Monday, May 26, 2008

Roses Make Me Happy!

I want to look at something pretty and write about something that makes me happy. Remember Gig's birthday bouquet? Well this is where it ended up. Our foyer. And boy did we enjoy it. It lasted a solid week, and some of the roses could have gone longer.
I was just noticing how everything in this photo is off a bit. The painting isn't hanging straight, the table is pushed to the right of it's normal spot, the cords which are usually hidden are in view and the beautiful crystal that hangs from the lamp's on/off knob is missing. I wonder where he hid it? Could only be one kitty. Yup, Ohno (you know him and crystal!). This is his favorite table, so I know he is responsible for all the above. And I didn't even notice anything needed fixing or that something was missing until writing this . (I just went out and straighten things up! I'll find the crystal eventually.)
Another view at night. This bouquet was just one of the most beautiful I've ever created and believe it or not, it was a happy accident. I was in a hurry, couldn't find the pail for water, or the basket I use, so just grabbed a vase with water and starting picking my way through the garden. The roses all around the bottom just sort of fell into place and once I had them I put a bit of thought into what I wanted to add and where, but really, it arranged it's self. I intended to return to the house, recut the stems and rearrange it in another vase, but it was so gorgeous I couldn't. I didn't expect it to last more than a few day, but a whole week! I'll use that method again.
One last view of the other side. Oh, and the scent was intoxicating.
And of course a post wouldn't be a post without thanking all of you for your love and kind words. I apologize for not responding to all the comments or visiting other blogs too much, but I've been a bit overwhelmed with this string of bad luck. I will keep you informed about my health, etc..
Also, some updates:
- Ohno saw the Vet about the lump on his hip. Believe it or not it was the injection site when he was neutered months ago. The swelling's finally beginning to go away.
- Fenway/Buddy is doing beautifully. He had his second vet's visit for mange. He's still on his meds and doing remarkably well. He's healing, using his bum leg quite a bit now, loves his home, his family, his food, his walks, his yard, his neighborhood, everything. He is one happy dog. I'll get new photos when I have time.
Love to all,
Suz XO

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Music...

If only...

Hwy 80 at the Madison on ramp during rush hour (the cars stopped just for little old me!). I was driving to feed the ferals this morning, running late so got on the freeway at Madison (during rush hour!). The worst, most dangerous on ramp in America. You know I hate it and have posted about it. I was doing fine, found a space to move to the next lane (I have to move over 3 lanes believe it or not, just to get to the slow lane for Hwy 80 while everyone's doing 70 or 80! I know that sound odd, but it's not. Hwy 80 splits into 3 lanes for The Capital City Freeway and Hwy 80, so there are 6 or 7 lanes, plus the commuter lane. I'm laughing so hard!!! You have to see it to believe it.), did and the next thing I remember is a black SUV or 4x4 coming into my lane and cutting me off. I didn't want to die, so quickly swerved to get back into the lane I had just exited because my space was still available, only to learn even more quickly that as I did so traffic in that lane stopped or slowed and I plowed into the car in from of me. The whole event happened in a matter of seconds, but you know the feeling of going through something in slow motion. It was horrible and terrifying. This day sucks. Everyone's fine, but our car is dead. The body shop has told the insurance company it's "totaled." The repairs are more expensive than the car is worth (consider that just fixing a little ding in the front fender by some idiot who ran into or car while parking his a few years ago cost the insurance company over $1,600, I didn't even want to know the estimate for all of this damage. Yup, I covered my ears while Rob was told. Our car died today and that's sad. We love her. She didn't deserve this.
Our baby's back home to await her fate after being declared terminal. The body shop owner said to bring her home and get everything off that matters because when the insurance company claims her she's going to the scrap yard. The tires are brand new and worth a ton. He said to get them off and replace them with some cheap crap! We will.

