Monday, January 9, 2012 |

Palm Trees

     Welcome 2012 and with it usually comes resolutions. Well back in the fall I had posted regarding my landscaping challenges and how during the year I was going to rectify that situation here at the house. With the weather being in the 70's and 80's since Christmas here in Southern California I am operating under the illusion that it's time to start planting!
     I know, however, with the uncertainty of what next week may bring and the fact that it is still considered winter; I settled for filling the huge concrete plant holders that have been stationed at the brick posts of my covered patio. While this wasn't on the initial picture list of my last post, it was still something that I had wanted to have completed.
     These beautiful concrete pots were purchased and never used by my parents and I didn't want to make the same mistake and waste their potential. I also have come to the conclusion that most any plant that I use in any pot or planter will need to be brought tolerant and hardy which doesn't leave me with a lot of choices concerning flowers and tropical type foliage. Most everything will have to have a very small root base and be very low maintenance.
     However, I indulged on these beautiful Palm Trees. They were $10.98 for the 10" pots at Home Depot. I thought at first I would go with the 12" and that the trees themselves would be just a little bigger but the price went from what I payed to $26.00 for a pot that was only 2 inches more. Didn't seem to make monetary sense. Also these particular Palms can grow to 10 feet tall, but are very slow growers and I figured the smaller pot will allow me to enjoy them longer before the out grow the pot years from now.
     It is amazing how just that little bit of green makes a huge difference in the look of the back yard already. Makes it look a little more lived in and the Palms are the perfect thing for a So. Cal back yard. I have already started planning the very back flower bed and found some possible choices of vegetation. I am also trying to think if I can or should put in a water feature of some sort. There is one corner that doesn't get a lot of water even when the sprinklers are on and I'm thinking if I can get electricity to it, that would be a great place for a small water fall of some sort. Also it will be my memorial garden to to our family Siberian Husky's. I am looking into some little stones that commemorate them and I have a beautiful statue that will fit perfect into the landscape with it. I am looking forward to sharing further progress with you all!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 |


     When do you know it's time? How can you make that decision that changes your life forever? When do you stop being selfish and really think about the welfare of your beloved child/dog? Unlike real children you know that at some point you will out live your family pet who isn't just a pet, but a true member of your family. At least to me, my pet's are my kids, my family, my life. I had to make that decision this week, the single most complicated thing that I have ever had to do in my life.
     Dakota turned 14 years old this month and with it I have seen the decline of her health over the last year. I have to be honest and a little selfish here that I am so glad that I haven't been working over the last year and a half, that I have had the opportunity to be home with her to help her to keep her comfortable during the hot and cold weather. Knowing in my heart that her will, her spirit for life far out weighed the ability of her body to keep up. Some days she was great, she still had a spring in her step and others I simply would have to stop what I was doing to go and rescue her from where ever she happened to plant herself. If this sounds even more selfish, I was hoping that one day I would awaken and she would have already slipped peacefully away in her sleep, but I knew in my heart and soul that I would never be that lucky.
     It starts with just random comments, trying to feel people out on what they feel is the right time, but you don't really hear them even though you have initiated the conversation. You have days where all you want to do is cry for her and you do, but the selfishness of not being able to let go sets in and you find that her good days are an excuse to not think about it anymore. Than it's little things like an accident here or there, and you still make excuses that it's the food or it's just harder for her today. Than it starts to become a more frequent problem and the next thing you know your carpet cleaning your whole house because the clean spots from all the accidents start to make your carpet look bleached out, or hosing the patio down every week to wash away all the other messes. Than it's the loss of appetite, that not even adding rice or other foods to her dish will entice her to eat more. When all she does is pick out the good stuff and leaves the rest and nothing will put the weight back on. Than you notice the panting, which up until a week or so ago I didn't realize it was a sign of pain, I just thought she was hot and yet, it's winter and the temperature doesn't creep past 65. So you go back to asking other pet owners around you what they felt was the right time and you continue to cry, to listen, and still deny what really needs to be done.
     Until one day you finally realize that her most basic functions have gone beyond what's become normal and you are subjecting them to different sleeping arrangements because you know you will wake up to a mess not only all over the floor, but all over them and your bathing them constantly to keep them clean. You finally make that call to the vet for the professional consultation and when you finally hear the words from them, you finally realize that it's time to let go. But is it? You know in your heart it is, but you still want to find excuses. Well if I give them pain pills or anti inflammatory, or I just let her sleep more, because her mind is still so active, but you watch her walk around for hours because she's afraid to have to put her hips down even though she has to keep walking in order for her hips to stay in place or at least that's what you keep telling yourself.
     I know that each breed has a time limit, the bigger the dog usually the shorter the time and I know that for a Siberian Husky 14 years old is almost unheard of, but not impossible. Dakota has never thought of the impossible, because if she knew that, she would have never survived to this ripe old age. She has eaten her way through things that most dogs would never have survived. Copious amounts of chocolate (yes, I said chocolate, and it's not from the lack of keeping her away from it, she was always very inventive in her methods of finding it and extracting it from whatever container it was hidden in) food of all kinds, Kleenex, and lord know what else. Even being as attentive as I was, if there was a will, there was a way. She found ways to run away for adventures that subjected her to the open road and careless drivers. She was an inventive dog, a food monger, an adventure taker. She could try the patience of Job, and be the most loving innocent loving creature you ever saw. Dakota broke the rule book on raising dogs in every which way there was and she managed to live for 14 good years as the queen of her castle and us as her subjects.

