Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Little Swimmer...

It's been a rough week, so let's look at roses, shall we? I'll save why I haven't been around for another blog and use this one to tell you about the funny stuff that happened.
Of would have to involve Ohno. Who else!? For those of you not familiar with Ohno, that's what we say when he enters a room we happen to be in (Oh No!). Yes, he's that much trouble. (Has anyone noticed his butt looks like it's wearing a Don King wig?)
Thursday we heard a huge splash and then more water and kitty claws and dog claws everywhere. Rob and I rushed from our offices along with the other kitties to find the dog and the rest of the kitties just staring at Ohno the same way we were, in total shock and disbelief. He was sitting in the middle of the dining room, drenched to the bone from head to toe, looking as if he was about to cry. Water was EVERY WHERE, and I mean, EVERY WHERE. I remember saying "Oh...My...God." "GET THE TOWELS!!!!!!!!! By the time we were through drying Ohno and mopping up, we'd used almost every towel in the house (we have lots). The only part of Ohno that didn't get wet was the tip of his tail. How he managed to keep that out of the water is beyond us. After he was dry we bundled him up to keep him toasty so he wouldn't catch cold and put him to bed. He had water in both ears and kept shaking his head, so we called the Vet's just as a precaution and where told "If he isn't okay in 2 days, bring him in." For added insurance I tipped him upside down and shook the water out of both ears, just like swimmers do! Quick thinking helped our bank account and his ears troubles. He improved within hours. He might have improved within hours on his own, but I wasn't taking any chances. And trust me, after what he'd done he was in no position to protest. Oh, I failed to mention what he did. He fell into the fish tank. Why did he fall into the fish tank? Because he walks along the edge of it like an idiot.
I want to thank each and every one of you for your wonderful comments on my previous post. Your support matters a great deal. You are some of the most generous people I have ever met and I want you to know that the effort you make to stay in touch is truly appreciated (even if you don't get a response right away!). Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will try to respond to the remaining comments this week. Sorry for the delay. Until next time.
Much love,
Edit: My friend, Salem Stitcher, reminded me I forgot to mention the fish. The fish is fine. Actually I have just one fish in the tank because she's so big. I rescued her from the feeder tank at Petco about 4 years ago and she was only about a half inch long. She grew fast and is over 8" long (I think she's a Comet)! This is not a fish tale...I just measured her to be absolutely accurate. She was supposed to go in the pond. Unfortunately the pond isn't in the back yard because it's still at Lowe's waiting for me to buy it.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Okay, Okay, Okay, I'll Post, But The Tree Is Going And My Heart Is Breaking, So I'm Pretending Everything Is Okay...

Our tree is saying goodbye today. The estimates came in at $1,000 and $850 to remove her. We consulted with a neighbor down the street who owns a good chainsaw and has done work for us before (excellent by the way), and said he'd do it for $450. We agreed. I had selected all the limbs I wanted saved for the arbor, and had a photo and drawing with the dimensions to show him, but something happened when I saw his truck and the chainsaw. I became very emotional and started to cry, and I'm still crying. I can't seem to stop. Rob had to discuss saving limbs and building the arbor with him instead. I have no idea what will be saved because I refuse to watch. When I heard the chainsaw start, I sobbed. Poor Rob had to actually run to the store to buy another box of tissues because I used so many I ran out.

Some of you reading may not understand this post, or about caring so deeply for a tree, but it is such a huge part of our lives as well as a strong, constant and beautiful presence in our yard. When she's gone, she will leave such an enormous void and we can't quite deal with it yet. All that beauty gone. T-Bone once sat under it for hours waiting for his tennis ball to come back to him. He and Rob had been playing and the ball became lodged in one of the branches way up high. Even though T-Bone got new balls, he wanted his old ball, so he'd go out everyday and sit and wait for it. After many, many attemps, Rob was finally able to knock it out with another tennis ball and T-Bone was so happy to get that glob of bacteria back. I knew he would because Rob's a good shot. He's played ice hockey since he was a wee one and was even captain of the high school team that won the CA State Championship way back when. Played in college too. He's a skilled skater and puck handler, so that tennis ball didn't stand a chance. We finally had to retire that particular ball about a year ago, and it was obvious T-Bone was sad. It's funny how you develop an attachment to something and when it's gone it takes a while to right yourself. I'm not there yet, so I'm going to pretend I still have a tree that's big and beautiful and leaning towards the house.
(Two Days Later)
I have tried for days to write this post and can't seem to get through it. I came back tonight for one last ditch effort and I'm determined. I just read the above and tears are streaming down my face again. Why is this so hard? I wouldn't look the first day you know. I stayed in my office and pretended the chainsaw was at the neighbors house. But I've had to deal with it the past two days and I think reality is often very harsh. Our whole house opens to the back yard, so I can't walk through it and not see the ugliness. I want so very much to go back, but I can't. So I'm going to pretend for a while longer.
Today something interesting happened. Many of the big pieces of wood still remain as well as all the small branches and twigs (tons of stuff). I was walking to the kitchen and saw all the kitties at the windows and went to investigate. There were literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of birds in our yard. It was amazing. I started to cry (I love birds and feed them). The tree was a haven for so many birds and it was as if they'd all come back to say goodbye. I felt humbled and thankful. I realized, like Rob said "We have to move on." And I will. Eventually.
Thanks to all of you who have been so kind and generous with your time and words. You mean so much to me and I want you to know that you've made a difference in my life. I'm very lucky to have you.
With much love,
P.S. I've just realized this was my goodbye to our tree. Now, perhaps I can move on, but I'm still crying, so not completely convinced.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

