Monthly Archives: May 2013


Little Lodgers

As some of you know, our second guide dog puppy, Vinnie, went into early training in February because he was a particularly challenging little boy who was actually diagnosed by a vet as being hyperactive (well, we could have told … Continue reading

Flying High


Seattle is home to a wonderful Museum of Flight that houses everything from earliest aviation to Air Force One (J.F. Kennedy’s) to the Space era. We even managed to snag the Space Shuttle Trainer when that NASA program ended.


Memorial Day weekend, the museum was full to capacity with folks, old and young, following aviation’s history. We know, because we were part of the crowd. It was a bucket list day for my husband, who finally got a wish he’s had since he was a child.

He got to fly in a WWII era B-17. And he enjoyed the heck out of himself. Days later, he’s still talking about how cool it was. It was about a half hour flight, but they got to move around the plane while in the air and check out pretty much everything. I stayed on the ground and got pictures of the plane taking off.

And, after that, we found out there were still space available on a tour of the Space Shuttle cockpit tour, so Mark grabbed it. I chose not to as it’s all tight spaces and climbing through tiny holes. But I loved being part of it, and also, as you can see by the picture below, got a little work done.MOF6

So I’d call this a good day all around. Now all we have to do is figure out what’s next on the bucket list. Maybe Australia, tentatively set for winter, 2014.

Got any trips or things you want to do on your bucket list? I’d love to hear them.

Book Review: Double Impact

495908This book is an anthology with two great stories. The first one “Never Say Die” by Tess Gerritsen takes the reader back into the Vietnam War and runs parallel with current times. Willy Jane Maitland is on a quest to find out if her father is dead or alive. Missing in action for twenty years he is legend. The plot twists and turns making sure you have to turn the page. The characters are flawed, imperfect and ones that will stay with you long after the last word is read.

Debra Webb was a new author when “No Way Back” was released. This is the first story I’ve read by her but I’ll be looking for more. I didn’t think it was possible to read a second story as good as the first and one by Tess Gerritsen no less, but Debra Webb is a master storyteller. Intrigue, romance and an unbelievable fast paced plot combine to make this a story that’s impossible to put down. Ami and Michal set their world on fire as together they beat the odds of corrupt terrorists.

Both stories are romances so even though it seems impossible at times that these two authors can pull it all together to come up with a happy ever after ending they do. And, with all the bells and whistles you could hope for.

Busy Schedules and Reflections

I like to take time on Sundays to kind of organize my thoughts and plans for the week. I look at my calendar and then, being the list maker I am, I list out my days and what I need to get done. It’s my way of making sure I can actually DO all the things on my list.

What I’m not good at, is looking back at that list at the end of the week. Lavada and I have had this discussion many times, but I still have to remind myself to reflect on what I’ve accomplished.

This, for me, is a good day for reflection. Memorial Day is Monday. In the United States, this is the day set aside for remembering and honoring those who died in service to country. It’s really become more than that, though, at least around here. It’s a time when we honor those family and friends no longer with us.

Today, my mother, my husband, and I will visit several cemeteries and pay homage to people who were and still are important to us. We can and do think of them at other times. But this has kind of become our annual pilgrimage.

So yesterday, I potted 8 little flower pots to place on graves. With each one, I spent time remembering. My grandparents, my aunt, my beloved step-father, my friend. Each flower that goes in the pot makes my smile widen as I remember time spent with them. How, when I could barely pay my rent, my step-father “borrowed” my noisy car and put a new exhaust and muffler on it. “Tired of hearing you coming a mile away,” he gruffed. 🙂 How my grandmother fed the families of her nine children each Thanksgiving–at a sit-down meal. How my friend taught me to love playing cards.

They all influenced the person I turned out to be. And I am grateful for them. So in the midst of what has turned out to be, for me, a very hectic week, I take these moments to remember and smile and be thankful.

I hope you all have a weekend filled with cherished memories, both old and new.


There’s Always Hope

I know you didn’t expect to see me here today but Lavada has kindly stepped aside to allow me to post a special message of hope, faith, charity, courage and determination that has turned the life around of one special … Continue reading

Shhh, Be Very, Very Quiet

I’m taking over today. I’m like Elmer Fudd tiptoeing through the grass huntin’ a wabbit so be very, very quiet and maybe that woman who is always telling stories on me won’t realize it’s her Monday over here at the Backyard fence. You all do know she’s always forgetting that, right? She’s used to that first Wednesday thing but man, Mondays have her over a barrel.

So, if we’re really careful, she’ll never know I’m here.

Who am I?

Ah, I’m wounded to the quick that you had to ask. It’s Hobbes. Yes, it’s me. That crazy Jillian thinks I can only walk across the keyboard while she’s working and turn on iTunes. She has no idea of my real skill set. photo

Now, I know Lavada’s cat, Rue, took over here one day and she got away with it and I’m hoping none of you will rat me out. Ha ha, I said rat.

Anyway, I wanted to ask you all about this thing called a printer. It’s a real mystery to me. Jillian tried to tell me that it’s on a wireless thing where they can print from laptops in any room but it seems like some kind of black magic to me. I’ll be snoozing away in my favorite spot on the couch (and yeah, it’s leather and I won’t sit on it without a blanket- so what? It’s cold- so sue me) and that thing goes off. Noise ensues and paper starts spewing. I’ve leapt on it many times to try to stop it from destroying anything but haven’t been successful. I’ve climbed all around and inspected it – all to no avail. Anyone know how I can disable it? I need my rest (because I have mischief that needs doing and I have to be ready) and they insist on startling me with the darned thing. A cat can only take so much, you know?

