Sunday, May 31, 2009


Thanks to Jeff's hard work for the last 2 days, the bathroom is now primed and painted.

The ceiling, walls, and trim have all been painted. The wall color is Antique Beige.

Friday, May 29, 2009


All of the walks and playtime have made Coop lean and strong.

It amazes me that he has so little fat on his body. Coop's chest is broad and you can see his muscles flex when he walks. Coop is evolving into a more beautiful and outgoing dog.

I study Coop for signs that the cancer is impacting him, but he has never seemed healthier. Let's hope it stays that way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


When the Country Curtains catalog arrived in the mail, I knew it was the perfect time to pick the bathroom blind and valance.

We packed up two 12x12 travertine tiles, glass tile and paint samples and drove to Westport. There were 6 curtains that I thought might be a good match.

The sales people at Country Curtains were great. They did not blink an eye as we walked in with all our samples and laid them out on a bed. Several customers stopped and commented that bringing samples was the only way to make the right choice.

Some of the curtains were on display, but several were not. The sales woman brought out the missing curtains and that is when I realized that our glass tile is (surprise) NOT red. Upon close inspection, the glass contains shades of burgundy from almost red to almost purple.

We looked at fire engine red, cherry red and berkshire plaid plus several other colors before selecting one that seemed to be the best option. Of course, the colors in the valance did not match the blind that I originally selected, so we had to find another one.

I hope that when the shade and valance are hung they will help unify the bath.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Favorite Places

As I said before, Cooper loves to lay under the kitchen table.

As you can see, when he stretches out, there isn't much room for us two footed creatures.

PS - Doesn't Coop look very fluffy ?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Window Trim

The molding around the window has been installed.

We are hoping that the sheetrock will be completed this week, so we can paint.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Scope Creep

As a Project Manager, one of the most important things to avoid is scope creep. This is when you state that a project will contain item A and then it grows to include items B and C. It seems this phenomenon is NOT limited to software projects....

This weekend Jeff cleaned off the mildew that was under the front overhang. This took several hours and the house now looks great.

When Jeff came back in, he said, "We need to replace the front lights".

It seems that after several hours of close contact with the tarnished and paint spotted lights (bottom picture), he could no longer bear it.

Off we went to Lowes. The new lights are installed (top pictures) and looked fantastic.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wanna Dance ?

Who would have thought Coop could ever be SO happy and carefree ?

Saturday, May 23, 2009


After Cooper spent a week in the kennel, he needed a bath.

I thought that during the bath, a lot of Coop's loose hair would come out and reduce his shedding.

Unfortunately, it seems the bath had the opposite effect. Ever since bath day, I have been brushing Coop and getting one or two handfuls of hair. On the positive side, Coop's coat is unbelievably soft and shiny.

In this photo Coop's coat is still damp. When he stands in the sunshine and the light reflects off his coat, I can understand why Coop was originally named Copper.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Having read the book Misty of Chincoteague as a child, I always wanted to see the wild ponies at Chincoteague,VA. Since this is only 2 hours from VA Beach, it was the perfect time to visit.

The ponies were beautiful, but we underestimated the size and quantity of mosquitoes we would encounter on our hike to see them.

The Wildlife Refuge was amazing. There are eagles nesting there and you can see into the nest via tv camera.

Unfortunately, we arrived at the lighthouse to late to walk up to the top.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Cooper

While visiting Williamsburg, we met another cooper. This cooper is a maker of barrels and containers. We learned a lot of interesting things, but I think our Cooper is cuter!

Williamsburg was a lot of fun. We picked a good time of year to visit because it was not very crowded.

The Governor's Palace was beautiful. At the silversmith, I learned that since there were no banks, people saved their silver coinage and turned it into bowls & flatware. Engraving the pieces ensured that they could be recognized, if ever stolen.

The gardens were in full bloom and beautiful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shower Complete

The tile in the shower and on the floor has been completed.

The grout can be installed on both of these tomorrow.

It has taken a long time for the tile to be installed, but I am pleased with the result. I wanted the shower wall to be a focal point and I think it is.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Virginia Beach

We spent last week on vacation in VA Beach. We stayed in an ocean front hotel. When we walked onto the balcony on Sat night, we realized that we were over looking a monster truck race!

I am not a truck fanatic, but it was fun to watch. I thought Megasaurus was the best part. Megasaurus breathed fire and could eat cars - tearing out the inside before snapping the car in two.