1 of 3

1 of 3 obviously means this is a triptych...there are three posts all together, so after reading this one, page down to the next two! Yes, it was a productive day.

My considerate friend, Cecile, tagged me. I'm supposed to give 5-8 interesting facts about me. Okay...let the snoring begin. I will lessen your pain by giving only 5, unless of course I'm on a roll by 5 and need to go to 8.

1. I have 5 sisters and 3 brothers (I'm the second oldest). Obviously we have parents!

2. I can sew too!

3. I love pens, pencils and chairs. I didn't know why until I got to architecture school. Apparently all architects love pens, pencils and chairs. I found a home. I don't like the very expensive $300 - $1,000 pens because they're too fat...I like the really practical cheap stuff. Micron, my favorite, has archival ink and comes in various points from, I think 005 - 04 or 05. It's a gem of a pen. You can find it in art stores as well as craft stores. It's around $3-$4 and worth ever penny. Just a tip: store your pens point down. Oh and pens should never leak or leave a gob of ink behind. My advice...don't settle if that's what yours is doing. There's a good pen out there just waiting for you. Now that I'm not an architect, I have no idea what to do with this obsession.

Pencils, oh Lord, don't get me going. As an architecture and art major we used them all. I love each and every one for what they can do so brilliantly. Go to any art store and look at the beautiful selection. They usually have paper up to test graphite, so do. See what you get from 2H to 6B. Trust me, the world does not revolve around a 2H! Additionally, no one who works in an art store will ever stop you from exploring.

Chairs. Don't get me started. Seriously. I have too many chairs in the house. Too many in the garage waiting to get into the house and chairs in my mind just waiting to get into either! Why? Who knows. I just know I love them.

4. I need quiet. Noise makes me wacky, tense and frustrated. I grew up with the loudest family on planet earth and enjoyed it, but to be creative and whole, I need quiet.

5. I love hot peppers. Not just any old hot peppers, but pepperocinis. I can't eat them mind you because they cause havoc with my digestive system, but once in a while I go wild and eat one or two! God that hurts, but God they're good. I wish I had an iron stomach.

6. My cats and dogs watch me. I catch them all the time and say "Honey, knock it off, you're going to give Mommy a complex.

7. I love Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, etc.!

8. Finally...I gently collect spiders and bugs I find in the house and take them outside.

XO Suzanne!

p.s. I tag Ludmilla, Robyn and Peter. If you know them, you're thinking like I am...get ready for the ride!!! This should be loads of fun. :)

2 of 3

Two days ago I was at PetSmart and on my way to Lowe's to look at trees. I'd just spent over a $100 on kitty liter, food, etc. and was trying to get away as quickly as possible to alleviate the pain. I was driving through the parking lot and hit a speed bump. I hit it a bit too fast and my head was bobbing all over the place. I started to laugh and couldn't stop. Up ahead there was a bank and I could see a teller in the window laughing as hard as I was after seeing my mistake. She had her chin on her hand and had a big old smile and I knew she understood. When I stopped laughing, she still was. How odd. So she made me laugh harder. When I got close enough for her to see, I waved. Her expression never changed. Hummmmmm. As I got closer, I realized she was not a real person at all, she was a life sized poster inside the bank! And yes, this is a true story!

XO Suzanne

P.S. Rob said "Suzanne, you should never repeat this story to anyone," so I'm not, I'm repeating it to my Blogger friends!