That's all that happened to Joanna's car. That's it. How can a Mustage kick the ass of of BMW? Mine's all steel, her's is all plastic, but she said "it has this spingie sort of stuff under the bumper!" Apparently.
Joanna was terrific. I was shaking like a leaf, could barely write my phone number or take down her insurance info. She was so kind and thoughtful and the voice of calm. I remember thinking, how could I have hit an angel? Seriously. I have the best luck and the worst luck. Horrible accident, amazing plaintiff! We're out in the land of death trying to take photos with the traffic copter flying over and cars backed up to Oregon and laughing because we were confident we were going to be killed by some idiot! Then we realized my car was not going anywhere and she refused to leave me alone to wait for AAA. I told her she didn't have to wait with me and she said and I quote "I would never leave you here alone." I wanted to cry, but was shaking so hard I couldn't figure out how to do both. She's the sort of woman you want at the scene of an accident. I'm the sort of woman you pray not to hit or be hit by. Really. I would not want me at the scene of an accident or a crime. I'm a pathetic mess. God I would love to have seen Traffic Pulse 3 this morning. Robyn, what did we look like? Was traffic backed up to Roseville!? We moved away from the cars after taking photos, making calls, etc., for safety and climbed the hill to await AAA. We were laughing really hard about something and a CHIPS officer arrived on scene (CA Highway Patrol for those of you living in other counties). He was a great guy. He pulled up behind my car, and I swear to GOD looked up at us and motioned with his index finger to come on down off the hill. That was too funny. We laughed and obeyed. He asked if we were both okay. We said "Yup." He asked if the cars could be moved, we said "Not mine, but her's." He said, "Let's take a look because it's too dangerous to be here." He asked me to get in the car and turn the wheel every which way. I did as instructed. He said "your tire's going to be hitting mostly plastic and a bit of metal, nothing serious, it'll just be loud, but don't worry. I want you off the freeway because it's too dangerous here, you know that. I want you to pull out and take the Watt exit. Stay in the slow lane and don't do more than 40 and I'll follow you. I'll have my lights on and you'll be safe. Just do exactly as I tell you. Make a left at the exit, go over the overpass and pull into Strarbuck to wait for AAA." I wasn't able to get out of the car to hug Joanna, so we held hands and in that embrace knew we were bonded for life. We were lucky to be alive. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. Nor her. I do believe there are angels on earth. I do. It's funny you know because I told her I was on the way to feed the ferals at the park in Natomis and she was so kind. And then we discussed (well, not really "discuss" because we were shouting too loud to hear one another over the traffic!) the up and coming freeway construction and realized we go the same way, get off at the same exit and her office is directly across from the park, we couldn't stop laughing. It is such a small world.
I was so visabily upset I didn't feel as if I gave Joanna all the correct insurance info, so promised to call her within hours. Rob actually ended up calling her at the office. She's an accountant. Makes sense. She's sensible as hell. Rob's first question was "Are you okay honey?" She said "Yes, I'm fine. Well honestly, my back in starting to hurt, but don't worry, I won't sue." Rob's a lawyer, so you know the hair on his back stood up and he doesn't even have hair on his back. Me. Nope. She's a wonderful woman and I'm just worried about her. I don't even care if she sues. I don't. I hit her car so hard and she had no clue what was coming. If she needs the money, she can have it. I feel so guilty. Rob said "I don't want you to talk to her and I won't accept her call(s). I thought "How could you do that to her?" I know her and she is one of the most beautiful women I've ever met. I'm going to call her tomorrow, just to check in to see if she's feeling a bit better. I imposed on her in such a horrible way today and she embraced me desite that. I could have killed her and we both know it, so I would never pretend she doesn't exist just because she might sue. I just hope she feels okay and her back doesn't hurt too much.
Joanna and I held hand for what felt like a long time, and then the cop got on his motorcycle and it was time to pull into traffic. Hummmmmmmmm. I realized I was in shock. I couldn't stop shaking , the car was loud as the tire hit against whatever, and traffic stopped just for me. What a little gift! I had a police escort a mile and a half to Starbucks. When he knew I realized where I was and where I was going he gave me the "thumbs up," and I pulled into the parking lot to wait for AAA with my once beautiful BMW. As desperate as life seemed, I heard some birds singing in the trees. And that made me happy.
I called Rob right after the accident to alert him and ask that he please be at the house when I arrived because I needed to get to the park to feed the ferals. I was hours late and knew they'd be hungry. When the tow truck driver dropped me off, I wasn't disappointed. I was still shaking like a leaf, but got in Mom's car and headed for the park. The tow truck driver was a big woman. She intimidated me at first and didn't seem too nice, but when we drove home we talked and laughed and she was terrific. When I got out at the house she said "I suggest you go in and have a good shot of whiskey." I said "I don't drink whiskey, nor do I have any." She said "Well ya gotta do something cuz you're a f*&#^%* wreck." We shook hands and laughed really, really hard. I'm still laughing just typing the words. It's one of those moments that will stay with me forever. It was too funny.
Got to the ferals, got back home, Rob dealt with the insurance company and rental car company and body shop. I never stopped shaking. Never. I felt like I was in another universe and sick to my stomach to boot. I realize typing this, I haven't eaten since breakfast. I finally stopped shaking around midnight. It's been a long, hard day and here I sit about to face another one. Hummmmmmmmmmm. This has been the year of my discontent. And yup, I'm still numb and tingling from head to toe! My standing appointment with the doctor is now Tuesday at 3:10!
Love you all. Don't worry. I'm fine. Life is just a bit crazy for some reason.
XO Suze

