An Awakening

The other day, I was looking through old photos taken over the last several years.  Wow, the kids have changed so much.  Many things have changed.  Then, suddenly it hit me.  I had been thinking about why I have not blogged much recently.  I think I know.  I think when Angus left us, he took a bit of my heart….

In thinking about Wee Angus, I think if he would have been able to speak, he would have told us to just “get on with it”!   Now that I have gained that insight, I guess I had better.  Get on with it, that is!

Things are busy here….not doing anything really outstanding, but keeping us doing “something” all the time!

As I am writing this, the chatter outside my window is insane!  I have a Thistle “sock” hanging outside the bedroom window.  This is such a cool feeder for the birds.  It has two exceedingly powerful suction cups that keep it attached to the window.  The Goldfinches were the first to find this sock and appreciate it,  but now a flock of House Finches comes by as well.  When those little buggers are feeding, it gets so noisy!

These are the Goldfinches who seem to eat much more peaceably than the House Finches!

And these are the House Finches!  I took this photo and was amazed at how *dirty* the window was!!! Yes, one cannot hide anything from the camera lens!  I did clean the window off really well after this particular shoot and was a bit more prepared the next time I took photos!

I love these birds….they have the cute little Raspberry Red “cap” as well as breasts.

And this is when it gets really noisy!   I have tried to count just how many birds can fit on that “sock”, but it was impossible!

I have taken so many photos and they are all just waiting to share, so I will try to be more diligent and post!  Oh, and one last photo!

Yup, Ben’s finished project, complete with the sun!  Now, the sides on this are only temporary.  When we purchased the building, we drove to Pennsylvania to pick it up to save some money.  When the crew loaded the package onto our trailer, they used two pieces of scrap to wrap the package in so the metal wouldn’t get scratched.  Ben was not happy to put those pieces on the sides, but it was easier than storing them for now.  We do plan to add wooden sides on the building, then a garage door on the front.  It will certainly look better!

Another Autumnal Delight

How is this trio of trees for color?  On a little walk in the front “yard” (woods) I  kept looking upwards and found these trees all in the same vicinity.  I think they posed quite nicely.  On the left is a Maple,  the center is a White Oak, and the tree on the right is what my brother, Bob, calls a Pignut Hickory.  I took these photos on Monday.  Yesterday it rained nearly nonstop the entire day and today was just downright dismal!

We worked on the camper today and finally completed our makeover.  The work was long and tedious, but the camper looks fantastic and there is no telltale odor from the water damage.  I was impressed.  I thought Mark was taking on a far too complicated job when he decided to try to repair one of the wall panels that had become delaminated.  When our friend Ben and our Ben removed the panel from the wall, it was like removing strands of toothpicks.  With Mark’s tenacity, he meticulously glued the strands back in place.  Where there was a void with no material to work with, he built the panel up.  After each session (and there were many!) he would add a layer of plastic wrap over the panel so any oozey glue would not stick to anything, then he placed buckets filled with gravel to weight all the work down and compress the panel.

The carpet had to be torn out and replaced, along with a section of floor that got wet and disintegrated.  The plywood was replaced and Mark labored over trying to find a good piece of carpeting.  It is incredible just how hard it was to find a match.  I wanted a carpet that was more “dirt friendly”, that is, less likely to show every little bit of dirt that came in like the previous carpet.  Mark was concerned about finding a good quality rug that was similar in height to the previous one.  One day, he and Ben went to Home Depot and found the perfect carpet.  I was a bound rug but was the right size.  We had to purchase a few carpet installing tools and the guys also found a great padding for under the carpet.

The carpet had a curve when it was installed originally and I told Mark it really didn’t matter to me how they installed it.  Well, not wanting to mess up the original design, Ben did a fantastic job of  replicating the original installation.  I was in awe!  The carpet could not look any more professional than it does.  Kudos to Ben for his great work!  I must add than in the process of all this, the sofa had to be removed as well.  The original installation of the sofa left some to be desired, so Ben built a ledger strip on one wall to give the sofa a bit more strength and durability.

There were many, many more little steps along the way….and things that needed to be replaced or repaired.  The front of the oven had some rust on it, so Mark removed the panel and repaired and painted it.  We put up a new miniblind near the door, as Angus used to go ballistic when he watched out the window and saw other people or dogs nearby.  There were other picky little jobs, like replacing wooden plugs on a handle inside the door.  All the little jobs added up to many hours spent!  But the camper actually looks as good as it did when we bought it some nine years ago!

We bought that camper so we could travel with our little Angus and not have to leave him behind at a kennel. We called it our little travelling doghouse on wheels.  We went all the way to near Philadelphia to purchase the camper.  On our way home, we decided to stop at Corning Glass for a tour.  I placed Angus who was all of five or six months old, into a little plastic kennel.  The wee puppy would be safe in his kennel in the bedroom.  The air was cool and we had a fantastic fan installed just for our Angus.

