Monday, January 31, 2011

Bulb Watch IX

The rate at which these bulbs are growing is inversely proportional to the rate of snow fall in Wilton.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Slippers

I received new slippers for Xmas. This is a very good thing, since my old fabric slippers were destroyed by Otis.

These new slippers have a fur edge. When Otis saw the slippers his eyes lit up. Oti seems fascinated by the soft fur. I have a sinking feeling that these slippers will have a very short life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hungry Birds

I can no longer access our bird feeders to fill them. Weeks ago, I stopped filling the feeders on the deck because the snow was too deep. However, there were still 2 feeders that I could reach.

After the last snow, I can no longer reach any of the feeders. The snow along the edge of the driveway is a high as my hip. I cannot walk in this to reach the first feeder. The second feeder is at the edge of the yard. The snow is knee high and my pants get soaked when I try to walk to it.

I am thinking of just throwing some seed into the snow and hoping the birds find it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In the Dog House

It seems that our obedience classes are NOT making a strong impression on Otis. I have written before about how Otis likes to run around with my slippers. I often end up searching the house to find out where Oti dropped them.

Last night, I looked over and saw that Otis had my slipper in his mouth. This was not a big deal, until I realized that Otis had ripped the rubber sole off my slipper! I yelled at Otis and took the slipper away, but the damage was already done.

My reprimand had little impact. One minute later Otis walked over with a tug toy and nudged me to play with him. I ignored Otis. I know Otis did NOT learn a lesson. When I got home from work, Otis greeted me with Jeff's rubber boot in his mouth! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

20 inches

Wilton received a whopping 20 inches of snow last night! It took us an hour and a half to clean out the driveway and stairs. Trying to walk the dogs is impossible and none of us are happy.

The weather forecast is already saying more snow on Saturday and a MAJOR storm on Wed.

I hope Obama doesn't see this

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

4th Day of School

Driving to class, Jeff said you know that since the dogs were so good last week, they will be impossible today. I had to agree. Both dogs were wound up and racing around in the snow, before jumping into the car to head to class.

I was amazed, but Coop and Otis did really well. During the recall exercise, Cooper was distracted by the puppy class. Coop started towards the puppies, but a quick "Cooper!" got his attention refocused on me. At 4 minutes into the 5 minute down, Otis began to bark long and loud and would not be quiet.

The dog trainer spoke to a canine behaviorist about Coop's reluctance to stay down and shaking when forced into the down. The behaviorist thinks that someone was harsh in teaching Coop the down command and that we should NOT force him to lay down. The behaviorist had 2 suggestions 1) do not use "Down", but come up with a new word (lay)  for this command 2) Do not force the down, instead give Coop special treats (cheese or chicken) to get him into the down position and if Coop lays down on his own, say lay and give him a treat (to associate the down position with a positive)  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Jeff and I went shopping for a new dining room set in Orange and Milford. Every chain store we went into had tables and chairs in veneer, not solid cherry or mahogany.

At the fourth store, I asked a sales person if they sold any solid wood furniture. The salesperson looked startled and said, this isn't a hundred years ago when people built real wood furniture, now everything is veneer. She also said that veneer has a bad reputation and it is much better than it once was. The sales person tried to convince me that solid wood furniture would be impacted by the New England seasons and was likely to warp or split. (Yes, she really said this).

I realize that for $3,000 ( the price of the dining room sets), you will not get solid wood. Our solid ash kitchen table and chairs cost more than that 15 years ago. I  just wanted to view some dining room sets that would be possibilities, regardless of the price. After six stores, we headed for home feeling discouraged.

Jeff suggested we try to find some stores who deal in Nichols and Stone. This type of store would carry solid wood furniture. There is an Eldred Wheeler store in Wilton, that sells handcrafted furniture. Our Westport family has also suggested that high end consignment shops might have dining room sets.