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thank you...

"My friends are my estate"
~ Emily Dickinson


I want to thank all of you for your kind words, encouragement, support and love this past week (and the week before that, and the week before that and..well, you get it. I'd like to also thank those who made me laugh! Unfortunately this ordeal isn't over yet, but at least I'm not dead or near death's door. Right? Let's ask T-Bone. I asked him, but he's sleeping and didn't respond, I assume that means "Nope!" I'm confident this will all be resolved after some additional testing. You better hope it is because if it isn't you're going to be the poor recipients of a lot of complainin'.


I'd like to especially thank my new friend, Sweet Sage, for allowing me to borrow her photo and concept. When I saw it on her blog I knew it was the perfect way to thank all of you. She didn't hesitate to say "Yes!" Unfortunately, there are no men in the photo, but just imagine them there. I love this photo because it's the style of window I adore (cottage) and because the woman to the far left and the far right remind me of my very well dressed mother when I was a young girl, and most especially because the photo evokes the love and laughter shared with friends. (Yes, Kylie and Leah, I actually do know a big word and can use it properly in a sentence...don't faint.)


I love you all, new and old friends. Thank you so much for your support. You make this blog what it is because
you inspire me every day.

With love and gratitude,

Suze XO




Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm Going To Pretend For One More Day...

This is Gig's birthday bouquet. Yes, I know, very, very late,but it was picked on time. As you all know I had difficulty posting for over a week, so here it finally is. As always, Ohno has to explore everything. He's a gem. Do you see those wings behind his ears?! They're amazing! Rob calls him Batman!
I have some bad news, but thought mixing it with beautiful flowers would help me (sorry Gig). I wasn't feeling too well Friday. Horrible headache, sick to my tummy and difficulty talking. Yes, I know, classic symptoms. And T-Bone was following me everywhere. Wouldn't even sleep. And he's a sleeper. Friday night T-Bone continued to be right by my side. I thought he was ill and told Rob so, then at one point asked T-Bone "Honey, is something wrong with Mommy? Somethings going to happen, isn't it?" I blogged until late and T-Bone never left me (not the norm), I went to sleep and woke up with a left hand that felt like it was completely asleep with pins and needles, and a foot that felt the same. It seemed odd. I had been dealing with my pinky finger feeling that way for weeks and thought it was from using the computer. I still didn't feel well and T-Bone was still at my side.
I thought it might be carpal tunnel syndrome, just because my hand was involved. I went to later in the day and felt confident that was my problem. I'd call the doctor Monday. Sunday rolled around and I woke up worse. I was numb from head to toe on my left side. The only place I didn't feel numbness and tingling was in my leg. I thought "How odd." But I didn't put two and two together. I went like that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.
Tuesday night I had a dream I'd had a stroke. On Tuesday I went to again and typed in numbness and tingling in hand and foot and of course was greeted with stroke. Suddenly everything made sense. T-Bone was still by my side. He knew. I sat a long time just staring at the screen and thinking about my life. I knew I was supposed to be in the emergency room, but also knew that I had to get things done around the house in the event I was hospitalized. So I worked my ass off over the next few days in an effort to get things done. I know. Not smart, but I have so many responsibilities. Yup, even today, that's what I did. And then I called the doctor's office so that I could be seen tomorrow. I was passed so quickly to a nurse I couldn't believe it.
I described my symptoms to her and was told every thing pointed to a stroke. I'm only 48. I was told to go to the emergency room at Kaiser immediatly. After talking to her today for about 15 minutes, we hung up and I just sat here for a long, long time. I knew it before I called Kaiser, but to actually hear the words just broke my heart. I sat and I sat and I sat. Rob came into my office after returning from picking up our new tree for the back yard, and I told him what had happened and that the nurse said I had to have someone take me to the emergency room because a lot of test would be done. He was ready to go. But I just sat.
