Thursday, September 30, 2010


When we renovated, our family room became the dining room. The reason for doing this was to have the dining area adjoin the kitchen.

This means that there is a fireplace in the dining room. We wanted to have a new mantel and custom cabinets  built, but this exceeded our budget.

A few months have passed and work on the built ins is starting. In two weeks, the construction should complete.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Never Ending

It seems that the painting never ends. We still need to paint the hallway upstairs, but with cold weather approaching, Jeff decided it was time to start painting outside.

The first coat on both box bay windows is now complete.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Security System - NOT

I always thought that Cooper and Otis made a good alarm system. The dogs usually bark when a car pulls up or if they hear a noise in the middle of the night.

This morning, the C&O security system failed. The 4Runner was having a problem and the mechanic stopped by to pick the car up. The person drove up, parked their car and drove away in the 4Runner. I saw all this through the window. I looked over and  Coop and Otis were sleeping on the bed. The dogs did not even open an eye - they were completely oblivious!

I guess their morning walk and breakfast had made them sleepy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Railing Complete

The railing has been stained and the balusters have been painted.

I hope to never have to stain or paint the staircase again, as it is very time consuming. I now know why professional painters charge so much for trim painting.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The dining room chandelier has been installed.

I bought the light fixture on the Internet and the color was called "Wilshire Bronze".  In the online photos  the chandelier appeared to be oiled bronze, but in reality the color is more black than bronze.

In any case, I like it.  Now we just need to put the dining room table together so we can eat in here.

Friday, September 24, 2010


The railing has been stained to match the hardwood floors. Two coats of polyurethane have been applied.

I still need to paint all the balusters, which will take a long time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All You Can Eat

We have a large metal canister that holds 20 lbs of dog food. I had just bought a new bag of dog food and poured it into the container. I did not put the lid on it, since Cooper and Otis needed to be fed dinner.

I left the kitchen for 10 seconds. When I came back, Otis has his head in the canister and was eating, as if it was a trough. I think Otis thought this was his lucky day, with an unlimited amount of kibble.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hallway Lights

The Waterford lights have been installed in the downstairs hallways.

We are slowly completing the finishing touches on the house.  The dining room chandelier should be delivered later this week.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The second time is the charm. After installing smoke detectors in all the upstairs bedrooms, we have finally received the certificate of occupancy (CO) for our renovation.

I am sure this means that someone from the town will soon be stopping by to assess the changes for tax purposes.

Monday, September 20, 2010


This weekend, I saw two more signs that Fall is here. At the grocery store, the wonderful summer fruits are no longer on display. The produce section had a few peaches and plums, but most of the displays are apples.

At Costco, the beautiful mums are for sale. I bought this extra large container for only $10! I thought the display said $20, but when I arrived home and looked at the receipt, it showed  $10. I was pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Falling Leaves

The leaves have started to fall, which means that walking Cooper is now an adventure.

Coop scans the trees and if he sees a leaf falling, he chases after it. Usually this means, Coop tries to run with me in tow.

Sometimes the leaf will fall directly in front of Coop and he tries to grab it in his mouth. If Coop cannot catch the leaf, he pounces on it once it lands.

I can't help but laugh at Coop's antics. It is nice to see out 9 year old dog acting like a pup.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The Waterford lights have finally arrived. I am hoping that Jeff will install them in the next few days.

After months of key lights and bare bulbs, it will be nice to see the crystal ceiling fixtures.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Only Chris Dodd Can Be That Ignorant

From SayAnything Blog:
Senator Chris Dodd was asked for a reaction to Obama’s apparent intention to name Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to be the interim head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.
Dodd’s reaction? Confusion:
In dismissing the rumor last night, though, Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd — who authored the law — claimed he’d never heard of the interim appointment power.
“I don’t know what it is. I never heard of it before,” said a flabbergasted Dodd to TPMDC. “It’s kind of unique isn’t it?”
The problem? The power to make this interim appointment comes from legislation that is actually named after Dodd:
The authority for the Treasury Department to grant an interim appointment — distinct from a “recess appointment” — comes from the financial reform law itself.
But hey, it’s not like it’s his job to read the laws he’s, um, authoring. Not to mention voting for.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Salsa Dancing Golden Retriever

Wonder how long it took to train this Golden ? We still struggle with "Come!".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The hardwood floors in the dining room and hallway have been sanded, stained and polyurethaned.

