Pepper’s winter sweater

So, before Christmas 2015 I saw this in the local Target ad.

target dog sweater.jpg

And my first thought was that dog looks like Pepper (our ‘red’ Golden Retriever).  I knew Pepper needed a sweater to keep her warmer when she slept out in the dog house so I went looking the next time I was in the local Target store.

Target was out of the dog sweater that was shown in the ad, but I was able to get Pepper a sweater.

Here she is modeling it.  She definitely doesn’t look as happy as the dog in the ad, but she didn’t complain when we went to put it on her before bedtime.  And I am happy to say that it lasted through the winter and will definitely get more use this coming winter.

pPepper sweater

Pepper modeling her winter sweater

Do you dress up your pet?

Later – H

I am still here and takeaways

The end of January / beginning of February have been an interesting and sometimes stressful time for my family.  Here are some takeaways :

  • Don’t take your health for granted – We abruptly learned that one of our brother-in-laws was having double bypass surgery (with no previous health warnings).  I am so happy to report that he is doing fine and is healing nicely.  (And I can’t wait to give him a hug the next time we see him!)
  • Make sure that both the husband and wife have keys to the mailboxes.  I had to overnight our keys to dear husband since I had been out of town for a while.  Good thing I did since we had a package in the box.
  • Sometimes the ‘kids’ have to become the ‘parents’ to their parents.  My mom has always lived in her own house independently, but it became obvious a few weeks ago that it wasn’t the best idea anymore.  So, the last few weeks I have been trying to help my mom move into a Senior Living place near us.  When she is all settled I will post an update.
  • Dogs (especially Pepper the Golden Retriever) sense when a person is older and needs some company.  My mom has been at our house for the last week and Pepper will bring her toys, sleep at her feet and is very gentle and loving to her.  Now, that doesn’t mean that Pepper still doesn’t love to be hyper and run around, but it means she tries to not do it near my mom.
  • Plan for natural disasters.  We recently had a horrible wind storm.  The worse part was we were out of power for 27+ hours.  We have a well which meant we could not pump water.  I am happy that we had gallon bottles of drinking water in the garage, used the water in the hot tub (which had dirt and leaves blown into it) to flush the toilets and we were able to use our wood stove to heat food and drinks once the wind died down.  We know multiple people that lost part of their roofs (and/or trees).  Do you have an emergency stash  / plan??
  • Keep your mind active – Do you do word puzzles, play Scrabble, etc?  My mom has spent the last few years just watching television by herself (definitely not something that keeps the mind active).  Since she has stayed at our house we have been playing multiple games of Scrabble daily (not keeping score though).  She is amazing (and not even just for her age)!  I have already asked if there is a group of people at the Senior Living place that plays games.  If not, I will go and play it with her.  (She even has been asking me to play it if I don’t suggest it.)
  • Love and appreciate your family since you never know how long anyone will live (this one should be obvious).  I have been having a conversation with my mom this week since she is trying to figure out why she is still alive, but her parents, sister, brother, friends and two husbands have all died (and most of them at a younger age than her).  The only thing I keep saying is ‘God decided a long time ago the number of days you will live.’  I hope I am loving and honoring to my mom for the rest of her days.
  • If you see a problem then take action – I am so glad that I didn’t ignore the signs that my mom was having difficulties (or come home when she just told me to leave her in her house).  After having a doctor evaluate her (and having her eat good food and drink water) we determined that mom needed to be on medicine.  Once she started to take it she remembered that she used to take it ‘years ago’, but for some reason she stopped.  My family is noticing an improvement in my mom since she has arrived.
  • Housecleaning can wait – I am not saying to completely blow it off, but I have realized that my mom needs my attention also while she is here.  So, I have been randomly doing house work and trying to recover from being gone for over a week.

Until next time.  Later – H



Happy 4th of July!

I hope all of you (in the United States at least) had a great 4th of July.  We worked around the yard (fixing sprinklers, etc), taking Pepper (the Golden Retriever) for a swim in the river, eating BBQ’ed ribs and squash and went to see fireworks.  The sad part is the fireworks started a small brush fire.

Hoping we have as much fun during the rest of the weekend.

Later – H

Pepper (the Golden Retriever) Subway art

Hi, all.  Well, I am late, but here is the photo of the Subway art (see previous post on how I created it) I created using words that describe Pepper (the Golden Retriever).

Pepper golden retriever, subway art







After the last couple of weeks taking Pepper to water I realize I should make this again and make the word ‘Swimming’ HUGE!!!

