Friday, December 31, 2010


Nope, not me!  

Dad is already in his recliner reading and watching tv and will be in bed by 10:30.  Me...I will be in my chair soon, jammies on, hooking and watching tv.  I will probably still be up at midnight since I am usually on the computer at that time, however, the stroke of midnight will come and go unnoticed by me.  With no one to celebrate the coming of the new year, this is just another day.   

I have to say, it seems an odd ending to a difficult year for me.  Besides the fact that back home in Indiana they had an earthquake yesterday, we actually saw snow here in the Valley of the Sun!!  We watched a snow flurry that lasted about five minutes....but I couldn't get to my camera before it stopped.  A woman at the restaurant that we ate at tonight said she'd lived here for twelve years and had never once seen a flake of snow. This morning, there was even ice in our water fountain! 

All over the neighborhood people have covered plants to save them from the frost.  When I was at Wal-Mart yesterday someone asked the clerk if they had frost sheets and he was upset that they didn't.  Like she said, "This is the desert, who knew we would have deep freezes and snow!" 

People's yards look like they have multi-colored alien blobs that have taken over their landscape!  The forecast for the week is a slooooow warming trend for which I will be eternally grateful when it gets here.  All this cold has made me remember another reason why I dislike the cold so much.  I have on so many clothes that I tend to look like a very large alien blob myself!!

Come on 2011, let's get a move on and warm things up!

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010


Another Christmas has come and gone.  I don't mean to be a 'bah humbug', but for me, I'm actually glad.  I spent the day sleeping, which is something I don't normally do.  I suppose the experts might say it was depression......probably some what.  

However, I have no reason to be depressed.  My family, though not with me, has their health.  I have my health.  I am not really alone, I still have my dad with me and he's not doing all that bad.  I got calls from home and talked to most of the family.  I read all of my favorite blogs regaling wonderful tales of Christmas.  Plus....I am sure I got some badly needed extra sleep.  So all in all, not a bad day. 

Yesterday, I got right back at it with a dog to board and groom.  Today, I have been busy cutting and sewing the "Adopt Me" bandanas I make to help rescued animals find a new 'furever' home.  If you haven't seen them before,  they are in my online Etsy store at:

Tomorrow, I have three dogs coming for boarding for about three days and one for grooming.  So it will be a busy week.  

Normally my niece fly's out the day after Christmas and spends a week with me and her grandpa, but not this year.  This year, she is eighteen, a senior, with LOTS of friends and more to do back home in Indiana than visit us.  She is a joy to have around and I am missing her company.  

Since she is not with me this time, I thought I would look back on the hiking excursion that Kaitlin and I took last year after Christmas '09.  It was fun looking at the pictures I took and remembering back to that day!

Our hike began on a cloudy, cool day.  We decided to hike Silly Mountain which is not far from the house.  

A partial shot of Silly Mountain where the climb begins

Beginning of the trail head with the famous 
Ship Rock Mountain in the background.  
The Ship Rock is at the Southern most 
boundary of the Superstition Mountain Range.
  The beginning of the trail is fairly flat.  

  Kaitlin and I both snapped shots of the  landscape which was 
beautiful even though it was a gloomy day. 

 At first, the hill in front of us didn't seem that high.

It wasn't long before we reached a fork in the road.
Guess which one Kaitlin wanted to take?
Yep you guessed it, the Huff & Puff trail!

And boy was it ever huff & puff!
The views were breathtaking and worth it!

It didn't take Kaitlin long to leave her Aunt in 'the dust' so to speak!

She, being young and fit, AND a rock climber, had no 
problem navigating the slippery shale rock paths.
Me, being old and unfit, was just a tad bit slower 
and more careful with my footing!

The higher we got, the colder and winder it became.
The distance one could see was incredible.  

There is actually a path that takes you around 
to the other side of this outcropping.  
You can see a portion of it about mid-way up the left-hand side of this picture.
At this point, I had to admit my limitations and my love for life 
and declined to follow Kaitlin around this next bend.
Irritated with myself for not being able to keep up with a seventeen year-old, 
I sat and caught my breath while she explored the highest peak.  

