Saturday, December 29, 2007


Danny and I went out for a walk and next to the garage door was a large box with an "I'm thirsty" sign.

Peeking inside I saw a fresh batch of tulips!

The flowers are so beautiful, I am tempted to try and grow some. However, I know that the deer or woodchuck would destroy them.

With tulips in the kitchen and dining room, it seems as if Spring arrived early.

A note about the bird feeder: Jeff came home the other night and said "I saw a raccoon climbing on the feeder." Why am I not surprised!

Friday, December 28, 2007


I am wondering if my long vacation is beginning to effect Danny. With me being home, he does not get to sleep all day and I think he is getting a little cranky.

When we went out the other morning, Danny saw the deer in the back yard. Immediately he began to bark and charged after them. Usually Danny ignores the deer or gives a single woof. The herd split in 2 directions and Danny got remarkably close before the last straggler leapt the stone wall.

We went out later and there were crows near the bird feeder. Danny ran straight for the crows barking as loud as he could.

Jeff thinks Danny is tired - maybe we both could use an afternoon nap!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tulips Too

The tulips from last week have opened and they are gorgeous!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Squirrels vs Feeder - Part 2

Last year, the squirrels attacked my Droll Yankee feeder and chewed through the plastic base. Once the base was destroyed, the squirrel proof cage fell off and it was easy picking for the animals.

To be fair, I can't just blame the squirrels. A opossum the size of a large cat has been spotted perched on the top of the feeder.

Jeff replaced the plastic base with a large block of wood. The feeder was rehung and the war was back on. Day by day the critters would chew at the wood, determined to remove the metal cage.

Spring came, the feeder was taken down and the base once again needed repair. I was determined to save this feeder, so it was packed up and given to a very handy family member.

On Christmas day, I was given the best gift - my feeder now has a heavy aluminum base. We'll see what happens next.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost over. All the weeks of planning, shopping, wrapping and cooking and in the blink of an eye the day has passed.

Danny spent most of Christmas Eve curled up in front of the fireplace (an unusual spot for him). I wonder if he was hoping to spot Santa coming down the chimney with his wished for new bed?

We have a wonderful neighbor who is kind enough to host a Christmas Eve party each year. It is a great chance to catch up with others on the block. Since this neighbor is a caterer, you can be assured that the food is fantastic.

Evening mass at St. Luke's in Westport was beautiful. I especially loved the choir and all the carols. There is something magical about leaving church at midnight, just as Christmas begins.

We awoke to find that Santa had visited us. The biggest package was for Danny - a monogrammed LL Bean bed!

We loaded up our silver sleigh and off to Long Island we went.

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, friends and special memories!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bamboo Shades

When we originally painted the office, we just put up valances.

However, when you try and work at the computer on a sunny day, the glare on the screen can make it difficult to see.

So, we went down to our favorite curtain shop (Country Curtains in Westport) and bought these roman shades.

I like that they filter, but do not block the light and even when the shade is down, you can still see the trees outside.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Nothing can chase away the cold of winter like a delivery of fresh flowers.

These beautiful tulips bear the colors of the Christmas season and the promise of spring.

To W&J thanks for remembering my Dad and bringing a smile to a sad day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Missing balls

You would think that it would be easy to spot a green tennis ball in a yard full of white snow. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The last few evenings that Danny and I played fetch, he has lost the ball. The next morning when the sun comes up, we go out and search, but still no ball! Perhaps the opossums or raccoons are taking up tennis ??

Just as Danny's ball supply was beginning to dwindle, two Westport elves stopped by with pocket's stuffed with tennis balls.

Danny couldn't be happier!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Street Lights

The new street lights have been installed at Wilton Center and they look great! It is nice to be able to walk along a well lighted path, especially in this icy weather. Our street is dark and slick, so we take Danny to Wilton Center in the evening.

While we were walking at Wilton Center, we passed a well dressed woman in a beautiful long black coat. I purposely pulled Danny in close, so that he would not brush against her on the path.

Surprisingly, the woman stopped and said what a beautiful dog and bent down to pet him. I thought about warning her that her coat would be red with hair, but she seemed to enjoy petting him so much, I didn't want to ruin it.

We passed again at the end of our walk and she said, "He really is GORGEOUS".

I swear that Danny's walk changed to a swagger. As we say, say everyone loves Danny the dog.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas in NYC

I love NYC at Christmas and we try to visit there every year.

We were extremely lucky that this Saturday the weather was fairly warm - 43 degrees and partly sunny. There have been other years when it is so cold and blustery that you wonder if you are crazy for spending hours wandering 5th Avenue.

