Stanley, Stanley, Stanley

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When Stanley was a tiny puppy, it was relatively easy to walk him, he followed without a problem and he wasn’t that skittish, the challenge back then was trying to walk without being stopped every five minutes by someone who wanted to pet him and drool over how absolutely adorable he was, and he was adorable, all fluffy like a tiny bear cub.

Fast forward nine months, very few people stop us to pet him and drool over his cuteness. We most often get a wide berth from pedestrians lol. Stanley isn’t difficult to walk as long as he isn’t frightened or suddenly spooked. The problem with the city is that you never know who you are going to walk by and what noise may suddenly pierce the relative silence. When Stanely is spooked, he becomes anxious and all he wants to do is get back to my mother’s house. When Stanley is frightened by a person, he reacts with growling and barking, not very conducive to a pleasant walk. When Stanley barks, I talk to him firmly and calmly, he doesn’t lunge or pull, but he lets everyone know that he sees them. Stanley’s latest move which is challenging is his plop to the ground as dead weight, I have to psyche him out to get him to move, so far I have been successful every time he has pulled this little stunt.

I hope Stanley gets acclimated to the city soon, it gets very tiring walking him, worrying that he will bark or plop to the floor. He grew way too fast.

A fantastic dinner amongst special friends at Rossini’s

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This evening my husband and I joined two dear friends of ours, Leib and Vinnie, at Rossini’s, a fine Italian restaurant specializing in Northern Italian cuisine. We had a lovely meal, but that was secondary compared to the fine company we enjoyed. My husband has known and worked with them since the 1980’s and I have known both of them since the early nineties, it has been a long relationship for all of us, long friendships like this creates certain inside jokes and verbal shortcuts that reinforce the shared understanding of a common history. These relationships make conversation that much easier and fun. I laughed out loud quite a few times, either because of my husband or because of Leib, they are both funny men. Vinnie tells great stories, he’s funny as well but his stories are worth a solid listen, I like listening to him, I learn more about his family, his work and his passions each time I see him. Leib also likes to intersperse humor in between his stories, I learned quite a bit about Leib as well this evening. I am so glad that they both made the point of inviting us out to dinner, I haven’t seen them in a while and I forget how much fun I have with both of them at dinner.

Speaking of dinner, Rossini’s is a well known Italian restaurant, I share some history with the restaurant, my father worked there for a while before he passed away. The owner remembered my father and gave me his condolences once again, he had attended my father’s memorial service 13 years ago, the owner is a very gracious man. It shows in his restaurant and the professionalism and courtesy of the staff is top notch, you are treated as a V.I.P when you are at Rossini’s. Dinner was wonderful, I started with calamari fritti, fried calamari which I couldn’t stop eating, it was a rather large portion of which I finished every single bite, I was worried about having room for my main course, pasta a la carbonara and I was right, I stalled at the halfway through point and I ended up taking the leftovers home to my mother’s house. Dessert, which Leib was adamant that I order, made its way into my belly even though I was full, funny how dessert manages to do that. I ordered the black raspberry tart and also a cappuccino, a perfect combination to end a fantastic meal, a great meal of fine dining and wonderful friends, life is good.

Surveying the front yard

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In the past, I have worked so much in the back, I sometimes forgot about the front. I forget how comfortable it is in the front yard, we have the sun where the sand filtration unit is located and just a few inches to the side, we have two huge maple trees that give us a large area of cooling shade. Our wall of stone protects our perennials from the sand and snow in the winter and the extra car pollution in the summer.


It might not be much, but it is home.


Central Intelligence: a movie review

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Boy did I laugh! My husband laughed a lot as well. It was so funny, at least for my sense of humor, I admit I laugh very, very easily, but this was so funny, the dialogue was quick, the references were clever and funny and the physical humor wasn’t too over the top, just enough to make my laughter spontaneously erupt.

The cameos were brilliant, I won’t spoil them for you, but they were spot on and complete surprises! I watched all of the interviews and neither Dwayne Johnson nor Kevin Hart spilled the beans, the only part they shared, which was very important to the story, was the theme of bullying and its damaging effects. Both actors were disciplined in their promotion, I’m glad they were because it gave the movie a few extra lifts.

Dwayne Johnson has a gift for comedy and Kevin Hart did a great job being the straight man, they make for a perfect buddy movie team, they fit and compliment each other very nicely.

They set the movie up for a sequel and I look forward to it.

My attempts at landscaping

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I have been trying to transform this walkway down to the pool for a very long time. I keep the “bamboo” in check, I have planted a variety of perennials, some successfully, others not so much. At the moment I have lilies, daisies, Russian sage, tiger lilies and the old fashioned roses on either side of the walkway. I just pruned back the old fashioned roses away from the walkway to the pool and the walkway around the pool, if you don’t keep them pruned, these roses like to run amok. My perennials struggle for their right to life against the invasive nature of the “bamboo” and more often then not, the “bamboo” has been winning the fight, thank goodness I’m stubborn and I try to even out the odds, my perennials need all the help they can get.


