Tuesday, February 19, 2008


The family room has looked like this for over 3 years (we've lived here for almost 4 years). Pathetic. Yes. I know. It's the kittie's room. Nothing more, nothing less. It was a dark and depressing place with faux wood paneling when we arrived and it took 2 coats of primer and three coats of paint to get here. And that's where I stopped. Why? Who knows. Exhaustion probably. The floor still has to be done (I've primed it twice or three times...lost count) but I'm at a loss. The whole house has hardwood floors, except this room, so I thought I'd paint it. The holes still have to be drilled through the bookcases to hide the lamp cords and the ornate mirror I painted still has to be hung above the fireplace. Oh, and then there's the furniture issue. Haven't decided yet. Still looking. The current chair is only for the kitties. They abuse the crap out of it. It will need a make over if it expects to continue on this planet. But I'll get to that too. As you know, it would cost less to just buy a new one! I will admit, I like the fact the room went from dated 50's-60's to cottage. I even painted the fireplace! Change the whole complection of the room. Oh, that's Mickey, our Maine Coon kittie looking at the fireplace. Books...don't even get me started. We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. Also, the walls are a soft butter yellow and the trim, bookcases and fireplace, pure white. I love how the colors play against one another.

Our hedge is dying. More on that later. So is our Forsythia. When we bought the house my mother-in-law told me the Forsythia was in the wrong place and needed to be trimmed back. It was gorgeous and I didn't agree, but listened. Over the past year I started to trim and the Forsythia reacted predictably. She started to die. It has been horrible to watch her decline. I only took out a few branches, but she couldn't bare the trauma. She's down to a few branches and this spring will mark the end of her life. I'll let her bloom and then I will remove her. I made a horrible mistake and will always regret it. I know my plants and I also know what's best for them. I need to listen to my instinct.
The doors had just been primed. When we bought the house they were a dark brown and not very attractive. We like white, so if they look a bit wacky, that's why. It's just the first coat of primer over brown. They're now a high gloss white and absolutely beautiful. Took one coat of primer and three coats of paint, but worth every brush stroke! Oh, and now you know I'm at 5025 and that I like decorative flags. That's our Autumn/late Winter/Early Spring flag with a squirrel on it :).
This is a photo from last year, and yes, the grass needs to be mowed, but it grows so fast here we can't keep up. Mow once a week and it looks like this by the end. This is my little frog pond before I cleaned it. It was lovely, and then it wasn't. Cleaning changed everything. It killed all the water plants and the frog went hop-skippidy-jump to the front yard! I thought I'd done everything right, but apparently not. One year later and it still hasn't recovered. I'm going to the nursery in the next few weeks to buy more plants and make amends. Hopefully that will work.
The rose garden last year. I'm late pruning everything. I started last week while I was sick, but only pruned about 25 or so. I still have about 150 to go! That doesn't include the perennials and shrubs and the general yard clean up. I have a lot on my plate. Will have to blog less.
If I ever get that Queen Elizabeth out of the container it will be a miracle. The path you see was supposed to be planted last year, but I didn't get to it. The huge rose in the foreground is Apricot Nector or something like that. It's huge. Probably 5 ft x 5 ft after only one year in the ground. It's a producer too. An amazing rose bush.
This area on the north side of the house was all pea gravel until I planted last spring. Everything grew like crazy. The metal shed will be gone within the year and replaced with something more beautiful. It was here when we bought the house and we needed the storage, so it stayed. And yes...the green you see in the pea gravel...weeds. What's new!
Our Hawthorn hedge is dying. Last year was the last beautiful year. I'm not sure what to do. Replace the parts that are dying at $20 per plant or tear out the whole thing and redesign the front entry. Without the Forsythia and the hedge everything will feel different. Rob doesn't want it to change. I'm not sure I do either.
I'd planned to include additional information about blogs that might interests you, but that will be for another post. I'm off to the park and my ferals. I hope you all have a beautiful day.
XO Suzanne