When we returned from our tour, boy, were we surprised!  Our little Angus proved to be quite the Houdini!   I had failed to secure the top tightly in place and the rambuntious little pup managed to “pop the top”!  I opened the door and was greeted by a wild little pup who raced from one end of the little camper to the next,  joyously greeting me!  Angus loved that camper.  If the table was up, he would hop up on it so he could survey his kingdom from the highest point.  And yes, he also sat in the chair and lunged at the window, making a mess of the (cheap) minblinds.

Murphy now rules over the kingdom, but he is happy to just ignore what is happening outside.  He merely awaits the next morsel to fall inside the camper….

We winterized the camper and it will be placed on its little plateau for the winter. Oh, it feels so good to have completed this project!  Phew!

Memories can be such funny things….

but in a serious sort of way.

Late this afternoon, I was thinking about taking a photo for my daily photo journal. I was considering posting a photo of the trees behind our house casting shadows in the waning sun. (and gorgeous! blue skies!)  I thought of taking a photo of one of the kids, but they hate being featured.  What to do…what to do….

Earlier in the afternoon, I had been going through countless photos I still have not classifed.  I was specifically looking for pictures of our Wee Angus.  I had tried to do this just before Christmas, but the tears wouldn’t stop and my heart just wrenched inside.  Perhaps because all the pressure of Christmas and New Year’s is off,  I can now look at the photos and not fall completely apart.  There are still some that cause tears to sting my eyes, but I am doing better.


As I was walking to the front door,  I spotted Angus’ little red parka.  Yes, I had always thought I would never, ever, dress a dog!  I had joined a Scottie Dog forum and some of the photos people had taken of their Scotties dressed in various attire were hysterical!  And so, one day as I was looking around Wal Mart,  I happened to walk down an aisle of clearance items. 

There, in the midst of a conglomeration of all types of odds and ends was a too cute to pass up red parka.  And, it just happened to be the size my Angus would need.  Totally losing all sense of propriety, I picked up the little red parka, took it to the cashier, and paid my five dollars!

Angus was a ham. That pup would gladly wear or do just about anything for a treat!  Thus, when I set my little boy down on my ancient wooden with metal runners sled, a floral arrangement next to him, (to snap a photo to share with my Scottie Dog friends for a Christmas card), he was so happy to conform!  The following is *not* the photo chosen for said card, rather a reminder from the wee one of the promise of a cookie for work performed by him!

So, my photo for my “Blip” today is of that little red parka hanging on a wooden peg.  I know that eventually I will take it down, but for now, there is something reassuring about seeing that little red parka….

Oh my, my, my….

Today was a day of mixed emotions for me.  This would have been the ninth birthday of our little Angus and let me tell you, he is so missed.  It seems the sting of losing Angus almost two months ago has been so hard. Today, little Murphy sat quietly in the truck while we left him for awhile….I often wonder if he also is missing Angus.

Here is a photo of a professional photo of Angus, taken when he was just ten months old.  We had attended a Scottie Dog Picnic in September and the photographer had been hired to photograph the Scotties!

November? Really?

I simply am having a hard time believing that November is already here!  Where has the time gone?

We spent the day today running around..a lot!  We had to drop Michelle off at school.  Oh, but *before* dropping her off,  we had to rush to WalMart so the kids could buy a bunch of the special Halloween candy on sale for half price.  This was important. To them, anyway!

After Michelle was off to school, it was time to rush over to Mark’s mom’s house.  She had a doctor’s appointment.  After getting her squared away at the doctor’s,  we went on over to Home Depot.  We were checking out some pricing on lumber and when I saw all the pretty Christmas baubles,  I was like a piece of metal to magnet.  I will never understand the draw for me,  but I just love all the colors of Christmas.  Oh, not *just* the reds and greens, but all the others as well.  And speaking of red and green,  I cannot even begin to believe all the variations of these two colors.  Just awesome!

After picking my mother-in-law up when she was done, we took a leisurely drive on over to Sam’s Club.  We were there for quite awhile.  I really like their big packages of chicken and roasts.  The prices are so great and with all the Crockpot meals I have been making, it is so nice to be able to pull out pre-packaged chicken breasts and thighs.  (I place one breast or thigh into a small baggie, then place the small baggies into a large marked bag…so simple!)  Mark’s mom even bought a large package of meat to make up several meals.

When we got done shopping, we were off to Mark’s mom’s house.  She is such a stitch!  She bought a wireless doorbell at WalMart she wanted to show me.  It was pretty cool. The button goes outside, as is typical, and there is a wireless receiver you plug into an electrical outlet.  It makes a very nice “ding-dong”. 