I didn't seem to have the ability to move. I just sat staring at the computer screen, the phone, the keyboard, the wall. I just sat. Staring at nothing and everything. My life. Studies show that most strokes in women happen between the ages of 45 and 52 and most go undetected. I was a statistic and I couldn't believe my bad luck. So I sat and I sat. Rob came back into my office and alerted me it was time to go to the hospital, and I couldn't move. I told him "I'll go tomorrow." He was visibly upset, but said "I can't make you go." So I sat and I sat. Mom called, Rob answered the phone and didn't tell her. He came to my office and told me he didn't want to alarm her until we had all the details. I said "Okay." And I sat.
I picked up the phone to call my mom. She wasn't home, but my brother was there. I told him. He was concerned and shocked. He told me how much he loved me and to please take care of myself. I called my sister Laur, but couldn't get in touch with her. Thought I had the wrong phone number, so called my other brother. His wife answered and amazingly put me through to Gary. Gary's always working, never home! My luckly day! We talked, I told him and he was very sad (he's sensitive) and told me to please take care of myself and get to the hospital. Then he said "Do you want to talk to Roy? He's right here." You have to understand, I rarely get to talk to my brothers. They're so busy they're never around when I call. I was able to talk to all three today and it was a blessing. They were all so kind and generous. We're all very close as sisters and brothers, so to actually have my brothers a part of this means the world to me. I wasn't able to get in touch with my sister, so called my dad and of course he picked up. He always does no matter what he's doing. It was the first time tears streamed down my face.
My dad's an amazing man. We talked about life, death, disappointment, etc. He told me to please get to the hospital, but I just sat.
Then I opened a bottle of wine, finished the laundry and watering the garden and tried to get everything done, just in case. What was going to the emergency room going to do? What was it going to change? I'd missed my 3 hour window of opportunity. I had a stroke and my life is forever changed. My numbness and tingling will probably never go away. My life is different than it was 7 days ago and I can't will it back.
The lesson is simple. Pay attention. The nurse told me face numbness is the first sign of a stroke, but I didn't have that till two days after the initial symptoms. Her advice was "when you have any sort of numbness of your limbs, get to the emergency room immediately." I would take that advice, and run, not walk to the emergency room. You have a three hour window of opportunity to reverse what's happened to you if you've had a stroke. That's all you get, so please don't hesitate.
I love you all and you know that. That's why I'm writing this. I thought, if anyone could get me through this, it's all of you. You have become my family and you matter. I'll be fine. I'll just have to make a lot of adjustments. Probably blog a lot less.
I'm going to the emergency room today. I've had time to think and know it's my only option. I'll be tested till the cows come home, but that's okay. And I'm going alone. I'm not telling Rob. I'm just going to go directly from feeding the ferals. I seem to need to be alone. For some reason it seems like a very personal, lonely journey.
Oh, and by the way, there's a race going on over at the cafe. I'm going to lose because I.V. outsmarted me! That bastard! But I have a very pretty pink bike!
Love you all,
Suze XO

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Please Welcome Buddy (the homeless rescue) To His New Life...(Finally completed May 12, 2008)

Born May 6, 2006
Rebirth May 6, 2008
11 lbs.~ 2 oz
Mom's changed his name to "Fenway" because the family loves the Boston Redsox! She even started answering the phone: "Hello, you've reached the new home of Fenway." I know, too funny!
Yup, I think I'm finally going to get this to post!
I had such trouble with the post for Buddy that I had to erase it. After two attemps at writing it and spending lots of time doing so, the post wouldn't publish and simply vanished. Yes, I wanted to scream! I will try again tomorrow. Before deleting I saved all the comments. Thank you one and all for your kind words and support. You're the best!