Mountain Flooring did a fantastic job removing the scratches and discoloration.   The floors were stained Golden Oak to match the rest of the hardwoods in our house.

The new floors are a little darker than the ones which were stained 4 years ago and have faded in the sunlight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lights Out

Otis was stretched out in the kitchen while I was washing dishes. When I turned the lights out and headed upstairs, Otis stayed in the kitchen. I thought Oti was sound asleep.

When my foot was on the first stair, I heard the clang of dog tags against the side of a dog bowl. I realized that Oti had been lying in wait, until I left the kitchen. Coop had not eaten all his dinner and Oti was enjoying what was left.

Monday, September 13, 2010


We enjoyed a beautiful stretch of weather while we were in Massachusetts. One day we drove to Gloucester for a 7 Seas whale watch tour.

While driving through town, we stopped at the Mariner's Memorial honoring 3,500 Gloucester sailors who died at sea.

The whales are staying far out at the feeding grounds (32 miles from port). It took about 2.5 hours before the first whale was spotted. By the end of the day we had seen 30 different humpbacks, including mothers and calves.

The new masthead on our blog is a reminder of this trip.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


While the hardwood floors were being refinished, we spent a few days in Salem, MA. This was our first trip to Salem.

Salem is best known for the witch trials.There is a memorial to the 20 innocent people who were falsely accused and killed for practicing witchcraft. The memorial is very moving, especially the protests of innocence which are carved into stone.The Salem Witch Museum provides an overview of the witch trials.

I did not realize that Salem was once a thriving maritime city with merchant ships sailing the globe. The National Park Service gives a great tour of the sailing ship, Friendship,  and the Custom House. 

The House of the Seven Gables made famous by Hawthorne  has extremely narrow staircases and low ceilings. Not a welcoming place for a tall person. The waterfront views and garden were beautiful.

If you are looking for an evening ghost tour, Hocus Pocus does a fantastic job.

If you get to Salem, stop for breakfast or lunch at Red's Sandwich Shop. Jeff was served 3 plate size pancakes that were so large, he could only eat half of them.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wind Power

While traveling in Massachusetts, we stopped at a Walmart. When we pulled into the parking lot, I was surprised to see wind turbines on top of the parking lot lights.

When we entered the store we noticed two things:
1 - there was a lot of natural light (skylights) in the store
2 - in general the store was darker than most Walmart's (fewer fluorescent lights)

I asked the cashier if the windmills were producing power for the store. She said yes, the store was powered by these turbines and it saved a lot of money in their electric bills.

I was really impressed to see that Walmart was going green. I know that the cost savings is good for the company's bottom line, but I was still excited to see wind power being harnessed. Hopefully other companies will follow.

I remember driving in the Netherlands and seeing miles of wind turbines spinning. Perhaps this will happen in the US someday.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I do not feed the birds over the summer and usually pack the feeders away in the spring. This year, I was so busy with the renovation, the feeders remained outside.

With the cooler weather coming, I thought it was time to start filling the feeders again. You can imagine my surprise, when I opened this feeder and found a nest inside!

I said to Jeff, "How could a bird possibly get in there ??" Jeff responded, "What makes you think it was a bird ?"

I then realized Jeff was right, it was probably a field mouse who had built the nest. That really freaked me out. The feeder got a good scrubbing before it was filled and hung back up.

Could this unwelcome visitor be the reason why the hawk is sometimes seen on the deck staring at the feeder ?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Nice Rack

Jeff and I were having lunch in the kitchen when a buck wandered across the backyard, along the edge of the woods. "Wow", I said, "Look at that rack!"