After seeing the cool wireless setup, she went and got out another box.  This was way way cool!  She loves watching QVC and sometimes buys things from them.  Well, she bought an awesome wireless doorbell that plays different songs.  It has Christmas selections as well as titles for other holidays.  The most impressive had to have been the Hallelujah Chorus.

Although today was fairly warm compared to the past several days,  I got chilled.  We were working outside at Mark’s mom’s and it was shady and cool.  I went and sat down in the car with Murphy.  Mark opened the tailgate and Ben put one of the seats down so Murphy could see what was happening.  The little bugger sat in the back of the car and watched every little thing!  He was so cute sitting there, tilting his head back and forth! 

One notable difference with Murphy being the single pup is he is no longer such a wild man when it comes to food.  When Angus was around,  if you offered Murphy a treat, you would have to place it in your palm and hold it up to him.  If you tried to have him take it from your fingers….OUCH….Murphy would clamp down on your fingers like a ravenous wild animal! Today, my mother-in-law (bravely) placed a treat in her lips and told Murphy to take it.  We used to do this with Angus and he would ever-so-gently remove it.  Not Murphy….he was out to do some lip-piercing!  Today, however, Murphy gently eased the treat from her lips!

As we were getting ready to leave today, my mother-in-law confided that Murphy reminds her a lot of Angus. That was awesome, as this woman absolutely adored little Angus!  When we used to go to her house, Angus would see her and his ears would lie flat on his head….his lips would curl back, exposing his teeth and his rearend seemed to come undone, as though totally disengaged from his body!  He would hop up and down until she came over to him and talked to him.  Oh, how we missed that today…..but Murphy was different….totally warming up to her.  It was so cute as he followed her into the garage to get a “cookie”.

We were a few minutes late picking Michelle up from school.  She and Ben were so excited, as a nationally known band was going to be doing an accoustic set at a local business in Rochester this evening.  It started at six, and the best part was, it was free!  Tomorrow, they are doing another venue, and it is expensive to get in. 

Michelle got into the car and asked us to crank the heat up.  She asked Mark to go to McDonald’s to get her a sandwich as she felt like she was starving.  After she ate, we went over to WalMart.  She stayed in the car with Murphy and when we came back out, she said she wanted to go home.  She then told us her throat was so sore, she just wanted to go home and go to bed.  Poor Michelle.  I feel so bad for her….

As soon as we got home, everyone acted pretty tired;  even Murphy flopped down and fell asleep!

Only one photo.  I took this one yesterday.  You see, we moved into this house just a little more than nineteen years ago. In all those years,  we have never, ever, had one child come trick or treating!!  The first few years we were here,  I always bought big bags of candy, expecting someone to stop by.   But, it never happened.

Sooo……there is always a first, right? 

There were four “kids” that came by just before dusk last night.  Aren’t they just dear?

The fourth little one was photo shy!

And so, this November first,  I am so thankful for all my friends and family! Where would be be without all the loved ones in our lives?


Some have asked about how Murphy is doing now that Angus is no longer around. Well, if the truth be told, Murphy seems to be doing just fine.

Angus always wanted to be the “top dog” and he ruled with an iron paw. If Angus was sitting on a chair or the couch, you had better believe Murphy would be on the floor.  Even in the truck,  Angus would suspend himself on the back of the front seats….his left front and rear paws hanging on the back side, right paws over the front side!  Murphy was either on the seat or the floor!  When I used to say that Angus was the King, I meant it!

So, back to Murphy.  On the day that Angus passed away,  we had gone to Country Max in Henrietta.  As we walked around the store,  we spotted a “gutted toy” (one that had no stuffing) that had a velcro tab in which a plastic water bottle could be inserted.  Murphy loves the crunching sound these bottles make when he chews on them, so this was the toy for him!

A few days ago, I was washing dishes in the kitchen early in the morning. (about 6 am)  I was working away when I nearly jumped out of my skin!  WHAT was that noise?  I hurried to the living room to see little Murphy scooting about, dropping the fox on the ground, then nearly throwing the toy into the air as he picked it back up!  Crunch!  Hearing a plastic water bottle make that sound when the house is entirely quiet is somewhat alarming!

Yesterday morning,  I watched as Murphy hopped onto the recliner in the living room and “buried” his fox under a blanket that was sitting on the chair.  I love watching him do this as every time he pushes his nose across the blanket, he makes a squeaky noise!

This evening, Murphy went a bit crackers,  racing all over the living room, fox dangling from his mouth.  The little fellow played and played,  then sprung (much like Tigger with springs!) up onto the couch where he placed Mr. Fox on top of my coat.  After Mr. Fox was placed “just so”,  Murphy rested his head on his little treasure!

