Unexpected Treasure

Fall 2007ish?

Fall 2007ish?

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful Thursday!

The Knight got lost in his photos on Christmas afternoon.  He found one that made me laugh and cry.  That’s Mugsy, on the operator’s platform on a fire truck.   That little guy was fearless, and at least for the last few years of his life, Mugsy followed the Knight whenever and wherever he was allowed to do so.

I’m pretty sure not many dogs have operated a quint.  (Ladder truck + pumper/engine/wagon – whatever you call them in your neck of the woods)   I now work for the company that was demo-ing said apparatus, as an aside.  Those truly in the know might have already realized that isn’t one of our fire trucks, because it’s not hunter green.

Anyway, happy Boxing Day too.  Back when I was a paid firefighter, there were several years we celebrated Christmas on the 26th.  I hope you have time today to say hello to a friend, neighbor or relation you didn’t catch up with yesterday.  And if not, there’s always the weekend.  I’m never in a hurry to stop celebrating.  In my family, there’s a lot of emphasis on shared meals, and I have three more in the next four days.

For those looking for the fur-girls, they’re resting up.  They didn’t go to any of the dinners with us, but they did make sure I burned off the calories from said meals with several extra miles, and Sissy even insisted on running today.  Smart girl.  I think our daytime high was something like 27 degrees, so there was no reason to doddle in the woods.

Why yes, they had presents too.  Like most girls, they got clothes, toys and some special treats.  Sissy even got a Basset Hound calendar from Shadow (Pop’s dog, now living with my inlaws).   They also partook of some macaroni and cheese last night, and had strawberries with their dinner tonight.  Do your pets celebrate with you?



Photo Card
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We wish you joy, love and good cheer now and into the New Year.

Some of you may be getting a copy of this in the mail.  Thankfully, in my beach-stupor, I ordered not-holiday-specific cards, because while a few locals received it today, I know some places it is going won’t see it much before 2014 arrives… or maybe even after.  It’s just been that kind of fall around here.  Please know that though I blog infrequently, miss birthdays and other important events/holidays and generally am just a bad friend, I’m thinking of you and wishing you only the best.

Merry Christmas!  I’ll be scarce for another week or so, but I am hopeful that the new year will bring more regular blogging.


Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday, one week before Christmas and whatever else.  I apologize for my unplanned silences, but that’s what happens when one has a real job and she gets the bright idea to do League leadership mid-year reviews at mid-year even when that falls during the holiday rush.

So, I haven’t even had time to set up my most exciting, early Christmas present from the good folks at BROOD – the local basset rescue.  See, they had a raffle a few weeks ago, and imagine my surprise when I not only won, but won my favorite of the four prizes donated by the extremely talented paws at Sir Bentley Art.  I hope they won’t mind if I use their cover photo from their Facebook page to illustrate my most awesome loot!

Courtesy of Sir Bentley Art

Courtesy of Sir Bentley Art

Which piece is your favorite?  I truly can’t choose.  I’m just delighted to own it; I might have to shuffle around some other precious things so it can live year ’round in one of our glass-front cabinets…

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

Courtesy of Will Kerner; JLC future, present and past presidents

Obviously, I’m thankful for the generosity of talented artists, for the good folks at BROOD helping houndies find great homes, and for literary classics that make us think and inspire us to be better people.  But I’m also grateful for landing in a job that is never the same two days – or two minutes? – in a row and for my good-natured co-workers who make me laugh, one way or another, every day.  I’m also honored to serve the community with the dedicated, brilliant women in the JLC, especially those awesome leaders who went along with my crazy notion that the mid-year reviews should happen between Thanksgiving and … yesterday.  We did it, and they have some great ideas on how to move the League forward even further in the next few months.

Of course most of all, I’m grateful for the Knight, who never does more than sigh and make sure the bluetooth headset is charged when I mention at 4:35 that I have four conference calls, beginning at 5.  And I’m glad Sissy has remained relentless in her demands for a daily walk, except in the foulest of weather.

I hope friends and family will understand when our Christmas cards arrive next week… or after the 25th.  There’s also been no baking this year.  It might be the year of fudge, because I can manage to stand at the stove and stir for five minutes and then wait for time and the magic of cooling, liquefied sugar to happen.   But next year…

Never mind.  I’m pretty sure I’ve vowed to get my act together better every year since life started getting in the way.

What are you thankful for today?




Beam me…

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and everything else.  Despite Gretchen’s fussy post (and she’s draped across my arms as I try to type now), the fur-girls have gotten at least one happy box to call their own.   The good folks at Chewy sent them a box of Beams to try, and as has been the case with everything Chewy has asked them to try… they have a new favorite.

58592,1385975223$SS172$We actually had two Sissy-friendly options on the latest list of items to review, so we chose The Honest Kitchen Beams, as the girls have never had anything like them before.  Dehydrated catfish skin strips STINK to high heaven, but watching the dogs delight in the smells and then, the chewing experience, makes it all worthwhile.

Having a nearly vegan dog is a challenge, but thankfully, Sis can do fish products when there is no corn, poultry, beef… or any of her other allergens hidden in the ingredients.  When she was first diagnosed as allergic and/or intolerant of virtually all land animals (save rabbits) and corn, our options were seriously limited.  We were buying food at the vet’s office and making her treats.  Then, we had to start having it drop-shipped by the ton to the house, and then came the most frustrating time when for whatever reason, the only rabbit kibble that fit her restrictions was no longer available.  Many of you were with us during that difficult time, and I am moved beyond words that some of you cared enough to help find Sissy-safe options.