On a rainy day we went to the VA Aquarium. I thought the harbor seals were the best part. The aquarium is being renovated and will soon have komodo dragons, which would have been neat to see. We saw an IMAX movie about life under the sea which was fantastic.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Passage East

For anyone who is wondering, "What happened to the Cooper stories?"....

We spent last week on vacation in Virgina Beach, VA. While we were in VA, Cooper was at Passage East Kennel in Wilton. I was nervous about leaving Cooper, but Jeff reminded me that he is a dog who has been through much worse than spending a week at a highly recommended kennel.

We dropped Cooper off with his food, cottage cheese, treats and toys. The attendant was very nice and did not laugh as I asked that Coop get cottage cheese mixed with each meal.

I thought about Coop every day and wondered if he was doing ok.

When we picked him up on Sat evening, I asked the owner if Coop was ok. He's great I was told, a perfect guest. I asked if he ate - the man seemed surprised, not a problem, cleaned his bowl out every time.

The owner did warn me that our MilkBones were not used because they have special bones that they give the dogs. I guess these bones must be fantastic, because when Coop got home, I gave him a Milkbone. He sniffed it and reluctantly took it with a look that said, "Is this the best you've got ?"

Passage East groups dogs by size, so Coop was in the Lab/Golden wing. We were told that Coop loved to play with the other big dogs (mainly Labs) and did not hesitate to rough house with them! I was surprised. The owner said that he thought Coop would love a brother/sister and they had some rescue dogs up for adoption.

We are not ready for a second dog, but I was glad to hear that Coop adjusted so well to the kennel.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Longest Night of My Life

On Thursday, May 8th, 2003 I remember getting a call on my drive home. Jake had a seizure and Valerie was frantic. I arrived at home about 30 minutes later to a dazed and confused Jake and a more confused Valerie.

We put Jake in the car and rushed to the after-hours vet clinic. Half way there, he had another seizure and we pulled to the side of the road to comfort him during his agony. The clinic kept him overnight and pumped him full of anti-seizure medicine to stop the convulsions.

We brought him to his regular vet the next day and plotted out a course of action. He would be weaned off the high doses of anti-seizure medication to a point where he was functioning but not having convulsions. As the week drew on, Jake became more aware of his surroundings and we become more and more hopeful.

Hope came to an end on Friday, May 16th. As we finished cleaning up after dinner, Jake had his first seizure since he was on medication. About 60 minutes later, another one longer and more violent than the first. We doubled his dose and made a plan to see the Vet the next day. Then came another, and another. The choice was clear. Jake couldn't even make it up the stairs to go to bed, so we slept with him on the floor that night.

I didn't sleep a wink that night. The choice couldn't have been clearer but it still bothered me. When he was on the table about to take his last breath, he looked up at me with those beautiful brown eyes that said "Thank You Papa."

Six years have gone by and I still see those eyes.

Danny gave me the same look before his passing. I hope to never see it in Cooper.

Friday, May 15, 2009


While living in NC, I saw an ad in the paper asking for people to adopt homeless Goldens. I always liked Goldens and knew that too many dogs end up in shelters, so thought why not ? Looking back I did not realize just how traumatized a rescued dog could be.

Jeff had always wanted a red Retriever named Jake. When I called Neuse Golden Retriever Rescue and was told that there was a dog named Jake, I knew it was fate. When we first met Jake, a large red coated Golden, he did not walk, but crawled on his belly. My heart broke and I wondered what cruelty he had been subjected to, to be too afraid to walk.

Jake had large soulful eyes that always appeared haunted. We had Jake for 9 years and I could never erase the sadness in his sweet face. When we brought Jake home, he was terrified. A loud noise or sudden movement would send him scuttling from the room.

Jake taught me patience and Jake taught me that some wounds never heal. Trust is tenuous and when our vet said a nail had been intentionally driven into Jake's leg, we knew that all the love in the world might never be enough to make him feel safe.

Surprisingly, after all the abuse Jake endured, he did learn to love being near people. Jake loved to be petted, but not hugged.

Jake and Brandy became inseparable. Brandy taught Jake that jumping on the bed was ok and that toys were meant to be played with. Jake never learned to play fetch, but he would happily chase after Brandy.

At 90+ pounds, Jake was a big dog who brought much happiness into our lives. Jake had a white spot on his chest and I nicknamed him my "pure of heart" boy; even after all the abuse, Jake retained his Golden heart.