While in NYC, we did all the tourist activities. It started with a visit to St. Patrick's. Whenever we go to St. Patrick's I am always amazed at the architecture and the beautiful stained glass. There was a hand carved wooden Nativity that was amazing.

Shelton, CT's most famous tree - currently on display in Rockefeller Center was gorgeous.

We visited all the store windows - Saks, Lord and Taylor, Macy's. Our favorite theme was the the snow people at Saks.

No visit would be complete with a stop in the Diamond District and a chance to see all the beautiful ice on display in the shop windows.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mr. December

Danny has been chosen as Mr. December for the 2008 Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue calendar!

You can view the Ray of Sunshine calendar by going to:

If you are looking for a stocking stuffer this calendar would make a great gift and help a wonderful organization.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Card

Danny's photo adorns our Christmas card this year.

Trying to take a picture of a dog may sound easy. However, add in a Santa hat and a poinsettia background and things get more complex.

Here are some photos that did not get chosen. My favorite one is the top photo of Danny "The Grinch".

Monday, December 03, 2007

Watch Dog

It takes a lot to get Danny to bark and even then it is usually a single "Woof".

However, the other evening I let Danny out and he barked and barked and barked. This was not a "let's play ball" sound. It was a deep, menacing, hair standing up on the neck, full teeth gleaming bark.

I could not see what it was that Danny sensed lurking near the pond. Danny neither chased nor retreated. He just stood firm and barked.

At first I thought perhaps it was a deer. However, Danny usually ignores the deer or gives a single bark to chase them off. I then wondered if it was the coyote.

Whatever creature was at the pond, Danny made it clear that this visitor was not welcome.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This month's masthead

The picture for this month's masthead comes from our trip to Asheville, North Carolina. The Biltmore Gardens had a greenhouse full of poinsettias that they deploy through the house during the holiday season.

In between finding the perfect gift and getting sloshed at the company holiday party, take time to remember what this holiday season means to you.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fitz & Floyd

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....when the Fitz and Floyd Santas appear around the house.

I bought my first piece of F&F as a gift about 10 years ago, when we were living in NC. I could not resist the beautiful Xmas display at Belk's. Although I gave the first F&F figurine away, I was hooked (some might say addicted).

Trying to find F&F in CT was much tougher than NC. Thankfully Fitz and Floyd now sells most of their Santa figurines on the Internet.

What I love most about F&F is the attention to detail. No matter what angle you view the Santa from, there is always something of interest to see.

There are F&F collections for every season, but that is a story for another day...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Danny's Centerfold

We received an email from Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue, asking if Danny would like to be a "Retriever of the Month" in their 2008 calendar.

Since we think Danny is the best looking Golden in Wilton (and possibly Westport), we jumped at the chance to participate.

Danny's photo has been sent to SGRR. If he "has the look", Danny will be included in the calendar.

Perhaps Danny's Maine Mom Linda can help sway the SGRR decision in Danny's favor ;)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Danny's Back

Danny is back home!

Our niece did a great job of taking care of Danny. I think Danny may have lost a little weight due to all the walks, which would make his vet happy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chimney Rock Park

While in NC we went hiking in Chimney Rock Park.

I thought that by mid-November all the leaves would have fallen, but there was still some good color on the trees.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Asheville, NC

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in Asheville, NC. I have always enjoyed Christmas at Biltmore Estates and I decided that late fall would be a great time to visit.

Asheville has changed a lot since our last visit 10 years ago. There are many restaurants and art galleries in the downtown. The real estate prices have also sky rocketed.

We went to Biltmore twice - first in the evening for the Candlelight Christmas. To me, there is something magical about Biltmore at night. Each room in the house has a uniquely decorated Xmas tree, the fireplaces are crackling, and there are flowers and poinsettias everywhere. There is also live music - a children's choir, a harpist and an organist in different rooms all playing songs of the season.

As you tour the house full of priceless antiques, you can imagine the grand parties that must have been hosted here.

The next day we went back to Biltmore and enjoyed the gardens, winery and farm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Danny's LI Vacation

Danny is enjoying a 2 week vacation on Long Island.

Our family was nice enough to drive to Wilton to pick Danny up. I wondered if Danny would hesitate to leave his home, but I shouldn't have worried. When the door to the cab of the truck opened, Danny immediately hopped in and never looked back.

I hear that Danny is having a great time on LI. Danny has kids to play with and is getting lots of walks, hugs and kisses.