So… imagine our joy when we find a new, safe, healthy commercial option.   Both dogs get a treat each time Sissy gets an eye drop, and it makes me quite happy when she gets excited about her treat.  Beams are drool-worthy, which with the current cold snap means I have to be really careful or I end up with cold, wet socks.  Ewww…

What neat things have arrived on your doorstep lately?

Cozy Reading Weather

Here’s a brief rundown on what I’ve read in the past week or so.  One nice thing about a rather chilly, windy time at the beach and lots of cold rain is all the pages I can turn!  (The books aren’t listed in the order I read them, but rather, from ho-hum to page-turner.)

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree – (Kindle) Barely a novella at 29 pages, but if you’re looking for a seasonal short story, it’s pleasant enough.

Good Night Sleep Tight Don’t Let the Stalkers Bite – (Kindle) The first in the second series by Teresa Watson, I really had a hard time getting into it.  Luckily, Ms. Watson inserts a devoted dog character into her books, so for the Malamute named Duke’s sake, I kept plodding along until I discovered I wasn’t trying so much after all.  It’s full of cliches, but if you like cozies, dogs and have ever known someone that trouble just seems to find, it’s worth the read.


Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

A Murder Hatched – (Kindle) is actually the first TWO books in Donna Andrew’s Meg Langslow series.  Meg’s parents still live in Yorktown, which isn’t too far from my Woods, and the first book is set in the little town.  The cast of characters is pretty typical of small towns around these parts; that’s one reason I’ve come to appreciate cozy mysteries.  They tend to be set in small towns and the main character has crazy friends/family and everyone minds everyone else’s business, just like here in podunk.

I’m looking forward to “seeing” more of Meg at work as a blacksmith.  Of course, Meg’s mama is about as traditional of a southern lady as they come, so Meg manages to smith and still be maid of honor three times in one summer in the first book.  If you enjoyed the characters in Steel Magnolias (or had thoughts about the people you know who might have inspired said characters), you’ll like this series.  I might have already downloaded the next book in the series.

Divergent – (Kindle) gets my highest marks for the books I’ve read.  It’s also definitely NOT cozy.  It falls into the dystopian category, and I know a few of you don’t care for that genre at all.  I’m torn between starting the second book in the series and between book #3 in the above-mentioned series, because I am quite interested in finding out what happens next to Tris/Beatrice.  It’s another rights of passage with a female main character series, but I can’t bring myself to call it young adult fiction.  Yes, like many of the popular series of late – Twilight, Hunger Games and more – the main characters are in their late teens, but the settings and themes are rather dark, and in my mind…  young adult fiction is really a polite phrase for teen lit, and this isn’t sappy, high school drama lama stuff.

Of course, I should explain that my favorite book I read in college was Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, so it’s time for me to swallow hard and admit I enjoy reading dystopian literature, especially when the protagonist is a female making tough choices and trying to find her way.

All in all, I’ve read over 1300 pages in the past 10 days or so, not including board reports and the first of the holiday letters arriving in our mailbox.  There’s almost no way I’ll make my goal of 100 books this year, even if I add a few more very short ones to the list, so I’m not even going to try to fake it.

Have you had time for any reading lately?

Beach Report

Wow.  I knew the week was hectic and I didn’t have a great grasp on things, but I was truly surprised to realize this morning that Thorsday came and went and no post happened.  The girls have a bit of a post on their blog, but really, they’re just annoyed because the humans have been busy, walks haven’t happened to their satisfaction (no walks twice this week due to Sissy’s upset tummy, rain, etc.) and they don’t like ANY changes to their routine.


We saw our first sea turtle last week, but I’m rather sure it was dead.  Still, I didn’t risk it and didn’t get close enough to confirm, because their jaws are quick and powerful.

UntitledDespite the wind, rough seas and Sissy’s issues, we still logged quite a few miles on the beach.  Gretchen in particular loves to chase birds on the water’s edge, but I haven’t been able to convince her that perhaps she shouldn’t mess with the larger gulls.  They just glare, soar and land out of her reach, but seriously… my sometimes timid, sometimes snake hunter really is a JRT at heart!

I’m very grateful for a place to retreat and recharge, but I’m most grateful for a man who will go out after midnight to buy his dog children’s chewable Pepto with the hope that she’ll get comfortable enough to let the rest of the household sleep.  I’m also thankful for the kindness of strangers… particularly the waitress at the Knight’s favorite seafood buffet who was more than willing to allow us to break the “no to-go boxes” rule to take shrimp tails to the same spoiled dog(s).

And really, I did knit (and gave away one of the cloths yesterday without taking a photo) and I did read, and I will share more about that as soon as I have a spare moment.

Is giving thanks part of your Thanksgiving traditions?

Make Shopping Count

Who says that the buying part of the holidays can’t save the world?  We didn’t do our part on Small Business Saturday, because the dogs and I spent a lot of time actually ON the beach, chasing birds, chatting with fishermen and just enjoying the day, and now Cyber Monday is almost over…

…but I want to be sure you know about AmazonSmile and OneCause.  Both sites allow you to shop as always, but your purchases support your favorite non-profit.  Yes, you have to click over and actually sign in, but otherwise, AmazonSmile links to your existing Amazon account and life goes on.  Prime still works and everything.  I just made a Land’s End purchase through OneCause a little while ago, and while I do like Ebates, those few dollars can combine with other JLC shoppers’ efforts to make a difference in our community.

JLC_Literacy_RGB.1Of course, if you are looking for a cause, feel free to type in Junior League of Charlottesville on either/both sites…  I can assure you that any and all funds earned from such will go straight into our fundraising accounts, and all proceeds from our fundraising efforts go straight to JLC programs, such as our new literacy programs.

I hope you’re sitting down; I also did some knitting and reading at the beach, but you’ll have to wait for another day and more time (and energy) to hear more about that.