XO Suze
Buddy's (Fenway's) story:
Well as you know, he belonged to a homeless couple I met at the park. He was ill, but they wouldn't allow me to take him to the vet's when we first met. I left my name, numbers and email and made it clear they could call me if they ever needed to do so. I received the call this week ~ a bit over two months later. They wanted me to take him. I of course said "Yes!" They didn't show up on the day scheduled. I waited two hours, to no avail. I was heartbroken and so was Mom (my mother-in-law wanted to adopt-sight unseen). My husband told me to be understanding and patient. The next morning as I was leaving for the park to feed the ferals, the phone rang. It was Marty telling me they'd had car trouble and couldn't get to the park the previous morning (huge exhale). Could I meet them this morning (Tuesday)? "Yes! Of course." All arrangements were made and I hurried to the park to feed the ferals and then pick up Buddy.
When I saw Buddy I was so sad. He looked horrible. Red from head to toe and still without the use of his left hind leg. I picked him up immediately and gave him a hug. Greg, Marty and I all hugged and said our thank yous a zillion times. I had brought a new collar and leash, a comfy little kitty bed with a soft fleece blankie and as soon as Buddy saw me he nearly jumped into my arms and went directly to the bed! It was as if he had been waiting months for me to return. He knew who I was immediately and I sensed it. I took off the chain that was his leash and said we didn't need it (and whispered into his ear "You will never see another chain.") It was all kind of magical. I'll never forget it. I didn't remove his original collar immediately, so the one you see is his old one.
While Buddy rested in the car Greg, Marty and I exchanged valuable info, more hugs and hope. Then I started the car and Buddy and I were off to begin his new life and to see the vet! The drive was a blast. He's a wonderful dog. Loved his new car, the view, his bed, me...the list is endless. He was happy. Not nervous or anything...simply happy. He knew. We arrived early at the vet's, but were wisked right in even though the waiting room was full (I felt horrible about that), but when Buddy came into the waiting area in his little bed with just his face and paws peeking out, he was a hit. The place went nuts! He stunk to high heaven, the ride was almost impossible with the stench, but we all pretended not to notice because he was so precious and loving. And his tail was wagging. He was at the Vet's and his tail was wagging! One of the techs said "I've never seen a dog come in with his tail wagging." Buddy was just so happy to be there. Is that insane, or what? And what's even better is that when he entered the waiting room, he looked like a king, not a pauper. He was so proud of himself, despite his smell and his appearance.
Buddy was brilliant at the vet's. He had to have so many tests, x-rays, exams, etc., but he was still happy and wagging his tail. We were all amazed. He was cleared for heartworm, but diagnosed with mange after a skin test. There are two kinds of mites: the kind that are easy to treat and the kind that are difficult to treat. Of course he has the difficult ones. He also has a few sores and terrible loss of hair. Once his mites are history his hair will grow back and the sores and redness will go away.
Then it was on to x-ray. Dr. Griffith had determined there was nothing wrong with his nails as I was told, it was his hip. X-rays revealed what we suspected. His hip was dislocated. It was an old injury that had never been address, so the ball that goes into the socket was just a big glob of scar tissue. It looked horrible on x-ray. His leg muscles had atrophied and that is why he only has the use of three legs. As Dr. Griffith and I were standing in the glow of the x-ray room discussing options I said "The way some animals are treated just breaks my heart." He took my upper arm in his hand and turned me to face him and said "You amaze all of us here, we adore you. And you've done it again. Buddy has a chance now because you cared." I wanted to hug him to death and I wanted to cry, but instead said "Thank you." I'll never forget his kind words, nor that moment. He asked what I planned to do with Buddy and when I told him Mom had already agreed to adopt, his face lite up and he said "Suzanne, you're remarkable." I'm going to keep those two compliments safely tucked in my heart.
I had been at the vet's for hours, but had to leave while Buddy had a bath (medicated), nails clipped, etc. When I returned he was happy as ever and the entire staff had fallen in love with him because he was such an easy, laid-back, sweet dog. We went to pay the bill and I was busy talking to another client and a vet tech when I heard the words "That'll be $100.15." I said "Are you joking!?" I was told "Nope, that's how it adds up." The other client said "For God sakes just pay the bill and run!" I was hoping the bill would be around $300, but knew it would probably be between $400-$500, so $100!? That didn't make sense. When I arrived home Rob and I discussed it and realized I'd received a HUGE discount, but we were both busy and neither of us thought to look at the bill. I looked at it the following morning and was amazed. Almost every procedure had the word "Courtesy" before it. I cried. Sometimes people are so good.
Buddy and I went straight to Mom's house from the Vet's, and I was trying to think of ways to soften the blow of his appearance, but when the door opened and she saw him, it was love at first sight. She said "Aren't you just beautiful." I exhaled. I'll never forget it. They were and are a match made in Heaven. Buddy (now Fenway) has blossomed with Mom, and Mom is beyond excited. I visited them Saturday and couldn't believe after only three days together, how deeply they love one another and how profoundly the relationship has changed their lives. The joy is overwhelming in that house! My dear friend, Renee, and I were talking today (Mother's Day) and she and the kids love Fenway's story and have been waiting for the conclusion. We agreed that nothing is perfect in life, but that this is as close to perfection as we will probably ever get. The stars is beautiful.
Thank you for all your kind words and support. I copied the original comments before losing the first post and will hopefully create a scrapbook for Fenway to celebrate his rebirth in our family. Your comments will be included. You are such dear friends and I love you very much. Thank you for taking this journey with us.
Suzanne XO
P.S. Just so you know, Fenway's taking antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dogs, A Garden And A Funny Story...

