Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas without Mom and Dad

Mom died Sunday, September 8, 2013, mid-afternoon after a visit from grandkids.  She died with family by her side.

Dad died Sunday, December 8, 2013, early evening, after a visit from family.  The Patriots had just snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.  He was discussing it with his nurses when he happily, and unexpectedly, died suddenly and peacefully.

Coincidence?  Probably not.  None of it.

Little Pond

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sleep peacefully, Mum

Relaxed, happy pose during a rare vacation trip.

At about 4:00 pm, today,--less than one hour ago!--our mother, Cecilia Rita Paquette Baker, passed on.  She was aware to the end, and died in the arms of my eldest brother, right after saying goodbye to my Sister, Dad, and my other brothers.

Cecilia was the daughter of an immigrant cobbler.  She got her GED and went to college in her 50's, after bearing and raising seven children.  She and Dad were married over 60 years.

Sleep well, Mum.  You earned it.

Little Pond

Thursday, August 01, 2013

No RiverDogging

My little Sarah will never be a River Dog or a River Hound.  Sarah gets very carsick, even on short trips.  I cannot watch her be so miserable, just so I can go to the Chemung.
Sarah is also arthritic.
Only three years old, but she gave her puppyhood and some breeding years in the service of veterinary medicine.  Canine fetal research to be exact.  Poor Sarah has arthritis in both hips and limps at least as noticeably as I do.  No LOL.

We are now treating her.  I recognized the sound of toenails scraping on the sidewalk.  Sound eerily similar to the sound I make when my left foot drags, ever so slightly.

The last straw was her losing sleep this week.  Again I recognized the constant repositioning of her little body, trying to get comfortable.  To no avail.

Well, last night she slept soundly, all the way through.  She is eating with good appetite, and we have been advised to keep her weight around 22 pounds (10 kilos).  We have treat-meister Husband RJ on board this time; he is appalled by her limping.

Sarah is my companion, my little love bug.  I can promise you she will enjoy herself for the rest of her life with us.  She will visit dogs on our walk, and very occasionally, at my daughters' homes.  She gets along well with two of our cats, and gives as good as she gets from the third.

God bless my little companion.  I love her all the more.

Little Pond

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sarah is settled in

Bubba and Sarah explore the run together.  These days they both enjoy the back yard, although Sarah is much more vocal about passersby.
After five months, we are happy to report that Sarah is fully house-trained.  I thought it would take longer, but she already knows that she can come to me after an accident.  In fact, she has a little dance she does to let me know that we didn't get her out soon enough.
When I see her dance, I grab the paper towels and sani-wipes.  This reminds me of when Ellie would get me to search for her treats after they rolled under the couch.  Only the outcome is not so pleasant.  We are great recyclers of plastic grocery bags!
Sarah has already trained Husband RJ to overfeed her, and as a result, she is limping a bit.  Rear passenger-side paw.  This is because we walk city sidewalks.  Unfortunately, it is going to be a long road teaching her to go to the Chemung River.
Sarah gets very car-sick, even on short trips.  I plan to wait for the next unbearable hot day.  I will give her dramamine and transport her to where Ellie loved to wade.  Once she sees that it is worth the trouble, she will give in.

Bonus:  after our visit/swim, she gets a bath, a massage (her favorite!) and a nap.  The nap is courtesy of the dramamine.

In the meantime, we have drastically cut back on her food and treats.  Even Husband RJ can see she is too young to be limping.

Little Pond

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Hot weather hot dogs!

Ok.  It's only 88 degrees (30C) here, so we don't have a heat wave.  And Husband RJ is still cooking hot dogs for supper.  But I wanted something a little cooler:
Baby Spinach Leaves
Romaine Lettuce
Green Onions
Italian Dressing
Honey Mustad
Cheese (your choice)
One Hot Dog
Mix a quick salad with the greens and onions.
Cut hot dog lengthwise, then chop into one inch pieces.

Mix Honey Mustard and Italian Dressing to make 2 tablespoons or a tad more.  Place hot dog pieces into a small dish and douse with the dressing mix.  Microwave for no more than 45 seconds.

Pour over salad and toss again.

Enjoy.  Both hot and cool, tangy and smooth.  With your favorite cheese, this can't go wrong!

Little Pond

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friendly spat

You could lose an eye like that, Little Girl!  Oh, I know that it's possible, but Sarah plays very rough.  And poor Bubba is overweight, underexercised and only too willing to mix it up with her. 
Actually, the two are buddies.  Sarah always wants to play, and Bubba tolerates her until he has had enough.  This is the last shot.  Before that they were fine together.
By the way, Bubba has at least five pounds on Sarah and can handle himself quite nicely, thank you.
For more adventures with Sarah, visit
and see her other sparring partner, Frankie.  He taught her how to wade and swim last week.
Little Pond

Monday, May 13, 2013

Before the Frost

 Just to hedge (and rage)  against Mother Nature, we are posting these shots of Husband RJ's back yard blossoms.

Once again we are expecting a visit from Jack (A$$) Frost tonight.

With any luck the ornamental trees will survive intact, but it has been our sad experience over three decades that the wisteria is not so hardy.

