Tuesday, September 29, 2009


After 3 years of looking at the bright gold knobs in our black and silver kitchen, we had enough.

Thank goodness for Home Depot contractor packs. Of course, the pack contains 10 knobs and we needed 51. We chose a brushed nickle knob that Home Depot also sold as singles.

I look the new knobs. However, we now think the cabinets look old. Needless to say, it will be a long while before we tackle a kitchen renovation!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rose of Sharon

Two years ago, our LI family gave us this Rose of Sharon bush. It turns out that Rose of Sharon are great self seeders and the offspring were taking over their front yard.

The first year was difficult and I was not sure this bush would survive in CT. The deer and woodchuck ate the bush. It did not have a single bud. I was skeptical that this bush would see a second season.

Surprisingly, the Rose of Sharon is doing much better this year. The deer still eat the leaves, but some of the buds are intact. The blooms are beautiful and I am hoping it will continue to flourish.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Our LI family came to Wilton for a visit. It was the first time that Otis got to meet "Grandma" and our nephews.

Otis LOVES people and he began barking and jumping the second he saw the car pull into the driveway. Oti's unending exuberance prompted my brother to ask, "Is he always this excited ?" I laughed and said both dogs were sleeping before you showed up.

Coop gave everyone a quick sniff and headed to the kitchen door. All Coop wanted was to get outside on this beautiful fall day.

The guys went to a sporting clays clinic and Oti quickly fell asleep. That is, until everyone got back home for dinner. Having napped for a few hours, Oti was ready for round 2. Luckily, our nephews love dogs and were happy to play with Oti.

As I write this, both dogs are stretched out, sound asleep. Oti is snoring long and loud. I guess all the excitement tired them both out.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moving Up

One of Jeff's favorite hobbies is participating in sporting clays competitions.

Two weeks ago Jeff placed 2nd in his class at the 2009 Connecticut state sporting clays championship. Missing first place by one clay target really hurt.

Last week Jeff shot at the NSCA Zone 1 sporting clays competition and won his class!

Congratulations to Jeff on moving up into a new, tougher class after these two successful outings. I have a feeling I will soon be spending more weekends alone, while he is out chasing glory.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where's Dad ?

Oti always wants to know where Jeff and I are. Before Oti lays down, he will walk upstairs to check if Jeff is in the office and wanders around until he finds me. Once we are accounted for, Oti will relax.

When Jeff goes out to cut the lawn, Oti races from the back door to side windows to the front door and then upstairs to see the other half of the yard. Oti will whine when he can't see Jeff.

When the lawn is finished and Jeff is inside, Oti will take a nap.

It seems that Coop is not the only crazy dog in our house.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Arrival

Ever since Jeff's Honda Civic was totaled, he has been driving the 4Runner. Unfortunately, the 2000 4Runner is getting old and starting to have problems.

We decided it was time for a new car. Here it is, a 2009 Honda Accord EX-V6.

Cleaning out the second garage stall will now be a priority.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Taking a Ride

Both Otis and Cooper love riding in the car. I like to crack the windows enough so they can get their heads out but not much else for their own safety. Each dog will take a window and we look like an airplane with Golden Retriever heads for wings.

Last night we decided it would be nice to take a walk in Wilton Center with the dogs. As we rounded the corner half way to Wilton Center, I looked back to find Otis standing on the rolled down window with half his body out! Valerie reached into the backseat and pulled him back and I quickly rolled the window up.

Two minutes later, I hear Otis' window start to roll down again. What? Well, he was standing on the switch which must have been enough to activate the window! Child safety window locks to the rescue!

So next time you're in my car and find you can't roll the windows down, you can thank Otis.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I know that people are often classified by seasons, based upon their coloring and what colors looks best on them. Jeff and I were talking about the dogs and what season they would be....

I have decided that Otis is an autumn. This may be obvious due to his dark red coat and burnt orange collar. What may not be obvious is that Oti is a child of Fall. He is serious and watchful, a young dog with an old soul. Oti is a sentry who is always on duty and does not relax until all pack members are accounted for.