Okay, bad news. I waited almost two hours for the couple to show up with the dog. They didn't. Both gate attendants said they did come in, but never showed up in my parking lot. So I drove around checking every lot and nope, I couldn't find them. I'm disappointed and cautiously optimistic. I'll await their phone call. Canceling the little fellow's vet appointment was very sad because I know he's in such pain. If they're having difficulty surrendering him, just let me get proper vet care for him and they can keep him. I just need a phone call. I haven't told Mom yet. I'm hoping for a good outcome and don't want to worry her. Why didn't I go pick him up the moment they called on Friday or Saturday morning. Why did I wait until Monday?
I'm posting gardening photos to help put my brain in a better place. That fern cracks me up. I planted it last year. It's a Male Fern. I have Lady Ferns, so thought I'd plant their companion. It was very wimpy and every time T-Bone would go past it, he's pee on it. Every single time. And every time I'd say "T-Bone, don't pee on my damn fern," and then he'd take the shortcut to the yard. You can see his path and every time I'd say "T-Bone, get out of my damn garden!" I was obviously talking to the pea gravel because he didn't listen to a word. Then something magical happened...Spring! The fern started to fill out and grow, and grow and grow. It's beautiful this year (still only a third of the size of the Lady Fern) and T-Bone has stopped peeing on it (see, no brown!), but he still takes the shortcut through the garden. Arrrrrrrrrr.
Heaven on Earth roses and a GORGEOUS camelia. It's been in bloom for probably two months. I think it just put out the last one. :*( See you next year honey!
Some of my favorite pink roses (in my office ~ next to my computer).
My beautiful Forget-Me-Nots, a gorgeous Azalea (I think Alaska) in a container and good sized thistle weed right there in the upper left hand corner! I let it get pretty big before Mom came by one day and yanked it out. I found it the next day unceremoniously flung on the bricks. Poor thing. The little mushroom was a gift for taking care of our neighbor's dog one weekend. Boy did she make me appreciate T-Bone (T-Bone's very neat!). She's a Lab and when she drinks water it goes with her from one end of the house to the other. No joke. I was forever drying up her slop on the hardwood floors. Too funny.
Okay, now for a funny story. My Mom called the other day (not my MIL, my Mom) and she'd been helping my sister move the final items in her condo to their new home. They had a big, beautiful home, but it didn't make sense to remain there because they're becoming empty nesters. They live in a ski resort area, so now rent it out. They bought a condo. They hated condo living, so they just bought another big house! What?! Somewhere in there is common sense, I just haven't been able to find it! The movers took all the big stuff, but Mom was helping my sister with moving a lot of the office "stuff," (they have a very successful business) and both were tired. They were on their umpteenth trip to the house and Mom said my sister stopped the SUV in the middle of the road and didn't speak. Mom asked her what was wrong and she replied "I don't know where I am." Mom was aware she was exhausted, so just tried to get her to think (because Mom didn't know how to get to the house either!). She said we sat there for what felt like a long time until Tam finally recognized a landmark and her brain came back on." That's exhaustion.
And that story reminds me of my visit to my sister's house to care for her hubby, kids, animals and house while she was in Cape Cod with her 6th grade class for a week. I had just been in L.A. helping take care of newborn twins for a week, flew directly to NY to help my sister, developed a sinus infection and was exhausted. And my niece and nephew decided to treat me like a substitute teacher (Why? Who knows.). We were invited to Tam's house for lunch one day and so with the two of them in toe off I went to have a beautiful lunch with my sister at her beautiful house. I was tired. The 50 miles felt like a million and I felt like Fred Flintstone...actually peddling my own car with my feet. I had a wonder time. We ate, laughed, visited the nursery, our grandmother's grave and planted panseys, just had one of the best days of all time. When it was over I got in the car and started it to leave and Tam said "Honey, you have everything?" I replied "Yup. I'll see you soon, okay?" She replied "You sure you have everything?" I said "Yup, love ya, thanks, I had a great time." She said "Sue, you might want to take the kids." Ahhhhhhhhhhh, right...forgot about them!
Now that's just exhaustion.
My question of course is, have you ever been that tired?
XO Suze :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I Have An Amazing Mother-In-Law...