Danny has learned that the pears which are falling from the trees are not odd shaped tennis balls and they are not used for a game of fetch.

Monday, November 12, 2007

First Fire

We have been in our home for 18 months and never had a fire. This is especially odd when you realize that immediately after moving into the house, we had the chimney cleaned.

Finally, we had our first fire! It took a few hours for the bricks to get warm, but once they did the room was nice and toasty.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Snow in NYC

We spent the day in NY City, catching up with old friends from NC. While there, we saw Cirque du Soleil's Wintuk. The show was great and the snow that we carried home in our pockets made us wish that real snow would soon arrive in CT.

We had dinner at Keen's Steakhouse. If you like beef, this is the place to go. Warning - go hungry, especially if you order the porterhouse for two! I have to say that this was the best steak I have ever had.

It always amazes me that when you meet old friends time and distance melt away and it seems as if you were just together a day earlier.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Home Improvement Tips

Home Improvement Tip #1
If you find yourself applying caulk overhead, wear a hat.

Home Improvement Tip #2
If you forget tip #1, water alone doesn't get caulk out of your hair. You'll have to use liberal amounts of ivory soap and scrub really hard.

Don't ask how I know these things.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Danny is anxiously awaiting the trick-or-treaters. Danny usually does not spend much time in the foyer, but today that is his favorite spot.

Could the big bowl of Halloween M&Ms be the reason why ?

Monday, October 29, 2007

First Frost

The leaves have turned the sky ablaze with rich reds, yellows and orange. We think Summer has breathed his last breath and old man Winter is in cahoots with Mother Harvest dropping a light frost over Wilton last night.

We had to switch Danny to his new bright yellow tennis balls for outside games instead of his red & blue balls. I throw the ball and if it goes in the lawn, the leaves cover it up. Danny chases after the ball and upon not finding it, he starts a zig-zag pattern with his nose to the ground. Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he's a mile off. After a while, he gives up and looks at me to go find his ball. At least with the yellow balls, we have a chance of finding them.

Thanksgiving Dinner

While replacing the door, Jeff suddenly said "Look at the turkeys!"

I looked up and there were 4 turkeys strolling along the back yard. The large Tom reminded me of the pictures in history books of the first Thanksgiving dinner.

I then thought, these turkeys are lucky they live in Wilton. If their home was in upstate NY, I know a Hunter who would be extremely happy to have his fresh Thanksgiving bird.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Let There Be Light

This was our old basement door. We knew it needed to be replaced when the last bout of heavy rains pushed water under the door. Closer inspection showed that the sill under the door had rotted.

The basement is dark and I wanted a door with a window. I thought we would get a 9 light door, but when we saw this 12 light we decided that it would look nicer.

We bought the door and researched installations on the Internet. 5 hours is the estimated duration. However, anyone who has done home improvements knows to expect the unexpected.

It took little time to get the old door out. Great - we were on our way! Unfortunately, not only was the sill rotted, but also the framing on both sides. Off to Home Depot to get some 2x6s and we were underway again.

The door was put in and then came installation of the new locks. We wanted to reuse our old locks but this presented an issue - how to remove the locks from the old door?? The lock installation was by far the biggest challenge with a lot of "I don't knows". Eventually the locks were removed and reinstalled. Time for a break.

Next came the foam insulation.

The door still needs to be painted and the molding installed, but at least it is a functioning door again.

Time to reframe and install the door: 8 hours

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Seventy Seven

Danny's new nickname is "Seventy Seven". He's down three pounds since he's been on Science Diet R/D. He's got about 3/4 of the 30 pound bag left, so we'll see where that gets him.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Autumn Fetch

The only problem with playing fetch in the fall, is that sometimes you end up with a mouth full of leaves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A rescue dog

When strangers meet Danny, they often comment on what a good dog he is. Some of the most common descriptions are sweet, friendly, nice, and beautiful.

When we mention that Danny was abandoned and Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue saved him, people are surprised. Most people just don't understand why anyone would give up such a great dog.

Sometimes people ask "What's wrong with him ?" As if it is Danny's fault that he was abandoned. I want to respond "What's wrong with you!"

There is NOTHING wrong with Danny or the thousands of dogs currently in shelters.If you are thinking of getting a dog, please consider adopting one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Soccer game

Last weekend, Danny got to attend his first soccer game. The weather was just perfect - warm and sunny, feeling more like an early Sept day, not mid-Oct.

Danny arrived at the soccer field and was instantly surrounded by the young soccer stars. They all wanted to pet him and hug him. Danny LOVES people and could not get enough attention.