Cooper is a child of Spring. His strawberry blond hair and sunny personality reflect the warm spring days. Cooper loves to play and run and is never sad or serious. Coop continues to blossom like the spring tulips. Coop has been reborn since arriving in Wilton.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If The Election Were Held Today?

DailyKos.com and Research/2000 recently conducted a poll on Connecticut Politics.

It's no surprise (to me, anyway) that Christopher Dodd is the underdog in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. His unfavorable ratings are growing faster than Barack Obama's. Even more surprising is that Governor M. Jodi Rell is the favorite over presumed Democrat Ned Lamont and incumbent Joe Lieberman in the 2012 race.

In terms of a Government takeover of your health care, I'm definitely in the minority with 68% of Nutmeggers deciding they would like to see the inefficiencies and waste of government replace the 65,694 private insurance jobs in Connecticut.

How's that Hope & Change working for you?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


We were headed back from a walk and I had treats in my pocket. Since we were in the driveway, we thought it would be a safe place to test the dog's recall.

Jeff let go of Oti's leash and I called "Oti, come". Oti slowly wandered in my direction. When he got to me, he received a treat. Coop was up next. Coop never really focused on me, but eventually he arrived and received a treat.

We decided to try it one more time. When I called to Oti, he came racing towards me. 80 pounds of muscle moving at breakneck speed. Luckily, Oti hit the brakes at the last minute. It was obvious he had made the connection between coming to me and a snack.

Coop's second attempt was a failure. As Jeff let go of the leash, a butterfly floated by. All Coop's attention focused on the butterfly and no amount of calling or treat waving, got him to move towards me.

Seems like we need more indoor work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


First Senator Christopher Dodd is unsure if he was in the "Friends of Angelo" program at Countrywide.

Now, despite Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hinting that the recession is probably over, Christopher Dodd is unsure again?

You would think that your elected officials who have spent unknown trillions on corporate welfare and pork barrel projects would at least be optimistic about all their inflation inducing spending. Any half-wit with a shred of common sense would hitch his wagon to the manufactured success of the current administration and ride the wave of success.

Not Christopher Dodd. Maybe Dodd can get Chairman Bernanke to print up some money so he can buy a clue.

Dump Dodd 2010.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Irish Setter

Someone asked us if Oti was an Irish Setter. I was not surprised by this question. When I first saw Oti's dark red coat, I thought his coloring was similar to an Irish Setter.

What really confuses people is when they hear both dogs are Golden Retrievers. You can see them look at Coop and then Oti. You don't have to be a mind reader to know that they are thinking - how can two dogs be such opposites and both be Goldens ?

Hair color, eye shape, size, weight and frame type are completely different. Each may be different, but both are beautiful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Sue Ellen, the dog trainer, came over this weekend to work on recall. Surprisingly, she said the best way to train the dogs is inside the house for the first few weeks. Every time you call the dog and they come, you give them a treat.

After the dogs have mastered inside recall, you begin to work on a long lead outside and eventually off leash. I am skeptical that Coop will ever master off leash, but I am hopeful for Otis.

While Sue Ellen was here, I asked about the fact that Otis always barks when a jogger or walker passes by. She said that Otis is a "signaler", he thinks his job is to alert everyone. This statement is completely accurate. Otis always signals at the approach of a car in the driveway or an animal in the yard.

Of course, one barking dog quickly leads to two.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Favorite Places

Both Cooper and Otis love to spend time in the kitchen. They can often be found under the table or by the back door.

This is not a problem, except when they decide to lay down behind me while I am at the sink. I am sure that one day I will step back and trip over them.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Night Pictures

I've been messing around with my new camera and decided to take some pictures of the moon last night. Once I got the exposure figured out, they started coming out OK. I'm not sure what that blue dot is, but maybe has something to do with a dirty lens?

Monday, September 07, 2009


My Mother has a portrait of our family that was taken somewhere in 1970's. My Brother, Father and myself are proudly wearing our leisure suits and floral polyester shirts smiling for the camera. Just put that image in the back of your mind while I explain our latest adventure.