As we began our descent down Silly Mountain 
(I have yet to learn why it's named such, 
as I kind of wanted to rename it Stupid Mountain!) 
we could see a plume of smoke off in the distance. 
Although you can't see it in this photo, we could occasionally 
see bright orange flames licking up into the air.
Later that night on the news, 
we learned the fire was a warehouse 
burning nearly thirty or fourty miles away.   

Kaitlin and I had a fabulous time traipsing over this Mountain.  We both agreed that we wanted to make this climb again sometime, which I had kind of thought we would do this Christmas.  However, not to be. It is ironic that the weather today is exactly the same as our climb last winter.  And sharing our excursion has allowed me to relive the experience.  I think we hiked Silly Mountain again today in Spirit! 

I highly suggest this hike for anyone that might be visiting in the area.  It is well worth the time and truly not that difficult.   Well......maybe you don't want to take the Huff & Puff trail!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Twas the night before Christmas,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,

Well maybe!
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a Goodnight!
Happy Holidays to all my wonderful Blogger friends!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I was on cloud nine last Sunday.  

Those of you that have been reading my blog know that I've had some difficulty getting in the Christmas Spirit this year.  That changed abruptly when I received an invitation to a Christmas get-together at the Barking Dog Ranch in nearby Apache Junction, AZ.

This was not just any get-together mind you!  This was a Christmas luncheon for a group of Phoenix area friends, lovers and owners of English Cocker Spaniels AND their dogs!!

Why was attending the party such a big deal for me?  Well, twenty some years ago, give or take a few, I was deep in the middle of the AKC dog show conformation world and English Cocker Spaniels are my 'breed'.  I was not a big time breeder or competitor but I am proud to say that I produced a few Champion dogs.   As I no longer breed or compete in the show ring anymore, I have only one ECS left and Alfie is back home in Indiana.  Every winter I spend in Arizona I go through withdrawals for this special breed.  

I can't explain how devoted to English Cockers that one can become.  It just occurs.  There is something unique about them.  Their long silky ears, zany antics, merry attitudes.  And so much more!

So when Sunday came along, I could hardly wait to attend the Christmas gathering. was kinda like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come.  

I didn't count the total number of dogs at the party but this picture has seven and that's not all of them!

Isn't that the most beautiful mush face you've ever seen!!!

The black and white puppy with his back to us is about 3 months old.  

 And his better side!

Ok, I have to show some of the two-legged attendees too!

More humans!

The host of the event, Dave Kaubisch.

 THIS is what it's all about, right Marla?!

How many dogs can you count?

Dinner is served (with just a few ECs underfoot)! English Cockers are such chow hounds they are just waiting for someone to drop food on the floor!

The food was outstanding!  Turkey, ham and so much more.

Our wonderful Host and Hostess at Barking Dog Ranch, Terry and Dave Kaubisch.

It doesn't get much better than this.  Relaxing with your best pal on your lap after a wonderful meal and the Superstition Mountains behind you.
Gathering after desert and coffee.

And for the finale.......this was the best desert!

Such a great time was had by all.  Dave and Terry were awesome for opening their home and providing such a wonderful meal.  Humans went home full, dogs were exhausted.   And me.....I went home with.....visions of English Cocker Spaniels dancing in my head!


Monday, December 20, 2010


My computer bit the big one last week!  

It seems like I was without computer communication for weeks when in fact it has only been several days.  I was totally lost without it and must be kinda like going through withdrawals!! She's fixed and back in action now and I'm feeling much better too!

On the up side, dad got a huge package last week from home.  He was so excited, kind of like a kid in a candy store.

My brother Kevin and his family sent an adorable gingerbread box full of goodies.  Along with a picture of Kevin's family, dad got a new coffee mug with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sitting in it.  Inside, the gingerbread box is filled with cheeses, crackers, gingerbread cookies and homemade apple butter.

The box is way to cute to get rid of and since dad and I don't have a tree, I figured out a way to put a touch of Christmas in the house.

One of my dog grooming customer's brought us the buttermilk and cinnamon cake on the left side of the picture, and a friend brought the glass vase filled with twinkle lights.  

So although it's not a real Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments, my display is still Christmasy looking and seems to be helping me get in the spirit of things a bit!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I came across this old photo that my cousin sent me.