Weed or wildflower?

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I googled what is the difference between a weed and a wildflower, the answer was pretty nifty, there isn’t a scientific difference between the two, the terminology is subjective, a weed is a plant unwanted, whereas a wildflower is a flowering plant that is able to seed itself in disturbed soil at random.

If I go by what I discovered, I have wild flowers galore because none of these new beauties are unwanted. I am not saying I don’t have weeds, I have witch’s grass and as you all know, I consider my faux bamboo and my bishop’s weed to be weeds as well, so my garden is well populated with both. I am enjoying my little experiment of letting my garden self-determine itself.

It was Africa hot in New York

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The Northeast is experiencing a few days of intense heat and humidity, technically it isn’t called a heat wave until a certain number of days of at least 90 degrees pass, if tomorrow registers 90 then it will be official, New York has its first heat wave. We weren’t the only ones suffering from the heat, the dogs were pretty pooped by the heat, thank goodness my mother not only had an oscillating fan that we aimed at the dogs, but also a box fan that we positioned opposite the oscillating fan to create a cross breeze. It worked pretty well, after every walk, the minute we entered the house, the tired dog would search for the fan and plunk himself or herself in front of it.

The heat got to my mother and myself, ordinarily we enjoy going into the city to walk from neighborhood to neighborhood, but with temperatures in the 90’s we kept our walking to a minimum, ducking into stores to take advantage of the air conditioning so we could cool off. That was on Wednesday, the other days we stayed at home in the cool, at least I had the cool to come back to after the numerous walks I took the dogs on, I wasn’t able to walk them as a group so I walked them individually, I walked a lot.

I love my backyard!

Challenge of three dogs in New York




We, my husband and I, embarked on a week long stay at my mother’s in New York with Jack, Lulu and Stanley. A Jack Russell, a Pitbull rescue and an English Mastiff puppy of 11 months, squeezed in the back of our sedan, which they handled wonderfully by the way. When I thought about it, driving down to New York I was worried about their comfort, I realized that at home they lay together, piled on top of each other, because they like it, there is a very large home for them to roam about and yet they prefer squeezing together on a chaise lounge chair, so the car wasn’t too much of a trial for them.

The three of them are spoiled with the backyard, we walk them in Watson Park next to the house, but those walks are no preparation for what a walk in New York means, the cars, the honking, the people and the overall energy level, it is the difference between night and day.

Jack and Lulu have been to my mother’s before and they remember the rules of doggie etiquette here in New York, go outside, walk beside your owner, do your business and don’t provoke the local dogs, you’re a tourist. Stanley has only been to Boston back when he weighed less than twenty pounds, he had no idea of what was in store for him. It was an eye-opener for not only him, but for us as well. Stanley is still a puppy, he just doesn’t look like one and his strength and his bark is enough to make everyone really nervous and even scared. He has been pretty good going around the block and for his size, that is more than enough exercise, I just don’t want to tempt fate too much by bringing him to Astoria Park where there are way more people and way more dogs. We are wading into the kiddie pool of socialization for Stanley, next time when he is more used to the energy and noise, we’ll take him to the park.

What’s kind of funny is that of all the dogs, Jack is the tougher one, he thinks he is allowed to sit anywhere, no matter how often I say no to my mother’s couches, he doesn’t care. Lulu understood immediately that her place was on the doggie bed, Jack had a little temper tantrum and wound up sulking under a chair.


I am looking forward to getting back to Blandford and the luxury of our backyard.

Lilies still defying the odds

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This post has become an annual affair, ever since my mother had her front yard professionally landscaped, I have written about the unlikely bloom of the lilies I had planted for my mother, a Mother’s Day present, prior to the landscaper, who had demolished all of the old plants to give way to his vision. My lilies had triumphed despite his best efforts, coming back year after year, bigger and better.

This year I got another surprise, the white lilies made their first appearance, the previous two or three years, I was so excited by the yellow and burgundy lilies that I made no mention of the other lily bulbs that I had planted that one summer, this year I suppose the bulbs finally recovered from the trauma from the landscaper’s digging that they were able to show themselves. Aren’t they beautiful?



Happy Independence Day everybody!

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Happy Independence Day to all of my family and friends! Today we are going to brave traffic to go down and visit with my mother in New York, we’re bringing the three dogs so that will be an adventure. Jack has finally gotten used to the city over the years, Lulu has been to my mother’s house twice I think and it was fine, if I remember correctly. Stanley hasn’t been yet, so it will be interesting to say the least, he is protective so we might end up with Stanely barking at every single noise which could mean non stop barking, I hope not. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you apprised of the situation, I’m sure it will make for a fun read, perhaps even funny.

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