     In true Dakota fashion we had to wake her from a nap to find that she had been laying in her own pee, got her in the car and before we put the car in reverse she pooped all over the back seat floor after she sat in it first making me have to call the vet to tell them we were running late. Which really at this point made me truly believe that I was making the correct decision. Later one when I was talking with one of my dear friends, he says to me that Dakota had one hell of a sense of humor. Couldn't help but get a good laugh from that, because you know he was absolutely right. I know that if we mess ourselves we become embarrassed and it wasn't much different with her either and it was also the sign I needed telling me that everything was OK.
     Dakota's final weigh in was 49 pounds and she looked so mangled and filthy from all the falling down and I felt like I had to explain to the Doctor that I feed her and that she had just been groomed before Christmas, but I knew it was not from any lack of me trying to give her the best care possible. It is was it is, she didn't eat much anymore and no lack of grooming on my part would change the fact that she just wasn't the dog she once was. The weight was the worst part for me, because in her prime she topped out at 79 pounds and that was only 3 years ago. I knew that she would weigh less, but I definitely wasn't prepared for that.
     In the final moments, I am so grateful that I got to hold her tight and tell her how much I loved her and the peace and calm of knowing that she was no longer in pain became a great comfort to me. Didn't make it any less difficult, or it's not a consolation, or make the pain in my heart any less, but at least in my soul I realized that I was doing the right thing by her. I couldn't keep holding on to her for my own selfishness, but had to send her on to a place where she could run and jump and play again. I know that she is somewhere with my parents beloved Cheyanne who was her first playmate as a pup and who was taken from us to early in her little life and to this day is cherished by us all. The two of them are together and I believe that when it's my time I will see them both and we can all be together again.

     I needed to share this experience and I'm hoping that with my talking about it not only will it help my heeling process, but maybe help someone else out there who is struggling with the same kind of decision. Like I mentioned, I never had a dog live to this ripe old age, and not knowing how to handle it or even deal with it is frustrating. I know I had a lot of support from family and friends, but at the same time it's you and you alone that has to make the final decision. Dakota was my world, and maybe some of you reading this will think I was a bad parent, but at the same time, you may never have lived with the stubbornness of a Husky nor have lived with the love of a dog that could drop you to your knees and make you cry for the sheer beauty and joy she brought me all these years. All I know is that when I get to heaven, my one question to God will be why can't our babies live longer? Why must we loose them so soon? At the same time, I do know the answer to that question. It's because there are so many of them that need love and it teaches us how to keep our hearts and our minds open to other possibilities.

Dakota Ann Smith
December 1997 - December 2011
You will always be in our hearts forever!
Saturday, November 19, 2011 |


     Because I don't like to spend a lot of time on the Internet, and I am actually trying to wean myself even further off things like Facebook, I'm having a hard time catching on to this new Pinterest website. What exactly is the point of the website it's self? I have the "Pin It" button on top of my navigation bar and I have randomly "pinned" a few things that I have seen off of Facebook, but really what is this all about?
     Am I missing the boat? Am I missing the point? Am I just not trendy enough to keep up? What is it? Am I just supposed to accumulate "Pins" of things that just interest me? Things I want to do, make, places I want to go? Am I supposed to share those same things with others? What am I to do with all of my Pins?
     OK, well if anyone can enlighten me, I would really appreciate it.
Monday, November 14, 2011 |

My New Beep Beep

     I am so excited!!! I'm finally mobile again. Well at least mobile enough not to have to worry about driving into the next town. I'm not limited to just the surrounding area! My husband and I spent all day yesterday looking for cars. Not the funnest thing to do in the world. However, it really wasn't to bad. A little disappointed with one dealership. I got up, thanked him for his time, but told him that I wasn't going to waste any more of his or my time. They got me back in the chair to waste another 30 minutes of my time. Gees, what's up with that?! Really you were going to sell the car anyway!
     Anyway, went looking for mid-size trucks and got a small SUV, or to most saying SUV when it's a Jeep is an insult. So it's a Jeep Patriot. Finally found a 2010 at CarMax. I was in the very back corner of their lot and there was not a sales person in sight. I finally flagged one guy down and told him I wasn't leaving the car. Everything we were interested in already had sale pending or sold signs. He told me to lick it and stay right were I was at!! That was funny! Loved my experience with CarMax. I love the no haggle pricing. So if you can't afford it, you just keep looking. I think we were there from beginning to end under 2 hours! Wow!! That was perfect. Would recommend anyone looking for a used vehicle to go to them. So simple and the sales staff and everyone in there was super nice. They don't work on commission so you don't get that sales pressure either. Got the car for almost a grand under Kelly Blue Book Value too. So happy.......let me introduce you to Lola!!!