Our search will continue another day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bulb Watch VIII

I have tried sunnier locations, cooler locations and decided that these paperwhites are unlikely to ever grow. I am not sure it is worth the effort of trying to get these bulbs to bloom.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


There is no doubt that Cooper and Otis have bonded. After a long day, they both want to sleep on the bed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Manly Flowers

I wanted to buy some flowers for Jeff's birthday. I always struggle to find flowers that a man would like. I did not want to go with carnations (boring) or roses (too feminine).

I liked the contrast of the dark purple and white flowers and the spider mums provide interesting textures.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Third Day of School

The stars aligned briefly and we had a fairly successful dog training session.

Cooper received a round of applause during recall training. Cooper raced to me, sat down and offered a paw, which everyone thought was very cute. Both dogs passed the book drop test. In this exercise, the dog is in a sit/stay and a book is dropped behind them.
Neither dog passed the 5 minute down test. Otis lasted longer than Cooper. Cooper is not comfortable in a down position. I am not sure if Coop does not want to be subservient or if there is something in his past that Cooper struggles with. I think it is the latter, because Cooper lays there shaking. I do not think I will ever understand Coop's demons or know how to help him triumph over them.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

King Tut

We attended the King Tut Exhibit at the Discovery Times Square Expo. 500 people can enter the exhibit each hour, so I thought it would be crowded. I was happy to see that there was no line when we arrived at 9:50 and about 100 people were viewing the exhibit.

The exhibit contained a lot of beautiful and interesting pieces ranging from jewelry to a chariot. We rented the audio tape which provided a lot of interesting facts about the Age of Pharaohs. I was amazed by the work of goldsmiths from 3000 years ago.

We attended the exhibit on its final day. The relics are returning to a museum in Egypt. These pieces are not supposed to return to the US again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do you LOVE your vacuum ?

We are thinking about buying a new vacuum. We currently have a Hoover and it is ok, but I would like something more powerful.

If you have a vacuum that you think does a terrific job, please let us know. I don't mind paying more for a vacuum, if it does a great job on dog hair and sand.

We once had a Panasonic that was very powerful. I am considering that manufacturer again. However, the vacuum was heavy and I would like something that I can easily carry up and down stairs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bulb Watch VII

Has time stopped ? I am not seeing any progress.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I bought this gorgeous cyclamen plant to bring some cheer into our home. The endless snowfall and extremely cold weather is making the winter feel incredibly long. I am hoping that the plant will survive.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Second day of school

I am sad to report that the second day of dog training was worse than the first. It seems that Otis has dominance issues. Otis barked constantly at the other dogs and did not want to focus on his handler (Jeff). The trainer said these are signs of a dog who thinks he is in charge, not the owner.  Otis loves food and quickly failed the test of not eating the treat which was thrown in front of him.

Cooper did not do much better. During the 5 minute down, Cooper promptly stood up. The trainer said that you should not physically force the dog down, but stand on the lead (so the dog cannot move) and eventually the dog will lay down.  After 5 long minutes, Coop decided to lay down. I know Cooper is stubborn and this will not be the first test of wills.

When the 45 minute session was over, Jeff and I were both mentally exhausted. I am quickly realizing that Danny's family must have spent many hours training him. I can't imagine ever having Coop or Otis off leash and heeling perfectly as Danny did.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Going Gray

Cooper has a patch of white hair on the back of his head. Whenever I walk Coop, I see these gray hairs and am reminded that our 9 year old pup is getting old.

We joke that Coop did not have any gray hair, until Otis arrived. The truth is that Oti's playfulness keeps Cooper active.

I always call Coop our yellow Golden, but now that winter is here, his coat is a soft red.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

18 inches

The snow started falling at 10pm on Tuesday. When we woke up Wed at 6am, there was 18 inches of snow on the ground.

The snow was chest high on Cooper. Coop was miserable trying to walk thru the snow. He quickly did his business and turned for home.  Otis was unphased and happily raced around.

After 2 hours of snow blowing, half the driveway is clear. Jeff had to go into work, so  he will have a tough job ahead of him tonight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have some vacation days that I need to use or lose. Since I am too large to stow away inside luggage bound for sunny California, I thought it would be fun to go to NYC. Jeff said that he was happy to go to the city, as long as he didn't spend all day at an art museum.  MoMA was out.

