially David2, are already way enamoured with the pup. Barley and Hops were great with him but Killian, Rita and Matee were harded to win over. He already outweighs both Rita and Matee added together! Killian insisted on teaching him puppy manners which he did fairly gently - let's put it this way, there were no bites! A successful meeting.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Unwanted visitor...

So, after dousing myself with gasoline while filling up the lawnmower, pumped up the tire and starting it up, drove it to the backyard to find that, once again, the blade won't engage. Should have known the type of day it was going to be right there.

Decided to do a bit of pool maintenance and thought about a quick dip but then thought better as water was a bit cold. Added chemicals, peered into the blue water while daydreaming about being in warm water somewhere with a cool mimosa when....what's this? Can't be. What the....?

My visitor peered at me questioningly as he (?) cozily swam by and dove into a pile of leaves on the bottom. He must have been feeding on the remains of...well, never mind.

Lesson learned....nevah, evah get into a pool without knowing exactly who your neighbors might be!

Dog Days of Summer

7 of them, to be exact. We've got 4 pups of our own, we have Matee right now, and, currently, we have Bobbi's 2 girls, Wheezie and Naiobi too. 7 dogs is a LOT. Luckily, everyone gets along pretty well. Actually, Matee has been having some control issues which is amazing considering 5 of the dogs outweigh her by 50 lbs. All in all, a fairly quiet evening ensued anyway. Picture to the left is the closest I could get to getting all in the frame - that's Naiobi, Matee, Hops, Barley and, that brown blob in the forefront is Killian saying goodbye...Rita was having none of it, having put herself back to bed safely in her crate.

Took Mom to the nurse yesterday for a tuneup. She was deemed fine and her blood pressure is back down to 120/60 - excellent. Headed to the mall in celebration where we exchanged a robe John and I had bought her last month (too big). Bonus was that the robe was on sale for 25% off - score!

Came home and just relaxed after our big day out. Have friends coming for dinner tonight and dear Sophia is treating us to a chinese surprise dinner. Her chinese is always most welcome (and, considering the fact that I don't have to cook, I love her even more for it!).

I came across this video of Mom I took earlier this summer at the cabin. I had been spraying bugs and she was marveling at the fact that the spray worked so well. Here's her imitation of a post-sprayed dying bug (well, we have to keep ourselves entertained...):

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've heard of tying a red ribbon on a doorknob...

But, never heard of 2 hanging bras! Came home yesterday to the sight in the picture at left. Laughed out loud as I put my key in the door. Mom was sitting in the livingroom, laughing right back. She said that she'd hoped the mailman would have seen them (and come in!) before I got home. Funny little thing.

I went to Bonefish with Jeff and Amanda for cocktails and found Eli (the manager) there. So, he made Mom the crabcakes like she likes them and, after a few martinis, I toted them home for her dinner. Delicious. I had the ahi tuna which, if you like sushi, is the best in DC. Sure beats the tuna martini at Clyde's lodge which used to be my favorite.

While I was at Bonefish, Mom called and reported that Matee was having slight problems breezing. This phenomenon is not particularly unusual for a dog blessed with almost no nose. I told Mom how to hold her to aid in the cease fire of lung retractions which she did. Matee calmed down and all was well.

Mom called back in 5 minutes to report that Matee's eyes were bugged out as large as normal but her eyes (Mom's) were about 10 times their normal size. I again emphasized that breathing issues are not just for the elderly anymore and Matee was fine. Mom said that she realized that but 'nothing is going to happen to this dog on my watch.' I knew I'd left the dogs in good hands - all 5 of them.

Matee gets in bed with Mom each morning that the dog is here. She curls up against Mom's legs - she likes her sleep every bit as much as Gert does. They generally tottle down the steps around 9 am, together, as always. Matee and Gert are in total awe of each other. I think they're soulmates. Rita fills in when Matee is gone so all is well at the Mansion East.