Monday, February 18, 2008


Hillary was named Hillary way before the primaries. She was named Hillary because she's tough, smart and bold. All the things Hillary Clinton is. She is the mommy to the three ferals I rescued way back in August of 2007. I wanted her too, but it wasn't the right time. So I've waited. I know she'd preganant again, but I will not let her down this time. She's coming home in the next few weeks to be spayed. Almost a year ago my dear friends found her and her kitties on the side of the bike path and asked for my help. They left, but I didn't. I have never missed a day, except the day the huge storm hit the planet and we lost our tree and I was unable to get to the park. June 1st, 2007, my life changed forever and so did her's. She loves me. I know that. I have never been able to pet her, but it doesn't matter. She loves me and I love her. I see it in her eyes all the time. I will change her life forever. I know she knows. We're waiting for the perfect moment and it will come. Why? Because I love her with all my heart.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Black Bikini...

I was dreaming just before I woke up this morning. I dreamed I was running though a field of flowers in a black bikini. I felt light, happy, healthy and beautiful. I woke up feeling refreshed and almost well. My head wasn't pounding out of my skull, I wasn't coughing, I could breathe, I wasn't sick to my stomach, my body didn't ache and I felt happy to be alive. Then I stood up. Okay, I'm not 100% yet, but compared to yesterday, I feel like a new woman. I'm on the road to recovery. I'm beyond happy.

Now the black bikini. I wouldn't be caught dead in one! So why did I dream I was? I have no idea. I can only say I felt free. It was obviously the younger version of me, so I looked okay and felt pretty good too. Perhaps that was the point. There's always hope. No I'll never look like that again or be able to wear a bikini again, but that's what memories are for and why they inspire dreams of good health, flowers and fields that go on forever.

By the way, I got the photo from Victoria Secrets.

Love to all!

Friday, February 15, 2008


We can only be said to be alive those moments when
our heart's are conscious of our treasures.
~Thornton Wilder

Happy Belated Valentine's Day. I was so sick I didn't realize it was Valentine's Day yesterday. Frankly, I'm still dealing with the fact I've missed most of February. In addition to everything else, my sore throat moved to my lungs (oh joy). I've coughed so hard the past few days I woke with laryngitis on Valentine's Day and it's only gotten worse. I can barely talk. Now, some friends and family will be down on their knees, hands raised to the heavens saying "Thank God something finally shut her up!" but frankly, I don't find that very amusing because I'm in pain. In fact, I can't even believe I'm writing this. I haven't been on the computer in days, but when I took a peek this afternoon was so moved by all the kind words, I thought I should try to say hello and let you know I'm closer to the grave than I'd originally thought. Bindi and Cielo, will you please come out here and take care of me, and on the way would you be kind enough to pick up the rest of the crew because I'd like everyone to be here to attend the Memorial in the event I croak!

YES. I'm going to the doctor. I put it off this week because I was too sick to sit in the waiting room. YES. I will be there bright and early Monday or Tuesday...Wednesday at the latest. Am I in deep doo-doo? Yup. I am. Anitibiotics? Yup. The usual protocol. I don't do well with anitibiotics so avoid them at all costs. They make me sick, so I'm sick on top of sick. Ya know what I mean? Not fun. But, this is serious and I've let it go way beyond acceptable. Please don't scold me...I've suffered enough.

Valentine's day was the three week anniversary of Ireland's escape from the carrier. Despite how ill I've been I haven't missed a day feeding the ferals or a day searching for Ireland. Is it hard? You bet, but I met a homeless guy and his dog the other day at the park as I was leaving. I bought a bike pump for another homeless guy I met months ago, but haven't seen since. So when I saw this guy on his bike with his cart and dog, I stopped him and asked him if he'd like the brand new bike pump!? Happily, he said yes. And as sick as I was, sat down to chat with them. I left with so much more than I'd given. I felt so honored to meet them. I spoke with them again yesterday, gave the dog a blanket and some kitty food(!) and had such a wonderful time although I could barely speak. They weren't there this morning and I missed them.

I have so many treasures. I am always alive because I'm aware of my treasures. Always.

I love all of you so much. Thank you for being part of my life. You matter so very, very much.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'll Be Gone...