My Mother-in law is the best. She's never not been the best. She's kind, loving and generous. She loves us and has never made it a secret. I on the other hand have not been the best daughter-in-law. Too much on my plate and not enough time to spend with her. Yes, I agree, I've failed.
These photos of us together are my favorite because she was visiting us in L.A. for Christmas. No one had taken a shower or even fixed their hair and she said "Let's take some photos. Rob looked at me. I looked at Rob and we both began to laugh. I said "Mom, we just got out of bed!" Her reply "Ahhhhh, who cares." They remain my favorite photos of all time.
She's a brilliant, magical woman and I'll tell you why today is so important in our relationship.
Most of you know I feed feral kitties at the park every day. About 2 months ago I met a homeless couple on my way out. They were parked next to my car. I saw a chihuahua get out of their camper barely able to walk. It appeared to have a broken leg. You know me by now, I didn't hesitate to approach them. They were a lovely couple and said that they'd rescued him from the park a few weeks earlier. He was homeless himself. They had taken him to Loaves and Fishes (a wonderful organization you've probably all heard about) and encouraged to take him to their monthly Vet Clinic for treatment in a few weeks. I told them that I'd take him to my vet's immediately and bring him back once he was healed. They said no, they'd rather care for him because they loved him. They insisted they would get help from Loaves and Fishes. I said okay, but gave them all our numbers and my email address. I made it clear that if ever they needed me, all they had to do was call or email.
Today, I received the call. I know to call me broke their hearts. They love their dog. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can understands the pain of surrendering him/her. But I was asked if I'd take him and without hesitation, said yes. They went to Loaves and Fishes and were told by the vet that he doesn't have a broken leg, but horrible ingrown toenails. He needs treatment they can't afford and they also realize the summer is going to be very hot and the camper is no place for a dog. He actually apologized for calling. That broke my heart. I told him not to worry, that everything would be okay and that of course I'd take their dog. We'll meet Monday morning after I feed the ferals and he will officially become my dog.
I wondered how to break the news to Rob. Our house is so full and the money we spend on animals is insane. I simply told him the story, and that I was taking the dog directly to the Vet's from the park to have surgery for what ails him and have them give him a good bath, then bring him home to adjust. Honestly, Rob looked like a deer caught in the headlights. And then a lightbulb went off. Mom!!! A few months prior she mentioned she might want to adopt another Chihuahua. I said "Honey, what about Mom!?" We debated because he worries about her age, etc., but I know Mom's heart and picked up the phone and called over his protests. And just as I didn't hesitate to call her, without hesitation she said "I would love him!!!" Perfect match. That's my Mother-In-Law. She's perfection.
Everything's going to be fine. We'll get his foot fixed, give him a good bath, nice food, a warm home, lesson in good doggie behavior if necessary and lovely walks in the park. Life will be beautiful. And no, I will never forget the homeless couple who helped in his journey and alway incorporate them into our lives. Why? Because they saved him. I will meet them periodically if they wish, show them photos, bring the dog for a visit, etc.. I sincerely believe that people who matter in an animal's life should always be remembered. Always. So on Monday, I'm a new parent, again. Briefly. And then my darling Mom will become a mom again to a beautiful little soul in need.
I love you Mom. You know that. Thank you.
P.S. The black and white photo of mom is my favorite. It was taken by a professional wedding photographer at a family wedding overlooking the ocean in Malibu.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tornado Alert