John is in California until Tuesday but was kind enough to leave behind some home roasted coffee he's been experimenting with. I love this stuff so much that I'm about to enter into the home roasting arena myself with my first order of beans from Sweet Maria's website. I have to limit myself to two cups though as it's much more potent than pre-roasted beans. I doubt I'll be at Starbuck's nearly as much as I have in the past as this stuff makes Starbuck's coffee seem like water. Amazing coffee.

Ended up the evening by sitting around the deck with Jeff and Gert shooting the breeze for a while. Have a doctor appointment (tune up) for Gert today and taking her shopping for a bit after. Nice to get her out on a gorgeous day.
Below is one of my favorite pictures of Killian. Cracks me up. Don't tell PETA...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The eternal optimist

So, I bought Mom a lottery ticket for the week. She's been seeing 'Baby Row' (translates to 1, 2, 3 for you non-gamblers). Anyway, she's been seeing the numbers all around on license plates, on bill boards, etc. So, I put a crow bar in my wallet and shell out $7 for a weekly ticket. I came home and gave it to her with a 'good luck' and got on the internet to research when it hit last.

So, I look at her and said:
Great. It's last hit here in Maryland April 4, 2004.
She looks at me and, quick as a whip, she said:

Hey, great! It's due!

I think that's the secret to her aging so gracefully. The glass is always half full to her.

Jennifer's trip here was nice. Rita is a bit shy with new people but she was willingly approaching Jen toward the end of the trip. Jen's dog allergies kicked in though. This is NOT the place to be if you're allergic to dogs! Had some nice dinners on the deck though with friends, and Jen and I did some minor shopping - got new quilts for Mom's bed and mine too. Mostly just hung around the house though.

Took her shopping this past week to look for, well, ladies undergarments. She had the staff in stitches. It sure was a lot of work, though, for all involved - and, it took 3 of us! Hope we don't have to do that again anytime soon.

John's off for 6 days to San Francisco (lucky stiff) and Bobbi is in Las Vegas celebrating her birthday until Saturday so Gert and I are pretty much on our own here in the near future. We tend to get into trouble this way so we'll try to behave. Have a bunch of friends coming over for barbeque dinner on Saturday night so that should be fun.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Community Bridge in Frederick

Took Jen and Mom to the Community Bridge in Frederick yesterday. John and I had wandered upon this thing earlier this year, and we both knew immediately that Mom would love it. So, I've been looking for the right time to get Mom up there and when yesterday dawned to be magnificent (!), I knew what was on the agenda.

The Community Bridge is in the canal area of downtown Frederick and is an area painted in the trompe d'oilel (spelling might suck) style. In other words, it's a plain old cement bridge painted to look anything than plain old cement! So, that wall behind my loved ones is all painted to look like stone. You can't see the images inbedded as they're faint and, unless you focus the camera directly on them, they disappear.

Anyway, in 1992, an artist had a vision to beautify the area. He asked the community of 17,000 or so what items represented 'community' for them. He got thousands of replies and incorporated these replies in his paintings. He's obviously quite talented as his paintings are a delight to view.

The bridge and surrounding area are painted to look like rock. Inside some of the rocks are the scenes depicting community. There's hands touching, wedding rings resting on each other, dolphins and geese. There's children climbing trees, alphabet blocks, birds and a myriad of other items hidden. There's painted statues that are amazing to view. It really is hard to believe that they're not 3D. In fact, Mom, Jen and I all agreed that there were parts where we got confused about what we were seeing or not seeing. As Jen mentioned, a good artist has the ability to do that.

If you're close by, take the time to go see this thing. It really is totally amazing and worth the trip. Afterwards, Jen treated us to cool drinks at a local coffee house where we sat at a checkerboard table and Jen and I played a rousing game of 'checkers' with dice that she had in her purse (for some reason, the coffee house didn't have any checkers - Imagine that). Anyway, the winner was....well, never mind. That part isn't important.