Jake's sweetness and gentleness were echoed in Danny's personality.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


AKC registered Sir Brandon of Stonehenge (Brandy) was the first dog that I ever owned. Brandy was not just beautiful, but drop dead GORGEOUS.

When we were out walking Brandy, people would often stop and comment on how handsome he was. One woman once asked if she could hire him as a stud for her female Sheltie.

Brandy did not walk, but seemed to prance. He was very intelligent, fearless, proud and an Alpha male. Brandy loved to bark - it could be at a leaf blowing by or a stranger at the door.

Life with Brandy was an adventure, you never knew what to expect. When I look at Cooper, I see the same zest for life that was such a part of Brandy's personality.

Brandy hated to get his feet wet and I can still picture him jumping over puddles on rainy days. Bath time was a nightmare, he would whine from the moment he saw the hose.

When Brandy was 10 years old, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and given 3 months to live. Brandy survived for 6 months and never slowed down.

Jeff had already moved from North Carolina and was living in Connecticut when it came time to put Brandy to sleep. Driving alone to our vet and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I can still remember holding him in my lap as his life slipped away.

Jeff's Dad called that night and said, I feel bad that you are all alone and having to go through this. I remember saying, "I'm not alone, I have Jake...."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brandy & Jake

Long before Danny and Cooper were part of our lives, we had two other dogs, Brandy a Shetland Sheepdog, and Jake a rescued Golden Retriever.

Both of these dogs passed away in the middle of May. Every year when I flip the calendar from April to May, their memories immediately come to my mind.

This week I will share some stories about these two special dogs.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


After the last few rainy days, the sun was finally out today. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to let Cooper enjoy some time on the deck.

About an hour later, I looked out the window and saw dirt all over the deck. It seems that Coop had decided that it would be fun to dig in the containers that I recently planted.

Looking closer, I saw that the stems on the bulbs which had poked through the dirt were torn off and bulbs were scattered around.

Needless to say, I was NOT happy! Cooper, however, appeared gleeful.

Jeff's comment was, "And you thought your biggest problem would be the woodchuck!"

Friday, May 08, 2009

Summer's Coming

Summer must be coming, because Cooper is blowing his coat.

When I finished brushing Coop the other night, the brush was full of hair. As soon as I walked away Coop gave a hard shake and more hair flew everywhere.

I hate to admit that there are dust bunnies everywhere and they multiply faster than I can vacuum them up.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Pink Belly

You may remember that when we first got Cooper, he had little hair on his belly and his skin was black and rough. I can no longer see Cooper's skin, since his belly hair is now long and thick.

Last night while brushing Coop, I thought I should check his skin. When I pulled back his fur, there it was, a PINK belly. To be honest, the skin is about 90% pink. There are still some gray spots.

Dr. Duffy says Coop's skin is a reflection of his health, so a pink belly tells me that Cooper is recovering from his past neglect.

Monday, May 04, 2009


These are the Bertch Hudson cabinets which we ordered for the bathroom.

Our cabinet is in a different wood and color. We chose cherry wood with Autumn stain.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


These are the Jado Illume faucets and shower fixtures for the bathroom.

They are in polished nickel.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Bark all you want

The other morning Cooper raced to the bedroom window and started barking and barking. I could not get him to stop and finally looked out to see why he was upset.

I looked and saw nothing, but even yelling "Be quiet" had no effect.

I looked more carefully and saw that Danny's nemesis, Silverback, was stretched out on a large boulder sunning himself! The woodchuck flicked his paw in a not too nice gesture - as if to say shut up dog.

I felt bad for Coop, he was obviously frustrated. If I thought Coop would come back, I would happily let him chase Silverback. However, Coop would either take off for Maine or end up stuck in a woodchuck tunnel.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tile Started

It took us about an hour to lay out the tile design on the garage floor. Once the design was finalized, the tile cutting and installation began.

The theme of our bathroom is rectangles. This may sound odd, but I fell in love with a Toto rectangular undermount sink. Most sinks are round and the rectangle was different.

I saw the rectangular sink when we selected the downstairs bath fixtures, but wanted a more traditional look for that room. However, the rectangle intrigued me. I started to think about making the rectangle the upstairs "theme".

The red glass accent tile will act as the rectangular border on both the floor and wall. The Bertch cabinet drawers are simple and rectangular.

The sink fixtures were difficult. Jado has some VERY modern rectangular faucets, but in a traditional house, I thought they would be too out of place. I compromised on a more transitional faucet.

I hope all of these ideas will come together and the final look will be fabulous.