*** UPDATE***

This is to alert you the CNN just reported tornadoes are all over Arkansas and Little Rock is being pounded with them. I believe the alert extends to well after midnight. As most of you know, both Bindi and Cecile live in/near Little Rock. I'm very worried. It's doubtful either will be able to contact any of us, but I think just leaving our thoughts on their blogs, this blog, at the Wild Onion or on your own blogs will matter. The words will be carried by the wind and they'll know we're thinking of them.

I love you all and know you will be brilliant as always.

Suz XO

P.S. Even if you don't know Cecile or Bindi please leave a prayer or kind thought. I'm confident it will matter. Thank you. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Dessert...

For those of you looking for Cielo's House In The Roses Dessert Carnival recipies, you 've come to the right place.
This is my Strawberry Swirl New York Style Cheesecake.
It's delicious and oh so easy. Give it a try. Serve with a wonderful cup of hot tea or coffee. Yummy!

This recipe is for a Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, just substitute strawberries, or make the raspberry version because it's yummy too! (I use frozen strawberries or raspberries~thawed.) To simplify this recipe you can use raspberry or strawberry preserves. Just be sure it's seed free. I don't really measure, I just sort of wing it! I also warm it a bit so it's easier to work with. Don't add hot preserves to your cheese cake batter. I've never done it, so not really sure what would happen, but I can almost guarantee it wouldn't be good!!! Good luck. Enjoy. And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send a comment and I'll respond as quickly as possible.
One more thing ~ I think you can substitute any fruit you like for this cheesecake. Peaches, mixed berries, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries, fresh or frozen. Just blend your fruit until smooth in a blender and remove seeds by using a strainer if there are any and poof...perfection! I just thought about making one with canned peaches (remove liquid). Doesn't that sound insanely delicious. Oh my goodness. Okay, I'll tell you how it turns out!


1 cup finely ground graham crackers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 ounces raspberries (use your best judgement
here ~ I'd use 2-3 cups of frozen strawberries ~
if that's too much I eat the extra! And don't
disgard the juice with frozen fruit, blend it right in)
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
Boiling water, for roasting pan


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan (including base) in a double layer of foil; set aside.
Stir together cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Process raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds (I use a blender ~ it works better). Pass puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar, and set aside (I don't add additional sugar).
Put cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (if you don't have a paddle attachment, don't worry, the regular beaters work fine); mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow, steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing each until just combined (do not overmix). Pour cream cheese filling over crust.
Drop raspberry sauce by the teaspoon on top. With a wooden skewer or toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.
Set cake pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of cake pan. Bake until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes.
Transfer cake pan to rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around edge of cake.
View Step by Step Images for this recipe at
Good luck and enjoy!
XO Suzanne