Seems rather appropriate since I'm having trouble getting into Christmas Present because I'm missing Christmas past.

(from L to R - Keven, Karen & Kurt Kirby, cousins Kim & Teri Ballard)

I don't like to post pictures of me but there I am, the tall one with the horrible posture.  My mom always fussed at me to stand up straight.  I hated it then....but would love to be able to hear her say it again.  

Dad and I were watching tv last night and a commercial came on for the book, Twas The Night Before Christmas.  It has the ability to record one's voice and in the ad, two young grandchildren are listening to their grandmother's recorded voice reading it to them.  Wow, new technology!!  

Mom ALWAYS read Twas The Night Before Christmas  to us right before we went to bed on Christmas Eve.  I carried that tradition on to my children well past the age when they wanted to be read to, until they were no longer home on Christmas Eve's. 

Even though I have no grandchildren, I think I am going to go out and buy two of those books, record myself reading and give one to my son and daughter.  I don't think they will appreciate the sentiment yet, but someday they will........ I know.  

I would give just about anything to hear my mom read that story to me again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


See.....I not only can't find my Christmas Spirit, I'm in the wrong season!!!

This is what I am working on now!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Ok, so I know that it's the Christmas Season and everyone is baking, buying presents, putting up decorations and blogging about it too.  Everyone but me that is!

This is my fifth Christmas away from home since my mom passed and Christmas has never been the same since.   It used to be such a big deal going to mom and dad's on Christmas morning for presents and breakfast.  My brother's and I and all our children would hurry 'home' not wanting to be the last to arrive or that family would have to do clean up detail.  Their tree was always piled high with wrapped and glittering treasures waiting to be torn open.  Even though we didn't know it would be our last, my siblings and I were all in our 40's and 50's when we celebrated the last Christmas there. Those days, I honestly don't know who was more excited, us the adults, or our children living what we experienced as kids. 

At my own house, I couldn't wait to pick our tree, then get it home and decorate.  Years ago, I used to be a florist and my tree was always, 'decorated'!  I loved having a different themed Christmas tree each year.  Picking out just the right tree was as much fun as decorating.  We would go to a nearby tree farm that had animals, a log cabin full of primitive goodies to buy and a huge fireplace to warm oneself by. Snow and cold and hot chocolate made it perfect.   

But, on to present day and Arizona is NOT Indiana and sometimes it's hard to get excited about the season when a Santa hat decorates a cactus.  

I mean......I know the Christmas spirit is here, you can see decorated houses everywhere.  People seem to be rushing to and fro just like they do back home.  My neighbor will soon be baking goodies that make her house smell like some place I never want to leave!

The problem is, dad and I are out here by ourselves.  I've suggested to him that we fly home for the Holidays but he has no interest in doing so.  In fact, I know he would suffer in the cold and each time we fly it gets harder and harder on him.   My brothers and their families stay at home in Indiana, the airfare and fighting travel is just too much and I understand.  But.....boy it sure gets lonely and it really doesn't seem like Christmas to me in the least.  In trying not to say this too loudly.....I am glad when it's over!

Gosh.....I really sound like Scrooge or the Grinch.  I really don't want to be a bah humbug!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Last Saturday I did really well selling my homemade dog cookies and dog collar bling at our annual Art's & Craft Show.  Of course, I had some items left over and have now put them on sale in my Etsy store. 

The 'bling' in the above photo can be fastened on to the collar or leash of your pet.

But here is the neat thing!  THEY ARE NOT JUST FOR PETS!  They can be worn for your own use.  Simply attach them to zippers, purses, bags or anything you have with a loop. I made zipper pulls a couple of years ago and gave them as Christmas gifts.  This year, when the craft fair came up and I knew I was making dog biscuits, I thought I'd market the pulls for pets.  Some people bought them for their dogs and some people bought them for themselves, clasping them right on to the zipper on their vests or jackets.

At the show, each one sold for $3.00.  The few that I have left are marked down in my Etsy store to sell at my break even price of two 'blings' for $3.00.  You will also find some that are not Christmas theme and sell for the regular price.  

These will make great stocking stuffers for friends or grandkids.  

Hurry and get them quick before they are all gone!  