Came home and made some great spaghetti (Aunt Mildred's sauce recipe can't be beat). A nice evening was spent just talking and catching up on the balcony.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

101 things to do with a 91 year old

Once we explained what a Harley was, she was off and running!
Well, John and I both failed miserably in training Gert on the inhaler, but Bobbi (being a mother) made a breakthrough last night. Coman, Bobbi's son, used to have exercise induced asthma so she had to work with him to use an inhaler before he played sports. Bobbi even wrote down instructions for Mom which Mom dutifully took to bed with her so she'd have them in the morning. So, Mom's currently working on technique. I also bought her a saline solution spray which seems to have helped a bit and nasal strips which go across the nose to open the passages wider. So, we're on our way over here!

I was vacuuming the livingroom a while ago and saw her sitting in her chair with her inhaler in her hand. I turned off the vacuum and asked her what she was doing. She looked at me and said that she was waiting for the housekeeper to be done so that the nurse would come on duty. Cracked me up. Now I suppose she's waiting for the cook as it's lunchtime. There is no rest for the weary!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

She never inhaled...

Well, spent the better part of the day and most of this evening still trying to get the idea of using an inhaler into Gert. Bobbi, however, might have made the breakthrough and, before she left tonight, she jotted down notes for dear Gert to review before I try to make her inhale yet again. Perhaps Bill Clinton and Gert have something in common....maybe I should call him...oh, wait...he didn't inhale...

The middle of the day was spent at the eye doctor for Gert and then lunch at a small bistro up here in Germantown. Had a nice time before heading home for Gert's nap.

Dropped Gert off and got her settled in her chair and headed out again to the pharmacy for the purchase of a nasal saline spray (much easier to use than an inhaler) along with those nose strip thingees (note to self: small/medium doesn't cut it.). Mom reports that she's breathing easier currently so that's good. Spending a nice relaxed evening watching a movie. Not a bad evening at all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My first try at a slideshow is above - let's hope this works.

So, we've been pretty busy around here with company for the last month or so. John's parents just went home to Arizona yesterday. Had some great times, nice dinners and relaxed evenings with them here at the Mansion East. Put Sonny to work cutting grass on the tractor - I think he was secretly pleased to be away from all the estrogen!

Sharyn came into town for the week, much to our delight. We really appreciated the visit! Even though we didn't make the RV, we had a week of fun. Sharyn and I did a fair amount of cooking - Gert did a fair amount of eating. Sharyn stayed with Mom a night so I could get away to the Mansion West with John for a nice evening. The next day, Sharyn brought Mom up to the cabin where much merriment was had. Lots of deck sitting, napping ensued.

Bobbi, Sharyn, John and I spent a very nice day on sailing around the Chesapeake and then enjoyed a few hours at the local tiki bar - Jeff looked in on Gert (thanks Jeff!). Gorgeous day on the water - made it back to dock just in time for a summer downpour. Even that didn't dampen the atmosphere (pun intended).

The girls did a great brunch at Blackstone's in Frederick - Belgium beer for the 'youngsters', a bourbon and coke for Gert and we were off and running. Had planned on doing some shopping but ended up 'running' for naps instead. Did the requisite trip(s!) to La Mexicana and propped Mom up at the bar where she's always a big hit.

Sharyn, Jeffie and I went to DC one day to the new Crime Museum (don't bother). LOTS of reading and walking. Nothing special.

Mom's got a new medication - an inhaler to aid in breathing. Now, you wouldn't have thunk it would be as difficult as it's been to get a 91 year old to understand how to use an inhaler. I believe I overdosed on the stuff the first night while trying to demonstrate. I wouldn't have minded so much if the stuff was fun, but the only side effect I got was crystal clear breathing.

Actually, trying to teach Mom to use an inhaler is akin to teaching a duck to drive (I'd bet on the duck). So, we continue the quest for knowledge. John helped out last night with a new perspective which actually may have gotten through. We'll see how that goes.

Niece Jennifer is coming to visit for 10 days from Florida this Thursday. Will head to the cabin next week for a few days with Mom and Jen just to relax. It's really delightful up there.

Mom continues to do very well. A bunch of us went out to dinner the other night and she was the bell 'o the ball, holding court at the head of the table. Amazing, wonderful woman. More later.