I could not count the points on the deer's antlers, but knew this was the largest set I had ever seen on a deer in our yard. It was larger than the antlers which hang in some hunting lodges.

I thought of Jeff's friend, John, who bow hunts deer  in Wilton. I wondered if he would take up residence on our deck to get a chance at this beautiful buck. I hope that this majestic deer is able to survive hunting season.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


We were on our morning walk with Cooper and Otis, when Cooper suddenly stopped and began to sniff the trunk of a tree. Coop raised his nose and stared up into the top of the tree.

I am not sure what Cooper smelled, perhaps a raccoon or opossum. It must have been very strong because Coop stood on his back legs, with his front resting against the tree and kept sniffing. Still not satisfied, Coop tried to climb the tree.

Unfortunately for Coop, he does not possess the tree climbing gene. We pulled a reluctant Coop off the tree, but it was obvious that he was frustrated.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

What's next ?

Now that the dining room is painted, we need to have the hardwood floors refinished.

During my last visit to Country Curtains I saw some silk curtains which will look  beautiful in the dining room. Once the floor is stained and polished, I will purchase the drapes. I also need to order the chandelier.

We still need to stain the stair railing and paint all the balusters. This project may be put on hold as the changing leaves are a sign that fall is here and we need to complete the outdoor work before it gets too cold.

I give Jeff and I a BIG pat on the back. When the contractor left, I thought we will never get the downstairs painted. After weeks of working every night and most weekends, we now have most of the painting completed. Time for a vacation!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy Birthday Cooper!

Cooper has been with us for 2 years. He is now 9 years old !!

Life with Cooper is never dull and he always keeps me guessing. Coop can be aloof  one instant and wanting to snuggle the next.

Cooper is happiest outside on sunny days chasing the birds and butterflies which float overhead. Every morning Coop races out the door eager to greet a new day.  Cooper's shining eyes and wagging tail tell me that he knows he is loved and enjoying life.

Cooper is a good dog and we are lucky to have him in our pack. Cooper has changed dramatically from the scared, neurotic Golden we first brought home. Coop will always be a little crazy and slightly reserved, but that just makes the kisses he does give that much sweeter.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I read an article about a Dr and his wife who live in West Hills, NY (Long Island) and own a  $2+ million  home on 7 acres. This couple made the news because 150 starving and abused dogs were found abandoned in their sprawling mansion with no food or water.  Many dead dogs were  found within the home.

I was horrified to read this. I will never understand how people can be so incredibly cruel. What tremendous evil must live in their souls to starve helpless animals for sport.

After reading this, I gave Cooper a big hug and a kiss. Their story is Cooper's story. Left alone with no food or water, a life of starvation and abuse. I said a quick prayer that 150 people will come forward to adopt these dogs who desperately need love.

I told Coop that his birthday donation would be sent to the Huntington, NY Animal Shelter, which is now caring for all these dogs. Coop's wagging told told me he liked that idea.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Dining Room II

The dining room has now been painted!

I really like the Crisp Autumn Leaves color. I can't wait for fall and the chance to have dinner in the dining room with the fireplace blazing. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but the color is a mix of red and orange.

At one time, I would have been afraid of such a bold color. Jeff reminded me that when we sell, we will need to tone the color down. However, with the current market, we will be in Wilton for quite a while.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Goodbye Earl

There's maybe three or four days a year that I'm glad we moved from North Carolina to Connecticut.  Today is one of those days.

We lived through one direct hit hurricane when we lived in North Carolina and I can tell you that's one thing you only want to experience once.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How far we've come

When I was at the vet last week, there were 2 moments that made me realize just how much Cooper has changed in the time he has been with us.

While we were waiting to see the Dr, a woman approached Coop and said she had a much larger Golden waiting in her car. She stuck out her hand and Coop licked it. When she petted Coop, he happily thumped his tail.

When we went into the exam room, Dr Duffy spoke with me, before examining Coop. Coop did not like being ignored and went over to the vet and nudged his hand, until Dr Duffy bent down to pet him.

I do believe that Cooper's Golden personality is starting to shine.