During the last yearly maintenance of our heating system, our maintenance technician mentioned we might think about replacing our oil tank that was in the basement. It looked like the tank had some oil on the outside of it, but wasn't dripping on the floor so I figured we had some time. So I talked to a couple people and got an estimate for what it would cost to replace.

The only difficult part to this whole project would be that the oil tank was hidden behind a wall with absolutely no access. When a previous owner decided to finish the basement, they just sheetrocked the whole thing in. I knew there was going to be a little demolition involved, so I got started on it this weekend.

As I pried the paneling off, I discovered the wall had been papered at one time. Look at this beauty! Instantly, that picture of my family in our leisure suits popped into my head. The '70s sure were a strange time...

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Cooper!

One year ago we adopted Cooper from SGRR. We believe that he is 6 or 7 years old. What a year it has been. Life with Coop is a roller coaster - keep both feet on the floor and hold on tight!

At times the lows threaten to overwhelm us: cancer, seizures, oncologists, radiologists, and more medical testing than you can imagine.

The greatest high is that Coop is HAPPY! Coop's tail has not stopped wagging since he arrived. Coop has an abundance of smiles and kisses that he gladly shares.

Coop has turned into a beautiful, sweet, crazy dog. Coop always keeps us laughing with his unique personality.

Today we celebrate Coop and his love of life. If Coop could talk, I think he would say,"Life is great and if the sun is shining it is going to be a Coopity -Doopity day!"

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Missing Kiawah

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Kiawah. Kiawah Island, SC is our favorite vacation spot.

We try to get to Kiawah as often as we can. This year our upcoming trip to Alaska means no Kiawah vacation.

We usually go to Kiawah in early Sept, after the kids are back in school. The beach is almost deserted at that time.

I miss the sand, sun, and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. The instant my feet touch the sand, troubles seem to disappear.

I am hoping that this time next year you will not find me in Wilton.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Sunset Grille

We had dinner at the Sunset Grille at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk. Being a weekday, there were only a few diners, but I have a feeling it gets extremely crowded on weekends.

The Sunset Grille is located on a boat dock and has beautiful water views. The sun was setting as we ate dinner and the sky was full of pinks, purples and oranges.

If you go, I would suggest bringing a sweater. The high temperature was 75 during the day and much cooler in the evening with the breeze blowing off the Sound.

The food was good and the desserts were great. The Sunset Grille is a casual restaurant and a nice place to relax.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Another Bird Story

Yesterday's mourning dove incident reminded me of a Jake story.....

Our first Golden, Jake, once caught a baby bird. We were in our NC yard and I looked over and saw tail feathers sticking out of Jake's mouth.

Amazingly, when Jake opened his mouth, the bird was unharmed. The bird was scared and its feathers were damp, but there were no bite marks or broken wings.

I took the bird from Jake and it eventually flew away.

At 90+ pounds, Jake could have easily crushed the bird. Was it instinct that gave him such a soft mouth when holding the tiny bird ?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

State Business

The State of Connecticut Legislators just passed a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1st. You would think that they would be fighting tooth and nail to keep state spending as low as possible in order to fight the immanent 1 billion dollar shortfall. After all, they just raised taxes on every smoker and every person that makes over half-million a year.

While House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. was speaking on behalf of his constituents, what where Jack Hennessy and Barbara Lambert doing? They decided it would be a great time to play solitaire.

The guy behind them with ESPN.com on his computer was spared by the camera.

I hope the residents of Milford and Bridgeport let Mr. Hennessy and Ms. Lambert know we expect them to pay attention to the State's business!

Mourning Dove

This morning, Oti was barking and banging against the open front door. All this fuss was over two birds sitting in the driveway. It seems that Oti has a strong retriever instinct.

When Jeff let Otis and Cooper out before going to work, Oti started to bark and pulled Jeff towards Danny's tree.

Jeff said when he got close to the tree, he heard a rustling sound. It turns out that a mourning dove was trapped in the deer netting which protects the tree.

Jeff put the dogs inside and then freed the bird. Isn't it ironic that Oti's desire to hunt the bird ended up saving this animal's life.