Hello dear friends and all new ones. I'm ill, so that explains the lack of response to so many of your wonderful comments or visits to your blogs. I'll get to them in a few days or so.

With a sore throat, nasty head pain, eye pain, a stiff neck, pain even in my fingernails, and chills I thought I had the flu or a cold. Apparently not. My allergies have caused the tubes that run from my ears to my throat to back up. I can say with certainty, I think I'm going to die! No not really, but I'm waiting for the moment I feel alive again.

Love you all and thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Real Life...

I came back from feeding the ferals this morning and went to Longs before coming home. Long is a drug store, but with lots of stuff other than drugs.

I saw a mom and her son, probably 2-3 years old and listened to there conversation. The mom was very funny. We reconnected in the store and this is what I heard as they were walking from the frozen food section through the liquor isle. Verbatim. "Mom, I'd like some beer." Mom , "What!!!???" Mom. "Just because you can read the word doesn't mean you understand it! You can't have beer. We don't even drink beer." We came around the isles at the exact same time in absolute tears and laughter and just hugged one another. It was too funny. When I left home to go to college, I had a 6 year old sister and a 4 and 3 year old brother. They made me laugh every single day of my life. And when I left, that is what I missed most. The innocence and the laughter. I love kids. I love how pure and innocent they are. I love how they make me laugh louder than anyone else.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My First Award!

My beautiful friend Cielo at House In The Roses was kind enough to honor me with this award. Thank you sweetie. In a few days I'll place it in the right hand margin so I can view it often. This is my first award, so I do want to show it off...all the time!

Please visit Cielo if you haven't done so already. She writes and photographs so beautifully. She wrote a post a few weeks ago intitled Insomnia ~ take a peek, you won't be disappointed. She's lovely, charming, romantic, kind and gifted. You'll see.

I also have to mention I've been Tagged a lot over the past few weeks and still haven't found the time to write all the juicy personal stuff about myself, but I will. Be on the alert! This is a leap year, so I'll get 24 extra hours this month to play catch-up. Thanks to all of you who felt I was worthy.

Cielo, thank you. I'll do you proud honey!

Love you,

A Great Day To Be Alive...

I couldn't stop smiling. I'm still smiling. I took six stickers and put them all over the place, even on me. A funny thing happened in the polling booth however, I couldn't decide. It took probably a good 5 minutes to finally mark my ballot. I've never been indecisive when I vote, but today was different. A woman and a black man. How lucky can we get? What an amazing choice. I'm hoping one is President, the other Vice President!!! As Bob Dylan sang, "The Times They Are A Changin'..."

Love to all!

Edit: Three comments after a day?! Come on. Obviously I have more Republicans here than I realized! Come on you guys, lighten up. We will probably never agree politically, but as my dear friend in Utah (a Mormon) said, politics don't really matter if you like someone. I adore all of you, so even if you're a Republican, you're welcome here! I'm serious. I don't even really care who wins the presidency as long as we move thoughtfully back to the 21st Century, rather than remain in the Dark Ages. We are in a horrible place in American history and I don't think it's good for our collective souls. I doubt many of you would disagree, regardless of your political affiliation. Love and miss you all.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Darling Friend and Engineer from Raleigh, NC

This is where I enter the woods to feed the ferals. It is "our" special place. I have memories to fill a book. The path you see is the bike/running path. The sun in the back is where I feed the kitties. That is my tree. Those are my leaves, my shrubs and that is my sun. It is a place so filled with love I have no idea how to express it in words. For as long as I live, I will remember this place and all that surrounds it.

My dear friend from high school lives in Raleigh, NC. She's a brilliant women and an engineer taking time off to raise her son. She's also a Democrat dealing with a mom who is the former head of the Republican party in NC. She's going to comment on my blog tomorrow. As a fellow Democrat, I will listen. All you Republicans should run for cover! No, seriously. She'll kick your a**. We talked today and laughed so hard we cried. That's us. We deal with Republicans in our own families and can't quite believe how fortunate we are! Bait! Life is good.

The U.S. is moving forward. No more Bush. We will take back this country and regain respect. The past 8 years have been a nightmare. It's almost over.