Here I am trying to learn to turn the demon thing off. The picture is dark because I was trying to sneak but got busted. Can anyone help me? I must not let this defeat me or I’ll be the laughingstock of the catnip crowd.


A Wee Bit O’ Fluff by Valerie J Patterson

I thought it would be good to just write a fluff piece this month, so I hope you enjoy the lighter side!

I find it amazing how different my day is if I wake up with a song in my head.  I have found out that there are mornings the song in my head is apropos to whatever I have to face that day, and other mornings it’s completely bizarre.  For instance, one day last week the hymn You’ll Never Walk Alone played on an endless loop in my head all day, and that evening I found it to be a comfort.  Some of you may recall, I have an elderly aunt with Alzheimer’s who I moved down to an assisted living residence near me after it was determined she could no longer live alone.  This day, I went to see my Aunt Sis and she wasn’t able to use my name.    This particular visit, she recognized me but was unable to tell one of the nurses there that I am her niece and that my name is Valerie.  That evening, while we visited, she struggled to converse with me as well.  So, on my way home while I was lamenting the fact that her Alzheimer’s is progressing, I once again could hear the lyrics to the hymn in my head, reminding me that neither my aunt nor I were walking through this storm alone.

Then there are those songs which seem to be replayed over and over simply to torture me!  They have no relevance to anything going on in my life, but merely seem to be stuck there either because someone planted the song in my mind or I heard it on the radio and it got lodged there.  For instance, not long ago the lyrics to I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas were playing in my mind as soon as my feet hit the floor one morning.  At first I thought, “Cool, I really like this song.”  Never mind that Christmas had long past and it was springtime.  However, by mid morning I was like, “Get out!  Get out!  Get out!”  I would hear myself singing it or humming it and those around me would frown and respond, “Thanks!  Now it’s stuck in my head!”

I rather like when that happens because then I’m not alone in my madness!

Songs centered around a female name are generally complimentary and are usually popular.  There is an older gentleman who frequently has business in my office.  Instantly upon seeing me he breaks out into song, and the song he is singing is Valleri by The Monkees.  He really belts it out, and I always, always smile or laugh and instantly feel my mood lighten.  He’s been serenading me with this tune since 2007.

One day I asked him how come he never sang Valerie by Steve Winwood and he said because The Monkees’ tune was better.  So, a debate ensued, but was never settled.  He was just in my office a few days ago and still we have not reached a conclusive end to the debate.  So, here are videos of both songs.  Please have a listen and cast your vote and the reason for your vote.  I’ll take my findings to work for the next time he serenades me!

Oh, and what’s the wackiest song you’ve had stuck in your head?

Until next time…may the song in your head brighten your day and lighten your mood.



Good Morning and again I apologize for being late with my blog. Way too much going on!! Our girls are in the softball State Playoffs and today we have a practice game a couple of hours away from here. Then … Continue reading

What’s in Your Salad?

Happy day after Mother’s Day, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful, restful day. Last month, I did a blog called “What’s in Your Closet?”. Apparently, I’m a very nosey person, because now I want to know what you put in your salads. 🙂

In February, my husband and I embarked on a healthier living menu plan. I’m not calling it a diet, but it could be seen that way. It’s been a very successful endeavor so far as I’m losing weight. In order to break my bad habits, though, I basically had to make food boring. So I pretty much eat the same thing every day.

We’ve managed to cut out carbs at most of our dinners, eating some sort of meat or fish, and a salad. Lately, it’s been getting harder and harder to pull all the salad fixings out of the refrigerator. I think I need to zazz it up a bit and thought I’d ask y’all what you put in your salads. 🙂saladlt

Here’s our standard salad:

  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Cucumber
  • Green Onions
  • Carrots
  • Dressing of choice

That’s it for ours. It takes a while to cut everything up,  but we like a lot of stuff in our bowls. So, if you have any good, lean suggestions for changes or additions, I’d love to hear them. I’m halfway to my primary weight loss goal in 12 weeks and I want to keep it going. 🙂

Ah The Month of May

P1030049May is one of my favorite months, and a great time of year to visit Over The Backyard Fence. 🙂

Here in the Northern Hemisphere it a spring month but in the Southern Hemisphere it’s an autumn month equivalent to our November.

As I write this (4 days before posting) it is a beautiful morning with temps expected in the 80’s. I have the patio door open just enough to let Rue out. Amazingly after being a total house cat she is exploring, albeit cautiously, her yard. It might be the security of the high fence or maybe even that she got tired of the cold wet weather we’ve experienced this year.

Some May facts are:

It was named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility.

Holidays in May include Cinco de Mayo, Mothers Day and Memorial Day.

May’s birthstone is the emerald, its flower is Lily of the Valley and its Zodiac signs are Taurus and Gemini.

Our daughter was born in May and I remember the wonderful weather when we brought her home.

Hope you’re enjoying Spring weather in your part of the world. The only flip side I see to May is the weeds love it. 🙂