Yes, I name my cars. I have had a Ethel, Betsy, and a Stella which was a T-bird and that was the name of the lady that owned it before me! I love naming my cars. I don't know why, but I always give them girl names. I figured Lola was a perfect name for a red car, don't you? I'm going to love driving her!!!
Thursday, November 10, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #30 WHO AM I????

     Day 30, I made it!!! Today is the biggest question you can ask a person; who am I? Here is the song "I'm a Bitch" by Merideth Brooks. I know many women can relate to this song, but it's not all about being a "bitch" it's just show cases many of the things that make me, me!

     If you look up the astronomical sign Leo and read all about it, it fits who I am perfectly. I love attention, I am loyal, passionate, creative, strong, independent, a free thinker, and a leader not a follower. I am a fierce defender, or cut you to the quick in the blink of an eye. I am sympathetic but hate stupidity and ignorance and not only expect but demand respect. I am proud to call the lion my sign and I am a women, here me ROAR!
     I'm not complicated, I'm just complex and I wouldn't have my life any other way! I hope you have enjoyed these 30 days of me. I know it's been fun to write and think about and make my own. I hope this inspires you to do your own 30-day challenge, whether it's on a blog or a personal journal or even as a Facebook post. There are so many ways that you can create this challenge and make it your own. I think for anyone who may be a little lost and uncertain about the future, this challenge is a great way to re-connect with yourself and empower you to get back to who you really are. If you would like to go directly to all the posts in this challenge just click here.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #29 - What Have I Learned in the Past Month?

     What I have learned in the last month? As I am sitting here watching the sunrise over the houses I sit and reflect on the past 28 blog days. (Can't say actual days, because I have missed some days, but I have almost completed my challenge and in less than 40 days.) What have I learned? Most of what I wrote about was things that I already knew about myself, just didn't always share with the world because I didn't think it was interesting. Blogs are funny, you know there are a lot of "Famous" ones out there, and you often wonder, who's really going to want to read about me or the things that interest me.
     So I have learned that I am an interesting person, or that I can at least write to where my life sounds interesting. Are you ever in a group of people where there is one person or several who monopolize the conversation and it's all about them? What they do, what they don't like, what their problems are......and don't you get sick of just standing there thinking why should I speak up? You know, those days are over for me. I'm tired of being in a crowd of people and because they don't think I have something important to contribute they talk right over me like I don't exist. Well guess what, I am going to speak up, or I'm going to walk away. Plain and simple. Because I know that I have as much interesting thought, and sometimes more than those that I have kept quiet for all these years. Just so you know, it's no one really I personally know now that I have this problem with, but it's been a problem in large social settings, whether it's work, school, or other social events. Nothing is in reference to my close friends who know and love me.
     Funny, just a couple of months ago, Paul and I were planning on trying to re-locate to a different state. I really didn't think I would missing anyone, or anything here in California, but honestly I thought wrong. Writing this blog about me and my friends made me realize how much I would miss here. I really didn't think I had that many friends, but I really do! I have met some amazing new people, and I have really re-connected with some old friends. While we may not always be doing something or I may not see them from one week to the next, I do have friends, one's that I would miss very very much! I have an amazing circle of men and women who all contribute something wonderful to my life and I am so very grateful for them and would miss them if I were not here.
     I also realized that my purse, is not very interesting by all means. Remember the scene in the Breakfast Club, where Ally Sheedy dumps out her purse on the couch? That's an interesting purse! However, I learned that I really am just a simple girl. I don't need a lot to survive and I am can be very resourceful when I need to be. As long as I have some tissues, some lip gloss and a wallet, I can survive!
     I want to take the time to give a little shout out to Greg. According to Mandy, Greg reads my blog every time I post a link on my FB page. Thanks Greg for the support! Well, it's still early, but the trash cans need to be taken to the curb, so I will go for now. Stay tuned for day 30 where I sum up who I am. That should be interesting!
Sunday, November 6, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #28 - Why????

     Why am I doing this challenge? Well, good question, why am I doing it? I mean there is a lot of personal information on this blog now. A blog that was really supposed to be just about scrapbooking, entertaining, and decorating. I guess it's because a blog needs to be a reflection of the person that creates it and a blog can be anything you want it to be, and if people don't care for that, they don't have to read it.
     It makes me a real person out there in the world. I have fears, problems, and crazy relatives just as much as the next person. It makes the rest of what I say or do on here more real, and possible. I'm not Martha Stewart with a group of people that help prepare everything that makes my life comfortable and I look calm, cool, and collected, and come in from hours in the garden and cook the full gourmet meal, with ingredients pre-done. Whatever Martha, your not real!!!!
     I did this for me, to stretch the limits of what I think I am, or who I am, to perhaps have some type of public therapy over some issues that I do have in my life. I mean if you never talk about them, you never get over it, right? Most of all, I hope that I was able to entertain, inform, and enlighten someone out there in cyber land.
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