3 of 3

I feel as if I have a lot to post today. Unfortunately I don't have the time, so I'm going to type really fast. However, I think really slow. Hummmmmm. That might be a problem. For the first time ever (well in the three months since starting this blog), I think I may write multiple posts. Why? Because suddenly I need to get some stuff out. (Who knew!) Often times talking releases energy. It's the same with writing. As you all are now obviously aware, I am not the most gifted writer, but who cares, I'm writin' and your readin'! So there you have it. Keep up with me please. I need you along for the ride to make this journey enjoyable.

I arrived home from the park today after feeding the ferals and checked the laundry. I decided it needed another rinse. We wash once and rinse twice. That's the rule! My hubby had done the load while I was at the park, so as soon as the washer started he heard it in his office. I was in the family room organizing the mess the kitties made and Rob came flying in on his broom stick and said " Is that a new load?" I said "YUP!!!" I knew that meant he had already rinsed twice, but was just having some fun with him. Unfortuntely I couldn't keep a straight face and as he turned to check me out one last time before leaving the room, my face was buried in the chair to contain my laughter and all I heard was "You liar!!" Which of course made me laugh harder. He raced out to stop the washing machine and spin the load. On his way back in I was still laughing too hard to talk and he said "Just so you know, you would never make it as a POW." The only relpy I could utter through tears and laughter was "Nope."

XO Suzanne

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This is another photo of our gorgeous tree and a beauiful vase of roses taken in late summer. The lines on the window are snails trails (you know by now I don't kill them). Apparently they like the view too, so the window has to be cleaned every week of so!
Now for the Grrrrrrrrreat News! The insurance adjuster arrived yesterday to evaluate the wreckage that is our backyard and house. We liked him instantly. He worked at the Twin Towers sight for six months, then covered Hurricane Katrina another six months and has recently completed work in San Diego after the disaster there. He's smart, interesting and certainly good at what he does. It was a pleasure having him around for a few hours. Here are the results:

1.) The tree is obviously a gonner. We'll get $500 for it's removal and approximately $500 for the loss of the tree because it hit "structures" (a.k.a. our lawn chairs). Our policy doesn't cover damage to the lawn, but the lawn chairs apparently matter!!! Who knew?

2.) Both 100 plus feet of wooden fence on either side of the house will be replaced (pretty good so far!).

3.) The gutters that were torn from the house will be replaced.

4.) And finally, drum roll please...a whole new roof down to the rafters!
Yup, I've been so distracted by the tree, I forgot to tell you how nasty the roof looked! Obviously, we're feeling very, very fortunate. We'll get the final results of the adjusters report and dollor amount either tomorrow, or no later than Monday. Huge exhale.
Thanks for all the wonderful advice about our tree, however, it lost too much of it's root system when it fell, and experts have told us a 2-3 ft. root ball on a tree this size (even if severely pruned) would never support it, and the cost to upright it would be prohibitive because a crane would be require. I will do as Elusive suggested and take cuttings. Additionally, I'm thinking about having someone build an arbor (in the Rustic or Adirondack Style) for climbing roses and vines with a number of the limbs and branches before she's removed. That way, a part of her will always remain the the garden. Oh, almost forgot...her official measurement is just over 55 feet. She was a looker.
I apologize for not responding to your comments the past few days. I will try to do so as soon as I can find a bit of time. I've missed chatting with you. As always, thanks for your support and kindness.

XO Suzanne

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Better Day...

The past few days have been difficult. So I picked some roses to make my heart sing. Well, there really aren't any at the moment, so I picked a photo instead. A nice little bounty from this summer. I realize almost every rose in the basket is a David Austin English Rose. I can actually inhale their scent from my computer screen! The white ones to the left are Winston Churchill and they smell like a baby. All love and baby powder. It's the worst vase rose in the world, but to have some in my office for even a day matters. It's the sort of rose you want to bury your face in and never move. It only blooms in my Northern CA garden in the spring and fall, but that's okay because it's worth the wait. The white one in the middle is, of course, the brilliant Iceberg. No CA garden can be without one, or two or a trillion! The pink one, front and center, is the Austin rose, Heritage. Yummy. The salmon one to it's left is Sunset Celebration ~ no scent, but one of the greatest vase roses of all time (well over a week!) and a hardy bush too. In the back is one of my favorites (top 5) of all time, Heaven on Earth, from Jackson Perkins. It's a shrub rose. It's beautiful in the garden and in a vase. Not much of a scent however (if any). The deep pink rose to the right is another David Austin, but I can't recall the name. Nice scent too and great vase life. The smaller pinkish/yellowish/peachish one in the center is Climbing Jacobs Coat. Or is it Jackson's Coat, or Jacob's Ladder. Who knows!? It's just a terrific rose. No scent to speak of, but easy to grow, easy on the eye and easy to love.

