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Sunday, September 28, 2014

54 Weeks of 2014 - Week 39

Vintage finds.

This weekend, we headed to Burton to attend the Great Geauga Antiques Market. We've been going there since before we married, so it's been over twelve years. During that time, there's been a lot of changes to the antique fair as well as the town of Burton, but it's usually worth the trip. For the first time in a while, I had a lot of great finds yesterday, including this guitar, braided rug and die-cast, turquoise VW Beetle. I also got an original smiley face button, a large Pyrex blossom green casserole dish with lid and a frog planter. Since Belle's American Grille (the place with the best chicken salad in the world) closed a couple of years ago, we ate at Tom and Jerry's diner and had some really tasty burgers. That will likely be our go-to place until the newly opened Subway puts them out of business.

Unfortunately, I also have some sad news to share. After Mark fixed the pond for a second time this year, it started to leak again. Since it's been so dry during the last month, the water level was low enough that racoons came and took our larger fish. When Lauren and I came home on Friday, we found fish scales scattered all over the patio. Not only did we lose both koi, but we lost our oldest fish, Big Mama, who we worked so hard to save after she had gotten sick during the hard winter. We are consoled by the fact that Big Mama had lived a long life. We moved here eight years ago, so we figure that she had to be at least twelve, which is pretty aged for a fish of her type. Once again today, Mark was hard at work patching the pond, so hopefully three times is a charm!

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 38


This week, we had a house guest. This is Dobby, my in-laws Labrador Retriever.

Ready for action.

As you can see, Dobby fits right in with the rest of our canine family. In fact, instead of sleeping in our room like he usually does, Marcus chose to bunk with Dobby during his stay.

Opposites attract.

Maybe during his next stay, I can get all three of them to pose together, but I don't think Kitty Coconut would be much interested in taking part in a portrait session.

Also of note this week, Lauren started bowling club. When she told me that she wanted to join, I was a bit skeptical. After all, you don't hear much about bowling scholarships. Also, I'm not much of a bowler myself. I was determined to go through life without ever bowling. In fact, I used to wear it like a badge of honor, and I'd proudly tell people that I've never been bowling. Then about four years ago, Mel C forced me to go bowling and ruined my chance at notoriety as The Woman Who Never Bowled.

When I picked up Lauren at the alley for the first time, I finally understood the lure of bowling. There she was, surrounded by her friends and scarfing chicken fries from the snack bar. It might as well have been the croquet or the bocce club, as long as there were friends and chicken fries to be had.

Lastly, this was the week that I achieved one of the goals that I had set for myself this year. I got accepted as a photographer for Stocksy. Stocksy is a start up stock photography agency that launched during March 2013. One of their unique features is that the photographers are all considered co-owners. Also, the collection is very tightly curated with just stunning imagery. When they opened for new applicants in June, I started to have second thoughts about applying this year and was going to wait until my photography evolved a bit more. Then in August, I convinced myself that I should at least try because nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I probably spent a month agonizing about the images to include in my application before I finally clicked the send button. About three weeks later, on a Saturday night no less, I got the email informing me that my application had been accepted. A week later, I'm still in disbelief about it. Since we have a lot of real life stuff going on right now, I haven't had a chance to set up shop over there yet, but I'm really excited to get started!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 37

Sit a spell.

Cookie turned 2 years old this week! This changes nothing since she could be ten years old and still look and act like a puppy. In fact, the photo that I envisioned for this was the view I get multiple times a day when she's jumping on me. I was trying to get her to do it for the camera, but of course, she refused. Then she just sat down beside me, and I thought, "Even better!" So the credit goes to the dog for this one. It does show that Cookie is never far from us. Actually, being close by isn't good enough. For her to be happy, she has to be touching you. In fact, as I type this she's sitting under my chair and leaning against my foot.

Always under my feet.

Mark and I always talk about how she's not really the brightest dog around, but I think she's getting smarter in her old age. She throws her dog dish around to let us know when she's thirsty, and she understands the word "ball." She still can't catch cereal in mid air like big brother Marcus (and like Daisy before her, who was the champ at catching food). It just bounces off her little head.

Sunny spot

And life as a little dog is just as exhausting at two years old as it was when she was one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 36

If pumpkins took family portraits.

Is it too early for pumpkins? Mark grew these, and they ripened earlier than expected. Usually, we only get one, maybe two, but we have a bumper crop of five this year. We're still waiting for one last pumpkin to ripen on the vine, so he was camera shy for the family portrait.

Bathtime for Marcus.

Look who got a bath this week! Marcus is notorious for his stink. Airedales are supposed to be scent free, but we ended up with a rare stinky one.

Shake it off.

It happens every time. Within a a day of getting a bath, Marcus will inevitably throw up in the middle of the night (Specifically, around midnight last night - right on schedule), making himself all stinky once again. I guess it's his way of putting things to right. Marcus wouldn't be Marcus without his trademark stink.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 35

Something fishy is going on here.

For the second time this summer, Mark had to empty the pond this week so that he could patch a leak. The pond liner compound takes a couple of days to fully dry, and unfortunately, during that timeframe we lost 2 koi and one of our large goldfish. Since he never turned up, we think that an animal took one of the koi, but the other two fish were found dead on our patio. They could have committed suicide by jumping out of their containers. Anyway, we found ourselves in desperate need of some replacements, and luckily, Mark found a place not far from us called Aqua World that, as you can see, had a huge selection of fish. So we have two new residents in our pond. Hopefully they'll make it through the winter!

 First day of 4th grade and elementary school!

I'm also a bit late with the first day of school photo. By this writing, we're already two weeks into the year! Fourth grade is a big year of change. In our district, there are five primary schools, but once the kids get to fourth everyone goes to one elementary school. So not only is there a big new building to navigate, there's a huge number of kids to get to know. Lauren's class has 31 students, and there are seventeen fourth grade classes total! Luckily, Lauren ended up having classes (This the first year where the kids have schedules and do a little bit of switching classes during the day) with some of her friends, so that's made the transition much easier. This is also the first year that Lauren will be in the GATE program, and of course she'll be taking extra music classes so she can play trombone in the band. So far, she seems to really like everything, but by far her favorite part of elementary school is the cafeteria. She came home on the first day raving about how the chocolate milk tastes like a milkshake and how the chicken sandwiches come wrapped in colorful checked paper. So now we know what to look for when it comes time to college search - good cafeteria food!