See them all at:

Happy Holidays!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The craft fair went well and I sold enough to cover my expenses and have mad money left over.  My goal was to just break even.

I was amazed at how well my homemade dog treats went.  (they are on the left side of the picture, dog bling/zipper pulls in the middle and rug hookings on the right)  I took thirty some bags of peanut butter oatmeal biscuits and came home with only eight!   
The dog bling/collar tags went over well, selling at least half of what I made.  In truth, I have made the collar bling before as zipper pulls for two-footed humans and although my signage marketed them as Pet Bling, quite a few people  bought them for themselves instead of their pets.  
My rug hooked pillows and the rooster mat drew many favorable comments and I really think I came close to selling the rooster mat, but no.  The pricing seems to turn some people off but I think they don't understand the 'art' of hooking.  

I hadn't really thought I would sell any of the hookings, just wanted to get them out there to be seen.  Goal accomplished! final goal, one that I didn't even plan to happen today anyway........ I rode my bike.  

Friday, December 3, 2010


Spent the day baking homemade Peanut butter and Oatmeal cookies to sell at the Craft fair tomorrow.

Who knows if any will sell the fair, but tonight while setting up my table, the lady at the site next to me told me to hold two bags for her.  

I probably have the oddest looking display with my treats, dog bling and a few of my rug hooking pieces.  

It should be a fun experience regardless!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Saturday is the annual Montesa Arts and Craft Fair and I have spent the day finishing up some things I will be selling.  I have had so much fun I thought you might like to see what I've making.


I mean, why shouldn't the well dressed dog or cat be decked out for Christmas?!

The charm hooks right onto the collar or leash.
And even though it's soon to be Christmas, I wanted to do a couple of charm tags that weren't seasonal sooooo.........

 I just couldn't resist!!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I'm a bit 'off' today.  The dictionary describes the word, 'off' as: down, away or out.  The Thesaurus describes it as:  absent, finished, inoperative.   I would say all of those descriptions pretty much describe the way I feel today.  

It really kind of all started when dad got sick.  Then, on Sunday afternoon we took my youngest brother to the airport.  I hated to see him go and so did dad, it makes me sad and, dare I say it, lonely too.  It's not that Dad and I don't get along, we do, but I know he misses the company of males.  

My brother Kurt arrived home in Indianapolis around 11:30pm which is 9:30pm Arizona time.  He'd had a bit of turbulence getting into Indy and it made him a bit queasy which is unusual for him but he didn't think much about it.  Funny thing was, I was starting to feel 'queasy' about the same time!

By the time I got in bed, I was full bore sick.  I don't ever remember being so sick and feeling so cold and hurting all over so fast.  At one point I thought I was going to pass out in the bathroom and all I could think about was, I can't be sick I have to take care of dad.  That and he can't help me if I pass out nor would he even know!.  It was a bit frightening actually.  Since I had a flu shot, I assumed that maybe I had food poisoning especially when I didn't remember dad saying he was cold or hurting when he was sick.  

Some how I made it through the night and felt a little better the next morning.  I was able to get dad's breakfast and meds and deal with the three, yes three, dogs that I also happen to be boarding at the same time!  I sent my brother a text saying I hope he didn't get sick but didn't think he would as I 'thought' I had food poisoning from something that I knew he hadn't eaten.  Oddly I never heard back from Kurt until late last night when he called.

He hadn't gotten the text I sent because he'd been home in bed sick all day with the same thing I had.  Said he'd never hurt so bad and been so cold either!  Kurt had gotten a flu shot several months ago as well.   So much for flu shots I guess!  

Thank goodness the worst part passed fairly quickly for all but I just can't seem to get fully back into the swing of things.  I have so much to do.  I am supposed to be making homemade dog biscuits as well as some Christmas dog bling for collars and leashes to sell at our community craft fair on Saturday.  

I am going to try and pull myself together and get something done, but I feel like I'd rather do what two of my boarders are doing in the picture below!!! I or don't I......that is the question!

Monday, November 29, 2010


The day dawned bright and clear and dad is feeling better and I am so relieved. 

Today you can see the top of the Superstition Mountains unlike the photos from yesterday.

Unfortunately, my little brother leaves today.  

He'll be back though when he can, he loves it here!

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