When the frost nips them, we cannot expect any more blooms for a while, maybe even years.  The cascades are lovely, and we are going crazy shooting picture after picture to remind ourselves that they are  more than just a weed overtaking our property.
To be perfectly fair, we have to admit that the greenery beats the bombed out backyard we inherited from our predecessors.  Say a prayer for our blossoms!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Not crocuses nor snowdrops

At first look these would seem to be some sort of miniature crocus.
 Husband RJ tells me they are species tulips.

Apparently, tulips had their start in just such a humble beginning.


You may have seen the species roses that line the streets of the waterfront in Maine.  It seems everyone has those exquisite five-petaled roses tumbling from their fences. 


They certainly look like crocus, but they are quite tiny.
All the better to hide in private spaces tucked into corner rock gardens.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Every now and then I can't help tweaking those who text without identifying themselves.  This weekend, I got one:

txtr:  Yahmeia?

pb:  Who is this?

txtr:  Booja!

pb:  Booya your self.  Who beedzis?

txtr:  Is tht yameia?

pb:  No. Rmeia iz heronner skidmore.

(Actually, Elmira's mayor is indeed a Ms. Skidmore.)

txtr:  No response:

After a pause, I couldn't resist:

pb:  Seriously, dude.  Wrong number.

It's mean, I know, and someday it will come back to bite me in the butt.  Right now, however, I get my jollies wherever I can.

Little Pond

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

ALL GONE: Afterword to Easter Brunch

Gluten-free, lactose-free, no sugar, no chocolate Easter baskets.


What happened to Easter?  We used to start the day with opening the Easter Baskets, and diving into mountains of chocolate and jelly eggs.

Gone.  All gone.

Of course, the kids are grown and begin Easter morning in their own way.  At present, this precludes the usual chocolate and jelly eggs.  Oh, never fear:  the kids still get their candy, but now Celiac Disease and Lactose Intolerance has changed the face of the Easter Basket.

Husband RJ bought jelly beans from Wegmans, but they had to be kept from the kids.  Nowhere did they attest to being Gluten Free.

Instead, at Grammy Pat's and Grampa's house, there are candy-free baskets full of toys, all carefully selected and sorted by age and appropriateness for each child.

What happened to Easter Brunch?  You know:   eggs, pancakes, bacon, ham, home fries.

Gone.  All gone.

Okay, that's stretching the truth.  We did have eggs and pan fries, all made up to be low-fat and low-salt and vegetarian.  Ham and Bacon have been replaced by turkey ham, carefully disguised with pineapple, honey and cloves.

Ketchup and sea salt on request only.

Any dish that was not specifically meat had to be gluten-free and vegetarian, prepared the day before and separated from the rest to prevent cross-contamination.  And while not strictly vegan, our vegetable dishes cannot have eggs--and watch out for that cross-contamination.

Finally the drinks.  Coffee, cocoa.  Juices?

Gone.  Except for the juices.  We did have orange-pineapple mimosas with a very nice Great Western Extra Dry champagne.  We also offered Bloody Mary's, Veggie Maries, and various vodka drinks mixed with V8 Fusion.  Cranberry-blackberry and Blueberry-Pomegranate.  No one drank coffee except Husband RJ, and a few guests carried their own bottles of Gatorade, of all things.

Nevertheless, I have to admit we had a lovely Brunch.  In fact, it was awesome.  At least that is what I kept saying after a couple of mimosas.

A few days later, though, I can't help but wonder where our wonderful, carefree, throw-it-together, bring-your-own-dish, Easter Brunch went.

Gone.  All gone.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

Little Pond

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kiss of the Chemung

So that's it!
One Sip...
Soon the infection will spread, and Sarah will become RiverDog2.   Or maybe there should be some other moniker?
Suggestions, anyone?
Little Pond

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Birding with Sarah our own backyard.  Pileated Woodpeck just a tad smaller than Herself.

BTW, she has absolutely no clue as to walking on a leash.  Her training has been delayed by a wicked head cold.  Fortunately, I have been treating it with a 3/4 liter bottle of Baileys, now finished.  I expect to be able to walk Sarah down by the river in a day or two.

Little Pond

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sarah Francine

She is my new companion.  I will never forget my River Dog Ellie.  When I entered the facility at Cornell, the sight and sounds made me cry for her again.
While treated humanely, she had spent her first 2+ years as a laboratory trials subject, living with other mini-beagles in a kennel.
You can bet she was incredibly surprised by snow this morning.
Little Sarah had never been walked or even outside, never house broken, never called by name. She is about the size of Ellie, and completely silent.
Fortunately, the RiverHound Frankie will have her howling in no time.
Little Pond

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Is is about shoes???

I dreamed I was helping a friend move furniture from some rooms to others.

After a while the friend turned into a former boss, who somehow had accrued enough furniture to fill a warehouse.  He owned the warehouse, too.  The work was way too much for me, for my back, and for the whole MS thing.

Then, when I was just about done, the whole scene turned into a furniture store.  I began to assist customers, when I noticed that I had removed my shoes while moving the furniture.

When I searched for the shoes, I found many, many shoes, all lined up on a wall.

Mine weren't there.  I checked around and found out that the area that held my shoes had become a shoe store.

They had sold my shoes.  The clerk showed me the copy of the bill of sale.  They had gotten $17.99 for them, worn and all.  I had paid $32.00, originally.

The shoes were spike heels, so I figured I wouldn't miss them.  On the other hand, I still needed the money back to buy a new pair of shoes.


Little Pond