To all the guys who made it this far, I can also weld and operate a backhoe (as well as other heavy equipment!). No...seriously. I can. See, life is never what you expect, is it? If my brothers, brothers-in-law, some of my sisters, dear friends and Dad are reading this, I know you're all laughing right along with me! See what you did for us Daddy?! You expanded our world honey!

And here of course is our beautiful tree this fall. What are we going to do without her?

To all my dear friends who have commented over the past few days, thank you. You are all a gift. You constantly remind me that life is good.
Much love,

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The loss of a dear friend...

You know me by now. I love nature. I love trees. I bought this house because of the trees, both in the back yard and the view to the neighbor's trees across the street. I don't think I ever really saw the house, I just saw the trees. We had a terrible storm in Northern CA yesterday. Most of you, I'm sure are aware. The winds were between 60-70 miles/hour and yesterday morning our dear 50 ft. tree said good bye. She had been leaning toward the house and we were about to consult an expert in an effort to prop her back up and spare her the chain saw. The winds were luckily from the south/west and she kindly spared our house. My God, I'm crying. She would have crushed this house and yet, she didn't. She laid down gently on the lawn and only took out some sod and a few lawn chairs. I'm crying because I will miss her.

We had no electricity until after 10 pm last night. Two telephone poles went down up the street and it took nearly 12 hours of constant work to get them up and running. We have brilliant utility services in CA and are rarely with out electric service, so no matter how inconvenient, I'm grateful.
The storm was so bad I was unable to get to my feral kitties for the first time in over 7 months. I tried again late in the afternoon, but with downed trees, road closures, lack of freeway entrance, I went in circles for over an hour trying to figure out what to do. Only to come back home and put my head in my hands and just sob.
We also discovered our 8ft. fence had collapsed into our neighbor's yard. Happily, Betty-Ann is now the proud owner of a lot of lumber! And our insurance companies will have to duke it out. (We're great friends, so will work together of course...we just like to see insurance companies make an effort!) Apparently a downed tree worth $10,000 isn't valuable to the insurance company, unless it goes through your house. Don't even get me started.
New day...January 5th...yup, still here and still there! We all keep looking as if it's going to just go away or go back to the way it was. Nope and nope.
Thank you for your kind words of support. For your concern. For everything.
With so much love,
P.S. Update! Yes, for those of you who know you read it, you did. I edited the hell out of the last paragraph. Yup, it's gone. Why? Because I didn't want it polluting the memory of my tree. Thanks for all your terrific comments. You guys are the best.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's Important To Have A Friend...

These are four of my beautiful nieces (yes, I have more!). This was taken a number of years ago at Des's graduation from high school, but remains my favorite because I have four of my favorite people in a photo. Des and Val are sisters. Amanda and Ali are sisters. I realize looking at this we all have the same smile. Funny how genes are passed on. Amanda wants to be an architect and working towards that goal, Des is in landscaping, Ali is a wonderful artist and working towards being a teacher and Val is a practicing psychologist in NYC. This is a photo of a photo of a photo, so not too impressive, but you get the idea. Friends matter. They lift you when you're low and often times make the difference when nothing else seems to matter. This was not the post I intended to write tonight, but I have a friend in Brazil who could use a bit of love and thought all my blogging friends might help in that regard. I know how generous you all are.
No explanation needed really. Not the best photo in the world, but precious. And all dear friends...

Rusty helping OHNO! adjust to a new world.

Sweet Pea and brother Rusty, as always supporting and loving one another.

Hopper and Rusty

Even roses support one anther in a vase

Horrible photo and an awful bicep, but me and OHNO the first day she/he arrived! He was sound asleep. I stayed in that position a long, long time! You'd think Rob would have managed a more flattering photo.
My point is simple. What you do matters. Any effort you make, matters. So I'd appreciate it if my friends on this blog would lend Ludmila a bit of support. She's discovered she's in love with her best friend and he's stuggling with his own issues. She's recently graduated law student and lives in Brazil. She speaks Poruguese, but works very hard to communicate with her "English speaking" friends. I would appreciate any words of encouragement. Serious or humorous!!! Everyone I've met on 1pic and beyond is so generous and kind and I know you won't disappoint me. Her link is, or just look at my links and click. I'm anticipating the best from every single one of you and I know you will not disappoint.
Lots of love,