Once the game started, the parents came over to visit. Danny was in heaven.

Halfway thru the game, a guest for the opposing team arrived with a young yellow lab. The lab started barking at Danny. Danny gave her a quick glance and then refocused on watching the game.

At the end of the game Danny got one more round of love from the players. I was so proud of how well he behaved.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Danny's Gift

At our house we do not celebrate a birthday; we celebrate a birthWEEK. In honor of Danny's birthday, this week's entries will all be about Wilton's favorite dog, Danny.

Danny has been us with one year and our best guess is that he is about 3 years old. I gave a lot of thought about what Danny's birthday gift should be.

A new toy ? Danny already has plenty of toys. When guests visit the house, they cannot miss the big pile of dog toys in the family room. This does not include the toys in the bedroom and basement.

Rawhide ? Danny is a chewer and for the sake of shoes and furniture, we always have a supply of rawhide on hand.

A trip to the groomer ? I loved the idea, but decided that gift would be more for me, not Danny.

I finally came up with the perfect gift! Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue ( is the wonderful organization that brought Danny into our lives. Why not give back to the people who saved our beautiful dog and gave him a second chance for a happy life! Danny's wagging tail confirmed that he liked the idea of helping other Goldens.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Danny!

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! It is hard to believe that I moved to CT one year ago. At that time I thought no one would ever love me again. In a span of a few short weeks, I was abandoned, lived in a shelter and then was shipped from Alabama to Maine.

I had a great foster Mom, Linda, and was starting to hope again, when two strangers knocked on the door. The next thing I knew, I was on the road again.

When we arrived at my new home in Wilton, I was nervous. One look at their newly finished hardwood floors and figurines and I thought this will never work. I'm a big guy who loves to run around and wag his tail - how would I ever fit in ?

It turns out that Mom and Dad are pretty cool. The scratches in the hardwoods are called "character" and the breakables have been moved higher up.

I had a lot to learn; sharing the bed is ok, the couch is not, eating from the candy jar is a MAJOR offense. After a year, I have Mom well trained, a sigh or a sad look will get me extra hugs or playtime or a snack.

Each season has brought new visitors to our yard. Ducks in the spring, woodchucks in the summer, deer in the fall. Add in the foxes, turkeys and coyote and I never know what I may find.

These Golden days have passed quickly with a lot of laughter and some tears (being diagnosed with epilepsy). Through the ups and downs Mom and Dad have stood by me. Mom says we're a pack and a pack always sticks together.

Always - I like that word.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bed Warmer

Who needs an electric blanket when you have a big furry Golden ?

On these cool nights and mornings, Danny acts as a bed warmer. I am amazed at how much heat he radiates and love that my feet are never cold.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Driving down our street, Jeff and I noticed an animal in our neighbor's yard. We stopped the car to get a better look. What is that ? My first thought was a wolf, then a dog, then a coyote. We turned into our driveway and I did not expect to see the creature again.

Going out later, we saw the same animal standing in a different neighbor's yard. This time we were able to get a much better view and I could clearly see the gray coat that looked matted. There is no doubt that this coyote seemed very much at home - he slowly trotted off into the woods. Not the least bit afraid of the car or the attention. Could this be the answer to stopping Silverback (the woodchuck) ?

I always thought coyotes were small, but this one was taller than Danny at the shoulder and thinner. I also thought the coyote's coat would be brownish, but this was full wolf gray. I guess you never know what you will meet at 3pm in Wilton! Maybe that is why Danny is constantly sniffing in the yard and on his walks ?

Watching You

This month's masthead courtesy of who else, but Danny the Dog. His defeated expression in Last Bath of Summer translates into a watchful look when you just look at his eyes.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Last Bath of Summer

We decided to take advantage of the unusually warm October day and gave Danny his last bath of the summer. On such a warm day, you would think the cool water would feel good, but after a few minutes, our hands ached from the cold well water. Even Danny, tried to escape the hose before the final rinse.

Once the water was shut off, Danny ran for the grass and rolled from side to side. When he stood back up, his wet coat was covered in leaves and I swear there was a gleam in his eye and a smile on his lips that seemed to say, "I showed you"

With such a thick coat, the drying process takes hours, but in the end, Danny's coat gleams.

PS - I previously mentioned that Danny's early winter coat might be a sign of a rough winter ahead. This week, two people mentioned the large number of acorns in their yards. It turns out that is another foreshadowing of a harsh winter. On a 88 degree day, it is hard to imagine snow ahead, but we'll have to wait and see.