This last weekend we took her to a lake.  The husband planned on shore fishing also.  Well, he did catch three trout, but he would have caught his limit if Pepper hadn’t decided she had to continually swim (and sometimes got into his line – oops).

What is amazing to me is Pepper swims after floating toys, but also will just run back and forth in the shallow water AND will also just start randomly swimming into deeper water (luckily she doesn’t like us getting too far away so if we don’t call her she will turn around and look for us).

Pepper officially turns two years old on Tuesday (1 July) so I will definitely be posting some new photos.

Later – H

Happy Father’s day and Subway art

First I want to wish all the Fathers a Happy Father’s Day!   We hope to spend the day going to church, going out to lunch and then spending the afternoon with Pepper (the Golden Retriever) and family – either hiking or taking her swimming

So, for a present I decided I wanted to make the husband a Subway Art using some of words of his favorite things.  First I was looking at making a Canvas Artwork, but ran into problems getting the words to fit correctly on PicMonkey (  ).  I use this site to add the Watermark (blog name) to the photos I own and post.

So, then I started doing some Google searching to figure out how else I could make a Subway art.  I found a few references to Wordle ( ).  It is a pretty easy site to use (I do suggest you read their FAQs before you start out).  I did save my word list in a document first so it was pretty easy to modify.

I was able to make and print out my personalized Subway art (in black and white) this morning – now I need to put it into a frame so I can give it to him.

Sorry for no pictures this time, but they are currently in the new phone (which I have to figure out to get them posted).  I figured it was better to send out the idea now in case you wanted to make one and post photos next week.

And you add a comment if you get this?  I tried to email a couple of posts to myself to I could forward them to a friend and I realized I never got them.  Not sure if it is our email account with the problem or if the posts are hiding from people.  thanks!

Later – H

Target pick up in store

Did you know that you can place an online Target order and pick it up at your local store?  I didn’t until this afternoon.   (Also, since I was able to order online I went through a reward site also – every little bit helps.)

The husband had asked for new Norelco Shaver Replacement heads as a Father’s Day present, etc.

Well, I went searching and found that Target had them listed for good price and had an instant $5 coupon.  They were not available to order online, but they said they could be picked up in the store.  So, I ordered them at 1:15 PM (received the order email at 1:22 PM) and at 1:34 PM I got a text message that it was ready to be picked up!

Note:  It appears their standard hold time is 2 days after you place the order.  I wish that was a little longer since we have to go to the next town to go to Target.

Luckily, we were going to that town today since Pepper (the Golden Retriever) was going to Social Hour this afternoon.  I popped into the Guest Services area of Target afterwards and picked up my package.

Since I like a smooth-faced husband I gave the replacement heads to him tonight.  Maybe by Father’s Day he will be smoother 🙂

Note:  I wasn’t given anything for this post.  I was just very impressed to see that I can now order online and pickup in the store and how fast it was available.

Pepper (golden retriever) is 17 months old

Pepper the ‘red’ Golden Retriever is now 17 months old.

Pepper, golden retriever

She went for her vet checkup in October.  The vet was very happy with her weight – 60.3 lbs.  So, she might be one of the smallest Golden Retrievers (I got my wish for one on the smaller side).  I just checked and the average Golden Retriever weights between 65 and 75 lbs.  Porsche, our first Golden Retriever that my husband bought me for our first Christmas (years ago) got to be over 90 lbs at one time so I am definitely happy with the size of Pepper.

I also asked about whether he thought Pepper would grow much hair for winter (her kennel is still in our garage).  He figures Pepper will always have a light coat (good in the sense she won’t have as much hair to shed, bad that she will get cold sleeping outside).  So, I am guessing my car will be staying outside all of this winter (unless I can convince her to sleep in the Crate in the Laundry room – will let you know if that works out).

Later – H

Dogs (pets) and smoke

Since we are currently living with Unhealthy Air caused by the smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire I thought it would be a good idea to share some information I recently learned.

I have been trying to keep Pepper (the Golden Retriever) inside the house as much as possible, but she is getting majorly bored (picture a sleeping dog most of the time).

So, I have started letting her outside for a while at a time.  We usually have walkers and dog walkers that come by the house in the morning and some of them give her ‘cookies’ (dog biscuits).  I usually get notified when they are going by since Pepper likes to bark at them (I think that is the ‘Hey, where is my cookie?’ call).  With all the smoke there are definitely less walkers.

Pepper, Golden Retriever,

I have noticed that Pepper will play with LONG sticks

or will lay on the grass and just chew on something (some favorites – rocks, old plastic plant pots, etc).

She doesn’t seem to want to run around a lot.