Murphy will never replace Angus….each pup comes with an individual and distinct personality….but having him sure takes some of the bite away from losing Angus!

Posting a very quick entry…

Yesterday, we went to visit my parents and brother, Randy.  We had planned to go for this visit on Friday, never anticipating that our little Angus was going to leave us on Thursday night!

We had such a great visit.  Mom, Dad, and Randy all shared little things they remembered about Angus and were encouraging and upbeat.  It really was good to get away from home, too.  We got to drive our new Subaru Outback for its maiden voyage, other than the trip home from the Subaru dealer a week ago last Wednesday.  Yes, we waited to drive it for a long time!

When we got to the home of my parents, Randy was anxious to show me a most amazing gift my Aunt Barbara had left for me!

This is one of two Scotties.  They are made of a heavy glass and although it looks yellow/green, they are actually clear glass. They are so pretty in their detail and I cannot think of a more awesome gift!  I’m not sure if Aunt Barbara is reading, but if you are, a million thank-you’s!!!!  A more wonderful gift could not be given, especially since losing Angus.

Ben and Mark and I worked on splitting and stacking firewood into the woodshed today.  We figure there must be close to eight cords of wood loaded in there already.  Ben has been working so hard on the firewood supply and I appreciate that!  I was having problems cutting with the chainsaw…I kept getting back pain.  The stacking  doesn’t seem to bother me at all.

Here is one more photo taken from the front porch late this afternoon…

Many of our leaves have fallen, but there is still a vibrant yellow/gold in our front yard!

Lessons from a wee Scot

It is just a little more than 24 hours since our little Angus passed away.  Today was a sullen and somber day at our house.  Each of us teared up at some point, remembering our sweet little boy.

One of the first orders if the day was digging a grave for our little lad.  The kids were out by about 9:30, digging in the nearly impossible to dig soil on the back hill behind the house.  Michelle had said she wanted to bury Angus in a place near where he used to keep watch over the squirrels.  When I told Mark, he said he had the same thought, verbatim.  So, a resting spot was chosen and the enormous final act of love for Angus was begun.

Ben worked through huge tree roots that looked more like firewood than roots.  Then came a layer of wet, heavy topsoil.  Finally, the clay layer, then loose, dry soil that was filled with tons of small rocks.  It took both kids working together about two and a half hours to finally get down below three feet.  The kids measured and remeasured.  Finally, Angus was placed in the grave and it was covered.  Closure.  Now, if only the piercing pain of memories would stop.

As soon as Angus was buried,  I wanted to just leave the house for a bit.  Ben, Mark, Murphy, and I went out in the truck for a ride to Canandaigua.  Michelle wanted to stay home so we thought she might as well.  We went to the bank,  I looked a little in Big Lots, then we picked up some hamburgers at Tom Wahl’s.

We came back home and the kids and Mark watched a couple of movies.  Shortly after we had left home, the rain began to fall and we were thankful that it held off until the awful task of burying our Angus was complete. 

Michelle and I have been looking through the many, many photos of Angus.  There are so very many memories of the sweet little lad and although I know they will later make us smile, for now, our hearts are breaking.

We talked about the wonderful attributes Angus possessed and the lessons we learned from our boy.  The greatest of these was his unwavering love.  Even when we scolded Angus (although there weren’t too many times this was necessary) he always forgave us immediately and wagged his tail as though telling us everything was okay. We agreed this kind of unconditional love is amazing and something the world needs more of. 

Angus was such an intelligent little fellow and we always laughed at how understanding he was.  Even when he didn’t understand, he responded in great love. 

I thank God for giving us this little Scottie for a season.  Why he had to leave so soon and so abruptly is beyond comprehension.  I thank God we loved our little Angus as best we could and that he knew he was loved.  Mark commented that although the pain was great, he would have endured it a million times just to have had such a great little companion.

We will surely miss Angus….

WEE ANGUS OF BRISTOLWOOD   12/11/02 – 10/20/11

Good bye, Dear Wee Angus of Bristolwood

Tonight was dreadful.  Our little Angus began showing signs of declining health very suddenly this evening.  We rushed him to an emergency veterinary hospital up in Henrietta and by the time we arrived there, he was already gone. 

The vet who consulted with us said they did a sonogram on him and discovered he had an undetected tumor on his spleen.  It apparently began bleeding and unfortunately, this is when these tumors are normally detected and it is too late.

We feel as though we have Scottie-shaped holes in our hearts and the sadness is so deep.  But even in the midst of this, I am so grateful our boy didn’t have to suffer.  He and Murphy were even playing together this morning.  It is so hard to believe he is gone.  I will try to put together some photos of our boy sometime this week as a tribute.

Good bye our Wee Angus of Bristolwood.  We have loved you so…..