Much love,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

~Anenome Seed Pods~

We've been without the computers for the past day because something happened to our modem. It started working about an hour ago, so I'm typing really fast, just in case it goes out again. The cable guy is coming tomorrow (Sunday), during the Super Bowl to replace it. Rob's freaking out because it's during the Super Bowl and his Patriots are playing. He'll probably survive.

Our dear friend Perry who lives in N.J. is the biggest Giant's fan. He called a few days ago to tell us he was on his way to the Super Bowl with Michael. On the spur of the moment he purchased two ticket at a cost of almost $5,000. He said he did it because this moment in sports history will most likely never happen again and that Michael is 16 and will be off to college in a few years and they may never an opportunity like this again. He wants Michael to have a beautiful memory. $5,000 is a lot of money, and although he's a lawyer, they aren't rich, he's just one hell of a dad and loves his kids. I love parents who love their kids. Even if they can't afford a dime. Love is good enough.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your generous and kind comments about Ireland, and also for your constant support. You are just the most precious group of friends I've ever known. Every single comment mattered and help. I haven't given up hope and I'm not moving from #2! I've decided I'm not in the 5 stages of grief, I'm merely in a transitional state! After coming home from the park today I drove around the neighborhood looking for him, and ended up in tears, but they weren't tears of despair, they were tears of absolute determination. I will find him.

Wishing you all well.
Much love,

Friday, February 1, 2008

This and That...

~Gertrude Jekyll ~ David Austin English Rose~
I was late leaving the house this morning to feed the ferals and it's a good thing. My neighbor drove by, saw me and stopped. She asked about Ireland and when she learned I hadn't found him she was surprise because when she walked the dog the other morning, Ireland was sitting on our front porch! She couldn't remember what day, but said it was around 9 am. She didn't call or come to the door because she assumed Ireland had come back and everything was fine. Here's to hope! Let's all cross our fingers. :)
~ My darling Mickey ~
I raced to the park and arrived in record time. I won't tell you how fast I drove or even how long it took to travel 12 miles because Mom's reading this and she's a retired math teacher. She'd figure out the speed in a second! Don't worry Mom, I was very safe. However, I'll be smarter tomorrow and travel at a more reasonable speed. Mom, I was so late today I even had to get on the freeway at Madison! That's how desperate I was! I swear to God that's the worst on ramp in this city. I saw another accident there the other day on my way home from the park. Cops, an ambulance and fire trucks everywhere and traffic backed up for miles. My blogger friends don't know where I live, but if any of you ever visit Northern CA, take my advice...do not get on the freeway at Madison! It's a killing field because one freeway turns into two (both are very busy) and there's an on ramp to boot. I wonder who the Einstein was behind that brilliant design?
~T-bone and his favorite bacteria ~
When I arrived at the park this morning I saw something in the field. It looked like a tan plastic grocery bag, but it was moving. I walked through the soaking wet field to get closer and it moved. It was a little poodle who wouldn't let me near him. I tried to put food down, but he didn't notice. I tried to catch him but he wouldn't let me. So I left him to feed my ferals and decided to try again on my way out.
Only one kitty showed up this morning. Ireland's mom, Sophia. It wasn't raining so I pulled out the plastic and the sheet and we had our usual "picnic." Just the two of us. It was nice. She's a sweetie and loves to be petted. I left her to eat while I replaced the water bowls and when I was done came back to sit next to her. It would have been the perfect day to bring her home, but I left the carrier in the car after seeing the dog because I knew my goal was to try and rescue him. (I have 5 more kitties at the park who need to be spay or neutered. I have a small window of opportunity in the next few weeks, so I have to hurry.) She ate and we chatted about Ireland, life, the dog, stuff in general. Then she looked up at me with so much love, and I decided to pick her up and put her on my lap. It was the first time I'd ever done so and she liked it. We cuddled and talked and it was wonderful. She got back down to eat some more, but then wanted my lap again, so up she came. That's how our morning went. Up and down, up and down, up and down. It was absolutely perfect and peaceful. I didn't want to leave her and I could tell she didn't want me to leave.
I returned to the car, found the dog leash and collar and was off to rescue my poodle. I must have spent a good hour and a half trying to get close to that rascal, but to no avail. He'd have none of it. I left a big can of cat food for him and some fresh water. I was disappointed he wouldn't let me rescue him. I enjoyed driving and walking through the park however. I've never done so and discovered it's beautiful. I was able to walk past Canadian geese and finally see them up close and personal. I've been a big fan since childhood, but have only seen them in the sky. They didn't even seem to mind I was only about 2-3 ft. away.
On the way home I stopped and made additonal color copies of Irelands flyer. I'm going to post them a bit south of our house because that's were all the calls now seem to be coming from. There's a lovely neighborhood park a few blocks away and I suspect he may gravitate to it because he's familiar with lots of trees, not homes. I've learned of a woman who feeds feral cats in the park, so plan to contact her as well because she'll alert me if he shows up.
When I arrive at the park every day, I pass over a bridge. This is a tributary that leads to the two big rivers that grace the park. I look right and see this view.