That is a good thing since dogs can get breathing problems if they run around a lot in the smoke (I guess if the dog decides to run around it is OK, but they shouldn’t be ‘forced’ to by being taken for a run or long walk).

Hoping we get a change in the wind pattern soon so Pepper and the family can go for a walk outside.

Later – H


Yosemite Rim Fire and smoke

Well, the family finally got a vacation this summer and we were ‘unplugged’ for over a week and it was SO nice.  We didn’t have a television in our first place and only turned it on once in the second place and we didn’t even read the paper.  I will blog about vacation later.

We arrived home at 1:30am last Thursday since we decided to fly out of the Sacramento, Ca airport and drive home over the Sierra Nevada mountains afterwards.  We saw a full moon on the way over and smelt some smoke on the way up, but there were no signs of a fire, etc.

We got up Thursday morning to pick up Pepper (Golden Retriever) from the Kennel (that is definitely a story for later) and nothing really seemed different.  After that I started getting on the computer and found out about the Yosemite Rim fire (which is about 100 miles as a bird flies from us).  I didn’t think too much about it other that praying the firefighters stayed safe, praying for some much needed rain, etc.

Well, by Thursday afternoon smoke was coming into our valley (usually we can see the Sierra Nevada mountains from town, etc) and it felt like ash or something was getting in the eyes when I walked out of the grocery store.  By later Thursday afternoon we had Ash raining down at the house!  Since we had to put some items in the car that afternoon I was wearing a baseball and a mask and you still could smell it.

Long story short is we STILL have smoke in our valley (it hasn’t cleared so we are now on day 6) and we have some ash around the yard.  You feel like there should be a snow storm outside since all you should do is stay in the house and Pepper is NOT happy about this – she got a walk a day at the kennel, but she can’t run around outside and play (if I let her outside she is mostly laying in the grass for a while).  

They are saying the smoke might not start to clear until this Sunday (assuming the winds change directions).  

We still have ash pieces in my car and it is pretty hard to breathe outside (it even smells some in the house even though we haven’t opened any windows).  I am wondering how long it will take for the smoke smell to go away…

The good news is I saw a small patch of blue sky with fluffy clouds this morning right after I got up.  It was definitely covered up within an hour.  (So, I know this smoke is not permanent – I hope!).

I had taken some ‘now’ photos, but I would need to go digging for some ‘clear’ photos for you to understand the difference.  A friend posted some photos on Facebook yesterday and said I could post them without giving her credit (I don’t think she even knows I have a blog – maybe I will have to tell her…).  Anyways, thanks Karin for the use of your photos.

with smoke

So, which would you rather be living in?

Valley with smoke from the Yosemite Rim Fire

with snow

Valley on a ‘normal’ Spring Day

(And, yes I know we don’t have it as bad as the people in the path of the wildfire or the firefighters, but I have never seen anything like this in the 20 years we have lived here.)

Later  – H

What are you grateful for?

I read this post by Making Lemonade (blog):

Where she states everything she is currently grateful for and asks what we are grateful for.  Wow, not something I have thought about lately.  So, I decided to make a list of my top 5:

a) Family – I am grateful for the immediate family I have.  I love how creative and smart they are and that we have fun doing simple things – hiking, kayaking, fishing, playing with Pepper the Golden Retriever, snowshoeing, etc.

b) Pepper – I am grateful for the Golden Retriever we have even though in the beginning we were afraid she would not make it home after 8 days at the vet at 8 weeks old (they think she had Parvo).  The first time I took her to the local vet (after we brought her home the second time) the vet implied we had gotten the runt of the litter (no, she was the same size as her brother and sister when we picked her up, but was down to 5 lbs 8 oz after being in the vet that long) and potentially had a heart murmur/defect (when she went to the vet last month I was told she was really healthy and had a strong heart – Thank God).  Some people say Pepper acts very ‘human like’.  I have to agree since at times it is like she understands everything we say (whether she decides to obey is a different story).

c) Where we live – I never thought that we would still be living in the desert 20+ years after moving here, but this place has grown on me.  Do I always love the wind?  No, but it does cool us off.  One thing I could do without is all of the dust that gets into the house (but you have to expect that in the desert).  One good thing about living here is how close we are to the Sierra Nevada Mountains which has all the hiking, fishing, kayaking and snow sports we like to do.

d) Extended ‘family’ – My extended ‘family’ consists of blood / married into family and some friends that feel like family.  I love that we can get together after being apart for a while and pick up where we left off.

e) Church – I am grateful for the church family we found.  It is definitely not the closest church we could go to, but it fits our family and has for many years.

What are the top 5 things you are grateful for?

Later – H