I thought about the Statue of Liberty, but was not sure I wanted to be on the ferry in such cold weather. We stopped at AAA and I picked up a NYC vacation planner. As I was flipping thru the magazine, I saw an advertisement for the King Tut exhibition. Back in the Spring, I heard about the exhibit, but never pursued purchasing tickets.

I logged onto the website and was pleasantly surprised to find that we would be able to attend the exhibit next week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bulb Watch VI

It seems Jeff was right when he said we might have blooms in February! I thought last year's amaryllis was slow to bloom, but these paperwhites are even worse.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Snow, snow, snow

More photos of the snow.....

Cooper loves to eat the snow . He grazes as he walks up the driveway.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Pictures from yesterday's snow storm.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

First Day of School

Cooper and Otis attended their first obedience class. It was a little embarrassing to have a  9 & 4 year old dog in a class full of puppies. The class got split into 2 groups, pups with no training and older dogs/dogs with basic training.

Otis did not pay attention to the small dogs, but his alpha tendencies and tremendous bark came out when he saw the larger dogs. Coop was scared and shook the whole time.
This is a beginner class and I thought we would learn the basic commands (sit, stay,down). Instead, since we are in the older group, the expectation is that the dogs already know the basic commands.

This week's lesson was to put the dog into sit/stay and then walk around the dog. It is tougher than it sounds. The other lesson was down and stay. Coop had no interest in laying down. Treats will be brought to future classes. Our homework is to practice these routines daily.

After the 1 hour session, we were all exhausted. When we got home, Coop and Oti hopped up on the bed and went to sleep.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Death of the Thank You

It seems that Thank You cards are also on the list of endangered species. I have noticed that many people no longer send thank you cards for gifts. It does not bother me, if you send me an email and not a letter. I just want to know that the gift I sent arrived and was not lost in the mail.

In August, I sent a check to a couple who were getting married. We were not invited to the wedding, but I thought it would be nice to send well wishes to the happy couple. The check was cashed shortly after it was received. It is now 4+ months later. A thank you has yet to appear in my mailbox. At first, I thought perhaps the thank you was delayed due to waiting for wedding photos to be developed. As the months dragged on, I realized that there really is no good excuse for not sending a brief note.

There are some people who are trying to make sure the thank you survives. I know that my sister, brother, and sister-in-law make sure that thank you cards are sent  by their kids for gifts they receive.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Bulb Watch V

The amaryllis is in full bloom.

The paperwhites continue to slowly reveal their green leaves

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Shut the Lid

We spent a few days with family in the "North Country". Staying at a new location is always stressful. After a 4 hour drive, both dogs were thirsty and  quickly drank a bowl of water. The dogs drink a lot when they are nervous and I wanted to limit their intake. Cooper had other ideas and quickly found an open toilet bowl.

After the first incident, the toilet lid was shut. Occasionally, people would forget to shut the lid. Coop is crafty and periodically wandered by the bathroom. If the lid happened to be up, Coop would steal a drink. As you can imagine, all this water meant a lot of trips outside. Thankfully, the weather was warm and there was only one inch of snow on the ground.

Jeff had the joy of taking the dogs out at 2:00 am and 6:00 am. Unfortunately, there was one accident on the carpet. I told Coop that he would not be welcomed back. Grandma was very understanding. Grandpa even tried to take the blame, saying he left the lid up. I'm not sure that I would be so nice.

Otis decided that it would be fun to run around the house with the kitchen towels. When no one chased after Oti, he decided to steal Grandpa's socks. By the end of our visit, there was a pile of slobbery towels and socks.

I said. "We're lucky the weather is good, so we can leave on time." Jeff's Mom said, "Yes, it's good you can leave." I knew exactly what she meant ;)

Both dogs slept on the entire ride home. Once inside, both dogs napped on the bed the rest of the day. The water bowls, have been barely touched.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

May 2011 be the best year yet!