I look left and see this one.

Believe it or not these photos were taken in November and everything was still very green. I love how Mother Nature landscapes.

Thanks for listening and thanks for being dear friends.

XO Suzanne

My Dear Ireland...

I was gone last week for a few good reasons. I needed time to reflect. My blog was getting too big and I felt overwhelmed. I couldn't figure out how to live my life and continue with it. Then something really horrible happened and put everything in perspective.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008 I rescued my darling feral kitty, Ireland, from the park. It was raining, he was the only kitty who showed up, he was wet and cold and I knew it was our time. I didn't bring the carrier as I always do, so left him to eat and walked back to the car to get it. Only to discover he had followed me. I said "Honey, why don't you just get in right here and save us the trouble." He didn't. Together we walked back to his food in the rain. When he was through eating I simply picked him up and put him in the carrier (my feral kitties are all dear friends) and then the real fun began. He wasn't happy and tried to bang his way out. I told him to relax, everything would be okay. I called Rob and asked him to please prepare the family room for a new arrival. Before leaving the park I spoke into the wind and told his mom and sister I loved them and that I was sorry. I asked them to trust me. They love him so much and I knew they would miss him. They are the most precious kitty family I have ever known. They absolutely adore one another.
We arrived home and I left him in the car while I organized the family room. I never do that, but for some reason I felt he would be better off alone than with me for a few minutes. When I had the family room perfect I went to collect him. Rather than bring him through the house, I decided to take the back entrance, so had to go through the gate to the back yard and then through the garage, then into the family room. When I went to open the gate, the carrier hit either the fence or the shrub and Ireland went insane and hit against the carrier at the same time the act of hitting something dislodged the knob. In an instant the carrier malfunctioned, opened and Ireland escaped. I threw down the carrier and ran after him into our neighbors yard, but lost him. In tears I rang Betty Ann's door and asked her to please help me find him. We couldn't.
It's been one week to the day. I've plastered the neighborhood with flyers, posted photos on every stop sign, gone door to door and left info, but to no avail. I've received 4 calls and all have been helpful. He is here, just not with me. I am in so much agony, you have no idea. It's ugly. It's awful how you go over your mistakes again and again in hind-sight. If I'd just done one thing differently, none of this would have happened. But it did happen and unfortunately here I am typing this. I don't care about me, I care about him. I don't want him to be cold or wet or hungry or lonely. I have the biggest clump of guilt hovering all around me. And I don't know what to do.
There are five stages of grief:

1. Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
2. Anger (why is this happening to me?)
3. Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
4. Depression (I don't care anymore)
5. Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
I've spent the past week dealing with #1 and today hit #2. I was so angry that Rob actually said "Wow, you okay?" No, I'm not okay. I just want him back. I don't want to get to #3, 4 and 5. I want to stay right here and get him back. To think of him alone, out in the big old world without his mom and sister breaks my heart. What have I done?
I realized that blogging and all of you make a difference in my life. As much time as it takes, it matters, so I'm staying right here. Look, I'm sharing this with all of you. Why? Because you're all kind and wise and perhaps you have the answer. I feel as if I'm running out of time, so I need all the help you can give. If you have any advice, please share it.
With love,